Thursday, 29 January 2015

Most recent Koala sighting

Time we started sharing our koala sightings with the community.  Residents in the Vinegar Hill / Adare area regularly see koalas on their properties and along the roadside.  Until now they have generally not recorded these incidental sightings, and in fact since most of us don't tend to look into the treetops when working outside, most koala presence would have gone unnoticed.

This is the most recent sighting I am aware of, seen mid-afternoon yesterday (29 January 2015) - 1.5km from the site of the motocross track.

It's a big male who brought attention to himself by calling from his perch high in an Ironbark.  Male koalas call any time, but mostly during the breeding season which lasts from September to January.  The call can be heard (by humans) for up to a kilometre.  I haven't found any information on how far away a female koala can hear a call.  The male's call advertises his presence (and location) to females in the area, and also contains information about his size.  If the female likes what she hears she will go looking for him.

Like all wildlife which uses calls as part of its relationship with others of its species, the koalas in Adare / Vinegar Hill will find their life cycles disrupted by motocross sounds.  This will be particularly the case if the track operates as planned from 4.00pm to 9.00pm Tuesday to Friday and "occasionally" to 9.00pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Koalas are mainly nocturnal and tend to be most active around dawn and dusk. They spend around 18 to 20 hours of each day resting in order to conserve energy, due to the low-energy content of their main diet of Eucalyptus leaves. 

He won't be getting much of his daytime sleep on weekends if the motocross track is approved, and this will seriously affect his "energy budget", leading to health impacts.  These impacts will add to the stress impacts resulting from exposure to high noise levels six days per week.  It has been suggested that the stress experienced by koalas exposed to noise and disturbance leads to lowered immune system function, which in turn will exacerbate the impacts of chlamydia.  Many or most koalas in Southeast Queensland are already infected with chlamydia.

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