In Last Animals at the Zoo, Colin Tudge argues that zoos have become an essential part of modern conservation strategy, and that the only real hope for saving many endangered species is through creative use of zoos in combination with restoration of natural habitats. From the genetics of captive breeding to techniques of behavioral enrichment, Tudge examines all aspects of zoo conservation programs and explains how the precarious existence of so many animals can best be ...
In Last Animals at the Zoo, Colin Tudge argues that zoos have become an essential part of modern conservation strategy, and that the only real hope for saving many endangered species is through creative use of zoos in combination with restoration of natural habitats. From the genetics of captive breeding to techniques of behavioral enrichment, Tudge examines all aspects of zoo conservation programs and explains how the precarious existence of so many animals can best be protected.
Zoos play an essential role in modern conservation strategy, stresses the author, a fellow of the Royal Zoological Society in London, their most important task being the breeding of endangered species for return to the wild. Tudge introduces us to the science of captive breeding, which combines molecular biology with reproductive physiology. The next step, reintroduction, demands protection of the animals, management, preservation and restoration of habitat and public education. Tudge describes successful programs with Arabian oryx, red wolf, Pere David's deer and golden lion tamarind and discusses other programs in progress and experimental breeding techniques. In addition to keeping the animals healthy, zookeepers must provide behavioral and environmental enrichment (``keep them happy''). Tudge cites several innovative measures taken at major zoos--Portland, Oreg.; London; Glasgow; and Aspenhuel, Holland. He engages in philosophical speculation about animals, combined with delightful stories. (Mar.)
Given the growing number of titles being published on wildlife conservation and the role of zoos in the preservation and introduction of species (Jake Page's Zoo: The Modern Ark, LJ 5/1/90 ; Page's Smithsonian's New Zoo, LJ 6/1/90; Gerald Durrell's The Ark's Anniversary , LJ 8/1/91), what makes this book so special is its sophisticated European and philosophical approach. Tudge, a scientific fellow of the Zoological Society of London, delves deeply into reasons why we must conserve animals and considers controversial philosophical issues such as how much wildlife do we need and how much should we interfere in the lives of animals. He spends considerable time discussing the difficulties involved in breeding exotic species in captivity and gives examples of particular projects such as those involving Golden Lion Tamarins, Arabian Oryx, and Red Wolves. Although Tudge obviously supports zoos and what he presents as their role for the future of wildlife conservation, his work presents both sides of the picture and remains unbiased. Highly recommended for informed audiences.-- Edell Marie Peters, Brookfield P.L., Wis.
Detailing the grim conditions many animals must overcome in their natural habitats and the bleak prospects for recovery by those already on the brink of extinction, zoologist Tudge draws the inescapable conclusion that humans must intervene now to preserve and breed endangered species in captivity, pending some hoped for reintroduction of recovered species at a later and safer time. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Colin Tudge is a three-time winner of the Glaxo/ABSW Science Writer of the Year Award. His career as a science writer includes serving as Features Editor at New Scientist, his own science program, Spectrum, on BBC Radio and freelance writing for The Independent, The Times, Natural History and The New Statesman.
In addition to Last Animals at the Zoo, he was writtenThe Tree: A Natural History of What Trees Are, How They Live, and Why They Matter; So Shall We Reap; The Time Before History; The Impact of the Gene; and coauthor (with Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell) of The Second Creation: Dolly and the Age of Biological Control.
Chapter 1. Why Conserve Animals?
Chapter 2. The Scope of the Problem
Chapter 3. First Get Your Animals to Breed
Chapter 4. The Theory of Conservation Breeding
Chapter 5. Projects in Progress
Chapter 6. The Frozen Zoo?
Chapter 7. The Whole Animal: Behaviour Conserved
Chapter 8. The Future