Australian Mammalogy Australian Mammalogy Society
Journal of the Australian Mammal Society

High koala mortality associated with low browse moisture in tropical environments

Irene Delma Clifton
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School of Medical and Applied Science, Central Queensland University, PO Box 5606, Mackay MC, Qld 4741, Australia. Email:

Australian Mammalogy 32(2) 157-159
Submitted: 17 February 2009  Accepted: 7 May 2010   Published: 5 August 2010


At St Bees Island, central Queensland, during drought conditions from July 2001 to April 2003, 85% of koala deaths occurred when browse moisture fell below 51% fresh weight. Drought-induced mortality (and changing frequencies or intensities of drought due to climate change) may have a considerable effect upon this population.

Additional keywords: climate change, drought, Phascolarctos cinereus.


Funding and field support for this project was provided by Earthwatch International, Central Queensland Koala Volunteers, Centre for Environmental Management (CQU), CQU Research Training Scheme, Australians for Animals, and Mr Peter Berck. Animal experimentation was conducted with approval of CQU Animal Experimentation Ethics Panel, Certificate number 01/06-112 and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Scientific Purposes Permit E4/001032/99/SAA and C6/000075/01/SAB.


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