Koala Conservation

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Koala Conservation Plan
The City is working hard to conserve koalas across the Gold Coast via the implementation of the city wide Koala Conservation Plan. This Koala Conservation Plan builds on the previous experience and learnings of the Elanora-Currumbin Waters, East Coomera and Burleigh Ridge koala conservation plans, and identifies informed and targeted actions to mitigate key threats to koalas across the city.

Community involvement
It is essential that community members, like you, get involved to ensure the long-term survival of koalas on the Gold Coast. You can get involved by:
  • becoming a member of the Koala Friends Program
  • completing a Koala Sighting Form to report a koala sighting
  • calling 1300 GOLDCOAST (1300 465 326) to report a koala sighting
  • sharing your koala story and uploading photos here.

Learn about koalas, the threats facing them, our conservation efforts to save them and what you can do to help koalas on the Gold Coast here.

Koala breeding season is July to January
During this period the movement of koalas increases as juveniles disperse in search of their own home range and adults seek a mate. the increase in movement also raises the chance of harm.

Have you found a koala that needs help?

If you see a koala that needs rescuing, call the Wildcare Australia Inc. 24 hour hotline on 07 5527 2444.

What to look out for to know if a koala needs rescuing:
  • being stuck on a fence in a hazardous situation, for example, beside a busy road
  • observed sitting or sleeping on the ground for an extended period
  • sitting in the same tree for more than 48 hours
  • physical signs of injury, for example, limping, inability to climb, blood patches on fur, etc.
  • any visibly missing fur
  • a 'wet' or 'dirty' reddish stained rump
  • conjunctivitis (red, swollen, weepy) eyes.
If you are unsure if a koala requires rescue, please call Wildcare Australia Inc. on 07 5527 2444. Advice can be provided over the phone and a record of the koala's location will be made for further observation or rescue.


Koala Conservation Plan
The City is working hard to conserve koalas across the Gold Coast via the implementation of the city wide Koala Conservation Plan. This Koala Conservation Plan builds on the previous experience and learnings of the Elanora-Currumbin Waters, East Coomera and Burleigh Ridge koala conservation plans, and identifies informed and targeted actions to mitigate key threats to koalas across the city.

Community involvement
It is essential that community members, like you, get involved to ensure the long-term survival of koalas on the Gold Coast. You can get involved by:
  • becoming a member of the Koala Friends Program
  • completing a Koala Sighting Form to report a koala sighting
  • calling 1300 GOLDCOAST (1300 465 326) to report a koala sighting
  • sharing your koala story and uploading photos here.

Learn about koalas, the threats facing them, our conservation efforts to save them and what you can do to help koalas on the Gold Coast here.

Koala breeding season is July to January
During this period the movement of koalas increases as juveniles disperse in search of their own home range and adults seek a mate. the increase in movement also raises the chance of harm.

Have you found a koala that needs help?

If you see a koala that needs rescuing, call the Wildcare Australia Inc. 24 hour hotline on 07 5527 2444.

What to look out for to know if a koala needs rescuing:
  • being stuck on a fence in a hazardous situation, for example, beside a busy road
  • observed sitting or sleeping on the ground for an extended period
  • sitting in the same tree for more than 48 hours
  • physical signs of injury, for example, limping, inability to climb, blood patches on fur, etc.
  • any visibly missing fur
  • a 'wet' or 'dirty' reddish stained rump
  • conjunctivitis (red, swollen, weepy) eyes.
If you are unsure if a koala requires rescue, please call Wildcare Australia Inc. on 07 5527 2444. Advice can be provided over the phone and a record of the koala's location will be made for further observation or rescue.


  • Koala welfare with our partner Currumbin Wildlife Hospital

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    19 Dec 2018
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    From January to November this year, 223 koalas from the Gold Coast area were admitted to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital. Outcomes for koalas admitted to the hospital are grave, with 65 per cent of them deceased and 20 per cent still currently in care. The remaining 15 per cent have been released back into the wild.

    Reason for admission:

    • 7% were bitten by dogs

    40% of all dog bites occurred in September

    • 21% were hit by vehicles

    49% of vehicle strikes occurred in September and October

    • 56 % were diagnosed with disease

    81% of disease diagnosed was Chlamydial disease

    Suburbs with most koala hospital admissions

    Elanora - 12%

    Helensvale - 11%

    Coomera - 9%

    Tallebudgera - 9%

    Dr. Michael Pyne, Senior Veterinarian at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Hospital recently commented that “over the previous year, the hospital has treated 400 koalas, compared to 10 years ago when it only treated 30 koalas per year.”

    Photo credit: Amanda Tzannes
  • Koala sightings

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    19 Dec 2018
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    Data is vital for koala conservation planning and management, none more-so than the sighting records collected by the community. Understanding where and when koalas are on the move helps the City to mitigate the threats and challenges faced by the Gold Coast’s iconic vulnerable species.

    This year, 551 koala sighting records were reported to the City, largely by the community. Of these reports, 26 were ear-tagged koalas (different individuals) meaning they had received care, a health check or were monitored at some time in the past. Reporting also found 9 per cent of our koalas reported had visible back or pouch young,7 per cent of koalas were visibly unwell and 3 per cent of koalas reported were deceased.

    Koalas crossing a road made up 15 per cent of all reports, which had a very strong correlation with the peak of the breeding season in August and September. Nearly half, 47 per cent, of all road crossing sightings were observed within these two months. (All data ranges from January to the end of November)

    Top 5 suburbs for koala sightings:

    1. Elanora - 74

    2. Burleigh Heads - 57

    3. Clagiraba - 54

    4. Tallebudgera - 54

    5. Helensvale - 40

    The busiest months for koala sightings were:

    1. August - 92

    2. September - 86
    (coinciding with the peak of breeding season)

    The City thanks you for all of your sightings. Please continue to report koala sightings any time on 1300 GOLDCOAST (1300 465 326) or submit a koala sighting online.

    Photo Credit: Isabelle Cheyne – taken Sept 2018, Currumbin Waters

  • 20,000 tree milestone at Schusters Park

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    12 Nov 2018
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    In 2017, the City was awarded an Australian Government 20 Million Trees Program grant to further enhance and expand koala habitat at Schusters Park, Tallebudgera. 20,000 trees have now been installed, ticking off a large milestone for the project.

    Combined with previous initiatives, this brings the total of plants installed at the park to 38,000 with a further 25,000 estimated to be planted over the next two to four years.

    The project is helping to provide linkage between habitat areas for koalas, which is particularly important in the breeding season between July and September when koalas are on the move.

    The map below shows completed planting projects (in green) and future planting projects (red) in Schusters Park. The dots marked on the map represent singular koala friendly park trees, which will also double as shade to accompany existing pathways. The crosshatched polygons represent dense plantings. (note: map may not display on mobile devices)


    In addition to the tree plantings, ecological restoration works have continued upstream by the City’s Natural Areas management Unit, whose specialist restoration teams have controlled woody weeds such as Camphor Laurel and Easter Cassia.

    Whilst investments into the park grow more refuge for koalas, it is important for us to assume some responsibility for their conservation too.

    Most koalas do their travelling between trees on the ground between dusk and dawn. Early mornings or late afternoons are also popular times for us to be walking our dogs. A little extra care and awareness of potential encounter periods can go a long way towards a harmonious time-share of the park.

    What can you do?

    By following these simple actions, the risk of your dog injuring or killing a koala can be greatly reduced.

      • Don’t assume your dog is friendly: When approached by an unfamiliar animal a dog may feel threatened and might react in an unexpected manner.
      • Keep your dog under effective control: If you see a koala on the ground in a dog off leash area, please place your dog on a lead until the koala climbs back up a tree and is safe.
      • Train your dog: If you are concerned that your dog might chase a koala, another option is to consider obedience training. This will not only protect koalas but also give you greater control over your dog. Advice on obedience training techniques can be provided by dog training schools in your area.
      • Be prepared to help out: In the unfortunate event your dog comes in contact with a koala it is important that you immediately report the incident to Wildcare Australia Inc. Save the Wildcare telephone number to your contacts (07 5527 2444 ; 24hours) so you are prepared to help a koala to be rescued and transferred to a wildlife hospital for examination and treatment.

    The City will continue to engage school and community groups through more planting events, encouraging locals to play a part in the rehabilitation of the native vegetation, and the responsible use of the multi-purpose park.

    Keep an eye out for upcoming tree planting days on the NaturallyGC program website.

    If you are not already a member, join the Koala Friends Program to keep updated on city wide koala conservation initiatives and get tips on how you can make koala protection part of your day.


    Photo: Saraya Robinson
  • Breeding Season: Increase in Koala Admissions to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital

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    08 Aug 2018
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    Koalas living in urban areas are more vulnerable to threats posed by barriers, vehicle strikes, dogs, disease and bushfire. Unfortunately during the breeding season the level of threat is elevated due to the increase in koalas dispersing across roads and through residential backyards. The number of Gold Coast koalas that require rescue and veterinary treatment significantly increases over the peak breeding months (Figure 1), July through to January. The three main threats causing the increase are vehicle strikes, disease (chlamydia) and koala-dog interactions.

    Figure 1: Fate of all Gold Coast koalas admitted to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital between 2010 and 2018.

    Veterinary care and wildlife rescue services for Gold Coast koalas are predominantly carried out by not-for-profit and volunteer organisations including Wildcare Australia Inc. and Currumbin Wildlife Hospital. Wildcare Australia Inc. is an organisation solely operated by volunteers who rescue and care for sick, injured, orphaned or otherwise distressed wildlife, including koalas. Currumbin Wildlife Hospital (CWH) is a not-for-profit facility and the primary provider of veterinary treatment for rescued koalas from the Gold Coast.

    The cost involved in treating koalas is particularly extensive - ultrasound, laboratory testing, fluid therapy, medications and lots of fresh gum daily, is just a part of what is involved to care for these beautiful animals. CWH spends on average more than $6000 on each koala patient that is admitted and costs add up very quickly.

    We are well into this year’s koala breeding season and CWH are already experiencing a high number of koalas being admitted for treatment. The CWH has many programs where you can help support the koalas in their care:

    · Tree to Me Program

    · Walkways for Wildlife

    · Volunteer Program

    · DIY Fundraising

    · Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Giving Fund

    · Green Patch Day

    We would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all staff and volunteers involved in the rescue and treatment of our precious Gold Coast koalas. Organisations like Wildcare Australia Inc. and Currumbin Wildlife Hospital are essential to the ongoing sustainability of koala populations within the city.

  • Breeding Season: Koala Friendly Backyards

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    08 Aug 2018
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    We are well into this year’s koala breeding season and Gold Coast koalas are on the move. Unfortunately koalas living in urban areas have to move through residential backyards in order to disperse, find food and undertake home ranging behaviours. Some backyard fence designs can trap a koala or restrict access to available food and shelter trees.. For yards where a dog is present, unsuitable fences allowing access for koalas may lead to them sustaining potentially fatal injuries. Below are four ways you can create a koala friendly backyard and assist with safe koala movement:

    1. Safely contain your dog: When your dog is approached by an unfamiliar animal in their own backyard, it may feel threatened and react in an unexpected manner. Prevent koala-dog interactions by safely containing your dog at night by keeping it indoors at night or confined on a veranda or garage area. Smaller enclosures or runs are also suitable for night time use, or your dog may be comfortable on a long lead.

    2. Koala Friendly fencing: If you are updating your boundary fence consider installing a koala friendly fence which will allow koalas to safely enter and exit your yard. Here are some examples of koala friendly fencing and some cute photos of koalas using these designs.

    Fencing made from material that koalas can easily grip to climb.

    Fencing that allows koalas to move under or through easily.

    Wooden fencing they can grip (Kerry Townsend, 2017)

    Use of wooden posts they can grip

    Use materials they can climb (Yvonne Winter, 2018)

    Wooden fence they can grip


    3. Provide alternative route: If you currently have fencing that isn’t koala friendly, for example colourbond/steel fencing, there are some easy ways to allow koalas an alternative route out of the yard.

    Allow koalas an alternative route over a fence by retaining trees or sturdy shrubs alongside the fence.


    Allow koalas an alternative route out of the yard by placing timber posts or logs on the inside of the fence.

    4. Koala exclusion fences: Sometimes the best option is a fence that excludes koalas from entering your yard if you have dogs or need to keep koalas out of a dog confinement area. Koala exclusion fences can be constructed using metal sheeting (such as smooth colorbond steel) or rendered brick surfaces that do not provide grip for a koala to climb. Find out more about koala exclusion fence designs here.

    5. Provide shelter trees: Provide refuge for koalas passing through your yard by planting native shrubs and trees in your backyard. Other native fauna species will also benefit from your new native garden. Find out what to plant in your yard here.

    In the unfortunate event your dog comes into contact with a koala or you find a koala trapped in your yard, please immediately report the incident o Wildcare Australia Inc. on 07 5527 2444 (24 hours) so the koala can be rescued and transferred to a wildlife hospital for examination and treatment if needed.

    Koala conservation is everyone’s responsibility.

    Thank you for creating a koala friendly backyard.

  • Koala Rescues: When should you call Wildcare Australia Inc?

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    07 Aug 2018
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    Koalas living in urban areas are more vulnerable to threats posed by habitat fragmentation, vehicle strike, dogs, disease and bushfire. Unfortunately during the breeding season, the level of threat is elevated due to the increase in koalas dispersing across roads and through residential backyards. During every breeding season there is a spike in the number of koalas that require rescue and/or treatment due to these threats.

    If you see a koala, please take a moment to assess the health and wellbeing of the animal by following these guidelines. If the koala is displaying any of the below symptoms or behaviours please immediately call Wildcare Australia Inc. on 07 5527 2444 (24 hours) to notify them of the koala.

    Poor health symptoms

    Sitting or sleeping on the ground (R. Rivard, 2017)

    Sitting in the same tree for more than 48 hours

    Has 'wet' or 'dirty' reddish stained rump

    Conjunctivitis - red, swollen, weepy eye/s

    Brown matted or patchy fur, blood patches, missing fur and/or bite wounds

    Hazardous situation

    Trapped on road and at risk of being hit by vehicle (Fallan, 2016)

    Trapped in backyard with or near a dog (C. Witkiss, 2017)

    Wildcare Australia Inc. is an organisation solely operated by volunteers who rescue and care for sick, injured, orphaned or otherwise distressed wildlife, including koalas. To find out how you can help this organisation including becoming a wildlife volunteer, click here.

    All images were provided by the community while reporting their koala sightings through our online form at www.gchaveyoursay.com.au/koalas. Even if you see a healthy koala we would like to hear from you as all reported sightings attribute to the ecological data that shapes the conservation measures we put in place across the city.

    Koala conservation is everyone’s responsibility.

    Thank you for reporting your koala sightings.

  • Breeding Season: Increase in Koala–Dog Interactions

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    07 Aug 2018
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    The city is home to an estimated 117,500 domestic dogs (60,382 registered and approximately 57,000 unregistered). Most incidents between dogs and koalas occur when a koala enters the backyard of a property where a dog is present. Koala-dog interactions occur throughout the year but there is a spike in these incidents during the koala breeding season. This is due to koalas increasing their movements through backyards when young koalas are dispersing from their mothers and adult males are in search of a mate.

    The graph below shows the number of koalas admitted to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital (CWH) due to sustaining injuries from a dog. The data demonstarates the signifcant increase in these incidents during the peak months of the breeding season (July – January). Just a single dog bite can seriously injure or kill a koala. Unfortunately the majority of koala-dog interactions are ultimately fatal due to life-threatening internal injuries and/or infection caused from bacteria entering the puncture wounds. Figure 1 visually displays the high number of koalas addmitted to CWH that have died as a result of sustaining injuries from a dog.


    Figure 1: Fate of Gold Coast koalas admitted to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital with injuries obtained by a dog/s between 2010 and 2018.

    What can you do?

    Most koala movements between trees involve travelling on the ground, mainly between dusk and dawn. By following these simple actions, the risk of your dog injuring or killing a koala can be greatly reduced.

    • Safely contain your dog: If possible, keep your dog indoors at night or confined on a veranda or garage area. Smaller enclosures or runs are also suitable for night time use, or your dog may be comfortable on a long lead.
    • Keep your dog under effective control: If you see a koala on the ground in a dog off leash area, please place your dog on a lead until the koala climbs back up a tree and is safe. It is an offence to allow your dog off leash in any public area other than a designated off leash area.
    • Install koala friendly fencing: Fencing which allows koalas to easily climb out of your yard will assist them if they do encounter a dog. Alternatively use fencing which ensures koalas cannot access your dog’s yard. Click here for more information.
    • Don’t assume your dog is friendly: When approached by an unfamiliar animal in their own backyard a dog may feel threatened and might react in an unexpected manner.

    In the unfortunate event your dog comes in contact with a koala it is important that you immediately report the incident to Wildcare Australia Inc. on 07 5527 2444 (24 hours) so the koala can be rescued and transferred to a wildlife hospital for examination and treatment if needed. The City and local wildlife organisations understand that despite following responsible pet ownership actions and creating a koala safe backyard, sometimes these incidents do still occur. Reporting these incidents is vital in being a responsible pet owner.

    Koala conservation is everyone’s responsibility.

    Thank you for being a responsible pet owner!


  • Implementation of the Koala Variable Message Sign Program

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    08 Aug 2018
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    Due to historical land use within the city, many major roads and rail lines intersect koala habitat. Koalas regularly cross roads and rail lines to access food, shelter and to socialise with other koalas as part of home ranging behaviour. During the peak breeding season months, July – January, there is an increase in koala movement as last year’s young disperse from their mothers and adult males try to find a mate. During these months there is an unfortunate increase in the probability that koalas will come into contact with urban threats, including vehicles.

    Figure 1 below shows the number of Gold Coast koalas admitted to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital due to being hit by a vehicle between 2010 and 2018. The data demonstrates the significant increase in the number of vehicle strikes during the peak breeding months. Unfortunately koalas have a high rate of mortality following a vehicle strike due to sustaining severe injury and/or infections from the incident.



    Figure 1: Fate of Gold Coast koalas admitted to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital with injuries obtained by a vehicle strike between 2010 and 2018.

    The Vulnerable Species Management team have been working with the Transport and Traffic team to include koala messaging within the Variable Message Signs (VMS) deployment schedule, with the aim to reduce the number of koala vehicle strikes. These koala ‘hot spot’ roads have been identified through the collection of koala vehicle strike data and signs will be deployed on these roads during the peak breeding months. Roads included in the koala VMS deployment schedule include:


    Northern Gold Coast Locations

    Southern Gold Coast Locations

    Captain Cook Drive, Arundel

    Guineas Creek Road, Elanora

    Napper Road, Parkwood

    Simpsons Road, Elanora

    Foxwell Road, Coomera

    Galleon Way, Currumbin Waters

    Colman Road, Coomera

    Trees Road, Tallebudgera

    Helensvale Road, Helensvale

    Bonogin Road, Mudgeeraba

    Discovery Drive, Helensvale


    Signs will be placed on site for a three week period per deployment, with the message changing weekly to further reduce signage fatigue. In most cases where a sign is deployed on a koala 'hot spot' road, there will be two weeks of koala messaging. Koala VMS messaging will include 1: Slow Down, Watch for Koalas, 2: Drive Carefully, Koalas Crossing. As signs will be on rotation during the season, there will be times a VMS will not be deployed on a ‘hot spot’ road. If you travel on these ‘hot spot’ roads or near other koala habitat areas, please remember to always slow down and stay alert for koalas and other wildlife crossing the road, especially between the hours of 6pm and 6am. If you find a koala that is sick, injured or in danger, please call Wildcare Australia Inc. on 07 5527 2444 (24 hours).

    Koala conservation is everyone’s responsibility.

    Thank you for slowing down.

  • Koala Breeding Season has commenced

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    07 Aug 2018
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    The koala breeding season in South East Queensland has commenced. During this time there is an increase in koala activity and movement on the ground where they are more vulnerable to threats such as barriers, vehicle strikes, dogs and disease. Unfortunately this causes a significant increase in koala rescues and admissions to wildlife hospitals during the peak breeding season months (July-January).

    Koala conservation is everyone’s responsibility and we urge all Gold Coast community members to help play a key role in keeping our koalas safe while they are on the move, especially during the breeding season. Below are some key actions you can do to play your part in koala conservation:

    • take extra care when driving near koala habitat, especially between dusk and dawn
    • create a koala friendly backyard to encourage safe movement
    • safely contain your dog at night either inside or in a dog run
    • immediately report a koala that is sick, injured or in danger to Wildcare Australia Inc. 07 5527 2444 (24 hours)
    • report all koala sightings through the City’s online koala sighting form
    • share these key actions with your friends, neighbours and colleagues.

    If you would like to become more involved in koala conservation on the Gold Coast, then become a Koala Friend. Membership is free and you will receive an information pack about koalas and koala conservation, up-to-date information on what is happening in the local koala population and invitations to local koala community events. Click here to become a member.

  • Trial of New Koala Road Signs

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    16 Apr 2018
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    Koala vehicle strikes are common and a major contributor to the injury and death of koalas in the city. Koala vehicle strikes occur in both urban and rural areas. Unfortunately, records indicate the majority of koalas hit by vehicles die as a result of their injuries.

    The City’s koala sightings database in conjunction with Wildcare Australia Inc. and Currumbin Wildlife Hospital records, indicate most koala vehicle strikes occur between June and January each year, peaking in August which coincides with the start of the breeding season.

    During last year’s breeding season, the Vulnerable Species Management team together with the Transport and Traffic team, trialled the use of variable koala signs along roads identified as hot spot areas for koalas. This method of warning drivers to slow down has been well received and the team is currently working with Transport and Traffic to use these variable koala signs during this year’s breeding season.

    Remember, if you see a koala please report it via the online koala sighting report form. This information will attribute to the ecological data that shapes the conservation measures we put in place across the City.