The infection, which is sexually transmitted will likeliy to kill a 12-year-oldu koala, Sherwood Robyn, vets say. At Australia’a first hospital fort he furry marsupials, Robyn was brought into an examination.
Although she appeared fine from afar, a closer examination revealed a clear sign of the chlamydia infection “wet bottom”. Found on Sherwood Road, Robyn is, already experiencing advanced stages of the disease and according to the vets, will likely die within months in pain.
According to Cheyne Flanagan, clinical director at the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie, the spread and impact of the disease have been exacerbated by human development encroaching the animals' territory. She explains the condition as there is a disturbed habitat of animals which is driven by human pressure. As a result they have to live closer and more interaction between the animals occur.
"People want to move to the coast and we need to look at ways in which we can protect the koala into the long-term" says Flanagan. But increased human development on koala territory has exacerbated the impact of the disease in recent years.
There has been a marked shift in those being treated since the Koala Hospital was established in 1973. Flanagan says she now sees mainly older marsupials and that admission numbers have dramatically fallen, suggesting populations are dying out. She believes the changes are caused by habitat loss as trees are felled to make way for urban development, describing the impact on koalas as "death by a thousand cuts".