Many popular animals kept in zoos across Europe have become deeply inbred and very little “genetic integrity”, a new report reveals.
A study by conservation geneticist Dr Paul O’Donoghue at the Aspinall Foundation found that the pedigrees of many zoo animals have become contaminated by hybridisation with different, related species.
The study examined the DNA of nine “founder” animals which all 110 captive cats (wildcats, tigers, lions etc) are descended from and found that they were all closely related.
“It means the animals alive now are all related, mostly sharing more DNA than if they were cousins,” O’Donoghue told the Sunday Times. “When such close relatives mate, their offspring become inbred, meaning they face stillbirths, genetic diseases and shorter lives.”
Read the full, original story: New Report Reveals Many Zoo Animals Are ‘Genetic Disasters’