Reintroduction and genetic structure: Rocky Mountain elk in Yellowstone and the Western States

  • Published source details Hicks J.F., Rachlow J.L., Rhodes Jr O.E., Williams C.L. & Waits L.P. (2007) Reintroduction and genetic structure: Rocky Mountain elk in Yellowstone and the Western States. Journal of Mammalogy, 88, 129-138.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Translocate to re-establish or boost populations in native range

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Translocate to re-establish or boost populations in native range

    A replicated, controlled study (year not provided) in six protected areas across five states in western USA (Hicks et al. 2007) found that translocated elk Cervus canadensis populations had similar levels of genetic diversity compared to non-translocated populations. The genetic diversity (expressed as ‘expected heterozygosity’, He) of translocated elk populations (0.51–0.60 He) did not differ significantly from that of the source population (0.60 He). Between 1912 and 1985, five populations of elk were founded using animals translocated from source herds in Yellowstone National Park. Translocated populations had different founding histories but starting populations ranged from 12 to >150 individuals. The size of the translocated populations at the time of the research was 500–10,000 elk. In each population, 17–43 samples of skin or muscle tissue were collected from hunter-harvested elks. Tissue samples were frozen or stored in ethanol before DNA extraction. The dates of sample collection and laboratory work are not provided.

    (Summarised by: Ricardo Rocha)

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