This article is a great reminder that some beloved rare species could be looking at extinction, whether they’re in the wild or in captivity. The article delves into behavioral issues that clearly affect captive breeding attempts at zoos and conservation centers.
That’s nice, but what does it have to do with JMP? Quite a bit, actually. Similar research programs are conducted in various parts of the world with JMP powering the data exploration and visualization pieces.
In fact, some of the most unexpected statistical discovery stories come from some of the wildest places on Earth. A researcher at one world-renowned facility that is both a zoo and a conservation center told me about how he and his colleagues use JMP for a variety of programs. I don’t have permission to tell you the name of the organization, but I can tell you that these researchers are making a real difference for animals in captivity and in the wild.
One interesting finding that’s comparable to the big cat stories told in The New York Times article centers on Andean bears. The story starts with a chronic and seasonal skin condition that affected bears at quite a few facilities across North America. The vets ruled out parasites and couldn’t figure it out. But when the zoos began sharing information and examining that data using JMP, they learned that all the affected bears were female and that, in a nutshell, it was the guys’ fault. The female Andean bears that lived with males experienced the problem, probably, the researchers think, due to stress.
I’m not a biologist, so I can’t conclude that the above problem extends across species and, say, to Homo sapiens. So I’ll let you make your own guesses about that one. But it would make a great study, wouldn’t it?