Many of us consider our pets a part of the family and more than half of us own a dog with 62% of Australians welcoming these four-legged friends into our homes. Unfortunately, with urban growth encroaching on koala habitat our homes are also home to koalas and many other wildlife species.
Dog owners need to play their part in koala threat mitigation by reducing the risk of dog and koala interactions.
Here are a few crucial steps you can take as a dog owner to keep both koalas and your dog safe in your backyard.
- Keep your dog inside at night, or in a confined space when koalas are most active. Koalas are nocturnal creatures and are on the move at night, around dawn and dusk. Most dog attacks on koalas happen in the dog’s backyard at nighttime.
- Be aware and take extra care during koala movement seasons. Koalas are most at risk of being attacked by a dog between July and September. The risk peaks in September with this month recording the highest number of dog attacks than any other.
- If you are not able to keep your dog inside at night, or in a confined space, create koala exclusion fencing. One simple example is to attach a strip of metal or Perspex sheeting to the top section of an existing fence to prevent a koala from climbing that side. The sheeting should be at least 900mm wide with the top edge of the sheeting at least 1.5m above ground level. Learn more about koala-friendly fencing here.
- Provide your dog with wildlife avoidance training. There are two main skills you can teach your dog to ignore and avoid chasing koalas and other wildlife. Learn more about this training with the Leave It program here.