Australia is home to some of the world's most diverse animals, including the platypus. But according to a recent University of Sydney study, unless we act fast, small island platypuses are at risk of extinction from contagious, fast-acting fungal infections.
Genetic variation leads to higher immunity levels within a species, but limited population sizes mean that small island platypuses have no choice but to inbreed. And due to the risks standard conservation efforts pose to these platypuses' limited immune systems, conservationists must focus on finding new methods to safely increase genetic diversity.
Similar genetic problems wiped out large numbers of Tasmanian devils when left unaddressed and led to the extinction of Tasmanian tigers. We cannot allow the same fate to happen to these already struggling platypus populations.
Ask The Honorable Tony Burke MP to monitor at-risk platypus colonies for outbreaks and continue research to avoid future epidemics that could lead to extinction.
A recent University of Sydney study reveals the importance of monitoring isolated King Island and Kangaroo Island platypus colonies due to their low genetic diversity. Without attention, these platypuses' immune systems could make them fall prey to serious disease epidemics.
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With the implications this study provides toward not just preserving our platypuses but many other Australian species with low genetic diversity, I ask you to support researchers in managing these platypuses and continuing to find solutions for expanding immunologically limited platypus populations.
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