By Tom Sharman
North Lakes locals are calling for a dedicated wildlife haven to be constructed for the local kangaroo population, who have been displaced by large residential expansion in the area.
Many of the kangaroos are increasingly becoming trapped on the many building sites in the newly built residential areas around the town’s golf course, which is home to a large group of kangaroos.
An RSPCA spokesman said it and other organisations were aware of reports of kangaroos having been trapped in building sites as residential areas expand.
Alex Collins from the Mango Hill and North Lakes environment group (MHANLEG) says they have been monitoring the kangaroos in the area and they have been impacted significantly by the expansion.
“The kangaroos are facing extreme challenges in their day-to-day lives,” said Mr Collins.
“We have been holding an annual ‘count-a-roo’ to help paint a picture of the impacts of urbanisation on the roos.
“We have only performed two so far, however we have noticed an increased number of roos on the outskirts of town and much fewer sightings in the town centre where roos used to be common.
“Kangaroos are increasingly being pushed out of their original grazing fields, it is very common to see roos grazing in the streets at night.
“The loss of the North Lakes and Mango Hill kangaroos will likely happen as a result of malnutrition, reduced breeding activity, increased car accidents and dog attacks.
“This is a prospect many residents find disturbing and unacceptable.”
Elizabeth Brunton from the University of the Sunshine Coast says kangaroo populations in the North Lakes area and other parts of South East Queensland are declining because of the expansion.
“We still do not know the full impact urbanisation has on kangaroos however the increase in traffic and habitat loss that are associated with large developments are likely to have a negative impact,” said Ms Brunton.
“Kangaroos are displaced from their homes and are often killed or injured on roads as they are forced to cross roads more often to access what bush or grass areas are left.
“Many local residents are concerned that the kangaroos are disappearing in the North Lakes area.”
Mr Collins says MHANLEG has been campaigning for a wild life haven for the animals since 2012 and it was essential for the local community to do something about it.
“We would like to see several designated kangaroo areas within the town, which would be mostly no go areas for people and dogs,” Mr Collins said.
“We also would like to see things like sporting fields and other large grassy areas become shared zones for wildlife and people, where the kangaroos are free to come and go as they please.
“We strongly believe that people and kangaroos can coexist in a highly urbanized environment, as long as certain measures are taken.”
The kangaroos are well loved by the residents of North Lakes with many people voicing their concern about the animals on the MHANLEG face book page.
North Lakes local, Brayden Dunstan says he is concerned about the animals as he has had a few a few near misses with them while driving home.
“They often can be seen bouncing across the roads around North Lakes, which is a real problem as the town has a fair bit of traffic nowadays,” said Mr Dunstan.
“The roos are a big part of North Lakes and a lot of the neighbours enjoy seeing them, but with all of the new houses being built they are being pushed out of their home and into ours.
“I am just worried that they are more likely to get hurt now as they come in closer contact with people and cars.”
For more information about the University of the Sunshine Coast’s study into the affect of urbanisation is available on the university’s survey website.