Ripley's Roos hop it: Bush cleared to make way for housing
KANGAROOS are being evicted from their homes as vast tracts of land are cleared to make way for Ipswich's housing boom.
Close encounters with roos on the roads surrounding Ripley are becoming more frequent and residents are increasingly concerned about where the animals will go once the next round of building starts.
Wildlife conservationists say that's the reality of urbanisation.
But residents want developers to include more green space in new estates instead of forcing the kangaroos out.
Sandra and Greg Woodbridge bought their Scotts Rd home 16 years ago, attracted by the rural lifestyle and bushland surrounds and the odd kangaroo sighting.
Now, it's not unusual for the pair to find 18 kangaroos grazing in the paddock behind their house - an area which was bushland until a couple of years ago.
While the couple enjoys watching the kangaroos, they can't help feel saddened knowing that soon the animals will be pushed out of this area too.
"They don't really have anywhere else to go," Greg said.
"We can't stop development, but we can try to get these developers to set aside more green space."
The latest Statewide Landcover and Trees Study report released last month shows 236 hectares of land was cleared across the Ipswich City Council area last year.
About one third of that was removed to make way for new homes.
The Ripley Valley, earmarked in 2010 to provide 50,000 new homes, is at the forefront of the city's unprecedented growth.
Ecco Ripley, one of the developers building in the valley, has put aside 20% of the total development, or 40 hectares, for green space.
Wildlife Queensland botanist and spokesperson Des Boyland said it's not enough just to set aside pockets of land and expect all the wildlife to live in that space.
He says wildlife displacement is a significant problem across south-east Queensland caused by poor planning from successive governments on both sides of politics.
Other than the increased risk to people who may encounter kangaroos on the roads, Mr Boyland fears the consequences will also see koalas disappear from the south-east corner.
"Kangaroos are nomadic so they will move around and go wherever they need to, to find food," Mr Boyland said.
"Wallabies are territorial so their habitat gets reduced and reduced until they just die.
"And of course cutting down trees reduces habitat for birds and koalas.
"Quite frankly I believe koalas will be extinct in south-east Queensland within the next 10 to 20 years.
"We need to establish corridors that will link these isolated pockets of green.
"Relocating these animals isn't an option because there's nowhere in the south-east to take them and even if we did, introducing new groups of species would increase the stress for the animal community already there."
Mr Boyland said if people were truly concerned, they would encourage developers to build up, instead of out, to minimise the impact on the natural landscape.
A University of Queensland report found this year that koala populations in south-east Queensland had dropped by 80% between 1996 and 2014
In response the Queensland Government has allocated an extra $12.1 million towards koala protection which could include setting land aside, rather than allowing it to be developed.
No specific provisions have been announced for kangaroos, although the government plans to repeal vegetation laws introduced by the LNP which they say allowed land to be more readily cleared.