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Community encouraged to capture koala sightings

Community encouraged to capture koala sightings photo competition conservation
Gin Gin Koala sighting captured by Gail Connell. Photo: contributed.

The Burnett Catchment Care Association (BCCA) and River Nations Indigenous Corporation are encouraging the Bundaberg Region community to capture koala sightings.

The Burnett Koala Program aims to understand the koala population in the area and is the first and only large-scale koala conservation program in the Burnett catchment, operating since 2021.

Key focuses of the program are engaging the community in activities aimed at supporting the recovery of koalas and educating how agriculture and the environment can co-exist sustainably.

To help in the collection of data for the Burnett Koala Program, BCCA is running a photo and observation competition.

Bundaberg residents can get involved by forwarding local sightings, images and information.

BCCA spokesperson Misty Neilson said there had been five observations previously recorded in the region at South Bingera and Gin Gin locations.

“We need more documentation of koala sightings,” she said.

“Although we’ve had great engagement in the inland Burnett, we have so far struggled to get the word out in the Bundaberg Region.

“Capturing sightings is important to build an understanding of the presence, absence and locations of koalas and then establish effective on-ground action.”

The Burnett Koala Program competition closes on Thursday 30 November. 

Competition details can be found here

The Burnett Koala Program is delivered by BCCA with funding from Australian Government: Department of Industry, Science and Resources in collaboration with wildDNA & Federation University Australia, OWAD Environment, Goondicum Pastoral Co and Wide Bay Burnett Environment Council Inc.

Goolar (koala) Project

The River Nations Indigenous Corporations’s Goolar (koala) Project is also gathering more local information about the marsupial as part of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources’ Koala Community Grants.

This program is to support community led conservation and recovery efforts to improve the trajectory of the koala.

The Goolar Project was initiated in February this year and surveys began in May.

Koala surveys have been undertaken in the National Parks, State Forests and on freehold land in the Bundaberg to Gladstone area.

Data collected is contributed to the CSIRO’s National Koala Monitoring Program.

The project is also training and qualifying Traditional Owners to undertake quality scientific research projects on Country for culturally significant species.

River Nations Indigenous Corporation Environmental Projects Coordinator Gabrielle Norman, said there had been numerous koala sightings in the Bundaberg Region over many years.

“Sightings have come from community members, wildlife carers, Park Rangers and private landholders,” she said.

“Many of these individual sightings have been officially recorded in databases such as Wildnet.

“However, there has not been a comprehensive, scientifically sound koala survey undertaken in the Bundaberg area to date.

“We would love to include more local sightings to our koala survey data.”

Local koala sightings including the location, date, koala behaviour and tree species (if known) can be emailed to administrator@rivernations.com.au

Photos of the koala sighting are welcome if they are taken without disturbing the animal.