Science Diary: Koalas- Finding

Koalas – FindingMusic; Ambience: Walking through brush AM: And it just sits there and it says ‘I’m not moving, you can’t see me.’ And most of the time you can’t.JM: Welcome to Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. We’re on an island off the coast of Queensland, Australia searching for koalas with biologist Alistair Melzer and a team of Earthwatch volunteers. But finding a koala isn’t as easy as it sounds.AM: The simplest thing we’re going to do is to look for koalas and to see whether those koalas have got ear tags or not. The reason we do that is we want to look at the proportion of animals that are tagged compared to the proportion of animals that are not tagged, because they’re new animals. And from that we can make an estimate of the population density of koalas on the island. Volunteer: We’ve been walking for about three hours now, hiking up and down the hill. And we did find spiders and wallabies and butterflies if that’s what we were looking for, we’d be doing a fantastic job. But right now, we’re still on the hunt for the koalas.AM: When you look at a picture of a koala, and it stands out big ears, big eyes, black nose. But, put it in a tree in its natural habitat and it just blends into the landscape and it’s just so hard to see. Just to convince you that in fact the koalas are sitting up trees waving at you as you go past, all these scratches on this tree, it’s all koala scratches. On the bark of the tree. Almost certainly you’ve walked past probably 20 koalas today.JM: We’ll hear more about koalas in future programs. Please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Science Diary: Koalas- Finding

Even on an island full of koalas, finding one is much more difficult than it might seem!
Air Date:04/27/2007
Scientist:
Transcript:

Koalas - FindingMusic; Ambience: Walking through brush AM: And it just sits there and it says 'I'm not moving, you can't see me.' And most of the time you can't.JM: Welcome to Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. We're on an island off the coast of Queensland, Australia searching for koalas with biologist Alistair Melzer and a team of Earthwatch volunteers. But finding a koala isn't as easy as it sounds.AM: The simplest thing we're going to do is to look for koalas and to see whether those koalas have got ear tags or not. The reason we do that is we want to look at the proportion of animals that are tagged compared to the proportion of animals that are not tagged, because they're new animals. And from that we can make an estimate of the population density of koalas on the island. Volunteer: We've been walking for about three hours now, hiking up and down the hill. And we did find spiders and wallabies and butterflies if that's what we were looking for, we'd be doing a fantastic job. But right now, we're still on the hunt for the koalas.AM: When you look at a picture of a koala, and it stands out big ears, big eyes, black nose. But, put it in a tree in its natural habitat and it just blends into the landscape and it's just so hard to see. Just to convince you that in fact the koalas are sitting up trees waving at you as you go past, all these scratches on this tree, it's all koala scratches. On the bark of the tree. Almost certainly you've walked past probably 20 koalas today.JM: We'll hear more about koalas in future programs. Please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.