A new online survey is encouraging North Coast residents to provide valuable information about some of Australia’s most significant and vulnerable koala populations. And – apart from the feelgood factor – there’s an extra incentive for people to complete the survey.
Locals can now record their sightings and thoughts about koalas as part of the survey, which is being jointly run by the University of Queensland, Southern Cross University and the University of Sydney.
The NSW North Coast Koala Study aims to document attitudes and opinions towards koalas and how to best manage them across the Lismore, Ballina, Byron and Tweed local government areas. The result will provide valuable data for Lismore City Council to determine how to manage koalas into the future.
University of Queensland researcher associate professor Kelly Fielding said the study ‘aimed to understand people’s thoughts and experiences of koalas in the region, and gather their opinions on the best management for conservation’.
‘Conserving the koala is a major challenge for Australian governments and society,’ she said.
‘While understanding the habitat requirements of koalas is essential, recovery plans are often less than successful because we don’t understand how these plans impact on local communities.’
She said the project is researching the koala’s relevance to the community, so that koala management plans and conservation programs can reflect community preferences.
‘A potential benefit of this project is that councils can get a better sense of how people would like their environment to be managed for conserving koalas,’ she said.
The survey takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete and can be accessed at www.northcoastkoala.net.
As a bonus, people completing it will go in a prize draw for their choice of a two-day break at The Byron at Byron resort or a 2017 iPad Pro.