Strzelecki koalas herald beginning of new breeding program

22 Feb. 2022 5 min read

Four male koalas have been successfully translocated from Victoria's Strzelecki Ranges and will form part of a genetic breeding program aimed at securing the survival of the species. The program, led by Koala Life in partnership with the Department of Environment and Water, is designed to increase the genetic diversity of the disease-free insurance population located at Cleland Wildlife Park.

Although South Australian koalas have low Chlamydia and KoRV incidence, multiple genetic bottlenecks have resulted in low levels of genetic diversity, the consequences of which include reduced fertility, smaller than usual organs, and reduced adaptive capacity (the ability to respond to change). The introduction of genes from a different area will strengthen this vital population and create one of the only disease-free, outbred populations of koalas in the country. The program will also help secure the important Strzelecki koala genetics, who are not represented in any captive populations.

The translocation of the four koalas from the Strzelecki region was an Australian first and the result of a collaborative partnership between Koala Life and the Department for Environment and Water SA. It could not have happened without a wide range of partners. Koala Life would like to thank:

The Hon David Speirs, Minister for the Department for Water and Environment (SA)
Department for Environment and Water (SA)
The Hon Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for the Department for Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Victoria)
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Vic)
His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Monaco
The 8thMarquess of Bath, Ceawlin Thynn, UK Chair Longleat Safari Park
Hancock Victorian Plantations
Hazelwood Forestry
Longleat Safari Park, UK
World Wildlife Fund
Sandy Point Community Koala Action Project WHiSPA
Jarvis Motor Group
Cleland Wildlife Park SA
Zoos SA
Hosking Foundation