Zoos – the captive breeding professionals
Modern zoos have four core functions: species protection, research, environmental education and entertainment. The 71 zoos in the German speaking region have around 40 million annual visitors. They are united in the Association of Zoological Gardens (VdZ), which is one of Citizen Conservation’s three leading partners.
Zoos also collaborate internationally: on the European level within the framework of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), and globally with the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). The European zoos maintain their own endangered species conservation programs under the name EEP. In addition to zoos, there are a variety of smaller animal and wildlife parks, which are committed to the same goals. In Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, they are united in the Deutsche Tierpark-Gesellschaft (DTG).
With their scientific staff and expert caretakers, zoos provide the largest institutional expertise in all aspects of wildlife management. In addition to presenting animals to visitors, they share their expertise with civilians through informational posters, interactive activities, exhibitions, events, and educational courses.
Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna. | trabantos, Shutterstock
Expert groups – the specialists
Numerous private breeders worldwide are committed to sharing their expertise on the breeding of a wide variety of wildlife species, from aquarium fish to frogs and turtles to birds and small mammals. The idea of Citizen Conservation is to combine the conservation efforts of these highly qualified people with those in zoos. The German Society fo Herpetology and Herpetoculture (DGHT) is the world’s largest association unifying private terrarium owners with herpetologists that work with amphibians and reptiles. In numerous regional groups and working groups, it offers the opportunity to get in personal contact with other owners and scientists. The DGHT is one of the partners of Citizen Conservation.
Frogs & Friends e. V. is a non-profit association that is committed to the communication of everything concerning amphibians. With digital content, films, exhibitions and many other projects, they strive to draw attention to the threats to frogs, salamanders, & their relatives. Frogs & Friends is one of the coordinators and leading partners of Citizen Conservation.
A meeting of specialists: Citizen Conservation Workshop 2018. | Sanja Drakulic, Frogs & Friends
Continuing education – animal breeding is (also) a craft
Expert knowledge is a prerequisite for successful breeding. That’s why Citizen Conservation offers the opportunity for private breeders to obtain a certificate of competence. Examiners of the DGHT and the Federation of German Aquarium and Terrarium Associations (VDA) hold training courses and supervise the exams for these certificates.
White-bellied Pangolin Phataginus tricuspis. | Jiri Prochazka, Shutterstock
Additional resources for learning and discovery
The Internet offers excellent information about wildlife and conservation. Here are a few resources.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the most important international union of experts of species conservation. It is in charge of the IUCN Red List, which offers information on the threats to the global diversity of species.
The Zootier-Lexikon offers a good overview of the species bred in European zoos.
The German Federal Agency for Nature (BfN) Conservation’s database details the regulations for the species conservation of plants and animals in Germany.