Koala numbers at Toondah strong than thought, tracking project expected to show

UNIT LIVING: Ethan the koala at a Shore Street East unit block where it lived. It shows these animals can survive if trees are left on footpaths and development sites.

UNIT LIVING: Ethan the koala at a Shore Street East unit block where it lived. It shows these animals can survive if trees are left on footpaths and development sites.

PRELIMINARY information from a koala tagging and tracking project in the Toondah precinct at Cleveland shows koala numbers are stronger than thought.

Koala Action Group president Debbie Pointing said the tracking project showed the area was potentially the last stronghold of healthy breeding koalas on the mainland Redlands.

Leading koala scientist Deidre de Villiers, had found that a healthy breeding population of koalas lived in and around Toondah. 

“The numbers are at least triple of what KAG estimated to be in the area,” Ms Pointing said. “Vet checks have confirmed this year that four of the five tracked females have pouch young.

“Disease is very low, something that is rare for the Redlands mainland koalas.”

Ms Pointing said management strategies must be implemented if the koalas were to have a future because they were living where tourists departed for North Stradbroke Island and where dog owners used the off-leash area at GJ Walter Park.

She said key trees identified during the project must be protected in perpetuity, something that could be done with smarter development design.

Traffic calming and signage should be used to alert motorists and tourists of the 50km/hr speed zone and that koalas regularly crossed roads

She said council must recognise the tourism potential of these koalas to draw tourists into the Redlands with a guaranteed koala sighting.

These visitors could then go onto visit other district landmarks and spend money in the area.

A heritage/koala walk could be developed in an easy 2 kilometre zone in and around Toondah.

Ms Pointing said Dr de Villiers report was in its final stages and she had asked Redland City mayor Karen Williams and other councillors if they would be available for a presentation on the research, partly funded by council, from Dr de Villiers.

She said Cr Williams had declined because of being too busy as she was soon going overseas.

Ms Pointing said that Ethan, one of the koalas being tracked, was still missing.

Depending on the outcome of Dr de Villiers report, it could be used by opponents of the Toondah Harbour redevelopment, at least in relation to those parts of it that will impact on vegetation.

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