Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

August 23rd 2011
Carpark koala

Who cares if it's a hoop pine? There was an unexpected visitor last Friday at the Nelly Bay Harbour terminal carpark. And while most commuters seemed unaware of her presence the ever-so-cute koala wasnít that bothered either, curling up for a good nap in one of the hoop pines growing between the bus stop and the parking spaces.

Magnetic Times received the tip-off about lunch time and, on arrival, the cuddly ball of grey was high up and totally focussed on nothing in particular, except, perhaps which leg to hang in space.

This isnít the first time a koala has shown up at the terminal. There was one last year which appeared at No1 Bright Point. Another at Peppers underground carpark (a burrowing koala no doubt) and then another at the ferry car park back in February this year.

The carpark koala

And while these very available Island icons make an astonishing welcome for tourists the downside is that they are extremely vulnerable to vehicles and, particularly, off-leash dogs which are still depressingly common on Magnetic Island. Last year another koala was discovered at the Presto Breakwater where a number of locals continue to exercise their dogs in this illegal and wildlife-threatening way.

But last Friday, with the assistance of Nelly Bay Harbour Manager, Sue Mackay, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers were able to collect the fluffy bundle when she alighted from the tree and relocate her safely.

And if you were wondering how we know she was a she, well, she didnít have a joey, but she did have fluffy ears. This is a simple way to tell the difference, according to Island wildlife sources, between the girls and boys who have smaller, less fluffy, flaps.

Story & photos: George Hirst

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

Carpark koala
judy chapman
August 24th 2011
Great to see these cute little creatures are welcoming the tourists but as a recent visitor to the island I was alarmed at the large number of off-lead dogs (and roaming cats) wandering the streets day and night and I fear for the safety of these unsuspecting cuddly wanderers.I wonder if the irresponsible animal owners have witnessed the carnage caused by unleashed dogs?
August 24th 2011
Recently I got out of my car in the carpark to nearly step into a very sizeable pile of dog poo and very close by there was a dead possum lying in a pile of blood. Coincidence? I think not.
August 25th 2011

Please get off your track against dog owners generally, it drives me crazy and as such I find myself aligning with the views of another Magnetic Island newspaper. I am the responsible owner of a medium sized breed of dog which is securely housed within a fenced yard. In the six years my dog has been around she has failed to find a way out of the yard on any occassion. Sure she is curious by the close proximity of the possums and in the last few days there has been a sizeable male koala take up residence on my property but the dog has failed , quite pathetically, to bring home any prey from its own fenced domain since her inception. In fact the possums and our new koala friend seem to taunt my animal frequently to no avail. I only live on a block of less than 10000qm, should I further confine my animal to a mere percentile of this? Maybe I should chain her paws together for the 23 hours a day she is not excercised outside of my block? Get over it George, sure there is a small number of irresponsible dog owners on the island which tend to give us all bad name but to try and draw all anti dog sentiment in this direction is ridiculous. Spose you've got a cat? hope its got a bell collar and is confined to barracks after dusk? Why not be more possitive and raise awareness about possible "dogs off leash" areas like other Magnetic Island publications?
In short George, "GIVE IT UP ON THE DOG THING" - were you bitten by a poodle as a mere boy?
George Hirst
August 25th 2011
Wooah Jim, I'm real sorry to drive you in the 'crazy' direction of a certain other publication. But don't get too hot under the collar with me. I love animals and have been both a dog and a cat owner but decided not to own either since moving to Magnetic in 1991.

It's fascinating to me that in the past I've been criticised for being too pro-dog and too hard on cats. To be honest I don't think people should have dogs or cats on Magnetic. As a couple we made this decision because we felt privileged to live here in our world heritage environment and want to do as little as possible to disturb it. But that's a personal view.

I'm actually a bit surprised you are upset at what I might want to do about your dog on your land. I don't think I have ever commented on what people do on their own land with their pets. It sounds like you are an exemplary dog owner Jim and my spleen only gets juicy when I see dogs off-leash in public. I think there are plenty of irresponsible dog owners and I see it almost every day! Magnetic's head Ranger Patrick Centurino has said he thinks Magnetic Island is Townsville's worst suburb for roaming dogs and the last time we asked Council there had not been one owner fined for a dog off leash in the last year.

But apologies for not being more positive about an off-leash area Jim. I'd be happy to see one, truly. But just not on Nelly Bay's prime recreational asset, the beach, as was proposed last time to hilarious results. Take a look at this story from 2002 and you will see that while I have been remiss on the subject for too long I was both positive and supportive that two locations be considered for an off-leash area. Look here:
August 26th 2011
What an over reaction from Jim, to assume George would favour cats over dogs. Your bitch is probably desexed so is not likely to be threat to wild life. To make an assumption that he would hate dogs is offensive and thinking a bad experience with a poodle would colour an obsession of dislike for dogs. I have been bitten a few times by a dog and it has not made me anti canine. My experience with homo inconsiderous has coloured me much more.
August 28th 2011
Sorry George, you caught me on a bad day, I read a few lines in your story and in comments after and got all worked up about anti dog stuff again. You are of coarse rite that it is a few that ruin it for the majority of us reputable owners.
On a slightly adrift note, I have just filled in my survey on the proposed transfer station and in answering questions about the Nelly Bay option I could not go past the potentially huge recreational benefit of the Kelly Street site so had to oppose this option quite strongly. You guessed it.... What a great off leash area this could be.
Thanks for responding George, I was indeed, a little out of line for which I am truly sorry.

and Basil.... "homo inconsiderous"??? I like that, can I use it?


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