Sandy Point Koalas
Sandy Point has a well-established population of at least 50 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, coast manna gums.
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.
You can find out more about our koalas by reading our brochure,
A Guide to Living with Koalas in Sandy Point
Sandy Point Community 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.
Sandy Point’s Koala Action Project is part of WHiSPA (Wildlife and Habitat in Sandy Point Action) which is about protecting our native wildlife and improving their natural habitat in and around Sandy Point. More about WHiSPA
In September 2017, the Sandy Point Community Group, on behalf of the Sandy Point community, were awarded $50,000 through a grant from the Victoria Government for the project. The project aims to:
Collect information to help understand the situation of our koalas
Involve the community in looking after koalas
Restore and revegetate areas for healthy and connected koala habitat
Create a community action plan for managing koalas long term.
This project is funded with
the support of the
Victoria State Government
What we’ve has been working on
Community Action Planning
Since the project began there has been a lot going on behind the scenes. The grant has allowed us to utilise the services of a consultant from NatureMatters in April 2018 to conduct habitat mapping of our existing manna gum trees, and we’ve had help and in-kind support from students and staff from Federation University for genetic testing.
We held a Community Planning Session in April 2018 which 35 people attended. Information was shared about the koala project by Cassie Wright from NatureMatters and project coordinator Caitlin Pilkington, who gave an update on the project and shared the results of the community koala count and other surveys: habitat mapping and scat sampling. We then held an action planning session where we worked together on community actions to support koalas, with lots of people putting up their hands to help.
The Sandy Point Koala Action Plan 2019 has now been finalised and can be downloaded here:
Koala population and genetics
Historical information has been collected from community members, reports and records to try to understand the origins of the Sandy Point koala population and their genetic health and diversity, to help to inform management decisions. The population is known to have ebbed and flowed over the years in response to environmental and population pressures and changes, at some times booming and other times dropping low. Some koalas may have been brought into Sandy Point from other areas / island populations in the past. Genetic research on 11 individuals (in 2018) suggests that the Sandy Point koalas are likely to be a remnant population of the larger South Gippsland koala population, that has been isolated for a long time and so has a low level of genetic diversity.
Download a copy of the Genetic Study of Sandy Point Koala Population (Oct 2018)
At a community koala count in September 2017, volunteers counted 31 koalas (Here’s a map showing where we found them), although the population in the township and surrounding countryside is likely to be much higher – we think at least 50. Evidence of koalas (scats) have also been found across a wide range of sites across town and the rural areas surrounding it.
Revegetation and wildlife corridors
The Sandy Point Koala Action Group has worked with consultants and experts in the field to map out what on-ground works / corridor tree planting are required to implement our plan.
Over the winter and spring 2018, we processed applications for about 200 free manna gum seedlings from householders in Sandy Point.
We have also been working with owners of larger properties to create wildlife corridors that connect up patches of existing bush, to help build healthy and connected koala habitat. This work will take place over winter in 2019.
Tree Planting days
We had our first tree planting day in September 2018, when 33 people came along to help plant seedlings in the coastal reserve, to provide future food for koalas. With their help we planted over 50 manna gums, with guards to protect them from rabbits, wallabies and kangaroos as well as koalas while they are maturing. If you want to be kept in the loop about future tree planting days, email us to get on the mailing list.
Information on 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 trees suitable for koalas. It also tells you what to do and who to ring if you find a sick or injured koala. This is available from the General Store or Community Centre, or you can download a web version of the brochure
Please help us share these brochures 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.
Fridge magnets that explain who to contact in a wildlife emergency are also now available free of charge from the General Store and Community Centre. Our aim is to get one onto every fridge in Sandy Point, so please help yourself to one for your fridge and your neighbour’s too. If you’re a visitor or are not living here permanently, please leave the magnet on the fridge in Sandy Point for other visitors to see.
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 at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring Caitlin on 0428 302 938 or Di on 0437392277