Data from: Evaluation of microsatellite markers for populations studies and forensic identification of African lions (Panthera leo)
Miller, Susan M. et al. (2014), Data from: Evaluation of microsatellite markers for populations studies and forensic identification of African lions (Panthera leo), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.f61vq
The South African lion (Panthera leo) population is highly fragmented. One-third of its wild lions occur in small (<1000 km2) reserves. These lions were reintroduced from other areas of the species’ historical range. Management practices on these reserves have not prioritized genetic provenance or heterozygosity. These trends potentially constrain the conservation value of these lions. To ensure the best management and long-term survival of these subpopulations as a viable collective population, the provenance and current genetic diversity must be described. Concurrently, poaching of lions to supply a growing market for lion bones in Asia may become a serious conservation challenge in the future. Having a standardized, validated method for matching confiscated lion parts with carcasses will be a key tool in investigating these crimes. We evaluated 28 microsatellites in the African lion using samples from 18 small reserves and 1 captive facility in South Africa, two conservancies in Zimbabwe, and Kruger National and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Parks to determine the loci most suited for population management and forensic genetic applications. Twelve microsatellite loci with a match probability of 1.1×10−5 between siblings were identified for forensics. A further 10 could be added for population genetics studies.