By: Azlan Abdul Rahman
“I was born in Sungai Petani, Kedah. My mum was an incubator which hatches me for about 48 days. I was born with my seven other siblings. We live, eat and play together in a small house named cage” … This is a story of a cockatiel bird (nymphicus hollandiscus) which undergoes the process of captive breeding.
Based on WWF Policy Statement 2007, captive breeding is the process of breeding animals outside of their natural environment in restricted conditions such as in farms, zoos or other closed facilities. The total methods and processes of captive breeding are controlled by humans. There are several points and reasons on why captive breeding is important to be implemented. Obviously, captive breeding is carried out to produce animals for commercial purposes, for instance, pets, food, medicine and other human uses. It is also meant to produce animals for zoos, aquaria, research institutions and other public facilities. And lastly, captive breeding is also being implemented to increase captive population numbers of threatened and endangered species.
However, there are many arguments and debates on the effectiveness of captive breeding especially if we touch on the way of conserving the animals. For instance, captive bred animals mostly pets like birds and reptiles are being produced in large numbers and without any control. This situation looks good where it can help us to enlarge the population of animals but, for me it is just a crime. Why is it so? I have the answer based on my own experience with my pets.
I have a couple of cockatiel bird (nymphicus hollandiscus) which I bought last eight months. This bird is commonly found in Australia and being widely popular pet around the world. I bought this bird as my own pet because I like their behavior, physical appearance as well as their tameness. I named this couple of cockatiel as fawkes (male) and flior (female). They are very beautiful with white in colour feathers for the whole body and yellow-orange crest. However, after two months I rear and live with them, I realized that they are not a “real bird” because they lost their own ability as a bird. What does it means??? For sharing the experience, my fawkes and flior were losing their own ability as a bird as they cannot fly and even find their own foods. Sadly to know that they are actually birds which were produced under the method of captive breeding. Until now, they are still in the small cage because they are hardly to live and survive with my other birds in the large cage. They are still hanging and rely much on their peck to move from edge to edge of the small cage. I labeled this method as a crime to animal.
My own experience with my pets makes me agree on the statement declared by WWF where they said that captive breeding process is the last idea or a “last resort” strategy to conserve animals. Even though there are some captive breeding activities which succeed such as breeding the endangered animals like Iberian Lynx (lynx paradinus), Peregrine Falcon (falco peregrines) and Golden-Lion Tamarin (leontopithecus chrysomelas), this process is still need to be think twice before it be implemented. By taking apart the animals from their own habitat, environment, preys as well as their predators are not the effective actions because we need to know that their natural environment and surrounding is the best place to learn and live as an animal. So what is more important is not breeding them in “artificial way” but conserving and taking care of their habitat and natural environment. By taking care the natural environment, we are not only conserving the animals but also our own live for the next generation.