, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp 671-677

Research in zoos: a growth area in conservation

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Despite early menageries being the source of much useful biological information on anatomy and taxonomy, it is only more recently that the potential for research in zoos has been recongnized. Collections of captive animals are unique and irreplaceable resources for conservation; but without research in zoological parks, progress in conservation science would diminish. There is a flow of information from zoo researchers to field scientists that assists in providing new insights into species biology. Reciprocally, data collected in the field enhance efforts in captive breeding. This paper summarizes the new research initiatives undertaken in zoos, e.g., in the fields of reproductive and genetic technologies, and highlights their significance for conservation and management of threatened species. It is evident that zoo research has a vital role in linking in situ and ex situ conservation. This role needs to be expanded and developed to meet the challenge posed by expanding human and declining wildlife populations and ecosystems.