Worldwide, the threat of dangered species extinction is rampant. Many species of animals are declining at a rapid rate. Species extinction is due to various reasons such as loss of habitat and loss of genetic variation. This is why government and non-government organizations are joining forces to ensure that these animals’ conservation on their actual and captive habitat is ongoing. Establishments like zoos and fauna sanctuaries play a big part in this captive breeding program.
Captive breeding is the process of reproducing animals in a human-controlled environment for their own conservation. This is the widely used management option to help the animal population increase. Captive breeding is not an easy task; there are many things you should consider to ensure that wild animals will have a long term survival rate.
If you are breeding wild animals, here is some practical advice to help you with this challenging but rewarding journey.
Choose A Self-Sustaining Captive Population
Captive breeding is still frowned upon by many people. This process of conservation has been under scrutiny for a long time. One of the biggest issues is its survival rate when it’s been set loose in its natural habitat. The longer it is in captivity, the lesser chance of surviving in the wild. For these reasons, the most practical thing to do is to choose a self-sustaining captive population. Animals learned and innate behaviour will play an important role in survival on reintroduction.
There are no known annotated lists of species that are self-sustaining, and it’s hard to quantify them. There are known domesticated wild animals such as Pere David’s Deer, Common Marmosets, Eagle Owl, Harris Hawk, Saker Falcon, Green-winged Macaw, and Golden Lion Tamarin. Lastly, you should practice good genetic and population management to help with the whole process. Your efforts can go to waste if you breed species that do well for a few generations and die out after.
Create Adequate and Protected Habitat
Habitat management is the most critical aspect of wildlife conservation. The loss of adequate and protected habitat poses a huge threat to these species. There are five essential elements that should be present to create available habitat for animals. You should provide food, water, shelter, and space to ensure your breeding efforts will work.
Look into what food the species you are breeding thrive on. Check if the wild animal is carnivorous, herbivorous, or omnivorous, and see to it that they have enough to it. Less food or too much food can disrupt a habitat. Moreover, let them hunt or find their own food as much as possible. This can ensure that they can survive when released into their natural habitat, where they need to hunt for their own food.
Water is an essential need for all living things. And a good habitat should have a source of water. You should put an adequate water supply where animals can easily access them. Even though the water needs vary, they still need it at some point.
Shelter is what animals need to protect them from harm, such as predators and weather conditions. This will allow them to feed, breed, roost, nest, and travel. Shelter requirements may vary from one species to another; it can be weeds, bushes, rocks, or perches. The animals should be protected from whatever caused their previous decline.
Enough space is essential to avoid competition for food or interruption in the breeding process. Most wild animals are territorial and require a specific amount of space on their own. Animal fencing, such as deer fencing, is one option for animal containment. Creating a fence will keep the habitat from being crowded and develop diseases from each other. However, ensure that the arrangement is still appropriate so they can adapt after release.
Learn The Techniques To Prepare Animals For Reintroduction
When breeding wild animals, you need to learn techniques to prepare animals for their reintroduction to the wild. Use and follow breeding plans and species management procedures that will lessen the negative consequences to the animal. Some of the techniques you can use are:
- Mimic the diet you are giving to the diet they will get in the wild (gorge-and-starve diet.)
- Exposing them to predator conditioning so they can learn a flight response.
- Introducing live prey.
- Do oestrus monitoring and animal separations.
- Observe any skills changes.
- Monitor how they interact with co-species and other species.
- Train them the ability to find and process.
Before releasing them, you should evaluate their long-term survival risks and the whole species’ current state. An external specialist can help you with this and oversee any program that will help the species for reintroduction. Breeding animals is a huge step in helping avoid species decline, and all of this program and process is to ensure that all the efforts would be for nothing.
Benefits of Breeding Wild Animals
- Establish animal populations so they can be demographically stable.
- Avoid inbreeding by preserving the gene pool.
- To protect the population against diseases and other causes of its decline.
- Ensure that animals are genetically healthy.
- Monitoring for successful reproduction.
The problem of having endangered species needs to be addressed, and breeding wild animals can be a helpful way to solve it. While it is quite expensive and requires extensive knowledge and effort, it is a big part of survival and recovery for most wild species. These three practical tips and conservation measures can help you be more successful. For more information about captive breeding programs, you can make use of varied resources such as research, books, visual aids such as videos and tv programs, and many more.
As a breeder, you need to consider many factors such as the species gene, the impact on the ecology, behavioural issues, and more importantly, the ethical issues you can face. To be successful in breeding wild animals, you can work, cooperate, and coordinate with many institutions that have the same goal. The last thought to ponder is that everyone’s quality of life will greatly improve when we care about animals, plants, the environment, and the whole planet.