Koalas

The koala is arguably one of Australia's best known and most appealing native animals. The scientific name of Phascolarctos cinereus means leather pouch and a bear, ashen grey in colour. Koalas are not however bears, they are large herbivorous marsupials, well adapted to life in trees.

Koalas in Logan

The koala is arguably one of Australia's best known and most appealing native animals. The scientific name of Phascolarctos cinereus means leather pouch and a bear, ashen grey in colour. Koalas are not however bears, they are large herbivorous marsupials, well adapted to life in trees.

In Queensland koalas weigh between 5 - 10 kg and have short pale grey fur. Koalas in southern parts of Australia are much larger and have darker thicker fur. Koalas are solitary animals and have strong home ranges which may overlap. Breeding generally occurs between late winter and late summer, and young are usually born between September and May. Females usually give birth every two years, and the young stay with their mother for the first 12 months.

Koalas generally move slowly and deliberately, but are able to move quickly when threatened. Koalas are nocturnal and spend only a few hours a day feeding. They are more active at night, changing trees two or three times. Koalas feed almost exclusively on Eucalyptus leaves. In south-east Queensland, their preferred tree species for feeding and shelter are from the genera Eucalyptus, Corymbia, Angophora, Lophostemon, Melaleuca and Leptospermum.

Koalas inhabit a large area of eastern Australia, from the Atherton Tablelands in north Queensland, through New South Wales and Victoria, to parts of South Australia. In Queensland, the greatest concentration of koalas is in south-east Queensland, particularly the region of the Koala Coast.

Koalas are found in a range of habitats including open forests and woodland. They can also live in suburban areas provided safe habitat is available. Alluvial floodplains are known to provide the most fertile koala habitat areas. In Logan, much of this area has been cleared in the past for agriculture.
The koala is currently listed as 'regionally vulnerable' for the South-east Queensland Bioregion under Queensland's Nature Conservation Act 1992, and 'vulnerable' in Queensland under the Federal Government Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The major threats to the survival of the koala are habitat loss, vehicle strikes and dogs. Koalas are also susceptible to serious diseases such as Chlamydia and Koala Retrovirus, which are common in Queensland populations.

For more information on koalas in Logan and what Council is doing, see Logan's Koala Conservation Strategic Plan.

For more information on koala ecology, see the Koala Ecology webpage from DEHP.

Where are koalas in Logan? 

Logan City Council recently engaged the services of Maya, a professionally-trained koala scat detection dog. She searched a number of Council parks where there was little or no information about koala presence.

This map shows where koala scats were found, indicating koala presence:

 

For a larger image, please open the Koala Presence Logan 2014 - Scat Detection Dog Map (PDF 845 KB)

Council also collects data on koala sightings made by community members through our Report Your Wildlife Sightings page, and other sources such as State Government records.

This map shows the community sightings: 

Koala Sightings Map

For a larger image, please open the Koala Sightings Map (PDF 4264 KB) 

The majority of koala sightings made by community members are in the eastern suburbs of the city such as Daisy Hill, Shailer Park, Springwood, and Cornubia. The large number of sightings in this part of the city most likely corresponds to the fact that this area is more densely populated and therefore encounters with koalas are more common than the less populated parts of the city. 

Based on community sightings data, and the results of the koala presence surveys using Maya, other areas where koalas are found in Logan include: 

  • Slacks Creek and Meadowbrook
  • Berrinba
  • Beenleigh and Mt Warren Park
  • Chambers Flat
  • Jimboomba and Logan Village

It is very important for community members to continue to report any koala sightings, dead or alive, as this vital information will contribute towards conservation planning to ensure the long-term recovery of the koala in Logan.

Living with koalas

Here in Logan we are fortunate enough to have one of our most famous Australians - the koala - living in many parts of the city. As residents, we can all become more aware of koalas and consider what actions we might take to reduce threats such as dog attacks, car strikes, and restriction of habitat.

Dogs

Dog attacks contribute to a significant number of koala deaths and injuries. Many dogs are curious by nature and even if they do not have a tendency to chase and catch wildlife, just pawing or mouthing a koala can cause serious injuries as koalas have thin skin. Read the common misconceptions (PDF 262 KB) about koalas and dogs.
There are a number of things you can do to ensure that koalas are kept safe from your dog:

  • If you are with your dog and see a koala, restrain the dog until the koala moves off on its own accord.
  • Keep your dog inside or appropriately restrained at night - this is when koalas are most active.
  • Give your dog its own play-area fenced off from the rest of the yard with Koala Exclusion Fencing.
  • A great idea is to create a space, called a 'den', where your dog feels safe. Dogs like to have their own space, which is why you'll often find your dog lies under the table, your bed or a chair. A den might be something like a laundry or enclosed space like a balcony where your pet has shelter and is comfortable. Dog kennels are another great option, however if you use a kennel tether your dog to the kennel at night so it is away from occupied or potential koala food trees, or place its kennel within a 'koala-proof' fenced enclosure. See the DEHP website for more information on fencing.
  • Consider obedience training to discourage your dog from chasing wildlife. Regular exercise will also use up your dog's energy and make it less likely to chase wildlife.
  • If you are thinking of getting a new dog and live near bushland, a smaller dog is less threatening to koalas.

For further details and great ideas for dogs, see the following factsheets from the RSPCA Animal Training and Behaviour Centre:

For more details on dog ownership and koalas, see the Logan City Council Living with Dogs and Koalas environmental factsheet (PDF 345 KB) or the Koala and Dogs factsheet from DEHP. 

Free dog behaviour seminars

Council, in conjunction with the RSPCA Animal Training and Behaviour Centre, the Daisy Hill Koala Centre, and the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland have been running free seminars on how to reduce your dog's impact on wildlife.

The next seminar will be held on Tuesday 25 August from 5.30pm - 7.30pm at Jimboomba. 

If you are interested in these seminars, or other future environmental workshops and activities, see the Environmental Events and Activities page, or email environment@logan.qld.gov.au to register your interest.

Driving

Not only is hitting an animal a distressing experience for a driver, car strikes kill or injure many koalas and other wildlife each year. Road Kill Koala

  • Be especially aware for koalas and other wildlife when driving on roads, especially between dusk and dawn as this is the time when wildlife is most active.
  • Take extra care and be alert to the possibility of wildlife when driving through gullies, approaching corners, on crests and in areas with roadside vegetation.
  • See the blackspot list for roads in Logan to take particular care (currently under development).
  • If you see wildlife on the road at night you should slow down, sound your horn and dim your lights.
  • If you do hit an animal or see one that has been hit, call 1300 ANIMAL or a wildlife rescue contact

For more information see the Koalas and Cars factsheet (PDF 742 KB) from DEHP.

Backyard fencing

Fences can literally be a real barrier to koalas and other wildlife trying to move between properties. Koalas have quite strong home ranges and usually like to visit certain trees within their range - you might be lucky and have one of these favoured trees growing in your backyard!
Fencing can be designed or modified in numerous ways to allow easy access by koalas and other wildlife.

For more details please see the Koala-sensitive Design Guideline from DEHP. 

Swimming pools

Koalas can drown if they fall into a pool and are unable to get out. It is quite easy to prevent this happening.
For existing pools you can attach a piece of rope that the koala can use to climb out.
If you are building a pool, think about designing it with a 'beach-type' access or large steps.
For more details on these ideas and more, please see the Koala Threats information page from DEHP.

Backyards

There are many things you can do to make your backyard more enticing to koalas and other wildlife. If you have a large backyard, consider planting trees for koalas (PDF 226 KB). You can also take advantage of Council's Free Tree  program.
See the Make Your Backyard Koala Friendly (PDF 258 KB)and Wildlife-Friendly Backyards factsheets for more great ideas.

Get involved

Council has many programs and activities for residents to become involved in. These include:

If you see a koala in Logan, Council would love to know about it! See Report your Wildlife Sightings.

How to spot a koala 

Koalas can be found throughout the year, but you may be more likely to see or hear them during the breeding season from early spring to late summer.

The Koala Sightings Map (PDF 4264 KB) shows the locations of community koala sightings in Logan.

To increase your chance of seeing a koala in Logan, try visiting one of these parks where koalas are known to occur:

 hiding koala

Koalas are notoriously difficult to see. If you go searching for koalas, look for these signs that indicate a koala might be in the area:

koala scratch marks     koala scratch marks

Scratch marks on trees. These may also be from goannas or possums.

koala scat

Koala scats (poo) around the base of trees. They are bullet-shaped and smell strongly of eucalyptus if they are fresh. 

For more help on identifying koala scats see What scat is that? on ABC Science. 

 What should I do if I see a koala?

  1. Ensure the koala isn't in danger - i.e. restrain dogs until the koala moves off on its own accord; attempt to help it off the road (if safe for you and it is uninjured).
  2. Observe the koala - does it look sick or injured
  3. Record details of the koala such as:
    - location of sighting. Include address and physical location. E.g. in a gumtree in the middle of 5 Smith Drive, Logan.
    - sex (if possible). Males have larger noses and heads than females, and have a large dirty patch on their chest which is a scent gland.
    - estimated age (if possible)
    - any other important features such as the presence of joeys
  4. Report your koala sighting to Council online through the Report Your Wildlife Sightings  page or by calling the Environment and Sustainability Branch on 3412 3412.

 Even hearing koala calls or seeing a dead koala (such as roadkill) should be reported to Council.

Further Information

Sick or injured koalas

If a koala exhibits any of these signs it may be sick or injured:

  • eyes are inflamed, red, puffy, crusty and/or weeping (conjunctivitis)
  • very dirty or wet bottom (cystitis)
  • signs of injury such as cuts and blood
  • very skinny
  • not using all four limbs when climbing or walking
  • staying in a tree for more than a couple of days
  • sitting at the base of a tree, too weak to climb

What should you do if you find a sick or injured koala?

Call the Daisy Hill Koala Ambulance on 07 3299 1032 or 0412 429 898 (365 days a year, from 8am to 4.30pm).

If you find the koala outside of the ambulance operation times, please call RSPCA 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625) or Wildcare 07 5527 2444.

Both the RSPCA and Wildcare can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for all sick or injured animals.

For more information see the Sick or Injured Koala Factsheet (PDF 259 KB).

 A koala with conjunctivitis

A koala with conjunctivitis (notice the red crusty swollen eyes)
Image Courtesy© Queensland Government

 A koala with cystitis

A koala with cystitis (notice the dirty stained bottom)
Image Courtesy© Queensland Government

sick koala

This is a sick koala as it is sitting at the base of a tree and is very skinny (notice the prominent spine)

What is Council doing?

Logan's Koala Conservation Strategic Plan

The Koala Conservation Strategic Plan aims to ensure the long-term viability of koalas in Logan City by providing a framework with quantifiable outcomes, objectives and deliverable actions.

Logan's Koala Conservation Strategic Plan 2013-2023 (PDF 1562 KB)

This document is currently under review following community feedback that was received between 3rd February and 16th May 2014. 

Protecting and increasing koala habitat

Council has a long standing commitment to preserve areas of environmental importance, particularly koala habitat areas. Council has secured large areas of bushland where koalas are common, and vegetation protection and appropriate land zonings have been in place for those areas for many years.

Most of the core koala habitat in Logan is zoned for conservation. Council acquires bushland for conservation purposes, protects and enhances key corridors, and undertakes revegetation using offset contributions and funding from the Environmental Levy.

As Council is faced with an increased population and greater demand for housing, it is important to continue to identify and protect koala habitat.
Council has developed an Ecological Significance Map which identifies areas of the City with high ecological value, including areas of importance to koalas.
The draft Logan Planning Scheme 2014 will have mechanisms that will protect and enhance these areas.

Future development will be directed towards areas mapped as low ecological value. Any development that does occur will require offsetting (i.e. cleared vegetation must be replaced by onsite revegetation or a financial contribution). Offsets will contribute to an increase in koala habitat in Logan, and will connect significant areas of fragmented vegetation.

Logan's Koala Conservation Strategic Plan 2013-2023 will further outline the mechanisms of the Planning Scheme that address koala-specific issues, and will also list a number of actions that will improve the status of koalas in Logan.

Koala Nature Refuges

Council has protected a number of parks as Koala Nature Refuges with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection. These parks are:

Increasing scientific knowledge of koalas

In order to adequately manage and improve the prospects for koalas in Logan, and south east Queensland, it is vital to know where they are, and to understand their population dynamics and interactions with the environment. Logan's Koala Conservation Strategic Plan 2013-2023 will outline a number of research projects Council hopes to investigate in order to better inform future koala management.

Council has recently undertaken extensive surveys across the City to determine koala presence at a number of parks and reserves. A specially-trained detection dog, Maya, searched for koala scats, which indicate the presence of koalas. Maya is faster, more accurate, and more efficient than human searchers.

See Koalas in Logan for the survey results. 

To read more about Maya, please visit Koala Detection Dog.  

Increasing community knowledge of koalas

Residents of Logan are encouraged to increase their knowledge of koalas. Council has updated the website with information on koalas in Logan, including parks where there is a good chance of seeing a koala and signs to look for.

Reducing threats to koalas

Logan City Council has a number of policies and programs in place to reduce the threat to koalas.
The draft Environmental Management Planning Scheme Policy will address the protection, enhancement and connection of koala habitat. It will also have provisions for safe koala movement, including requirements for roads, fencing, and vegetation clearing.

Logan City Council works in partnership with the Department of Transport & Main Roads (DTMR) to increase awareness of koala movements across our roads by installing Koala warning signs.  The Traffic Section works closely with the Environment & Sustainability Branch to determine and identify the most suitable locations for the installation of such signs. Warning signs are used infrequently and on a merit basis to ensure they remain effective to drivers.

Logan City Council is completing the Corridor Barriers Mapping Project to identify existing road barriers to koala movement, and options to retrofit these barriers. This includes roads that cause existing problems and known upgrades that may cause problems.

Residents of Logan are encouraged to reduce threats to koalas through their own actions.

For ideas on what you can do to help koalas, see Living With Koalas.

Free dog behaviour seminars

Council, in conjunction with the RSPCA Animal Training and Behaviour Centre and the Daisy Hill Koala Centre, have been running free seminars on how to reduce your dog's impact on wildlife.

The next seminar will be held on Tuesday 25 August from 5.30pm - 7.30pm at Jimboomba. 

If you are interested in these seminars, or other future environmental workshops and activities, see the Environmental Events and Activities page, or email environment@logan.qld.gov.au to register your interest.

Private land owner incentives

Logan City Council recognises that significant areas of land are in private ownership, and therefore has a number of incentives to encourage private landowners to retain, enhance, and revegetate their properties, for the benefit of all wildlife including koalas.
These incentives include Land for Wildlife, Voluntary Conservation Agreements, and Voluntary Conservation Covenants.

Logan City Council provides free trees to residents to promote revegetation.

All residents are encouraged to make their backyard or veranda wildlife-friendly. Residents can look at the website for ideas and inspiration

Community activities

Council promotes and encourages environmental awareness amongst the community. 
Logan residents can participate in one of the many environmental activities Council holds throughout the year. This includes the annual Logan Eco Action Festival (LEAF) - a fun, informative day coinciding with World Environment Day.

Residents can also become involved through EnviroGrants and the Bushcare Program.

Logan Community Koala Surveys

For the past three years, Logan City Council in conjunction with Redland City Council and Redland Koala Action Group, have run a community koala sightings survey over a weekend in October.

The results from each survey have been collated by Council's Environment Officers and can be viewed in the following fact sheets:

Logan Koala Awareness Survey 2011-2012

Logan City Council ran a community survey from 16 November 2011 to 20 January 2012. The main purpose of the survey was to get an overview of the community's perceptions and knowledge of koalas in Logan. The survey will be run again in a few years to determine if there has been a shift in perceptions and an increase in knowledge as a result of the actions implemented as a result of this first survey.

Links for further koala information

Research

Diet

Population Dynamics

Habitat assessment and restoration

Genetics

Koala bellows

Disease

Chlamydia vaccine

Climate change and koalas

Drought

Threats

Detection dogs

Local environmental community groups

Queensland environmental groups

Environmental websites

Wildlife parks in Logan

General koala information