SYDNEY, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Australian researchers have found that in the southeastern part of Australia's Queensland state, over half of the deaths of wild koala were caused by car strikes, making them the biggest killer of the dwindling koala population.
Researchers from the School of Veterinary Science of the University of Queensland analyzed data collected since 1997 from 15 areas tracking hospital records and found that between 2009 and 2014, 1,431 koala deaths were caused by car strikes, making up 52 percent of the total reported deaths, the university said in a press release on Friday.
Meanwhile, the study, which has been published by the Scientific Reports, unveiled that 943 koalas were killed by chlamydia-related diseases and 395 koalas died from dog attacks, accounting for 34 percent and 14 percent of the total deaths, respectively.
"Car strikes, dog attacks and chlamydia-induced illnesses are injuring and killing an incredible number of koalas across the South East Queensland," said Joerg Henning, a professor with the School of Veterinary Science of the University of Queensland.
"These deaths were just the reported cases, so the real numbers would be significantly higher," he noted.
Henning suggested setting up more road signs to alert motorists to reduce speed in koala habitat and activity areas, building over and underpasses for safe movement of koalas, and carrying out campaigns to raise the awareness of dog owners in efforts to reduce koala deaths.