Hundreds of trees planted for new koala habitat in region
THE Toowoomba region could have a new koala habitat in the coming years, after volunteers planted hundreds of trees to encourage population growth.
Oakey resident Dr Eric Donaldson donated a huge chunk of his property outside the town to create a reserve for the native animal, whose numbers have dwindled across the region.
Dr Donaldson said he worked with Oakey Urban Landcare and two dozen volunteers to plant 320 trees attractive and sustainable for koalas on Tuesday.
"When I first came here 45 years ago there were koalas and they were frequent. Now you can go for months without seeing one," he said.
"We hope that in years to come, (the trees) will attract the koalas.
"We'll have to put the barriers up to keep the ferals out, (but) the overall plan is to foster these koalas and if we can get a decent population, we can get it back to what it was."
Oakey Urban Landcare president Trevor Cockburn said trees were picked based on research his father Lance had done on koalas decades before at Brookvale Park.
Mr Cockburn said he hoped to not only encourage the actual animals, but also researchers keen to look into the region's koala population.
"It might take 15 to 20 years to do it," he said.
"As we develop the area, we want to encourage researchers to come on board.
"I'm hoping that by April, we'll do another planting and I'm hoping there will be some of the ornamental ones as well."