The long-tailed goral (also called the Amur goral) Naemorhedus caudatus (subfamily Caprinae), a vulnerable and protected species designated by IUCN and CITES, has sharply been declining in the population size and is now becoming critically endangered in South Korea. This species has been conserved as a natural monument by the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration since 1968. In this study, using 78 fecal DNA samples with a non-invasive genetic approach, we assessed the genetic integrity and individual identification-based population size for the goral population from Seoraksan National Park representing the largest wild population in Korea. Using the successfully isolated 38 fecal DNA, phylogeographic and population genetic analyses were performed with mitochondrial DNA control region (CR) sequences and nine microsatellite loci. We found seven CR haplotypes, of which five were unique to the Seoraksan population, considering previously determined haplotypes in Korean populations. The Seoraksan population showed higher haplotype diversity (0.777 ± 0.062) and mean number of alleles (4.67 ± 1.563) relative to southern populations in Korea reported from previous studies, with no signal of a population bottleneck. Microsatellite-based individual identification estimate based on probability of identity (PID) indicated a population size of ≥30 in this population. Altogether, we suggest that for future management efforts of this species in the Seoraksan National Park, conserving its genetic integrity as an 'endemic' lineage, and curbing a decrease in its number through mitigating habitat destruction might be key to secure the population for the long term.

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