Listed as an endangered species in 1989, the American Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) has disappeared from 90% of its historic range in the second half of the 20th century. Facing issues such as habitat destruction, light pollution and changes to intraspecific competition the ABB certainly has an uphill battle to be restored to its former glory. Reintroduction efforts for this carrion loving species have been underway since the early 90s. More recently, in 2013, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden began reintroducing this species to the nearby Fernald Preserve. This conservation effort involves coordination with multiple government agencies including the USFWS, ODNR, DOE, and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. The American burying beetle also has an SSP (species survival plan) within the AZA (American Association of Zoos and Aquariums), and its breeding success relies upon cooperation between four zoos in the eastern US. During this Science on Tap Mandy Pritchard, World of the Insect Team Leader, will explain the bizarre details of this animal’s natural history and what the zoo has been doing to help bring this species back from the brink.
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