What is the Koala Count?
Our annual Koala Count is an Australian wide citizen science initiative that is now in its second year. The aim of the Koala Count is to find out where our koalas are and how stable their numbers are from year to year. As approximately 80% of koalas are found on private land, we need your help to let us know if you have koalas on your land or if you have seen koalas in the area. All the data collected during the Koala Count survey (7th to 17th of November) will be shared with others working in koala conservation.
Why should I participate in the Koala Count survey (7th to 17th of November)?
Koalas need your help. Where koalas were once abundant, they are now uncommon, rare or locally extinct in many parts of NSW and indeed Australia. Our annual Koala Count aims to identify where koala are across Australia and if their numbers are increasing, in decline or stable. By running the Count annually we can determine how our koala populations are doing from year to year. The Koala Count is an opportunity for everyone in the community to make a contribution to koala conservation.
What do I need to do during the Koala Count?
Please let us know when you see a koala, hear a koala or if koalas are absent by using the two surveys designed for the Koala Count; My Koala Sightings and My Koala Walk. When you see a koala you can use My Koala Sightings survey to record it. If you hear a koala but do not see it or you are not finding koalas, please record this information using My Koala Walk.
You can record koalas throughout the survey period (7th to the 17th of November) as often as you can
What is the difference between the two surveys; My Koala Sightings and My Koala Walk?
We have two surveys to capture your koala data: My Koala Sightings and My Koala Walk. We would like you to record where you see koalas and answer a few short questions about each koala using My Koala Sighting.
If you hear koalas but do not see them, you can record this information using My Koala Walk survey. My Koala Walk also allows you to record common animals you may see while looking for koalas. By using My Koala Walk survey, we can see where you are searching for koalas but did not find any.
How will I be recording koalas as part of the Koala Count?
By using our smartphone app, BioTag, you can record the location of each koala you find and answer a couple of questions about that koala during our survey period (7th to 17th of November). BioTag is available for both android and apple mobile devices and can be downloaded from Google Play and iTunes, just search for BioTag.
The sightings you collect are automatically uploaded to the data portal (www.koalacount.org.au) through the mobile phone network or over your WiFi connection. Because BioTag records data using GPS satellites, you don't need to be in phone range to record koala sightings, BioTag will store the data and upload it once you come back into phone range.
What if I don’t have a smartphone?
You can still participate by entering your sightings onto our data portal www.koalacount.org.au under Add Koala Sightings or Add Koala Walk Record.
Does BioTag work in rural areas?
BioTag works using Global Positioning Satellites much the same way as car navigation systems, which do not rely on phone networks. If you are out of mobile coverage when you record a sighting, BioTag will store the location and your sighting records. When you re-enter an area where you can get mobile reception or WiFi, this data will be uploaded automatically onto the data portal.
What if I don't see a koala?
The absence of koalas in an area is as important to record as their presence. This is why we have a survey called My Koala Walk. We would like to know where you looked for koalas and did not find any and what other common animals you did see. This enables us to better understand the distribution of koalas and why they may not have been sighted in a landscape even though it may contain suitable habitat. We would ask you to record where you are walking frequently so you know where you were looking.
How do I record if I hear koalas but do not see them?
You can record when you hear a koala under the My Koala Walk survey. Just select "I heard a Koala here but did not see one" and record the GPS point of your location when you heard the koala.
Why is it important to know the location of koalas?
By finding out where koalas are present and where they are absent (through our annual Koala Count) we will be able to understand how koala populations are doing from year to year. This is help us gain a strong picture of koala health across the landscape.
Who can access the Koala Count results?
Anyone working with koala conservation will have access to the data gathered during the Koala Count, including academics, government bodies and koala welfare groups. The results from the Koala Count will be added to our 2013 Count and will be publicly available on the Atlas of Living Australia.
What do I do if I find a sick or injured Koala during the Koala Count?
If you find a sick or injured koala during the Koala Count please contact the following organisations in your state:
- New South Wales: please contact WIRES on 1300 094 737 or Friends of the Koala on 02 6622 1233.
- Victoria: please contact Wildlife Victoria on 1300 094 535
- South Australia: please contact Fauna Rescue of South Australia Inc on 08 7226 0017
- Queensland: please contact Queensland Wildlife Carers and Volunteers Association Inc on 08 7226 0017