Just three days after catching a Siberian tiger in the Russian Far East, an international team led by biologists from the Wildlife Conservation Society captured another species last week that carries the dubious distinction of being the world's most endangered big cat: an extremely Far Eastern leopard.
One of only 30 left in the wild, the animal was captured in a "trapline" – a series of snares set out by scientists to temporarily catch big cats for genetic analysis. The 45 kg (100 pound) male was captured in Southwest Primorski Krai in the southern Russian Far East less than 20 miles from the Chinese border, and just a mile from where a large male Siberian tiger had been caught days earlier.
Before the leopard was released, a team of scientists from WCS, Institute of Biology and Soils of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity of the National Cancer Institute conducted a suite of medical evaluations including the collection of sperm to asses its capacity to reproduce. Genetic analyses, used in conjunction with other bio-medical evaluations, will be used to determine whether leopards and tigers suffer from the effects of inbreeding by closely related individuals, a common problem in small wildlife populations.
Although more than 400 Siberian tigers occur in the wild, less than 20 tigers in Southwest Primorye are isolated from the main population of Siberian tigers to the east and north, raising questions about their genetic composition and vigor of this subpopulation. With only 30 individuals remaining in the wild, all in Southwest Primorye, the Far Eastern leopard is far more endangered than the tiger, and hence concerns about the genetic status of this animal are even greater. Up to now, no information on these wild animals has been available to assess the risk of disease or inbreeding.
"This capture represents a milestone in our cooperative efforts to save the Far Eastern leopard and Siberian tiger from extinction," said Dale Miquelle, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Russia Program, which has led coordination of this project. "With the information gained from these animals, and others to come, we will be in a much better position to determine appropriate conservation actions."
If inbreeding is considered a serious problem, new genetic material may be introduced into this population, as was done for the Florida panther. In that situation, when poor reproduction and physical abnormalities suggested that inbreeding was the culprit, pumas from Texas were introduced into Florida, resulting in increased reproductive rates and greater vitality of the Florida population. Such actions may be necessary for the Far Eastern leopard, but decisions will be made only after analyses of a representative sample of the remaining population.
Stephen Sautner | EurekAlert!
Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.07.2017 | Life Sciences
26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences