The federal government decision to list the koala as vulnerable in Queensland, NSW and the ACT is not a panacea; it is merely a first step in what will need to be a gargantuan effort by the whole community to reverse the catastrophic population decline of koalas in SE Queensland and northern NSW specifically.
So says Alex Harris, creator of a unique, crowd-sourced koala map and database titled KoalaTracker.
The website allows members of the public to register and record sightings of koalas in their area, including whether they are alive or dead, and to add photographs of the animals they spot.
Launched in February 2010, KoalaTracker.com.au is Australia’s first national database for the mapping of koala location intelligence for the public record. It is of value to all levels of government, to property developers, the tourism industry, koala conservation efforts and the broader community, hungry for accurate information on koalas.
A significant amount of data has already been contributed by members of KoalaTracker from around the country, reporting location and situation of alive, sick, dead and injured koalas, with causes of death and injury, map coordinates, and with in some cases, spectacular photography.
It is now more important than ever that people report koala sightings, the location and causes of koala deaths and injuries to www.koalatracker.com.au, especially for northern NSW where development and disease issues are so seriously affecting the koala population. The KoalaTracker koala mapping project is graphic evidence of hotspots for car strikes and dog attacks, enabling effective risk mitigation.
In some places, entire neighbourhoods have collaborated on mapping the movements of resident koalas. Rescue groups are using it to report their gruesome, heartbreaking work.
School and gardening groups are becoming KoalaTrackers, and it is important that you become a KoalaTracker too, because our koalas are in desperate need of help from the whole community, not just a handful of volunteers.