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Evaluating the effect of forest loss and agricultural expansion on Sumatran tigers from scat surveys

By 23rd May 2018 Conservation Papers, News

A new conservation paper has used Sumatran tiger genetics from poo to analyse how tiger populations across the island of Sumatra have been affected by high rates of habitat loss and increasing isolation. The paper suggests good news if actions are taken now to protect tiger habitat from further destruction and to increase connectivity between population sites.

A time delay between environmental change and genetic effect is shown by this non-invasive tiger genetic data collection technique, suggesting that there is still time to react before reduced gene flow increases the risk of extinction by reducing reproductive success, decreasing population fitness, and increasing susceptibility to disease.

 “Our study highlights the importance of genetic studies for providing baseline information to improve the population management of highly threatened carnivore species. Mitigating further habitat degradation and expansion of oil palm and other cash crops in this region would improve the viability not only of Sumatran tiger populations but of other threatened large mammal species as well”.

Smith. O, Wang. J, Carbone. C, (2018) Evaluating the effect of forest loss and agricultural expansion on Sumatran tigers from scat surveys Biological Conservation 221 270–278

Read the full paper