Current conservation status of Ratites

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J. Sales


Living Ratites, which include several species or subspecies of ostriches, cassowaries, emus, rheas and kiwis, all with an important function in the ecosystem dynamics, endure the danger of extinction similarly to the extinct moas and elephant-birds. Whereas ostriches and emus, except for specific populations, are not seen as being endangered, cassowaries and kiwis are on the brink of extinction. Hunting by humans contributed most to the declining numbers in all families of Ratites. Some conservation management strategies have been developed for conservation of kiwis, one subspecies of cassowary, and some populations of ostriches, emus and rheas. These include captive breeding and release, habitat restoration, and public awareness. However, consideration of the limitations of the above techniques is often ignored.

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Author Biography

J. Sales

James Sales received a PhD on the quality aspects of ostrich meat in 1994 at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. Thereafter he conducted research on nutrition, management and behaviour of farmed ostriches in South Africa, China, Australia, Malaysia, United Kingdom and Chile; emus in the USA, United Kingdom and Australia; and rheas in the United Kingdom, Chile and Argentina. He received a second PhD in aquaculture nutrition at Rhodes University, South Africa, in 2002, and is currently working in this topic at the Research Institute of Fish Culture and Hydrobiology in Vodnany, Czech Republic.