Australian experts tried to create a kind of “super koala” by mating stallions from the mainland with females that survived the Kangaroo Island forest fires. This kind of koala does not infect some fatal diseases and has greater genetic diversity Disease.
“The super koala will be the greatest opportunity to deal with climate change and other emerging diseases and challenges faced by koalas.”Chris Daniels, executive director of Koala Life, told reporters from the Foreign Press Association to which Efe belongs.
The center of the plan is the 28 young koalas rescued from the “Black Summer” wildfires in 2019-20. These wild bears burned 50% of the land on Kangaroo Island, 112 kilometers southwest of Adelaide, and transferred them to Cleland Wildlife Park, in the south of that city.
Those devastating fires killed 90% of the population of nearly 50,000 kangaroo koalas and destroyed all the habitats of these marsupials whose names are indigenous languages. “do not drink” It implies that 90% of their hydration comes from the eucalyptus leaves they ingest.
Koala, ”Golden Boy”
The most unique feature of the Kangaroo Island Koalas is that none of them have been infected with Chlamydia, the disease killed their relatives on the east coast of Australia, and a few have been infected with the retrovirus (KoRV), known as the species’ AIDS .
Therefore, these 28 rescued animals are called “Golden Boys” because they may have to save the species due to this particularity.
The other side of the coin is the low genetic diversity of the kangaroo koala. Part of the reason is isolation, but mainly because they are all descendants of 18 specimens brought to the island in 1920, when the unregulated trade in their skins made these marsupials extinct in South Australia.
To save the safety of kangaroo koalas and other species, experts in South Australia hope to import a group of male koalas from areas such as the Strzelecki Mountains in neighboring Victoria in the next few weeks.
The goal is that they mate in September in the southern spring, rescued 20 females from Kangaroo Island, and breed about 10 cubs each year.
“They will be animals of incredible value”, Daniels made a comment in Cleland Park, pointing out these super koalas “They will have greater genetic diversity and are less susceptible to diseases and genetic conditions” Affects for example the liver or testicles.
Restore Kangaroo Island
Approximately 250,000 hectares of land on Kangaroo Island have been burned, and although experts like the Adelaide Botanic Garden Seed Bank are working to reintroduce certain native plant species, the chance of survival of the koala is still uncertain.
Koala is a very delicate animal, especially sensitive to environmental changes. It spends about 20 hours a day sleeping or resting, while the remaining four hours feed on the leaves of several eucalyptus trees.
In the short time since the devastating fire, “It’s hard to know what’s going on with them” Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus), who previously had to be sterilized to slow their population explosion, are now struggling to obtain very little food. It is not clear whether they will “Enough food to feed the next generation.”