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Up, over the top, or down? Population development in closed captive populations of wild ruminants


Müller, D W H; Hammer, S; Hammer, C; Clauss, Marcus (2009). Up, over the top, or down? Population development in closed captive populations of wild ruminants. In: Wibbelt, G; Kretzschmar, P; Hofer, H. Proceedings of the International Conference on Diseases of Zoo and Wild Animals. Berlin: Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, 48-50.

Abstract

The monitoring of a zoo population’s development allows conclusions about a species’ breeding
and management success. Different parameters can be taken into consideration. In this paper we
determined the mortality rates per year of 26 ruminant species in closed populations at the Al
Wabra Wildlife Preservation and plotted the yearly mortalities against the total number of animals.
Over the years, five different patterns were observed: 1 population increased and the mortality
decreased (“complete success”); 2 population increased and the mortality was stable (“good
success”); 3 population increased and the mortality increased (“limited success”); 4 population
stagnated or decreased after a peak and mortality decreased with decreasing population size
(“stagnation”/”over the top”); 5 population decreased and mortality decreased or, even worse,
increased (“deterioration”). The categorical ranking of the species was significantly correlated to
the initial population size indicating that populations that started below their carrying capacity can
increase consistently whereas a high initial population size increases the danger of a population
crash due to crowding phenomena. Our results demonstrate the importance of population
monitoring and its management in order to optimize the breeding success of captive ruminant
populations.

Abstract

The monitoring of a zoo population’s development allows conclusions about a species’ breeding
and management success. Different parameters can be taken into consideration. In this paper we
determined the mortality rates per year of 26 ruminant species in closed populations at the Al
Wabra Wildlife Preservation and plotted the yearly mortalities against the total number of animals.
Over the years, five different patterns were observed: 1 population increased and the mortality
decreased (“complete success”); 2 population increased and the mortality was stable (“good
success”); 3 population increased and the mortality increased (“limited success”); 4 population
stagnated or decreased after a peak and mortality decreased with decreasing population size
(“stagnation”/”over the top”); 5 population decreased and mortality decreased or, even worse,
increased (“deterioration”). The categorical ranking of the species was significantly correlated to
the initial population size indicating that populations that started below their carrying capacity can
increase consistently whereas a high initial population size increases the danger of a population
crash due to crowding phenomena. Our results demonstrate the importance of population
monitoring and its management in order to optimize the breeding success of captive ruminant
populations.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2009
Deposited On:29 Jun 2009 12:48
Last Modified:26 May 2017 15:56
Publisher:Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research
Official URL:http://www.zoovet-conference.org/

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