Koalas: Researchers in Australia say that frozen koala sperm can help protect endangered marsupials from extinction.
Scientists at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales have proposed the development of a collected sperm biolab.
To provide future evidence of species and to improve genetic diversity, they said.
Forest fires in recent years have killed tens of thousands of koalas.
Conservation scientist Dr. Ryan Witt said that these recommendations are an inexpensive way to prevent breeding. And as a result help maintain the genetic diversity of koalas outside of small colonies of captive animals:
“At the moment … we do not have insurance to deal with natural disasters such as the 2019-2020 forest fires. That threaten to wipe out large numbers of animals at one time,” he said.
“If a species of koala dies in these fire incidents. There is no way to rehabilitate them or preserve their genetics.”
A small live koala was born following assisted reproduction using fresh or cold sperm, the researchers said.
“By using frozen sperm, we can restore genetic diversity to wild koala people without transporting koalas,” said Dr. Lachlan Howell, also of the University of Newcastle.
Wildlife hospitals and zoos across Australia
“We have identified 16 wildlife hospitals and zoos across Australia. That can act as nodes to collect koala sperm,” he added.
Australia has listed the koala as an endangered species along its east coast, following a dramatic decline in numbers.
Once-thriving marsupials have been devastated by deforestation, forest fires, drought, disease, and other threats.
The coalition government said the listing was in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
Important addition to the conservation of koala
“This listing is an important addition to the conservation of koala,” said Environment Minister Sussan Ley on Friday.
He said officials were working on a rehabilitation program.
Last year, a New South Wales investigation found that koalas would end up there by 2050 without any immediate action.
And affected 24% of New South Wales settlements alone.
Australia’s largest Koala conservation group says because there may now be as few as 50,000 animals left in the wild.
“Koalas have gone unlisted and are on the verge of extinction within a decade. That is a dramatic decline in numbers,” said conservationist Stuart Blanch of WWF-Australia.
“Today’s decision is welcome, but it will not prevent koalas from slipping into extinction. Unless we comply with strict laws and incentives for landowners to protect their forest homes.”
Scientists warn that climate change. Will intensify forest fires and droughts, and reduce the nutritional value of eucalyptus leaves in animals.