Join our zoo community

Lion re-introduction

Discussion in 'Rwanda' started by vogelcommando, 30 Jun 2015.

  1. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

    10 Dec 2012
    fijnaart, the netherlands
  2. Pleistohorse

    Pleistohorse Well-Known Member

    30 Jan 2013
    This is good news. Regarding subspecies concerns. 200 years ago gene flow between lions in Southern Africa and Eastern Africa likely occurred (slowly over generations perhaps...maybe too slowly to keep up with genetic drift of populations isolated by distance...but the cats in each area were a single continental population not separated by another significant geographic barrier). Modern "genetic" distinctions leading to the recognition of additional subspecies is just a reflection of geographic distance and not yet a reflection of major morphological differences or adaptation to distinct environments. There is a small possibility that a distinct genetic population is in the very (very) early stages of the evolution of a new species. In truth though, without interference it is likely these populations would ebb and flow away from and into each other...and with the chance (likely in many cases given our current biogeographical realities) of local or global extinction. If in the (probably unlikely event) the small number of Rwandan lions have progeny that eventually meet up with Lions from Uganda or Tanzania...the effect is not unnatural and those diminished populations probably benefit in the end from the influx of new genetic stock. Refrence the positive contribution of Texas Cougers into the isolated Florida Cougar (or Panther) population. I understand the Texas and Florida cats are much closer geographically than the East and South African Lions. An obsession with subspecies (outside of truely isolated populations restricted to islands or to continental populations separated by the Bering Strait) is not beneficial (in my view) to coping with challenges presented by the Anthropocene. Opponents to this sort of re-wilding cling to these distinctions....ludicrously in the case of Wyoming Wolves or Indian Cheetahs...more legitimately regarding Australian Camels and Buffalo or American Horses and Wild Asses...but still. We need to be bold as possible.
    Last edited: 30 Jun 2015