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Purity in Species

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by JonnyS18, 1 Apr 2010.

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  1. JonnyS18

    JonnyS18 Well-Known Member

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    I was looking on different sites before and also on here for a general topic on captive breeding standards. I found a few scattered conversations but didn't find a thread specifically to this topic sorry if there already is one but this is a topic I find myself quite ignorant on.
    In the case of tigers & leopards, which are endangered species broken into several sub species: what is the standards for captive breeding?
    If a reliable zoo suddenly found out a Sumatran tiger it was holding had a great grand parent with Amur genes, would it effect the zoo's decision to breed from that animal? I understand recently quite a few Amur tigers in captive zoos throughout Europe, were found to have Sumatran genes & are no longer to be bred from. Is this because these tigers have direct lineage from Sumatran ancestors, or from ancestry several generations back?
     
  2. jedibiscuits

    jedibiscuits Well-Known Member

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    I THINK it's because it makes the genes not "pure." They want to breed animals that have good solid genes and not ones that are mixed or almost... I guess you can say "hybrid" since they have a mixture of genes.
    This genetic work is very complicated. I recently was in an internship at the San Diego Wild Animal park and they monitor the genes of all their breeding animals in order to not inbreed or cross-breed those with mixed genes. It's hard to understand a lot of the time, but mostly zoos want to keep bad or mixed genes from spreading.
     
  3. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    It would come to the notice of the Studbook Keeper, who makes recommendations to the Zoos holding the species about which pairs of animals to breed from. The SB keeper would almost certainly vetoe any further breeding from that Tigers and its relatives.
     
  4. Panthera Puss

    Panthera Puss Well-Known Member

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    In the case of the Amur Tigers, the DNA of the tiger called Roman was originally tested and found to be pure Amur, so he was confirmed as part of the breeding programme. After several breedings from Roman his genetic material was re-tested by Stephen O'Brien and found to have characteristic Sumatran allele/s as well as Amur. This would have been reported to studbook keeper Peter Muller who then would have passed the bad news on to those zoos keeping descendants of Roman, and was subsequently reported in the yearly studbook publication having removed the affected tigers from the list of pure Amurs.

    Why this all came about, the studbook is not precise - one inference is that tiger cubs could simply have been mixed up in certain zoos. Why the Sumatran allele did not turn up in the initial testing - maybe they just weren't looking for it, I don't know.
     
  5. Amur

    Amur Active Member

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    Roman with stud number 3260 was orginally thought to have been Wild-Caught.
    Roman was registered as "Wild-Caught" in the stud book, but because of some doubts regarding his origin it was decided to do a DNA test with results saying pure, he was then bred from and Roman became a "Founder".
    Roman died in 2003 but samples left over from him (in liquid nitrogen) was DNA tested again (late 2007) but this time Sumatran alleles was found.
    Roman has 30+ living descendants, with 17 EAZA zoos affected (3 in the UK....Linton, Colchester, Longleat).
    All Roman`s descendants have now been removed from the "Breeding Pool" by the coordinator, but will remain as exhibits.
    Regarding Roman and the stud book....Roman and all his living/dead descendants have now been "Tagged as Hybrids" and listed separately from the others (to keep an eye on them).
    All zoos affected have been told not to breed their hybrids, but if any cubs are born they will not be given a stud number.

    best wishes,
    Amur
     
  6. Ann Littlewood

    Ann Littlewood Well-Known Member

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  7. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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  8. Sun Wukong

    Sun Wukong Well-Known Member

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    Ever been there in person?