Koala recovery trials
PILOT koala recovery projects should be trialled within the Sunshine Coast region with Noosa National Park to be one of the focal points.
That was one of the key recommendations to come out of this week's Sunshine Coast Koala Summit.
Summit spokeswoman Carolyn Beaton of Coast-based Koala Diaries said organisers were confident the Noosaville two-day summit of scientists, Government representatives and community stakeholders is the "foundation stone" for a successful koala management plan for the region.
Ms Beaton said there was an urgent need to fix koala mortality hotspots and reduce casualties and the Koala Research Network of around 70 scientists was identified as an important koala conservation resource for the Sunshine Coast.
"Everybody was on the same page, with a desire to create positive change to avert koala extinction," she said.
"The economic value of the koala was underlined by Sunshine Coast Destination CEO Steve Cooper who referred to research which said the region's flora and fauna, and the koala in particular, were drivers of overseas tourism to the region.
"The summit organisers are presently working on a detailed report to present to Mayor Mark Jamieson and councillors," she said.
Ms Beaton said the strong summit consensus was that koala recovery and management objectives should inform the Sunshine Coast Council's new planning scheme and engage with state and federal governments. This consultation had to take place in conjunction with business and industry, special interest and expert groups as well as the broader community.
All available data from koala hospital records, community-generated sighting data, regional eco-system mapping needs to be compiled and assessed to provide an accurate snapshot of the koala situation in the region.
Gaps in knowledge of koala distribution, abundance and health need to be filled by completion of comprehensive field assessments.
The advice of koala research scientists is needed in drafting of an effective koala strategy.