Sandy Point Koala
Action Project 2017
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
You can also view the Gardening Australia story about the Sandy Point Koala Project broadcast on Friday 5th June.
Getting help for sick or injured wildlife
Go to our WiSP page for what to do and who to contact in a wildlife emergency.
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 was part of a 3 year project run by a group known as WHiSPA (Wildlife and Habitat in Sandy Point Action Group), which was about protecting our native wildlife and improving their natural habitat in and around Sandy Point.
In started in 2017, when the Sandy Point Community Group, on behalf of the Sandy Point community, was awarded $50,000 through a grant from the Victoria Government. The 3-year project aimed 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.
Results of the 2017 WHiSPA Project
Community Action Planning
The grant 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 gain help and in-kind support from students and staff from Federation University for genetic testing.
In 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 was updated in June 2020. The final documents 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)
Another article you may be interested in reading is "Landscape, koalas and people: A historical account of koala populations and their environment in South Gippsland". 2017. Faye Wedrowicz, Wendy Wright, Rolf Schlagloth, Flavia Santamaria, Fred Cahir.
A further round of scat collecting for genetic testing is currently underway. This will help us to find the answer to some unanswered questions, check how the population is going a few years on, and help us understand more about what are the best next steps to take.
The next Koala Count will take place on Sunday 26 September 2021. We’ll be sending out an email about this before the event. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be involved.
You can read all about our very successful 2017 and 2019 koala counts.
Revegetation and wildlife corridors
The Sandy Point Koala Action Group worked with consultants and experts in the field to map out what on-ground works / corridor tree planting were required to implement our plan.
Over the winter and spring of 2018, we processed applications for about 200 free manna gum seedlings from householders in Sandy Point.
We also worked 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 took 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. We held further planting days in 2019 and 2020.
If you want to be kept in the loop about any future tree planting days and maintenance working bees, email us at email@example.com to get onto our mailing list. Please note, though, that we probably won’t be running any more planting sessions for a while, as we think we’ve planted enough coast manna gums in the coast reserve to keep the koalas happy. Tree maintenance working bees will be held regulalry however.
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. You can download a web version of the brochure
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 with tree maintenance, wildlife rescue or join the new WiSP committee? You can download a copy here of our brochure with information on how you can get involved.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.