Dr Kath Handasyde is a senior lecturer in the Department of Zoology at the University of Melbourne and has been conducting research on koalas for over 30 years. She is coming down to Tarra Bulga National Park on Saturday October the 26th to share Koala knowledge with us. The day will begin with a free BBQ lunch at the visitors centre, then we will head down and go for a walk around a new track in the Tarra Valley, to see what we can find. Please note the walk does include some steep and slightly challenging terrain so people need to come prepared with suitable footwear, it will take about 2 hours. Everyone is welcome but please RSVP to Pam on 5196 6140 or Peter 0447 474 573 by Friday October the 18th for catering purposes.
Since our remote camera project began around two years ago, we had only once photographed a Koala. These figures have now been boosted by 800% with a camera in the north east of Tarra Bulga National Park capturing a Koala eight times all on separate days over a period of about 7 weeks. Most sightings were in the early morning, but a few were in the evening. Another case luck with the camera being at the right place at the right time to film the comings and goings of the locals.
We have had what we hope is the first of many Koala’s detected by our remote cameras. This one was on the move past our camera site in the Tarra Valley. Koala sightings seem to be reported more frequently in the park in recent years, but this is only anecdotal as no proper ongoing survey has ever taken place. Importantly the park is part of the habitat of the Strzelecki Koala population, which is significant because the local Koalas are thought to be the only population in the state that are not descended from a handful of trans-located Koalas from French Island and hence are thought to be much healthier and genetically resilient.
This Koala was in an area of the Park that has some very large Mountain Grey-gum trees, (Eucalyptus cypellocarpa) which researchers believe is one of the local Koalas’ favourite food sources. Although not their first choice Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans); which is the most common eucalypt within the park is thought to also be utilisted by Koalas as well as Messmate (Eucalyptus obliqua) which is also quite common. We would love to hear about any sightings in the park to add to our knowledge and to help contribute to regional efforts that are being made to get a better understanding about the distribution of the Strzelecki Koala and its health and well being.