Freeze koala sperm to protect endangered species from extinction, scientists suggest

Edited By: Gandharv Walia WION Web Team
Sydney Updated: Apr 15, 2022, 12:30 PM(IST)

Australian researchers have said there is a need to freeze koala sperm to save endangered species from extinction (file photo). Photograph:( Reuters )

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A biolab of collected sperm could be built to ensure the survival of the endangered marsupials, scientists at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales said, according to reports. These sperm samples can later be used in a breeding programme to bring a spike in the population of the species and improve genetic diversity, they said

Freezing of koala sperm could be a way to protect the endangered species from extinction, suggested researchers in Australia.

The population of these animals has been dwindling due to several hardships like bushfires.

A biolab of collected sperm could be built to ensure the survival of the endangered marsupials, scientists at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales said, according to reports. 

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These sperms can later be used in a breeding programme to bring a spike in the population of the species and improve genetic diversity, they said.  

Dr Ryan Witt, a conservation scientist, said the proposal is a cost-effective way to preserve the genetic diversity of koalas.   

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"Currently... we have no insurance policy against natural disasters like the 2019-2020 bushfires that threaten to wipe out large numbers of animals at the one time. If the koala population dies in these kind of fire events, there is no way to bring them back or preserve their genetics," Witt told BBC.  

Dr Lachlan Howell from University of Newcastle, said, "By using frozen sperm, we can reintroduce genetic variation into wild koala populations without having to relocate koalas. We've identified 16 wildlife hospitals and zoos across Australia that could act as nodes to collect koala sperm."   

(With inputs from agencies) 

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