Koala genetics study investigations underway

In the coming months, Inland Rail is studying koala populations along eight sections of the Inland Rail program. The koala genetics study is a partnership between Inland Rail, Environmental Resources Management Australia (ERM) and the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).

Image of a koala sleeping in a tree

The extensive field investigations will span across eight Inland Rail project areas from Narromine in NSW to Acacia Ridge in Queensland.

The study aims to identify koala populations and capture data about existing levels of gene flow and current health of populations along the alignment.

These insights will be used to inform koala management plans for each impacted Inland Rail project and enable our project teams and construction contractors to develop solutions which can protect and support sustainable koala populations through the delivery of the projects.

In coming months, landowners may notice our field teams of two researchers looking for sightings and evidence of koalas. The teams will be assisted by koala detection dogs from USC Detection Dogs for Conservation team who are trained to smell and detect koala scat. Alongside the dog detection surveys, our researchers will undertake vegetation surveys to support a broader understanding of koala distribution, diet and habitat along the alignment.

Dr Vanessa Gorecki, Program Environment Advisor for Inland Rail

“We are excited to study koala populations along the Inland Rail project. This great initiative will importantly establish the baseline for current levels of gene flow and population health among koala populations along the alignment.

“Undertaken by our field researchers and highly trained detection dogs, the findings of the study will inform impact assessment and management and puts Inland Rail in a great position to contribute to koala conservation and population recovery plans throughout the lifetime of the project.”

The study will commence on properties within the Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton project in the coming weeks.

If you have any questions about the Koala Study and the planned site investigations, please contact our Stakeholder Engagement Teams on 1800 732 761.

The field investigations will occur in the following project areas, with dates confirmed as below:

Location/s Dates
Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton TBC
Calvert to Kagaru TBC
Helidon to Calvert TBC
Gowrie to Helidon TBC
Border to Gowrie 14 – 21 June 2022
Narromine to North Star TBC

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