The role of the zoos has greatly changed. Whereas, in the past, their only aim was to show the animals to the general public, nowadays the zoos with modern and serious zoological knowledge are also engaged in species conservation, education and research, and thus contribute to the conservation of certain species. The Nyíregyháza Zoo keeps and breeds many species whose members are threatened with extinction in the wild, so these animals are the key to the survival of certain species. One of the iconic species of the zoos’ species conservation is the Bali myna (Leucospar rothschildi), which is one of the rarest birds in the world. Due to the destruction of its habitat and illegal animal trade, its number has critically decreased in the wild. However, thanks to the cooperation and planned breeding as part of the zoos’ species conservation, more than 2,000 Bali mynas live in the closed aviaries of zoos around the world, including Nyíregyháza.
We were not only able to breed the rare bird in the Sóstó Zoo as planned, thus increasing the population of the species living on the brink of extinction, but our zoo was the first in Hungary where a Borneo orangutan young (the Borneo orangutan is a tree-dwelling mammal that reproduces at the slowest rate in the world) or the calf of the largest terrestrial mammal, the African elephant were born, and thanks to a special camera system, those who follow the zoo’s community site could watch the birth of a small Indian rhinoceros.
5,000 members of 500 species live in the Nyíregyháza Zoo, and the zoo, as member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) participates in nearly 100 species conservation programs (EEP).
The purpose of the EEP breeding programs is to establish and create a viable population with adequate genetic diversity that will contribute to the long-term survival of the species and make any potential later repatriation to their original natural habitats possible.