Redlands Koalas and Their Habitat get a Helping Hand

I love the Redlands and one of the unique aspects of living here is knowing that the Redlands Coast is home to one of the most significant urban koala populations in Australia. How lucky are we to live in our own little piece of paradise!

With development comes the loss of the koala’s habitat and this has been of major concern to our local residents for many years.  But the good news according to the Redland City Council is that “while koala populations have diminished over the years, a viable breeding population can still be found in the area.”

“Current monitoring in our Koala Safe Neighbourhoods clearly shows that koalas are living amongst us, with mums and joeys often reported in our regular koala updates on the IndigiScapes facebook page.

Redland City Council is working closely with research partners and the community to conserve and support our local koalas. The goal for our ongoing conservation programs is to stabilise and eventually increase our koala population across the Redlands Coast”, said the Council.

In an upcoming Local Government Association of Qld Conference to be held in Cairns in October this year, Council has agreed to table a motion calling for available state and federal koala funding to be better directed and coordinated in support of conservation and protection efforts at the local government level.

Cr Julie Talty said that while Council welcomed current state and federal funding, more help was needed following the formal listing of koalas as endangered earlier this year. Council committed to a new five-year Redlands Coast koala conservation and action plans on 1 July this year.

“Council’s motion calls for increased state and federal coordination and funding directed for these locally based conservation programs that will make a real difference to supporting our koala populations,” Cr Talty said.

In addition to our “Koala Sae Neighbourhoods, I was surprised to learn we have “Ambassador” koalas which are tracked and monitored.

“Our koala safe neighbourhoods are a collaboration between Council and the local community to reduce the threats to our local urban koala population and provide a safe place for koalas to thrive. They form part of Council’s city-wide koala conservation activities,” said the Council.

“When urban koalas travel through our neighbourhoods they use ‘stepping stone’ trees along streets, in backyards, and in parks and reserves – including both shade trees and food trees – to help them on their way. They are most vulnerable when they are travelling. The main threats to urban koalas are vehicle-strike, dog attack, habitat loss, and disease. By working together we can reduce these threats.”

The first koala safe neighbourhood was developed in Ormiston in late 2018. The program has been so successful that the Council have now introduced three new neighbourhoods in Birkdale, Thornlands and Mount Cotton.

You can check out the online map to see where each neighbourhood is located. The map also shows the most recent location of each ambassador koala, along with their home range, back story and photos. Each time the research team head out to track our koalas (either fortnightly or monthly) the map will be updated.

To download a map of each area, follow the links below:

“Each neighbourhood has two to six ambassador koalas that are tagged, tracked and monitored. These ambassador koalas provide us with valuable data that improves our knowledge and helps us better protect all of our urban koalas throughout the Redlands Coast. We also focus many of our koala conservation actions within the neighbourhoods.”

The koala safe neighbourhoods are not related to any planning zones and do not affect the property ratings of any buildings. They are a community partnership project.

Queensland Rail is also using the information provided by the ambassador koalas, especially in the Ormiston/Cleveland area, to help plan overpasses and underpasses, koala exclusion fencing, etc to help remove the risk of koalas approaching the rail corridor.

What can you do to help the koalas?

If you live in one of the koala safe neighbourhoods, or regularly travel through the area, you can:

  • Slow down when driving and be koala alert – particularly at dawn and dusk, when koalas often travel and can be difficult to see. Also when driving in ‘koala zones’ and you see the flashing koala signs, 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 pool may also save your family pet from drowning.
  • Ensure your dog is both trained and secured at night time for koala safety, particular between the months of June and December when koalas disperse and breed.
  • Plant koala friendly trees in your backyard, if you have enough room.  Koala friendly trees are supplied free from the Redlands IndigiScape Centre.
  • Tell your family and neighbours when you spot a koala in your street or suburb, to help spread awareness in your community. You can also join Redlands Coast Koala Watch so you can submit your sighting and help our research team.
  • Contact the Redlands 24hr Wildlife Rescue Service on 07 3833 4031 if you think a koala may be ill or injured.
  • Should anyone in the community notice a hole or damage to fencing near a rail line, they are encourage to report his through the Qld Rail app or by phoning 13 12 30 to allow the Qld Rail teams to investigate and address the issue.

Together, we can all do our part to ensure our gorgeous koalas are protected, in line with future development project, for all our residents to enjoy today and into the future.

Remember, if you need any help or advice, we are just a phone call away.

All the best, Simon.

Source: Redland City Council – Koala; Redland City Bulletin

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