Saturday, 5 December 2015

Captain Bogart: Road Warrior


Wild BNE fan Jonathan Pickvance is an urban wildlife ecologist with over six years of experience working with wildlife in South-east Queensland. Here he shares one of his most memorable encounters.

"A few years ago I was working on a large-scale koala movement study which aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of retrofitted structures as a means for the safe movement of koalas across roads.  My research group tracked 61 koalas throughout South East Queensland and I was required to track each koala on a weekly basis.  From this, I witnessed first hand the hardship of South-east Queensland koalas in the suburbs dealing with cars, dogs and disease.
Image supplied by Jonathan Pickvance.
Most of the koalas we tracked had a home range which overlapped at least one road and would frequently be found in the back yards of dog owners.  Although only one tracked koala was hit by a car (and survived after being treated at a wildlife hospital), 30 of the 61 tracked koalas were lost to disease or dog attack.
The koala that was hit by the car was 'Captain Bogart,' a two year old male in Kallangur, north of Brisbane, whom after his recovery made an incredible journey against the odds, moving over a kilometre in search of new territory and females.  As shown in the map, he crossed the Bruce Highway on-ramp,  then crossed Anzac Avenue where he moved through Kingfisher Park, before crossing the 6 lanes of the Bruce Highway to be found unharmed in a small patch of bushland near housing estates.  My research team lost his VHF signal for some time before venturing into the suburbs behind North Lakes Shopping Centre.  He absolutely blew our minds! Although I was never able to get a good photo of the Captain, my best photo is of 'Dirty Harry,'  a blue-eyed boy who occupied bushland across the road from North Pine Country Markets in Petrie."
'Dirty Harry'; photo by Jonathan Pickvance.

If you'd like to share your South-east Queensland nature experiences with an audience of like-minded people, email Christian at wildbne@gmail.com for more info!

2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Greg, when I heard this tale from Jonathan, it was too good not to share!

      Delete