Keeping koala’s safe

A wild koala pair in a love tiff (Woodend Wildlife Shelter).

With the koala breeding season underway, volunteers from the Wildlings Woodend Wildlife Shelter are raising awareness about the marsupial’s vulnerability during this time.

Volunteer wildlife rescuer and wildlife shelter operator Mel Fraser said the breeding season in Victoria runs from September to early March, during which they move further distances in search of a mate.

“Koalas are a lot more vocal at these times so residents will often hear koalas trying to get the attention of the females,” she said.

“We also have young koalas in dispersal around this time [who] are looking for their own territory.

“So not only do we have the older males on the move looking for a mate, there’s the younger ones on the move looking to establish territory of their own.”

Ms Fraser said the main threats for koalas in and around the Macedon Ranges are car strikes, dog attacks, and loss of habitat due to development.

“Where possible [people should] contain dogs to defined areas, particularly during koala breeding season.

“If dogs are barking, check to see if it’s because of a koala in the yard. If it is, pop the dog inside for a few hours to give it time to continue its travels.

“Where possible consider wildlife friendly fencing, and planting native eucalypts to create wildlife corridors.

“[It’s important to protect and plant] local species of eucalypts and other native flora such as callistemon and acacia.”

She said some hotspot roads include Romsey Woodend Road in Woodend, Hesket and Romsey, Black Forest Drive in Macedon and Woodend, Calder Freeway in Macedon and Woodend, Ashbourne Road in Woodend, Ashbourne and Fern Hill, Donald’s Road in Woodend and South Rock Road in Newham.

People should report any sightings of injured or sick koalas to Wildlife Victoria on 8400 7300.

Zoe Moffatt