Friday, September 26, 2014

Conservation Breeding Centers for Wildlife Sustainability

Conservation Breeding Centers for Wildlife Sustainability

Historically, approaches for preserving biodiversity have centered on saving habitat and, by default, protecting species living in these native environments (in situ).  However, the magnitude of the species crisis means we must extend our strategies, including considering how zoos and breeding centers can play a larger role (ex situ approaches). Traditional captive programs are severely limited by space, and most captive populations are not self-sustaining.  The zoological community is experiencing a real and growing crisis about its capacity to maintain living collections that are genetically vigorous and demographically stable.  There is a consortium, however, called the Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2) that collectively manages thousands of acres and has decades of experience in conservation breeding.  C2S2 cooperatively applies its unique resources for the survival of species with unique needs – large areas, natural group sizes, minimal public disturbance and research.

This exciting new 1-week course will share the details of the specialized C2S2 expertise and facilities that manage, study and reproduce wild animals on a sufficient scale to create demographically and genetically stable populations.  These organizations are ‘non-traditional’ in that they have substantial space and specialized resources that allow animal production as well as scientific study and population recovery, including for reintroduction.  This course, through lectures, discussions and field demonstrations, is designed to communicate information on the philosophies, practices, facilities and expertise associated with ‘conservation breeding’, including what makes breeding centers unique and effective. Based on the interests of participants, additional related topics may include public awareness, conservation education, guest experience and financial sustainability.  The course will be led by Dr. David Wildt (SCBI) and will be taught by a team of expert instructors from within C2S2 institutions.

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