From Koalas with Chlamydia to Contagious Cancer in Tasmanian Devils: Wildlife Ecology and Conservation


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Feb 15 2021 30 mins   5

What can wildlife research teach us about the nature of life, death, and disease? Carolyn Hogg, Senior Research Manager for the Australasian Wildlife Genomics Group, explains the importance of wildlife conservation and the preservation of our natural world for future generations.

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The Australasian Wildlife Genomics Group researches Koala, Tasmanian Devil, and other Australian animal genes to find ways to fight back against the endangerment and extinction of these unique creatures. Due to the effects of climate change, invasive species, human habitat destruction, and disease, the populations of many of Australia’s most loved and well-known wildlife animals are rapidly dwindling.

When animal populations shrink down to a certain size, the risk of inbreeding depression becomes a reality and a threat to the species. This lack of genetic diversity results in an increasingly biologically unfit population. Carolyn and the Australasian Wildlife Genomics Group work closely with other conservation groups to move and integrate groups of animals, resulting in an expansion of genetic variants and higher levels of biological fitness.

Native Australian animals like the Koala are facing serious issues, including the Koala Retrovirus, an AIDS-like immunodeficiency disorder. Tasmanian Devils are being plagued by a contagious facial cancer. Invasive feral cats kill billions of indigenous animals each and every year. The importance of wildlife research and conservation cannot be overstated at this point in history. These animals need help and Carolyn is committed to saving them.

To learn more about the Australasian Wildlife Genomics Group visit https://www.sydney.edu.au/science/our-research/research-areas/life-and-environmental-sciences/wildlife-genomics-group.html

For more information on the Threatened Species Initiative, visit https://threatenedspeciesinitiative.com/

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