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University of Namibia (2015)

Identification of individual cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) represented in a sample collection, combining non-invasive genetic and camera-trapping techniques

Mhuulu, L

Titre : Identification of individual cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) represented in a sample collection, combining non-invasive genetic and camera-trapping techniques

Auteur : Mhuulu, L

Université de soutenance : University of Namibia

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2015

Résumé
Namibia holds the largest free-ranging population of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus) in the world, a population estimated to be about 3,000 adult individuals. The cheetah is an elusive species living at low densities, making it hard to assess their abundance and density. Traditional detection methods such as direct observation, physical mark recapture, and invasive collection of tissue samples (e.g. blood) requires the physical handling of individuals. Non-invasive techniques such as remote camera traps and genetic analysis of scat samples do not require handling of individuals as these rely on the presence and detection (as well as collection) of animal signs. The study aim was to demonstrate that a complete individual profile can be obtained using non-invasive techniques. This was achieved by obtaining genetic profiles from 56 scat samples collected around remote camera trap stations in the study area between August 2008 and January 2014. These samples were genotyped with three microsatellite markers for individual identification, confirming the presence 10 individual cheetahs. Each individual was genotyped with another 13 microsatellite loci, which were then used for relatedness assessment, identifying three related groups. Individuals inferred from the genetic profiles were successfully assigned to physical profiles by comparison to a database of physical identities obtained from camera trap pictures during the same time period. In conclusion, the study shows that it is possible to obtain complete genetic and physical profiles, as well as pedigree information for an individual by using scat DNA data and photographs from remote camera traps.

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Page publiée le 25 décembre 2016, mise à jour le 15 février 2018