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Minimum population size, genetic diversity, and social structure of the Asian elephant in Cat Tien National Park and its adjoining areas, Vietnam, based on molecular genetic analyses

Vidya, TNC and Varma, Surendra and Dang, Nguyen X and Thanh, Van T (2007) Minimum population size, genetic diversity, and social structure of the Asian elephant in Cat Tien National Park and its adjoining areas, Vietnam, based on molecular genetic analyses. In: Conservation Genetics, 8 (6). pp. 1471-1478.

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Abstract

Vietnam’s elephant population that has suffered severe declines during the past three decades is now believed to number 60–80 individuals in the wild. Cat Tien National Park is thought to be one of the key areas for the recovery of Vietnam’s elephants. We carried out a molecular genetic study of elephants in Cat Tien National Park and its adjoining areas with the objectives of estimating minimum population size, assessing genetic diversity, and obtaining insights into social organization. We obtained a minimum population size of 11 elephants based on a combination of unique nuclear microsatellite genotypes and mitochondrial haplotypes. While mitochondrial diversity based on a 600-base pair segment was high in this small sample of individuals, the six microsatellite loci examined showed low diversity and the signature of a recent population bottleneck. Along with nuclear genetic depauperation of Cat Tien’s elephants, we also report disruption of normal social organization, with different matrilines having coalesced into a single social group because of anthropogenic disturbance. The results emphasize the critical condition of this elephant population and the need for urgent conservation measures if this population is to be saved.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Springer.
Keywords: Asian elephant;Genetic diversity;Small population;Social organization;Vietnam Vidya TNC (2004) Population genetic structure and phylogeography of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) with special reference to India. Ph.D. dissertation, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore Vidya TNC, Sukumar R (2005) Social organization of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) in southern India inferred from microsatellite DNA. J Ethol 23:205–210 Vidya TNC, Fernando P, Melnick DJ, Sukumar R (2005) Population differentiationwithin andamongAsian elephant (Elephas maximus) populations in southern India. Heredity 94:71–80 Vidya TNC, Kumar VR, Arivazhagan C, Sukumar R (2003) Application of molecular sexing to free-ranging Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) populations in southern India. Curr Sci 85:1074–1077
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2008 04:19
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:52
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/16505

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