Uncovering health threats to Mount Lofty koalas
A recent study from the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences has uncovered the leading causes of koala death and disease in the Mount Lofty Ranges.
Published in Australian Veterinary Journal, the study found the leading cause of death to be traumatic injury, most commonly as a result of motor vehicle accident. The researchers say habitat loss, urban sprawl and population fragmentation are likely contributors to the problem and that it could be reduced by improving trafﬁc management and increased awareness of koalas in urban areas.
The second most common finding was oxalate nephrosis, a disease of the kidneys that eventually leads to kidney failure. While prevalence of the disease was found to be lower than identified in previous studies, it is still much higher in Mount Lofty koalas than in other Australian koala populations. The reason for the high rate of disease in South Australia is currently unknown and is subject of ongoing research.
Health threats to this population of South Australian koalas have been little studied and these findings provide vital evidence needed to direct koala conservation and management strategies in the Mount Lofty Ranges.
Image adapted from: Phil Long (CC BY 2.0)