There is an ongoing National initiative and accompanied research to save and reintroduce vulnerable species, the Australian favorite, bilbies. The marsupial was once a thriving one covering South and Western Australia. But their population started rapidly declining, prompting studies to save them from complete extinction. The research has revealed new results that could help reintroduce them.
Australia is home to diverse species, some of who were wiped off completely. There have been many conservation and restoration efforts adopted to help the existing but slowly declining population. 1960s witnesses the disappearance of the bilbies entirely from South Australia. Recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Adelaide suggests, that cooler climates support breeding of bilbies. Karleah Berris, Lead researcher at the University, the captive bilbies in arid zones of Australia breed all year round, but southern parts of the country have an interrupted breeding season during warmer weather, like Autumn.
“Not only were females not breeding in autumn, but the males’ testes size relative to their body size actually decreased in late summer just before that cessation in breeding, [that] indicates it’s not just driven by the females — it seems like there’s something in the environment stopping them from breeding during this autumn period.”Berris said.
Research sites studying bilbies have the species that descended from animals bred in captivity at Monarto Zoo. Very little research on bilbies emerge from the south of the country since the species went extinct there. This research could very well be the key to reintroducing bilbies under favorable conditions in those regions.
The research also further found out that bigger female bilbies carry twins, which increases the chance of rapid multiplication of the species if more bigger bilbies are reintroduced. The research involved trapping bilbies in cages every three months and counting and measuring the females’ pouch young to determine when they had been born. The study has further scope into the genetics of the species, what with them tested as having low adaptability and genetic diversity.