With large amounts of wildlife habitat burnt on Kangaroo Island, the State Government has taken the unusual step of relocating 12 rescued koalas from the island to establish a disease-free population at Cleland Wildlife Park.
Koalas on the island are free of chlamydia, which is widespread in mainland populations.
The koalas, nine of which are juveniles, came from the western end of the island, where most, if not all, of their habitat has been lost in the recent bushfires.
The fires have burnt more than 210,000 hectares on Kangaroo Island, of which almost 90,000 hectares was national and conservation parks. The loss of significant amounts of habitat has resulted in large numbers of koalas perishing.
Many koalas that have survived the fire are likely to be struggling to find food and an assessment was made that the 12 taken to Cleland would have died of starvation if they were not rescued.
The move to the mainland will also help act as the basis for a disease-free insurance population to potentially benefit koalas nationally.
The koalas will be quarantined at Cleland Wildlife Park to help preserve their disease-free status.
The Government has launched the Wildlife Recovery Fund, which is a collaboration between the National Parks and Wildlife Service SA and the not-for-profit Nature Foundation, to assist with the recovery and restoration of flora and fauna in fire-damaged regions across the state.