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Emerging patterns of genetic diversity in the critically endangered Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni)

Allberry, Kate, Rovie-Ryan, Jeffrine Japning, Ali, Nur Alizati Nabila Giarat, Elias, Nurul-Ain, Darmaraj, Mark Rayan, Wong, Christopher Chai Thiam, Fong, Lau Ching, Smith, Olutolani, Mohamed, Khairul Amirin Bin, Mukri, Mohamad Izereen Bin Amat, and others. (2024) Emerging patterns of genetic diversity in the critically endangered Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni). Biodiversity and Conservation, 33 (4). pp. 1325-1349. ISSN 0960-3115. (doi:10.1007/s10531-024-02799-9) (KAR id:105371)


Southeast Asia experiences some of the highest deforestation in the world. Loss of tropical forest typically leads to widespread habitat fragmentation, with detrimental effects on dispersal ability and gene flow—particularly for large carnivores. We conducted mtDNA and microsatellite analysis to assess—for the first time—contemporary patterns of genetic diversity in the Malayan tiger. We collected 295 suspected carnivore samples in Peninsular Malaysia, from which we identified 26 as originating from tiger using 16 polymorphic microsatellite loci, comprising 22 individual tigers. Despite limitations of the study, our findings suggest tiger subpopulations in the north of the peninsula maintain some genetic connectivity and migration between two putative geographic subpopulations in the Main Range and Greater Taman Negara, with negligible population segregation due to dispersal barriers such as road infrastructure. We identified consistently lower levels of genetic diversity in tigers in the Greater Taman Negara region compared to tigers in the Main Range and small but emerging differences in nuclear and mitochondrial genetic diversity. Our mtDNA haplotype and nuclear DNA analyses suggest the levels of genetic diversity in Malayan tigers may be amongst some of the lowest of the surviving tiger subspecies, though the study is limited both in scale and genomic loci. Our findings are consistent with an expected lag between the rapid decline of tigers in Peninsular Malaysia by over 95% in the last 70 years and observed differences in their levels of genetic diversity.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s10531-024-02799-9
Additional information: For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.
Uncontrolled keywords: Conservation genetics; Habitat fragmentation; Endangered species; Southeast Asia; Conservation genetics; Tiger; Malaysia; Ecological linkages
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council (
Depositing User: Jim Groombridge
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2024 09:41 UTC
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2024 13:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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