When it comes to saving endangered species, there’s a lot that goes into ensuring their survival. But beyond land conservation, what are we doing to keep some of the most threatened animals alive?
It’s easy to simplify this process by saying that we’re just conserving the species’ habitat, but there’s much more that goes into saving endangered creatures—becoming a matchmaker is just one of them.
For highly endangered or threatened species it’s sometimes necessary for us humans to intervene and become matchmakers of a sort. In order to build healthy populations, large populations are necessary to build and maintain genetic diversity. This gets increasingly difficult as wild populations start to dwindle.
Take, for instance, the Maned Wolf. These creatures, mostly native to the grasslands of Brazil, have lost 80% of their natural habitat and are down to 20,000 individuals. Luckily, these maned wolves are getting a little help from scientists in the United States. The Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute is hard at work breeding an insurance population of maned wolves who can eventually be reintroduced to their natural habitats and help build the native populations!
So, how does one go about building a backup population of maned wolves? Well, it’s a little complex, but it comes down to that matchmaking we were talking about. Let’s take a look at what scientists are doing to protect the maned wolf and how research like this could help save other species from extinction, in this great video from NPR’s YouTube channel Skunk Bear!
Celebrating Stories of Success!
The successes of programs like the Maned Wolf program at the National Zoo help broaden the tools we can use to help conserve threatened and endangered species. While land conservation and education programs are an enormous part of helping species thrive and survive, discovering new ways to reintroduce genetic diversity gives us a greater chance at success in our efforts.
The collaborations of geneticists, conservation experts, and biologists open up new doors for saving our planet’s most endangered populations. Yet another brilliant example of how working together is helping solve some of our biggest problems.
Stay beautiful & keep laughing!
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