News Article | September 29, 2017
A giant panda walks through foliage at the Beijing Zoo on June 5, 2012 in Beijing, China. The giant panda dwell in a few mountain ranges in central China, in Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces. (Credit: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images) The giant panda’s habitat is smaller and more fragmented than when it landed on the endangered species list, despite recently growing population numbers, a new study shows. The study used geospatial technologies and remote sensing data to map recent land-use changes and the development of roads within the panda’s habitat. “The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has recently changed the status of the giant panda from ‘endangered’ to the less threatened ‘vulnerable,'” says Stuart L. Pimm, professor of conservation ecology at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. “This was based on the increasing numbers, which are a very encouraging sign, of course.” “But what my colleagues and I wanted to know was how the panda’s habitat has changed over the last four decades, because the extent and connectivity of a species’ habitat is also a major factor in determining its risk of extinction,” Pimm says. The team, which Zhuyan Ouyang and Weihua Xu of the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Sciences led, used satellite imagery to examine changes across the panda’s entire geographic range from 1976 to 2013. “We found complex changes,” Xu says. “Habitat decreased nearly 5 percent from 1976 to 2001, but has increased since. However, the average size of the habitat patches decreased by 23 percent from 1976 to 2001. It has increased only slightly since.” Study coauthor Jianguo Liu of Michigan State University, who began studying the human and natural forces driving habitat loss in the panda’s geographic range in 1996, notes that some of the changes that have occurred in the region are encouraging. “Banning commercial logging in natural forests, establishing nature reserves, and helping residents in the reserve change behaviors that damaged habitat has been beneficial,” says Liu, who published Pandas and People (Oxford University Press, 2016) last year with four other authors of the new study. “But conservation is a dynamic process with humans and nature in a constant push and pull to survive and thrive, so new solutions always are in demand.” Other changes, though highly beneficial to the region’s human population, present challenges from a conservation standpoint. “The most obvious changes in this region since Professor Liu and his colleague Professor Zhiyun Ouyang first visited it together in 2001 have been the increase and improvement in roads and other infrastructure,” Pimm says. “These have been the major factor in fragmenting the habitat. There was nearly three times the density of roads in 2013 than in 1976.” “We suggest several solutions,” Ouyang concludes. “One of the most important will be to establish protected corridors through which pandas can move to prevent their isolation into small and unsustainable populations.” A National Natural Science Foundation of China grant; the Ministry of Science and Technology through a National Key Programme of Research and Development Project grant; the State Forestry Administration; the Worldwide Fund for Nature; and a US National Science Foundation grant funded the research. The research appears in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.
Jin Y.,China Agricultural University |
Qiao Y.,China Agricultural University |
Liu X.,Shaanxi Foping National Reserve |
Pu T.,Beijing Zoo |
And 2 more authors.
Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia | Year: 2016
Objective: To assess the effects and utility of dexmedetomidine combined with tiletamine and zolazepam (dexMTZ) to immobilize the wild giant panda. Study design: Prospective clinical study. Animals: Seven giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), five males and two females, aged 7-20 years and weighing 69.2-132.9 kg. Methods: Once an animal was located, prior data on the individual was reviewed and the panda's previously estimated body weight was used to calculate the volumes of drugs to administer: dexmedetomidine (dexM; 8 μg kg-1; 0.5 mg mL-1) and tiletamine-zolazepam (TZ; 2 mg kg-1; 50 mg mL-1). The mixture was injected intramuscularly (IM) using the Dan-Inject pistol system. When the panda was immobilized, it was weighed, a physical examination was performed and a blood sample collected. Every 5 minutes, the heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (fR), rectal temperature (T), noninvasive systolic arterial pressure (SAP), capillary refill time (CRT), mucous membrane color and pulse quality were recorded. After all procedures had been completed, atipamezole (40 μg kg-1) was injected IM. Results: A single injection of dexMTZ resulted in the immobilization of all seven giant pandas. The median (range) of anesthetic agents administered was dexM 8.4 μg kg-1 (7.3-10.5 μg kg-1) and TZ 2.0 mg kg-1 (1.8-2.5 mg kg-1). The palpebral reflex was lost 8 (7-12) minutes after the injection. Most of the physiological variables remained in the acceptable range. All procedures were completed in approximately 1 hour. Six out of the seven (85.7%) giant pandas recovered smoothly; one panda had a rough recovery. Conclusions and clinical relevance: DexMTZ produced a satisfactory immobilization and a smooth recovery for wild giant pandas while allowing approximately 55 minutes for planned noninvasive procedures. © 2016 Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists and the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia.
PubMed | Shaanxi Foping National Reserve, Beijing Zoo and China Agricultural University
Type: Clinical Trial | Journal: Veterinary anaesthesia and analgesia | Year: 2016
To assess the effects and utility of dexmedetomidine combined with tiletamine and zolazepam (dexMTZ) to immobilize the wild giant panda.Prospective clinical study.Seven giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), five males and two females, aged 7-20years and weighing 69.2-132.9kg.Once an animal was located, prior data on the individual was reviewed and the pandas previously estimated body weight was used to calculate the volumes of drugs to administer: dexmedetomidine (dexM; 8gkg(-1) ; 0.5mgmL(-1) ) and tiletamine-zolazepam (TZ; 2mgkg(-1) ; 50mgmL(-1) ). The mixture was injected intramuscularly (IM) using the Dan-Inject pistol system. When the panda was immobilized, it was weighed, a physical examination was performed and a blood sample collected. Every 5minutes, the heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (fR ), rectal temperature (T), noninvasive systolic arterial pressure (SAP), capillary refill time (CRT), mucous membrane color and pulse quality were recorded. After all procedures had been completed, atipamezole (40gkg(-1) ) was injected IM.A single injection of dexMTZ resulted in the immobilization of all seven giant pandas. The median (range) of anesthetic agents administered was dexM 8.4gkg(-1) (7.3-10.5gkg(-1) ) and TZ 2.0mgkg(-1) (1.8-2.5mgkg(-1) ). The palpebral reflex was lost 8 (7-12)minutes after the injection. Most of the physiological variables remained in the acceptable range. All procedures were completed in approximately 1hour. Six out of the seven (85.7%) giant pandas recovered smoothly; one panda had a rough recovery.DexMTZ produced a satisfactory immobilization and a smooth recovery for wild giant pandas while allowing approximately 55minutes for planned noninvasive procedures.
PubMed | Anhui Normal University, Beijing Zoo and China Agricultural University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2016
Crocodilians are evolutionarily distinct reptiles that are distantly related to lizards and are thought to be the closest relatives of birds. Compared with birds and mammals, few studies have investigated the Ig light chain of crocodilians. Here, employing an Alligator sinensis genomic bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library and available genome data, we characterized the genomic organization of the Alligator sinensis IgL gene loci. The Alligator sinensis has two IgL isotypes, and , the same as Anolis carolinensis. The Ig locus contains 6 C genes, each preceded by a J gene, and 86 potentially functional V genes upstream of (J-C)n. The Ig locus contains a single C gene, 6 Js and 62 functional Vs. All VL genes are classified into a total of 31 families: 19 V families and 12 V families. Based on an analysis of the chromosomal location of the light chain genes among mammals, birds, lizards and frogs, the data further confirm that there are two IgL isotypes in the Alligator sinensis: Ig and Ig. By analyzing the cloned Ig/ cDNA, we identified a biased usage pattern of V families in the expressed V and V. An analysis of the junctions of the recombined VJ revealed the presence of N and P nucleotides in both expressed and sequences. Phylogenetic analysis of the V genes revealed V families shared by mammals, birds, reptiles and Xenopus, suggesting that these conserved V families are orthologous and have been retained during the evolution of IgL. Our data suggest that the Alligator sinensis IgL gene repertoire is highly diverse and complex and provide insight into immunoglobulin gene evolution in vertebrates.
PubMed | Beijing Zoo and China Agricultural University
Type: | Journal: BioMed research international | Year: 2015
This study involved a death which occurred in four Himalayan griffons housed in Beijing zoo, China. Based on pathogen identification and the pathological changes observed, we did characterize the fungi and Hepatitis E virus (HEV) in four dead Himalayan griffons. Pathological changes were severe. Membranous-like material was observed on the surface of the internal organs. Spleen was necrotic. Focal lymphocyte infiltration in the liver and many sunflower-like fungi nodules were evident in the tissues, especially in the kidney. PCR was used to identify the pathogen. Based on the 18SrRNA genomic sequence of known fungi, the results confirmed that all four dead Himalayan griffons were infected with Aspergillus. At the same time the detection of HEV also showed positive results. To the best of our knowledge, this work appears to be the first report of concurrent presence of Aspergillosis and Hepatitis E virus in rare avian species.
PubMed | Sun Yat Sen University, Beijing Zoo, New York University, Cloud Mountain Conservation and 6 more.
Type: | Journal: American journal of primatology | Year: 2017
We describe a species of Hoolock gibbon (Primates: Hylobatidae) that is new to science from eastern Myanmar and southwestern China. The genus of hoolock gibbons comprises two previously described living species, the western (Hoolock hoolock) and eastern hoolock (H. leuconedys) gibbons, geographically isolated by the Chindwin River. We assessed the morphological and genetic characteristics of wild animals and museum specimens, and conducted multi-disciplinary analyses using mitochondrial genomic sequences, external morphology, and craniodental characters to evaluate the taxonomic status of the hoolock population in China. The results suggest that hoolocks distributed to the east of the Irrawaddy-Nmai Hka Rivers, which were previously assigned to H. leuconedys, are morphologically and genetically distinct from those to the west of the river, and should be recognized as a new species, the Gaoligong hoolock gibbon or skywalker hoolock gibbon (H. tianxing sp. nov.). We consider that the new species should be categorized as Endangered under IUCN criteria. The discovery of the new species focuses attention on the need for improved conservation of small apes, many of which are in danger of extinction in southern China and Southeast Asia.
Shan L.,CAS Institute of Zoology |
Hu Y.,CAS Institute of Zoology |
Zhu L.,CAS Institute of Zoology |
Yan L.,CAS Institute of Zoology |
And 5 more authors.
Molecular Biology and Evolution | Year: 2014
The captive genetic management of threatened species strives to preserve genetic diversity and avoid inbreeding to ensure populations remain available, healthy, and viable for future reintroduction. Determining and responding to the genetic status of captive populations is therefore paramount to these programs. Here, we genotyped 19 microsatellite loci for 240 captive giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) (∼64% of the captive population) from four breeding centers, Wolong (WL), Chengdu (CD), Louguantai (LGT), and Beijing (BJ), and analyzed 655 bp of mitochondrial DNA control region sequence for 220 of these animals. High levels of genetic diversity and low levels of inbreeding were estimated in the breeding centers, indicating that the captive population is genetically healthy and deliberate further genetic input from wild animals is unnecessary. However, the LGT population faces a higher risk of inbreeding, and significant genetic structure was detected among breeding centers, with LGT-CD and WL-BJ clustering separately. Based on these findings, we highlight that: 1) the LGT population should be managed as an independent captive population to resemble the genetic distinctness of their Qinling Mountain origins; 2) exchange between CD and WL should be encouraged because of similar wild founder sources; 3) the selection of captive individuals for reintroduction should consider their geographic origin, genetic background, and genetic contribution to wild populations; and 4) combining our molecular genetic data with existing pedigree data will better guide giant panda breeding and further reduce inbreeding into the future. © 2014 The Author 2014.
Zhao S.,CAS Institute of Zoology |
Zhao S.,Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Transomics Biotechnologies |
Zheng P.,CAS Institute of Zoology |
Zheng P.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences |
And 20 more authors.
Nature Genetics | Year: 2013
The panda lineage dates back to the late Miocene and ultimately leads to only one extant species, the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Although global climate change and anthropogenic disturbances are recognized to shape animal population demography their contribution to panda population dynamics remains largely unknown. We sequenced the whole genomes of 34 pandas at an average 4.7-fold coverage and used this data set together with the previously deep-sequenced panda genome to reconstruct a continuous demographic history of pandas from their origin to the present. We identify two population expansions, two bottlenecks and two divergences. Evidence indicated that, whereas global changes in climate were the primary drivers of population fluctuation for millions of years, human activities likely underlie recent population divergence and serious decline. We identified three distinct panda populations that show genetic adaptation to their environments. However, in all three populations, anthropogenic activities have negatively affected pandas for 3,000 years. © 2013 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.
Yang M.,German Primate Center |
Yang Y.,Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve |
Cui D.,Beijing Zoo |
Fickenscher G.,German Primate Center |
And 3 more authors.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology | Year: 2012
The Guizhou snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus brelichi) is a primate species endemic to the Wuling Mountains in southern China. With a maximum of 800 wild animals, the species is endangered and one of the rarest Chinese primates. To assess the genetic diversity within R. brelichi and to analyze its genetic population structure, we collected fecal samples from the wild R. brelichi population and sequenced the hypervariable region I of the mitochondrial control region from 141 individuals. We compared our data with those from the two other Chinese snub-nosed species (R. roxellana, R. bieti) and reconstructed their phylogenetic relationships and divergence times. With only five haplotypes and a maximum of 25 polymorphic sites, R. brelichi shows the lowest genetic diversity in terms of haplotype diversity (h), nucleotide diversity (π), and average number of pairwise nucleotide differences (Π). The most recent common ancestor of R. brelichi lived ∼0.36 million years ago (Ma), thus more recently than those of R. roxellana (∼0.91 Ma) and R. bieti (∼1.33 Ma). Phylogenetic analysis and analysis of molecular variance revealed a clear and significant differentiation among the three Chinese snub-nosed monkey species. Population genetic analyses (Tajima's D, Fu's F s, and mismatch distribution) suggest a stable population size for R. brelichi. For the other two species, results point in the same direction, but population substructure possibly introduces some ambiguity. Because of the lower genetic variation, the smaller population size and the more restricted distribution, R. brelichi might be more vulnerable to environmental changes or climate oscillations than the other two Chinese snub-nosed monkey species. Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.