The breeding of animals dates back centuries. Today it is a booming industry that is built on ethics and good practice. Breeding has been used to strengthen the linage of the animal resulting in larger, stronger animals and in the majority of cases breeding has been used for conservation purposes.
Breeding animals in a controlled environment such as on a game ranch first came to the attention of the public in the 1950’s and 1960’s but prior to breeding becoming the norm in our society, some of the oldest records of captive breeding have dated back to early Asia and Europe.
Breeding and Conservation
Game Breeding has been able to save animals from the brink of extinction. Pere David’s Deer is one of the most well-known examples of an animal that was saved from being completely wiped out. The animal is native to China and at a time the only herd in China belonged to the emperor. The deer escaped during a flood and were slaughtered by starving people and just a few years after that, the remaining 30 deer were killed by soldiers during a rebellion. However some of the deer had been taken to Europe and they were to be the animals bred to bring the species back from extinction. The animals were bred in captivity and reintroduced to their natural habit for the first time in almost a century in 1985.
Since this time, conservationists have been turning to captive breeding to save numerous species by providing them with a safe place to breed as well as by providing them with breeding partners and the ideal breeding conditions. However, breeders who are invested in captive breeding have experienced a number of challenges including genetics, changes in habitat and changes in behaviour. Inbreeding is always a likely problem and it can play havoc in the genetics of the animals. It can weaken the breed and result in the breed never being the same as it once was. Behaviour changes can result in the animal being unable to gather food for itself while loss of habitat can make it incredibly difficult to reintroduce the animal to the wild.