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IRVEN, P. (2010)

Wild Caprines in British Zoos.

International Zoo News 57 / 6 (No 383)

Introduction:

The caprines represent a very diverse range of species. They are popular zoo species which are relatively easy to cater for in captivity once their basic husbandry has been established. Although once popular and widespread in U. K. collections, they have enjoyed an even greater popularity in many other European zoos, a situation which continues today. During the late 1980s an 1990s there was a drop in their popularity in Britain and a reduction in keeping wild caprine species. In recent times, however, there seems to have been a turn-around and a renewed interest in keeping them, which has resulted in three species - Rocky Mountain goat, Japanese serow and Mishmi takin - producing their first U. K. breeding during 2006 alone. The realisation that many caprine species are becoming endangered and would benefit from captive-breeding programmes has accelerated that interest. Britain in particular seems to be moving towards a wider variety of species than has been the case historically. There are still a few collections holding Barbary sheep: It is unlikely that this species will become as commonly seen or as widespread in British collections as it once was, but we could see a move towards keeping subspecific groups instead, in accordance with recent EAZA recommendarions.

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