Mr. Andrew Mooney
School of Natural Sciences (Zoology Building)
Trinity College Dublin
My research interests lie broadly in wildlife conservation and management, with a particular focus on the ex situ role played by Zoos and Aquaria. I am predominantly interested in understanding how captive wildlife populations can be used to enhance global wildlife conservation by linking in situ and ex situ wildlife conservation efforts. My other interests extend to broader areas such as wildlife politics, animal behaviour and animal welfare. I am passionate about science communication and in particular how it can be used as a tool to promote key issues in wildlife conservation and management.
The role played by Zoos and Aquaria in wildlife conservation is often a contentious issue and one which is constantly evolving in response to global wildlife pressures and public perception. The composition and demography of current zoological collections are well understood and documented, as is the financial contribution of Zoos and Aquaria to wildlife conservation. However, a contemporary understanding of the differences between captive and wild populations is required in order to aid in the development of best management practices and assist in global wildlife conservation. Similarly, defining the role that Zoos and Aquaria will play in future wildlife conservation is imperative as Zoos and Aquaria are often viewed as ‘Arks’ for wildlife conservation, contributing extensive financial resources to in situ conservation efforts in addition to providing critical wildlife conservation experiences and education to the public. Simultaneously, Zoos and Aquaria represent the most extensive resource for potential wildlife reintroductions moving forward. I will be utilising comparative analyses involving demography databases, such as the animal matrix database COMADRE, in addition to International Zoo and Aquarium data in order to address the following research questions:
1) How do populations of animals in a captive setting relate to their conspecifics in the wild?
2) How can captive wildlife populations be used to enhance global wildlife conservation?
3) What is the potential for reintroduction or translocation of species in Zoos and Aquaria, and what are the possible implications of such conservation efforts?