A solar powered solution to save our koalas.
During the 2019/20 Australian bushfires, entire generations of Koalas were lost. Along with the continued destruction of Koala habitats through urbanisation and deforestation. The future of Koalas is continuing to concern animal lovers around the world.
One of the biggest issues for authorities during the bushfires was locating the marsupials that were in immediate danger. The sheer landmass of Australia, combined with the inability to see a camouflaged Koala up a tall gum tree. Made the task almost impossible.
In the two years since the bush fires. Koala ecologist Dr Romane Cristescu and her team at the University of the Sunshine Coast have developed an ingenious plan. They have developed a new project that is harnessing the power of the sun. This project will protect current and future generations of Koalas from fire disasters.
The team from the University in Queensland have developed a solar-powered ear tag. The tag is the size of a small coin. It attaches to a koalas ear and tracks their live location.
This will bring joy to many Koalas lovers around the world. We can all agree there was a need to develop a more efficient way to locate endangered and injured Koalas.
Cristescu stated “Trying to locate all the koalas that had survived the fires… was like finding a needle in a haystack,”
“We spent a lot of days looking for survivors, and that gives you a lot of time to think of better ways to do things.”
The tags are being developed with Very High-Frequency technology (VHF). Allowing locations to be picked up from hundreds of metres away. The old method used Bluetooth signals that could only travel for 20-30 metres.
“VHF solar ear tags will enable us to locate koalas and take them into care when a large bushfire is approaching. Once the danger has passed, and their forest home is regenerating, we can return the koalas,” Cristescu said.
“In those first few months after koalas are returned to the wild, we can find them again and do a visual health check to make sure they’re getting enough food. If necessary we can take them back into care.”
She said that using solar energy to power the tags meant they would last for the life of a koala.
This is one of many ideas being trialled by determined Australians who are aiming to double koala populations in the coming decades.
We at www.saveourkoalas.com thank Dr Cristescu and her team for the amazing work they're doing. We are confident this will have a massive impact as we fight to preserve our koala populations.
Interviews were extracted from an article by Maggie Coggan at Pro Bono News.