Numerous koalas are being relocated this week from the Framlingham township north of Warrnambool to ease an overpopulation problem that is damaging trees.
The Department of Environment, Land, water and Planning (DELWP) program includes koala health checks, fertility control of female koalas to reduce breeding rates and the euthanasia of animals too sick to recover or with other serious health issues.
DELWP statewide wildlife programs manager Vural Yazgin said koala numbers in the Framlingham township had increased significantly in the past decade.
“This is believed to be the result of koalas that were displaced and searching for new habitat following the Framlingham forest fire in 2005-2006,” Mr Yazgin said.
The koalas are being relocated from private properties in the Framlingham township and public land, not from land owned by the Framlingham Aboriginal Trust.
“Inspections in June and August 2018 indicated that the township and the adjacent section of the Hopkins River have high koala numbers, declining tree health and loss of preferred food trees, such as Manna Gum and River Red Gum,” Mr Yazgin said.
“Zoos Victoria veterinarians will conduct health assessments and fertility control of female koalas.
“Inspections in June and August 2018 indicated that Framlingham and the adjacent section of the Hopkins River have high koala numbers and declining tree health.Vural Yazgin
“During the program, koalas will be translocated to the Fergusons and Claude Austin State Forests, south of Rocklands Reservoir (west of the Grampians), which has similar vegetation and very low koala densities.
“Data collected during the program will improve our understanding of the health of the koalas at Framlingham," Mr Yazgin said.
DELWP worked with local communities, local wildlife rehabilitators, traditional owners and others on the program for the Framlingham koalas.
It has previously managed other koala populations at the Kurtonitj Indigenous Protected Area, west of Heywood, and at Cape Otway, west of Apollo Bay.