May the force be with koala researchers

HE sounded like Darth Vader, but the recordings of an outspoken marsupial that landed in Keith Joliffe’s inbox just before midnight last Wednesday could not have been sweeter.

Confirmation of a male koala in remote Deua River country west of Moruya, where the species was feared extinct, has volunteers and rangers keen to know if he has friends.

Mr Joliffe, formerly of Tuross Head, last year organised 21 plot searches with volunteers, working closely with National Parks and Wildlife Service “koala man” Chris Allen. 

It was to no avail. Remnant populations had been found only in isolated pockets south-west of the shire and in Bermagui.

However, their perseverance paid off this month when they received a recording of what Mr Allen said was definitely a male koala west of Moruya’s Wamban Creek, in the Deua National Park.

“No doubt about it, you’ve got a koala up there,” Mr Allen wrote, after hearing the recordings made by a shire resident.

“He sounds like a big fellah.” 

Mr Joliffe mustered a small team for a detailed search on Monday, but failed to find scats, and another team departs on Saturday.

“I’m excited to hear convincing evidence of a koala presence within the Eurobodalla shire,” Mr Joliffe said.

“The big question now is, are there any more? We need to know whether it is a resident aggregation or a dispersing animal from a group a long way away.”

Young males disperse to find new territory, but Mr Allen said this one was too far from any known population and therefore probably had friends.

Mr Joliffe is looking for a volunteer with a four-wheel drive to help out on Saturday and can be contacted on 0427 546 156.

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