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Araminta's picture

Like everyone else, I like to be right, but in this case, I wish I was wrong.!!!

I have seen this coming for a long time now. Most of you will remember the photos of the first starving Koala that turned up with her young in my trees, and the fact that nobody came to rescue them. Back then talking to a wildlife carer, I realized how wrong it was to release hundreds of Koalas into the Bunyip State Park. To me , this amounts to "Cruelty to Animals", and the RSPCA should be asked to investigate the health of those unfortunate Koalas.

Very weak Koalas are now turning up in Gembrook, my daughter and her neighbours found some in their gardens in the town center.

I will try to copy an article taken from the local paper yesterday. If you can't enlarge it to read, I will rite it down for you. Didn't work, is too big.

Koalas - 1

I think you can go into my Flickr, and enlarge it from there to read?

Araminta's picture

Yes, it works that way, on Flickr just click on the article and pick the size. Please care enough to read, I'm thinking about what could be done to help?


birdie's picture

I was very sad to read that you were right M-L .... I find it unbelievable that these so called experts on wild life care and protection do not research  stuff like this and take better care

Sunshine Coast Queensland

ScottTas's picture

A difficult issue to manage. I'm not sure what the right answer is... I do wonder whether that person in the article is onto something re adapting to different types of gums in a new area? Would be interesting to know if the forests they're moved from and to have similar make-up in terms of eucalpyt species.... I'm sure stress would be a factor in the short-term, but I would've thought that threat would be over in a few days to weeks after release...?

Thanks for sharing the article. I hope somebody is researching this and coming up with productive answers.



Araminta's picture

Yes Scott, I will try to find the research on the digestive system of Koalas, the enxymes in their digestive tracts do dont adapt quickly to a change of diet. If I recall correctly, there is minimal absorption of nutrience if there is a hange of diet. That means, Koalas do not cope well with relocation, and being forced to eat different kinds of food. That is why they starve slowly, even if other Koalas native to a particular region, might do very well.


Qyn's picture

Thanks for posting that M-L, the DSE are not wildlife managers but seem to be relying on the rehabilitation??? prior to release, I wonder if there is some sort of action that we can generate. Problems don't go away by hiding them in a larger area. Very sad situation!

"the earth is not only for humans, but for all animals and living things."

Woko's picture

I'm not an expert on much at all, least of all koalas & French Island, but it seems to me there are some fundamental questions here, including the question of vegetation types already mentioned.

Are koalas indigenous to French Island? (I seem to remember they are but I could well be wrong.) If they are, then how come there was an overpopulation? Is the word "overpopulation" code for habitat destruction? If habitat has been wrecked & is therefore insufficient to sustain the population what on Earth is wrong with habitat restoration?

I must say that from this side of the border, the Baillieu government doesn't seem to have too many marbles when it comes to the environment & conservation, especially when we consider all the concern there is about these issues. Mind you, they're hardly orphans in those areas.

andrewf's picture

A bit hard to know what to think from the article. 3 out of 250 doesn't really sound like a big problem but if you're seeing weak ones turn up in Gembrook that sounds like a bit of a worry. There's plenty of Manna Gum and Swamp Gum in the park so in theory they should have enough to eat.

Koalas aren't indigenous to French Island and the population is free of Chlamydia so they apparently breed up really quickly and take a big toll on the local environment. At it's height the population got to 20,000 or something crazy like that.

Araminta's picture

Hi again Andrew, you must have misread the article. The three were the ones they caught last week to be tested. All in all they relocated 840 Koalas into this area. Almost half are now assumed to be missing(?).

The Koala in my photo appeared in my tree on the 28.10.2010. She was skinny and carried a young. As you can clearly see, the DSE tag in her ear tells us, it was Koala No 487. Every one on this forum would know the effort I put in to get someone from DSE or Wildlife Victoria to come out to rescue her. Nobody ever cared enough to come.

On Monday I will try to get the RSPCA to give me some advice, what could be done, but I also know, they do not have much power to do anything. Those Koalas , in my opinion, were just shifted somewhere else, and not much thought put into it. To me that is cruelty and irresposible.

our Koala 007 (2)


Woko's picture

Ah, hah! Thanks, Andrew. In that case it seems rational that if koalas in Bunyip State Park are suffering then conditions there don't suit them. It would seem far more care should have been exercised in relocating the koalas from French Island. How come they were on French Island to begin with?

The Mt Lofty Ranges have a koala problem, unrecognised as yet, in that everybody, except me, loves their presence, little realising that they're not indigenous & therefore will begin to cause great environmental damage, just like they have on Kangaroo Island. I could go on...

andrewf's picture

Ah ok. Wildlife Vic have that problem a lot, being a volunteer group if they can't find someone to do it it doesn't get done. If it ever happens again maybe try one of the local shelters as well? There's one in Jindivick and there was one in Maryknoll but I'm not sure if they're still going.

Honestly I wouldn't bother contacting the rspca about it, they don't really have any powers and DSE would've had the permits to capture and release them anyway (I think they're the ones who issue them?).

How much effort goes into monitoring them? Does half mean half of them are sighted or some of them are sighted and some are assumed to have spread out?

Woko- No idea how they got there, someone must've thought it was a good idea once.

soakes's picture

I find this article a bit disturbing:


... especially quotes like this: "In Victoria and South Australia, koalas have actually been in such high numbers they've been eating themselves out of habitat."

I'm pretty sure it's not the koalas that are responsible for the loss of habitat!

- soakes

Olinda, Victoria, Australia

Holly's picture

I heard part an article today that their listing was being changed in a number of states (was it NSW and QLD?)


Araminta's picture

soakes,  so many mistakeshave been made in the last few years regarding the loss of habitat, and the wellbeing of our native wildlife. We should know better what needs to be done, the research has been done, but still, somehow it all goes wrong, one way or the other.

Unfortunately Andrew Fraser is right, Organisations like the RSPCA don't have the power to do anything.

Some years ago we reported 25 starving horses, (mares and foals), they just came and told the owner to put out some hay. My daughter rang all her friends, they rolled up with their floats, and bought all the horses of the farmer. ($1 for the mares, $5 for the foals). Well, most of them had to be put down in the end, they were so malnourished, they were beyond the point where their digestive system as able to cope with food.

And don't start me on the DSE. (they even have a designated person in charge of Koalas, I know, I have talked to him several times. What a joke!)

Andrew, by now I know most of the wildlife carers in my area, they do the best they can to help after everything failed.

Sometimes though it is best to take matters in your own hands, (legal or not!). Some months ago I had a mangy wombat in my garden, blind and deaf, and attacked by dogs. He had been around for years. He was beyond help, all that was needed, someone to come and shoot him quickly. For days I tried , Wildlife, DSE, and , and... Someone was going to come from wildlife to shoot him. It was like: is the wombat there now? Yes. My husband isn't home, now it's too dark, etc.   , and more days of suffering for the wombat, I had enough. I remembered someone(with a license), he lives close by, I rang him. 5 minutes later he was there and shot the poor animal. There will be more out the back, but now I know what to do.

Same doesn't apply for the Koalas, Too late for the ones out there now. We as a society have miserably failed the Koalas.



 Koalas in New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT have been listed as vulnerable .

I read that up to 80% of Koalas supposedly have chlamydia, which without a vaccine could possibly cause extinction in a few decades. Pretty scary stuff. Fancy only having Koalas in the zoo, how sad would that be.

Araminta's picture

That was one reason why they put Koalas on French Island, the ones that were put there were Chlamydia free. They just multiplied out of proportion on the Island, so they relocated them in those huge numbers. Not giving it enough thought. (what else is new?)


timmo's picture

I believe exactly the same issue has happened on Kangaroo Is. in SA. Koalas were not native to the island, and were introduced there by some well meaning soul, or as part of a government program. They have been breeding there with no predators or restrictions to the extent that they are eating themselves out of habitat. There are some suggestions that a cull would be the most humane way to deal with it, but that is highly politically unpalatable (especially with todays listing as vulnerable in NSW, Qld and ACT), so they have been shifted to areas of the mainland at large cost with limited chance of survival.

I'm not sure what the solution is, but it usually ends up as a trade-off between the best science and the publicly acceptable solution.


Woko's picture

And environmental trade-offs invariably end in disaster in the long run, Timmo.

You're right about the Kangaroo Island situation. There was enormous negative reaction to the idea of culling cute, cuddly koalas on KI. As well, the SA government thought tourism on KI would suffer if koalas were culled in spite of the enormous damage the koalas were doing to the native vegetation. The usual short-sighted approach was in full swing.

I hadn't heard that the KI koala population was shifted to the mainland. My understanding that a sterilisation strategy was used to control the numbers. But nothing would surprise me. I've become enough of a realist to realise that reality is often called cynicism by the cynical.

Could I suggest to all posters that where koalas have been relocated to an area that we cease using statements such as "eating themselves out of food". Such statements tend to make the koalas the perpetrators of a crime when the real criminals are elsewhere. Perhaps instead we should say things such as "authorities have placed koalas in habitats which are only adequate for the existing koala population" or "authorities have relocated koalas to habitats where they are not indigenous".  

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