AboutZoos, Since 2008


Not as Dead as a Dodo – The Top Ten Species Sur­viv­ing Because of Zoos

pub­lished 15 August 2012 | mod­i­fied 15 August 2012

If only zoos had existed in the time of the dodo, it may not be extinct today.

amur leopard zooGood zoos are pow­er­ful forces for con­ser­va­tion and some of the world’s most extra­or­di­nary and most threat­ened species would not be sur­viv­ing with­out them. The British and Irish Asso­ci­a­tion for Zoos and Aquar­i­ums (BIAZA), which pro­motes the val­ues of good zoos and aquar­i­ums, has com­piled a list of the top ten species most reliant on zoos in the UK and Ire­land. Ani­mals on the very brink of extinc­tion includ­ing a leop­ard, a lemur, an oddly named frog and even a tree have all made it into the top ten, high­light­ing some of the best exam­ples of how zoos are safe­guard­ing the future of our planet’s wildlife and their habitats.

This list high­lights ten pre­vail­ing exam­ples of how zoos are work­ing to save these and many other species from extinc­tion. With­out the valu­able con­ser­va­tion and breed­ing work of many of our mem­ber zoos and aquar­i­ums, many ‘at risk’ species such as these may be lost to extinc­tion forever
Dr Andrew Mar­shall, a mem­ber of BIAZA’s Field Pro­grammes Com­mit­tee, and co– ordi­na­tor of the com­pi­la­tion of the list »

Dr Mar­shall who works for Flamingo Land and the Uni­ver­sity of York, said: “Draw­ing up the short­list was not straight­for­ward because there were hun­dreds of zoo-​funded con­ser­va­tion projects to choose from; how­ever we put together strict cri­te­ria and we hope our final short­list will draw atten­tion to just how impor­tant the work of zoos is.”

The cri­te­ria for select­ing the top ten included choos­ing species asso­ci­ated with ongo­ing field ini­tia­tives by zoos. Par­tic­u­lar impor­tance was given to ini­tia­tives which included a man­age­ment role, rather than just pro­vid­ing funds. Species cho­sen are cur­rently listed as Endan­gered, Crit­i­cally Endan­gered or Extinct in the Wild on the Inter­na­tional Union for the Con­ser­va­tion of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threat­ened Species. Pri­or­ity was also given to species con­ser­va­tion projects that include habi­tat pro­tec­tion, edu­ca­tion and/​or liveli­hood development.

The top ten list of species most reliant on zoos under­lines the impor­tance of zoos not only in cap­tive breed­ing for reserve pop­u­la­tions and rein­tro­duc­tions, but in the role they play in con­ser­va­tion in the wild from fund-​raising to research, edu­ca­tion and sup­port for local com­mu­ni­ties, as well as wildlife habitats.

BIAZA’s top ten species most reliant on zoos are:

Moun­tain chicken (Lep­to­dacty­lus fal­lax) — one of the world’s largest species of frog and Crit­i­cally Endangered;

ARKive species - Mountain chicken (Leptodactylus fallax)

White-​clawed cray­fish (Aus­tropota­mo­bius pal­lipes)- around 95% of the pop­u­la­tion of Britain’s only native fresh­wa­ter cray­fish have been lost;

ARKive species - Freshwater white-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes)

Blue-​crowned laugh­ingth­rush (Gar­ru­lax cour­tosi) — only 250 mature birds of this Chi­nese species left in the wild;

ARKive photo - Blue-crowned laughingthrush feeding

Amur leop­ard (Pan­thera par­dus ori­en­talis) — fewer than 45 of these big cats left in the wild;

ARKive photo - Amur leopard juvenile with bloodied face

Potosi pup­fish (Cyprin­odon alvarezi) — this fresh­wa­ter fish is Extinct in the Wild;

ARKive species - Potosi pupfish (Cyprinodon alvarezi)

Poly­ne­sian tree snail (Par­tula hebe) — 11 species of Poly­ne­sian tree snails are Extinct in the Wild;

ARKive species - Polynesian tree snail (Partula hebe)

Verdcourt’s polyalthia tree (Polyalthia verd­cour­tii) — this Crit­i­cally Endan­gered species has only been found in three loca­tions in the Kilo­mbero val­ley in Tanzania;

ARKive species - Polyalthia (Polyalthia verdcourtii)

Blue-​eyed black lemur (Eule­mur flav­ifrons) — this lemur is Crit­i­cally Endan­gered due to large scale habi­tat loss and hunting;

ARKive photo - Female blue-eyed black lemur with male infant

Ploughshare tor­toise (Astrochelys yniphora) — one of the most threat­ened and sought after rep­tiles in the ille­gal pet trade;

ARKive photo - Ploughshare tortoise

Scimitar-​horned oryx (Oryx dammah) — this ante­lope is Extinct in the Wild and depen­dent on cap­tive breeding .

ARKive photo - Scimitar-horned oryx with young

(Source: BIAZA Press Release, 14.08.2012)

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Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

about zoos and their mis­sion regard­ing breed­ing endan­gered species, nature con­ser­va­tion, bio­di­ver­sity and edu­ca­tion, which of course relates to the evo­lu­tion of species.
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