Ex-situ conservation means literally, "off-site conservation ". It is the process of protecting an endangered species of plant or animal by removing part of the population from a threatened habitat and placing it in a new location, which may be a wild area or within the care of humans. While ex-situ conservation comprises some of the oldest and best known conservation methods, it also involves newer, sometimes controversial laboratory methods. Colony relocation
Normally the best method of maximizing a species chance of survival (when ex-situ methods are required) is by relocating part of the population to a less threatened location. It is extremely difficult to mimic the environment of the original colony location given the large number of variables defining the original colony (microclimate, soils, symbiotic species, absence of severe predation, etc.) It is also technically challenging to uproot (in the case of plants) or trap (in the case of animals) the required organisms without undue harm. An example of colony relocation in the wild is the case of the endangered Santa Cruz Tarweed, a new colony of which was discovered during a mid 1980s survey at the site of a proposed shopping center in as western Contra Costa County. Once the city of Pinole had decided to approve the shopping center, the city relied on a relocation plan developed by Earth Metrics scientists to remove the entire colony to a nearby location immediately east of Interstate Highway 80 within the Caltrans right-of-way Human care methods
Zoos and botanical gardens are the most conventional methods of ex-situ conservation, all of which house whole, protected specimens for breeding and reintroduction into the wild when necessary and possible. These facilities provide not only housing and care for specimens of endangered species, but also have an educational value. They inform the public of the threatened status of endangered species and of those factors which cause the...
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