The first private properties surveyed for koala habitat, have surprised Eurobodalla Koala Project volunteers with their quality.
This is inspiring the small volunteer group to ensure every landholder request is met, despite recent publicity generating a flood to keep them busy until year’s end.
Volunteer researcher Dr Keith Joliffe said “Single plots of less than twenty-five metres radius on two adjacent Deua River sites found a total of seven eucalypt species used by NSW koalas at significant-to-high levels, plus others less intensively used. That’s very exciting from the population revival perspective, because I’ve always thought two significant plus three other species was enough for the diet. On a third property at East Lynne we found five species of significant-to-high use plus one rated as irregularly used.”
Landholders receive detailed datasheets measuring multiple koala habitat factors including trees, slope, aspect, soil and water proximity, as well as fire impact. Photos are taken. A map image displays connectivity with neighbouring private lands, National Parks and State Forests.
“Koalas require large home ranges and wide breeding corridors” Dr Joliffe said, “so the little hotspots we’re finding need to be part of a whole landscape mosaic. We’re investing lots of energy discussing vegetation fragmentation and connectivity with people.”
“We’ll have our work cut out” he added. “Another dozen are waiting, from East Lynne, Runnyford, Surf Beach, Lilli Pilli, Moruya, Meringo, Tilba, even Cambewarra and Coolagolite. And we still have tasks on public tenures under the Gilmore Electorate Commonwealth contract with local environment group Coastwatchers.” Landholders willing to be a little patient can ring Dr Joliffe on 0427 546 156 or make contact through the website eurokoalas.com.