Extinction may be related to low genetic diversity.
A group of American scientists announced that two isolated populations of Cougars in the mountains of Santa Ana and Santa Monica in southern California may disappear completely within 50 years. As reported by the online edition of the Chronicle.info with reference to zn.ua the population is endangered due to low genetic diversity and high mortality.
The researchers emphasize that most Cougars are killed by human hands, however, they are threatened by natural processes such as forest fires and reducing the amount of production. It is also noted that these two populations of Cougars was isolated due to the construction of trails and development of urban infrastructure.
Both populations are characterized by very low genetic diversity resulting from inbreeding. The researchers conducted a simulation that allowed them to determine how high the risk of extinction of these animals. It turned out that the genetic diversity in these populations will rapidly decrease over the next 50 years, which will lead to inbred remission – the phenomenon in which the survival and reproduction of animals is reduced due to low genetic diversity. When the researchers modeled the effects of depression in two populations, the model predicted that their rapid extinction is extremely likely.
The modeling showed similar dynamics in both populations.