Inbreeding and Mortality Risk in a Captive Population of Mhorr Gazelle (Nanger dama mhorr )

Author(s): Ana Marquiza M. Quilicot and Roswitha Baumung


This study aimed to evaluate the genetic variation and examine the association of inbreeding level on mortality risk (at days 7, 30 and 180 – weaning age) of Mhorr gazelle in captivity for the year 1969–2000 as recorded in the studbook record kept by Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria (ARAZPA). The effective number of founders, ancestors and founder genomes was found to be 3.42, 3, and 1.44 for the studied reference population. The reference population is composed of animals which are alive, with known parents and known sex. Animals that are less than 10 years old (based on birth dates up to 2008) with no remarks on its death are considered alive. The population may not have experienced a severe bottleneck, as the values on the effective number of founders and ancestors are almost equal. However, the effective number of founder genomes is low, which demonstrates gene loss due to genetic drift. The mean inbreeding coefficients of the individual, sire and dam were found to be 0.2971 ± 0.1043, 0.2300 ± 0.1141 0.2339 ± 0.1070, respectively. The maximum inbreeding level of the population is 0.5247 (52.47%). This means that parent–offspring or full-sib mating must have happened. The increase in inbreeding level of an individual was found to be significantly associated (p<0.10) with an increase in p mortality risk at day 180 or weaning age. Increasing inbreeding level of sires was found to be significantly associated with increasing risk in mortality at day 30, which indicates that inbred parents also can influence the survival of an offspring. Efficient breeding programs are as important for decreasing mortality in captive populations, as the provision of optimum zoo management practices.

Keywords : genetic diversity, genetic variation, inbreeding, captive population, Mhorr gazelle, mortality

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