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  Endangered Avian Species Captive Propagation - Free Content

Posted on 27. February, 2014.

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Bird species, like plants and other animals are facing an unprecedented decline. Captive breeding as a conservation tool can be used as a substitute for wild populations in research and education, to provide demographic and genetic reservoirs for reinforcing or founding wild populations, and as a last resort for species that have no immediate opportunity for survival in nature.

Candidates for captive propagation are zoos, private breeders, state agencies, conservation foundations and research centres within or outside of universities. The problems in managing endangered species have motivated conservation biologists to conduct research in many disciplines such as behaviour, physiology, endocrinology, genetics, husbandry, nutrition and veterinary medicine. In addition, an increasing number of techniques for increasing reproductive success, improving genetic management and enhancing reintroduction success have been employed. Breeding success has been improved by improved knowledge of factors that trigger reproduction and stimulate replacement clutches, as well as by improvements in artificial incubation and artificial insemination. Assuming that the correct social behaviour group is constituted and the animals start to breed, genetic problems are likely to occur in species with only a few remaining individuals.
Once numbers are low, genetic variability is reduced and this brings about diminished ability to respond to environmental change. Recent advances in molecular genetics have enabled studies in taxonomy to be carried out in order to determine species, subspecies and population boundaries.
They have also contributed to the theoretical development of small population genetics and demographics aimed at improving ex-situ population management. Captive birds are often hand-reared, but since many behaviours are acquired from the parents, or by experience in the wild, artificial rearing by hand could affect the survival potential of released animals. In order to prevent imprinting on humans and other detrimental effects of hand-rearing techniques, parents, foster-parents, puppets or costumes have been used to rear chicks. Finally, recent developments in research on training programmes to find food, to fly, to avoid specific dangers, or to recognised and to avoid predators, appear to have substantially increased release success in reintroduction programmes.

Read the entire article, free of charge, in Avian and Poultry Biology Reviews, Volume 13, No. 3, August 2002 , pp.187-202

DOI:10.3184/147020602783698557

Photograph : White Tailed Sea Eagle at Fota

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