Female koalas will be given contraceptive implants as many are starving to death

Dead koalas who ran out of food been found in Cape Otway

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The Independent Online

Female koala bears in Australia will be given birth control because soaring numbers of the animals are causing them to starve.

A lack of food has led to officers reportedly finding dead koalas in the forest.

The female bears at Cape Otway, Victoria, will receive the contraceptive implant in an effort to control their population.

This week, officers will begin catching and assessing the health of koalas in the region, according to ABC.

There are fears that a cull of the animal could take place. It follows a secret cull of around 700 koalas that took place between 2013 and 2014, which provoked international criticism.

Mandy Watson, a spokesperson for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning told Reuters that koalas would be captured and assessed by vets. Any found to be in poor condition or suffering would be “humanely [euphanised] while it’s under sedation”.

The population spike, she told ABC, meant manna gum trees were being destroyed.

“It’s still looking pretty poor, there was some leaf recovery post the crash, but overall things are looking pretty poor and koala numbers are still high."

Dr Jack Pascoe for the Conservation Ecology Centre said that an imbalance in the ecosystem was leading to the “catastrophe”.

“Trees that should have been regenerating and growing leaves simply could not recover. Seedlings did not emerge from the ground. Koalas starved,” he said.