Logan City Council has enlisted the help of a conservation canine in a bid to help protect Koalas.
Maya, a kelpie cross border-collie, is specially trained to sniff out and identify Koala habitats.
Alexandra Connor reports.
A lack of data on Koala habitats in Logan has prompted this unique sniff and find initiative.
From Slacks Creek to Jimboomba, this clever canine will use her nose to detect droppings, know as scats, from the marsupials.
Maya’s trainer uses a tennis ball as an incentive.
Olivia Woosnam, Maya’s trainer: “Basically I pretend to throw the tennis ball and that’s her cue to search for Koala scats.”
Rescued from the RSPCA Maya diligently lets Olivia know when she’s found something and then in return Maya’s ball obsession is satisfied.
Her trainer uses GPS equipment to pin-point and map where the local Koala corridors are located.
Anna Markula, Logan Environment Officer: “We have found that Maya is a lot faster and a lot more accurate at finding Koala scats than humans, so we think we are going to get much better results using Maya.”
Mapping Koala habitats will help guide decisions on how to manage urban development.
Maya’s skills will be put to the test across 50 parks within Logan, covering around 480 hectares, and with just 15 day to collect the data, Maya will be a very busy girl.
Alexandra Connor, QUT News.