Conservation Breeding Specialist Group
Mission: To save threatened species by increasing the effectiveness of conservation efforts worldwide.
Species: Species worldwide
Support started: 2003
Background: Colchester Zoo is a member of the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG). The CBSG is a global network of conservation professionals formed in 1979 to assist in the development of conservation plans in the context of in situ and ex situ species management. Its workshop processes combine small population and conservation biology, human demography and social learning to produce outcomes ranging from specific management recommendations for a single species to assessments of a nation's biodiversity. In total, CBSG has assisted in the development of conservation plans involving more than 240 species, through 500 workshops in 67 countries. By applying unique conservation tools, and training others in their use, CBSG contributes to the long-term sustainability of endangered species and ecosystems around the globe.
The CBSG has organised numerous population and habitat viability analysis workshops for species worldwide. The aim of these workshops is to make practical conservation decisions, examining population dynamics; and producing recommendations that are designed to effectively conserve the species or population that is the focus of the workshop.
Achievements: During 2011 there were some very important meetings held these include; For the Wetern Indian manatee, jaguars and southern ground hornbill.
There are no more than 9,000 West Indian manatees left in the wild, and most of the current population is found in the United States, Mexico and Belize. The species as a whole is classed as vulnerable by IUCN, however the 2 subspecies of this manatee are considered to be endangered. This is down to small and fragmented populations, along with threats such as ship collisions, hunting, entanglement in fishing nets and habitat loss. Manatee populations straddle international boundaries, so in 2004 it was recognised there needed to be a regional conservation approach for this species. In 2010, a Regional Management Plan was developed and during 2011 population modelling took place. This was used to evaluate the effects of a variety of management actions, including population supplementation through translocations. It is now hoped regional activities can work together to promote manatee conservation in the Caribbean.
The southern ground hornbill is a globally vulnerable species, with a declining population. They are slow breeders, which use an unusual cooperative breeding strategy. They also live in family groups which require large territories. Due to their complex breeding biology and low reproductive rate, this species is highly susceptible to threats, including conversion of grasslands into forest, cultivation and degradation of habitat, a lack of suitable nesting trees, poisoning and direct persecution, live trade and traditional practices. During 2011, The Southern Ground Hornbill Action Group was formed to coordinate conservation activities, while a breeding programme in Africa manages the ex situ population of hornbills. Field and zoo conservationists work together on this project harvesting and rearing second chicks from wild nests, who often don’t survive, to provide birds for release into the wild.
In Northern Mexico and the surrounding areas, written accounts of jaguars date back to 1540. Since then, human encroachment has led to a gradual decline in jaguar populations. In the 1980’s it was thought they were extinct throughout the northernmost portion of their range in south-western United States. However hopes were renewed with sightings in Arizona and New Mexico. The US Fish and Wildlife Service thus initiated a recovery planning process with the goal of recovering the species throughout its range. This will be done by managing the north-western breeding population and jaguar movement corridors.
Future objectives: In the future, the CBSG plans to continue to work with many partners in saving species around the world. Conservation actions to be implemented include field surveys, research, protection of habitats, local education projects and emergency rescue of imperilled wildlife. The CBSG hopes to continue to facilitate linkages between ex situ and in situ conservation efforts via a respected network.
Tasmanian devil picture © CBSG
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