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1 | Hughes 4 May 2010 Leslie A. Hughes Department of Natural Resources Management Texas Tech University P.O. Box 42125 Lubbock, Texas 79409 361/815-2997; [email protected] RH: Hughes. Role of Zoos in Wildlife Conservation The Role of Zoos in Wildlife Conservation LESLIE A. HUGHES, Department of Natural Resources Management, Texas Tech University, 3118 27 th St. Lubbock, Texas 79410, USA ___________________________ ABSTRACT The role of zoos in general has changed drastically over the long human history of displaying wild animals. Zoos and their governing associations have undergone drastic changes in their goals and practices, moving from the more traditional display of animals towards a more conservation minded educational approach. This review discusses the evolution of the role of zoos in wildlife, their major contributions, various conservation practices, and the direction of their future role in wildlife conservation. KEYWORDS captive breeding; education; ex situ conservation; in situ conservation; reintroduction; wildlife conservation; zoos The Journal of Wildlife Management: 00(0): 000-000, 200X Since ancient times human beings have feed their curiosity of wildlife by placing animals in confined areas to study and entertain, zoos hold a very important place in our recreational history. The oldest zoo in the world is believed to be the Tiergarten Schönbrunn zoo in Vienna, Austria it was founded in 1752 as an imperial menagerie (Role of Conservation in Zoos). A menagerie was the primal form of what we now consider zoos, they were places where exotic 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
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2 | Hughes and common animals were kept in captivity for human viewing. This practice of menagerie forms of “zoos” was common practice from the 16th to 19th centuries, their main goal and purpose was to display wild animals for entertainment. But towards the end of the 20th century the role of zoos started to evolve “…from being centers dedicated exclusively to the collection and exhibition of animals and the recreation of the public or a privileged minority, to becoming multifaceted, progressive institutions” (Cuaron 2005). Modern Role “While remaining attractive places of entertainment, zoos today also emphasize their contribution to wildlife conservation” (Tribe and Booth 2003) the modern role of zoos in the US and around the world has changed tremendously over the past half century. The main focus of zoos today is conservation of wildlife, especially threatened and endangered species, and they are starting to focus more and more on having successful reintroduction programs. Zoos are the main source of education about threatened and endangered species, and wildlife conservation in general for the mass public. They have the advantage of still being entertainment institutions which draw in the public and gives them the opportunity to learn about wildlife conservation that
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