Population Dynamics & Viability
Wildlife Reproductive Centre: Dr. Rebecca Hobbs, Ms Rosanne Kirkup
Australia’s first Wildlife Reproductive Centre (WRC) was established in 1984, at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo. The centre collects reproductive and adrenal (to indicate stress) data using novel, non-invasive methods such as analysis of hair, faecal and urine samples. This information is then used to inform wildlife management decisions both in zoos and in the wild. The WRC also foresee primary threats to key species across Australia and works to conserve genetic material pro-actively. Taronga’s CryoReserve now holds samples of over 50 wildlife species in liquid nitrogen, making it Australia’s largest cell bank or 'frozen zoo' as a conservation and research resource.
Conservation Genetics Centre: Dr Joanna Day
Our Conservation Genetics Centre uses hair and faecal samples left behind free-ranging animals to estimate numbers, gender, age and relatedness of individuals in a wildlife population. These data are often combined with the WRC analyses to assess viability (reproductive ability, adaptability) and ultimately to understand the degree of threat facing a species. We are currently working to understand how well wildlife corridors in NSW are working to keep animals connected and detect pockets of inbreeding in native species.