Over the last 7 weeks, we’ve moved 70 koalas from their fire-affected home in Gippsland's Gelantipy area to other, nearby forest where there’s more food available.

We’ve been monitoring this group of koalas since early January and have been gradually moving them to areas that have more of the blue gums and manna gums they like to eat.

While their original home was burnt, the fire that went through there wasn’t that intense. That meant they survived the fires and had some food to nibble on in the short term. But given the large number of koalas who call that part of the forest home, we’ve been moving them gradually to other unburnt areas, 10-20 kms from their original habitat, to prevent them from going hungry.

The good news is that the Zoos Victoria veterinary staff at the mobile triage unit, currently operating in Gelantipy with support from DELWP staff, have been assessing all the animals, none of which have needed any significant treatment.

Lachlan Clarke, one of our Senior Forest and Wildlife officers, is working with staff from Parks Victoria, the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation and local contractors to make the move, which takes skill and care. ‘We’re using well-established capture techniques that have been developed over the years to make sure we handle the koalas as little as possible.

‘We need to remember that as they’re wild animals, this is a stressful situation for them.

‘The good news is that all the animals are in really good condition and the vet checks are being done as a precaution.’

Page last updated: 18/02/20