Striking a Balance

A little something for your (very) quirky valentine
by Anna Flam -- February 11th, 2014

Looking for something other than trite chocolates and roses for your valentine this Friday? SEZARC thinks you should get some wild animal sperm. SEZARC is a not-for-profit that works with zoos and wildlife preserves to maintain genetic diversity and solve reproductive challenges.

SEZARC

SEZARC: “Just like the male animals in our program, we encourage you to give, and give often!”

 

Maintaining genetic diversity is critical for conservation. Small fragmented populations might not have sufficient diversity to survive disease outbreaks or other threats. Although captive breeding can never substitute for habitat protection, breeding programs can help supplement wild diversity.

Programs like this could also be a boon for queasy zoo visitors. Last week the Copenhagen Zoo incited mass anger when they euthanized a giraffe with overrepresented genes. Zoo officials believed euthanasia to be the most humane of their available options. Incendiary headlines tended to focus attention on the “healthy baby giraffe” part of the story, though.

The zoo made the autopsy public, so it could contribute to public scientific knowledge. Many visitors stayed to watch the three hour procedure. Keepers then fed the carcass to the lions.

We should be feeding more carcases to large zoo carnivores for their health. At least part of killing a healthy young animal was not in vain. If we want to stop more healthy young animal deaths, though, donating to large animal sperm banks like SEZARC could help. You can give here.

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