This week, the Department for Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) began assessing health of koalas at Cape Otway as the first part of a long-term management program for koalas and manna gum woodlands at the Cape.
This is an extremely positive action to inform management actions that are likely to include fertility control and translocation. Such management is necessary if we are to avoid a repeat of late 2013 when thousands of koalas died of starvation.
However, the media appears to be intent on stirring up the public with headlines like 'Killing to resume at Cape Otway koala colony' (The Australian), and 'Koala cull on the cards' (Sky News Australia). I spoke with a few of the reporters and advised them on the consequences for koala welfare if health is not monitored. Obviously those stories don't sell papers and reporters/editors don't mind if their poor reporting results in animal suffering.
I respect Victoria's Minister for Environment (Hon Lisa Neville) for listening to scientific advice and requesting the development of a long-term management strategy for this issue.
If you would like to hear more about koala management at Cape Otway, you can check out DELWPs facebook post or see them on twitter;
DELWP discuss this management action (Facebook)
DELWP on twitter about Cape Otway koalas