A pair of lions at the Lincoln Park Zoo. While the numbers of lions in the wild has dropped dramatically in recent years, the population of captive bred lions in American zoos is thriving.
A harbor seal braves the cold at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Harbor seals give birth to only one pup at a time, while other animal species, such as some frogs, have offspring in the hundreds. Each situation presents unique challenges in population management.
Sarah Long, Population Management Center director, addresses the crowd at “The Science Behind Zoo Sex.”
Some animals, such as these turtles at the Lincoln Park Zoo, need very little encouragement to breed. Others, however, simply won’t get along. One male armadillo could not get along with a female until he was in his 30’s.
Chimpanzees, such as this one at the Lincoln Park Zoo, are part of the Species Survival Plan. Thirty-four zoos across the U.S. take part, planning to ensure healthy populations of chimpanzees in zoos and the wild for years to come.
A flock of flamingos looks out of place on a cold day at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, showing just how far from their natural habitats some of the species are. Transportation and the logistics of breeding animals is a major challenge for the Population Management Center.
Breeding some animals, like the caiman at the Lincoln Park Zoo, can be treacherous – for both zookeepers and the animals. If left in the same enclosures for too long, some potential mates may injure or even kill each other.
Many species of birds are conserved through the work of the Population Management Center. Some, such as the Puerto Rican Parrot (not pictured here), have been saved from the brink of extinction. In 1975, only 13 Puerto Rican Parrots remained in existence.
Guests mingle between the gorilla and chimpanzee enclosures at the “Science Behind Zoo Sex” event.