AZA Wildlife Contraception Center
Contraception: an essential tool in wildlife conservation
It's easy to understand the importance of breeding programs designed to conserve endangered and threatened species. By maintaining captive animal populations, zoos and aquariums are able to conduct vital research and pave the way to possible reintroduction of species into the wild.
But the need for contraceptive practices at zoos and aquariums may at first seem surprising or counter-intuitive. In fact, healthy captive animal populations require careful reproductive management to maintain genetic diversity and prevent inbreeding.
Contraception helps scientists facilitate controlled pairings--a kind of high-tech matchmaking--while still allowing individuals to live in natural social and family groups. What's more, the contraceptive research carried out in zoos and aquariums is directly applicable to the management of wild populations in parks and reserves around the world.