Habitats for Koalas in the Otways

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

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. 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). This project aims to provide information on koala habitat use, tree species selection and koala movements between habitats in the Otways.

FNPW support

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

Project overview

This project aims to provide information on koala habitat use, tree species selection and koala movements between habitats in the Otways.  The project will also look at the flow-on impact of koala over-browsing on birds, small mammals, and aboreal mammals in Eucalyptus viminalis woodlands.  This information is critical to the development of a long-term ecological management strategy for both koalas and their habitats in the region.

This research will also reveal how koalas may be impacted by climate change which is likely to have significant adverse effects on koala populations. Mortality rates will potentially increase as a result of koalas’ low tolerance for prolonged hot weather and the potential for more extreme and frequent bushfires. Koala food resources may decline due to climate-induced changes in the composition and structure of eucalypt communities, and the nutritional quality and moisture content of leaves. In areas of mainland Victoria and for some islands where koala densities are locally high, increased browsing pressure on preferred trees is an additional factor threatening populations. An understanding of how koalas respond to changes in their habitat is critical to the long term conservation of the species.

Cape Otway - October 2012


FNPW supports projects across Australia. 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.

A Baby Koala Cling To It's Mother's Back - Australia Parks and Wildlife - FNPW


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.

Genetic Code of Koalas

A team of Australian and international scientists, led by Professor Rebecca Johnson, Director of the Australian Museum Research Institute and Professor Katherine Belov, University of Sydney, have made a significant break-through successfully sequencing the full koala genome. Considered to be the most complete marsupial genome sequenced to date, it is in terms of quality, on par with the human genome.

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.