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Fifteen members joined us for the annual survey that we carry out at Grey River each year in June.  In 1977 fifty koalas were brought from Phillip and French Islands and released in the Grey River area behind Kennett River. We assume there was an existing colony in the area.

The Friends of Eastern Otways have been monitoring the population since 1997, and have seen an increase in numbers over the time although they have slightly decreased over the last few years. The first count was 35 koalas, and the highest count was 144 koalas in 2008. Last year there were 98, and this year we counted 100.  It is difficult to determine how many we didn’t see – conditions were not good with grey skies and at times misty conditions.

We started the survey by putting on our Friends’ Volunteer vests as Grey River Road is now a popular koala viewing area with cars often driving along with their occupants looking for these fascinating animals.

Group by sign

The first section of the walk took place along both sides of Grey River Road with our members straining their eyes as they searched the treetops for koalas.

Group on road Group on road

The animals were not easy to spot against the grey sky and in the dense foliage

Koala in tree Two searchers

It’s not often you see two together.

Two koalas

Our lunch-time spectacle – a rainbow over Grey River settlement.


The second section of the survey took us down the firebreak.

Fire break

And the koalas were a little more co-operative.

Koala Koala

It is a great experience, and we always feel privileged to see these popular Australian animals in their own habitat of Blue Gums, Rough Manna Gums and Peppermints.

Margaret MacDonald