Queensland residents were woken through the night after local wildlife began crashing into a newly erected 1.8-metre fence.
Hastily constructed, wallabies who had roamed the site for decades were left agitated and confused by the sudden change. The “Great Wall of Coolum” is how locals opposing the planned subdivision refer to the temporary fence which runs approximately 500m down picturesque Grandview Lane. It will eventually be replaced with a permanent barrier.
The video below shot by locals in the beachside suburb shows a wallaby attempting to smash through the fence. In a separate sequence, a woman calls the situation “disgusting” as she watches one wallaby hop along the boundary line. The developer behind the project agreed the outcome was not acceptable.
Sean Simmons, an opponent of the project, estimates the area is home to 40 kangaroos and wallabies. He describes the impact as "very visible and very audible". “They're just bashing into it and running along it… you can't see and hear those things without feeling distressed," he said.
How development can harm Australia's wildlife
The community’s videos highlight the impact that Australia’s growth can have on wildlife. Most native species are territorial and use pathways constructed over generations, so when they are pushed out of their homes they are left with nowhere to go.
While the development places a covenant on some areas of bushland, fencing separating the suburban blocks will impact the movement of ground-based animals. When macropods like kangaroos and wallabies are stressed by habitat loss, car strikes and dog attacks, a fatal illness called myopathy is frequently triggered.
Developer responds to heartbreaking wallaby video
Architect Dale Fisher, whose firm Grandview Horizons is behind the subdivision, said an “incredible amount of effort” has gone into the design and the events captured in the video were not acceptable. “No wildlife should be affected through the process,” he said.
Describing the impact of the fencing as beyond his expertise, Mr Fisher directed questions about how it affected wildlife to his contractor. That company did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Mr Fisher said wallabies and kangaroos living at the site would be dispersed, but he was unable to advise the details of the plan. His contracted environmental management firm did not respond to a request from Yahoo for comment.
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What happens to the wildlife now?
The fence has now been clad in shade cloth and wallabies are understood to have ceased crashing into it. What happens to the wallabies and kangaroos living on the site once construction begins remains unclear.
"There are 40 plus kangaroos that are looking pretty doomed by this because they’re going to be hemmed in by a fence. What happens to them next is anyone’s guess," Mr Simmons said.
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