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Conservation Centers for Species Survival

Every day, wild animals and habitat disappear from the planet. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, more than 21 percent of mammals, 12 percent of birds, 28 percent of reptiles, and 30 percent of amphibians are threatened by extinction. Working to combat both species and population attrition is the Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2), which includes the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI).

C2S2 comprises numerous large-acreage centers spread throughout North America, including SCBI in Front Royal, Virginia. These centers jointly maintain and manage more than 27,000 acres of land for the express purpose of protecting endangered wildlife species.

The centers not only provide these animals with space that allows for natural group sizes and minimal public disturbances, but they also give scientists the opportunity to conduct valuable research and conduct breeding programs vital to species' recoveries.

C2S2's Full and Associate Members are listed here.

Each of these facilities is an example of a different habitat and ecosystem type. C2S2 staff and scientists work with partners to identify the species of greatest concern that will benefit the most from the resources each location offers. Priority projects include the study and development of sustainable populations of ungulates, birds, and carnivores.

The centers have already had success with increasing the numbers of California condors, cheetahs, black-footed ferrets, Florida panthers, kit foxes, Mexican gray wolves, red wolves, Attwater's prairie chickens, and Mississippi sandhill cranes, among others.

C2S2 specializes in four main areas of expertise:

  • Species and population management through husbandry, breeding, and genetic research.
  • Reintroduction where strategies and tools are developed for assessing a habitat's survivability as well as for releasing and monitoring animals.
  • Land stewardship and natural resource management, where natural conditions are managed and maintained to allow a species to recover while promoting local biodiversity.
  • Training of professionals and students across research and zoological institutions.

Learn more about Conservation Centers for Species Survival.