News Stories

There is Hope for Koalas, and You Can Help

Source: Science for Wildlife
Posted: 12 Jun 2019
Koalas Freya and Xena: Photo by Jordan McKay
There’s been a lot of talk in the press lately about koalas, with a WWF report predicting extinction by 2050, and a more recent claim by the Australian Koala Foundation that koalas are already functionally extinct.

Koalas are in trouble, they are listed as a threatened species vulnerable to extinction and we need to act now to conserve them. However, the news is not all doom and gloom, especially in the Greater Blue Mountains region.

Science for Wildlife has been running the Blue Mountains Koala Project since 2014 and is mapping koalas and their habitats in the region, to identify threats and to help conserve them. Dr Kellie Leigh, Executive Director, says there is some good news because koala populations appear to be growing at several sites in and around the Blue Mountains. This is contrary to expectations that the protected areas were not likely to support large numbers of koalas due to a base of sandstone dominated soils.

However, it’s important that the community helps to protect our koalas as there are a growing number of koala records near developed areas. The first study site for the Blue Mountains Koala Project was in south east Wollemi National Park, where koalas are recorded in increasing numbers each year moving down into the Hawkesbury, particularly around Kurrajong and Grose Vale. Now the Koala Project is expanding to other sites, where the habitats available to koalas are very different.

“We’ve had a range of interesting koala sighting reports, and also good results from the koala scat surveys that we run,” says Dr Leigh. “For the first time in many decades koalas have been confirmed in locations on both the eastern and western sides of the Blue Mountains. In the west we’ve now got records in Little Hartley, in the Megalong along the Coxs River, and up at Govetts Leap in Blackheath, plus we are finding a lot of koalas in the northern section of Kanangra-Boyd National Park.

"To the east we’ve had quite a few sightings in the Lower Mountains around Winmalee and Springwood and we have also found koala scats at Hazelbrook. Last season koalas were also found around Mulgoa and Silverdale, we tagged a young male koala there that was radio-tracked by volunteers and he travelled over 30km south.”

Science for Wildlife has also made an important discovery about the local koalas. Through a collaborative research project with the University of Sydney, James Cook University and San
Diego Zoo Global, the team discovered that koalas in the Blue Mountains are the most genetically diverse out of 21 koala populations tested, ranging from South Australia to northern Queensland. That makes them important for conservation of the species.

Dr Leigh says, “As the Blue Mountains Koala Project expands activities across more sites to document local koala populations, we need people to help. If you see or hear a koala, please report the sighting to us. If you’re a keen bushwalker, you can also volunteer to help with surveys, including Koala Spotting or helping out on our Koala Scat Surveys. There are surveys running this month so visit the Science for Wildlife website to register.

"For property owners, in certain areas we are also requesting access to carry out koala scat surveys, and once we have more information on the most important tree species for koalas we’ll be providing information on habitat restoration to land holders.”

Report a Koala Sighting online OR if you have an Android phone you can report it via the Koala Spotter app, available for download in Google Play (an iphone version is in development).

Pluto: Photo by Amy Davis
Kellie releasing koala Kanangra: Photo by Niki Pollock
Eros: Photo by Danielle Dendrinos
 
Hawkesbury Living Cancer Trust Hawkesbury Living Cancer Trust Hawkesbury Living Cancer Trust Communities of Hope

Recent News

Eat Healthy: Getting Five a Day in Hawkesbury
Eat Healthy: Getting Five a Day in Hawkesbury
As many as 96% of Australians don’t get the appropriate servings of fruits...
Preschools Encouraged to Apply for Capital Works Grants
Preschools Encouraged to Apply for Capital Works Grants
Stuart Ayres MP, Minister for Jobs, Investment,and Tourism is encouraging...
Australian Documentary "Half a Million Steps" Tackles Drug Reform
Australian Documentary "Half a Million Steps" Tackles Drug Reform
An Australian documentary, Half a Million Steps, that was filmed in Dubbo...
Find Your Healthiest Self at personalEYES Health Carnival
Find Your Healthiest Self at personalEYES Health Carnival
The number of Australians with sight loss will hit a staggering half a...
No Place Like Home: Spending Your Golden Years in Hawkesbury
No Place Like Home: Spending Your Golden Years in Hawkesbury
With Australia's over 65 population set to increase to just under 9 million...

What's New

SYDNEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA FELLOWS
SYDNEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA FELLOWS
Blue Mountains Concert Society Sat 10 Aug, 7.30pm, Blue Mountains Theatre, Springwood. See our website. Book online or (02) 4723 5050
Term 3 catalogue out now!
Term 3 catalogue out now!
Macquarie Community College Richmond We have loads of new courses available, plus all your old favourites are back! There's hundreds of courses to choose.
Luxury Mini-Bus, Bus and Coach Hire
Luxury Mini-Bus, Bus and Coach Hire
Good Az Gold Tours and Transfers Whatever reason you need bus/coach hire, we're the team who’ll get you to your chosen destination on time and safely!
River Accommodation at Wisemans Ferry
River Accommodation at Wisemans Ferry
Del Rio Riverside Resort Set on 3kms of beautiful Hawkesbury River frontage at Wisemans Ferry surrounded by a majestic mountainous backdrop.
Health, Meditation & Yoga Retreat
Health, Meditation & Yoga Retreat
Billabong Retreat Sydney Amazing organic spa cuisine, nature setting, resort style swimming pool, yoga, meditation.
Also in this Section

Have You Visited

Announcement
Luxury Mini-Bus, Bus and Coach HireWhatever reason you need bus/coach hire, we're the team who’ll get you to your chosen destination on time and safely!View Good Az Gold Tours and Transfers »