ex situ conservation - Plant Ecology at Syracuse

Relative abundance III:
ex situ conservation
Bio 415/615
1. How do zoos and botanical gardens
contribute to natural biodiversity?
2. What are three dangers of ex situ
3. What is the purpose of a germplasm
4. What are two necessary
considerations when reintroducing
captive species back to nature?
Ex situ conservation
Leopold’s First Law of
“To save every cog and
wheel is the first
precaution of
intelligent tinkering.”
Zoos and
Cincinnati Zoo
The last
Carolina parakeet
Conuropsis carolinensis
Passenger Pigeon
Extopistes migratorius
Zoos contributions to
• Zoo populations are now the only
representatives of several species,
including until very recently the
California condor (Cymnogyps
californianus) and the black-footed
ferret (Mustela nigripes), and at least
18 species have been reintroduced into
the wild after captive propagation.
Zoos contributions to
• In at least six cases--Pere David deer
(Elaphurus davidianus), Przewalski horse
(Equus przewalski), red wolf (Canis rufus),
Arabian oryx (Oryx leucorx), American Bison
(Bison bison), Guam kingfisher (Halcyon
cinnamomina cinnamomina), and Guam rail
(Rallus owstoni)--the species were extinct in
the wild at the time of reintroduction-extinct for some 800 years in the case of the
Pere David deer!
(A) Père David’s deer has been extinct in the wild
since ~1200 (B) Przewalski’s horse
American Bison
Mound of
• Once widespread in
both prairie and
• Hunted to just a few
hundred animals in
1880s; also identity
lost via cattle hybrids
• Handful of private
ranchers bred them
back from extinction
• Today ca. 350,000;
but 2/3 are raised as
livestock; very few
‘pure’ bison pop’s
Captive Breeding
• Captive breeding programs may be some
species’ only hope for survival.
• To strengthen and coordinate captive
programs in North America, the Species
Survival Plan (SSP) was developed by
the American Zoo and Aquarium
Association (AZA) in 1981.
Saved by Zoos?: Recent
Extinctions in Wild
• Golden Frog (Atelopus zeteki)
• Native to Panama, extinct in wild in 2007
• Survivors of last known population captured
for captive breeding
Saved by Zoos?: Recent
Extinctions in Wild
• Spix's Macaw
(Cyanopsitta spixii)
• Native to central
Brazil, presumed
extinct in wild in
Species Survival Plan
• Cooperative that manages captive
breeding of ca. 160 species nationwide
• Many are ‘flagship’ species
• Eg: giant panda, CA condor, gorilla
• Some SSP projects include
reintroduction (CA condor, red wolf,
black-footed ferret)
Giant Panda
Not released into the wild – don’t know how to survive
Increased attention for limited persisting range
California Condor
Once spread across most of western and southern U.S.
Eventually all surviving wild individuals caught and reared in
captivity – as a strategy for species survival
From 22 to
individuals –
now breeding
in wild again
Imprinting on a puppet
Zoos contributions to
Zoos contributions to
• Indirectly contribute to In situ conservation through
public education and awareness
• Increases interest in saving species endangered with
• “Animal Ambassadors”
• Zoos directly contribute yearly to research and
conservation of wild populations
Some dangers of ex situ
• ?????
Some dangers of ex situ
• Genetic drift in small populations (Ne)
• New selective environment
– Conscious, unconscious
• Hybridization
• Can appear to replace need for in situ
• Turnover in zoo populations can create a net
drain on wild populations (80:1 in
abnormalities; 75% to 3% of skeletons;
Feduccia 1991)
Link to reintroduction & restoration is essential
Botanical gardens, too
Global Totals:
4 million individual plants
80,000 species
~30% of the world’s total
Franklinia -- Franklinia alatamaha
1765 Wm & John Bartram, Altamaha River, Georgia (map misspelling!)
1803 Last seen in wild
The National Center for Genetic
Resources Preservation
(NSSL) (USDA), Ft. Collins, CO
The National Center for Genetic
Resources Preservation
(NSSL) (USDA), Ft. Collins, CO
• More than just plants
• Major cryobiological facilities
– Seed bank
– Living tissue (bud grafts)
– Animal genetic resources (such as semen)
National Seed Storage
Laboratory (USDA), Ft. Collins,
-18 C
-196 C
Liquid N
National Seed Storage
Laboratory (USDA), Ft. Collins
• About 475,000 ‘accessions’ (bag of
seed, plant tissue culture, etc)
• Each accession is 3,000-5,000 seeds
• Includes about 10,000 species
• Storage methodology is crucial
Seed Dormancy
Drying, Cooling, Aging
Orthodox Seeds: dessication tolerant, longlived [vary in reaction to RATE of drying and
Intermediate: partially dessication tolerant,
Recalcitrant Seeds: dessication sensitive
Preserving rare/traditional breeds of
domesticated plants and animals:
Issue of efficiency in production vs.
Threatened loss of genetic diversity and
traits important to disease resilience
and resistance
Why did the Irish immigrate in such high
numbers to the U.S. in the mid 1800s?
Why did the Irish immigrate in such high
numbers to the U.S. in the mid 1800s?
Potato Blight (Phytophthora infestans )
500,000 to 1.5 million people died of
Millions more emigrated
Crop species show high genetic diversity
in certain areas of the world
Real goal: Reintroduction
3 types of release programs:
1. Reintroduction (gone, return)
2. Augmentation (still there, more added)
3. Introduction (never there, added)
A. For conservation purposes (rare
i.e. Translocations
B. For other purposes (exotic species)
i.e. exotic introduction
Reintroduction issues
• Historic precedence & scale: how to
decide where and how many?
• Source populations: where from?
• Genetic diversity: to mix or not?
• Microhabitat match
• Habitat protection, quality, population
growth rate
• Pest, disease transmission
Reintroduction isn’t easy:
Griffith et al. 1989 – probability of success in:
excellent quality habitat 84%
poor quality habitat 38%
core of historic range 78%
periphery of the historic range 48%
wild-caught animals 75%
captive-reared animals 38%
herbivores 77%
carnivores 48%
Grey Wolf Recovery
The Mexican Grey Wolf – Canis lupus baileyi
The Mexican Grey Wolf – Canis lupus baileyi
• Only a few hundred Mexican wolves alive
• Historically in northern Mexico and
southwestern U.S.
• Hunted to near extinction by Ranchers
• Captive-reared wolves have been released
into wilderness area of NM and AZ
• Of the 34 wolves initially released (in the
late 90’s): five were shot; one disappeared;
one was hit by a vehicle; five were returned to
captivity; and 22 became free-ranging.
REWARDS OFFERED The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a
reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the conviction of the
individual or individuals responsible for the shooting deaths of Mexican
gray wolves. An additional $10,000 is being offered by Defenders of
Wildlife, and $5,000 is being offered by the Center for Biological Diversity.
Individuals with information they believe may be helpful are urged to call
one of the following agencies: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents
in Mesa, AZ, at (480) 967-7900, Pinetop, AZ, at (928) 367-5689, or
Albuquerque, NM, at (505) 346-7828; the White Mountain Apache Tribe at
(928) 338-1023 or (928) 338-4385; Arizona Game and Fish Department
Operation Game Thief at 1-800-352-0700; or New Mexico Department of
Game and Fish Operation Game Thief at 1-800-432-4263. Killing a
Mexican gray wolf is a violation of the federal Endangered Species Act,
and can invoke criminal penalties of up to $25,000 and/or six (6) months in
jail or a civil penalty of up to $25,000.
"The precise total number of breeding adult blackfooted ferrets extant in the wild is unknown because
of monitoring limitations. However, in the fall of 2008
a minimum of 700 ferrets occured in the four
"successful" reintroduction sites (Aubrey Valley,
Arizona; Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, South
Dakota; Conata Basin, South Dakota; and Shirley
Basin, Wyoming). Assuming that approximately 50
percent of ferrets counted in fall surveys survive to
become breeding adults the following spring, there
are approximately 350 breeding adults at these four
successful sites. Accordingly, it appears that as of
2011, downlisting efforts may be 40 percent
complete with regard to establishing 10 successful
populations and approximately 23 percent complete
with regard to the goal of 1,500 breeding adults. An
additional number of at least 1,150 breeding adults
are needed at existing or new sites to meet the
downlisting goals. It has taken 20 years of
reintroduction efforts to reach this point in ferret
recovery. Accordingly, we are modifying the year of
achieving downlisting goals estimated in the 1988
Recovery Plan from 2010 to 2020. Additionally, we
estimate meeting delisting goals by 2040. These
estimates assume progress similar to what has been
achieved in recent years."
The circles represent
individuals of different
age classes.
Age-structured matrix model
The P values are
survival from one year
to the next.
The F values are per
capita offspring
The italicized numbers
represent the
importance of different
age-based processes.
What is the most
important component of
the population to
manage from a
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