RESEARCH AND PARTNERS IN CONSERVATION
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center has a longstanding history and an active role in conducting and supporting quality research projects that either improve the captive management of endangered species or further the conservation of such species in their natural habitats. Over the years, we
have developed close partnerships with other conservation institutions and agencies that allow more in-depth research and expand Fossil Rim’s reach beyond our own borders. Here are several research endeavors that involve Fossil Rim’s partnership with other conservation leaders.
ATTWATER'S PRAIRIE CHICKEN RECOVERY TEAM
In addition to participating in the captive breeding of this highly endangered Texas grouse, Fossil Rim has partnered with several investigators to better understand and surmount challenges we have encountered. In collaboration with the nutritional services department of the Fort Worth Zoo and the department of veterinary services at the University of Sydney in Australia, a comprehensive examination of captive APC production and nutrition was undertaken. The resulting changes in nutrition have markedly improved production and survival of chicks at the institutions raising APCs, thus directly impacting the number of chicks available for release.
Investigation into the crippling bird virus reticuloendotheliosis (REV) has brought together several partners, including the University of Georgia. Researchers there used the virus that infected Fossil Rim birds in 2004 to better understand its behavior by studying it in captive quail. Knowing as much as we can about REV will improve methods of detection, diagnosis, impact on the species and associated pathology. In addition, a vaccine for protection against REV infection was developed and tested at Texas A&M University.
CONSERVATION CENTERS FOR SPECIES SURVIVAL (C2S2)
Formed in 2005, C2S2 is a group of conservation breeding centers and likeminded institutions with an explicit purpose: to cooperatively apply and develop their unique resources for the survival of threatened species with special needs – large areas, natural group sizes, minimal public disturbance and research. C2S2 has developed and implemented programs that take advantage of its
unique space (more than 100,000 acres), and by combining their scientific and management expertise, these centers work towards the C2S2 mission to provide leadership in studying and creating self-sustaining populations ex situ and in situ of some of the world’s most endangered species. C2S2 is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and is homebased at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.
HOOFSTOCK MANAGEMENT AND C2S2
Two of the most exciting undertakings at Fossil Rim have converged in a multiyear research investigation into the management of hoofstock herds here at Fossil Rim. With our open spaces being ideal for large herds, we manage our hoofstock populations differently than traditional zoos. In an effort to improve management of our large captive ungulate species, C2S2 has implemented a natural approach to management of certain hoofed animals.
The goal is to provide optimal breeding intervals to maximize successful calving and weaning times. By understanding the ecosystem, we can capitalize on the natural resources available to the herds at different times of the year. This system requires
an intact bull that is with the herd for two months, followed by 10 months with a vasectomized male to allow for normal herd structure.
Currently at Fossil Rim, the addax, waterbuck, sable and gemsbok are involved in this approach. Ultimately, most antelope at Fossil Rim will be managed through this system.
A second important partner in this endeavor is Texas A&M University. Its renowned animal experts are undertaking a behavioral study of these experimentally managed herds. Fossil Rim offers a Behavior Research internship for upper-level undergraduate students interested in contributing to this study. Visit Fossil Rim’s Internships page for more information.
Here are a few more exciting, ongoing research endeavors that also involve our partners in conservation: