As I write this, we are still in the heart of koala trauma season in Queensland - and our newly formed Noosa Region Koala Rescue Team has been busy working in collaboration with Wildcare, RSPCA, Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital and local communities to help our local koalas.
Roxy, Photo by Ruth Huckstepp
One hot spot this year has been the Noosa Banks region where we have handed out informational leaflets alerting residents they have a mobile and very active population of koalas in their neighborhood - and that several we are aware of are in immediate need of rescue and treatment (as they are exhibiting outward signs of chlamydial disease). Local residents are part of the solution to help the koalas in their backyards and we thank everyone there who has reached out to report a koala sighting or help identify those needing care.
One particular koala, Roxy, has truly been giving us fits and although a humane trap was set to capture her without undo stress, she managed to evade the trap and is still at large - visiting with the locals while staying out of reach very high in the treetops. We’ll continue checking and hope to have her in care very soon!
With the very dry conditions we have been experiencing (and despite their reputation of never needing to drink) koalas can become very thirsty. If you are fortunate enough to have a local koala population with habitat trees in your garden, please put out a bowl of fresh water daily at the base of the tree if the area is safe for them (e.g. no dogs or other threats)
Of course. in addition to Disease and Dogs, one of the other significant threats to koalas locally is speeding Drivers.
There were at least five reported koala road fatalities over the holiday season -
And to make this even more tragic these deaths included young healthy koalas
and we can ill afford to continue to lose individuals such as these.
We will continue to press for road mitigation efforts with the State Department of Transport and Main Roads as well as local Councils. We’ve identified for them specific roads where koalas cross frequently with speed limits of 80k-100k and minimal or no warning signs.
Of course, habitat loss and fragmentation continue to be our biggest concern as we see more and more development in the region - and even with all the Bio Bridge support we’ve received from the Body Shop UK and the Body Shop Australia, we simply cannot plant trees fast enough to keep up with current rate of destruction!
We anticipate being able to plant our first section of trees in the Yurol-Ringtail forest project and anticipate this kind of effort helps provida a long-term solution, but worry if we will have enough healthy koalas left once the trees are mature? We certainly hope so, but we must consider those koalas still here and do our best to serve them by treating disease and providing safe passage within their home range!
Internally at our AGM in December we elected our new Management Committee consisting of Rex Halverson (Chairperson) myself (President) both from Sunrise Beach, Chrissy Joester from Caboolture (Vice President), Vanda Grabowski from Glasshouse Mountains (Secretary), Jane Parviainen from Tewantin, Nigel Slater from Cooroibah, Bev Trevithick from Noosaville and Jill Richardson from Brisbane (General Board Members).
So, we have quite a diverse group to begin the New Year with our first meeting set for 9th February 2019. We will be building capacity and working as a team to do what’s best for koalas in the coming year as it’s going to be a busy one!
Our first General Meeting will be 2nd March at University of the Sunshine Coast at 2pm. Mark your calendars and join us on the day as there will be exciting presentations and at least one guest speaker!
Stay tuned for more exciting news as we set up our online shop and promote the partners we are growing through local businesses. We are so grateful that more and more people are stepping up and becoming a voice for the koalas at a time when we need them the most. Join us at www.koalacrusaders.org.au/member!
Meghan Halverson, President