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Koala Conservation

Help us save koalas! Report koala sightings anytime on 1300 GOLDCOAST (1300 465 326).

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Help save koalas

Koalas face continued threats to their population as a result of human settlement and urban expansion. There are simple things you can do to help reduce threats and ensure the future of koalas on the Gold Coast.

What you can do

Report koala sightings

If you see a koala on the Gold Coast we want to hear from you. Whether healthy, injured, sick or deceased, all reported koala sightings are important. The information helps us to monitor the effectiveness of our conservation strategies.

Report a koala sighting using our online form

Report a koala sighting

Alternatively, you can call us on 1300 GOLDCOAST (1300 465 326) or call Wildcare Australia Inc. on their 24/7 hotline 07 5527 2444 (if koala is sick, injured, in danger or deceased).

Upload your koala sighting photos via the above koala sighting form. All koala photos are important and help us to verify some of the information provided. View our koala sighting gallery.

Drive carefully

Vehicle strikes account for high mortality rates in koalas as they cross major roads and rail lines to access food, shelter and to socialise. During breeding season when koalas are moving about more, the City installs additional Variable Message Signs and Speed Awareness Device signs on hotspot roads to alert drivers. Be mindful of the following Gold Coast koala hotspots especially between the hours of 6pm and 6am:

  • Captain Cook Drive, Arundel
  • Napper Road, Parkwood
  • Foxwell Road, Coomera
  • Colman Road, Coomera
  • Helensvale Road, Helensvale
  • Discovery Drive, Helensvale
  • Guineas Creek Road, Elanora
  • Simpsons Road, Elanora
  • Galleon Way, Currumbin Waters
  • Trees Road, Tallebudgera
  • Bonogin Road, Bonogin

Be a responsible pet owner

Dog laying in a kennel

Most dog attacks on koalas take place inside backyards. In semi-urban and urban areas koalas often venture into yards adjacent to or between patches of bushland habitat to search for food, habitat and to socialise. Moving between trees involves travelling on the ground, leaving koalas at risk of dog bites. If there is more than one dog in a yard, a koala attack is more likely.

Just a single dog bite can seriously injure or kill a koala. Although signs of a bite may not be visible on a koala from the outside, they may have significant internal damage or develop a life-threatening infection. Koalas that survive a dog attack are generally examined and treated at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital. They may need to be transported to Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital if long-term hospitalisation is required.

Guidelines for responsible pet ownership

Keep your dog safely contained all the times

  • Koalas are most active between dusk and dawn. Ensuring your dog does not have free access to roam your backyard during these times will help koalas move around safely.
  • If possible, keep your dog indoors at night or confined on a veranda or garage area. Smaller enclosures or runs are also suitable for night time use, or your dog may be comfortable on a long lead.

Keep your dog under effective control

  • It is an offence to allow your dog off leash in any public area other than a designated off leash area.
  • This includes all paths leading up to an off-leash area.
  • In some suburbs koalas commonly use habitat trees within dog exercise areas. If you see a koala on the ground in this area, please place your dog on a lead until the koala climbs back up to safety.

Install koala-friendly fencing

Fencing which allows koalas to easily climb out of your yard will help them if they do encounter a dog.

Koala-friendly fencing design includes:

  • thick planks that allow the koala to walk across the top of the fence
  • small gaps between panels to allow the koala to grip and climb
  • trees or sturdy shrubs close to the fence can provide a natural ladder
  • provision of a pole or plank leaning at no greater than a 60-degree angle against the fence can allow for escape.

Don’t assume your dog is friendly

When approached by an unfamiliar animal in their own backyard a dog may feel threatened and might react in an unexpected manner.

What to do if your dog has injured a koala

  • Immediately remove your dog from the area.
  • Do not touch the koala.
  • If possible, place a bin or box over the koala and place a weight on top. This will contain the koala and help to keep it calm.
  • Call Wildcare Australia on 07 5527 2444 (24 hours).

Install koala-friendly or koala-exclusion fencing

You can protect the movement of koalas in or around your backyard by constructing koala-friendly fencing or koala-exclusion fencing.

Koala-friendly fence designs can -

Allow a koala an alternative route over the fence by:

  • Planting or retaining trees or sturdy shrubs near the fence.
  • Installing timber posts or logs of at least 125 millimetres in diameter leaning against the top of the existing fence at an angle no greater than 60 degrees with
    the ground.
  • Installing a koala bridge – timber logs of at least 125 millimetres in diameter on either side of the fence, connected between the two at the top with a shorter log. The koala can then easily climb up one side and down the other (particularly good for barb wire topped security fences).
  • Adding a continuous series of flat boards at the top of the fence. This will allow a koala to walk along the fence without needing to come to the ground.

Allow a koala to climb over the fence by using:

  • Posts with close horizontal rails that allow at least 20 millimetres between rails or with open rails and closed vertical slats spaced at least 10 millimetres apart to allow room for koalas to grip.
  • Fences made from materials that koalas can easily grip and climb, such as round timber posts or chain wire mesh.

Allow a koala to move under or through the fence by using:

  • Posts and open horizontal rails with a gap of at least 300 millimetres between rails.
  • Solid fencing material that a koala is unable to climb but may pass under via a 300-millimetre gap between the ground and the bottom of the fence.

Koala-exclusion fences

If you have dogs or need to keep koalas out of a do- confinement area, the best option is a fence that excludes koalas from entering your yard .

Koala-exclusion fences can be constructed by:

  • using metal sheeting (such as smooth Colorbond steel) or rendered brick surfaces that do not provide grip for a koala to climb.
  • Adding a strip of Colorbond or Perspex sheeting to the top section of an existing fence to prevent a koala from climbing that side. The sheeting should be at least 900 millimetres wide with the top edge of the sheeting at least 1.5 metres above ground level.

If you install koala-exclusion fencing ensure:

  • the fence is at least 3 metres away from trees or sturdy shrubs from which a koala could jump to the fence top
  • existing trees can be shielded from koala access by applying a smooth metal tree guard
  • the exclusion features to the outside of the fence, whilst ensuring a koala could easily climb out of the yard just in case it managed to find a way inside.

Create or restore koala habitat in your backyard

Although listed as vulnerable, koalas remain widely distributed throughout the Gold Coast hinterland and within important urban areas such as Elanora, Currumbin Waters, Coomera, Burleigh Heads, Coombabah, Arundel, Nerang and Helensvale.

Good koala habitat should be:

  • a connected or suitably large patch (preferably 50 to 100 hectares of habitat)
  • structurally diverse
  • containing or linking areas of preferred koala food trees.

Preferred koala food trees on the Gold Coast include:

  • Forest red gum or Queensland blue gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis)
  • Tallowwood (E. microcorys)
  • Swamp mahogany (E. robusta)
  • Grey gums (E. propinqua and E. biturbinata)

Important local supplementary species include:

  • Grey ironbark (E. siderophloia)
  • White stringybark (E. tindaliae)
  • Brush box (Lophostemon confertus)
  • Broad-leaved paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia)

Structure and function of koala habitat is important. Other vegetation can also provide a habitat role such as protection from predators (e.g. wild and domestic dogs) when koalas are moving between trees and shade, or cover when koalas are resting. It helps to understand how each area of habitat fits or functions within the landscape. An area of habitat on a smaller property could form part of a larger patch of habitat. It could also play an important role in linking habitat patches.

How should I restore koala habitat?

Assisted natural regeneration is the most cost-effective and efficient method to achieve a self-sustaining ecosystem. Aim to create habitat that:

  • contains species diversity similar to the original ecosystem
  • contains local provenance species that are naturally regenerated or locally sourced
  • supports the same structure as the original ecosystem and functions within the landscape
  • allows for monitoring and maintenance including ongoing watering, mulching, weeding and protection if needed, but aims to be self-sustaining or low maintenance.

Where planting is proposed, plant at a density similar to surrounding undisturbed areas. Allow space for trees to develop full crowns, with a range of understorey and groundcover species. Consider proximity to roads and adequate visibility for motorists and koalas.

Who can help me?

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 our Landholder partnerships page.

Assess koala health

If you see a koala please take a moment to assess their health and wellbeing. If a koala displays any of the below symptoms or behaviours, please call Wildcare Australia immediately on 07 5527 2444. Wildcare Australia is an organisation solely operated by volunteers who rescue and care for sick, injured, orphaned or otherwise distressed wildlife.

Distressed koala on the ground

Stopped on the ground

While it’s common for koalas to move, sit and sleep on the ground, prolonged periods where koalas are stopped should be reported.

Koala in the tree

Sitting in the same tree

If a koala hasn’t moved from the same tree for 48 hours or more it could be unwell and should be reported to Wildcare.

Koala walking along a fence

Stained rump

The vast majority of wild koala populations suffer from Chlamydia and require medical attention. Signs of this disease can include a wet or dirty, reddish stained rump.

Koala with Chlamydia

Conjunctivitis

Signs of Conjunctivitis including red, swollen or weepy eyes are common symptoms of Chlamydia in koalas requiring medical attention.

Patchy koala on the ground

Patchy or wounded

Brown matted, patchy or missing fur, blood patches and bite wounds are common signs of injury. Koalas often suffer internal injuries or infections that are far worse than exterior wounds suggest.

Koala walking on the ground

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.

 

All koala health images were provided by the community while reporting their koala sightings through our online form.

Get more involved

We coordinate a range of programs and events throughout the year to support koala conservation on the Gold Coast with a focus on community involvement. Learn more on our Koala conservation and the City page.

Related information

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