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Information about Magnetic Island Koalas

Koalas are interesting animals...  learn more here!

Magnetic Island in North Queensland is home to the largest wild Koala population in the North of Australia

Seventeen of these iconic animals were introduced to Magnetic island in 1935 to try to sustain the Australian population

Due to years of hunting for fur and the threat of disease - the general population was very much in decline and koalas were placed on to islands dotted along the coastline to try to preserve their numbers

It is estimated that there are between 800-1000 koalas now on Magnetic Island. The centre of Magnetic Island is dry tropical rainforest with rocky terrain  and not easily accessible to people so it is certainly possible that these numbers are an underestimate

The koalas on Magnetic Island appear to be free of the deadly chlamydial infections that plague the populations elsewhere in Australia

Dr Ali has been testing the island population for the last 15 years and has not had any positive results yet but it may appear at some stage

Unfortunately, 100% of North Queensland and the Magnetic Island koalas DO suffer from Koala Retrovirus (which is the koala version of AIDS).This can cause immunodeficiency syndromes and cancers. Unfortunately the island koalas do struggle with the effects of this virus and sometimes simple illnesses compounded by the retroviral infection can lead to poor outcomes even with treatments

Climate change is having a real effect too - less rain affects the growth and lack of shade for the koalas but also reduces the nutritional quality of the leaf. 

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