Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department
Yet as early as 3,000 years ago, the Chinese were known to already have at least one zoo. And in ancient Egypt, baboons and lions were kept and cared for inside temples. Indeed zoos have been in existence for centuries and they have played a vital role in the preservation and protection of wildlife by serving as refuge
for threatened species. A number of animals nurtured in zoos have been reintroduced into the wilderness. A little over half a century ago, zoos had the animals kept in bare cages for public viewing. Today, with the help of scientific research, most zoos try to create an environment that closely resembles the animals' natural surroundings. Many of the zoos today also try to make their visitors more cognizant of the distinctive behavior of each animal and of the importance of their (zoos') conservation efforts. The presence of certain species in zoos guarantees their continued existence or prevents their kind from becoming
extinct. One very important tool in ensuring the conservation of endangered species is 'captive breeding. ' Many species have been bred successfully inside zoos and a number of them are now being reintroduced in their respective habitats. A complete cognizance of the species involved is required to achieve a high degree of success in captive breeding.