Take part in the annual koala count on the North Coast

WITH the numbers of koalas across the Northern Rivers in decline, people are being asked to help conserve the Australian icon by taking part in the annual koala count.

Technology plays a major role in the count, run by the National Parks Association of NSW using the GPS-enabled smartphone app NatureMapr.

"Koalas on our North Coast, like in many parts of NSW, are struggling due to increasing pressure from habitat loss and fragmentation," koala count co-ordinator Dr Helen Smith said.

"We developed the koala count to enable anyone who wants to help koalas join other people across Australia in collecting valuable data that will be used to protect our iconic marsupial.

"Despite koalas being such a well-known and loved species, we don't know with absolute certainty how many there are. Our annual survey helps to identify where koalas are, what is happening to their numbers and how populations are doing year on year.

"With this knowledge, we can take steps to help them."

Dr Smith said you didn't need any special skills or expertise to take part in the koala count.

"Anyone with access to the internet or a smartphone can join," she said.

To take part, people can register online at http://koalacount.org.au or via the NatureMapr app, which is available for Apple and Android users.

Dr Smith said people who did not own a smart phone could enter their sightings directly on to the website.

"The more people who participate, the better the survey will be," she said.

"It's easy, it's fun and best of all, you are helping to make a real difference for our national icon."

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