Fight to save Aussie icon


Many Australians remain unaware of the serious threats still facing the Koala.

Today is Save the Koala Day and animal groups say the Government has to step up and protect this iconic Aussie.

Bridget Costello reports.

TRANSCRIPT

Koala activists celebrated a huge success last year when the Koala was finally acknowledged as a ‘vulnerable’ species.

But the battle doesn’t stop there.

Deborah Tabart, CEO Australian Koala Foundation: “The risks to koalas are endless and the first and ghastliest is the lack of political will to even think about it.”

Save the Koala Day has a political push this year with supporters wanting more legislation to protect Koala habitat.

It’s hoped this will curb the rampant spread of chlamydia.

Kenneth Beagley, QUT Professor of Immunology: “We continue to destroy their habitat and so the stress and the geographical isolation, the animals seem to become more susceptible to chlamydial disease.”

The Australian Koala Foundation estimates that there are less than 80,000 Koalas left in the wild, perhaps as few as 43,000. There has never been a greater need for research into how to control disease in the Koala population.

QUT professors are researching the effect of chlamydia on Koala’s fertility and reproductive success.

In the meantime they’re trialling a ground-breaking vaccine.

Kenneth Beagley, QUT Professor of Immunology: “We’ve developed a vaccine which we’ve tested in captive Koalas over at Lone Pine and also animals that have come into Australia Zoo and now the vaccine is being used in wild Koalas.”

Wildlife teams are tracking the Koalas to measure the success.

Bridget Costello, QUT News.