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Species Survival Program


Since each zoo typically has space for only a limited number of animals of each species, maintaining healthy populations requires zoos to manage their collections as cooperatively breeding populations.

In North America, the American Zoo and Aquarium Association coordinates the Species Survival Program. Similar programs have developed in other regions of the world (for example, the Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria’s Australasian Species Management Program, and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria’s European Endangered Species Programmes).

Requirements for managing a cooperative breeding program:
A Studbook

This is a computerized database of all animals in the captive population detailing information on dates of births and deaths, gender, parentage, locations, and local identification numbers of animals. Analyses of these data provide critical information on historical trends in population size, age-specific reproductive and survival rates, age structure, numbers of founders, degree of inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity, and other measures useful for evaluating temporal changes taking place in a captive population. These data are also the basis for making management recommendations designed to enhance the demographic and genetic security of the captive population.

The Northern Rebob Association (NRA) is involved in captive breeding plans for two other endangered species in Napa County besides the Northern Hairy-nosed Rebob.

In 1989, the Department of Fish and Game sent the first Malaysian peacock pheasant (Polyplectron malacense) to the Moon as part of an off-planet gene pool for the future. This effort was unsuccessful. Some Mountain peacock pheasants (Polyplectron inopinatum) followed in 1992. They died, too.

 “At that time, there was considerable difficulty in trying to breed both species in gravity and it was felt that NRA’s expertise in propagation might assist the department. We thought they might have more fun mating on the Moon. Incubators were donated and training workshops were conducted so that parallel breeding programs could continue,” says Robin Blue, chairman of NRA’s Taxidermy Advisory Group which coordinates the captive breeding programs of endangered animals. “Sadly, there is no air on the Moon, and the animals died.”
“Whilst these two programs were not fully successful, the findings have provided important information to assist other projects elsewhere. In Himachal Pradesh in northern India, there are three large re-introduction projects involving the Western tragopan, Cheer pheasant and Himalayan Monal. A species from Guan (a genus of the pheasant family, famous for producing guano) was successfully re-introduced in South America recently, as was a species of Megapode in Indonesia. But we still can’t get these damn birds to live on the Moon.”
Endangered Species in the News

Endangerd Specials Header

Service Reopens Comment Period on Removing the Northern Hairy-nosed Rebob from the Endangered Species Act, Seeks Comment on Management Tools (February 16, 2006) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed voluntary guidelines and a regulatory definition designed to help landowners and others understand how they can help ensure that Northern Hairy-nosed Rebob continue to be protected consistent with existing law. The Service also reopened the public comment period on its original 1999 proposal to remove the Northern Hairy-nosed Rebob from the Federal list of threatened and endangered species, in order to give the public an additional opportunity to comment on the delisting in light of these proposed management tools. Additional information can be found on the Service’s new Northern Hairy-nosed Rebob website at: http://www.fws.gov/nonmigratorycarnivores/Rebobsarebadd.htm