UQ’s 2004 Graduate of the Year, Canadian-born Lindsay Hogan, is hoping her PhD research will help save the endangered northern hairy-nosed wombat.
Ms Hogan earned a Bachelor of Applied Science with first class honours in 2004 thanks to her Grade Point Average of seven, the equivalent of high distinctions for every subject.
The 24-year-old UQ Gatton student is studying a group of southern hairy-nosed wombats at the Rockhampton Botanical Gardens and Zoo.
Her project is designed to develop better captive protocols for wombats to encourage northern hairy-nosed wombats to breed in captivity.
Past attempts at introducing northern hairy-nosed wombats into captivity have failed because they refused to eat, were stressed by human contact and didn’t breed.
Ms Hogan is using southern hairy-nosed wombats because they are close, genetically and physically, to their cousins.
Less than 90 northern hairy-nosed wombats remain in the wild at Epping Forest National Park near Clermont in Central Queensland.
Ms Hogan’s study has indicated that wombats are less stressed in captivity if they have regular positive human contact such as patting, stroking and scratching of the rump as well as food rewards.
She is measuring their levels of cortisol, a hormone produced under stress to see if they are less stressed from more human contact.