Queensland researchers have found pockets of genetically-diverse koalas that could prove to be the saviours of the species.
Koala populations across Australia are in decline largely due to human interference and disease, but a James Cook University study has discovered genetic diversity in some regions, particularly near the Blue Mountains in NSW.
"To effectively manage koalas across Australia and in captivity we must understand how genetically diverse these populations are, how 'fit' they are," JCU Professor Professor Kyall Zenger said.
Professor Zenger says the findings will be used by government and conservation entities to adapt ongoing management plans.
It would also help researchers further identify which populations are at greater risk and develop ways to futureproof the endangered animal.