Reproductive characteristics of a wildlife population are typically sensitive to changes in environmental conditions and intrinsic factors. Knowledge of these relationships is critical for understanding population dynamics and effective long-term management of a population. We examined temporal variation in reproductive parameters of an abundant, genetically compromised, and high-density population of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) on Kangaroo Island, South Australia, over 3 breeding seasons spanning 9 years: November–May of 1997–1998, 2005–2006, and 2006–2007. Timing of the breeding season was consistent between years, but fecundity, sex ratio of young, and the percentage of independent females (those not accompanying a lactating female) < 6 kg varied. Fecundity was lower than in other island populations, suggesting that the quality and distribution of food resources or inbreeding may be impacting the Kangaroo Island population. We did not test for Chlamydophila (synonym = Chlamydia), and clinical signs of this disease were not reported for any of the koalas in this study. However, historical evidence of Chlamydophila-infected koalas on Kangaroo Island exists, and the potential impact of this disease on fecundity warrants further investigation.
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Vol. 91 • No. 5