19/03/15 Brisbane Times published the following article:

Experts have urged action after about a quarter of koalas tracked in Brisbane's north were killed by wild dogs. 

Leading koala experts called for direct action to save the vulnerable species in response to a report on ABC's 7.30 program.

The story highlighted study findings produced by The Moreton Bay Rail Link koala monitoring and management program, which placed tracking devices on 400 koalas in the area over two years.

Results of the monitoring found that of the 400 koalas tracked, 130 were found dead mostly due to wild dog attacks.

The program is funded by state and federal governments as part of a wider Moreton Bay Rail Link project which will see a 12.6 kilometre passenger rail line built between Petrie and Kippa-Ring at a cost of $1.147 billion dollars.

The 7.30 program reported the researchers involved were unaware that wild dogs were a significant threat to the Koala population.

Australian Koala Foundation CEO Deborah Tabart OAM said on the contrary the threat of wild dogs to koalas had been on the agenda for many years.

"The Australian Koala Foundation in 2011 bought it to the Senate inquiry that wild dogs were a major problem and absolutely nothing has been done, specifically for koalas," Ms Tabart said.

"I have been in my job for 27 years and I have seen more research programs that have documented extinction than I can shake a stick at.

"Every one of us know that there are all sorts of threats in the bush, so I think it was somewhat naive of these researchers to not pre-empt this."

Ms Tabart has called on the federal government to take immediate action.

"I would like to see all those dogs dealt with, I would like to see some intervention on the protection of habitats," she said.

"... Because the next time they want to take our koala to Mr Putin when he comes for the G20 there won't be any."

Chief investigator of the Koala Study Program at the University of Queensland, Frank Carrick, said the results of the study yield to the necessity of managing wild dogs in the Moreton Bay area.

"In terms of the wild dogs, they need to be controlled humanely, but controlled ..." Dr Carrick said.

"The number of dogs in that area is probably small, trapping is probably an option, in other [areas] lethal options may be required."

Moreton Bay Regional Council spokesman Darren Roberts said under state government legislation the management of pest species including wild dogs is the responsibility of the landowner.

Mr Roberts said programs are currently in place by the council to address the issue.

"Moreton Bay Regional Council has an extensive wild dog trapping program in place in near-urban areas and also assists rural landholders with wild dog management, where necessary," he said.

Story by Melanie Whiting.


(Photo from Brisbane times by Graham van der Wiele)