The Bluesfest Koala program, in association with the University of Queensland’s Koala Ecology & Research Centre has now been occurring for over a decade, since 2011.
As a partnership, Bluesfest has been coordinating a habitat restoration program on site and has already planted hundreds of Koala food trees at the Bluesfest site, with more planted regularly. The plantings are aimed at increasing habitat and providing important linkages.
Yesterday, we had the pleasure of naming our newest baby Koala on the Bluesfest site – meet Buddy! 🐨
In honour of… well, you know! Buddy is a very healthy and happy male baby Koala, around 9 months old. His mother, who is named Tash, is also very healthy, around 3 years old now!
We are happy to report the confirmed siting of four healthy baby Koalas on site currently (potentially a fifth going by a possible siting of one of the Koalas seen with a young!) Our goal has always been to create a healthy breeding colony of Koalas on our site so, in our own small way, we contribute to saving Koalas.
It seems the process implemented of capturing, checking for disease, treating the diseased at the Koala Hospital, and then releasing them back on the Bluesfest site is producing the result we have all worked toward…
We have had a lot of success, with many Koalas treated and returned to the site. However, because we adjoin a national park in fractured bushland with little connectivity, male Koalas roam to find females to breed with and in doing that, we have had chlamydia re-introduced to female Koalas. It’s been heart-breaking but our dedication is endless.
Over the years we have lost some koalas to disease, while others have been unable to breed due to being infertile. Samples collected from some of the Koalas were recently examined by a specialist laboratory in Germany, which found they had heritable tumours. The lack of gene flow due to habitat fragmentation and the highway has helped perpetuate these health issues in the local Koala population.
“Because it’s not just about growing trees, it’s about having healthy disease-free Koalas that can breed successfully and grow populations. That’s the only way we will save koalas. That’s what we have been working on.” – Peter Noble