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Snow Leopards and Breeding Programs In Zoos
Transcript of Snow Leopards and Breeding Programs In Zoos
In Zoos Snow Leopards:
Current Status -considered an endangered species since 1974
-may be as few as 3500 left
-currently, they are only found in 12 countries
-usually live in mountainous, cold and dry habitats
at high altitudes
-Mainly live in Central Asia, China, and the
Himalayas Threats Facing
Snow Leopards -Poaching-Snow leopards are hunted for their
beautiful spotted fur, and their body parts are
often used for traditional medicine
-Retribution killings-Herders and farmers often kill snow
leopards as a form of revenge for killing their livestock
-Loss of Habitat and Prey-The increasing size of herding
communities have decreased snow leopard habitat size
-Mining-The increase in mining activity has contributed
to an increase in dangerous chemicals and explosives
in snow leopard's habitat Importance of Zoo
Breeding Programs -also referred to as a Species Survival Plan
(SSP), breeding programs in zoos are mainly in
place for threatened and endangered animals that
are having trouble thriving in the wild
-Developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), SSP programs ensure the survival of certain species, and strive to conserve the earth's biodiversity
-these programs keep species healthy and genetically diverse Works Cited: http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Uncia_uncia/ http://taronga.org.au/animals-conservation/zoo-based-conservation/global-breeding-programs/snow-leopard/snow-leopard-breeding-program http://www.snowleopard.org/learn/cat-facts/a-year-in-the-life The Breeding Program A lot more goes into breeding than you think! -When breeding is successful and cubs are born, the SSP and AZA determine what zoo the cub should be transferred to
-This decision is completely based on genetics
-The snow leopard is matched with an ideal mate to maximize genetic diversity in order for the leopard to have a long and healthy life A short interview with Dr. James Gibbs... We quickly interviewed Dr. James Gibbs, an internationally recognized conservation biologist, about his opinion on snow leopard breeding programs in zoos, and this is basically what he said:
-"we don’t need captive breeding yet"
-there are enough snow leopards out there where they can come back on their own, we just have to give them the chance
-The change?: lift the pressure of killing them off, whether it's poaching or retribution killing Interview Continued... -He thinks that captive breeding is good for some animals, animals that can’t sustain themselves in the wild
-He also thinks that captive breeding can be effective, but he doesn’t believe that they need to be doing it for snow leopards right now
-Snow leopards can have 2-3 cubs a year, so he thinks that snow leopards are definitely capable of coming back on their own
-"We might need the insurance for the long run, but for now we don’t need it" and...Dr. James Gibbs!!