A report containing the results of the 2014 National Koala Count has been released and is available for use by anyone who needs it. To view the report, click here.
Thank you to all our Citizen Scientists who participated in the 2013 Great Koala Count. You can view the reports here
Koalas are found in many parts of Australia including Eastern Australia, West Australia and South Australia. In some areas have large populations while in other areas Koala numbers are low and difficult to locate.
Koalas require both feeding and shade trees to survive. They feed exclusively on gum leaves. As gum leaves are low in nutrients and contain toxins koalas need to find suitable leaves where the nutrient benefit outweighs the energy required to process the toxins – hence their reputation as fussy eaters. Of the 600 plus species of eucalypts present in Australia only a few tens of species have suitable leaves. These leaves may occur in trees with little canopy cover making them unsuitable shade trees for resting.
Koalas do not live in hollows but rest in the forks of trees and need sufficient canopy to protect them from heat. In cold temperatures they will move to the higher parts of the tree to access more sunlight.
Koalas often need to move between trees along the ground in search of food or shelter. This is when they are at their most vulnerable to attack by dogs or being struck by cars.
Koalas can live as long as 10 to 14 years. Female Koalas reach sexual maturity at about 3 years old and males at 4. The females assess the size and breeding suitability of males based on the growling – grunting sound that they make. Breeding generally only results in one young per year (twins are rare) and the young stays with the mother for a year.
Threats to Koala populations include disease, dog attacks, vehicle strikes and land clearing for urban development and agriculture.
An estimated 4,000 koalas are killed each year by dogs and cars
As approximately 80% of Koalas are found on private land koala conservation requires the support and cooperation of all landholders.
Many individuals, landowners, conservation organizations and government agencies are actively engaged in Koala conservation.
The best conservation actions are informed by good information about the distribution patterns and health of existing populations as well as information about the threats to these populations.
What is the Koala Count?
Our annual Koala Count is a nationwide citizen science survey that is now in its second year. The aim of the Koala Count is to find out where koalas live and how stable population numbers are from year to year. As approximately 80% of koalas are found on private land, we need your help to let us know if you have koalas on your land or if you have seen koalas in the area. You can view all data collected during the 2014 Koala Count survey (7 - 17 November) which will also be shared with organisations working in koala conservation.
Why should I participate in the Koala Count (7-17 of November)?
Koalas need our help. Where koalas were once abundant, they are now uncommon, rare or locally extinct in many parts of Australia. Our annual Koala Count aims to identify where koala are across Australia and if their numbers are increasing, in decline or stable. By running the Count annually we can determine how our koala populations are doing from year to year. The Koala Count is an opportunity for everyone in the community to make a direct contribution to koala conservation.
How will I be recording koalas as part of the Koala Count?
By using our SmartPhone App, BioTag, you will record the location of each koala you find and answer a couple of short questions about that koala between 7- 17 November. BioTag is available for both android and apple mobile devices and can be downloaded from Google Play and itunes.
The koala sightings you collect are automatically uploaded to the data portal (www.koalacount.org.au) by BioTag. Because the app records data using Global Positioning Satellites, you don't need to be in a network coverage area to record a koala sighting. BioTag will store and automatically upload the data once you are back in range.
What if I don't have a smart phone?
You can still participate by entering your sightings directly on our data portal www.koalacount.org.au under "Add Koala Sighting".
Does BioTag work in rural areas?
BioTag works using Global Positioning Satellites much the same way as car navigation systems, which means that is not reliant on having access to network coverage. If you are out of mobile coverage when you record a sighting, BioTag will store the location and your sighting records. When you re-enter an area with reception, the new data will be uploaded automatically onto the data portal.
What if I don't see a koala?
The absence of koalas in an area is as important to record as their presence. This is why we have a survey called "My Koala Walk". We would like to know where you looked for koalas and found them absent and what other common animals you saw along the way. This enables us to develop a better understanding of koala distribution and why they may not have been sighted in a landscape even though it contains suitable habitat. You are requested to frequently record your location during each walk so we know precisely where you were searching.
Why is it important to know the location of koalas?
By finding out where koalas are present and where they are absent (through our annual Koala Count) we will be able to understand how koala populations are doing from year to year. This helps us gain a strong picture of koala health across the landscape.
Who can access the Koala Count results?
Anyone working in koala conservation will have access to the data gathered during the Koala Count, including academics, government bodies and koala welfare groups. The results from the Koala Count will be added to our 2013 Count and will be publicly available on the Atlas of Living Australia.
What do I do if I find a sick or injured Koala during the Koala Count?
If you find a sick or injured koala during the Count, please contact WIRES or Friends of the Koala. Similarly please report deceased koalas, as groups such Friends of the Koala and researchers are often interested in these records.
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