Koalas in Pinkerton

Koala hnb 10 12 07 thKoalas can still be seen in the woodland remnants around Melton.

Koalas appear to have made a tentative return to Pinkerton Forest. Quarterly bird surveys by Birdlife Australia and Pinkerton Landcare & Environment group have observed Koalas on three occasions in the twelve months.

The koalas sighted appear to be different individuals as one was a large adult whereas the other sightings were of young animals. Not a large number of sightings but they have been seen only rarely here over the last few years, so these sightings are significant. Hopefully this may reflect that they have made a return here. The last one was a young koala. Apparently at this time of the year the young animals wander about looking to establish new homes.

The Werribee River provides a corridor for wildlife through this region. It is a major flyway for birds migrating through this region but would provide a corridor for koalas also. The Werribee River could well be seen as a Koala Corridor through this region.

In August 2015 a young Koala was sighted in a tree a few metres inside the gate at Pinkerton Forest! This was an exciting find as Koalas have not been sighted here for many years!

In August 2016 a large Koala was found in Pinkerton Forest. This was a very large old Koala with a distinctive white collar & rufous flanks. The last Koala we saw in Pinkerton in 2016 was much smaller, without distinguishing markings and definitely a different individual. Although Koalas are not permanent residents of Pinkerton Forest, their presence here on occasion is clear evidence that they are resident in the Mt Cottrell/ Strathtulloh precinct.

In November 2016 Frances Overmars reported:
‘While looking for birds this morning with the Werribee Bird Watchers a young koala was sighted in Upper Pinkerton, a first for this location.’

Three sightings since November 2015 indicate that perhaps Koalas are making Pinkerton their home, after many year’s absence. Upper Pinkerton is a relatively new addition to the reserve and has been the subject of intensive environmental restoration over the last few years, so it is especially welcome to see a Koala here!

‘Not only birds make their home in the woodlands. As well as numerous birds we found a Koala in Pinkerton Forest. This was a very large old Koala with a distinctive white collar & rufous flanks. The last Koala we saw in Pinkerton in 2016 was much smaller, without distinguishing markings & definitely a different individual. Although Koalas are not permanent residents of Pinkerton Forest, their presence here on occasion is clear evidence that they are resident in the Mt Cottrell/ Strathtulloh precinct.’

MEG newsletter September 2016 Vol 124

Koalas are still frequently seen in nearby Eynesbury Forest, which is a much larger woodland remnant. They are often seen during heat wave days when they come to the ornamental lake to drink. During prologued spells over 40 degrees the Koalas are especially affected by the heat. They are also seen crossing busy Eynesbury Road, placing them under threat of being killed by traffic.

Melton Gilgai Woodland to the north of Melton has also seen the occasional Koala. They have even been seen in Melton from time to time, as well as in trees beside Arnolds Creek. After bushfires they are often seen in odd places, no doubt looking for an unburnt home. Several Koala populations are said to have been destroyed by recent bushfires.

It is essential that local remnant bushland remnants be protected, not for Koalas but also for the other wildlife species that still survive here. It is also essential that we protect our local riversides as these provide wildlife corridors that link our local surviving bushland remnants.

 

Updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2017 15:24