Genetic signature of blind reintroductions of Iberian ibex (Capra pyrenaica) in Catalonia, Northeast Spain

Tânia Barros, Joana M. Fernandes, Eduardo Ferreira, João Carvalho, Marta Valldeperes, Santiago Lavín, Carlos Fonseca, Jordi Ruiz-Olmo, Emmanuel Serrano

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The Iberian ibex is one of the most singular species of the Iberian Peninsula. Throughout the years, this species suffered several threats which led the population to its decline. Many reintroductions and translocations were made, however, none of those actions took into account the genetic patterns of both reintroduced individuals and the target populations. In this paper, we explored the genetic traits of three populations of Iberian ibex in Catalonia, which experienced blind reintroductions in past years: The populations of Iberian ibex from Els Ports de Tortosa i Beseit National Game Reserve (TBNGR), Montserrat Natural Park (Monserrat) and Montgrí, les Illes Medes i el Baix Ter Natural Park (Montgrí) Based on the genetic patterns of the three populations coupled with the absence of genetic introgression with domestic goats-inferred using mitochondrial and nuclear markers-we propose that these should be regarded as two different management units: TBNGR coupled with Montserrat, and Montgrí. Montserrat population should be targeted as a population model for ecology and evolution studies. Although we did not detect evidences of recent bottleneck events, this population seems to be monomorphic for the mtDNA haplotype. Our results suggest that the blind reintroductions from TBNGR to Montserrat failed on maximizing the genetic diversity of the latter. We enhance the importance of genetic monitoring of both the source population and the selected individuals to be re-introduced. We conclude that the three studied population of Iberian ibex must be monitored to explore which strategy would be advantageous for maintaining the genetic diversity. On the other hand, TBNGR should be monitored to assess the existence of its singular genetic variation, where stochastic events could preserve this lost genetic variation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0269873
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Genetic polymorphism
  • Goats
  • Haplotypes
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Montserrat
  • Phylogeography
  • Population genetics
  • Species diversity


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