The effort is part of a field trial to limit the debilitating bacterial disease that can cause infertility, blindness and death.
Australian scientists have embarked on a groundbreaking initiative to vaccinate wild koalas against chlamydia in New South Wales.
This field trial aims to protect these iconic marsupials from the devastating effects of the disease, including blindness, infertility, and death.
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A species under threat:
Koalas may appear, at first glance, to live lives of leisure.
They sleep upwards of 20 hours a day, and spend many of their waking hours sitting in the treetops munching eucalyptus leaves.
But in reality, it’s not easy being a koala. Since 2022, they have been listed as endangered in eastern Australia.
And an Australian government inquiry last year found that without urgent action to protect them,
they could become extinct in New South Wales by 2050.
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A safe koala vaccine:
The research team aims to vaccinate half the koala population in
the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, or about 50 animals. The single-shot vaccine has previously been used to inoculate a few hundred koalas that were brought to wildlife rescue centers.
So, scientists know it is effective and that it doesn’t harm the animals. But they don’t know how many koalas will need the vaccination for them to develop a group immunity.
We want to evaluate what percentage of the koalas we need to vaccinate to meaningfully reduce infection and disease,
” Phillips said.
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Vaccination of Wild Koalas Against Chlamydia,Vaccination of Wild Koalas Against Chlamydia