Do you know these 4 animals were brought back from the brink of extinction?
1. Golden lion tamarin
These small monkeys are found only in Rio De Janerio state, Brazil. It was in the late 1960s and 70s, that the tiny monkeys were on the brink of extinction due to increased deforestation and pet trade. This compelled nearly 150 zoos to come together to save the species. They started a global captive breeding program which, together with efforts from Brazilian conservationists helped increase the number of wild golden lion tamarins to more than 3,500 to date.
2. Arabian oryx
In the early 1960s the Fauna Preservation Society launched Operation Oryx to save the species. They started the operation with just nine oryx that were captured from the wild, Phoenix Zoo, in the US, leading to a successful captive-breeding program. By the early 1980s Arabian oryx were reintroduced into the deserts of central Oman. There are now over 1,000 living in the wild, with the species reintroduced to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. This would not have been possible without the united efforts of multiple governments, zoos and conservation organizations.
3. Galapagos giant tortoise
In the 1960s, the giant tortoise population off the coast of Ecuador was reduced to 15 individuals. Thereon they were taken to a captive breeding centre on the nearby island of Santa Cruz with the aim of repopulating the species. Today, over 2,000 tortoises bred at the centre have been returned to their native island. The most interesting among them is the tortoise named Diego, who was transferred from San Diego Zoo to Santa Cruz island to join the breeding program, who have fathered around 800 tortoises. He is 130 years old and has been recently moved back to his home island of Española.
4. Przewalski’s horse
In 1977, the Foundation for the Preservation and Protection of the Przewalski’s Horse began an exchange of the horses between zoos, in an effort to improve genetic diversity. In 1992, 16 horses were released into the wild in Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan. Today there are only 2,000 species living in the wild. According to San Diego Zoo, which has led breeding efforts, all Przewalski’s horses alive today are descended from 14 individuals captured at the start of the 20th century.
Like these, there are other endangered animals in the wild that were saved through captive breeding: where endangered animals in zoos or other facilities are encouraged to reproduce, with the aim of releasing the offspring.
Featured image: Pinterest
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