The protection, preservation, management, or restoration of natural environments and the ecological communities that inhabit them. Conservation is nearly always a multi-pronged effort, requiring education, habitat preservation or restoration, and carefully planned rehabilitation and guided propagation.
Our particular efforts will be focusing on habitat restoration and protection in the native ranges for species of concern.
While we do maintain captive groups of many of these species, individuals already in captivity are not suitable for reintroduction to the wild, so we do not manage these animals under the misconception that their offspring will help native populations. Instead, we keep them for the following reasons-
Our goal with these species are ultimately 3-fold.
1) Develop a more thorough understanding of their reproductive physiology so that we can;
2) Increase captive reproductive success and therefore strive toward eliminating the elicit trade, and help make the most informed decisions and suggestions for efforts to aid and assist native populations, and;
3) Support and promote sustainable development in the communities which share habitats with the genus so that they can grow sustainably and habitat destruction and displacement can be minimized.
Any of these three aspects taken individually can make a huge difference to the future of the genus. But working together with our partners to achieve all 3 would not only be a huge improvement for the survivability of the genus.
Toward the first goal, We're fortunate to have a wonderful exotic veterinary crew, who are also rather vested in reproductive physiology and management. We've been working to fine tune our understanding of the correlation with cooling periods and ovarian activity in females. It was largely thought that cooling was needed primarily for males to produce fresh viable sperm, but our findings so far suggest a tight correlation with exiting cooling, and vitellogenesis.
This obviously helps with the second goal, being that we can more closely monitor activity and strategize breeding attempts in general, to the point that once we are in a larger facility, we are going to begin offset cycling juveniles, so that we can have further captive bred generations reverse cycled, and litters developing year-round.
Toward the third goal, we have been working on fine tuning some hydroponic systems that we can scale to various community/town sizes. While we get them developed to a point we are content with ease of maintenance and operation, we are gradually working to identify suitable communities (in Mexico primarily at the moment, since IRCF and Fundesgua have programs on the ground in Guatemala already) to build relationships with and get these programs rolling- stimulating local economy, providing jobs for construction, upkeep and operation.)
One of the biggest impact relationship building opportunities we are aiming to start, is to be able to sponsor a few students from each of the selected communities annually for ecotourism, biology, or veterinary programs in the local universities, in hopes that these students will advocate for their local wildlife, and continue to help their local economies.