WHiSPA: Wildlife and Habitat in Sandy Point Action Group
The Sandy Point community are working to manage and protect local wildlife. The WHiSPA project is about protecting our native wildlife and improving their natural habitat in and around Sandy Point.
One of the local species the community is working to manage and protect are koalas. Koalas are a local icon and are much loved by the local community and visitors alike. However, the health and future viability of the population of koalas at Sandy Point is a serious community concern. It is a community priority to protect and manage the local koala population to ensure that it remains healthy and sustainable into the future.
Sandy Point Community Koala Action Project
One of the projects run by the WHiSPA group is the Sandy Point Community Koala Action Project.
This project is addressing issues facing the local koala population through:
1. Collecting information to help understand the situation of our koalas
2. Involving community in looking after koalas
3. Restoring and revegetating areas for healthy and connected koala habitat
4. Creating a community action plan for managing koalas long term.
This project is funded with the support
of the Victoria State Government.
Sandy Point Koalas
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.
Koalas and mange
Recently there has also been a problem with mange, which has resulted in 15 koalas having to be euthanised over 2016/17. 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 one of the contacts listed below know. 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.
Wombats and mange
Wombats and even possums can also contract mange. Wombats are in fact probably the main source of infection for koalas. If you see a mangey wombat please call one of the contacts below as they too can be treated. For more information about wombats and mange go to the Mange Management website. http://mangemanagement.org.au/
Wildlife rescue contacts
For sick and injured wildlife, please call:
Sue Moore, Wildlife Carer, Tarwin Lower – 0429 016 695
Wildlife Victoria – 03 8400 7300
Want to help or get in touch?
Want to help out on the project, join the WHiSPA committee, or volunteer for a planting day? Contact us!
Caitlin Pilkington 0428 302 938
Di Cornwell 0437392277
What we have been working on recently:
A guide to living with koalas in Sandy Point
We’ve created a brochure containing information about living with koalas in Sandy Point, including explaining the threats, tips for koala-friendly yards and what (and when) to plant, what to do if you find a sick or injured koala, and wildlife carer contact details. This is available from the General Store or Community Centre, or you can download a web version of the brochure (PDF 3581 KB).
Please help us share these around. We encourage local real estate agents / landlords to provide these to guests in holiday homes - please get in touch if you would like hard copies.
Revegetation and wildlife corridors
Want to plant some coastal manna gums in your yard?
We're giving away coastal manna gums to people with properties in Sandy Point to plant in their yards.
Please fill out this online form to request individual koala trees (coastal manna gums) for planting (including guards).
Funding for wildlife corridors
Project funding is currently available for wildlife corridors on properties in and around Sandy Point. The aim of this project is to help koalas and other native animals move around freely, and to increase the habitat available to them. To do this we’re asking landowners to help restore / improve and protect existing bush on their properties, and to create new wildlife corridors that connect up patches of existing bush.
Or you can download and print a copy here.
Applications close 1st June.
We will also be running some community planting days in the foreshore reserve in 2018/19 – look out for details – we’ll need lots of helpful hands to help plant trees.
Community Koala Count and Habitat Mapping
The first ever Sandy Point Koala Count was held on Sunday 24th September and was enthusiastically supported by the community. See the results here: Sandy Point Koala Count Sept 2017 Results (PDF 4.50 MB). A special thanks to Federation Uni staff and student Hannah Buys, who made the koala count possible by developing a handbook and instructions specifically for a Sandy Point koala count.
We have also been mapping koala habitat in and around Sandy Point – an online map will be available here soon.
Community Action Planning
Community action planning sessions have been held and the action plan is currently being finalised – email us for details at firstname.lastname@example.org