For endangered species like the tiger, registering DNA information will improve captive management and genetic diversity in breeding programs.
Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) June 30, 2012
During the June meeting of Feline Conservation Federation (FCF) members in Cincinnati, Ohio, geneticist Dr. Jan Janecka reported to the group on tiger DNA research to investigate tiger coat patterns and genetic disorders. Dr. Janecka examined samples from 31 tigers and identified lineages from Amur, Bengal, South China, Indochinese and Sumatran tigers through the DNA analysis. “The vast majority of tigers in America are not part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and these cats have unique genetic diversity, and are valuable to captive conservation”, says Lynn Culver, executive director of the FCF.
The FCF is working with the Conservators Center, Inc. to develop a national online registry for tigers and other wildlife species. The FCF is working with Dr. Janecka to build the registry so that registrations can include DNA analysis. "For endangered species like the tiger, registering DNA information will improve captive management and genetic diversity in breeding programs", says Culver.
The Feline Conservation Federation has documented just under 3,000 Tigers in AZA zoos, independent zoos, exhibits, and private facilities. The existence of “backyard tigers” is not a national problem, according to 2012 feline census conducted by the FCF. Culver believes passage of punitive state laws have led to the closure of many licensed exhibits, harming tiger genetic diversity.
FCF executive director Lynn Culver says, “American tigers, and the habitats these big cats need are disappearing at an alarming rate." Culver warns that captive bred felines should be a hedge against extinction, and worries that too many are being transferred to non-breeding sanctuaries without any consideration of their conservation value. FCF is working to reverse this trend and improve tiger breeding programs with the creation of its online registry.
The Feline Conservation Federation is a national association of professional feline handlers, trainers, owners, researchers and conservationists that work to conserve captive populations, and support the study and protection of felines in nature. FCF holds the largest population of felines in America, producing felines for breeding and wildlife ambassadors. FCF certified instructors teach basic wild feline husbandry and wildlife conservation education courses throughout the country.