success stories

Genetic rescue strategy for at-risk populations of the endangered Glenelg spiny crayfish, Euastacus bispinosus, in South Australia

Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, South Australia The Glenelg spiny freshwater crayfish is a long-lived species endemic to the Glenelg River catchment Victoria, and several coastal pools, streams and drains in South Australia. This iconic species is listed as endangered and recent monitoring by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR), South Australia, indicates a declining trend in crayfish numbers, distribution and habitat condition. A collaboration between Friends of Mt Gambier Area Parks and Aquasave - Nature...
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Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, South Australia

The Glenelg spiny freshwater crayfish is a long-lived species endemic to the Glenelg River catchment Victoria, and several coastal pools, streams and drains in South Australia. This iconic species is listed as endangered and recent monitoring by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR), South Australia, indicates a declining trend in crayfish numbers, distribution and habitat condition.

A collaboration between Friends of Mt Gambier Area Parks and Aquasave - Nature Glenelg Trust, with funding from the Australian Governments’ Caring for Our Country program, the Norman Wettenhall Foundation, and South East Water Conservation and Drainage Board, commissioned cesar to investigate genetic diversity and population connectivity across the species distribution in south eastern Australian.

In 2012 cesar undertook a comprehensive population genetic analysis on samples collected across the species range. South Australian crayfish were found to have extremely low levels of genetic diversity and a complete lack of connectivity with Victorian populations. Due to complete isolation of the South Australian populations, genetic recovery will not be achieved through natural gene flow. Instead South Australian populations will remain highly vulnerable to localised extinction unless genetic diversity can be enhanced through assisted gene flow.

To increase the chances of species recovery across its entire range, it is essential that ecological issues (e.g. habitat degradation) are managed effectively and integrated with a genetic management strategy. To help address the latter issue, cesar has devised a genetic conservation strategy that will help restore genetic diversity, increase evolutionary potential and minimise the possible negative effects of inbreeding in this iconic freshwater species.

Translocation strategy for the Mount Buller population of the mountain pygmy possum

Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria The Mount Buller population of the Mountain Pygmy Possum has gone through a dramatic decline in population size and genetic diversity over the last 15 years and is currently at threat of imminent extinction. This highly endangered population is of high conservation value due to its distinct evolutionary history and genetic divergence with other populations of Mountain Pygmy Possums. *cesar *was engaged by the Department of Sustainability and Environment in 2010 to develop...
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Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria

The Mount Buller population of the Mountain Pygmy Possum has gone through a dramatic decline in population size and genetic diversity over the last 15 years and is currently at threat of imminent extinction. This highly endangered population is of high conservation value due to its distinct evolutionary history and genetic divergence with other populations of Mountain Pygmy Possums.

cesar was engaged by the Department of Sustainability and Environment in 2010 to develop a translocation strategy aimed at genetically rescuing the population and providing guidelines for supplementation so that a minimum viable population can be achieved.

The strategy was developed around an initial wild translocation of males from Mount Hotham in Victoria to Mount Buller for genetically rescuing the population, the first of its kind in Australia. After the genetic rescue, the strategy outlined guidelines for supplementation of individuals from the Mountain Pygmy Possum Captive Breeding Program at Healesville Sanctuary. The first phase of this strategy, the translocation of male Mountain Pygmy Possums from Mount Hotham to Mount Buller was implemented by cesar in 2010.

Genetic management plan for Mt Rothwell biodiversity interpretation centre

Mt Rothwell Biodiversity Interpretation Centre Mount Rothwell Biodiversity Interpretation Centre is the largest predator free ecosystem in Victoria, with over 400 ha surrounded by predator proof fencing. This conservation park is home to several endangered species and plays an integral role in recovery efforts for the eastern barred bandicoot and the brush-tailed rock-wallaby. However, these species have genetic issues that require careful management if they are to survive in the long term. Mt Rothwell aim to establish themselves as...
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Mt Rothwell Biodiversity Interpretation Centre

Mount Rothwell Biodiversity Interpretation Centre is the largest predator free ecosystem in Victoria, with over 400 ha surrounded by predator proof fencing. This conservation park is home to several endangered species and plays an integral role in recovery efforts for the eastern barred bandicoot and the brush-tailed rock-wallaby. However, these species have genetic issues that require careful management if they are to survive in the long term. Mt Rothwell aim to establish themselves as leaders in the genetic management of species and have engaged cesar to help them achieve this.

cesar and Mt Rothwell are therefore embarking on an ambitious plan to increase the genetic diversity within three of their key species, the eastern barred bandicoot, the brush-tailed rock-wallaby and the eastern quoll. cesar have developed a novel genetic management plan that will guide Mt Rothwell in their efforts to increase the genetic diversity of these populations. This plan will provide the most genetically robust and resilient populations of Victorian eastern barred bandicoots and southern brush-tailed rock wallabies, and the most robust population of eastern quolls on the mainland.

Paternity & genetic diversity in the mountain pygmy possum captive breeding program

Zoos Victoria Zoos Victoria established a captive breeding program in 2007 for the Mount Buller population of the Mountain Pygmy Possum. The programs goal was to cross male Mountain Pygmy Possum’s from Mount Hotham with female Mountain Pygmy Possum’s from Mount Buller for release back into the wild at Mount Buller. These ‘hybrids’ would help with the genetic rescue of the Mount Buller population. Captive breeding of Mountain Pygmy Possums had not been undertaken in a systematic manner before, and...
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Zoos Victoria

Zoos Victoria established a captive breeding program in 2007 for the Mount Buller population of the Mountain Pygmy Possum. The programs goal was to cross male Mountain Pygmy Possum’s from Mount Hotham with female Mountain Pygmy Possum’s from Mount Buller for release back into the wild at Mount Buller. These ‘hybrids’ would help with the genetic rescue of the Mount Buller population. Captive breeding of Mountain Pygmy Possums had not been undertaken in a systematic manner before, and husbandry techniques had not been developed.

cesar provided genotyping services to Zoos Victoria in order to determine the paternity of juveniles that were derived from group matings. For the 2008/09, 2009/10 and 2010/11 breeding seasons, cesar was able to accurately determine paternity for all juveniles and the overall genetic diversity of the captive breeding colony. cesar also established that single litters (up to four juveniles) could be fathered by multiple males, the first time that this phenomenon has been recorded in the Mountain Pygmy Possum.