3 years ago

Conservation genomics identifies impact of trade in a threatened songbird

In the last two decades, unsustainable levels of wildlife trade have led to an unprecedented biological crisis. Southeast Asia has become an epicentre for wildlife trade in general and specifically for the cage-bird trade, resulting in numerous regional extinctions. To assess the impact of regional extinction on the loss of genetic diversity in affected cage-birds, we obtained >18,000 genome-wide markers across 60 Southeast Asian samples of the white-rumped shama (Copsychus malabaricus), a prized songbird that has gone extinct across wide swathes of its Southeast Asian range following heavy poaching. High levels of genomic uniformity across its mainland Southeast Asian range indicate that future reintroductions of birds from regions with less poaching could help bolster populations in regions with intense poaching pressure. Genomic assignment tests demonstrate that birds in the only Sundaic country with strict enforcement of poaching bans, Singapore, are a mosaic of both native populations and escaped cage-birds of mostly peninsular Malaysian origin, indicating that inadvertent reintroductions of caged shamas have led to the recovery of a local population that was nearly extinct and now constitutes a safe haven for the subspecies tricolor. Our study underscores the potential of genome-wide SNPs in identifying implications of trade on wildlife populations.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S000632071730719X

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