Maintaining the Genetic Diversity of Small Populations

“Conservation through captive breeding… Fossil Rim walks the conservation talk!” ~ Andrew Wyatt

Words On Wildlife

When you visit Fossil Rim and see babies (calves, cubs, pups and chicks), your first reaction may be to comment on how cute they are or the large number of offspring that we have. One of Fossil Rim’s main roles is being a breeding center – to produce large numbers of endangered species with the aim of securing an insurance population against extinction and directly or indirectly supporting the in situ (in the wild) populations, whether through reintroductions, research or public education. While Fossil Rim works to provide excellent care for our animals, there is an additional component you may not have considered before – caring for the genetic health of our species.

RS27730_hartmanns 045 Hartmann’s mountain zebra

RS26453_bongo calf 11 Bongo

RS20119_IMG_3104 Wildebeest

RS11803__DO31104 Gemsbok

RS21921_055 White rhino

Most people are aware that inbreeding animals can lead to numerous health problems, but caring for our animals’ genetics goes beyond just avoiding inbreeding. We seek to maintain genetically…

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One thought on “Maintaining the Genetic Diversity of Small Populations

  1. This is one of the important conservation tools for keeping declining wildlife species from extinction. It seems that this is largely a private sector initiative, at least for large-bodied African wildlife species. An equally important tool is protection and restoration of suitable habitat. What “government affairs” needs to put more effort into is use of the latter tool to conserve natural habitats for these and the associated diversity of wildlife species. With the worldwide exploration for sources of energy and raw materials to sustain or develop human economies, there seems little but lip service in habitat conservation other than to minimize impacts while resource development goes forward.

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