From 23 April, specially trained Koala detection dogs, Maya and Baxter, and their expert handlers will be coming to Cleveland, Ormiston, Thorneside and Wellington Point to start a city-wide Koala Population Assessment with a focus on finding Koala scats (aka poop).
Redland City Mayor, Karen Williams said Redlands is a recognised population stronghold for koalas in Queensland and houses one of Australia’s most significant coastal koala habitats.
“This unique tracking program is part of Council’s five-year Koala Conservation Strategy (KCS) which will focus on the five key threats to Koalas: habitat loss and fragmentation; road mortality; dog attacks; disease; and changes to climate.
“This project is a critical first step in understanding Koala density numbers, health, population size and survival rates, population genetics, and identifying important Koala habitat (both existing and potential).
“We’ll be targeting certain suburbs at certain times during upcoming weeks, but we are also happy to hear from Redlanders who see Koalas in their own backyard or have a Koala tree on their property,” Cr Williams said.
“Council has invested heavily in scientific programs to help protect our precious koala population, with this tracking program following other initiatives such as the ground breaking Chlamydia trial we partnered with the University of Sunshine Coast to deliver.
The Detection Dogs for Conservation Team is led by two senior ecologists and geneticists, Dr Romane Cristescu and Dr Celine Frere and multiple handlers and their dogs. With more than 25 years’ experience in Koala ecology having undertaken more than 1400 Koala scat surveys across South East Queensland, the team is expert in what they do. Maya and Baxter have, to date, conducted more than 995 and 450 Koala scat surveys respectively and are professionally trained and scientifically tested for the job.
“Koala poop can tell us lots of important things about our Koalas, and the DNA information we extract will help Redland City Council better manage and protect Redland’s Koalas into the future,” Dr Frere said.
To register for a visit by the Koala Detection Dogs contact the Koala Population Assessment Register at IndigiScapes on 3824-8611 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once you’re registered we’ll confirm your details and arrange a time.
If you want to help in other ways – remember to look up whenever you’re walking anywhere in and around Redlands, and record your sightings on The Atlas of Living Australia. For more information on the KCS visit the Redland City Council website.