International Zoo News Vol. 45/1 (No. 282) January/February 1998


Maarten de Ruiter

Page 2
The Rediscovery and Conservation of Seychelles Giant Tortoises

Justin Gerlach

Page 4
Raptors in Japanese Zoos, 1996

Ken Kawata

Page 11
Captive Leopards and Lions in Yemen Need Help

Lucy Vigne and Esmond Martin

Page 22
Surplus and Wanted Stock Page 29
Letters to the Editor Page 30
Book Reviews Page 31
Conservation Page 36
Miscellany Page 42
Annual Report Page 44
International Zoo News Page 50
Recent Articles Page 62

Cover Illustration: The rediscovered grazing Seychelles giant tortoise (D. hololissa). (Photo: Justin Gerlach)


`No Room in the Ark' – but what about the Private Sector?

One of the limiting factors in many breeding programmes is the lack of space. Most public zoological collections cannot get involved in any more programmes, as they are already cooperating in as many as they have facilities for. For this reason, in many species, only a small number of young can be bred annually to keep the population stable. One solution for this problem is provided by reintroduction projects, which can enable a larger number of pairs to be allowed to breed and the surplus young to be released into the wild. However, for most endangered species this is not yet possible, so only selected pairs are allowed to produce young.

Another solution is unfortunately still very uncommonly used, but in my view could create an enormous amount of extra `room in the Ark'. In many fields of animal keeping and breeding, private collections are as successful as public ones (or sometimes even more so), and if we could involve them in our breeding programmes, a larger number of specimens and species could be preserved in captivity. Also, a number of non-threatened (or less threatened) species could be placed in private collections and in this way create space in the zoos for more threatened species.

Parrots are a good example. In the western world, parrot keeping and breeding is very popular and there is a large number of really skilled specialists. If we look in most zoos, we will find a large number of common species like African grey, blue-and-gold and green-winged macaws, blue-fronted and yellow-fronted amazons and so on. If all (or at least most) of these birds were placed in private collections, for example on breeding loan, an enormous number of zoo aviaries would become available for threatened species.

Even with threatened species, however, private collections can play an important role, as is shown by two projects in Germany, for Tucuman and lilacine amazons, which have proven to work well. A zoo (Karlsruhe) and a conservation society (Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz) coordinate the respective breeding programmes, and as well as several zoological collections, a good number of private individuals are cooperating in them.

In 1983, German customs confiscated 51 illegally-imported lilacine amazons, and these birds were given to the Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz (the Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations) in Munich. The Society placed the birds in a number of zoological and private collections on breeding loan. Although the programme started slowly and the first chick was only hatched (in a private collection) as late as 1987, the project became more successful, with three young bred in 1988 and no less than 12 in 1989. Until then, the only successful collections were private ones – Dortmund Zoo in 1990 was the first public collection to breed the lilacine amazon within the programme. Although there have been problems with some of the private breeders – for whom the price they could get for an amazon was more important than the success of the breeding programme – the overall contribution of private breeders in this project is clearly enormous. A healthy population of this threatened species is now being managed in captivity without taking too many of the limited spaces in the `Ark'.

In 1990, Karlsruhe Zoo – together with a bird-keepers society – started a breeding programme for the Tucuman amazon. A large aviary was built specially for this species, as well as several breeding enclosures. By the end of 1990, 16 birds had been obtained, mainly from private owners, and these were all housed in the large aviary. In addition, a further 15 birds were held by private collections which were willing to cooperate in the programme. In the scheme's first year of operation (1991), 11 chicks were bred and the number of cooperating collections raised to 29, with a total of 95 birds. Breeding figures for the programme's first four years are shown in Table 1 (below). By the end of 1995, numbers had grown to 58 collections with 245 Tucuman amazons. The former studbook keeper, M. Reinschmidt, told me that no less than five-sixths of the cooperating collections are private ones, so here also much valuable space in zoos is saved by cooperating with private individuals.

In many other parrot breeding programmes (purple-naped lory, salmon-crested cockatoo, red-vented cockatoo and so on), private collections already play an important role. But in my opinion much could still be done to preserve even more species. My idea is that one zoo could start a (regional) breeding programme by building a large aviary for a particular threatened species, and put all available birds of this species – from their own collection, from other zoos, confiscated specimens and so on – in this enclosure. As soon as natural pair-bonding had taken place, the pairs would be removed and placed in breeding aviaries. The coordinating zoo could have a small number of such aviaries itself, but as more pairs were formed, these could be made available to other (private and/or public) collections. Any new birds obtained by the programme, and all the young bred, could be placed in the large community aviary, so that more new pairs could be formed. In this way, one zoo in cooperation with, say, four or five other public collections and ten or twenty private collections, could preserve a species without taking too many places in the `Ark' away from other threatened species.

Maarten de Ruiter,

Reigerstraat 25,

4793 HD Fijnaart,

The Netherlands.

Table 1. Success rates of the Tucuman amazon breeding programme, coordinated by Karlsruhe Zoo in cooperation with mainly private collections.

1991 4 breeding pairs 11 chicks raised

1992 10 breeding pairs 24 chicks raised

1993 10 breeding pairs 28 chicks raised

1994 12 breeding pairs 26 chicks raised




In 1997 two supposedly `extinct' species of Seychelles giant tortoise (Dipsochelys arnoldi and D. hololissa) were rediscovered in captivity in Seychelles. Both species had been thought to be extinct since 1840. The survivors have now been brought together into a captive-breeding project as part of the Silhouette Conservation Project of the Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles. Courtship and mating have been observed and it is hoped that breeding will start in the near future. The project is continuing to search for further survivors to improve the breeding and survival prospects for these critically endangered species. In the long term it is hoped that both species can be brought back from the edge of extinction and reintroduced to secure reserves in Seychelles.

A `typical'-shaped Aldabra giant tortoise (Dipsochelys dussumieri). (Photo: Justin Gerlach)


Giant tortoises are a familiar feature in many zoos and private animal collections. A small number of these are Galapagos giants, but the majority originate from the Indian Ocean. Most are considered to have come from the atoll of Aldabra, although there is rarely any reliable data to support this. There were originally several giant tortoise species in the Indian Ocean, but by 1840 those on Madagascar, the Mascarenes and the granitic islands of Seychelles appeared to have been driven to extinction through direct human consumption. Since then there have been occasional rumours that an original Seychelles giant might survive in captivity, but these reports were never substantiated or were subsequently withdrawn (e.g. as in the living `Dipsochelys arnoldi' described in Bour, 1982, but withdrawn in Bour, 1984), and the view that the odd shapes of some animals were simply a result of poor diet became firmly established.

I have recently completed a taxonomic revision of the Indian Ocean giant tortoises and this, coupled with new genetic research carried out for the Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles (NPTS), has resolved the questions regarding identification. The conclusions of this work are summarised below and the conservation programme resulting from the research is described.

Taxonomic background

The taxonomy of tortoises in general is muddled to say the least, and the Indian Ocean giant tortoises are no exception. The recent taxonomic revision (Gerlach and Canning, 1998) should allow some stability for this group in the future. A brief overview of the taxonomy is important for understanding the species differences and the purported variability of shell characters in these tortoises. The revision proposes that the Madagascar-Aldabra-Seychelles giant tortoises should be considered a distinct genus (as advocated previously, e.g. Bour, 1982, 1984), for which the correct name is Dipsochelys (the often used Aldabrachelys is invalid due to a misidentification). The extinct Mascarene species represented a separate genus, Cylindraspis (Bour, 1984). Dipsochelys is one of the most specialised tortoise genera and is only very distantly related to the superficially similar Galapagos giants (Geochelone or, more strictly, Chelonoidis). Within Dipsochelys there were six recognisable species: four of these occurred on the Seychelles islands (which politically include Aldabra), the other two being fossil species from Madagascar (Bour, 1994). Of the Seychelles species the most familiar is the Aldabran giant, which should be known as D. dussumieri (the most frequently used name, Geochelone gigantea, actually refers to a South American tortoise, and the often-used alternative D. elephantina is a synonym of D. dussumieri). The other three species seem to have lived on the granitic islands of the Seychelles group. D. daudinii is a poorly known species, represented by just two specimens (dating from 1820) of unknown origin. Four museum specimens were confused with this species until 1982, when they were described as a distinct form, D. arnoldi (Bour, 1982); this has several skeletal specialisations which seem to be adaptations to browsing, unlike the other forms which appear to be more typical grazers. The remaining species, D. hololissa, was known from just two shells collected in 1808–10. These were very similar to D. dussumieri, but recognition of several misidentified specimens allows the species to be recognised as distinctive (Gerlach and Canning, 1998). This species differs mainly in characters of its skull, the functional significance of which are unknown at present. Both D. arnoldi and D. hololissa can be demonstrated to have come from the granitic islands (Bour, 1984; Gerlach and Canning, 1998).

Identification of living tortoises

In 1996 I had the opportunity to examine the identity of the captive giants in more detail and to settle the persistent rumours of Seychelles survivors. The recent death of a tortoise claimed by some to be a Seychelles original enabled me to examine the skeleton, which should be less susceptible to distortion than the shell. This confirmed that there were odd features of the animal that could not be simply explained by dietary factors, and the individual appeared to be distinct from D. dussumieri; however, its true identity remained enigmatic. In an attempt to clarify the increasingly confused picture I collected blood samples from 50 of the tortoises showing some unusual characters and ten tortoises known to have come from Aldabra. These blood samples formed the basis of a genetic analysis undertaken for the Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles. In March 1997 the genetic tests produced the clear results needed to settle the matter definitively. The results demonstrated that three separate groups could be identified – the Aldabran (D. dussumieri) and two separate forms representing distinct species. The Aldabran group was the largest and included a wide range of shell forms; interestingly, some of these `distorted' captives might represent old genetic lineages no longer found on Aldabra, or possibly slightly different subpopulations (further work is needed to resolve questions about subspecies). The two non-Aldabran forms can be identified from their morphology as two of the supposedly extinct species from the granitic islands – D. hololissa and D. arnoldi. Being able to assign individual tortoises to different species has allowed clarification of species morphology and gives us a better idea of the true extent of variation. After careful examination of all characters, I am now confident that most individuals can be identified by their external appearance; however, hybrids may exist and these would be difficult to recognise without supporting genetic data.

Sketch map showing the relative positions of Madagascar, the main (granitic) Seychelles group, the coral atoll of Aldabra, and the Mascarene Islands.


The conclusive identifications provided by the genetic study demonstrated that Seychelles giant tortoises did persist and raised the possibility that two species could be rescued from extinction, some 150 years after they were thought to have been lost. The numbers involved were extremely low; eight (5.3) D. hololissa and two (1.1) D. arnoldi. Most of these were being kept in poor conditions in mixed-species groups, and none of them were breeding (although one group had bred as recently as 1986, but not since). In view of this situation it was decided that the only practical option was to establish captive-breeding facilities for them, separating the species and providing them with semi-natural conditions and appropriate social groups. The Silhouette Conservation Project, run by the Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles and the managers of Silhouette Island (Islands Development Company), provided the ideal location for a captive-breeding programme. The island has a small human population (some 200 inhabitants), a small hotel, and access is very tightly controlled due to there being only one easy landing point. These conditions minimise potential disturbance to the tortoises and eliminate any poaching risk to the adults. The risk of theft of juveniles in the future would also be substantially reduced by the well-regulated access and population considerations.

The rediscovered browsing Seychelles giant tortoises (D. arnoldi). (Photo: Justin Gerlach)

In April 1997 the NPTS launched an adoption scheme to raise the funds required to purchase and transport the tortoises. This was highly successful, and six D. hololissa and both D. arnoldi arrived on Silhouette in July. The D. hololissa group comprised three females (including two sub-adults aged 11 and approximately 15 years) and three males. The two males not brought to Silhouette are both extremely large and old (one 127 cm straight length), and neither is likely to be a useful breeder at this stage in the project.

Whilst we were making arrangements for the purchases an additional group of 16 D. arnoldi was located. As we had previously only found a single pair, this was an extremely important find, though unfortunately this group was extremely male-biased (13.3). In September 1997 the adoption scheme was extended to include the three females and a male from this group. Again, through the generous support of the general public in several countries we were able to purchase all four tortoises. The first two of these were transported to Silhouette in October/November.

Seychelles Giant Tortoise Conservation Project enclosures on Silhouette Island. (Photo: Justin Gerlach)

Captive breeding on Silhouette Island

The tortoises are housed in two large enclosures on Silhouette Island. These are 200 m2 in area and include natural lowland vegetation (mainly grasses and sedges). Muddy depressions have been dug to provide wallows for the tortoises (captive tortoises in Seychelles frequently sleep in water or mud when available), and natural features such as trees and logs have been retained to provide shade and some degree of landscape diversity. Attempts have been made to plant shrubs and trees to improve the diversity of the vegetation, increase shade and make the enclosures more attractive, but so far these have all been eaten or flattened by the tortoises.

The two species are kept separately, but no attempt has been made to split the groups into selected pairs. Initially we intend to allow the tortoises a free choice of association and to observe the interactions between the individuals. There is a remarkably high degree of social interaction and both species appear to be herd animals. Observations of captive Aldabra tortoises suggest that the largest male dominates mating attempts, and so far this has been borne out by our observations of the two Seychelles species. In the future it may be necessary to manipulate the social groups so as to ensure that low-ranking males are also able to breed.

The tortoises have come from a range of locations and accordingly their care had been variable. Some of them were free-range and had access to more or less natural vegetation, whilst others were fed on kitchen or garden waste. Their new enclosures are large enough to provide sufficient grazing but this is supplemented with a wide range of leaves and fruits. At this stage we are offering them as many different plants as possible in order to determine preferences. This provides information that is of use in developing a regular diet for them and also information on their probable natural role in the ecosystems of Seychelles. Not surprisingly, they eat virtually anything. However, monitoring the plants in the enclosures has found that even after only two weeks they had completely changed the species composition, showing that they feed very selectively whilst grazing.

Future prospects

To date, there have been many attempted matings and, at least in D. hololissa, these have involved cooperation by the female. So far successful mating has not definitely been observed, but the conditions we have provided appear to be conducive to breeding and we are hopeful that this will occur in the near future. Breeding these species raises many interesting research and management questions, as the only available information on Dipsochelys reproductive biology are from the Aldabran species, which originates from a very different environment.

Our immediate aim is to establish the Silhouette groups as breeding populations which will ensure the perpetuation of these critically endangered species. We are continuing to examine reports of unusually-shaped tortoises in Seychelles in the hope of locating additional Seychelles tortoises, especially females. We are also starting to investigate the species composition of captive groups outside Seychelles. There are large numbers of giant tortoises in zoos and private collections in many countries, and it is possible that a few may be descendants of tortoises exported from Seychelles in the early 1800s. This is starting with an examination of the U.K. `Aldabra' giant tortoises in conjunction with Blackpool Zoo and the British Herpetology Taxon Advisory Group. From preliminary information we suspect that there are at least two D. hololissa in Britain and the U.S.A. If identifications can be confirmed, this could allow the possibility of reorganising captive groups to increase the chances of breeding from these animals. In this regard I would be pleased to hear from anyone who keeps, or knows of, captive `Aldabra' giant tortoises.

In the long term the purpose of the Seychelles Giant Tortoise Conservation Project is to increase the numbers of these animals to allow reintroduction to secure reserve sites. With the currently extremely low populations, this is obviously a very long-term objective.


The NPTS is grateful to all supporters of the project and to everyone who has expressed an interest in our work. We are especially grateful to the Islands Development Company and its staff on Silhouette for their help and support with the tortoises and the Silhouette Conservation Project.


Bour, R. (1982): Contribution à la connaissance des tortues terrestres des Seychelles: définition du genre endémique et description d'une espèce nouvelle probablement originaire des îles granitiques et au bord de l'extinction. C. r. hebd. Séanc. Acad. Sc., Paris 295: 117–122.

Bour, R. (1984): Taxonomy, history and geography of Seychelles land tortoises and fresh-water turtles. In: Biogeography and Ecology of the Seychelles Islands (ed. D.R. Stoddart), pp. 281–306. Dr W. Junk, The Hague.

Bour, R. (1994): Recherches sur des animaux doublement disparus: les tortues géantes subfossiles de Madagascar. Mém., Trav. Inst. Montpellier 19: 1–253.

Gerlach, J., and Canning, K.L. (1998, in press): The Dipsochelys giant tortoises of the western Indian Ocean. Chelonian Conservation and Biology.

Justin Gerlach, 53 River Lane, Cambridge CB5 8HP, U.K.

Birds of Prey and Owls Conference

The V World Conference on Birds of Prey and Owls will take place from 4 to 11 August 1998 in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. It is being hosted by the Raptor Conservation Group and Vulture Study Group of the Endangered Wildlife Trust. Further information is available from: Robin Chancellor, Hon. Secretary of the World Working Group on Birds of Prey and Owls, 15B Bolton Gardens, London SW5 0AT, U.K. (Fax: +44–171–370–1896); Dr Bernd-U. Meyburg, President of the World Working Group on Birds of Prey and Owls, Wangenheimstrasse 32, 14193 Berlin, Germany (Fax: +30–892–8067; E-mail:; or Dr Gerhard H. Verdoorn, Chairman of the Raptor Conservation Group, P.O. Box 72155, Parkview 2122, Johannesburg, South Africa (Fax: +27–11–646–4631; E-mail:



Japan is one of the nations most heavily populated with zoos and aquariums. Yet, in spite of the large number, little is known about them outside of this island nation, a situation that has remained unchanged over the decades. Information on zoos and aquariums is printed in Japanese and rarely distributed outside of the archipelago. The most comprehensive publication on zoo and aquarium statistics is the Annual Report published by the Japanese Association of Zoological Gardens and Aquariums (JAZGA), although even in Japan it is virtually unknown outside of a small circle. The Annual Report is a collection of raw information, entirely in Japanese, consisting of a series of tables and lists under various categories, with no compilation of figures such as subtotals and totals. Any attempt at statistical work requires processing the data yourself, going through simple but repetitious arithmetic, page after page. The Japanese fiscal year begins in April and ends in March of the following year; this means that the 1996 Annual Report provides information as of 31 March 1997, not for the calendar year 1996. However, the animal inventory of the Report lists animals living as of 31 December 1996.

For the year 1996, JAZGA published the animal inventory as a separate issue, hence there are now two volumes in the Annual Report. The animal inventory uses common Japanese names with no scientific nomenclature. This could cause headaches, since it is at times difficult to determine exactly what taxon the Japanese name implies. Nevertheless, the 1996 Report lists a total of 162 institutions, including 97 zoos and 65 aquariums. These represent the vast majority of wild animal exhibit facilities in the country, making the Report the most reliable source of information available on the subject. Of those facilities, seven zoos and one aquarium failed to submit information on animals. For the 1996 `annual article' animal group, this writer has chosen raptors, or the Orders Falconiformes and Strigiformes, as a topic to translate, compile and comment on. Possible errors in data compilation are his.

1. Overview

As shown in Table 1, as of 31 December 1996 JAZGA member facilities had a total of 555 birds in 40 species of Falconiformes, and 440 birds in 17 species of Strigiformes. (Excluded from the Table were four birds that are listed as species unidentified.) Zoos are the chief holders of raptors, having all but 15 birds in five species that are kept in three aquariums. Taxonomy for this account has mainly been based on Yamashina (1986), supplemented by Kobayashi (on subspecies; 1965) and Morioka (1983). Some zoos have made an attempt to document the geographical origin of some of the birds, although this is limited to species that occur in Japan and the surrounding region. For example, in such species as the northern goshawk and the golden eagle, some birds are listed as Japanese and others as Korean. Likewise, two peregrines were listed as subspecies pealei, and two eagle owls as from Hokkaido (the northernmost main island), distinguishing them from those that were presumably collected in the Eurasian mainland. Ural owls were further divided as japonica (Hokkaido), hondoensis (northern Honshu island) and `subspecies unknown'. Active interest in taxonomy, indicated in the Report, is indeed a welcome trend.

Two native species, namely the Ural owl and the black kite, are represented by more than 100 birds per species; combined, they make up nearly 30% of all raptors in the list. The Ural owl is kept by 44 facilities, which means that it is exhibited by more facilities than any other species, while the black kite is the second most common, kept by 31 facilities. As for exotic species, the Andean condor, held by 19 zoos, seems to be a popular choice due to its charismatic appearance. In terms of individual holders, only a few big city zoos have ten or more species of raptors each. Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, the oldest zoo in the country, has more than any other zoo, with 20 species. However, these constitute basically a postage-stamp collection. Of the 20, only seven are represented by both sexes; six species have one bird each; others, while having multiple birds per species, are represented by either single sex, or birds of unknown sex, or a combination of both. And Ueno is not unique in this aspect. This lack of breeding potential may be indicative of a tendency to treat birds as ornaments, rather than as a biological resource to be managed in a more organized program. Perhaps it is a part of the world-wide tendency to regard birds in a similar light, as seen in pinioned cranes, storks, large waterfowl and raptors in ungulate yards. We will later revisit this issue.

2. Native Species

Although Japan’s land area is only comparable to that of Montana, U.S.A., its arc-shaped archipelago covers quite a wide range. Hokkaido, the northern major island, lies on roughly the same latitude as Maine, U.S.A., while the westernmost of the Ryukyu Islands to the southwest is located off the coast of Taiwan, or on about the same latitude as the Florida Keys, close to the Tropic of Cancer. About 66% of Japan’s land surface is mountainous and wooded, with steep slopes and narrow ravines being prevalent. The Wild Bird Society of Japan (Sonobe, 1982) lists 524 species of bird known to have occurred in the wild. Of these, 29 belong to Falconiformes, and 11 to Strigiformes, forming an interesting assortment of raptors. They range from the Blakiston’s fish owl in Hokkaido, which also inhabits Siberia across the Sea of Japan, to the crested serpent eagle, a species of Southeast Asia but also locally common in the southern Ryukyu Islands.

Of the 57 species of raptors maintained in Japanese zoos, 30 are known to have occurred in the country. Many species are either Palearctic or Holarctic, hence no strangers to Europeans or Americans; five of them are rare visitors or accidental, including the European black vulture, gyrfalcon and snowy owl. Yet, the animal collection structure in Japanese zoos may differ strikingly from those in European and North American counterparts. Recently, an American zoo aviculturist visited several collections in the Tokyo area, and commented that he saw unusual birds that are not commonly exhibited in American zoos. Such is true about raptors. For example, the aforementioned black kite and Ural owl are quite common in Japan, but are hardly seen in North American collections. The same can be said about the Steller’s sea eagle and the northern goshawk. In terms of nature conservation aspects, all but three species in Table 1 are under the protection of CITES Appendices, a migratory bird treaty, or Natural Monument status under Japanese law, or are listed in the International Zoo Yearbook's `rare animal' classification. Some species are covered by more than one of these categories. For instance, the Steller’s sea eagle has all four listings – CITES II, Natural Monument, migratory bird treaty and `rare animal' classification.

3. Conservation Programs

According to JAZGA’s Proceedings of the 9th Conference of the Species Survival Committee of Japan (1996), species coordinators are designated for Andean condor, white-tailed sea eagle, Steller’s sea eagle, golden eagle (for the populations in Japan and the Korean peninsula, or subspecies japonica), northern goshawk (subspecies orientalis), Blakiston’s fish owl and eagle owl (for the Hokkaido population). They are assigned under one raptor coordinator in an umbrella program, Species Survival Committee of Japan (SSCJ). At the annual meeting of the SSCJ held in November 1996, the status of these taxa was critically reviewed. A few highlights:

Andean condor: A quarter of the captive population consists of aging, long-term non-breeding birds of 40 years or older, while another quarter consists of much younger birds. Breeding is encouraged by promoting transfer by loan agreements between collections.

White-tailed sea eagle: Kushiro and Tama lineages now make up 40% of the zoo population. Upon request, both zoos broke up their breeding pairs. It is recommendable to increase birds from under-represented lineages; however, depending on the region, transfer of birds between zoos could get caught in inter-departmental red-tape within the government, and strategies are necessary to deal with this issue. Housing facilities for large raptors are not expected to increase in zoos nation-wide, so a need exists to coordinate the use of captive space with other species in conservation programs. Also needed is closer communication with government agencies regarding a future recovery program, using zoo-hatched birds.

Steller’s sea eagle: Only one zoo – Maruyama Zoo in Sapporo, Hokkaido – continues to breed the species. Due to extreme difficulty in captive breeding, a goal cannot be established for a nation-wide, long-term breeding program. The immediate tasks for this species include establishment of breeding methods, and increased housing of pairs. There have been requests for breeding loan and exchange from overseas zoos. To be able to participate in international programs alone, zoo breeding is of vital importance.

Golden eagle (also see below): There is a need to increase the captive population, and to promote breeding.

Blakiston’s fish owl: See below.

Steller's sea eagle at Maruyama Zoo, Sapporo, Hokkaido, February 1980. (Photo: Ken Kawata)

Eagle owl (Hokkaido population): Breeding was confirmed in situ in Hokkaido in the spring of 1994, and the species was given priority conservation status by the government. Field research has begun to collect data on the breeding population; thus far several pairs have been observed. Future plans will be made, pending the conservation program by the Environmental Agency, a branch of the Japanese government.

SSCJ has selected the Blakiston’s fish owl as the top priority species for breeding, followed by the golden eagle (subspecies japonica), because of their conservation status in the wild. The Environmental Agency has set up on-going conservation programs on these two taxa, in addition to the eagle owl (the Hokkaido population), in which zoos are expected to participate. The situation is quite urgent for the Blakiston’s fish owl due to the rapid and widespread destruction of its habitats, which has resulted in a declining and increasingly fragmented population. The current population in Hokkaido is estimated to be down to a little more than 100 individuals. The population of the golden eagle in Japan is estimated to be from fewer than 400 birds to about 120 pairs. According to university researchers, the golden eagle populations in Japan and the Korean peninsula are in one and the same subspecies, japonica, which will allow restructuring of the breeding program, combining birds from both populations.

Time and again, the Proceedings points up the need for closer cooperation and more active participation with the conservation programs set forth by government agencies. Reading between the lines, this also seems to point up the poverty of such participation. In the area of wildlife conservation Japan is a newcomer, government and zoos alike. To be precise, zoos in Japan are far behind their European and North American counterparts, which have been active participants in the wildlife conservation field. To cite an example in raptors, zoos have played a vital role in the California condor recovery program. One of the chief reasons the Japanese zoos have not made an impact in this endeavor lies in the staff. Active participants in SSCJ are limited to keepers and middle-level managers; upper-level management are conspicuous by their absence. In Japanese zoos, few directors have training in biology, or experience in the zoo field. Recently a new deputy director, a transferee from another municipal department, was assigned to a major zoo. He said: `All the zoo needs is lions and giraffes and elephants. Hard stuff such as species survival is unnecessary.' There is a good chance that he will assume the directorship during 1998, and eventually step into a decision-making position in JAZGA.

4. Breeding

During the fiscal year 1996, the following raptors hatched in Japanese zoos. Figures in parenthesis indicate the number that did not survive. All but northern goshawks were incubated and raised by parents.

Turkey vulture – 1 (1) in one zoo; northern goshawk – 3 (1) in one zoo; golden eagle – 1 (1) in one zoo; kestrel – 9 (1) in two zoos; collared scops owl – 1 in one zoo; eagle owl – 3 in one zoo; Blakiston’s fish owl – 2 in one zoo.

Possibly and understandably, not much has been done to enhance breeding of common species, such as the aforementioned black kite and Ural owl, since they probably have saturated the exhibit space. In some other species, breeding may not have been promoted. For instance, as mentioned before, two zoos suspended breeding of white-tailed sea eagles since those founders have been over-represented. When reviewing the status of animal management, it may not be realistic to make simple judgements based on numbers of animals on paper, because factors that enhance or prohibit breeding in captivity are far more complex, even if a pair with excellent potential are placed in an enclosure. Species, privacy or lack of it, individual birds’ ability to adjust to captivity, staff skills and climate are all interwoven to formulate an environment. Size of the enclosure or nutrition may play a less significant role in this context. Yet, if one were to issue a `report card' for breeding raptors for Japanese zoos, it would not be a complimentary one, particularly in proportion to the large number of birds held. Considering that breeding is recommended for key species by the SSCJ, one would expect to see more breeding results. Raptors signal quite a departure compared to the successful breeding of some other avian groups, such as penguins (Kawata, 1997), by Japanese zoos. Several case reports may help to shed light on the picture.

Since the opening of one zoo, Blakiston’s fish owls had been kept for two decades. Then in 1995 an owlet hatched as the result of careful planning (Shimura, 1996). This, however, is an exception rather than the rule. At another zoo in the same region, three Steller’s sea eagles were maintained in a cage. After ten years, two of them (No. 2 and No. 18) were seen staying together; a nest platform was added, and hay was placed on it. The pair built a nest and hatched two chicks. All the while three adults were kept together, and the third eagle (No. 19, a male) persistently attacked the male parent. One chick disappeared, and the second died of hay impaction. During the following year No. 19 was sent to another zoo on breeding loan, resulting in successful breeding of the pair (Kitamura, 1994). Dating back to 1958, a zoo kept ten Andean condors in a mixed-species exhibit. In 1964 this exhibit was discontinued, the condors were placed in a separate cage, and an artificial cave was built to stimulate breeding. Reproductive activities began by a pair in 1970 but the egg broke; in 1971 a chick hatched but died, and in 1972, a chick was finally raised. Throughout the process fierce fights frequently broke out among the adults as they were kept together, resulting in the death of one female (Ozawa and Hori, 1973).

When European and American zoo professionals visit Japanese zoos, they are greeted by senior animal management staff. It is then automatically assumed that they are the curators. However, it should be noted that the curatorial system in the European and American sense does not exist in Japanese zoos. Instead, they have supervisors who oversee keepers for day-to-day, immediate care of animals. Scientific work is not a part of their job; technical aspects are in the hands of veterinarians, who often take up the supervisory role. The scope of supervisory responsibilities hardly extends beyond the maintenance of individual animals for public display. Often, the burden of making decisions in animal management falls on the keepers’ shoulders. In the above case of the Steller’s sea eagles, it was the keepers’ initiative to put up a nest platform and to provide hay. Both cases – Steller’s sea eagles and Andean condors – took place not in lesser, but in major zoos. Also, it is debatable if breeding of the Steller’s sea eagle is extremely difficult, as mentioned at the SSCJ conference.

It is unlikely that the basic approach to raptor breeding, including isolation of the pair and providing them with privacy and a sense of security, has taken root in Japanese zoos. Additionally, Japanese zoo staff does not seem to take a deeper interest in raptors. As noted before, zoos are recommended to take part in recovery programs initiated by government agencies. Participation in recovery programs for endangered species is indeed a lofty and desirable goal for zoos. However, in order to be able to utilize zoo-born animals for release in the wild, zoos must first establish a self-sustaining captive population, because the very nature of the program dictates that such a foundation be built first. A release program will necessitate that participating zoos utilize surplus stock for reintroduction, keeping the breeding group intact. Therefore, it becomes a prerequisite for zoos to breed the animals routinely under a scientifically managed program. Sporadic breeding will not be sufficient, in order to make substantial contributions to wildlife conservation programs.

5. Longevity

Table 2 depicts raptors that had been living for at least 21 years as of 31 March 1997, or died within one year of that date after at least 21 years in zoos. Raptors are known to be long-living, and the cut-off point for this account was set at 21 years. (No bird kept by an aquarium made it to this list.) The list is dominated by Andean condors, with eight of them having lived for more than 38 years in captivity; 12 raptors that had entered the zoo collections during the 1950s were still living, and all but one were Andean condors. However, the raptor with the longest duration in captivity turned out to be not an Andean condor, but a female Steller’s sea eagle who arrived at Maruyama Zoo in Sapporo, Hokkaido, on 20 February 1951. She was followed by a female Andean condor who arrived at Ueno Zoo on 2 November 1954. Those are the only two birds that surpassed the 40-year mark. In spite of large numbers held by zoos, some species did not make it to the longevity list. These include black kite, northern goshawk, common kestrel and collared scops owl. The reason for this is not clear; it could be the preferential care given to more charismatic species, difficulty in maintaining some species in captivity, problems with individual identification, expected biological life spans of certain species, or any combination of the above.

Questions regarding the background of each bird could be problematic. The record showed that none of the birds on the longevity list was captive-hatched except one, an eagle owl at Hiroshima’s Asa Zoo who died during the year. Again, this is indicative of a very low rate of captive-hatched birds in the population, which raises another question – few birds have exact ages on entry to the zoo collection. Three birds were described as juveniles at the time of arrival, leading your writer to assume that all others were adults when received. Also, birds that have been transferred between zoos could pose a question regarding the exact length of time in captivity. One zoo reported that a female Blakiston’s fish owl was received from another zoo in 1991, and that this bird had been in captivity for a total of 33 years and nine months as of 31 March 1997. However, it did not disclose the entry date at the previous holder, leaving an incomplete record. By contrast, another zoo reported that their pair of Andean condors had initially arrived at Nogeyama Zoo in Yokohama on 25 August 1958, from where they were sent to the current holder on 9 March 1981. Such basic steps of record-keeping leave no mystery in tracing the animals’ captive history.


Japanese Association of Zoological Gardens and Aquariums (1996): Proceedings of the 9th Conference of the Species Survival Committee of Japan. (In Japanese.)

Japanese Association of Zoological Gardens and Aquariums (1997): The 1996 Annual Report. (In Japanese.)

Kawata, K. (1997): Penguins in Japanese zoos and aquariums, 1995. I.Z.N. Vol. 44, No. 3, pp. 132–139.

Kitamura, K. (1994): Breeding the Steller’s sea eagle. Animals and Zoos Vol.46, No. 5, pp. 4–7. (In Japanese.)

Kobayashi, K. (1965): Birds of Japan in Natural Colours. Hoikusha, Osaka. (In Japanese.)

Morioka, H. (1983): Notes and comments. Tori Vol. 32, No. 4, pp.161–173. (In Japanese.)

Ozawa, K. and Hori, H. (1973): Breeding of Andean condor. Animals and Zoos Vol. 25, No. 9, pp. 6–9. (In Japanese.)

Shimura, R. (1996): Breeding Blakiston’s fish owl. Animals and Zoos Vol. 48, No. 5, pp. 12–16. (In Japanese.)

Sonobe, K. (ed.-in-chief) (1982): A Field Guide to the Birds of Japan. Wild Bird Society of Japan, Tokyo.

Yamashina, Y. (1986): A World List of Birds with Japanese Names. Daigakusyorin Co., Tokyo. (Partially in Japanese.)

Ken Kawata, Belle Isle Zoo, Box 39, Royal Oak, Michigan 48068, U.S.A.

Table 1. Raptors in Japanese zoos.

Species No. of No. of

birds zoos


American black vulture (Coragyps atratus) 1.1 1

Turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) 5.4.2 4

Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) 25.22 19

King vulture (Sarcoramphus papa) 0.4.2 3


Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) 0.0.1 1

Oriental honey buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus) 0.0.2 2

Black kite (Milvus migrans) 5.14.87 31

Brahminy kite (Haliastur indus) 0.1.4 3

White-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) 1.2.2 4

White-tailed sea eagle (H. albicilla) 22.25.2 22

American bald eagle (H. leucocephalus) 3.5 4

Steller’s sea eagle (H. pelagicus) 17.14.8 11

Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus) 0.0.1 1

Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) 0.0.3 1

Indian white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis) 1.1 1

Griffon vulture (G. fulvus) 1.1.2 1

Eurasian black vulture (Aegypius monachus) 3.1 3

Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus) 6.3 4

Crested serpent eagle (Spilornis cheela) 0.0.2 2

Crested goshawk (Accipiter trivirgatus) 0.1 1

Japanese lesser sparrowhawk (A. gularis) 4.2.1 3

Eurasian sparrowhawk (A. nisus) 0.4.2 5

Northern goshawk (A. gentilis) 16.15.12 17

Grey-faced buzzard-eagle (Butastur indicus) 0.1.1 2

Common buzzard (Buteo buteo) 7.5.23 6

Red-tailed hawk (B. jamaicensis) 1.0 1

Rough-legged buzzard (B. lagopus) 0.0.2 2

Tawny eagle (Aquila rapax) 2.1.3 5

Golden eagle (A. chrysaetos) 10.7.3 8

Crested hawk eagle (Spizaetus cirrhatus) 0.1.1 2

Mountain hawk eagle (S. nipalensis) 4.6.2 6

Blyth’s hawk eagle (S. alboniger) 0.0.2 2


Secretary bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) 2.2.1 3


Common caracara (Polyborus plancus) 4.6.8 9

Common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) 7.13.18 15

Merlin (F. columbarius) 0.0.1 1

American kestrel (F. sparverius) 1.1 1

Eurasian hobby (F. subbuteo) 1.3.25 3

Gyrfalcon (F. rusticolus) 1.0 1

Peregrine (F. peregrinus) 5.5.6 8


Barn owl (Tyto alba) 4.8.17 5


Oriental scops owl (Otus sunia) 2.3.8 3

Collared scops owl (O. bakkamoena) 14.17.25 19

Great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) 2.9 1

Eagle owl (B. bubo) 18.20.6 17

Malay eagle owl (B. sumatrana) 0.0.1 1

Forest eagle owl (B. nipalensis) 0.0.1 1

Blakiston’s fish owl (Ketupa blakistoni) 4.4.2 1

Snowy owl (Nyctea scandiaca) 20.23.3 18

Brown hawk owl (Ninox scutulata) 2.4.13 7

Burrowing owl (Speotyto cunicularia) 4.1.4 2

Brown wood owl (Strix leptogrammica) 0.2.1 2

Ural owl (S. uralensis) 34.36.106 44

Great grey owl (S. nebulosa) 3.2 3

Long-eared owl (Asio otus) 6.1.1 4

Short-eared owl (A. flammeus) 1.2.5 7

Tengmalm’s owl (Aegolius funereus) 0.0.1 1

Table 2. Longevity of raptors in Japanese zoos.

Sexes of birds are indicated when reported by holders. The years indicate duration of captivity, not ages, of birds.

Species >36 31–35 26–30 21–25

yrs yrs yrs yrs

Andean condor 5.5 1.0 – 1.0

King vulture – 0.1 – 0.1

White-tailed sea eagle 2.0 – – 1.3

Steller’s sea eagle 0.1 0.1 0.0.1 1.0

Indian white-backed vulture – – 0.1 1.0

European black vulture – – 1.0 –

Bateleur – – 1.0 –

Crested goshawk – – – 0.1

Golden eagle – – 1.0 –

Caracara – – – 0.0.3

Eagle owl – – 1.0 1.0

Blakiston’s fish owl – 0.1 – –

Ural owl – 0.1 – 1.0

Yemenis enjoy watching caged lions kept in small concrete cages at the Salah Palace in Taiz. (Photo: Lucy Vigne)

Caged hyenas beside Sanaa's central cinema are poked with a big stick to make them react. (Photo: Esmond Martin)



Yemen, on the south-western Arabian peninsula, is an arid, largely mountainous country, and until the end of the revolution in 1970 this feudal state was probably the most backward and isolated in the world. Wealth from Yemeni workers in Saudi Arabia in the 1970s allowed many people to own cars and buy televisions, and the country opened up to foreign investment and new ideas. The general attitude towards wild animals, however, has been harsh and remains so still today, with a preference for killing or capturing rather than protecting animals.

This behaviour is clearly demonstrated by some lions which are cruelly treated and kept in a row of small concrete cages with thick metal bars beside the Salah Palace in Taiz. The Palace is now a museum, and the lions attract about 100 foreign tourists and Yemenis a day, who pay only 20 rials (16 US cents) to enter the compound. Taiz, a large city in central Yemen, was the former home to the last ruler of North Yemen, Imam Ahmed. During his reign (1948–1962), Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia made a gift to the Imam of some lions, whose progeny – five males and four females – still survive in their cramped cages. The lions are mocked and taunted by their keepers, who hit their paws and pull their whiskers (the cages are too small for the lions to retreat from the bars). The lions try to retaliate by leaping and roaring at the bars, while the fascinated spectators stare avidly or take photos. The foreign tourists watch this medieval scene with horror, but rarely comment. Also on view are a few animals captured from the mountains around Taiz. There is a solitary caracal in a box-sized cage, three mangey striped hyenas, and a sexually frustrated male baboon who walks in tight circles in a stereotype fashion while attempting to mount a metal bar which crosses his path; two seemingly lifeless female baboons sit in the corners of the small cage.

Some other Yemeni wild animals are kept in tiny enclosures elsewhere to amuse the public, such as at the handful of Lebanese restaurants. In 1997 one such restaurant in Sanaa had in cages two desert foxes, a porcupine and a vulture, while a baby baboon was tied to a chain. At the same time, in Taiz, another restaurant displayed beside the diners, through a glass partition, three eagles which would stare constantly at the sky through a thick wire mesh a foot above their bobbing heads. Although restaurant animals have quite a good diet of left-overs, some animals adapt less well to caged life and noisy, gesticulating spectators, and the turnover of animals is consequently fairly high.

Yemenis are running out of large mammals to keep in captivity. Most have been shot for trophies or for shooting practice, especially gazelles. As a result, the main food sources for the Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr) have been depleted, especially dorcas gazelles, and the leopard itself is now thus very rare. The Leopard Group of Arabia has been formed among interested individuals from the species' range: Saudi Arabia, Oman, the Emirates and Yemen. Members of the Group agree that the largest surviving number of leopards exists in Yemen's rugged mountains, well over half the total population. As there are thought to be only 100 to 200 left, they have stated that it is vital to survey and protect them.

A remote gorge called Al Wadi-A about 120 km north of Sanaa is still an important leopard area. The leopards are considered a pest, however, as they have had to turn to livestock predation due to lack of gazelles. The farmers lose three to four goats a month to leopards, and one leopard has been known to kill 45 goats in a single attack. The farmers have trapped and killed about 100 leopards in the last 20 years. Leopards are shy and nocturnal and rarely seen, so a stone crypt is built which matches the surrounding rocky countryside. Some goat meat is attached to a rope hanging from a boulder at the entrance. When the leopard tries to take the meat, the rope pulls down the rocks balanced on top, trapping the leopard inside. A small hole exists through which to shoot the leopard. According to the farmers, in the last five or six years, they have caught 10 to 15 leopards, of which they have killed seven in traps. The farmers do not have the resources to keep a leopard alive; instead they use only the fat to help rheumatism and the skin for skin diseases.

Farmers are discovering, however, that they can make more money by selling leopards alive instead. Several prominent Yemenis, including the President of Yemen, have leopards which they keep in cages at their homes. They are usually sold singly and kept in isolation, and thus do not have a chance to breed, which is very regrettable for such a rare species. They are usually also kept in miserable conditions. In the early 1990s a male cub of less than a year old followed his mother into one of the traps in Al Wadi-A. The mother was unmanageable and was shot dead, while the cub was kept for a year and a half in a tiny cage in a courtyard beside Sanaa's central cinema. The mother's severed head was attached to the top of a pole to attract audiences. In May 1995, the Arabian Leopard Trust (based in the Emirates) bought the leopard for $2,700 to take him away from these appalling conditions. The young animal was flown to Sharjah with the hope of captive breeding.

Since mid-1995 a second male leopard from the same area has been kept beside Sanaa's cinema in a cage measuring about 1.5 m by 0.9 m and perhaps 0.75 m high. The animal hardly has space to stand. Next to it is a slightly larger cage holding three emaciated hyenas which hobble over the sharp barred floor, unable to exercise their atrophying limbs. The leopard and hyenas provide entertainment for cinema-goers who enter the enclosure, for 20 rials each, through a makeshift wall of rusty oil drums and corrugated iron sheets. These two cages can be seen behind a lower wall of empty oil drums, surrounded by rubbish. Those in charge climb over the wall and poke the leopard with a metal rod or with sticks; they bang the back of the metal cage and turn the cage virtually upside down to make the leopard react and hiss, as he tries to cower in the back, in order to amuse the Yemeni audience.

Something obviously needs to be done to stop this cruelty to captive wild animals in Yemen, and to protect the rare leopards. It is illegal to kill or sell leopards. It is also against the law to use them commercially for public display without a licence. Presently, the cinema leopard is on show illegally. Few people know of these laws, however. They need to be better publicized and enforced.

To try to conserve the leopards, Dr Mohamed Said al-Mashjery, Director General of the Yemeni Environment Protection Council, who is also a member of the Leopard Group of Arabia, wants to create a protected leopard area. In order to do so, it is necessary to survey Al-Wadi-A and another area east of Sanaa where leopards still survive, in order to establish their range. The Dutch Ambassador in Yemen supports this project and is helping towards obtaining infra-red cameras and telescopes, but more funding is needed. `We need to know what range they inhabit and then to protect their range,' says the Ambassador. Leopards can cover 1,000 km in a month, so a large reserve is needed. This will be Yemen's first such game reserve. A reserve would also help to protect some of Yemen's endemic and other rare species; Yemen is believed to have the highest diversity of land vertebrates on the Arabian peninsular. For the leopards, it would be important to reintroduce dorcas gazelles into the area and to prevent livestock from entering. Meanwhile, Dr al-Mashjery would also need funds to pay compensation for goats killed by leopards.

The majority of Yemenis do not appreciate the importance of saving their rare leopards or other wild animals. A higher priority than a game reserve to some is building a zoo. Yemen has never had a sizeable zoo; Yemenis have little experience of keeping many animals in captivity, and such a zoo could be disastrous without the necessary expertise.

Before a zoo is built, Yemen ought to improve the conditions of animals presently in captivity, especially the Taiz lions and the cinema leopard and hyenas. The government should enforce its laws against the killing and commercial exploitation of leopards. Then, only when a game reserve is established and leopards (along with other rare species) are recovering in number, should a small well-managed zoo be considered. To begin with, only common local small animals should be kept in captivity. If the animals are well looked after, with good food and proper veterinary care, and start to breed, Yemen could consider importing a few common species from other countries in order to help increase Yemeni awareness of and respect for animals.

Lucy Vigne and Esmond Martin, P.O. Box 15510, Mbagathi, Nairobi, Kenya.

Information wanted

We would like to hear from any institutions housing African black-footed penguins (Spheniscus demersus) that have had any problems with their chicks hatching with splay leg or other disabilities. Please contact: Audrey Adams, c/o Pueblo Zoo, 3455 Nuckolls Avenue, Pueblo, Colorado 81005, U.S.A.

International Studbook Update

African Wild Ass (Equus africanus ssp.) – 10 (4.6) all at Catskill Game Farm, New York, U.S.A., one more than the previous year's total of 9 (4.5). Somali Wild Ass (E. a. somalicus) – 76 (39.37) in 20 collections, plus 10 (4.6) in Hai-Bar Nature Reserve, Eilat, Israel (data current to 1 January 1997). This is an increase from 71 (36.35) in 18 collections, plus 10 (3.7) in Hai-Bar, in the previous year's edition. Contact Claus Pohle, Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, Am Tierpark 125, 10307 Berlin, Germany.

Arabian Oryx (Oryx leucoryx) – 1,241 (540.668.33) in 94 collections (data current to 31 December 1995). This is an increase from 722 (353.368.1) in the previous edition. As this is the first publication of this studbook in several years, collections are requested to check their records and notify Phoenix Zoo with corrections. Questions about the current edition of the studbook should be directed to Joe Christman, Disney's Animal Kingdom, P.O. Box 10,000, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830–1000, U.S.A.

Asiatic Wild Ass: Kulan (Equus hemionus kulan) – 327 (119.208) in 59 collections; Onager (E. h. onager) – 148 (50.98) in 26 collections; Kiang (E. h. holdereri) – 79 (43.36) in 14 collections, excluding China (all data current to 1 January 1997). Numbers in the previous edition were 328 (119.209), 146 (49.97) and 70 (37.33) respectively. Contact Claus Pohle, Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, Am Tierpark 125, 10307 Berlin, Germany.

Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) – 26 (15.11) in 5 collections (data current to 31 December 1995). This is the first edition of this studbook. Contact A.T.C. Feistner, J.B. Carroll, or J.D. Beattie, Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, Les Augrès Manor, Trinity, Jersey JE3 5BP, Channel Islands.

Black-footed Cat (Felis nigripes) – 68 (35.30.3) in 21 collections (data correct to 31 July 1996). This is an increase from 59 in the previous year's edition. Contact Dr Ulrich Schürer, Wuppertal Zoo, Hubertusallee 30, 42117 Wuppertal, Germany.

Black Howler Monkey (Alouatta caraya) – 164 (78.73.13) in 50 collections (data current to 31 December 1996). Contact Dr Don Neiffer or Dr Barbara Baker, Pittsburgh Zoo, One Hill Road, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15206, U.S.A.

Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) – 238 (109.129) in 79 collections (data current to 31 December 1996). This is an increase from 221 (98.120.3) in 75 collections in the previous edition (two years earlier). Contact Dr Andreas Ochs, Berlin Zoo, Hardenbergplatz 8, 10787 Berlin, Germany.

Buff-crested Bustard (Eupodotis ruficrista gindiana) – 91 (35.27.29) in 14 collections (data current to September 1997.) This is the first edition of this studbook. Contact Sara Hallager, National Zoological Park, Washington, DC 20008, U.S.A.

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) – 1,219 (611.604.4) in 223 collections in 47 countries (data current to 31 December 1995). This is an increase from 1,168 (586.574.8) in 204 collections in the previous edition. Contact Laurie Marker-Kraus, NOAHS Center, National Zoological Park, Washington DC 20008, U.S.A.

Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) – 230 (121.103.6) in 70 collections (data current to 1 January 1995). This is a decrease from 289 (159.125.5) in 76 collections in the previous edition. Contact Nora Fletchall, John Ball Zoo, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504, U.S.A.

Crowned Pigeon: Blue (Goura cristata) – 229 (89.80.60) in 75 collections; Scheepmaker's (G. scheepmakeri) – 77 (26.31.20) in 24 collections; Victoria (G. victoria) – 278 (107.91.80) in 82 collections (all data current to 1 January 1996). Net changes from the previous edition are (+13.+5.+1), (+1.+2.-2) and (+5.0) respectively. Contact Dave Wetzel, Roger Williams Park Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island 02907, U.S.A.

Gaur (Bos gaurus) – 290 (97.193) in 51 collections (data current to 31 December 1996). This is a decrease from 320 (125.195) in 55 collections in the previous edition (two years earlier). It has recently been discovered that the captive population includes a large number of subspecific hybrids, descendants of a B. g. gaurus / B. g. readei pair imported by Omaha Zoo in 1965–6. Contact Dr Andreas Ochs, Berlin Zoo, Hardenbergplatz 8, 10787 Berlin, Germany.

Gelada Baboon (Theropithecus gelada) – 116 (52.64) in 15 collections (data current to 31 December 1996). This is an increase from 106 (43.63) in 15 collections in the previous edition (two years earlier). Contact Achim Johann, Curator, Tierpark Rheine, Salinenstrasse 150, D-48432 Rheine, Germany.

Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) - 117 (50.64.3) in 33 collections (data current to 1 September 1997). Contact Xie Zhong, Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens, 9 San Li He Avenue, Beijing 100835, China, or Jo Gipps, Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park, London NW1 4RY, U.K.

Golden Lion Tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia) – 485 (236.228.21) in 143 collections (data current to 31 December 1995). This is an increase from 484 (242.236.6) in 130 collections in the previous edition. Contact Jonathan Ballou, Department of Zoological Research, National Zoological Park, Washington, DC 20008, U.S.A.

Japanese Serow (Capricornis crispus) - 104 (55.49) in 33 collections, nearly all in Japan (data current to 31 December 1996). This is a decrease from 116 (60.55.1) in 31 collections in the previous edition. Contact Dr Hiroshi Kawamura, Nagoya Higashiyama Zoo, 3–70 Higashiiya-mamotomachi, Chikusaku, Nagoya, 464 Japan.

Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori) – 136 (49.78.9) in 26 collections (data current to 1 August 1997). This is the first edition of this studbook. Contact Sara Hallager, National Zoological Park, Washington, DC 20008, U.S.A.

Leopard: Amur (Panthera pardus orientalis) – 192 (104.82.6) in 54 collections; Persian (P. p. saxicolor) – 164 (84.80) in 65 collections; Sri Lankan – 40 (14.26) in 16 collections; Chinese (P. p. japonensis) – 90 (43.47) in 34 collections. Numbers in the previous edition were: Amur – 146 (78.67.1) in 38 collections; Persian – 154 (76.78) in 62 collections; Sri Lankan – 41 (15.26) in 16 collections; Chinese – 89 (43.46) in 36 collections. Contact Alan Shoemaker, Riverbanks Zoo, P.O. Box 1060, Columbia, South Carolina 29202, U.S.A.

Malayan Peacock Pheasant (Polyplectron malacense) – 232 (112.103.17) in 42 collections (data current to 1 January 1997). Contact Donald Bruning, Wildlife Conservation Society, 185th and Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York 10460, U.S.A.

Mexican Gray Wolf – 135 (65.70) in 29 collections (data current to 31 December 1995). This is an increase from 53 (27.26) in 13 collections in the previous edition. Contact Peter Siminski, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road, Tucson, Arizona 85743, U.S.A.

Orang-utan: Bornean (Pongo p. pygmaeus) – 377 (172.204.1); Sumatran (P. p. abeli) – 319 (126.192.1); subspecific hybrids – 189 (96.93); unknown taxonomic identity – 28 (12.16) (all data current to 31 December 1995). Net changes from the previous edition are (+2.-2), (0.+6), (-4,+3) and (-2.0) respectively. Contact Lori Perkins, Zoo Atlanta, 800 Cherokee Avenue S.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30315, U.S.A.

Persian Fallow Deer (Dama d. mesopotamica) – 243 (110.133) in 14 collections, including 131 (51.80) in Hai-Bar Nature Reserve, Eilat, Israel (data current to 31 December 1996). This is an increase from 209 (87.122) in 13 collections in the previous year's edition. In 1996 two additional herds were formed in Israel from animals born in Hai-Bar. Contact Klaus Rudloff, Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, Am Tierpark 125, 10307 Berlin, Germany.

Red Wolf (Canis rufus) – 289 (135.135.19) in 34 locations, captive and wild (data current to 31 December 1996). This is a decrease from 292 (142.141.9) in the previous edition. Contact Will Waddell, Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, 5400 North Pearl Street, Tacoma, Washington 98407-3218, U.S.A.

Sand Cat (Felis margarita) – 93 (46.47) in 25 collections (data current to 31 December 1996). This is an increase from 82 (44.38) in 22 collections in the previous edition. Contact Karen Sausman, The Living Desert, 47–900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert, California 92260, U.S.A.

Slender-horned Gazelle (Gazella leptoceros) – 189 (73.111.5) in 26 collections (data current to 31 December 1996). This differs from 189 (82.105.2) in 20 collections in the previous edition. Contact Steven Kingswood, Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species, Zoological Society of San Diego, P.O. Box 551, San Diego, California 92112, U.S.A.

Tree Kangaroo: Matschie's Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei) – 94 (42.50.2) in 32 collections; Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo (D. goodfellowi) – 36 (19.16.1) in 9 collections; Grizzled Grey Tree Kangaroo (D. inustus) 7 (1.6) in 3 collections (all data current to 31 December 1995). This is a change from 95 (43.46.6) in 30 collections and 38 (21.13.4) in 11 collections for Matschie's and Goodfellow's respectively in the previous edition; there were no changes in the grizzled grey population. Contact Larry Collins, National Zoological Park Conservation Research Center, Front Royal, Virginia 22630, U.S.A.

Vietnamese Sika Deer (Cervus nippon pseudaxis) – 162 (61.101) in 21 collections outside Vietnam (data current to 31 December 1996). This is an increase from 148 (55.93) in 18 collections in the previous year's edition. It is hoped that the next edition will include data on Vietnamese stock. Contact Klaus Rudloff, Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, Am Tierpark 125, 10307 Berlin, Germany.

White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) – 697 (334.361.2) in 245 collections (data current to 31 December 1996). This is a decrease from 706 (345.361) in 75 collections in the previous edition (two years earlier). The present total includes 11 (5.6) C. s. cottoni and 0.1 subspecific hybrid. Contact Dr Andreas Ochs, Berlin Zoo, Hardenbergplatz 8, 10787 Berlin, Germany.

Book wanted

Boy (14) seeks Walker's Mammals of the World (1991) at a reasonable price. Please contact: David Kupitz, am Wiedenberg 17, 59755 Arnsberg, Germany.

International Flamingo Workshop

This will be held in Miami, Florida, from 24 to 26 October 1998, in conjunction with the annual Colonial Waterbird Society meeting being held from 21–24 October. Originally supported as an Avian Interest Group workshop with EEP zoos, it has evolved into an international forum. The focus is flamingo conservation, and the workshop will result in the production of a Flamingo Specialist Group Action Plan and publication of a special edited symposium volume of the Colonial Waterbird Journal. For further information, contact: Susan Elbin, Wildlife Conservation Society (Tel.: 718–220–5184; E-mail:, or Chris Brown, Fort Worth Zoo (Tel.: 817–871–7037; E-mail:


Dear Sir,

I note with interest, tempered with surprise, that in the report from Chester Zoo (I.Z.N. 44:7, p. 430) it is specifically stated that Chester's 1.3.1 mandrills are `new to the collection'. As is almost universally known, this phrase indicates that the species in question is being exhibited or represented in the collection concerned for the first time. I can only assume that someone at Chester has made a bona fide error, for the very simple reason that this was the first British collection – indeed, the first collection in the world – successfully to breed the mandrill. This took place in 1937, and was a truly momentous achievement at that time.

Yours faithfully,

C.H. Keeling,

13 Pound Place,

Shalford, Guildford,

Surrey GU4 8HH, U.K.

Dear Sir,

In I.Z.N. 44:6 (p. 371), Moscow Zoo reports the hatching of a Himalayan griffon vulture (Gyps himalayensis). Without any doubt this is a rare event; but as well as the European collections mentioned – the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes in Paris (which published an interesting article in Int. Zoo Yearbook 28 (1989), pp. 234–240) and the birdpark at Villars les Dombes – this species has also been successfully bred in East Berlin, the Réserve de la Haute-Touche (both mentioned in the above article) and the Timmendorfer Strand birdpark in Germany. Unfortunately, this last park is not very well known and has proved to be quite uncooperative over taking part in breeding programmes; however, it can be proud of its breeding results, especially with owls and birds of prey. As well as Himalayan griffon vultures, Andean condors and jackal buzzards (Buteo rufofuscus) – for example – have been bred here regularly.

Yours faithfully,

Maarten de Ruiter,

Reigerstraat 25,

4793 HD Fijnaart,

The Netherlands.

Primate Keeper Position Vacant

at Monkey World – Ape Rescue Centre. A keeper is needed who has experience working with primates, who is prepared to give talks to the public, and who can help with handyman jobs.

Experience with chimpanzees, orang-utans, siamang gibbons, woolly monkeys, lemurs, as well as other monkey species would be an advantage.

Please send a CV to Monkey World, Longthorns, Wareham, Dorset BH20 6HH, U.K., or phone 01929–462537.


TALES OF GIANT SNAKES: A HISTORICAL NATURAL HISTORY OF ANACONDAS AND PYTHONS by John C. Murphy and Robert W. Henderson. Krieger, Malabar (Florida), 1997. x + 221 pp., illus., maps, hardback. ISBN 0–89464–995–7. $29.50.

The New York Zoological Park near the turn of the century offered an award of US$1,000 for any live snake thirty feet or longer. Never taken, the award was raised first to $5,000, and in 1980 to $50,000. They're still waiting.

Presumably, anyone who captured (or raised) a snake ten metres long could nowadays expect more than just fifty grand for his efforts. Yet to date, despite the award – and more importantly, despite the timeless legends – no snake has ever been caught alive that could win the prize. The largest snake ever held in a zoo was apparently Colossus, a reticulated python of 8.68 metres and 145 kilograms that died in Pittsburgh's Highland Park Zoo in April 1963. The Guinness Book of Animal Records (1995) gives credit to a reticulated python killed on Sulawesi in 1912 and a rock python shot on the Ivory Coast in 1932 as being the longest snakes ever reliably measured – the Indonesian snake at exactly ten metres, the African giant at 9.81 metres. Yet rumours and reports persist of the existence of super-snakes twenty or even fifty metres long. A chimera? The question perhaps boils down to what constitutes a reliable measure.

Lorenz Hagenbeck, the director of the Hagenbeck circus from 1915 into the 1950s, gave credence to a report of an Amazonian sucuriji gigante forty metres long reported to him by a German missionary in Brazil in 1930. Yet the missionary's only rule was his eyesight. Hagenbeck's father Carl, the premier animal dealer of the decades before the First World War, had offered a generous reward himself for a super-snake, but he too was saved the expense. The British explorer Percy Fawcett, on an expedition financed by the Royal Geographical Society, claimed to have shot a giant anaconda in 1907, which he measured at 62 feet (18.9 m). Back home he was pronounced a liar. Many skins of giant snakes have measured more than ten metres, but of course a skin can be easily stretched without obvious distortion – by over a quarter of its original length, as the Harvard zoologist Arthur Loveridge is quoted as stating in Murphy's and Henderson's fascinating new Tales of Giant Snakes.

John Murphy is a herpetologist at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History; Robert Henderson curator of herpetology at the Milwaukee Public Museum. Experienced field biologists, together they have also dived into the past two centuries of legend and lore and exploration to produce a fascinating natural history of the four species of snake known to exceed twenty feet (6.1 m) in length: the anaconda and Python molurus, reticulata, and sebae. Although the size of giant snakes may be the $50,000-dollar question, Murphy and Henderson also offer exhaustive information on their environment, physiology, behaviour and relation to mankind. Tables, graphs, maps and a comprehensive bibliography back up the narrative well. The only quarrel I would have with the book is the poor quality of reproduction of the illustrations. Perhaps the publishers thought that anyone interested in giant snakes has enough imagination as it is.

Herman Reichenbach

A FIELD GUIDE TO THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ROGER CONANT by Roger Conant (sponsored by Toledo Zoo). Canyonlands Publishing Group, L.C., 1997. 498 pp., illus., hardback. ISBN 0–9657446–0–4. $50.00.

The year 1997 marked the 25th anniversary of the independence of AZA from its parent organization, the National Recreation and Park Association. At the 1997 AZA annual conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 88-year old Roger Conant, who joined the organization (then AAZPA) in 1930 and now resides in Albuquerque, was recognized as the longest-serving member. Roger Conant's dual career in zoos and herpetology has spanned seven decades. Known as the nation's senior herpetologist, he has published more than 240 papers and twelve books; he was the AAZPA president for 1946–1947, and in 1989 was the recipient of AZA's Marlin Perkins Award, an honor named after his good friend whom he first met some 60 years earlier. Fittingly, during this meeting, copies of Dr Conant's memoir arrived at the conference site, hot off the press. Zoo colleagues, young and old, formed a long line to ask for autographed copies.

The memoir is massive; with each page divided in two columns, reading from cover to cover amounts to finishing nearly 1,000 pages. Roger Conant is a native of Philadelphia. The book begins from his birth as an only child, explaining how his mother had a hard time to make ends meet after Roger lost his father at a young age. As a teenager he found work at a small private zoo; thus began a life-long association with wild animals. He left for Ohio in 1929 and worked at Toledo Zoo, first as Curator of Reptiles, later to become the General Curator. In 1935 he returned home to take the position of Philadelphia Zoo's Curator of Reptiles, and in 1967 he was promoted to Director. The content of this memoir often becomes intimately personal, covering his illnesses and his beloved wife, the late Isobelle Hunt Conant, a photographer whose work is included in this volume. The accounts end as of 1973, the year of his retirement while still at the helm of the zoo.

Roger Conant has been an inspiration for younger generations of herpetologists and nature lovers as well. He is an author, educator, researcher and conservationist. After retirement from the zoo field, he has continued to work on the study of reptiles and amphibians. A substantial portion of this volume is devoted to herpetology. To cite an example, the chapters on his reptile collection trips in earlier years, which resulted in the publication of The Reptiles of Ohio (1938), make fascinating reading to those who are interested in herpetology. Equally fascinating are his recollections of zoo days. For instance, we all know that during the Depression years, zoos across the U.S. received considerable help from the federal government by way of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). As a matter of fact, in some cases the whole new zoo was built by WPA. Toledo Zoo was one of the zoos that benefited from the WPA, but few of us know what Roger witnessed; the reptile building, which still stands and is in use today, was built by hand! That obviously kept many men, who were previously unemployed, busy.

Although his job title was Curator of Reptiles, he was de facto Philadelphia Zoo's first curator, in charge not only of reptiles but of other areas as well (curators over other divisions, such as mammals and birds, came into the picture after World War II). Also, his activities extended across the Atlantic Ocean; it is amazing to read of his zoo study trip to Europe in the 1930s, at the time when the Nazis were tightening their grip. Again, few of us would know that one had to give the salute and say `Heil Hitler' to enter public buildings. He was lucky to meet so many nice zoo people in Europe, in spite of the hard times, and his vivid observations make the reading all the more pleasurable and captivating. For a young, aspiring zoo professional, it must have been a period of tremendous personal growth and development. To the current generation of zoo professional, the conditions of pre-WWII zoos, which are often viewed in a negative light, may appear primitive and inferior. The truth of the matter is that the past is neither inferior nor irrelevant, because our predecessors, including Dr Conant, did their best with what they had, just as we do today.

It was decades before the current wave of the `specialized' zoo support services in such fields as education, marketing, special events and public relations arrived on the horizon. Young Roger Conant became a pioneer in all these disciplines, while still being involved in the daily management of the animal collection. In that regard alone, he was way ahead of his time. It was a wide-open frontier that embraced him, as he became the zoo's press agent, learning the ropes with news media, at times the hard way. His job as the host of Let's Visit the Zoo, a Philadelphia radio program, lasted nearly 34 years.

Over the decades, he nurtured friendships with numerous colleagues, forming a world-wide network. Toward the end of the book one will find vignettes on 25 herpetologists (several of them, such as Raymond Ditmars and Charles Shaw, also worked in zoos) and 16 zoo professionals of his time. The subjects are those who were active some two decades ago or earlier, and probably, the current generation of zoo managers have never heard about most of them. In that aspect, it is nice to have these sketches for the future. An index, along with a list of his major papers and books, would have been a welcome component of this fine publication. Nevertheless, for zoo enthusiasts and herpetologists alike, his memoir makes an immensely enjoyable and informative reading, for it offers invaluable contributions to the body of knowledge on histories of zoos, as well as herpetology, in this country.

Marvin Jones and Ken Kawata

LEXIKON BERÜMTER TIERE by Karen Duve and Thies Völker. Eichborn, 1997. 671 pp., illus., hardback. ISBN 3–8218–0505–6. DM 44.00.

Since publication of the original Who's Who in Britain in 1849, biographical dictionaries of prominent personalities have enjoyed a world-wide circulation. We've had the Who's Who in China with us since 1918, the International Who's Who since 1935, a German Who's Who in English and a Wer ist wer in German, Who's Who in France and in Medicine and in Fashion and in the Arab World. So why not a Who's Who in the Animal World? The writers Karen Duve and Thies Völker introduce over 1,200 animal celebrities in their handy new reference book – not only living greats, but animals prominent in literature and mythology, in history and the cinema. An animals' `Who's who' and `Who was who'.

Duve and Völker have enjoyed a good press, getting rave reviews in papers as different as the conservative broadsheet Frankfurter Allgemeine, the left-of-Guardian Berlin Tageszeitung, and the muddling-in-the-middle tabloid Hamburger Morgenpost. Far from spoiling the harmony, I too would recommend the book to almost any zoologist and Tierliebhaber who can read German. With a reservation – the book throws a wider net than the title suggests. The letter B, for example, includes entries on François Mitterand's Labrador retriever Baltique, Thomas Mann's gun-dog Bauschan, Hitler's Alsatian Blondi, Lord Byron's Newfoundland dog Boatswain, Michael Jackson's chimpanzee Bubbles and Schopenhauer's poodle Butz. But it also introduces the reader to the Beast of Bodmin, Bigfoot, the Hound of the Baskervilles, Bernard and Bianca, Black Beauty, the Black Panthers and the Bismarck herring. Duve and Völker have not written so much an `Encyclopaedia of famous animals', as the title would lead one to think, as they have an alphabetical handbook of animals in Western culture – and incidentally the best cryptozoological dictionary in German published to date.

Zoo directors, curators and enthusiasts in Germany will miss under the letter B Germany's arguably most famous zoo denizen: Bobby, Berlin Zoo's enormously popular gorilla of the years between the world wars. In fact, only four zoo `personalities' are listed at all: the hippopotamus Knautschke, the only large animal in Berlin Zoo to have survived the last war; Con Voi Bon, an elephant bull donated to Rostock Zoo by Ho Chi Minh; Antje, the Hagenbeck Zoo walrus and mascot of the North German Broadcasting Company; and of course Jumbo. The entries are well-written and reasonably well-researched, although hardly scientific in a historical way. Even the most learned of zoo staff and zoologists should still find among the 1,200 entries information new to them. And if the zoo world is not as well represented as it could be, the Lexikon berühmter Tiere at least gives plenty of ideas on how one could name an animal.

Herman Reichenbach

Philippine Red Data Book published

The Philippine Red Data Book (PRDB) was officially launched on 18 September 1997 in Manila. A publication of the Wildlife Conservation Society of the Philippines, Inc., this landmark book was published with the help of funds provided by the Friends of the Zoos Society in Melbourne, Australia. The book is a vital document for presenting much hitherto inaccessible data on threatened Philippine fauna – both in terms of its inherent scientific value and as a tool to convince decision-makers of the urgency of the threats. Also, given the absolute dearth of Philippine publications on Philippine wildlife, the PRDB is a giant step forward. The book runs to 262 pages and covers Clams, Butterflies, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds, Terrestrial Mammals and Marine Mammals, as well as indexes to scientific and common names, and a report entitled `Biodiversity and conservation in the Philippines: an introduction to a global priority.' Only 2,000 copies have been printed, and these are selling for PP410 per copy in the Philippines. Preliminary discussions are underway for additional printing and expanded distribution. Readers seeking further information on this publication should contact Chris Banks at Melbourne Zoo.


New rhino project for the Selous Game Reserve

In a northern part of Tanzania's huge Selous Game Reserve, a new rhino project has been created to keep alive one small group of black rhinos (Diceros bicornis minor). They roam freely in an area of about 100 km2 just north of the Rufiji River. These rhinos survived the poaching massacre of the 1980s and are the only known rhino population in the northern Selous. Back in 1980 there were perhaps 2,000 in the Selous, an area the size of Denmark, but by the early 1990s less than 200 black rhinos survived in the entire game reserve.

From when the new rhino project got going in early 1996 until March 1997, the game scouts frequently spotted rhino tracks in their area. Then, for four worrying months, there was no sign of them. Had they been poached there or had they moved out of the protected area to fall into the hands of poachers? During the long rains in April and May 1997, when the grass was tall, it was difficult to find rhino tracks anyway, and perhaps the patrollers were simply not seeing signs. Since July 1997, however, the game scouts have been finding fresh tracks once more, and in September they confirmed that they had seen the tracks of six different rhinos, including a sub-adult and a calf. The rhinos are still safe and are breeding.

Richard Bonham and Bimb and Lizzy Theobald started the Sand Rivers Rhino Project in November 1995 with the Director of Wildlife and the Project Manager of the Selous Game Reserve. Bonham, who has taken walking safaris in the Selous since 1986, had always been aware that a remnant group of rhinos still existed in the north, but in this remote and isolated part of the country, he thought that keeping silent about the rhinos would secure their best protection. That was until the poachers arrived. Bonham, while tracking a rhino and her calf, walked straight into a poachers' camp, and he later received information through the game division intelligence team that these rhinos were already targeted by poachers. Something had to be done to help.

Bonham and the Theobalds, who had just finished building Selous's first-ever luxury, small lodge called Sand Rivers Selous, discussed the problem with some of their clients, who immediately put in funds to refurbish the abandoned Kidai Patrol Camp and to supplement or pay the salaries for seven game scouts who arrived at the camp in early 1996. Since then, Sand Rivers Rhino Project has raised over £35,000 pounds, with £19,000 contributed by the British government. This is a unique project for rhino conservation in East Africa organized by a tourist lodge. The anti-poaching team has been provided with uniforms, and important anti-poaching equipment such as a global positioning system, night vision binoculars and infra-red automatic cameras, and Sand Rivers assists with fuel and transport.

In just over a year, the anti-poaching unit has busted seven fishing gangs, captured and burnt about 20 canoes and confiscated sackfuls of fishing nets. No rhino has been poached since the patrol team arrived. The game scouts are an important deterrent to all potential poachers. They are also helping to prevent elephant poaching, which is once again on the rise. In September 1997, professional hunters discovered six elephant carcasses on the south bank of the Rufiji River. The elephants had been illegally killed and their tusks had been taken. Bonham also found a poached elephant recently, whose carcass had been burnt to try to hide it. With elephant poachers returning to the Selous once again, the few remaining rhinos are more likely to be spotted and killed as well, and they need all the protection they can get.

Tragically, however, the driving force behind the fund-raising for the Sand Rivers Rhino Project, Lizzy Theobald, died suddenly of malaria after visiting the Selous in August 1997. It is vital that funds continue to be sent to Sand Rivers, if the rhinos are to survive, and for the Project's founder not to have died in vain.

Lucy Vigne and Esmond Martin

A new tool for targeting conservation action

In spring 1998 BirdLife International will be launching its latest book, Endemic Bird Areas of the World: priorities for biodiversity conservation. This will be the first detailed account of the world's 218 Endemic Bird Areas (EBAs). These are uniquely important places for birds and other wildlife. BirdLife International's Biodiversity Project makes a unique contribution to the identification of priorities for biodiversity conservation by using birds – one of the best-known groups of animals – as indicators of areas of high endemism. Limited conservation resources can most effectively be directed at these places.

The study shows that:

– Over 25% of all birds (2,561 species) have restricted ranges, being confined to areas of less than 50,000 km2 (which is about the size of Costa Rica);

– These small areas overlap to form what are called Endemic Bird Areas such that the majority (93%) of restricted-range species are encompassed by 218 EBAs;

– The restricted-range birds include 816 species that are currently classified as threatened. This is almost three-quarters of all threatened bird species;

– Sixty-two species that had restricted ranges have become extinct in the last 200 years;

– EBAs are found around the world, but most (77%) of them are located in the tropics and sub-tropics. The top countries for EBAs are Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Papua New Guinea and China, all of which have more than ten each;

– The natural habitat in most EBAs is forest, especially tropical lowland and montane moist forest;

– EBAs vary considerably in size (from a few square kilometres to more than 100,000 km2) and in the numbers of restricted-range species that they support (from two to 80);

– Historically, some 20% of the world's birds were totally confined to EBAs whose area covered 2% of the earth's land surface. Today almost half of the EBAs have lost more than 50% of their key habitats, and 20% of the world's birds can be found in only 1% of the earth's surface where these habitats still remain;

– Most EBAs have one or more threatened or extinct restricted-range bird species. Many restricted-range species are at serious risk, even in EBAs where the habitat remains relatively intact. This is due to their intrinsic vulnerability of having a small range and/or population;

– The majority of EBAs are important for other wildlife that has restricted ranges. For example, there is an overlap of more than 60% between the EBAs and areas that are important for plants.

These findings show that the conservation of a major part of the earth's terrestrial biodiversity can be ensured by focusing conservation resources and actions within a relatively small total area. Thus the EBAs of the world are priorities for conservation action.

Alison Stattersfield in World Birdwatch Vol. 19, No. 4 (December 1997)

[Endemic Bird Areas of the World: priorities for biodiversity conservation by A.J. Stattersfield, M.J. Crosby, A.J. Long and D.C. Wege (860 pp., £37.00/US$60.00, paperback, ISBN 0–946–888–33–7) will be available in all countries except the Americas from NHBS Ltd, 2–3 Wills Road, Totnes, Devon TQ9 5XN, U.K. (Tel: +44 (0)1803 865913; Fax: +44 (0)1803 865280; E-mail:, and in the Americas from Smithsonian Institution Press, P.O. Box 960, Harndon, Virginia 20172–0960, U.S.A. (Tel: +1 703 661 1599; Fax: +1 703 661 1501)]

A partnership to help snow leopards

Eight American zoos with snow leopards have agreed to join a `Natural Partnerships Program' with the International Snow Leopard Trust (ISLT) to support field projects. A further 15 zoos in the U.S.A. and Canada are also considering membership, according to an ISLT announcement. Initiated in spring 1997 with letters of invitation and brochures to all U.S. and Canadian zoos with captive snow leopards, the program invites the participation of all zoos and scientific institutions in this new field conservation initiative. The second phase of ISLT's new program drive took place in the autumn, when a letter and brochure were sent to all zoos outside of North America with snow leopards, inviting them to consider joining the program.

Inhabiting the world's highest, most remote, and rugged mountain ranges, snow leopards have a patchy and fragmented distribution over approximately three million km2 of Central Asia. According to ISLT, the future of this endangered flagship species can only be assured through collaborative, ecosystem-level actions that use scarce resources wisely and balance the needs of local mountain communities with the environment. Such linked conservation and development is best accomplished through mutually-advantageous, grass-roots partnerships involving the local people, governments, and non-governmental organizations in the range countries, supported by overseas zoos and scientific institutions working in concert through the ISLT.

The Natural Partnerships Program has four levels of membership. Country Partners provide support for an in-country ISLT conservation officer in one of the 12 snow leopard countries – Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Under the direction and supervision of ISLT Conservation Director, Rodney Jackson, country officers undertake surveys and other fieldwork leading to a comprehensive field management plan for each nation's population of snow leopards.

Reserve Partners provide technical and material support to park and reserve managers and staff in specific nature reserves judged to harbor significant populations of snow leopards. At present this program is confined to three reserves – Chitral Gol National Park in Pakistan, Hemis National Park in India, and Qomolangma National Nature Preserve in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China – but seven others are targeted for inclusion in ISLT's Nurture a Nature Reserve Program.

Project Partners provide support for specific special projects undertaken throughout the 12 snow leopard countries. Such projects are special training workshops, SLIMS (Snow Leopard Information Management System) workshops, programs aimed at assisting specific mountain communities to alleviate human/wildlife tensions, and specific conservation education programs.

The fourth level of membership, General Partners, provide support for general field conservation and conservation education activities of ISLT.

A full range of benefits accrue to participating institutions, depending upon their level of membership, including detailed final reports with photographs, speakers, a special correspondence program called `From the Field' from ISLT field biologists and in-country representatives to a selected number of the participating zoo's patrons to facilitate fund-raising plans, and copies of all regularly published and special ISLT publications.

The zoos which have joined the program at various levels so far are: Woodland Park (Seattle), Columbus, Franklin Park (Boston), Sacramento, San Antonio, Utica, Mill Mountain (Roanoke, Virginia) and Milwaukee County. For information on the Program, please contact ISLT at 4649 Sunnyside Avenue North, Suite 325, Seattle, Washington 98103, U.S.A. Information on the program can also be obtained at http://www.snowleopard.

org/islt; this website also contains extensive information about snow leopards, ISLT's many programs throughout Central Asia, ISLT's organization and people, as well as ISLT publications. A new feature of the site is its slide-show pages, featuring pictures of snow leopards and scenes from recently-concluded field programs in Tibet and Bhutan.

Cat News No. 27 (Autumn 1997)

Cooperative efforts to aid avian conservation

San Diego's Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES) and the Peregrine Fund (TPF) have formed a unique partnership in cooperative avian conservation. Participation by CRES staff involves both the pathology and behavior divisions in their collaboration at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho, and at the Keauhou and Maui Bird Conservation Centers in Hawaii. [On the Peregrine Fund and the Keauhou Conservation Center, see I.Z.N. 43:1, pp. 36–7 and 44:7, p. 426 – Ed.] But even the best programs are occasionally faced with disease problems. The pathology division of CRES provides support for the conservation efforts of TPF by conducting disease investigations, designing outbreak containment strategies, and conducting research to mitigate the effects of disease on these efforts. The wisdom of implementing such a cooperative arrangement in advance became apparent with the aplomado falcon recovery program in 1996.

The northern aplomado falcon (Falco femoralis septentrionalis) is a small raptor that once roamed the south-western grasslands of the U.S.A., but is now limited to scattered populations in northern Mexico. TPF has undertaken a recovery plan modeled after their successful approach for the recovery of the once critically endangered peregrine falcon. A breeding population of aplomado falcons has been established at TPF's Center in Idaho. The chicks produced there are reared to fledging age, then released in refuges in southern Texas. The success of this program is already apparent. In 1995, aplomado falcons nested in the United States for the first time in more than 40 years. The recovery program experienced a significant setback in 1996, however, when chicks began dying without warning. A disease investigation was immediately conducted by CRES pathologists, revealing that an avian adenovirus outbreak was beginning. Emergency containment strategies were implemented – which ultimately arrested the outbreak – but not before nearly 60 chicks had died. Attempts to isolate and further characterize the virus have been unsuccessful so far, but research continues as pathologists try to pin down the source of the virus and the means by which it gained access to the aplomado population. For the 1997 breeding season, pathologists worked with TPF propagation managers to implement new procedures designed to minimize the potential of another outbreak, as well as limit the impact should another one occur. With these strategies in place, the 1997 season was the most successful in the history of the aplomado recovery program.

However, reproduction is only one part of a successful reintroduction program. Release into the wild is possibly the most difficult step, because captive-reared birds often lack important survival skills. The behavior division plans to aid TPF in preparing birds for life in the wild. In 1996, for example, behavior staff conducted a preliminary study to train and assess the foraging competence of the first captive-bred palila (Loxioides bailleui), a native honeycreeper of Hawaii. Another important survival skill that could be assessed and enhanced by behavior staff is predator avoidance. In the future, the CRES behavior division staff hope to apply their methodology to aid TPF's captive propagation and release of other endangered Hawaiian forest bird species, such as the Maui parrotbill, the akohekohe, or crested honeycreeper, the puaiohi, or small Kauai thrush, and the Hawaiian creeper.

TPF and the Zoological Society of San Diego have been involved in saving Hawaiian forest birds since 1992. At first, this involved artificial incubation of eggs collected from the wild and hand-rearing of the chicks. These were from endangered species such as the alala, or Hawaiian crow, and also from more common Hawaiian passerines which acted as surrogates in developing technologies for the propagation and release of small, critically endangered passerines such as the palila. More recently, TPF's Hawaiian Forest Bird Recovery Program has begun to set up captive-breeding populations of several endangered Hawaiian birds, with the assistance of CRES behavior and pathology staff.

For the past two years, research by CRES behavior division staff has primarily focused on the captive-breeding population of the Hawaiian crow. There are six potential breeding pairs, of which five are actually producing fertile eggs. Of particular concern was the behavior of the birds during the time of egg laying. Past records on crow egg production indicated problems with cracked and broken eggs that may have been a result of mate incompatibility or inappropriate behavior on the part of the mated pairs. A program similar to the one used in the Wild Animal Park's California condor behavioral program was initiated for the Hawaiian crow. Birds were monitored daily at their nest platforms via time-lapse video camera recordings. From the tape reviews, we discovered that one member of each of four mated pairs exhibited excessive play behavior in and around the nest area. Such a high level of play behavior in adult corvids is not only unusual but also puts eggs at risk, either by cooling through disturbance of the nesting female or by breaking. Play is usually restricted to young birds and is an important part of a crow's normal social development. Examination of past records revealed that the four birds who exhibited play behavior as adults had a socially deprived early life. Each of these birds had been the sole successful hatch of its year and thus had been reared without young crow companions. The eight remaining crows that exhibited little or no inappropriate play were hatched in years when several young crows were hatched out, and at least two were kept for the captive-breeding population.

This program is a good example of cooperative conservation at work. Our behavioral research not only aided the TPF staff in the day-to-day management by monitoring the behavior of breeding crows, but also provided advice about ways to ensure that future additions to the captive-breeding population will be socially well-adjusted crows.

Abridged from Bruce Rideout, Nancy Harvey and Susan Farabaugh in CRES Report (Winter 1997)

Cat Workshop

A Cat Workshop, jointly organised by the Association of British Wild Animal Keepers (ABWAK) and the Ridgeway Trust for Endangered Cats, will be held at Banham Zoo, Norfolk, England, on 10th and 11th September 1998.

The emphasis of the workshop will be on practical aspects of husbandry and breeding of the Felidae, both large and small. It is the first event dedicated to cats to be held in Britain for six years and will provide a useful forum for keepers, curators and all involved in the management of felids.

A wide variety of topics will be discussed, including behavioural enrichment, breeding of the Asiatic lion, margays, veterinary care, and enclosure design.

For more information, contact: Pat Mansard, The Ridgeway Trust for Endangered Cats, 7 Parkwood Road, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 2RN, U.K. (Fax: +44–1424–752145)


Forgotten pig found

The Indo-Chinese warty pig (Sus bucculentus) has been rediscovered more than a century after it was first described. Allied to the Javan warty pig (S. verrucosus), S. bucculentus was first described from two skulls collected in Vietnam in 1898, but even these skulls were lost until last year, when they were finally unearthed by Colin Groves in the Academia Sinica in Beijing. No other records were made until January 1995, when an incomplete skull of a juvenile male was obtained by George Schaller and Khamkhoun Khounboline from an indigenous hunter in the Annamite Range of central Laos near the Laos/Vietnam border.

Nature 386, p. 335

[In 1992, William Oliver of the IUCN/SSC Pigs and Peccaries Specialist Group wrote about S. bucculentus in I.Z.N. 39:8 (p. 10): `The species is probably endangered, if not already extinct. Funding support is needed for field status surveys and, if the species survives, development of management plans (which should almost certainly include captive breeding).' – Ed.]

A successful private breeder of hummingbirds

`If you comply with the correct conditions there is no magic needed to breed hummingbirds,' writes Jac Roovers of Teteringen, The Netherlands, in Cage and Aviary Birds (21 June 1997). His hummingbird accommodation measures 17 m ´ 3 m, with the main room divided into 20 small aviaries, each 1.15 m square and 2.25 m high, serviced from a central corridor. In these aviaries he has succeeded in breeding violet-bellied hummingbird (Damophila julie), amazilia hummingbird (A. amazilia), fork-tailed woodnymph (Thalurania furcata) and violet-tailed sylph (Aglaiocercus coelestis). Mr Roovers believes he is the first to breed the last two in captivity, and is convinced that in time he can achieve more first breedings with hummingbirds. One of the secrets of his success may be that he lets the male in with the female just long enough for them to mate a few times, then opens the hatch again and allows the male to fly back to his own aviary.

Avicultural Magazine Vol. 103, No. 2 (1997)

A new look at elephant reproduction

The European Elephant Group's documentation on captive elephants in Europe and North America shows that surprisingly young females – from eight to ten years of age – are giving birth to their first calf, which means that they are being mated at the age of six to eight years. There have been isolated cases of even earlier breeding, and bulls have also successfully bred as young as eight years old. This is in sharp contrast to the thinking in Asia, where the prime reproductive age for elephants is thought to be 25–45 years of age. The experience of European and North American elephant breeding facilities is that animals who get along well and grow up together start breeding activity at a very early age. This usually happens at around 10–12 years of age, and the assumption is that, theoretically, animals that have not shown reproductive ability before the age of 20 years will be unlikely to do so later on. At the age of more than 20 years, the chance of a pregnancy becomes slimmer and the health risks for mother and calf increase. The Group has gathered extensive data about this and will discuss it at greater length in a forthcoming publication. If reproduction is to be successful, then relatively young elephant cows (up to about 25 years of age) should be given good breeding opportunities (with proven breeder bulls), as the numbers of these reproduction-ready females are dwindling and the population will not be able to maintain itself without them.

Unless it has had a previous birth, no cow over the age of 36 has ever been successfully bred in any European or American facility (births to mothers over 30 years of age are exceptional), an indication that the reproductive period only rarely extends to a late age unless the cows have had previous successful births. Concepts about the beginning and duration of reproductive ability in elephant cows should be considered critically – time is running short for the elephants.

Jürgen Schilfarth in Journal of the Elephant Managers Association Vol. 8, No. 2 (translated and summarized from the European Elephant Group's Elephanten in Zoo und Circus, Vol 2)



Extracts from Help Newsletter No. 19

The year under review has seen successful births on a scale surpassing all our previous efforts. These include eight (4.4) gorilla babies, seven of whom are being reared by their mothers; three (2.1) African elephant calves within the space of four months, all running with the herd; two (1.1) surviving black rhino calves; litters of seven (4.3) parent-reared African hunting dogs and six (2.4) parent-reared dhole pups; five (3.2) bongo calves, all but one mother-reared; and many others, some of which are noted below. Morale among the management and staff is high, and affectionate and tactile bonds between keepers and kept have obviously been completely vindicated as a method of improving the wellbeing of wild animals kept in captivity. The High Court confirmed this in their emphatic ruling on this point when they rejected Kent County Council's appeal against the industrial tribunal's decision in our favour.


At Howletts, we had 17 primate births, 14 of which survive – three siamangs, a moloch gibbon, five Javan langurs, a banded langur, two colobus, a black howler and a saki. This year's infant banded langur (Presbytis melalophos) was born to a first-time mother who was renowned for her aggressive reaction to people and other monkeys. She was partnered with a more dominant male and this helped to settle her. She became much more relaxed with keepers, to the point where when her first infant was born she allowed keeper contact with it. As things turned out, this change was crucial to the infant's future, as it was at first too weak to reach the nipple, but with keeper support it could suckle for 15 minutes every hour, until over 12 hours of assisted feeding led to a noticeable increase in its vigour and it became strong enough to reach the nipple on its own. Mother and daughter were able to be left together overnight. The infant was then found to have an eye infection which had caused the lid to invert, and the lashes were rubbing against the cornea causing damage to the eye. This painful condition required eye drops at least three times a day for a week. Fortunately the mother allowed the infant to be removed from her, which is a natural behaviour amongst langurs when other females `auntie' the infant. This cooperative behaviour allowed the infant to be treated and the eye returned to normal. Both events might have forced us to remove the infant, leading to hand-rearing, but the timely change in the mother's character made it possible for her to successfully rear her own infant.

Since 1983, when the first Javan langurs (Trachypithecus auratus) were imported to Howletts, we have seen a sustained population growth, and we now hold 35 individuals, housed in three breeding groups of 13, eight and seven, a bachelor group of four adult males and a group of three females awaiting formation of a new group. The Howletts population continues to increase steadily. However, a new European studbook (1997) for this species highlights a worrying trend, with increasing neonatal mortality within the European captive population. The critical period for Javan neonates is the first few days of life. Examination of Howletts-born infants indicates a winter peak in mortality. This will be the initial focus of efforts to reduce infant deaths still further within the Howletts population.

At Port Lympne, it was a fairly quiet year for the small primates, with the births of one capuchin and three colobus. Animals were imported from several zoos to help in forming new breeding groups – a male saki from Duisburg, a female diana from Chessington, and four kikuyu colobus from Twycross and Belfast (bringing our total to 23).

Among the gorillas, all other events this year were completely overshadowed by the devastating loss of Djoum on 19 April 1997. He was undeniably the best known gorilla at the parks, a supremely confident and competent silverback, unequalled for size and beauty. Djoum was 29 years old – far too young to die. His death, which was entirely unexpected, seems to have resulted from a malfunction of the lungs which in turn weakened the heart. With hindsight, the only indication we had that something was wrong was his unwillingness to assert his authority over the four young males we had put in with him to keep him company in Port Lympne's great bachelor enclosure, all of whom, put together, barely measured up to his weight and strength. His genes survive in a son and a daughter, Jomie and Juma; Juma has his grandson Djimu and is pregnant again.

There have been a number of other changes to the gorilla groups. As many of the youngsters in family groups have reached sexual maturity, we have taken them out to prevent inbreeding. Some of them will join the hand-reared ones to form breeding groups, while five males were transferred from Howletts to Port Lympne to join the bachelor groups; another two will follow soon. As mentioned above, it was a good year for births, and at the time of writing the total number of gorillas at Howletts and Port Lympne stands at 56 (26.30).

As reported last year, in July 1996 a nine-year-old female gorilla, Tambabi, fractured her left elbow at the joint, leaving four separate pieces of bone. An orthopaedic surgeon attempted to operate, but concluded that repair was impossible, mainly due to the bulk and solidity of a gorilla's bones and muscles. We were regretfully compelled to leave the joint alone, and assumed she would never regain the use of her arm. However, our fears proved unfounded; as the weeks passed, the elbow began to gain strength and flexibility. By the winter, it was clearly causing Tambabi no pain, and on 22 April 1997 she gave birth to a healthy male baby. After discussing the case with other zoos, it seems she is not alone. There have been several recorded fractures of arms and legs in great apes worldwide, and in many cases healing has taken place when no surgery has been performed at all. Certainly a study of wild orang-utan skeletons showed that a surprising number of them fracture bones during the course of their lives under natural conditions. Should we encounter another major fracture in our gorilla colony, we would view its treatment in a different light.


Among the canids at Howletts there were successes with both wolves and dholes. A litter of five brought the wolf pack total to 11. But more importantly our pair of dholes (Cuon alpinus), a male from Japan and a Howletts-bred female, had a litter of six and successfully raised all the pups, the male playing the customary important role in raising and protecting his young. Thanks to the methods of keeping we employ, it is fascinating to observe the natural way our carnivores – both dog and cat – rear their young, and the pleasure they derive from it. It gives a whole new dimension to their lives and allows natural instincts to come into full play. Even now we are constantly learning of both the depth of feeling and the intelligence these animals possess.

Perhaps our greatest hopes for the future lie with our new pair of clouded leopards. An immaculate pair physically and in temperament, they arrived from Hexagon Farm, California, and settled down immediately. Their tranquil nature is a testament to the care and ability which went into their rearing, and bodes well for the future, particularly given the traditionally volatile nature of the clouded leopard.

At Port Lympne, the past year has been one of disappointments and surprises. The contraceptive implants in our tigers ran out and we hoped to have cubs this year. But it is now known that implants can cause sterility in cats; our tigers have not started cycling again, so we can only wait to see if they are permanently damaged. Also, our two youngest female lions had been `on the pill' for some years to prevent them breeding with their father. With the arrival of a new young male we took them off, but they have only been in season once in 18 months – not a good sign.

In July our oldest maned wolf was found with a badly swollen leg; she turned out to have been bitten by an adder and, despite intensive treatment, wasted away – a freak accident with tragic results.

After years of failure, we finally had a litter of mother-raised hunting dogs, the first ever in this country, and a success of worldwide importance. Rafiki, the father, was hand-raised at Port Lympne, and the mother, Masai, came from De Wildt in South Africa. They are kept in a one-acre (0.4 ha) off-exhibit enclosure. No definite mating was observed, though on 15 December 1996 Rafiki was seen attempting to mate Masai. Towards the end of January she began digging a den, but abandoned it after two weeks. By mid-February, however, she was obviously pregnant; on 28 February she hid herself in a shed, and the following day pups were heard. For the next three weeks Masai rarely left the den, but Rafiki looked after her well, sitting outside the shed on guard, and carrying or regurgitating food for her. Four pups were seen for the first time on 23 March, but the final total of seven did not appear until the 29th. A month later we weighed and vaccinated the pups; the biggest weighed 11 lb (5 kg) and the smallest 9 lb 4 oz (4.2 kg). By 2 June, when they were vaccinated for the second time, they had doubled their weight and their coat markings were clearly visible.

Port Lympne's African hunting dog Masai with five of her seven pups. (Photo: Neville Buck)

At the end of September 1996 a female fishing cat at Port Lympne gave birth to two kittens. At three weeks one kitten died, possibly killed by the mother, so the survivor, a male named Loei, was removed for hand-raising in the home of section head Neville Buck. Loei adapted surprisingly quickly to his new surroundings, and readily took to drinking from a bottle. From four weeks he was offered various types of solid food, but was slow to take to them, and it was only at eight weeks that he would accepted a full varied diet. It was interesting to see how much of his behaviour was obviously instinctive and not mother-taught. For example, at about six weeks old he began to take most of the food he was offered to the water and play with it or wash it before eating. In the house he at first spent most of his time with the domestic cats, which may have helped him to avoid imprinting on his human foster-parents, and taught him valuable social skills which have helped him to re-integrate with his own species, a gradual process which started on 21 January. Loei is now living with two females, and we hope he will produce offspring of his own next year.

Several animals died at advanced ages. Perhaps the most notable was Kali, a female caracal, who had to be euthanased at the age of 20 years and four months. Over a nine-year period she had given birth to 23 young; her last litter was produced at 13 years and five months, and breeding might have continued but for the death of her mate Kasper in 1990 at 19 years old.


At Howletts, many of our female stock showed a distinct lack of maternal interest, so hand-raising was a necessity – the list includes four female nilgai, two female blackbuck, two hog deer and two chousingha (which unfortunately did not survive). The highlight of the hand-raising, though, was a female bongo rejected by her first-time mother; fortunately the other four mothers carried out their parental duties without mishap. After re-arranging the chousingha herds using Howletts-bred males, we have begun to have some breeding success, gaining five more female calves. Our most serious loss occurred in the winter, when a fox – something we had had no trouble with in previous years – attacked our parma wallabies in the heavy snow, in effect halving the population in one night; in April six (3.3) wild-caught replacements, who will be a valuable genetic addition, arrived from New Zealand.

At Port Lympne, two male babirusa piglets were born in mid-December. As past youngsters had been lost within the first couple of days, they were removed for hand-raising immediately after birth. They were moved back to the babirusa house when weaned and have continued to thrive.

Part of the Howletts African elephant herd with two of the calves born this year. (Photo: Robert Boutwood)

At the time of writing, the repatriation of Torgamba, our surviving Sumatran rhino, to the International Rhino Foundation's captive breeding centre in Way Kambas National Park, has had to be postponed due to the heavy polluting smog over Indonesia. He will be joined in Way Kambas by two females from Taman Safari and Ragunan Zoo, Java.

The past year has been one of the most successful and rewarding ever for the black rhinos. Nakuru's first calf, a male, was born on 12 September 1996. Then on 21 December Nakuru's wild-caught mother, Rukwa, one of our original cows, gave birth to her fourth calf at Port Lympne; this was our first successful birth of a female calf since she gave birth to Nakuru seven years earlier. This calf was fathered by the Chester Zoo bull, Parky. Unfortunately the luck ran out when it came to Naivasha, who in June 1997 gave birth to a stillborn female calf. During the winter, we will be able to collect daily faecal samples from all our cows and from these, with the help of the Institute of Zoology in London, we may be able to establish if any of them are pregnant.


It was the best year ever for the African elephants at Howletts, with the births of three calves all in the space of four months. Jumar, a bull calf, was born on 15 April 1997 and is very special indeed, being the first bull calf to be conceived and born in the U.K. Then came Umna, a female born on 18 July, and lastly Jassa, another male, on 6 August. Both Jumar's and Umna's mothers are still very young and these are their first calves, but they reacted really well without any fuss. We watched Umna's birth. Her mother, Swana, who was also born at Howletts, has her loose box next to her mother, Masa. During the birth, Masa leant her head over the dividing partition to help her daughter; both adults cooperated in removing the afterbirth, which was entangled around Umna's legs, and in raising the calf onto her feet. The whole episode showed the very strong bond that exists between mother and offspring.

All the calves were quickly allowed into the paddock with the rest of the herd, and were accepted at once. However, the bull Jums, who is father to all three, has been separated from the herd until the little ones are stronger, as he can be rather rough in play. The herd is now 15 strong, and we are hoping for another birth in February or March 1998.

At Port Lympne, the Indian cow Pugli soon recovered from the ordeal of having a stillborn calf, but a few weeks later three of the other cows started picking on her; relations became worse and worse, and eventually we were forced to separate the cows into two groups of three. The new arrangement has worked out very well and there has been no further squabbling. In an attempt to keep the cows amused and busy during the day, as well as scatter feeding we have built a hay rack. This device is a simple box made of two-inch weld mesh and positioned high enough so that they have to reach up and spend time fiddling about, teasing the hay out through the holes. This has worked so well that we now plan to build them in every paddock. One bale of hay fed on the floor lasts the cows about ten minutes, whereas a bale in the rack keeps them amused for the whole morning.

Overseas Projects

In June 1997 the Congo was suddenly plunged into civil war, which had the most disastrous effect upon our Brazzaville orphanage, the Lefini release site, the staff and, by no means least, the animals themselves. Following the death, through stress, of two bonobos, we hoped to bring the other five to Britain, if only temporarily, to ensure their survival. But this attempt was thwarted by the refusal of the U.K. Department of the Environment to issue a CITES import permit without first seeing an export permit from the Congolese authorities, which was quite impossible to obtain in the prevailing chaos. It seems extraordinary that an organisation devoted to protecting wildlife, far from assisting the survival of some of the world's most endangered species, puts obstacles in the way of people who are actively trying to rescue them. [There is no space here to give the detailed story of how the expatriate staff and most of the gorillas and other animals were eventually evacuated to relative safety. At the time of writing the situation is still changing so rapidly that any account would be out of date by the time it was printed. However, an ideal site for a new reserve has been found in south-east Gabon, near the Congolese border and not far from the original Lefini reserve. The Gabonese government supports the scheme, and the Congolese authorities have raised no objection to the transfer of the animals. – Ed.]

The Przewalski horse reintroduction project in China has at last moved forward. From the original 5.5 animals we sent to Beijing in November 1992, some have died and others have been born, so at the last count there were 9.6 horses. Eleven of these have now been successfully moved to Gansu province, to settle into a 100-ha enclosure prior to their release into a much larger area. (Two mares were kept back in Beijing together with their two foals, as it was considered that the foals were too young to travel long distances.)


Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Ohio, U.S.A.

On 29 October 1997, ultrasound examination of the zoo's pregnant Sumatran rhinoceros, Emi, revealed that the embryo was no longer developing properly. In domestic horses, most embryo losses take place prior to Day 30 of the pregnancy. On Day 35, which is when true implantation begins in horses, Emi's embryo was still developing well. However, on Day 42 a problem was discovered. During the following week, Dr Roth and her staff continued to monitor Emi, but by the end of that week examinations confirmed embryo mortality.

It is not uncommon for the first pregnancy of a female of any species to fail. The Cincinnati Zoo staff believe it is likely that Emi will become pregnant again, now that they have discovered how to successfully manage the pair for breeding. It is important to note that this is still a very significant occurrence, providing a wealth of new information. For example, we now know that our male is fertile and that Emi is producing oocytes that are capable of being fertilized and developing into embryos. We also know that Emi and Ipuh can be compatible for mating, and how to determine when they should be introduced so that aggressive interaction is minimized. Using today's ultrasound technology, we have documented the characteristics of early embryo development in Sumatran rhinos. Additionally, we have reproductive hormone profiles that reveal hormone levels during mating, conception and early pregnancy in this species. These hormone levels were previously unknown, and this information may provide a basis for determining Sumatran rhino estrus or pregnancy from a simple blood test.

`Regardless of the disappointing loss of the Sumatran rhino pregnancy, we still have made tremendous progress,' says Dr Terri Roth, Director of CREW. The zoo hopes that the knowledge gained from this experience will enable institutions in Malaysia that house Sumatran rhinos to make progress with their breeding attempts, as well. Also, renewed mating activity between Ipuh and Emi has already been observed, so we are very hopeful that we will have another Sumatran rhino pregnancy soon.

Cincinnati Zoo press release

Danmarks Akvarium, Charlottenlund, Denmark

In 1996 the aquarium received 181,052 visitors, an increase of 20% from the previous year's total of 150,850. Without doubt, one of the reasons for this increase is a variety of new sea-life attractions, which caught the interest of the public and the media. A gift of long-spine snipefish and two octopuses was received from Vasco da Gama Aquarium in Lisbon. Our giant Pacific octopus died after several years as one of the main attractions. A new young specimen was imported from Vancouver, together with giant sea anemones, starfish, sea cucumbers and chitons. The young octopus is now being trained and will eventually take part in demonstrations at feeding times. We also imported two West African dwarf crocodiles from Switzerland and three young black-tipped reef sharks from Florida.

From the English summary of the 1996 Annual Report

Long-spine snipefish (Macrorhamphosus scolopax) at Danmarks Akvarium. (Photo: Jens Meulengracht Madsen)

Denver Zoo, Colorado, U.S.A.

The most feared fish in many regions of the Amazon basin is not the flesh-eating piranha, as you might expect, but a rather drab and superficially unremarkable fish, the electric eel (Electrophorus electricus). A large one is capable of killing a horse or knocking out a human with its 600-volt electrical discharge. The capacity to generate electricity is found in at least five different groups of fishes, but has evolved to serve a variety of functions.

The marine stargazers, some electric rays, one genus of electric catfishes, and one gymnotiform eel, the electric eel, have the capacity to generate electricity capable of stunning or killing potential predators or prey. These are the fishes referred to as strongly electric. Almost everyone who works with these fishes sooner or later has a `shocking experience'. I once had a juvenile electric catfish numb my arm all the way to the shoulder when it discharged while I was transferring it.

The weakly electric fishes include the remaining gymnotiform knife fishes of the New World tropics, the mormyriform fishes of Africa (elephant-noses and the aba-aba), and a few species of African catfishes. These fishes generate weak electric fields which are used in detecting features of the environment and in communicating to conspecifics in a murky or nocturnal environment where the visual sense is almost useless; not surprisingly, most of them have extremely small eyes. They all swim in a strange way, keeping the body rigid and swimming either with undulations of a long dorsal or anal fin (knife fishes), or by moving their pectorals like oars (elephant-noses). It is believed that this prevents the fish from distorting its own electric field by bending the body, which would interfere with its interpretation of its signals. Electric eels and electric catfish both prey to some extent on other weakly electric fish and may utilize the signals from those fish to track them down. Some of these fish will stop discharging in the presence of a signal from a predator.

The electricity is generated and stored in modified muscle cells. Muscle cells in all organisms produce minute amounts of electrical current by moving sodium and potassium ions in and out of cells. By modifying the function of these cells, they can be made to operate in a series (like batteries wired in a series) producing and storing electricity, thus permitting a high-voltage discharge. These powerful blasts are the ones used to stun prey.

The weakly electric fish generate electricity in either pulses or waves (specific for each species), which creates a field around their bodies. Specialized receptor cells all over the body `read' this field and can tell what kind of object – including size, shape and conductivity – has moved within the field. Each signal is also sex-specific and possibly specific for each individual. So these fish use electricity as a sixth sense in detecting their environment and also as a method of communicating with conspecifics about their location and sex.

One of the features which makes this electrical sense so interesting to us is that we cannot detect it without instrumentation, since we have no sensitivity to weak electrical signals. We are `blind' to them. However, we can take that electrical energy and transform it into either a visual or auditory signal by means of electrodes, oscilloscopes, speakers, etc. This allows us to get some idea what is going on in the world of the electric fishes.

From 1 November 1997 to 30 April 1998 an exhibit at the zoo's Tropical Discovery showcases this unique sixth sense, giving visitors a glimpse of this electrical world and an appreciation of the diversity of solutions which have evolved to allow an organism to sense its environment and to communicate. The fishes were using electrical signals to navigate and communicate many millions of years before we figured out how to do it.

Adapted from Charlie Radcliffe in The Zoo Review (Fall 1997)

Melbourne Zoo, Victoria, Australia

Following extensive planning and preparation, the zoo's group of De Brazza's monkeys have been successfully integrated with the lowland gorillas in the Gorilla Rainforest exhibit. The process commenced with construction of a 1.8 ´ 3.5 ´ 3.0 m off-limit enclosure immediately outside the north-east corner of the exhibit, and a small entry door through the perimeter wall. Electric fencing was replaced around the whole wall and any overhanging branches were pruned back. The gorillas were able to see the monkeys in their lock-up area and the latter were first let into the exhibit, minus the gorillas, on 25 August. This continued for about two weeks, and the De Brazza's were always comfortable about returning to the holding area each evening, a process helped by them only being fed in this area. They were then locked out in the exhibit for several days. During this phase, they adopted a particular garden bed as a `safe area'. The two groups were first let out together on 25 September and very few problems have been encountered.

The De Brazza's are yet to use the whole exhibit when the gorillas are out, and prefer to stay in or close to `their' garden bed. The gorillas are locked up first at night, and then the keepers call the monkeys, who readily come in for their food. The level of interaction is continually increasing, even to the extent of a De Brazza recently taking a piece of green food from one of the gorillas.

Ullie Weiher in ARAZPA Newsletter No. 35 (December 1997)

Metro Washington Park Zoo, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.

A female black rhino was born at the zoo on 26 September, a first for Washington Park. The calf's nine-year-old mother was born at Brookfield Zoo and the ten-year-old father at Denver. This is the first offspring for both parents. The calf, which weighed 97 pounds (44 kg) 30 hours after birth, is being mother-raised.

S. Cohen in AZA Communiqué (December 1997)

[This pair were the subject of Farshid Mehrdadfar's article `Detecting estrus in black rhinoceros by behavioral observations' in I.Z.N. 44:5, pp. 272–280 – Ed.]

Monterey Bay Aquarium, California, U.S.A.

We are pleased to report the first successful long-term raising of Pacific bonito (Sarda chiliensis) from eggs spawned and fertilized in captivity. The first batch of fertilized eggs was collected on 25 September, and the larvae hatched on 27 September. Two of the larvae hatched then are still alive, and several other cultures from subsequent spawnings are in various stages of development. Fertilized eggs are collected nightly from the aquarium's Outer Bay exhibit. Larvae are cultured in 15- and 50-gallon (approx. 57 and 190 litre) black, cylindrical tanks, where they are fed rotifers, copepod nauplii, adult copepods, Artemia nauplii, and fish larvae. Our aquarists are also working on the culture of California barracuda (Sphyraena argentea). Ultimately, they hope to develop a new exhibit for the juvenile fishes. Until the aquarium began its culturing program, neither bonito nor barracuda had been cultured and survived longer than two to four days.

K. Peterson in AZA Communiqué (January 1998)

Mulhouse Zoo, France

There were 230 births and hatchings at the zoo during 1997, 60% of them among the mammals. Because of successful breeding in 1996, there were no further gibbon and spider monkey babies; but primate births included two Roloway monkeys, a Tonkean macaque, two buffy-headed capuchins (one of them the first baby for female Sophie, imported from Brazil), and various marmosets and tamarins. Once again, every lemur species at the zoo bred – over 19 births in all.

Among the hoofstock, births included two Bactrian wapiti, eight sitatunga, eight Vietnamese sika deer, and six Philippine spotted deer (three of whom were unfortunately neglected by their mothers and did not survive, despite various efforts to save them).

The bush dogs were very prolific – between them, our two females produced 15 pups! Three kittens were born to our sand cats, the only group of this species in any French zoo. Siberian tigers and Persian leopards were new arrivals at the zoo, so we are hoping for births in 1998.

There were 93 birds hatched in 1997. The parrot species bred included blue-and-yellow macaw, scarlet macaw, Senegal parrot, Moluccan cockatoo and lilacine amazon. The sarus cranes had two chicks; the mother of one of them was herself hatched at the zoo. Important vultures bred included four Egyptian vultures, a griffon vulture and a king vulture. But the European black vultures seem to have been very disturbed by the noisy building work on the new gibbon enclosure, and after several attempts to nest, they gave up breeding activity altogether. The Dalmatian pelicans bred again this year and reared four chicks. Other notable hatchings in 1997 included greater flamingo, waldrapp, black-footed penguin, white spoonbill, white stork, and Fischer's turaco.

Translated by Nicholas Gould from Pierre Moisson in Zoom No. 27

New Jersey State Aquarium, Camden, New Jersey, U.S.A.

The aquarium has made two important research strides that will aid the preservation of coral reefs and other fragile tropical ecosystems. Alejandro (Alex) Vagelli, the aquarium's biologist, has discovered a new species of goby and successfully bred several species of gobies that have never been bred before. The species bred are as follows: shark-nose (Elacatinus evelynae); cleaning (E. genie); red-head (E. puncticulatum); naked (Gobiosoma bosc); code (G. robustum); rusty (Priolepis hipoliti); catalina (Lythrypus dalli); yellow-nose (Elacatinus randalli); and a new species, golden (E. figaro). Vagelli discovered the new species last year. In his quest to identify the golden goby, he successfully cross-bred it with the neon species (E. oceanops), proving that the two were closely related.

D. Venuti-Ablaza in AZA Communiqué (December 1997)

Phoenix Zoo, Arizona, U.S.A.

On 30 October 1997, the zoo received 14 endangered Kanab ambersnails (Oxyloma haydeni kanabensis) to establish the first captive refugium. This is a terrestrial species, light to dark brown in color, and less than 20 mm in length. It is restricted to two spring-fed wetland sites, one on private property near Kanab, Utah, and the other along the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Factors negatively affecting the snails' survival include ground-water pumping, recreation activities, habitat degradation and flooding. The snails transferred to Phoenix Zoo were removed from habitat soon to be inundated by an exceptionally large water release from Glen Canyon Dam.

Also on 30 October, approximately 1,800 Ramsey Canyon leopard frogs, head-started at the zoo, were reintroduced to historic localities. Zoo staff, volunteers, and agency biologists backpacked the frogs to suitable sites in the Huachuca Mountains in south-east Arizona. The zoo collaborates with the Arizona Department of Game and Fish, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Nature Conservancy, U.S. Forest Service, and private landowners to aid in the recovery of this endangered species. Ramsey Canyon leopard frogs (Rana subaquavocalis) are amongst the rarest frogs in the world. Surveys have revealed that there are less than 25 adults inhabiting an artificial pond on Nature Conservancy property. This is the second release of frogs head-started at Phoenix Zoo. Frogs from the first release in 1995 bred successfully in August. The survivorship of these head-started frogs will be closely monitored by agency biologists for one year before additional releases are scheduled.

M. Demlong in AZA Communiqué (December 1997 and January 1998)

Rainforest Habitat, Lae, Papua New Guinea

A new 225 m2 enclosure exhibiting Raggi's (Paradisaea raggiana) and Princess Stephanie's (Astrapia stephaniae) birds of paradise has just been completed at the Habitat. Five male Raggi's and three male Princess Stephanie's are on display at the front of the exhibit, the females being held in the rear off-exhibit area. All the aviaries include small ponds and are thickly planted. Viewing is through black-painted 250 mm by 120 mm mesh and is under cover at the front, with a hide in the centre, which provides undetected viewing and a sheltered area for signage.

Females will be given access to the males during the breeding season of August to October via specially-constructed aerial corridors. The males will display to the visible but separated females prior to this. They can nest in their own aviaries safely away from the males, who have been known to destroy nests during their breeding ardour. To avoid competition, females of the same species will not be placed in adjacent aviaries.

This is an experimental approach, but similar systems have worked in New York and San Diego, though with different species and with single males. We are hoping the communal male aviary will result in the establishment of a lek (community display area, normally in a tree), both encouraging breeding activity and creating public interest.

Both these species occur throughout Papua New Guinea and neither appears threatened. The Princess Stephanie's is normally found above 1,800 m, whilst Raggi's occur from sea level to about 1,500 m. Both display communally, but Raggi's is a much more vocal bird.

Peter Clark in ARAZPA Newsletter No. 35 (December 1997)

Ridgeway Trust for Endangered Cats, Hastings, East Sussex, U.K.

1997 saw the birth of two litters of margay, one to each of our pairs. This was the first breeding for female Chiquibul, who is ten years old and came to us as an ex-pet via Belize Zoo. We were delighted that, at this rather advanced age, she produced a live kitten at the end of July and started to rear it. However, three days after the birth she came into oestrus, and a couple of days later killed and ate the kitten. We are hoping this aberrant behaviour was a one-off, but only time will tell. The pair have mated again, but as yet no conception has taken place; in our experience successful mating with margays occurs in only about one in four cycles. The father of Chiquibul's kitten was Tikal, the firstborn of our original pair Coco and Quetzal. These two produced their fourth litter in October and the single kitten, a male, is so far doing well.

In July the Trust donated $800 to the Meso-American Margay Studbook Project for the purchase of a microchip transponder to be used by the project veterinarian, Dr Leandro of Simon Bolivar Zoo, San José, Costa Rica.

At the Trust, work has been progressing throughout the year on a new enclosure suitable for a variety of small cats. The indoor accommodation follows our usual design of a brick house 4 m ´ 3 m with heated double living compartments, shelves on various levels and a choice of nestboxes, but outside we have modified our planting scheme and tried to recreate a rainforest environment. It is planted up with palm trees, various bamboos, climbers, ferns and bromeliads. It is possible to find jungle lookalikes that will grow quite happily in our climate, though we have had to compromise with the buttress-root trees and make artificial ones. The enclosure is coming on well and we plan to move cats in during the spring.

Pat Mansard

Rio Grande Zoo, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A.

In early November, a jellyfish exhibit, `Aliens from the Sea', began an 18-month stay at the aquarium. Received from Boston's New England Aquarium, the exhibit comprises ten aquaria displaying six different jellyfish species with the uncommonly poetic common names of lion's mane, elegant hydromedusa, moon, umbrella, brown nettle and sea nettle jellyfish.

Composed almost entirely of water, these invertebrates have a simplified body form and function. They have no brain, heart, kidney, or liver. Instead of bones, a thin lining of jelly-like material between two cell layers simulates a supporting skeleton for the body. Lungs or gills are unnecessary: the jelly absorbs oxygen directly from the water. A single `mouth' ingests food, expels waste, receives sperm from the male for fertilization, and ejects larvae for the next generation.

Simplicity aside, jellyfish number over 9,000 species in the phylum Cnidaria (a name derived from the Greek word for `nettle'). They are united only by their jelly-like bodies, their tentacles, and their memorable stinging cells – special cells on their tentacles containing capsules called nematocysts. Inside are trapdoors with triggers; touch the trigger, the trapdoor opens, and out springs a hypodermic tube filled with paralyzing venom, varying in potency according to species.

Head aquarist Matt Farley is an enthusiastic guide through the confusing maze of jellyfish information. He knows his animals from polyp to medusa, from innocuous moon jelly (Aurelia aurita) – `I've picked them up with my hand' – to the Australian sea wasp, a small jelly whose venom, more deadly than that of any snake on earth, can kill in three minutes. (The sea wasp is not part of the traveling exhibit!) Farley points the way through jellyfish subgroups. Scyphozoans are the familiar free-swimming bell-shaped, or medusa, forms, represented by most of the exhibited species at the aquarium; anthozoans are flowerlike, generally non-swimming polyp forms including sea anemones and corals; and hydrozoans may be polyp forms or a commune, a free-floating colony of animals working together as prey-catching, floating, digesting, and reproduction specialists. The umbrella jelly and the elegant hydromedusa are both hydrozoans in the aquarium's ten-tank display.

`Our jellyfish, about 75 animals at the start, were packed in plastic bags and then in styrofoam boxes,' says Farley, `and shipped overnight.' All were aquaculture-raised, he adds; none were caught in the wild. Although jellies may seem as delicate as a feather, they are really good travelers – better than fish. `Their oxygen needs are simpler and they don't pollute the water with waste and ammonia buildup like fish can do.' Accompanying them was the New England Aquarium's senior aquarist, Warren Gibbons, who stayed on to troubleshoot and lend a hand. The animals were stabilized in their round-sided tanks (`Jellies will clump up in square tanks – get their bells and tentacles torn up,' Farley explains), temperatures were set at from 63° F to the low 50s for these cold-water denizens, and special water circulation systems were up and running in short order. `Water quality and flow are the biggest problems with jellyfish,' says Farley. `The water must be very clean and free of organic materials. In the wild, jellies are used to feeding almost all the time: the more they feed, the better they do. And many jellies eat other jellies. For instance, nettles and lion's mane jellies both eat moons. Here, we feed them two-day-old brine shrimp.'

Adapted from Zooscape Vol. 29, No. 6 (November/December 1997)

Tallinn Zoo, Estonia

The zoo has kept both white and Dalmatian pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus and P. crispus) for many years, but until last year they had not produced any offspring. Much care needs to be taken to get pelicans to breed in a zoo. One important factor is proper housing conditions, and in autumn 1996 we started to keep our birds in a greenhouse, following the example of Tierpark Berlin, one of the most successful zoos in breeding pelicans.

Last winter, as soon as the days started getting longer and the sun glittered on the snow banks, the birds perked up and began dividing their hitherto common territory into `private lots'. When we saw them nesting, we were filled with hope, and not in vain. In the early morning of 7 February we found an egg in the white pelicans' nest. We carefully placed it in an incubator, but were soon convinced that it was infertile. No more eggs were found, and we suspected that another year would prove a failure. But then, on 25 March, we discovered an egg in the Dalmatian pelicans' nest, and the following day, in that of the white pelicans. After ten days in the incubator, it was clear that the Dalmatians' egg was not fertilized, which was to be expected as the male was very young; but the white pelicans' egg was fertile. For the next three weeks we weighed it every day, watched the development of the embryo and regulated the incubator when needed, and on 27 April, after working on the hole in its shell for 30 hours, Tallinn Zoo's first pelican chick emerged.

For the first few days it was fed every two hours, day and night. Finely minced fish was mixed with enzymes to substitute for the half-digested food offered by the parents. At first the portions were small (3–4 g), but they gradually grew. Meanwhile, three more pelicans had been hatched, so the staff were kept busy preparing food for four – in the end, the daily intake was ten kilos.

Several months have passed and the helpless little pink lumps have grown into big greyish-brown birds. They do not need to be constantly looked after any more, but we sometimes wonder whom they might take for their parents – the adult birds with pinkish plumage, near whom they are complacently basking in the sun, or those queer upright creatures who nurtured them on the first days of their life!

Abridged from Jelena Jefimova, Head of Department, and Vladimir Fainstein, Assistant Director, in Tallinn Zoo's 1998 calendar

Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, Germany

Since 1992 the Tierpark has been participating in the project to reintroduce antelopes to the wild in North Africa. In November 1997, 1.0 mhorr gazelle and 2.0 scimitar-horned oryx were moved to the Moroccan National Park of Souss Massa. The animals were born at the Tierpark in 1996 and 1997 respectively.

Also in November, six (5.1) tufted deer (Elaphodus cephalophus) arrived here from quarantine at Warsaw Zoo. These animals came from San Diego Zoo and then lived at Bronx Zoo, New York. It was the second time that tufted deer have arrived at the Tierpark. The first was in 1985, and the first zoo birth of a tufted deer outside the country of origin happened here on 12 October 1985 (see Pohle, C. [1989], Der Zoologische Garten 59:3, 188–194). Those deer belonged to the nominate subspecies, while the present stock are of the eastern subspecies (E. c. michianus). Three of the males are going to Rotterdam and Wuppertal Zoos, which already keep tufted deer, and to Leipzig Zoo respectively.

On 11 December a new house for elks and Tule deer was opened to the public; it includes two enclosures of 1,200 m2 each.

Dr Bernhard Blaszkiewitz

Timmendorfer Strand Sea Life Centre, Germany

The Centre recently received a very rare new specimen. An albino spiny lobster (Palinurus vulgaris) was found in the nets of a Dutch fisherman, and because he thought it would be a shame for this snow-white animal to end its life in a cooking-pot, he donated it to the Sea Life Centre.

Another albino which recently came into the news, and also lives in a Sea Life Centre – this time the one in Scheveningen in the Netherlands – was the albino smooth hound (Mustelus mustelus), Snowy. It was found as a hatchling on the beach of Blankenberge, Belgium, and brought to the Sea Life Centre there. After about a year it was lent to the Centre at Scheveningen, but because the Dutch people found Snowy a somewhat boring name, they renamed the shark in honour of the most famous human albino – the German pop singer Heino. The Belgians didn't agree with this renaming, and even threatened to take Snowy/Heino back to Blankenberge!

Maarten de Ruiter

Underwater World Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia.

We are very proud to announce what is believed to be a world-first – a complete captive reproductive cycle of the grey nurse shark (Carcharias taurus) through copulation, gestation and birth. Our longest resident grey nurse, Mamma, measuring over three metres, had already given birth to two female pups in July 1992 following copulation in the wild. On 8 November 1997, she gave birth to two more healthy female pups which were discovered swimming peacefully amongst our other resident grey nurse sharks.

Oophagy (egg-eating) and adelphophagy (embryo cannibalism) are unique reproductive methods documented in this species. Embryos pass through at least six nutritive phases during their long gestation period. During one phase, when they are 100–330 mm long, the hatched embryos actively search for and attack capsules containing other embryos, utilising embryonic teeth they had developed when they were 40–60 mm in length. After the embryo has reached more than 330 mm and has consumed all the other siblings in the uterus, it begins to consume a large number (60–90) of unfertilised ova or egg capsules, which are produced daily throughout its 9–12 month gestation period.

Interestingly, staff at Underwater World observed a courtship interaction behaviour between a resident male and the pregnant female a week prior to her giving birth. This activity involved pectoral fin grasp, love bites and both male and female becoming motionless for a short period of time on the top of our observation tunnel. Unfortunately copulation was not visible during their motionless state. However, this amazing behaviour does raise questions as to why a male ferociously undertook such an activity with a very pregnant female.

Rodney Garner in ARAZPA Newsletter No. 35 (December 1997)

News in Brief

A brown honeyeater (Lichmera indistincta) has been bred for the first time in captivity at Currumbin Sanctuary, Palm Beach, Queensland, Australia. This first success after two-and-a-half years has spurred enthusiasm for future offspring. Although this is not an endangered species, experience with it will allow staff to develop breeding techniques for use with other softbills.

Snezana Dudic in ARAZPA Newsletter No. 34 (October 1997)

* * * * *

Prague Zoo reports the birth of 1.1 Amur leopards in May 1997. This birth is of great importance for the EEP population, as both parents are wild-born. Currently, the zoo houses 2.2 adult Amur leopards, all of whom originate from North Korea.

Tomas Kapic in EAZA News No. 20 (October–November 1997)

* * * * *

Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, U.S.A., recently opened a new half-acre (2,000 m2) mixed exhibit with South American tapirs and maned wolves. It is the first zoo in North America to display these species together.

S. Burnette in AZA Communiqué (January 1998)

* * * * *

Australian zoologists are hoping to import several black and white rhinos from South Africa, in order to establish breeding colonies for the two species in Queensland. Two sanctuaries – one of 5,000–10,000 ha and another of 100,000–200,000 ha – are planned in an area of degraded savannah.

New Scientist (21 June 1997)

* * * * *

Collaborative efforts between Cincinnati Zoo and San Diego Zoo have produced a litter of eight (5.3) Bornean bearded pigs (Sus b. barbatus). The litter, born on 19 August 1997 at San Diego, represents the first successful reproduction of this species in North America. The bearded pig is still fairly widespread in Borneo, but is now experiencing an accelerated decline in numbers, the main threats being fragmentation, loss of forest, and subsequent displacement by an expanding boar (Sus scrofa) population.

C. Penny in AZA Communiqué (December 1997)

* * * * *

Two leopards imported from Britain have died at Safari de Panouse, France, from a type of spongiform encephalopathy related to the bovine form, BSE or `mad cow' disease. Previously, the only zoo animals affected have been cattle and antelopes, but cases have been occurring in domestic cats for some years.

* * * * *

Twelve years after the launch of Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust's Mallorcan midwife toad (Alytes muletensis) project [see I.Z.N. 37:3, p. 39], the last 300 toads descended from the founder stock have been returned to the wild at a site on private land which has no introduced competitors or predators. But the recovery programme is far from over. A complete record has been made of the distribution of the toad, its habitat preferences and relative threats at each site. Also, 25 tadpoles were collected at each of three different sites for shipment to Jersey to begin the next phase of the breeding programme with three new bloodlines.

On the Edge No. 80 (October 1997)

* * * * *

Six (4.2) harnessed bushbucks (Tragelaphus scriptus) were born in 1997 at Gladys Porter Zoo, Brownsville, Texas, U.S.A. Four of the births occurred in September and October. Gladys Porter was the only U.S. zoo to successfully breed this species last year, and currently has the only breeding group in managed care in the country.

L. Ayala in AZA Communiqué (January 1998)

* * * * *

On a recent visit to Britain, Newt Gingrich, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, spent an afternoon at London Zoo. While there, he adopted a Malagasy giant jumping rat (Hypogeomys antimena), a descendant of the animals brought back to Jersey Zoo by Gerald Durrell. `He was delighted to hear that we don't receive government grants,' reported the zoo's Director-General, Richard Burge.

* * * * *

At Bramble Park Zoo, Watertown, South Dakota, U.S.A., an orphaned squirrel monkey was placed with a nine-year-old male golden-headed lion tamarin for `mothering'. Although hand-feeding is still necessary from keepers, the tamarin is providing all other care.

J. Lloyd in AZA Communiqué (December 1997)

* * * * *

On 29 August a young leopard escaped from a zoo in Bombay, India. It initially roamed peacefully around an apartment block, but then attacked two men, one of whom escaped with minor injuries, while the other required eight stitches to a head wound. The leopard later found its way into an empty house where it smashed crockery, ate a cooked meal, and went to sleep in the kitchen sink. Forestry officials caught the cat after tranquilising it with a blow dart.

Cat News No. 27 (Autumn 1997)

* * * * *

Michel Klat, the owner of the Old House Bird Gardens Breeding Centre in Berkshire, England, has decided to concentrate on pheasants in future, and is placing his collection of turacos and curassows on breeding loan at Birdworld, Farnham, Surrey. The collection consists of 16 species of turacos, including the great blue (Corythaeola cristata) and Lady Ross's (Musophaga rossae), and seven species of curassows. Altogether there are over 41 pairs of birds, most of them breeding pairs.

Avicultural Magazine Vol. 103, No. 2 (1997)

* * * * *

A giant anteater was born at Santa Barbara Zoo, California, on 28 September. This was the fifth birth for the parents and the eleventh giant anteater birth at the zoo. The baby weights 12 ounces (340 g) and is approximately 12 inches (30 cm) long. It is being mother-raised on exhibit. The birth continues the zoo's leading role in the captive breeding of giant anteaters.

K. Rogers in AZA Communiqué (December 1997)

* * * * *

Five sand boas (Eryx miliaris) were born at Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, on 10 August 1997. Brookfield is the first known North American zoo to have this species in its collection, and the first to breed them. The parents went through a hibernation program at the zoo in January. In May, the pair were placed together, at which time they were observed mating. They were separated after two weeks, and pregnancy was confirmed with radiographs. At birth, the offspring ranged in weight from 6.5 to 8.2 grams. The parents were born at Moscow Zoo, and the grandparents were wild-caught in the Kalmykia region between the Volga and the Caucasus.

T. Webb in AZA Communiqué (December 1997)


Adler, H.J.: Artenschutz in Vietnam: Zoos im Kampf gegen Wilderer und Holzfäller. (Species conservation in Vietnam: zoos in the fight against poachers and tree-fellers.) Zoo Magazin Nordrhein-Westfalen Vol. 3, No. 3 (1997), pp. 4–10. [German, no English summary; a partnership between Leipzig, Münster and Saigon Zoos.]

Ahlborn, S., and Rothe, H.: Aktivitätsprofil und Tagesperiodik der Futtersuche und Futteraufnahme einer Gruppe semi-freilebender Weissbüschelaffen (Callithrix jacchus). (Activity profile and time budget of foraging and food utilisation in a semi-free-ranging group of common marmosets.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 67, No. 6 (1997), pp. 301–316. [German, with English summary.]

Baker, W.K.: What type of safety precautions should staff members take in advance of animal restraint situations? Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 24, No. 12 (1997), pp. 526–527.

Barâthy, B.: Free-ranging common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) at Cricket St Thomas Wildlife Park. Ratel Vol. 24, No. 6 (1997), pp. 215–214. [In a 17-month period the pair originally released have reared three sets of twins. The animals have access to a box kept at 15° C, but spend most of the day out in the trees, even in the coldest weather. They are very active and extremely healthy, with fine coats and none of the hair loss problems commonly found in captive callitrichids.]

Bartmann, W.: Tamanduas auf Hochzeitsreise. (Tamanduas on honeymoon.) Zoo Magazin Nordrhein-Westfalen Vol. 3, No. 3 (1997), pp. 40–42. [German, no English summary; Dortmund Zoo.]

Bernhardt, C.: Kamelnachwuchs im Doppelpack – Zwei Geburten im Zoo Krefeld. (Two camel births at Krefeld Zoo.) Zoo Magazin Nordrhein-Westfalen Vol. 3, No. 3 (1997), p. 80. [German, no English summary; Bactrian camels.]

Bosch, H.: Virtuosen der Tarnung – Fetzenfische. (Camouflage experts – seadragons.) Zoo Magazin Nordrhein-Westfalen Vol. 3, No. 3 (1997), pp. 50–56. [German, no English summary; weedy seadragons (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) at Löbbecke Museum and Aquazoo, Düsseldorf.]

Brent, L., and Stone, A.: Destructible toys as enrichment for captive chimpanzees. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science Vol. 1, No. 1 (1998), pp. 5–14.

Callaghan, E.: Breeding the three-banded rosefinch Carpodacus trifasciatus. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 103, No. 2 (1997), pp. 67–70.

Curzon, M.: Rode 1995. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 103, No. 2 (1997), pp. 78–79. [Tropical Bird Gardens, Rode, U.K. Breeding highlights included Australian shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides), Sonnerat's jungle fowl (Gallus sonnerati), green peafowl (Pavo muticus), red-tailed and double yellow-headed amazons (A. brasiliensis and A. ochrocephala oratrix), Hahn's macaw (Ara n. nobilis), Aru Island cockatoo (Cacatua galerita eleonora), pink-crested, Livingstone's and white-cheeked turacos (T. erythrolophus, T. corythaix livingstonii and T. leucotis), and Sulawesi quail dove (Gallicolumba trisigmata).]

Davis, C.: Seasonal weight variation in four species of captive cranes at the International Crane Foundation. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 103, No. 2 (1997), pp. 71–77. [There was significant weight gain from summer to winter in three migratory species, Siberian, whooping and red-crowned, but not in females of the non-migratory Florida sandhill crane (Grus canadensis pratensis).]

de Ruiter, M.: Breeding the barn owl (Tyto alba) in Belgium. Tyto Vol. 2, No. 5 (1997), pp. 76–77.

Diwan, S.: An initiative to save the wild ass sanctuary, the Little Rann of Kutch, India. Ratel Vol. 24, No. 6 (1997), pp. 213–214.

Encke, D.: Drachenköpfe, Vieraugen und Wandelnde Blätter. (Dragon-heads, four-eyes and walking leaves.) Zoo Magazin Nordrhein-Westfalen Vol. 3, No. 3 (1997), pp. 12–18. [German, no English summary; Münster Zoo aquarium.]

Fiore, C.: The challenge of caring for one of the world's most intelligent birds. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 24, No. 12 (1997), pp. 528–531. [Sedgwick County Zoo, Kansas; kea (Nestor notabilis).]

Fouts, R.S.: On the psychological well-being of chimpanzees. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science Vol. 1, No. 1 (1998), pp. 65–73.

Fulkerson, K.: Cryptosporidium at the Infant Isolation Unit. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 24, No. 12 (1997), pp. 541–542. [San Diego Wild Animal Park; describes symptoms and treatment of four young animals affected, and regime adopted to prevent future outbreaks.]

Galama, W.: Neushoornvogels in Avifauna op zoek naar voedsel! (Hornbills at Birdpark Avifauna search for food.) De Harpij Vol. 16, No. 4 (1997), pp. 24–25. [Dutch, with English summary; an experiment with more attractive presentation of food to a group of six Buceros bicornis. An increase in foraging activity was noted, but the experiment was not continued long enough to assess whether there would be a more generalised increase in other, non-foraging, natural behaviours.]

Guerrero, D.: Zoo gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) evaluation, Part 2. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 24, No. 12 (1997), pp. 520–522. [Integrating silverbacks into a bachelor group.]

Gürtler, W.-D.: Die Tierwelt des Kaokolandes im Ruhr Zoo. (Animals of Kaokoland in Ruhr Zoo.) Zoo Magazin Nordrhein-Westfalen Vol. 3, No. 3 (1997), pp. 66–69. [German, no English summary; Kaokoland is in north-west Namibia.]

Haas, S.: Aus der Tierpark Kinderstube. (In the zoo nursery.) Zoo Magazin Nordrhein-Westfalen Vol. 3, No. 3 (1997), p. 38. [German, no English summary; pygmy marmoset and Bengal monitor, Bochum Zoo.]

Haas, S.: Hummeln im Tierpark Bochum. (Bumble-bees at Bochum Zoo.) Zoo Magazin Nordrhein-Westfalen Vol. 3, No. 3 (1997), p. 34. [German, no English summary.]

Howell, S., Mittra, E., Fritz, J., and Baron, J.: The provision of cage furnishings as environmental enrichment at the Primate Foundation of Arizona. The Newsletter Vol. 9, No. 2 (1997), pp. 1–5.

Johann, A.: Mit Löwenmähne und roter Brust – Dscheladas im Tierpark Rheine. (Lion's mane and red breast – geladas at Rheine Zoo.) Zoo Magazin Nordrhein-Westfalen Vol. 3, No. 3 (1997), pp. 20–26. [German, no English summary.]

Keeling, C.: She blazed the owl care trail. Tyto Vol. 2, No. 5 (1997), pp. 83–89. [Miss E.F. Chawner, a pioneer of owl keeping in Britain.]

Langenhorst, T.: Auswirkungen eines Behavioural-Enrichment-Programms auf das stereotype Verhalten von Braunbären (Ursus arctos). (Effects of a behavioural enrichment programme on stereotyping in brown bears.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 67, No. 6 (1997), pp. 317–340. [German, with English summary; enrichment resulted in a significant reduction of stereotypical behaviour in a group of 1.2 bears in Salzburg Zoo.]

Lehmann, C.: Tierportrait: Der Wanderfalke. (Animal profile: the peregrine falcon.) Zoo Magazin Nordrhein-Westfalen Vol. 3, No. 3 (1997), p. 36. [German, no English summary; Bochum Zoo.]

Lilley, G.M.: The owl's wing and its noiseless flight. Tyto Vol. 2, No. 5 (1997), pp. 78–82.

Long, D.R., and Suter, B.P.: Temperature influence on red-eyed treefrog (Agalychnis callidryas) developmental success and metamorph physical condition. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society Vol. 32, No. 10 (1997), pp. 209–211. [Eggs were incubated and tadpoles reared at 24° , 27° and 30° C. Hatching took longer at 24° , but a much higher percentage hatched. Survival to metamorphosis was highest in the 24° group, considerably lower in the 27° group, and extremely low in the 30° group.]

Low, R.: Profile on the World Parrot Trust. Ratel Vol. 24, No. 6 (1997), pp. 191–198.

McCallum, M.L.: A comparison of feeding behavior in two pipids, Xenopus laevis and Hymenochirus boettgeri, with emphasis on the use of the forelimbs. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society Vol. 32, No. 10 (1997), pp. 211–212.

Mallinson, J.J.C.: A `case study': partnerships and conservation initiatives resulting from a Population Viability Assessment (PVA) Workshop for the genus Leontopithecus. Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 67, No. 6 (1997), pp. 355–363.

Marshall, I.: Breeding the white-faced scops owl (Otus leucotis). Tyto Vol. 2, No. 5 (1997), pp. 94–96.

Monfort, S.L., Wasser, S.K., Mashburn, K.L., Burke, M., Brewer, B.A., and Creel, S.R.: Steroid metabolism and validation of noninvasive endocrine monitoring in the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus). Zoo Biology Vol. 16, No. 6 (1997), pp. 533–548. [Measurement of steroids in urine and/or faeces allows non-invasive monitoring of reproductive status.]

Moore, B.A., and Suedmeyer, W.K.: Blood sampling in 0.2 Bornean orangutans at the Kansas City Zoological Gardens. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 24, No. 12 (1997), pp. 537–540. [In 1993, a hypothyroid female was trained to allow blood samples to be taken. The benefit of conditioning quickly became apparent, and all four of the zoo's orangs now participate.]

Nederlof, L.-J.: Kweken met de Australische doorntak. (Breeding the spiny leaf-insect.) De Harpij Vol. 16, No. 4 (1997), pp. 14–16. [Dutch, with English summary; Extatosoma tiaratum.]

Nelson, J.T., Gee, G.F., and Slack, R.D.: Food consumption and retention time in captive whooping cranes (Grus americana). Zoo Biology Vol. 16, No. 6 (1997), pp. 519–531.

Newton, K.D.: Successful breeding of the Tengmalm's owl. Tyto Vol. 2, No. 5 (1997), pp. 92–93. [Aegolius funereus.]

Niesz, J.: Planckendael kweekt voor het eerst met monniksgieren. (Planckendael breeds Eurasian black vultures for the first time.) De Harpij Vol. 16, No. 4 (1997), pp. 18–19. [Dutch, with English summary; Aegypius monachus. An egg, expected to be infertile, was removed for artificial incubation and a healthy chick hatched. After unsuccessful attempts to foster it with other captive pairs, it was placed in a fenced-off area of its parents' enclosure, allowing visual but not physical contact. No aggression was seen, and at three months of age the chick was placed with its parents during the day. It appeared to be the most dominant of the three, and after a few days it was left with the parents continuously until it was removed at about eight months old to allow the pair to breed again.]

Odening, K.: Die Sarcocystis-Infektion: Wechselbeziehungen zwischen freilebenden Wildtieren, Haustieren und Zootieren. (Relations between occurrences of Sarcocystis infection in wild, domestic and zoo animals.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 67, No. 6 (1997), pp. 317–340. [German, with English summary.]

Osmann, C.: Beinbruch beim Giraffenkalb – Glück im Unglück! (A giraffe calf with a broken leg – a blessing in disguise!) Zoo Magazin Nordrhein-Westfalen Vol. 3, No. 3 (1997), pp. 43–44. [German, no English summary; Dortmund Zoo.]

Pagel, T.: Das `Eulen-Kloster' im Zoologischen Garten Köln und seine Bewohner. (Cologne Zoo's Owl Cloister and its residents.) Zeitschrift des Kölner Zoo Vol. 40, No. 4 (1997), pp. 131–142. [German, with very brief English summary; the new aviary is designed to resemble an old, ruined cloister.]

Pfleiderer, M.: Das `Blinzeln' der Feliden. (Blinking in cats.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 67, No. 6 (1997), pp. 364–374. [German, with brief English summary. Discusses the use of blinking as a social signal in felids, and suggests that its uses are analogous to those of smiling in humans.]

Poole, T.: Identifying the behavioural needs of zoo mammals and providing appropriate captive environments. Ratel Vol. 24, No. 6 (1997), pp. 200–211. [Outlines a systematic method for analysing the enclosure needs of different species.]

Powell, A.N., Cuthbert, F.J., Wemmer, L.C., Doolittle, A.W., and Feirer, S.T.: Captive-rearing piping plovers: developing techniques to augment wild populations. Zoo Biology Vol. 16, No. 6 (1997), pp. 461–477. [Techniques for captive-rearing and releasing piping plovers (Charadrius melodus) were developed using a surrogate species, killdeer (C. vociferus), whose growth and behaviour are similar. Recommendations are given for captive-rearing piping plovers using salvaged eggs to enhance productivity of small populations.]

Pützstück, L.: `Exotenzauber vor Stadtmauer und Haustür': Völkerschauen im Kölner Zoo 1878–1932. (Exotic wonders `on our own doorstep'.) Zeitschrift des Kölner Zoo Vol. 40, No. 4 (1997), pp. 151–157. [German, with brief English summary. Between 1878 and 1932, seven `live' ethnographic exhibitions took place at Cologne Zoo, featuring Eskimos, Indians, Samoans, Bedouin, New Caledonians, Sara-Kabas (from modern Chad, famous for their `duck-billed' women), and Ashantis (from modern Ghana).]

Sawyer, R.C.J.: Twenty-five years at Cobham. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 103, No. 2 (1997), pp. 49–66. [Notes on a leading U.K. private bird collection. Among species discussed are emerald and splendid starlings (Lamprotornis iris and L. splendidus), American black-necked stilt (Himantopus mexicanus), wattled jacana (J. jacana), white-breasted rail (Laterallus leucopyrrhus), roulroul partridge (Rollulus roulroul), and many others.]

Schifter, H., and Studer-Thiersch, A.: Bemerkenswertes Alter von Rosaflamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber roseus) in Menschenhand. (Noteworthy longevities of captive greater flamingos.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 67, No. 6 (1997), p. 390. [German, no English summary; this is an extraordinarily long-lived species, the current record standing at around 60 years.]

Schürer, U.: Afrikanische Haustiere im Zoologischen Garten Wuppertal. (African domestic animals at Wuppertal Zoo.) Zoo Magazin Nordrhein-Westfalen Vol. 3, No. 3 (1997), pp. 27–32. [German, no English summary.]

Schwammer, H., and Pechlaner, H.: Der neue Elefantenpark in Wien: ein Projekt für moderne Haltung und Zucht Afrikanischer Elefanten. (The new elephant enclosure in Vienna: a project for modern management and breeding of African elephants.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 67, No. 6 (1997), pp. 375–385. [German, with English summary. Schönbrunn Zoo's new elephant facility currently houses 1.4 adults. The 2,100 m2 building provides pens and an indoor exercise yard, while the 4,600 m2 outside area includes separate outdoor enclosures for bulls and cows. The design makes possible both a full-contact system with cows and hands-off management of bulls. The pens make chaining the animals obsolete. The extensive wall and floor heating system is extremely cheap to operate.]

Shochat, E., and Robbins, C.T.: Nutrition and behavioral management of bottle-raised moose calves. Zoo Biology Vol. 16, No. 6 (1997), pp. 495–503. [Moose (Alces alces) calves are difficult to bottle-raise and captive mortality is extremely high. Inappropriate milk replacers often lead to diarrhoea, and to avoid this calves are often purposely underfed, resulting in poor growth rates. The authors developed a milk formula and feeding protocol modelled on natural milk composition and neonatal intake, and successfully raised nine calves through weaning and beyond one year of age.]

Shochat, E., Robbins, C.T., Parish, S.M., Young, P.B., Stephenson, T.R., and Tamayo, A.: Nutritional investigations and management of captive moose. Zoo Biology Vol. 16, No. 6 (1997), pp. 479–494. [Most zoos no longer attempt to exhibit moose (Alces alces) because they die prematurely. Although wild moose can live 15–20 years, like other wild or captive cervids, 70% of all captive moose die during their first year and 90% die by six years of age. This is largely due to their sensitivity to disease and the difficulty of providing an adequate diet. Virtually all other cervids do well on alfalfa, grass, and grains, but moose fed these diets ultimately die due to enteritis, chronic diarrhoea and loss of body condition. The development of wood-fibre diets has increased their lifespan in captivity, but has not completely prevented chronic wasting. Among conclusions of the authors' research are: (1) Moose should never be fed grass or hay, or allowed to graze on pastures; nor should they be included in mixed-species exhibits if alfalfa-, clover-, or grass-based diets fed to other species are available. (2) A pelleted diet has been developed that is much more palatable than the commercially-available moose diets and can be used as the sole source of nourishment. (3) Moose are very susceptible to ivermectin-resistant Trichuris (whipworm) infections and malignant catarrhal fever. Fenbendazole or doramectin treatments are suggested, and contact with wild or domestic sheep and goats must be avoided.]

Sweeney, R.G.: The vinaceous amazon Amazona vinacea at Loro Parque. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 103, No. 2 (1997), pp. 85–89.

Tell, L.A.: Excretion and metabolic fate of radiolabeled estradiol and testosterone in the cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus). Zoo Biology Vol. 16, No. 6 (1997), pp. 505–518. [Suggests that faecal/urine collection is `a practical and efficient method of monitoring sex steroid excretion'.]

van Herk, R.: Het Biomedical Primates Research Centre: voorzichtige veranderingen in een proefdiercentrum. (The BPRC: cautious improvements in an experimental animal centre.) De Harpij Vol. 16, No. 4 (1997), pp. 7–13. [Dutch, with English summary; discusses the ethical implications of work at the centre (which holds, among other primates, the largest group of chimpanzees in Europe).]

van Hoek, C.S., and ten Cate, C.: Abnormal behavior in caged birds kept as pets. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science Vol. 1, No. 1 (1998), pp. 51–64.

Verrijdt, B., Verkooy, P., and Lamers, C.: Gevleugelde Caïn en Abels: moord en doodslag in de vogelwereld. (Winged Cain and Abel: murder in the bird world.) De Harpij Vol. 16, No. 4 (1997), pp. 2–5. [Dutch, with English summary. `Siblicide' (killing of one sibling by another) in birds can occur when the following factors are present: the young fight over food, the food is offered in small pieces by the parents, the nest has limited room, the young possess a `weapon', and siblings are at different developmental stages. The article discusses ways of avoiding siblicide in captive birds. In some species siblicide is `facultative', i.e. it may or may not occur; in such cases, offering the parents more food may increase the survival chance of the second chick. In others it is obligatory, usually occurring soon after hatching; in these cases, the best way to save both chicks is to remove one for hand-rearing just after hatching – not at the egg stage, as this has been shown to reduce the first chick's chance of survival.]

Visser, G.: Die Verwendung von POR's bei der Planung von Reptiliengehegen. (Use of Programmes of Requirements in planning reptile enclosures.) Zeitschrift des Kölner Zoo Vol. 40, No. 4 (1997), pp. 145–148. [German, with English summary. At Rotterdam Zoo, a team consisting of the relevant keepers-in-charge, a curator, a botanist, an educator, the zoo's architect and the zoo's design coordinator produce a set of demands and desires for the new animal enclosures. These checklists, called `Programmes of Requirements', form the basis for the design team (consisting of the architect, the design coordinator, the head botanist and the head of the education department) to develop new enclosures. The resulting drawings are then checked by the P.O.R. team, before they go to the contractors who will build the enclosure. In the case of reptile enclosures, this is totally different from the former situation, when reptiles were kept in special houses, and a reptile curator could redecorate or enlarge his enclosures very much to his own liking. Now, animals are kept in more naturalistic settings and one can find mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and even insects in the same `habitat buildings'. This new approach made the changes in development and construction of animal enclosures necessary.]

Vogt, P.: Erfahrungen mit der Kranichhaltung im Krefelder Zoo. (Experiences of crane management at Krefeld Zoo.) Zoo Magazin Nordrhein-Westfalen Vol. 3, No. 3 (1997), pp. 76–79. [German, no English summary.]

Wexler, P.: Breeding the pink-backed pelican Pelecanus rufescens. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 103, No. 2 (1997), pp. 80–84. [A chick was hatched and hand-raised at Birdworld, Farnham, U.K., from an egg laid at Longleat Safari Park. This may be the first pelican successfully reared in the U.K.]

Wood, M.: Notes on the rhinoceros viper (Bitis nasicornis) in captivity. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society Vol. 32, No. 11 (1997), pp. 228–229.

Zimmermann, W.: Die Bedeutung von Semireservaten für das EEP Przewalskipferd. (The importance of semi-wild reserves for the Przewalski horse EEP.) Zoo Magazin Nordrhein-Westfalen Vol. 3, No. 3 (1997), pp. 70–75. [German, no English summary.]

Zinner, D., Burmann, C.G., and Peláez, F.: Freilebende Paviane in den Korkeichenwäldern Südspaniens. (Free-living baboons in the cork-oak woods of southern Spain.) Zeitschrift des Kölner Zoo Vol. 40, No. 4 (1997), pp. 161–167. [German, with brief English summary. For almost ten years, a free-ranging group of baboons (of Papio anubis type, but with a possible admixture of P. hamadryas) have lived on a ranch near San Roque, Cadiz, Spain. The group increased from 12 in 1993 to 18 in 1997. The baboons are the subject of an eco-ethological study by the Independent University of Madrid. Data suggest similar habitat use, diet type, and behavioural patterns to those of East African baboon populations. Some problems have arisen and the future of the group is under discussion.]

Publishers of the periodicals listed:

Animal Keepers' Forum, American Association of Zoo Keepers, 635 Gage Boulevard, Topeka, Kansas 66606, U.S.A.

Avicultural Magazine, Avicultural Society, c/o Bristol Zoo, Bristol BS8 3HA, U.K.

Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society, 2060 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois 60614, U.S.A.

De Harpij, Stichting De Harpij, Van Aerssenlaan 49, 3039 KE Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, Subscription Department, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 10 Industrial Avenue, Mahwah, New Jersey 07430–2262, U.S.A.

The Newsletter, Primate Foundation of Arizona, P.O. Box 86, Tempe, Arizona 85280, U.S.A.

Ratel, Association of British Wild Animal Keepers, 12 Tackley Road, Eastville, Bristol BS5 6UQ, U.K.

Tyto, International Owl Society, 202 Noak Hill Road, Billericay, Essex CN12 9UX, U.K.

Zeitschrift des Kölner Zoo, Zoologischer Garten, Riehler Strasse 173, D-50735 Köln, Germany.

Zoo Biology, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158, U.S.A.

Zoo Magazin Nordrhein-Westfalen, AWP Werbegesellschaft mbH & Co., Peterstrasse 49, 47877 Willich, Germany.

Der Zoologische Garten, Gustav Fischer Verlag Jena GmbH, Villengang 2, D-07745 Jena, Germany.

Animal Genetics Conference

The XXVI International Conference on Animal Genetics will be held in Auckland, New Zealand from 9 to 14 August 1998. Contact Ian Anderson, Chairman, Organising Committee, Equine Blood Typing & Research Centre, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand. (Tel.: ++06–356–9099 ext. 7261; Fax: ++06–350–5621; E-mail:; Web page: http:\\\animalsci\isag\index.html)