Whittlesea’s Koala’s: Where Are They?

 

The Koala is an iconic species, and compared to northern Australia, the population in Southern Victoria is doing relatively well. Despite their perceived security in Victoria, there is mounting evidence that while some populations are increasing, others are in decline. Koala’s across Australia are threatened by habitat destruction, fragmentation, disease (Chlamydia), drought/climate change, mortality from vehicles and dogs and prescribed burns and wildfire. For those populations with high densities, over-browsing resulting in the defoliation of their favourite food trees is a major concern and one of the issues addressed in the Victorian Government’s Koala Management Strategy. In these circumstances, translocation of animals may be necessary. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and Parks Victoria recently coordinated a translocation of 435 Koala’s from French Island to Kinglake National Park (see photos). French Island is recognised as an important source of disease free Koala’s to bolster mainland populations. The translocated animals can be identified by their coloured ear tags and may enter our municipality where suitable habitat exists.

In Whittlesea, Koala records are sparse and the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas (http://www.depi.vic.gov.au/environment-and-wildlife/biodiversity/victorian-biodiversity-atlas) contains only 13 records of this species within the municipality.  Council staff recently recorded a koala via a remote-sensing camera near Toorourrong Reservoir, a significant sighting given the rarity of this species in Whittlesea. If you record this species, please contact Council’s Biodiversity Officer (Ruth Marr) on 9217 2025 or ruth.marr@whittlesea.vic.gov.au.  Detailed information including, location description, GIS co-ordinates, tree species koala recorded within and presence of ear tags would be very useful.

 

Koala translocation photos courtesy Vivian Amenta (DELWP).

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