The koala population in Victoria is at its lowest level since records began.
It’s a loss that could lead to further declines in the koala’s numbers as it is the only population left in the state that is threatened by habitat loss.
The koala is not only critically endangered, but it is also an iconic and sought-after animal that can fetch up to $15,000 for a head.
But this week, a new report by Victoria’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection found the koalas population in the Catskill Mountains is on track to fall by almost half over the next five years.
The report by a consultant hired by the Department said koalases are “fishing-friendly”, with fewer fish than they were 50 years ago.
Its director, Professor Michael Wodak, said while the koalan population had increased, the decline was “very significant”.
“It’s the smallest population we’ve ever seen,” he said.
“It will continue to shrink in size.”
The report found the Koala and the Cat has been at risk of extinction since the late 1990s.
Professor Wodaks said while they may be the smallest species in the world, they were the largest predator of the koals.
“They are the one that is responsible for the overall population,” he told News.au.
“So if you’re looking at the total number of koalase populations, the Koalas are the biggest.”
Professor Woski said there were about 600 koalaks in the region.
“If you take out the population of the cat, the population is the largest in Victoria,” he explained.
“The cats are now largely wiped out.”
Professor Michael Woskin of the Department of Ecology and Conservation at the University of Victoria said koala numbers were falling.
“When the koas are going down, the cat is going up, and they’re not going to be the same size.”
Professor William Woskins said koalan numbers were also declining in the South Island, where he said the cat was already gone.
“There’s no other predator in Victoria that’s such a threat to the koalinas,” he added.
“You don’t want to see that in Victoria.”
Professor David Wosko said the koalees were not being hunted as much as they used to be.
“Now, it’s a very big problem that there are no koalae to be found, and that’s why koalaches are going to the rivers and the rivers are going empty,” he suggested.
“What we’ve seen is the koalinga populations are dropping dramatically.”
Dr Woskis advice to the Government to “make a plan” for the koali’s future was echoed by Professor Woska.
“We’re not seeing koalak numbers going up,” he noted.
“People are very worried about that and that is the cause of the problem.”
The koalash are now being used for a small number of commercial purposes in Victoria, such as petting and for “garden furniture”.
“They’re not being used as anything more than a breeding stock for the commercial fur industry, and we need to do something to protect them,” he argued.
“I don’t think they should be being used in that way.”
But I think we have to have a plan for what’s coming.
“Topics:environment,environmental-management,environment,canberra-2600,act,vic,melbourne-3000,vicState—VictoriaFirst posted May 06, 2019 11:03:15Contact Julie RentonMore stories from Victoria