Many institutions and are also placed in

Many animals facing extinction are put through breeding
programs. These programs, otherwise know as captive breeding is the process of
breeding in which animals from outside their habitats are bred in restricted
and controlled habitats such as farms, zoos, wild life sanctuaries or other
enclosed facilities. Animals that are facing extinction are the ones that are
bred in such a manner to make sure the species does not go extinct. iHowever,
animals are also bred in captivity to produce animals for commercial purposes
such as for the domestic pet industry, for medical research and other human
activities. These animals are used for research institutions and are also
placed in zoos as well aquariums. In breeding
centers, captive breeding is not as easy as just putting a male and female together in the same
enclosed area. It has to be carefully managed to control the population of
offspring and to also prevent inbreeding from occurring. The only aim is to
ensure that there is as much genetic variation in the captive population as
possible. Knowing the history and genetics of the animals being bred in
captivity ensures this. This is done through gene testing and the results of
the various tests conducted are categorized in a systematic manner and the
information is stored on a computer for future reference. Even though the main
purpose of captive breeding is to help in conserving endangered species, it
does have both benefits as well as problems.

 

Captive
breeding occurs mainly in breeding centers, zoos as well as in rehabilitation
centers. iiThis
does bring benefits both for the endangered animals as well as for the local
area in which captive breeding does take place. Many zoos and wildlife
sanctuaries aid in such conservation programs and they get their funds and
money because of the people who visit these places. The peoples visit these
zoos multiple times a year and this increases the revenue and the income the
area receives. Many peoples also give donations. iiiThe
captive breeding programs that take place in zoos attracts a large crowd and thus
the income of the zoos and centers continues to increase. Captive breeding
programs are also beneficial because extinction rates of many species is
continuously increasing and in the next couple of decades around 20%-50% of the
worlds animal species would go extinct because of the fast extinction rate that
is already arising. Thus zoos, breeding centers and wildlife sanctuaries aid in
making sure many of the worlds species don’t go extinct by being able to save
the genetic material of these animals and prevent them from disappearing from
the face of the earth.  Captive breeding
programs make sure inbreeding doesn’t occur but there is still a variation in
the species so the animals are able to adapt easily to the new surrounding they
would be released into. A few captive breeding programs have set goals for
reintroducing these animals back into the wild and their natural habitats. This
will be able to make sure that the conservation of these animals continues, it
makes sure the population numbers keep increasing and also decreases the
chances of inbreeding as well as major genetic changes. This insures there is
variation but there are no chances of these species from becoming extinct.

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However,
despite the benefits of captive breeding programs there are a few problems that
arise due to captive breeding. A big problem that arises with captive breeding
programs is the high number of animals in captivity. Most centers where captive
breeding takes place don’t have the resources or the space to support a larger breeding
program. Also captive breeding programs have a high cost to support and
properly care for each animal so they consist of few animals that can’t sustain
a proper breeding population. Another major disadvantage of captive breeding
programs depends on the behavior of the animals that are placed under these
breeding programs. People who are in charge of these centers as well at the
employees who work as care takers try their best to recreate the natural
habitats of these animals but sadly that cannot be accomplished completely, so
due to this change in environment, the behavior of the animals also change and
it has proven to be difficult to overcome these changes. Some of the major
changes in behavior are a decrease in the ability to know how to avoid predators,
an increase in sleeping patterns, decrease in overall activity, and some
problems in social behaviors as well as the self efficiency of the animal  as they would lose the ability to hunt
because in many captive breeding centers, the animals are provided with food
and have no need to hunt. ivSome
captive species even have problems in reproduction such as the endangered rhino
populations for example, and that therefore questions the effectiveness of the captive
breeding program. These behavioral changes will affect the animal’s ability to
be able to adapt to the wild and will thus increase the risk of these animals
being unable to survive in the wild. Thus animals that are raised in captive
breeding centers will not be able to cope in the wild and thus may not be
beneficial for the animal population and the natural environment in which it
may be reintroduced into.

 

vIn India, many species have been saved from
extinction because of captive breeding that takes place in many Zoological
Parks. Captive breeding programs in India are taken care of by Central Zoo
Authority of India for endangered species as per the National Zoo Policy. For
example, the Devaliya Lion Safari Park is situated very close to Gir National
Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat and is a breeding park for Indian lions
that has been set up by the Gir National Park. Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin
Sanctuary is another example and is the only protected area for the endangered
Gangetic dolphins in Asia, located in the Bhagalpur District in Bihar. These
dolphins are the one of the national animals of India and this sanctuary is a
50 km stretch of the Ganges River near Sultanganj. Furthermore, the Arignar
Anna Zoological Park or Vandalur Zoo is the largest zoological garden in India
and is the Captive breeding ground for lion-tailed macaques. The park was the
first public zoo in India and houses endangered mammal, reptile and bird
species.

 

viCaptive breeding programs have also been
established all around the world. Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoos work
cooperatively with many conservation organisations to carry out such
conservation programs. For example the Black Rhinoceros Breeding Program was established in Zimbabwe as the species
dropped in number froe 546 to 432 over the past decade due poachers. The
breeding program was able to help the rhinos in giving birth to 11 calves. Even
though that does not seem like much, it has benefited the population majorly.
Like this, Taronga has been able to establish so many more captive breeding
programs such as the Asian Elephant Breeding Program, the Przewalski’s Horse (Takhi) Breeding Program, the Sumatran Tiger Breeding Program, the Snow Leopard Breeding Program, the Chimpanzee Breeding Program, the Ugandan chimp sanctuary, the Western Lowland Gorilla Breeding Program, the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros Breeding Program as well as the Red Panda Breeding Program and many more breeding programs all around
the world.

 

viiFurthermore, one of the most well known
breeding programs that have been established is the captive breeding of pandas.
At breeding centers where this occurs, researchers help the mother pandas to take care
of their cubs, thus helping to ensure
the survival of both. Pandas in captivity can live 30 years or
longer, while wild pandas usually live up to 20 years. There were roughly
around 422 captive breeding pandas
at the end of 2015. Some of these are introduced to the wild each year. Similarly, the giant panda is a vulnerable species,
due to loss of habitat and very low birth rates. Female pandas usually can give
birth to only one baby panda at a time, and newborn pandas are extremely
fragile. Thus to save the species, China has began captive breeding programs.
As it is the only natural home of this panda species and wild giant pandas can
only be found in deep forests in some parts of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu
Provinces. According to the World Wildlife Fund’s research, ‘in 2015, the
wild giant panda population reached 1,864, thanks to the success of captive
breeding.’ There are even 4 main captive breeding centers in China that are
open to the public in the Sichuan Province.

 

However, even though captive breeding does have its
success rates, sometimes the areas in which captive breeding programs take
place are not always what they seem like. Many captive breeding centers put
animals in small enclosures and take complete control over their lives. These
animals lose all freedom that they would have had if they were still in the
wild and in their own natural habitats. This has a negative impact on these
animal as being in a controlled environment and not being able to roam freely
causes animals unwanted stress and sometimes can even lead to depression.
Furthermore, viii’
A 2015 study
published in the Journal of Applied Ecology concluded that unless animals in the wild
are protected, captive breeding won’t make a difference:

Our research challenges the assumption that when a species is
perilously close to extinction in the wild, it is always a good idea to set up
a captive breeding population… Without conservation in the wild there is no
point in captive breeding.( Dr. Paul Dolman, lead researcher.)’

 

Before
researching I thought the only advantage of captive breeding was to prevent the
extinction of species. However, through out the time I spent doing my research,
my perspective did change. One would think there are only many benefits of
captive breeding programs but even things that are set up with the best
intentions can have its flaws. Yes captive breeding programs do prevent many
animals from going extinct, but at what cost? Animals that are put through
these programs are stripped from their freedom and any control that they would
have had if they remained in the wild. According to me, captive breeding
programs are not very as efficient as they claim to be. Due to poachers as well
as extreme changes in climate, many animals face extinction. The one
contributing factor to both those problems is the human population. Because of
humans, many species are facing extinction so thus they came up with a way to
fix their own negative impacts on nature, which is why I think captive breeding
programs were set up. After thorough research, I was able to grasp all the
advantages of captive breeding. However after researching, my opinion has
changed drastically. Thus, I no longer think captive breeding programs are as
beneficial as I used to think they were. There must be another way to be able
to prevent these animals from going extinct rather than trapping them again,
just to save them from extinction.