Rockhampton Zoo Koalas - Chinese Koalas - UGLIES - Treasurer - Equipment Grant
Bethany Walker - Web Report - Alistair - Shirley - Dawn - Gail - Gray Nomads
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Celebrating Koala Month in July
Come meet our new koalas”
an afternoon on 8th July at Rockhampton Botanic Gardens & Zoo to introduce the five new koalas to the public.
It was a lovely sunny day and members enjoyed a picnic lunch then adjourned to the koala area.

Alistair Melzer gave a general information session on koalas to the visitors with the added attraction of the youngest of the new koalas a male KLINGON* being paraded on the shoulder of keeper Peter Brooks.
Gail Tucker, Masters Student spoke of her study on sub adult koalas and gave an interactive demonstration of techniques of koala catching and tagging.It was then feeding time for the koalas and Kim Bedwell, another Masters Student spoke about her research in conjunction with the zoo and introduced the new koalas - ELLA (mother of KLINGON) and males BRUISER, BILLY and JOE.

Previously the zoo had only two females, however, with the arrival of three adult males all the females are now pregnant.

Information on koalas and our brochure were distributed to the visitors and koala chocs and orphan toys were sold.

It was an enjoyable outing for members and a good promotion of koalas and CQKV

Shirley Hopkins

Kim's Talk

I was invited to speak at the Rockhampton Zoological and Botanic gardens to introduce the 5 koalas recently acquired in December 2006 from Magnetic Island.

The people were smitten with the joey “Klingon”* who is currently being hand raised and not in captivity and most people were keen to know his mother “Ella”.  Three males were also acquired “Billy”, “Joe” and “Bruiser”.


All five have had 6 months to acclimatise to these new conditions and are fitting in well with 2 existing females Squirt and Caramello who were captive born and bred in Rockhampton ZooIn addition I spoke briefly about my project and some of the interesting koala facts I had come across while researching and also answered some questions from the public. 

My project is in collaboration with CQU, Rockhampton City Council and Fitzroy River Water researching and maximising the production of koala fodder for the zoo, to limit harvesting from the wild and increase foliage productivity in plantation.  The zoo staff budget for approx 1kg fresh foliage per koala per day and they manage a couple of plantations.

I will be investigating the use of recycled water in these plantations.  The recycled water being used contains nutrients that are utilised by trees and there are no toxic elements.  Timber plantations that are irrigated with recycled water are successful, so it is

achievable to find a system that works for the koala plantation and council.

With the existing knowledge that koalas select eucalypt leaves primarily for water and protein.  Koala researchers have observed koalas drinking in the wild and in captivity, but it’s not a regular activity and protein is essential for metabolic requirements.  Eucalypt leaves contain a large variety of compounds some of which are difficult to digest and others can be toxic to koalas but koalas have the ability to detoxify the compounds or regulate the amount of foliage they are consuming.

With the combination of why koalas select foliage and the minor changes that are likely to occur due to recycled water it is likely koala’s consumption of fodder will be similar

After the foliage has been grown; I will spend more time with the captive koalas so they become accustomed to me and provide the foliage to the koalas under their normal zoo feeding routine.  I will then calculate how much was eaten compared with foliage harvested from other sites and foliage irrigated with regular tap water.  During this process I will also become familiar with their behaviour; as most activity and feeding occurs at night I have video cameras set up to assist me and monitor this period of time.

While researching literature about koala feeding behaviour for this project, a study in Brisbane revealed that koalas' hand-eye co-ordination is poor and they use their hand to hold the branch and typically bite the leaf off at the stem near the base of the leaf and the leaf is consumed from the base to the tip.  The koalas they were studying had a preference to hold the branch with their left hand, and that when they scratch they prefer to use their feet over their hands.

Kim Bedwell

*'Clingon' and 'Klingon' are one and the same koala – not sure of exact spelling. (Ed)

Admiring the 'orphan' koalas
Bethany, Carmen and Mary with the children colouring in
Peter and Clingon the crowd favourite

Thank you Gail for the following article:
Birthday bash for Chinese koalas

Article from: Courier & sunday Mail
By Greg Stolz June 12, 2007 12:00am

He has entertained royalty, heads of state and global television audiences in their billions, and is working with Hollywood director Steven Spielberg on next year's Beijing Olympics.

But Australian creative guru Ric Birch will interrupt his Olympics preparations to stage a birthday party for two koalas.

This won't be an ordinary cake-and-streamers affair, however, because these are no ordinary koalas. In fact, Birch is promising a multimillion-dollar extravaganza.

In his most bizarre assignment, the Olympics "ringmaster" has been commissioned to put on the first birthday party for rare twin koalas, born last year in a Chinese zoo.

The twins have caused a sensation since their birth last October at the Xiangjiang Safari Park in Guangzhou, southern China, attracting hundreds of thousands of excited Chinese visitors.


Their parents are Murrumbidgee and Murray, two of six koalas sent to China last year by the Gold Coast's Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

The koalas are the first sent to mainland China and all six have had offspring, but the twins – the odds of which are as high as a million to one – have aroused huge interest.

Such is the excitement that the safari park's billionaire owner, Su Zhigang, has hired Birch to stage the birthday party for the joey twins – dubbed Little Michelle and Little Amanda after their original Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary keepers. Birch, who with Spielberg is artistic adviser for the Beijing Olympics opening and closing ceremonies next year, will take time out from Games planning to put on the koala party.

"It seemed quixotic and oddball enough to fly halfway around the world to do," said the producer, who is based in Milan with an international events production company.

"No koala will ever have had a birthday party like it, I can promise you that."  Birch is no stranger to working with animals, although not usually real ones.

Ric Birch has used many techniques in his displays but how will he handle a koala birthday party?

He made his name with Matilda, the giant winking kangaroo at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane before going on to produce events on a grand scale, including the Los Angeles and Sydney Olympics ceremonies and Millennium celebrations on Sydney Harbour.

He plans to use Guangzhou's picturesque Pearl River as a backdrop to stage the party, which is likely to include a floating parade of giant Australian and Chinese animal effigies, as well as a fireworks spectacular.

The koala party, in the first week of October, will coincide with China's annual Golden Week celebrations and is expected to attract millions of Chinese. 

Report from Nick

It is interesting to note the increase in viewers from such countries as France, Switzerland and Japan.  One would hope that China takes advantage of our site for information too.
Today I added a great picture of Uglies being worn by the CQU Bookshop staff.  John Back CQU Bookshop, Web Designer, has made this photo available and it looks good on our site.

On 26th July we had 27 page views by 8 people, so our site is being found and looked at from around the world.
Recently I put a new site up for the Capricorn Coast Historical Society and some members will find interesting photographs on the site.  Photos are limited at the moment, but as the group gathers old photos they’ll be added for all to see.

Recent Trip

As Gray Nomads, Helen & I have been caravanning through western Queensland and this is our report.
Directly after Anzac Day, Helen & I took off for 6 weeks in the caravan.  It was a most enjoyable holiday and a good learning curve towing the van along with five dog ore trucks and three dog cattle trucks on the oneway bitumen roads of central western Queensland.  But I have to report that in 6882 km we did not see one traffic accident.  We also found most western truckies to be very courteous, even though they don’t get off the road.  But you can understand why they need the good section of the road and it is just very sensible and safer for other drivers to get off and give them a free go.

We left Rockhampton and went up via Belyando Crossing to Charters Towers, then to Townsville and back out to Mt Isa.  We then went down the inland via Charleville, out to Quilpie and Eromanga.  We visited the new Veteran Retreat at Alaric near Adavale and then headed for Toowoomba, Brisbane, Caloundra, Bundaberg and home on 15th June.
We also decided along the way that our 18’6” poptop van was too small and we’d have buy a new full size van which should be here at the end of September.  Hence, you won't be seeing  us again for a month or two - we’ll be off to the south west and maybe the Hunter region, where we were headed last trip, but went north west instead.  In all that 7000km we were still in Queensland.Cheers Nick

Photo Lto R > Helen & Nick in safety gear ready for the underground mine tour at Mt Isa



Staff of CQU who had purchased UGLIES wore them celebrating Koala Month on Friday 20th July.

CQU Bookshop staff, have been enthusiastic in this fundraiser and over 50 UGLIES have been sold for which we are grateful.

CQU Bookshop staff intends to wear their UGLIES again before the end of koala month.

Top (L->R) Berny Cross (Bookshop), Shirley Hopkins (CQ Chief Koala Advocate)
Di Richmond (Bookshop)Bottom (L->R) Leesa Tarlington (Post Office), Emma Springer (Bookshop), Renae Benson (Bookshop) Photo by John Back CQU Bookshop Web Designer


Report from Dawn

CQ Volunteers were successful in their application for a Small Equipment Grant from the Department of Families, Community Services & Indigenous Affairs. The Items applied for were - two GPS units, two 2 way radios and a number of lidded storage containers. All items applied for were purchased by Alistair Melzer and are ready for use in future field trips.
Dawn Pound



We are committed to spend $10,000 in 2007 to cover $5000 towards Steph Januchowski's PhD candidacy, $4000 to Alistair Melzer to examine the difference between tooth-wear of koalas on the mainland and the islands and $1000 for promotion and education within our community.

Koala Chocs in boxes and this year, golden tins continue to provide funds strongly supported by Supa IGA Glenmore selling our chocs year round.
A new item which will be attractive - caps with our logo
Our old favourite, Carmen Drake's orphan koala toys bring in regular funds as does the investment of our funds.
Congratulations to member Dawn Pound on her initiative to apply for a successful grant of $2146.10 (see below)
I look forward to your continued support

Shirley Hopkins

Bethany's Report

After a long journey I arrived in Rocky on the 19th June and I then spent a few days in Yeppoon.  I will be in Australia for three months in total.  As part of my environment and conservation biology degree (back in the UK), I am required to carry out a six week placement to develop skills relevant to my course.  So I contacted Alistair and arranged to come out to Rockhampton.

The first couple of weeks involved field work in the Broadsound Shire area, the koala presentation at Rockhampton Zoo and preparing for the St. Bees Island Earth Watch fieldtrip.  The field work in the Broadsound Shire concerned assessment of biodiversity in the several sites that we visited.  I had the job of photographing and recording data.


This is a photo me holding Frontier’s baby after his measurements had been recorded.


The presentation at the Zoo went well thanks to the members that kindly helped with the setting up and organisng of the day.  The highlight for the audience was Klingon - a 20 month old koala.

The Earth Watch trip was to St. Bees Island 20 km east of Mackay.  Aims included:

  • Understanding the ecology of the koala population on the island
  • Using this understanding to help aid management of koala population isolates/ fragmented habitat.

The trip was awesome! I have so many great memories and photos.  Work involved tracking, vegetation study, catching, tagging and taking measurements of head widths etc.

The skills I have learnt will be invaluable to me in my career and I look forward to sharing my experiences with my fellow undergraduates and programme leader.

I have had an amazing time so far and am excited about what else I might experience.

Bethany Walker