Monday, 14 September 2015

Developments in amphibian captive breeding and reintroduction programs - via Herp Digest

  1. Gemma Harding,
  2. Richard A. Griffiths and
  3. Lissette Pavajeau
Conservation Biology
Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Marlowe Building, Canterbury, Kent, UK
Email: Richard A. Griffiths (
  1. This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process, which may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record. Please cite this article as doi: 10.1111/cobi.12612

Captive breeding and reintroduction remain high-profile but controversial conservation interventions. It is important to understand how such programs develop and respond to strategic conservation initiatives. Here we analyse the contribution to conservation made by amphibian captive breeding and reintroduction since the launch of the IUCN Amphibian Conservation Action Plan (ACAP) in 2007. Compared to earlier data spanning four decades, the number of species involved in captive breeding and reintroduction projects has increased by 57% in the seven years since the ACAP. However, there have been relatively few new reintroductions over this period with most programs focussing on securing captive assurance populations and conservation-related research. There has been a shift to a broader representation of frogs, salamanders and caecilians within programs and an increasing emphasis on threatened species. Equally, there has been a relative increase of species in programs from Central and South America and the Caribbean, where amphibian biodiversity is high. About half of the programs involve zoos and aquaria with a similar proportion represented in specialist facilities run by governmental or non-governmental agencies. Despite successful reintroduction often being regarded as the ultimate milestone for such programs, the irreversibility of many current threats to amphibians may make this an impractical goal. Instead, research on captive assurance populations may be needed to develop imaginative solutions to enable amphibians to survive alongside current, emerging and future threats.

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