In the Cool Country Koala Project, we found that the Northern Tablelands is home to many koalas. Some areas such as Nowendoc, Delungra, Armidale, Black Mountain and Uralla have large populations of koalas. For the past two years we have been working with JML Environmental Consultants, EcoGeoSpatial and UNE to learn more about the Armidale population.
During this period we observed 12 koalas on ‘Newholme’, UNE’s property near Mt Duval. We caught 6 koalas and fitted them with GPS tracking collars, then recorded their location over several months. This information enabled us to see how big an area koalas use and what sort of bushland they prefer. Most koalas used an area approximately 1 x 1km (100ha), while one male koala roamed over 400ha. We also recorded a female koala going on a 6km hike in a very short time.
With help from Southern New England Landcare we also collected reports of koalas from the general public to see other areas where koalas live. This showed that there are many koala sightings in the Rockvale Rd area near the Pine Forest; around Tilbuster; and on Sunnyside Rd. We will now be focussing our efforts in these areas. Over the next 12 months (from August 2019) we will catch 3 koalas and fit them with new GPS collars, then track their movements over several months. We want to see whether they prefer large patches of bushland and how much time they spend in urban and peri-urban areas. This information will help us understand the impacts of future development and increases in vehicle numbers and which parts of the landscape are most important for koala survival. As climates get hotter in inland regions and urban development (with more cars and dogs) increases on the coast, the Northern Tablelands will be increasingly important for koala survival.
How you can help
- We will be using VHF transponders to keep track of where our collared koalas go. A collared koala may end up on your property. We will not go onto any private land without permission. When it’s time to retrieve the collars we may need access to your land if that is where the koala is. We ask you to send us your contact details (use the form below) so we can contact you for permission if one of the koalas ends up on your land. We will not share this information with anyone else.
- Allow us to do a scat survey (koala poo search) on your property. We will search around the base of 30 trees for scats and do a quick vegetation survey. In return we will give you a list of trees and plants we find and any information about koalas we find.
- Let us know if you see a koala. We can come and have a look and see how healthy the animal is. Keep an eye out for our collared koalas and make sure they are protected from dogs and cattle.
The Armidale Koala Tracking Project is funded by theDepartment of Planning Industry and Environment through the Saving Our Species program. Animal Ethics approval through University of New England authority number AEC17-128.