"Australia’s wildlife was hit hard by the 2019-20 Black Summer megafires.
Amongst the casualties were our iconic tree-dwelling koalas, with an estimated
5000 dead in New South Wales alone. They are now officially endangered in three
states and territories.
In response, researchers are ramping up captive breeding to prevent extinction.
Unfortunately, captive breeding faces two major challenges: it’s expensive, and
it can be hard to maintain genetic diversity.
To tackle both issues, our new modelling study backs the approach of biobanking
(freezing koala sperm) and tailored assisted reproduction techniques. We found
these techniques would result in a five-fold decrease in the costs of running
captive breeding programs.
Despite their promise, these reproductive tools have not yet become widely used
in conservation. With koalas facing an uncertain future, it’s time to explore
their full potential. If we get this right, we could use the same tools to help
other species in rapid decline."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics