With help from a subspecies that’s a near dead-ringer genetically, the extinct Caspian tiger could once again inhabit Central Asia.
In a study published in the journal Biological Conservation, researchers from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and State University of New York (SUNY) say they have found two spots in Kazakhstan to reintroduce the extinct enormous cat.
Well, sort of. The scientists’ approach hinges not on some sort of cloning scheme but on using Amur tigers (also known as Siberian tigers) to accomplish the feat. The animals, thanks to information gleaned from DNA analysis in recent years, are genetically almost identical to the Caspian cats and under the plan would function as a kind of stand-in.
Caspian tigers, extinct for close to 50 years, once roamed Central Asia, from the Caspian Sea to northwestern China, before struggles that included loss of habitat during Soviet-era land development robbed them of their prey and their …