Toondah Harbour koala tracking report



When: Sunday April 22 from 1-4pm
Where: Lions Club, 122 Shore Street North Cleveland
Learn about the secret lives of a Cleveland koala colony and why their future is under threat, then join in on a short walk to find some of them living in the wild.
Results from a 12 month GPS tracking project conducted by the Koala Action Group (KAG) have uncovered some interesting facts about koalas living in and around the Toondah Harbour precinct in Cleveland.
Koala scientist, Deidre de Villiers will discuss some of the findings from the data collected during the tracking project and KAG president, Debbie Pointing will reveal some of the unusual behaviours and different personality traits of the koalas.
This colony of Cleveland koalas are unique and important as veterinary examinations found they are predominantly healthy and breeding which is becoming rare for Redlands koalas who are renowned for having a high rate of disease which often affects the females fertility.
Surprising discoveries were the high densities of koalas living in the small Toondah precinct area, the distance they travel, how often they cross roads and the significance of particular habitat trees.
Overall, the findings from the tracking project have been very positive and this population of koalas appear to be thriving despite the highly urbanised environment they are living in.
However, grave concerns are held for their future with the proposed large scale Toondah Harbour development  that will significantly increase traffic in and around the area and impact on their habitat.

Ethan 8th November 2017


How the Toondah Harbour Tracking Project works

The Toondah Harbour tracking data results from two separate processes.

The first process involves the koala location and other data being collected from a transmitter attached to a collar (called the LX collar) fitted to a tracked koala.  The LX collar was specifically designed for use on koalas and more detail on this type of collar is available on this website

The LX transmitter channel is unique to each koala and can provide a range of information, but for KAG’s purposes the main data is a GPS location and the koala’s activity rate.  This data is typically uploaded twice daily from the collar via a UHF signal to a nearby base station.  The base station then passes the data (through a type of mobile phone setup) to a website designed specifically for this project.

The mapping is produced within the website by overlaying the GPS data on Google Earth.  The mapping can show current (at upload time) locations of tracked koalas, their previous locations over a period up to one year, in either singular tracked koala or multiple tracked koalas format.  Another map type available provides a hot spot effect showing the area where a koala was most active, effectively indicating that koala’s home range.

It is important to note is that this process, including the mapping produced from it, is completely independent of KAG or other persons’ actions.  It is purely an automatic process from the koala’s transmitter  to the website.

The second process involves a second transmitter fitted to the same LX collar, and in some cases a small anklet transmitter as well.  These transmitters operate in the VHF range and are detected using a hand held directional antenna.

Again each transmitter operates on a different frequency and the koala’s location is found using a searching pattern looking for the point of maximum signal.

When the koala is located, details of that location (which will be different to the LX location if the koala has moved since upload) are recorded, along with an observation of the koala, the tree type and measurements, the ambient details, the area type and any other relevant data including other koalas in the vicinity.

The data from the manual process is typically collected weekly or more frequently if required, for example if an upload from the first process is not received or requires further investigation.  This second process data is independent of the data collected by the map producing LX data.

Toondah Koala Update February 2018
The base stations were removed earlier this month (see photo) which represents the finalisation of  the Toondah koala tracking project.  We would like to sincerely thank Endeavour Veterinary Ecology for their support and professionalism including the tree climbers/koala catchers who always displayed the utmost care and respect to our koalas.
After the recent sad news of Scout’s passing, thought to be as a result from a lightening strike, it was very positive to see some of the other Toondah koalas looking healthy this week.
Kasey with her independent joey (see photo), Airlie with her back rider joey and another juvenile were sighted in the family tree in Shore St East.  Mia was seen in the Redland Water grounds and Tyler was found in the clump of trees at the Middle St end of GJ Walter Park (see photo).  Unfortunately we did not find Scout Junior but suspect that his/her mum may have passed her hiding skills on to her young and hope that this young koala was hiding somewhere in or around the park.
Saxon, who has been treated at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital for cystitis in recent weeks is expected to be released back to his home range along Ross Creek in the next week or so after successful treatment.

December 2017 Tracking Update

The Toondah koala GPS tracking project started  at the end of November 2016 and is  now coming to an end with juvenile ‘Saxon’ the only remaining koala to have a tracking collar on.  KAG decided to continue tracking him over the Christmas period and plan to remove his collar by mid January.  His home range (territory) appears to be between the RSL end of Linear Park, the treed road reserve in front of the RSL, along the bank of Ross Creek between Shore St West and Middle St and across to the large Blue gum on the corner of Channel and Middle Streets.  Therefore, he is regularly crossing Middle St, Channel St, Shore St West and Shore St East (see map).  Motorists are urged to be cautious and slow down when driving in the area at night as we have seen at least four other koalas in this same area as well as Saxon.

Airlie was the final Toondah koala to have her collar removed which we think she was pretty happy about (see photo).  She continues to utilise the family tree, the footpath trees in Wharf St and the few trees on the undeveloped block on the north east corner of Shore St East and Wharf St.  She has also been seen recently in one of the two trees left in the development site on the opposite corner which was a sad situation to witness.

Vet checks have confirmed that four of the five females have various ages of young which is very positive news.Alpha male Tyler is still cruising his ‘home range’ which encompasses the females in his territory.  Unfortunately young Ethan has still not been located.

Council have recently trialled two variable message signs on Shore St West and North Street to alert motorists that koalas regularly cross in that area, a move which has been lauded by KAG and we await the results of the trial.

After consultation with KAG, Council is also undertaking additional planting including koala habitat in the foreshore areas of Cleveland.  The areas will include GJ Walter Park and Cleveland Point.

A final report from the Toondah Tracking Project will be completed and available for interested parties.

KAG thanks all of the contributors to the project including grant monies received from Council and the State Government, donations from members and supporters.

Also thanks to Endeavour Veterinary Ecology for their expertise and support throughout the project, especially Deidre deVilliers.

Toondah Update October 23 2017

Saxon has been causing concern with his regular crossings of Shore St West and his luck ran out one evening recently when he was clipped by a car. Fortunately he was not seriously hurt but spent two nights in care for observation before being released. KAG has requested Council provide additional temporary signage be placed on the stretch of road near the Redlands RSL Club that Saxon regularly crosses . Ideally the signage message should alert motorists to slow down due to koalas crossing in the area.

The recent rain has been a great reprieve for koala habitat which had been struggling in the dry conditions. The ‘Family Tree’ at 53 Shore St East has continued to be extremely important with three of our mums (Airlie, Scout and Kasey) regularly sighted in it. Additionally, this tree has also been a regular host to other adults and juveniles.

The joeys of our Toondah mums, Scout, Kasey and Airlie are continuing to grow and two of them are out of their pouches and have been seen starting to explore their surroundings, but not straying far from mum at this stage.

We are coming to the end of the tracking project now and over the coming weeks will be looking at uncollaring most of the koalas. We anticipate keeping Saxon, our youngest and dispersing juvenile, collared for a bit longer to see where he settles down.

Toondah Tracking update 24th September
It’s about midway through the breeding season and alpha male ‘Tyler’ is still busy keeping an eye on all the girls in his ‘home range’.  With the two young males Ethan and Saxon now moved out of his territory we hope that Tyler can relax a bit more.
Unfortunately, there has still been no sign of Ethan and we encourage community members to keep an eye out for any koalas with a left green ear tag and report to our group if you think you’ve sighted him.
After several weeks of transiting all over the place Saxon appears to have found his own patch (home range) in the trees in the Shore St West nature strip adjacent to the Redlands RSL Club as well as those across the road in ANZAC Centenary Park.  He regularly crosses Shore St West along this stretch and motorists are urged to drive slower and with extra care at night.  Tyler also still regularly crosses North, Wharf, Shore St East and Middle Streets.
The family tree in Shore St East continues to be extremely important to the Toondah koalas with mums Airlie, Kasey and Scout sighted in it this week along with a juvenile.
On a sad note, an important tree corridor was decimated recently over two days on the south western corner of Wharf and Shore St East.  Our group was hoping for a better outcome and whilst the developer had approval for the vegetation to be removed, our group and community members were led to believe by the developer that more of the vegetation would be retained.
Three of our tracked koalas (Tyler, Kasey and Airlie) as well as a couple of untracked koalas used the eucalyptus trees that were felled and also regularly sheltered in some of the other native trees.
This has been an extremely unsatisfactory outcome for the koalas in this area, particularly as a lot of the vegetation removed was on the Council controlled footpath and the most important eucalyptus trees were right on the boundary of the development site.
Smarter development design is needed to incorporate existing habitat into the landscape/open space areas of development sites.  Council passed the blame to the State Government but in reality they need to reassess their own planning instruments and work out how to better protect the more localised koala habitat.
The scientific data that we have obtained from our tracking survey will help our group work with Council to achieve better outcomes on future development sites.

Toondah Tracking update 18th August 2017

It was decided to release Hollie from the tracking program recently.  We have learnt that Hollie’s home range is in the northern part of Nandeebie Park and her independent young Violet is still seen in trees fairly close by to her.  Hollie is quite a confident koala and has been witnessed moving between trees during the day and has a reasonably limited number of food trees (Qld Blue Gum/Euc Tereticornis) that she frequents.  Fortunately the home range that Hollie lives in has plenty of large healthy Blue Gums so she doesn’t need to look further afield for habitat.  Over the past 9 months we have seen several other koalas in the home range area of Hollie and Violet.  It was a good feeling to witness Hollie being set free (see photo) however we can still keep an eye on her as she can be recognised by her right green ear tag.

With breeding season well underway, this is when male koalas become extremely active and are at greatest risk.  We have noted an a significant increase in the activity of the three boys in our tracking project.  Unfortunately, one of our young males Ethan moved out of tracking range and after weeks of on the ground searching and publicity we haven’t located him.  On a positive note he hasn’t been picked up by the Redlands Wildlife Ambulance or the RSPCA ambulance so we can assume that he is still out there somewhere.

Tyler, the alpha male has been extremely active (see map) visiting the females in his home range and fending off males who may try to intrude.  Apart from Mia, Airlie, Scout and Kasey we have seen several other koalas in the Toondah area who are not part of our tracking program so Tyler is kept very busy keeping an eye on them all.  Tyler is regularly crossing North St (near the corner of Wharf St) and Council are going to install some new signs to alert motorists.

The other young male, Saxon has recently left his home range in GJ Walter Park and headed north up to the Grand View Hotel, down to the Old School House Gallery and then into the gardens of the Courthouse Restaurant (see map).  Saxon is regularly crossing Shore St north (north of the Grand View Hotel) and we are currently tracking him on a daily basis as this can be a dangerous time for young male koalas looking for their own home range.

Toondah tracking update 4th August 2017

We are now well into the breeding season and the map shows where alpha male Tyler has been moving.  This can be a dangerous time for koalas particularly young males who often travel further afield in search of females and their own home range (territory).

Since the tracking project commenced in November 2016, it has become apparent that the area on the corner of Wharf and Shore St East is a ‘koala hotspot’ with mapping showing that koalas use the majority of the trees in this area and cross Shore St East (near the corner of Wharf St) almost on a nightly basis.  Whilst tracking recently, six koalas were located in trees on footpaths and trees on the fringes of two future development sites on the corners of Wharf and Shore St East.

Four of the koalas located (Airlie, Ethan, Scout and Tyler) are participants in the tracking project, there was also a juvenile (pictured) and an adult female.
Disturbingly, one of the trees (pictured) that Tyler was located in recently in Shore St East is one of several that has been given approval by Council for the developer to remove.  The developer recently advised KAG that they should not need to remove all of the trees that Council have given approval for, particularly those on the footpath area outside the development site.

KAG believes that with better design for the development site, many of the trees should have been retained especially as most are on the perimeter of the site.  With development sites requiring a percentage of site cover to be kept as open/landscape area there needs to be greater effort to incorporate existing trees into these spaces.

This is an extremely concerning issue for this area that KAG is working with Council to make changes with the development approval process that will achieve better outcomes with design to enable retention of key trees that exist on the fringes of future development sites.

>Our group is working with Council to improve awareness of the local koala population to both the community and tourists who have been overwhelmingly supportive and appreciative of the tracking work being undertaken by KAG.  We have undertaken numerous koala walks in the area with an extremely positive response and would like to look at further tourism opportunities to showcase this asset we have in the Redlands.

Where has Tyler been the past 30 days?

Toondah Tracking Update 27th May 2017

The ‘alpha’ male Tyler has been taking it easy for the past few weeks and has been tracked to the Old CSIRO site in Middle Street.  He utilises the trees in the front of Redland Water, the trees in the rear carpark and the garden area over in the Redland Trade College grounds.  This is also the area where Mia’s home range is. Airlie visits on occasion but is generally found in GJ Walter Park and Shore Street East.

The large Blue gum ‘family tree’ in the unit complex at 53 Shore St East continues to be a tourism destination for many and its importance to this colony of koalas has become apparent with up to 4 koalas sighted in the tree at any one time.  Ethan, Airlie, Kasey and Scout are all regular visitors to the tree with Ethan being particularly fond of it and spending most of his time there.  The Tallowwood and Camphor Laurel trees opposite on the corner of Wharf Street are also heavily utilised by numerous koalas.

Our youngest participant Saxon still spends most of his time in GJ Walter Park and dog owners are asked to exercise great caution with their pet dogs as several of our tracked koalas utilise the park.
Exciting news is that Scout and Kasey are carrying pouch young which was confirmed at their last vet checks.

Toondah Tracking Update 14th May 2017

KAG, in partnership with Endeavour Veterinary Ecology (EVE) have collared eight koalas with GPS tracking devices in the Toondah Harbour Precinct at Cleveland.

The data captured since the end of November last year has enabled KAG to get a clearer picture of where each of the tracked koalas moves, including the roads they regularly cross and the trees they are utilising for both shelter during the daytime and identifying important food trees.

The maps show the home ranges (territory) of some of the koalas in the tracking project.  The green spots indicate the area that each koala has visited in the month of April 2017. Several of the koalas home ranges overlap and the same trees are used by numerous of the tracked koalas.

Thank you to all supporters who made this project possible by generous donations, including KAG members and others through the crowd funding campaign.

KAG also appreciates funding received from Redland City Council’s Community Grants, Councillors Murray Elliott and Wendy Boglary through the Councillors’ Small Grant and the State Government through the Qld Gambling Community Benefit Fund.

Thank you to everyone who supported us by donating to the Toondah GPS Tracking Project.

We started the project on the Tuesday 29th of November; A juvenile male koala (Ethan) and a mum with baby (Hollie and Violet) were fitted with GPS collars and released back into their trees after health checks from a vet from Endeavour Veterinary Ecology (EVE). An adult male koala (Tyler) was also also collared and released on Friday the 2nd of December after a quick visit to the vet to check for cystitis; for which he was cleared of.
The qualified catcher from EVE resumed again on Monday the 5th of December managing to collar and release an adult female koala (Airlie).

We’ll be keeping a close eye on these koalas in the next few weeks via a manual antennae tracking devise as well as automatic downloads from their lx-group GPS collars. KAG will regularly publish the tracking information on their website so we can see exactly where the koalas are moving and which trees they are using.

The base stations are also providing us with downloads every 12 hours which are sent to a website that has been specifically set up for the Toondah project.

Check out where the tracked koalas are today, 28th April 2017:

Toondah Tracking Update 27th April 2017

It has been another busy month for the alpha male koala Tyler who has continued to keep an eye on all of the koalas living in his home range (territory).  We have tracked him travelling between the Trade College/Redland Water site in Middle Street, in GJ Walter Park, in Shore Street East and at Linear Park over near Raby Bay.  The tracking has also enabled us to discover numerous koalas that we otherwise would not have known to exist.  In addition to the eight koalas being tracked for the Toondah project, KAG have collected data on numerous other koalas that are living in and around the Toondah precinct.
Today Endeavour Veterinary Ecology (EVE) catchers recaptured juvenile Ethan and female Scout (mother of Saxon) to refit their collars and their vet was pleased to announce that Scout is carrying a new joey in her pouch.  Ethan and Scout were release this evening back into the trees they were captured in and will continue to provide us with valuable data.

Check out where the tracked koalas are 27th March 2017:

Where are the koalas today?


13 koalas in total were sighted last week in the area from Shore St East, GJ Walter Park and Nandeebie Park.  Airlie, Kasey, Ethan and an unknown juvenile were in the large Tereticornis (named the family tree) at the unit complex at Shore St East.  Another juvenile was located across the road in a Tallowwood tree and Tyler, Scout and Saxon were in private properties adjoining GJ Walter Park.  Mia was in the back carpark area of Redland Water in Middle Street and Hollie and juvenile Violet were in trees on the lower section of Nandeebie Park.  An adult male and another female were located in the upper level of the same park.

The tracking project is providing KAG with some valuable information on the trees, both eucalyptus and other species that are being utilised by the local koalas and also how far the koalas are moving with Tyler (the alpha male) being the busiest of the tracked koalas.  He has been regularly tracked moving from the Redland Water grounds in Middle Street (checking in on Mia) across to Linear Park near Raby Bay where usually a female koala is located nearby.


It is a Teddy Bear picnic in GJ Walter Park – 5 of the 8 tracked koalas were in and next to GJ Walter Park on Saturday March 4th.  Mia and Tyler were in the same tree in a private property backing onto the park and Scout, Airlie and Saxon were also tracked to trees nearby.  Ethan was in the large family tree in the unit complex at 53 Shore St East and Kacey was hidden away in a non eucalyptus tree on a vacant lot.  Hollie and baby Violet were in separate trees not far apart on the lower area of Nandeebie Park.  We have discovered that many of the koalas would be impossible to locate with out the use of the tracking equipment as they are masters at hiding.


The following maps demonstrate the movements of our 8 collared koalas for the last 10 days. As you can see they are all quite active around GJ Walter park and the Toondah Harbour area; Kacey has crossed Wharf street 4 times to visit trees around a development site, trees which Airlie has also visited.


The following maps demonstrate the movements of our 8 collared koalas for the last 10 days. As you can see they are all quite active around GJ Walter park and the Toondah Harbour area; Tyler even crossing North Street!

The following maps demonstrate the movements of our 8 collared koalas for the last 10 days. As you can see they are quite active, especially Tyler!


Over the past week four more koalas have been captured and  fitted with GPS tracking collars.  Kacey, Mia, Scout and Saxon are our new recruits and Scout has earned the nickname ‘Houdini’ as she had to be recaptured after somehow managing to get both her collar and anklet off the first time round. It was pleasing to discover that Kacey is carrying a tiny pouch young when she underwent the vet examination.  Saxon is the recently separated joey of Scout and they will often still be seen in the same tree.

KAG now has 6 weeks of tracking data from Tyler, Airlie, Hollie and Ethan who were fitted with collars at the end of November.  The information we have received from the LX website and collected from on the ground tracking has provided an interesting and valuable insight into the movement patterns and habitat preference of these koalas.

Tyler the 3 1/2 year old male is the busiest by far of all the koalas and can sometimes cover up to a kilometre in a 24 hour period.  Tyler also appears to keep an eye on what the female koalas in the area are up to and often turns up in the same tree as them or is sighted nearby.  Shore St East, Middle St and North St are regularly crossed by the koalas but especially Tyler, who has been tracked as far as Raby Bay (near Sommersea Drive) and this week he has been located in trees inside the Redland Water grounds near the SES base in Middle Street.
Airlie has proven to be the master of disguise and can often be found in shady species of trees (i.e. lillypilly and native rainforest species) the gardens of units and on vacant blocks (see photo).
January to June is known as the non-breeding season for koalas but the local residents have told us that there has been plenty of noise and koala mating activity happening in the area.
KAG has already shared our early data results with Council planning officers and Cleveland Councillor Peter Mitchell has indicated that he is keen to work with KAG to achieve good outcomes for koalas with regards to future development planned for the area.
We’re now into week 5 of the koala tracking project and already some interesting information is emerging on the movement patterns and tree preferences of our 4 tracked koalas as well as other koalas living in the area.
Shore St East is home to at least 8 koalas (including 3 of the collared koalas-Tyler, Airlie and Ethan).  All of the koalas regularly cross this road as well as nearby Wharf, Middle and North Streets.
A large Tereticornis tree (blue gum) in the unit complex at 53 Shore St East is a significant tree for all of the koalas and most days one or more koalas (up to 4) are seen in this tree.
Footpath trees in and around the streets are heavily utilised by the koalas and many non-eucalyptus species (i.e. Camphor Laurel) are being used during the day for shelter by different koalas.  It is noted that some of these trees are on the fringes of future development sites.
Tyler, the adult male is the most active and moves sometimes twice a day up to 500 metres each time.  His home range (territory) appears to take in all of GJ Walter Park, the Redland Water site in Middle Street, all of Shore St East and across to Linear Park (near Sommersea Drive).
Hollie and baby Violet have stayed in the northern end of Nandeebie Park but move trees each day and have proved to be quite photographic.
In coming weeks, the plan is to collar up to 4 additional koalas and continue collecting data.
The information will be provided to Redland City Council to ensure the protection of some of the key habitat trees and that the needs of these koalas is considered with future development in the area.


About the project


The Qld State Government and Redland City Council support Cleveland’s Toondah Harbour precinct being developed as a Priority Development Area.

“The Toondah Harbour Priority Development Area (PDA) was declared at the request of Redland City Council (RCC) on 21 June 2013. Planning of the Toondah Harbour PDA is being managed by the Minister for Economic Development Queensland (MEDQ) in partnership with RCC.”

While Koala Action Croup (KAG) recognises that this area would benefit from an upgrade to its existing architecture, it also believes the current proposal produces unacceptable environmental risks and significant degradation of adjacent public facilities.

The development proposal involves the combination of existing land use and reclamation of a marine environment to provide a base for the construction of, in addition to other buildings and facilities, 3,000 apartments in blocks up to ten storeys high.

Toondah koalas

Consistent reports of koala sightings in the Toondah area and adjacent streets and parks led KAG to conduct a public survey on the 17 August 2016 where 50 community members found nineteen individual koalas within one and a half kilometres of the Toondah area.  This number is consistent with a test survey carried out a month earlier and the sighting of at least six mothers with young during the community survey demonstrates that this is a healthy breeding population.

Project Funding

The initial funding for the project came from a group of Ormiston and Cleveland residents setting up a crowd funding scheme through the Chuffed crowd funding platform. Patrica and Warick Larcombe were Silver Sponsors to the Chuffed campaign with a donation of $250.

Additional money was provided by KAG and a RCC Conservation grant of $6,600.  RCC Councillors Wendy Boglary and Murray Elliot have also provided $3,500 through the small Councillor grant. A further grant of $15,172 was received from the state governments Gambling Community Benefit Fund.

On going funding is being sought to complete a comprehensive twelve month tracking study.

How you can help

You can Donate by cheque, Money Order or Direct Credit.

Koala Action Group Qld Inc

PO Box 660,
Capalaba Qld 4157


Cleveland on 27 JAN 17

Locations of koalas, Ethan and Kacey near the corner of Wharf and Shore St East with Airlie, Tyler, Saxon & Scout on in GJ Walter park.

Mia is in the Trade Industry College grounds whilst Hollie & Violet are in northern end of Nandeebie Park.

Cleveland on 03 JAN 17

Locations of koalas, Ethan and Airlie near the corner of Wharf and Shore St East with Tyler on the opposite corner; Hollie & Violet are in Nandeebie Park.

Cleveland on 22 Dec 16

Locations of koalas, Ethan and Airlie near the corner of Wharf and Middle Sts; Hollie & Violet are in Nandeebie Park and Tyler is in GJ Walter park.

Locations of koalas, Ethan, Airlie and Tyler near the corner of Wharf and Middle Sts, Cleveland on 15 Dec 16

Cleveland on 15 Dec 16

Locations of koalas, Ethan, Airlie and Tyler near the corner of Wharf and Middle Sts. Hollie & Violet are in Nandeebie Park.

Locations of koalas, Ethan, Airlie and Tyler near the corner of Wharf and Middle Sts, Cleveland on 8 Dec 16

Cleveland on 8 Dec 16

Locations of koalas, Ethan, Airlie and Tyler near the corner of Wharf and Middle Sts,