Why breeding in captivity?
The Foundation 'Recovery of Herpetofauna', in short ReHerp, consists of volunteers who work professionally with Herpetofauna. From these activities and their knowledge of nature, it is ascertained that a number of species of lizards, turtles, frogs and salamanders are threatened in their existence. There are several causes like loss of habitat, catching or selling for consumption and diseases, especially with amphibians.
Due to our concern, we would like to contribute to maintain biodiversity, in our case especially in the area of Herpetofauna. Besides public attention for the threatened status of several species, we would like to get to work ourselves in restoring populations in the wild. We would like to do this by professionally breeding with as much relevant species as possible.
ReHerp aims at breeding reptiles and amphibians from their own expertise, under controlled conditions. Foremost are veterinary protocols and hygiene. We also use experts in the area of genetic diversity. All this without commercial intentions. Reintroducing hatchlings to their habitat of origin is our higher purpose. A requirement will be that conditions and circumstances will guarantee a degree of success in their native country. Cooperation with local authorities will require some preparation. The recovery of species and habitat will only succeed when the local inhabitants and authorities will play an extremely important role in this.
Of course, ReHerp is not the only organisation in the world doing this. There are success stories elsewhere, like the Round Island Boa (Casarea dussumieri), which was severely threatened on Mauritius (Round Island). On this island of only 159 hectare, 500 specimens are living there at the moment. An important act was the extermination of all imported rabbits and goats on the island. Furthermore, the government of Mauritius and the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation are occupied with an extensive recovery-program for the habitat. A breeding program is guided by the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust. The ReHerp Foundation will collaborate closely with initiatives in the original habitat.
An example of a protection act around amphibians, is the securing of an area in Columbia for the poison dart frog (Phyllobates terribilis), which is particularly threatened by gold-diggers who are dumping cyanide in the streams in their habitat. A reserve in Choco Forest is managed by the local nature organization Fundacion ProAves. Among others, Como Zoo from Minnesota in America is involved in recovery and breeding programs.
The fact, that in past years there were some successes is a good base for extending to other species.
ReHerp works from her large network and acquired expertise. Through (former) employment of the initiators by Rotterdam Zoo and Ouwehand Zoo, we have gained contacts worldwide. These make it possible to be successful in the area of getting parent animals (often on loan), breeding target species (Shinisaurus among others) the right way and raising them up properly. And subsequently escort them to their original habitat (among others: Egypt, China, Vietnam and Panama), contributing hereby in keeping and developing biodiversity.