In this manuscript (WR13103), the authors assessed the potential for re-introduction by comparing genetic diversity in two captive koala populations with that of the local, wild koalas of south-east Queensland, determining the degree to which genetic diversity at microsatellite loci and mitochondrial DNA had been preserved and represented in the captive populations. They concluded that management strategies appear to have been successful in preserving neutral genetic diversity and divergence from wild populations was low.
Authors have done a considerable effort, the paper is well written and data have been accurately analysed. A comprehensive comparison with other studies analysing the effectiveness of ex situ conservation programs is well performed in the discussion section. Authors wisely choosed the Kullback-Leibler distance to assess similarity of allele frequencies in contrast to using of allelic richness.This work provides a framework to monitoring ex situ captive populations beyond the species they used.
I honestly think that this work is perfectly suitable for publication in Wildlife Research, although I have some minor concerns that should be considered before publication:
ln. 92: [...]divergence was estimated between the in situ south east [....]
ln 221 and Figure 1: Is it possible that such more variable values for colony B are due to sampling noise as the number of births in each year is clearly below than in colony A? Authors should consider to remark this.
Ln 245 and Table 2: Why authors does not provide the full matrix of pairwise Fst between all wild localities? I am curious about in Fst between captive and wild populations are in the same range or not than Fst between wild populations. I think that the full matrix would add some value to the reader.
Ln 302: IS should be subscripted in FIS
Table 1: The acronym SE QLD should be changed as it could generate confusion with standard error (SE) used in the same table.
Figure 3: Is this figure really needed? As the three groups overlap and the variance explained by the first two axis are relatively small (<50%), I think this figure does not add any information to the paper.