A whiff that brings hope

SCENT OF SUCCESS: Koalas can be found using Maya the tracker dog.
SCENT OF SUCCESS: Koalas can be found using Maya the tracker dog. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

A KOALA-poo sniffer dog called Maya is giving fresh hope to finding more koalas in Noosa than previous "hapless" state surveys have revealed.

According to Councillor Tony Wellington, the first forays of this specially trained dog have found scats - or koala droppings - in local areas not listed.

Cr Wellington told councillors last week, during discussions on koala habitat protection, that the "first stab for using Maya the poo-sniffing dog" had proved very fruitful and might now by augmented by heat-seeking technology to pinpoint remnant koala populations.

"She went to Cooroibah nature refuge where she found koala skats both sides of the old airstrip," Cr Wellington said.

"Which is very interesting. Whether it could be useful for growing koala food trees as an offset remains to be seen, but what it does prove is that they are there.

"Maya also had a sniff around Settlers Cove and found koala scats as well as the Girraween nature refuge."

The councillor said these finds highlighted "the absolutely hapless attempt by the State Government to survey koalas on the Sunshine Coast and in south-east Queensland" which found only seven animals.

"And they didn't look at Girraween or Settlers Cove where we know they are," he said.

He described that survey as "patently not particularly useful" and "certainly a rather haphazard approach".

"There's hope that we will be able to use temperature-locating instrumentation to also locate koalas to back up the findings of Maya," he said.

Council's strategic planner Rebecca Britton said the mapping would provide a reference to where known and potential koala habitat exists.Page

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