A collaborative Griffith University project that successfully helped reduce the number of koala deaths in South East Queensland (SEQ) has moved into its next phase.

Social Marketing @ Griffith (SM@G) researchers used co-design strategies to determine what locals wanted to know about the furry animals and to learn how people living in SEQ could assist in protecting the endangered species.

In its first year, the project, which is supported by Queensland Department of Environment and Science funding, delivered a communications campaign across the Logan City Council area in the 2021/22 koala movement season.

Social Marketing @ Griffith Director Professor Sharyn Rundle-Thiele.

“This campaign resulted in 83 per cent less koala deaths from car strikes and doubled the number of koala sightings reported,” SM@G Director Professor Sharyn Rundle-Thiele said.

“While we are thrilled with the outcomes achieved in year one of this project, we know there is much more to do.”

The project included surveys of residents, partnerships with local government areas, community organisations and business, as well as numerous events and communications campaigns.

“We distributed surveys to residents of 12 SEQ councils and co-designed initiatives with community. We found people wanted to be provided with more information on the impacts human activity has on koalas,” Professor Rundle-Thiele said.

“They also wanted to be provided with clear and actionable tips on what they can do the help koalas, including how to spot and identify sick koalas, as well as who to call.”

People also identified they wanted to see more local statistics and information on local koalas, like where they were moving around in the area.

A Facebook page, Wildlife Watcher, was also successful in creating an online community and managed to deliver support to koala carers by securing paint, towels and joey pouches.

SM@G researchers are now shifting their lens to the Darling Downs.

“The project team is keen to learn what we can do in the Toowoomba region to ensure our koala populations thrive and grow.”

“Our aim is to help set an agenda to help Toowoomba and the wider Western region,” Professor Rundle-Thiele said.

Responses to the Toowoomba Koala Priorities survey will assist with the delivery of a 2022/23 pilot project aimed at helping koala populations thrive and grow.

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