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Ocean Park

Dougie the koala put down at Hong Kong’s Ocean Park after kidney failure

Vets decide to end five-year-old’s suffering after worsening of incurable disease which afflicts the species

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 August, 2018, 7:31am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 August, 2018, 10:34am

A koala was put down at Ocean Park on Monday morning due to kidney failure caused by a common but incurable disease which afflicts the species.

Five-year-old Dougie, who had lived at the park’s Adventures in Australia exhibit since arriving from Cleland Wildlife Park in South Australia in October 2014, was found to have reduced appetite and continued weight loss early last month. Despite medical care, his condition deteriorated, and crystals were found in his urine.

The park’s vets recommended euthanasia to prevent further unnecessary suffering, the park said. The decision was supported by the government of South Australia and Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, it added.

A biopsy confirmed the southern koala had suffered from oxalate nephrosis, a renal disease.

Dougie was the third koala at the exhibit to be put down since it opened in March 2015.

In October last year, Sora, a five-year-old captive-bred male from Tennoji Zoo in Osaka, Japan, was put down after a respiratory infection.

And in March 2016, three-year-old female Merinda was euthanised due to kidney failure, also brought on by oxalate nephrosis.

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Dr Paolo Martelli, director for the park’s veterinary service, said: “Although Dougie was asymptomatic when he arrived at Ocean Park in 2014, oxalate nephrosis is a common disease among the koala population in South Australia and has been observed in koalas from less than two years of age.”

Low genetic diversity among the species may be a contributing factor, Martelli added.