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Cooperative conservation: zoos and in situ captive breeding for endangered Island fox Urocyon littoralis ssp

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Abstract

Successful captive breeding of endangered Island foxes, which essentially saved San Miguel Island foxes Urocyon littoralis littoralis and Santa Rosa Island foxes Urocyon littoralis santarosae from extinction, was facilitated by collaboration between land-management agencies and the zoo community. Although the captive breeding was conducted in situ (on-island) by the agencies, participating zoos offered skill sets and experience that the agencies lacked. Zoos contributed significantly to the development of Island fox husbandry guidelines, genetic management of captive foxes through a studbook, provision of adequate veterinary care and conservation education. Such proactive collaboration may become increasingly necessary for species conservation, given likely impacts to species from global climate change and human population growth.

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