Hunted, marooned, re-introduced, contracepted: a history of Koala management in Victoria
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Peter Menkhorst, 2008. "Hunted, marooned, re-introduced, contracepted: a history of Koala management in Victoria", Too close for comfort: Contentious issues in human-wildlife encounters, Daniel Lunney, Adam Munn, Will Meikle
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The management history of the Koala Phascolarctos cinereus in Victoria is unique and spectacular. Management of Koala populations began in Victoria in about 1910, at which time the species was undergoing a severe decline in population number and distribution. The fortuitous transfer of small numbers of Koalas to two coastal islands in the late 19th Century allowed intensive conservation management to begin in 1923, and it has continued almost unabated for the subsequent 84 years. Initially, Koalas were marooned for conservation purposes on four other large coastal islands, and several smaller ones, including two in the Murray River. These island populations were then used to re-introduce the species to remaining habitat across the former natural range of the species in Victoria and south-east South Australia. In the process intractable over-browsing problems were inadvertently created at ten sites. Since about 1985, the sole reason for translocation has been to protect natural values from the impacts of Koala over-browsing. Since 1995, considerable research effort has been directed at finding suitable in-situ population control mechanisms. During the 84 year program more than 24 000 Koalas were translocated to about 250 release sites and Koala populations have been successfully re-established in most areas of suitable habitat in Victoria. The genetic costs of using inbred populations as the source of animals for re-introduction are perhaps yet to be fully realised.