TITLE

DNA-based monitoring of two newly founded Scandinavian wolverine populations

AUTHOR(S)
Hedmark, Eva; Ellegren, Hans
PUB. DATE
August 2007
SOURCE
Conservation Genetics;Aug2007, Vol. 8 Issue 4, p843
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The wolverine is an endangered carnivore that in northwestern Europe is restricted to the mountain range along the border between Sweden and Norway. The Scandinavian wolverine population experienced a severe decline in numbers due to human persecution during the 20th century, although with legislative protection the population has recently implied that the population slowly has started to recover (current population size estimate of 800 individuals). In the mid 1990s, wolverines appeared in two new and isolated areas east of the mountain range, in the forest landscape close to the Gulf of Bothnia. Using noninvasive, DNA-based monitoring, we show here that these new subpopulations were likely founded by as few as 2 and 2-4 individuals, respectively, and that little, if any, genetic contact with the main population since colonisation has been established. A high degree of genetic similarity among individuals in the two areas indicates inbreeding. We estimate the minimum number of wolverines known to be alive in these areas during the period of 2001–2005 to 5 and 17, respectively, with one subpopulation showing decreasing (currently 2) numbers and the other increasing (10). For the somewhat larger population, we infer a tentative pedigree from relatedness values and parentage tests, which indicates the occurrence of brother-sister matings. This study illustrates the usefulness of noninvasive monitoring in the management of endangered carnivore populations.
ACCESSION #
26322743

 

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