Effective conservation in the twenty-first century: the need to be more than a zoo. One organization's approach



Endangered species which need special protection reflect our fundamental failure to maintain the habitats in which those species occur. In order to stem the loss of biodiversity, which is a direct result of global environmental mismanagement, improvements need to made in several areas, such as education, health, welfare and conservation. In 1968 the Zoological Parks Board of New South Wales was the first zoological institution in Australasia to establish a dedicated education facility and world class veterinary centre. Since then the major emphases have been on the development of education and research through the establishment of a Conservation Research Centre (CRC) and the Australasian Conservation Training Initiative (ACTI), and the creation of an Animal Gene Storage Resource Centre and a Marine Mammal Centre. Since the late 1980s increased emphasis has been placed on substantial programmes of in situ conservation. Effective commercial operations are the key to ensuring financial stability for long-term conservation programmes. Improved co-operation between conservation organizations and the establishment of an international conservation fund need to be addressed to ensure that complimentary in situ and ex situ programmes are effective. In the 21st century whole biotas may need to be assembled from remnant and/ or reintroduced endemic species in habitats that have been preserved or reconstructed. If zoological organizations are to continue their work to preserve biodiversity it is critical that they continue to adapt and develop, otherwise they run the risk of becoming extinct themselves (Kelly, unpubl.).