2018 December: Koalas to be moved from Lake Hamilton Island

Koalas to be moved from Lake Hamilton Island

4 December 2018

Koalas will be moved from Lake Hamilton Island following ongoing concerns surrounding the available food source to sustain the koala population on the island over summer.

There are believed to be between 26 and 28 koalas currently on the island, which has been heavily defoliated in recent times. Council, as the responsible land manager for the health and welfare of the koalas inhabiting the island will move the Koalas at the start of summer, on 12 and 13 December.

Wildlife officers from Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) will assist Council staff in the relocation process. Koalas will be captured by experienced handlers and will undergo an assessment process by specialist veterinarians on site according to the Guidelines for Assessment of Animal Welfare during Koala Population Management Programs (the Guidelines).

Council’s biodiversity Officer Sherie Bain said that following their assessments, healthy koalas will be translocated to Claude Austin State Forest near Rocklands.

“We chose this location as it has the same vegetation as their current environment and has already been subject to background studies and assessment. Once the Koalas are in their new home, we will undertake regular monitoring to make sure they’re doing well in their new environment,” Ms Bain explained.

“Translocating the entire koala population will assist us to determine the possible re-inhabitation rate of the island and guide future our koala management plans if necessary. It also allows a chance for the island and the trees to rehabilitate.
“We have spoken with local wildlife carers, including the care for koalas group and they are supportive of the move to shift the koalas due to the lack of available food and the interbreeding that is occurring on the island,” Ms Bain said.
Female koalas captured will be treated with fertility control hormone implants as per the Guidelines in an effort to control koala population. Koalas not meeting the release criteria (very poor health or deemed a risk to other Koalas) will be humanely euthanased in accordance with the Guidelines.

The Community are advised that while the Lake Hamilton walking track will still be in use on 12 and 13 December, people will not be permitted on the eastern end of the lake while the translocation is taking place.