Just wondering why there are so many imports and wild caught reptiles for sale, if the main page says captive bred?
Mostly the reason is because some animals are not available captive bred. And the only way to create a captive population that can sustain itself genetically is to take in quite a number of imports that survive to breedable age, and let’s not forget actually produce. I’m pretty sure that @eaglereptiles talk about this here in our ethics. I hope this helps.
It may seem like there are a lot of wild caught/imported animal depending on what species you regularly checking out on MorphMarket. If you are looking at animals that are extremely difficult to breed in captivity then you will likely see more than say in the Ball Python category.
Overall, less than 1% of ads on our site are wild-caught imports.
That’s actually a really good, valid point that I had not considered.
@lumpy is absolutely correct. Think of crested geckos, for example. They went “extinct” (by definition), and then were rediscovered in the 1990s. They would still be at risk in the wild if it weren’t for the pet trade. Now, it’s virtually impossible for them to go extinct again because of their huge success in the pet trade, if the wild population is at risk it would likely be possible to release captive geckos into the wild (this has been done with many reptile and animal species already). It is also how most reptile morphs are discovered and founded. There is a reported animal in the wild and it is caught and brought in captivity. I don’t think it’s cruel because often that animal has amazing patterns and it would not have lived very long in the wild and if it did it would harm the gene pool by constantly producing high-patterned animals that won’t live very long in the wild.
This is, unfortunately, one of the fallacies of the hobby that is often used for improper justification for wild-collection.
Yes, captive populations can help preserve the genetic identity of an animal species if the habitat were obliterated. That said, the captive populations in the hobby could never be released into the wild because of the way the hobby breeds things. There is zero thought given to genetic diversity and maintaining a broad and healthy represented population. Actual SSPs have to go to some very extreme measures when they are working toward reintroduction populations
You don’t think that you could start a genetic diversity project based from captive animals? Even taking high-quality geckos from different lines. For example, you could take an extreme harlequin, extreme dalmation, patternless, lily white, etc. You could source them from different countries and breeders so they hopefully would have very little in common. You could then breed out the color of them so they would be better suited to captivity. In addition to keeping them in harsh environments to get them used to “the wild”. Eventually all of the lily white (genetic traits) and line-bred traits would be bred out and eventually you would hopefully end up with a lot of diverse animals. You don’t think that if there were multiple (separate) of these projects happening the offspring could be released?
Given that most captive populations are the result of a very limited initial population, no, I do not think you can try outbreeding for a return to diversity.
For a SSP, you need a high level of genetic diversity from the start. How many of the species we keep in the hobby came out of an initial collection of, say, 8.24? If memory serves me, all of the cresties we have in the hobby derive from an initial collection of 10 animals. Only five rough-scale pythons were ever introduced to captivity.