A TOONDAH koala being tracked by scientists has died by lightning strike.
Koala Action Group president Debbie Pointing said Scout, a four-year-old female, was found on the ground by a resident early last week at GJ Walter Park and died soon after.
“The autopsy showed that she had suffered severe internal trauma to one of her hind legs and died from internal bleeding,” Ms Pointing said.
“There was no apparent explanation for the injury as there were no bone fractures or external damage to her skin or fur and she was in great condition otherwise.”
Ms Pointing said that after research on lightning injuries on humans, a veterinarian found that Scout was killed from a strike that likely hit the tree she was in.
The time frame suggested that she was struck during the powerful electrical storm the Sunday before last.
She said Scout was a healthy breeder who had been tracked for a year.
“She was an easy going adventurous koala that provided KAG with some great data in the time we were tracking her,” she said.
“Scout’s home range was the area from Wharf Street and Shore Street East across to GJ Walter Park where she was well known by people that regularly use the park and off leash dog area.
“One of her favourite places to hang out was the large blue gum family tree in the unit complex in Shore Street East where she was regularly sighted along with Airlie, Kasey, Ethan and other juvenile koalas.”
Ms Pointing said her preferred resting trees were camphor laurels, which she used in the hotter months of the year.
“Scout is Saxon’s mother and has a newly independent joey who we found in a tree nearby to where Scout was picked up in GJ Walter Park,” she said.
“At the time of death Scout had a tiny joey in her pouch that was too small to survive.”
Ms Pointing said Scout’s death at the hands of mother nature was ironic given she had managed to survive in an urban environment where she was surrounded by danger every day in the form of humans with cars and dogs.
KAG members had been surprised by the numbers and resilience of koalas living in the Toondah area.
“One thing that we are certain of is that if council continues to support the large scale residential proposal for Toondah Harbour they will be sentencing this thriving population of koalas to a death sentence,” she said.