Further role of zoos in conservation: Monitoring wildlife use and the dilemma of receiving donated and confiscated animals


  • Alfredo D. Cuarón

    Corresponding author
    1. Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Morelia, Michoacán, México
    2. Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Fraccionamiento El Pueblito, San José del Cerrito, Morelia, Michoacán, México
    • Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apartado postal 27-3 (Xangari), 58089, Morelia, Michoacán, México
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The role of zoos in conservation has evolved. Additional roles that zoos can play in conservation include monitoring live wildlife use (one of the main threats for many species). Zoos in many parts of the world are offered animals by the public and are required to receive animals confiscated by the authorities. By quantifying these animals, zoos can monitor live wildlife use rates and trends and obtain relevant information on the environment of a region which can assist in situ conservation management. Zoos are sometimes forced to receive unwanted animals from the public or the authorities. Receiving these animals is a burden for zoos. Agreements between zoos and governments are important to take care of these animals and to optimize the use of conservation resources. It is not possible or desirable to maintain all donated and seized animals. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources provides useful guidelines on what to do with them. In all cases, species conservation should take precedence over individual animal welfare. These issues are illustrated with data collected at Zoológico Regional Miguel Alvarez del Toro (ZOOMAT) in Chiapas, southern Mexico. Zoo Biol 24:115–124, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.