Published on 28 July 2022
Originally published on CQ Uni News
Everyone loves a koala, including visitors attending Rockhampton Zoo who this past financial year chose to support research into the future of the Aussie icons.
Visitors to the Zoo have collectively raised more than $8,800 that will be donated to Koala Research CQ (KR-CQ) - a community funded research program hosted by CQUniversity.
CQUniversity koala expert Dr Rolf Schlagloth said the KR-CQ research team was thrilled to receive the news of the generous donation.
“We are very grateful to Rockhampton Zoo and its visitors for this very generous donation,” Dr Schlagloth said.
“The funding will support KR-CQ research projects that will look at the distribution and health of koalas and their habitat in Central Queensland,” added Michael Hewson, who focuses on remote sensing to assess koala habitat.
“In particular, it will be supporting a PhD project that looks at Chlamydia, koala retrovirus, microbiome and stress by analysing koala scats,” lead supervisor of the PhD research Dr Flavia Santamaria said.
Councillor for Parks, Sport and Public Spaces Cherie Rutherford said she was honoured to pass on the donation to the CQUniversity koala research team.
“We’re very proud to be supporting research that will help protect and conserve koala populations right here in Central Queensland,” Cr Rutherford said.
“Across Australia we’ve seen numbers of these beautiful animals decline dramatically due to drought, bush fires and habitat loss - and just last year we saw koalas officially declared endangered.
“We’re glad to be doing our part to contribute to a healthier future for koalas, and it’s my pleasure to provide this donation on behalf of Council, the Zoo, and the visitors that made it possible.
“At the Zoo we’re lucky to have two lovely koala boys, Shaun and Arila, and our keepers host a talk and feeding every day at 3.20pm. I’d encourage everyone to head along to learn more about koalas and the challenges facing them.”
Council is continuing their generosity and commitment to conservation by donating 15 per cent of all funds raised through meerkat encounters and visitor donations to wildlife conservation projects.
Dr Schlagloth and the KR-CQ team had also partnered with CQUniversity’s School Grounds Café to raise funds for koala research projects.
“Brendan and Kylie from the School Grounds Café have committed to making 100 koala bickies every month – with two dollars from every cookie sold being donated to KR-CQ research projects.”