While watching one of those adverts begging for money for an endangered species, a thought occurred to me.
The animal in question was the Amur Leopard, of which there are, apparently, only 35 left. I am wondering, if there are only 35 left, and I appreciate this may not include any captive animals, is there enough genetic diversity for the species to continue to exist should their habitat be saved?
This then becomes a wider question: how much diversity is needed for a healthy species, or from the other side of the question, at what level does lack of diversity become harmful?
I realise that environment plays a huge part in the equation. As I understand evolution, genetic diversity increases the chances of adaptation in a changing environment. I assume that a lack of that diversity will be less harmful in a stable environment than in a changing one.
Given climate change, which is likely to change every environment to some degree or other, what chance is there for many of the marginal species in the world?