TWO organisations have harnessed technology as a tool to help conserve our koala population.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has partnered with the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital to develop an app that provides improved access to data and collection of valuable information on koalas.
The GPS-enabled tool gives real-time and mobile access to important historical, statistical and location information that will assist in best-practice management of Australia’s most loved marsupial.
Historical koala records have been re-created in a digital format, with this information now available in an interactive map. New data will also be entered directly into the app.
Council’s acting director Tim Atherton said the app would help the council share data and manage our local koala population and movements, and contributed important information to land-use and infrastructure planning.
Since the early 1970s, the Koala Preservation Society has recorded koala incidents and pick-up locations, with more than 6,000 records collected since records began.
It will also help focus koala rehabilitation efforts and identify trends and hotspots for road-strike, dog attack and disease prevalence.Tim Atherton
While this is one of the most comprehensive koala datasets in Australia, the records were all paper-based and not easily accessible to the many agencies that rely on koala data.
Cheyne Flanagan from Port Macquarie Koala Hospital praised the development of the new tool, saying the data collected will be extremely valuable.
“It will really help us ascertain where koala habitat is and back up much of what we already know in scientific form, and assist us to conserve the koalas of our region,” Ms Flanagan said.
Koala sightings reported by residents will also be directly entered into the app, providing a quick and accurate way of captured koala sightings and incidents in the community.
“We’re particularly excited in that the locally developed app, technology can be shared outside of our region,” said Mr Atherton.
Anyone who sees a sick or injured koala, is asked to contact the koala hospital on 6584 1522.