* Aversive behaviour by koalas

Steve Phillips
Australian Mammalogy 38, 158 - 163.

The effects of short-term disturbances that result in changes to movement patterns and/or behavior of wildlife are poorly understood. In this study movements of seven koalas were monitored before, during and after a 5-day music festival event. Aversive behavior in the form of evacuation of known ranging areas was demonstrated by three koalas that had core areas within 525 m of the approximate centre of the festival area, the associated responses comprising movements that were perpendicular to and away from staging areas where music was played. Lower order responses that were contained within known ranging areas were observed in three other koalas whose core areas were located further away. The type of response appeared related to proximity of koala home ranges to music-staging areas. While the specific stimulus eliciting aversive behavior was not identified, responses in all instances were initiated during the musical phase of the festival event. The potential for short-term disturbances such as music festivals to significantly influence the ranging patterns of koalas warrants recognition of possible longer-term ecological consequences for planning and management purposes.

An early, online copy of this publication can currently be viewed at www.publish.csiro.au/journals/am