Amphibian and Reptilian Breeding Station
To establish a breeding station for amphibians and reptilians in Vietnam
About one third of the 6000 known amphibian species is listed in a higher threat category of the IUCN Red Data Book. Addressing the global amphibian extinction crisis represents one of the greatest species conservation challenges. At its 2005 annual meeting in New York City, WAZA committed itself and urged its members to address this crisis. WAZA particularly recommended that each institution should also be involved in exotic taxa protection, preferably in range country (see Building an Amphibian Ark). A top priority for the zoo community should therefore be to support existing, or to establish new, conservation measures and breeding programmes for endangered amphibian species. Although the zoo community already achieves a common, important task in building breeding facilities for selected species within their zoological gardens, the support of such facilities and centres in the countries of origin appears to be the most important. In Vietnam, strengthened biodiversity research and conservation is essential, since for example nearly 40 amphibian species have been described as new within the past decade only.
The Cologne Zoo’s Nature Conservation Project in Vietnam, which is running since 1999, have encouraged close affiliations and contacts with regional and national partners and institutions. Together with the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources of the Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology, the Cologne Zoo has engaged in the construction of a breeding station for endangered, rare or poorly known amphibians and also reptile species on the outskirts of Hanoi.
The IEBR Breeding Station currently comprises 18 enclosures of different sizes, mostly for amphibian species, and for some selected reptile species. A total number of 12 species are kept for breeding purposes. The station furthermore contains one working room and two store rooms for different kinds of food (beetle larvae, moths etc.). Most recently, the local species Rhacophorus dennysi and Xenophrys major have been successfully bred. The regular breeding of the former species, which is particularly prized in the international trade, have helped decreasing the number of wild animals caught. However, appart of such benefit sharing aspects, the station’s focus lays on poorly known, rare or threatened taxa, which are to be bred and studied in the future, for example the recently discovered, endemic newt species Tylototriton vietnamensis, or representatives of the enigmatic Vietnamese population of Shinisaurus crocodilurus, which has only been discovered in 2003 by herpetologists from FFI and the Cologne Zoo. The Vietnamese-German cooperation project should guarantee the maintenance of the breeding station and the construction of new facilities as well as the implementation of research projects and basic and advance staff training (both in Vietnam and in Germany).
WAZA Conservation Project 07012 is implemented by the Cologne Zoo in cooperation with the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology (IEBR), Hanoi, with financial support from WAZA and EUAC.
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