NON-INVASIVE GENETIC STUDY OF INDIAN RHINOCEROS IN THE WILD POPULATIONS OF KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK OF ASSAM, INDIARita Choudhury and Puranjit Das
Genetic diversity is vital for population viability. The genetic diversity study of the wild rhino population is important for conservation and management strategies. The population of Indian rhinoceros has revived in the Kaziranga National Park of Assam, India after an event of bottleneck. With a number of more than 2400 individuals in the Park, the species still in deplorable condition and poaching remain the greatest threat to the rhinoceros population. In the present study, we investigated the genetic variation of the Rhinoceros unicorn is within the Park employing mitochondrial D-loop. From the 70 dung samples collected from the wild habitat, 49 samples gave positive amplification, from which we identified 7 different mitochondrial Dloop haplotypes. The study showed that the rhino population of Kaziranga National Park seems to be diverged, as 7 different haplotypes were recorded from analysis of 49 sequences. Three new D-loop haplotypes were recorded in the wild rhinoceros population in Park. Hap02 was the most common haplotype found in the national park. Two haplotypes found to have similarity with Nepal population that was obtained in a previous study. Thus the Indian rhinoceros population in Kaziranga National Park is genetically diverged.
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