Inter-aviary distance and visual access influence conservation breeding outcomes in a territorial, endangered bird

Species extinctions are becoming a global crisis, affecting biodiversity and ecosystem services, with island populations being particularly vulnerable. In response, conservation managers are increasingly turning to ex situ conservation breeding programs to establish assurance populations and provide a source for release and re-establishment of wild populations. The ‘Alalā (Hawaiian crow, Corvus hawaiiensis) is a critically […]

Animal Welfare in Conservation Breeding: Applications and Challenges

Animal welfare and conservation breeding have overlapping and compatible goals that are occasionally divergent. Efforts to improve enclosures, provide enriching experiences, and address behavioral and physical needs further the causes of animal welfare in all zoo settings. However, by mitigating stress, increasing behavioral competence, and enhancing reproduction, health, and survival, conservation breeding programs must also […]

Improving the sustainability of ex situ populations with mate choice

Many breeding programs managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plans® (SSPs) are not meeting goals for population size and genetic diversity due to failure of recommended pairs to breed successfully. According to AZA Population Management Center analyses, as many as 80% of recommended breeding pairs fail to produce young before […]

The conservation-welfare nexus in reintroduction programmes: a role for sensory ecology

Since reintroduction programmes involve moving animals from captive or wild environments and releasing them into novel environments, there are sure to be a number of challenges to the welfare of the individuals involved. Behavioural theory can help us develop reintroductions that are better for both the welfare of the individual and the conservation of populations. […]

Some Analyses and Recommendations on Diet Formulation for Conservation Breeding of the Galapagos Rice Rat of Isla Santiago, Nesoryzomys swarthi

Nesoryzomys swarthi, the most endangered of the three surviving, endemic Galapagos “rice rats,” was only discovered in the early 20th Century and was considered extinct until its rediscovery in 1997 at a north-central coastal location on Isla Santiago. Potential threats to the entire genus include invasive rodent species, feral cats, new diseases, and climate change. […]

Effects of Inbreeding on Skeletal Size and Fluctuating Asymmetry of Peromyscus polionotus Mice

Measurements of size and asymmetry in morphology might provide early indications of damaging effects of inbreeding or other genetic changes in conservation breeding programs. We examined the effects of inbreeding on size and fluctuating asymmetry (FA) in skull and limb bone measurements in experimental populations of three subspecies of Peromyscus polionotus mice that had previously […]