Sunday, 18 March 2012

Conservation group claims koala numbers fudged

The Australian Koala Foundation has accused the state government of "appalling science" to bolster koala numbers in its latest koala population survey so it would not lose koala planning control to the federal government.

But the state government has rejected those claims.

Surveys show there are possibly only 1500 koalas today in southeast Queensland's Koala Coast, between Redlands and Brisbane, which is down from an estimated 6240 in 1996.
That is the worst-case scenario in the most recent survey of koalas in the region that includes Redlands, the eastern portion of Logan and the southeast portion of Brisbane.

The Queensland government this year released the findings of the 2010 koala survey, the latest in a series since 1996.

The Koala Coast Koala Population Population Report 2010 estimated there were 1991 koalas - "plus or minus 488" - in the 1751 hectares of bushland two years ago.

The survey includes in the fine detail an admission that koala numbers on the Koala Coast were boosted by "approximately 270 animals" when fauna spotters found four extra koalas in an area of bushland.

"The estimated increase at this site applied over the full area of the Lower Density Bushland Stratum resulted in the overall Koala Coast abundance being increased by 270 animals over what it would have been without this particular component," the report finds.

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