Koala Conservation

The City is working hard to conserve koalas across the entire Gold Coast with the newly developed and endorsed Koala Conservation Plan for the City. This Koala Conservation Plan builds on the previous experience and learnings of the Elanora-Currumbin Waters, East Coomera and Burleigh Ridge koala conservation plans, and identifies informed and targeted actions to mitigate key threats to koalas across the city.


Community involvement is essential to ensure the long-term survival of koala on the Gold Coast. You can get involved by:

  • becoming a member of the Koala Friends Program
  • completing a Koala Sighting Form to report a koala sighting
  • calling 1300 GOLDCOAST (1300 465 326) to report a koala sighting
  • sharing your koala story and uploading photos here.

If you see a koala that needs rescuing, call the Wildcare Australia 24 hour hotline on 07 5527 2444.

What to look out for to know if a koala needs rescuing:

  • being stuck on a fence in a hazardous situation, for example, beside a busy road
  • observed sitting or sleeping on the ground for an extended period
  • sitting in the same tree for more than 48 hours
  • physical signs of injury, for example, limping, inability to climb, blood patches on fur, etc.
  • any visibly missing fur
  • a 'wet' or 'dirty' reddish stained rump
  • conjunctivitis (red, swollen, weepy) eyes.

If you are unsure if a koala requires rescue, please call WILDCARE. Advice can be provided over the phone and a record of the koala's location made for further observation or rescue.



The City is working hard to conserve koalas across the entire Gold Coast with the newly developed and endorsed Koala Conservation Plan for the City. This Koala Conservation Plan builds on the previous experience and learnings of the Elanora-Currumbin Waters, East Coomera and Burleigh Ridge koala conservation plans, and identifies informed and targeted actions to mitigate key threats to koalas across the city.


Community involvement is essential to ensure the long-term survival of koala on the Gold Coast. You can get involved by:

  • becoming a member of the Koala Friends Program
  • completing a Koala Sighting Form to report a koala sighting
  • calling 1300 GOLDCOAST (1300 465 326) to report a koala sighting
  • sharing your koala story and uploading photos here.

If you see a koala that needs rescuing, call the Wildcare Australia 24 hour hotline on 07 5527 2444.

What to look out for to know if a koala needs rescuing:

  • being stuck on a fence in a hazardous situation, for example, beside a busy road
  • observed sitting or sleeping on the ground for an extended period
  • sitting in the same tree for more than 48 hours
  • physical signs of injury, for example, limping, inability to climb, blood patches on fur, etc.
  • any visibly missing fur
  • a 'wet' or 'dirty' reddish stained rump
  • conjunctivitis (red, swollen, weepy) eyes.

If you are unsure if a koala requires rescue, please call WILDCARE. Advice can be provided over the phone and a record of the koala's location made for further observation or rescue.



  • The City recognises Wildcare Australia president at Australia Day awards

    3 months ago
    Wildcare koala in care


    Each year, the City recognises community members and groups who have made an outstanding contribution to the Gold Coast for exceptional achievement, by presenting the City of Gold Coast Australia Day Awards.

    This year the environmental achievement award was presented to Karen Scott from Wildcare Australia Inc.

    Karen has been an active member of Wildcare for 18 years. She has been the president for the past nine years and prior to that, she held positions as vice president for three years and treasurer for seven. Karen has been the education coordinator for 11 years and runs training workshops on weekends...


    Each year, the City recognises community members and groups who have made an outstanding contribution to the Gold Coast for exceptional achievement, by presenting the City of Gold Coast Australia Day Awards.

    This year the environmental achievement award was presented to Karen Scott from Wildcare Australia Inc.

    Karen has been an active member of Wildcare for 18 years. She has been the president for the past nine years and prior to that, she held positions as vice president for three years and treasurer for seven. Karen has been the education coordinator for 11 years and runs training workshops on weekends and throughout the year in both Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Karen is the species coordinator for macropods, koalas, echidnas and small mammals. This involves being an active carer for these animals, as well as providing advice on rescues and care to other Wildcare members. She operates the Wildcare hotline and is the main trauma carer on the Gold Coast for calls regarding macropods, hit by cars or injured in other ways, and is regularly called out overnight.

    Karen makes herself available for rescues daily and represents Wildcare in several ongoing stakeholder relationships with other organisations, notably the Deptartment of Environment and Science, Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, City of Gold Coast, RSPCA and Australia Zoo. Her advice and input is very highly regarded.

    Karen does all of this whilst working full time. Her dedication and commitment to our wildlife is inspirational.

    Karen has been instrumental in raising the profile of Wildcare through social media and presence at community events.

    I'm sure all our Koala Friends would join us in thanking Karen.

    Find out more about how you can help Wildcare Australia today!

  • Koala Speed Awareness Device Signs installed

    3 months ago
    Dscn0270


    With funding from Councillor Boulton (pictured), two koala zone speed reduction signs have now been deployed at Pine Ridge Road, Coombabah. An additional two have also been installed at Discovery Drive, Helensvale. Both projects are helping to reduce vehicle speeds and subsequently vehicle strikes.

    Koala vehicle strike is the second highest cause of koala mortality in the city, after disease.

    Due to historical land use within the city, many major roads and rail lines intersect koala habitat. Koalas regularly cross roads and rail lines to access food, shelter and to socialise with other koalas as part of home ranging behaviour.

    ...


    With funding from Councillor Boulton (pictured), two koala zone speed reduction signs have now been deployed at Pine Ridge Road, Coombabah. An additional two have also been installed at Discovery Drive, Helensvale. Both projects are helping to reduce vehicle speeds and subsequently vehicle strikes.

    Koala vehicle strike is the second highest cause of koala mortality in the city, after disease.

    Due to historical land use within the city, many major roads and rail lines intersect koala habitat. Koalas regularly cross roads and rail lines to access food, shelter and to socialise with other koalas as part of home ranging behaviour.

    Since 2010, there have been 564 recorded incidents of koalas hit by vehicles on the Gold Coast, with the true number of vehicle strikes likely to be substantially higher as not all incidents are reported.

    The majority of vehicle strike incidents in the city occur between June and January each year, peaking in August which coincides with the start of koala breeding season. Unfortunately, the majority of koalas hit by vehicles die as a result of their injuries.

    The City of Gold Coast's (City) Vulnerable Species Management Team have been collecting koala sightings data, including vehicle strike data and koala road crossing data for over 10 years.

    This data, in conjunction with data from Wildcare Australia and Currumbin Wildlife Hospital has been vital in allowing the city to identify koala ‘hotspots’ for vehicle strikes on city roads.

    As a result, the City has been proactive in installing a number of different types of passive koala road signs and road treatments (painted sections of the road) with the aim of improving driver safety and koala awareness.

    Research undertaken on the effectiveness of passive road signs suggests that most drivers become complacent over time if they regularly use these roads, and that standard wildlife signs displaying a silhouette on a bright background are ineffective at reducing wildlife road-kill in Australia.

    However, research suggests that enhancing these signs, such as displaying the speed limit, flashing lights and making the signs portable might make these signs more effective.

    In 2015, City's Transport and Traffic Branch commenced the use of the SAD (Speed Awareness Device) or ‘smiley face’ signs across the City for the Drive Safe Campaign. The signs have a built in speed detection radar and use an LED display board to display variable images depending on the speed detected. The Speed Awareness Device ‘Drive Safe’ program has been very successful with a demonstrated effect on driver speed reduction.

    Following the success of the Drive Safe Campaign in reducing speeds across Gold Coast roads, the Vulnerable Species Management Team identified two strategic locations for a koala SAD signage trial, being Discovery Drive and Pine Ridge Road.

    Two koala SAD signs have now been deployed at Pine Ridge Road, Coombabah (funded by Division 4 – Councillor Kristyn Boulton) and an additional two at Discovery Drive, Helensvale.

    The project is partnered with the Applied Road Ecology research group at Griffith University and Redland City Council who have undertaken an assessment of experimental dynamic signage along several roads in South East Queensland.

    The Road Ecology Group GU will make recommendations for moving forward as a region based upon the outcomes of both local government areas findings.

    SAD signs have also been implemented within Brisbane City Council and Sunshine Coast Council with positive results.


  • Koala Data Summary 2018

    3 months ago
    Lauren habelstadt   reedy creek 10 09 2018 %283


    View the 2018 Koala Data Infographic here.

    A warm welcome to the 151 new Koala Friends that joined in 2018, we now have 722 members. Feel free to encourage friends, family and other koala supporters to join our Koala Friends program.

    With the help of our new Koala Friends, the dedication of our existing members and the wider community, we received 615 Gold Coast koala sighting reports. The top suburbs for reporting sightings were Elanora, Burleigh Heads, Clagiraba and Tallebudgera. Helensvale and Bonogin were also communities which have had strong reporting numbers. Well done to...


    View the 2018 Koala Data Infographic here.

    A warm welcome to the 151 new Koala Friends that joined in 2018, we now have 722 members. Feel free to encourage friends, family and other koala supporters to join our Koala Friends program.

    With the help of our new Koala Friends, the dedication of our existing members and the wider community, we received 615 Gold Coast koala sighting reports. The top suburbs for reporting sightings were Elanora, Burleigh Heads, Clagiraba and Tallebudgera. Helensvale and Bonogin were also communities which have had strong reporting numbers. Well done to these communities!

    Some of our koala conservation achievements for 2018 include:

    • The creation of the $10.85 Million Koala Fund

    • The addition of the Parkwood-Coombabah Priority Koala Conservation Area

    • The trial of koala Speed Awareness Device (smile) signs for road hotspots – 4 signs installed on Pine Ridge Road and Helensvale Road

    • 40 hectares of primary ecological restoration works undertaken within koala habitat through weed management programs

    • Population monitoring conducted in Elanora, Currumbin, Lower Beechmont and Wongawallan

    • 13,040 koala food and habitat trees planted at 12 koala tree planting days with communities in Tallebudgera, Burleigh, Coombabah and East Coomera. These 12 tree planting days were part of the NaturallyGC program and involved 561 people including schools, community and corporate groups.


    The City of Gold Coast continues to work on protecting the Gold Coast koalas, and while we face challenges we remain optimistic and committed. With community involvement in activities such as reporting koala sightings, becoming a Koala Friend, attending koala community events, planting koala food trees and simply spreading the word, our conservation efforts are strengthened.

    Thank you for all your support throughout the year and your ongoing koala conservation efforts.

    The Koala Conservation Team

    Photo submitted by Lauren Hablestadt, Reedy Creek, September 2018.


  • Koala Conversation Community Forums

    3 months ago
    14273 koala conversations mrec web

    The City of Gold Coast is hosting a Koala Conservation forum Thursday 9 May in Elanora and we invite you to attend this important event.

    The Koala Conversation forum will include a panel of external experts in the field of wildlife rescue, wildlife health and koala ecology, as well as City of Gold Coast officers.

    Building on previous forums, this series will provide an opportunity for the community to engage with experts about the local koala population and hear what the City and partners are doing in working towards a sustainable future for Gold...


    The City of Gold Coast is hosting a Koala Conservation forum Thursday 9 May in Elanora and we invite you to attend this important event.

    The Koala Conversation forum will include a panel of external experts in the field of wildlife rescue, wildlife health and koala ecology, as well as City of Gold Coast officers.

    Building on previous forums, this series will provide an opportunity for the community to engage with experts about the local koala population and hear what the City and partners are doing in working towards a sustainable future for Gold Coast koalas.

    Don’t miss this opportunity to:
    • learn more about koala conservation on the Gold Coast
    • find out how you can make a difference for koalas
    • share your koala conservation stories and questions.

    Click here to find a Koala Conversation near you.

    Kind regards,

    Vulnerable Species Management team
    Economy, Planning & Environment
    City of Gold Coast
  • Happy holidays and thanks Koala Friends

    5 months ago
    Mandy


    We had 132 community members join the Koala Friends program in 2018, bringing the city wide total to over 718 friends who are active or interested in koala conservation.

    Community involvement is essential in mitigating major threats to koalas such as road trauma, disease, domestic dog attack, habitat fragmentation and bushfires. Whether big or small, your efforts help to ensure the long-term survival of the Gold Coast koala population.

    Perhaps some of you have attended koala tree planting days or made your backyards koala friendly, and some of you may be Wildcare members who take sick or injured koalas into...


    We had 132 community members join the Koala Friends program in 2018, bringing the city wide total to over 718 friends who are active or interested in koala conservation.

    Community involvement is essential in mitigating major threats to koalas such as road trauma, disease, domestic dog attack, habitat fragmentation and bushfires. Whether big or small, your efforts help to ensure the long-term survival of the Gold Coast koala population.

    Perhaps some of you have attended koala tree planting days or made your backyards koala friendly, and some of you may be Wildcare members who take sick or injured koalas into your care. All of you are important to koala conservation outcomes and your support and contributions are valued. On behalf of the City, the Vulnerable Species Management Team thanks you.

    We’d also like to reiterate our thanks and congratulations to Joanne Brierley, the recipient of the City’s Koala Friends Environmental award. Jo has not only been a credit to koalas themselves as a carer, but also to the City by contributing koala sighting data, and the community by providing support to numerous outreach events.

    We have some ideas for the program moving into next year that will hopefully allow for more experiences and opportunities for you to contribute to koala conservation. Keep your eye on your email inbox for updates.

    We wish you all a happy holiday season and look forward to seeing you in 2019.

    W: www.gchaveyoursay.com.au/koalas

    E: koalas@goldcoast.qld.gov.au

    P: 07 55828024

    Photo Credit: Mandy Mason – taken March 2018, Burleigh Heads
  • Supporting rehabilitation with fodder plantations

    5 months ago
    Tate pyne


    The City of Gold Coast has formed the Merrimac Koala Eucalyptus Plantation agreement with Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. The agreement secures the fodder plantation at Merrimac for a further 15 years ensuring supply to the sanctuary.

    “We are providing the land for $1 a year and will irrigate the site from the adjacent Recycled Water Treatment Plant,’’ said Mayor Tom Tate.

    Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary staff will continue to plant, maintain and harvest trees on the land, delivering leaves to koalas receiving vital care. New extension plantings in the long-standing site will bring the total number of trees to 35,000 and increase...


    The City of Gold Coast has formed the Merrimac Koala Eucalyptus Plantation agreement with Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. The agreement secures the fodder plantation at Merrimac for a further 15 years ensuring supply to the sanctuary.

    “We are providing the land for $1 a year and will irrigate the site from the adjacent Recycled Water Treatment Plant,’’ said Mayor Tom Tate.

    Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary staff will continue to plant, maintain and harvest trees on the land, delivering leaves to koalas receiving vital care. New extension plantings in the long-standing site will bring the total number of trees to 35,000 and increase the plantation size to 118,000 square metres.

    Dr. Michael Pyne said the partnership would ensure certainty for koala food supply until 2032.

    “Our hospital is experiencing a surge in koalas requiring treatment and we require access to more food.”

    “It takes 1,000 trees a year to support one koala,” he said.

    The Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Foundation (CWH) has a number of initiatives to support the Hospital. Here are a few brief messages from them;

    CWH upcoming events and opportunities

    § Hospital Open Day Sunday 23 February 2019

    § Annual Benefit at the Sanctuary ‘ Under the Stars’ Saturday 11 May 2019

    § VIP Hospital Tours

    § Become aFriend of the Hospital

    § Become a Corporate Partner

    § Donate to the CWH Tree to Me Program, to continue to plant eucalypt trees in CWH Plantations

    § Help CWH pave the way for wildlife and order Walkways for Wildlife

    CWH need assistance with raffle items, auction items, social media and special guest appearances to raise funds for koala conservation. If you think you can help, get in touch with them.


  • Are your renovations koala-fied?

    5 months ago
    Winter


    Are you getting your back yard in shape for entertaining this summer?

    Perhaps you’ll be entertaining some unexpected visitors.

    Koalas need to regularly move around their home range to visit preferred food and shelter trees, to delineate their territory, as well as for social interaction and breeding. Juvenile koalas may need to disperse for several kilometres to locate a suitable area to establish their own home range so it should come as no surprise if you see them coming across your fence in their travels.

    If you live in a koala priority conservation area, consider incorporating some koala friendly designs...


    Are you getting your back yard in shape for entertaining this summer?

    Perhaps you’ll be entertaining some unexpected visitors.

    Koalas need to regularly move around their home range to visit preferred food and shelter trees, to delineate their territory, as well as for social interaction and breeding. Juvenile koalas may need to disperse for several kilometres to locate a suitable area to establish their own home range so it should come as no surprise if you see them coming across your fence in their travels.

    If you live in a koala priority conservation area, consider incorporating some koala friendly designs into your gardening and renovation plans this summer, or as a minimum, make your backyard koala-safe in the interim. There are a few simple measures available for everyone to consider.

    1. Install koala friendly fencing

    If you’re planning a new fence, install fencing which allows koalas to easily climb out of your yard, especially if you have a dog that spends a lot of time in the yard.

    Koala friendly fencing design features include:

    · thick capping-planks that allow the koala to walk across the top of the fence

    · small gaps between sheeting panels to allow the koala to grip and climb

    2. Plant small trees or sturdy shrubs

    If you’ve got a smooth fence that might be difficult for a koala to grip, consider planting a small tree or shrub close to the fence. This will provide a natural ladder for a koala to climb out of your yard if it crashes your party. An average adult male koala on the Gold Coast can weigh up to as 7-8 kilograms so keep this in mind when choosing a suitable shrub.

    3. Provide a temporary climbing aid

    Provide a stable pole or a plank leaning at no greater than a 60 degree angle back to the top of your fence.

    For a full fact sheet click here.


    Photo Credit: Y. Winter, 2018

  • Koala welfare with our partner Currumbin Wildlife Hospital

    5 months ago
    Amanda tz


    From January to November this year, 223 koalas from the Gold Coast area were admitted to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital. Outcomes for koalas admitted to the hospital are grave, with 65 per cent of them deceased and 20 per cent still currently in care. The remaining 15 per cent have been released back into the wild.

    Reason for admission:

    • 7% were bitten by dogs

    40% of all dog bites occurred in September

    • 21% were hit by vehicles

    49% of vehicle strikes occurred in September and October

    • 56 % were diagnosed with disease

    81% of disease diagnosed was Chlamydial disease

    Suburbs with...


    From January to November this year, 223 koalas from the Gold Coast area were admitted to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital. Outcomes for koalas admitted to the hospital are grave, with 65 per cent of them deceased and 20 per cent still currently in care. The remaining 15 per cent have been released back into the wild.

    Reason for admission:

    • 7% were bitten by dogs

    40% of all dog bites occurred in September

    • 21% were hit by vehicles

    49% of vehicle strikes occurred in September and October

    • 56 % were diagnosed with disease

    81% of disease diagnosed was Chlamydial disease

    Suburbs with most koala hospital admissions

    Elanora - 12%

    Helensvale - 11%

    Coomera - 9%

    Tallebudgera - 9%

    Dr. Michael Pyne, Senior Veterinarian at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Hospital recently commented that “over the previous year, the hospital has treated 400 koalas, compared to 10 years ago when it only treated 30 koalas per year.”

    Photo credit: Amanda Tzannes
  • Koala sightings

    5 months ago
    Isabelle


    Data is vital for koala conservation planning and management, none more-so than the sighting records collected by the community. Understanding where and when koalas are on the move helps the City to mitigate the threats and challenges faced by the Gold Coast’s iconic vulnerable species.

    This year, 551 koala sighting records were reported to the City, largely by the community. Of these reports, 26 were ear-tagged koalas (different individuals) meaning they had received care, a health check or were monitored at some time in the past. Reporting also found 9 per cent of our koalas reported had visible back or...


    Data is vital for koala conservation planning and management, none more-so than the sighting records collected by the community. Understanding where and when koalas are on the move helps the City to mitigate the threats and challenges faced by the Gold Coast’s iconic vulnerable species.

    This year, 551 koala sighting records were reported to the City, largely by the community. Of these reports, 26 were ear-tagged koalas (different individuals) meaning they had received care, a health check or were monitored at some time in the past. Reporting also found 9 per cent of our koalas reported had visible back or pouch young,7 per cent of koalas were visibly unwell and 3 per cent of koalas reported were deceased.

    Koalas crossing a road made up 15 per cent of all reports, which had a very strong correlation with the peak of the breeding season in August and September. Nearly half, 47 per cent, of all road crossing sightings were observed within these two months. (All data ranges from January to the end of November)

    Top 5 suburbs for koala sightings:

    1. Elanora - 74

    2. Burleigh Heads - 57

    3. Clagiraba - 54

    4. Tallebudgera - 54

    5. Helensvale - 40

    The busiest months for koala sightings were:

    1. August - 92

    2. September - 86
    (coinciding with the peak of breeding season)

    The City thanks you for all of your sightings. Please continue to report koala sightings any time on 1300 GOLDCOAST (1300 465 326) or submit a koala sighting online.

    Photo Credit: Isabelle Cheyne – taken Sept 2018, Currumbin Waters

  • 20,000 tree milestone at Schusters Park

    6 months ago
    Schuster koala2 16.10.18


    In 2017, the City was awarded an Australian Government 20 Million Trees Program grant to further enhance and expand koala habitat at Schusters Park, Tallebudgera. 20,000 trees have now been installed, ticking off a large milestone for the project.

    Combined with previous initiatives, this brings the total of plants installed at the park to 38,000 with a further 25,000 estimated to be planted over the next two to four years.

    The project is helping to provide linkage between habitat areas for koalas, which is particularly important in the breeding season between July and September when koalas are on the move.

    ...


    In 2017, the City was awarded an Australian Government 20 Million Trees Program grant to further enhance and expand koala habitat at Schusters Park, Tallebudgera. 20,000 trees have now been installed, ticking off a large milestone for the project.

    Combined with previous initiatives, this brings the total of plants installed at the park to 38,000 with a further 25,000 estimated to be planted over the next two to four years.

    The project is helping to provide linkage between habitat areas for koalas, which is particularly important in the breeding season between July and September when koalas are on the move.

    The map below shows completed planting projects (in green) and future planting projects (red) in Schusters Park. The dots marked on the map represent singular koala friendly park trees, which will also double as shade to accompany existing pathways. The crosshatched polygons represent dense plantings. (note: map may not display on mobile devices)


    In addition to the tree plantings, ecological restoration works have continued upstream by the City’s Natural Areas management Unit, whose specialist restoration teams have controlled woody weeds such as Camphor Laurel and Easter Cassia.

    Whilst investments into the park grow more refuge for koalas, it is important for us to assume some responsibility for their conservation too.

    Most koalas do their travelling between trees on the ground between dusk and dawn. Early mornings or late afternoons are also popular times for us to be walking our dogs. A little extra care and awareness of potential encounter periods can go a long way towards a harmonious time-share of the park.

    What can you do?

    By following these simple actions, the risk of your dog injuring or killing a koala can be greatly reduced.

      • Don’t assume your dog is friendly: When approached by an unfamiliar animal a dog may feel threatened and might react in an unexpected manner.
      • Keep your dog under effective control: If you see a koala on the ground in a dog off leash area, please place your dog on a lead until the koala climbs back up a tree and is safe.
      • Train your dog: If you are concerned that your dog might chase a koala, another option is to consider obedience training. This will not only protect koalas but also give you greater control over your dog. Advice on obedience training techniques can be provided by dog training schools in your area.
      • Be prepared to help out: In the unfortunate event your dog comes in contact with a koala it is important that you immediately report the incident to Wildcare Australia Inc. Save the Wildcare telephone number to your contacts (07 5527 2444 ; 24hours) so you are prepared to help a koala to be rescued and transferred to a wildlife hospital for examination and treatment.

    The City will continue to engage school and community groups through more planting events, encouraging locals to play a part in the rehabilitation of the native vegetation, and the responsible use of the multi-purpose park.

    Keep an eye out for upcoming tree planting days on the NaturallyGC program website.

    If you are not already a member, join the Koala Friends Program to keep updated on city wide koala conservation initiatives and get tips on how you can make koala protection part of your day.


    Photo: Saraya Robinson