INTERNATIONAL ZOO YEARBOOK : RESEARCH IN ZOOS : VOLUME 45 / 2011

The need to understand the biology of wildlife is becoming ever more urgent. The IUCN has indicated that between 10 and 30% of animal species are threatened with extinction and suggested that living collections are and should be in the forefront of conserving them. A key requirement for successful species conservation is conservation-related scientific research.

Opportunities to carry out research in zoos and aquariums are expanding rapidly but they are not as widely known nor as widely used as the urgency and size of the conservation challenge demands. This issue of the International Zoo Yearbook has been designed to present examples and give encouragement in this respect by surveying the state of the art of conservation-related research as it applies to vertebrate and invertebrate animals currently held by, or that may in the future need to be kept in zoological collections and aquariums.
The volume’s first section surveys new strategies of cooperation with Academic Institutions, on a large and small scale—all effective. Examples of ways to understand better the welfare of our animals are illustrated from a global to a quarantine-pen size perspective. This issue also focuses on one aspect of reproductive biology, cryopreservation, to bring a more general awareness of the current status of the technology as it applies to the ‘Frozen Ark’. Two topics of rapidly expanding interest complete this volume. The first explores the pathological and saprophytic micro-organisms in zoological collections and reveals a world barely glimpsed until now, where basic biological, biomedical, epidemiological or veterinary viewpoints will be constructive. The last topic attends to the need to understand the foundation of our conservation efforts—demography and population genetics. New ways of thinking are being generated here.

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