Byron Shire Council's biodiversity team recently learnt about koala surveying from Tweed Shire Council staff.
Byron Shire Council's biodiversity team recently learnt about koala surveying from Tweed Shire Council staff.

Biodiversity teams share koala knowledge across shire borders

KOALAS are oblivious to shire boundaries, so it makes sense local councils would take a collaborative approach to understanding and managing them.

Byron Shire Council biodiversity staff recently met with Tweed Shire Council to learn more about koala assessment and surveying.

Byron Shire biodiversity officer Liz Caddick said this was an area they were looking to develop locally.

“Tweed Shire Council have been doing quite a lot of koala presence or absence monitoring for quite a while,” Ms Caddick said.

“It’s something we’re really keen to get started in Byron Shire, to do some quick and simple koala monitoring.”

Byron Shire Council's biodiversity team recently learnt about koala surveying from Tweed Shire Council staff.
Byron Shire Council's biodiversity team recently learnt about koala surveying from Tweed Shire Council staff.

She said this monitoring would come in handy in a range of ways, such as when they want to know whether habitat the council has helped to plant has been a success.

Having a way to keep an eye on the region’s koala populations is crucial.

It can be tricky to spot them up in the trees unless you’re lucky, and if you live near habitat you’re more likely to hear them, Ms Caddick said.

The best way to detect them is looking for their droppings, which have a particular shape and smell.

“It is really important to monitor our koala populations,” Ms Caddick said.

“It’s quite a time-intensive thing to do.

“Most local governments have a limited capacity for that kind of monitoring.

“Without monitoring, we don’t really know what’s out there and we don’t really know what’s changing: whether they’re moving, whether they’re getting bigger, whether they’re getting smaller.”

The easiest clue to find a koala population? Their droppings.
The easiest clue to find a koala population? Their droppings.

Ms Caddick said the council was working on projects to plant more koala habitat.

An initiative seeking landholders to get involved has been met with strong interest, more than they can support with the funding for trees currently available.

“I’d really just emphasise to people our koalas are now an endangered species,” she said.

“Anything people can do even if it’s just to plant a few trees to link up (habitat) can really help.”

The simplest things you can do to protect koalas are slowing down on the road, especially at dawn and dusk, keeping your dogs contained and if you see a sick koala, phone a local wildlife hotline.