Name some complications of having living collections?


Many complications can occur with working with living collections, dependent on the institution that might house these collections. As I was going through this unit, I realize that there is more to a living collection than I thought there was. I’ve traveled to or visited some of these places I don’t think I would have considered initially as a living collection. Still, now going through the material here in this class, I realized that I didn’t recognize that they were living collections or considered living collections. The overarching problem with living collections is where they get their funding and how they continue to finance these collections. As I’ve learned about living collections, it seems that the funding when starting these collections up appears to be quite a lot. So, when starting one of these living collections up, whether it might be botanical gardens, zoos, or rescue centers, you have to have a very well thought out financial plan to make sure that it gets started, and then it also continues to grow as the collection grows or just for the upkeep of the collection. I think we saw how funding could affect a living collection in Alaska this year.

Due to covid issues, The Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska, saw the effects of funding disappear. They get a big chunk of their budget from the people that visit the sea life center and pay for tickets and souvenirs and donate as they come through the doors. With the loss of tourism to this area and the travel restrictions put into place, it hurt them how they had funding to keep their doors open, and we’re looking at shutting down completely. And if they had to shut their doors and closed permanently, not only would the research, education, and just the overall care of some of the animals that they had in the sea life center go away, but then you had to ask yourself where these animals would go and also if any other animals need to be rescued where would they go. Luckily Alaskans came together and helped fundraise and keep the doors open at the sea life center. Also, with living collections, you have the general upkeep of the collection, whether from feeding the animals if you have animals in your collection to watering the plants if you have plants in your collection. This can also cause some complications because you might not have the resources for or the ability to get specific foods for animals or just maintain the particular irrigation or upkeep for the plants you might have. So this goes back to having a good thought out the process from every animal from every plant. How are we going to water it? Feed it? Keep it living? How will we take care of all these things, and then how are we going to keep that process going throughout the years? Another issue is how the climates are changing and how that affects your living collection, whether be plants or animals. With plants due to climate change, you might have a sustainable plant that could live in the environment that it is currently but due to climate change. It getting hotter or colder, you might have to figure out a way to adjust its climates to the climate change issues that we have today, So what might have worked three years ago might not work today, and you’ll have to be able to change with those issues that are coming up. Also, one of the things that were addressed with complications of living collections is that you have to have a lot of space, a lot of land, and areas to have these collections in a lot of time. It is hard to find or come up with those things that you might need for these collections with urbanization. If you put a living collection inside a city with an urban population, you also have to deal with pollution; how’s that going to affect the plants? How is that going to affect the animals in that situation? Hence, there are a lot of things that can affect living collections.  Another issue I could see with building a living collection is where you build it and how you build it. One example of this is the New Orleans aquarium that is downtown along the riverfront of New Orleans. Originally it was built to withstand a minor hurricane. But we saw this was not effective during Katrina. Hurricane Katrina literally destroyed the aquarium and the aquarium space, and animals got out or were killed during this hurricane. It made them go back and look at the structure and how they could make it better. And they had to rebuild it to withstand a bigger storm. It also made them look at the procedures that were in place to evacuate the animals or secure the animals during hurricane Katrina that were not adequate at the time. They had to revamp the whole all those procedures to make sure that everything was going to be taken care of and things that they thought couldn’t happen if they did happen; what would they do and make it better. There are a lot of challenges and obstacles that people have to go through and think about when they are creating a living collection.









My article is about a highly endangered marsupial that was born in a zoo in Poland. Now, this animal is on the endangeredspecies list, and not very many left in the world. But have had a few of them born in captivity. But in an article that I was reading and on the news reports, these animals aren’t available to be seen by the public in zoos. It doesn’t really say, and there’s not a lot of information why these animals are not shown to the public other than that what I can figure out is that maybe it’s because of the habitat situation where they might be needed to be secluded from the public.

My question to you on this is if these are public zoos and they are open to the public, do you think we should be allowed to see these rare species?


here is a copy of the article

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A highly endangered marsupial known as a bear cuscus has been born in Wroclaw Zoo in Poland.

It’s the fourth to be born there since 2016, when the zoo obtained a pair that had been confiscated from smugglers in their native Indonesia.

The zoo says it’s the only place in the world where the species has been successfully bred in captivity.

The baby, believed to be a male, first left the pouch of its mother, Duzy, in late December, to the great relief of keepers, the zoo said Friday.

Bear cuscuses — which are not bears at all — are reclusive, and only a few keepers and no members of the public are allowed near them.


4 Thoughts to “DISSUCSSION”

  1. Tony Thompson

    Great questions this week, Michael! Do I see living collections disappearing? Interesting. I’m not sure! Thinking about zoos, I think as long as the animals are well cared for and the funding exists, those collections can be quite valuable in the way of education and genetic material preservation. So, I don’t see them disappearing quite soon. However, I do recognize that as the world undergoes these global changes in climate and wildlife biodiversity is reduced, new and unintended complications are likely to arise. My hope is that we can responsibly utilize these living collections to benefit wildlife and maintain biodiversity in the world.
    As far as your second question about rare species being on display, I think we should definitely be careful when dealing with rare species. With the recent controversy regarding the footage of the so-called thylacine (which turned out to be a pademelon) in Tasmania, I have been thinking a bit more about extinction and how some scientists believe we are undergoing the sixth mass extinction right now. Extinction is so definite and final that I think we should be very careful. I also think that certain animals experience exhibition in different ways. I’m thinking about this article specifically ( Certain extremely social (or extremely anti-social) animals can be negatively affected by simply being on exhibit which could impact their physical health which in the case of rare species is not ideal. Great post! I’m going to stop here before I get carried away.

  2. Erin Gingrich

    Those are some good questions and I think that the answers are complex. In regards to the question about the disappearance of living collection, I think that some of these collections will remain as they are but others (I hope) will shift and create spaces for the balancing of needs. I find certain collections like zoos can be problematic and I really do believe that there could be better ways to share, educate and study animals in way that don’t require these specimens giving up their natural lives and environmental freedoms. Things like wildlife preserves and refuges might be a good way to shift in a way that does not benefit on the imprisonment of animals, that being said I know that these are complex questions and my answers might not be aware of all relevant information or needs. In regards to the second question I feel that the public is not entitled to the viewing of all animals and that the needs of the specimens should be put first. Sometimes making space for others requires removing ourselves from that space. Quyana!

  3. Barbara Long

    Good Evening,

    Does the public have the right to see rare species? Yes, I believe in educating the public.Rare species collections can be closely guarded and time-limits for viewings can be implemented as well. The world needs to observed the diverse species that inhabits our Earth in order to protect rare flora and fauna. These exhibits spark future generations of scientists, historians, and curators etc.Thanks for sharing.

  4. Angela Linn

    Great post Michael, and thought-provoking question. I tend to agree with Erin that sometimes we don’t need to have access to all things all the time. People have become so accustomed to having the world at their fingertips – mystery is good and drives creative thinking. Whatever is better for the animal is where I tend to fall – if they would be overstressed by being exposed to more people and the massive amount of energy created by human presence, then I say let them be.

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