Sandy Point has a well-established population of koalas that live within the township as well as in the bush surrounding it. You may see koalas anywhere in Sandy Point, mainly in their preferred food source, manna gums. Two examples of this tree are growing at the end of the road to Shallow Inlet, just where the sealed road changes into gravel. Often a koala can be seen in one of these trees.
Koalas tend to be most active and forage for food at night. During the daytime they tend to sleep high up in a tree. You may hear the males vocalising, especially at night when they are on the move.
Recently there has also been a problem with mange, which has resulted in 15 koalas having to be euthanised in the last 18 months. Mange is an infestation of the mange mite which burrows under the skin of an animal depositing its eggs and causing intense discomfort. If left untreated it will lead to a slow and agonising death for the animal.
If you see a koala acting strangely, wandering around in daylight hours, or looking at all mangy, please let The Southern Ash Wildlife Shelter know by ringing 0429 653 583. They will arrange for the animal to be picked up by a wildlife carer and treatment to be started immediately. Apparently time really counts for the successful treatment of this disease.
Dogs running free around Sandy Point have also been the cause of many koala deaths so please keep your dogs on a leash and do not let them out at night unsupervised. That way, we can all continue to enjoy the company of our resident koala population.
The health of our koala population continues to be a concern for the community. However, we still don't know how big an issue it is as we don’t know how large our koala population is. Since our meeting in June l2016 the Working Group has been trying to shed some light on the problem - researching issues, talking to scientists, universities and other experts, and seeking support from those in the know.
Federation University has answered the call! We are now lucky to have the support of a student, Hannah Buys, who has kindly volunteered to work with us to help plan for a koala survey in Sandy Point as part of her communications subject. Over the coming months, she will be researching different methods for conducting a count - and there are many different approaches to consider, depending on the particular circumstances and what you want to know. Hannah will be writing up a report with recommendations on how we should go about it. Look out for Hannah and say hello if you see her wandering around town, staring upwards and pondering the treetops. Once we receive the advice that comes out of her work, we plan to conduct a count in the second half of the year.
Volunteers needed! If you want to be involved in the count (whether helping to organise, or being involved on the day) or want to know more about this project, please email
I have recently agreed to take over the coordinating role for this issue so if you have any enquiries or suggestions of how you can help please contact me at the above email address.