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A Q&A with International Studbook Keeper Beatrice Steck: Dating to 1873, data informs the health of today’s population (WAZA Magazine)

In addition to ex situ population data, the International Studbook for the pygmy hippo includes updates on conservation projects that are endorsed by the IUCN SSC Hippo Specialist Group. (Photo: WAZA Magazine)

As its numbers decline in the wild, the ex situ population of the endangered pygmy hippo becomes increasingly more vital as an insurance population. Helping to ensure a healthy population is, in part, the role of International Studbook Keeper Beatrice Steck of Zoo Basel, in Switzerland.

In this “Behind the ZIMS” interview for the WAZA Magazine, Beatrice talks about the importance of data in facilitating cooperation across regions for the benefit of the entire population. The International Studbook (ISB), which facilitates shared access and standardized, high quality data by using ZIMS for Studbooks, includes detailed information on more than 1,600 pygmy hippos that have been held in human care since 1873.

In addition to enabling a healthy and genetically diverse population, the ISB data have increased the knowledge of various aspects of pygmy hippo biology, which is difficult to study in the wild, for example its gestation length. It has also contributed to research detecting major health issues and their importance for the population under human care, such as polycystic kidney disease.

Read the full article in the WAZA Magazine.

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