Koala contraceptive introduced in Adelaide Hills

A koala contraceptive is being rolled out in the Adelaide Hills to curb a burgeoning population and preserve natural bushland.

The fertility control program, which started this week, involves Environment Department staff capturing a koala and administering a hormone implant before releasing it again.

Latest surveys estimate there to be about 150,000 koalas in the Mt Lofty Ranges, with the contraceptive to reduce breeding and reduce the population without harming the animals.

media_cameraLatest surveys estimate there to be about 150,000 koalas in the Mt Lofty Ranges.

“In one area of woodland in the central hills, 13 koalas per hectare have been recorded and we are now seeing severe impacts due to over-browsing,” Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges natural resources regional director Brenton Grear said.

“Optimal koala densities to prevent over-browsing of their habitat and ensure the long-term welfare of the koalas is around one per hectare.

“In effect, one of the greatest threats to the koala population in parts of the Mt Lofty Ranges is the koala population itself.”

The program is being funded by the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board and aims to treat 200 koalas during May and June.

It is targeting areas of high koala over-browsing in the central hills.

The initiative mirrors a longstanding program on Kangaroo Island that has led to koala densities reducing significantly and tree health improving.

Originally published as Making koala numbers more bearable

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