The last, large, isolated, healthy chlamydia-free population of koalas in Australia may have been identified on Kangaroo Island, said Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers at the University of Adelaide.
Chlamydia is a serious threat to the species, contributing to dramatic population declines, and the team hopes the Kangaroo Island koalas can provide a safeguard against further losses and even extinction. The team published their findings in theNature journal Scientific Reports.
“This is a very important finding because chlamydial disease is so prevalent and efforts to fight it have so far been unsuccessful,” said Dr. Natasha Speight, koala researcher and lecturer at the University of Adelaide’s School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences. “These koalas could potentially be used as a disease-free breeding colony in the future.”