Over the years of working with captive wildlife i have always believed that captive breeding of endangered species was the way to save the species. Then I changed my mind and realized that education was the number one priority. If people didn’t know what was happening how could they help?
But I have changed my mind again after reading this article;
Cheetah numbers are down to just over 7000 worldwide, a huge drop from the 12,500 I quoted in one of my posts. Zimbabwe has dropped from over a thousand cheetahs to around 150!!
Now if this is with all the research and observations going on by a large number of organizations then what happened? Where has that knowledge gone? I know cheetahs are difficult to count in a census because of their huge ranges but today’s figure has caused shock-waves around the animal world.
This is now where I go back to my original thoughts – Captive Breeding. Not an easy thing to do with any animal, very costly as new facilities would have to be built for various species. And they would have to be built to represent their own homeland.
The next BIG step would have to be a Global Co-operation within zoos and animal facilities. This, to me, is one of the biggest and hardest steps to take. I have been to many Global conferences where everyone gets all excited about working with each other and very little happens. I am talking mostly about cheetahs here.
So all you Zoos and animal exhibitors out there, who is going to take the first steps? Who can begin to look at priorities? It is going to take a very strong person to lead but someone has to step up somewhere.
The IUCN has a Captive Breeding Specialist group, can they step forward and lead the way, extend their programs?
I would be interested to hear back from anyone with ideas.