Previous approaches to indirect detection of koala presence have been proposed, however, the present paper identifies issues of bias, pellet detectability and over-analysis of information inherent in those prior techniques. We recommend an approach that reduces bias, can be consistently applied and enables information on presence of koalas Phascolarctos cinereus to be used to inform larger survey programs, ‘ground-truth’ predictive habitat mapping, etc. We describe a rapid assessment methodology based on indirect signs that provides a reproducible, statistically valid, time-efficient and resource-efficient protocol for determining the presence of this species. The application, advantages and limitations of this ‘koala rapid assessment method’ (KRAM) are discussed with reference to its role in the design of detailed and landscape scale P. cinereus surveys.

Barnes, R. F. W. 1993. Indirect methods for counting elephants in forest. Pachyderm 16:24-30.
Indirect methods for counting elephants in forest
Pachyderm
, vol. 
16
 (pg. 
24
-
30
)
Caughley, G. 1993. Elephants and Economics. Conservation Biology 7: 943-945.
Elephants and Economics
Conservation Biology
, vol. 
7
 (pg. 
943
-
945
)
Caughley, G. and Sinclair, A.R.E. 1994. Wildlife ecology and management. Blackwell Scientific Publicaitons: Cambridge, MA.
Wildlife ecology and management
Cristescu, R. 2011. Fauna recolonisation of mine rehabilitation through the example of arboreal marsupials, with a particular focus on the koala Phascolarctos cinereus. PhD thesis. University of New South Wales, Sydney.
Cristescu, R., Ellis, W., de Villiers, D., Lee, K., Woosnam-Merchez, O., Frere, C., Banks, P., Dique, D., Hodgkison, S., Carrick, H., Carter, D., Smith, P., Carrick, F. 2011. North Stradbroke Island: An island ark for Queensland's koala population? Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 117: 309-334.
North Stradbroke Island: An island ark for Queensland's koala population?
Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland
, vol. 
117
 (pg. 
309
-
334
)
DERM 2012. Koala Coast Koala Population Report 2010. Department of Environment and Resource Management, Brisbane. January 2012.
Dique, D.S., de Villiers, D.L. and Preece, H.J. 2003. Evaluation of line-transect sampling for estimating koala abundance in the Pine Rivers Shire, south-east Queensland. Wildlife Research 30: 127-133.
Evaluation of line-transect sampling for estimating koala abundance in the Pine Rivers Shire, south-east Queensland
Wildlife Research
, vol. 
30
 (pg. 
127
-
133
)
Dique, D.S., Penfold, G., Thompson, J., Leslie, R. and Preece, H.J. 2001. ‘Koala distribution and density in southeast Queensland: The accuracy and precision of koala surveys’ in K. Lyons, A. Melzer, F. Carrick and D. Lamb (eds), The Research and Management of Non-urban Koala Populations, Koala Research Centre of Queensland, Rockhampton, pp 105-121.
The Research and Management of Non-urban Koala Populations
(pg. 
105
-
121
)
Dique, D.S., Preece, H.J., Thompson, J. and de Villiers, D.L. 2004. Determining the distribution and abundance of a regional koala population in south-east Queensland for conservation management. Wildlife Research 31: 109-117.
Determining the distribution and abundance of a regional koala population in south-east Queensland for conservation management
Wildlife Research
, vol. 
31
 (pg. 
109
-
117
)
Ellis, W.A.H., Sullivan, B.J., Lisle, A.T. and Carrick, F.N. 1998. The spatial and temporal distribution of koala faecal pellets. Wildlife Research 25: 663-668.
The spatial and temporal distribution of koala faecal pellets
Wildlife Research
, vol. 
25
 (pg. 
663
-
668
)
Ellis, W.A.H., Melzer, A., Carrick, F.N. and Hasegawa, M. 2002. Tree use, diet and home range of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) at Blair Athol, central Queensland. Wildlife Research 29: 303-311.
Tree use, diet and home range of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) at Blair Athol, central Queensland
Wildlife Research
, vol. 
29
 (pg. 
303
-
311
)
GHD 2009. Report for North Stradbroke Island Koala Habitat Survey and Mapping. Redland City Council.
Hasegawa, M. 1995. Habitat utilisation by koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) at Point Halloran, Queensland. M.Sc. thesis, The University of Queensland.
Januchowski, S. R., McAlpine, C.A., Callaghan, J.G., Griffin, C.B., Bowen, M., Mitchell, D. and Lunney, D. 2008. Identifying multiscale habitat factors influencing Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) occurrence and management in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. Ecological Management and Restoration 9: 134-142.
Identifying multiscale habitat factors influencing Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) occurrence and management in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
Ecological Management and Restoration
, vol. 
9
 (pg. 
134
-
142
)
Johnson, C.N. and Jarman, P.J. 1987. Macropod studies at Wallaby Creek VI. A validation of the use of dung-pellet counts for measuring absolute densities of populations of macropodids. Australian Wildlife Research 14:139-145.
Macropod studies at Wallaby Creek VI. A validation of the use of dung-pellet counts for measuring absolute densities of populations of macropodids
Australian Wildlife Research
, vol. 
14
 (pg. 
139
-
145
)
Hiby, L. and Lovell, P. 1991. DUNGSURV - a program for estimating elephant density from dung density without assuming “steady state”, in U. Ramakrishnan, J. A. Santosh, and R. Sukumar, (eds), Censusing elephants in forests: proceedings of an international workshop, Asian Elephant Conservation Centre, Bangalore, India, pp 46-50.
Censusing elephants in forests: proceedings of an international workshop
(pg. 
46
-
50
)
Jachmann, H. 1991. Evaluation of four methods for estimating elephant densities. African Journal of Ecology 24:37-39.
Evaluation of four methods for estimating elephant densities
African Journal of Ecology
, vol. 
24
 (pg. 
37
-
39
)
Lunney, D., Matthews, A., Moon, C. and Ferrier, S. 2000. Incorporating habitat mapping into practical koala conservation on private lands. Conservation Biology 14: 669-680.
Incorporating habitat mapping into practical koala conservation on private lands
Conservation Biology
, vol. 
14
 (pg. 
669
-
680
)
McAlpine, C.A., Rhodes, J.R., Callaghan, J.G., Bowen, M.E., Lunney, D., Mitchell D.L., Pullar, D.V., Possingham, H.P. 2006. The importance of forest area and configuration relative to local habitat factors for conserving forest mammals: a case study of koalas in Queensland, Australia. Biological Conservation 132, 153-165.
The importance of forest area and configuration relative to local habitat factors for conserving forest mammals: a case study of koalas in Queensland, Australia
Biological Conservation
, vol. 
132
 (pg. 
153
-
165
)
Matthews, A., Lunney, D., Gresser, S., Maitz, W. 2007. Tree use by koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) after fire in remnant coastal forest. Wildlife Research 34, 84-93.
Tree use by koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) after fire in remnant coastal forest
Wildlife Research
, vol. 
34
 (pg. 
84
-
93
)
McAlpine, C.A., Bowen, M.E., Callaghan, J.G., Lunney, D., Rhodes, J.R., Mitchell, D.L., Pullar, D.V. and Possingham, H.P. 2006. Testing alternative models for the conservation of koalas in fragmented rural-urban landscapes. Austral Ecology 31: 529-544.
Testing alternative models for the conservation of koalas in fragmented rural-urban landscapes
Austral Ecology
, vol. 
31
 (pg. 
529
-
544
)
Phillips, S.S. 2000. Tree species preferences of the Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) as a basis for the delineation of management areas for recovery planning in New South Wales. Unpublished report prepared for the Koala Recovery Plan.
Phillips, S. and Callaghan, J. 2000. Tree species preferences of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) in the Campbelltown area southwest of Sydney, New South Wales. Wildlife Research 27: 509-516.
Tree species preferences of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) in the Campbelltown area southwest of Sydney, New South Wales
Wildlife Research
, vol. 
27
 (pg. 
509
-
516
)
Phillips, S. Callaghan, J. and Thompson, V. 2000. The tree species preferences of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) inhabiting forest and woodland communities on Quaternary deposits in the Port Stephens area, New South Wales. Wildlife Research 27: 1-10.
The tree species preferences of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) inhabiting forest and woodland communities on Quaternary deposits in the Port Stephens area, New South Wales
Wildlife Research
, vol. 
27
 (pg. 
1
-
10
)
Phillips, S. and Callaghan, J. 2011. The Spot Assessment Technique: a tool for determining localised levels of habitat use by Koalas Phascolarctos cinereus. Australian Zoologist 35: 774-780.
The Spot Assessment Technique: a tool for determining localised levels of habitat use by Koalas Phascolarctos cinereus
Australian Zoologist
, vol. 
35
 (pg. 
774
-
780
)
Rhodes, J., Wiegand, T., McAlpine, C., Callaghan, J., Lunney, D., Bowen, M. and Possingham, H. 2006a. Modeling Species’ Distributions to Improve Conservation in Semiurban Landscapes: Koala Case Study. Conservation Biology 20: 449-459.
Modeling Species’ Distributions to Improve Conservation in Semiurban Landscapes: Koala Case Study
Conservation Biology
, vol. 
20
 (pg. 
449
-
459
)
Rhodes, J.R., Tyre, A.J., Jonzen, N., McAlpine, C.A. and Possingham, H.P. 2006b. Optimizing presence-absence surveys for detecting population trends. Journal of Wildlife Management 70: 8-18.
Optimizing presence-absence surveys for detecting population trends
Journal of Wildlife Management
, vol. 
70
 (pg. 
8
-
18
)
Rhodes, J., Callaghan, J., McAlpine, C., de Jong, C., Bowen, M., Mitchell, D., Lunney, D. and Possingham, H. 2008. Regional variation in habitat-occupancy thresholds: a warning for conservation planning. Journal of Applied Ecology 45: 549-557.
Regional variation in habitat-occupancy thresholds: a warning for conservation planning
Journal of Applied Ecology
, vol. 
45
 (pg. 
549
-
557
)
Rhodes, J., Lunney, D., Moon, C., Matthews, A. and McAlpine, C. 2011. The consequences of using indirect signs that decay to determine species’ occupancy. Ecography 34: 141-150.
The consequences of using indirect signs that decay to determine species’ occupancy
Ecography
, vol. 
34
 (pg. 
141
-
150
)
Samedi, Ir. 1995. Modelling habitat suitability for koalas and application of UET methods in planning for koala habitat. PhD thesis. The University of Queensland.
Seabrook, L., McAlpine, C., Baxter, G., Rhodes, J., Bradley, A., Lunney, D. 2011. Drought-driven change in wildlife distribution and numbers: a case study of koalas in south west Queensland. Wildlife Research 38, 509-524.
Drought-driven change in wildlife distribution and numbers: a case study of koalas in south west Queensland
Wildlife Research
, vol. 
38
 (pg. 
509
-
524
)
Senate Environment and Communications Committee. 2011. The koala - saving our national icon. Report tabled 22 September 2011. Available at: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=ec_ctte/koalas/index.htm http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=ec_ctte/koalas/index.htm
Smith, A.P. and Andrews, S. 1997. Koala habitat, abundance and distribution in the Pine Creek study area. Report, State Forests of New South Wales.
Sullivan, B.J., Baxter, G.S. and Lisle, A.T. 2002. Low-density koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) populations in the mulgalands of south-west Queensland. I. Faecal pellet sampling protocol. Wildlife Research 29: 455-462.
Low-density koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) populations in the mulgalands of south-west Queensland. I. Faecal pellet sampling protocol
Wildlife Research
, vol. 
29
 (pg. 
455
-
462
)
Sullivan, B.J., Baxter, G.S. and Lisle, A.T. 2003a. Low-density koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) populations in the mulgalands of south-west Queensland. III. Broad-scale patterns of habitat use. Wildlife Research 30: 583-591.
Low-density koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) populations in the mulgalands of south-west Queensland. III. Broad-scale patterns of habitat use
Wildlife Research
, vol. 
30
 (pg. 
583
-
591
)
Sullivan, B.J., Norris, W.M. and Baxter, G.S. 2003b. Lowdensity koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) populations in the mulgalands of south-west Queensland. II. Distribution and diet. Wildlife Research 30: 331-338.
Lowdensity koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) populations in the mulgalands of south-west Queensland. II. Distribution and diet
Wildlife Research
, vol. 
30
 (pg. 
331
-
338
)
Sullivan, B.J., Baxter, G.S., Lisle, A.T., Pahl, L. and Norris, W.M. 2004. Low-density koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) populations in the mulgalands of south-west Queensland. IV. abundance and conservation status. Wildlife Research 31: 19-29.
Low-density koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) populations in the mulgalands of south-west Queensland. IV. abundance and conservation status
Wildlife Research
, vol. 
31
 (pg. 
19
-
29
)
Witt, G.B. and Pahl, L. 1995. Mulgaland communities of south-west Queensland as habitat for koalas. In M.J. Page and T.S. Beutel (eds). Ecological Research and Management in the Mulgalands - Conference Proceedings. The University of Queensland, Gatton College. pp. 91-95.
Ecological Research and Management in the Mulgalands - Conference Proceedings
(pg. 
91
-
95
)
Woosnam-Merchez, O. 2008. Determining presence/absence of koalas using a rapid assessment technique to assist in the design of large-scale surveys. Master's Dissertation, The University of Queensland, St Lucia.
This content is only available as a PDF.