The ex-situ conservation involves preservation and breeding of endangered species under partially or fully controlled conditions. In the event of a rapid decline in the numbers of a species, due to environmental or genetic factors, ex-situ conservation serves as an ideal option. Captive breeding of endangered species, or those species who have permanently lost their habitats are examples of ex-situ conservation.
There are various circumstances which induce captive breeding of species. For example, captive breeding can be introduced as a measure to revive species population in the following cases:
i. There has been direct conflict with any species with man, leading to the former’s destruction of habitat, or
ii. There has been spread of a contagious disease in the natural habitat of the species leading to their deaths, or
iii. The survival of some species is threatened due to occurrence of natural disasters. Zoological and botanical gardens, agricultural and
Forest research centres can serve as the habitats for ex-situ conservation. Both the forms of conservation are needed to ensure a rich wildlife. Other places for artificial method of breeding include seed or gene banks. Here seeds, genes and other vegetative parts of the endangered species are preserved.
Seeds can be preserved at normal temperature, but for preservation of genes and vegetative parts, low temperature is required. In seed or gene banks, germ plasms (genetic material) of wild and cultivated plants are preserved at low temperatures.