06 March 2011

Extinctions and Expiration Dates

Well hello! First post of the new month! I've been having serious trouble getting my brain/life organised so blogging is quite difficult at the moment. That said, I have something I want to write about. My favourite thing to blog about - tigers.

It's a well established fact that the Bengal tigers are screwed but work is being done/attempted towards their conservation. What hasn't been so well established in the public mind is the state of the Amur or Siberian tigers. I came across this story by the BBC last week talking about the Amur tiger's population crisis. The wild population of the Amur tiger is around 500 individuals, and a lot of great work has been done to determine their status. The problem lies in the genetics. In the 1940s the population was down to just 20-30 individuals. While the population has recovered from this bottleneck, its gene pool hasn't. The current Amur tiger population is so heavily inbred that genetically speaking, in terms of diversity, there are effectively fewer than 14 individuals remaining. I really hope some good old ex situ conservation can help them and add to the mix, but currently, they may as well be doomed for extinction. It's sad news.

That's all I've got to report on for now but there's definitely more to come :)

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