Lift-off for new koala count

Published 6:00am 31 January 2024

Lift-off for new koala count
Words by Nick Crockford

New drone technology has been used for a koala survey across key reserves in the City of Moreton Bay.

Federal funding of $173,000 and $2000 from Koala Action enabled Moreton Bay City Council to send up a thermal imagery drone near Samford, 

The survey revealed 20 adult koalas in the Brian Burke and McDowalls Road Reserve – a figure which is now the baseline population figure for future counts.

A second koala drone survey, again funded by the Federal Government, is expected to be completed in 2025.

Koalas are currently listed as endangered in Queensland, NSW and the ACT.

Lift-off for new koala count

“No-one wants to imagine an Australia without the koalas,” Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek said.

“Communities across Australia play a crucial role in protecting and conserving this beloved animal.

“This funding is about supporting local groups to do what they do best – getting communities involved in protecting this iconic species.”

New data supplied by the first drone survey will be used to help council prioritise work in the reserves and maintain wildlife habitat.

Council has been working to improve koala habitat in Brian Burke Reserve for five years with weed control and planting more than 3600 koala trees.

Lift-off for new koala count

The two reserves form part of the House Mountain Range corridor linking Cedar Creek and Samford Valley to the D’Aguilar National Park.

Brian Burke Reserve (269ha) and McDowall Rd Reserve (45ha) both have Queensland Government-mapped core koala habitat and are in the Koala Priority Area.

The drones with thermal cameras were tested in monthly surveys at The Mill university site in Petrie where they had identified koalas in dense bushland.

In total $800,000 from the Federal Saving Koalas Fund has been used in conservation funding in the City of Moreton Bay and Wide Bay-Burnett regions.

Projects managed by the Koala Action Gympie Region, Noosa and District Landcare Group and Ecollaboration will see 11,500 koala trees planted near Gympie, Noosa and Eumundi.

Lift-off for new koala count

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