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21 - Analysis of demographic and genetic trends for developing a captive breeding masterplan for the giant panda

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 August 2009

Jonathan D. Ballou
Affiliation:
National Zoological Park
Philip S. Miller
Affiliation:
Conservation Breeding Specialist Group
Zhong Xie
Affiliation:
Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens
Rongping Wei
Affiliation:
China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda
Hemin Zhang
Affiliation:
China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda
Anju Zhang
Affiliation:
Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Foundation
Shiquiang Huang
Affiliation:
Beijing Zoo
Shan Sun
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Genomic Diversity
Victor A. David
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Genomic Diversity
Stephen J. O'Brien
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Genomic Diversity
Kathy Traylor-Holzer
Affiliation:
Conservation Breeding Specialist Group
Ulysses S. Seal
Affiliation:
Conservation Breeding Specialist Group
David E. Wildt
Affiliation:
National Zoological Park
David E. Wildt
Affiliation:
Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington DC
Anju Zhang
Affiliation:
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
Hemin Zhang
Affiliation:
Wildlife Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas
Donald L. Janssen
Affiliation:
Zoological Society of San Diego
Susie Ellis
Affiliation:
Conservation Breeding Specialist Group
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Summary

INTRODUCTION

The foundation of any managed breeding programme for animals living in captivity is a studbook. This is the chronological listing of animals in the historical captive population detailing birth and death dates, gender, parentage, locations, transfers and local identification numbers (Glatston, 1986). Analyses of these data provide critical information on past trends in population size, age-specific reproductive and survival rates, age structure, numbers of founders, degree of inbreeding, loss of genetic diversity and other measures useful for evaluating temporal changes in a captive population. This information then becomes the basis for making management recommendations to enhance the demographic and genetic security of the captive population (Ballou & Foose, 1996). Demographic security is needed to ensure that an adequate number of breeding-aged animals are available to reproduce at the rates needed to grow or maintain the population at its desired size. Genetic diversity is required for the population to remain healthy and to adapt to changing environments (i.e. experience natural selection).

The 2001 International Studbook for the Giant Panda contains detailed life history information on 542 giant pandas that have lived in zoos around the world (Xie & Gipps, 2001). The first entry, giant panda Studbook (SB) Number 1, is Su Lin, a wild-caught female who arrived at Brookfield Zoo on 2 February 1937 (see Chapter 1). A quick scan of the studbook leaves one with the impression that the captive population's dynamics are dominated by entry and subsequent death of wild-caught animals without sustainable reproduction.

Type
Chapter
Information
Giant Pandas
Biology, Veterinary Medicine and Management
, pp. 495 - 519
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

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References

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