Track & Catch Koalas
All photos on this site were taken on various Koala expeditions. Photographing koalas in the wild is not easy, because they blend in very well with the natural bush, their home. CQ KOALA VOLUNTEERS photographers are very protective of the images and ask you to use them for educational purposes only.
If you wish to use the images for commercial use you must contact the
All photos on this page are linked to images that will printout on A4 paper

When our study site is hilly and rocky, we find high points to help track down our koalas, plus the views are always worth the climb.

To catch a koala our researchers climb the tree using a caving ladder. Once in the tree the researchers will use the poles with the hessian flags to persuade the koala to back out of the tree where the ground crew is waiting quietly to catch it.

The team of volunteers take a break from catching to have some lunch in the shade.

While Garry uses the radio tracking receiver to get a fix on a koala, Fiona radios the other tracking team to tell them where the koalas are.

Gretchen, one of our volunteers from the US, holds on tightly to ‘Iggy’ so her measurements can be taken. The koalas are held firmly in bags to stop them struggling, so they don’t hurt themselves or the researchers.

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In the hot wether koalas often sit in the shady trees, making them hard to find.

This koala, Veronica, has just been released after having her collar changed and measurements taken, she pauses to get her bearings before continuing up to her roosting tree in the canopy of the Blue Gum.

To catch koalas, we use hessian flags on extendable poles to gently encourage them from their trees to the ground. When the team is quiet and the flags are well positioned the koalas simply climbs down to the ground where it can be safely caught by the catching team.

Koala volunteer, My-Harn from the US, is using a radio receiver with antenna to track each of the koalas wearing a radio collar. By dialling in the frequency of each individual radio collar, each individual koala can be tracked each day during the field trip. The volunteers then record where the koalas are in the bush and what trees they are in.

Not all koalas sit in gum trees. On St Bees Island we have found koalas in all sorts of trees, including this beach she oak (Casuarina equisetifolia).

After catching a koala, the volunteers, always release it back into the tree it was found in. When there are a lot of trees in the area, coloured tape is tied to the trunk to show which tree the koala was in.

This male koala, called ‘Stud’ is often found in small bushy trees where he is hard to see.

Sometimes the trees are not straight and the koalas can be caught more quickly (and hence, less stressfully) by encouraging them to the small outer branches of the tree where they can’t hang on and will fall. The catching team will always have a tarp ready to catch the koala, and be wearing helmets with visors to make sure they are able to see the koala at all times without being injured by any falling debris. In the background there is always an experienced ‘spotter’ to keep an eye on the koala and make sure the tarp is in the right location to catch the falling koala. Remember that koalas often fall out of there trees by themselves (especially when mating or fighting), so to catch them this way is no more stressful then their day to day lives.

With the ground team in place with the catching tarp ready, the extendable poles with Hessian flags are used to gently prod the koala to the small outer branches. The small branches can’t hold the heavy koalas and they slip from the tree and fall into the tarp. Once in the tarp they are quickly rapped up and secured in a bag ready to be measured and weighed

Experienced handlers secure the captured koala and place it into a sack.