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  Which ex situ amphibian conservation programs already exist?

Amphibian Ark (AArk) has been helping zoos, aquariums and other ex situ (captive) facilities to address the captive components of the Amphibian Conservation Action Plan, to save as many species as possible. For the past few years AArk staff have monitored and documented the great progress of ex situ amphibian rescue programs around the world. The progress of these programs includes a series of key steps in the progression of successful amphibian conservation programs. The programs that we monitor include those assessed during an Amphibian Conservation Needs Assessment as needing urgent ex situ rescue or research, and similar programs in countries where an AArk conservation needs assessment has not yet been carried out. A list of these ex situ programs is available on the AArk web site.

The programs in this list show a significant achievement by the ex situ amphibian conservation community towards reducing declining amphibian populations. By documenting this progress we are showing that zoos, aquariums and other ex situ facilities are making a vital conservation contribution towards reducing the loss of amphibian species, and for our community to be broadly acknowledged as a credible conservation partner. We have recently started to include species assessed as requiring ex situ research for conservation purposes, such as analog species from which we can develop husbandry protocols for more threatened related species.

Where possible, all amphibian programs that will ultimately result in reintroduction or translocation programs should be operated within the native range of the species. Maintaining these populations within the range country generally results in lower disease risks than programs that are located outside the native range of the species. This helps to reduce the risks of introducing non-native pathogens into the environment around the facility holding the amphibians, and the possibility of introducing novel local pathogens to amphibians that are collected and housed outside of the range country.

Amphibian conservation programs that meet AArk's definition of a "model program", i.e. the program is based within the range country; and the population being managed is housed in isolation from other populations occurring outside its range, can be viewed on the Model Programs page on the AArk web site.

For details of other amphibian programs, please contact the various national and regional zoo and aquarium associations.
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