Geckos in zoos: A global approach on distribution patterns of threatened geckos (Gekkota) in zoological institutions
According to the One Plan Approach to Conservation, proposed by the IUCN SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group (CPSG), there is, besides in situ conservation measures, also increased need for ex situ conservation breeding of threatened taxa. To gain a better overview of the current situation, we have compiled information from the zoo databases ZIMS (Zoological Information Management System) and ZTL (Zootierliste) on the husbandry of gecko species (suborder Gekkota) worldwide. Only 9.3 % (n = 201) of the 2151 currently recognized gecko species from seven families were kept according to ZIMS, of which about 20.4 % (n = 41) were classified as threatened. Most species were kept in European, North American and Australian zoos. Many of the species were kept outside the natural distributional range hotspots of geckos. However, institutions in Oceania kept mainly native geckos. The species richness of the natural distributional ranges of zoo-kept geckos was highest in Australia, Southeast Asia, Madagascar and lowest in South America. About 38.0 % (n = 25) of zoo-kept species with a successful breeding record were threatened, and most reproductive successes of threatened species have been recorded from only one institution per species. Although Gekkota is the most species-rich group among lizards (Sauria), they are still relatively poorly represented in zoological institutions, and most of the kept species are not threatened. Zoos inside and outside the distributional range can play a key role in conservation (breeding) programs, when they continue to provide their expertise and resources for the buildup of insurance colonies for threatened taxa. Preferably this is carried out in cooperation with experts and conservation centers
from the species’ range countries and also in cooperation with Citizen Conservation programs.