KOALA NEWS & SCIENCE
An informative monthly newsletter about successes & important announcements in koala conservation, and the latest scientific publications about koalas.
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Locals, farmers & plantation timber companies fight to save Strzelecki Koalas from VicForests threat, VIC 29 July
After years of wildlife corridor planting, and $ millions in federal funding to protect the genetically-diverse Strzelecki koalas, VicForests plan to log one of their core habitat areas in Alberton West. Locals are incensed.
Solar powered VHF ear tags for koalas developed by USC QLD 24 July
Dr Romane Cristecu & team at University of Sunshine Coast are working on a small, solar-powered VHF ear tag to help researchers and rescuers find koalas. The project is receiving support from WWF Regenerate Australia.
Gloucester Environment Group encourage landowners to plant koala food trees NSW 29 July
An informative article in the local newspaper for locals.
Results of study into NSW Central Coast koalas finds more than expected. 21 July
The first-ever region-wide study used Passive Acoustic Monitoring devices, a community postal survey and phone surveys. Koalas were reported from Watagan Mountains and Mangrove Creek Dam catchment amongst other areas.
Tree planting for koalas near Port Stephens/Newcastle NSW
National Tree Day plantings were held on 31 July at Gir-Um-Bit State Conservation Area in Tanilba Bay and on 1 August at Tilligerry koala forest.
Toormina koala habitat decision goes back to court, NSW 23 July
The long-fought battle over 7ha of old growth forest at Toormina, near Coffs Harbour continues with the developers launching an appeal. Coffs Harbour Council rejected the proposal for 56 houses on the site in May 2020. The Council is now preparing to defend their decision in the Land & Environment court.
New plan to bring koalas back to Eurobodalla launches NSW 21 July
The Eurobodalla Koala Recovery Strategy was put together by the Eurobodalla Koala Project, a citizen science movement sponsored by The Coastwatchers Association. The strategy is full of simple actions businesses, householders, land managers and cultural leaders can take to help koalas in the shire. https://www.naroomanewsonline.com.au/story/7350555/plan-to-help-bring-koalas-back-to-the-eurobodalla-launches/?cs=1489
NSW government offers $1.1million to business for koala tech 12 July
The New South Wales government is offering grants for small & medium-sized businesses and researchers to design technology to count koalas. The innovation challenge is looking for cutting edge solutions like autonomous drones and thermal imaging.
Manningham informs residents about koala habitat VIC 19 July
After several recent sightings of koalas in the Templestowe area, Manningham Council offered a free koala habitat webinar to residents on July 28 for National Tree Day.
Currumbin Waters site to be acquired for eco-parkland QLD 17 July
148 ha of koala habitat known as Martha’s Farm is to be compulsorily acquired by the Queensland government and added to the Currumbin “eco-parkland”. The site has been threatened by development for 20 years.
Funding for koala-tracking near Coffs Harbour NSW 2 July
Jaliigirr Biodiversity Alliance successfully applied for a grant from Coffs Harbour Council’s environmental levy grants to employ Canine Scent Detectives to find koala scats for future genetic analysis in the Sawtell-Toormina-Boambee area.
LATEST KOALA SCIENCE
Richardson, A., Fitzgibbon, S., Barth, B., Gillett, A., & Ellis, W. (2021). Application of low-power wide-area network GPS to koala monitoring. Australian Mammalogy. doi:10.1071/am21001 https://www.publish.csiro.au/AM/AM21001
We evaluated long range antennae and associated solar-powered global positioning system (GPS) ear tags designed for use with domestic cattle, as a novel system for monitoring ranging behaviour of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus). The mean location error of our GPS tags was 33.9 m (s.e. = 0.46). The tags were relatively light (30 g), reported eight locations per day when attached to koala radio-collars and had an operating life that exceeded our study period (8 months). Deployed as a stand-alone, solar powered, remote system, this technology can provide a viable option for wildlife tracking projects.
Schultz, B., Hulse, L., Nicolson, V., Larkin, R., Bromfield, E., Nixon, B., & Johnston, S. (2021). Prolonged Chilled Preservation and Preliminary Investigations of Energy Production of Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) Spermatozoa. XIIIth International Symposium on Spermatology, 277-278. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-66292-9_34
The current inability to successfully cryopreserve koala spermatozoa limits the capacity to maintain the genetic diversity of current and future koala populations by means of assisted breeding technologies (ABT). Consequently, this research focused on the prolonged chilled (5 °C) preservation of electro-ejaculated koala semen in order to facilitate artificial insemination of captive and wild populations.
Jessica A. Harris, Sharyn Rundle-Thiele, Patricia David & Bo Pang (2021) Engaging dog trainers in a city-wide roll-out of koala aversion skill enhancement: a social marketing program, Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, DOI: 10.1080/14486563.2021.1944344
Koalas are an Australian icon, and their existence is under threat. Environmental protection efforts that centre on people are needed, ensuring the human dimension is considered in conservation efforts aiming to protect wildlife. This article reports process and outcome evaluation results for a social marketing program that aimed to reduce dog and koala interactions. This project aimed to leverage pilot study outcomes. Specifically, the program sought to embed koala aversion (the ability for a dog to avoid koalas) skills within one local government area. A total of 2013 dog owners were surveyed to assess program outcomes, with improved dog abilities observed following city-wide program implementation. Further evidence of program success was indicated in the process evaluation. Dog trainers and dog owners were satisfied, willing to recommend the program to other people, and they were willing to attend events in future. Lessons learned, implications, limitations of the current study and future directions are outlined.
Jade L. S. Patterson, Michael Lynch, Garry A. Anderson, Amir H. Noormohammadi, Alistair Legione, James R. Gilkerson, Joanne M. Devlin; THE PREVALENCE AND CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF CHLAMYDIA INFECTION IN ISLAND AND MAINLAND POPULATIONS OF VICTORIAN KOALAS (PHASCOLARCTOS CINEREUS). J Wildl Dis 1 April 2015; 51 (2): 309–317.
Chlamydia infection is known to impact the health of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland, but the clinical significance of Chlamydia infections in Victorian koalas is not well described. We examined the prevalence of Chlamydia infection and assessed associated health parameters in two Victorian koala populations known to be Chlamydia positive. The same testing regimen was applied to a third Victorian population in which Chlamydia had not been detected. We examined 288 koalas and collected samples from the urogenital sinus and conjunctival sacs. Detection and differentiation of Chlamydia species utilized real-time PCR and high-resolution melting curve analysis. Chlamydia pecorum was detected in two populations (prevalences: 25% and 41%, respectively) but only from urogenital sinus swabs. Chlamydia was not detected in the third population. Chlamydia pneumoniae was not detected. Chlamydia pecorum infection was positively associated with wet bottom (indicating chronic urinary tract disease) in one Chlamydia-positive population and with abnormal urogenital ultrasound findings in the other Chlamydia-positive population. The prevalence of wet bottom was similar in all populations (including the Chlamydia-free population), suggesting there is another significant cause (or causes) of wet bottom in Victorian koalas. Ocular disease was not observed. This is the largest study of Chlamydia infection in Victorian koalas, and the results suggest the potential for epidemiologic differences related to Chlamydia infections between Victorian koalas and koalas in Queensland and NSW and also between geographically distinct Victorian populations. Further studies to investigate the genotypes of C. pecorum present in Victorian koalas and to identify additional causes of wet bottom in koalas are indicated.
Previous Koala News & Science here: http://www.wildkoaladay.com.au/koala-news-science/koala-news-science-june-2021/
Written by Janine Duffy President, Koala Clancy Foundation,
with support from Cheryl Egan, Organiser, Wild Koala Day and Michelle Kim (BBiomedSc)
Please send your positive, important news & publications to firstname.lastname@example.org before 29th of each month for possible inclusion.