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I’ve just been reading this interesting paper on black rhino genetics a subject that was evidently poorly understood, piecing together the genetic history of these animals has been made very difficult due to the rapid and catastrophic decline in their population. Extinctions, genetic erosion and conservation options for the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) It is interesting to see the distribution that they have gone with; I believe there is s till a question mark over the distribution of black rhinos in West Africa, my understanding is that there is really still no definitive proof for the presence of black rhinos further west than North Eastern Nigeria and the far west of Niger basically the region around Lake Chad. Whereas their map shows rhinos as far west as Benin and Burkina Faso, some other maps online show rhinos as far west as Senegal. The only actual evidence of black rhinos much further west than Lake Chad is some rhino spoor that the 19th century German explorer Heinrich Barth allegedly found on the east bank of the Niger River in 1853, I would guess somewhere between Niamey and ‘W’ National Park. Barth was familiar with rhinos having encountered them near Lake Chad but did not believe they occurred so far west he never saw the actual animal only its spoor. This is of course all sadly somewhat academic now as black rhinos are entirely extinct in Western and Central Africa now, the rhinos due to be reintroduced into Zakouma NP in Chad next year will be coming from South Africa I’m not sure if I’ve posted this before but here’s a paper on the distribution of the black rhino in West Africa. Historical distribution of the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) in West Africa
The complete DNA sequence of the cheetah has been published here: http://www.genomebiology.com/2015/16/1/277 The new data supports the theory that past genetic bottlenecks have greatly reduced genetic diversity among cheetah. There is also genomic evidence for reduced male fertility as well as evidence of specific genetic alterations that contribute to the cheetah's specialized hunting style.
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