Endangered Australian hairy nosed wombats could soon be saved from extinction

Endangered hairy nosed wombats could soon be saved from extinction – after scientists develop a method to monitor fertility rates

  • The artificial insemination is crucial to save the endangered wombat
  • The team have developed a method to monitor the hormones 
  • They must determine when the females are sexually active and fertile
  • They are measuring hormones in the blood and urine of six wombats
  • Koalas have been artificially inseminated, with 30 pregnancies  

Northern hairy-nosed wombats could be saved from extinction if scientists are able to perform the world’s first artificial insemination.

Queensland scientists have developed a method to monitor hormones in the southern hairy-nosed wombat in hopes to assist the northern species, ABC News reported.

University of Queensland associate professor Stephen Johnston said they hope to achieve successful artificial insemination within the next year.

A group of Queensland scientists believe it is just one year away from performing the world's first ever artificial insemination for the critically-endangered southern hairy-nosed wombat

A group of Queensland scientists believe it is just one year away from performing the world’s first ever artificial insemination for the critically-endangered southern hairy-nosed wombat

A baby wombat is nursed at the Safe Haven Australian Animal Care and Education in central Queensland, where the study is being conducted

A baby wombat is nursed at the Safe Haven Australian Animal Care and Education in central Queensland, where the study is being conducted

But it depends if they can determine when the females are on heat or oestrus – the cycle of heightened sexual activity and fertility.

The team is conducting their study at Safe Haven Australian Animal Care and Education at Mount Larcom in central Queensland, where they are doing blood tests on six wombats.   

The wombats are given an injection to stimulate production of the cortisol hormone, which is then measured in the blood and urine of three males and three females.

But the scientists hope to measure the marsupial’s hormone levels with non-invasive methods in the future, a challenge due to the heftiness of wombats, which can weigh up to 40 kilograms.

A wombat giving birth: The key to performing artificial insemination, a feat the team hopes to achieve within the next year, is to pinpoint when the females are on heat or oestrus

A wombat giving birth: The key to performing artificial insemination, a feat the team hopes to achieve within the next year, is to pinpoint when the females are on heat or oestrus

The wombats are given an injection to stimulate production of the cortisol hormone, which is then measured in the blood and urine

The wombats are given an injection to stimulate production of the cortisol hormone, which is then measured in the blood and urine

The work follows that done with koalas, after they were successfully artificially inseminated, resulting in more than 30 pregnancies. 

The northern hairy-nosed wombat is the largest of the three Australian wombat species.

It is critically-endangered due to competition for pasture from cattle and sheep, natural disasters, diseases, wild predators, and a small population size.

But the scientists hope to measure the marsupial's hormone levels with non-invasive methods in the future, a challenge due to the heftiness of wombats

But the scientists hope to measure the marsupial’s hormone levels with non-invasive methods in the future, a challenge due to the heftiness of wombats

Koala was successfully artificially inseminated, resulting in more than 30 pregnancies

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3740810/Endangered-hairy-nosed-wombats-soon-saved-extinction-scientists-develop-method-monitor-fertility-rates.html#ixzz4HOhSAFvs
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Author: Mick Talbot

Besotted with nature in all its wondrous formats.

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