400 starving koalas relocated from Cape Otway, Victoria

Four hundred starving koalas are being moved from Cape Otway as they struggle to find food among the bare trees. The koala population in Cape Otway, on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, is reportedly three times what it should be, with next to 1,000 koalas living and feasting on the manna gum trees that ideally could hold 200.

Starving koalas have are being moved to Otway National Park

Starving koalas have are being moved to Otway National Park Image by Mario Granberri / CC BY 2.0

The overcrowding has resulted in starving koalas unable to survive on the dwindling supplies caused by overpopulation. Cape Otway according to Victoria's Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. 200 starving koalas were already put down by in the area. The solution therefore is to move some of the koalas to Great Otway National Park.

Speaking to ABC news, senior biodiversity officer Mandy Watson said, "We're hoping that by moving about 400 this time around that will reduce the population by about a third, and that will give the habitat time to recover somewhat and certainly give it some respite over the summer."

The problem stems in part from an environmental issue that sees a scarcity of manna gum trees, the koala’s preferred food. This means they are overbrowsed and introduces a concern around whether the koalas will take to the different type of gum trees indigenous to the Otway Park.

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