There are simple things you can do to help reduce threats and ensure the future of koalas on the Gold Coast.
Slow down and stay alert
Vehicle strikes account for high mortality rates in koalas as they cross roads and rail lines to access food, shelter and to socialise. Be mindful driving on Gold Coast roads and take extra care on the following koala hotspot roads, especially between dusk and dawn:
- Colman Road, Coomera
- Foxwell Road, Coomera
- Helensvale Road, Helensvale
- Discovery Drive, Helensvale
- Captain Cook Drive, Arundel
- Napper Road, Parkwood
- Tallebudgera Creek Road, Tallebudgera
- Tallebudgera Connection Road, Tallebudgera
- Trees Road, Tallebudgera
- Guineas Creek Road, Elanora
- Simpsons Road, Elanora
- Galleon Way, Currumbin Waters
- Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Valley
- Bonogin Road, Bonogin.
- Pacific Motorway (M1) at West Burleigh/Tallebudgera, Helensvale and Coomera/Pimpama.
Be a responsible dog owner
Encounters with domestic dogs is one of the main reasons that koalas need rescuing and hospital care. A single dog bite can seriously injure or kill a koala. Signs of life-threatening internal injury and infection caused by a bite may not be visible on the outside. Immediate veterinary treatment is vital for a koala's survival.
Most encounters between koalas and dogs take place inside backyards. Gold Coast suburbs with the highest number of recorded dog incidents include:
- Burleigh Heads
- Currumbin Valley
- Currumbin Waters
Under Local Law No.12 and Subordinate Local Law No.12.1 (Animal Management) 2013, every Gold Coast resident, no matter where they live, must prevent their dog from contacting and causing harm to a koala that enters their property.
There are also requirements under the local law for dog owners who live in a koala area to help make their backyard safe through either koala exclusion or koala-friendly fencing designs. If you live on a larger property (more than 2000m2), there are additional requirements for keeping your dog contained at night.
To learn more about the koala conservation requirements that apply to you, view our interactive koala area map and resources.
Koala area map and resources
To help reduce the risk of koala and dog encounters in public places:
- Always keep your dog under effective control and don't allow them to chase or harm wildlife.
- Always walk your dog on a leash in public unless in a designated dog off leash area. Visit cityofgoldcoast.com.au/dogparks to find an off leash area near you.
- If you see a koala on the ground, place your dog on leash immediately (even in a dog off leash area).
- Don’t assume your dog is koala-friendly. When approached by an unfamiliar animal in their own backyard a dog may feel threatened and react in an unexpected manner
- Keep your dog safely contained at night – you can do this by keeping your dog/s indoors or confined in an enclosed fenced yard, veranda, garage, dog enclosure or run area
- Train your dog to avoid wildlife and practice the ‘leave it’ command.
Create and restore koala habitat
Koalas occur widely throughout the Gold Coast, particularly within important urban areas such as Elanora, Currumbin Waters, Burleigh Heads, Pimpama, Coomera, Coombabah, Arundel, and Helensvale.
To learn how you can create or restore koala habitat in your backyard, download Koala habitat in your backyard(PDF, 323KB)
We offer a range of resources, workshops and programs to private landholders interested in protecting and restoring their property's native habitat. For more information on how you can get involved visit Landholder support programs.
To learn more about koalas on the Gold Coast, download Backyard biodiversity: koalas(PDF, 3MB)
To help plant koala habitat trees in our natural areas and connect with your local Landcare group, visit our NaturallyGC program page.
Report koala sightings
If you see a koala on the Gold Coast, we want to hear from you. Whether healthy or sick, all reported koala sightings are important. The information helps us to monitor the effectiveness of our conservation strategies.
Report a koala sighting online
Alternatively, you can call us on 1300 GOLDCOAST (1300 465 326)
If a koala appears sick, injured, orphaned, in danger or deceased, please stay with the animal and immediately call Wildcare Australia on their 24/7 hotline 07 5527 2444
Use the information and photo gallery below to help identify any health issues.
Assess koala health
If you see a koala, please take a moment to assess its health and wellbeing.
Lingering on the ground: It's common for koalas sit on the ground but sitting in the one spot for a long time should be reported.
Sitting stationary in the same tree: If a koala is sitting down low in a tree or hasn't moved from the same spot for more than 48 hours, it could be unwell and should be reported to Wildcare.
Stained rump: Most wild koala populations suffer from Chlamydial disease which needs medical attention. Signs of this disease can include a wet or dirty, reddish stained rump.
Conjunctivitis: Signs of conjunctivitis including red, swollen or weepy eyes are common symptoms of Chlamydial disease in koalas requiring medical attention.
Injury and other illnesses: Obvious signs of injury to koalas include patchy or missing fur, blood, and abnormal movements (for example, limping). Many injuries can cause severe internal trauma and infections that may not be obvious from the outside. Brown matted fur or underweight and bony are also signs a koala might be unwell.
In a hazardous situation: Koalas regularly cross major roads and rail lines which increases the risk of fatal vehicle strikes. Yards without koala-friendly fencing can trap them; those with pools or pets can cause life-threatening injuries.
Orphaned joey: Koala joeys typically stay with their mothers until they are about 12 months of age. A 12-month old koala weighs about 2.5 to 3 kilograms and is about the size of a football. Joeys on their own that are smaller than this may not survive and should be reported to Wildcare.
The following images of Koalas in poor health were provided by the community when reporting their koala sightings through our online form.