I see dead koalas. Probably at a frequency of one per week. Their fat round fluffy grey/brown/white furred bodies don’t flatten easily apparently. Sometimes I glimpse a leathery black nose amid the gory mess as I speed by on my way to work.
The Princes Highway is the A1 highway that loops completely around Australia. This particular stretch of this major highway is rural, coastal, farming, open and bare to the prevailing cold sea winds from the Antarctic. Wind turbines are multiplying along this coastline.
So where do the koalas come from? Go to? Live? There are some treed areas but often I’ll see a dead one in an area that has no native trees, only Cyprus trees planted by early settlers.
I worry about them. As well as being cute in appearance, they are non-threatening and gentle creatures. They are an endangered species. Sure I see lots of other road-kill such as kangaroos, wallabies, foxes, rabbits, and birds. But it is the squashed koalas that upset me the most. I often see a mangled mess of fur and flesh and blood at the end of black skid marks from car tyres. It is far more gruesome than a Twilight movie. (But that’s not hard).
I hope I never see a live one on the road before my car. Would I swerve and dangerously cause an accident? Or would I plough straight through it? I hope I am never tested. A common topic of conversation in this region is about people who have damaged their cars from collisions with kangaroos and koalas.
Then today on my way home from work I was glad to avoid running over a huge snake sliding across the highway. It wasn’t a brown or black snake – maybe a tiger snake. These too are protected species and I’m glad the one I saw lived.