Integrating the Captive and the Wild

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Science  30 Nov 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6111, pp. 1157-1158
DOI: 10.1126/science.1228899

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Conservation biology was founded with a focus on the plight of species by a group of scientists that included representatives of the zoo and botanical garden communities (1). In the decades since then, zoos have sought to minimize their impact on populations of wild animals and to contribute to field conservation while maintaining genetically and demographically sustainable captive populations and using these animals to help educate the public about conservation. In a recent article, Lacy argued that zoos are not achieving genetic sustainability for target animal populations (2). However, zoos have contributed a set of approaches to species management that are being integrated with those from field conservation to create hybrid forms of species management better suited to present-day conditions.