The Influence of Habitat Quality and Threat Factors on Long-term Population Trajectories
A major project for the Koala Recovery Partnership will be the design and implementation of a long-term monitoring program for Koalas in the Hastings-Macleay. The study will be done in two Phases. Phase 1 will improve our understanding of koala habitat associations and threats in determining koala distribution and abundance, while Phase 2 will take the knowledge gained from Phase 1 and undertake a stratified long-term monitoring program. By undertaking a stratified study (habitat quality by threat factors), factors underpinning patterns observed in koala abundance and distribution can be disentangled, such that the process behind the observed patterns can be better understood. The study will use koala detection dogs (that sniff for koala scats!) to detect koala presence. Dogs decrease the likelihood of ‘false negatives’ that is assuming koalas are absent when in fact they are present. False negatives are a common occurrence in koala surveys as koalas are so notoriously difficult to spot and their scats can readily be covered by large levels of bark shed in many of the habitats they occupy or hidden in dense understorey vegetation. We look forward to sharing these results with you and welcome hearing from landholders who may want surveys undertaken on their properties!