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Koala Research Projects

Current Research

Ecology and Management of Central Queensland's Koala Islands

Location: St Bees Island, Brampton Island, Rabbit and Newry islands. The study area is primarily focused on St Bees (20 55' 14.12", 149 26' 32.50") and Brampton (20 48" 34.73", 149 16' 27.64") Islands in the  South Cumberland Islands and  Brampton Islands national parks north-east of Mackay in Central Queensland. Secondary study areas have been established on the nearby Rabbit and Newry Islands (20 51' 24.20", 148 54' 57.80") north of Mackay and in the  Newry Island National Park.

Summary: This long term study commenced in 1998. It is a multidisciplinary research program involving community, universities, state government agencies and international interests. Areas of research interest include structure and dynamics of koala habitat; koala ranging behaviour, habitat utilisation and diet; demography, population dynamics and social interaction; genetics and disease profiles.

Contacts:
CQUniversity: Dr Alistair Melzer
University of Queensland: Dr William Ellis, Dr Sean Fitzgibbon

Managing Central Queensland's Clarke Connors Range Koalas

Location: Hills and ranges associated with the Clarke-Connors Ranges from around Collinsville south to Marlborough.

Summary: This is a long-term study. The research program commenced in 2016 with funding from the Qld Department of Transport and Main Roads. This multidisciplinary program involves local landholders, CQUniversity, University of Queensland and local community groups. Areas of research include the ecology of the koala, population and habitat dynamics as well as broad-scale remote sensing of koala habitat landscapes.

Contact:
CQUniversity: Dr Rolf Schlagloth, Dr Bret Heath, Dr Michael Hewson
University of Queensland: Dr William Ellis, Dr Sean FitzGibbon

Central Queensland's Koala Re-Introduction

Location: Rockhampton and Livingstone Local Government Areas.

Summary: This project explores the potential to recover koala populations in relic koala habitat in eastern Central Queensland. Initially the project will test the feasibility of direct reintroduction of koalas, and develop the methodology for the acclimatisation, release and monitoring of the koalas. The project will also explore the needs of rural landholders to accommodate koalas into property planning.

Contact:
CQUniversity: Dr Rolf Schlagloth, Dr Flavia Santamaria, Dr Bret Heath

Central Queensland Council's Koala Recovery Plans

Location: All Local Government Areas within Central Queensland with koala habitat.

Summary: The relic koala habitat within Central Highlands, Rockhampton, Livingstone and Isaac Local Government Areas has been mapped. Also, the lands with potential for recovery as koala habitat have been mapped. This project will develop conceptual plans for the realistic conservation of koalas and koala habitat in these Central Queensland local government areas.

Contact:
CQUniversity: Dr Alistair Melzer, Dr Rolf Schlagloth, Dr Flavia Santamaria, Dr Bret Heath

Queensland Koala in a tree
© Gretchen Egen

Past Projects

Understanding the Ecology of Over-Abundant Koala Populations

Location: Great Otway National Park, Victoria, and adjacent private lands. The study was centred on private and public lands around Bimbi Caravan park (38 49' 59.44", 143 30' 42.57").

Summary: This was a study led by Dr Desley Whisson, Deakin University. Here the fate of an overabundant koala population and the associated habitat were followed over time. Areas of research interest include: structure and dynamics of koala habitat; koala ranging behaviour, habitat utilisation; demography, population dynamics and social interactions.

Contacts:
Deakin University: Dr Desley Whisson
CQUniversity: Dr Alistair Melzer

Koala Mortality Black-Spots on Regional Highways

Location: Midland Highway, between the City of Ballarat (37 33' 35", 143 51' 21”) and the township of Meredith (37 50' 29”, 144 04' 39" on the way to Geelong), Victoria. The study area was focused on two sections, the 48 km stretch of highway between Ballarat and Meredith and a 2 km stretch of the same road just before Meredith. The study site included 5 km on both sides of the highway.

Summary: This study analysed data collected from local wildlife carers on sick and injured koalas to determine the significance to the local koala population of collision with vehicles. It further looked at koala road kills along the highway, attempts to identify koala road kill black-spots and ultimately aimed at developing a model to determine the parameters that are most significant in the formation of these black-spots. A koala population at one black-spot was radio-tracked for 6 months; here koala ranging behaviour, habitat utilisation and diet, as well as koala interactions with the road corridor, were investigated.

Contact:
CQUniversity: Dr Rolf Schlagloth