The koala is one of Australia's most loved and iconic animals. In Brisbane, and many other parts of Australia, their numbers have dropped rapidly due to habitat loss, dog attacks, vehicle strike and disease. As koalas are listed as vulnerable under national and state environmental law, Brisbane City Council is helping to establish a Koala Research Centre at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
What Council is doing
To help protect Brisbane's koalas, Brisbane City Council is:
- carrying out land use planning
- purchasing land with significant koala habitat through the Bushland Acquisition Program
- implementing the Natural Assets Local Law to protect significant vegetation including koala habitat
- establishing a koala fodder plantation at Wacol to provide wildlife carers with a secure food resource for sick and injured koalas in the greater Brisbane area
- planting koala food trees on Council land such as through the Habitat Brisbane program and through the Creek Catchment program
- assisting residents to protect and restore koala habitat through the Wildlife Conservation Partnerships Program
- installing wildlife movement solutions at strategic locations that help koalas to cross roads safely
- providing information and advice to Brisbane residents and visitors to help protect koalas
- managing pest plants and animals that impact on them
- managing natural areas such as Brisbane Koala Bushlands where residents and visitors can see koalas
- offering Wildlife Carer Grants and Environmental Grants
- undertaking a citywide koala survey using the services of a koala detection dog; this work will yield valuable information about the current population numbers, movement behaviour and the health of our local koalas
- establishing a Koala Research Centre at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
What you can do
If you see an injured koala or for other wildlife medical emergencies, phone the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625)
Note: only trained and authorised wildlife carers and permit holders can catch koalas.
If you live in a koala habitat area or movement corridor:
- drive carefully, slow down, look out for koala crossing signs and scan the roadsides for koalas (and other wildlife) crossing roads, especially at dusk and dawn and around gullies and crests
- plant koala food trees (and retain existing ones). Recognised koala food trees in Brisbane include:
- grey gum (Eucalyptus major)
- tallowoood (Eucalyptus microcorys)
- small-fruited grey gum (Eucalyptus propinqua)
- scribbly gum (Eucalyptus racemosa)
- red stringy bark (Eucalyptus resinifera)
- swamp mahogany (Eucalyptus robusta)
- fine-leaved red gum (Eucalyptus seeana)
- blue gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis) (highly desirable)
- provide koala friendly fencing
- make your swimming pool koala safe
- keep koalas safe from your dog
- watch koalas from a distance.
If you have more than 0.5 hectares of land that can be created or protected, you can join the Wildlife Conservation Partnerships Program and receive assistance in re-establishing and protecting koala habitat. You can volunteer with your local Habitat Brisbane bushcare or catchment group, and you can visit an environment centre in greater Brisbane to learn more about koalas and how you can protect them.
Brisbane Koala Science Institute
Council has collaborated with Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary by investing up to $2 million to establish the Brisbane Koala Science Institute. This world class research facility located at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Fig Tree Pocket will position Brisbane as the ‘koala capital’ of Australia.
The centre is staffed by scientific researchers who will investigate key issues facing koalas in an urban context, with a focus on disease and potential breed and release programs, and will collaborate with universities and other research institutions. The centre offers a unique and memorable experience, while helping to educate and engage visitors about how they can contribute to koala conservation.
The state-of-the-art research centre accommodates a minimum of two scientific researchers, and includes:
- interactive displays that cater to all ages
- library and meeting room
- fully accessible and multi-lingual displays
- a viewable section of the research area for visitors to view the researchers at work
- Sky deck walkway in the trees.
Koala detection dog survey reports
In 2017 and 2018, Council commissioned the survey of 33 council bushland areas across the city using the unique services of Certified Environmental Practitioners operating with koala detection dogs.
These dogs are purpose-bred and professionally trained, and locate koala scats up to 18 months after the koala has moved away. The scats detected by the dogs informed us about the presence and distribution of koalas, and a portion were analysed to provide invaluable information on koala health, genetic diversity, population structure, breeding and movement behaviour.
Although this study allowed us to estimate relative koala activity within and between bushland areas surveyed, it was not designed to provide a census and therefore cannot be used to infer the number of koalas living in Brisbane.
For more information about koalas in Brisbane and Council's initiatives, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.