Conservation plays a big role in zoos today. Some of the work we do is long term and it can be hard be hard for the public to understand the value of. Here are 5 examples that are the exact opposite – animals that would already be extinct without zoos.


1. Chicken frog 

The population has decreased with over 90% the last 10 years which makes it critically endangered. Researchers suggest there are only 100 specimens left on the two islands  of Montserrat and Dominika. The reason for the drastic decrease is a infectious disease caused by fungus. When the disease had killed almost all of the population a rescue programme were conducted –Mountain Chicken Recovery Programme. The programme is a coaltion between the islands Governments and European Zoological Parks. Thanks to the great knowledge of keeping amphibians in zoological parks, the last 50 healthy chicken frogs were sent to European zoos to breed in a safe environment. The plan is to safely reintroduce the chicken frogs back to their earlier distribution.

Photo: Tom Svensson / Nordens Ark


2. Scimitar-horned oryx

Scimitar-horned oryx are extinct in the wild. The reason for their extinction is because of hunting and human expansion in their natural habitat. Thanks to individuals living in zoos and great breeding results, the captive population is now thriving. A reintroduction programme is set up and especially Tunisia is leading the way to reintroduce the oryx to their fauna.

Charles Miller from Basingstoke, United KingdomDSCF0509 Uploaded by Snowmanradio

3. European bison

The European bison was once extinct in the wild. With only a few individuals left in zoos around Europe, the first stud book for an endangered species were created. First started in the early 50s, the reintroduction of the European bisons has been carried out thanks to zoological facilities in Europe. Most of the population today is found in Poland, but smaller populations is also found in Germany, Romania and Belarus. Animals are still bred and released in to the wild by zoos. Read this blog about the reintroduction work >>

Photo: Rickard Monéus / Kolmården Wildlife Park


4. Lesser White-fronted Goose

Internationally the Lesser White-fronted Goose is considered “vulnerable” by IUCN, and in Sweden the local situation is even worse. The species is considered critically endangered and the zoo Nordens Ark is part of a project together with a hunting organization. The goal to once again have a thriving goose population in the highlands of Sweden. Almost 500 geese have been bred and reintroduced in Sweden by the zoo and their partners. It has played a vital role for the local populations existence.

Photo: John Söderlindh  / Nordens Ark


5. Przewalskis wild horse 

The Przewalskis are the last remaining wild horse. In the 60s the Przewalskis became extinct in the wild but thanks to individuals living in zoos around the world the breeding could continue and in the early 90s the first reintroductions could become reality. Now animals from zoos are living in three national parks in Mongolia. The species is still considered endangered, but the most critical part of the programme is over.

Photo: Tom Svensson / Nordens Ark



See you soon again,

Rickard Sjödén

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