Habitats for Koalas in the Otways

  • YEAR: 2012
  • STATE: Victoria
  • FOCUS AREAS: Saving Species/SDG 15: Life on Land

Boasting rich biodiversity and stunning landscapes, the Great Otway National Park and surrounding private land is a region of high biodiversity and tourism value, attracting over 7.5 million people a year. It provides the perfect koala habitat and Koalas are a major attraction, occurring at high densities in some areas. However, over-browsing by koalas has contributed to a marked decline in tree condition, particularly Eucalyptus viminalis (manna gum). 

The mission of this project is to provide information on koala habitat use, tree species selection, and koala movements between habitats in the Otways. This will help to preserve both the koala population and their habitats for future generations. 

This project was funded through generous donations from FNPW supporters across Australia and beyond.

Project overview

This project is all about uncovering the secrets of koala habitat use, tree species selection, and movements between habitats in the Otways region. Also, the project investigates the flow-on impact of koala over-browsing on other creatures such as birds, small mammals, and aboreal mammals in the Eucalyptus viminalis woodlands.

This information is critical for developing a long-term ecological management strategy for both koalas and their habitats in the region. By understanding how koalas interact with their environment, we can develop strategies to protect them and ensure their survival for generations to come.

This research also sheds light on how climate change may be affecting koalas. As temperatures rise and bushfires become more frequent and severe, koalas are facing major challenges. Mortality rates may increase due to their low tolerance for prolonged hot weather, and changes to eucalypt communities could affect the nutritional quality of their leaves. By investigating how koalas respond to these changes, strategies are developed to help them adapt and thrive.

Finally, in areas of mainland Victoria and for some islands where koala densities are locally high, increased browsing pressure on preferred trees is another factor threatening populations. Understanding these threats and how koalas respond to them is critical to the long-term conservation of the species.

Cape Otway - October 2012


In the spirit of reconciliation we acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture.

Koalas at Cape Otway Oct 2012


The project was completed in 2013.

This project was funded by FNPW in 2012.


Earthwatch Australia is the lead organisation for this project, with the support of Parks Victoria.

Further information about our project partner can be found on their website:


Related Projects

FNPW Koala Projects

The Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife funds numerous projects to conserve one of Australia’s most iconic species, Koalas. Koala populations in Queensland, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory are listed as vulnerable.

Koala Tree Planting

Over the past 20 years more than 70% of the Manna Gum community has been lost and without intervention we will lose this unique and rare habitat type, along with the koalas and many other plants and animals that rely on it.

Redlands Koala planting

Thanks to your support, koala habitat in Redlands is increasing through community tree plantings. The plantings extend corridors within which koalas can safely travel, feed, find mates, and raise their young.