An alarming worldwide extinction of animal species is taking place as a result of the activities of the increasing global human population. The original ranges of many animal species are being reduced and fragmented and, in some cases, they have been reduced to perilously small relict populations. The adverse genetic consequences of these restrictions are becoming clear, as are possible methods for their alleviation. The concept of ex situ genetic management of small captive populations of endangered species with a view to re-introducing them into the wild is attracting increasing interest. Modern reproductive techniques will play an important role in such programmes, and it is likely that an increasing number of veterinarians will become involved. However, the literature describing the aims and methods of reproductive genetic management is scattered and often not readily available to interested veterinary surgeons. The aim of this review is to deal with this problem by describing some potential approaches to the captive breeding of endangered species.