You Yangs Regional Park
Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours
by Janine Duffy
2018 Summary: 1294 koala sightings. Number of koalas 43. Joeys born 5, Deceased 3
Long-term koala Phascolarctos cinererus population research in Victoria is rare, especially in the grassy woodlands away from the coast. The You Yangs Regional Park, just west of Melbourne, is home to a koala population in a dry woodland, and has been monitored by citizen scientists since 2006. This ongoing study aims to assess the population status, establish tree species use, note threats and guide action to mitigate those threats. We found that the population is stable in one zone, continuing to decline in another. All tree species in the region, including non-indigenous species, were used by koalas, and River Red Gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis remained the most preferred. Existing threats of climate change, drought and increasing aridity remained, plus two new threats emerged in 2018: eucalyptus dieback due to insect attack and drought; and anthropogenic noise. The dieback threat was relieved by good rains in late 2018/early 2019 but serves as a warning; the noise threat is likely to continue and incrase. Our research concludes that the koala population of the You Yangs in 2018 was vulnerable, and targeted tree planting in corridors leading out from the You Yangs to waterways and fertile land may improve their chances of long-term survival.