The Victorian Koala Management Strategy
The Victorian Koala Management Strategy was prepared after consultation with community groups and relevant state government agencies.
The aim of the strategy is to ensure that viable wild populations of koala persist throughout their natural range wherever suitable habitat occurs in Victoria. A copy of the Victorian Koala Management Strategy can be downloaded here:
The strategy addresses the key issues affecting koala populations in Victoria, including monitoring populations, managing genetic diversity, managing captive, sick and injured koalas and managing over-browsing.
You can help
Please report sick or injured koalas to the nearest wildlife shelter.
You can call our Customer Service Centre on 136 186 for contact details of wildlife rehabilitation organisations in your area or call one of the organisations listed on Wildlife Rehabilitation.
Compared to northern Australian states, southern Victoria has a large and thriving koala population. Accordingly, Victoria has a responsibility to ensure its koala populations are at sustainable densities wherever suitable habitat occurs throughout their natural range. Management of koalas in Victoria has been an active and evolving process for more than 95 years.
Koalas now occupy most of the available habitat in southern Victoria. Koala population trends are shaped by the extent and quality of available habitat, the presence or absence of diseases, such as chlamydia, and the nutritional quality of eucalypt leaves available.
Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) are Australia’s largest arboreal (tree-dwelling) marsupials. They are also one of Australia’s most iconic animals.
Koalas are found in inland and coastal areas of eastern Australia, from north-east Queensland to the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. Victorian koalas have longer and thicker fur than koalas living in Queensland, which is an adaptation to Victoria’s colder climate.
Koalas living in Victoria are also generally larger than those living in Queensland. In Victoria, male koalas can weigh up to 15 kg and females are slightly smaller, weighing up to 11 kg. Koalas live for up to 20 years in the wild.
Koalas feed almost exclusively on leaves of Eucalyptus trees, which provide a diet that is low in energy. Because of their low energy diet, koalas are sedentary for most of the day and are only active for around four hours, usually after dark. Koalas usually move between trees by walking along the ground, however, they can also jump between trees.
Koalas are generally solitary, only interacting during breeding season. Although they are not territorial, koalas have relatively well defined home ranges ranging from 1.2 to 1.7 hectares in ideal habitat. Home ranges of individual koalas often overlap, however koalas do not normally share trees at the same time.
Koalas breed from September to March with a single young being born after a 33 – 35 day pregnancy. The baby koala, called a 'joey', remains in the mother's pouch for approximately six months. After leaving the pouch, the joey will ride on its mother’s back until it is weaned. Weaning occurs at around one year of age.
Fragmentation of habitat is a serious issue for koala conservation because they have a specialised low-energy, low-nutrient diet. This means that koalas have a limited amount of energy available to use travelling between patches of food trees.
In the past, koalas were killed for their fur. From 1919 to 1924, eight million koalas were killed across Australia. Today, the koala is threatened by domestic dogs and by vehicle traffic, but by far the biggest threat to koalas is habitat loss and fragmentation.
The conservation status of koalas varies by state and despite being listed as vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, koalas are widespread in Victoria and South Australia and are overabundant in some areas, causing severe defoliation of preferred tree species in those areas.