UNDER SCRUTINY: Noosa's koalas are the subject of some solid research. Photo: Queensland Kopala Crusaders.
UNDER SCRUTINY: Noosa's koalas are the subject of some solid research. Photo: Queensland Kopala Crusaders.

Cheers for Noosa’s wild koala survival

NOOSA is one of the key proving grounds for local researchers intent on saving koalas in the wild through the use of their koala poo detection dogs.

And Dr Celine Frere of the Global Change Ecology Group at University of Sunshine Coast is keen to share her team’s wealth of local knowledge on their mapping of koala movements with Noosa supporters.

Dr Frere and her team carried out “A Key Study on the Distribution and Health of Koalas in the Noosa Biosphere Reserve” and will share the insights at the Noosa Parks Association EcoForum held at the Land and Sea Brewery in Noosaville starting 6.15pm next Wednesday, November 27.

The Detection Dogs for Conservation research program, according to Dr Frere, is an important step towards filling in knowledge gaps of local koala distribution.

“These surveys are critical and extend our knowledge about koala distribution across the Noosa Biosphere Reserve,” Dr Frere told the NPA in 2017.

“To protect their habitat, we must know where they are, how connected populations are and how healthy they are.

“These surveys provide us with the foundation – where are koalas?

“I always say that we cannot protect what we don’t understand,” said Dr Frere.

That survey located koala scats across 250 sites with 103 containing koala scats on both private freehold and public land.

A total of 128 scats were deemed fresh enough to be collected for further genetic analysis.

“These scats will provide us with a broad scale knowledge about koala genetic diversity and connectivity across the Noosa Shire,” Dr Frere saidme.

Dr Frere’s Wednesday address will help inform the following vital koala questions:

– Where are they?

– How to maintain genetic diversity which underpins adaptation to changing environments (heatwaves, disease)

– How are they connected across the landscape?

– Will new technologies and innovative advances lead us to successful outcomes for them?

Dr Frere will also “give a global/local presentation on how recent technological innovations in genetics and detection have allowed scientists to collect unprecedented data about our koalas”.

She said the most recently methods were “revolutionising our ability to understand them and thus our ability to better protect them”.

NPA EcoForum spokesman Brian Young said: “There is a lot of passion in the community for our koalas and it is timely to present the definitive outcomes from more than a year’s scientific research across the Noosa Biosphere Reserve.”

Mr Young said this also provides optimism that scientific advances and innovations could lead “to the protection and sustainability of our koalas”.

“At Noosa National Park information hut, the number one question asked by visitors, particularly those from overseas is always, ‘Where are the koalas’?”

“Now, thanks to the scientific work of Celine and her team, we are in a better position to answer this question, and others, for koalas across our shire,” he said.

EVENT DETAILS

When: Wednesday November 27.

Time: 6.15pm to 7.30pm (come early – Happy Hour is from 4pm to 6pm)

Where: Land & Sea Brewery, 19 Venture Drive Noosaville

Great food is available for purchase from the menu.

A $5 contribution per person (kids under 15 are free) is welcome. All monies collected goes towards the work of the Noosa Parks Association, including the purchase of land to create national parks to create biodiversity corridors, especially for koalas