Researchers are trying to identify the reasons behind the poor population growth of some of Africa’s wild animals including the Grevy and Cape Mountain zebras, a major focus is the endangered black rhino.What we’ve done with the University of Manchester has developed this toolkit to understand why species like black rhino might not be breeding very well and if we could understand that then we can inform management to make decisions to maybe alter the way the animals are being managed to increase reproduction.
At the Chester Zoo Lab, researchers are experimenting with a non-invasive method to gather data by using physiological biomarkers present in animal feces.
Through the poo we can see how stress the animals are, what condition they are, their individual health; are they reproducing.The goal of the nearly 1.5 million dollar joint initiative is to develop a strategy to promote natural reproduction.
We do a lot of sample collection in the wild of the animal poo because actually we can know a lot about the disease status, we know about their reproductive status,we know about their diet, we know about their stress levels so actually we can get a holistic picture of the condition of these animals from these samples.
The researchers hope to take what they’ve learned from captive animals and apply it to wild populations.Increasing animal birth rates is especially important because of the increasing threat from poaching in recent years across sub-Saharan Africa despite efforts by governments and park rangers to stop the illegal practice.
Mariama Diallo, VOA News.