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Did you know, 60% of Currumbin Wildlife Hospitals koala admissions are due to chlamydia, a bacterial infection and one of the largest threats posed to the species’ survival?
Over the past 30 years, there’s been an exponential rise in koala admissions at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital. The hospital treated, rehabilitated, and released almost 500 koalas from South-East Queensland and Northern New South Wales in 2020. 60% of this population were admitted sick and dying from chlamydia. Of the other 40% many had sub-clinical chlamydia, meaning they were becoming sick. In Queensland and New South Wales, koalas are listed as vulnerable, and this status can be attributed to the widespread disease.
In 2020, Currumbin Wildlife Hospital launched the vaccine research program in collaboration with Queensland University of Technology and are now vaccinating all koala patients against chlamydia prior to their release back into the wild, a major milestone for the protection of the species.
Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Senior Vet Dr Michael Pyne is leading the way in this urgent koala research and working hard to prevent the imminent localised extinction of the koala. Dr Pyne has been treating koalas for more than twenty years and believes prevention is better than cure.
The goal is to vaccinate every Koala that is admitted to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital for treatment, rehabilitation, and release. It’s hoped this will provide the wild population with lifelong protection against the deadly illness and allow them to produce healthy joeys.
Currumbin Wildlife Hospital’s chlamydia vaccine research program is still in its early stages, and community support is essential to push forward with this critical work. Chlamydia is a devastating disease and it’s crucial that we move into the prevention space now. The positive news is we have the technology and resources available to make a significant change, it’s just a matter of enough fundraising momentum to save our koalas from extinction.