PRESERVING A GENETIC HERITAGE

Wildlife animals are living an unprecedented crisis in this early 21st century. Some species still rife 20 or 30 years ago (giraffe, lion, barbary ape, hunting dog, grey parrot…) or who were believed to be out of danger thanks to 20th conservation acts (white rhinoceros, cheetah…) have recently had the sad privilege to see their significant precariousness made official by the IUCN ( International Union for Conservation of Nature ), during its last conference in September 2016.

For many reasons, the most pessimistic scenarios are coming true and a lot of species seem doomed to disappear in the next decades. The African continent is particularly put at risk because poaching has become widespread, because civil wars are constant and because millions of acres of savannah, wetlands or forests are being converted into agricultural lands.

This dark picture brings to light the responsibility that is incumbent upon wildlife parks. For some species that have disappeared in their natural milieu, wildlife parks are their only hope to see one day the environment they never should have left. Ensuring populations of wild animals in captivity exist has therefore become essential.

Since the 80s-90s, large wildlife parks all over the world work in accord with each other and get organised in the strictest way in order to avoid the pitfalls of inbreeding and then decide which species are to be bred as a priority.

The parks which are the most receptive to this action of conservation have gathered together as societies (EAZA for Europe, AZA for North America) and each one of them has organised itself to define the countless actions to be led by its members so that all the wildlife livestock in captivity stay lastingly without the need to introduce new specimens taken from their natural environment. For that, they have appointed a coordinator for each of the species receiving the highest level of management : European Endangered Species Breeding Programmes (EEP) and European Studbooks (ESBs). This coordinator has all the species genealogical information he needs to deal with and gives once a year breeding instructions to different members throughout Europe for years to come.

That sometimes implies separating from one’s valued animal because a genetically compatible partner lives several thousands kilometres away. In order to maintain their EAZA membership, wildlife animal parks must agree to these recommendations and must not give any market value to the animals they are separating from. All that is done in the interest of the species and without any financial compensation.

La Réserve Africaine de Sigean participates in the following 42 breeding programs:

ClassSpeciesCoordinator
MammalsBarbary ape, Macaca sylvanusTjerk ter Meulen (Gaia Zoo, Netherlands)
Lar Gibbon, Hylobates larJob Stumpel (Emmen, Netherlands)
Chimpanzee, Pan troglodytesFrands Carlsen (Copenhagen Zoo, Denmark)
Geoffroy’s tufted-eared marmoset, Callithrix geoffroyiAgustin Lopez Goya (Madrid Faunia, Spain)
Northern Talapoin Monkey, Miopithecus ogouensisJesús Recuero (Bioparc Fuengirola, Spain)
Black-capped squirrel monkey, Saimiri boliviensisAdrian Baumeyer (Zoo Bale, Switzerland)
Hunting dog, Lycaon pictusRichard Barnes (Port Lympne, United Kingdom)
Asiatic black bear, Ursus thibetanusAnna Jakucinska (Warsaw Zoological Garden, Poland)
Cheetah, Acinonyx j.jubatusLars Versteege (Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands)
Somali wild ass, Equus africanusBeatrice Steck (Zoo Bale, Switzerland)
Grevy's Zebra, Equus grevyiTanya Langenhorst (Marwell, United Kingdom)
Onager, Equus hemionus onagerStephan Hering (Hambourg, Germany)
Hartmann’s mountain zebra, Equus zebra hartmannaeMarianne de Jesús (Réserve Africaine de Sigean, France)
White rhinoceros, Ceratotherium simumLars Versteege (Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands)
Common warthog, Phacochoerus africanusRoss Snipp (Flamingo Land, United Kingdom)
Red buffalo, Syncerus caffer nanusMerel Zimmermann (Netherlands)
Reticulated and Kordofan giraffe, Giraffa c. reticulataandantiquorumJörg Jebram (Opel Zoo, Germany)
Blesbok, Damaliscus pygargus phillipsiSam Whitbread (Chessington, United Kingdom)
Cuvier’s gazelle, Gazella cuvieriEulalia Moreno (Almeria, Spain)
Nyala, Tragelaphus angasiiSusana Nolasco (Lisbon Zoo, Portugal)
Springbok, Antidorcas marsupialisBas Martens (Gaia Zoo, Netherlands)
Sitatunga, Tragelaphus s. gratusPeter Zwanger (Koln, Germany)
Greater Kudu, Tragelaphus strepsicerosNadja Niemann (Gelsenkirchen, Germany)
Roan antelope, Hippotragus equinusKlaus Brunsing (Hannover, Germany)
Sable antelope, Hippotragus n. nigerKim Skalborg Simonsen (Givsuk, Denmark)
Nile lechwe, Kobus megacerosYitzhak Yadid (Bioparco di Roma, Italy)
BirdsRed-necked ostrich, Struthio c.camelusMaren Frerking (Zoo Hannovre, Germany)
Goliath heron, Ardea goliathStephanie Jessen (AquaZoo Leeuwarden, Netherlands)
Hamerkop, Scopus umbrettaRoss Snipp (Flamingo Land, United Kingdom)
Yellow-bird stork, Mycteria ibisRoman Horsky (Zoo Zlin, Czech Republic)
Abdim’s stork, Ciconia abdimiiZuzana Matyasova (London Zoo, United Kingdom)
Marabou Stork, Leptoptilos crumeniferusCathy King (Walsrode, Netherlands)
Waldrapp ibis, Geronticus eremitaChristiane Boehm (Alpenzoo, Austria)
Pink-backed pelican, Pelecanus rufescensGeorgina Barnes (Longleat Safari Park, United Kingdom)
Hadada Ibis, Bostrychia hagedashRudy Wedlarski (Bioparc Doué la Fontaine, France)
Saddle-billed Stork, Ephippiorhyncus senegalensisMatthias Hendel (Zoo Dresden, Germany)
Rüppell's Vulture, Gyps rueppelliMaarten Vis (Rotterdam Zoo, Netherlands)
Black Crowned Crane, Balearica pavoninaMike Woolham (Banham Zoo, United Kingdom)
Violet Turaco, Musophaga violaceaUljana Kalazny (Warsaw Zoological Garden, Poland)
Red-crested Turaco, Tauraco erythrolophusLouise Peat (Burford, United Kingdom)
ReptilesAfrican dwarf crocodile, Osteolaemus tetraspisFabian Schmidt (Zoo Leipzig, Germany)
Madagascar tree boa, Sanzinia madagascariensisOlga Pofelska (Warsaw Zoological Garden, Poland)