Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz. e. V. (www.zgap.de) is a non profit society dedicated to the conservation and recovery of lesser known and ‘forgotten’ globally threatened species, a.k.a. “Neglected Species”. It was founded in 1982. The organization’s priorities are based on the official international redlist of IUCN (www.redlist.org). During its existence, ZGAP has invested approximately 2 million Euros into projects, and donated an equal amount in voluntary work.
In addition to providing ‘seed’ money to assist projects to get started, ZGAP has helped to establish various long-term projects for a range of species in counties such as: South Africa, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Colombia, and others.
As in most cases these projects deal with critically endangered species close to extinction, a wide range of ‘hands on’ activities may be applied, including captive breeding, use of captive technics’ for wild animals (such as active protection of nest sites, provision of food in the case of vultures in Cambodia).
Hunting, poaching, and trapping for food, traditional medicine, and pet trade, constitute a much higher threat to many species than was acknowledge by the conservation community for a long time. On the other hand, effective protection against these threats is largely non-existing, even in many officially protected areas. Therefore, getting actively involved in improving protection against direct persecution constitutes an important component in some projects.
Based on our experience we are strong supporters of the idea, that endangered species are more often brought back from the brink of extinction by dedicated individuals (‘species champions’) rather than institutions, and ZGAP is devoted to recruit and support such individuals where they exist.
The ZGAP supported and organized numerous projects to conserve of endangered species including the endemic to Java and associated off shore islands, the Javan warty pig (Sus verrucosus) and the Black-winged starling (Sturnus melanopterus).
Javan warty pig
Population numbers of this species remain unknown and habitat destruction in the form of deforestation and hunting are the main causes for threatening of the species. Currently the animal survives in small and highly fragmented patches of habitat and under intense of hunting pressure. Therefore, the establishment of a conservation captive breeding program of Javan warty pig in Indonesia with the ultimate purpose of re-introduction has been recommended as a top priority to ensure survival of the species.
The Cikanana Wildlife Center through the Conservation Breeding Program has taken this project in 2007. The first enclosures in semi natural condition were constructed to accommodate Javan warty pig and it has been improved in 2008 with building some facilities including the feeding rooms and new roof and sliding doors. This area is designed to provide an animal welfare option by planting many trees and giving an open air. The output of the project will be the availability of enough genetically healthy captive of Sus verrucosus with can be purposed to a re-introduction program, as well as for studying the biology of this poorly known species. The long term aim of the project is to establish a viable, free ranging population in parts of the historical distribution area of the species.
The Black-winged starling (Sturnus melanopterus) is once a common bird on Java. They commonly could be found in monsoon forests, open woodland and even urban area. The bird has undergone a dramatic decline, mainly due to the capture for trade. Latest estimates are a few hundred individuals at most. Two conservation projects are carried out: a breeding program at the Cikananga Wildlife Center and in the future will be reintroduction of offspring in Cikepuh Nature Reserve. Main goals of the breeding program are to optimize present facilities and breeding stock, increase present stock, supply the introduction program, and breeding loans. This project has been supported by the ZGAP in 2007.