Philopatry, Dispersal and Migration in Tiger (Panthera tigris)
Csir Centre For Cellular & Molecular Biology
Population estimation and assessment of genetic diversities of breeding populations are vital management tools for conservation of tiger. Additionally it is also very important to understand individual movement, gene flow, population structure and mating behavior of tiger in important landscape complexes.
Non-invasive microsatellite data along with population structure, spatial autocorrelation and relatedness analyses were used understand philopatry, dispersal patterns and migration in tigers.
We established male-biased dispersal and female philopatry in tigers and reiterated this finding with multiple analyses. Population structure analysis showed significant gene flow (both present and recent past) between forests separated by 250kms in a fragmented and populated landscape. This is the first non-invasive genetic evidence of female philopatry, male-biased dispersal and long distance migration in tigers.
Animal movements are important for fitness, reproductive success, genetic diversity and gene exchange among populations. In light of the current endangered status of tigers in the world, this study will help us understand tiger behavior and movement. Dispersal, population structure and migration in tigers have important implications for management and long term protection of habitats and interconnecting corridors to save this charismatic species.