National Parks and Wildlife Service seeks Bongil Bongil koala spotters

Koalas are most likely to be seen or heard during survey times. Photo: Martin Smith.

DO you like being out in the bush at night?

The National Parks and Wildlife Service is seeking volunteers to help conduct the 10th annual night-time koala surveys in Bongil Bongil National Park, south of Coffs Harbour.

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Beginning in late September, the surveys are carried out by trained citizen scientists over five nights.

Bongil Bongil has recently been recognised as an Asset of Intergenerational Significance for its koala habitat and National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Area Manager, Glenn Storrie, said the annual survey program monitors koala presence and health in the park.

“Community volunteers will be trained and equipped to conduct night-time surveys to record the presence of koalas and any other wildlife they might encounter,” Mr Storrie said.

“We are looking for any changes that may be occurring in the park’s koala population and to make observations on their health and tree selection preferences.

“This is an engaging and fun wildlife survey program, with a hard science edge, that participants thoroughly enjoy and look forward to every year.

“Walking through the forest at night with a powerful spotlight can reveal a range of native animals not normally seen during the day,” Mr Storrie said.

“In previous years the teams have discovered a regionally significant population of the rare yellow-bellied glider, so koalas are not the only interesting native animals that our volunteers encounter.”

Teams walk the park’s trails with NPWS survey gear, such as spotlights and audio equipment, and will be supervised and managed by an experienced park ranger.

They collect valuable data on one of the most important koala populations in the state.

“The surveys are conducted just after sunset in the middle of the koala breeding season from late September to mid-October, at a time when koalas are on the move, most vocal and most likely to be seen,” Mr Storrie said.

The two-hour surveys begin just after dark and are held every four nights over sixteen days.

This year they begin at 6.30pm from Monday 26 September, near Repton.

A short information and training session for prospective new volunteers is mandatory and will be conducted at the NPWS offices at the Coffs Harbour Jetty offices beginning at 6pm on Monday 19 September.

For more information, contact Ranger Martin Smith at the NPWS Coffs Harbour Jetty office on 66520 907 or email

By Andrew VIVIAN

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