Sheree the Koala’s new view on life

15 May 2018

Sheree the one-eyed koala is back in her home habitat at Peak Crossing about a half hour from Jeebropilly Mine after a short stay at Australia Zoo whilst she was being treated for a severe eye infection.

The young female koala, fondly named by the researchers who found her in a park opposite the local state school during a research program was released back to her habitat on Friday (11 May).

The research program, being conducted by Queensland Trust for Nature (QTFN) and the University of Queensland’s Koala Ecology Group, is funded by Ipswich-based resource company New Hope Group and the Scenic Rim Regional Council and is investigating how koalas move through koala habitat near the town of Peak Crossing.

QTFN Ecologist Felicity Shapland said Sheree was found with only one eye, which was severely damaged by a chlamydia infection at the time.

"When researchers found Sheree two months ago, her remaining eye was in really bad shape and we knew she needed treatment to save her eyesight," Felicity said.

"The veterinarians at Australia Zoo kindly offered to treat Sheree so we could release her back here into her home habitat at Peak Crossing."

The koala research program uses GPS collars to monitor the movements of the local koala population over a period of several months.

Data collected during the research program will be used to inform future tree planting efforts aimed at improving the local koala habitat.

New Hope Manager for Environment, Policy and Approvals Kylie Gomez-Gane said the research program was in line with New Hope’s commitment to enhance ecological values in its local communities and mirrors a new implementation plan set by the Queensland Government.

"On recommendation from the Koala Expert Panel the Government has adopted an implementation plan to drive a new, integrated approach to koala conservation," Kylie said.

"The plan aims is to deliver increased habitat conservation, threat reduction and, ultimately, population sustainability."

"New Hope is really proud to support Queensland Trust for Nature and the Koala Ecology Group in undertaking research that is working towards those same important aims."