DELWP in collaboration with the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners will today begin a two-week program to manage the koala population at Kurtonitj, an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA), 14 kilometres east of Heywood.

The program is being undertaken to help, in the short-term, declining Manna Gum trees to recover from significant over-browsing by koalas.

Vets will conduct health checks on koalas and carry out fertility control on female koalas to reduce breeding rates.

The program, involving DELWP Wildlife Officers and Winda-Mara rangers, will also see the translocation of koalas to the Mount Napier State Park.

This small-scale program is aimed at proactively alleviating some of the pressure that significant koala over-browsing is placing on Manna Gum trees.

Monitoring has indicated that koala densities have been high since 2013 and that the health of Manna Gum habitat is declining.

The most recent population and habitat health monitoring in March 2017 found that there were approximately 2.9 koalas per hectare.

A sustainable koala density is believed to be approximately one koala per hectare.

Up to 100 koalas will be translocated to the Mount Napier State Park, which has similar vegetation to the Kurtonitj IPA and low koala densities.

The program will also collect data on the health of the koala population.

During the health checks, any unhealthy koalas assessed as too sick or having other serious health issues, will be humanely euthanased to prevent further suffering.

To manage koala populations and their habitat across land tenures will require the continued collaboration between key stakeholders, including land owners, across private and public land.

This program is a collaborative effort between DELWP, Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners and Parks Victoria.

DELWP supports a collaborative approach to manage koala populations across the landscape in south-west Victoria.

DELWP continues to work with experts, local communities and private land owners to better understand koala management issues across the region.