The Science of Saving Koalas
National Science Week (11th-19th August 2018) is Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology, acknowledging the contributions of Australian scientists and researchers to the world of knowledge, and encouraging an interest in science among the general public.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Queensland, believes strongly in making scientific, fact-based decisions and connecting their guests with the fascinating world of koala science and research. The sanctuary’s recently-opened ‘Brisbane Koala Science Institute’, constructed in collaboration with the Brisbane City Council, helps the sanctuary achieve just this.
For the next three years the Institute will be home to two full-time research staff, including University of the Sunshine Coast PhD student and veterinarian, Amy Robbins. Amy’s research focusses on trying to understand why some koalas develop “severe” disease when they’re infected with Chlamydia, which is a major threat to our declining northern wild koalas populations, including the role genetics plays.
“Working with Endeavour Veterinary Ecology for the last four years managing a koala population in the Moreton Bay Region, I’ve seen first-hand the debilitating effects Chlamydia can have on koalas”, says Amy. “It not only significantly impacts the health and welfare of the diseased individual, but also threatens the conservation of the species”.
“The new facilities at Lone Pine will allow me to analyse samples from koala populations across South East Queensland. Whilst performing my lab work at the Institute, guests to the sanctuary will have the opportunity to watch me extract DNA from koala samples like swabs or scats, test for Chlamydia, or catalogue samples for future research”.
Amy’s work will contribute to improved conservation management plans for koalas across the region, including further refinement of the koala Chlamydia vaccine – a project which Lone Pine has been heavily involved in for a number of years in conjunction with the University of the Sunshine Coast.
In addition, the sanctuary’s new ‘Koala Biobank’ – a 1500-litre, ultra-low temperature, koala sample repository – will play a vital role in future koala research projects and preservation of the species.
The Institute is also home to Joanna Horsfall, the sanctuary’s Research Coordinator. Joanna is responsible for initiating and facilitating collaborative research partnerships, managing a team of academic writers to produce easily-digestible synopses of all published koala research, and maintaining the Institute’s PC2 Microbiological Laboratory.
If visiting Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary during National Science Week, be sure to check out the Brisbane Koala Science Institute, for a chance to see some of Amy’s vital koala research work in progress. The Institute is open daily from 9am-5pm, with access included with entry to the sanctuary.
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World-class koala research facility now open
The ‘Brisbane Koala Science Institute’, a world-class koala science and research facility, opened to the public on Saturday, 30th June 2018.
Taking advantage of the sanctuary’s central location, Lone Pine hopes to improve collaboration within the science community through the use of the Institutes’ meeting spaces and seminar hall.
“The first event will be held on the 19th July 2018, which will bring together the likes of researchers, vets, and policymakers to share recent koala research outcomes”, says Lone Pine’s General Manager, Robert Friedler.
To further support the physical facilities, Lone Pine has also launched koala.org, an online portal containing synopses of all known koala research, making science accessible to diverse audiences.
Guests to Lone Pine will be able to enjoy the Institute daily from 9am-5pm, via the public viewing area complete with interactive displays, koala skywalk, and viewing windows into the sanctuary’s wildlife kitchen, research laboratory, and wildlife hospital. Access to the facility is included in entry to the sanctuary.
World's first and largest koala sanctuary now on Google Street View
People from around the world can now experience a 360-degree virtual tour of Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary from the comfort of their own home. In January 2018, the Google Street View team walked every inch of Lone Pine’s 20-hectare property, capturing the natural beauty of the sanctuary and its characters within.
The Google Street View Trekker - a specially-designed backpack weighing in at 18 kilograms and boasting a 15 camera lenses that snap images every 2.5 seconds – was used to gather this new perspective.
“It is hoped that the new Street View footage will give future guests a taste of what they can experience at Lone Pine and inspire them to visit and connect with nature and wildlife in person”, says Communications Coordinator, Amy Swinn. “There are also many people throughout the world unable to travel, so by collaborating with Google, we can now bring the joys of Lone Pine to them.”
With the footage now live, Lone Pine will feature on Google Street View alongside other world-renowned establishments such as the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Singapore Zoo, and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.
On Thursday, 7th December 2017, we officially welcomed our new common wombat, 'Bruce Almighty' to the Lone Pine family.
Known day-to-day as ‘Bruce’, this spritely young wombat made the move from South Australia to sunny Brisbane, and was recently introduced to his exhibit.
He wasted no time exploring his new home, digging holes, and of course, marking his territory.
Bruce was orphaned at a young age and was hand-raised by a wildlife carer. He will now call Lone Pine his ‘forever home’.
“Lone Pine is very excited to welcome Bruce to the family, and to be involved in a program which enables orphaned joeys to live healthy,
happy lives following an often-eventful start to life”, says the sanctuary’s Wildlife Curator, Frank Mikula.
“Bruce will play a pivotal role in educating our guests about the plight of wombats across Australia.”
After Bruce has spent some time settling in, he will be introduced to his new housemate ‘Bella’ (Lone Pine’s female common wombat),
with the hope that one day the sanctuary will hear the pitter-patter of wombat joey feet.
You will be able to find Bruce in our common wombat exhibit, from 9am-5pm daily.
FREE outdoor movies at Lone Pine Outdoor Cinemas
Join us every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month for free movie screenings on our three outdoor cinema screens.
BYO blankets and pillows for our grassy amphitheatre, or take advantage of the comfortable seating at Riverside Cafe.
Free parking and free wifi available. Dogs welcome (must remain on lead at all times).
Click here to view upcoming event dates.