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Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 07:06 GMT 08:06 UK
Dead koalas in safety drive
Koala
Slow-moving koalas are easy prey for vehicles
Officials in Australia are using dead Koalas in an attempt stop motorists from running over the slow-moving creatures.

The Redland Shire Council, east of Brisbane, Queensland, is painting koala bodies bright red and leaving them by the side of the road.


It might put some people in the shoes of those who have to scrape the koalas off the roads

Deborah Tabart, Koala Foundation
Last year, more than 600 koalas were hit by vehicles on the shire's roads, 146 of which died.

Although not listed as an endangered species, wildlife experts say there are less than 100,000 koalas left in the world.

The shock tactics have been criticised by opponents, who say it will upset children and might cause accidents by encouraging motorists to slow down to take a look.

But the Australian Koala Foundation has backed the move.

"It might put some people in the shoes of those who have to scrape the koalas off the roads," said the foundation's executive director, Deborah Tabart.

The bodies will be left by the roadside in the marsupials' breeding ground for 24 hours before being removed.

It is being tested at first for a period of six months.

The scheme has already been used by the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service in Kosciusko National Park to illustrate the number of koalas killed by vehicles.

See also:

31 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
26 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
06 Sep 00 | Science/Nature
03 Dec 98 | Science/Nature
27 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific
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