Study reveals how the koalas are bearing up

Article image - Study reveals how the koalas are bearing up Scenic Rim Regional Council Natural Resources Officer, Phillip Pulley, with Felicity Shapland of Queensland Trust for Nature release a tagged koala.

A study conducted in partnership between Scenic Rim Regional Council, and koala conservationists has yielded valuable data on the marsupials’ health, ecology and movements. 

Mayor, Greg Christensen, said the results of the 2018 Sandy/Purga Creek Koala Research Project would contribute to a broader understanding of koala health in South East Queensland, as well as the long term maintenance of a healthy koala population in the Peak Crossing district. 

Funded by Council and the New Hope Group, the project involved researchers from the University of Queensland and the Queensland Trust For Nature who captured, tagged, measured and obtained samples from koalas to gather data on their numbers, health and survival.

All captured koalas were ear-tagged and fitted with collars with GPS trackers, allowing researchers to monitor their range and tree preferences after their release. 

While the collars were removed after three months, the coloured ear tags will help to inform future koala surveys.

“Tagging as many koalas as possible with visible coloured ear tags will greatly enhance the value of future community koala surveys and the ability to monitor changes in their population.

“The project has provided critical baseline information about this threatened species, and will inform efforts to reduce the loss or fragmentation of habitat and the death or injury to koalas through road accidents, attacks by domestic dogs and disease such as chlamydia which is a significant factor in the decline
of koala populations.”

The study showed that members of the community and landowners can play a key role in helping to protect koalas by reporting those that appear to be infected so that they can be treated and by planting trees favoured by koalas.

“Even planting a few koala trees along a creek can make a huge difference.”