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Koala Conservation Program 2016-2021

Koala with a tracking tag in a tree

 

 

Redlands Coast koalas

Redlands Coast is well-known for its koala population living in and around our urban areas. Despite large areas of their natural habitat being lost to urbanisation and the associated dangers imposed by roads and dogs, you will still see koalas in all the villages of Redlands Coast and on Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island). 

It is true our koala population has diminished over the years, but the population is still viable and breeding. Current monitoring of the koala population in Ormiston shows that our koalas are comfortable living amongst us, with mums and bubs often reported in our regular updates on our Indigiscapes Facebook page.

Did you know: Our koala population on Minjerribah are not related to the Redland Coast mainland population, but instead share a closer ancestry with koalas from the Gold Coast region! 

For more information about our urban koalas, visit our koala page.

How council is helping koalas

Koala awareness campaign

Redland City Council runs an awareness campaign during breeding season each year, to remind residents and visitors that our local koala population is more active in the months between June and December. The campaign encourages residents to;

  • Please slow down when driving and be koala alert — particularly at dawn and dusk, when koalas often travel and can be difficult to see.
  • When driving in ‘koala zones’ and you see the flashing koala signs (such as in Ormiston) – please slow down, as these areas have a much higher concentration of koala activity.
  • Make sure that your back garden is ‘koala safe’, with an escape ramp in the pool and or a post against the fence so koalas have a safe route from the pool or garden. Having an escape ramp in your pools may also save your family pet from drowning.
  • If you have a dog in the backyard, ensure that it is both trained and secured at night time for koala safety, particular between the months of June and December when koalas disperse and breed. For more information check out Leave It for dog training tips.
  • When you see a koala in your street or suburb, tell your family and neighbours to help spread awareness in your community. Most importantly, register with Australian Living Atlas (ALA) and submit your sighting, this information is used by Council to better manage and protect koalas.
  • If you see a koala and are concerned about its safety, contact the Redlands 24hr Wildlife Rescue Service on 3833 4031.

While we encourage these activities during breeding season, they are also important all year round. Redland City Council regularly evaluates our koala campaigns through community surveys, which helps further shape our koala conservation activities.
Keep an eye out for the awareness campaign in newspapers, cinemas, bus shelters and online in late 2020. 

Koala safe neighbourhoods

Redland City Council has a plan to create a number of koala safe neighbourhoods or zones throughout Redland Coast. The Koala Safe Neighbourhood program collaborates with the local community to reduce the key threats to koala survival, which includes vehicle-strike, dog attack, habitat loss and disease. The program forms part of Council’s city-wide koala conservation activities.

Ormiston is Redland Coast’s first koala safe neighbourhood and over the past seventeen months a number of projects have been successfully implemented with the help of researchers from Griffith University, the University of Sunshine Coast Detection Dogs for Conservation team and the local community.  These have included plantings, community forums, smart sign trials and koala tracking and monitoring programs.

You can follow the daily lives of our Ormiston koalas through our regular updates on the IndigiScapes Facebook page.

As you follow the koalas on Facebook you’ll discover they do travel; in fact, they can travel anywhere up to 10km, and use resources such as shade trees, food trees and stepping stone trees in parks and backyards to help them on their way. 

Other koala safe neighbourhoods currently in development are in the areas of Birkdale, Thornlands and specially selected properties within Mount Cotton.

For now, check out the Ormiston koala safe neighbourhood page for more information.

Citizen Science

We are currently developing a koala citizen science program that will be trialled initially in the Ormiston koala safe neighbourhood, before being activated throughout the Redlands.

Keep an eye out here for more information to come. 

 

Environmental partnership programs

Council has a range of environmental partnership programs including the Koala Conservation Agreement Program (KCAP)

The program is voluntary and free to join with an agreement running for a three to five year period. The agreement does not alter the title of the property and is extinguished at resale.

Koalas in Design

In 2019 Redland City Council challenged the local high schools and colleges to design an art piece that represented what koalas mean to the Redland Coast community.  First prize went to Wellington Point State High School with their artwork titled ‘koala selfie’, an oversized koala sculpture, designed to function as a seat where people could take selfies.

During 2020, Wellington Point State High School, will be working with an Artist in Residence program, to learn how to take their winning design from concept to reality. This will include;

  • costs and benefits of different materials
  • design safety considerations
  • criteria and approval process for displaying public art
  • factors in choosing the right location.

The Artist in Residence program is fully funded by the Redland Performing Arts Centre and the artwork will become part of Redland City Council’s public art asset portfolio, when it is unveiled.

Leave It

Council has been working in partnership with behavioural change researchers from Social@Griffith to deliver a training program that helps dog’s owners teach their dogs basic obedience such as not to bark at or chase wildlife, including koalas.

The first stage of the program involved two expert dog trainers, Steve Austin and Ryan Tate, working with local dog trainers to incorporate the Leave It program into normal training sessions. There were also community seminars available for the public.

The Leave it program is now working with council’s animal management team to train rescued dogs and is also developing an awareness program for puppy pre-schools.

For more information, visit the Leave it website.

Education

Council regularly runs environmental activities for children and families through our Indigiscapes centre, including the newly launched interpretive centre. 

We also have an Environmental Education Officer who delivers information sessions to local early learning centres and primary schools, as well as provides advice on environmental programs at local high schools. 

These programs all provide information and resources on koalas. 

Protection of land and koala corridors

Council continues to purchase environmentally significant land, large areas of koala habitat have being permanently protected, this is funded by our Environment Levy. Council continues to plant large areas of koala food trees along road reserves and in parks and conservation areas, as part of our commitment to the One Million Native Trees project to be completed by 2026 and other council habitat restoration initiatives such as our community bushcare program.

Council also works closely with the Queensland Government Department of Transport and Main Roads and Queensland Rail to enhance koala safe movement where possible across our roads through the construction of underpasses and fencing.

Council endorses and implements koala habitat protection in support of the Queensland government’s koala legislation and policy. Local law no. 6 - protection of vegetation can assist to protect significant koala habitat.

Wildlife rescue service

Council has funded and managed the Redlands 24hr Wildlife Rescue service for the last twenty years. The service is a volunteer program that responds to calls about sick, injured and orphaned wildlife, including koalas. If you see a koala you think may need help, please call the service on (07) 3833 4031. 

For information on how to tell if a koala is sick or injured, visit our koala page.

 

Koala research

Baseline research

In 2018 Redland City Council commissioned the University of Queensland, Biolink Environmental Consultants, and the University of the Sunshine Coast and Detection Dogs for Conservation to undertake research into Redlands Coast koala populations. Together, the below reports detail genetic diversity and gene flow between local koala populations; outline the availability of koala habitat across Redlands Coast; and provide baseline population assessment information about Redlands Coast koalas.

  • Zonation Framework for Conservation Prioritisation [PDF 1.9MB] (prepared by the University of Queensland).
    This report uses the Zonation meta-algorithm, a framework for conservation prioritisation, to identify areas that are important for retaining koala habitat quality and connectivity.
  • Redlands Coast Koala Population and Habitat Assessment [PDF 22MB] (prepared by Biolink Ecological Consultants).
    This report utilises historic koala records obtained from community and government sources, in combination with independent field survey, to inform Redland City Council about trends in koala distribution.
  • Redlands Coast Koala Population and Genetic Assessment [PDF 90.7MB] (prepared by the University of the Sunshine Coast and Detection Dogs for Conservation).
    This project used koala scat surveys paired with powerful next-generation genotyping to better understand current Redlands Coast koala population characteristics.

Current and ongoing milestone reports:

Council's strategy and action plan

In December 2016, Redland City Council adopted the Redlands Koala Conservation Strategy 2016 [PDF 1.6MB] and the Koala Conservation Action Plan 2016-2021 [PDF 2.0MB]. The five year action plan calls for all levels of community and government to support targeted and practical efforts to for koala conservation.  

The plan recognises that despite decades of effort to re-establish a stable koala population, in 2015 Queensland Government analysis suggested a continuing decline of 80 percent in the Koala Coast population once estimated at 6,000.  

The strategy and action plan aim to guide management actions to retain a viable koala population, and conserve and manage suitable habitat both on the mainland and North Stradbroke Island. The strategy is supported by the action plan which identifies scientifically based, practical, measurable and targeted actions that are achievable by Council.

The strategy and action plan are based on four main objectives:

  • Decisions based on science (research and monitoring)
  • Protect and improve koala habitat (securing, linking and replanting koala habitat)  
  • Reduce koala deaths (preventing koala mortality from vehicles and dogs) 
  • Community making a difference (increasing community connection)

Further information on koalas

What's happening in Redlands Coast about Koalas