Great Koala Count: South Australia's Koala History

koala spotted in a tree

In 1984 ABC’s Weekend Magazine program featured a story on the koala population of South Australia detailing the history and current health of the species.

Ironically, in 1984, they addressed the same issues the country is still addressing today.

The report detailed the booming numbers of koalas in South Australia through the late 1900s, with the marsupials said to be in almost plague proportions at the Flinders Chase Park on Kangaroo Island in 1967.

The park’s population of rare Manna Gum trees was being threatened by the eating habits of the koalas, and an animal cull was considered.

Luckily at the time some Australian ingenuity was used by simply wrapping a piece of corrugated iron around the trunk of the tree, stopping the koalas being able to grip the trees to climb to the new foliage.

The program details the history of the koala in our state, with koalas originally forced from their natural habitat and shot as farmers and residents move into their natural habitats.

By the 1930s the koala was listed as extinct in the state.

A koala colony was then created on Kangaroo Island to reintroduce the species, with all South Australia colonies derivatives from the original KI family.

Story By Brett Williamson, 13 September, 2012 1:46PM ACST


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