Help Count Koalas for Conservation
The annual Koala Count initiated by the National Parks Association of NSW in 2013 will be held again from 7-22 November 2015.
In its third year the Count is bigger and better than ever, extended to all four states where koalas are found in the wild plus the ACT. A new, GPS-enabled smartphone app, Nature- Mapr, has been developed especially for this year’s count, making it easy for koala sight- ings to be recorded directly to your phone. Of course you can still enter them at the Koala Count site: www.koalacount.org.au
Like Save the Koala Month, the Koala Count serves as a focus for the broader community to be part of the koala conservation effort. Friends of the Koala supports it because of the potential that individuals who are willing to put aside two and half weeks of the year to count koalas for a bit of fun may think of engaging in other koala conservation activities
Last year participation in the Count increased from 274 citizen scientist recorders in 2013 to 308 and the number of koala sightings rose from 966 to 1,161. A cord core of seventy- five participants engaged in both the 2013 and 2014 Koala Counts.
You might remember that the Northern Rivers hosted the inaugural Count in 2013. It was something of a pilot with 144 recorders across the region counted 503 koalas in just 11 days. Participation dropped last year by over half to 80 recorders who counted 337 koalas. Byron accounted for the largest percentage drop from 33 participants in 2013 to a mere 20 in 2014. Even so, it came in second after Lismore in NSW for both the number of recorders and the number of koala sightings, 64 compared to 75 in 2013.
Citizen science is just that – your sightings will be fed into the publicly accessible Atlas of Living Australia so any data you collect will be added to previously collected koala records, which in turn complement records held in other data bases including Friends of the Koala’s regional database. Taken together this information provides a valuable resource for planning future koala conservation projects and developing effective koala management strategies.
You might be aware that a couple of years ago Tweed Shire Council nominated the Tweed Coast koala population for endangered list- ing under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act. The Scientific Commit- tee supported the nomination but for some reason best known to its members decided to cut back the area from the Brunswick River to the Tweed-Byron local government area boundary. Following numerous submissions the Committee has withdrawn its preliminary determination and has issued a final determination using the extended area. It is on public exhibition until 4 December 2015.
To report a koala in trouble, or a sighting (live or dead), please ring Friends of the Koala’s 24/7 Rescue Hotline: (02)6622 1233. For information about koalas, their food trees and how you can assist koala conservation, visit: www.friendsofthekoala.org or email info@ friendsofthekoala.org or phone 6622 1233.
Friends of the Koala, Inc