After analyzing DNA in elephant dung, the authors of a new study in Animal Conservation found that the countrys northeast elephant population is actually made up of two genetically distinct groups separated by the Brahmaputra River. An earlier study by the same authors showed that the southern populations are also genetically distinct, separated by the Palghat Gap.
Researchers find one population actually two; suggest strategies for future elephant conservation
Researchers in India and from The Earth Institute at Columbia University have discovered that one of the few remaining populations of Asian elephants in India is actually two genetically distinct groups. The results of the study, which appear in the current issue of the journal Animal Conservation, could have far-reaching implications in conservation plans for the endangered elephants as well as other species on the Subcontinent.
Prithiviraj Fernando, a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC), and Don Melnick, executive director of CERC, together with colleagues from the Centre for Ecological Science at the Indian Institute of Science collected dung samples from nearly 300 wild Asian elephants and 30 captive elephants for which reliable capture information existed. They then examined DNA from the samples and found that, of the distinct populations found in India, the groups that inhabit the forests in the northeast of the country is actually composed of two genetically distinct populations separated by the Brahmaputra River.
Ken Kostel | EurekAlert!
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