Raymond Island is a unique area in Australia where visitors can observe koalas in the wild. It was almost wiped out in the 1920s due to habitat loss and hunting, but in 1953, koalas were relocated to the island. The population is regularly monitored and managed by the government with the help of the local community. Currently, there are over 200 koalas living on the island, with the population controlled through contraception and relocation. Visitors should respect the koalas and their habitat, as they are comfortable with people around but may bite or scratch.
The Gunaikurnai people are the Traditional Owners of the land, made up of five clans, with the Tatungalong clan having a strong connection to Gragin, or Bunjil Baul, for tens of thousands of years. Evidence of scar trees, burial sites and artifacts have been found on the lagoon system, and the island was used to observe the surrounding area. The Gunaikurnai Rangers and Raymond Island Landcare Group are currently working to revegetate and improve trails and information signs on the island, as well as build a resting place for yarning.
Koalas are marsupials, whose young are born blind, furless and with no ears. They feed solely on their mother’s milk for up to six months and then transition to a diet of eucalyptus leaves. They are nocturnal and sleep up to 20 hours a day, and communicate through a variety of sounds. Habitat loss is the greatest threat to the koalas, but with concerted efforts, we can help give them the future they deserve.
Raymond Island is a unique place with a diverse range of flora and distinct habitats. It is home to red gum, manna gum, southern mahogany and banksia trees, as well as over 60 species of orchids, many of which are rare. The island is also a great spot for bird watching, boasting over 220 species of both water and bush birds, including rare migrants such as Swift Parrots from Tasmania, Latham Snipe from Japan, Common Green Shanks and Sharp Tailed Sandpiper from Siberia. It is advised to bring a flora and fauna book and binoculars when visiting the island.