WHiSPA: Wildlife and Habitat in Sandy Point Action Group
The WHiSPA project is about protecting our native wildlife and improving their natural habitat in and around Sandy Point.
One of the projects run by the WHiSPA group is the Sandy Point Koala Action Project, which is funded with the support of the Victorian government.
Sandy Point Koala Action Project
We are pleased to announce that the Sandy Point Community Group, on behalf of the Sandy Point community and the Koala Action Group, has been successful in securing $50,000 funding from the State Biodiversity On-Ground Action Grant for a Koala Action Project.
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.
The Sandy Point Koala Action Project will address issues facing the local koala population through:
collecting information to understand the situation our koalas face (population numbers, history, health and disease, threats, habitat and food sources, genetics and long-term viability)
involving the community in looking after the koala population, including raising awareness about managing dogs, mange and other threats
restoring and revegetating areas to ensure healthy and connected koala habitat (wildlife corridors)
developing a community action plan for managing the health and long-term sustainability of the Sandy Point koalas
Keep up to date with the project updates here:
We have set up a committee overseeing Sandy Point Koala Project so if you’d like to be involved in the committee or the project, please email email@example.com, or call Caitlin on 0428 302 938 or Di on 0437392277 and let us know.
Community Koala Count
The first ever Sandy Point Koala Count was held on Sunday 24th September and was enthusiastically supported by the community. The final count was 31 koalas, but of course there will be a few we missed hiding in the trees somewhere, so it will is sure to be a greater number than that. Together with the BBQ held afterwards it was a great community strengthening event and we would like to thank all who helped out.
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. The preparation for this included research into koala count methodologies, and involved a weekend of walking the streets of Sandy Point mapping eucalypts. We really appreciate Hannah's hard work
Wildlife rescue contacts
For sick and injured wildlife, please call:
Sue Moore, Wildlife Carer, Tarwin Lower – 0429 016 695
Wildlife Victoria – 03 8400 7300
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.
A guide to living with koalas in Sandy Point
We’ve just 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 will soon be available from the WHiSPA stall at the January markets, from the Community Centre and from the General Store, or you can download a web version of the brochure (PDF 3581 KB).