Blue Mountains News

The Race Is On To Count Koalas

By Dr Kellie Leigh
Scienceforwildlife.org
Archived 28 Feb 2015 - Posted: 1 Nov 2014
Research is underway to locate koalas in the Blue Mountains region, and based on recent koala sighting reports the situation looks encouraging.

The status of koalas in the Blue Mountains is currently unknown. Dr Kellie Leigh from Science for Wildlife has initiated a collaborative koala research project to find out more about our furry Aussie icon. Koalas are listed as a threatened species under the federal EPBC Act but we don’t know how many still live in the World Heritage Area or which habitats they are using, which as Leigh says is “a bit embarrassing.”

Koalas used to be abundant in the region, with historic records of koala hunting around the Megalong Valley. Fortunately the koala fur trade days are over, but together with ongoing destruction of koala habitats for development, they have left a legacy of small and declining koala populations across most states in Australia.

You can help by reporting any koalas that you see. November is the month of the Australia-wide Great Koala Count, and the National Parks Association is encouraging people to go out and look for koalas between the 7th and 17th of November. You can download the “biotagg” app from their website onto your smart phone to automatically record the location and details of any koalas that you spot.

“But please don’t stop there” Leigh says. “keep looking! We are undertaking an intensive local research project for the Blue Mountains, to map the remaining koalas. If you see koalas during the rest of the year outside of the Great Koala Count dates please report them to us. We have an online mapping portal, or you can just drop us an email and we’ll get straight back to you”. The Blue Mountains project covers the eastern edge of the Blue Mountains down to Richmond, and west out to Bathurst and Mudgee.

Jennifer Tobey, from San Diego Zoo Global which is supporting the project, says “as the weather warms up koala activity increases, with koalas on the move to find mates, and males letting out bizarre guttural bellows to attract the girls.”

Science for Wildlife is collaborating with researchers at the University of Western Sydney, Dr Ben Moore and student Scott Bevins, to learn more about koala nutrition. The World Heritage area is huge and has a lot of poor quality sandy soils, which reduces the quality of the leaves the koalas browse so they are likely to be scattered in low density over a large area.

Since the koalas are difficult to find, Leigh is training up koala detection dogs to help. “Once we find the koalas and map them, then we can undertake more ecological studies to find out where they move and what they eat” The information will be shared with the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Rural Fire Service, to inform species management plans and control burning regimes.

Previous research has shown that koalas in the Blue Mountains might be important for species conservation, as they have genetic diversity or “fitness” equivalent to any other koala population in Australia. The Blue Mountains research will feed genetic diversity information into a national-scale project, led by the University of Sydney, which is using whole-genome DNA to assign management units to koalas across the species range.

To report a koala sighting see:  www.scienceforwildlife.org

To join the Great Koala Count in November see: http://koalacount.ala.org.au/bdrs-core/npansw/home.htm

More information:

Dr Kellie Leigh
Executive Director, Science for Wildlife
Honorary Research Fellow, University of Sydney
E: kellie@scienceforwildlife.org
Mob: 0430 476 562

 
Blackheath Getaway Blackheath Getaway Blackheath Getaway Cosy Self Contained Accommodation

Recent News

Funding Available for War Memorials in Blue Mountains
Funding Available for War Memorials in Blue Mountains
Government Member of the Legislative Council and Blue Mountains resident...
Tarana Station Back on Track
Tarana Station Back on Track
A community celebration will be held bright and early on Monday September...
Spencer - New Australian Comedy Drama Perfect for the Whole Family
Spencer - New Australian Comedy Drama Perfect for the Whole Family
There’s no such thing as fun for the whole family…
Daniel Thompson’s Johnny Cash Live Back to San Quentin – 50 Years On
Daniel Thompson’s Johnny Cash Live Back to San Quentin – 50 Years On
In 1969, off the back of the huge success of 1968’s At Folsom Prison album,...
Elevenses at The Joan Art + Music Insights
Elevenses at The Joan Art + Music Insights
The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre and Penrith Regional Galler...

What's New

Lindsay's Cafe: New Spring Breakfast
Lindsay's Cafe: New Spring Breakfast
Lindsay's Cafe Our fresh seasonal menu is now serving. Weekends from 9am. Weekdays from 10 @ Norman Lindsay Gallery
Mystery, Mayhem & Intrigue, and laughs!
Mystery, Mayhem & Intrigue, and laughs!
Entertainment Blue Mountains Hypno-Comedian Wayne Donnelly is appearing at le Salon Grand on Sat. 31st Aug. Tix for show only, and dinner & show.
Complimentary Dinner?
Complimentary Dinner?
Eagle View Escape Ask about our 'ditch your device' campaign. Willing to sacrifice your devices for the weekend?
Lakeside B and B and Self Contained
Lakeside B and B and Self Contained
Blue Mountains Lakeside B&B & Self-contained Generous discounts on two night stays. Kayaks and fishing available.The Lake has a captivating Nature Walk.
***AUGUST SPECIAL OFFERS***
***AUGUST SPECIAL OFFERS***
Hills Havens SAVE $$$ when you BOOK 2 - 3 nights...see www.hillshavensleura.com.au for details and bookings.
Also in this Section

Have You Visited

Announcement
Ghost Tour Lithgow State MineJoin Paranormal Pete to investigate the reports of Ghosts & Paranormal activity at the Lithgow mine, 21st SEPTEMBER.View Blue Mountains Mystery Tours »