The bacterial infection Chlamydia, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases amongst humans in America, has been on the rise amongst koalas — and picking them off in large quantities.
In some places, the population of these furry critters has already dropped nearly 20% (and a total of 80% since the 90s).
Yet the Australian government apparently doesn’t see this as a reason for concern — even though the animal is basically their country’s symbol (the koala is printed on their coins!). This may be because the population seems to only be dwindling in certain areas, and conservationists have been doing their part in helping reintroduce the koalas to the local population.
However, the reintroduction may not prove to be the prime choice in the long run. Says Alistair Melzer, senior researcher at Queensland University, “only koalas from a narrow segment of the overall population were re-introduced…as a result, there is no genetic diversity.”
That said, if you couple this issue with climate changes, like heat waves and droughts, plus growing urbanization, the koalas could go extinct within the next 30 years.
The Australian government won’t add the koalas to the endangered species list until they see some real figures, and unfortunately, there isn’t enough funding for further research on the matter.
Somebody, anybody — SAVE THOSE KOALAS!!