Past Projects

Conservation Breeding Specialist Group

© CBSGMission: To save threatened species by increasing the effectiveness of conservation efforts worldwide.

Species: Species worldwide

Location: Global

Support started: 2003

Donating: $1,440

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: Below is a review of CBSG's successful work in 2012.

One of CBSG's success stories for 2012 was promoting wattled crane conservation in South Africa. This crane species is listed as vulnerable, but in South Africa it is nationally considered as critically endangered. This long-lived and slow breeding species is threatened by habitat loss, poisoning and powerline collisions. In 2000, a Wattled Crane Recovery Programme (WCRP), was set up and this has steadily built up an ex situ population of cranes. This has been done by harvesting, incubating and rearing 'doomed' second eggs. There is now a captive flock of 44 birds, and plans are in place to release these back into the wild during 2014/15.


Eastern barred bandicoots were once widespread in western Victoria, but are now extinct on mainland Australia. This is principally due to habitat loss and predation by introduced red foxes. An ex situ breeding programme, coordinated by Zoos Victoria, provides a source of animals for reintroduction. Currently only 2 of the 8 release sites still contain bandicoots. Inappropriate site management resulting in the failure to exclude foxes has led to these failed attempts. Research is now being gathered on carrying capacities at current and potential release sites, to explore other strategies to conserve this species.

Other success stories include; confronting the new threat to western pond turtles; collaborating for conservation in Djibouti; identifying actions for river turtle conservation; addressing climate change head on and measuring the impact of human behaviour on conservation efforts.

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.


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Action for the Wild is Colchester Zoo’s charitable arm

Action for the Wild became a charity in 2004

Action for the Wild has donated over £2 million to animal conservation to date