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Koalas are an iconic native species with a very high public profile. Koalas are protected by law in South Australia under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (NPW Act).

Protecting and managing koalas is a complex task, particularly in urbanised environments. In suburbia koalas are exposed to threats such as dog attack, vehicle collision, habitat fragmentation and complete loss of habitat from urban development.

In the Adelaide Hills, Adelaide metropolitan area and Mount Lofty Ranges there has been an increase in the number of sightings of koalas and reports made to the department. The reports are particularly prevalent during the koala breeding season and during heatwaves, when koalas come down from trees. At ground level koalas are more readily seen by people and at greater risk of dog attack or vehicle collision.

The koala will face many hazards during its lifetime. Loss of habitat from development activities (eg housing, roads, and agriculture) has meant that koalas need to move across a very fragmented landscape to access resources such as food, water and shelter.

Koalas appear to be adapting to life in the suburbs and negotiate many urban hazards. Capturing and relocating healthy koalas away from their established territory can be very stressful for the koala, it is best to leave them alone.

If you find a sick, injured or orphaned koala you should contact your local wildlife rescue organisation, or a local veterinarian, as soon as possible.

The following information sheets explain when koalas may need a helping hand:

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