Koala count reveals survival in suburbs

LOCAL koala populations are hanging on as development picks up pace through the western corridor.

Last month's Spot-A-Koala week program produced encouraging results ahead of Ipswich City Council's Koala Conservation Plan.

Many results were reported to the Council including sightings from the following locations:

  • Goupong Park, Collingwood Park;
  • Kipara Road, Thagoona;
  • Jones Road, Bellbird Park (opposite Moodai Reserve); and
  • RAAF Base, Amberley

Environment and Conservation Committee Chairwoman Heather Morrow said the program was part of conservation planning to secure the future of one of Australia's most iconic animals here in Ipswich.

The community survey was in addition to a further 155 sites searched by specialist ecology monitoring consultancy OWAD Environment and Taz the scat detection dog on Council owned and managed land.

Koala presence was confirmed in all of council's Natural Area Estate including dozens of positive results in:

  • Mount Grandchester Conservation Estate;
  • Redbank Rifle Range;
  • Ric Nattrass Environmental Park;
  • White Rock-Spring Mountain Conservation Estate;
  • Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate; and
  • Purga Nature Reserve.

"This is the first rigorous evidence of koala presence in some of councils larger conservation estates, including Mount Grandchester, White Rock-Spring Mountain and Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estates," Cr Morrow said.

"The results for Flinders-Goolman and White Rock-Spring Mountain Conservation Estates are very significant as these two estates are key features in the Flinders Karawatha Corridor.

"Confirming koala presence in these two estates therefore has wider significance for this important wildlife corridor.

"Since these surveys several monitoring cameras have been placed at identified locations of presence and have captured several images of koalas, including:

  • Two sightings in White Rock - Spring Mountain Conservation Estate;
  • Two sightings in Flinders - Goolman Conservation Estate; and
  • One sighting in Purga Nature Reserve.

Koalas were also found to be present in several developed areas, including Collingwood Drive transmission easement, Redbank Rifle Range and Ric Nattrass Environmental Park.

"These three parks have the potential to be safe havens in a highly modified and fragmented landscape, so it is unsurprising that local koalas would be utilising and relying on these areas," Cr Morrow said.

"This is such positive information about our local koala population and is crucial in defining priority areas for koala conservation as well as highlighting areas that are critical to the survival of koalas in Ipswich."

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