Terrified koala in gruelling grill trip

A koala that was struck by a taxi near Maryborough was later discovered clinging to the car’s grille at a service station almost 90 kilometres away.

Local vet Geoff Collyer was called to the scene after the taxi driver and his passengers stopped for petrol in Gympie and noticed the animal.

The frightened marsupial was attempting to wander . . . → Read More: Terrified koala in gruelling grill trip

Team maps koala genome

Koala_climbing_treeIn a joint project that is also likely to benefit the conservation of other threatened and endangered species, a team of researchers from the Australian Museum, the Queensland University of Technology, Australia Zoo, the University of New South Wales’ Ramaciotti Centre, and the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, recently announced it had achieved the ‘holy grail’ of understanding the response of koalas to the infectious diseases currently threatening their survival.

The initial draft of the koala genome sequence has identified genes implicated in the animals’ diet as well as their immune systems, including the koala interferon gamma, or IFN-g gene, a chemical messenger that plays a key role in the marsupial’s defence against cancer, viruses and intracellular bacteria.

Peter Timms from QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, said the IFN-g gene was the key to finding a cure for chlamydia and koala retrovirus, and its discovery would make it possible to fully test the effectiveness of vaccines on wild populations of koalas.

“We know koalas are infected with various strains of chlamydia, but we don’t know why some animals go on to get severe clinical disease and some don’t. We also know that genes such as IFN-g are very important for controlling chlamydial infections in humans and other animals. Identifying these in the koalas will be a major step forward in understanding and controlling diseases in this species,” Timms said. Continue reading Team maps koala genome

Making a difference: Murray Munro

Muzz&PasaMurray Munro is an ambassador for the voiceless species of our planet. He is a passionate conservationist with a strong sense of social justice, a global adventurer of the earth’s wild places. Murray Munro is a man on a mission. The founder of an unconventional conservation organisation, Earth Warrior, he is a one-man rapid response team ready at a moment’s notice to rescue wildlife in danger or distress anywhere in the world. A man with a clearly defined sense of purpose, Munro sums up his commitment to the animal kingdom, “I have a voice and I can make a difference.”

His dream is for Earth Warrior to be represented by a child from each nation on the globe, all focused on working together in love and peace to promote conservation, sustainability and the environment. “It would send a message of inspiration and hope to everyone on the planet.”

Many people have lost touch with nature,” he continues. “We have to get back on track. It’s an amazing world; be thankful and have respect for the animal kingdom. Getting in touch with nature is valuable for the planet and for us, as a species.”

As a boy he was passionate about animals and knew his life would revolve around wildlife but it wasn’t until he was much older, while sitting with mountain gorillas in the jungles of Uganda, that he realised his destiny – to make a difference. “With only 300 left in the wild, mountain gorillas are one of the most endangered species in the world.” He says the moment was sobering and poignant. “I wanted the next generation to have the chance to experience what I was experiencing.” Continue reading Making a difference: Murray Munro