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08 Sep 2022
Koala safety & healthKoala knowledge

National Parks and Wildlife Service is looking for volunteers to help conduct the 10th annual night-time koala surveys in Bongil Bongil National Park, south of Coffs Harbour.

Beginning in late September, the surveys are carried out by trained Citizen Scientists over 5 nights.

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Area Manager Glenn Storrie said the annual survey program, running since 2013, monitors koala presence and health in the national park recently recognised as an Asset of Intergenerational Significance for its koala habitat.

'Community volunteers will be trained and equipped to conduct night-time surveys recording the presence of koalas and any other wildlife they might encounter,' said Mr Storrie.

'We are looking for any changes that may be occurring in the park’s koala population and make observations on their health and tree selection preferences.

'This is an engaging and fun wildlife survey program, with a hard science edge, that participants thoroughly enjoy and look forward to every year.

'Walking through the forest at night with a powerful spotlight can reveal a range of native animals not normally seen during the day.

'In previous years, the teams have discovered a regionally significant population of the rare yellow-bellied glider, so koalas are not the only interesting native animals our volunteers encounter.

'Teams walk the park’s trails using NPWS survey gear, such as spotlights and audio equipment, and will be supervised and managed by an experienced park ranger, collecting valuable data on one of the most important koala populations in the State.

'The surveys are conducted just after sunset in the middle of the koala breeding season from late September to mid-October, at a time when koalas are on the move, most vocal and most likely to be seen,' Mr Storrie said.

Volunteers are required to conduct the 2-hour surveys beginning just after dark. They are held every 4 nights, a total of 5 nights of work over 16 days. Surveys this year begin at 6.30pm from Monday 26th September near Repton.

A short information and training session for prospective new volunteers is mandatory and will be conducted at the NPWS offices at the Coffs Harbour Jetty offices beginning at 6pm on Monday 19 September.

More info: NPWS Coffs Harbour Jetty office on 66520 907 or by e-mail at martin.smith@environment.nsw.gov.au.

 

two volunteers in a forest look for koalas