Creating an “insurance population” was seen as essential in preventing the extinction of a species of ray that only lives on Tasmania’s west coast, but the project has immediately encountered setbacks.
Two of the four adult endangered Maugean skates taken into a captive breeding program have died within weeks.
Scientists at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) collected the four adults from Macquarie Harbour – the only place they are known to survive – on December 15, but half could not survive.
The program only had a predicted mortality rate of 12.5 per cent for captured adult skates.
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