Bright's Zoo contributes to worldwide zoological database

Johnson City Press • Updated May 6, 2019 at 9:35 PM

Bright’s Zoo has been submitting data about its animals to a worldwide zoological database that provides critical information for conservationists “seeking to blunt the impact of mass extinctions,” according to a Monday press release from the zoo. 

Since 2009, the Limestone-based zoo has added data on 974 birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals of 140 species in an effort to augment the understanding of those species’ life histories. 

The data is submitted to the the Zoological Information Management System, which is considered the “world’s largest set of wildlife data” maintained by the nonprofit Species360 and its 1,2000 institutional members. 

A paper published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that critical information, like fertility and survival rates, is missing from global data for more than 98 percent of the known species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. 

The dataset, in which Bright’s Zoo contributes, lets researchers know at what age females reproduce, how many hatchlings or juveniles survive to adolescence and how long adults live. That information is then used to better predict when species are at risk and how to best bolster those at-risk populations. 

“Providing that missing data — filling in those gaps — is game-changing for these species,” David Bright, director of Bright's Zoo, said in the press release. 

A landmark report released last week by a United Nations panel showed the rate of species extinctions is vastly accelerating, while calling for “transformative changes” to restore and protect nature. 

To learn more about Bright’s Zoo, visit www.brightszoo.com.

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