The Réserve Zoologique de la Haute-Touche takes part in a number of conservation plans, such as the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), the European Studbooks (ESB) and the National Action Plans (PNA). In total, 42 species at Haute-Touche are involved: gemsbok, Przewalski's horse, markhor, dhole, Sumatran tiger and cheetah, but also the griffon vulture, European pond turtle and the little bustard.
Haute Touche participates in around forty breeding plans (EEP, ESB), contributing to maintaining the genetic diversity of endangered species. These breeding plans involve some of the most endangered species, some of which are poorly represented in zoos.
A group of Eld's deer (said to be from Siam: Laos, Cambodia), whose wild population is nearly extinct (fewer than a hundred animals);
The Père David's deer is unique due to the fact that it has never been encountered in the wild. This species lived in China, hidden away from prying eyes in an imperial hunting park. It was in 1865 that this species was discovered by Father Armand David (1826-1900), a French missionary and naturalist. Later, the French chargé d'affaires managed to get the imperial ministers to send a couple of these living animals to the Museum. Other animals followed in 1870 which was fortunate as, due to catastrophic floods in 1895, the imperial stock was almost entirely wiped out and the surviving herd was ultimately killed and eaten by the Japanese and Western armies in China during the Boxer Rebellion (in 1900). The last surviving wild animal was killed near the Yellow Sea in 1939. Since then, cooperation between zoos has helped to safeguard this species, for which a programme of reintroduction into their natural environment has been implemented by the Chinese government;
The Persian fallow deer populations from Iran and Iraq have declined over the past century due to habitat destruction. Successive geopolitical conflicts have prevented the implementation of an in situ conservation programme. The group at Haute-Touche increases in number every year thanks to new births;
The Przewalski's horses, which have never been domesticated and numbered only 12 in captivity in 1960, were saved from complete extinction thanks to the Zoological Parks. The Museum is in charge of the breeding programme for this species. As a result of several reintroduction programmes, more than 300 horses are once again living in the wild in their homeland, Mongolia.
Haute-Touche is also involved in conservation breeding programmes for native species: the Little bustard and European pond turtle.
The little bustard once inhabited areas as far flung as Portugal, Mongolia and North Africa. Its disappearance from a large number of Eastern European countries has been documented for over 50 years. Experiencing a sharp decline in France for several decades now, the little bustard is “in danger”. Profound changes in agrosystems that have been operating for 40 years are direct causes of the rapid decline in little bustard populations. A conservation programme that involves strengthening populations has been set up and is under the responsibility of the LPO, in partnership with CNRS in Chizé, the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle and the Spanish Ornithological Society. The Réserve Zoologique de la Haute-Touche provides one of the two captive breeding sites for the little bustard.
The European pond turtle - a freshwater turtle that is still commonplace in Brenne - is a European reptile which has seen the largest decline in its numbers over the past twenty years. It has disappeared from some French regions and from several European countries. On 7 July 2010 the Reserve opened a nursery dedicated to the species. Incubated and raised in a protective environment, the young turtles are released when they are approximately 3, once they have reached a big enough size to fight off most of their predators. At present, they are released in the catchment basin of Lake Bourget. The intention is that in the future this project will be extended to Alsace (Petite Camargue Alsacienne) and other European countries. Every year, over a hundred turtles are raised for the reintroduction programmes carried out as part of the National Action Plan (PNA) for the species established in 2010.
The “Conservation - Turtle” project was co-financed by the Caisse d’Épargne Centre - Val de Loire.