Free

Intrepid Koala Scat Survey

Event Information

Location

Location

Field Survey Sites

South East Wollemi National Park and surrounds

Australia

Event description

Description

Come and join the Intrepid Koala Scat Survey and help us to conserve koalas in the Blue Mountains region.

Koalas are listed as a threatened species under the federal EPBC Act in NSW, QLD and the ACT and they are in decline across most of the species range. The Blue Mountains is a potentially important stronghold for them, but we know almost nothing about the koalas in this region. That's why we need your help. Mapping where koalas occur across the mountains is a critical first step in helping us to understand their ecology, and their needs. Our research so far has shown koalas can use anything from 5ha to 170ha of land each year, and they also use trees that are over 45m tall in some areas so they can be extremely hard to see. That's where scat surveys come in.

Scat surveys are a great way to discover what different species have been up to when no-one was around to observe them. This project involves carrying out koala scat surveys across a range of different habitats, and you’ll also encounter scats from other species along the way and learn about scat identification techniques. You can also pick up some basic eucalypt identification skills as we will identify the tree species that we find koala scats under. Come and learn the art of scatology!

We can’t promise that you’ll see a koala, but you’ll get to explore some beautiful country and you'll be making a big contribution as the scat surveys will help us to map which habitats koalas use in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Once we have that information we can identify which habitats are the most important for koala conservation. We are also undertaking ecological studies of koalas at some sites, including tracking them to work out where they move and what threats they face. This information is then shared with land managers including the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, the Rural Fire Service and private land holders.

Location and getting there:

Scat surveys will be undertaken in South East Wollemi National Park around Bilpin and Colo Heights, and also on public land in the developed areas around Kurrajong, Grose Vale and Upper Colo. You’ll need your own transport, or otherwise to arrange a car pool with other volunteers as there is no public transport to the survey sites. There is a train station in Richmond which is about one hour's drive from the Wollemi sites, or half an hour from Kurrajong, so you can also arrange to be picked up from there if you are car pooling with others. All survey sites will be accessible by 2WD vehicle, otherwise we will ferry you in our 4WD from a nearby point.

Each block of 5 days of surveys will be based out of a different area. Once you have selected tickets to register below, at the end of April you will receive more details on the exact area you'll be surveying with us, and where to meet, etc.


What is involved:

First thing in the morning you'll be given a brief overview of the Blue Mountains Koala Project, then a safety briefing, and then you'll have a quick practice spotting some koala scats on the ground.
Depending on how long the walk to each survey site is, we plan to complete at least 4 scat searches per day, possibly more. There may also be some driving in between sites, normally through some lovely forest country and often on dirt roads.
Each scat search will be done inside a quadrat that we will measure out when we get there, using removeable flagging tape. Then we will all search the leaf-litter, and see what we can find! We'll also check what tree species are around, to confirm that the vegetation type that is listed on the vegetation map matches what is actually on the ground (this is called ground-truthing). When we find a koala scat, we will first have an excited celebration, then we mark a GPS point and identify the nearest tree species. In some places koala scats might be rare, but you're likely to find scats from wallabies, wombats, and other native critters.

Requirements:

We mean it when we say "intrepid", it is the Blue Mountains region after all. The survey locations can be remote so you must be competent in bushwalking off-track, ie through sometimes thick understorey vegetation, and up and down forested slopes. Some sites will be on ridgelines, others in valleys and along creek lines. A reasonable level of fitness is required as sometimes the slopes are steep. A team leader will take you to each site using a GPS so you don’t need bush navigation skills - unless you’d like to have a try while you’re with us.

It takes a while to get your eye in for scat counts, so we'd like all participants to commit to helping for a minimum of 2 days. Beyond that, you can come out as often as you'd like!


FAQs

Are there a minimum age requirement to enter the event?

The surveys involve long days in the field, plus a lot of walking. For that reason the event is not suitable for children. You can use your judgement for older children if they have been on long bushwalks with you and enjoy a full day in the bush, but please note that if we are surveying a remote site then it would be difficult to return to the vehicles sooner than planned except in cases of emergency.

What should I bring into the event?

There are no shops nearby so you’ll need to bring a day-pack and carry your own water (a guide is 2L per person per day), lunch and snacks, plus sunblock and insect repellent. A personal First Aid kit is also a good idea, your team leader will also have a First Aid kit. Wear hiking boots with ankle support, and long trousers (bring gaiters if you have them), plus a long-sleeved shirt and hat. The bush can be spikey so leggings are not advisable. Gloves are optional but can be handy (pun intended), particularly if you don't want to directly handle the scats. The weather in the mountains is changeable so bring a waterproof jacket and appropriate layers to stay warm. Please check the weather forecast before you leave. There are no toilets nearby so be prepared to make a bush toilet stop if needed (dig a hole and bury your waste, at least 100m from any waterway).


How can I contact the organiser with any questions?

Send an email to info@scienceforwildlife.org and include the Intrepid Koala Scat Survey in the subject line.
During the event and during other fieldwork this month we will be out of mobile phone coverage so email is the most reliable method of contacting us. You can also send a text to Kellie, on 0430 476 562 but please note that it will not be received until the end of each day, or possibly the next day.
Please note that once you've registered via the ticketing process we'll be sending you some more information at the end of the month, by email.

Share with friends

Location

Field Survey Sites

South East Wollemi National Park and surrounds

Australia

Save This Event

Event Saved