Bidmon - 2019 - 01

Bidmon, H.-J. (2019): It has to be convenient! Aesthetics versus usefulness and objectives in animal maintenance: A comment to sound a note of caution to current developments. – Schildkröten im Fokus 16(3): 12-25.

Praktisch muss es sein! Ästhetik versus Nutzen und Zielsetzung in der Tierhaltung: Ein mahnender Kommentar zu aktuellen Entwicklungen.

DOI: None ➚

Here, I would like to focus on the improvements in exotic animal maintenance and breeding during the past decades. Increasingly, we see larger enclosures which seem to prioritize the appearance of natural environments which is good but sometimes in an aesthetic way for the human eye over the wellbeing of the inhabitants. This seems to be a particular problem when relative humidity and microclimates have to be maintained. The extinction crisis for many species and the urgent need to raise the number of amphibians or reptiles for re-wildering and conservation needs in breeding facilities, such as head-start programs or artificial environments for later reintroduction programs, seems to have given rise to some very questionable practices. These are currently communicated to the public under the term “Citizen Conservation” – but they lack a solid scientific backup!

In fact, many of these programs focus more or less on sterile conditions of maintenance, high stocking density, and artificial food. During the last one and half decade we learned a lot about cognitive plasticity in terms of specific adaptation to environments, even at the level of populations. These adaptions seem to be a prerequisite for survival and propagation under certain environmental conditions. Several trials to foster population or species recovery with the aid of such methods may have failed, or failed to meet expectations, because they neglect such adaptive cognitive skills and also the physiological adaptations necessary for survival under certain natural conditions. Here, I review and try to refer to the life history of some species to showcase the relevance of the recognition of such specific and sometimes age-dependent cognitive skills during adaption to certain environments. This is relevant if breeding and maintenance for conservation and re-wildering are the primary goals of animal maintenance.

Keywords: Citizen Conservation, Amphibia, Reptilia, Testudines, Population culture, Plasticity



Eine deutsche Version wurde hier veröffentlicht: Schildkröten im Fokus 16 (3) 2019 ➚.