Are species ever reintroduced to their native habitats from zoos? Are there risks to this?



  1. 0 Votes

    Yes, sometimes they are. Populations in zoos are usually small and isolated. While efforts are made to keep careful track of genetics and preserve the variation a population had in the wild, it can still be lost in the process of captive breeding. Sometimes the habitat they are reintroduced to simply isn’t the same anymore, and can no longer support the species. There’s also a chance that the species will have changed, genetically, in its time in captivity and not be as well-suited for its habitat anymore. Long enough in captive breeding programs, and a species will begin to adapt to captivity, as those best-suited for captive life are the ones reproducing the most. It’s also often the case that a given species will be difficult to raise in captivity in the first place (great white sharks, for example, have yet to be successfully kept in captivity). That said, captive breeding programs (like that for the black-footed ferret or California condor) have been successful — they’re just tricky.

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