International Zoo News Vol. 46/6 (No. 295) September 1999



Breeding Management of African Elephants: a Progressive Project

Harald Schwammer

The Pygmy Hippopotamus at Rome Zoological Garden

Spartaco Gippoliti and Alfiero Leoni

The Role of Animal Presentations in Zoo Education

Luke J. Gates and John A. Ellis

Stages of a Zoo Visit

Sue Dale Tunnicliffe

A Wonderful Frog from Vietnam: Biology, Management and Breeding

Evgeny Ryboltovsky

Breeding toco toucans in the Netherlands

Maarten de Ruiter

Letters to the Editor

Book Review


International Zoo News

Recent Articles


Early this year it was announced – in a blaze of publicity – that the New Zealand parliament was to vote on a proposal to give human-like rights to chimpanzees and other great apes. In the event, the measure was rejected (a non-news event which attracted very little publicity); but the proposal was only the latest episode in a campaign which has been going on at least since the 1993 publication of the book The Great Ape Project – Equality Beyond Humanity (P. Cavalieri and P. Singer, Fourth Estate, London). Some of the implications of this campaign have already been discussed in I.Z.N. (Glatston, 1996; Gippoliti, 1996).

The concept of `rights for great apes' has always seemed to me to be scientifically flawed, in that it makes use of biological data in a deliberately misleading way to exaggerate the degree of affinity between human beings and apes. Its advocates make much of the fact that humans and chimpanzees share 98.4 per cent of their DNA. But this does not mean that chimpanzees are 98.4 per cent human: quantitatively minute genetic changes can give rise to vastly different organisms. All vertebrates, I believe, have about 40 per cent of their DNA in common, but this does not make a frog or a shark 40 per cent human.

My recent reading of Primate Cognition (Tomasello and Call, 1997), reviewed in I.Z.N. 46:5, pp. 298–300, has strengthened my belief that there is no scientific basis for singling out apes for this sort of special treatment. Time and again, the authors of this book stress the similarities between great apes and other primates, and between primates and other mammals. In their view, we have been misled by the obvious, sometimes superficial, resemblances between humans and apes into imagining a much closer affinity than really exists. So even if it were justifiable to award rights to non-human animals based on the degree to which they are `like us' in fundamental respects, it would not be self-evidently the case that the great apes would head the list. The cetaceans, for example, might have a powerful claim.

The ultimate argument, though, remains an ethical one. By admitting great apes as `honorary human beings', we would automatically be reinforcing the barriers between `us' and `them' – even if the definition of `us' was extended to include chimps, bonobos, orang-utans and gorillas. I can see no justification for admitting 100,000 or so extra members to the privileged ranks of humankind, while leaving countless millions of `lesser' animals outside the club, just as victimised and vulnerable as ever.

Nicholas Gould


Gippoliti, S. (1996): Animal rights, great ape conservation and zoos. International Zoo News 43 (8): 542–543.

Glatston, A.R. (1996): Apes in zoos – prison or sanctuary? International Zoo News 43 (4): 228–231.

Tomasello, M., and Call, J. (1997): Primate Cognition. Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford.




Examining the herd books of the two elephant species in the U.S.A. (Keele, 1997; Olson, 1997) and Europe (Terkel, 1997) reveals that the situation of captive animals – in the case of both the Asian and African elephant – is problematic. The breeding results are still far from being sufficient to maintain the zoo populations. Moreover, many zoos still lack satisfactory elephant facilities. The result – bulls cannot be kept. This, in turn, means that on-site breeding becomes impossible. Sending females to breeding bulls at other zoos is becoming increasingly difficult, a situation that has worsened since the first report of a herpes virus (Montali et al., 1998; Richman et al., 1999). [See I.Z.N. 46:4, p. 233 – Ed.]

A cause for concern is a new development in the U.S.A. It involves a switch from the `hands on' method to the so-called `protected contact' approach (Anderson, 1997; Desmond and Laule, 1991). This trend, which has received unwarranted support in the form of an AZA recommendation, sounds promising for theorists (Schmid, 1998) and animal welfare people. None the less, protected contact has yielded only very few genuine success stories: most of the animals involved had a long history of training or were even former circus elephants. Any euphoria is therefore very premature. In addition, the semblance of handler `safety' is deceptive – accidents have already been reported under this method. The fact remains that keeping elephants is difficult. Safety can best be increased by building suitable elephant facilities and by an optimal, on-going training of keepers.

At Schönbrunn Zoo, Vienna, Austria, training courses were started in 1999 with the special topic `Training elephants for medical care, treatment and research' (Schwammer and Riddle, 1999). A free-contact management style seeks optimal psychological, physiological and social care. `Free contact' is the direct handling of an elephant with no barrier present between the keeper and the animal. The need for regular care of elephants in captivity has been repeatedly substantiated. Proper elephant management involves daily skin care, foot care, medical examinations, an overall check of physical condition, sufficient exercise, and activities that stimulate mental processes. To deter stereotypic, aggressive or lethargic behaviour, captive elephants must be kept occupied with physical exercise and mental stimuli. Good physical conditioning is essential for a long, healthy life.

Practically experienced persons believe that these goals are best accomplished with the free-contact elephant management method. The general recommendation, however, is to keep as many of the elephants as possible in free contact, although protected contact is the most sensible method for bulls and for cows that may have turned aggressive (Schwammer, 1997a, 1997b; Schwammer and Karapanou, 1997; Schwammer, 1998).

The Schönbrunn project

The current age-class structure of the elephants at Schönbrunn means that putting together a natural breeding group here will take a few years. Two years ago, we erected a modern elephant facility that satisfies all today's requirements (Schwammer, 1997; Schwammer and Pechlaner, 1997). Schönbrunn's population of African elephants consists of 1.5 animals, of whom the bull is seven years old and the females are aged 14, 14, 24, 39, and 40 years. At seven, the bull Pambo, who was born in Basel, is still somewhat too young, although he has repeatedly attempted to cover a 14-year-old female. However, this female, along with the others, is too dominant. For this reason, the first artificial insemination project for elephants in Europe has just been started. Overall, artificial insemination in elephants has been successfully implemented three times in the U.S.A., once with an Asian elephant in Springfield, Missouri (Schmitt, 1998) [see I.Z.N. 45:6, p. 393], and recently with two African elephants at Indianapolis Zoo (Hildebrandt et al., 1999) [see I.Z.N. 45:7, pp. 450–451].

In Vienna the veterinary work is carried out by Dr Thomas Hildebrandt and his team from the IZW (Institute for Zoo Biology and Wildlife Research) in close cooperation between the IZW, Schönbrunn Zoo and Colchester Zoo, U.K. The aim is to introduce new genetic potential by using an outside bull. In this case the bull is Tembo from Colchester. The first step was taken in December 1998, when the three potential cow elephants, Sabi (14 years), Tonga (14) and Drumbo (24) were examined by ultrasound. All three animals proved to be healthy, and Sabi and Drumbo were cyclical. A decision was therefore made to fertilize these two cows; the method appears to be well founded and the chances for success high. Should a male be born, it could be kept at Schönbrunn, because the bull facility here is designed to hold two bulls and has an alternate pen. Should the artificial insemination give rise to females, then this would yield the generation for the bull Pambo to cover, since these juveniles would stem from an outside father.

This marks the start of a breeding programme for African elephants that aims to do more than merely produce new animals. Rather, the goal is a comprehensive, future-oriented breeding management system that stresses a combination of natural breeding and artificial insemination. Keeping an elephant herd without bulls is undesirable. The artificial insemination project is very time-consuming and demanding as far as training the animals goes. Those who are more closely involved in this project will recognize that the goals outlined above can only be achieved with `hands on' elephants. After all, modern zoos have a responsibility to breed endangered species and to conduct scientific research as well.

Shortly after word got out about this progressive management project, interest in and inquiries about artificial insemination in elephants rose. The Schönbrunn project has therefore influenced the often very conservative approach at numerous European zoos.


Anderson, D. (1997): Protected contact issues. Journal of the Elephant Managers Association 8 (3): 55–57, 76.

Desmond, T., and Laule, G. (1991): Protected-contact elephant training. Proceedings, AAZPA National Conference 1991, pp. 12–18.

Hildebrandt T.B., Göritz, F., Schnorrenberg, A., Hermes, R., Schmitt, D.L., Hagan, D., Peterson, J.S., Brown, J.L., Loskutoff, N., Pratt, N.C., Lehnhardt, J.L., Miller, G., Montali, R.J., and Olson, D. (1999): Successful artificial insemination of African nulliparous elephants at the Indianapolis Zoo. Thirty-ninth International Symposium on Diseases of Zoo and Wild Animals, Vienna.

Keele, M.N. (1997): Asian Elephant Regional Studbook. Metro Washington Park Zoo, Oregon, U.S.A.

Montali, R.J., Richman, L.K., and Hildebrandt, T.B. (1998): Highly fatal disease of Asian elephants in North America and Europe is attributed to a newly recognized endotheliotropic herpesvirus. Elephant Journal 1 (3–4): 3.

Olson, D.J. (1997): North American Regional Studbook for the African Elephant (Loxodonta africana). Indianapolis Zoological Society, Indiana, U.S.A.

Richman, L.K., Montali, R.J., Garber, R.L., Kennedy, M.A., Lehnhardt, J., Hildebrandt, T.B., Schmitt, D.L., Hardy, D., Alcendor, D.J., and Hayward, G.S. (1999): Novel endotheliotropic herpesviruses fatal for Asian and African elephants. Science 283: 1171.

Schmid, J. (1998): Hands off, hands on: some aspects of keeping elephants. International Zoo News 45 (8): 476–486.

Schmitt, D.L. (1998): Report of a successful artificial insemination in an Asian elephant. Third International Elephant Research Symposium, Springfield, Missouri, U.S.A.

Schwammer, H. (1997a): A new facility for African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at the Schönbrunn Zoo, Vienna. Journal of the Elephant Managers Association 8 (2): 68–72.

Schwammer, H. (1997b): Captive elephants in Europe and the urgent need for new keeping concepts. Proceedings of the 18th Annual Elephant Manager Workshop. Fort Worth Zoo, Texas, U.S.A.

Schwammer, H. (1998): Time management for zoo elephants. Third International Elephant Research Symposium, Springfield, Missouri, U.S.A.

Schwammer, H., and Karapanou, E. (1997): Promoting functional behaviours in confined African elephants (Loxodonta africana) by increasing the physical complexity of their environment. Proceedings of the Third International Congress on Environmental Enrichment. Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.

Schwammer, H., and Pechlaner, H. (1997): Der neue Elefantenpark in Wien: Ein Projekt für moderne Haltung und Zucht Afrikanischer Elefanten. Der Zoologische Garten, N.F., 67 (6): 375–385.

Schwammer, H., and Riddle, H.S. (1999): Training elephants for medical care, treatment and research. Thirty-ninth International Symposium on Diseases of Zoo and Wild Animals, Vienna.

Terkel, A. (1997): The European EEP List for the African Elephant (Loxodonta africana). Zoological Center Tel Aviv Ramat-Gan, Israel.

Dr Harald Schwammer, Vice Director, Zoologist, Schönbrunn Zoo, Maxingstrasse 13b, A-1130 Vienna, Austria. (Phone: +43 1 877 92 94 266; Fax: +43 1 877 96 41; E-mail:





The pygmy hippopotamus (Hexaprotodon liberiensis) is considered Vulnerable by the 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals (Baillie and Groombridge, 1996). Nothing is known about the Nigerian subspecies (H. l. heslopi), only described in 1969, which could be already extinct (Eltringham, 1993). The nominate subspecies occurs in four countries (Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ivory Coast), and it is everywhere decreasing, with the possible exception of Guinea. Captive breeding could play a relevant role in the long-term conservation of the species. However, despite seventy years of breeding history, the husbandry of the pygmy hippo needs to be enhanced to maintain the species in more appropriate physical and social conditions (Eltringham, 1993). Here we report on pygmy hippopotamus maintenance in the Rome Municipal Zoological Garden in the years 1983–1997.

History of the pygmy hippopotamus at Rome Zoo

Rome Zoo received its first pygmy hippo in 1937 from London Zoo. This female (Lond 5) died in 1949, killed by a male common hippo, and not by an adult male of her own species, as reported in the International Studbook (Tobler, 1985). In 1973 a pair of wild-caught individuals arrived from Liberia, but the male survived for only 25 days. The female, Pupa (Lib 62), was housed in the new pachyderm house with both indoor and outdoor areas, including a large indoor heated pool. In 1980 a young male was received from Munich, but he survived for only two months. Another adult male, Omero (Berlin-Z 16), was received in October 1983. The indoor stall was divided by wire mesh to allow the two animals to familiarise with one another. At that time, the outdoor enclosure was used by a black rhinoceros, and it was felt that the indoor land area alone was too small (16 m2) to permit the pairing of the two animals. In April 1984 the two hippos were transferred to the tapir section, where they were given access to two small stalls (2 ´ 2 m) and a paddock of about 150 m2 (hereafter referred to as paddock A), provided with a circular pool three metres in diameter and one metre deep, ramped for easy access. Integration was achieved without problems, but at night one of the animals was locked in the stall. The breeding history of Rome pygmy hippos is summarised in Table 1.

In 1990, the original quarters became too small to accommodate three pygmy hippos (and a growing number of tapirs). Close to the tapir section stood the old pachyderm house, with an outdoor area of more than 500 m2, then housing pelicans of various species and demoiselle cranes. A stall of about 12 m2 was also available, as well as a narrow pool more than 15 m long. So all three animals were transferred there (paddock B). In 1991, owing to repair works in the tapir section, we could not move Pupa into the stall there before she gave birth. We felt that the present stall was not ideal for rearing, and, in fact, the newborn calf was killed by the mother. Eleven months later, Pupa was moved into the tapir section, where she successfully reared a female calf (Francesca). In 1995 it was necessary to divide paddock B because of the impossibility of reintegrating the female Andreina with Omero and Francesca.


The animals were never locked in the sheds, except in very cold weather or in late pregnancy. Mean minimum temperature in Rome is 2.8° C in January, the mean maximum is 30.6° C in August. Mean relative humidity ranges from 87% to 60% during the year. The hippos are fed twice a day, at about 10.00 and 16.00 hours. The staple diet includes lucerne hay (c. 8 kg per animal), carrots, apples and different kinds of vegetable (broccoli, lettuce, endive, fennel etc.). Food is offered either in the sheds or in the paddocks, according to weather or husbandry requirements. It seems advisable to disperse certain kinds of food, e.g. apples, all over the paddock area, to encourage searching activity by the hippos. Occasionally, the hippos have been observed eating the fish destined for the pelicans. The sheds are partially cleaned every morning, and the pools every week. The sheds are not heated, but straw is provided as bedding material. Until now, the only health problem encountered has been the occurrence of boils and abscesses, which have been treated with injections of antibiotics. As suggested by Partridge (1983), these problems seem to be associated with the cold months of the year, when the hippos do not bathe in the cold water, so that their skin dries up and then flakes. Another medical problem was represented by Andreina's first calf which, at autopsy, was found to have her vaginal tract obstructed.


According to Robinson (1970, cited in Eltringham, 1993), the pygmy hippo shows a closer resemblance in its ecology and behaviour to tapirs than to the common hippo, although, in our opinion, it is more adapted to grazing than to browsing. Our experience confirms that the captive habitat requirements of Tapirus and Hexaprotodon are very similar, and that land area size is of fundamental importance for the welfare of pygmy hippos in zoos. In Rome, the hippos spend much of their time on land, eventually preferring to rest in mud holes, but not in the pool. A similar behaviour pattern is reported in the new exhibit at Melbourne Zoo (Arnott et al., 1994). Reports of animals spending much of their time in water (Rahn, 1978) are probably due to the limited size and quality of the land area. Similarly, giving birth in water is rightly attributed by Greed (1982) to the female's `feeling of insecurity'. Killing of offspring by the mother may have the same origin; Pupa killed her calf on the only occasion when she had not been transferred to the shed in the tapir section. It should also be stressed that solitary species are not necessarily asocial. We had no problems in keeping together small family groups consisting of the adult pair, a subadult, and a juvenile (both females). It was not an unusual sight to see three hippos resting together in the mud (see photo, above). Serious fighting occurred only between Andreina and her father in 1995, and again in May 1996 (due mainly to the presence of the younger female Francesca). It seems likely that females develop a social hierarchy that can be broken up when separation for giving birth occurs. Housing of adult pygmy hippos of the same sex in adjoining enclosures may result in higher levels of aggressive and stereotyped behaviour, and possibly maternal behaviour can be compromised.

We feel that, although still not ideal, the husbandry and housing of pygmy hippos in Rome is a step towards the better management of the species in captivity. Improvements in the housing in Rome should include a deeper and wider pool in paddock B and enlargement of the indoor areas. In particular, a heated small pool or shower should be available in the sheds. Up to now, the major disappointment has been Andreina's failure to rear her calf. Although unsuccessful rearing is common in primiparous females, Andreina showed a high degree of aggressive and stereotyped behaviour towards her mother, housed in paddock B, while in the meantime neglecting the calf.


Hexaprotodon liberiensis is an endemic and endangered species of the Upper Guinean forest, a region recognized as both an EBA (Endemic Bird Area) and a `hotspot' for plant biodiversity conservation (Myers, 1990; Stattersfield et al., 1998). Therefore this taxon could serve as a flagship species for one of the most rich and threatened biota on earth. There is a great potential to create multispecies exhibits mixing pygmy hippo with other West African species, as was recently done in Melbourne Zoo (Arnott et al., 1994). Endemic taxa of the Upper Guinean block suitable for this purpose include ursine colobus (Colobus polykomos), both subspecies of diana monkey (Cercopithecus diana), white-breasted guineafowl (Agelastes meleagrides) and brown-cheeked hornbill (Ceratogymna cylindricus). Focus on this region may also lead to support of field efforts which are critical for the survival of the pygmy hippo in the wild. In particular, the distinctive relict Nigerian population may still survive in a little-known area which has revealed many surprises in recent years (Powell, 1997), and therefore deserves the urgent involvement of the zoo community in conservation activities in the Niger Delta. On the ex situ side, although it is not possible at present to suggest definitive guidelines for the management of the species, we propose that more adequate housing than usually described (e.g. Stroman and Slaughter, 1972) is necessary to achieve the welfare of the pygmy hippo and to enhance the `exhibition value' and fulfil the educational potential of this species in zoos.


We wish to thank Dr A. D'Alessandro and Dr A. Croce (formerly record-keeper and consultant veterinarian of Rome Zoo respectively) for useful advice in the preparation of this paper.


Arnott, J., Embury, A., and Prendergast, R. (1994): Pygmy hippopotamus/mandrill exhibit at Melbourne Zoo. International Zoo Yearbook 33: 252–262.

Baillie, J., and Groombridge, B. (eds.) (1996): 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, and Cambridge, U.K.

Eltringham, S.K. (1993): The pygmy hippopotamus (Hexaprotodon liberiensis). In Pigs, Peccaries, and Hippos: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan (ed. W.L.R. Oliver), pp. 55–60. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, and Cambridge, U.K.

Greed, G.R. (1982): Husbandry and breeding of the pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis). In Management of Pachyderms (ed. J. Barzdo), pp. 10–23. Association of British Wild Animal Keepers, Bristol, U.K.

Myers, N. (1990): The biodiversity challenge: expanded hot-spot analysis. The Environmentalist 10: 243–256.

Partridge, J. (1983): The management of the pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis) at Bristol Zoo. International Zoo News 30 (3): 28-41.

Powell, C.B. (1997): Discoveries and priorities for mammals in the freshwater forests of the Niger Delta. Oryx 31 (2): 83–85.

Rahn, P. (1978): On housing the pygmy hippopotamus in pairs: a survey of zoo practice. International Zoo Yearbook 18: 187–190.

Robinson, P.T. (1970): The status of the pigmy hippopotamus and other wildlife in West Africa. M.S. thesis, University of Michigan (80 pp.).

Robinson, P.T. (1979): Searching for Nimwe . . . the elusive pigmy hippo. Zoonooz 52: 7–12.

Stattersfield, A.J., Crosby, M.J., Long, A.J., and Wege, D.C. (1998): Endemic Bird Areas of the World: Priorities for Biodiversity Conservation (BirdLife Conservation Series No. 7). BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Stroman, H.R., and Slaughter, L.M. (1972): The care and breeding of the pygmy hippopotamus in captivity. International Zoo Yearbook 12: 126–131.

Tobler, K. (1985): International Studbook for the Pygmy Hippopotamus Choeropsis liberiensis (Morten, 1844). 4th edition. Zoological Garden, Basel, Switzerland.

Spartaco Gippoliti, Zoo Vivo, Viale delle Province, 50–00162 Rome, Italy; Alfiero Leoni, Head Keeper, Pachyderm Section, Rome Zoo.

Table 1. Births of pygmy hippo at Rome Zoo.

Died (or left zoo)
F Omero & Pupa 13.03.86 17.03.86
Alfiero M Omero & Pupa 13.11.86 21.03.88 (sold)
Andreina F Omero & Pupa 16.10.88
M Omero & Pupa 17.01.91 17.01.91
Francesca F Omero & Pupa 18.12.91
F Omero & Andreina 02.09.94 21.09.94
Nicola M Omero & Pupa 27.01.95 17.03.97 (breeding loan)
Omero & Andreina 01.10.97 (abortion)



Animal presentations take many forms and provide an ideal medium for capturing our guests and expanding their knowledge, imagination and understanding about the animals in our care and their counterparts in a wild environment. Historically we may remember chimpanzee tea parties and dolphins jumping through hoops, but through our own evolution – shaped partly by public attitudes – a new form of animal encounter or presentation is now in operation. Be it elephants shifting logs, a barn owl landing on a gloved hand, a splash from a sea lion or the feel of a snake, each of these provides a unique experience for our guests – a personal encounter with another world. For example, sea lion feeds are always popular. But with a little thought, training and a short talk, a simple random feed has become a learning tool benefiting the animals and guests alike. Trained animals are often associated with negative images such as the roller-skating macaw, something we were adamant to avoid. At Chessington World of Adventures, the challenge was to create an interactive learning experience placing the animals in context, whilst presenting them in an entertaining way.

Animal presentations have been part of the Chessington experience since 1995, and with the exception of the flying birds have utilised animals already on exhibit. We have come a long way since the beginning, and now offer four separate encounters or presentations to our guests:

– Sealion Bay is home to 13 Californian sea lions (Zalophus californianus). The pool contains over 1,000,000 litres of water and is more than three metres deep. The pool is complemented with natural rockwork and planting. Presentations take place up to three times daily and focus on the natural abilities and adaptations of these fascinating marine mammals.

– The Birds in Flight demonstration uses a variety of birds including red-tailed hawk, white-cheeked turaco, red-billed blue magpie, carrion crow, snowy owl, eagle owl, barn owl, kookaburra, macaw and Patagonian conure. Using a diverse range of birds enables us to focus on their uniqueness and species-specific behaviours needed for survival.

– Penguins are always popular and our group of Humboldt's (Spheniscus humboldti) are no exception. With the aid of a head microphone, a static exhibit has become an encounter with guest interaction. Here we focus on adaptations (such as counter-shading), threats in the wild, and a comparison of penguins with their flighted relatives.

– Face your Fear takes place in the new `Discovery Centre'. Here our guests can actually touch a snake, learn to understand their fears, or give existing pets better care. This encounter proves to be very popular with all ages.

Animal presentations are unique in that for up to 25 minutes you have a captive audience, who have arrived by choice, and have an interest in the animals. By presenting the animals using innovative ways, they are the focus of the audience's attention. When you have that level of attention the active learning begins. Psychological studies indicate that we have a primacy/recency memory (where we store the first and last pieces of information received), and our presentations reflect this. For example the message in the 1998 sea lion presentation was over-fishing and pollution. To put this message across in the most effective way, we start a presentation by personalising the animals and introduce the more splashy and spectacular behaviours. The mid-ground covers adaptations to the aquatic environment, and finally we deliver the main educational message. Here we inform our guests how they can help marine mammals and their ecosystems. By personalising the animals we make our guests more aware and more likely to care enough to make a difference. At the end of the day they are no longer any old sea lions, but individuals our guests relate to.

Once an educational message has been delivered, reinforcement is needed. This can take the form of graphic boards, handouts or a staff member positioned by the exhibit. By reinforcing the educational message it is more likely that it will transfer from the short-term memory (STM) to the long-term memory (LTM), and thus our guests really do leave with a `take-home' message while being entertained. During the 1998 season we tried to run the common theme of pollution through the three main presentations. In the bird display, for example, the message was delivered though a recycling macaw – by recycling we reduce pollution.

By our presentation of animal ambassadors in a unique way, our guests are being educated without being directly aware of it. Few people are likely to see wild sea lions, or for that matter even a wild barn owl. Through presentations we can instil a message that encourages the public to care about related species here in the U.K. During the sea lion presentation we inform our guests of the dangers from littering British beaches with respect to native pinnipeds and cetaceans. In the bird display a free-flying barn owl is used as a tool to encourage the construction of barn owl nest-boxes. We provide a fact sheet, which details how these can be made and where to position them. This has to date proved very popular. With the trend in exotic pets rising, our macaws and snakes deliver a message that makes people think twice before purchasing an exotic, and this message is reinforced in the Discovery Centre.

We like to think of our presentations as `Edutainment', an American-invented term which in our case is very appropriate. Our aim is to educate our guests in an entertaining way. The sea lions do not balance balls and the parrots do not roller-skate; instead we put them into context by presenting extensions of their natural behaviours. Today our guests are more aware or `greener', and as a community we strive to quantify or justify our existence. Expensive graphics may surround our high-tech exhibits, but can we guarantee our guests will read them? Animal presentations can offer that little extra, something that can really make a difference.

By attending a presentation, our guests receive an educational message that is delivered directly and done in such a way that much of the information can be processed. As animal carers, educators and a community, we are evolving and always will be. Presentations should reflect this with flexibility of content and include all the latest facts, not only about the animals but about their ecosystems too. El Niño effects along the Californian coastline had dramatic effects on the sea lion populations this year, with a 900% increase in rehabilitation work with starving, orphaned pups. This information was received during the last season, so we acted on it and introduced it into the presentation. Here the three pups born only weeks earlier were used to reinforce the message, as a majority of the victims were of a comparable age. The `ahhh factor' worked and many guests expressed concern about El Niño and wanted to know what they could do to help.

Visitors to Chessington enjoy seeing the bond or relationship we share with our animals. Training does conjure negative images, though, and for this reason we added actual training sessions to the presentation. Our Californian sea lion population is currently in the process of learning an extensive set of medical behaviours. With such a large group, the animals are at different stages of training. Putting a segment in the presentation gave us more time to shape the desired behaviours, demonstrate the bond between trainer and animal, and open a new window into our world for our guests. We classed this as educational, as the public observes a positive training experience and a behaviour with an end goal that generates questions and interest.

The phenomenon of animal presentations as a fun and educational tool appears to be rising in popularity within our facilities. Charismatic mammals and birds are not necessary – imagination, a microphone and staff members dedicated to their cause are as important. A recent visit to Drusillas Park reflects this. Among the collection is a mixed exhibit housing porcupines and yellow mongoose. By mixing the species, changing the feeding schedule and doing a short talk, an exhibit was made into a presentation with dramatic results.

Presenters and educators are very often the `front people' of the zoo, spending time talking and directly interacting with the public. In our opinion this is one of the most effective forms of learning. Indeed, not only do the guests benefit, but also our animals, from the training, enrichment and additional interaction they receive. All of us have a responsibility, to our staff, our animals and our guests – a responsibility needing commitment and dedication. Animal presentations are an integral part of many collections. But remember many of us have repeat visitors or cater for specific age and social groups. By being creative and dynamic, the only limit to our presentations is that of our own imagination. In using this creativity to our best extent, animal presentations will remain a high-profile learning experience, an essential tool for a holistic approach to zoo education.

Luke J. Gates and John A. Ellis, Zoological Department, Chessington World of Adventures, Surrey KT9 2NE, U.K.



Education is one of the stated missions of zoos, and education provision in zoos has a long history (Tunnicliffe, 1992a). However, `education' is a term which is used to cover both the provision of information and the active strategies used to help visitors construct fresh understanding, i.e. `pedagogy'. The study of the content and form of the conversations of primary school children and their accompanying adults, teachers and parents has shown that visits by school groups generate a dialogue remarkably similar to that of families making leisure visits (Tunnicliffe, 1995a, 1995b). However, this need not be the case if zoo educators and school teachers make sure that they are familiar with the educational activities which it is possible to undertake in a zoo and the concepts which can be introduced or consolidated for their learners.

The knowledge that is needed to produce effective zoo education includes:

(1) Knowing and understanding the characteristics and needs of the various stages of a visit in terms of the attention of the pupils to the animals;

(2) Knowing the anatomical features and behaviours of the animals that pupils are likely to notice spontaneously;

(3) Knowing the colloquial or everyday names which pupils will use and any scientific names you want to be used;

(4) Identifying and understanding the concepts that you wish learners to acquire.

If these conditions are not met, primary school groups talk about the same things as do family groups who visit the zoo for leisure purposes. This short paper is concerned only with (1), the stages of a visit.

There are five possible main stages of concentration and focus in a zoo (or museum) visit, as defined by the behaviour of the visitors. School children, and the adults with them, like other visitors, do not pay attention to exhibits in the same way throughout their visit. It is important to be aware of the different phases within a school visit, or of any other, and plan the activities accordingly.

The five possible stages of a visit are:

(a) Orientation;

(b) Concentrated or focused looking;

(c) Leisure looking;

(d) Completion;

(e) Consolidation and extension.

Groups begin with an orientation phase in which they look around and find their way. The duration of this stage can be shortened if you provide orientation to the site for pupils and adults whilst still at school. Such orientation, or advance organisation, may involve showing slides or a video, providing the groups with their timetable, discussing opportunities for visits to the gift shop, when and where lunch is to be taken, and similar `housekeeping' arrangements. Provide pupils with maps which have coordinates on them and then pose various problems solving questions which use orientation skills, for example posing the challenge, `What route would you take to reach the Reptile House from the Bird House?'

On the day of the visit, use the journey to start the pupils and adults thinking about what they will see and do. Use `Welcome' sheets to ask them what they want to see, what they think they will enjoy. Provide pictures of animals and ask some questions – name, characteristics, evidence in the drawing – in other words, just before they arrive at the zoo, key the visitors into observing, rather than merely looking at animals.

If pupils do not experience an orientation phase, their attention is not fully upon the exhibits because they are concerned about where they are going, what time is their lunch, and other thoughts which take them from focusing on animals, unless they are already familiar with the site and the programme. Thus, the orientation can be thought of as in three parts: in school; on the journey; on arrival at the zoo.

The concentrated phase can follow. It is my experience that it may be divided into five levels.

Level 1 is when the focus is on looking at the animals, but in a `leisure' manner. That means that the conversations are similar in content and orientation to those of non-school visitors.

Level 2 is when the school groups do show some focus on a particular theme and look at certain animals, not just wander aimlessly, for example looking at animals from a particular region or looking for `red' or `large' animals. However, the quality of the conversations, in terms of the form and content of the dialogue, is still similar to that of non-educationally oriented groups. There is some questioning and answering, but in an information-checking manner.

Level 3 is when there is some recognisable difference in content and form between the leisure visitors' and school groups' conversations. The topics discussed emphasise and relate to the curriculum and its skills – such as reading, spelling and stories read, as well as topics such as conservation. Groups may use simple keys.

Level 4 is when there is identifiable education – new knowledge and progression in conversations occurring in terms of content and of form. Teachers ask learning-questions of the pupils and vice versa, but the way in which the answers are handled and the questions phrased show that this is educational dialogue, not everyday communication. Observations are related to previous knowledge.

Level 5 is when groups or individuals raise questions, plan how to find the answer, make observations and interpret their data, using previous knowledge as well as their first-hand observations, or discuss what they see and possible explanations.

In the concentrated phase people focus on the tasks you have set or look in a concentrated manner at exhibits. Alternatively, in a focused-looking phase, group members are involved in an educational activity provided by the zoo, such as looking for adaptations to tree life or living in cold climates.

It is unrealistic to expect the pupils to be involved in a focused task throughout the visit. After a time their concentration will wane and they move into the leisure-looking phase, in which their comments and observations are similar to those of `non-education' visitors. Most school groups to whom I have listened and whose conversational content I have analysed have generated this type of comment throughout their visit, because of lack of structure to the visit, lack of educational expertise in the teachers, and lack of successful support from zoo education departments.

Finally, as the visit draws to an end, there is a completion, or leave-taking, phase, when the attention of the groups is concerned with visiting the gift shop, gathering together and preparing for the journey home. Leave-taking can be extended by the provision of zoological word searches, quizzes, and crosswords, answering questions about what they liked best and so on, and other educationally-oriented activities for the pupils as they journey home (if they are not on public transport), which bring their observations to a summary stage.

Once back in school there is the consolidation phase, when teachers use the experiences from the actual visit to develop further concepts and consolidate previous learning.

When I was employed by the Zoological Society of London, we recognised the tripartite aspect of zoo educational visits, and talked about `the zoo sandwich-learning experience', with the actual time in the zoo being the `filling'. The visit is not thought of in isolation, and effective zoo-related work is performed before the visit and afterwards. Hence, there are three stages in the education of the pupils. Some school visits may focus on curricular areas other than science (Tunnicliffe, 1992), or indeed on other aspects of education such as social skills (Tunnicliffe, 1994), but the stages of the visit and the tripartite organisation still remain valid:

1. Preparatory work in school, which is in two parts:

(i) The child's previous learning in all the areas that will be involved during the visit, including in particular those of language – speaking and listening, reading and writing; mathematics; geography; and science – both process and content.

(ii) The immediate information and skills introduced or consolidated before the visit. If, for instance, the visit is arranged for pupils to focus on biodiversity, they may well practice making and using simple keys, learn the naming system and the major taxonomic groupings of animals, before they visit, and the activities during the visit may focus on consolidating this knowledge.

2. The zoo stage, which may be either:

(a) Application stage – applying previous knowledge in a new situation, such as making a key from first-hand observations of animals; or

(b) Introduction of new information, but building on previous work, such as amplifying work on taxonomy, or researching actual conservation projects in which the zoo is involved by finding case histories.

3. Post-visit work – consolidation back at school, where activities are reviewed and discussed and conclusions drawn. Misconceptions can be challenged and remedial action taken through discussion.

A visit to the zoo is not an event in isolation, but should be planned as an integral part of the pupils' learning experiences.


Tunnicliffe, S.D. (1992a): Zoo education. International Zoo News 39 (3): 15–22.

Tunnicliffe, S.D. (1992b): Cross-curricular learning in zoological gardens. International Zoo News 39 (6): 27–31.

Tunnicliffe, S.D. (1994): Why do teachers visit zoos with their pupils? International Zoo News 41 (5): 4–13.

Tunnicliffe, S.D. (1995a): The content of the conversations of primary school groups at London Zoo. International Zoo News 42 (5): 272–279.

Tunnicliffe, S.D. (1995b): Talking about animals: studies of young children visiting zoos, a museum and a farm. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, King's College, London.

Dr Sue Dale Tunnicliffe, Homerton College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 2PH, U.K.



A good many frogs which are striking for their shapes, colour, or various adaptations belong to the family Rhacophoridae, though it includes only a few genera. However, in my opinion the most wonderful are the frogs of the genus Theloderma, which are as yet quite unknown to terrarium keepers. Today the genus includes ten recognised species, though the possibility cannot be excluded that at least one more species from Vietnam will be described in the near future. The genus is common in South-East Asia, from southern China southwards; its members are encountered in well-preserved mountain forests. During expeditions to Vietnam over several years, five species of these amphibians were observed; all of them lead an extremely secluded life, inhabiting water-filled cavities, mainly hollows in tree-trunks. However, Theloderma corticale, which lives in karst zones of northern Vietnam, occupies flooded caves and deep niches in the banks of mountain streams.

We first found this species in 1995 near the settlement of Tam-Dao, 90 km from Hanoi. At a height of about 1,000 metres above sea level, substantial areas of forest still survive thanks to the extremely steep slopes; in places the forest comes up to the ruins of old French colonial villas, destroyed as long ago as the 1950s. The ruins are situated not far from a small artificial water basin where the main population of the warty newt Paramesotriton deloustali is known to have lived until very recently. (Unfortunately, when constructing a hotel on the bank in 1997, the builders discharged construction waste, probably containing lime, into the basin; as a result, all the aquatic animals there, including P. deloustali, were lost.) At the edge of the forest we found two ruins overgrown with trees and shrubs, which in our opinion represented an ideal dwelling place for various amphibians and reptiles. When we surveyed them we found that all that survived of one of them, which stood close to a rocky cliff, were some remains of the walls, heavily covered with moss and lichen. A concrete water-filled basin was situated in permanent shade in the corner formed by the wall and the rock. Low trees grew together over the basin, and it was dark there even by day. A great number of foam nests of the bamboo tree frog (Polypedates leucomystax), which is a common species there, hung over the basin, and thousands of their larvae swam in the water over a thick layer of drowned leaves. Frog larvae of another species, which were darker and larger, were also found on closer examination, and, after a time, adult Theloderma corticale, first identified as T. leporosa, came to the surface. Two pairs of these amphibians inhabited the basin, which measured about 2 m ´ 1 m and 50 cm deep. They behaved very cautiously, sitting in the water with only their heads above the surface; when they sensed any danger, they immediately hid on the bottom and buried themselves in the leaves, so that we had to wait for their return. Clusters of five or six eggs, contained in a mucilaginous envelope and attached to the wall two or three cm above the water surface, were found in the corners of the basin.

The other building was much better preserved: in places basement rooms, absolutely lifeless and quite dark, remained intact, though their floors were covered with wet sand. However, when we worked our way through a half-blocked passage into one of the rooms, we found that it, being much lower than the others, was filled with clean water. This two-metre deep underground pool covered an area of about three metres by five; its bottom was covered with fragments of brick and concrete. About a hundred frog larvae were swimming in the clear water. Two pairs of adult Theloderma corticale were caught there, though because of the great volume, depth and cluttering up of the bottom, it took us some nights to catch the amphibians.

The frogs were about 8–9 cm long, with the males being somewhat smaller and markedly thinner than the females. In colour and texture, their skin looks like a bunch of moss: the green skin, with black spots and stains, is provided with numerous tubercles and spines, making it quite impossible to see a frog when it is sitting still. People who are not expecting to encounter such perfect cryptic coloration can look at a T. corticale and never see it, even in a terrarium.

To our great regret, we could not save alive the group of frogs we caught in 1995, and another adult pair of frogs, brought back by a subsequent expedition, only arrived in the terrarium in May 1996. By that time the old ruins, which had served as the breeding site when we visited it in 1995, had been destroyed as the settlement expanded. The new pair were caught on the bank of the stream in a small water-filled karst cave, where egg clusters and tadpoles were observed. Later, in 1997, two more large caves, inhabited by relatively numerous specimens of this species, were found.

During the earlier period, the frogs were kept in a wet terrarium, 50 ´ 40 ´ 30 cm in size, at a temperature of 26° –30° C by day and 22° –24° C by night. A water-filled tray was used as a water basin, containing no substrate. The frogs actively ate large insects (crickets, cockroaches) and seemed to be quite comfortable. By day they hid behind the tray, leaving this shelter to hunt with the advent of darkness. In August 1996, they were transferred to an aqua-terrarium, 80 ´ 45 ´ 40 cm in size, with the water level being about 8 cm. Ceramic pots and fragments were used as a bank and shelters. The temperature was raised by 1° C on average, and the light period lasted 12 hours. The frogs spent almost all their time in the water, concealing themselves in the shelters. They tried not to leave the water basin even to hunt: they kept only their eyes and nostrils above the surface when they were waiting for prey. Two weeks later the male began to call by night, uttering melodious staccato sounds, resembling the cries of the fire-bellied toad (Bombina). Whenever a person approached the terrarium, the male dived immediately, and would not resume its calling at all that night. It should be noted that all the species of Theloderma held in our collection are characterized by extreme shyness, so that it is difficult to watch them during their active period. Despite the evident activity of the male, breeding failed to take place as quickly as we had hoped, so in September the pair were transferred to a larger aqua-terrarium (150 ´ 40 ´ 60 cm), imitating their natural habitat: half the area was occupied by land, with coarse gravel used as a substrate, and the other half by a 15-cm deep water basin with good filtration and aeration. A great quantity of ceramic pots, fragments of calcareous stone and pottery crocks were used as shelters. In addition, a large Anubias lanceolatum (Araceae) was planted in the water. In preparation for wintering the temperature was first reduced to 23° –26° C by day and 20° –22° C by night. It is known that in the natural habitat of the species the temperature drops to 4° or 5° C in winter; but, not to take the risk of losing our single pair, we decided to arrange a milder wintering, and in early October the temperature was lowered to 18° –20° C by day and 13° –15° C by night. The frogs decreased their activity, and almost ceased to move and eat; however, they did not leave the water basin. Wintering continued to the end of October, when the temperature was raised to 24° –26° C by day and 18° –20° C by night. In the evenings the vivarium was sprayed with warm water. Soon the male started calling all night long.

Initially the female did not respond to the male's song, though she fed eagerly and left the water to hunt at night. Starting in mid-November, however, she began to react when she heard the voice of the male, getting onto the stones and uttering low cries. Several amplexuses were observed, though these lasted only a short time. Then, on 28 November, a long amplexus took place, and at 6.00 a.m. on 29 November the pair started spawning; the process lasted about three hours. The female, with the male sitting on her back, climbed up the plant, bent over and attached light grey eggs, about 5 mm across, to the stems 5 to 7 cm above the water. When one to five eggs were attached, the pair went into the water again, and resumed the process 15 to 30 minutes later. Most of the eggs dropped into the water in the process of spawning, and only the five last spawned remained on the plant. In all 37 eggs, covered with a thick, mucilaginous, transparent and very sticky envelope, were spawned. After spawning the amplexus broke up and the frogs hid in the water as usual, occupying their habitual shelters.

The eggs were left in place for incubation, and the temperature in the terrarium was raised to 24° –26° C. The eggs which remained in the air became black in colour, and grey frog larvae were distinctly seen as early as the third day. By days 11 to 13 of their development, the larvae became black, and on days 13 to 15 four frog larvae, about 15 mm long, broke through the envelope and dropped into the water.

The envelopes of the eggs which had fallen into the water swelled greatly after several hours, reaching a size of 20 mm across; the eggs did not darken, and next day they became lighter in colour and perished. However, it turned out later that Theloderma corticale spawn can be incubated in water, if it is aerated to the maximum possible extent. Curiously, in this case the frog larvae, though kept at the same temperature as those in the air, hatch from the eggs on days 7 to 9, when they have not yet acquired black coloration and when they are only half the size.

Thereafter spawning took place every seven to 14 days till 13 February 1997, and the eggs were mostly spawned above water on the stones and crocks. The number of eggs in a clutch varied from 11 to 37. The clutches were carefully transferred onto ceramic crocks and moved into a 25-cm deep aquarium, 150 ´ 40 ´ 40 cm in size, and attached in such a position that they were washed by the water though being for the most part in the air.

During the first day after hatching, the frog larvae `hang' motionless at the water surface, and later on start swimming. Curiously, they do not eat during the first week – at least, I did not succeed in observing the process. When they begin to eat, they readily feed on protein-based food – meat, fish, liver, boiled eggs. Vitamin-rich foodstuff produced for aquarium fish by Tetra GmbH was fed to them at regular intervals. For the better comfort and development of the larvae, the water should always be clean and well aerated. T. corticale larvae feel comfortable in a relatively deep water basin, so the desirable water level is no less than 20 cm. The temperature should be from 24° to 26° C. At lower temperatures the larvae become less active, mostly lie on the bottom and refuse to eat. By day 50 of their development, the larvae reach 60 mm in length and their hind legs become visible. After day 75, the hind legs begin to move, and the black, smooth skin on their back becomes dark green and tubercular. The first young frog completed its development on day 91, and the longest period of metamorphosis observed lasted about six months. When the young amphibians leave the water they are 20 to 23 mm long and have short tails, which completely disappear in five to seven days. When put in an aqua-terrarium, the young frogs at first spend much time on the walls and stones, but as they grow older they descend into the water. If kept at temperatures of 28° C by day and 20° –22° C by night, young T. corticale start eating on days 8 to 15 and, when well fed with crickets, they grow up rapidly – for example, a one-month-old frog attains 30 to 35 mm in size. At three to four months old they return to the water, and leave it to hunt by night only. Six-month-old frogs are usually six or seven cm long; the males acquire pronounced breeding calluses and start calling. Of interest is the fact that T. corticale specimens reared in captivity are much brighter and more spectacular in colour as compared to those who grow up in the wild.

While on the subject of T. corticale, I would like to remind readers of the problem of the forests of South-East Asia. The areas of tropical forest which still survive there are probably doomed to be annihilated in the very near future. The extremely high level of endemism existing in the montane forests makes us regret the mass enthusiasm of terrarium keepers for popular species such as members of the genera Lampropeltis or Dendrobates. It should be borne in mind that the Asian species include some which deserve no less attention and need it much more.


I would like to thank my friends and colleagues who have lent invaluable assistance and brought back from expeditions very rare animals whose biology is still unknown and who are already threatened. I would also like to acknowledge those who have helped me to find necessary literature, who have made brilliant comments, or who have simply given moral support in our hard times. I am especially grateful to Professor I. Darevsky, N. Ananieva (Head of the Laboratory of Ornithology and Herpetology, Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences), N. Orlov (research worker at the above-mentioned laboratory), and S. Ryabov (Director of Tula Exotarium).

Reading list

Bourret, R. (1942): Les Batraciens de L'Indochine. Transactions of the Oceanographic Institute of Indochina, No. 6. [In French.]

Duellman, W.E., and Trueb, L. (1994): Biology of Amphibians. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Frost, D.R., ed. (1985): Amphibian Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographical Reference. Allen Press, Inc., and the Association of Systematic Collections, Lawrence, Kansas, U.S.A.

Orlov, N. (1997): Die Theloderma-Arten Vietnams (Rhacophoridae: Anura). Herpetofauna 10.

Evgeny Ryboltovsky, Curator, Laboratory of Practical Herpetology, Children's Zoo, 1-liniya 38, Vsevolozhsk, Leningradskaya obl. 188710, Russia (E-mail: [Evgeny Ryboltovsky is currently away from Russia on an extended trip during which direct contact may be difficult; any communications in connection with this article should be addressed to Nadezda Serditova at the same address.]



Breeding toucans was and still is a difficult discipline, and only a few collections have so far been successful in doing so. For not a single species are the numbers reared greater than those which die; so much research is still needed to establish at least some of the species in captivity.

The first breeding success with a toucan took place at the famous Walsrode Bird Park in 1967 with the red-breasted toucan (Ramphastos dicolorus). The toco toucan (R. toco) – which is at the moment the most commonly kept and bred species – was first bred at Jacksonville Zoo, Florida, in 1977, and in the same year Riverbanks Zoo, South Carolina, had its first success with this species. So far, Riverbanks has been the most successful toco toucan breeding institute.

In the Netherlands, the first toucan breeding result was achieved by Rotterdam Zoo, where the red-breasted toucan was bred in 1979. In this country, as elsewhere, the toco toucan has so far been the most successful species and, as far as I am aware, five collections have bred it successfully. Of these five, two are public collections and three private.

P.J. van Damme. A pair bought by this private aviculturist in 1980 were placed in an indoor aviary measuring 4 m ´ 2.5 m ´ 3.5 m high in a greenhouse. A nest box measuring 75 cm high, with a diameter of 30 cm and an entrance-hole 10 cm across was first inspected in the spring of 1982, and later that year three eggs were laid. These, however, all proved to be infertile. A year later another clutch of three eggs was laid, and after an incubation period of 17 days all three hatched. Both parents brought enormous amounts of live food, mainly crickets, to the chicks, but after a week the male became aggressive and had to be separated, leaving the female to raise the three chicks alone. Two weeks later, when the chicks were three weeks old, two died, but the third was raised successfully and left the nest at the age of 48 days. For the first two weeks after leaving the nest, it returned to it at night. Thereafter it slept outside, and also took most of its food for itself. As far as I know, this was not only the first breeding of the toco toucan in the Netherlands, but probably anywhere in Europe. (van Damme, 1984)

A. Kruijf. I have only limited information about the breeding results achieved by this private aviculturist. A young pair was obtained in 1980 and in 1985 the first clutch of three eggs was laid. After a few days the eggs were thrown out of the nest and broke. The same year a second clutch, again three, was produced with the same result. In 1986 the first three eggs were incubated for ten days before the scenario repeated itself. Directly after destroying the eggs, a new clutch of three was laid, and this time it was 15 days before the eggs were broken. The same year a third clutch of eggs was laid, but shortly before hatching two eggs were found broken outside the nest – both containing well-developed young. The third egg was saved and placed in an incubator, where it hatched a few days later. Again with a lot of crickets, this chick was hand-raised successfully. (Kruijf, 1987)

Birdpark Avifauna. During 1989 Birdpark Avifauna obtained six toco toucans and these were housed together. After a few months one pair started to dominate, and these were then placed in an indoor aviary in a tropical house, which measured 4 m ´ 4 m ´ 4 m. The nest box offered was 85 cm high with a diameter of 28 cm and an entrance-hole 11 cm across. During 1991 a clutch of three eggs was discovered. Both parents were observed incubating, and all three eggs hatched after 18 days. As well as live food, ground beef was fed to the young. The first chick left the nest after 41 days, and the third and last one four days later. (van der Sluis, 1993, and pers. comm.)

A.J.H. Smeulders. In 1989 a pair was obtained and placed in a combined indoor and outdoor aviary. The indoor enclosure – which could be heated during cold periods – measured 3 m ´ 1 m ´ 1.8 m high, the outdoor aviary 2.5 m ´ 3 m and again 1.8 m high. The nest box measured 1 m high with a diameter of 60 cm and an entrance-hole 15 cm across. The first eggs – two clutches of three – were laid in 1990, but all proved to be infertile. Of the three eggs laid in 1991, two were fertile and one disappeared after 19 days of incubation. Both the remaining eggs hatched. The live food offered were two kinds of cricket, locusts and day-old mice. Although the parents did a good job, the chicks were taken out of the nest after about four weeks and hand-raised. At the age of seven weeks, they started to take food for themselves. (Smeulders, 1991)

Rotterdam Zoo. During 1989 Rotterdam Zoo was offered a male toco toucan, and three years later a proven breeding female was obtained from a private aviculturist. During the time the male was kept alone, he was very aggressive – even against the keepers! – but after he was placed with the female, no aggression was observed. They soon showed interest in the nest box, and in 1993 the first eggs were laid, one infertile and two fertile. After about 19 days of incubation both hatched, and during the first days they were mainly fed on crickets. At 20 days of age one of the chicks disappeared, but the remaining one was raised successfully and left the nest at about 50 days of age. The same year the breeding male died and was replaced by a captive-bred male from Avifauna. During 1994 two chicks were produced, which however had to be hand-raised. After several losses, breeding stopped, but in the meantime a new pair has started to breed again. (King, 1995; pers. observations)


van Damme, P.J. (1983): Zeldzaam kweekresultaat met toko toekans. Onze Vogels 44 (11), 462–463.

King, C.E. (1995): Vogels met een grote bek. Dieren 12 (3), 81–86.

Kruijf, A. (1987): Met de hand naar zelfstandigheid. Onze Vogels 48 (2), 54–55.

van der Sluis, H. (1993): Jonge toko toekans in Vogelpark Avifauna. De Harpij 12 (2), 3–5.

Smeulders, A.J.H. (1991): Toko toekan. Vogelexpresse 20 (6), 215–216.

Maarten de Ruiter, Pr. Beatrixstraat 9, 4793 CV Fijnaart, The Netherlands.

The Lion Tamarins of Brazil Fund

Since its inception in 1991, the LTBF appeal has been mailed annually to all holders of lion tamarin spp. outside of Brazil. The Fund has now raised in excess of US$126,500 in support of in situ conservation work for all four Leontopithecus species. The annual appeal form for the fiscal year 1997–1998 was mailed from Jersey on 9 April 1998 to over 160 holders of lion tamarins worldwide. Thirty zoos and one nutritional food producer, from 15 different countries, contributed an amount in excess of US$26,500, and further funds have been received since the end of the fiscal year.

Recognizing the increased conservation importance of interactive management between captive and wild populations of endangered species, the custodians of the LTBF (J. Ballou, D. Kleiman, J. Mallinson) very much hope that a growing number of holders of lion tamarins outside Brazil will be able to supply financial support, no matter how small, to further support these model in situ conservation programmes.

As recorded in the final report of the Second Leontopithecus PHVA (held in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 20–22 May 1997), `The zoos using lion tamarins as flagship species should ``pay'' or invest in the LTBF to support the field activities, based on priorities in Brazil. The connection between zoos and Brazilian organizations should be tighter through periodical reports about what is occurring with wild tamarins and their habitats.' This latter approach has been well demonstrated by Copenhagen Zoo's adoption of a reintroduced family group of L. rosalia, and the zoo receiving regular progress reports.


Dear Sir,

I read with interest Andrew Kitchener's article on mate killing in clouded leopards (I.Z.N. 46:4, pp. 221–224). As one would expect from Andrew, he has given this matter a lot of intelligent thought, and much of what he says seems right – though I feel on the issue of live feeding he is somewhat wide of the mark.

Certainly one cause of mate killing in these cats could be poor environment, and the hand-rearing of one of an intended pair could also contribute, but I feel that to suggest an intelligent cat like a `cloudie' is unable to distinguish between a mate and a meal is a little simplistic. Also, though a cub certainly learns much from its mother, it is doubtful whether a solitary cat learns a great deal about hunting from her. Inborn instincts and the necessity to feed itself once of age play a greater part.

In nearly every case, I believe, mate killing in clouded leopards is a consequence of poor husbandry. Pairing any adult big cats is an extremely dangerous business for the female, and if one does not do the basic groundwork first there could be serious problems. Just because it is convenient, or makes good breeding sense, for two tigers or leopards to be paired up, it does not necessarily mean that the cats in question will oblige – most humans would probably feel the same if paired in a similar fashion.

The problem with cloudies is that even now there seems to be a total failure to understand the character of the animal we are dealing with, and an equal failure by many to make an intelligent attempt to find out.

First, to state the blindingly obvious, as clouded leopards are extremely nocturnal, it makes pretty poor sense to pair them during the day – my apologies to any keeper who needs to be home by 5 p.m. for his tea!

Secondly, the character of the male cloudie is vastly different from that of any other cat, even a female cloudie. I have found that even hand-raised males can be very sweet and gentle one minute, and then in an instant, and for little rational reason, turn `psycho' the next. The fact that all the hand-raised males I have dealt with over the years – five or six cats – have displayed this trend to varying degrees cannot just be coincidence.

Anyone observing these animals during the day will think, `Ah, a typical cat, asleep the whole time.' However, at night I find them extremely active and playful, with even quite old, mother-raised cats playing with the various cage paraphernalia we give them.

So we are dealing with a nocturnal and extremely highly-strung animal, and obviously everything possible must be done to accommodate this, and not, as appears to be the case, to expect the leopard to `change his spots' to fit in with us.

Graham Law at Glasgow did excellent and thoughtful work pairing unrelated animals without loss (though sadly without babies either), and whilst I have been at Howletts we too have paired unrelated cats for varying amounts of time, again without losses.

John Strong of Belfast Zoo has paired clouded leopards of different ages and bred successfully, so with a little thought and care we can probably avoid accidents. But we do need to be flexible in our approach. The mere fact of a female being in season is not enough to put a pair together. They need to be completely familiar with each other's enclosures, smells, etc., and also to display a degree of friendship and relaxation when they see each other through their intervening fences.

Andrew Kitchener's example of a hand-reared female getting injured is sad because, although it is not always easy to tell when an animal is in season, there is a marked difference between that and a display of affection. Again, I feel it is an example of a keeper not knowing his animals properly.

And though hand-reared clouded leopards could show more `inappropriate behaviour' than mother-raised ones – particularly singletons – and markedly more abnormal behaviour than we see in other hand-reared species of cats, with sensible rearing and common-sense aftercare we should be able to limit the problems.

A hand-raised pair we obtained from Bill and Penny Andrews, of Hexagon Farm, California, has just had their first litter, and the mother is doing an instinctive and exemplary job in rearing her babies. This does not necessarily mean she will do it every time, but the pair are in a very tranquil part of the park, and if more cubs do come along the same basic procedure of `leave well alone' will be adopted – just obvious cat husbandry. Maybe we just got lucky, but it has to be said that any success has taken hours and hours of time and work, both night and day. And also that Thai, our current mum, is not an especially calm and relaxed clouded leopard – there is no such thing.

Yours faithfully,

Nick Marx,

Head of Carnivores,

Howletts Wild Animal Park,


Kent CT4 5EL, U.K.

Dear Sir,

I was delighted to read John Tuson's letter (I.Z.N. 46:5, pp. 295–296) in response to my article on Zoo Education's Higher Purpose (I.Z.N. 46:3, pp. 141–146). I am happy to agree whole-heartedly with John's opinion regarding the purpose of zoo education. Subtle, gentle approaches do work very well. However, what I am advocating is that these approaches should be enabling people to make the connections as illustrated in Amanda Embury's Guest Editorial in the same issue, and to take this further into providing practical and real actions people can make as a result of the experience.

So where I say that zoos should challenge the very foundations of visitors' way of life and attitudes, I am advocating an end result of all the positive empathetic and real experiences of seeing, for example, gorillas in the zoo. Visitors need to be encouraged to discover that this fantastic animal they are appreciating in front of them is endangered because of the bush-meat trade, which in turn is connected to logging the forest, which in turn links to the purchase of timber furniture and other products, and therefore links to their own lives. If that connection isn't made, then it is quite possible someone may give a donation to the zoo to save gorillas and at the same time purchase a new item of furniture which threatens the gorillas!

So, the higher purpose is to build upon the great strengths of the real experiences zoos offer, and actually give people information and encouragement enabling them to act. However, this should and must become part and parcel of the way the zoo operates, i.e. `practice what we preach'. By leading by example, we can illustrate that feasible alternatives do exist to the `normal' way of life, and show how these benefit wildlife, the environment and people. The world's zoos with their huge visitor numbers are ideally placed to encourage change in society and visitor behaviour, from recycling litter to using positive purchasing power to encourage more fair trade, and environment-friendly options which are affordable, practical and requested by the consumer.

I am not suggesting `force' or coercion, nor am I suggesting a laid-back approach. We have to be actively encouraging a wider understanding of the natural world, which enables people to make decisions based upon all the facts available and to realise the consequences of these decisions or life choices.


Stephen P. Woollard,

Assistant Head of Education,

Bristol Zoo Gardens,


Bristol BS8 3HA, U.K.

Dear Sir,

I read John Tuson's perceptive guest editorial (I.Z.N. 46:5, pp. 258–259) with more than ordinary interest, particularly his reminder that if a place cannot make its smaller and less visually attractive species as interesting as its more spectacular ones, it perhaps shouldn't be exhibiting them. For this was the raison d'être of the admittedly curiously-named `Forgotten Legions' that we built at Ashover in the spring of 1965.

Hardly an animal house in the accepted sense of the term, it was a row of eight glass-fronted compartments, serviced from a corridor at the rear, and fronted by a covered verandah for the benefit of visitors in inclement weather. I had mixed feelings about its name, which was decided upon after literally weeks of thought and deliberation – in fact I didn't really like it – but I've never been able to come up with a better or more appropriate one, as here were installed species which might be deemed completely uninteresting – small rodents (soon to be replaced, as their nocturnal habits rendered them non-exhibits), amphibians (the more unobtrusive-looking the better), crustaceans (both aquatic and terrestrial), insects in profusion, both indigenous and from further afield. . . The qualification for residence in the Forgotten Legions was to be of a species whose appearance would cause few people to glance at it more than once, but with the aid of an imaginative labelling system, and a staff keen to share their enthusiasm with the casual visitor, the place more than justified its existence over the coming years. Let's just say it opened many eyes, broadened more than a few horizons – and leave it at that.

Incidentally, every Ashover keeper was trained as a guide as well (obviously some were more gifted in this direction than others), with what I considered to be great and important success, yet at the `Learning From Life' symposium at Paignton in September 1968 the Z.S.L.'s then Education Officer stated firmly, albeit without explanation, that this was `a thoroughly bad policy' [sic] and that at Regent's Park the keepers were discouraged from giving information in this way!

Unfortunately Mr Tuson didn't state whether or not the MBT Reptile Farm was privately owned, although I rather get the impression it is. Could this, I wonder, be the reason for its undoubted and justified success? I know that in these days, when the individual is so often suspected of doing something only for personal material gain, my words may be construed as those of a heretic, but there's nothing quite like ownership, the pride of personal possession, call it what you will, as against the facelessness – dare I even say soullessness? – of the now almost universal Society, Trust or Foundation, as inducement to succeed by doing something worthwhile superlatively well.

Yours faithfully,

Clinton Keeling,

13 Pound Place,



Surrey GU4 8HH, U.K.


MONITORS: THE BIOLOGY OF VARANID LIZARDS by Dennis King and Brian Green. 2nd ed., Krieger, 1999. vi + 116 pp., paperback. ISBN 1–57524–112–9. $22.50.

Part of the appeal monitor lizards have always had for me – and, I imagine, for many other people – certainly stems from their size. So I was tantalized to learn that Megalania prisca, a monitor-like lizard seven metres long and weighing an estimated 650 kg, became extinct in Australia only 30,000 years ago. (No doubt this awesome creature, which could have eaten a man – or a Komodo dragon – at a single meal, was exterminated by the same villain, Homo sapiens, who wiped out most of the megafauna in several other continents.) This, however, is by the way: the main theme of Dennis King and Brian Green's book is the living monitors. Both authors are professional zoologists with a long-standing interest in these lizards. Their book first appeared in 1993 under the title Goanna. (This, originally a corruption of `iguana', is the Australian local name for any Varanus species; the authors seem to use `goanna', `varanid' and `monitor' interchangeably throughout the book.) The present, updated edition contains much new material, some of it derived from recent research.

Monitors is not directly concerned with Varanus species in captivity – as its subtitle indicates, its theme is the biology of these animals. But no one involved in their captive management will regret buying the book. It is attractively-produced, clearly illustrated in colour and black-and-white, and packs an astonishing amount of information into a relatively small space. Separate chapters cover Taxonomy and Phylogeny; Feeding; Breeding; General Behaviour; Thermal Biology; Respiration; Water Use; Energy and Food; Parasites; and Conservation and Management.

A few morsels of information may convey something of the variety and interest of the book. Varanid taxonomy is a fast-changing subject of study – the authors present an up-to-date picture of the sub-generic groupings, based on studies of cell biology in which Dennis King has played an active part. Most species are unspecialised, opportunistic predators, superbly adapted for hunting, killing, and efficient consumption. Several monitors can eat 30% of their own weight at one time, and V. komodoensis can manage 60% – a 50-kg lizard has been observed to eat a 31-kg pig in 17 minutes.

Many species lay their eggs in (inhabited) termite mounds, which provide an ideal environment for incubation, protected from predators and maintained at a steady temperature (around 30° C) and high humidity. The young of some species even stay in the mound for several months after hatching. Varanids are in many respects untypical lizards: physiologically, in fact, they have some surprising similarities to mammals. Intellectually, too, they seem to be in a class of their own – recent experiments with captive V. albigularis have shown that they can apparently count up to six, which compares favourably with the abilities of some primates.

Clearly there is still much to be learned about these fascinating animals; but for an authoritative, readable summary of the current state of knowledge, Monitors: the Biology of Varanid Lizards is definitely to be recommended.

Nicholas Gould


Crane eggs sent to Russia

Over the past six years, eggs surplus to the North American SSP for red-crowned and white-naped cranes (Grus japonensis and G. vipio) have been sent to Russia in an effort to boost the birds' populations in their native habitat. I had the good fortune to be a participant in this spring's project, carrying a shipment of nine eggs gathered from five North American institutions to the Khingansky Reserve on the Amur River in eastern Siberia. It marked the St Louis Zoo's first involvement in the effort.

The eggs, collected from captive birds, are from individuals who have numerous offspring and whose genes are therefore not necessary to further the SSP. They are transported when incubation is about two-thirds complete, when an embryo is strong enough to survive the trip protected in a foam-cushioned, insulated wooden box. A hatch in the box's bottom provides access to hot-water bottles that keep the eggs at a warm 98.5° F (37° C).

At the reserve, the eggs are hatched and chicks are hand-reared. Outdoor pens hold the young birds through the summer. They are then moved indoors for their first winter and are released the following year. Being able to mature a little before facing the realities of the world increases their chances for survival. They are then `picked up' by migrating flocks in the fall. This past winter, released birds were identified by their leg-bands in both Japan and South Korea. Staff at the reserve hope that after released birds pair with wild birds, they will be more likely to settle in disturbed habitat near farms or on the outskirts of villages. The first birds released by the staff should be of breeding age next year. The populations of these endangered species of crane are currently increasing both in the region and overall.

The reserve managers are also working with the endangered oriental white stork, whose numbers are dwindling. Currently they are cooperating with wildlife agencies and organizations in Japan and South Korea to re-establish non-migratory populations of the stork in those countries using eggs from both captive and wild birds. Satellites and backpack transmitters are being used to track migration routes through China. The main wintering site for this and many other species will be flooded when the Three-rivers Gorge Dam is completed, causing concern for the future.

In discussions with the reserve managers, I learned that they are interested in releasing captive-raised whooper swans to boost local populations, and in a project to reintroduce mandarin ducks to the region. To assist in these efforts, the St Louis Zoo staff will be collecting information from the various trumpeter swan projects in the U.S.A. and from work done on the Carolina wood duck earlier this century. With the similarity of the species involved, this base of information should help the staff at Khingansky avoid having to `re-invent the wheel'.

Abridged from Tim Snyder, Zoological Manager, Birds, St Louis Zoo, in Zudus Vol. 13, No. 4 (July/August 1999)

The threat of the commercial bushmeat trade

Following a meeting in February at the AZA offices in Silver Spring, Maryland, of 34 experts, representing 28 different organisations and agencies, a task force is being formed to campaign against the commercial bushmeat trade in tropical African countries. This trade is having dire consequences, not only for wildlife, but also for people in Africa and throughout the world. If current unsustainable rates of exploitation continue, this trade will severely reduce, if not eliminate, some endangered species, such as great apes, forest elephants, and other fauna upon which the health of forest ecosystems depend. Indeed, it may have already caused the extinction of Miss Waldron's red colobus monkey (Piliocolobus badius waldroni), which formerly existed in the forested zones of Ivory Coast and Ghana.

The African great apes are at particular risk. In fact, this illegal trade is destroying free-ranging populations of chimpanzees just when a proposal has been made that their protection in the wild may be important for understanding how to control the spread of HIV and other emerging infectious diseases in humans. Moreover, the killing and dressing of chimpanzee meat in the bush may present a human health risk for those engaged in this trade and is a potential point of entry for new diseases into the global human population.

Among the immediate steps needed to combat this is a public education campaign both in Africa and throughout the world as to the causes, consequences, and appropriate solutions to this crisis. Western governments and aid agencies should redouble their commitment to conservation and sustainable development in these countries, and provide the human and financial resources necessary to seek workable solutions. Governments and conservation organisations in the region have helped to establish a network of protected areas, but so far the political will and financial support have been lacking to maintain a viable protected area system. Until responsible environmental action is a condition for international development loans and financing, until African governments take full responsibility for enforcing existing laws and maintaining vigilance against corruption, and until policy makers put the value of protecting wildlife ahead of immediate financial gain, there will be no way to stem the loss of tropical Africa's irreplaceable biological heritage. Logging companies, mining firms and other extractive industries bear a significant responsibility for the growth of the unregulated commercial bushmeat trade. They must ensure that illegal hunting of threatened and endangered species is prohibited in their concessions, and minimize their impact on wildlife by providing alternative sources of food for their employees.

EAZA News No. 27 (July–September 1999)

First egg-laying by Seychelles tortoises

On 8 July Clio, a female Seychelles giant tortoise of the browsing species (Dipsochelys arnoldi), laid her first clutch at the breeding station in the Seychelles. Earlier in the year the male, Stan, had been persistent in his attentions to Clio and appeared to achieve successful mating. Since May Clio had been seen pacing round the enclosure and trying to climb out on a number of occasions. In June she was removed to an enclosure on her own, and after several very restless days she finally settled down to digging late on the afternoon of 8 July. We had been worried that the loss of all but three of the claws on her hind feet might make digging problematic, but surprisingly this had absolutely no effect. She dug steadily and easily for over five hours, before finally starting to lay at 11 p.m. (The full process of digging and laying is described in this year's issue of our scientific journal Phelsuma.)

The first egg seemed to take her by surprise and was crushed between her tail and the edge of the hole; this was a ghastly moment, but several perfect eggs soon followed. In total 12 eggs were laid over half an hour. Each egg was removed from the nest as it was laid, measured, weighed and placed in an incubator. On average the 11 intact eggs measure 5 cm in diameter and weigh 80 g.

After the last egg was laid Clio was left to finish covering the nest in peace; she was still there at 7 a.m. the next morning, walking round and round, tearing up the grass and obscuring the nest site most effectively. She then spent several days catching up on her sleep, emerging to be fed the best food we could find. We now have to wait until some time after the middle of October to see if these first eggs will hatch.

Seychelles Giant Tortoise News No. 7 (August 1999)

[For further information on the Seychelles Giant Tortoise Conservation Project, see I.Z.N. 44:6, p. 353, 45:1, pp. 4–10, and 45:7, pp. 448–449.]

Captive galliforms in Europe

At the beginning of 1998, the EEP Galliform TAG carried out a survey for species in need of captive management. Questionnaires were sent to all European zoological parks by EAZA, and to all private breeders through various avicultural reviews. The survey included two parts, the first dealing with species held, and the second with various housing and technical aspects of rearing galliforms. There were 225 replies for the first part – 124 from zoos and 101 from private breeders. Almost all European zoos keeping species in need of captive management replied, which gives an accurate view of the rarest species kept by them. Only a relatively small proportion of private breeders replied, but they were judged to be a representative sample on which to base estimates of the relative size of the captive stocks for many threatened species.

There is a balanced sex ratio for most species, except for the white eared pheasant with one male for two females in the U.K., the black kalij pheasant (Lophura leucomelanos moffiti) which has two males for eight females, and the Salvadori's pheasant (Lophura inornata) with three males for two females. The survey also shows a severe decrease in the number of peacock pheasants in zoos, particularly the bronze-tailed (Polyplectron chalcurum) and the Germain's (P. germaini).

However, some captive stocks have increased: Edwards's pheasant, white eared pheasant, great argus and Congo peafowl. For some species there are plentiful captive stocks of between 150 and 300 birds: satyr tragopan, Edwards's pheasant, white eared pheasant, Palawan peacock pheasant and crested wood partridge. Other species have sufficient stocks to plan a management programme: Cabot's tragopan, Siamese fireback (Lophura diardi), brown eared pheasant, Elliot's pheasant, Hume's bar-tailed pheasant (Syrmaticus humiae), great argus and green peafowl.

Some species need very careful management due to limited stocks: Blyth's tragopan, Salvadori's pheasant, crested fireback (L. ignita), Malay crestless fireback (L. e. erythrophthalma), bronze-tailed peacock pheasant, Germain's peacock pheasant, Malay peacock pheasant (P. malacense) and Madagascar partridge (Margaroperdix madagarensis). The remaining species have too few specimens to plan any breeding programme: black kalij, Harman's eared pheasant (Crossoptilon crossoptilon harmani), Bornean crestless fireback (L. e. pyronota) and black partridge (Melanoperdix nigra).

0 The distribution of captive stocks shows that some species are kept almost solely by private breeders, whilst others are found predominantly in zoos – the latter are often popular species which sometimes require special accommodation. The survey shows that several species are not breeding well – less than 50% of the institutions have reared offspring over the past five years for Blyth's tragopan, black kalij, Siamese fireback, white eared pheasant and the bronze-tailed and Malay peacock pheasants. Inbreeding may be one of the factors leading to such a result. Likewise particularly good breeding results could be due to hybrids within the stock leading to a revival of the captive pool.

Conclusions drawn from the results of the second part of the survey – to which many fewer replies were received – suggest that:

– the majority of institutions would exchange a common species for a more threatened one, even if the latter were less attractive;

– 66% of private breeders and 66% of zoos use artificial incubation;

– the private sector tends to have better hatching results than zoos;

– around 55% of zoos and private breeders hand-rear chicks;

– the main problems experienced with hand-rearing are perosis or other leg and foot problems, and cannibalism;

– the average number of aviaries without housing is similar for zoos and private breeders, although the former have more heated housing, probably due to expense.

The full results of the survey lead to these conclusions:

– there are good captive stocks for many galliform species in need of captive management, especially in Western Europe;

– some species are only bred by private breeders who will be, in the near future, the cornerstone of conservation breeding for these species. Therefore cooperation between zoos and private breeders is crucial for the conservation of the Galliformes;

– the captive stocks of some species are low, and they therefore need urgent and careful management;

– both zoos and private breeders have numerous aviaries available for breeding more threatened species, particularly as several have indicated that they would exchange a threatened species for a more common one.

Alain Hennache in WPA News No. 59 (May 1999) [For the detailed statistical results of the survey, readers should refer to the tables printed with the original article.]

Philippine amphibians assessed

The 1999 meeting of the Wildlife Conservation Society of the Philippines (WCSP), held in Puerto Princess, Palawan, on 12–14 April, provided the opportunity to assess Philippine amphibians against the latest IUCN criteria, for subsequent inclusion in the 1999 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals, as well as the 1999 Philippine National List of Threatened Wildlife. The latest publication on Philippine amphibians, a small field guide by Angel Alcala and Walter Brown (published by Bookmark Inc. in 1998), lists 78 species of anurans and three species of caecilians. However, the authors acknowledge that around ten additional frog taxa have been, or are in the process of being, described, since this book's contents were collated in mid-1998.

The assessment was undertaken by Filipino herpetologists and facilitated by Chris Banks, Curator of Herpetofauna at Melbourne Zoo, Australia. Prior to this initiative, only two Philippine amphibians were listed by the IUCN – the Isolated Forest frog (Platymantis insulatus) and the Negros cave frog (P. spelaeus), both of which were listed as Vulnerable. However, the recent assessment may see this figure jump to over 30, as 32 additional species have been recommended for inclusion:

Critically Endangered 7

Endangered 7

Vulnerable 10

Near Threatened (Lower Risk) 1

Data Deficient 9

These are distributed across the Philippines, although proportionally more of these species are found in South Luzon/Polillo Islands, North Luzon, the West Visayas and Mindanao/Sulu Islands. These regions generally coincide with the biologically more important biogeographic areas in the country.

The recommended species are disproportionately distributed within the anuran families of Ranidae (23 of 39 described species, or 59%) and Rhacophoridae (5 of 17 described species, or 29%). Of the ranids, 15 of the 22 described species of Platymantis (68%) are recommended for inclusion, ten as Critically Endangered or Endangered. These are generally small to medium frogs inhabiting closed canopy forests, and it comes as no surprise that so many are threatened, given the high rate of forest loss in the Philippines.

Two of the three described caecilians are also included.

The list has been submitted to IUCN, and population assessments will be revisited at the 2000 meeting of the WCSP. These are intended to jointly support more direct conservation action on the ground.

Chris Banks in ARAZPA Newsletter No. 42 (May 1999)

Golden lion tamarin reintroduction update

The reintroduced golden lion tamarin population reached 279 in 1998, the 15th year of reintroduction. The growth of the population continues to be due to reproduction in the Poço das Antas Reserve and on 15 privately-owned ranches in the surrounding Atlantic coastal rainforest; there were 59 known births and newly-discovered older offspring in 1998. No zoo-born tamarins were released in 1998; all of the habitat within practical commuting distance of our nine-person field team is at carrying capacity for groups (now 37 on about 3,100 hectares), although the number of individuals in these groups could yet increase. While the population is at an all-time high, only 13 of the 279 were actually reintroduced – 95% of the animals are now wild-born, and this proportion will continue to increase. Survival of wild-born offspring remains at 60%–70%, averaged over all age classes, largely because they are more quickly self-sufficient than zoo-born `reintroductees'.

These trends suggest that the reintroduced population would continue to grow without further reintroductions of captive-born animals. The growth would be more cost-effective, since there would be fewer animals needing daily feeding and management. However, further reintroductions of captive-borns may be necessary to provide genetic diversity in the reintroduced population, improve the genetic and demographic status of the captive population, promote conservation education, and maintain support for the program by the zoo community.

The gateway zoo network is well established in the United States, and is poised to provide more tamarins with free-ranging experience for reintroduction in the future. An inter-zoo research program continues, with the potential for predicting post-reintroduction success of individual tamarins from their early histories and behavior while in the gateway zoos. However, we have documented this year that free-ranging experience in zoos in North America and Europe confers no significant advantage in survival over being reintroduced directly from zoo cages, even without any training whatsoever. This finding is revolutionising thinking about the necessity of pre-release preparation for reintroduction in general. However, most free-ranging programs continue to provide valuable environmental education.

Benjamin B. Beck and Andreia Fonseca Martins in Tamarin Tales Vol. 3 (1999), the newsletter of the International Committees for Recovery and Management of Leontopithecus rosalia, L. chrysopygus, L. chrysomelas and L. caissara.

Helping to save birds from extinction

As part of its Globally Threatened Species Programme, BirdLife International will ensure that by next year there is widely available, up-to-date information on all 1,200+ bird species considered to be in danger of extinction. This information will be published in a book Threatened Birds of the World, which will discuss the status, threats and potential conservation measures for every species at risk. Each species will be illustrated and accompanied by a map depicting its range.

BirdLife International is also looking for individuals, non-profit organisations and commercial companies to play a special role in the programme. Each species in the book can be sponsored and the funds raised will be used to ensure that the book is distributed as widely as possible. Individuals can sponsor one species for £95 (US$165), non-profit organisations for £250 (US$430), and commercial companies for £500 (US$850). Species are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. All sponsors will have their names printed as an acknowledgement alongside the species of their choice. This is a unique chance for birders, ornithologists, bird clubs, researchers, conservationists, zoos and companies to choose a bird that matters to them and publicly support international conservation efforts to save it from extinction. For further information and a sponsorship form, contact: Naomi Hawkins, BirdLife International, Wellbrook Court, Girton Road, Cambridge CB3 0NA, U.K. (Tel.: + 44 1223 277318; Fax: + 44 1223 277200; E-mail:

New bat publication available

Captive Care and Medical Reference for the Rehabilitation of Insectivorous Bats by Amanda Lollar and Barbara French (hardbound, 329 pp., 186 photos, 60 diagrams), price $45.00 (plus $5.00 shipping and handling U.S.A.; outside U.S.A. $5.00 surface, $15.00 airmail) from the publishers, Bat World, 217 N. Oak Avenue, Mineral Wells, Texas 76067, U.S.A. (E-mail:; Fax: 940–325–3404)


Factors affecting hornbill reproduction

Great Indian hornbills in zoos are generally housed in three types of cages, those with closed walls around most of the perimeter, those that are mostly open wire around the perimeter, and those that are covered with cloth, foliage or offset walls (partially enclosed). Closed-wall cages are mostly indoors and smaller in volume than the other two types, and the open-sided cages have more perches.

We found a lower reproductive rate in open-sided cages (9% of pairs compared to 40% in closed and 50% in partially enclosed cages). The sample size is small, and we are expanding the study to verify this result. However, examining the behaviour profiles of the individuals in each of these cages, females in open cages are rated as significantly less likely to perform nest-investigation behaviour – an important behaviour that precedes nesting. These results suggest that there might really be an effect of caging on hornbill reproduction that interferes with the female's interest in the nest box that is provided. Once our expanded study is completed, such results could form the basis for recommending that great hornbills should not be kept in large, open-sided aviaries.

The rearing history of a hornbill might also be an important factor affecting its breeding success in captivity. We looked at the behaviours that distinguish successfully reproducing hornbills from those that have failed. One of the most important differences was that the failed hornbills were rated significantly more likely to approach the keeper spontaneously. Successful individuals do not approach the keeper as readily. Most of the great hornbills in U.S. zoos are listed as `wild caught', but the age of capture is unknown, as is the role of humans in their early rearing environment. Our results suggest that early experience with humans may be a factor in the failure of many hornbills to breed successfully in captivity.

An extract from a report `Behaviour profiles of individual animals: a new tool for multi-institutional studies' by Kathy Carlstead and Devra G. Kleiman in EAZA News No. 27 (July–September 1999). [Other species discussed in the report are black rhinoceros, maned wolf and cheetah.]

Do species originate from dramatic mutations?

Darwin's theory that the slow accumulation of small changes leads to major structural differences between species has been challenged by a U.S. palaeontologist. As reported in New Scientist (13 February 1999), Jeffrey Schwartz of the University of Pittsburgh has suggested that new species arise abruptly because of mutations in the genes that control the development of embryos. If such mutations occur in several individuals who then breed among themselves, they can lead to a new species. For example, he says, the backbone first appeared as a `notochord' in the free-swimming larvae of sea squirts (Urochordata). The growth of a notochord is triggered by a gene known as Manx, one of a group that regulate embryonic development. When Manx is deactivated, the larva remains as a notochord-free, sessile animal. Schwartz believes that a small change in the gene that regulates Manx could have led to a subgroup of sea squirts with backbones and so to the evolution of all vertebrates.

This suggestion, Schwartz claims, could answer one of the most controversial questions in evolutionary biology: how do the major differences between species arise? The classic Darwinian view is that new species are the result of the slow accumulation of small random variations in organisms. But there is little evidence in the fossil record for the transitional forms predicted by this `gradualist' theory.

In 1972, Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould proposed a rival mechanism called `punctuated equilibrium'. They argued that species are relatively stable, and that new species appear very rapidly when genetically distinct subgroups become geographically isolated. But up to now, no one has been able to explain satisfactorily how subgroups could appear so suddenly.

Confirmation of Schwartz's idea comes from the laboratory work of developmental biologists, who can create viable mutants with great changes in body plan simply by manipulating embryonic regulatory genes. Moreover, such mutations have been observed to occur naturally, and to spread as predicted by the theory. Last year researchers at Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine, reported the sudden appearance of mice with extra toes in their lab colony – a regulatory gene had spontaneously mutated. The mutant gene was recessive, and so could only lead to extra toes when inherited from both parents. So the gene spread unnoticed among the mice until several offspring inherited two copies.

Camels and men

Anyone with an interest in zoo history should get hold of a copy of the November–December 1998 issue of Bandwagon: the Journal of the Circus Historical Society (2515 Dorset Road, Columbus, Ohio 43212, U.S.A.). In it (pp. 4–16) is an article by the Society's president, Richard J. Reynolds III, whose work on rhinos, elephants and other species will already be known to many I.Z.N. readers. He here presents an impressive variety of information on camels and their part in human history.

One of the topics covered is camelid hybrids. Bactrian/dromedary crosses, Richard notes, are not uncommon in the region – from Turkey to the Aral Sea – where both species are familiar domestic animals. He mentions three hybrids bred in the U.S.A., two of them very recently. Some details are also given of the camel–llama hybrid recently produced in Dubai (noted in I.Z.N. 45:2, p. 122).

Camels were astonishingly early introductions to the New World – c. 1650 in South America, and 1701 in North America. Richard traces the subsequent history of menagerie camels in the U.S.A. as far as 1850; a sequel is promised for a later issue of the magazine. But camels impinged on zoo history in another way, too – some of the earliest giraffes and hippos seen in Europe would never have arrived without the help of the camel caravans which carried or conducted them on the first stage of their journey. And the Przewalski's horses brought west in the early 1900s were escorted from Mongolia to the Trans-Siberian railway by caravans of Bactrian camels.

Nicholas Gould

Did stone-age man train birds of prey?

Zoo staff who use trained raptors in public flying displays could be the heirs of a prehistoric tradition; for falconry, long believed to be a medieval invention, may date as far back as to the end of the last Ice Age. The consistent presence of bones from large raptorial birds, ranging in size from eagles downwards, on Middle Eastern archaeological sites up to 12,000 years old, suggests that `the taming, management and training of birds of prey was developed by pre-agricultural societies as a hunting strategy,' according to Keith Dobney of the University of York, as reported by Norman Hammond in The Times (29 March 1999).

Although the presence of such large birds has been explained in terms of ritual activities, or as kills made for food or feathers, Dr Dobney believes that they formed part of the hunter-gatherer economy in the centuries before plants and animals became reliable domesticated food sources. He points out that many of the other species present at the same sites are animals that form the natural prey of the raptors, such as game birds, geese and ducks, hares and foxes. Some of these are hunted with falcons and goshawks even today in Arabia, and with eagles in Central Asia. Acknowledging that his thesis is unproven, Dr Dobney nevertheless notes that at the end of the Ice Age, climatic changes made large game much rarer. People living in the Middle East were forced to exploit a much wider range of resources, including small animals for meat. The dog was recruited as a human helper around this time: there seems no reason why large birds of prey should not have been pressed into service as well.

After the quagga – recreating the mammoth?

This summer two teams of scientists are heading for north-eastern Siberia, reports Nigel Hawkes in The Times (18 August 1999). Their aim is to dig up a mammoth in a condition good enough to enable the species to be recreated. This is just – but only barely – within the realms of possibility. One group is led by Akira Iritani, of Kinki University, Osaka, Japan, who has good credentials in the field of scientifically-assisted birth – in 1986 he was the first to achieve the birth of a mammal by intracytoplasmic sperm injection, in which the sperm is injected directly into the egg. This is now a standard practice in in vitro fertilisation clinics. With Japanese and Russian colleagues, he is searching along the banks of the Kolyma River, hoping to find either sperm or perfectly preserved cells from any other part of a mammoth's body. A second expedition, led by the Frenchman Bernard Buigues, is working on the Taymyr Peninsula. where last year Buigues found two frozen mammoths.

Potentially, there are two ways of recreating a mammoth. Assuming that the body was frozen at enormous speed (unlikely for so large a creature), there is a slight chance that sperm cells will have survived in a viable condition. If so, they could be injected into an Asian elephant's egg, to produce a hybrid that would be half-mammoth, half-elephant. Were the hybrid female and not sterile, it would be fertilised when mature with more mammoth sperm, and repetition of this procedure would produce – eventually – a creature that was nearly all mammoth. But given the long gestation and slow maturing of elephants, that would take several decades, and Dr Iritani, who is 69, says he cannot wait that long. The alternative is to try to find a cell in perfect condition and use it to clone a mammoth by nuclear transfer, the technique pioneered in the famous `Dolly the sheep' experiment. Any cell would do, but it would have to have all its DNA intact – a contingency which many scientists consider to be extremely remote.


Amersfoort Zoo, The Netherlands

The zoo keeps a group of four female Burmese elephants, ranging from 11 to 32 years of age, and an adolescent seven-year-old bull who was born in Paris. In 1997, as he was too young to breed, the zoo sent one of their cows (Khine-War-War, then 15 years old) to Rotterdam to mate with Ramon, the proven breeding bull there. Ramon was born in 1970 at Hanover Zoo, and before his sudden death (by brain haemorrhage) in April 1998 he had sired a total of nine calves, the last of which is expected early next year. Ramon did his job and mated successfully with Khine-War-War. She returned to Amersfoort and was due to give birth in March 1999. Finally, on 5th April at 6.15 a.m. the baby was born within a few minutes, watched by two keepers. Khine-War-War readily accepted the calf, and luckily it was a strong little female, called Indra. At birth she was 93 cm high, and two weeks later she weighed 140 kg and had grown to 96 cm. Indra is developing very well. Two days after her birth she was observed using her trunk to pick something up from the ground. Within a few days she was integrated with the group of females and also with Sammy, the bull. It is hoped that Sammy will breed in a few years; he is now starting to show bull behaviour, and should succeed his late father Siam as a prolific breeder.

Jürgen Schilfarth,

European Elephant Group

Bristol Zoo, U.K.

Five pink-backed pelican (Pelecanus rufescens) chicks, which recently hatched on one of the zoo's lake islands, are now being hand-reared by their keepers. The chicks were removed from their nest after the parent birds failed to look after their first brood properly. There are currently seven (4.3) adult birds on the island; two different females hatched the five chicks. The baby pelicans are being fed on whitebait four times a day; they have big appetites and can eat up to six fish each time. They have grown very quickly – when they hatched they weighed 70 grams, but a week later had increased to 235 grams.

Bristol Zoo press release (24 August 1999)

Clères Zoological Park, France

On March 6–7 1999 a workshop on artificial insemination (AI) of pheasants took place at Clères, attended by 25 people from six European countries. The aims of the meeting were to present to the pheasant-breeding community a programme of research initiated in Clères in 1998, and to introduce participants to AI techniques. The objective of the Clères project is to develop semen collection, artificial insemination and sperm cryopreservation techniques, with the aim of creating a cryo-bank of semen for threatened bird species. Several reliable methods of cryopreservation have been developed for domestic fowl semen, and we expect that these techniques will be transferable to non-domestic bird species.

The objective of the EEP is to maintain 90% of the genetic diversity of captive populations for a period of 200 years. In large mammal species, when the founder population is large enough, this objective is relatively easy to achieve. But in bird species, and particularly in Galliformes, these objectives would be difficult to attain without the use of biotechnology. Artificial insemination techniques and the creation of semen cryo-banks would allow the reinjection of genes into captive populations long after the death of the founders. In this way, genetic management of ex situ populations should be improved by reducing the rate of loss of genetic diversity.

The European Galliform TAG has selected 40 species of pheasants, all threatened with extinction in their natural habitat, for genetic studies, in order to increase the quality of genetic management of the captive stock. New studbooks will be established which will probably reveal important genetic lines, often with a small representation. AI will allow an increase in the reproductive success of the rarest individuals.

In a preliminary study in 1998, we successfully and repeatedly collected good quantities of semen from three species, Blyth's tragopan, mikado pheasant and cheer pheasant. Semen was collected once from two Burmese grey peacock pheasants, and three times from a Palawan peacock pheasant, but only a very small quantity. We did not succeed in collecting any semen from the five Edwards's pheasants in our experimental sample, perhaps because males of this species are particularly shy and subject to stress caused by the manipulation during catching and handling. Inseminations were performed on two species – Blyth's tragopan and mikado pheasant. In both species fertile eggs and chicks were obtained. These results are very promising for the future of the project. [On the success with Blyth's tragopan, see I.Z.N. 45:8, p. 503 – Ed.]

The adverse effects of stress in certain species show the necessity of conducting research on rearing and training techniques in order to get birds suitable for regular handling. In 1999, methods of AI will be tested on the majority of the 36 pheasant taxa kept at Clères. Work will focus on species-specific sperm characteristics: number of spermatozoa per ejaculate; volume of the ejaculate; motility; spermatozoa morphology; pH; and osmotic pressure. Furthermore, we will start working on cryopreservation of the semen. In parallel, we plan to produce by AI hybrids of Edwards's and Swinhoe's pheasants and of Edwards's and Berlioz's (Lophura nycthemera berliozi) pheasants in order to verify hybridisation genetic markers.

Abridged from Michel Saint Jalme, Alain Hennache and Eric Plouzeau in WPA News No. 59 (May 1999)

Cricket St. Thomas Wildlife Park, U.K.

The park has been purchased by Warner Holidays, a part of the Rank group Plc, and is undergoing a major re-development. As part of this, an area of 10,120 m2 of natural woodland has been fenced to house some of the lemur collection in a more natural environment for both animals and visitors.

The animals are kept within the woodland area on three sides by a 2.2 m electric fence with a 45 cm internal overhang, and on the fourth side by two lakes. An internal fence divides the area into two, one half housing black-and-white ruffed lemurs and the other a mixed group of red-fronted (Eulemur fulvus rufus) and ring-tailed lemurs. Within each area there are four 2.14 m ´ 1.52 m insulated wooden houses with thermostatically controlled under-floor heating and self-closing `cat flaps' to allow unrestricted access for the animals. The number of houses ensures that if there is any conflict within the groups, shelter is always available to the animals. Entrance porches at either end of the woodland link a system of paths through the enclosure, allowing the visitors to walk within this area amongst the lemurs, while giving the animals the choice of being viewed or not.

It is hoped that this enclosure will enhance the education facilities by providing the lemurs with the opportunity to display natural behaviour patterns and maintain and regulate their own social groupings, while being the centre of observational studies by a wide range of students from primary school to Ph.D. level. The size and environmental structure of the woodland is such that no artificial enrichment materials are needed, so the unnatural behaviours usually found in many typical lemur enclosures should not be stimulated. There are lemur/human interactive activities aimed at the younger students visiting the woods, to enable them to gain a greater understanding of the physical and mental agility of the lemurs.

Philip Ball in EAZA News No. 26 (April–June 1999)

Emmen Zoo, The Netherlands

Since the zoo acquired a group of 1.6 young Burmese elephants in 1988, eight (6.2) calves were born in the period 1992–1998, of which six (4.2) survived. In a four-month period (November 1997 to March 1998), four (3.1) calves were born and reared (see I.Z.N. 45:2, pp. 107–108), followed by a (male) stillbirth in June 1998, and now the last of the original six imported cows was due to give birth.

Htoo Kin Aye, who had two calves in 1992 and 1994 (with a very short interval of only 30 months) delivered her third offspring on 2 May 1999 at 6.06 a.m. in the group, only watched by a video camera. As Htoo Kin Aye is a perfect mother and the herd is now experienced with rearing baby elephants, there are no problems with Ma Yai Yee (`Miss Laughing Water') growing up in the group. As the name Indicates, she is a female; she had a birth weight of 116 kg. Both Htoo Kin Aye and Mingalor Oo (her sister born in 1992) are carefully watching Ma Yai Yee, and certainly it is a good training for Mingalor Oo's future breeding.

Two days after the birth the whole group of 14 (4.10) elephants were let outside, including the five youngsters. The three bull calves born in 1997–98 are playing a lot with each other in a typical manner, pushing, knocking etc. Only Naing Thein, the 19-year-old sire of all the Emmen calves, has to live on his own in the bull enclosure – unemployed, as nearly all of his females are doing a mother's job. . .

Jürgen Schilfarth,

European Elephant Group

Gorilla Haven, Georgia, U.S.A.

British gorilla expert, Peter Halliday, has been appointed Gorilla Haven's Project Manager/Director of Animal Care. Peter managed the world's largest collection of gorillas at John Aspinall's Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks in England. With 25 years' experience, including group formations and exhibit design, he is uniquely qualified. He was responsible for almost 60 gorillas when he left Howletts and Port Lympne in 1997 to read for a Master's degree in Conservation Biology.

Set amid the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia on 275 acres of wooded slopes and stream-filled valleys, the privately-funded Gorilla Haven will provide holding facilities for gorillas which owner institutions might otherwise house off-display. The intention is to build a world-class facility which will not be open to the public, and focus on research into building bachelor groups in conjunction with evaluating and meeting individual animals' specific needs.

Gorilla Haven will accept any gorilla, regardless of gender, age, behavior or disability. The Gorilla SSP and zoos will still control/own any gorilla at Gorilla Haven; it will simply be an adjunct to the zoo world, helping to ensure all gorillas in captivity are in the best possible situation. Particular emphasis will be placed on enrichment, with choice and control over their environment. Large enclosures, temperate climate and superb natural settings should guarantee a quality lifestyle for all gorilla guests, whether temporary or permanent.

Construction of Phase 1 should begin during the summer of 1999, with the goal of being ready to house gorillas by the end of 2000. Since Gorilla Haven will not be open to the public, there is the unique opportunity to design facilities with gorilla and animal caregiver needs as top priorities. We invite comments and suggestions from all caregivers or people working with or studying gorillas. For more information, see Gorilla Haven's website at, or e-mail, or fax 706–374–4491.

Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 26, No. 6 (June 1999)

Healesville Sanctuary, Victoria, Australia

On the night of 3 April 1999, a baby platypus emerged for the first time from the security of its burrow at the sanctuary's Platypus Breeding Facility. This event marked the culmination of more than 50 years of work trying to emulate the first and only fully captive breeding success by Dr David Fleay at Healesville in February 1944. Rarely-seen mating footage of the adults, female Koorina and male N, began on 5 November 1998, with the animals nuzzling and circling with their tails in each other's mouths. Over the following days, Koorina and N mated several times. On 14 November, Koorina was clearly seen gathering large quantities of leaf litter from the water surface, tucking it securely into the curl of her tail and taking it into the nesting burrow. Koorina did not appear for five days from 23 to 27 November, which was an encouraging sign that she was egg-laying. Over the next few weeks and months, Koorina's appetite increased significantly, until she was consuming nearly one-and-a-half times her body weight in food. Her behaviour was very like that of the breeding female Jill, 55 years ago.

At approximately 11 p.m. on 3 April, baby `X' emerged from the nesting burrow. He wandered around the entrance for a few minutes and then returned to the safety of his familiar home. After the initial excitement of seeing the first platypus bred in captivity in 55 years, we suspected that there was going to be a second young. We based this on the fact that Koorina had been eating approximately twice as much food as Jill ate in 1943. We first weighed and handled X on 6 April, which coincided with his first swim, and he weighed in at 550 g. His tail was, and still is, very thin, and his body, though not thin, is not as fat as we expected.

Just after 9 p.m. on 8 April baby `Y' decided to show himself. From initial observations on video he appeared to be more robust than X. This was proven correct when we weighed him on 10 April; he tipped the scales at 912 g, considerably larger than his brother. Both babies started eating mealworms, earthworms, tubifex worms and fly pupae within an hour of entering the water for the first time. They swam, floated and dived straight away. Koorina did not appear to teach them anything as far as swimming or feeding is concerned. They were separated from her about four to five weeks after leaving the burrow for the first time, as her mammary glands had returned to their normal size two to three weeks earlier. During the time they were with her, she and either or both babies were in the same tank only about fifty per cent of the time that they were active. What all this indicates is that they have been reasonably independent of their mother since soon after leaving the burrow.

At the time of writing, N and Koorina are back together in preparation for the coming breeding season. The two young platypus are on display and will remain part of our collection. They are doing well and gaining weight; X now weighs 700 g and Y 1,100 g. At some stage soon we will come up with names for them, either through corporate sponsorship or a naming competition.

Diane Logg in ARAZPA Newsletter No. 42 (May 1999), with additional material from Thylacinus Vol. 23, No. 1 (see below, p. 385)

[For further information on platypus captive management, see I.Z.N. 40:1, pp. 30–36, 41:6, pp. 50–53, and 42:4, pp. 205–212.]

Krefeld Zoo, Germany

On 15 August 1998 the zoo opened a new tropical house for South American plants and animals. With a diameter of 40 metres and a maximum height of 17 metres, this polygonal building covers an area of 1,100 m2 with a volume of 12,500 m3. The landscaping, including ponds and small rivers, and the plantings were done by the zoo's own horticulturists. With few exceptions, only natural materials were used, such as different types of rock, sand, loess and wood. Over 400 species of plants from the humid tropical regions of Central and South America were collected from various botanical gardens. Additionally, some small trees were imported from Costa Rica; only a few larger trees and palms have been purchased. As this house is also home to several hundred butterflies, only biological pest-control is possible.

An aquarium of more than 20,000 litres is destined for about 15 species of freshwater fish. A group of smooth-fronted caimans (Paleosuchus trigonatus) and various water turtles (Phrynops geoffroanus, Phrynops hilarii, Podocnemis expansa and Podocnemis unifilis) live in interconnected ponds, containing approximately 100 m3 of warm water (26° C) which is cleaned by two large sand filters. Green iguanas and green crested basilisks (Basiliscus plumifrons) range free in the house. Green and yellow anacondas (Eunectes murinus and E. notaeus) live in a fenced enclosure together with pygmy marmosets. Woolly opossums (Caluromys philander) and white-faced sakis inhabit an island, while two-toed sloths and tamanduas live in fenced enclosures. Pallas's long-tongued bats (Glossophaga soricina) fly free during the night, having their sleeping quarters in a rock hole, where they can be observed `live' on a monitor during the day. Butterflies, mainly of Central American origin, breed in a special room or within the tropical house itself, and contribute to the attractiveness of this artificial biotope. Ten butterfly species already bred during the summer of 1998, mainly Heliconiids, but also monarchs and even a few Morpho peleides. In order to improve reproductive success, a special greenhouse will be built in 1999 to grow food plants for the different butterfly species.

Paul Vogt in EAZA News No. 26 (April–June 1999)

Melaka Zoo, Malaysia

At the beginning of the decade, four young pairs of captive-bred Javan green peafowl (Pavo m. muticus) were donated by the World Pheasant Association in Britain to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks for Peninsular Malaysia. The green peafowl became extinct in Malaysia during the 1950s or early 1960s, although in earlier times it was quite common, particularly in eastern areas. For several years, some of the birds from the U.K. were displayed at the headquarters of the Wildlife Department, and the remainder were taken to the Pheasant Breeding Centre at Sungkai, where they joined a pair of birds donated from Java. Breeding successes and building expansion at the Department's HQ resulted in a number of birds being transferred to Melaka Zoo, which is run by the Department. Some of the birds were released within the zoo grounds, which include a large area of natural forest, and after several years they are living and breeding there very successfully under quite natural conditions. They can frequently be seen foraging for food on the nearby golf course, although they usually fly back across the adjacent lake to roost in the forested area of the zoo. At some stage in the future, it is hoped that these birds can be studied to evaluate what they need to survive in the wild. If appropriate lessons can be learned from the birds in Melaka, and the reasons for the species' disappearance no longer exist, perhaps the green peafowl might eventually be reintroduced into Malaysia.

Abridged from John Corder in WPA News No. 59 (May 1999)

Monde Sauvage Safari, Deigné-Aywaille, Belgium

Those who have seen the BBC film Polar Bear will remember the scene when the female gives birth in her den during the polar winter. In reality the site was not the barren North but this safari park, and the caring mother was Saskia, our breeding female polar bear. While the scene lasts for only a few minutes in the film, it took several months to prepare the site where Saskia and her cubs were filmed over a period of three weeks for 24 hours a day. The BBC financed a special cubbing den in Monde Sauvage in order to be able to film the whole event by remote control. It took great effort and patience to make Saskia feel safe and comfortable enough to give birth in this den. For a long time after the shooting of this scene two years ago, Saskia refused to enter the den, but she finally did so again in October 1998. This time, she refused to come out, and on 10 November 1998 she gave birth to two (1.1) cubs; the male died, but the female was successfully mother-reared.

Joseph R. Renson in EAZA News No. 27 (July–September 1999)

Paignton Zoo (Whitley Wildlife Preservation Trust), U.K.

A notable feature of the zoo's new entrance building, completed in 1996, is its `green' roof of living plants, which is now well established. Roofs of this kind have features that are environmentally beneficial. Firstly, they blend into the landscape and form a continuation of the surrounding green space, making the building as unobtrusive as possible; secondly, they create a home for a variety of insects and subsequently provide birds with food; and finally, they provide very good thermal insulation for the building, reducing energy use.

The initial colonisation was accomplished using stonecrops (Sedum spp.). These are succulent plants that can survive very low water levels and have a brown, fibrous root system that binds the gravel substrate together. By covering the surface of the roof, they reduce water loss from the substrate and allow colonisation by other species. As well as the stonecrops, the roof was sown with a wild flower mixture. These are (mostly) not weeds, as they have been deliberately included to create an attractive meadow-like appearance. All these species are also drought-tolerant. The term `grass roof' is not an accurate description, as none of these species were grasses, hence the use of the term `green roof'.

When the roof was installed, an underground watering system was incorporated. This comprises a series of `leaky pipes' which allow water to seep out into the substrate. The roof incorporates a reservoir of small cells that retain the water. This means that it only needs watering every three weeks or so. Underground watering systems use less water than sprinkler systems and are more accurate in distributing the water throughout the substrate.

Much as anticipated, the establishment of the non-succulent species took a couple of years or so; but this year they have produced a good amount of leaf. Trees and other shrubby species, which would obviously be undesirable on the roof, are controlled in two ways. Firstly, there is a layer of copper in the roof that stops the penetrating roots of trees and poisons them. This does not affect the wild flower species, as their roots do not reach this layer. Secondly, the roof will be cut annually in the same way as any meadow. This prevents shrubby species from becoming established. (It remains to be seen how effective these measures will be against buddleia, but none have established themselves so far.) As with any meadow, certain species will probably dominate the area from time to time, but the overall appearance is likely to remain much as it is now.

Adapted from Ian Turner, Curator of Plants and Gardens, in Paignton Zoo News No. 39 (Summer 1999)

Randers Regnskov, Denmark

Randers Regnskov (`rainforest') was opened in 1996 in the Danish town of Randers. The zoo consists of two polycarbonate-covered dome-shaped buildings (700 m2 and 500 m2) designed to display a wide diversity of animals and plants in naturalistic surroundings. The aim of this theme zoo is to let visitors experience the rainforests of the world. The artificial climate in the larger dome is similar to that of an equatorial tropical rainforest, while that of the small dome mimics a monsoon tropical climate. This has been accomplished by using a climate computer that regulates annual light, humidity and temperature cycles based on mean climate values from five different locations in each zone.

The newest addition to this theme was opened on 27 March 1999, when H.R.H. Princess Alexandra literally set the snakes free in a small 130 m2 Asian rainforest. Upon entering the snake encounter, visitors find themselves surrounded by tropical ferns, orchids and butterflies. The ground pest controllers, black-spined toads (Bufo melanostictus), doze in their daytime retreat while their tadpoles graze on the algae in the small stream. The water is also home to several turtle species – leaf turtle (Cyclemys dentata), giant pond turtle (Heosemys grandis), Siamese temple turtle (Siebenrockiella crassicollis) and Chinese soft-shelled turtle (Trionyx sinensis) – as well as to eight species of smaller tropical fish. The 16 snakes of two species, Taiwan beauty snake (Elaphe taeniura freesei) and Indian python (Python m. molurus), roam free throughout the enclosure. The visitors' pathway is a bridge stretching over the stream. The artificial rocks are equipped with heated spots which offer the snakes and toads basking sites that can easily be monitored by members of staff. The beauty snakes are quite active during the day, while the pythons, although inactive, make a good exhibit. The snakes seldom climb onto the pathway, but usually the visitors can see six to eight snakes – otherwise, the guides show them where to look. All the animals are implanted with microchips which enable the keepers to monitor each specimen. Randers Regnskov is only the second zoo to create a snake encounter. The idea was conceived and realised in Singapore Zoo for the first time in the world.

Henrik Herold in EAZA News No. 27 (July–September 1999)

Reptilarium, Città della Domenica, Perugia, Italy

(A visitor's report by Spartaco Gippoliti, May 1999)

Just in front of the gate of Città della Domenica (`Sunday City'), an important recreational park in Perugia (Umbria), in a building originally containing a waxwork museum, is presently housed one of the largest reptile collections in Italy. During my visit, 24 reptile species were on exhibit, and many more are kept off-exhibit. Notable animals on view include a group of seven American alligators, several albino Indian pythons, a Madagascar boa (possibly Acrantophis dumerili), two boa constrictors of an unspecified insular form, a group of captive-bred inland bearded dragons (Amphibolurus vitticeps), a fine specimen of crocodile monitor (Varanus salvadorii), and a nice group of eight rhinoceros iguanas bred here in 1997 (the parents are present too). There are several poisonous snakes difficult to see elsewhere in Italy, including a green mamba, a Cape cobra, two albino monocled cobras, a cascabel (Crotalus durissus) and four timber rattlesnakes.

Although the building was not originally designed to maintain live animals, the enclosures seem to be of appropriate size and aesthetically pleasant. Also on show are some mounted skeletons of snakes and several educational graphics.

At least three species of European turtles can be seen in an outdoor enclosure. Several species of mammals and birds are scattered around the recreational park. Most of these are very familiar species such as lion, common zebra, camel, American bison, ostrich, rhea etc., but I noted a nice group of six lesser flamingos, three vulturine guineafowl and two violet turacos (Musophaga violacea). There are also some very interesting Italian domestic breeds, such as Sardinian and Martinafranca donkeys and Madonie pigs. Both the park and the reptilarium have great potential, but only the latter is actually managed to professional zoological standards at present.

Saint Louis Zoo, Missouri, U.S.A.

The king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) is, at up to 18 feet (6.3 m), easily the world's longest venomous snake, and it may also be the heaviest – large adults weigh over 20 pounds (9 kg). The combination of quantity and toxicity of venom delivered make for one of the worst possible bites: a full injection could kill a human being many times over, and this is the only wild creature capable of killing a grown elephant, an occasional event in its native tropical Asia, Indonesia and the Philippines. It is also one of the few snakes that will advance on an intruder, with a hiss so guttural and reverberating that it has been compared to the growl of a small dog. People who work with `kings' have consistently ascribed a superior intelligence to them, citing their unusual ability to identify individual keepers.

King cobras were first bred successfully at the Bronx Zoo in 1955. In recent years, breeding efforts generally have accelerated, since propagating and managing groups in captivity yields the benefit of study without depleting threatened wild populations. Our pair was obtained in November 1997 from an imported Malaysian group via the Black Hills Reptile Gardens in South Dakota. A year later our cobras were in vibrant good health and had more than doubled their weight.

On 7 January 1999, in an attempt to `acquaint' the pair on the olfactory level, we placed the female in an enclosure adjacent to the male to allow some air and scent to penetrate through a partition. Five days later the door was opened and the snakes introduced. Six staff stood by to quickly disrupt any antagonistic behavior. The female almost immediately moved half her length into the enclosure occupied by the male. He responded at once, and both snakes hooded up very attentively about a foot (30 cm) off the ground. It looked as if the male might become aggressive, but he quickly settled down to a more investigative state, exploring the female's back and mid-section with his chin, and rapidly tongue-flicking with very short strokes, up to 100 flicks per minute. During the next several minutes he head-butted her over various parts of her body, but not the head or tail, on one occasion driving his head under her, perhaps to get her moving. She began to cruise the enclosure and he shadowed her perfectly, bringing their combined 25 feet (7.5 m) into alignment. Amazingly subtle maneuvers from this point consummated the marriage not thirty minutes after the vows. Unfortunately we felt obliged to separate the pair at the end of the day to preserve their relationship.

Thirty-five days after this event, a change was observed in the female's enclosure. Mulch was piled up around the entrance to her hideaway. The `queen' cobra is among the few snakes to build a nest, which she guards while the eggs incubate. We were looking forward to watching our cobra build a complete nest when, on 24 February, she summarily deposited 35 white, pliable, elongated eggs. We collected them for weighing, measuring, and incubation, where we could guarantee the near-100% humidity and 84° F (29° C) temperature required. After 70 days, on 5 May, the first cobra slit its eggshell. Over the next three days we witnessed the rare sight of ten more 21-inch-long (53 cm) babies, each cutting an egg with an egg-tooth and taking a first breath.

The young are black with vivid yellow markings, quite unlike the gold-brown-olive of the adults. They have enormous eyes and are very alert and active. Cobra babies are also reluctant to begin feeding and are at high risk of an early death. So all of our `princes and princesses' were, in a delicate procedure, force-fed their first few meals, and we expect that they will soon begin feeding voluntarily.

Peter Taylor, Zoological Manager, Reptiles, in Zudus Vol. 13, No. 4 (July/August 1999)

San Antonio Zoo, Texas, U.S.A.

Houston, the patriarch of San Antonio's golden lion tamarin population, died on 26 May at the age of 31 years and seven months; he was the oldest known golden lion tamarin in captivity. He was born on 7 October 1967 at Houston Zoo, and arrived in San Antonio on 11 April 1972. For most of his years in San Antonio, he was paired with Sunshine, a female born in 1975. Between 1972 and 1984, Houston sired 25 offspring, 13 with Sunshine. Three of his progeny, all females, were sent to Brazil in 1984 as part of the release program for the species, and one of them was reported to have reproduced in the wild.

AZA Communiqué (August 1999)

Sea World of Texas, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.

Ten Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schauinslandi) now reside at Sea World. The young adult females, all around three years old, were transferred here with the approval of the National Marine Fisheries Service for long-term care and research. Scientists from Sea World and other zoological institutions will observe and study the animals' physiology and behavior in hopes of finding answers that will contribute to the long-term survival of the species. The seal, found only in the Hawaiian Islands, is the only endangered marine mammal that lives entirely within the borders of the U.S.A. Current population estimates of 1,300 to 1,400 animals represent a decline of approximately 60 per cent since the late 1950s.

Eight of the seals have varying degrees of blindness, from an unknown cause. The other two, however, have not contracted the undiagnosed ailment which causes the blindness, making them key to research studies. All ten animals appear to be healthy in other respects. Marine mammal veterinarians who have examined them do not believe the eye condition is contagious.

AZA Communiqué (August 1999)

Walsrode Bird Park, Germany

The park has kept a pair of bateleur eagles (Terathopius ecaudatus) for some 15 years. In late September 1996, they laid their first egg ever, which was transferred to an incubator due to unfavourable weather conditions. The egg proved to be fertile and developed well, but the chick died during the hatching process. Another egg was laid in early September 1997, and was left with the parents for natural incubation. The egg was rotten when the nest was checked in November, and it was impossible to determine whether it had been fertile or not. The first egg of the 1998 season was laid in August. After having been incubated by the parents for approximately ten days, it was transferred to an incubator, and the chick hatched on 9 October. In the meantime, the female had laid another egg – the first time that she had produced a second clutch. The chick of this second egg also died during hatching, but the first chick grew up and fledged in early January 1999.

Bateleur eagles are rarely bred in captivity. According to the 1996 EEP TAG Survey (Fifth Series), 61 specimens were kept in 31 European zoological institutions, of which only four had bred the species since 1990. These four are the Hawk Conservancy (Andover, U.K.), Birdpark Schmiding (Krenglbach, Austria), Le Rocher des Aigles (Rocamadour, France) and Frankfurt Zoo (Germany). One of the reasons for the poor breeding results might be that bateleur eagles need a very long time to adapt to new surroundings. This could explain why Walsrode's pair started to breed only after such a long period.

Another rarely-bred raptor species produced a record number of young in 1998. Three secretary birds were hand-reared at Walsrode. The parents have produced fertile eggs for several years, but are very susceptible to disturbances at the nest. Although they have reared young themselves in the past, in 1998 all their eggs had to be artificially incubated because they were abandoned by the parents at different stages of incubation. A major problem in rearing secretary birds in the past has been the development of the legs. Walsrode has apparently solved this problem by changes in diet, especially additives such as minerals and vitamins, as all three chicks were successfully hand-reared. During the 1990s, secretary birds have bred at Birdpark Avifauna (Alphen, The Netherlands), Marwell Zoo (U.K.) and the National Birds of Prey Centre (Newent, U.K.).

Martina Müller in EAZA News No. 27 (July–September 1999)

The Zoo, Gulf Breeze, Florida, U.S.A.

In 1997 The Zoo opened a neotropical rainforest building containing an exhibit that housed two sister pygmy marmosets and a pair of golden-headed lion tamarins. It was soon discovered that one of the recently acquired marmoset females was pregnant. This female gave birth to twins on 26 September 1997. Being concerned that the tamarins might upset the family or even eat the baby pygmies, we monitored them closely. To our surprise the two families got along beautifully, even when the babies cried (the tamarins just ignored them). The pygmy babies developed normally and started wandering around the exhibit on their own at about three weeks of age, and were completely independent of their parents by 11 weeks. When they were five months old they were about the size of a tamarin baby. On 14 March 1998 the male tamarin was observed carrying a baby pygmy marmoset on his back. Both the baby and the pygmy parents seemed to be unconcerned, so they were left alone and watched. The baby was allowed to dismount as it pleased, and in the following weeks both babies were seen riding on the back of the male tamarin on several different occasions. The babies and the tamarin mutually initiated contact and no aggression was ever observed. The pygmies also started trying to ride on their own parents again, but soon learned this was not allowed, and thereafter only mounted the tamarin. Also at this time, the pygmy babies were observed begging food and receiving it from both of the tamarins.

The male tamarin had never had offspring of his own and his previous experience with siblings is unknown to us. He seemed to seek out contact by approaching the babies and reaching out to them as he might with his own offspring. This behavior may have been to impress the female, to show her what a good father he would be, as has been seen in other Callitrichidae, or it may have just been a natural instinct to carry the babies. The pygmies themselves seemed quite content to be carried again and it did not appear to adversely affect their development. By the time they were six-and-a-half months old this carrying behavior was no longer observed.

Exhibiting pygmy families with non-breeding lion tamarin pairs may allow these animals to experience normal carrying behavior, which they would not have a chance to experience with their non-breeding status. These preliminary findings indicate that lion tamarins lacking child-rearing experience may be able to obtain this experience through interaction with this less endangered species prior to having offspring of their own. Such interactions could be used to help find individuals with good paternal or maternal instincts, and to provide future parents with child-rearing experience.

Linda Pastorello in Tamarin Tales Vol. 3 (1999), the newsletter of the International Committees for Recovery and Management of Leontopithecus rosalia, L. chrysopygus, L. chrysomelas and L. caissara.

News in Brief

Twin (1.1) gorillas were born at Oklahoma City Zoo on 21 March. These are only the seventh set of twins to be born in captivity, with only two documented sets known to have survived. The twins were mother-reared until 7 April, but the decision to hand-raise them was made when the mother, who had initially exhibited good maternal skills, showed irregular nursing habits and her ability to handle the twins declined.

T. Henson in AZA Communiqué (June 1999)

* * * * *

During a three-week expedition to Montserrat, Andrew Owen of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust collected eight Montserrat orioles and nine `mountain chicken' frogs. The animals have been brought back to Jersey Zoo for a trial captive-breeding programme. Though neither species seems to be in immediate danger, it is uncertain how their populations will be affected by the continuing volcanic activity on the island. Neither has previously been kept in captivity, nor is the reproductive behaviour of either fully understood.

Abridged from a Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust press release (21 July 1999)

[For further information, see I.Z.N. 45:4, p. 228, and 46:3, pp. 166–167.]

* * * * *

On 11 January, a single female ratel (Mellivora capensis) was born at San Diego Zoo. This follows the arrival of a wild-caught pair from South Africa on 14 Dec 1998. The neonate weighed approximately 114 g at birth. This is believed to be the first birth of the species in the western hemisphere.

C. Racicot in AZA Communiqué (June 1999)

* * * * *

Workers at Brookfield Zoo hope that their two tiny, hand-raised green sea turtles will survive their open ocean life and return to their release point in Hawaii in about 2015, when they are mature. These were the first turtles provided to Brookfield from the program sponsored by the Sea Life Park Aquarium, Oahu, Hawaii. Turtles were sent to zoos around the U.S.A. for head-starting and to raise awareness of sea turtle issues.

Chicago Tribune (16 February 1999)

* * * * *

On 19 August 1999 a female Caribbean manatee (Trichechus m. manatus) was stillborn at Tierpark Berlin. It was an anterior presentation. The body length of the young was 128 cm, the tail measured 44 cm, and the arm was 23 cm long. The new-born weighed 24 kg. The well-developed nail had a length of 6 cm. The mother, Lisa, is a 13-year-old animal from the breeding group at Nuremberg Zoo; it was her fifth birth. She had already had a stillbirth at the Tierpark in 1997. Her offspring born in 1989, 1992 and 1994 in Nuremberg grew up (see Blaszkiewitz, B., 1998, Der Zool. Garten 68:2, 134).

Dr Bernhard Blaszkiewitz

* * * * *

Kakapos (Strigops habroptilus), temporarily transferred from Codfish Island to Pearl Island to allow rat eradication to take place on the former, have surprised researchers by nesting. This is the earliest ever breeding of birds following translocation, and so far five females have produced seven nests and 14 eggs.

Kakapo Update (March 1999)

[For brief notes on the kakapo conservation project, see I.Z.N. 46:4, p. 230 – Ed.]

* * * * *

Thieves made off with 16 out of 17 giant salamanders (Andrias davidianus) on display at Chongqing Zoo, China, on 10 December last year. All the animals were older than ten years of age; the one remaining female is over 40 years old.

China Daily (17 December 1998)

* * * * *

A litter of eight African wild dogs was born in November 1998 at Bioparco, Rome (formerly Rome Zoo). One male did not survive but the rest are doing well. The species breeds annually at Rome and the group is one of the most prolific in Europe.

Alessandro Montemaggiori and Siân S. Waters in EAZA News No. 26 (April–June 1999)

* * * * *

Automatic cameras have taken the first photos of the Vietnamese subspecies of the Javan rhinoceros. Researchers are unsure whether the seven photos taken in the Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam's southern central highlands are all of the same animal. Scientists have never seen a live Javan rhino in Vietnam; the presence of the animals, thought probably to number fewer than ten, has been revealed only by droppings, footprints, and sightings by local villagers.

* * * * *

Palong, a 12-year-old bull Asian elephant at Rotterdam Zoo, suffered a bad accident when his trunk was squeezed in one of the gates and it was necessary to remove a small piece. He did not recover well after the surgery, and finally a herpesvirus infection was diagnosed. After massive medical treatment he seems to have recovered, only the third elephant in a Western zoo to have survived this generally fatal infection (see I.Z.N. 46:4, p. 233).

Jürgen Schilfarth,

European Elephant Group

Information wanted – elephant skin patterns

A request has been passed on to I.Z.N. from the elephant researcher Dr Iain Douglas-Hamilton. He wants to know whether any studies have been made into the identification of individual elephants by the wrinkles and folds in their skin. If these were as unique as human fingerprints, they would be a great help in identifying wild elephants in the field. Would any reader who knows of such a study please contact the I.Z.N. office.


Adloff, A.: Die Zinnfigurenausstellungen im Tierpark. (Displays of miniature metal figures at Tierpark Berlin.) Milu Vol. 9, No. 6 (1999), pp. 741–747. [German, no English summary; includes nine photos of models and dioramas.]

Andrews, L.: Mating systems in shorebirds. Thylacinus Vol. 23, No. 1 (1999), pp. 49–57.

Baker, W.K.: How does a crisis management workshop work? Animal Keepers’ Forum Vol. 26, No. 6 (1999), pp. 216–217.

Barlow, S.: Reintroduction of the yellow-footed rock wallaby, Petrogale x. xanthopus, to Aroona Sanctuary, Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia: an overview. Thylacinus Vol. 23, No. 1 (1999), pp. 12–16. [Adelaide Zoo.]

Blaszkiewitz, B.: Afrikanum III: Zwei neue Freianlagen für Kaffern- und Rotbüffel im Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde. (Two new enclosures for Cape and red buffalo at Tierpark Berlin.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 4 (1999), pp. 225–230. [German, no English summary.]

Blaszkiewitz, B.: Friedrichsfelder Elefanten-Chronik – Nachtrag 1997–1999. (Elephants at Tierpark Berlin – an update.) Milu Vol. 9, No. 6 (1999), pp. 625–631. [German, no English summary.]

Blaszkiewitz, B.: Tiergärtnerische Notizen aus Japan. (Japanese zoo notes.) Milu Vol. 9, No. 6 (1999), pp. 724–740. [German, no English summary.]

Blaszkiewitz, B.: Weitere Flusspferddarstellungen in Zoologischen Gärten. (Further artistic representations of hippos in zoos.) Milu Vol. 9, No. 6 (1999), pp. 632–636. [German, no English summary.]

Budde, C.: Das Verhalten von brütenden Vögeln, Eltern- und Nicht-Elternvögeln: Zeit-Budgets von zwei Paaren des Grauen Kronenkranichs, Balearica regulorum gibbericeps. (Management of incubating, chick-rearing and non-parent birds: time-budgets of two pairs of East African crowned crane.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 4 (1999), pp. 246–254. [German, with brief English summary. White Oak Plantation, Yulee, Florida.]

Carney, T., Woodward, K., and Hawkins, M.: Avian enrichment. Thylacinus Vol. 23, No. 1 (1999), pp. 32–37. [Taronga Zoo.]

Cowie, J.: Supplementary hand-raising of a neonatal slender-tailed meerkat, with a successful reintroduction to the meerkat group held at Perth Zoo. Thylacinus Vol. 23, No. 1 (1999), pp. 58–60. [Suricata suricatta.]

Czernay, S.: Ungewöhnliches Alter bei einem Servalweibchen im Zoologischen Garten Halle. (Unusual age of a female serval at Halle Zoo.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 4 (1999), p. 275. [German, no English summary. When this animal was euthanased in June 1998, she was aged 21 years and seven months.]

Dathe, F.: Die Krokodilhaltung im Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde von 1955 bis 1999. (Crocodiles at Tierpark Berlin, 1955–1999.) Milu Vol. 9, No. 6 (1999), pp. 646–657. [German, no English summary; 16 taxa have been kept at the zoo, and many of these are illustrated.]

de Boer, M.: Enrofloxacin, een antibioticum tegen bacterie-infecties in zeewater. (Enrofloxacin, an antibiotic used for bacterial infections in sea water.) De Harpij Vol. 18, No. 3 (1999), pp. 6–7. [Dutch, with English summary. Enrofloxacin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic marketed under the name Baytril by the company Bayer. It is used for Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp. outbreaks and other bacterial infections. While it was felt at Rotterdam Zoo that this antibiotic could be used for treating aquarium fish, some questions needed to be resolved. A series of tests were carried out in an 80 ´ 40 ´ 40 cm aquarium without any inhabitants. It was found that the concentration of the antibiotic (1 mg per litre of water) had not decreased in salt or fresh water two weeks after it was placed in the aquarium. Filtering the water through small pieces of coral (high in calcium) did not decrease the concentration of antibiotic, while filtering the water through active charcoal resulted in removal of the antibiotic in 24 hours. The treatment procedure now used at Rotterdam is as follows. The aquarium is disconnected from the biological filter and 100 ml 0.1% Baytril in 100 l of water is added. (Note: it was found that 10% Baytril formed white flakes when added to salt water, while 0.1% did not. Thinning 1 ml 10% Baytril in 100 ml tap water before adding it to salt water solved this problem). After five to seven days one-third of the water is changed and one-third of the original dose of Baytril added. The water that is removed is filtered through active charcoal because of environmental concerns. The aquarium water is filtered through active charcoal after the treatment is finished, and the biological filter is reconnected 24 hours later.]

Dolan, J.M.: The mammal collection of the Zoological Society of San Diego. A historical perspective. Part XV: Myrmecophagidae to Pteropodidae. Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 4 (1999), pp. 209–224.

Garner, R., and Mackness, B.: `Trophokleptic' behaviour by a hump-headed Maori wrasse, Cheilinus undulatus (Labridae) towards a whitetip reef shark, Triaenodon obesus. Thylacinus Vol. 23, No. 1 (1999), p. 62. [Food-stealing behaviour.]

Gubler, Z.: A guide to artificial incubation of avian eggs. Thylacinus Vol. 23, No. 1 (1999), pp. 45–48.

Hall, V.G.: Breeding noisy pittas at Currumbin Sanctuary. Thylacinus Vol. 23, No. 1 (1999), pp. 38–40. [Pitta v. versicolor.]

Hamilton, N.: Bird-of-paradise in Australia. Thylacinus Vol. 23, No. 1 (1999), pp. 21–23. [Adelaide Zoo.]

Harrie, B.: De grote verhuizing in de Antwerpse Zoo. (The `big move' at Antwerp Zoo.) De Harpij Vol. 18, No. 3 (1999), pp. 12–13. [Dutch, with English summary. Describes how the zoo is coping with the temporary loss of some land belonging to the city that was needed for construction work at the adjacent Antwerp Central Station.]

Holland, N., and Fisk: Breeding platypus in captivity. Thylacinus Vol. 23, No. 1 (1999), pp. 24–28. [Healesville Sanctuary.]

Hosey, G.R., Jacques, M., and Burton, M.: Allowing captive marmosets to choose the size and position of their nest box. Animal Welfare Vol. 8, No. 3 (1999), pp. 281–285. [`Marmosets may exhibit preferences for their cage furniture, the basis of which may not be clear to us; these preferences should, however, be taken into account when designing cages to maximize the welfare of the animals.']

Janse, M.: Natuurbescherming in openbare aquaria. (Conservation in public aquaria.) De Harpij Vol. 18, No. 3 (1999), pp. 2–5. [Dutch, no English summary.]

Kaiser, M.: Erfolgreiche Zucht der Rotbauchpipra (Pipra aureola) im Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde. (Successful breeding of crimson-hooded manakin at Tierpark Berlin.) Milu Vol. 9, No. 6 (1999), pp. 637–645. [German, with brief English summary.]

Kormann, J.: Erstes Wachstum von Steinkorallen (Cnidaria, Madreporaria) im Rifflagunenaquarium des Tierparks Berlin-Friedrichsfelde. (First growth of stony corals in Tierpark Berlin's reef aquarium.) Milu Vol. 9, No. 6 (1999), pp. 658–663. [German, no English summary.]

Ludwig, W., and Ludwig, C.: Der Einfluss der Zooumwelt auf das Pflegeverhalten von Kleinkatzen – Ein Beispiel an Sandkatzen (Felis margarita) aus dem Zoo Dresden. (The influence of the zoo environment on the management of small cats – the example of sand cats at Dresden Zoo.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 4 (1999), pp. 246–254. [German, with English summary. A litter of sand cats was successfully mother-reared at Dresden Zoo. Previously several attempts were unsuccessful. Off-exhibit breeding facilities are more suitable for cats, but often in zoos accommodation used for public viewing has to serve for breeding as well. At Dresden, reduction of noise and increased cover provided a distinct change in the cats' behaviour and activity rhythm, causing more activity at night and an increase in pair-bonding behaviour. The male shared the same facility with the female and kittens up to the seventh week after parturition, and after the first week he was allowed to lie inside the nestbox with them. By contrast, the authors consider the separation of the male partner in this and another pair of sand cats before parturition was a factor in the failure of other rearing attempts, It was often observed in sand cats and also Amur cats that females increased pair-bonding behaviour a few days before parturition, suggesting that stronger bonding may be significant for the female at the critical time of parturition and rearing. Good keeper–animal relations may also improve the mother's feeling of safety; as a change of keeper led to disturbance of mothers and their nursing behaviour in former breeding attempts, only the most familiar keeper took care of the cats during the rearing. It was never observed that the female's postpartum oestrus in the male's presence had any negative influence on her nursing behaviour.]

Mackness, B., and Garner, R.: Interactions between a blotched fantail ray Taeniura meyeni and a basketstar (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea). Thylacinus Vol. 23, No. 1 (1999), p. 61.

Males, G.: Macropods and magpie geese: unlikely competitors. Thylacinus Vol. 23, No. 1 (1999), pp. 29–31. [How Territory Wildlife Park combats the problem caused by large numbers of wild Anseranas semipalmata invading kangaroo and wallaroo enclosures.]

Mason, K.: Captive husbandry of the superb lyrebird. Thylacinus Vol. 23, No. 1 (1999), pp. 2–11. [Menura novaehollandiae; Healesville Sactuary.]

Mazur, N.: Zoo conservation policy-making: a matter of defining problems. Thylacinus Vol. 23, No. 1 (1999), pp. 17–20. [Adelaide Zoo.]

Nadler, T.: Goldschopflangur (Trachypithecus poliocephalus) im Endangered Primate Rescue Center, Vietnam, und die Bestandssituation in seinem Verbreitungsgebiet. (A golden-headed langur at the EPRC, and the species' status in the wild.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 4 (1999), pp. 241–245. [German, with English summary. The young female received by the Center in November 1998 is the first of this species ever officially held in captivity. The golden-headed langur differs in colour and size from other langurs of the francoisi group. This species has the smallest natural distribution of all langurs – it is limited to Cat Ba National Park, which comprises 98 km2 of land (54 km2 more is sea). It can be assumed that fewer than 100 of these langurs remain in the wild. Hunting pressure is still a major threat, and consequently the population has plummeted to a size that requires immediate and drastic improvement of protection activities. A captive-breeding programme – in cages, semi-wild facilities or naturally-enclosed areas, such as one of the small, isolated islands in Ha Long Bay – will be essential to assure the survival of the species. (See further I.Z.N. 46:1, p. 35 – Ed.)]

Pohle, C.: 25 Jahre Haltung von Budorcas taxicolor im Tierpark Berlin – ein bedeutendes Kapitel der Takin-Historie in Tiergärten. (25 years of takin-keeping at Tierpark Berlin – an important chapter in the history of takins in zoos.) Milu Vol. 9, No. 6 (1999), pp. 615–624. [German, no English summary; 38 takins have been born at the Tierpark, of whom 34 are still alive.]

Puskar, A.M.: Captive breeding of the timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus). Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society Vol. 34, No. 6 (1999), pp. 156–158.

Rieck, A.: Elefantenzeichnungen. (Drawings of elephants.) Milu Vol. 9, No. 6 (1999), pp. 741–747. [German, no English summary; includes eight drawings of African elephant calves born recently at Tierpark Berlin.]

Rudloff, K.: Im Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde 1998 erstmalig gehaltene Tierformen. (Animals first kept at Tierpark Berlin in 1998.) Milu Vol. 9, No. 6 (1999), pp. 664–693. [German, no English summary; includes 46 photos of the animals concerned.]

Salverson, M.: Feather care, imping and the use of hoods in captive raptors. Thylacinus Vol. 23, No. 1 (1999), pp. 41–44. [`Imping', a traditional practice in falconry, is the repair of a damaged feather by grafting on part of another feather.]

Seidel, B.: Zootierärztliche Erfahrungen mit Himalaya-Königshühnern, Tetraogallus himalayensis Gray, 1843. (Veterinary experiences with Himalayan snowcock.) Milu Vol. 9, No. 6 (1999), pp. 702–716. [German, no English summary.]

Staal, M.; Indra, anders dan anders. . . De Harpij Vol. 18, No. 3 (1999), pp. 19–21. [Dutch, no English summary. A report on the birth of Indra, an Asian elephant calf, at Amersfoort Zoo (see above, p. 371).]

Strauss, G.: Trächtigkeitsbedingtes Vulvaödem bei einer Afrikanischen Elefantenkuh. (Oedema of the vulva caused by pregnancy in an African elephant cow.) Milu Vol. 9, No. 6 (1999), pp. 694–701. [German, no English summary.]

Stringer, M.: Training an Asian elephant for the TB trunk wash at the Little Rock Zoo. Animal Keepers’ Forum Vol. 26, No. 6 (1999), pp. 234–236.

Underwood, G.: Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Thylacinus Vol. 23, No. 1 (1999), pp. 63–66.

van Herk, R., Westerveld, B., and Peters, C.: `Wij schermen ons niet af.' (`We are not closing ourselves off'.) De Harpij Vol. 18, No. 3 (1999), pp. 8–12. [Dutch, with English summary. An interview with Roland Van Bocxstaele, General Curator of Antwerp and Planckendael Zoos, Belgium, explaining why these zoos have declined to join the Dutch Zoo Federation (NVD). Mr Van Bocxstaele emphasizes the zoos' commitment to working on an individual or institutional basis with Dutch zoos, but feels that the advantages conferred by NVD membership are not sufficient to warrant the expense of joining the federation. He also feels that many of the collective efforts by the zoos could be adequately addressed at the European level through EAZA.]

Vanderlinden, A.: Notes on the captive breeding of ornate spiny-tailed lizards. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society Vol. 34, No. 6 (1999), pp. 154–155. [Uromastyx ocellatus ornatus.]

Veltman, K.: Een dagje dierentuin. Aflevering 1: Safari Beekse Bergen. (A zoo day: Part 1. . .) De Harpij Vol. 18, No. 3 (1999), pp. 16–18. [Dutch, no English summary.]

Volf, J.: Der Besucher als ein den Gesundheitszustand der Affen im Zoo beeinflussender Faktor. (The visitor as a factor influencing the health of zoo primates.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 4 (1999), pp. 231–240. [German, with English summary. In the years 1952–1956, 120 primates died at Prague Zoo, an annual average of 24. Diseases of the digestive system – most frequently gastroenteritis – caused 44% of the deaths. Ninety per cent of cases occurred in the second and third quarters of the year. A well-founded suspicion arose that visitors were responsible, by ignoring the prohibition against feeding the animals. Diseases of the respiratory system – most frequently bronchopneumonia – were the cause of 22% of deaths, followed by injuries (14%). In 1958, a tuberculosis infection broke out in the primate house, and 36 animals died; all these were Old World primates, whereas the marmosets, tamarins, squirrel monkeys and capuchins were fully resistant to this infection. During the years 1964–1968, after the installation of a glass partition separating visitors from animals, 66 primates died, an average of 13 per annum. Diseases of the digestive system were responsible for only 7% of deaths, and gastroenteritis was the cause of only one. Diseases of the respiratory system caused 20% of deaths, and tuberculosis was responsible for only two. However, an increasing number of tumours was registered. The prevention of direct contact between visitors and primates resulted in the reduction of deaths from diseases of the digestive system to one-tenth, and of those from diseases of the respiratory system (in spite of the marked deterioration of the climatic conditions in Prague) to three-fifths, of the previous numbers.]

Publishers of the periodicals listed:

Animal Keepers’ Forum, American Association of Zoo Keepers, 635 S.W. Gage Boulevard, Topeka, Kansas 66606–2066, U.S.A.

Animal Welfare, Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead, Herts. AL4 8AN, 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.

Milu, Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, Am Tierpark 125, D-1136 Berlin, Germany.

Thylacinus, Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Gardens and Aquaria, P.O. Box 20, Mosman, New South Wales 2088, Australia.

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