By: Michael Fox

koala-sue-j-27-oct-2016

Blood curdling Koala

August to January is Koala breeding season with most young (called a joey) born over the summer months.

That means I am receiving an increasing number of reports of Koala sightings like Sue’s report:

“I was awoken at 4 am by a dreadful noise in our yard – blood curdling screaming. Couldn’t get back to sleep. At 5 am the local birds let me know some ‘foreign’ creature was still around.

I took this photo of a Koala which had just leapt off our back terrace into one of our gums.  He was roaring loudly as he ascended the tree.  He then spent the day sleeping in an adjacent Tallowwood.  He looked well fed and healthy.

Upon later investigation I found Koala fur and droppings all over the terrace.  I wonder whether two Koalas may have been involved.” Sue Jones

The Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve now has a healthy and growing Koala population. This is a great opportunity for our community and a great responsibility: we have been given a second chance. You can help by:

  • reporting Koala sightings – email photo/s (phone camera is fine – evidence is important not photo quality), approximate location, date and time – email megoutlook@gmail.com
  • keeping dogs inside or chained up at night when Koalas are moving around. Koalas are at particular risk when they come to ground to move around urban backyards.
  • keep your dog on leash walking in the Reserve.
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Koala Mum & Joey

Koala Mum & Joey

By: Michael Fox

Koala Phascolarctos cinereus breeding season is roughly August to February.

For some weeks we have been listening to the fighting, bellowing, screaming at night and this morning a Koala mum and baby was sitting in an Acacia just beside the Farm Fire Trail.

Koala Life Cycle poster – Australian Koala Foundation

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Koalas are returning to Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. An extraordinary example of the resilience of nature if we give it a chance. As recently as August 1927 over 500,000 Queensland Koalas were hunted for their pelts.

“From 1 to 31 August 1927, Queensland held what was to be the last open hunting season on koalas in Australia. David Stead, President of the Wild Life Preservation Society of Australia, warned that 300,000 would be killed. This figure was ridiculed in certain quarters, but as later events would show, even Stead underestimated the carnage. The Annual Report of the Department of Agriculture and Stock for the year1927-28 gives the number of koalas “secured” as being 584,738.”

Dog off - 9 Oct 2014

Pick-up after your dog

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Hunting is no longer a threat however in our urban environment dogs are a threat to the returning Koalas. A quick bite, even from a small dog, can kill through infection or shock.
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My dog would only play with it. Even a quick bite is enough to kill a Koala. A Koala’s skin is very pliable, with little fat for protection, and internal organs are easily punctured. Some Koalas may appear to have survived a dog attack with very few visible signs of external trauma but may be suffering from internal injuries and may die later from shock or infection. Stress alone might also be enough to trigger other problems such as disease.
During breeding season it is particularly important to keep dogs on a leash within the Reserve and pick up after your dog.

Brett with Koala Mum in background (top right)

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We know that Koalas are breeding on Mt Gravatt. We are getting regular reports of sightings from all around the mountain and I have even woken to find a young male climbing onto the deck at night. However, today, our Rover Street Bushcare co-ordinator, Brett Dugdale, shared something I have never seen before: a mother and joey together.

In Mt Gravatt we live only ten kilometres from Brisbane CBD and we have Koalas in our “backyard”. As a community we are stewards of a truly unique piece of Australian bush habitat.

I am honoured to know Brett. He is not only passionate about protecting and restoring the mountain habitat; he also brings a wealth of practical restoration experience gained working with Bulimba Creek Catchment Co-ordinating Committee (B4C).

Brett notes that the Brisbane City Council fox eradication program – seven foxes have been removed from Mt Gravatt Reserve in the last twelve months – is having a positive effect on the mountain wildlife. However, as Koala numbers increase,  conflict with domestic pets will become an increasing problem: a young Koalawas attacked by a dog in a local backyard last week. That lucky Koala was OK after being checked out by RSPCA vets and returned to the mountain.

Please keep your dogs on-leash when walking in the Reserve and of course carry bags for dog droppings. Koalas tend to avoid areas where they can smell dog droppings so if we want to encourage Koalas we need to clean up after our dogs.

If you find any injured wildlife in the Brisbane area you can call the BCC Wildlife Ambulance – BCC Call Centre 3403 8888.