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Byron Shire
May 16, 2022

Koala stress deaths

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Dave Norris, Pottsville. 

It’s koala breeding season (August to February). Last season three female koalas captured in or adjacent to the urban landscape in Pottsville were euthanased. One was found sitting on a letterbox. One was in a tree behind housing on the edge of the wetland. They outwardly appeared to be in good health but were found to be suffering from chlamydia. The third had entered an urban backyard and was mauled by a dog.

One of the symptoms of chlamydia in female koalas is cystitis. This affects their reproductive system, making the mating extremely painful and rendering them incapable of reproducing. Males are very single-minded when it comes to mating. I have seen a female leap five metres to the ground to escape a male in chase. I suspect that females with chlamydia and cystitis often enter the urban landscape during breeding season in an attempt to escape breeding males.

If you see a koala in or near human activity, could you please use a zoom camera to get a close-up photo of it (ensuring that there is minimum stress to the animal) and send it to Friends of the Koala, who will assess its appearance and arrange capture and treatment if necessary. A joey with early signs of chlamydia adjacent to the Black Rocks sportsfield in Pottsville was saved from a miserable death in this manner last year.

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