Environment Nature’s secret bush rangers

Nature’s secret bush rangers

How much can a koala bear? More than we thought, according to research from Southern Cross University.

Science has always classified koalas as highly sedentary. It was believed most lived out their lives within three kilometres of their birthplace.

But DNA analysis conducted at Southern Cross suggests many roam much further – more than 40km in some cases.

While that might not sound like much in human terms, it’s a long way for a koala and could make a big difference to conservation efforts.

Researcher Dr Janette Norman says the ability to range over a wide area aids survival, helping animals find new habitat when their homes are disturbed by fire or human encroachment.

“Our research shows that long-distance movements are common and are essential in maintaining connectivity in fragmented landscapes,” Dr Norman says.

“Conservation planning and management need to be done at larger spatial scales to be effective.

“This will require co-ordination between Local Government Areas who have responsibility for implementing Koala Management Plans – koalas don’t recognise political boundaries and are moving between management areas.”

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