OWAD Environment - Koala ecology experts - Threatened species detection dogs


OWAD Environment provides the following services:


Koala studies

Koala studies are tailored to your project’s specific needs and objectives, and to your budget and time constraints.  They can range anywhere from a rapid assessment of the site with our detection dogs for rapid confirmation of Koala presence/absence only, to more detailed studies including number of individual Koalas sampled, population structure analysis, genetic diversity, health status/disease prevalence etc. provided by laboratory analysis of scat samples.  Repeat sampling of a site can also provide you with a scientifically accurate estimate of the number of individual Koalas that utilise any given site.   See our FAQs about Koala scat analysis for more information.

We can assist you with projects of any scale, whether your study area is a 1ha block or a broad region spanning millions of hectares across multiple Local Government Areas.  As a guide, thanks to our purpose-bred professional field detection dogs we can survey up to several hundreds of hectares per week.

Underground Orchid surveys

OWAD and their detection dogs are certified for the detection of two species of Underground Orchids, namely Rhizanthella slateri (Eastern Underground Orchid) and Rhizanthella speciosa (Barrington Tops Underground Orchid). 

Quoll surveys

OWAD and their detection dogs are certified for the detection of three species of Quoll: Eastern Quoll, Northern Quoll and Spotted-tailed Quoll (also known as Tiger Quoll) indiscriminately.

Other threatened species surveys

For any other threatened flora/fauna species not listed above, do not hesitate to contact us.  We can discuss the feasibility of adding a specific target species to our dogs; or direct you to colleagues who may me able to assist.


We offer workshops to train professional or amateur ecologists on Koala scat identification and on the non-invasive Koala genetic sampling procedures and protocols.  This training is suitable for consulting ecologists, government officers, community groups and NGOs.  Each workshop is tailored in length and in content to the particular needs of each group.  E.g. if participants need training on Koala scat identification to ensure you can confidently differentiate Koala from Possum scats, this will be included in the training.  This workshop is available upon request, contact us for more information.  Other types of educational workshops are available upon request; do not hesitate to contact us with your specific needs.


We are experienced and available to provide specialist Koala Ecology Expert Witness services for legal matters.  Olivia has acted as a Koala Expert Witness herself for the Queensland Planning & Environment Court and has also closely assisted other Ecology Expert Witnesses on several significant Court matters in the past.

In 2016, OWAD created a landmark in the legal system by marking the first instance where the evidence uncovered by a wildlife detection dog was accepted in an Australian Court case.  The matter was a case of unapproved clearing of potential Koala habitat.  One of the main questions in play was whether or not the habitat cleared used to be utilised by the species.  The Joint Expert site visit was conducted a few months after the habitat had been cleared.  The land was compacted by the bulldozers, and the felled trees were stacked in heaps.  Our detection dog was able to (1) dig up Koala scats buried under the compacted soil, (2) find Koala scats in one of the heaps, and (3) locate a live Koala in one of the few trees that had not been felled.  As a result, the Court and all parties involved in the case accepted the evidence that the habitat cleared constituted Koala habitat and used to be utilised by the species.


We are available to speak and deliver presentations at conferences and a range of events, or for media stories.  We are experienced with participating in news stories and in the filming of documentaries, including assisting the media team in developing a meaningful story.  Contact us with your specific needs.

Need a service?

Need a service not listed above? Contact us to discuss your specific needs.  We may have the expertise required, and if we don’t we may be able to point you in the right direction