New Research Helps Koala Breeding

Bridie Schultz, PhD student at UQ School of Agriculture And Food Sciences has found that it is possible to store viable koala sperm at 5°C for up to 45 days after collection.

“Being able to store semen longer will benefit many important koala management projects, such as disease detection, national and international transportation, and overcoming the need to synchronise semen collection to the onset of female koalas being in heat,” she said.

“This length of chilled storage substantially exceeds the capacity of any other known mammalian sperm to survive outside the body without cryopreservation (freezing).

“It has only been done in two fish species – rainbow trout and halibut.”

The ability to preserve sperm for 45 days is particularly valuable in koalas, whose oestrous cycle is 33 days. This means that a male koala's sperm can be collected and utilised at a time that a female is receptive in order to inseminate.

Image Source: University of Queensland

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