Breeding vs Conservation

leo

Member
So, I saw a show on animal planet on exotic animal breeding and have also read on the points of view by breeders and conservation groups. Basically breeders argue they are helping with conservation of endangered species by providing the public with captive bred animals and reducing the amounts of wild caught individuals, in addition to providing the public with “education” on the given species and raising awareness on these animals.
Meanwhile, conservation groups argue that if breeders really wanted to help these species they would not capture them and should admire them in their natural habitats instead. If they really cared for the species, they would “let them be”, since most of the captive bred species can no longer be reintroduced into the wild due to many different reasons.

My questions would be in the case of chameleons, more specifically endangered species such as Parsons etc, could they be successfully reintroduced into the wild? Would breeders really give away to benefit a species while getting rid of substantial profit? I mean if rare species as parsons were to be successfully bred in captivity in great amounts, would people really want to give away such an expensive animal in order to benefit the conservation of the species, or would they rather sell the animal for so much money?

Let me kow what you think. Thanks!
 
So, I saw a show on animal planet on exotic animal breeding and have also read on the points of view by breeders and conservation groups. Basically breeders argue they are helping with conservation of endangered species by providing the public with captive bred animals and reducing the amounts of wild caught individuals, in addition to providing the public with “education” on the given species and raising awareness on these animals.
Meanwhile, conservation groups argue that if breeders really wanted to help these species they would not capture them and should admire them in their natural habitats instead. If they really cared for the species, they would “let them be”, since most of the captive bred species can no longer be reintroduced into the wild due to many different reasons.

My questions would be in the case of chameleons, more specifically endangered species such as Parsons etc, could they be successfully reintroduced into the wild? Would breeders really give away to benefit a species while getting rid of substantial profit? I mean if rare species as parsons were to be successfully bred in captivity in great amounts, would people really want to give away such an expensive animal in order to benefit the conservation of the species, or would they rather sell the animal for so much money?

Let me kow what you think. Thanks!
im on both sides of the debate in regards to field picking WC chameleons for the trade. I believe that yes, endagered species should be admired in the wild, but i contradict myself by saying WC is good because it gives keepers the chance at adding rarer more uncommon species to their collection.

However, i am strongly against field catching for more endagered species (namaqua's for example), i believe some species shouldnt be available at all.

i think conservation groups should get together and study the endangered groups in the wild, then breed them in wild breeding facilitys. i think it would be hard and possibily a fail captive breeding and hatching, and then releasing captive in the wild. i know it can be done, but what would the success rate be? just my opinion. also, i do not think breeders would do this non profit, but investing their own. it cost a ton having breeding projects as in, and i realy dont think breeders would do that non profit. conservation groups would.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
I think that taking a controlled number of chameleons out of the wild each year (and leaving enough to sustain the population in the wild) and having people learn to breed them might have a benefit both because the wild populations should not be depleted but also that we can have chameleons as pets...and learn how to get them to reproduce and survive better in captivity.

I also think that captive breeding in the area where the chameleons live might be a benefit to keeping the population of chameleons up in the areas that they live in.

When it comes to breeding them somewhere else and re-introducing them though there are repercussions (sp??). If you take an animal from its habitat and breed it/care for it somewhere else and then return its offspring to where it lived in the first place, you will/can bring in both bacteria and parasites that the community of animals that live there can not deal with. Re-introducing them also upsets the balance that is already there too in many cases. You may be putting animals into another's territory and there will have to be a "fight" to alter the territory boundaries of the ones that were already there.

I have also heard of animals being re-introduced to the areas to which they were endemic. In some cases re-introduction was done because there was no remnant population so that there is no concern with preventing disease spread, social disruption and introduction of alien genes....although that doesn't exclude introducing these problems to other animals that also live in that area. Maybe a rentroduction should be undertaken only as a last resort when there is no other choice and extinction will be the likely result?

The whole thing definitely needs a lot of thought.
 

fluxlizard

New Member
I've thought about this a lot over the years.

I think a lot of people fool themselves- CB chameleons in the hands of the average hobby breeder are not going to be desirable for reintroduction into wild populations. For a variety of reasons- genetic, possibility of transfer of disease to wild populations, survival in captivity vs survival in the wild, etc.

I'm for limited collection from land set aside for habitat. Habitat is really where it is at anyway- without habitat, the chameleon can't survive. There have been studies looking at other reptiles survival rate from baby to breeding adult (usually something like 2 or 3% for prolific breeders like chams) and how many can be harvested without effecting population density. I once heard a guy give a slideshow presentation about his work with crocodilians around the world and the amount of babies they learned that they could harvest without effecting population density was a surprisingly high percentage. But once collection occurs past a certain size, it quickly effects population density because you begin removing juvenile survivors that will turn into future breeders, as well as obviously the adult breeders themselves.

Most chameleons collected usually fall under adult breeders or soon to be future breeders. Which is not a very optimal situation.

In my perfect world I would not even have very high percentages collected, maybe a few percent of the total population of a given area, and only small ones ( or if babies are virtually impossible to locate in the wild, maybe ranching where a small percent of gravid females are collected, eggs hatched on site, raised to the size where survival odds increase, then some sold and some released into the wild). Licenses would be necessary for collection and costs of license could go to management of the habitat. Cost of wc chameleons would then be very high, which would be good for exporter, importer and breeder and the lizards themselves (more likely to get better care cause they are more valuable, and wild lizards would get the habitat they need).

I mean if rare species as parsons were to be successfully bred in captivity in great amounts, would people really want to give away such an expensive animal in order to benefit the conservation of the species, or would they rather sell the animal for so much money?
I think this assumption is a little flawed. If they ever become successfully bred in captivity in great amounts, they will no longer be such an expensive animal. I've seen it happen with a number of reptiles over the years. Today's expensive turns into tomorrow's inexpensive as more and more are produced. Unlikely to happen with parsons though...
 
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Texas Panther Man

New Member
I've thought about this a lot over the years.



In my perfect world I would not even have very high percentages collected, maybe a few percent of the total population of a given area, and only small ones ( or if babies are virtually impossible to locate in the wild, maybe ranching where a small percent of gravid females are collected, eggs hatched on site, raised to the size where survival odds increase, then some sold and some released into the wild). Licenses would be necessary for collection and costs of license could go to management of the habitat. Cost of wc chameleons would then be very high, which would be good for exporter, importer and breeder and the lizards themselves (more likely to get better care cause they are more valuable, and wild lizards would get the habitat they need).



I think this assumption is a little flawed. If they ever become successfully bred in captivity in great amounts, they will no longer be such an expensive animal. I've seen it happen with a number of reptiles over the years. Today's expensive turns into tomorrow's inexpensive as more and more are produced. Unlikely to happen with parsons though...
This is one of the better ideas I've seen thrown around concerning imports and reintroduction to the wild. It would help control prices of the wc ranched imports. This would in turn raise prices for the imported chams and would make cb offspring more profitable in the marketplace. Which would give more breeders a reason to set up projects working with more species. At todays pricing its hard to substantiate a reason for setting up captive breeding efforts on most rare species as its hard to even break even on these projects for a breeder or hobbyist breeder.
 

jdog1027

Established Member
Tough debate. I would have to say I feel that viable captive breeding programs are good, for any species. Look at some examples like the Red Wolf, California Condor, and the Arabian Oryx. They have benifited greatly from these programs. There have been some good points and opinions made on this thread. Kinyonga pointed out that captive animals do not behave like their wild counterparts. I would have to agree with that to a certain degree, but at the same time, I feel like you can't erase 20million years of evolution. Reptiles are survivors.. I try to be optimistic when I think about the future, as futile as that may be. But I think that before any reintroduction should take place for any given species, the issue of habitat loss should be addressed first and foremost. I feel that eventually, captive breeding programs may be the only place to see some species exist. And reintroduction should not occur until new approach to habitat loss is addressed. The Arabian Oryx I mentioned was very successfully reintroduced, only to be poached and have most of it's range opened up to quench our insatiable thirst for oil. Wildlife reserves and national parks need to be preserved for reintroduction to work. That or humans change our behaviour. I'm not trying to anger or oppose anyone's idea about this subject. I can see powerful opinion on both sides of the fence. Good thread topic.
 
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