Captive breeding can save species from extinction

I couldn't agree more with Mr Lee Chiu San (Missed chance to be centre for legal trade in exotic animals; Dec 6).

Breeding the Indian star tortoises locally, instead of sending them back to India, would have been a better option.

Their fate is unpredictable once they are re-introduced into the wild.

Keeping the tortoises here and trading them legally could have helped satisfy the demand for them in Singapore.

The proceeds from captive breeding could have been redirected towards conservation work in their natural habitat.

This was exactly how golden mantella frogs were saved from extinction in Madagascar.

Many animal rights organisations do not believe in wild animals being held in captivity, even if not doing so ultimately leads to their extinction.

Such beliefs do not help in saving species and only perpetuate the problem of losing species.

The winner of the 2016 Indianapolis Prize, Professor Carl Jones, the chief scientist at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, saved 12 species from extinction.

His efforts included captive breeding and human assistance.

It is a fact that the legal trade of exotic animals can help to combat the illicit trade, which is why the United Nations promotes it.

Denial of any form of trade will make the trade much harder to monitor, and there will be a total lack of incentives to push for sustainable options.

Ong Junkai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2018, with the headline 'Captive breeding can save species from extinction'. Print Edition | Subscribe