They may be a national symbol, but authorities in Australia are culling a colony of koalas in a popular tourist destination.
The move from the state government of Victoria is in reaction to the burgeoning koala population at Cape Otway, in the south of Australia.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWEP) is carrying out a health assessment of koalas, and those seen to be injured or unwell could be euthanised.
In a statement, DELWEP spokesperson Mandy Watson said: “Any unhealthy koalas, which are deemed too sick to survive release, will be humanely euthanised to prevent further suffering.”
Between 2013 and 2014 700 koalas were secretly culled. Further koala euthanisation is likely to provoke a reaction from animal rights enthusiasts, who say the problem is a lack of trees rather than too many koalas.
This article was first published by The Telegraph on 26 May 2015.