An informative monthly newsletter about successes & important announcements in koala conservation, and the latest scientific publications about koalas.
January 2023
Subscribe here: https://mailchi.mp/808fc4af1ee0/koala-news-science

Koala crossings working Moreton Bay QLD 4 January
Koalas have been seen on wildlife cameras using road underpasses safely throughout the City of Moreton Bay.

Debate over Appin Rd wildlife crossings, NSW
22 Jan: Road widening approved by TfNSW, two underpasses and koala fencing.
24 Jan: WIRES: TfNSW Proposal not good enough.
24 Jan Sydney Basin Koala Network: Mallaty Creek must have an overpass.
19 Nov: IFAW: Minimum 3 over- and under-passes, koala fencing and koala grids

$5million for SEQ Koalas QLD 18 January
~$5million over 5 years will be shared by University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology and Currumbin Wildlife Hospital to support koala breeding, genetics & vaccine projects.

Another court action against Forestry Corp NSW 18 January
Southeast Forest Rescue launched an action seeking an urgent injunction in the Land & Environment Court on 23 January, to stop logging in 7 NSW forests until Forestry Corp conduct effective surveys for gliders. A decision is imminent. A fundraiser has been started.

Action to protect Mt Coot-tha wildlife from light show
Mt Coot-tha Protection Alliance have a range of flyers and sample letters to oppose the commercial light show Lumina.

Bellingen Plant Fair needs volunteers, NSW
9 March, Bellingen. Contact Kaz Selbie M: 0419 218800 E: bellingenplantfair@gmail.com

Save Briars petition presented to council, Mornington Peninsula VIC 2 February
The hard copy petition with 1100 signatures was submitted to Mornington Peninsula council today, the online petition is at 20,000 and still growing.

Upcoming events:
6 Feb, West Gosford NSW: Trivia Night by Wildlife ARC

15 Feb, Melbourne VIC: Wildlife acoustics & Koala nose patterns event by Koala Clancy Foundation

15 Feb, Logan QLD: Koala Forum by Griffith University

9 March, Bellingen NSW: Bellingen Plant Fair by Bellingen Environment Centre


Latest Koala Science


Pagliarani, S., Johnston, S.D., Beagley, K.W. and Palmieri, C., 2024. Immunohistochemical characterization of the immune cell response during chlamydial infection in the male and female koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) reproductive tract. Veterinary pathology, p.03009858231225499.

Chlamydiosis is one of the main causes of the progressive decline of koala populations in eastern Australia. While histologic, immunologic, and molecular studies have provided insights into the basic function of the koala immune system, the in situ immune cell signatures during chlamydial infection of the reproductive tract in koalas have not been investigated. Thirty-two female koalas and 47 males presented to wildlife hospitals with clinical signs suggestive of Chlamydia infection were euthanized with the entire reproductive tract collected for histology; immunohistochemistry (IHC) for T-cell (CD3ε, CD4, and CD8α), B-cell (CD79b), and human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR markers; and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (rtPCR) for Chlamydia pecorum. T-cells, B-cells, and HLA-DR-positive cells were observed in both the lower and upper reproductive tracts of male and female koalas with a statistically significant associations between the degree of the inflammatory reaction; the number of CD3, CD4, CD79b, and HLA-DR positive cells; and the PCR load. CD4-positive cells were negatively associated with the severity of the gross lesions. The distribution of immune cells was also variable according to the location within the genital tract in both male and female koalas. These preliminary results represent a step forward towards further exploring mechanisms behind chlamydial infection immunopathogenesis, thus providing valuable information about the immune response and infectious diseases in free-ranging koalas.


Wright, B.R., Casteriano, A., Muir, Y.S., Hulse, L., Simpson, S.J., Legione, A.R., Vaz, P.K., Devlin, J.M., Krockenberger, M.B. and Higgins, D.P., 2024. Expanding the known distribution of phascolartid gammaherpesvirus 1 in koalas to populations across Queensland and New South Wales. Scientific Reports, 14(1), p.1223.

Koala populations across the east coast of Australia are under threat of extinction with little known about the presence or distribution of a potential pathogen, phascolartid gammaherpesvirus 1 (PhaHV-1) across these threatened populations. Co-infections with PhaHV-1 and Chlamydia pecorum may be common and there is currently a limited understanding of the impact of these co-infections on koala health. To address these knowledge gaps, archived clinical and field-collected koala samples were examined by quantitative polymerase chain reaction to determine the distribution of PhaHV-1 in previously untested populations across New South Wales and Queensland. We detected PhaHV-1 in all regions surveyed with differences in detection rate between clinical samples from rescued koalas (26%) and field-collected samples from free-living koalas (8%). This may reflect increased viral shedding in koalas that have been admitted into care. We have corroborated previous work indicating greater detection of PhaHV-1 with increasing age in koalas and an association between PhaHV-1 and C. pecorum detection. Our work highlights the need for continued surveillance of PhaHV-1 in koala populations to inform management interventions, and targeted research to understand the pathogenesis of PhaHV-1 and determine the impact of infection and co-infection with C. pecorum.


Feature Paper


David, P., Rundle-Thiele, S., Pang, B., Knox, K., Parkinson, J., & Hussenoeder, F. (2019). Engaging the Dog Owner Community in the Design of an Effective Koala Aversion Program. Social Marketing Quarterly, 25(1), 55-68. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524500418821583

Introduction: This article outlines a dog owner–focused social marketing pilot program implemented in 2017, which aimed to reduce koala and domestic dog interactions in one local city council in Australia.
Literature: Dog attacks and predation are the third most common cause of death in koalas after habitat loss and vehicle strikes. Programs aiming to reduce wildlife and domestic pet interactions frequently neglect human dimensions, and social sciences have been called upon to complement conservation efforts.
Methods: Developed in consultation with dog training experts and the local regional council Leave It was based on input from 41 dog owners. Leave It was a 4-week training program priced at AUD$150 that was delivered by local dog trainers who had previously received specialized koala aversion training.
Findings: Co-design results indicated that the social marketing pilot program needed to emphasize training, be positive, and be dog and not koala-focused. A fun, positive dog-focused event, supported by dog retailers, entertainers, and food service providers, was held in June 2017 to launch the Leave It program. Outcome evaluations for Leave It indicated a statistically significant increase in wildlife aversion–related behaviors (stay, come back every time/some of the time, and stay quiet on command). Process evaluation indicated that people enjoyed the dog-focused event and the opportunity to seek training and obedience advice.
Conclusions: Co-designing the program with dog owners in the local council area engaged community members, making them contributors rather than program participants. The program had a dog focus rather than wildlife focus as recommended by dog owners.


Previous Koala News & Science here: https://www.wildkoaladay.com.au/koala-news-science/koala-news-science-december-2023/
Written by Janine Duffy President, Koala Clancy Foundation.
with support from Cheryl Egan, Organiser, Wild Koala Day.
Please send your positive, important news & publications to president@koalaclancyfoundation.org.au before 29th of each month for possible inclusion.