Study to bare all about Aratula's koalas
A study of the koala population in a 40-hectare area at Aratula this month is expected to reveal how one of our national icons is bearing up in a habitat which includes one of the Scenic Rim's busiest main roads.
Council is working with a number of landowners at Aratula, where trained detection dogs will search properties for fresh koala scats on a one-kilometre long strip either side of the Cunningham Highway on Tuesday 31 October and Wednesday 1 November.
Mayor Greg Christensen said DNA testing of the material gathered during the survey would provide an insight into the health of the local koala population and its gene pool.
"Sadly, a number of koalas are killed crossing the Cunningham Highway at Aratula each year and this study will provide us with the information we need to help better protect these animals, which are listed federally as a vulnerable species," he said.
"This type of low-impact survey has been carried out with great success by a number of other councils and could potentially be used in other areas of the Scenic Rim which are known koala habitats."
Cr Christensen said Council was committed to working with the community to preserve and enhance the Scenic Rim's unique natural environment in line with its Biodiversity Strategy, a 10-year framework supporting the shared Community Plan vision for the region's environmental outcomes.
"With overseas tourists nominating Australian wildlife and unspoilt natural areas as drawcards equal to the Great Barrier Reef, our Biodiversity Strategy complements our Tourism Strategy which aims to double the value of our tourism industry to $300 million by 2021," he said.
"The Scenic Rim is home to more than 200 rare or threatened plant and animal species, including the koala, and Council acknowledges the important role of landowners as stewards of the local environment.
"In partnership with the community, we are working to protect the region's biodiversity to ensure a positive legacy for future generations."