Conclusions

Perhaps the most important revelation of the Giant Panda Biomedical Survey was that no one factor was impeding reproductive success in the ex situ population. In fact, some of the variables (e.g. poor nutrition leading to compromised health that directly or indirectly decreased reproduction or offspring survivorship) were so interlinked that tackling this problem by relying on only one discipline would have failed. Our multidisciplinary approach was invaluable.

The resulting compendium of detailed information is now offered in the rest of this book. Many of the findings have also been applied in improving captive management. Examples include:

1. setting up a molecular laboratory to determine panda paternities (see Chapter 10) to facilitate implementing genetic management (see Chapter 21);

2. testing hypotheses to understand why so few captive-born males reproduce (see Chapter 14);

3. developing new artificial diets that provide adequate fibre (see Chapter 6);

4. formulating new technologies in semen cryopreservation, assisted breeding (see Chapters 7 and 20) and reproductive monitoring (see Chapter 8).

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