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Celebrating Australia’s iconic species this World Wildlife Day: HVP invests in koala conservation

HVP Plantations has played an important role in strengthening the genetics of Australia’s koalas, working with leading conservation bodies and the Victorian and South Australian Governments to relocate four male Strzelecki koalas to a South Australian-based koala breeding program.

The substantial conservation, veterinary and logistical exercise, which has been captured in a video launched to coincide with World Wildlife Day today is another way in which HVP is working to protect and enhance this iconic species, alongside its comprehensive Koala Management Plan.

HVP Plantations Environment and Certification Manager Tim McBride said HVP’s koala conservation program aims to revitalise the health of the koala population.

“Some portions of the Australian koala population suffer from what is known as a ‘genetic bottleneck’, a bi-product of coming close to extinction, and then repopulating from just a handful of the remaining population,” Mr McBride said.

“The weak gene pool has led to some koalas being more susceptible to kidney and renal failure, among other inflictions such as chlamydia. Strzelecki koalas have a complex genetic makeup that sees them better equipped to deal with the onset of diseases such as chlamydia.”

“HVP Plantations are very fortunate to have a healthy Strzelecki koala population within our Gippsland eucalypt plantations. Four young male Strzelecki koalas were relocated to participate in the breeding program at Cleland Wildlife Park in South Australia to strengthen the Australian koala population’s health and help develop sustainable populations across the country,” Mr McBride said.

The SA-based program is a partnership between Koala Life, Cleland Wildlife Park (CWP), the South Australian Government, through the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

HVP Plantations Chief Executive Officer Stephen Ryan said the program highlights HVP Plantations’ commitment to the conservation of koalas.

“Supporting the South Australian breeding program is just one aspect of our overall koala management program. HVP has a Forest Management Plan which sets out a number of initiatives and policies that HVP has in place to help maintain the koala population within Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.

“We foster working relationships with several wildlife shelters equipped to handle koalas, as well as an extensive monitoring program, which has provided the framework for gathering scientifically credible data on koala habitat in the region.

“HVP Plantations welcomes the release of the new draft Victorian Koala Management Strategy by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and we look forward to exploring how we can continue to support conservation efforts for koalas,” Mr Ryan said.
HVP Plantations have today released a comprehensive video that explores the breeding program and highlights the partnerships involved to save koalas. To watch the video, visit here.

ENDS

Further information:

Patrick McClelland

Porter Novelli

E: pmcclelland@porternovelli.com.au

M: +61 409 499 419

Samara Barr

Porter Novelli

E: sbarr@porternovelli.com.au

M: +61 433 171 650

©2014 Hancock Victorian Plantations