Spying on our koalas to save lives

Published 12 October 2022

Koala CCTV technology

Moreton Bay is leading the way to develop new CCTV technology to identify koalas, and help to keep them safer around roads.

Mayor Peter Flannery said the tech innovation was developed in partnership with Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the State Government’s Daisy Hill Koala Centre, and tech company Sapio.

“We’re training Council’s CCTV cameras to identify koala movements across the region, so we can activate warning signs near roads when they’re there and also better inform the design and location of our fauna crossing infrastructure,” he said.

“Koala breeding season is on now through to January, when you’re most likely to see males on the move. Unfortunately we often see a higher number of koalas killed on our roads as a result.

“Council invests in fauna crossing infrastructure, installs koala proof fencing and delivers targeted driver awareness campaigns.

“This technology is another effort by Council to protect our wildlife, but obviously koalas cannot compete against a car and we still need drivers to slow down.

“We’re collaborating with Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Sapio, and the State Government’s Daisy Hill Koala Centre to train our CCTV and portable CCTV cameras to identify koalas and then send us that information so we can get a better understanding of their movements.

“That way we can better target our koala crossing infrastructure, koala fencing and driver awareness campaigns to areas that are experiencing high levels of koala movements and safeguard them from our roads.

“I believe this is a world first initiative to protect wild koala populations from road traffic, and it’s similar to the Australian-first technology we have on our garbage trucks to identify potholes for repair.

“Every Council in Australia is facing the problem of providing enough housing for humans while preserving enough habitat for wildlife, but Moreton Bay is determined to get that balance right.”

Councillor Cath Tonks (Div 10) said she welcomed any new initiative to help protect koalas and address her residents’ growing concerns for the environment.

“As Moreton Bay grows initiatives like this become even more important in helping us to coexist with our beautiful wildlife and it’s yet another example of Council using technology to live our motto ‘Going Green As We Grow’,” she said.

“We already have many koala crossings in my area and plenty more planned in response to the growing threat to our local koala population.

“But the great news is that this program will help us take a more targeted and strategic approach to the work we’re doing to help protect these cuddly creatures from harm.

“Residents have told me this is a top priority for them, so that’s why we’re pushing the envelope with new technology that will help us get on the front foot.”