Traces of past reintroduction in genetic diversity: The case of the Balkan chamois (Mammalia, Artiodactyla)

Andrea Rezić*, Toni Safner, Laura Iacolina, Elena Bužan, Nikica Šprem


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The translocation of wild animal species became a common practice worldwide to re-establish local populations threatened with extinction. Archaeological data confirm that chamois once lived in the Biokovo Mountain but, prior to their reintroduction in the 1960s, there was no written evidence of their recent existence in the area. The population was reintroduced in the period 1964–1969, when 48 individuals of Balkan chamois from the neighbouring mountains in Bosnia and Herzegovina were released. The main objective of this study was to determine the accuracy of the existing historical data on the origin of the Balkan chamois population from the Biokovo Mountain and to assess the genetic diversity and population structure of the source and translocated populations 56 years after reintroduction. Sixteen microsatellite loci were used to analyse the genetic structure of three source chamois populations from Prenj, Čvrsnica and Čabulja Mountains and from Biokovo Mountain. Both STRUCTURE and GENELAND analyses showed a clear separation of the reintroduced population on Biokovo from Prenj’s chamois and considerable genetic similarity between the Biokovo population and the Čvrsnica-Čabulja population. This suggests that the current genetic composition of the Biokovo population does not derive exclusively from Prenj, as suggested by the available literature and personal interviews, but also from Čvrsnica and Čabulja. GENELAND analysis recognised the Balkan chamois from Prenj as a separate cluster, distinct from the populations of Čvrsnica and Čabulja. Our results thus highlight the need to implement genetic monitoring of both reintroduced and source populations of endangered Balkan chamois to inform sustainable management and conservation strategies in order to maximise the chances of population persistence.

Udgave nummer1116
Sider (fra-til)57-70
Antal sider14
StatusUdgivet - 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
We thank Luca Corlatti for permission to use his drawing (the silhouettes of the chamois yearling). This work was supported by the Croatian Science Foundation [grant number IP 2016-06-5751] and the ResBios European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program [grant number 872146].

Publisher Copyright:
@ 2022, Andrea Rezić et al.


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