Discussion in 'United States' started by Zoo_Boy, 27 Feb 2007.
San Diego Zoo.org
san diego wap used new techniques (well new on rhino) to get eggs read its good
News on the net today the Northern White rhino is now down to 13 what a dam shame they got down to this low number, I think the plan a couple of years ago to shift them to another safer country had a lot of merit but they (the goverment) would not let them leave.
well 13 in the wild actually isnt so bad - i had expected there was one or two at best!
i think there may be still a chance for this subspecies yet - be it a very, very slim one.
most of it, like everything else, comes down to politics...
to succeed the first step would be to consolodate every reproductively active NWR, both wild and in captivity, to one place. it would have to be a very safe and suitable place too, with minimal human and natural threats, to give the rhino the best chance of survival and reproduction. the wild animals will cope best if they are translocated to a similar climate and environment, thus, the most logical choice is this: a semi-wild ranger-protected preserve with low disease risk and no major predators that might cause risk to particuarly, baby rhino in a neighbouring african nation like kenya.
this alone is no easy task, its been proposed before with wild only animals with no luck and to give teh animals teh best chance we would need a certain european zoo to relocate and reintroduce their animals there as well!
in addition, every non-reproductive NWR, both in teh wild and in captivity, will need to have its genetic material preserved and stored, as in the future these genes will be invaluable at re-invigorating the inevitable problems that will be associated with inbreeding from such a small founder group.
if eventually we do clone NWR (most likely in a southern white rhino) and interbreed them with future generations of NWR it would give the animals a founder base of around 20...
probably just enough, especially if you consider that a smidge of SWR genes can always be diluted into the population if its desperately needed.
i wouldn't hold out much hope though...
The entire world population of pure NWR is 12 (discounting the 0.1 hybrid in captivity) individuals. 2.1 in the wild and 3.6 + 0.1 hybrid in captivity. Of these probably only 3.3 (I am not sure of the female in situ, so it may be down to just the 2 captives) are reproductively viable. The wild population can even be considered already reproductively moribund as the chances that all individuals will meet and breed is very slim indeed.
The current plan only consider the captive population and is to perform AI on the 2 remaining captive viable females. The non viable females (1 at San Diego has already been subjected to this procedure succesfully) will be super-ovulated and the ovae fertilised in vitro. At a late date to be implanted into surrogate SWR.
However what you propose had been proposed several years back and the sad onus was that neither the wildlife authorities in situ or the captive community were ready to accept a deal. In the given situation it would have meant opening a second reserve population of NWR out of range. It did not work due to politics.
I personally have not much faith in the current Congoles govt. to make any moves as they have been the prime blocking agents of any deal when the Garamba park was overrun in the first place and they have allowed the wild population to crash to a non viable population of just 3 individuals. Even these they are not ready to give up to be managed intensively out of range (I mean at a Kenyan wildlife reserve like Lewa or Solio).
pretty pathetic on all counts really. the congolese government is at war and faces much bigger issues that saving a few rhino of a particular subspecies.
however the zoos don't have so much of an excuse. they can pin it back on lack of co-operation, but i think there was definately a large dose of selfishness involved, the zoos wanting to hold onto the rhino because they were the only zoos in the world that had them. the czech zoo in particular should have realised that it wasn't able to provide an ideal environment for the animals and that they were better off someplace else.
and really, i don't think the zoo has a leg to stand on, they had a poor breeding record, having only a few success' and thus proving to be more counter-productive than anything else.
and the stupid thing is there is an almost identical looking rhino taxa that is extremely common in captivity and easily sourced from the wild that the zoo could have displayed instead.
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