Will Thornton was having a cup of coffee with his wife when he saw a koala descending from a nearby tree and slowly heading toward a road
We feel at ease when we see wild animals in their natural habitat because we know that they are safe and well cared for. However, it may be rather worrisome once they're out and about in busy cities with speeding cars. Some animals may carelessly cross a road, which could result in injury. However, one man came to save the day and helped a koala in Australia cross a busy highway. Katrina Boyle, a resident of Queensland, posted a Facebook video of her son-in-law, Will Thornton, racing outdoors to help a koala cross a road in Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast. Thornton was having a cup of coffee with his wife when he saw a koala descending from a nearby tree, reports The Guardian.
“He just started making his way towards the Gold Coast Highway,” Thornton said. “So I bolted down and I wanted to keep my distance because I didn't want to spook him too much. He was determined to cross the highway so I thought I better stop traffic and help him across.” A barefooted Thorthon can be seen in the video as he dashes across the road and stands on the median strip. He raises his arms in order to signal the cars to stop so that the koala can successfully make it across. “The people in the cars were pretty understanding, they stopped when I stepped onto the road,” Thornton said. “He nearly made the full way across the road before but he stopped and had a bit of a rest. The highway was quite busy at the time, so it was kind of lucky that it happened in the daytime when we could help him."
He added, “It was a bit surreal. I had to put my hands up so the drivers wouldn’t think I was some sort of crazy guy. But they could see that there was a koala on the road and they understood. I’m just glad he made it.” Phew! At least the koala was safe. A spokesperson for the Queensland Conservation Council, Dave Copeman watched the video and drew a rather poignant conclusion saying that this video is a reminder for people to understand that the ever-growing development leading to deforestation has resulted in the shrinking of a koala's habitat. “South-east Queensland is an area that has been massively impacted by clearing, largely for development and transport,” he remarked.
“We’re at the point where we just can’t have any more clearing going on – we are destroying koala habitats. The really distressing reality is koalas face extinction in the wild if we don’t turn around the current trajectory. The science is clear.” During mating season, koalas move around a lot, yet a widespread myth is that they spend their time lazing around in the trees. Copeman also advised residents to get in touch with their local conservation organization and avoid picking them up. Moreover, the Australian government has officially deemed koalas as an endangered species after a significant decline in their number due to the clearing of the forests.
One of Australia's most loved animals, the Koala, is now recognised as an endangered species. But, does this mean their days are numbered or will it be the turning point for our eucalyptus loving friends? @DeborahTabart from the Australian Koala Foundation joins us.#TheProjectTV pic.twitter.com/XBU2iXhKPg— The Project (@theprojecttv) February 11, 2022
According to The Guardian, environment minister, Sussan Ley, acknowledged the drop in the threatened species count and that the koala populations of Queensland, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory should upgrade their conservation status immediately. “Today I am increasing the protection for koalas in NSW, the ACT, and Queensland, listing them as endangered rather than their previous designation of vulnerable,” Ley said. “The koala has gone from no listing to now being declared endangered on the Australian east coast within a decade,” said Dermot O’Gorman, WWF-Australia’s chief executive. “There is still time to save this globally iconic species if the uplisting serves as a turning point in koala conservation. We need stronger laws and landholder incentives to protect their forest homes.”