One of the most significant species in this region is the local koala population which form a significant part of a special genetic group is known as the Strzelecki Koala population. They are important because they are believed to be the only population that survived the massive decline of the Koala across Victoria in the early 20th Century when there was massive habitat destruction and Koalas were being actively harvested for their fur. Koala’s across the rest of the state are all thought to have originated from a small number of individuals that were relocated to French Island and then re-introduced back to the mainland as the island population increased. As a result the majority of the Koalas from the rest of Victoria come from a very limited gene pool, which makes them far more vulnerable to disease (e.g. Chlamydia) and less able to adapt and change.
More research on the status of the population has stepped up in recent years and more is being learnt about the importance of this population. Several sources report that the 2009 Bushfires burnt around 50% of the Primary Habitat of the Strzlecki Koala. It is vital that a priority is placed on ensuring that important habitat for Koala’s are recovering well. Important actions include controlling weeds that restrict Koalas access and movement such as Blackberries and ensuring that habitat links exist for koala populations to move safely between areas of their preferred habitat.