Tuesday, September 8, 2009

He May Be Cute, but....

My cousin Diego is half way through Medical School and my whole family is very proud of him. A couple of months ago, after seeing a picture of Mom and I petting a koala, .5 Dr. Diego informed me that the koala population in Australia is infested with Chlamydia.

Mom, Sydney and Maya at Cleveland Wildlife Park.

Of course the first thing I did was a search on google, and it turns out that he wasn't pulling my leg. According to the Australian Koala Foundation, the legendary Australian icon is indeed infected by chlamydia. Chlamydia, a disease that can lead to blindness, pneumonia, urinary/reproductive tract infections--which can ultimately result in death. When in captivity an infected marsupial can be treated by antibiotics, but, the foundation points out that such treatment is not possible in the wild. They stress that the disease is harmless when wild animals live in a natural and healthy ecosystem. However the overall population of koalas on mainland Australia is in decline, as natural habitats continue to shrink.

Koala trying to escape heat on hot afternoon at Bel Air National Park.

So next time you are at an Australian Wildlife Park no need to hold back when you get an urge to cuddle these irresistible furry creatures. However, you might want to avoid heavy petting sessions with "the wild ones".

Mum and lil' one in the Adelaide Hills.

No comments:

Post a Comment