August 23rd 2011
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.
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
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