Many wild koalas are infected with the koala retrovirus, KoRV, some of which suffer from lymphoma and chlamydial disease. Three subgroups, KoRV-A, KoRV-B and KoRV-J, have so far been described. It is well known that other closely related gammaretroviruses can induce tumours and severe immunodeficiencies in their respective hosts and a possible role for KoRV infection in lymphoma and chlamydial disease in koalas has been suggested. In many wild koalas, KoRV-A has become endogenised, i.e., it is integrated in the germ-line and is passed on with normal cellular genes. In this study, sera from koalas in European zoos and from wild animals in Australia were screened for antibodies against KoRV-A. These naturally infected animals all carry endogenous KoRV-A and two zoo animals are also infected with KoRV-B. The antibody response is generally an important diagnostic tool for detecting retrovirus infections. However, when Western blot analyses were performed using purified virus or recombinant proteins corresponding to KoRV-A, none of the koalas tested positive for specific antibodies, suggesting a state of tolerance. These results have implications for koala vaccination, as they suggest that therapeutic immunisation of animals carrying and expressing endogenous KoRV-A will not be successful. However, it remains unclear whether these animals can be immunised against KoRV-B and immunisation of uninfected koalas could still be worthwhile.