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.

Kristen beside stump of Indian Rubber Tree

This week we were honoured with a visit to Fox Gully Bushcare by Kristen Collie, Ranger at Daisy Hill Koala Centre.

Mt Gravatt Environment Group is now sharing data on Koala sightings with the Koala Centre with intitial data suggesting that our furry friends a quite active in surrounding streets.

One fact that really stands out is the number of Koalas injured by dog attacks in backyards or hit by cars on the roads.

The Koala Centre, which comes under the new Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, operates the Koala Ambulance during business hours. Rangers take injured and dead Koalas to the Moggill Koala Hospital and record details locations.

Brisbane City Council also operates a 24 Hour Animal Ambulancecall 07 3403 8888 for any sick or injured wildlife – even Blue Tongue Lizards.

Kristen was also impress by our community’s commitment to habitat restoration and restoring wildlife corridors. We visited Zone 13 where our Tuesday Bushcare group have removed a huge area of Fishbone/Sword Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia.

We then moved onto inspect the restoration where the wildlife corridor cuts through private properties to Klumpp Road. Standing beside the stump of the huge Indian Rubber Tree and seeing water trickling down the gully from the restored spring, really demonstrated the community commitment to our wildlife.

Our 2012 Community Gully Day is planned for Sunday August 5th and will concentrate on replanting the area cleaned up in 2011.


By: Susan Jones

Female Koala at Gertrude Petty Place
Photo by Susan Jones

This afternoon about 4pm we stopped clearing weeds and sat down at Gertrude Petty Place for a cool drink and something to eat.

To my amazement, a female koala jumped to the ground from a sapling gum a few metres away and headed out onto the grass.  I squatted with the camera to take a shot, not realising that the Tallowwood gum I was hiding behind was the koala’s next destination!  It shot up the Tallowwood, only stopping once to look back disdainfully at me.

People sometimes forget that Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve is an enviromental park where visitors share the habitat with koalas, echidnas and many other species.

It is wonderful to see people enjoying the Summit and Federation Outlook tracks, particularly with the increasing sightings of koalas.  However, many people parking at Gertrude Petty Place then go walking dogs off-leash in our conservation reserve.

The presence of this  koala at Gertrude Petty Place today, is a very good reason why we should be encouraging dog owners to keep their animals on-leash in the Reserve.

Your dog wants to play off-leash? Visit Abbeville Street Park.

“I remember seeing Koalas in the trees near the creek when I attended St Bernard’s primary school in the ’80s.” I talking with a volunteer at today’s BCC Community Tree Planting at Sunnybank. My informant was pleased to see the new signs on Klumpp Road and hear that Koalas are breeding on the mountain.

Cr Krista Adams organised installation of the signs after the death of a Koala hit by a car on Klumpp Road in December.

Our submission to Cr Adams was supported by our ongoing monitoring of Koalas on the mountain. We are now receiving regular reports from neighbours and people using the walking tracks. Edd and Hazel provided our latest report of a male, female and joey – read Hazel’s Brisbane Adventures for an amazing photo of mother and joey.

We use Google Maps to record sightings to help us understand their movements and argue for government support for our restoration work. We are also working with Griffith University researchers like Cathryn Dexter – see Koalas returning to Mt Gravatt in Koalas on Mt Gravatt: Who’d have thought it?

Koala Sightings Mimosa Creek Precinct - March 2012

Kerstie Olsson is Coordinator for our Mt Gravatt Summit Clean Up this year.

Kerstie is a busy professional however she and her children have enjoyed being part of the Mountain Clean Up in the past. So this year she has volunteered to take on coordination.

Why do families like Krestie’s keep coming back to pick-up other people’s rubbish? I suspect that like me they love being in the bush combined with the simple pleasure of working alongside a group of enthusiastic cheerful individuals and, of course, there are always the surprises. Just ask John McCrystal how he felt to look up and see a Koala walking down the road towards them.

Please join the team at Mt Gravatt Summit – 8am to 10am Sunday 5th March and perhaps have a coffee at Echidna Magic Cafe afterwards.

Register online – Mt Gravatt Summit – Clean Up Australia

Alternative Clean Up sites around the Mountain

If climbing a mountain seems too energetic for a Sunday morning you can join:

Galahs Eolophus roseicapillus - Mt Gravatt Showgrounds - Feb 2012

Lizi Drysdale at Mt Gravatt Showgrounds

2012 will see Mount Gravatt Girl Guides and Mt Gravatt Environment Group partnering to landscape the Guide Hut as the first step in our Pollinator Link between Mt Gravatt Reserve and Bulimba Creek. Pollinator Links will bring birds, butterflies and native bees back to suburban backyards.

n

Brett Simpson at Roly Chapman Bushland

Roly Chapman Bushland is a beautiful peaceful habitat along the banks of Mimosa Creek. Be quite as you cross the pedestrian and you may see turtles sunning themselves on the rocks.

c

Tailed Emperor Polyura sempronius - Acacia Way - Aug 2010

Melissa Harris at Toohey Forrest – Mt Gravatt Campus Residence

Griffith University Mt Gravatt Campus is an important part of the Mountain habitat and home to amazing butterflies like the Tailed Emperor.

(l-r) Michael Fox, Susan Jones, Hon Vicky Darling MP, Hon Phil Reeves MP

Wednesday 15th, Sue Jones and I joined Hon Vicky Darling MP, Minister for Environment and local member Hon Phil Reeves MP, Minister for Child Safety and Sport at Mt Gravatt Lookout to officially present the independent environmental report: Mimosa Creek Precinct – Flora, Fauna and Fauna Corridor AssessmentBiodiversity Assessment & Management Pty Ltd – Nov 2011.

Like many visitors Minister Darling was pleasantly surprised by Mt Gravatt Lookout,  the view over the CBD with the ranges beyond, Echidna Magic Cafe and picnic area all within a unique habitat which is home to Koalas, Echidnas and forty five butterfly species. With two hundred and sixty-three native plant species this unique 66 hectares has 10% of the species diversity of the whole 22.6 million hectares of Great Britain.

Koala Phascolarctos cinereus - Photographer Alan Moore

Delivering this report is another step in a process that started in July 1893 when, in response to community action, Mt Gravatt was declared an environmental reserve. Prior to that Mt Gravatt and surrounds were designated as a railway timber reserve.

In 2012 the problems are different but whole of community action is more vital than ever as we work to build long term security for this extraordinarily diverse habitat by engaging private property owners, community groups, university and school as well as local and state government departments in a collaborative effort to restore vital wildlife corridors. Therefore Mt Gravatt Environment Group initiated this report as an independent ecological assessment of the areas of Mt Gravatt Reserve and Roly Chapman Reserve covered by our Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan, including potential wildlife corridors links. The report was half-funded by an $8,000  State Government grant which was matched by in-kind support from researchers  Biodiversity Assessment & Management Pty Ltd.

Key findings

Fauna and Flora Habitat Values

  • Essential habitat for Koalas within Roly Chapman Reserve can be preserved and expanded create wildlife corridors through Vegetation Communities 9 and 6:
    • Endangered habitat -Vvegetation Community 7 (pink); and
    • Of Concern habitat – Vegetation Community 8 (orange).
  • Forty-seven terrestrial vertebrate species recorded during field survey – two are considered species of conservation significance:
    • Koala – Phascolarctos cinereus
    • Topknot Pigeon Lopholaimus antarcticus
  • Nine species of Endangered or Vulnerable plants

    Topknot Pidgeon Lopholaimus antarcticus

    can potentially be restored by habitat restoration allowing natural regeneration.

  • Essential habitat for Tusked Frog Adelotus brevis – bushland to west of and including Fox Gully
  • Three species of mosquito eating micro-bats identified during field research:
    • o   Gould’s Wattled Bat Chalinolobus gouldii
    • o   White-striped Freetail Bat Tadarida australis
    • Eastern Bentwing Bat Miniopterus oceanensis.

Recommendations – Movement Corridors

  • Ground fauna, particularly mammals, have suffered series declines.
  • Corridor A – greatest potential
    • 25 metre wide corridor connecting old farmland with Mimosa Creek across Klumpp Road
    • Significant increases in useable habitat possible:
      • 9 hectare addition with revegetation of farmland
      • 4 hectare addition with revegetation of grassed and weed-infested area along Mimosa Creek – Vegetation Community 6
  • Extensive revegetation of farmland and restoration of grassed and weed-infested
  • Corridor B – narrow potential corridor connecting Fox Gully with Mimosa Creek
  • Corridor C – revegetation programs to complement existing vegetation

Report in Action

  • Findings used in submission for purchase of old farm as part of BCC Bushland Acquisition program
  • Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Planupdated to provide a masterplan for restoration and reconnection of Mt Gravatt and Roly Chapman Reserve
    • 18 property owners committed to restoration of Fox and Firefly Gully wildlife corridors
    • $8,000 contributed to corridor restoration by local residents

Sunday morning 4th December and John McCrystal and a friend were riding Shire Road to the summit of Mt Gravatt. John, a member of Team Fatboyz, was practicing for the Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer – August 18-19, 2012, he certainly didn’t expect to encounter two Koalas running down the road towards him!

Koalas travel 5 to 10km to find new home territory.

“They came running down the mountain and then starting running toward us on the road. They then froze in front of us started snorting, I think they were scared. We had to shoo them off the road. They then climbed the first tree they found.” John

John grew up on the side of Mt Gravatt and he had never heard of Koalas on the Mountain. I have heard from others that there have “never been” Koalas on Mt Gravatt and any animals found must have been relocated there after recovery from injury. This has always seemed to be an unlikely explanation because injured animals, including Koalas, are returned to locations as close as possible to where they were found.

Koalas on Mt Gravatt – What is the answer?

Southside Community News – Jan 2012

.

Professor Carla Catterall, Griffith School of Environment, advises that from the 1970s to the 1990s koalas were not seen in Toohey Forest, in spite of many naturalists  walking in the forest and doing ecological surveys there.  This has been a puzzle given that Koala food trees are present in reasonable numbers.  Professor Catterall suggests that Koalas may have previously been in the forest then extirpated (local extinction) in the early 20th century.

Koala fur industry

.

Hunting for Koala pelts was a major industry after European settlement. Who would want to wear Koala fur? The Koalas I have handled didn’t exactly feel luxurious and soft. Glenn Fowler’s 1993 report, “BLACK AUGUST” Queensland’s Open Season On Koalas in 1927 available at Australian Koala Foundation site, provides and insight into this unlikely trade.

‘Although (fortunately for the koala) not highly valued, the koala’s thick soft fur soon acquired the reputation as being a particularly effective insulator against the cold – ideal for protecting the human body from “the icy blasts of winter in Northern Canada and Europe”. Koala fur was renowned for its ability to withstand any amount of hard usage.’ Fowler, 1993.

For me, the really sobering thing was realising that as recently as 1927 the Queensland Government approved a six month open season on Koalas. More than 500,000 Koala pelts were delivered to market – a huge impact given the number of pelts that would have been unusable and the joeys left to starve.

Koalas returning to Mt Gravatt

Koala sightings Mimosa Creek Precinct

.

Nature is now giving us a second chance with Koalas now breeding successfully in the Reserve and increasing sightings particularly around our Fox Gully Bushcare site: Mimosa Creek Precinct.

Griffith University researchers believe that there is more functional linkage between Toohey Forest and other forest areas in the western past of Brisbane than might easily be assumed: in spite of the hazards of roads. We have one sighting of a Koala successfully crossing the Motorway onramp however the recent death of a Koala hit by a car on Klump Road highlights the need for safe wildlife corridors connecting Mt Gravatt Reserve with Mimosa Creek, Roly Chapman Reserve and Toohey Forest.

Cathyrn Dexter, Griffith University, is leading a project with Main Roads Department which aims to create permeable landscapes that will allow animals to move around without having to interact with roadways: safer for wildlife and drivers.

We will draw on Cathyrn’s research as we restore the Fox Gully wildlife corridor to improve the chance for Koalas to move safely across Klumpp Road. In the short term we are working with Cr Krista Adams to have Koala crossing signs erected on Klumpp Road. While the active police presence is likely to have much greater impact on speeding, Koala crossing signs will be a valuable community education tools building awareness that nature is returning a special animal to our urban bushland environment.