Koala research commences at new world-class centre

Construction of a scientific research centre designed to focus on genetic and environmental threats to koala populations is now complete, with the state-of-the-art facility set to officially open this weekend.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the $2 million Council-funded facility had been constructed in partnership with Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and was one of several initiatives to conserve koala populations and keep Brisbane clean, green and sustainable.

“This world-class research centre will facilitate critical research into the challenges facing koalas in the urban context and will establish Brisbane as the ‘koala capital’ of Australia,” Cr Quirk said.

“We are committed to protecting Brisbane’s koala population to help stop the decline of this vulnerable species, while ensuring we are delivering more for people to see and do in our city.

“The soon-to-open Brisbane Koala Science Institute will feature interactive learning displays, scientific research labs with public viewing areas and a koala observation area to provide a unique eco-tourism experience for visitors to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

“The centre will also be sustainably powered, with a combination of solar power and geothermal power to provide air-conditioning needs for the building.

“The centre will be staffed by scientific researchers who will collaborate with universities and other research institutions, focusing on disease and potential breed and release programs.”

Cr Quirk said that other koala conservation initiatives were also underway, with fast-tracked bushland acquisition and koala-food trees.

“A 23-hectare plantation of 8,000 gum trees at Wacol will be farmed to supply up to 120 koalas each day with eucalyptus leaves,” he said.

“The trees will supply the Brisbane Koala Science Institute as well as other wildlife carers, to support koalas in care, which can consume up to 500g of food per day.

“An annual city-wide koala detection survey is now in its second year, mapping koala populations and movement, as well as the spread of genetic diseases.

“Council is also investing $120 million in a four-year accelerated bushland acquisition program, as part of our commitment to reach 40 per cent natural habitat cover for Brisbane.

“By 2020, more than 750 hectares of additional natural bushland, primarily koala habitat, will be acquired by Council to be preserved for the future of our city.”

For more information about the Brisbane Koala Science Institute or Council’s other environmental initiatives, visit www.brisbane.qld.gov.au or call Council on 07 3403 8888.