This year’s phone-in koala survey again highlighted the importance of retaining mature koala food trees in the urban areas, particularly in suburbs such as Cleveland, Ormiston, Thorneside and Wellington Point where more than half (70) of the koala sightings over the weekend October 24-25 were reported.

If we want to keep these amazing animals in our neighbourhood, residents must provide ways to allow them easier access to mature trees on their property – a critical factor for the koala’s survival.

Koalas, unlike some other tree dwelling animals need to move across the ground in order to get to another tree for food and shelter and at that time are extremely vulnerable. Analysing the feedback from the residents we spoke to on the survey days it confirmed that fences are an impediment to their movement and dogs on private property remain a significant problem. Simple, but effective solutions for both these problems are a post leaned against a fence that a koala can use to climb up and over and for yards to remain dog free at night.

The survey results once again showed that many koalas remain in and around urban land that is zoned for future development. It is clear that State and Federal government funding is essential to accelerate acquisition of properties in significant koala habitat.

Disturbingly, it was reported that several large koala food trees were cut down on private property in Cleveland on the survey weekend in an area that had good numbers of koala sightings. For survey results see FAQ section of KAG website)

KAG welcomes the State Government’s recent announcement that it will put controls in place to ban dogs in new developments in the Koala Coast and Pine Rivers areas and will make available $15million to buy and rehabilitate land “to increase the size and quality of koala habitat in SEQ”.

However, it must be noted that the urban koala population is most at risk from continuing infill development resulting in habitat loss and mortality from cars and dogs. Recent studies proved that bushland koala populations rely on migration from urban koalas, and therefore will also continue to decline. Whilst we commend the move to ban dogs in new developments, dogs on existing private property remain a key threat to koalas.

KAG looks forward to further consultation with Government through the Koala Taskforce, which we are advised will reconvene in the near future. (Read the full Government report: www.derm.qld.gov.au)