John Oliver is a true gem. His biting humor and ability to logically disable any invalid argument are two of his most amazing qualities. Ever since he launched Last Week With John Oliver, the man has been on fire. His scathing take-downs of our politicians, world leaders, and everyone in between have made him a constant trending topic.
Then, he went and outdid himself.
On the Sunday, May 6th, 2018 episode of his show, when speaking about his various purchases through the Russell Crowe auction (which included the jock strap Crowe wore in Cinderella Man), he let us know that Russell Crowe himself wanted to honor the charitable Brit.
In a video featuring Steve Irwin’s family on location at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital there are also flashing shots of koalas set alongside very dramatic music and then, a shocking bombshell.
Koalas can suffer from chlamydia.
Last year, I took an extended trip to Australia. Before I left for my trip, a friend of mine told me that koalas can, in fact, have chlamydia. When I was at a wildlife reserve on my trip and got to spend some time with a very special koala, I asked the wrangler why koalas are so susceptible to the disease. She explained that during mating season, the male koala will mate with as many female koalas as possible. Apparently, the disease can also spread to the offspring because the baby koalas, which are adorably named “joeys,” suck on the mother’s pap, and from there, chlamydia is transmittable.
Also, koalas are not exactly doing anything to help themselves from preserving their existence. They only ever eat eucalyptus, which is not nutrient-rich, and they sleep for most of their lives. Although, in hindsight, many human males would like to live a life where their only responsibilities are to eat and procreate.
You know how portions of American roads have “deer crossings” and other wildlife-related signs to warn drivers to be aware? Well, in Australia, there are similar signs on their never-ending, curving roads cautioning drivers to be aware of koalas. “But, Howard, you said that koalas sleep for most of their lives?” I did, but in the very little time they’re awake, they’re looking for both new places to rest and sustenance. Mind-blowing! These nugget creatures are risking their lives to ensure their survival.
The one other fascinating piece of news I learned while at various wildlife conservatories is that koalas are not actually bears. While they may be commonly called “koala bears,” and they appear as cuddly as possible, they are, in fact, marsupials. Maybe, I was late to the game on learning that, but it blew my mind. I will say that Australians hate when foreign tourists call koalas “koala bears.” It’s the same way you feel when people mispronounce the word “orange” (don’t @ me).
All in all, the koala chlamydia crisis is very real, people, and now, we have John Oliver to thank for treating and working on preserving Australia’s cutest animal.