Meet Gromit who is currently being looked after at Friends of the Koala in Lismore. He was severely dehydrated when he was picked up in Gonellabah.
Conservationists are calling for the support from the North Coast community to undertake a short survey which aims to gain insight into the local koala population and the general public’s attitudes and opinions towards their marsupial neighbours.
By completing the survey you can win a two-night stay at The Byron at Byron.
Professor Clive McAlpine from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at The University of Queensland is working with local councils in Lismore, Ballina, Byron and the Tweed, taking a region-wide approach to koala conservation.
By working with local councils, top koala ecologists and social scientists, Professor McAlpine says the conservation team is looking at a big picture approach to addressing koala decline in the area, which includes not just the ecology of the issues at hand, but also the social elements at play.
“We believe the solution is as much social as it is ecological, so we’re trying to focus on these two dimensions,” Professor McAlpine said.
“We’re hoping to get peoples attitudes and opinions towards koalas, along with more information about where they see koalas, have seen them in the past and if numbers are declining or increasing,” he said.
The information collected will be used to prioritise actions for koala conservation in the area, where to best direct these actions and how to engage with the local community in koala conservation.
While Professor McAlpine praises the local North Coast councils for their proactive approach to koala conservation, he says there are still issues in terms of increased development happening along the coast, which significantly reduces the habitat for local koala populations.
“On the coast we still see a lot of issues in terms of development, loss of koala habitat, roads, and predators such as dogs, which are all major issues, as well as disease,” he said.
The short survey covers the Lismore region right up to Tweed and everyone is encouraged to participate, regardless of whether they live rurally or in town.
The survey will close at the end of February and then the information will be collated and analysed, with a report outlining recommendations presented in the second half of this year.
So far 150 full responses have been received with a minimum of 500 responses needed.
The information received from the community will make a significant impact on koala conservation in the years to come and will in turn have a broader significance for enhancing koala conservation programs elsewhere and for programs for other species of concern.
The survey has two parts. The first involves dragging small icons onto a map of the NSW North Coast Region to mark where you have seen koalas, where you would like to see koalas in the future, and your preferences for future land use that may affect koala conservation. The second part is a simple questionnaire.
By completing the survey you can win a two-day break at five-star resort, The Byron at Byron, or an iPad Pro.
Complete the survey here.