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 Save our Koalas meeting held on 18 June was attended by about 30 people and was very informative although the outlook for our koalas it seems is rather grim. The consensus was that we need to act very quickly if we are to save them from extinction.
Colleen Wood of Southern Ash Wildlife Shelter and several other local wildlife carers were in attendance and told us how concerned they were for the future survival of our genetically unique group of koalas. It is hard to treat koalas for mange and they can get re-infected when released back into the wild.
The meeting resolved to form a working group to look into how we can save our koalas from extinction.
First Working Group meeting
The first Working Group meeting was held on Sunday 3 July and after much discussion of the situation and what steps we might take to help our koalas, it seems that a koala count should be a priority. Another important project will be mass tree plantings throughout Sandy Point and the surrounding areas to provide food and shelter for the koalas.
Discussion also ranged over other topics, such as creating a sanctuary for those koalas not already infected with the disease and putting up information signs and notices around Sandy Point and in rental properties about koalas and, in particular how to identify those infected with mange, so that we can get treatment for them before it is too late. It was suggested that we should talk to the media to highlight the plight of our koalas and encourage government departments to become involved, as well as talking to experts about the possibility of developing a vaccine for control of mange in koalas.
More information about what we will be doing will be posted on this page and on our Facebook page.
If you have any ideas or contacts that could be useful to us please let us know and similarly if you want to become involved with our campaign to save our koalas we’d love to hear from you. Either email email@example.com or ring 0437392277