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How are animal keeping and conservation philosophy of zoos affected by climate change?



Climate change is a global threat and will affect zoos in different ways. Two questions are discussed: (1) will the keeping conditions of animals in zoos change and force zoos to react to the effects of climate change, and (2) what is the influence of zoos on ex situ and in situ conservation of species at the moment and how will this be influenced by the fact that habitats alter as a result of climate-change effects? When considering keeping conditions a forecast is difficult to make. However, because animals can adapt to different temperatures and the environment can be controlled artificially with technology, the effect of climate change on keeping conditions seems to be manageable from the current level of knowledge and experience. The influence of global warming on the strategies of zoos for conservation seems to be more serious. First, the number of managed breeding programmes is growing slowly but the number of threatened species will probably increase rapidly as a result of climate-change effects. Second, the link to in situ/reintroduction projects will be affected if habitats change. Zoos need to react to these challenges both in collection planning (on different levels) and in the measures they have to develop for future in situ efforts.