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Ecol Evol. 2019 Feb 18;9(5):2415-2424. doi: 10.1002/ece3.4832. eCollection 2019 Mar.

Dispersal of Amur tiger from spatial distribution and genetics within the eastern Changbai mountain of China.

Author information

1
Feline Research Center of Chinese State Forestry Administration, College of Wildlife Resources Northeast Forestry University Harbin China.
2
Federal Scientific Center of the East Asia Terrestrial Biodiversity Far Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences (FSCEATB FEB RAS) Vladivostok Russia.
3
WWF-Russia, Amur Branch Vladivostok Russia.

Abstract

Population dispersal and migration often indicate an expanded habitat and reduced inbreeding probability, and to some extend reflects improvement in the condition of the population. The Amur tiger population in the northern region of the Changbai mountain in China mostly distributes along the Sino-Russian border, next to the population in southwest Primorye in Russia. The successful dispersal westward and transboundary movement are crucial for the persistence of the Amur tiger in this area. This study explored the spatial dispersal of the population, transboundary migration, and the genetic condition of the Amur tiger population within the northern Changbai mountain in China, using occurrence data and fecal samples. Our results from 2003 to 2016 showed that the Amur tiger population in this area was spreading westward at a speed of 12.83 ± 4.41 km every three years. Genetic diversity of the Amur tiger populations in southwest Primorye was slightly different than the population in our study area, and the potential individual migration rate between these two populations was shown to be about 13.04%. Furthermore, the relationships between genetic distances and spatial distances indicated the existence of serious limitations to the dispersal of the Amur tiger in China. This study provided important information about spatial dispersal, transboundary migration, and the genetic diversity of Amur tigers in China, showed the urgent need for Amur tiger habitat restoration, and suggested some important conservation measures, such as corridor construction to eliminate dispersal barriers and joint international conservation to promote trans-boundary movement.

KEYWORDS:

Amur tiger dispersal; genetic distances; migrant detection; spatial distribution

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