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Are zookeepers playing God?

In some cases, an animal in captivity has a genetic profile that's well-represented in the global zoo population, so a zookeeper will prevent that animal from mating.

BRIT McCANDLESS FARMER: ‘Gone are the days of taking animals out of the wild; most zoos rarely do that anymore. Instead, zoos today engineer animal reproduction in a decidedly unnatural — but very of-the-moment — way: using a computerized pairing program. Think of it as Match.com for animals. The point of such careful coupling — which can send one animal on a trip hundreds of miles away to mate with another — is to maintain genetic diversity. And in a small, closed population like a zoo, that variety is vital for the species’ survival. Zookeepers effectively decide which animals get to mate and which animals they mate with. In some zoos, they also determine which animals get to live…

In some cases, an animal in captivity has a genetic profile that’s well-represented in the global zoo population, so a zookeeper will prevent that animal from mating. In the U.S., zookeepers often put these animals on birth control. 60 Minutes cameras filmed a gorilla, a monkey, an aardvark, and a rock hyrax all receiving some type of contraception to prevent them from passing on genes that are too common in captivity’. SOURCE…

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