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Research

Attaching a GPS collar to a camel to understand movement patterns in arid Australia

Conservation Biology

Discover the best practice for conserving the world's threatened biodiversity

Conservation Ark’s biological research aims to increase fundamental biological knowledge in the fields of evolution, ecology, behaviour, reproduction, and physiology. Its main focus is on understanding the biology of Australian species, both in captivity and the wild, to better understand species and their habitat requirements. This knowledge will then be used in a manner that ensures the conservation and long-term maintenance of healthy ecosystems and viable wild populations.

Areas of research interest include threatened species conservation, animal behaviour, reproduction, eco-physiology, life history, demography, disease and nutrition. The use of cross-fostering as a method for accelerating the reproduction of marsupials, particularly macropods, has been a particular focus area of Conservation Ark staff, with the technique being applied to several species of wallabies and the critically endangered Gilbert’s potoroo.

Wombat suffering from sarcoptic mange

Conservation Medicine

Create healthy landscapes, people and animals

The RZSSA’s Animal Health Department has often been a reference for wildlife health and biosecurity information in SA, providing expertise to reintroduction programs, investigating diseases of wildlife and undertaking health surveys. Veterinary staff have been involved in a range of projects with native species, playing a role in disease investigation, undertaking health assessments of wild animals and providing critical support for reintroduction programs. In addition significant veterinary input is provided to important breeding programs that support reintroduction and recovery programs for endangered species.

Conservation medicine is a new science focused on the links between the health of wildlife, domestic animals, humans and the environment. It arose in response to the increasing impact of emerging infectious diseases on wildlife due to human induced environmental change, and is a trans-disciplinary area including a variety of specialists: veterinarians, epidemiologists, ecologists, doctors, etc. Conservation Ark is looking to increase its involvement in conservation medicine and develop a more proactive approach.

How does a cheetah experience affect pro-conservation attitudes and behaviour?

Conservation Psychology

Discover how to harness animal and human behaviour for effective conservation

Conservation psychology is a relatively new field that draws principles from all areas of psychology, to change non-sustainable human behaviour in order to protect the natural environment and conserve diminishing natural resources. Conservation Ark aims to use the animals housed in its facilities as ambassadors for their wild counterparts, drawing on their potential to inspire, affect, educate and reconnect human visitors to nature. To this end conservation psychology looks to aid the optimal design of captive environments to reduce stress and stereotypic behaviours and maintain behavioural diversity of animals.

In addition, conservation psychology examines how people’s experience with wildlife, in the zoo or the field, can be targeted to develop pro-conservation behaviours and attitudes. Understanding and altering the attitudes and behaviours people hold in relation to conservation is an important part of conservation psychology. This may range from projects such as the Human Zoo, which raised awareness of primate conservation and the problems associated with the bush meat trade, to field research, where scientists act to minimise human-wildlife conflict by addressing problems associated with increasingly frequent and close interactions between humans and wildlife.


Page Last Updated November 12, 2008, 4:52 am