Koala Chlamydia Vaccine Update (July 2022)
The team at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital are very excited to announce, that there have been at least 10 new Koala joeys, born in the past year, to wild Koalas in the dedicated vaccine trial, Elanora population.
The Elanora Conservation Area provides a safe and natural environment for the wild Koala’s taking part in the research trial.
All new mothers have been vaccinated against Chlamydia, as part of the Hospital’s ongoing research program. Male Koalas have also been vaccinated.
Together with researchers from QUT (Queensland University of Technology), Currumbin Wildlife Hospital has been trialling their World leading, Koala Chlamydia vaccine research program for just over 2 years now.
The program is ground-breaking in that it involves tagging, physical tracking and a process of re-capture, checking and release over a period of 5 years.
The information will be used to understand the iconic species and prevent disease throughout Australia.
Over the past year, the success of the program has really been highlighted, with at least 10 joeys born to vaccinated Koalas.
"We are excited with the early success that this vaccine program is showing. Two years into the program, the results are very encouraging, with all vaccinated Elanora Koalas remaining free of chlamydia. The species is now considered endangered, and without programs like this, they still face the very real possibility of extinction.” - Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Senior Vet Michael Pyne.
Partnering with QUT’s Professor Kenneth Beagley, Currumbin Wildlife Hospital has also administered the lifesaving chlamydia vaccine to more than 150 Koalas that have been released back into the wild.
60% of Currumbin Wildlife Hospital’s Koala admissions are due to chlamydia, the disease is one of the largest threats posed to the species’ survival and affects also fertility. Each Koala suffering from chlamydia costs Currumbin Wildlife Hospital approximately $7000 to treat with a minimum 4-week course of antibiotics.
Currumbin Wildlife Hospital’s chlamydia vaccine research trial wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of The Neumann Family, Rotary, WildArk, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate and The City of Gold Coast.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate says "I applaud the work being achieved through the vaccination program. Our council is adopting a suite of measures to protect and enhance Koala habitat. This includes mitigation measures to reduce vehicle strikes as well as purchasing wildlife corridor land in key areas. Our city-wide target is to retain 51 percent of our city's footprint as green and open space. We are within one percent of achieving that. I encourage all Gold Coasters to support the wildlife hospital by visiting the park and donating."
It’s still early days, and community support is essential to push forward with this critical work.