Abstract # 43:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 26, 2017 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (National Ballroom AB) Poster Presentation


USING MOLECULAR TECHNIQUES TO DETERMINE PROVENANCE OF ILLEGAL RING-TAILED LEMUR (LEMUR CATTA) PETS TO INFORM CONSERVATION ACTIONS

J. Knierim1, T. A. Clarke2,3, M. La Fleur3,4, F. Cuozzo5, R. Lawler6, J. Parga7, J. Pastorini8, M. Sauther5 and A. L. Baden9,10
1Animal Behavior and Conservation Program, Department of Psychology, Hunter College of the City University of New York, 695 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA, 2Evolutionary Anthropology Department, Duke University, 3Lemur Love, Inc., 4Department of Anthropology, University of California San Diego, 5Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, 6James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, 7California State University Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, 8Anthropologisches Institut Universität Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland, 9Department of Anthropology, Hunter College of the City University of New York, New York, NY, 10The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, New York, NY
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     The ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) was once widespread across southern Madagascar. However, anthropogenic activities, such as habitat loss, hunting for bushmeat, and live capture for the illegal pet trade have caused ring-tailed lemur populations to plummet in the past decade. Here, we compare genotypes of illegal wild-caught pet and confiscated ex-pet ring-tailed lemurs to those from wild populations to determine their source localities. To date, fecal samples have been collected from 26 wild-caught pet L. catta individuals. DNA was extracted and amplified at eight polymorphic loci following Parga et al. (2012, 2015). To determine the geographic origin of captive and confiscated lemurs, their genotypes were matched to a geographically-referenced allele frequency database generated from a reference library of 68 adults sampled from five wild L. catta populations (Anja, Bezà Mahafaly, Sakaviro, Tsinjoriake, Tsimanampesotse). Ultimately, results of this study can be used to help determine geographic “hot spots” of wildlife trafficking for which targeted conservation initiatives – including heightened security and increased conservation outreach – can be developed. This is a pilot study and additional sampling of both captive and wild populations of L. catta will be needed to accurately pinpoint these trafficking hot spots.