The main purpose of maintaining studbooks for rare species of animals in captivity is to facilitate the planned breeding of these species. Unless studbooks are kept it is extremely difficult to know when prolonged inbreeding is occurring, since the individual identity of the animal is often lost when it is exchanged or sold. Both the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) and the I UDZG (International Union of Directors of Zoological Gardens) have recommended that new studbooks should be started for rare animal species in captivity.
In order to prevent confusion it has been agreed by the IUCN and the IUDZG that the central organisation of all studbooks should be the responsibility of the IUCN'S Zoo Liaison Committee. The Zoo Liaison Committee is a committee of the IUCN'S Survival Service Commission. Its members are zoo directors, its Chairman is Dr W. Windecker (director of Cologne Zoo) and its Secretary is Lady Medway (c/o School of Biological Sciences, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). Anyone wishing to start a studbook for a rare animal species should write to the Secretary of the Zoo Liaison Committee.
It has also been agreed by the IUCN and the IUDZG that all new studbooks should follow certain rules and recommendations. These rules and recommendations, listed below, were drawn up by the Secretary of the Zoo Liaison Committee in consultation with Dr Erna Mohr and Dr Zdenek Veselovsky, the foremost authorities on rare animal studbooks. It is recommended that anyone wishing to maintain a studbook for a rare species should read the following papers:
Mohr, E. (1968): Studbooks for animals in captivity. International Zoo Yearbook, Volume 8, pp. 159–166.
Mohr, E. (1967): The studbook of the European bison Bison bonasus. International Zoo Yearbook, Volume 7, pp. 187–188.
Veselovsky, Z., and Volf, J. (1965): Breeding and care of rare Asian ungulates at Prague Zoo. International Zoo Yearbook, Volume 5, pp. 28–37.
Volf, J. (1967): Studbook of the Przewalski horse Equus przewalskii. International Zoo Yearbook, Volume 7, p. 185.
A list of rare animal studbooks, officially endorsed by the IUCN'S Zoo Liaison Committee, is given below.