A FIVE-YEARLY, Island-Wide Koala Count, staged between October 12 and 19 on Phillip Island has found just three koalas in the wild raising concerns that the iconic animal may be headed for distinction.

There are still 18 koalas in the Phillip Island Nature Parks Conservation Reserve but there appear to be precious few of them living in the wild.

Speaking on ABC Gippsland Radio on Friday this week, Phillip Island Nature Parks’ Senior Ranger Daniel Kallstrom admitted the count was disappointing.

“Look it was a little disappointing. I would have liked to see a few more especially since last year we saw a joey in the wild, the first joey we’ve sighted in 13 years which we thought might be a good sign, you know that there could be a bit more breeding.

“On top of the ones we recorded, we know there are others around the place. There’s been one in Woolamai that’s been on social media and people have seen one there.

“And we have seen that joey, away from his mother now, but not this time.”

Mr Kallstrom said there was no plan to reintroduce koalas into the wild on the Island and while PINP was constantly improving the tree corridors between their conservation areas, he didn’t believe it would be a program that would be successful due to reduced habitat, roadkill and the incidence of chlamydia within the Island’s koala population.

Local community members and visitors are encouraged to report any koala sightings anywhere on the Island by calling or texting 0436522520, or sending an email to info@penguins.org.au

So, after all these years when koalas have been as synonymous to Phillip Island as the penguins, what would it be like to have no koalas in the wild on the Island?

For all those long-time Island residents and visitors, including those who remember some of the brushes with fame that these iconic animals have had over the years, the news that the Island my soon not have a wild population of koalas, grunting and moving around, may come as a surprise, if not a shock.