Reproductive Sciences in Endangered Species Conservation

Modern conservation concepts emphasize the importance of maintaining gene diversity, as increased homozygosity is known to negatively impact population fitness and adaptability and reproductive success.  Reproductive sciences have played a key role in enhancing propagation of wild animals maintained ex situ.  The establishment of non-invasive hormone monitoring (via feces, urine, saliva or hair) has assisted scientists and wildlife managers to better understand the biology of diverse wildlife species.  Such information is incredibly important for successful propagation of wild animals living in zoos either through natural or assisted breeding.  In addition to endocrine monitoring, artificial insemination has played critical roles in genetic management of small populations, as well as reintroduction and recovery program of wild populations.  The recovery of the black footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) and whooping crane (Grus Americana) from extinction risk are two obvious examples of how reproductive sciences contributing to wildlife conservation.  The presentation discusses the applications and challenges of reproductive sciences in endangered species conservation.

Nucharin Songsasen is the Center Head of the Center for Species Survival. She is a leading expert in the field of canid reproductive biology. Research conducted in her laboratory focuses on developing innovative technologies to rescuing valuable genetics from wild canids and felids, while improving human reproductive health. She is also a member of the IUCN’s Canid Specialist Group (CSG), the coordinator of CSG’s Dhole Working Group and the Maned wolf Species Survival Plan (MWSSP) as well as Reproductive Advisor to the Canid Taxon Advisory Group. 

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