Koala: Ian Dunn and Dr Alistair Melzer at Nankin.
Koala: Ian Dunn and Dr Alistair Melzer at Nankin. Allan Reinikka ROK190117akoala1

WATCH: CQ has the right koalafications for sanctuary

IT'S a project 20 years in the making that is finally coming to fruition in Rockhampton.

The Capricorn Koala project is set to reintroduce koala's to the Capricorn Coast, where they once used to exist decades ago.

With community and government support at an all time high the university and property owners are looking to kick off the project in the next 18 months.

Dr Alistair Melzer from Central Queensland University said Nankin property owner Ian Dunn had put his hand up to have the koala sanctuary on his place.

"The property owner wanted to participate in the project and that's essential because the land that the Koala's are introduced to has to be managed to accommodate the koalas,” he said.

"Secondly this property has excellent connectivity through the Forrest and up to the national park to the north of us so it's an ideal spot to do a trial release of Koala's.”

The project will be run as a research project due to a government requirement so the first stages of the project will involve trialling reintroductions.

"The first step of that is to investigate where the Koalas will come from,” Dr Melzer said.

"So we need to consider whether the Koala's are genetically suitable for here but also the ethics, whether they're coming from a similar climatic region or not because you don't want to take Koala's that are adapted to a cooler environment and put them into 40 degree heat.

"Then we need to make sure they're healthy and that they'll except the local food tree species.”

The koala's will be taken to the property and held there until they have completely adapted to the local environment.

After they have adapted researchers will simply open the gate of the compound and the koala's will be "happy to roam free”.

The Koala's will be monitored through radio transmitting collars and ear tags which will help tack movement around the bush, interaction and breeding patterns.

"When we've got a resident population of Koala's that are breeding here then we will say we are 90% successful. If they produce off spring that then breed we know we're 100% successful,” Dr Melzer said.



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