We’ve always known Koala Bears to be cute and cuddly creatures which would never hurt a fly. And they are one of the most well-known iconic symbols of Australia. So what could these cute Koalas have in common with humans?
1. Some of the Medical Ailments that Affect Humans Also Affect Koalas
Chlamydia, Conjunctivitis, Urinary Tract Infection and Infertility
It is no secret that many Koalas suffer from Chlamydia. Since 2016, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has categorized the Koala Bears as a “vulnerable” species. From every 1,000 Koalas that are transported yearly to New South Wales and Queensland animal hospitals, 40% have untreatable Chlamydia as the disease is deemed “late-stage” and therefore, the animals cannot be saved.
As a result of Chlamydia, the Koalas also suffer from Conjunctivitis and Urinary Tract Infection. Needless to say, some Koalas ultimately become blind. In addition to the fact that some female Koalas may also become infertile, it is not hard to understand why we must step in to try to save these defenseless creatures.
Some have theorized that the Koalas could have become infected with Chlamydia from livestock, sheep in particular. Now, before anyone of you starts getting any funny ideas, let me explain. What the experts are saying is that the food source of the Koalas may have been tainted via faecal droppings from the sheep. In case anyone is wondering, the strain of Chlamydia that affects humans is not the same type as that affecting the Koalas but it is transmitted in the same way, that is, via sexual intercourse.
The National Organization for Albinism and Hypo-pigmentation states that “Albinism is an inherited genetic condition that reduces the amount of melanin pigment formed in the skin, hair and/or eyes. Albinism occurs in all racial and ethnic groups throughout the world. In the U.S., approximately one in 18,000 to 20,000 people has some type of albinism. In other parts of the world, the occurrence can be as high as one in 3,000. Most children with albinism are born to parents who have normal hair and eye colour for their ethnic backgrounds.”
Humans with Albinism may feel that this is a social stigma as some people may shun them because of a lack of understanding of the condition.
Although rare, albinism is also present in Koalas. One such documented case was reported when a zoo keeper at the San Diego Zoo in the United States of America discovered a baby Albino Koala Bear in the pouch of its mother on 21 September 1985. Unfortunately, the baby Koala named Goolara, died of cancer in 1992.
Very little is known about Albinism in Koalas so perhaps more research could be done in this field.
Koala fingerprints are no different from human fingerprints. In fact, it is almost impossible to tell human fingerprints from Koala ones. Even a fingerprint expert cannot tell the difference! Some experts have theorized that since Koalas climb trees to look for food, fingerprints could have developed as a result of this.
Nonetheless, isn’t it thought provoking to know that a Koala Bear has identical fingerprints to Humans?
Last word: Mother Nature never ceases to amaze us with her fantastic and awe-inspiring creatures.
Here’s Everything We Know About Koalas And Their Big Chlamydia Problem by Elfy Scott, July 11, 2018
Koalas have exactly the same fingerprints as humans by Alasdair Wilkins, 4 May 2001