What We’re Reading- Feb 9, 2018

A Lion Roars Back
Lions have not been observed in Gabon for 20 years, until a camera trap project set up to investigate chimps captured a photo in 2015!  The Gabonese government expressed interest in translocating lions into the country to establish a breeding population.  One consideration for translocation projects is to move genetically similar individuals to either what was previously on the landscape or current residents.  This management strategy helps to preserve locally adapted alleles.  The authors of this paper (open) sequenced the mitochondria of the lion currently roaming around southeastern Gabon plus two historic lion samples collected in the 1960s from Gabon.  They observed that the mitochondria grouped into the same clade which was also associated with lions in southern Africa including Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa.  This suggests that either this individual male made a long distance dispersal or that clade was historically wide spread and the present individual represents the last remnants of the population that used to occupy Gabon.  Either way, wildlife officials are now able to make more informed management decisions for lion conservation and re-establishment in Gabon.

There be Dragon(flie)s on a Previously Extirpated Portion of the Range
This paper (sub) reports the success of a project to reintroduce the white-faced darter dragonfly (Leucorrhinia dubia) in the Czech Republic.  Eighty larvae were released in 2001 and a mark-recapture experiment in 2015 estimated 75 adults were in the population; thus without continual translocation of larvae, the population was able to maintain its population size and breed over this time.  The researchers also measured genetic diversity in the source and reintroduced populations after 15 years and found similar levels of genetic diversity.

Side image of the white-faced darter dragonfly used with permission by David Kitching.  See more of his and others’ dragonfly photography here and information on his species monitoring work here.

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