general info about Theriologia Ukrainica

Theriologia Ukrainica

ISSN 2616-7379 (print) • ISSN 2617-1120 (online)

2022 • Vol. 23 • Contents of volume >>>

download pdfValnisty, A. A., K. V. Homel, E. E. Kheidorova, M. E. Nikiforov, V. O. Molchan, P. Y. Lobanovskaya, A. A. Semionova. 2022. Reintroduction shapes the genetic structure of the red deer (Cervus elaphus) population in Belarus. Theriologia Ukrainica, 23: 31–45.



Reintroduction shapes the genetic structure of the red deer (Cervus elaphus) population in Belarus


A. A. Valnisty (orcid: 0000-0002-3612-1467)
K. V. Homel (orcid: 0000-0002-2396-1387)
E. E. Kheidorova (orcid: 0000-0002-1341-9914)
M. E. Nikiforov (orcid: 0000-0002-1341-9914)
V. O. Molchan (orcid: no)
A. A. Siamionava (orcid: 0000-0002-5168-863X)
P. Y. Lobanovskaya (orcid: no)


Scientific and Practical Centre for Bioresources, NAS of Belarus (Minsk, Belarus)


Theriologia Ukrainica. 2022. Vol. 23: 31–45.




English, with Ukrainian summary, titles of tables, captures to figs


The red deer (Cervus elaphus) is considered a valuable and important ungulate species with significant ecological role and high importance as a game species in Europe. Its local population in Belarus had undergone extended periods of decline in the past, followed by multiple reintroduction campaigns and management policy adjustments during the Soviet and post-Soviet periods, which eventually led to a recent spike in estimated population numbers. Along with increasing the numbers, those reintroductions have made the understanding of the structure and origins of the populations for the purpose of proper management and sustainable long-term growth much more complicated. Information on the origin of the reintroduction stock has often been lacking, while control of the red deer population dynamics in Belarus is currently limited to indirect survey of putative population numbers, with no utilization of contemporary genetic analysis. Here we report an estimate and interpretation of the red deer population structure in Belarus based on the analysis of microsatellite genotype data from 118 individuals of the red deer from the most well-known groups across Belarus. These specimens were genotyped using a novel multiplex panel of 14 microsatellite loci with various levels of polymorphism. We describe two red deer subpopulations with overlapping ranges that form the Belarussian metapopulation. We also report estimates of their genetic diversity, gained from the analysis of molecular variance, Bayesian analysis of genetic structure, differentiation indices, genetic bottleneck event analysis, and standard genetic diversity metrics. Based on the geographical distribution of subpopulations, their genetic differentiation and known history of red deer reintroductions in Belarus, we consider that both these subpopulations emerged mostly out of the patterns of animal release during two separate periods of reintroduction. We also suggest appropriate population management adjustments arising from the issue of anthropogenic reintroductions that determine the population structure in this managed species.


red deer, ungulates, game species, genetic structure, reintroduction, population augmentation, microsatellite analysis, Belarus.



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