Captive Breeding: Boon or Boondoggle

Zimmerman, David R.
December 1974
Natural History;Dec1974, Vol. 83 Issue 10, p6
Reports that each year more animals are added to the lists that foreshadow their imminent demise, that with each addition the need for action to save threatened species from extinction grows greater. Proposal of captive breeding, in which a few individuals are taken from the wild and placed in a breeding facility, and after a few years hopefully their plentiful progeny--untamed traits carefully nurtured and intact--are then set free to bolster the dwindling wild population; Steps taken by the U.S. government in 1960 to conserve the best-known endangered bird, the whooping crane, a project assigned to the Endangered Wildlife Research Program at its Patuxent facility in Maryland; Details of the plan, which was to take eggs from the whooping cranes' nesting grounds in Canada in alternate years, hatch them, raise them to breeding age, mate them--either naturally or by artificial insemination--build up a flock of 20 breeding pairs, and then find ways to return their offspring or their offspring's offspring to migratory niches in nature.


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