The current status of our wildlife species has been the focus of may ecological advocacies because of the fact that most of the wildlife is becoming threatened. The main cause of this is due to anthropogenic activities, which includes destruction of habitat by men, hunting, illegal trade and medicinal value. The Animal Health Department at the Gladys Porter Zoo is said to be the principal wildlife rehabilitation unit for the Rio Grande Valley. It defines wildlife rehabilitation as the involvement through caring for the injured, orphaned, and ill wild animals with the goal of releasing each into its natural habitat. Terrestrial animals like endangered mammals which are rescued from illegal trade are put to rehabilitation centers like zoos for further study on the trauma brought by this activity. After some tests and medications on the injured animals, they are to be released in the wild. For animals that are no longer suited to their wild habitat due to major injury or sickness, they are kept and used for educational purposes. For marine animals like marine mammals, rescued species are put into oceanariums for medication and continuous recovery. Similar to terrestrial animals upon recovery, they are sent back to the wild. However, there are also cases where rescued animals can no longer be released to the wild due to great damage in their physical health which can lead to death by their predators in the wild. These animals are kept and are used for entertainment like shows. This kind of entertainment ensures that the animals are not threatened by the viewers and are given a lot of attention and care. One of the oceanariums in the world is the Shedd Aquarium.
Zoos are really of great help in terms of restoring population of threatened or endangered species and maintaining numbers and genetic diversity through periodic release (WWF, “Captive Breeding – WWF Policy Statement 2007”). They are also able to conduct research on animals that increases knowledge on animal biology as well as genetics and behavior, interactions, food and also the habitat that is well suited for them. With the results, they have formulated new strategies in conserving wild species and educated the community about the current situation. Aside from rehabilitation, zoos are also one of the main contributors of captive breeding. These are strategies that are carefully planned for known species to survive. In other words, they save species from total elimination or extinction. One example is the California Condor for which almost 10 years of working on strengthening the population, the Los Angeles and San Diego zoos were able to raise from less than two dozen birds to 170 (Nabila Aziz, “The Conservation Mission of Zoos”). This endangered species of bird can be considered as a successful project of captive breeding. The Pere David’s deer is back from extinction by the help of breeding programs. This Asian deer became extinct in the wild but the Chinese and European zoos have successfully release four of these deer in the wild in the year 1985. It is good news for they are now self-sustaining and enable to adapt to their natural habitat.
For scientific purposes, animals that were rescued can be used to conduct research on the biology especially on the current situation of wildlife species and the characteristics of their habitat. Ensuring that no animals are to be harmed, this purpose will help scientist in improving and discovering new techniques and strategies in maintaining wildlife diversity. It will reduce time and effort compared in going to the field and conduct experiment which cost a lot of money, resources and can greatly reduce the collection of species for scientific researches.
These are the main points why I support the rehabilitation/captivation of wildlife species.
Aziz, Nabila. “The Conservation Mission of Zoos.” Wild Welfare. Wild Welfare, 5 May 2014. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.
WWF. “Captive Breeding – WWF Policy Statement 2007.” WWF Global, 29 May 2007. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.