Clearing of koala habitat for urban development as well as vehicle hits, dog attacks and disease has severely reduced South East Queensland’s koala population.
One of the areas experiencing development pressure is the Koala Coast, a 375 km2 zone about 20 km southeast of Brisbane that contains one of Australia’s most significant natural koala populations.
A recent survey by the Department of Environment and Resource Management found the Koala Coast koala population had declined by an estimated 51% in less than three years.
According to the 2008 Koala Coast survey, populations in bushland areas declined by 59% compared to 30% in urban areas.
“The large reduction in koalas in otherwise secure bushland was found to be a flow-on effect from excessive habitat loss and mortality in urban areas,” the survey report stated.
The survey was conducted four years after the koala was listed as a species vulnerable to extinction in the SEQ Bioregion. The listing led to the development of a Koala Plan, which took effect in 2006.
However, with koala numbers continuing to fall, the state government has intensified efforts to protect the iconic species.