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 36 breeding programs:
|Mammals||Barbary ape, Macaca sylvanus||Tjerk ter Meulen (Gaia Zoo, Netherlands)|
|Lar Gibbon, Hylobates lar||Job Stumpel (Emmen, Netherlands)|
|Chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes||Frands Carlsen (Copenhagen Zoo, Denmark)|
|Geoffroy’s tufted-eared marmoset, Callithrix geoffroyi||Agustin Lopez Goya (Madrid Faunia, Spain)|
|Black-capped squirrel monkey, Saimiri boliviensis||Adrian Baumeyer (Zoo Bale, Switzerland)|
|Hunting dog, Lycaon pictus||Richard Barnes (Port Lympne, United Kingdom)|
|Asiatic black bear, Ursus thibetanus||Anna Jakucinska (Zoo Warszawa, Poland)|
|Cheetah, Acinonyx j.jubatus||Lars Versteege (Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands)|
|Somali wild ass, Equus africanus||Beatrice Steck (Zoo Bale, Switzerland)|
|Zèbre de Grévy, Equus grevyi||Tanya Langenhorst (Marwell, United Kingdom)|
|Onager, Equus hemionus onager||Stephan Hering (Hambourg, Germany)|
|Hartmann’s mountain zebra, Equus zebra hartmannae||Tanya Langenhorst (Marwell, United Kingdom)|
|White rhinoceros, Ceratotherium simum||Lars Versteege (Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands)|
|Common warthog, Phacochoerus africanus||Ross Snipp (Flamingo Land, United Kingdom)|
|Red buffalo, Syncerus caffer nanus||Merel Zimmermann (Netherlands)|
|Reticulated giraffe, Giraffa c. reticulata||Jörg Jebram (Gelsenkirchen, Germany)|
|Kordofan giraffe, Giraffa c. antiquorum||Jörg Jebram (Gelsenkirchen, Germany)|
|Blesbok, Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi||Sam Whitbread (Chessington, United Kingdom)|
|Cuvier’s gazelle, Gazella cuvieri||Eulalia Moreno (Almeria, Spain)|
|Springbok, Antidorcas marsupialis||Bas Martens (Gaia Zoo, Netherlands)|
|Sitatunga, Tragelaphus s. gratus||Peter Zwanger (Koln, Germany)|
|Greater Kudu, Tragelaphus strepsiceros||Jörg Jebram (Gelsenkirchen, Germany)|
|Roan antelope, Hippotragus equinus||Klaus Brunsing (Hannover, Germany)|
|Sable antelope, Hippotragus n. niger||Kim Skalborg Simonsen (Givsuk, Denmark)|
|Nile lechwe, Kobus megaceros||Yitzhak Yadid (Bioparco di Roma, Italy)|
|Birds||Red-necked ostrich, Struthio c.camelus||Maren Frerking (Zoo Hannovre, Germany)|
|Goliath heron, Ardea goliath||Stephanie Jessen (Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands)|
|Hamerkop, Scopus umbretta||Ross Snipp (Flamingo Land, United Kingdom)|
|Yellow-bird stork, Mycteria ibis||Roman Horsky (Zoo Zlin, Czech Republic)|
|Abdim’s stork, Ciconia abdimii||Zuzana Matyasova (London Zoo, United Kingdom)|
|Marabou, Leptoptilos crumeniferus||Cathy King (Walsrode, Netherlands)|
|Waldrapp ibis, Geronticus eremita||Christiane Boehm (Alpenzoo, Austria)|
|Pink-backed pelican, Pelecanus rufescens||Georgina Barnes (Longleat Safari Park, United Kingdom)|
|Reptiles||African dwarf crocodile, Osteolaemus tetraspis||Fabian Schmidt (Zoo Leipzig, Germany)|
|Madagascar tree boa, Sanzinia madagascariensis||Olga Pofelska (Zoo Warsaw, Poland)|
|Radiated tortoise, Geochelone radiata||Linn Lagerstrom (Parken Zoo, Sweden)|
The Réserve Africaine de Sigean regularly reproduces all 25 taxon in the above table. For some of these species (Springbok, Lechwe, Red Buffalo, Pink-backed Pelican) the largest European groups are housed in Sigean. The Réserve Africaine de Sigean aims to participate in many other breeding programs in the coming years.