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Zoo and Aquarium Conservation: Past, Present, Future

Zoo and Aquarium Conservation: Past, Present, Future

(p.1) Introduction Zoo and Aquarium Conservation: Past, Present, Future
The Ark and Beyond
Ben A. MinteerJane MaienscheinJames P. Collins
University of Chicago Press

This chapter provides an editorial introduction to The Ark and Beyond, an interdisciplinary volume exploring the history, ethics, science, and practice of zoo and aquarium conservation. The chapter traces the emergence and development of a distinct conservation mission in zoological parks, including the growth of conservation breeding and reintroduction efforts, conservation education programs, and zoo-based conservation research as zoos are becoming serious players in the wider institutional effort to protect endangered species and slow the loss of global biodiversity in this century. Ethical tensions and challenges surrounding the interplay of zoo animal welfare, recreation and entertainment, and the pursuit of broader conservation goals (linking ex-situ and wild populations) are also addressed. The chapter concludes with an overview of the volume’s main themes and questions, including: the shifting motivations driving zoo and aquarium conservation over time; the diversity of contemporary zoo conservation science and practice; the relationship between ex-situ (zoo) and in-situ (field) conservation efforts; alternative futures for zoo and aquarium conservation; and, finally, the debate over whether zoos can ever be “natural” or “wild” in a significant sense.

Keywords:   zoos, aquariums, conservation, zoo history, zoo biology, ex situ, conservation breeding, conservation research, zoo animal welfare, wildness

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