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The Role of Zoos in Helping Conserve Animal Populations

a man standing next to a zebra

Today, many zoos around the world participate in programs that protect endangered species, such as conservation breeding, releasing animals back into their environment, public education, and field conservation. They are a big part of helping to keep endangered species alive and finding ways to preserve our natural habitats. Zoos have, in recent years, expanded their research and are studying over 560 species and how they survive.

Captive or Conservation Breeding and Reintroduction Programs

Some zoos participate in conservation or captive breeding in their facilities to help keep endangered species from becoming extinct. These programs should be carefully managed to ensure genetic diversity. Some of the species saved by these programs are the golden lion tamarin, a species that came close to extinction due to mining, logging, and poaching. Over one-half of the population of this lion, today is due to captive breeding programs. Other endangered species saved by this program are the condor, bongo; an antelope, the golden frog, Bellinger River snapping turtle, and the Amur leopard.

Often, the zoos that breed animals reintroduce them back into their natural habitat and have programs for specific species. They may plant trees to try to improve the environment, work to reverse pollution in water systems and create preserves where hunters and poachers cannot go. According to Wild Welfare, zoos today deal with three types of conservation. They are research, advocacy, and putting this into practice.

Research

Zoos that research and study animals focus on animal care, health, and their environment. They specifically study the environment and how to reintroduce some species back into their native habitat. These zoos have staff that study animal in their habitat and learn about their biological and psychological needs. They learn how to preserve biosystems that help the species survive. Trained staff learn about how pollution, loss of habitat, and hunting affect these species and their survival.

Public Education in Zoos

The public learns about endangered species and animals in the zoo through the trained staff that they hire. Many offer classes and programs for children and adults in their conservation programs and offer ways to get involved. Some zoos have educational programs with field trips and classes for all ages. Many zoos offer training and programs that allow adults and young adults to participate in conservation programs that help local wildlife populations.

Help your local zoo by visiting their facility with family and friends and donating to conservation projects or by becoming a member of a group or association they have. For more information, contact us at Safari Lake Geneva today!

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