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Proceedings of the fourth world conference on breeding endangered species in captivity:
For many years zoo people have been expending enormous energies in the creation and implementation of conservation strategies which act to complement, or form a part of, larger schemes. The goal is to save threatened species from extinction in the wild, not to create a range of ‘museum pieces‘ of historical and educational value only. Much of the work has involved research into the reproductive biology of rare species, a massive undertaking in view of the tremendous variety of animal types concerned. The 28 papers proceeding from the Conference held at Harderwijk, Netherlands, in September 1984 present a valuable picture of the many avenues which are now being explored; there have been a number of important developments since the previous conference, held at San Diego in 1979. Research into artificial breeding techniques, including embryo transfer, for exotic species is being co-ordinated by zoos with considerable success; the birth of a Bongo calf to an Eland surrogate mother, the first successful embryo transfer from one exotic species to another, is reported and the implications of such techniques for conservation are considered. The value of genetics and population management is also reviewed. Co-operative breeding programmes and propagation schemes for reintroduction are shown to be increasing ever more rapidly, and some have now had positive results; the beautiful Arabian oryx provides one example of a species which now occupies its former habitat following the release of captive-bred herds. In recognition of zoos’ broadening responsibilities, the conservation of fish, invertebrates and plants is discussed for the first time. Zoos are only too aware. however, that they can help to save only a small proportion of the world's threatened species; the painful task of choosing those on which to concentrate efforts is examined in detail, as well as the direction in which such efforts must be steered.
New developments in the zoo world:
The 24 papers comprising this section include discussions on the breeding and management of a wide selection of rare or little-known species such as the Broad-nosed caiman, Red-billed curassow, Aardvark and Malayan tapir. Other contributions include a valuable examination of the relationship between urinary oestrogen levels and changes in the behaviour of the Giant panda, a description of the successful eradication of strongyloidiasis in Orang-utans and an analysis of vitamin E levels in zoo animals, the first of its kind. Useful practical information is provided on a variety of subjects including a simple method for sexing flamingos, an uncomplicated unit for the transportation of developing eggs, a heated bed module of a new and relatively inexpensive design and a learning centre where families are encouraged to participate in activities which help them to discover more about the natural world. The extremely successful modernisation of the Aquarium at Berlin Zoo is reviewed in detail, and the development of the African Savanna exhibit at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is described.
A directory of zoos and aquaria around the world and a list of new buildings and exhibits completed and occupied between 1981 and 1982, comprise the first 73 pages of this section. The remaining 232 pages include data for two years (rather than one year as is usual): a taxonomic list of vertebrates bred in captivity in 1982 and 1983, and a census of rare animals in captivity as at 1 January 1983 and 1984. The latest available international studbooks and world registers are also listed and the section concludes with the author and subject indices to Volumes 22-25.