Panthers were in a bottleneck

population bottleneck is an evolutionary event in which a large proportion of a population or species is killed or otherwise prevented from reproducing. The surviving animals continue breeding but the make-up of the population can be changed forever. Population bottlenecks greatly reduce the genetic diversity of a species making it more vulnerable to extinction.

population_bottleneck.png

For example, if a horrific disease spread around the world killing all people on Earth except twenty. And those surviving twenty all just happened to have red hair and pale skin. And if the survivors started to reproduce to save the human race. Then all of the survivors babies would have red hair and pale skin. And even if the human population recovered to what it is now it would not have the fantastic genetic diversity we currently enjoy.

Bottlenecks are not very common but these panthers experienced one. They were nearly wiped out in the early 20th century and their population size dropped to a as little as six animals. It is very lucky they are not extinct.

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