Koala death toll drops on Stradbroke Island due to QYAC protection plans – RCB

By April 14, 2020 June 21st, 2020 Archive

APRIL 14 2020 – 12:30PM

KOALA attacks on North Stradbroke Island have dropped significantly and are now in the dozens not the hundreds.

This is according to Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation CEO Cameron Costello who said by working with agencies on a baiting program, numbers had dropped by more than 80 per cent.

North Stradbroke Island’s genetically unique koalas are a popular sight at beach side camping grounds but have previously been targeted by feral animals including stray dogs, cats and foxes.

Mr Costello said Minjerribah camping was working to manage domestic dogs, enforcing an on-lead policy at Flinders and Main Beaches and banning dogs altogether from campgrounds within the townships.

The QYAC is implementing a specific koala action plan for the island, putting it at the forefront of koala protection.

The plan adds to the protection provided by 80 per cent of the island declared as either national park or conservation park.

Last year the state government released a draft koala conservation strategy but Minjerribah was not identified in the report’s mapping as a koala priority area.

However Mr Costello said the coordinated management plan, featuring a range of initiatives, was contributing to strong outcomes for koalas.

“We are conducting an island-wide koala population study using trained sniffer dogs and we also want to hear from anyone who can help us improve our own koala mapping,” he said.

“Our work with Sibelco rehabilitating vast hectares of sand mining land is creating significant new habitat.

Mr Costello said QYAC’s land management strategy was important to reducing the incidence of intense, hot fires which could be catastrophic for the koalas.

QYAC is also progressing an agreement with Department of Environment and Science to include treatment to ensure koalas don’t have to be transported from the island for treatment.

That means investing in more comprehensive vet services including an x-ray facility so that koalas can be assessed for fractures.

At present, Minjerribah’s koalas needing to go off the island for treatment are not brought back. Mr Costello said chlamydia was present in as many as one in three koalas on the mainland and there was too great a risk of spreading disease.