Vale Sam the Koala

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Marg's Man, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    It's 9 o'clock in the morning here but the story broke last night. This link says it all

    Chlamydia is a minor sexually transmitted disease in humans but the koala variant is much more severe and has devastated the Australian population. The infection, not only results in sterility (bad enough in an endangered species) but the complications can result in dreadful suffering for the afflicted animals. Sam was a special favourite because she was a symbol of hope in the time of the Victorian fires and now she's gone.

    There's nothing we on this forum can do but I thought some of you would be interested and would want to know.

    Right Sharon?

    Marg's Man
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    That's so sad! I hope mrscatinthehat doesn't see this... she adores koalas... :(
  3. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    How sad! It's odd that you posted this....I was just thinking about that picture and that Koala the other day. Poor have survived the fires like she did and then have to be put down for something we think of us relatively minor.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Poor sweetie, no one should have that kind of pain. The aftereffects of chlamydia are horrible. And apparently worse for koalas than people. The video of her drinking water from the fireman is so special and sweet. I find it tragic that the koalas are still so endangered.
  5. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    How sad!!!!! I do adore koalas. I know they are not the sweet cudly creatures they appear to be but I love anyhow. Poor things. I keep saying that I am going to send to the foundations to help them but just don't know enough about them to know which ones are the best.
  6. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I adore Koala's too. My uncle lived in New Zealand and sent my a Koala to (made of rabbit fur) when I was about 4 or 5 and it became my favorite animal.

    Is there no cure for Chlamydia, or a vaccination? I would be devestated if the population got wiped out.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The problems with treating koalas with chlamydia - their digestive systems are very different. Because their main diet is eucalyptus leaves which are tough, have a high oil content and are basically toxic and not very nutritious, koala digestion is highly adapted with symbiotic bacteria being ofvital importance. The usual treatment for chlamydia is antibiotics, which kill off te symbiotic bacteria.

    If they can get to a koala soon enough, they can treat it before the chlamydia causes too much scarring. But then they have to treat the koala again to put back the good bacteria. They have actually been harvesting digestive material from healthy koalas and 'seeding' it back into the antibiotic-treated koalas. It's time-consuming, fiddly and still not always successful. They have to be sure they have harvested form healthy animals which aren't themselves in the early stages of chlamydia; they have to be sure they have inoculated them with enough bacteria to repopulate the gut and they have to be sure the sample is viable. They can't store the bacteria for long (I believe - they are making advances all the time) so they need a healthy koala handy. So it can really only happen at a place where they treat a lot of koalas, such as a koala hospital or a zoo that specialises in vet treatment of Aussie animals. Australia Zoo would be working on this, I know Port Macquarie's Koala Hospital has been working on this for decades. We were there a year ago and saw the info on this.

    They're trying to get koalas listed as endangered (becaue chlamydia is doing so much damage) but our government so far isn't ready to do this. It takes pressure.

    Poor darling Sam. mother in law has a beautiful sketch of her on the wall, done by a local artist.

  8. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    How very sad. As you know by my avatar I love koalas. Ever since I've been very young I have had a special place in my heart for koalas. Having survived the fire and being such a sign of hope makes it even sadder.