Wild koalas are found from west of Cairns in Far North Queensland right down into South Australia, with the vast majority of the populations on the coastal side of the mountain ranges right down into Victoria.
As koalas rely almost totally on the moisture they obtain from the eucalypt leaf they eat most populations are found occupying better quality eucalypt forests close to water courses and more fertile soils.
Where koalas are able to live in undisturbed forests free of human interference, the colonies tend to be much healthier and do not suffer the diseases and problems that koalas face who live at the human/bush interface such as urban and rural areas.
Reasons for Admission to the Koala Hospital
The number one reason that koalas come into care is because of a bacterial disease called Chlamydiosis. This bacterium can affect the eyes of the koala and/or the urogenital tract. The hospital has a number of diagnostic tools (ultrasound, blood tests, swabs, clinical signs) to ascertain the level of damage to the koala’s internal organs and usually makes decisions on the koala’s treatment options based on these diagnostic tools.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
The second biggest reason for admission to the hospital is koalas being hit by motor vehicles. Depending on the level of trauma to the animals, we have a reasonably good success rate with treating this problem. It is very distressing to admit a healthy, fit young animal who has their whole future in front of them but whose injuries are so bad they die before we can treat them or shortly after arrival.
As motor vehicle injuries are usually quite traumatic to the koala it can often be a long rehabilitative process but every koala is given the best possible chance to recover.
Sadly, this is a major problem for not only koalas but all wildlife. Domestic and feral cats also kill wildlife and are quite capable of taking a joey or young koala. Unfortunately, the koala sees all trees in their home range as part of their territory and if that means going into a backyard to have a feed then that is what the koala will do. The dog also sees the backyard as their territory and here is where conflict arises. Often the injuries are not all that visible externally but the koala has usually suffered horrific internal injuries that are beyond treatment.