Koalas are counting on you
I’ve been updating you all on the sad fate of koalas during the recent bushfires.
And I know you all love koalas so I wanted to bring you some positive news about a great initiative that everyone can be involved in to help save this precious icon.
I spoke to Tandi Spencer Smith from NSW National Parks Association about their Great Koala Count. -- JS
Tandi: The recent NSW bushfires have left behind a path of devastation, with native wildlife and thousands of hectares of bushland lost. Koalas are one of the species conservationists fear the fires have had a dramatic impact on. Many will have perished in the fires and many more will suffer the impact of lost or compromised habitat.
In an already fragmented landscape any such loss can have a dramatic effect on remnant populations, particularly for a species that is already struggling and has poor adaptive capacity.
One of the ways in which you can help make a difference in the wake of the fires is to join the Great Koala Count.
Taking place for ten days from the 7th – 17th November, this public survey aims to create a comprehensive picture of Koala numbers and locations across the landscape.
A GPS enabled smartphone app ‘BioTag’ that links to the Atlas of Living Australia has been developed especially for the Count. The free app enables participants to easily record their Koala sightings straight to their smartphone. People who do not own a smartphone can enter their sightings directly to the Data Portal.
The data collected will complement existing Koala records and will be available to organisations such as IFAW for use in helping to inform future conservation strategies.
With sufficient support, it is hoped the Count will be replicated each year to show trends in Koala populations, movement and habitat use over time.
To join the Great Koala Count, simply register on NPA’s Data Portal at www.koalacount.org.au, and download BioTag. The app is available for Android from GooglePlay, or for iPhones from the app store.
If you don't live in an area suitable for participating, you can still help by spreading the word about the Count.
The more people we have out Counting in as many places as possible, the more successful the survey will be and the more valuable the data it generates.
So join us for this vital Count and help to make a difference for our tree-hugging neighbour!
Thank you Tandi – all of us at IFAW have downloaded the App and I hope our supporters will too.