Improving the management of a highly inbred species: the case of the White-winged Wood Duck Cairina scutulata in captivity

Cynthia Tomlinson, Georgina M Mace, Jeffrey M Black, Nigel Hewston


Studbook data on captive White-winged Wood Duck were analyzed to help in the forward planning of an ongoing breeding programme. Conservative assumptions were made to fill gaps in the data set and enable analyses. The population growth rate seems to have declined since 1985, but this is due at least in part to deliberate management decisions and to missing data. The present population of 70 individuals is descended from just seven founders with a founder genome equivalent score of 2.58. This score could be improved only slightly by breeding to equalize the genetic contributions of individual founders. The data were analyzed to assess the minimum viable population size required to maintain a population with 90% heterozygosity retained for 200 years. A realistic minimum population size of 500 to 600 could achieve this goal only with an increase in the number of founders to between ten and 20, and an increase in the ratio of effective to census population size. The planned establishment of an international studbook will improve the data available and may lead to more optimistic analyses.

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.