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Ecol Evol. 2012 Jan;3(1):48-60. doi: 10.1002/ece3.432. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

Spatial genetic analysis reveals high connectivity of tiger (Panthera tigris) populations in the Satpura-Maikal landscape of Central India.

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  • 1Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park Washington, District of Columbia, 20013-7012 ; Environmental Science & Policy Department, George Mason University Fairfax, Virginia, 22030-4444.

Abstract

We investigated the spatial genetic structure of the tiger meta-population in the Satpura-Maikal landscape of central India using population- and individual-based genetic clustering methods on multilocus genotypic data from 273 individuals. The Satpura-Maikal landscape is classified as a global-priority Tiger Conservation Landscape (TCL) due to its potential for providing sufficient habitat that will allow the long-term persistence of tigers. We found that the tiger meta-population in the Satpura-Maikal landscape has high genetic variation and very low genetic subdivision. Individual-based Bayesian clustering algorithms reveal two highly admixed genetic populations. We attribute this to forest connectivity and high gene flow in this landscape. However, deforestation, road widening, and mining may sever this connectivity, impede gene exchange, and further exacerbate the genetic division of tigers in central India.

KEYWORDS:

Central India; Panthera tigris; connectivity; non-invasive genetic analysis; spatial genetics; tiger

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