It was a grim reminder of the challenges for our local wildlife population. A koala and her joey were killed last week at the Nash's Rd and Midlands Highway junction, a symbol of the strain the local population is under.
For Jeffrey Rootes, the secretary of the Friends of Canadian Corridor (FoCC) community group, the only positive thing to be drawn from the discovery was it reinforces at least the animals still exist in the area.
But the remaining population is already under intense strain, and such deaths will only make it more acute.
Calls to protect our best known marsupial have been growing louder recently - thanks in part to some of the work being carried by community groups such as FoCC.
Their work has suggested a worrying decline in a once abundant local koala population.
Since August 2018, the Friends of Canadian corridor have taken part in citizen science, recording koala sightings in a bid to calculate their numbers with more accuracy than before.
The 47 recorded sightings to end of January of individual koalas - stretching from Yarrowee River Valley to Buninyong Township - may translate to as few as a dozen in the wildlife corridor they have studied.
Koalas are the icon of our natural environment in Ballarat. After the bushfire season we have still got our koalas, we've got to make sure we keep themJeffrey Rootes, Friends of Canadian Corridor
Now the group wants to push conservation efforts further - especially in the wake of a terrible summer for Australian wildlife - and have formed a koala working party to take the issue forward.
Despite the stark population figures suggested by the citizen science, Mr Rootes believes there are reasons to be positive - but only if action is taken now.
"If our koalas are healthy, our environment will be healthy," he told The Courier. "Koalas are the icon of our natural environment in Ballarat. After the bushfire season we have still got our koalas, we've got to make sure we keep them."
He mentions the Living Corridors initiative, which is being developed by the City of Ballarat at the moment. It seeks to preserve vegetation and wildlife channels to safeguard the area's flora and fauna as the city's outer fringes expand.
They also want to breath new life into the City of Ballarat's koala plan of management. Much heralded when it arrived in 2006, it fell out of fashion for several reasons, including personnel changes in council and the overriding imperative of the later bushfire management plans.
One strand of that plan that was not put into place was a full, academic study of koala numbers. The group is hoping to work with the Australian Koala Foundation, the council and a University of Melbourne student to monitor koalas in Woowookarung and the Union Jack Reserve and adjacent watercourses. Most koala sightings in the local area - with the notable exception of Mount Buninyong - are found near rivers and creeks.
Mr Rootes also hopes VicRoads will be open to taking measures that could reduce koala deaths for the forthcoming Midlands Highway upgrade around Mount Buninyong.
The recent road deaths also reinforces another idea of the working group: to put together a koala and wildlife response guide to help residents know what to do if they find animals in trouble.
It will come too late for that unfortunate mother and joey. But - along with a concerted response from community groups, government agencies and council - it could help save others to come.
See the Friends of Canadian Corridor and Woowookarung Area website for full details of the koala sightings in the area at www.focc.asn.au
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