Reuters | | Posted by Zarafshan Shiraz, Arnhem, Netherlands

Divers at a Netherlands zoo on Monday began work to create a “Noah’s Ark” of coral as part of a global effort to preserve coral reefs by building reserve populations in aquaria.

Divers with gloved hands gently nestled the first self-bred corals from the World Coral Conservatory project amongst their cousins in Europe’s largest coral reef at the Burgers’ Zoo in Arnhem, eastern Netherlands. Travelling to Netherlands? Check out this Dutch zoo for its coral ‘Noah’s Ark’ to preserve endangered reefs (AP Photo)

With corals under threat globally from climate change, overfishing and pollution, conservationists at Burgers’ Zoo in the city of Arnhem are creating a back-up of endangered species.

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The coral could be reintroduced to its original habitat when conditions improve, said Nienke Klerks, a biologist at the zoo.

“This project is making a kind of back-up of corals so in case they die out in the wild, we’ll still have them in aquaria,” Klerks said.

Because of the slow growth rates of corals – which can range from several millimeters to several centimeters a year – it would be years before any coral could be returned to the wild.

Even then, conditions would have to improve first for the coral to thrive, she added.

The zoo has worked on building the coral reserve together with the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco and two French aquaria, and Klerks hopes more zoos will join the project.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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