Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is a marsupial endemic to the eastern seaboard of mainland Australia where it occurs in a patchy distribution from approximately Adelaide in South Australia to Cairns in Queensland. It has become established outside its natural range as a consequence of deliberate translocations and escapes. Translocated populations are predominantly on islands in Victoria and South Australia.

Where populations have established in new areas there have been ongoing management issues as a consequence of over-population. Management of these populations has been difficult and of limited success.

In Tasmania, the koala is a 'controlled animal' under the Nature Conservation Act 2002.

This risk assessment estimates that there is a high risk of koalas establishing in Tasmania, with potential for extreme consequences. The assessment concludes that koalas represent an extreme threat to Tasmania.

Following the initial risk assessment, the Department may consider permitting the importation of animals assessed as ‘extreme risk’ into the State as long as appropriate mitigation measures, enforced through a wildlife exhibition licence, can be identified and applied.

Mitigation options to reduce the risk associated with importing koala include:

  1. Limiting importation to registered wildlife parks or zoos to ensure the holding facility meets the stringent keeping standards​ Tasmania applies to all institutions.
  2. Requiring any wildlife park or zoo to submit a Koala species management plan (including enclosure details) prior to import.
  3. The wildlife exhibition facility can clearly demonstrate they have proficient keepers for that particular species.

Assessment Documentation

  Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)   (468Kb)