A housing development project will kill a healthy koala colony in Sydney, Australian animal rights groups say. Around 5700 new houses will be built near a population of koalas who live in an area in New South Wales (NSW).
A year ago, an Australian parliamentary report said that koalas in NSW could become extinct by 2050 if the government doesn’t protect them and their habitat.
The company behind the construction plan, Lendlease, said on their website that they’re planning to help the koalas in the region, but animal rights groups argue that every form of construction disturbs the animals’ peace.
“If you were trying to wipe out koalas in New South Wales, you would do exactly what the New South Wales government is doing,” Saul Deane, campaigner at Save Sydney’s Koalas, told Sky News.
“We can live in other places. They can’t”
“You would find a habitat where they are surviving and succeeding, and you would start to declare that as housing as well, and you’d start to wipe out that habitat,” Deane added. “This is the area that koalas need. We can live in other places. They can’t.”
After a legal attempt to stop the construction failed, Lendlease continued cutting trees in the area this week. “One of those particular trees has been recognised by a certified arborist as over 500 years old,” Susan Gay from the Save Mount Gilead group told ABC News.
Save Sydney’s Koalas said in a press release that “two healthy koalas were hit on Appin Road not far from where tree felling was taking place”. They added that “one died instantly and the other is critically injured”.
Animal rights groups want the government to first ensure the protection of the koala colony and habitat before allowing any further development.
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