27 September 2023

Volunteers wanted to spotlight koalas

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The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is calling for citizen scientist volunteers to count koalas and other wildlife in the Bongil Bongil National Park on the NSW north coast.

Area Manager at NPWS, Glenn Storrie said the annual survey program had been running since 2013 to monitor wildlife presence and health in the national park year to year.

“Community volunteers will be trained and equipped to conduct night-time surveys recording the presence of wildlife they might encounter,” Mr Storrie said.

“This is an exciting wildlife survey program that most participants thoroughly enjoy and look forward to every year,” he said.

“Walking through the forest at night with a powerful spotlight can reveal a range of native animals not normally seen during the day.”

Mr Storrie said that, during a previous wildlife survey, volunteer teams discovered a regionally significant population of the rare yellow-bellied glider, a type of possum.

“So koalas are not the only interesting native animals they encounter,” he said.

“Teams walk the Park’s trails using NPWS survey gear, such as spotlights and audio equipment, and will be supervised and managed by an experienced wildlife ranger, collecting valuable data.”

The Area Manager said the annual wildlife survey program was to be conducted just after sunset in the middle of koala breeding season from late October to early November, a time when koalas were on the move, most vocal and most likely to be seen.

Mr Storrie said the two-hour surveys would be held every four nights from 25 October, for a total of five nights over 16 days.

He urged anyone interested in volunteering to contact the project manager and Ranger at NPWS, Martin Smith, on 6652 0907 or by email at [email protected].

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