Help researchers document koala colonies by taking part in a national count this month.
Help researchers document koala colonies by taking part in a national count this month.

Help document koala colonies on the coast

WITH Australia's iconic marsupial under increasing threat, the National Parks Association of New South Wales is encouraging everyone to play a role in their conservation by joining the national 2014 Koala Count.

Koala populations are declining at an alarming rate in many areas due to habitat loss, vehicle strikes, dog attacks, disease and climate change.

The aim of the count is to create a comprehensive picture of koala numbers and locations across the landscape by engaging the community directly in this once-a-year survey.

Anyone can join NPA's nationwide Koala Count, running from November 7 to 17.

A unique GPS-enabled smartphone app, BioTag, allows for quick and easy recording of koala sightings.

Any data collected is fed into the Atlas of Living Australia where it complements existing records.

ALA, a strong supporter of the survey, provided the mobile apps and infrastructure for the data portal.

"By employing citizen scientists we can cover a greater area and generate significantly more data than would be possible using traditional channels," NPA Wildlife Ecologist Dr Grainne Cleary said.

"Everyone can play a part in helping to conserve koalas. With 80% of koalas found on private land, local communities can play a key role in helping to save this unique species," she says.

This year's survey builds on the success of the 2013 Great Koala Count pilot survey, which generated more than 1,300 records.

These records have already been used to help inform several local koala management strategies and to highlight potential areas for connectivity.

To join participants need to register online at http://www.koalacount.org.au and download the BioTag app.



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