SAVE US: Noosa koalas need help.
SAVE US: Noosa koalas need help. Bernard Jean

Koala care strong at first community workshop

KOALA experts passed on crucial information to the community on Wednesday evening as part of the first Koala Community Workshop.

Held at the Noosa RACV resort, about 60 people gathered in the function room to learn more about the iconic creature and how they could help protect the local population.

Rachel Lyons from Noosa and District Landcare discussed current hotspots for koala activity in the region.

"A really big one currently is McKinnon Drive, before Noosa Banks,” Ms Lyons said.

"We had a car hit there a couple of weeks ago. We know that's a real problem area.

"Other areas are Pomona, Yurol Forest Drive, the new Bruce Highway is very problematic, Pinaroo Park.”

Ms Lyons said human impact was to blame for the significant decimation of numbers.

"About 80 per cent of the koala population has disappeared in the last 10years,” Ms Lyons said.

"The worst diseases are koala retrovirus and chlamydia.

"If we save one koala, we have to save 1000 other species of plants and animals that live around them.”

Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital veterinarian Rose Booth presented three years of data on Noosa koalas admitted to the centre.

"Of the 34 koalas admitted (between 2013 to 2016), 47 per cent were admitted because of disease. Noosa koalas have more disease than elsewhere,” Dr Booth said.

"Twenty-eight per cent were hit by car.

"Forty-four per cent of koalas admitted were from Noosa Heads. The other major areas are Tewantin at 15 per cent and Doonan, 12per cent.”

Dr Booth said there were obvious things to look out for if a koala needs help.

"An unhealthy koala is unresponsive, able to approach easily,” Dr Booth said.

"If they're sitting at the base of a tree, that usually means its too weak to climb it.

"Brown sparse course fur. Any signs of wet fur and a wet bottom.

"We had a lot of calls from people saying 'there's a baby koala without its mum', usually they were the right age to be on their own.

"About 11 to 12 inches tall is old enough. Smaller than a football is when they're too small.”

While Dr Booth said it was positive to note last year was the busiest breeding season in more than a decade, the public needed to do more to ensure their survival.

"Slow down, drive carefully. Lock up your dog at night. A dog bigger than 10kg is a threat,” she said.

"Support wildlife not-for-profits.

"This is the most important one - tell your government you care. Write to them, lobby them, vote to save the environment.

"If everyone here continues to send their voice to government, there is some hope to continue the koala habitat (in Noosa).”