Environment Helping koalas get friendly again

Helping koalas get friendly again

There ain’t no cure for love but there is for chlamydia and research from the University of Sunshine Coast has found a quicker way of providing it to the most amorous of Aussies.

Koalas are famously friendly, especially with each other but their love of a cuddle (with benefits) has made them vulnerable to sexually transmitted disease.

Koala chlamydia, a version of the same infection that affects humans, has devastated koala populations all over Australia, causing excruciating pain and blindness in some animals and leaving many females infertile.

In some parts of Queensland it is thought infection rates are as high as 100 per cent. A range of efforts are under way to save the species.

Wildlife clinics treat animals with antibiotics, for example, and release surviving ones back into the environment. But it takes time – current guidelines stipulate a course lasting 45 days.

However, work conducted over four years by PhD researcher Amy Robins found existing drugs could be effective in less than 28.

“We’re not talking about reinventing the wheel,” she says.

“It’s just a refinement of the current treatment protocol, and the next step is to see if we get the same results cutting the treatment window to just 14 days.”

The results mean clinics can confidently release animals more quickly and therefore increase the number they treat.

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