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Open Access The importance of natural history and species-specific approaches in amphibian ex-situ conservation

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Due to the importance of ex-situ components of the response to the on-going amphibian extinction crisis, the numbers of captive amphibian species and populations is growing. However, ex-situ projects are currently often poorly supported by knowledge of the captive husbandry requirements of individual amphibian species, many of which are being taken into captivity for the first time. Natural history data and measurements of wild environmental parameters are critical in designing appropriate captive environments, but are absent for the majority of species held in captivity. This has resulted in the failure of some exsitu projects and is likely to affect many future initiatives. Publication biases away from natural history and amphibian-specific research, the inaccessibility of data in academic literature for conservation institutions and lack of time for preparative surveys before 'rescue' attempts are largely responsible for this data deficit. In many cases, conservation groups must collect their own data where existing information is insufficient. We suggest important parameters to record in the field and discuss the importance of considering the microclimates in which wild amphibians live when determining the methodology of recording parameters. Furthermore, we highlight the important role that public databases should fulfil to store and disseminate data. All in all, this perspective piece demonstrates the need for natural history data and outlines a road map for their efficient collection and for their practical integration into conservation programmes.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2014

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