Fears of a mass koala starvation in the south-west

KOALAS in the south-west will die in massive numbers unless immediate action is taken to protect them from starvation, a new report warns. 

A major environmental group says between 5000 and 10,000 koalas could be without habitat when blue gum plantations are harvested over the coming years. 

Many forests grown between 1996 and 2010 are not expected to be replanted due to inappropriate conditions. 

Friends of the Earth (FoE) says a population boom of chlamydia-resistant koalas will be not be able to survive on already strained natural habitat when the plantations are harvested.

The south-west and the Strzelecki Ranges are listed as the two areas most at risk of an impending population crash. 

A spokeswoman for Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) said the government was awaiting a panel report on managing the state’s koala population.

“An independent expert panel has also been asked by DEPI to provide advice and direction on the strategic, future management of koalas in south-west Victoria,” she said.

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