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!
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.03.2018 | Life Sciences