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Questions about a few hybrid captives

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Cassidy Casuar, 12 Feb 2015.

  1. Cassidy Casuar

    Cassidy Casuar Well-Known Member

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    I apologise if this thread does not belong here, or if a similar thread has been posted before (I am not sure that I have seen any); if possible, I would like some help with knowing the status of the following animals in captivity in regard to them being hybrids.

    -Scottish Wildcat: I know that all of the specimens in captivity (and, probably, in existence) are hybrids with feral cats; how 'pure' are those that are alive in captivity?
    -Arctic Wolf: Apparently most (if not all) specimens show signs of hybridisation with domestic dogs; have any zoos had theirs DNA tested for this?
    -Dingo: Apparently the entire wild population (including the supposedly pure population on Fraser Island) has been contaminated by the genetic contributions of escaped/roaming domestic dogs; is the captive population much different in this respect?
    -Lady Amherst's Pheasant: I am convinced that all of the specimens present in captivity in Eurasia, North America and Australasia are Golden-LA's hybrids; I certainly haven't found anything to make me doubt this (pure specimens have blue 'teardrop' marks; those that are said to be pure have yellow 'teardrop' marks; indicating hybridisation). Does anyone know if there have been specimens that are definitely pure that have been wild-caught in their home range and exported elsewhere (if this is even legal outside Australasia)?
    -Red Junglefowl: It has been all but confirmed that pure-bred specimens are extinct (in the wild and in captivity), but are there any facilities that hold 'mostly pure' specimens?

    I apologise if none of these questions can be answered with much confidence.
     
  2. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    I think with the pheasants you go a bit too fast. With Red Jungle Fowl it is known that many populations have bred with domestic chickens, but there has been insufficient research if this is the case for all populations. Also in WPA this is a focus species where a lot of energy is put in to keep them as pure as possible. It is also a focus species for DNA research although I do not know if this has happened yet. I know they have tested their captive population of Golden Pheasant, Lady Amherst Pheasant and Tragopans.

    The results of the Lady Amherst Pheasants delivered 1 pure bird. So the population in Europe is not pure unlike the small pure golden pheasant population.
     
  3. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    out of interest, where is this bird kept? A public or private collection? (If you're able to disclose )
     
  4. Cassidy Casuar

    Cassidy Casuar Well-Known Member

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    What about the different subspecies involved, though? If there are at least five subspecies of Red Junglefowl (excluding the domestic chicken) and most of the population is contaminated by the blood of domestic chickens, this must mean that there will be no way to save pure specimens of all of the subspecies.
     
  5. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    ..hybrids....

    Pure Golden and Lady Amherst's Pheasants have been imported, principally and perhaps only, by San Diego Zoo in recent decades. There should be more than one pure Amherst about.
    One wonders how completely pure certain wild species are? For example, Pintail and Mallard hybridise freely, and they hybrids are fully fertile both inter se and with the parent species. Without DNA analysis, one would never be able to identify a bird that was only seven eighths pure Mallard or Pintail, as it would look like one or the other.
     
  6. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    I should have said in Europe. Here we still have pure Golden Pheasants but no Lady Armherst (and unfortunately I don't know the location of the bird and if it is still alive). And for North America it really depends how the imported birds were/are managed.
     
  7. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    ....hybrids.....

    There is a theory that even fifty fifty Golden x Amherst's eventually revert to looking like pure Goldens. However, it is very hard to breed out Golden features from event almost pure Amherst's. I wonder if this is reflected in the DNA profiles?
     
  8. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Wildcats

    Have a look at the 'Wildcat Haven' Project website for details on how purity is being graded. It involves a points system with seven(?) main factors- striping, size, build, tail shape, base colour etc each rated on a scale 1-3, giving a maximum total of 21 points for a very pure Wildcat.

    I don't know how many of the captive hybrids have been graded, or what sort of scores they have achieved. They have said that one male individual at Port Lympne(also the SB holders) is the closest match they have found so far.

    I believe there may also be a 'new' DNA test which could be more definitive too in determining purity.
     
  9. Hyak_II

    Hyak_II Well-Known Member

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    There's is a small but growing population of pure Amherst's Pheasants in private aviculture in Canada.

    Some years ago there was an import of wild founder stock from some larger private breeders. These birds did extremely poorly, spooking at the slightest provocation, regularly scalping themselves in their spooked dashes into the top of the aviary, and never really adapted to having people around. However, they did still manage to breed. Offspring from those birds have now spread across Canada, and there is now a small but stable population of pure, captive bred birds.

    I've seen these birds in person, and there is truly a huge difference. They are much, much larger than a pure golden, and are noticeably larger than most "Amherst's" (aka hybrids) as well. Their coloration is also slightly different, they have the very sharp, pure colors of a pure bird, without many of the golden bleed ins you will see from other stock.
     
  10. Cassidy Casuar

    Cassidy Casuar Well-Known Member

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  11. tschandler71

    tschandler71 Well-Known Member

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    No one wants to admit it but "Red Wolves" are more Domestic Dog, Timber Wolf, and Coyote than anything distinct.
     
  12. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    I thought the debate about that is still going on and that the 2011 paper indicating that has been heavily critisised.
     
  13. tschandler71

    tschandler71 Well-Known Member

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    There is always going to be controversy with the "Red Wolf". The Feds won't admit they have sunk 30 years and millions of conservation dollars into the program. And much like with Gray Wolves out west, the Environmental lobby has a vested stake in keeping Canis Rufus valid. What is much more likely is prior to range restrictions - Western Coyote, Red Wolf, Timber Wolf, and Eastern Coyote frequently interbred as a Species complex (like the Plains Zebra). Every study that has looked at just the genetics concludes this begrudgingly or refuses to say it, but they never can outright say Red wolves are distinct or have ever been. I would have guessed by 2015 we would stop clinging to phenotype to further speciate animals.

    Gray Wolves definitely are a separate species. They do not interbreed with Coyotes. When they are naturally present local Coyote resemble a jackal and their primary prey is small game. Where the Gray Wolf isn't naturally present (the Eastern US and Canada) "Coyotes" are up to 50 percent larger. The genetics say that there was until colonization there was an Eastern Wolf if that is what you want to call it - Canis Lycaon. And the protected Red Wolves you see in Zoos are genetically the same as the common "coyotes" East of the Mississippi. There may be some conservation value in displaying them but there are other canid subspecies (Mexican Gray Wolf) that should be higher priority.
     
  14. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Can you elaborate on 'Timber Wolf'? I'm familiar with the term as it was a common name for 'Wolves' in UK zoos in the past, but don't know how they differ from Gray wolves.

    I agree about Coyotes behaving similarly to Jackals in Wolf territory. Presumably where Wolves are absent they partially fill the same niche, where Wolves are present they have to occupy a different, lower one.
     
  15. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member

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    Apparently you do know more than most, including the experts...

    Btw. von Holdt et al. 2011 showed that the lycaon wolves are coyoteXwolf hybrids, so that part is not valid. And yes red wolves align with coyotes, but do also form a cluster.... Also Bohling & Waits (2015) found that most red wolfs mate with other red wolfs and hybrid litters with coyote are relatively rare 126 vs. 30, although coyote are much more common in the researched region, this implies that sympatric speciation is still taking place.
     
  16. tschandler71

    tschandler71 Well-Known Member

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    The problem is there is no baseline genetic material that is pure Red Wolf. The Red Wolves being protected say at Alligator River are 70%-80% DNA that is considered "coyote".

    von Holdt also concluded Gray Wolves in the West do not cross with Coyotes naturally where Eastern Wolves do readily. But the genetic material of known Red Wolves, Eastern Coyote, and Eastern Wolf has less variance than simple subspecies.

    The greater variance gap is between Eastern and Western Coyote genetically. What we have in the Eastern United States is a new species. The remnant populations of the Eastern Wolves interbred with Coyote that filled their ecological niches after European Colonization.

    The historical consensus is the Wolves of Eastern Canada are the same Wolves as in Western North America. When in reality the Coyote, Red Wolf, and Eastern Wolf evolved alongside the Dire Wolf. The Gray Wolf evolved in Asia and only appeared in North America once the Dire Wolf went extinct.

    Every study says something different but the only studies that outright say the Red Wolf is a distinct species are those commissioned/sponsored by US Fish and Wildlife. They have a vested interest in keeping Canis Rufus valid to justify their jobs.

    Wolves for some reason always attract Environmental politics. But Occam's Razor applies here. If those like Chambers (An Error Occurred Setting Your User Cookie) have a vested interest in the opposite what is it? The Interior Department has been caught too many times putting politics above sound science.