Individuals matter: predicting koala road crossing behaviour in south-east Queensland
C. E. DexterA,C, R. G. ApplebyA,B, J. ScottA, J. P. EdgarB and D. N. JonesA
A Environmental Futures Research Institute, Sir Samuel Grifﬁth Centre (N78), Grifﬁth University, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, Qld 4111, Australia.
B Wild Spy Pty Ltd, 11/25 Depot Street, Banyo, Qld 4014, Australia.
C Corresponding author. Email:
The ability to predict the frequency with which koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) cross roads is an important step in developing mitigation strategies aimed at maintaining meta population viability for this species. In south-east Queensland, Australia, rapid urban development, including fragmentation and vehicle-related mortality, has contributed to a dramatic decline in local koala populations. Assessment of wildlife crossing structures that mitigates the impact of roads demonstrates these to be beneﬁcial for many species. However, building enough structures to enable animals to move freely across impacted landscapes may be prohibitive in complex urban landscapes. The focus for this study was to consider the role of differing characteristics for species at risk. We examined the frequency of road crossings by individual koalas among six sub populations in south-east Queensland. We explored the inﬂuence of potential predict or variables including: age, sex, and distance from roads. We established that road crossings were limited to a subset of individuals, with only 18 of 51 (~35%) koalas studied ever crossing a road. We found that koalas were disproportionately more likely to cross a road if they had initially been found within a distance of 100m of that road. Males were more likely to cross roads than females, as were koalas aged less than ﬁvey ears. We suggest that successful wildlife road mitigation can be improved by better understanding the road-crossing behaviour of species such as the koala.