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.

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

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/

For sick and injured wildlife, please call:

Wildlife Victoria –  03 8400 7300

Sue Moore, Wildlife Carer, Tarwin Lower – 0429 016 695   

Wildlife rescue and transport

We've now set up a phone list of people who've volunteered to help with transporting sick or injured animals from or near Sandy Point to a local wildlife shelter. Thanks to those who have already put their hands up for this.

If you'd also like to be included on this list please contact Di on 0437 392 277. This is purely for transporting animals, not for catching them.

We are currently organising for another group of people to attend a training course run by Wildlife Victoria to learn how to safely catch sick and injured wildlife. If you'd like to be included for this training course, please also give Di a call. 

Wildlife rescue contacts

For sick and injured wildlife, please call:

Wildlife Victoria –  03 8400 7300

Sue Moore, Wildlife Carer, Tarwin Lower – 0429 016 695   

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). 

If you’ve already filled out a form, hold tight and we’ll contact you sometime soon about collecting the trees. We will then also be able to answer any questions you may have about this.  

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.

Applications for this have now closed. 

Tree Planting days

A vry successful tree planting day was held on Sunday 23 September, with 33 people coming along to help plant trees 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.  As the weather is warming up, there will not be any more tree planting days this year. We’ll let you know when next year’s tree planting days will occur. Thanks to all those who came along on the day.

Community Koala Count and Habitat Mapping: September 2017

The first ever Sandy Point Koala Count was held on Sunday 24th September 2017 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 Session: 7 April 2018

We had a productive community planning session  - thanks to all who came and contributed their ideas and knowledge. It was a great turnout of around 35 folks.  

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 plan will be finalised soon.

And we were lucky enough to have local wildlife carers Sue Moore and Kylie Laing come along to share their experiences, and Sue again gave a really interesting presentation about her work with koalas.

We had some really great discussions about wildlife care: the wildlife carers told us that they need help in catching and transporting sick animals. We had lots of people volunteer to help out with this, and have since set up a phone list and register of people to help (see more info below).

A Community Action Plan is currently being finalised – email us for details at sandypointkoalas@gmail.com