Conservationists to 'Poop-Print' Nepal's Tigers

Researchers want to use tiger feces to create a DNA database
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2011 9:05 AM CDT
Conservationists to 'Poop-Print' Nepal's Tigers
A Royal Bengal tiger cools off in a pond at Kathmandu Zoo, 15 June 2003 during another day of high temperatures. There are only about 100 tigers left in the wild in Nepal.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – In the fight to save the endangered Bengal tiger, scientists are trying to build a DNA database of the remaining 100 big cats that remain in the Nepalese wild—using the tigers' poop. Photographs and footprints don't cut it anymore, say conservationists, so for the next two years the Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal will scour four national parks, sample bags in hand, reports AFP. "The whole idea is to scoop all the poop and get a genetic database of all the tigers in Nepal," said one researcher.

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Through the feces, scientists will be able to examine a load of additional information, such as the animal's breeding habits, range, and sex. "The idea is to figure out whether the current boundaries are effective in housing a healthy genetic population of tigers," said the scientist. (Read more Nepal stories.)

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