Releasing Tigers - Page 1: Releasing
Captive-Bred Species | 2
& 3: Issues
Specific To The Tiger |
4 to 9: Xiongsheng Bear & Tiger Entertainment City | 10&11: Tiger Moon Sanctuary
Releasing captive-bred species:
The goal of captive breeding is, or rather, should be, to build up and maintain an adequate number of a species to successfully re-establish genetically sound wild population bases.
In effect it sounds simple enough.
In practice it is, of course, not that easy.
Some species can be successfully bred in captivity and released. Birds like the Californian condor and the New Zealand kiwi have done well in this manner. The Californian condor was extinct in the wild before a successful release programme was developed. Wild kiwi numbers are regularly maintained through the use of captive-raising and release.
Zoo success stories
include the golden lion tamarin and the Arabian oryx; most certainly
neither of these would be alive in the wild today without man's
intervention and research. Despite this seemingly glowing report,
a 1994 study of 145 release
programmes showed that only 16 had been successful. Most animal
releases are not a single event, but consist of several smaller
releases, often over some years.
As an example, Hawaii has had a sizeable number of bird introductions. The vast majority of these were carried out intentionally so were monitored and done in a manner which would provide every opportunity for the birds to become established.
Translocation, or the release of big cats, is much more of a challenge. Some smaller cats have been released quite successfully, the cougar is one of these. Amongst the big cats, lions have also occasionally made the transition from captive to wild life.
But tigers present various special difficulties and a captive-bred tiger release, with any degree of success, has only ever been planned and executed just the once.
Tigers breed very successfully in captivity and many females are maintained on hormonal contraception because places would not be available for their offspring. In recent times Punjab Zoo (India) announced it would be forced to begin sterilising their males to prevent any further increase in population. They also looked at the option of releasing surplus animals back into the wild, but ruled this out because it would require massive funding and none of the animals would have the killing instincts of their wild-born brethren.
With Thanks To Chen Xuefeng