1 Ex Situ - Captive Populations

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Goals

self-sustaining captive population that will contribute to the wild population through reintroduction

Limitations

1) Population size (generally small populations)
2) Adaptation to captivity (genetically or behaviorally more suited to captivity than they would be in the wild -- we try to reduce this)
3) Learning skills issue (can't house multiple generations)
4) Continuity (long-term commitment for a zoo)
5) Concentration (if all the animals are concentrated in one place, there is a greater chance the species will be destroyed by things like fires, diseases, etc.)
6) Surplus Animals (animals in captivity tend to live longer, yet don't reproduce)
7) Finance (it's expensive)

Evolution of Zoos

Used to be very small, but have increased. Gone from a taxonomic theme to an ecological theme

Good zoos are now conservation centers (with immersion exhibits)

Ark Paradigm

Keep species in captivity until conditions are acceptable.

Zoos used as a last refuge

Zoo Contribution

Only about 500 populations have space in zoos, so it is take up by the large, charismatic megavertebrates

support a lot of scientific programs (including in situ conservation)

Extensive education programs and public awareness

Objectives of captive populations

1) Exhibit only
2) Education
3) Research (can conduct certain studies that you can't out of captivity)
4) Conservation

SSPs, studbooks

generally online databases that hold the pedigree for individuals. Can then be used to determine breeding pairs

Demographic Goals of captive programs

1) maintain stability in population (birth = death) -- not declining; don't have to pull animals from the wild
2) maintain 90% of the genetic diversity and 90 % of heterozygosity for 100 years -- 10% inbreeding is a lot in the wild, but in this situation it is realistic

Genetic Goals of captive programs

1) Stop Evolution (need to maintain them to be alright in the wild; must breed equally)
2) avoid adaptation
3) 90%s
4) avoid inbreeding

Challenges of Captive Populations

They are small populations, so:
1) Environmental/ Catastrophes
2) Demographic Variability
3) Loss of Genetic Variation

Selecting Breeding Pairs

1) Low mean kinship (look at average, and anyone below is viable)
2) Male and female should have a similar MK
3) avoid pairing relatives (look at inbreeding coefficient for this)

Mean Kinship

The average kinship between and individual and all individuals in the population

Low MK = few relatives, genetically viable

Associated Reading

Bowkett

What are some benefits of captive programs?

They can act as an "insurance policy" for species of animals that are dealing with problems in their original habitat

What were the factors that affected whether or not your population could reach/maintain the genetic goal?

Mean kinship, number of individuals, number and frequency of introductions, time between generations, etc

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