Ranthambore’s Isolated Tigers Face Threat Of Lack Of Genetic Diversity

A tiger family in Ranthambore
Ramki Sreenivasan
Low genetic diversity is a new threat

A recent study by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) says that Ranthambore’s tigers show a loss of genetic diversity over the years, due to the tigers being an isolated population without any genetic exchange. Ranthambore’s tigers used to take the Chambal river route to the Kuno sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. But due to the flattening of the river banks, the tigers stopped using this route for dispersal and there has been no gene flow between the two tiger populations. As Sariska has no more tigers, the nearest tiger reserves are 800 km away in Bandhavgarh, Corbett or Satpura. Ranthambore’s tiger population had crashed to 12 in 1993 and 13 in 2003. It has bounced back to 31 in 2010, but tiger experts fear that the lack of genetic diversity may be a serious threat.

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