What we’re reading: Nov 7, 2014

Education and Positive Conservation Outcomes
This paper (open) describes a community outreach program specifically aimed at reducing poaching of five ungulate and one rodent species in a reserve in Thailand. Pressure dropped by a factor of four and was not correlated with park patrol. The six species increased significantly over the course of the study with the main driver of recovery attributed to outreach efforts.

Elephants Worth More Than 48x More Alive Than Dead
While financial gains from selling ivory are driving the dramatic decline of African elephants, they are economically worth more than just their tusks to the ecotourism industry. A single elephant alive can contribute $22,966 to tourism per year according to a new study by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. With poaching, the wrong people are reaping the economic benefits.

Cloning and Conservation
Cloning via somatic cell nuclear transfer (aka- how Dolly the sheep was created) has been proposed to help increase population size and/or genetic diversity in endangered mammals. This opinion piece (sub) argues against using cloning techniques on tissue from extinct individuals as part of the larger de-extinction debate.

Population Genetics in Time
Population geneticists can take advantage of museum collections to understand changes in phenotypes and/or genotypes over time. This paper (open) did just that by comparing genetic diversity of the endangered Seychelles warbler (Acrocephalus sechellensis) between museum collections and contemporary samples. They observed a strong bottleneck in the population associated with loss of genetic diversity and decrease in population size and will use this information to inform the conservation of the species.

Markers for Ivory Identification
Standard set of markers developed for identifying ivory products for African elephants to origin or region that is efficient, accurate and cost effective.

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