New identification technique could help to save koalas from extinction

koala Mario Granberri

Several universities across the United States are currently hosting the Pathyways 2014 Common Futures wildlife conference, which aims to integrate human dimensions into fisheries and wildlife Management.

This significant global wildlife conference is setting the precedent for future research, innovation, and collaboration and to further the application of human dimensions research in the field of fish and wildlife management.

Key speakers include koala researcher and wildlife tour operator Janine Duffy from Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours. The Melbourne  native is presenting her research on koalas and is delighted to have an opportunity to put Australian conservation on the world agenda.  

Down Under Endeavours, a luxury travel agency founded by Australian native Corinne Goodman, specializes in Australian travel and works closely with Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours.

“We are so proud to have our colleague Janine Duffy speak at the Pathways 2014 conference," said Goodman. "She has done such significant research on koala conservation in Australia and it is thrilling to learn that she gets the chance to share her research now at this major event. Tourism in Australia is so important in contributing to the conservation of the koalas and we want to encourage more people to visit the magnificent country that is Australia.”

koala Frankzed

Duffy is presenting a paper on koala conservation, and in particular her revolutionary method of identifying koalas in the wild, through their nose markings. Her research was brought to the attention of Assistant Professor Dr Jeff Skibins from Kansas State University who, along with his colleague Assistant Professor Dr Peg McBee, co-wrote this important paper, which could help save koalas from the extinction predicted by experts.

Duffy has been using this special method of identifying koalas in one of Australia's few stable populations of wild koalas, Victoria's You Yangs Range, since 1998. Her research offers a low-cost, non-intrusive tool for measuring wild koala movements and population size. The method will open up opportunities for public involvement in conservation efforts to save the vulnerable marsupial. 

“This is a golden opportunity to highlight Australia, koalas and the role of sensitive wildlife tourism in conserving wild animals.” Duffy said. “Australia is leading the way in this field, and I am determined that conference delegates will be talking koalas and Australia for months to come!” 

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