21 Feb '12, 1pm

Squeezed into tiny spaces, koalas now face deadly disease

The koala, one of Australia's most treasured creatures, is in trouble. Faced with habitat loss, climate change and bacterial disease, koala bears are being pushed into smaller and smaller regions of the country. In Queensland, surveys between 2001 and 2008 suggest that their numbers dropped as much as 45 per cent in urban areas and 15 per cent in bushland. While climate change and habitat loss are affecting many other uniquely Australian animals as well, it is a bacterial infection that is worrying many scientists about the fate of the koala. The killer is chlamydia, a class of bacteria far better known for causing venereal disease in humans. Recent surveys in Queensland show that chlamydia has caused symptoms in up to 50 per cent of the state's wild koalas, with probably even more infected but not showing symptoms. Chlamydia is transmitted during birth, through mating and...

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/World/EDC120221-0000152/Squeez...

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