Captive-breeding

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The bumblebee bat seems to give birth to a single young in the spring, during the dry season.  The infant bats are so tiny that their mothers can fly and hunt with their babies clinging to their waists or the vestigial nipples in their pubic area (females have two sets of nipples; a functional pair on their chests and a vestigial pair on their pubic area).  

When the babies grow too heavy to carry, they are left roosting in the caves, or, some believe that the babies hide in the hollow stalks of bamboo, where the openings are so narrow that predators cannot enter.  

Despite a great deal of study, because of the bat’s small body size it is difficult for biologists to determine the difference between juvenile and adult individuals, making it hard to study their reproductive habits.

reefbuilders.com
Yellow tangs finally captive bred by the Oceanic Institute
Comments Related posts: Captive bred yellow tangs inching closer to reality Yellow tang seems to enjoy swimming upside down (video) Captive Bred Yellow Tangs?...

This is a huge deal, folks. Most saltwater fish in the hobby are wild caught, and yellow tangs (all WC) are enormously popular in the pet trade and it puts some strain on their wild populations. The hobby has been making huge strides in captive breeding species like this to alleviate that, working hard to figure out how to raise them successfully. We are on a great path right now, with more CBB saltwater fish becoming available all the time!

reptile-prince asked:

Hello! I'm doing my senior project on breeding reptiles and wondered if you could answer a question to help me on it. What's your view on how breeding reptiles helps or hurts conservation? Just reptiles in general, not morph breeding though if you want to get into that it would help me have a side against it in my report. Thank you for your time!

Alright, let’s get one thing out of the way: nothing you do as a private reptile keeper has any possible benefit for wild animals except stopping more from being extracted from the wild. The exception being those individuals who set up institution-recognised, carefully managed breeding centres using private funding in their own private space without commercialising it. But 99.999% of herp keepers and breeders are not in that camp.

The trouble is, the majority of breeders are producing inbred offspring (either through negligence or on purpose for the creation of morphs) and are not tracking their blood lines through studbooks. A lot of the breeding is also done at a diffuse level - numerous individuals exchanging animals across the country or the world - and in these cases the record-keeping is even worse. Without a studbook or records of bloodlines, it is easy to wind up with genetically inviable populations and smaller than expected effective population sizes. The result is that any potential re-introduction might suffer from serious inbreeding depression, and result in a collapse of the reintroduced population.

When animals are initially imported into the pet trade, exact locations are often ignored. This can be a serious problem in cases where the taxonomy of a given species is not entirely clear, even when studbooks are relatively meticulously kept. For instance, the entire population of Uroplatus ebenaui in captivity is completely invalid from a conservation perspective, because the origins of the animals coming out of the wild have not been traced, and we now know that U. ebenaui is in fact nine species which are probably able to interbreed in captivity. Without keeping track of where the imports came from the existing population is worthless, and only record-keeping from here on in will be in any way meaningful for the conservation of these nine different evolutionary lineages.

Axolotls are another really good example. The axolotl is Critically Endangered and nearing extinction in the wild. It is easy to shrug this off as not being a big deal because there are so many axolotl in captivity that the idea that they might soon be extinct altogether is ludicrous. The trouble is, the animals in captivity (except those maintained in research institutions, breeding facilities, and zoos) are completely inviable for the re-establishment of the wild axolotl. Many have been crossed with the Tiger Salamander to create the albino axolotl morph, and of course hybrids are useless for conservation, and the rest have not had their bloodlines carefully traced. So while you might argue that the axolotl is going to survive, the loss of the wild axolotls may prove irreversible. Certainly pet owners and breeders are not going to be involved in its recovery.

I have come across a lot of people online claiming that they are somehow helping the conservation of species by keeping and breeding them in captivity, and selling the offspring. Almost 100% of the time this is bullshit. As I’ve said, yes, it is good for the wild animals to be producing captive-bred individuals to remove pet-industry pressure of collection from the wild. However, we must remember that pet-industry collection as a threat to the survival of most species is faaar down the list of threats to a species. That is, until the species is Critically Endangered. For example, the ploughshare tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora) from Madagascar is now Critically Endangered. Somewhere between 300 and 600 individuals exist in the wild. The initial population decline was not because of the pet trade, but rather due to loss of habitat, introduced livestock, and especially consumption as food. Now, however, the major threat really is the pet trade: rich individuals from Eastern Asia and the US are funding the black market collection and export of this species, and as much as 20% of the known population has been found in a suitcase bound for the back yards of rich assholes who think their own desire to own one of these precious animals is more important than the survival of the whole species.

I would be reluctant to say that breeding animals in captivity necessarily harms conservation efforts. Certainly it is not as beneficial as the average keeper might like to think it is, but as long as the animals being bred in captivity are not escaping and/or interbreeding with wild populations, it can’t be particularly damaging to conservation efforts, except that perhaps people don’t realise just how threatened axolotls are.

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In 2015, ZSL London Zoo became the first in the world to successfully breed the Lake Oku clawed frog in captivity.  Replicating the conditions in Lake Oku is extremely difficult, but has now proved possible, which means there is great hope for this frog’s survival even should something happen to its habitat.

World's most venemous lizard born in Sweden

by The Local 

Authorities at Stockholm’s Skansen animal park announced the birth of two venomous baby Gila monsters on Wednesday, following a four-month incubation period. Jonas Wahlström, the managing director at Skansen’s aquarium, said animal keepers were proud to orchestrate the first birth of the species within Europe.  "We’re extremely happy to have finally succeeded in multiplying the numbers of Gila monsters after breeding them for years,“ he told The Local. 

The Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) is a native to the southern parts United States and northern parts of Mexico. It’s a slow-moving, heavy lizard which grows up to 60 centimetres long. They’re found in deserts and prey on small rodents and eggs.  (see more: The Local)
(photo: Bo Jonsson/Skansen Aquarium)
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ON THE ROAD — Zoos today walk a narrow path at the edge of an ethical precipice. Our 21st century moral sensibilities no longer find it acceptable for animals to be kept in captivity solely for the entertainment of our species. Healesville Sanctuary on the outer edges of Melbourne was set up in 1920 with a research agenda but now has a formidable reputation for developing skills in captive breeding for vulnerable and endangered species. In the precarious state of the environment today, sanctuaries are often places of protective custody rather than captivity, where fences are more about protecting critical populations of endangered species from predators, than about keeping animals for our interest or entertainment. Healesville has been one of only two institutions to successfully breed platypus. The sanctuary is also playing an important role in a recovery program to save a Victorian sub-species of the Helmeted Honey-eater aka the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater (Lichenostomus melanops cassiddix) from extinction. The bird is listed as critically endangered with only three small semi-wild populations in remnant streamside forest to the east of Melbourne. Through a program of captive breeding the sanctuary aims to establish a stable wild population with at least ten distinct but inter-connected colonies as well as keeping a protected population as insurance against loss of populations in the wild. As for many native species in Australia, habitat loss through forest clearing has been the main threatening process. The incursion of the aggressive native Bell Miner (Manorina melanophrys) through range expansion is another critical factor. With limited habitat the Bell Miners’ aggressive territoriality makes it difficult for the Helmeted Honeyeaters to get the resources they need to survive. At Healesville the Helmeted Honeyeater is an institutional icon, branded a “Headstrong Hero” and I was lucky to photograph them perched on their signage in the large open flight aviary where they help to spread the word about the threat of extinction faced by many species today.

nspca.co.za
Ethical Wild Animal Tourism

Nowadays you will be hard pressed to find someone on social media that doesn’t have at least one “Selfie” or photo with a tiger, lion cub, elephant, monkey or some other wild animal. Unfortunately people do not realise the cruelty that they are often supporting by paying people or facilities to have a photo or experience with these animals.

"These cubs were abandoned by their mother.”
“We breed lions to help conserve lions in the wild.”
“Walking with lions helps prepare them for release into the wild.”

Beware the myths animal parks try to feed you.  Always do your research before visiting any wildlife facility and steer clear of cub petting and lion walking scams. 

Aquarium breeds one of the world’s smallest fish!

Danionella translucida, one of the smallest fish species in the world, has been bred at Blue Planet Aquarium, Cheshire Oaks.

The freshwater fish, a type of near-transparent danio, measures just 10mm when fully grown — that’s approximately the same size as a grain of rice. The above picture is of an adult.

It’s only six weeks since the adult fish, which originally come from Myanmar (formerly Burma) arrived at the award-winning aquarium and staff say the 2mm-long babies are doing well.

Due to its size and limited distribution the species, Danionella translucida, was only discovered in 1986. No one is certain about their numbers in the wild and there is concern for the species’ long term survival.

(Read more) Practical Fishkeeping

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A devoted captive breeding program has been created to help save the mountain chicken frog.  They were first successfully bred at the London Zoo, with the resulting froglets being released into the wild.  It’s hoped that these captive breeding programs will help bolster the frog’s dwindling numbers.

The Dolphin Trainer Who Loved Dolphins Too Much

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Last year, I connected with a dolphin trainer called Ashley Guidry, from Gulf World in Florida. Over the more than 10 years she worked with Gulf World’s dolphins she had come to find her love of the animals irreconcilable with the business of using them for profit-making entertainment.

I have always been interested in how trainers’ attitudes change over time, as they learn all the subtleties of…

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Why do we need the modern zoo? 

The zoo has come a long way, transforming from a place of public entertainment, to the modern zoo, which many see as a centre for conservation. So why do we even need modern zoos? In this episode, David explores this very question.

friskiifrisk asked:

if u r not overwhelmed by the show me series can u show me some rlly cool not very known lizards!! extra points if its a predatory one!! or even rlly known snakes r good too!

OK so this is a really cool one. Meet the blue-spotted tree monitor, Varanus macraei!

This gorgeous creature has the most restricted range of any monitor in the world. Found only on the island of Bantata, it’s a relatively unknown species. It was only defined in 2001 and not a lot of work has been done on it since. This species does not yet have a well-established captive breeding population, and like so many other Indonesian species is at risk of habitat destruction. This is compounded by its tiny range; Bantata is only about 173 square miles! 

What we do know is that it is a lithe hunter and is extremely deft at climbing; its tail is prehensile to help it maneuver up and down trees. This tail is extremely long, almost double the length of the body.

This gorgeous little predator hits about three feet in length, making it fairly large for a tree monitor. It is the largest in its group of closely related species by only a little bit, but far and away it’s the most beautiful!

Image sources: 1, 2, 3

A giant Galapagos tortoise believed extinct for 150 years probably still exists, say scientists.

Chelonoidis elephantopus lived on the island of Floreana, and was heavily hunted, especially by whalers who visited the Galapagos to re-stock.

A Yale University team found hybrid tortoises on another island, Isabela, that appear to have C. elephantopus as one of their parents.

Some hybrids are only 15 years old, so their parents are likely to be alive.

The different shapes of the giant tortoises on the various Galapagos islands was one of the findings that led Charles Darwin to develop the theory of evolution through natural selection.

The animals are thought to have colonised the archipelago through floating from the shores of South America.

Colonies on each island remained relatively isolated from each other, and so evolved in subtly different directions.

C. elephantopus is especially notable for its saddleback-shaped shell, whereas species on neighbouring islands sported a dome-like carapace.

Three years ago, the Yale team reported finding some evidence of hybrids around Volcano Wolf at the northern end of Isabela Island, in amongst the native population of Chelonoidis becki.

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If you do some calculations you realise that there have to be a few elephantopus around to father these animals ”

Dr Gisella CacconeYale University

They speculated that through careful cross-breeding, it might be possible to re-create the extinct lineage - a process likely to take many generations.

Now, in the journal Current Biology, they report that this might not be necessary. A further expedition to Volcano Wolf found 84 tortoises that appear, from genetic samples, to have a pure-bred C. elephantopus as a parent.

Thirty of these are less than 15 years old; so the chances of the pure-blood parents still being alive are high, given that they can live to over 100 years old.

“Around Volcano Wolf, it was a mystery - you could find domed shells, you could find saddlebacks, and anything in between,” recounted Gisella Caccone, senior scientist on the new study.

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“And basically by looking at the genetic fingerprint of the hybrids, if you do some calculations you realise that there have to be a few elephantopus around to father these animals.

"To justify the amount of genetic diversity in the hybrids, there should be something like 38.”

This number appears to include both males and females, given that some of the hybrids carry C. elephantopus mitochondrial DNA, which animals inherit exclusively from their mothers.

The theory is that some of the tortoises were probably taken by whaling ships that sailed from Floreana via the relatively remote Volcano Wolf en route to multi-year cruises in the Pacific looking for sperm whales.

Some of the giants made it to shore on Isabela, somehow, and established a presence.

The tortoises made an ideal food stock for whaling ships, as they can go without food for months and provided a source of fresh meat whenever the captain decided to kill them.

Needles, haystacks

The giant tortoises are so large, growing to nearly half a tonne, that you might think the elusive C. elephantopus would be easy to find.

The reality is rather different, according to Dr Caccone.

“The landscape on Volcano Wolf is hard, the vegetation thick with lots of bushes and nooks, and the carapaces are translucent so you need a trained eye to see the shininess of the shell,” she told BBC News.

“The thing that struck us is that no-one knows what the population is on Volcano Wolf. We took 40 people [on our last expedition], and we had to stop collecting basically when we finished our supplies.”

That trip took samples from over 1,600 individuals - which could be a small fraction of the population, indicating just how big a role the giant tortoises play in the ecosystem of the islands.

The Yale team now plans to discuss with Galapagos authorities whether to mount further exploratory expeditions, or whether to press ahead with a captive breeding programme.