No More Dodos: How Zoos Help Endangered Wildlife

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9780822528562: No More Dodos: How Zoos Help Endangered Wildlife

Describes the efforts to save such animals as the black-footed ferret, the golden lion tamarin, and the California condor from extinction through programs designed to protect endangered species.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A slim, glossy discussion of endangered species that lacks the scientific precision and adequate documentation to be effective. After opening with the 16th- and 17th-century obliteration of the dodo population, the authors cover the methods that saved the black-footed ferret from extinction; this century's conversion of zoos to nature parks; captive breeding programs; computerized matching and interbreeding in zoos around the world to maximize gene diversity; the freezing of sperm, eggs, and embryos for later implantation; and educational efforts around the world. The text falls prey to oversimplifications and teleology: ``They [scientists] suggest that deadly new epidemics such as AIDS may be nature's reaction to human overpopulation and the resulting upset of the balance of nature.'' (Was the Black Plague nature's reaction to overpopulation in the Middle Ages?) The statements are not attributed or documented; phrases such as ``they suggest'' are too vague. Elsewhere, the authors state, ``Large mammals are called keystone species,'' when a more accurate definition (by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, in Biodiversity, p. 1472) is ``a species that plays a crucial role in creating habitat for other living things.'' A discussion of inbreeding links science and social taboos: ``Most human societies prohibit brother-to-sister and cousin-to-cousin marriages. Long ago, people noticed that the youngsters of such pairings were more likely than others to suffer from various physical disorders.'' With attractive full-color photographs, the book is visually appealing, but many worthy facts founder in faulty contexts. (glossary, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

Gr. 5^-8. The island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean was once the home of the dodo bird. Defenseless against Portuguese settlers in the 1500s, the dodo was killed for food and its eggs eaten by imported animals. By 1680 the dodo was extinct. In more recent history, Mauritius residents discovered that the youngest of their prized Calvaria trees were 300 years old and that all efforts to grow new ones failed. Coincidentally, the dodo had been extinct for 300 years. Scientists reasoned that the trees' seeds passed through an animal's digestive tract in order to germinate, and that animal was the dodo. Such organizations as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the New York Zoological Park are racing to save endangered species in the face of their rapidly shrinking natural habitats and declining numbers. This book ably documents such organizations' captive breeding programs, complex cryopreservation efforts, attempts at habitat preservation, and reintroduction of endangered animals to their native environments. The readable, highly interesting text features color photographs with sidebars of related information highlighted in bold hues to heighten the book's visual appeal. Up-to-date and looking to the future of plant and animal preservation, this is a valuable resource for public and school library collections. Glossary; list of further reading. Ellen Mandel

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