This article from today introduces the plans for a breeding ground near New Orleans. It is a combined effort by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and New Orleans’ Audubon Nature Institute. Hoofed and feathered animals are currently being considered for a spot on the grounds. The sustainable wildlife complex will hopefully promote a more natural habitat and consequently also encourage more natural breeding practices for threatened and endangered animals. The breeding ground will utilize most of the 1,400 acres at the Audubon Species Survival Center. In the initial stage of development and construction, the birds will get 10 acres of space while the lucky selection of hoofed animals get between 15 to 50 acres of range each. The construction should begin next year, with the first wave of animals moving in sometime in 2014. The breeding ground is projected to cost the two institutes around a total of $40 million dollars.
I think it is great what these organizations are trying to do. I’m curious about whether they will be trying to turn a profit with this project by having people drive around the grounds for an admission fee. It might not be the most optimal for visitors to see the animals, but I’m glad organizations are starting to place a higher value on what is best for the animals. It is obvious that herd animals will be more comfortable in a herd dynamic than paired off unnaturally in a zoo. This is a very large undertaking and I hope it works out well, thereby pushing for the implementation of other facilities like it in the future. The fun fact I found surprising was that Okapi are the only living relative of the giraffe! I never would have thought that just by looking at them.