The declining population of Australia’s koalas has been previously perceived as a result of mating with kin. A groundbreaking study by the University of Sydney and James Cook University has however revealed that the charasmartic species have good levels of genetic diversity, indicating dropping numbers of koalas are the result of human-related activity instead.
James Cook University’s Associate Professor Kyall Zenger said the finding was exciting, given that koala numbers have been declining to the point where they were listed at risk of becoming endangered.
“To effectively manage koalas across Australia and in captivity we must understand how genetically diverse these populations are – how ‘fit’ they are,” Associate Professor Zenger said.
The development gives for the first time a clear view on how captive populations can be mapped to the national koala population, and to manage breeding to maximise genetic diversity.
[img source] James Cook University.
The above story is based on materials provided by the University of Sydney and James Cook University.