Gunnedah koalas: One loses life as another begins anew

The female koala after she was hit by a vehicle last week. She has since been euthanised because of chronic chlamydia.
The female koala after she was hit by a vehicle last week. She has since been euthanised because of chronic chlamydia.

A female koala hit on the face by a vehicle in the Gunnedah area has been euthanised after it was discovered she had chronic chlamydia and was dying.

She was found on the side of the road last week by a driver who took her to Gunnedah Saleyards Veterinary Clinic. The clinic contacted WIRES, and Gunnedah volunteer Martine Moran took the concussed koala into care.

Mrs Moran drove her over to the Tamworth Veterinary Hospital where koala specialist Doctor Alison Neef carried out some tests, discovering she had a broken finger and minor fractures.

Due to the swelling on her head, more tests were postponed until this week when an ultrasound showed severe damage from chlamydia. 

Both of the koala’s eyes were diseased, with no sight in one and almost none in the other. The worst news, however, was the state of her bladder.

“They did an ultrasound on her and her bladder was almost completely gone,” Mrs Moran said.

“It was shrunken to about the size of a 20 cent piece.”

Mrs Moran said the disease probably started in her eye and travelled all the way through her system.

“She also had fluid in her body cavity which was also an indicator of another disease or cancer,” she said.

Mrs Moran said the koala probably ended up on the road because of her poor vision.

“It wasn’t the accident that killed her; it was the disease that had brought her onto the road,” she said.

“There was no chance she could survive. She couldn’t keep the water in her body.”

Despite the severity of the koala’s condition, Mrs Moran said she was well fed and watered while she was in care.

“She was eating up until the last minute,” she said.

In light of the sad news about the koala, there is also good news for another female koala who was recently released after a vehicle hit and a bout of chlamydia.

The young koala, affectionately named Cutie, was hit by a truck late last year near Wandobah Road and taken into Mrs Moran’s care. 

After recovering from her head wound, Cutie was found to have chlamydia, so instead of being released, she was admitted to Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo where she under went a program of chloramphenicol to treat the infection.

When Cutie was cleared of the disease, she returned to Gunnedah and was then released at Doug Peg’s property “Eabrai” where there are plenty of gum trees to keep her happy.

“We’ve got a really good place up here for koalas,” Mr Pegg said.

“We’ve got lots of trees around the house.”

After Cutie was released, Mr Pegg said she “hung around for three or four days and made herself comfortable” then moved away from the house.

Cutie has been back a few times in the past few weeks and was recently spotted in a tree with a male koala.