Friday, August 30, 2013

What is the best way to save tigers and leopards from extinction?

Tigers and leopards, two big cat species, are experiencing constant decline in population, and there are fears that these two big cat species might perish in years to come in the case as usual scenario. There are many different environmental issues that disrupt the conservation efforts, and scientific opinion often varies about the best possible solution to save these animals from extinction.

The researchers at the Clemson University believe that the best way to save tigers and leopards from extinction is by protecting the corridors the big cats roam to travel between habitat patches.

This latest study implies that forest corridors play a vital role in maintaining the flow of genes between tiger and leopard populations in central India and are main prerequisite for sustaining the genetic variation which is crucial for their long-term survival.

This study was based on first ever gene-flow analysis of these big cats, in which the researchers have analyzed genes of 273 tigers and 217 leopards living in four distinct populations in the 17,375-mile Satpura-Maikal region of central India.

The researchers also pointed to the fact that these big cats live at high densities in the four protected areas. Not all of these areas are connected by contiguous corridors of forest, as there are some that are only connected by sparse and fragmented corridors.

The conclusion based on this study was that contiguous forest corridors were able to maintain a high rate of gene flow implying that the best way to save these big cat species from extinction would be to extend conservation efforts beyond source habitats and to a significantly larger landscape scale.

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