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The sad reason this koala is sitting on the ground – and it isn't just having a rest

A koala resting on the ground is often a sign of a sick marsupial.

Moreton Bay Koala Rescue has posted an image of a female koala Beatrice sitting on a suburban oval at Morayfield, north of Brisbane on Monday. 

‘A koala sitting on the ground is NOT okay and needs to be reported immediately,’ the volunteer group told its Facebook followers. 

‘A koala should only be on the ground when travelling from tree to tree.

A koala resting on the ground is often a sign of a sick marsupial. Moreton Bay Koala Rescue has posted an image of a female koala Beatrice sitting on a suburban oval at Morayfield, north of Brisbane on Monday

A koala resting on the ground is often a sign of a sick marsupial. Moreton Bay Koala Rescue has posted an image of a female koala Beatrice sitting on a suburban oval at Morayfield, north of Brisbane on Monday

‘If a koala is sitting, hunching or sleeping on the ground they are in need of urgent medical attention.’

University of Sydney environmental sciences Professor Chris Dickman said land clearing in south-east Queensland to expand agricultural land and build more houses had seen more koalas suffer from stress-related illnesses.

‘There’s been clearing and fragmentation of habitat in that area,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

‘Areas that are left, they’re disconnected from each other – this can be very difficult for koalas to move around.

‘They’ll be more subject to threats from being hit by cars on the roads to domestic dog attacks when they do come to the ground and as a consequence, the levels of stress in these little patches go up.’

Chlamydia, a severe bacterial infection, is particularly prevalent in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales.

University of Sydney environmental sciences Professor Chris Dickman said land clearing in south-east Queensland to expand agricultural land and build more houses had seen more koalas suffer from stress-related illnesses. Pictured is a koala at suburban Kurwongbah

University of Sydney environmental sciences Professor Chris Dickman said land clearing in south-east Queensland to expand agricultural land and build more houses had seen more koalas suffer from stress-related illnesses. Pictured is a koala at suburban Kurwongbah

‘The prevalence of chlamydia has increased with increasing habitat fragmentation,’ Professor Dickman said.

‘When they’re stressed, as they are in small, fragmented patches, inability to move between them – they’re more susceptible to picking up diseases, pathogens like chlamydia.’

Professor Dickman calculated the summer bushfires of 2019 and 2020 had killed three billion animals, excluding fish, in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.  

Scientists are expecting climate change to cause more intense future fires, even if a wet summer in early 2022 reduces the near-term risks of another catastrophic bushfire season.

Koala populations were also destroyed in the infernos with land clearing increasing after 2012, despite the marsupial being listed as a vulnerable species under the federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act. Pictured is a koala on a house at Rothwell

Koala populations were also destroyed in the infernos with land clearing increasing after 2012, despite the marsupial being listed as a vulnerable species under the federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act. Pictured is a koala on a house at Rothwell

‘Our ability to get in and do control burning in the winter is reducing simply because the fire seasons are becoming so much longer,’ Professor Dickman said. 

Koala populations were also destroyed in the infernos with land clearing increasing after 2012, despite the marsupial being listed as a vulnerable species under the federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act.

Koalas are also a politically divisive issue with New South Wales Nationals leader John Barilaro this month threatening to quit as Deputy Premier and end the Coalition with the Liberal government over its proposal to protect koala habitats from development.

The furry marsupials are a politically fraught issue too in Queensland with former Labor premier Wayne Goss almost losing the 1995 election over a plan to build a motorway through a koala habitat to connect Brisbane with the Gold Coast.

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