Why would big cats be especially prone to genetic loss?



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    Currently, there are less than 50 Siberian tigers left on this planet–fewer than 20 in the wild. Unfortunately, this leaves the Siberian tigers prone to genetic disease.

    Most tiger populations today consist of fewer than 100 individuals and only about 40 per cent of them constitute the breeding population. Inbreeding is inevitable and father-daughter and mother-son matings have been recorded. The balance of the sexes may be distorted by an excess of males or females surviving to maturity, thus increasing the impact of inbreeding. A loss of variability and genetic deterioration follow, with lowered cub production and survival, which may not be apparent until they have reached a level that threatens the population.

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