Captive breeding of an endangered species is a last resort. The process requires custom facilities, specialists, time, and funding. It does not guarantee success, but it does offer hope. If the breeding facility can sustain generations of healthy offspring, then the animals can be used to bolster wild populations or start new ones. Failing that, the species may still survive in captivity. However, starting a captive breeding program also involves some risk to the species. Some animals must be removed from the wild, loosing their chances of contributing to the wild populations. After several years of discussion and debate amongst wildlife biologists, captive breeding of the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow began in 2015.
Rare Species Conservatory Foundation
Captive breeding began in 2015 with 2 males and 4 females collected from the prairie and brought to the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation (RSCF) in Loxahatchie. Since then, the organization has overseen the first successful captive breeding of the sparrow and received additional individuals from the wild. The non-profit organization's website says RSCF "designs sustainable recovery, reintroduction and protection programs for endangered species in the wild, and works collaboratively with governments and other conservation/research organizations to restore target species and protect critical habitats. We also provide consulting and technical services to conservation groups, and form educational, political and economic partnerships to expedite specific habitat and species conservation projects."
White Oak Conservation
In 2016, White Oak Conservation in Yulee, Florida accepted their first Florida Grasshopper Sparrows. According to their website, "White Oak promotes endeavors in conservation through innovative science, education, training, and collaborations. We are committed to providing conservation options for the species that need them the most."