Queensland’s increased mine traffic is the blame for a spike in the number of koala injuries and deaths last year, the Australian Wildlife Rescue Service said.
Dorothy Spooner spokeswoman for the Rescue Service said there has been an increase in the number of injured koalas found on the roads to the mines west of Mackay.
"The worst cases we've had so far for last year was for the Peak Downs Highway above Eton Range between the top of Eton Range and Nebo that's the road to the mines," she said.
"All up last year I think we had between 15 and 20 koalas in care.”
She added that said more awareness programs are needed in areas where koalas are being harmed, the ABC reported.
Late last year the Queensland Government promised to allocate $26.5 million over four years to buy specialised koala habitat, investigate disease and fund rescue programs.
Rio Tinto has developed a collaborative research partnership with the University of Queensland, called Koala Venture; the research organisation was launched in 1988 and is Australia’s longest running study on Australia’s wild koala populations.
Koala Venture researchers rely on assistance from Rio’s Clermont Mine and formerly Blair Athol mine, visiting the sites to capture, examine and tag wild koalas.
Last year alone 560 eucalyptus coolabah seedlings were planted by Rio employees to help create a 2km vegetation corridor to support the growth and habitat of koalas living on land owned by Clermont Mine.