HIMALAYAN IBEX IS A DISTINCT SPECIES
What’s in news?
A study shows that, the Himalayan Ibex is a distinct species from the Siberian Ibex.
- Conducted by: The study has been conducted by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).
- Published in: The paper, ‘Genetic evidence for allopatric speciation of the Siberian Ibex (Capra sibirica) in India,’ has recently been published in Endangered Species Research, an international peer-reviewed journal.
- The analysis includes the sequences available from all across the distribution ranges of the Ibex.
- From the analysis it concluded that, Himalayan Ibex is genetically different from all other ranges of Siberian Ibex.
- Results: The results of the genetic analysis surprisingly revealed that I-T clade (referred to as Siberian Ibex) was estimated to have diverged from Alpine Ibex during the Pleistocene epoch (2.4 million years ago) than the Siberian Ibex during the Miocene-Pliocene boundary (6.6 million years ago).
- Conclusion: This study would help in understanding the Ibex distribution and its evolution.
- Future study: The study will further extend to focus on understanding how the mountain oscillations might have led to this allopatric speciation with the inclusion of sophisticated tools of genomics and GIS.
National Mission on Himalayan Studies:
- About: It is a project funded for unravelling the complexity in species recognition of Indian Ibex, where the researchers undertook field surveys and collected faecal samples from Lahaul and Spiti, Himachal Pradesh.
- Implemented by: The project was implemented and funded by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
About Himalayan Ibex:
- Family: It belongs to the family called Bovidae.
- Distribution: The Himalayan ibex is widespread in the higher mountain ranges of Karakoram, Hindukush and Himalayan mountain ranges, of Gilgit-Baltistan.
- Physical Characteristics: Male species has large arms and horns while the female has smaller arms and horns.
- Habitat: In high mountains at an altitude of 3000-3500m (10,000– 11,000 ft.) in common. Also it can find in following conditions;
- In summer – it can find at 3,660 m to over 5,000 m height in Pakistan.
- In winter – due to snow fall it can find below 2,135 m
- Threat: The threats for the species as follows – illegal hunting, human disturbance, due to extensive concentration of high mountain ranges in the extreme north western regions, habitat loss and competition for forage with domestic livestock.
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