conservation

Viability analyses of an endangered donkey breed: the case of the Asinina de Miranda (Equus asinus)

Citation

M. Quaresma, A. M. F. Martins, J. B. Rodrigues, J. Colaço, R. Payan-Carreira. September 2014. Viability analyses of an endangered donkey breed: the case of the Asinina de Miranda (Equus asinus). Animal Production Science. 55:9. 1184-1191.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
30 September 2014
Volume: 
55
Issue: 
9
Page numbers: 
1184-1191
DOI number: 
10.1071/AN13307
Abstract

The donkey breed Asinina de Miranda, with fewer than 1000 breeding females, is in danger of extinction. The objectives of this study were to predict the progression of the breed under present management and identify determinants for survival, by means of a population viability analysis program, in order to suggest suitable management strategies. The simulation showed a high risk of extinction. The most critical factor for breed survival was the percentage of females breeding per year, but the actual percentage needed depended on the carrying capacity of the breed. Reducing female mortality and age at production of first offspring, assuring registration in the Studbook, and tracking the foals will significantly foster this donkey breed’s recovery and maintenance. The breed comprised a potentially reproductive population of 589 individuals; however, just 54.1% of the adult females registered in the Studbook ever foaled, and of these 62.7% foaled just once. The overall neonatal mortality for the first month of life was 8.92% and was lower in females (6.51%) than in males (12.0%) (P = 0.028). Neonatal mortality was unevenly distributed throughout the year, with lower mortality rates recorded in February–May and October–November, and higher mortality rates in June–September and again in December–January. The neonatal foal mortality rate was lower with females aged 5–15 years (8.06%) than those younger than 4 years (10.3%) or older than 16 years (14.1%) at foaling.
Article first published online

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Pedigree and herd characterization of a donkey breed vulnerable to extinction

Citation

M. Quaresma, A. M. F. Martins, J. B. Rodrigues, J. Colaço, R. Payan-Carreira. March 2014. Pedigree and herd characterization of a donkey breed vulnerable to extinction. Animal. 8:3. 354-359.

Authors
Publication details
Publication date: 
1 March 2014
Journal: 
Animal
Volume: 
8
Issue: 
3
Page numbers: 
354-359
Abstract

Most donkey and local horse breeds are vulnerable to extinction as mechanization of agriculture progress throughout the world. The present study analyzed the pedigree and herd records of the donkey Asinina de Miranda breed (RAM), identifying genealogical and human factors that may affect the breed genetic diversity in the future and suggesting suitable strategies to breed preservation, early on the conservation program. The breeding rate was very low, with a ratio of foaling/live animals of 0.23 (178/760). The estimated number of founders and ancestors contributing to the reference population was 128 and 121. The number of founder herds in the reference population was 64, with an effective number of founder herds for the reference population of 7.6. The mean age of herd owners was 65.50±0.884 years, with a negative association among the herd size and owner’s age (P<0.001). In contrast, the size of the herd and the ownership of a male were both positively associated (P<0.001) with the herd number of in-born foals. Both the owners’ age and the herd location (RAM home region v. dispersal region) were negatively associated with the foaling number (P<0.001). The main identified risk factors were: low breeding rates; low number of males and their unequal contribution to the genetic pool; unequal contribution of the herds to genetic pool; and advanced age of herd owners.
Published online: 13 December 2013

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