How will this project help to protect koalas in the long term

The project is not only monitoring where koalas move but also identifies high quality habitat using vegetation assessment and occupancy rates (where they live). The final report will identify approaches government and the community can take to ensure a viable breeding population of koalas in the Southern Highlands. The findings will assist authorities to make informed landuse decisions that will increase protection for the species and its habitat.

How do researchers find the koalas?

There are a number of ways that koalas can be found. 

Experienced researchers will know what good koala habitat looks like. 

The right species of Eucalypt, such as Ribbon Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) and Grey Gum (E punctata) is a good place to start. From here the presence of koala scats and scratching on the trees will also be a good guide. Another method used is spotlighting. This involves working just before dawn (around 4-6am) and shining a strong torch light into the trees to detect eye shine. If a koala is located in this way, researchers will wait until daylight to determine if the koala is appropriate for collaring.

Is the koala harmed in the process of catching and fitting the collars?

By law, animal ethics approval is required before catching and collaring can go ahead. Ethics approval requires that the animal is healthy, in good condition and not carrying a joey before a collar can be fitted. 
The koala is sedated to carry out the health check and collar fitting. It is released after the sedative wears off. The collar is very light and is manufactured with a weak link so it will break and fall off if caught up. 

What can I do to help?

  • Keep cats inside and dogs on a lead when outside
  • Report koala sightings to the koala hotline (4868 0888) or the project Facebook page
  • Share your koala stories on this page
  • Watch out for koalas on the roads