Elasmobranchs under Human Care

A Feasibility Study of an Institutional Collection Plan without Animals Originating Directly from the Wild

In: Journal of Applied Animal Ethics Research
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  • 1 Royal Burgers’ ZooAntoon van Hooffplein 1, 6816 SH ArnhemThe Netherlands
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As ocean’s apex predators, elasmobranchs are a very popular group in zoos and public aquariums. Since 30% of these species are threatened, there is a need within the zoo and public aquarium community to create a Regional Collection Plan (RCP) to coordinate the elasmobranch populations under human care. In 2011, Royal Burgers’ Zoo decided to change the Institutional Collection Plan (ICP) and stopped getting any sharks or rays directly from the wild. This study presents the potential and challenges of this approach. Although this study shows it to be a feasible approach for one public aquarium, implementing this ICP criterion in multiple public aquariums will require an increase in breeding efforts. There may also remain a need to collect animals from the wild as part of a conservation programme on threatened species or to increase the number of founders in a breeding programme.

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