Home' Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser : January 11, 2017 Contents PAGE 8 - THE ADVERTISER, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2017
A PICNIC ON
Alphonse Mulumba New Australian
to find events in your area
We want to hear your thoughts and ideas to help shape a better Bass Coast.
During January there will be plenty of opportunities to share your ideas for
the future of Bass Coast and these will help shape the Council Plan 2017-21
and Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plan. The information collected will
also inuence the development of the 2017/18 Budget.
We’ll be popping up at community events around Bass Coast during January
and also inviting you to attend sessions which will be held at:
• Cowes –
Wednesday, 11 January, 7.00pm to 9.00pm
Cowes Heritage Centre, 89 Thompson Avenue
Thursday, 12 January, 2.00pm to 4.00pm
Bass and District Sports Club, Hade Avenue
• Facebook Q&A – Monday, 16 January, 6.00pm to 8.00pm
Tuesday, 17 January, 7.00pm to 9.00pm
San Remo Recreation Centre, Wynne Road
• Inverloch –
Thursday, 19 January, 7.00pm to 9.00pm
Inverloch Community Hub, 16 A’Beckett Street
• Grantville –
Monday, 23 January, 7.00pm to 9.00pm
Grantville Hall, Bass Highway
• Wonthaggi –
Tuesday, 24 January, 7.00pm to 9.00pm
Old Post Ofce, Watt Street
• Rhyll –
Wednesday, 25 January, 7.00pm to 9.00pm
Rhyll Hall, Lock Road
You can also get involved online by lling out a survey at
Bass Coast Shire Council, 76 McBride Avenue, Wonthaggi | DX 34903
PO Box 118, Wonthaggi VIC 3995 | 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or
(03) 5671 2211 firstname.lastname@example.org
Help shape a better
koalas on the brink
PHILLIP Island’s wild koala population could be
extinct within two decades if their current decline
That’s the stark warning from Koala Conserva-
tion Centre senior ranger Ashley Reed after De-
cember’s island-wide, five-yearly koala count.
The count took place in two stages – a phone-in
by residents, as well as coordinated line searches
through some of the island’s woodland reserve in-
cluding Oswin Roberts, Conservation Hill, Ventnor
Koala Reserve and the five-ways area around the
Ashley said the results found just one call-in and
a total of eight koalas from the line searches.
However he said combined with recorded sight-
ings from the past year, the conservative current
koala population estimate was about 30.
“Ten years ago we had 50, five years ago it was
40 and so you can see where the estimates are go-
ing,” Ashley said.
“Decline is still taking place and what is of most
concern is that I don’t remember the last time
there was a sighting of a joey – it could have been
10 years ago. Anecdotally the evidence is they’re
not breeding and we have no idea why.
“In 20 years’ time there’s the distinct possibil-
ity we won’t have any koalas left on Philip Island.
When you look at the declining numbers and their
apparent lack of reproduction it will only take a
generation and we are out of koalas.”
The PINP has koala population data stretching
back to the 1970s, when there were about 1000
A decade later that dropped to about 250 and
went as low as 25 in 1993.
Ashley said the decline was largely due to the ur-
banisation of the island and habitat destruction.
“It’s an accepted fact that in an urbanised en-
vironment – which Phillip Island is – that one in
three koala deaths are from road trauma,” he said.
“Roads are a problem for koalas, as is develop-
“People love koalas in their backyard but at the
same time they want to get rid of trees because
their leaves fill the gutters and then they have a
“There’s enough of us doing that to make it dif-
ficult for koalas to survive.”
He said one unfortunate report in the past year
showed teens chased a koala around the corner
of McKenzie Rd and Ventnor-Cowes Rd, while he
personally attended a koala killed by a car on the
“There’s some beautiful vegetation for them
around Ventnor Road but on the opposite side it’s
a built-up, urban area.”
Ashley said the KCC population numbered in
the mid-20s and December’s health check fortu-
nately found no problems with resident koalas,
although – like wild populations – they too aren’t
“That is my next big job, to work out why they
aren’t and try to come up with some answers.
“We are not getting much breeding on the island
at all, either inside the KCC or outside. Whether
it’s the changing climate, I don’t know. But certain-
ly something is going on.”
Ashley said a concerning concept voiced during
the koala count was that some local residents were
loath to phone in reports of koalas, under the mis-
taken belief that the KCC would take them from
the wild to populate the centre.
“The absolute opposite is the truth. These koa-
las belong in the wild and if anything we don’t want
them because the koalas outside the park have
been chlamydia-positive, whereas the KCC koalas
“If any locals have this mistaken belief I’d be
more than happy to chat to them.”
He said while the animal (which he affectionately
called “teddies”) were not believed to be native to
the island, the species has been listed as vulner-
able by the Federal Government.
A female is fertile from the age of two and can
breed into old age, up to 16 years, breeding in
summer, but often having years off between births.
Koalas eat about 500g-1kg of leaves a day.
While there are about 700 types of eucalypts in
Australia, koalas only feed on 25 of those and even
within those individual 25 species, Ashley says,
there has to be a correct chemical make-up in the
leaves for the koala to eat them.
On Phillip Island, in the 1980s much of the pop-
ulation was impacted by chlamydia, which stops
females reproducing, although research suggests
the problem seems to have diminished in recent
He said the Koala Conservation Centre was a
great way to preserve the population on the island
but it wasn’t a panacea.
“We can’t reverse urbran sprawl or unpopulate,
but we can make a difference through planting
more wildlife corridors, not cutting down so many
trees, being careful on the roads and controlling
Ranger Ashley Reed says December’s koala health check gave the KCC’s population a
clean bill of health.
Koala Conservation Centre senior ranger
Ashley Reed says, judging by current trends,
the island’s koala population will be extinct
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