Nev Madsen

Great Koala Count a great success

THE first Great Koala Count has been a resounding success, with more than half the koala uploads coming from Northern Rivers spotters.

The nationwide search was held in November and called on members of the public to use a smartphone application to track the koala population in NSW.

The National Parks Association of NSW initiative saw 1000 records of koala habitat stored using the BioTag application, which collated data in an effort to improve the effectiveness of koala conservation in the future.

Of the 1000 records submitted, 539 were uploaded by koala spotters on the Northern Rivers.

Friends of the Koala president Lorraine Vass said the results of the Great Kola Count were preliminary but paved the way for more participation in the future.

"On the Northern Rivers we accounted for well over half of the records that were submitted across the state," Ms Vass said.

Over the 11 days of the initiative, 379 kolas were recorded in Lismore, 109 in Byron Bay and 79 in the Tweed region.

While the count showed there was a large koala population in the area, many of them showed signs of disease and highlighted the need for continued help from the community to make them healthier.

In the wake of the recent fire at Lennox Head, Ms Vass emphasised the importance of keeping an eye out for injured wildlife.

"Clearly we, as well as other wildlife carer groups in the region, are urging people to keep an eye out for fire-affected wildlife that have been displaced, injured or are suffering smoke inhalation," Ms Vass said.

People are advised to leave water out for wildlife that wander into private property, as the animals are likely to be disorientated from the fire.

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