Population, distribution and health status of koalas in far north Queensland

Project Overview

Koalas in far north Queensland have not previously been studied but may be a ‘refugia’ population with unique genetics enabling the population to survive in the face of changing climatic conditions. Koalas in southeast Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales have been well studied and are recognized to be under threat from increased temperatures, fires, droughts, and habitat loss. The FNQ koalas live under much harsher conditions than those found elsewhere. Changes in climate droughts, fires, and habitat loss due to expansion of the human population may cause the extirpation of this unique population before it can be studied. This is a population that needs to be studied now! This project fills a critical knowledge gap, will establish baseline information on the biology and health status of koalas of far north Queensland and provide the basis for further research that may benefit koalas though out Australia.

Our project utilizes both ‘traditional’ fieldwork techniques and innovative technology to find and study this population of koalas. We (Roger Martin and Amy Shima) bring years of on-the-ground expertise in koala fieldwork and health studies to the project and work collaboratively with researchers possessing specialized technical expertise to maximise what can be learned from koalas in this study. Our location on the Atherton Tablelands means that we are well-situated to study both the ‘local’ population and the more remote populations in the Gilbert and Einasleigh uplands.

How you can help:

Make a donation via the Tree-kangaroo & Mammal Group to help support this important research. Your donation may help purchase tracking collars, bioacoustics devices (they help us listen for and locate koalas using their distinctive bellowing vocalisations), defray fuel costs associated with travel to field sites or offset costs associated with health testing and disease surveillance.

Get in touch with us: info@tree-kangaroo.net for details on other ways you can get involved with this project.

Report any sightings of koalas in the Atherton/Evelyn Tablelands QLD or elsewhere in far north Queensland (north of Mackay) to: fnqkoalas@gmail.com Include a photo if possible and as detailed a description of the sighting (including location name and gps coordinates if possible).

If you are aware of verified historical sightings of koalas in far north Queensland (particularly if you know location details), please let us know about them.