Research on the population genetics of beaver in Flanders

Project: own initiative (position paper)



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The Flemish species protection programme beaver allows for management at a favourable conservation status. Information about occupation and connectivity through the landscape are then crucial for estimating the impact of this management. INBO already collected data on this subject through classical telemetry studies, but within the broader Flemish context additional information is needed. Within this project the population-genetic structure of the Flemish beaver population will be mapped.

Exploratory analyses already showed that the planned methods provide enough suitable genetic material to answer these questions. Over a period of four years beavers will be captured at different locations in Flanders, labeled on the tail, and a DNA sample will be taken. In parallel, ad hoc samples will also be taken when beavers are caught and moved within the framework of damage management. The data from this project will indicate which areas are already strongly connected, where the biggest barriers are located and how beaver populations are spreading, so that potentially hard-to-reach areas can be unlocked and targeted choices can be made for possible introduction sites.

An additional methodological section will examine whether hair samples, as a non-invasive alternative, can also be used for future monitoring.
Effective start/end date1/01/2031/12/24

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