50 results for author: Kellie Leigh


Meet Our Growing Team

Our work is scaling up - meet our growing team, and read about your chance to join in. We’ve dubbed the start of this year the apocalyptic summer. The four horsemen that rode on through were in the form of drought, fires, floods and then pestilence which arrived as Covid-19. It hasn’t been a favourite year for most people. However, out of the flames Science for Wildlife has emerged, a bit like Fawkes the phoenix out of Harry Potter, taking on new life to meet the post-apocalyptic challenges. We’re adapting and changing our wildlife research and conservation priorities in the burnt landscape of the Blue Mountains, to make sure we put ...

Meet Our Volunteer: Julie

Since our humble beginnings in 2014, Science for Wildlife has been actively studying Blue Mountains koalas and their habitats. This work tracking koala movements, discovering habitats, identifying suitable tree species for food and shelter, documenting mortality rates and the threats that koala populations face, would not be possible without the wonderful support of our volunteers. Our volunteers are paramount to the implementation of Science for Wildlife projects and without them, many of our projects and initiatives would not be as effective and in some instances, not possible. They also play a major role in sharing our discoveries with local ...

Koala release in the Royal National Park

Science for Wildlife is thrilled to share news of the release of another koala into the iconic Royal National Park! The koala (named Royal), was originally taken into care after it had been found by WIRES in a Kirrawee front yard, near the very busy Forest Road and a local dog park. After being rehabilitated and fitted with a radio tracking device, this koala will now take part in our ongoing study monitoring rehabilitated koalas who have been released back into the wild. The Koala Post-Rehabilitation Project, being undertaken by Science for Wildlife in partnership with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and WIRES, looks at whether koalas ...

Happy 1st Birthday to Groot!

Happy birthday to our youngest team member, Groot! Presently in training to be our next koala scat detection dog, this pup will be critical to future search and rescue efforts in bushfire and drought affected areas. As Groot has come to learn in his first year of life, there is much to learn about the koala scat dog profession. Lucky for him, his owner Dr Kellie Leigh is well equipped to teach him the tricks of the trade! Featured: Groot sitting in the bush (left), Groot showing off his weird sleeping habits (right) Wildlife detection dogs, like Groot and his older counterpart Smudge (who we introduced back in March, with his handler/owner Kim ...

How our research is changing the future of koala conservation

This year has shown beyond doubt that our wildlife is facing new challenges under climate change. We’ve been busy on the ground dealing with the impacts of the bushfires, but we’ve also been sharing our knowledge to help plan for the future. Our Executive Director, Dr Kellie Leigh, explains how we have been informing policy to improve the management and conservation of koalas. “I have been communicating our unique experience during the bushfires across a range of Government platforms that inform conservation management and policy. These platforms included two NSW Government Inquiry hearings, a special bushfire meeting under the NSW Koala ...

Where’s Wally?

We love to be able to share a good news story. A koala was reported late last week in Glenbrook in the Lower Blue Mountains. It’s not every day that a koala turns up there, and it’s probably even rarer that a koala named Wally turns up at all. How do we know his name you may ask? Wally was wearing some bling, an ear tag. So, when he was found, a photo and details of his ear tag were sent through to us to check if we knew him. We’ve never tagged any koalas in the Lower Blue Mountains, so it seemed unlikely that he would be part of any of our programs. However, upon checking, Kellie, Science for Wildlife’s ED, was delighted to discover that ...

What’s next after the bushfires?

Thanks to some amazing support from our core Project partners San Diego Zoo, and funding for our research under the NSW Koala Strategy, we are now planning some large-scale surveys across the Greater Blue Mountains region to assess where koalas survived the fires. This is vital information for planning conservation action and population recovery. We need to know where the koalas are, so we can allocate resources to protect them. For example, if the surviving koalas are mostly in areas that have been developed by people, which were also asset protection zones and didn’t burn, then those koalas face human-caused threats including vehicle strike and ...

Do koalas survive and thrive after care?

When koalas come into care, a great amount of resources, cost and time is required to rehabilitate them to the point of safe release back into the wild. Reasons for their admission are generally related to disease, dog attacks and car incidents, although fire events and subsequent translocations are increasingly impacting koala wellbeing. Unfortunately, a significant knowledge gap remains between koala rehabilitation and the resulting success or failure of koalas re-establishing in the wild. While many koalas have been rehabilitated and released, there are still very few post-release koala monitoring studies that have assessed whether or not the ...

Celebrating National Volunteer Week: Koala Tracking with S4W Volunteers

Even before the devastating bushfires of last summer, koalas were listed as a threatened species, vulnerable to extinction across most of their range in Australia. The drop in the number of koalas has been from 3-4 million historically to less than 400,000 today. This decline was a direct result of the koala fur trade until the early 1900s, followed more recently by habitat loss and fragmentation, disease, human threats in developed areas and from climate change associated phenomenon, including record-breaking drought, heat and bushfires on a scale and severity that we’ve never seen before. Since 2014, Science for Wildlife has been uncovering the ...

Is the Planet Trying to Tell Us Something?

With the impacts of the recent bushfires and currently COVID-19 being felt around the country we must ask, is the planet trying to tell us something? These events have placed immense pressure on our environment, our economy, and our mental health. Sadly, the impacts of these unprecedented times have also been felt by our wildlife, in particular our koalas. Stories of hope Over recent years, in the lead up to the catastrophic bushfire season of 2019/2020, the Science for Wildlife team were sharing stories of hope and good news from our koala project. Some of these stories included: Uncovering a large population of koalas in the Blue Mountains, a ...