Scientists have proposed Koala IVF by freezing the koala sperms. This will help in boosting the number of endangered species. They believe that freezing koala sperm could be a significant component of a plan to save the species by 2050.
To support this plan, experts such as Lachlan Howell and Ryan Witt, believe that they might use the IVF technology to help the endangered species breed.
All these efforts are being made because an estimated 64,000 koalas were killed in 2019-20 black summer bushfires in New South Wales. Therefore the federal government listed koalas as endangered in February. “If the koala population dies in these kinds of fire events, there is no way to bring them back or preserve their genetics,” Witt said.
Consequently an action plan was suggested to boost the numbers as soon as possible. Koala “biobanking,” can be used to store frozen sperm. “The frozen sperm can then be used to impregnate female koalas in breed-for-release programs, using assisted reproductive technology,” the researchers said.
One of the advantages of the IVF would be that this strategy would be five to twelve times less expensive than existing captive koala breeding methods. Moreover, it would not jeopardize the species’ genetic diversity.
The environment minister James Griffin promised a record $200 million for koala conservation. This was for the goal of doubling the state’s koala population. Day after this statement, the researchers thought of implementing the biobanking method to increase the species.
However, the majority amount around $193.3 million will be used to boost existing koala populations. They will provide 47,000 hectares of koala habitat over the next five years. Moreover, they will use around $23.2m for the koala support programs. Which will include relocation and rehabilitation.
All these efforts on different levels show hope for a brighter future for the endangered koala species.