From the Friends of the Koalas
Newsletter no. 89, Summer 2013
Another year draws to a close and koalas continue to battle the usual problems – loss of habitat, road kills, disease and dog attacks. Koalas were declared a threatened species in some parts of Australia, which is great, but failure to list the Strzelecki koalas, which are so genetically important, was a great disappointment.
FOK continued to lobby on various issues affecting koalas with the usual mixed success, but we will persevere.
Locally the free ranging koala population outside the Koala Conservation Centre remained low as housing development continued on Phillip Island further reducing habitat. Sadly houses being built now are, for the most part, extremely large on small blocks which means no room for wildlife habitat and less and less trees so koalas can no longer coexist with humans as they once did.
Thankfully the koalas at the KCC continue to do well and they, and the other wildlife thriving there, provide an oasis of enjoyment.
Habitat Days and koala counts, A big thank you to our regular
to the 2012 Committee. Our AGM will be held on Saturday 12th
January 2013 commencing at 2pm at the KCC and we are privileged to have
Wood as our guest speaker. Colleen does wonderful work treating many
her wildlife shelter and is always an inspiration to listen to.
Best wishes to all our members for Christmas and the New Year and we look forward to seeing you at the AGM and/or our regular activities.
The end of the year is always a busy time with preparations for the holiday season coinciding with the time of year we do most of our ‘hands on’ koala work and the time when koalas are most active both inside the Koala Conservation Centre and across Phillip Island.
The annual koala catches took place at the end of October. Twenty eight koalas were caught (including three back young) and two koalas had pouch young. One of the pouch young was around 6 months old, so born very late last season. Four of these young koalas are now readily visible from the boardwalks at the KCC.
Generally all koalas were in good health.
A search of the Oswin Roberts reserve will be conducted on the 17th of December. As the largest tract of woodland on the island this reserve gives a good indication of how the island population is going. Hopefully numbers will be up on last year.
The KCC has a male ‘boarding’ with us at the moment. He has come from the Southern Ash wildlife shelter and is completing his rehabilitation in our larger pens. While he is here DSE have granted approval for him to share his ‘digs’ with some of our females in the hope that we get some new genes into our small population.On behalf of all the rangers, I’d like to wish you all the very best for the Christmas season, and hope we see you sometime enjoying the koalas and all the other wonderful wildlife at the Koala Conservation Centre.
Ashley Reed, Senior Ranger KCC
5th January 2013:
Ragwort pull. Meet Oswin Roberts northern car park, Cowes Rhyll Road.
In October, on a cold grey drizzly day four hardy FOK volunteers worked with PINP ranger Nick and PINP revegetation officer Mark Merryful planting 55 manna gums near the chicory kiln in Harbison Road behind the KCC plantation and opposite the Oswin Roberts reserve. This is a lovely peaceful area with a picturesque dam surrounded by scattered aged remnant manna gums with birdlife in abundance. The trees were planted with plastic guards and tall wire guards held in place by star pickets so, hopefully, should survive the wallabies and rabbits.
The rain gradually
increased in intensity
just as we completed the job - perfect timing to water in the trees.
sour note was finding a dumped TV set in the Oswin Roberts carpark.
dumping is a continual costly problem for the Nature Parks.
FOK’s regular monthly counts continue on the second Tuesday of the month at the Koala Conservation Centre.
An exception was made when the KCC held its annual koala check-up at the end of October. It is always incredibly interesting to see koalas being weighed, measured and given thorough health checks before being released back to the tree they had been removed from. These examinations are the only time that koalas are examined, unless of course a problem is noticed. For the rest of the year the koalas, especially those in the woodland area, are left to enjoy an independent life.
The monthly koala counts assist the rangers as a check on the koalas health and well being. These mornings are also an enjoyable experience because of the wonderful fauna and flora that can be viewed in this special piece of bush.
not come and join us on the 2nd Tues. of the month?
General Meeting, 13th October 2012
A small group of FOK members attended this meeting at the Chisholm room at the KCC. After the meeting a small group enjoyed a short walk to the close viewing boardwalk and were rewarded with a magic experience of watching this season’s joeys performing acrobatic stunts as they tested their growing independence from their mothers. The wetlands viewed from the boardwalk were full to the brim after the wet winter and spring and the bird viewing was a wonderful bonus. These afternoon meetings are proving to be popular.
This event was organized by the Phillip Island Nature Parks and the Bass Coast Shire. Hundreds of primary school children from the district’s schools attended and took part in many activities and viewed displays to help them learn about their environment. FOK had a static display and our large toy koala mascot Urimbirra was as popular as always with the children.
Guest speaker Colleen Wood from the Southern Ash wildlife shelter at Rawson works all hours for koalas.
The shelter takes all types of wildlife but is known as a specialist shelter for koalas.
The shelter’s newsletter for November 2012 states that they are averaging a koala a day arriving for attention.
Sadly many have to be put down due to their injuries from road trauma and dog attack.
On a happier note the newsletter also shows the many koalas released back to the bush – the ultimate reward for the wildlife carers.
Put the date of our AGM in your diary and come to the Chisholm room at the KCC at 2pm to hear Colleen speak, and then enjoy a viewing of the KCC’s koalas and other wildlife.We thank the PINP for allowing us to hold our meetings at this venue
When local residents expressed concern to the Bass Coast Shire about koalas seen crossing Coghlan Road near Harbison Road at the rear of the KCC Diana Whittington from the Shire had these signs erected. Great to see such a quick response and also wonderful to hear of several koalas seen regularly in the area.These signs are a timely reminder to drive carefully and be aware of wildlife on our roads. As well as koalas, wallabies, echidnas, lizards and many birds are frequently killed of injured.If you come across injured wildlife phone the Nature Parks Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre on 59 51 2838 or 0409 558 482 for assistance.
The media release refers to Queensland habitat but it has now been disclosed that the disease has now been found in Victoria.
Group of Queensland reports in their latest newsletter that the
Environment and Resource Management in their state has released the
Population Report 2010 which concludes that no significant change in
population was found between 2008 and 2010, suggesting that the decline
have stabilised. However the report highlighted the alarming fact that
1996 the koala population in the Koala Coast has had an overall decline
with more than a 50% decline between 2006 and 2008.
usual we will get together at the Barb Martin Bush Bank
last Habitat Day for 2012, Saturday Dec. 1st for the annual Christmas
function. Some work at the Bush Bank will be followed by a barbecue.
DIRECTIONS FOR NATIVE VEGETATION IN VICTORIA: A Review of
Victoria’s Native Vegetation Permitted Clearing Regulations
FOK made a submission to this document expressing our concerns that present regulations were not preserving habitat for wildlife as the three phases of the regulations for removing vegetation were not correctly adhered to.
The first two steps – avoiding vegetation removal or minimizing it were frequently bypassed and vegetation clearance occurred with offsets proving totally inadequate in achieving habitat retention and so called net gain.
further stated that it would be a retrograde step if the review
resulted in less rigorous consideration of habitat preservation when
applications are received.
letter was written to the state Environment Minister Ryan Smith
reiterating our concern about proposals to allow tourism development in
FOK made a few brief comments on this directions paper.
We emphasized that the protection of the rural amenity and the protection of environmental assets in rural areas was of great importance for both tourism and the preservation of biodiversity.
proposed strategy may of course be overtaken by reforms to the
Rural Zones by the state Minister for Planning.
congratulatory letter was written to both the new and reappointed Board
members and expressed FOK's desire to continue to support and work with
the PINP to preserve our precious environment.
Island Nature Parks Environment Plan 2012 – 2017
Many issues were
discussed over a tasty
Please renew as we need your support.
Our membership numbers remain healthy but we do need more members to take part in our Habitat Days and koala counts so please consider joining us in 2013.
We would also welcome
new members on the
Photograph on this page © Mick Stevic
Site last updated Summer 2013. © Friends of the Koalas