Significant challenges to the welfare of koalas in the South-East Queensland and Northern Rivers region of New South Wales have led to the demise and possible extinction of the species in the future. These include loss of habitat, disease, dog attacks and vehicle accidents.
There are some wonderful programs in the community to help alleviate these issues, including support of habitat protection and restoration, dog training, and wildlife hospitals.
Koala chlamydial disease is one of the key threats contributing to koalas being listed as endangered in South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. 60% of admissions to wildlife hospitals are because the koala is suffering from clinical chlamydial disease. Sadly, many of these cases of koala chlamydia cannot be treated due to the advanced level of pathology in the renal or reproductive system requiring the koala to be euthanised after a full veterinary assessment. Treatment of chlamydia is a minimum 4-week course of antibiotics in a simple case, but complications are common and often koalas are hospitalised for up to 10 weeks to fully recover.
Great work in this area is being undertaken via the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital on the Gold Coast. Veterinarian Dr Michael Pyne carries out ground-breaking research and a vaccination program of wild koalas against this infectious and deadly chlamydia disease.
The Koala Research Foundation Australia (KRFA) is an initiative of Cudgen Connection partner Digital Infratech, established to help fund this ongoing important research and vaccination program.
It is envisaged to replicate the current research program based at Elanora on the Gold Coast in the Tweed Shire, with a Centre of Excellence in Koala Research to be established within the proposed Cudgen Connection Community hub, along with Head-office facilities for KRFA.