Captive breeding

Captive breeding

Captive breedingis the process of breeding rare or endangered species in human controlled environments with restricted settings, such as wildlife preserves, zoos and other conservation facilities; sometimes the process is construed to include release of individual organisms to the wild, when there is sufficient natural habitat to support new individuals or when the threat to the species in the wild is lessened.

This technique has been used with great success for many species for some time, with probably the oldest known such instances of captive breeding being attributed to menageries of European and Asian rulers, a case in point being the Pere David's Deer. The idea was popularized among modern conservationists independently by Peter Scott and Gerald Durrell in the 1950s and 1960s, founders of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and Jersey Zoo - who demonstrated considerable success with a wide variety of life forms in the 1970s ranging from birds (e.g. Pink Pigeon), mammals (e.g. Pygmy Hog), reptiles (e.g. Round Island Boa) and amphibians (e.g. Poison arrow frogs). Their ideas were independently validated by the success of Operation Oryx (under the auspices of the Fauna and Flora Preservation Society), which successfully captive bred the Arabian Oryx in 1962 and reintroduced them back into Arabia.The Przewalski's horse has recently been re-introduced to the wild in Mongolia, its native habitat.

Such techniques are usually difficult to implement for highly mobile species like some migratory birds (e.g. cranes) and fishes (e.g. Hilsa).

If the captive breeding population is too small, inbreeding may occur due to reduced gene pool, which may lead to the population lacking immunity to diseases and other problems. Over sufficient number of generations, inbred populations can regain "normal" genetic diversity.

The breeding of endangered species is coordinated by cooperative breeding programmes containing international studbooks and coordinators, who evaluate the roles of individual animals and institutions from a global or regional perspective. There are regional programmes for the conservation of endangered species:
*America: Species Survival Plan SSP (American Zoo and Aquarium Association AZA, Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums CAZA)
*Europe: European Endangered Species Programme EEP (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria EAZA)
*Australasia: Australasian Species Management Program ASMP (Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria ARAZPA)
*Africa: African Preservation Program APP (African Association of Zoological Gardens and Aquaria PAAZAB)
*Japan: Conservation activities of Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums JAZA
*South Asia: Conservation activities of South Asian Zoo Association for Regional Cooperation SAZARC
*South East Asia: Conservation activities of South East Asian Zoo Association SEAZA

ee also

* Ex-situ conservation
* European Endangered Species Programme or EEP
* (American) Species Survival Plan or SSP
* World Conference on Breeding Endangered Species in Captivity as an Aid to their Survival or WCBESCAS
* Zoo

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