Genetic structure of two populations of the Namibian giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis angolensis

Two geographically distinct populations of giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) were sampled for this study, the northern Namib Desert and Etosha National Park. Population genetic parameters and relationships within subpopulations were estimated to better understand the genetic architecture of this isolated subspecies. Gene flow between the geographically separated populations can be attributed to recent translocation of giraffe between the two populations. Inbreeding estimates in the six subpopulations studied were low though we found evidence that genetic drift may be affecting the genetic diversity of the isolated populations in northern Namibia. Population dynamics of the sampling locations was inferred with relationship coefficient analyses. Recent molecular systematics of the Namibian giraffe populations indicates that they are distinct from the subspecies Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa and classified as G. c. angolensis. Based on genetic analyses, these giraffe populations of northern Namibia, the desert-dwelling giraffe and those protected in Etosha National Park, are a distinct subspecies from that previously assumed; thus we add data on G. c. angolensis to our scientific knowledge of this giraffe of southern Africa.

Last Updated
January 26, 2021
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