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Garrett with Coppa in Wildlife Ambulance

By: Michael Fox

Last month I joined Wildlife Ambulance officers, Garrett Smits and Vicki Pender, to return Coppa the Lucky Koala back to bushland adjoining Bulimba Creek at Mansfield. This is the third time Coppa has been taken to the Moggill Koala Hospital after being hit by a car on Creek Road.

Injured Koalas taken to the Moggill Koala Hospital are all given a name and micro-chipped before being released to bushland as close as possible to where they are found.

Coppa back in the trees - 10 Apr 2013

Southern Star – 10 April 2013

Coppa is a 5.5 year old male in good health … and very lucky.

  • 18/12/2011 – hit by car on Creek Road – course of antibiotics and observation for 10 days released north of Creek Road
  • 16/8/2012 – hit by car on Creek Road – bruising – obs for 3 days – released north of Creek Road
  • 19/3/2013 – hit by car on Creek Road – released yesterday bushland at end of Dividend Street Mansfield (south of Creek Road)

Vicki and Garrett are obviously proud of their Wildlife Ambulance work and particularly fond of this lucky Koala they have now rescued three times.

It was a pleasure to see a Koala return from hospital back to the wild. Koalas are breeding successful again in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve and bushland along Bulimba Creek. However, city drivers are not used to having to slow down for a Koala crossing the road. Breeding season from September to March is the time when Koalas are most likely to be crossing roads.

Coppa was hit in the same area each time … just within the 70km zone as you come down the hill from Carindale towards the Bunnings corner. Please be careful and report injured Koalas to 1300 WILDLIFE.

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By: Michael Fox

Koala and Joey - Fox Gully wildlife corridor

Koala and Joey – Fox Gully wildlife corridor

Just this week the Southern Star reported that Koalas are fighting back and printed our map of sightings in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

Then on Friday night Matt Hill heard a scratching noise in the trees behind his deck. Thinking it was probably a possum he investigated with with torch picking up the glint of four eyes in the trees. He was delighted to find a Koala mum with her Joey comfortably nestled in her arms while she munched on leaves.

Koala sightings Fox Gully wildlife corridor

Koala sightings Fox Gully wildlife corridor

Matt and his family have been active supporters of our Fox Gully Bushcare restoration work and has been controlling weed trees, like Camphor Laurel, on his gully property. So, in December, he was proud to show me what looked like Koala scratches on a tree restored to the habitat only five years ago. This was an exciting find and now with this weeks photos we have confirmation that Koalas are not only active in the wildlife corridor but also breeding successfully. We also received another report this week of a Koala sighted high in a tree beside the footpath to the Griffith University Bus Station.

Ringtail Possum Pseudocheirus pereginus

Ringtail Possum Pseudocheirus pereginus

Restoration of this key wildlife corridor is now supported by seventeen property owners whose backyards include the gully and community members committed to restoring habitat for Koalas, birds, butterflies, frogs and native bees.

Restoration of the of the wildlife corridor is having a positive effect as shown by the number of Koala sighting as well as increasing other wildlife. At the top end of the gully, Roger and Margaret have a family of Ringtail Possums Pseudocheirus pereginus living in the top of staghorn ferns. Just before Christmas a mother with two babies on her back was sighted and Friday Margaret called to say the father had been disturbed from his staghorn nest when Roger was hosing.

Note his spiky hair and spiky attitude as he cleans water off his coat.

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Common Ringtail Possum – not that common

Please be patient with these cute creatures if they eat some of your fruit. During the 1950’s Common Ringtail Possum populations severely declined in numbers. Currently populations seem to have recovered but they are at risk of attack by cats loose at night.

Unlike Brushtail Possums Trichosurus vulpecula, Ringtails tend to avoid house ceilings, preferring to nest in trees or the tops of staghorns, so they are not considered pests in suburban areas.
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Reference: Animal Diversity Web (ADW) is an online database of animal natural history, distribution, classification, and conservation biology at the University of Michigan

By: Michael Fox

Southern Star - January 16, 2013

Southern Star – January 16, 2013

We host international students at times and today we received a note from the Japanese student who will be living with us during February. One thing she was very clear about: “I want to see a Koala.” With latest sighting, reported this week, of a Koala in a tree beside the footpath leading to Griffith University Bus Station there is an increasing chance that she will see a Koala on the way to university.

It really is fun to watch international students/visitors when they see a Koala just sitting (usually sleeping) in a tree or an Echidna walking across the track … and not a zoo keeper in sight. The most amazing experience though was watching Jian, an international student from Shanghai, when he came face to face with a Koala right on our back deck.

Southern Star - January 16, 2013

Southern Star – January 16, 2013

You can get involved with bush restoration,  reporting any Koala sightings on Koala Tracker or simply slowing down and reporting sick or injured wildlife to 1300 ANIMAL 24/7.

The Southern Star interview with Adrian Schrinner and Natalie Forrest is very valuable in building community awareness. However, it is not only out at Gumdale and Chandler that we need to be increasing careful if we want to have Koalas living in our backyards. We have had one Koala killed on Klumpp Road and another rescued on Creek Road after a car strike.

Read Harry Brampton’s Southern Star story online or forward the link to your overseas friends.

By: Michael Fox

Injured Koala with joey in pouch

“The car in front hit her and just kept going!” Sam Oberhardt was describing the events witnessed by a motorist who had pulled over to help the female Koala hit by a car on Creek Road Wednesday morning last week.

The second driver, Sam and another driver all pulled over the help the injured Koala and waited for the Animal Ambulance sent by Daisy Hill Koala Centre.

This beautiful animal touched the hearts of these generous individuals who stopped to help. She sat passively allowing herself to be removed from the road and placed in the car boot and covered to keep warm.

Safe and warm while waiting for ambos

Unfortunately the story has a sad end. Transferred to Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital the Koala was found to have a joey in her pouch but with a broken arm and shattered jaw, she and her joey had to be euthanized.

What can we learn from this?

Gillian Brownhill, Winner Pride of Australia Environmental Medal and founder of Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre Eumandi, l makes an important point:

“The first car that hits an animal usually doesn’t kill, it just leaves them stunned. The second car that comes expects the animal to move off the road, then by the time they realise it is not moving it is too late and they have hit it again.”

We are all busy and the morning commute is not a time we want to be taking an animal to the vet. Gillian asks that, if we do not have time to wait, at least stop, move the injured animal off the road and call the Animal Ambulance. If you cannot wait, please note the address or some feature that will help the Ambulance find the injured animal. You can call the RSPCA Wildlife Ambulance 24/7 on 1300 ANIMAL

August to February is Koala breeding season so they will be on the move and sometimes try to cross busy roads. Swerving or stopping suddenly to avoid an animal is not recommend as that may cause a much worse accident. However, if our car does hit an animal we can all take the time to at least stop and remove the injured animal to safety. Sometimes that is enough as a stunned animal may recover by itself if is safe from being hit by another car.

Seeing Koalas on your walk to work or crossing our suburban roads is a something special. These iconic animals are returning to our suburbs. Visit Koala Tracker to report any sightings.

Daisy Hill Koala Centre Information Sheets:

Living with wildlife- Koala sick and injured

Living with wildlife- Koala planting trees

Living with wildlife- Koala misconceptions

Living with wildlife- Koala info sheet

Living with wildlife- Koala backyard

By: Michael Fox

  • Drive with Tim Cox – 3:00pm-6:00pm

Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve is high value habitat hosting 265 native plant species, forty-five butterfly species, Echidnas and breeding Koalas, all just ten minutes from Brisbane CBD. However, there are three key threats to the health of the conservation reserve:

Tim Cox, 612 ABC Drive, interviewed me yesterday about the damage caused by illegal downhill mountain biking.

Listen to the interview.

Griffith Uni student volunteer

By: Susan Jones

“Shall we celebrate National Tree Day again this year, Sheamus?” I asked last year’s volunteer coordinator. “Of course!” was the prompt reply.  As it turned out, we celebrated twice!

On Wednesday  25 July, students and a science teacher from Mt Gravatt High School, together with a team of Griffith University students rallied to plant 100 native tubestock, specially chosen to provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies, bees – and of course, our resident koalas!  What a great team!  In just over an hour all the plants were in the ground and it was time to protect them with plastic sleeves, supported by cane stakes.

It was great to welcome Griffith Uni students back to our site for this celebration, as they had spent many hours  tediously clearing the area of Creeping lantana Lantana montevidensis  last university semester.

Mt Gravatt SHS team planting

Brush-turkey looking for lunch

On Saturday 28 July, we had ready another 40 plants to be put in by volunteers who couldn’t join us on Wednesday.   When I arrived on site, I found a female Brush-turkey Alectura lathami checking out all the holes prepared for planting.  Her curiosity and anticipation of a free meal made me laugh.

We had …. volunteers of all ages turn up: a special thanks to the three grandparents who more than pulled their weight.

Our 2012 National Tree Day planting was a great success: “ thank you” to everyone involved.

Your generous contribution will enhance amenity  for community users and provide healthy habitat for wildlife in our 66 ha Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

Granparents restore Conservation Reserve for future generations

Granparents restore Mt Grvatt Conservation Reserve for future generations

 

Glorious morning to be in the bush

 

By Michael Fox

Our community can be proud of the young people on the front page of the Southern Star this week, and, the article suggests, we can have hope for some amazing futures to be created by them.

Mt Gravatt Environment Group and our sponsor, Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee(B4C), are particularly proud of YoungStar Community winner, Sheamus O’Connor.

More than 100 years before Sheamus was born, in July 1893, Queensland Premier Thomas McIlwraith “… in recognition of the resolve of the settlers, divided off 132 acres of the land [timber reserve], including Mt Gravatt Mountain, from the railway timber reserve.” Mt Gravatt Then & Now Mt Gravatt Historical Society.

The vision of community members over 100 years ago means that today our community has Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve, a unique habitat with Echidnas, Koalas and forty-five butterfly species only ten minutes from the Brisbane CBD.

In another 100 years our Mt Gravatt community will reflect on the vision and commitment of young people like Sheamus who can see the value in being actively involved in restoration and protection of this unique habitat.