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Title: What studbooks can tell us about captive breeding programmes : a case study of cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus)
Author: Rodrigues Nogueira Forti, Isabela
ISNI:       0000 0004 7654 5955
Awarding Body: University of Salford
Current Institution: University of Salford
Date of Award: 2019
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The success of captive breeding programmes demands planning and communication among zoos, national parks, conservation organizations and political institutions. To avoid inbreeding and enhance the likelihood of finding suitable partners, target individuals may need to be transported from one institution to another to allow biological (genetic) matching. The collaboration among institutions involved with the reproduction and reintroduction of threatened species in their natural environment can be mapped and analysed by social network analyses using studbook data. The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), considered as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, is a species which has been participating in captive breeding programmes for relative considerable time and can be a good model of study. Although this species has a low wild population density, it has been managed for many years and still has a significant sample of individuals for population and conservation studies, both in the wild or captivity. A general bibliometric review was first conducted with the intention of examining the nature of studbook studies published from 1988 to 2016 on different animal species. Furthermore, International Cheetah Studbooks were used to extract historical data, which was then processed and analysed to investigate the relationship between the transfers of individuals and the position of captive breeding institutions in social networks. Using UCINET software, measures of centralities, density and reciprocity from the collaborative network of institutions were calculated and several maps expressing the transfers between institutions were created using Netdraw to evaluate their patterns in relation to geographical, economic and biological factors. Lastly, longevity and reproductive success were also investigated using statistical analysis such as generalized linear models (GLM) in R software (R Core Team). Results showed that groups of institutions were formed regarding the exchange of animals, and some were highly connected as geographical regions of the world (America, Europe and Africa). Longevity of cheetahs can be partially explained by factors including many transfer-related variables. Reproductive success was not significantly affected by GDP per capita or climate category from the facility location. Breeding recommendations need to be followed by institutions to maximise the conservation value of the species; this will generate genetic improvement for future reintroductions in the wild and the avoidance of extinction. In conclusion, although there is some effort in protecting and managing zoo species through studbooks, conservationists should make maximum use of such datasets to inspire the creation of new tools for the best conservation management of species which need more care and attention such as the cheetah.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available