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Ruthven University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC) koala vaccination project update

Friends of the Koala and University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC) vaccinating wild koalas at Ruthven

We are delighted to say that our koala vaccination project collaboration with the University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC) and the Department of Planning and Environment vaccinating wild koalas at Ruthven has reached completion.

In total, Friends of the koala captured fifty koalas and vaccinated forty six, many of these were young dispersing joeys or juvenile males who may travel to areas outside of the Ruthven colony and will have some protection against developing chlamydia.

In total, with your support, Friends of the koala captured fifty koalas and vaccinated forty six against chlamydial disease! Many of these were young dispersing joeys or juvenile males who may travel to areas outside of the Ruthven colony.

Our koala rescue team

We organised our dedicated koala rescue team made up of Paul White (Rescue Co-ordinator), Mackenzie Bednarz, Lindy Brown, Marco Lassandro, Sanna Poleta, Ina Egermann, Maria Mathis, Dale Viola to carry out the operation. Every Monday, our team set up four traps and monitored the trap cameras continuously. The team then brought the koalas to Friends of the Koala for examination and vaccination. Our team were really amazing, all are very happy that the project was a success and are keen to replicate this venture in other areas of the Northern Rivers where koala populations are more severely impacted by chlamydial disease.

Our fiftieth koala

Our fiftieth Koala captured was “Wandoo”, an older male with an infected toe. The wound may have been caused by fighting with another koala and the infection was so bad that the toe had to be surgically removed. Luckily, he was a very amenable patient – leaving his stitches and bandage in place while coping with his antibiotic treatment without any fuss. We were able to vaccinate him against chlamydia and release him back home to Ruthven on the twelfth of July after two weeks of leaf on tap in the Friends of the Koala Care Centre.

He was a great case to end the project as we all felt satisfied that Wandoo would have a few more years out in the wild thanks to the efforts of our dedicated rescue and veterinary team.

Koala vaccination project - Friends of the Koala
Wandoo
Koala vaccination project - Friends of the Koala at Ruthven
Wandoo’s toe
Wandoo’s release with Ina and Paul (Sanna filming)

What’s next

In six and again in twelve months time, we will monitor this population of koalas to collect scats to determine the level of chlamydia using DNA analysis.

Ruthven UniSC vaccination project has been supported by the NSW Government under the NSW Koala Strategy.

Funders and Partners

Ruthven UniSC vaccination project – this project has been supported by the NSW Government under the NSW Koala Strategy. Read more about the project here.

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