The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has been involved in a program to remove koalas from some private properties in the Cape Otway region.

The aim is to manage populations to a more sustainable level for the well-being of both the koalas and the Manna Gums on which they depend. Prior to re-location the females are sterilised and all koalas given a health check. They are then re-located to areas of suitable habitat within the Great Otway National Park. This program has been conducted over the past few years.

The health of the koala population at Cape Otway is generally good; however, when individuals are assessed and found to be unhealthy or have disease, they are humanely euthanased.

A Common Wombat was killed at Big Hill at the beginning of May. Wombats do not normally occur in this part of Victoria, so the speculation is that it was an escaped pet, or it may have been captured and released, or more improbably, wandering outside its natural territory. However, its presence here remains a mystery.

Zoos Victoria and DELWP have embarked on a project to boost the wild Orange-bellied Parrot population. Fifteen captive-bred birds were released at a suitable location between Geelong and Werribee in May. They have been joined by the first wild OBP of the season. This bird has crossed Bass Strait every year since 2013. His arrival marks the start of the migration of OBPs from Melaleuca in south west Tasmania to the coasts of Victoria and South Australia where they will spend the winter months, and later to return to Tasmania for the breeding season.

The winter whale migration has started. On May 14 an unidentified whale was sighted approximately 300 metres west of the Split Point Lighthouse in Aireys Inlet.

Kaye Traynor

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