Koala Watch: Community led Koala recovery in the Northern Rivers

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September update

Koala Watching  provides the key to reversing the decline

If anything can prevent a local extinction of koalas it’s people in local communities

working with Friends of the Koala and our local Councils, who will make a difference and hopefully reverse the decline of our koala populations in the Northern Rivers. In June, Koala Watch delivered the first three Understanding and Managing Koala Habitat workshop/field days in the Tweed Shire at Pottsville with 47 people, in Byron Shire at Tyagarah with 37 people, and in Ballina Shire at Meerschaum Vale with 21 people attending.

During the field trips we looked at koala habitat, how to identify koala food trees and signs of koala activity, and tree plantings undertaken. At the Pottsville workshop we looked at a koala habitat planting that was only a few years old. Under most of the planted trees were koala scats showing how quickly they will start to use those trees before retiring to the safety of a large tree. We were lucky enough to see a koala resting in a Swamp Box.

Come along to one of our next Koala Watch Understanding and Managing Koala Habitat Workshops and Field Days and find out how you can help.

Saturday 15th September  Workshop and Field Day

9.30am-2pm at Riley’s Hill Hall, Little Pitt Street, Broadwater

Sunday 16th September  Field Day and Tree Planting

10am – 2pm   Thurgates Lane, Meerschaum Vale-Wardell

Morning Tea and Lunch are provided. If you would like to attend the workshop or field days, or would like a koala information presentation in your local community, contact Maria Matthes on 0467 855 990 or maria@healinghistory.com.au, or Friends of the Koala on 6621 4664.

Our new and old koala watchers are reporting koala sightings from their local areas which is helping Friends of the Koala to look after our koalas. Sightings of living and dead koalas provide important information as to where our koalas are, what they are dying of, and how healthy they are. This information enables us to target hotspot areas for actions that will protect the koalas in those areas for the future, such as wild dog control, responsible dog ownership, advocating for reduced speed limits in koala crossing areas, and identifying areas for habitat management and tree planting.

Our Koala Watch: Community-led Koala Recovery in the Northern Rivers project is providing local communities with keys to reversing the declining colonies and populations.

Key 1 – having the knowledge and skills to identify koalas in need of care so that we can get koalas early to increase chances of successful treatment. It is often the subtle physical and behavioural signs that a koala watcher can detect that can mean the difference between successful treatment or not. Usually when the physical and behavioural signs are obvious it is too late to save that koala.

Key 2 – sharing your skills and knowledge with your family, friends and colleagues. Our koalas need everyone who drives in the Northern Rivers, who walks in koala areas, and has koalas around where they live, to know what to look for, and to have the Friends of the Koala 24 hr rescue hotline 6622 1233 number in their phones to report a sighting or a koala that may be in need of care.  

Key 3 – know what you can do to reduce the risk to koalas. So many of our healthy koalas die unnecessarily through vehicle collisions, dog attack (wild, roaming and domestic), livestock, fences and misadventure. There are simple things that you can do to make all the difference

Key 4 – understanding and managing habitat. Habitat is the most important need koalas have. Understanding how koalas use habitat across the landscape, how they respond to habitat removal, habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and isolation, and habitat disturbance, can help you understand the role your place may have for your local koalas, and when our koalas may need us to be taking extra care and vigilance. For example, after a storm or fire, or during a heatwave, extra eyes on our koalas can help identify those koalas suffering early and increase chances of treatment.

 

If you would like more information on the koalas and the Pacific Highway upgrade contact Maria Matthes on 0467 855 990.

 

Understanding and Managing Koala Habitat

Habitat is the most important need koalas have, and as we know, it’s disappearing fast. Understanding how koalas use habitat across the landscape, how they respond to habitat removal, habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and isolation, as well as habitat disturbance, can help you understand the role your place may have for your local koalas and when our koalas may need us to be taking extra care and vigilance. For example, after a storm or fire, or during a heatwave, extra eyes on our koalas can help suffering early and increase chances of treatment.

In June, Koala Watch delivered the first two Understanding and Managing Koala Habitat workshop/field days in the Tweed at Pottsville, and in Byron at Tyagarah to over 80 people. This (combined with our Help prevent a local extinction campaign) contributed to the significantly increased reporting of koala sightings from those areas. Sightings of living and dead koalas provide important information as to where our koalas are, what they are dying of, and how healthy they are. This information enables us to target hot spot areas for actions that will protect the koalas in those areas for the future, such as wild dog control education, reduced speed limits in koala crossing areas and identification of areas for habitat management and tree planting.

Come along to one of our next Koala Watch Understanding and Management Koala Habitat Workshops and Field Days and find out how you can help.

Saturday 15th September  9.30am – 2pm  Workshop and Field Day

Sunday 16th September  10am – 2pm  Field Day and Tree Planting

Morning Tea and Lunch provided. If you would like to attend the workshop or field days, or would like a koala information presentation in your local community, contact Maria Matthes on 0467 855 990 or maria@healinghistory.com.au, or Friends of the Koala on 66221233.

Use your eyes and ears to help prevent a local extinction of koalas

This is an exciting new project that Friends of the Koala is working on with funding from the NSW Environmental Trust and support from local Councils. We and our koalas need more people in local communities where koalas live to be koala aware and report sightings of distressed, sick or injured koalas early for treatment. Koala Watch will be delivering four workshops over the next 2 years. These workshops will provide local communities with information to assist our koala populations, including: becoming a koala watcher; understanding and managing koala habitat; fire planning and management with koalas in mind; and developing and implementing a wild dog control program in your local community.
 
Keep your eyes posted for workshop details, which we’ll record here but also under Events on the front page. Hope to see many of you there and becoming part of the koala watching community. For more information or to register interest for a workshop in your local community, contact Maria Matthes, Koala Watch Project Officer on 0467 855 990 or maria@healinghistory.com.au