Margreet Drijfhout1, Dave Kendal2, Pete Green1
1La Trobe University,
2University of Tasmania
The management of overabundant koala populations in southern Australia is controversial. While culling is regularly to manage overabundant kangaroos and possums, culling is rarely considered in managing koalas. It is unclear why koalas are treated differently than other native, but locally overabundant species. Anecdotally, it is the conviction of managers and policy makers that the public strongly opposes the culling of koalas, more than other species. However, there is little empirical evidence to support or refute this. Here we tested managers’ and the public’s acceptability of culling in managing overabundant koalas, kangaroos and brumbies, using a nationwide survey (n=1,148). We found that culling koalas is significantly less acceptable to general public than culling kangaroos or brumbies. However, experts found culling overabundant koalas acceptable. Non-lethal management strategies such as ecosystem restoration, translocation and fertility control were more acceptable that lethal strategies such as commercial use (e.g. millinery) and indigenous hunting.