International Zoo News Vol. 46/7 (No. 296) October/November 1999

GUEST EDITORIAL Spartaco Gippoliti
The Annamese Flying Frog Evgeny Ryboltovsky
A New Zoo in Arabia Lucy Vigne and Esmond Martin
Breeding the Fossa at Suffolk Wildlife Park Terry Hornsey
A Training Programme for a Male Gorilla at Barcelona Zoo M.T. Abelló, M. Velasco and F. Esteban
The New Breeding Centre at Loro Parque Miguel Bueno
Letter to the Editor
Book Reviews
Annual Reports
International Zoo News
Recent Articles


Is there any place for virtual reality in zoos ?

Like most people interested in live animals and zoos, I feel highly uncomfortable when I hear computers and virtual reality mentioned as a way of replacing or, at best, improving the exhibition of live animals in zoos. For many of us, I think, live animals seem so perfect that they need only proper exhibitry and care to inspire the public with sympathetic awareness and accurate knowledge of nature. However, this is not always the case. Maybe in the future we will have to admit the necessity of computers as an educational tool, as we have already done with graphics. But we must not forget that a visit to a zoo is one of the few occasions on which children experience wild animals first-hand. Do they need technology? Should their experience be enhanced by such now-familiar equipment as PCs or not?

Although I definitely believe in the utility of the new media as didactic tools, the danger does exist that they may introduce new misconceptions in the minds of the public. For example, I think that many TV films about animals give a totally erroneous idea of animals' time budgets, overemphasizing some activities at the expense of other, less attractive, ones such as sleeping. But a more serious objection to virtual reality and modern technology is that they can be regarded – under the pressure of the powerful computer lobby – as a substitute for reality and first-hand experience. How can we create people concerned about natural habitat loss and species extinction, if on a giant Imax screen you can for ever see the same habitat and the same extinct species? Why spend energy and money to protect true reality, to visit real natural areas? This is a big problem for any conservationist (Orr, 1996). Perhaps one of the major contributions zoos can make to the cause of wildlife conservation may lie in the maintenance of a bond between ordinary people and nature, so that the former don't fall prey to the `technological somnambulism' characteristic of our time. We need naturalistic zoos where people may experience, through the use of all their senses and also the appropriate and sensible use of technology, the same feelings (boredom and disappointment included!) they might have during a trip in the field.

I am worried that virtual reality and `electronic zoos' could become another step toward human alienation from wildlife, another concession – as were safari parks in the past – to the industrialized way of life which is one of the primary causes of the present environmental crisis. This is not to deny any value to modern technology in the field of creating public awareness of conservation problems. For example, technology and virtual reality may aid people to know what we have already lost from island ecosystems since man arrived, so enhancing their understanding of the anthropogenic role in biodiversity loss. But I regard with great caution the present craze for encouraging the interactive use of computers close to the animals' exhibits, rather than in separate areas. Some may argue that such a technophobic attitude could risk relegating zoos to a corner of the scientific world, while science centres and museums everywhere are making increasingly extensive use of multimedia. But, accepting the force of McLuhan's argument that `the medium is the message', I think that the principal role of a proactive conservation centre (Conway, 1995) should be to glorify nature, not technology.

Spartaco Gippoliti,

Viale Liegi 48A,

00198 Roma,




Conway, W. (1995): The conservation park: a new zoo synthesis for a changed world. In The Ark Evolving: Zoos and Aquariums in Transition (ed. C.M. Wemmer), pp. 259–276. Smithsonian Institution Press.

Orr, D.W. (1996): Virtual nature. Conservation Biology 10: 8–9.



When searching for information on some amphibians and reptiles native to South-East Asia, one often faces great problems because the data are scattered in different, frequently unusual, books or articles, or merely mentioned in some published material. There are excellent works on the fauna of Australia and the Americas, Madagascar and the Seychelles, but, as far as I am aware, we are still not in possession of comprehensive descriptions of the batracho- and herpetofauna of South-East Asia. This is, I believe, the result not of any lack of interest in the region, nor even of the inaccessibility of many areas, but, first of all, of the political situation in many countries of Asia: some of them – such as Cambodia – have long been in a state of martial law, and others – such as Nepal – permit foreign citizens to move away from the tourist centres only with great reluctance. This is fully true of Vietnam. Prolonged wars, followed by a rigid political regime, have long offered no means of proceeding with field studies. Visits of Soviet specialists to Vietnam were generally merely `friendly' in nature, and based on political rather than scientific principles.

After Bourret's (1942) studies, which are clearly incomplete because of the absence at that time of appropriate equipment suitable for operating under tropical conditions, serious research on the herpetofauna of Vietnam was only resumed as recently as 1993, when the political situation in the country relaxed somewhat and sudden discoveries rained down on biologists. When it is considered that two ungulate species classified in a new genus (!), Pseudoryx, were found in Vietnam in 1992 and 1994, what might be said about such secretive and, in a sense, minor creatures as amphibians and reptiles? And the researchers were generally familiar with no more than the names and type specimens of the species earlier described by the French scientists! This is especially true of amphibians, which for the most part lead a nocturnal life. As a rule, their biology remains unknown, information on the keeping of many species in captivity is not available, and not only amateurs but even serious specialists are often astounded when they see a photo of some amphibian which they know by its name only. This holds true for many species of the family Rhacophoridae, which includes many tree frogs dwelling in South-East Asia.

The family Rhacophoridae contains ten genera, seven of which occur throughout South-East Asia: many of its species are well-known, studied and represented in captivity. Flying frogs of the genus Rhacophorus, some large specimens of which were vividly described even by Brehm, command the attention of terrarium keepers. The poorly-known Rhacophorus annamensis, which is probably an endemic of the mountain forests of southern Vietnam, is one of the larger-sized representatives of the genus. The frog is usually light grey in colour, though brown and even dark red specimens are met with as well. The females can be as large as 10 or 11 cm, and the males are somewhat smaller. As in all other representatives of the genus, both the hind and front feet of these frogs are webbed; the webs, in some cases coloured bright yellow, allow the amphibians to make gliding jumps. Their fingers and toes are provided with large suckers. When jumping, the frog spreads wide its fingers and toes, and stretches the webs, thus increasing their area; according to my observations, this allows a frog to glide for 10 to 15 metres, though some authors indicate that other species of the genus can jump for a distance of 20 and even 30 metres.

We observed R. annamensis in the area of the village of Buoenluoi (about 50 km from the town of An Khe), on the Taen Gue plateau in the central highlands of southern Vietnam, at a height of 1,100 to 1,300 metres above sea level. Frogs of this species are very abundant there, though outside the mating season one might think that they are extremely uncommon. For example, from October to December 1993, only three (1.2) specimens were found, whereas in April and May 1995 as many as 50 specimens were sometimes encountered during a three- to four-hour excursion.

When the frogs assemble at their mating sites, they concentrate near mountain streams, where they spawn over pits of stagnant water on the stream sides. Like other specimens of the genus Rhacophorus, R. annamensis spawn not into water but into foam nests, which the females beat up from mucus excreted from their skin and attach to stones, tree-trunks or, less commonly, branches above the water. Lesser numbers of spawning R. annamensis can be found at shaded forest pools or small lakes, where it is much more interesting to watch them and observe their behaviour; to get to the shallow pits near the mountain streams, the frogs use branches and make their way there separately, but at the pools the females, with the males sitting tightly on their backs, jump in from the tree tops, making a big splash, and then hurry to the bank and start making nests at suitable places. During the entire process of nest-making, the male stays on the female's back, but remains passive until spawning begins. The frogs spawn directly into the foam, and the nests hold their shape for some days; then they lose their cohesion and flow down into the water, together with the tadpoles, which have hatched by that time.

In May 1995, eight pairs of adult R. annamensis were caught to be kept in captivity. Unfortunately, the efforts taken to help them to endure the long journey were not very successful – only four males and two females survived, and even these were in a rather poor state when they arrived at their destination. First we had to resort to forced feeding and to heal their sores. The amphibians were placed in a large glass terrarium with tree branches installed in it. Temperature was maintained at 24° to 26° C by day and 20° to 22° C by night. In addition, a lamp located above one of the branches was switched on by day; this ensured local heating of a small site at up to 32° C, and the frogs, particularly the females, spent much of their time there. Having habituated to the terrarium, the animals proved to be surprisingly relaxed. Unlike some other species – such as, for instance, Polypedates leucomystax – which, when even slightly bothered, make sudden hysterical jumps and often smash into the walls of the terrarium, R. annamensis do not respond to movements outside the terrarium, and even allow themselves to be picked up. There was no water area in the terrarium, but lavish spraying took place twice a day, after which the frogs started to move across the sides of the terrarium and flapped their spread webs on the glass, thus gathering the water. When the frogs began to eat, they readily took crickets and big cockroaches, and the females even ate young mice. Circadian colour variations were observed, the nocturnal colour being much lighter than the diurnal, sometimes even light yellow.

Until December 1995, the frogs ate actively and grew much fatter, and all their sores healed without even leaving any scars. In December the temperature was reduced to 22° to 24° C by day and 16° to 18° C by night, and the local heating was switched off. Spraying was reduced to a single moderate application each day. In winter the frogs were inactive: they spent much time sticking to the glass in the corners of the terrarium and practically refused to eat. At the end of February 1996, the temperature was gradually increased up to the summer values, and the amphibians were moved to a smaller vertical terrarium whose entire bottom (45 ´ 45 cm in area) was occupied by a 10 cm deep water basin. Spraying was replaced by two ten-minute sprinklings. On 2 March, the day after they were transferred to the new terrarium, the frogs started eating, and in the evening they actively moved across the walls of the terrarium. On 4 March two males took up strategic positions on the branches and, with the advent of darkness, started uttering cries resembling sharp laughter; by the next day they were calling almost continuously, sometimes making attempts to mount the females, who were growing much fatter. On 7 March one pair came into a close amplexus; the female was restless, moved across the terrarium and began to make a foam nest on the night of 8 March. She chose a site on the glass wall of the terrarium, attached herself to it firmly by her front feet and, bending, started first to pass her hind feet over her sides and then to rub them against one another. A mass of white foam started to emerge from under her webs and stick to the glass. The male, who sat on the female during the entire process of nest making, behaved passively, occasionally making slight movements to attach himself more firmly and uttering low cries. When the nest was as large as 15 ´ 15 ´ 15 cm, spawning commenced. The female laid big (c. 3 mm) pale yellow eggs one by one, while the male used the folded webs of his hind feet to catch and fertilise each one, afterwards unfolding his feet and pressing the egg down into the foam. Meanwhile the female used her hind feet to pat the foam back into shape. Interestingly, the spawning was of short duration, and the pair soon left the nest and split up. During the night and throughout the next day the female periodically returned to the nest, patted it with the webs of her hind feet, and sometimes laid additional eggs; the male did not take part in this process. Moreover, the same day the second female started laying; she used the same nest and approached it to lay several times, not always while in amplexus with the male!

Thus, the two females spawned in the same nest. The absence of infertile eggs suggests that the males fertilise not the eggs but the foam of the nest, and that the sperm survives there for an appreciable length of time, thus enabling the females to complete spawning without the males. Within a few hours of the completion of spawning, the surface of the nest dried out a little, forming a slight crust and ceasing to be sticky, so that it began to feel like soft foam rubber.

On 11 March, almost white tadpoles could already be seen moving in the foam; and on 14 March, when the terrarium was being sprayed, the nest lost its shape and flowed down into the water. Some of the tadpoles, which were light grey in colour, about 1.5 cm in length and bearing big yolk sacs, swam out in different directions at once, while the rest stayed in the floating foam, which they left in the course of the next two days. A total of 50 tadpoles emerged, and they soon began to swim, though they spent much of their time on the bottom of the water basin. They were transferred to a larger aquarium, where they ate various animal feed (meat, fish, liver, egg) and grew up quickly. They had strong tails and seemed to feel comfortable in the 50 cm deep basin; they would rise rapidly to the surface to inhale air and immediately sink back into the water. During the third month of their life, the tadpoles reached 6 cm in length and their hind feet emerged. As a whole, their development lasts for three-and-a-half or four months, after which the young amphibians leave the water, climbing up the walls of the aquarium. The young frogs are 1.2 to 1.4 cm in size. Of interest is the juvenile coloration – they are light grey, almost white, in colour, with many large black spots. When they lose their tails, young R. annamensis frogs start to eat house flies and adult crickets.

At first glance one might think that the breeding of this species involves no great problems. However, it seems that the frogs may be hypersensitive to vitamin and mineral deficiency. Even when their food was enriched with vitamin and calcium supplements of Russian manufacture, progressive paralysis started to develop in the juveniles, and within only four months the entire hatch was lost. Fortunately, the adults became ready for reproduction again during the summer, and on 1 and 2 September both females spawned. This time the spawning took place in a large terrarium (160 ´ 60 ´ 40 cm), and each female made her own nest. Thus, when the loss of the spring-hatched juveniles started, about 100 new tadpoles had already left their nests. Vitamin-rich feed produced by Tetra GmbH, intended for fish, was introduced into their diet; and other preparations manufactured by the same company, intended for reptiles, had been received by the time of metamorphosis. Thanks to the plentiful use of the product Reptical we managed to keep 25 juveniles alive for six months, by the end of which time they had reached 3 cm in length. Their coloration changed to grey or light brown, and the spots, though they had become less contrasting, were still visible.

Unfortunately, it is too early to speak in terms of a major advance in the captive reproduction of these amphibians. However, our experience to date in keeping and breeding the species gives good reason to hope that all aspects of work with this flying frog from southern Vietnam will eventually be mastered.


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

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.]



A twenty-minute taxi ride south of Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, takes you to an open new suburb called Darsalm about 15 km from the city centre. Construction projects are starting in this flat area of rocky desert. It is here that the new Sanaa Zoo has just been built, covering an area of 5.78 hectares.

We arrived to visit the zoo on Friday 11 June 1999, 12 days after its opening. While women shrouded in their black veils with their colourfully dressed children waited to one side, men wearing their jambiyas (curved daggers) scrambled at the ticket windows, paying the 40 rials ($0.25) per adult and 20 rials ($0.13) per child entrance fees. On entering through the large iron gates there was a feeling of spaciousness and tranquillity, in sharp contrast to the dust and crowd outside. A plaque near the entrance explained in Arabic that the zoo was opened by President Ali Abdullah Saleh on 30 May 1999 to celebrate the ninth anniversary of Unification Day (22 May 1990), and was financed, constructed and supervised by the Capital Secretariat of Sanaa.

First in view was a line of seven large cages with crowds of people gathered in front of them. Despite the high wired sides, the cages looked attractive and well built, each with a round concrete water trough, a couple of eucalyptus trees for shade, and rocks for the animals to climb. There was also a cave-like area for each cage where animals could retreat, next to a locked door leading to a small inside enclosure. There were two floodlights in each cage, but these are not in use. In the first cage was a solitary gazelle, geese, a turkey and guinea fowl. In another cage were three hyenas, and between several cages of lions were two large vultures perched on rocks. The zoo has six lions, the only non-indigenous mammal species. Four came from the old and extremely decrepit (now closed down) Taiz Zoo in central Yemen [see I.Z.N. 45:1 (1998), pp. 22–25]. The President had given Sanaa Zoo two additional lions, a young male and female; he had apparently received them as recent gifts from Russia.

We then followed a wide concrete path to a large, rounded baboon (called `monkey') enclosure. It was completely surrounded by men, women and children. The 13 sacred baboons could be easily spotted clambering over the many rocks, a very natural setting for them. There were also three stone purpose-built caves providing shade, and a large square water trough filled to the brim. We next saw two cages for birds. These were small. One had 27 doves and the other 18 birds of prey. Within the cages were five smaller cages, hardly bigger than shoeboxes, each holding three doves squashed together or one or two small hawks crouched forlornly.

The final enclosure in the zoo was originally designed for giraffes, with three high doors leading into stables. The President had intended to donate his giraffes, which had been imported from South Africa, but they had recently died. Instead, there was a horse peering out from one stable, while a cow, another horse and a dog walked about the enclosure with a man. Crowds surrounded this enclosure, watching the scene with interest. Everywhere in the zoo, the visitors were peaceful, well behaved and curious to see all the animals. Along one side of this enclosure was a line of six green smaller cages about the size of dog kennels. The first had five monitor lizards; the second two porcupines, two hedgehogs and a plastic bowl of water with a turtle submerged inside; and the third had two caracals. In the fourth were five genets, curled up in two balls which were prodded with a broomstick to encourage them to move for the audience. The fifth had 15 mongooses curled in a ball, one with a bleeding nose and very mangy. The sixth cage had two baby hyenas toddling up and down at speed, and a puppy dog asleep in one corner; there was a paint-tin for water overturned and empty. There were three other small cages inside the large enclosure. In one was a petrol can too dark to see what animal was inside; in another was a very scrawny and sick-looking fox asleep beside an empty fallen tin for water. In the third cage were nine more foxes huddled together. Apart from the petrol can, none of these cages had any form of shade or shelter.

We visited the manager's office, where three hawks were being offered for sale in a small box. Many animals are captured by villagers in the surrounding mountains and are offered for sale to the zoo. Frequently they are injured, usually with broken legs from traps, in which case the vet does not accept them. Most animals captured and brought to the zoo thus die. If they are healthy enough for the zoo to accept, hyenas are bought for 15–20,000 rials ($96–127), foxes 3–5,000 rials ($19–32), and hawks 2,000 rials ($13) each. This new source of income for animal trappers is a way for Yemenis to try to earn some money in a country that is very poor and in economic decline. Yemen's wild animal populations are going to suffer if this continues. The zoo must start to discourage this trade by stopping its policy of buying wild animals from villagers.

A further problem is that there is no vet at the zoo. One is on call from the Ministry of Agriculture if needed. Another problem is that none of the staff has been trained for their work. They are `just the people from the market,' we were told, and are not familiar with the needs of the animals. Three of the lion keepers, however, were brought from Taiz with the lions, bringing with them much-needed experience with these large cats. Training and advice is greatly needed for the keepers and for the veterinarians.

Similarly, the zoo's enthusiastic architect, Abdulla al-Sobary, had had no education in zoo planning, having never even visited a zoo. `I studied hospital buildings in Saudi Arabia, but not a zoo,' he explained to us. He obtained ideas from photos of Giza Zoo, from CNN television, and from friends. He had already noticed some mistakes in his designs, such as the lack of doors between the lion cages. He reassured us that some of the animals in the small green cages were there only temporarily, and that the fox and bird cages were also only temporary. The architect wants information about the animals' natural habitats and behaviour in order to make the cages appropriate to their needs. He and the zoo manager, Hashim Ahmed al-Handi (who is working on an M.Sc. in irrigation), need and want outside assistance and advice. The manager plans to put up signs and information about the animals, but requires help with their correct names and with translations. So far there are no names of the animals, nor maps showing their geographical distribution.

Phases 1 and 2 of the construction of Sanaa Zoo are completed, and in Phases 3 and 4 the zoo authorities are planning to build some better enclosures, such as for the foxes and birds. If the zoo staff can obtain information on which African animals would be suitable for the zoo, they would like to import from South Africa giraffes, zebras, different monkey species, ostriches and elephants. Advice on this is much needed. A restaurant and café, along with staff buildings and sitting areas, are also to be built. Plans for the expansion of the zoo are ambitious, and government funds are available. But funds have not been allocated so far for outside advice on enclosures and animal welfare, both of which are desperately wanted by the employees.

The zoo construction started in January 1998 and has cost 100 million rials ($735,000) so far in total. This is cheap by international standards. The buildings cost 70 million rials or $515,000, and the trees and other items 30 million rials or $220,000. The land itself was obtained free, being government land. According to the manager, the zoo spends one million rials ($6,369) per month for food and half a million rials ($3,185) for the 40 staff. The zoo is open every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Fridays (the weekly day off) there have been 10,000 visitors, and on other days 2,000. The zoo is proving very popular as a great family day out. There are very few other places for public amusement and recreation for a family in this traditional Muslim city. As a result of the daily crowds, the zoo is more than covering its costs solely through entrance fees, which is extremely unusual. We estimate that the gross monthly revenue earned from gate receipts alone is 2,760,000 rials ($17,580), well above the expenses of food and labour. If these crowds continue and if the zoo does not expand significantly in its number of animals to feed and care for, it should continue to be self-supporting. This is very encouraging for the zoo.

The Sanaa Zoo provides a perfect opportunity, with its large attendance, for education and increasing awareness on wildlife and conservation issues. This is greatly needed in Yemen, a country facing severe conservation problems. International non-government organizations (NGOs), governments and other donors could assist greatly by providing money and expertise for posters, maps and information boards for the zoo. Short videos and aural tapes are very important in a country with 37% male and almost 80% female illiteracy. An interpretation centre and exhibit area could be arranged for various subjects, such as the plight of the black rhino and Yemen's tragic role in the animal's near extinction due to the demand for its horns for jambiya handles. There is huge scope for many ideas in education and awareness in the large zoo premises. There is still no landscaping, and botanists might suggest that rockeries with labelled indigenous plants could be created.

The Sanaa Zoo has the President's backing and is an exciting enterprise for the Yemenis. The Prime Minister of Yemen, Dr Abdul Karim al-Iryani, who has a Ph.D. in biology from Yale University, is also personally interested. In a meeting with him, he asked us to report back to him about the zoo. Our suggestion to him that assistance would be useful was gratefully accepted, as it was by the zoo employees. It is vital, if the animals are to remain alive and live as comfortably as possible, that such assistance and training is forthcoming soon.

The new Sanaa Zoo has unfortunately not reduced attendance at a small private zoo that was established beside the cinema on Sanaa's main shopping street several years ago [see I.Z.N. 45:1 (1998)]. Called the `Animals Tahreer Zoo', this growing collection is a disgrace. The number of animals squashed together in the cages has increased considerably since our last visit there in April 1997. At that time there were a leopard and three hyenas. The leopard has since been sold to a breeding programme in the U.A.E., while the hyenas have been joined by eight others dispersed among six small and battered cages, with a baby attached by a string among nine chained baboons. Another nine baboons fill a single small cage. In the other cramped cages we counted three vultures, ten eagles, three porcupines, a fox, four genets, a honey badger, five hedgehogs and nine mongooses, while in small glass boxes were three monitor lizards, other small lizards and at least 18 snakes of various species. The cages were small and the animals dulled into inaction except when prodded and poked by the keepers or, worse still, when a flaming box was thrown at them. On one of our visits, a hawk arrived in a small box for sale for 2,000 rials ($13), dropping to 1,500 rials ($10) after bargaining. This zoo is also encouraging Yemenis to capture endangered wildlife. A baboon and a hyena each had a foot missing, no doubt from traps. A man on the street calls for visitors to the Tahreer Zoo, who pay 20 rials ($0.13) each. In the mornings about 40 people were gathered at any one time, doubling in the afternoons until around 6.40 p.m. There are perhaps 400 visitors a day, nearly all men.

During a meeting with the Prime Minister, we talked about the Tahreer Zoo, and Dr al-Iryani agreed to ask the veterinary service either to improve it or have the animals sent to the new Sanaa Zoo. A businessman from Kawkaban, north-west of Sanaa, owns the zoo; he is unlikely to improve it as he has very little space to do so and no economic incentive. Animal welfare and conservation are not familiar subjects to most Yemenis. This zoo should be closed down and the animals released into the wild, or if this is not possible, such as for some of the mammals, they should be put into the much more spacious Sanaa Zoo. This needs to be followed up as soon as possible.

Some caged animals are also found in restaurants. We visited two Lebanese restaurants in Sanaa with caged birds, rabbits, mongooses, foxes, porcupines and chained baboons. Again, expertise is needed to suggest how best to house these animals and which ought not to be kept in these restaurants.

There is certainly a growing interest in wild animals in captivity which draw large crowds of spectators in Yemen. Many Westerners in Yemen were against the idea of creating a government zoo in Sanaa, as it is a low priority in a country desperately needing to feed and educate its people, and because Yemenis have no expertise in managing zoos. However, now that it has opened and the government wishes it to succeed, rather than international NGOs ignoring or trying to fight against the new zoo, it may be wiser for them to give assistance and expertise to improve the enclosures and animal care, and give advice on how Sanaa Zoo should be developed. For example, does the zoo really need elephants and giraffes? Importing South African animals should not be a priority under present management capabilities. It may be better to concentrate first on Yemeni species and the breeding of some of Yemen's endangered animals under appropriate supervision. The zoo needs to develop a conservation as well as a recreational role in Yemen, as Western zoos are now doing. The zoo could provide an excellent opportunity for people to learn about animals and their survival in Yemen, an interest that is so far largely lacking. Perhaps knowledgeable volunteers in Yemen could consider helping at the zoo to provide more assistance to the visitors and care for the animals. The Sanaa Zoo is a bold undertaking, which can become a success if the number of animals is kept small and with appropriate guidance. If the zoo over-extends itself, then it will suffer, with both animal deaths and financial losses. We hope the zoo flourishes and receives assistance. Sanaa's captive animals deserve to be helped.


We are very grateful to the Friends of Howletts and Port Lympne, and to Global Communications for Conservation, for financially supporting our conservation work in Yemen in June 1999.

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



The fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) is the largest of Madagascan carnivores and the only species in the sub-family Cryptoproctinae of the family Viverridae. Approximately 1.5 metres long from the tip of the nose to the tip of the (incredibly long) tail, it has short legs and sharp retractile claws. It resembles the mongooses in its anal pockets and absence of perineal glands; the male's long penis and penis bone (baculum) are civet-like, and the glans penis, with its spines, resembles that of a cat The female's uterus is bicornate (Grzimek, 1975). The fossa's cat-like head, with large frontal eyes, shortened jaws and rounded ears, prompted its early classification as a felid. Its short, thick fur is a red-brown colour.

In the wild the fossa appears to be an opportunist, taking anything from lemurs through to domestic poultry, for which it is persecuted by local farmers. This, coupled with habitat destruction, has the potential to put the species on an unhealthy footing, though its true wild status is unknown due to insufficient information. Despite ranging over the entire island of Madagascar, its numbers seem to be declining rapidly.

Captive history

Fossas have long been kept in captivity. The first live animal held in a zoo outside Madagascar was brought to Paris in 1874, the second to London in 1890 (Grzimek, 1975). In more recent times, three European collections (Montpellier, Basel and Duisburg) have been the most successful in both maintaining and perpetuating the captive fossa population. However, whilst Montpellier's first litter (of two cubs) from wild-caught parents did not arrive until 1974, animals kept at Tananarive (now Antananarivo) Zoo in Madagascar had reproduced three years running in 1956, 1957 and 1958 (Crandall, 1964).

In the U.S.A., the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., acquired single wild-caught animals in 1954 and 1966 (the latter dying in 1975), and San Diego Zoo received two wild-caught males in 1967 (who died in 1974 and 1976). However, breeding success did not occur in the U.S.A. until as recently as 1989, when a male was born at San Diego from wild-caught parents originally held at Basel. The only other American zoo to hold fossas is San Antonio, which recently acquired a wild-caught pair.

Our pair both came from Duisburg. The male, Kastor (born June 1981), and the female, Kia (born June 1991), arrived at Suffolk in December 1994. However, Kia was six years old before we put the two together, in April 1997.

In total, 15 collections in Europe, North America and Madagascar hold fossas at the present time.


Depending upon compatibility fossas can be kept either singly or in pairs (Winkler, 1996). At present our breeding pair are housed singly, but in adjoining enclosures, all the time except during the breeding season. Both indoor areas are the same size, approximately 2.5 m ´ 2 m. Both animals have access to a sleeping box that is approximately 90 cm ´ 90 cm ´ 90 cm high. There is a shelf 93 cm above the floor, and logs are put in for them to play with (both animals being always confined indoors overnight). Wood shavings are put on the floor of the night quarters, and straw is used for bedding in the sleeping boxes. A manual slide system is used for access to and from the night den and outside enclosure. Wire mesh 13 mm square supported by a wooden framework separates the keeper service passage from the night den.

The outside areas differ in size, the male's being smaller than the female's. Both are connected, again, by a manual slide which can be locked open or shut as required. The male's enclosure is approximately 4 m ´ 2.5 m and 4.25 m high. The female's is in an L shape, the first part identical to the male's, with an adjoining area approximately 6.25 m ´ 3.75 m and 4.25 m high. Both the male's and the female's smaller pen have concrete floors, while the female's adjoining area has grass/earth. Both concrete areas are covered with bark chippings and/or leaf litter. The entire complex is roofed (fossas being extremely agile), both top and sides being covered in 50 mm square wire mesh on a wooden framework which stands on a low wall of concrete. All the enclosures have plenty of branches, horizontal and vertical trunks and stumps, and small shelves dotted about at varying heights. Smaller-gauge mesh (5 mm square) is used for the divide between the male's and female's outside enclosures, and this is in two layers with a 50–75 mm gap in between, allowing visual and olfactory contact but preventing the animals from physically touching each other.


Our animals' staple diet tends to be `part-dressed' chickens (the carcass being plucked, but all organs and entrails being left intact). Depending upon its size, the carcass may be cut in half, and is lightly dusted with Mazuri Carnivore Supplement. The approximate weight given per feed is 0.5 kilogram, and there is no starve day. Other food offered occasionally is rabbit or red meat off and on the bone.

Courtship and reproduction

We first attempted to put our pair together on 23 March 1996. Fossas are seasonal breeders, and in the northern hemisphere the season is between March and May (Grzimek, 1975; Winkler, 1996). However, the introduction was short-lived, as the male's ferocity towards the female was so great that we feared for her safety; having managed to break free from his clutches, she ran inside her night quarters (which had been left open in case of such an emergency) and was shut in.

We decided to wait until we were armed with a lot more information before trying them together again. Because of this, however, we missed the 1996 breeding season. Going into 1997, we were far better informed on what to expect and decided upon a `game plan' of putting them together in mid-April for only one hour a day unless any sexual interaction took place. If they showed interest or mating occurred, they would be left together all day, but separated again overnight, and whenever the animals were together they would be watched at all times by an experienced member of the keeping staff (a) in case of over-aggression and (b) to record all aspects of their behaviour during this time. We had also decided that the male would be introduced to the female in her enclosure. This was partly because it was the largest area, but also because being on her own territory could give her the slight advantage that she might initially need. Prior to the introduction, however, he was given access to the female's enclosure for 20 minutes each morning before she was let out.

The onset of the breeding season is indicated by the swelling of the male's testes and the female's vulva, scent-marking by both sexes of prominent objects around their enclosure, and the animals' becoming more restless and their food consumption diminishing (Winkler, 1996). However, we found it hard to detect any of these signs. Scent-marking (especially by the female) was observed regularly throughout the year, appetite stayed fairly constant, and swelling of the testes and vulva were not immediately obvious. As mentioned above, the male was being given access to the female's outside enclosure on his own for 20 minutes each morning. On 14 April he seemed to be extremely excited, scratching and trying to open her slide. When he had been returned to his own enclosure the female was let out, but their behaviour towards one another by the dividing mesh of their enclosures was not really any different from normal – at any time of the year, the female quite often paced up and down along with the male as if they wanted to get together.

However, it was decided to take the male's actions as a positive sign, and on 16 April we started to put them together. This time – in comparison with the brief encounter of 1996 – it was a more tentative start. Eventually the male started chasing the female around, but she was too quick for him and he eventually went inside her bedding area and stayed there. The female, meanwhile, was very agitated, pacing up and down the divide between the two enclosures with her tail fluffed up. The male eventually came out and continued to chase her until she started to tire. At this point she suddenly stood her ground and attacked him. But it was controlled and, though it appeared ferocious due to the noise and activity, neither animal had a mark on it when they came out of the `clinch'. After this, the male was extremely wary of her and kept his distance, while as her confidence increased she started scent-marking and became vocal. When she moved away after marking an object, he would come across and mark it too. She then initiated another prolonged `attack', as if asserting her recently attained dominance. (Afterwards, again, not a blemish was seen on the male.) This time, having broken free, the male ran back into his own enclosure and went inside his own night den. The female did not follow him. This was mainly, I think, because she had never been through the slide and into his enclosure, and therefore was unsure; but, as with the first attack, once the male had freed himself (or she had let him go?), the female showed no inclination to chase him and press home another attack. At this point, having been together for just over one hour, they were separated. The female then started emitting unfamiliar vocalisations.

When they were put together again the next day, she attacked him the moment he set foot in her enclosure. After this she only had to look over at him and he would run away, muttering to himself. For the next nine days the situation never changed. This, indeed, seems to be the normal routine. When the male and female are allowed together at a time when the female is not ready for mating, she usually chases him, and he commonly tries to escape, retreating with muttering sounds (Winkler, 1996). Interestingly, it took her only three days to summon up the courage to go across into his enclosure and into his night den, showing how dominant she had become.

It was on the twelfth day (27 April) of putting them together that things changed markedly. When the male entered the female's enclosure, she behaved differently towards him. This was immediately obvious to us watching, but took him some time to realise! Her vocalisations had become `husky' (as if she was losing her voice), and she was following him around and trying to get him interested. At first, such was his fear of her, he just ran away, but eventually he got the idea and tentatively started to follow her, which she allowed. He gradually became bolder and bolder until actual courtship began, the male licking the female and then starting to gently bite her back legs and neck, etc. Both were vocalising at this point. They were left together all day for the first time, and five separate copulations took place in four hours. Interaction was waning by mid-afternoon, and they were separated at 3.30 p.m.

The next day they immediately carried on where they had left off, and copulation was observed four times during the morning. By lunch time, however, they had moved into the female's night den, where the male had become far more intense and appeared obsessed with not letting go of her. (At times he appeared to be bordering on outright aggression.) Far more neck nibbling (causing a few small bare areas on the female's neck and behind her ears) and licking was taking place, and a lot more `squabbling' vocalisations. In the end, however, the female had had enough and turned on the male. He started to put up a fight, but then backed down and ran out of the den and back into his own enclosure. At this point they were separated. Again, it would seem that these behaviours are normal. As Winkler (1996) observes, `When allowed together during the breeding season, the male commonly chases the female vigorously. Initially the female will try to escape. However, the male will soon catch the female, grasp her from the back with his front legs and bite into her neck. Both animals will commonly try to bite each other, before they are settling down in the mating posture.'

Interestingly, the following day (29 April), whilst initially things seemed to be carrying on in the same vein, after half an hour the female began to show annoyance with the male's advances, and in the end he left her alone. (It almost seemed as if she was no longer in season.) After an hour they were separated.

This episode, however, proved to be deceptive, as from 30 April to 5 May full copulation was observed every day, ranging from 15 minutes to two and a half or three hours. This has been observed at Duisburg as well, where mating was seen to last for one and a half hours and in total the pair remained in their mating posture for up to three hours (Winkler, 1996).

After the strange lull on the 29th, on the next and ensuing days the female's initial reaction was to chase the male off, but she soon became submissive again, going up into the high branches, rubbing her body along them, presenting and generally soliciting the male. He still felt confident enough to approach, court and attempt to mate her, although her position in the branches was not conducive to mating and he was unable to cover her fully. It was only when she came to the ground that he immediately took his chance and grabbed her before she could get back into the branches, pulled her back to ground level and proceeded to mate her properly. Whether his lack of agility and suppleness, due to age, made it too awkward to mate up in the branches is open to question, as the female's instinct to go up high appears to be normal behaviour during the breeding season. In the wild, females have been observed to go high up into a tree's most spindly branches whilst one, two or sometimes three males gather round the base of the tree, with the successful candidate having to negotiate his way up in order to court her (C. Hawkins, pers. comm.). One would imagine the reason for the female's precarious position is that this tends to shift the advantage in her favour; as she is smaller than the male, there would be a real risk of injury to her whilst mating on the ground.

By 5 May, though the interest still seemed to be there, both animals were beginning to look as if they could not be bothered. However, a full mating did occur (lasting approximately one hour), after which the female became aggressive to the point where they had to be separated. This turned out to be the final mating. We continued to put them together for a further six days (6–12 May), on the first three of which she would go up to her favourite branch and appear to continue soliciting and encouraging him to come up. She would do the same when on the ground, but if he attempted to mate her she would become aggressive and drive him off. However, he would continue to persist in following her, which promoted a number of fights (still not injury-causing). Over the last three days on which they were together, it was blatantly obvious that the female was no longer in season. Although the male still followed her about and some mutual grooming was observed, no sexual interaction was evident. However, the female would soon become intolerant of the male's close proximity and display aggression. The oestrous cycle or receptive period appears to have lasted nine days; Grzimek (1975) gives the length as six to 13 days.

Parturition and rearing

Prior to parturition the female was obviously pregnant, having prominent nipples and a distended abdomen (noted very clearly 12 days before the birth). As the pair were observed copulating on and off over the nine-day breeding period, it is difficult to pinpoint how long the gestation period was. If we take it from the first mating, it would be 57 days; from the last observed mating, 50 days. Winkler (1996) gives 53–60 days; Grzimek (1975) approximately 70 days. Females can give birth to from one to six young, with three being the average. The babies are light grey in colour, partly covered with hair and blind, weighing approximately 100 grams (Winkler, 1996).

Approximately two weeks prior to parturition we covered the outside of the nest-box with bales of straw forming an L-shaped tunnel outside its entrance. The first sign of the birth, on the afternoon of 23 June, was audible rather than visual – a baby's cry, very clear, emanating from the nest-box. Immediately the outside slide was closed and a strict `leave alone' policy was adopted, a keeper only going in once a day to leave food and check the water (this operation lasted only seconds). If we got any indication of the cubs' presence whilst carrying out this procedure, it was a bonus. If nothing was obvious we just assumed all was well. However, when the food was put in late on the first day, the female emerged from the cubbing den to collect it, with three blind and partially furred cubs attached and hanging vertically from her nipples. She picked up the food and returned to the nest-box.

We immediately changed the routine to feeding first thing in the morning instead of last thing at night, so that we could check early on that everything was all right. The same thing happened the next day, except that this time one of the cubs fell off the teat and onto the floor; but the mother immediately picked it up in her mouth and carried it back into the nest-box. It was not until 11 days after this that we actually saw any of the cubs again, although throughout this time we heard various squeaks and cries which gave us an indication that the cubs (or at least one of them) were still alive. The female had not appeared at feed times either, so we assumed that the fact she was sitting tight indicated that she was still occupied with her maternal duties.

On the 13th day, two young were actually seen. They were very vocal and had grown considerably since we had last seen them. The next day (6 July) the female came out of the nest-box, picked up the food and, for the first time, did not take it back inside, but jumped up onto the straw bales and proceeded to eat. This behaviour became the norm more often than not from this time; in fact, she would normally be out waiting for food to arrive in the morning, perched up on the straw bales. On the 18th day it was a surprise to see all three cubs up there with her. Why she had moved them from the nest-box was not clear, but they were robust and well, although they still appeared to be blind. For three consecutive days, whilst briefly putting food in for the female, we could still see the babies out on top of the straw bales. However, the female then moved them down behind the bales in the corner of the night den; it seemed as though the nest-box was now redundant.

On the 26th day after parturition, we decided to give the den (the open area outside the tunnel and nest-box only) a clean, as the faeces and food debris had reached health-threatening levels. We shut the female out – she showed no hesitation, seeming to be glad to get out into the fresh air and take some exercise. Whilst we were cleaning, there was no sight or sound of the cubs, and we made no attempt to look for them, as speed was thought to be the most important consideration. As soon as the slide was opened, the female came straight back in and went into the nest-box. At this point we changed the solid slide for a small-gauge mesh one, mainly to allow more fresh air into the den.

On 4 August (with the babies now six weeks old) we decided to let the female out again, so that we could clean the den and reorganise the straw bales that formed the tunnel (which had become sagging and loose). We had not actually seen or heard the cubs for two and a half weeks, which had been preying on our minds (though I should mention that from about four and a half weeks old the babies had become very quiet, with very little sound emanating from the nest-box). But the female was continuing to spend a considerable amount of time in the nest-box, suggesting that she was still displaying maternal behaviour.

However, as we had to replace some of the straw bales, we decided to check the nest-box. When we did so, we had something of a shock, as instead of seeing three healthy young fossa cubs we saw four! The `new' cub was exactly the same size as the others, with no indication that this was a runt. Why we had never seen it out with the others is a mystery, as the female had obviously moved the cubs from the nest-box to the corner behind the bales. By now, they were about as long as an adult stoat (Mustela erminea) but much more heavily built, still fairly light in colour, and their eyes were open. However, even at six weeks old, they did not appear to be very mobile. Having cleaned and sorted the bales, we allowed the female back in without any problems.

Three days after this, the female was out waiting for her food first thing, and three of the cubs were on top of the straw bales moving about. Yet again, however, the fourth cub was not seen, and when we shone a torch on them to get a better view the three reacted immediately, disappearing down into the corner behind the bales, and then quickly popping up to peer back over the top.

From seven weeks old the cubs became far more mobile and adventurous, a couple even coming out whilst cleaning was in progress. The fourth cub, however, always remained reclusive and reticent (which is probably why it remained undetected for as long as it did). When they were ten weeks old we started to gradually dismantle the tunnel of straw around the nest box, and also decided the time was right to give them access to the outside enclosure. However, before doing so, we blocked off access to the grass area of the enclosure, and covered the mesh with smaller-gauge chicken wire, just in case the youngsters attempted to squeeze through.

When the slide was opened the female went straight out and all four cubs came to the entrance, but only one eventually followed her (in hindsight this was probably the male, as to this day he has always been a bold and confident individual), the other three running straight back into the nest-box and staying there. The female stayed out with the one cub, but was not relaxed and seemed on edge. However, considering it was the cub's first time out, it showed no fear, climbing high up into the branches and up and down the mesh. After 20 minutes the female and cub were shut back in. Although the cubs were robust when climbing around, they were not exactly the most agile of creatures at first, and because of this we changed the substrate from bark chippings to straw to protect them from injury.

At ten and a half weeks old the babies were sexed and proved to be 1.3. They were reasonably easy to sex (especially when you had one of each to compare) However, the females have a small bone-like protuberance or pseudopenis visible when the vagina is pulled apart and pushed upwards, which could confuse. The males are fairly obvious, although the spines which adorn the adult's penis are not really evident at this age. The babies made no attempt to be aggressive, just wriggled to get away. As in field observations (Hawkins, pers. comm.) feet and claws are used rather than jaws and teeth, but they were just attempting to push their way out of our grip. The procedure went without mishap and upon release the youngsters carried on as if nothing had happened. At 13½ weeks old the male cub was observed scent-marking tree trunks in the outside enclosure for the first time, and a week later they were all observed tearing at a chicken carcass.


To date (February 1998) all four cubs are doing well. At eight months old they are still with the female, although the onset of the next breeding season will force our hand and we will look to separate them around the middle of March 1998. Despite their size the female still shows no aggression towards them (not even at feed times), and gives no sign of wanting to drive them away. Winkler (1996) says that youngsters can be separated from their mother at from seven to 12 months, and can be kept together as a sibling group until approximately three years old when they reach sexual maturity (whether one sex matures faster than the other is not clear), slow maturation being fairly typical of phylogenetically old, primitive species.

Due to our reluctance to disturb the female in any way, the youngsters were never weighed or measured, though in hindsight this would probably have been feasible once they had started to leave the nest box around eight weeks old – especially since we now know how steady and relaxed she was whenever she was separated from them for cleaning purposes. However, on several occasions we were gripped with paranoia when no sight or sound of the babies had been noted, and our concern and inexperience led us to err on the side of caution. At approximately four and a half months old we spent a few minutes each day sitting in with the youngsters in their outside enclosure (with the female shut away), conditioning them for filming purposes (two keepers simulating the presence of a presenter and cameraman). They were nervous at first, climbing around the slide and wanting to get inside. But within a few days they were approaching us and tugging or playing with our boots and clothing in much the same way that young ferrets would, even getting to the point of allowing us to stroke them.

During the actual filming the male (now 18 weeks old) at one point approached the smallest and most reticent female and mounted her, exhibiting pseudo-sexual behaviour. This was probably stress-related as no similar behaviour has been observed before or since.

It is important to mention that our male is old and experienced. Whether, when using a young and inexperienced male, a whole new range of behaviours would be observed I cannot say.


Since our first breeding in 1997, we have gone on to successfully produce litters in 1998 and 1999. In 1998 we emulated our 1997 achievement, in that 1.3 cubs were produced and successfully reared to adulthood. Due to the age of our breeding male (18½ years old at the time of writing this postscript, October 1999), we thought that this would be the final litter he would sire. However, despite having to have his right eye removed due to a malignant tumour and being cosseted over the winter, he amazingly sired another litter this year, which were born in early July and have just been sexed as 1.2. Whether or not he makes it through to the first breeding season of the new millennium is open to debate.

As for the youngsters, a female from the 1997 litter has since gone to West Berlin, and the others from this litter are awaiting transfer to Belfast and Amsterdam. All the 1998 cubs are still at Suffolk, and the three 1999 babies can be seen in their outside enclosure with their mother.


The author is grateful to the following people: all the Suffolk Wildlife Park animal keeping staff for their assistance during the study period. Mr G. Batters (Zoo Manager) and Mr D. Armitage (Zoological Director) for their help and advice. Mr Achim Winkler (Director of Duisburg Zoo, Germany) for supplying me with details of the fossa's captive history and also a copy of the husbandry guidelines based on Duisburg Zoo's management of the species. Miss Clare Hawkins for information based on her own observations of fossas in the wild. Finally, Ms P. Benns for typing up my drafts of this manuscript.

Product mentioned in the text

Carnivore Supplement: manufactured by Mazuri Zoo Foods, P.O. Box 705, Witham, Essex CM8 3AD, U.K.


Crandall, L.S. (1964): The Management of Wild Mammals in Captivity. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.

Grzimek, R.B. (ed.) (1975): Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia Vol. 12 (Mammals III). Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York.

Winkler, A. (1996): Husbandry and Management Guidelines for the Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox). Duisburg Zoo. (Unpublished.)

Copyright in this article is retained by the author, and requests to reprint it should be addressed to him.

Terry Hornsey, Head Keeper, Suffolk Wildlife Park, Kessingland, Suffolk NR33 7SL, U.K.



Since 1984 there has been no breeding success with gorillas at Barcelona Zoo. Currently we have four female gorillas of breeding age. Two of them are sharing an enclosure with Xebo, a male who came from Rotterdam Zoo, and both these females are pregnant. A third, due to her unusually aggressive personality, shares her enclosure with a sterile male. The fourth female is sharing an enclosure with her father, Snowflake.

For the last two years we have been studying and planning for the possibility of using artificial insemination (AI) for some of our gorillas. The two last-mentioned females are about 20 years old and at the moment have no other possibility of reproduction. We have been controlling the females' ovarian cycles since last year. We are also trying to obtain suitable semen samples from other institutions. Samples are being obtained from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and from Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo (Nebraska, U.S.A.). Both were recommended to us by Dr Christian Schmidt, international studbook keeper and EEP coordinator for gorillas.

The extraction of semen is the first step in assisted reproduction technology. At present, there are two ways of obtaining fresh semen:

(1) By training the animal. This provides a high quality of semen in a non-invasive and non-stressful way, but a lot of time and effort are needed for training sessions.

(2) By electro-ejaculation. This results in fresh semen of average quality and probably in a stressful way (under anaesthesia). However, collaboration from the animal is not needed, which makes the process quicker and easier.

Dr Corrine Brown explained to us the medical training programme that she is carrying out with the male gorillas at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo. This programme trains the gorillas not only for medical procedures but also to provide fresh semen samples in a non-invasive way. Other institutions have also trained female gorillas for medical procedures and non-invasive AI.

The principal goals of Dr Brown's training programme are the following:

(1) To train gorillas to ejaculate voluntarily in a non-invasive, non-stressful manner.

(2) To monitor gorilla semen quality over an extended period of time.

(3) To evaluate and improve current sperm freezing techniques in gorillas.

(4) To develop the potential to use frozen semen for AI and in vitro fertilization techniques.

Due to the fact that at Barcelona Zoo we have no special budget for training programmes for our gorillas, the training must be carried out by the primate keepers, who include the training sessions in their daily schedule. The following conditions were required in the development of our programme:

– Great interest and support from our keeper team, especially from the one who began the training. The training programme should be initiated by only one trainer, and after some results have been obtained, he or she can teach and transfer his or her knowledge to other keepers.

– Training sessions must take place first thing in the morning or late in the evening, when the surroundings are quiet. We also need the gorilla to be receptive; if he is not, we cancel the session. We do three to five sessions per week.

– Training sessions are short (five to ten minutes), and English is used to help the animal to differentiate between the daily care instructions (given in Spanish) and those used for training sessions.

– The reward used is not candy but natural treats like raisins and dried figs, which they like a lot. When we finish a session we give wholemeal biscuits as a reward.

The rest of the procedure follows the structure of Dr Brown's programme.

In May 1998 we began the training programme with Xebo, a male born at Rotterdam Zoo on 6 October 1985, who arrived in Barcelona on 10 December 1996. The early success of the programme surprised us all. At the time of writing (March 1999) Xebo understands about ten different orders, and the keeper is able to touch him around the genital area. So we hope that soon we will be able to get semen samples in this non-invasive way.

It is known that genetic management of captive primate populations will be needed to preserve their stability and to ensure their viability in the future. The gorilla is an endangered and flagship species, yet there are still many individuals who die in captivity leaving no descendants, so that their genetic value is lost, reducing the variability of the captive population. When the infertility of an animal is not congenital, it could be important to preserve his genetic value for the future. In this species, because of its social complexity and the fact that many individuals are hand-reared, it is not easy to transfer animals from one group to another and have successful natural breeding. They need periods of socialisation, which are sometimes extremely long. Besides this, transferring gorillas between institutions is complicated, stressful (for them and for us) and expensive. It is also known that in captive gorilla males there is a significant percentage of sterility. So we think that assisted reproduction techniques could bring us some advantages:

(1) Individuals who are not, or little, represented in the captive population could increase their genetic representation, thereby increasing the biological diversity of the captive population.

(2) Genetic material could be shared between institutions, which in some cases could:

– avoid the stress of transferring animals;

– allow the possibility of keeping an animal in its group if it is well integrated;

– be cheaper and easier in the future.

In order to increase the success of conservation through captive breeding, more studies must be carried out to give us a better and more detailed understanding of the reproductive cycle, and of the anatomy and physiology of the gonads and their preservation, not only in gorillas but in other endangered species.

Reading list

Brown, C.S., and Loskutoff, N.M. (1998): A training program for noninvasive semen collection in captive western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). Zoo Biology 17: 143–151.

Cranfield, M.R., Kempske, S.E., and Schaffer, N. (1988): The use of in vitro fertilisation and embryo transfer techniques for the enhancement of genetic diversity in the captive population of the lion-tailed macaque Macaca silenus. International Zoo Yearbook 27: 149–159.

Dixon, A.F., Moore, H.D.M., and Holt, W.V. (1980): Testicular atrophy in captive gorillas (Gorilla g. gorilla). Journal of Zoology 191: 315–322.

Gould, K.G. (1983): Diagnosis and treatment of infertility in male great apes. Zoo Biology 2: 281–293.

Schaffer, N., Jeyendran, R.S., and Beehler B. (1991): Improved sperm collection from the lowland gorilla: recovery of sperm from bladder and urethra following electroejaculation. American Journal of Primatology 24: 265–271.

VandeVoort, C.A., Neville, L.E., Tollner, T.L., and Field, L.P. (1993): Noninvasive semen collection from an adult orangutan. Zoo Biology 12: 257–265.

M.T. Abelló, M. Velasco and F. Esteban, Barcelona Zoo, Parc de la Ciutadella, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.



Loro Parque Fundación's breeding centre is a very meaningful development for Loro Parque itself. It achieves the aims of a modern zoo – conservation, research and education. The breeding centre also represents a strong commitment to the maintenance and improvement of what is, without doubt, the best collection of psittacids ever seen, a concept Loro Parque has aimed at ever since its foundation.

The breeding centre is located a short distance from Loro Parque. It stands 200 metres above sea level on the site of an old banana plantation, whose plants are actually used to provide food for the birds. The total area of the property is 17,000 m2, half of which is occupied by the breeding centre. There are two separate and distinct housing installations. The first one was finished in 1996, and houses over 600 cages and aviaries, all surrounded by a subtropical garden with fruit trees and ornamental vegetation. (The mild climate – 20° C all the year round – ensures that any piece of land here becomes a real botanical garden.) The aviaries and hanging cages are arranged in rows of 25 or 35, with passages allowing easy access from either side for feeding the birds and checking the nests. This ease of access to the cages is very important, making it possible to check the birds quickly at any time, while still offering them the peaceful environment they need in order to breed.

The breeding centre aviaries measure 6 or 12 metres in length, 3.5 m in height and 2 m in width. Food receptacles are placed in a basket in front of the cage outside the mesh; this prevents food waste being dropped into the cage, and also allows cleaning to be carried out from outside.

The second installation, which was opened during the Fourth International Parrot Convention (17–20 September 1998), includes 410 cages and aviaries. The two installations have a similar design, but look different because of the different kinds of mesh used to shade them and create their respective microclimates.

The first installation is covered with a plastic mesh which allows through nearly normal sunlight; humidity and temperature are also normal for the region, though the luxuriant vegetation increases humidity. During the summer, however, one half of each aviary is covered with a shading mesh which reduces levels of sunlight by 50%. This section is used to house birds which come from more open habitats such as farmland, sparse woodland or scrub. Generally, these are Australian species such as cockatoos and parakeets.

The second installation is darker, being entirely covered with the shading mesh. In fact, it was a major operation to install this mesh over the 13,000 m2 area, but it has been very successful. The light inside is rather faint, and the temperature does not fluctuate very much, dropping by only 3° or 4° C at night. It also provides noticeably good protection against the winds which regularly occur here throughout the year. This installation is used to house birds which, in the wild, live in forests or rest and feed in woods, such as Amazona, Pyrrhura, Ara and Pionus species.

The breeding centre offers the birds living there all the requirements of an ideal captive environment. Our standard diet is based upon a balanced mix of vegetables, fruit and seeds. The receptacles are made of stainless steel so that they can be easily washed and disinfected every day. As a rule, food is changed twice a day, in the morning and afternoon. In the morning, the birds are fed with different kinds of fruit and vegetables in one bowl, specially formulated pellets in a second bowl, and water in a third. In the afternoon, they are given a mixture of various cooked seeds, but only for a short time in order to avoid possible contamination. We intend to improve the birds' nutrition by formulating new diets specially prepared for particular species.

Environmental enrichment for our birds is achieved by providing adequate furnishing as well as a rich environment. They are regularly given chunks of wood, pine cones, fresh branches from different kinds of trees, vegetables, etc.; this keeps them busy most of the time, and also offers them the chance to find material for their nests. Even though in the wild parrots usually nest in tree cavities rather than building `proper' nests, offering them suitable materials to finish their chosen nest gives them a further incentive to reproduce. The birds are also provided with ropes of different sizes and tensions, which move in various ways when they land on them; cage furniture of this kind, resembling features they would find in the wild, helps to develop their muscles and encourage their abilities.

A modern sprinkler system showers the cages and aviaries daily, using water that has been previously treated and filtered to guarantee that it is free from contaminants. It is amazing to see the effects of this artificial rain on the birds' feathers, as well as on their general condition; it makes them lively and healthy. Amazons and cockatoos particularly enjoy these showers; they open their feathers and spread their wings, vocalizing at the same time. The sprinklers simulate the rain that regulates the breeding season for some parrots, especially cockatoos, king parrots and conures. As food is a restricting factor in population growth, rain – signalling the increase of vegetation and hence of nutritious food for the young – serves as a trigger for reproductive behaviour.

Loro Parque Fundación (LPF) was founded in 1994 as a non-governmental, non-profit organization. As well as maintaining its own sustained development, it works internationally to promote parrot and habitat conservation. It undertakes an extensive range of programmes devoted to research and breeding. It also informs local corporations and authorities about the need to protect their natural heritage through educational and other activities on both a local and international scale.

LPF is involved in significant scientific activities with the parrots in its own collection, and contributes to the research programmes of other groups, as well as offering financial help to other institutions for similar projects. Most of the research programmes concentrate on improvements in captive management, but they also provide useful information on the requirements and behaviour of parrots in the field. LPF recognises the need to develop in situ and ex situ programmes, and that the best results for conservation can be achieved by a combination of these two approaches.

Loro Parque's famous collection includes about 3,000 specimens from 303 taxa of psittacine birds. The park's sub-tropical climate, fine facilities and scientific expertise has resulted in consistent successful reproduction, year after year. Some 800 eggs of 130 taxa hatched during both 1996 and 1997. In addition to providing a `safety net' for threatened species, LPF's breeding successes also help to achieve conservation goals in other ways. Selling or donating surplus birds reduces the demand for wild-caught parrots, and all profits from the sale of stock go to support conservation programmes in the field.

As an EAZA member, LPF participates in the 21 European psittacid EEPs and studbooks. It coordinates the EEPs for Amazona rhodocorytha and Ara glaucogularis, and maintains the studbooks for Eos histrio, Trichoglossus johnstoniae and Amazona pretrei. It also provides the principal financial and logistic support for the recovery programme for Spix's macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii), a species which is virtually extinct in the wild. Two pairs of this species, belonging to the Brazilian government, are currently housed at Loro Parque, and we hope the new breeding centre will contribute to the survival of this and other psittacines.


Information for this article was supplied by Yves de Soyes, Scientific Director of LPF. It was translated into English by Marta Mozzi.

Miguel Bueno Brinkmann, Loro Parque S.A., Punta Brava, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.


Dear Sir,

I was interested to read the guest editorial by Clinton Keeling in I.Z.N. 46:4. I think that he might be right in saying that many animals in British zoos were in good condition and even breeding during and after the years of World War II, but he does not present any data to prove this. Furthermore, he refers very roughly to taxonomic orders (e.g. non-human primates, psittacines) or groups (e.g. small carnivorous mammals), and not to individual species. Thus, differences between the keeping and breeding success with more `generalist' and with `specialist' species of the same order might be overlooked. To give an example, the generalist baboon species (Papio spp.) would most likely have survived despite the dietary shortcomings described by Mr Keeling, whereas highly specialised langurs (e.g. Pygathrix spp.) would probably not.

To comment on the situation at the hypothetical Blobtown Zoological Park, I think that some species indeed do not reward the `super-care' which is being taken of them with good breeding success and population growth. Looking at the annual reports in the EEP Yearbook as an example, it is obvious that many breeding programmes still have problems. However, there have without any doubt been a lot of positive developments in wild animal husbandry during the last 50 years. Although the situations then and now are difficult to compare, one can safely claim that there has been a great increase in knowledge about the pathogenesis and treatment of several diseases. An increase in preventive measures, together with significant improvements in hygienic standards, has most likely led to a decrease in general mortality. Also, there has obviously been a decrease in the number of animals that have died from malnutrition. But, in my opinion, the greatest achievement of the zoo community during recent decades, and the one that Mr Keeling does not refer to, is the awareness of the need as well as the ability, to manage self-sustaining metapopulations of endangered animal species in zoos, beyond the level of individual colonies, on a long-term basis. An impressive number of international working structures (e.g. EEP, EAZA, CBSG etc.) has been created to prevent, through captive propagation, the immediate extinction of many species, and to re-establish and reinforce their natural populations and ensure the ultimate survival of the species in their natural environments.

Yours faithfully,

Christoph Schwitzer,

Am Botanischen Garten 61,

D-50735 Köln,



DIE WISSENSCHAFTLICHEN SCHMETTERLINGSNAMEN by Hans-Arnold Hürter. Peter Pomp, Bottrop, 1998. 494 pp., 1 illus., hardback. ISBN 3–89355–176–x. DM 98.00 (c. £33 or US$50).

ZOOLOGISCHE EINBLATTDRUCKE UND FLUGSCHRIFTEN VOR 1800, Band (Vol.) 1: WIRBELLOSE, REPTILIEN, FISCHE by Ingrid Faust. Anton Hiersemann, Stuttgart, 1998. Folio, xviii + 300 pp., 236 illus., hardback. ISBN 3–7772–9812–3. DM 490.00 (c. £165 or US$250).

Since the dedication of London Zoo's first Insect House in 1881, invertebrates have been standard – if not necessarily the most popular – stock in any zoo concerned about an international reputation. In the last couple of decades, butterfly farms devoted to just the one insect order Lepidoptera have been successful tourist attractions in countries around the world. Even the Bismarck family established one near where I live, hoping (successfully) to entice visitors to the family estate at Friedrichsruh for whom the `Iron Chancellor' Museum alone would not be inducement enough.

Attractive little animals that they are, it is perhaps only fitting that butterflies are adorned largely with elegant names. Maitland Emmet wrote briefly on The Scientific Names of the British Lepidoptera (Colchester, 1991), but a genuinely comprehensive, entomological-etymological handbook, giving details on what one is actually saying when pronouncing the name of a butterfly, has been lacking until now. The building engineer and amateur lepidopterist Hans-Arnold Hürter has filled in that gap for Central Europe at least.

Binomial scientific names for animals (and plants) of course go back to Carl von Linné (a.k.a. Carolus Linnaeus) and the mid-18th century. The current standard was set in 1905 as the `International Rules of Zoological Nomenclature', but Linné himself included all butterflies within the genus Papilio, poaching the Latin word for these insects. For the appelatives of individual species, he preferred the names of ancient Greek heroes. The common swallowtail (Papilio machaon), for example, was named in honour of Machaon the physician, a hero of the Iliad, son of Asklepios, god of all doctors. The other son, Podaleirios, gave Papilio podalirius its name.

Hürter covers 640 species and subspecies of Central European butterfly (including 101 synonyms) – most of which, of course, occur in other parts of Europe as well. The hundred or so entomologists who passed out the names over the past two and a half centuries largely stayed with figures from ancient Greek and Roman mythology. But some butterflies were named after what was considered the preferred food of their larvae, or even food they avoid; others, like so many mammals and birds, were named after the region where the species was first identified. Well-placed colleagues were occasionally honoured, and remarkable patterns of the wing seldom ignored. Hürter, who spent a dozen years of his spare time preparing the book, provides all the background information one could wish for on the nomenclature of Central European butterflies. His work does have one rather cumbersome drawback: Hürter apparently assumes that anyone interested in the butterflies of the region will have Forster and Wohlfahrt's five-volume Schmetterlinge Mitteleuropas on his desk. Die wissenschaftlichen Schmetterlingsnamen is not only oriented along the lines of that admittedly standard work of reference; the individual entries are numbered parallel to the code of that title. Without the Forster/Wohlfahrt, the reader really has to know his (or her) butterflies to always recognise what's a species and what's a subspecies – and what's an obsolete synonym. And it helps to know at least rudimentary Greek, as the Greek names and terms are given in the Hellenic alphabet. There is, however, a Greek-to-Latin alphabet key at the back of the book. Greek and Latin are no longer the prerequisites of a good scientific education that they once were, but that is perhaps all the more reason that Hürter's tome would be a genuinely useful addition to the library of any insectarium or butterfly farm.

Insects were popular exhibits in the age of Linné himself, long before the establishment of London Zoo's Insect House. Theodore Wildman, author of A Treatise on the Management of Bees (London, 1768), travelled to Strasbourg in 1785 with his `performing bees'. In an age when zoos were few and access to them restricted, travelling menageries and animal exhibits provided much of the public with what little broadening of their zoological horizons they could expect. Broadsheets advertised visiting showmen: large-format, single-leaf, one-sided prints, usually illustrated, issued in large numbers, but ephemeral by nature, and now largely lost. Only one broadsheet, for example, apparently still exists of Wildman's performing-bees show, printed in German and French in Strasbourg and now in the possession of the Strasbourg University Library.

Dr Ingrid Faust of Bingen has amassed a large, private collection of 140 zoological broadsheets of the 16th through 18th centuries, and produced the first comprehensive catalogue in any language of European and North American broadsheets published before 1800, 870 in all, depicting animals. The first of five volumes to be published is devoted to invertebrates, reptiles and fish. Broadsheets were not necessarily advertisements for specific events; many depicted phenomena – in the case of insects remarkable plagues of locusts, for example, or a huge swarm of larvae that fell upon Strasbourg on 15 June 1686. One could call them an early equivalent of newspaper `extras'. In an age when censorship could mean the axe in the literal sense of the term, broadsheets of a zoological nature were a relatively risk-free option for publishers and printers.

Volume 1 of Faust's catalogue also includes the historical introduction to zoological broadsheets, their purpose, character and printing techniques, and the bibliography of the whole set. Birds will be covered in Volume 2 and mammals in Volumes 2 through 5: stranded whales and performing bears, elephants and rhinoceroses on the road, apes in taverns, the spectacular beasts of travelling menageries. Handsomely printed and bound in buckram, as could be expected of both the publisher and the price, the set should be complete by the end of the year 2000. It would be an exaggeration to say that Zoologische Einbanddrucke und Flugschriften vor 1800 is a `must' in the library of a zoo, but booksellers and print dealers, natural history and art libraries, and anyone seriously interested in the history of the illustration of animals will find Faust's work to be the standard on a remarkable aspect of art history and zoology.

Herman Reichenbach


International seahorse workshop

On 7–9 December 1998, 35 invited aquarium professionals and scientists from nine countries and 29 organisations attended an international workshop on seahorse husbandry, management, and conservation, hosted by Project Seahorse and the John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, U.S.A. The objective was to develop international, coordinated initiatives for seahorse management and conservation in public aquaria, linking these to wider conservation issues and field programs where possible. Coordinated management and conservation programs among public aquaria are still relatively new ventures, but have great potential to make a difference. Seahorses, as popular and attractive aquarium fishes, provide an ideal case study for the establishment of such programs, particularly because their fate represents a convergence of key marine conservation issues: over-exploitation of target fisheries; waste of resources in trawl by-catch; destruction of coral reef, mangrove and seagrass habitats; and the need for marine protected areas.

Seahorses are the target of large, global and unsustainable fisheries. Primarily sold for traditional Chinese medicine, significant numbers are also exploited for the aquarium and curiosity trades, and observed populations have declined by 15–50% in the last decade. Seahorses have always been popular aquarium fishes, but are notoriously difficult to keep healthy in captivity; virtually all captive seahorses are obtained from the wild, and those that die are frequently replaced, resulting in increased pressure on wild populations. The current lack of information on the basic biology of these animals limits the development of successful husbandry and captive-breeding techniques. Seahorses are prone to stress and associated diseases, disease treatment is difficult, diets are poorly understood and the requirements of different species are unclear.

The success of public aquaria as visitor attractions and education centers helps these institutions to play an important role in the conservation of the aquatic species they exhibit. In addressing the role aquaria can play in seahorse conservation, institutions will need to consider a number of inter-related issues: subsistence fisheries and trade sustainability for marine ornamentals, management of fish breeding programs, and the need for research and communication among aquaria and with the public. Seahorses are important in ecological, evolutionary, economic, and perhaps medical terms: they play an important role in structuring seagrass communities; their male pregnancy raises interesting issues about the evolution of sex differences; they supply important income for subsistence fishers; they are reputed to cure illnesses. In addition, they are charismatic fishes and can serve as flagship species for highlighting the plight of many marine fishes and their ocean habitats. They are also at risk in their own right, and so will certainly benefit from the support of the world's aquaria.

Proposed actions agreed by workshop participants included: constructing a communication network; creating working groups to coordinate efforts on specific issues; developing complementary and compatible record keeping, research approaches and standards across aquaria as they pertain to the management of seahorses; establishing a formulary to describe current disease treatment protocols; designing a research agenda by priority, with particular emphasis on diet, nutrition, disease and physical parameters, in both wild and captive seahorse populations; agreeing on guidelines on acquisition and disposal of seahorses, quarantine and necropsy procedures; and launching educational programs (including training for aquarists, veterinarians, hobbyists, individuals involved in the trade, and the general public) on such topics as seahorse biology, taxonomy, pathology, and trade.

This workshop appears to be the first example of a global, integrated approach to conservation action by the world's aquaria on behalf of a group of threatened marine bony fishes. (Its nearest equivalents would be the joint plans for sharks and cichlids.) For further information, please contact: Dr Jeff Boehm, Shedd Aquarium, 1200 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60605, U.S.A. (Tel.: +1 312–692–3234; Fax: +1 312–939–2216; E-mail:; Web site: or Dr Heather Hall, Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park, London NW1 4RY, U.K. (Tel.: +44 171–449–6480; Fax: +44 171–772–2852; E-mail:; Web site:

Abridged from a summary report issued by John G. Shedd Aquarium

Grey wolves and domestic dogs seldom hybridise

It has been feared that interbreeding between domestic dogs and European populations of grey wolves threatened the genetic integrity of the latter species. However, a review of mitochondrial and biparentally inherited genetic markers in dogs and wild populations of wolf-like canids suggests that natural hybridisation between wolves and dogs is a much rarer event than is generally believed. This may be because dispersing female wolves attempt to form a new pack with a mate; male dogs do not assist in rearing offspring or form long-term bonds with females, so offspring of wolf-dog matings may not survive in the wild. If they do survive, hybrids may not be well socialised and may have difficulty integrating into a wolf pack.

Abridged from C. Vilà and R.K. Wayne in Conservation Biology 13:1 (1999), pp. 195–198

New rabbit discovered in Laos

A new species of rabbit is the latest zoological discovery in Indo-China. The animal, which has yet to be named, was discovered by Rob Timmins, a British biologist working for the Wildlife Conservation Society, in a meat market in Ban Lak, Laos. The rabbit, which has black or dark brown stripes on its face, a red rump and a short tail and ears, is thought to come from the Annamite Mountains on the Laos–Vietnam border. It resembles the little-known Sumatran rabbit (Nesolagus netscheri), but genetic tests at the University of East Anglia, U.K., have confirmed that the specimens on sale are of an entirely new species. The discovery further underlines the biodiversity importance of the mountain forests of South-East Asia. Scientists are hoping to find more of the rabbits in an attempt to gauge their population size.

Good news from Cebu

Several patches of surviving forest have been identified on the Philippine island of Cebu, including one of at least 700 ha, almost certainly the largest surviving tract on the island and much larger then the c. 180-ha Tabunan, which was believed to be the last remaining patch of native forest. Along with these findings were the rediscovery/confirmation of four more (hitherto believed extinct) Cebu endemic birds, bringing the total number of known surviving endemic birds to 12 of the 14 forms described.

William Oliver in Oryx Vol 33, No. 3 (July 1999)

`Rhino Man' dies

The celebrated `Rhino Man' Michael Werikhe, a lifelong conservationist and rhino advocate, died on 9 August in Mombassa, Kenya, following an assault outside his home. He was 43. Werikhe was known worldwide for his dedication to conservation, particularly that of the black rhino. During the 1980s and early 1990s he drew the world's attention to the plight of the black rhino with several highly publicized walks across East Africa, Europe and North America, during which he helped to raise over $1.25 million for the conservation movement. The 1991 U.S. `Rhino Walk' galvanized the collective support of over 40 AZA zoos and aquariums and their members, and endeared him to the U.S. public nationwide.

In the wake of Werikhe's death, the Rhino Trust has established two funds. The Michael Werikhe Conservation Fund is established as an endowment with income being used to insure long-term support of projects important to the management and protection of African rhinos and their habitats. Initial expenditure will be directed to programs at Tsavo National Park in Kenya. Proceeds from the Werikhe Family Fund will go to Werikhe's young daughters (his wife predeceased him). Donations for both funds should be mailed to: Meg Gammage-Tucker, President, The Rhino Trust, P.O. Box 68805, Indianapolis, Indiana 46268–0805, U.S.A. Inquiries should be directed to: (317) 293–4099 or

AZA Communiqué (August 1999)

A weighbridge for penguins

The number of macaroni penguins in the world has halved since 1976, currently standing at 2.5 million breeding pairs. Scientists working with the British Antarctic Survey in South Georgia suspect that low krill stocks may be responsible for the decline. To test this theory, they have developed a high-tech device to weigh the birds; it is disguised as a series of inviting rock platforms, which will be set up along the penguins' favourite route as they go back and forth from the sea and up through the stones and grasses to their 1,000-strong breeding colony on Bird Island, at the southern tip of South Georgia. To make the birds hesitate on the fake flat rocks for long enough for their weight to be accurately measured, each platform will be set at a different height – after a small hop, the birds tend to pause as they decide what to do next.

So far, about 200 penguins have been caught and tagged with identifying ankle bracelets. As a bird hops onto the weighbridge, its personal electronic barcode will be scanned into a data logger, which will record and store the identity number along with the weight, time and date. Studying the accumulated data should reveal how much each bird's weight fluctuates from the average five kilograms. The weighbridge was recently tested on African penguins at Banham Zoo, U.K., where it worked perfectly; field trials will begin in November.



Extracts from the English summary of the Annual Report 1998 (Bongo Vol. 21, pp. 189–190)


In the marsupial section there were born and raised 8.1 sugar gliders, 0.3 brush-tailed rat kangaroos and 0.1 parma wallaby. Also raised were 2.1 lesser hedgehog tenrecs, 2 elephant shrews, 6.7 Egyptian fruit bats and 2 Zambian mole-rats. From the carnivore collection we would like to mention the following offspring: 1 spectacled bear, 1.0 Malagasy narrow-striped mongoose (Mungotictis decemlineata – the first to be born in our zoo), 2.2 sand cats, 0.3 jaguars, 1.0 African lion and 4.0 Canadian wolves. We acquired 1.1 Geoffroy's cats on loan from Wuppertal Zoo, 1.0 Sumatran tiger on loan from Prague, and 1.0 sand cat as a gift from London.

We regretfully have to report that our beautiful male Asian elephant, Kiba (Mampe) unexpectedly died of a herpes virus infection. Fortunately he had mated with one of our females, so we can expect the birth of a baby elephant in spring 2000. Of the hoofed stock we would like to mention 1.0 Boehm's zebra, 0.1 Grevy's zebra and 1.0 Somali wild ass. A fine male Indian rhino, Yodah, arrived on loan from Chester Zoo. The Borneo bearded pigs produced four litters with altogether 17 young ones, but only three survived. Other animals born and raised included 2.0 babirusa, 3 lesser mouse deer, 2.1 Reeves' muntjacs, 0.1 Philippine spotted deer, 1.0 sambar deer, 1.2 Burmese Eld's deer, 1.0 southern pudu and 1.0 reindeer. For our single male musk deer we received three females from Paris Zoo on breeding loan. Other noteworthy youngsters were 0.1 reticulated giraffe, 0.2 Kirk's dik-dik, 1.1 West African sitatunga, 0.1 bongo, 0.1 eland, 0.1 gemsbok, 1.1 scimitar-horned oryx, 3.2 Defassa waterbuck, 0.2 Kafue red lechwe, 0.1 Japanese serow, 1.1 Himalayan tahr, 1.1 gaur, 2.0 banteng and 2.1 European bison.

The primates produced the following youngsters: 0.1 white-fronted lemur, 8 black-eared marmosets, 0.2 white-eared marmosets, 3.1 toque macaques, 1.2 Japanese macaques, 0.1 mandrill, 1.0 siamang and 0.1 bonobo. The following were acquired from other zoos: 4.1 white-fronted marmosets, 1.1 black-and-red tamarins, 1.0 moor macaque, 1.0 black-and-white colobus and 1.0 Sumatran orang-utan (a loan from Heidelberg).


The following were raised in the bird section: 4 black-footed penguins, 15 cormorants, 3 boat-billed herons, 3 spoonbills, 1 African spoonbill, 2 roseate spoonbills, 1.1 magpie geese, 6 black swans, 3 Orinoco geese, 1 red-tailed hawk, 1 American bald eagle, 2 great curassows, 5 roulrouls, 2 Chinese partridges, 1 grey peacock pheasant, 1 Manchurian crane, 1 crowned crane, 4 red-legged seriemas, 1 American stilt, 2 avocets, 1 Leadbeater's cockatoo, 3 brown-eared parakeets, 1 barn owl, 1 Nepalese eagle owl, 2 kookaburras, 1 pale-legged hornero, 3 Celebes starlings, 6 Philippine starlings, 1 superb starling and 1 white-eared catbird. We had to buy quite a number of ducks and several geese because some foxes had done a lot of damage in our waterfowl collection during the winter months. Other interesting new arrivals were 4 squacco herons, 1.0 king vulture, 2 palm vultures, 1.1 ocellated turkeys, 1.2 Palawan peacock pheasants, 3 hooded guinea fowl and 3 vulturine guinea fowl. Several new species were added to our collection of fruit doves.


From a fish farm in Great Britain we obtained a number of young herrings and some haddock, and for the North Sea tanks we acquired a number of starfish, soft corals and sea urchins. In the terrarium section there were born and raised more than 150 basilisk lizards of three species, 6 casque-headed iguanas (Laemanctus longipes), 28 sailfin lizards, 17 water dragons, and several green iguanas, frilled lizards and ground geckos. Interesting newcomers were some Hainan geckos (Goniurosaurus lichtenfelderi) and Savu Island pythons (Liasis mackloti savuensis). In the amphibian section we succeeded in breeding green poison-arrow frogs (Dendrobates auratus), Atlas toads (Bufo brongersmai), White's tree frogs (Litoria caerulea) and red-eared frogs (Rana erythraea).


On 31 December 1998, the stock consisted of 1,393 mammals of 254 species and domestic breeds, 2,492 birds of 523 species, 438 reptiles of 86 species, 401 amphibians of 29 species, 4,172 fish of 353 species, and 5,639 invertebrates of 176 species, a total of 14,535 animals of 1,421 species.


Extracts from the English summary of the 1998 Annual Report


The most significant breeding among the mammals was undoubtedly that of three brown hyenas. Also noteworthy was the first Czech breeding of red ruffed lemurs; the female of our new pair gave birth to four young in May, but as she took no interest in them, the two surviving babies had to be hand-reared. Other important births included a northern Sri Lankan slender loris (Loris tardigradus nordicus), a male grey mouse lemur, 2.0 fennec foxes and five bush dogs. Ten sitatungas were born and seven were successfully reared. Our group of five bongos, the second biggest in the Czech Republic, grew when a calf was born in February. Eight nyalas were born and six survived. A colt was born to the breeding pair of Tibetan wild asses (Equus hemionus kiang).

Our zoo became one of the few European collections holding takins, when an unrelated pair of these rare and attractive animals was imported from Tierpark Berlin. A pair of blesboks arrived from Karlsruhe to share our mixed African exhibit with nyalas and giraffes. After a break of several years, reindeer returned to the zoo; we brought in four females from Schönbrunn and a male from Olomouc, and the group grew unexpectedly as two of the females were pregnant when they arrived. Several animals were imported to enhance our breeding groups, including fishers (Martes pennanti); we believe Prague is the only European zoo currently breeding these big North American martens. We also added to our group of Cuban hutias, who gave birth to a total of five young during the year. A female from Planckendael, Belgium, joined our newly-created group of European elk (Alces alces), and a related pair of lowland anoas came to the zoo from Rotterdam.


We bred a southern cassowary and a cardinal lory for the first time in the Czech Republic. Two Dalmatian pelicans were another important breeding, and for the first time all five pairs of great white pelicans, birds hand-reared here or imported from the wild, raised either their own or fostered chicks. Among waders, three black storks and five marabou storks were parent-reared. A young bearded vulture, the third to be bred in the zoo's history, had significant problems during incubation, and it was possible to return it to its parents only after intensive care and artificial feeding during its first ten days of life. We also bred five bald eagles, four Malayan peacock pheasants and three red-legged seriemas. In the breeding group of southern ground hornbills, we succeeded – for the first time in Europe – in emulating conditions in the wild, where other individuals participate in rearing the young; in our case, the parents were helped by four immature birds. Other birds bred include 6 Humboldt penguins, 2 northern bald ibis, 2 African spoonbills, 4 Chilean flamingos, 5 greater flamingos, 12 Cape Barren geese, 3 Palawan peacock pheasants, 2 black lories, 3 blue-streaked lories, 2 Papuan lorikeets, 2 Hartlaub's turacos, 3 common scops owls, 1 rusty-barred owl, 8 Ural owls, 5 northern hawk owls (Surnia ulula – the first breeding in the Czech Republic) and 4 Eurasian hoopoes.


For the fourth time we succeeded in breeding Cuban ground iguanas, again in the second generation. After three years the other species of terrestrial iguanas in the zoo, rhinoceros iguanas, reproduced again. We bred another young pancake tortoise and two mangrove monitors. A complete clutch of 12 blood python (Python curtus breitensteini) eggs was successfully hatched. But our greatest success this year was the reproduction of a caiman lizard (Dracaena guianensis), only the third described breeding of this species in captivity. At the end of 1997 the female copulated with both males in succession. In January 1998 she laid four fertile eggs, one of which hatched after 161 days incubation.

Przewalski's horse

Prague Zoo has the longest tradition of Przewalski's horse breeding in the world – it has been breeding these animals continuously since the year 1932. In 1945 the zoo owned one of only two breeding herds in the world which had survived the difficult war years. At that time only 25 of the horses were living in zoos worldwide. Breeding in the U.S.A., as well as in the famous breeding station Askania Nova in the Ukraine, had completely ceased. Towards the end of the 1950s Prague Zoo was the largest breeder of this endangered species, and this was one reason why the First International Symposium on the Preservation of the Przewalski's Horse was held here in 1959. The zoo was then delegated to keep the International Studbook for the species, which is the most comprehensive studbook of all, containing data on more than 3,200 individuals bred in captivity since the year 1899.

In the middle 1960s Prague acquired a new stallion born at Askania Nova, a son of the last mare captured from the wild in Mongolia. He became the father of 45 foals in Prague, and his descendants played their part in breeding all over Europe. At that time almost one-third of the world population of Przewalski's horses came from Prague.

While the species became definitely extinct in the wild in the late 1960s or early 1970s, the captive population passed 500 in the year 1980, and the annual increase in the 1980s amounted to ten per cent. Przewalski's horses ceased to be a rarity in zoos, and their return to the wild began to be considered. Private foundations took the initiative in building acclimatisation stations in China and Mongolia at their own expense, and transported the first horses there at the beginning of the 1990s. In the new circumstances, when it was no longer desirable to breed as many foals as possible, zoos started to limit their breeding, and the issue of the genetic quality of the population gained in significance. In 1993 the Prague breeding herd was moved from the zoo into a newly-opened breeding and acclimatisation station in Dolní Dobrejov, about 40 km south of the city. In the early 1990s, intensive genetic brought new knowledge about the original genetic code of the species. The Prague breeding line was subjected to testing for the presence of the so-called `fox gene', which is the cause of the atypical, light fox-red colour of some individuals. The tests were completed in 1997, and all mares bearing this gene will no longer be put to stallions.

In 1998 Prague Zoo joined the international programme for the reintroduction of Przewalski's horse, donating a stallion and two mares to go to the acclimatisation station in the Gobi National Park, where the first two herds are already living in the wild. Within the framework of the EEP, a new stallion, Gino, originally from Denver, was lent to us in 1998 by Cologne Zoo; he is expected to stay in Prague for two or three years and become the founder of a new, genetically pure line. Although Przewalski's horse is no longer among the most endangered species, we will continue to breed them, not only because this is a long-standing tradition of the zoo, but also because the development of the reintroduction programme provides a motivation and a commitment for the years to come.


Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.

From 27 to 30 July 1999, seven McGregor's pit vipers (Trimeresurus mcgregori) hatched here, making it the third U.S. zoo to reproduce this species since 1993. Eleven eggs were laid on 6 June and incubated at 80° F (27° C) in a vermiculite:water medium at a ratio of 8:5 by weight. Neonatal weights averaged just over five grams. The sire is brown and owned by Audubon, and the yellow dam is on loan from Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo, Monroe. Five of the offspring are yellow like the female, and two are silver-gray. This species is polymorphic and highly variable in color, and the genetics of color inheritance are poorly understood.

This is the first hatching at Audubon Zoo, which has been working with this species since 1989. McGregor's pit vipers were first reproduced by Fort Worth Zoo, Texas, in 1993, and then in 1994, 1995 and 1999; Knoxville Zoo, Tennessee, reproduced the species in 1994 and 1999. Of the seven clutches that have hatched in U.S. zoos since 1993, six occurred during July, suggesting a well-defined breeding season. Because its range is restricted to several small islands in the northern Philippines, the AZA Snake TAG has targeted this rare pit viper for captive management. Prior to the recent 1999 breedings, there were 9.22.7 specimens in ten U.S. zoos.

AZA Communiqué (August 1999)

Baltimore Zoo, Maryland, U.S.A.

In order to curb the licking behavior of our giraffes, we introduced three new forms of enrichment: hanging logs, PVC feeder tubes and hanging `Boomer Balls'. The hanging logs have proved to be very successful. Because the giraffes love eating the bark, we have to replace the logs bi-weekly. We simply find new ones in the woods, cut them about four to six feet (1.2–1.8 m) long and hang them using thick chain. (Be sure to fasten the chain securely, because the animals will try to eat the nuts and bolts.)

Our second idea was taken from a bovine research group at Purdue University. Using a three-foot (0.9 m) long piece of six-inch (150 mm) diameter PVC pipe, we created a feeder tube that allows the giraffes to insert their tongues to explore the contents. To build this device, cut three three-inch (75 mm) diameter holes in the front half of the pipe and two one-inch (25 mm) diameter holes in the back half (the smaller holes are for mounting purposes). Using cement glue, attach a six-inch (150 mm) diameter cap to one end and a plug to the other. We have discovered that our giraffes enjoy not only eating out of this tube but also rubbing their bodies all over it. Therefore, make sure your mounting chain is thick and the nuts and bolts are securely fastened. Some of the enrichment items we place inside are apples, carrots, potatoes, kale, other types of produce, browse and spices.

In life you always find one person or animal that has to go against the grain. For us it's a 15-year-old male who doesn't like anything except his normal diet and an occasional piece of bamboo. We decided to try hanging a Boomer Ball from one of his vertical standing logs. After drilling a hole through the top and bottom of the ball, we passed a chain through it and inserted a bolt, washer and nut. Not only does he play with his ball quite frequently, but he gets very upset if we have to take it down. Fortunately for us that doesn't happen very often.

All three of these ideas seem to work very well at keeping our animals occupied. Licking behaviors have slowed down and the keepers do not have to paint the pens as often.

Sandy Wielgosz in Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 26, No. 7 (July 1999)

Buffalo Zoo, New York, U.S.A.

A cinereous, or European black, vulture (Aegypius monachus) chick hatched at the zoo on 14 May. Both parents were hatched in 1990, the mother, Czar, in Buffalo, and the father, Vladimir, at Lion Country Safari, Florida; they were the first to be bred as part of the SSP for this species. There are only 48 adult cinereous vultures in the U.S.A. The chick is extremely significant because it is one of only two second-generation hatches of this species in captivity. It is being hand-reared to insure its long-term viability.

Another cinereous vulture hatched at the Living Desert, Palm Desert, California, on 10 June. This was the first successful hatching for the parents; although they were both hand-reared, they are rearing the chick themselves.

AZA Communiqué (August 1999)

Chessington World of Adventures, U.K.

The female great Indian hornbill emerged from the nest-box only 66 days after mudding herself in. An inspection revealed two infertile eggs. Although disappointing, this bodes well for future breeding attempts. The male from this pairing is now 47 years old! The southern pied hornbills (Anthracoceros coronatus) did better, fledging a single female chick. By far the greatest achievement has been with the hammerkops. Last year 1.3 of these birds joined the collection, and a pair bonded very quickly. The remaining 0.2 birds were removed to an adjoining aviary. An elaborate nest of straw, twigs, reeds, leaves and mud was constructed, with a mudded entrance funnel. The outcome of this frantic building activity is due to emerge from the nest within days (9 September), in the form of four chicks. Other bird species which successfully bred included snowy owl, white-cheeked turaco, lilac-breasted roller, green-winged macaw, eclectus parrot and hill mynah. Birds currently sitting include East African crowned crane, blue-winged kookaburra and spreo starling.

The Californian sea lions produced a much-needed 0.4 pups, which makes up for the number of males born over the last few years. The first was taken for hand-rearing when her mother ceased lactating after six days. We pulled the pup for feeds only, returning her to her mother between times. This method seemed to work very well, but unfortunately it had only a short trial as the pup died a few days later after vomiting and ingesting milk formula. The three remaining pups continue to thrive; one will be retained and the other two relocated to another collection once they are weaned and we have trained basic medical behaviours. The breeding bull gave us cause for concern with extreme hair loss and localised fungal infections directly after the breeding period. This is responding to treatment, but we are keen to hear from other collections that have experienced anything similar.

Our Humboldt's penguins have come through the moult and summer heat with no problems of aspergillosis or malaria, probably thanks to our preventative medication regime. This has been a busy season for new birds in the flying team, with the addition of a snowy owl, Bengal eagle owl, two barn owls, two red-billed blue pies, two Patagonian conures and a white-cheeked turaco. All are making excellent progress, with many of them close to joining or already appearing in the Bird Presentation. We are keen to contact other facilities that have flown turacos or snowy owls with success. Any comments would be appreciated and can be e-mailed to

The gorilla group are currently feasting on willow, courtesy of Ashtead Common, Railtrack and local gardens. A suitable quantity of browse has always been hard to come by, but now it appears that all of our problems have been solved. The local press ran a story starting with collections of browse from the side of railway tracks. The spin-off resulted in calls from households around the area with trees in their gardens – people have been arriving at the gates with sacks of willow cuttings, eager to help out. Ashtead Common also got hold of the story, and now their contributions arrive by the truckload! Needless to say the gorilla family are enjoying the feast, and there is even enough left over for the black-and-white colobus, who have also benefited from the story.

Luke Gates

Chester Zoo, U.K.

The Polillo Islands, situated off the south-east coast of Luzon, the Philippines, comprise four main islands and a number of smaller ones. Southern Luzon is one of the most globally important areas for biodiversity conservation. The forests of the Polillo Islands are reported to retain many threatened Philippine endemic species, including the critically endangered Luzon warty pig and red-vented cockatoo, the Luzon bleeding-heart pigeon, Gray's monitor and the Philippine sailfin lizard. The islands are also home to the endemic Polillo forest frog, green narrow-disked gecko and seven endemic bird subspecies. All of these occur only in the Polillo Islands, making them a major biodiversity hot-spot in a region recognised as one of the richest and most distinct biogeographical areas in the world.

The Polillo Islands, being the most easterly, are subject to the strongest typhoons, which blow from the east and periodically cause tree-fall. Bird-trapping for the international cage-bird trade was once common on Polillo, and the sailfin lizard was over-exploited for the pet trade. But it is the rapid rate of forest destruction and high human population growth in the Philippines which are the main threats to this unique fauna, which has been isolated on Luzon since the last Ice Age.

Chester Zoo is supporting the Polillo Islands `Adopt-an-Island' stewardship scheme, which aims to assist in the protection of remaining forest habitats and their flora and fauna. An ecology warden and assistant have been appointed, whose responsibilities include monitoring the conservation status of the threatened island endemics and promoting conservation awareness. This and other conservation projects supported by Chester are overseen by William Oliver, who is the Philippines Conservation Programmes Coordinator for Flora and Fauna International, who spends half of each year on site in the Philippines.

On a recent visit, Chris West and I were pleased to discover that the relatively inaccessible (several hours hard hike) Polillo watershed forest near Sibulan appeared more extensive than the tiny patch of protected forest we had seen on Cebu. [But see pp. 429–430 of this issue – Ed.] The watershed receives protection because of its importance in providing water for Polillo. The area includes perhaps the only remaining old-growth forest on the island, and is the only area where the distinctive Polillo trogon and Polillo flame-backed woodpecker are known to survive. The endemic Polillo forest frog, discovered in 1920, was believed extinct until rediscovered in the watershed area in February 1998. Both it and the endemic green narrow-disked gecko, also restricted to the watershed area, must depend on the survival of this remnant forest. Thus the importance of this 200 hectares of old-growth forest area to the critically endangered endemic birds, reptiles and frog, and other presently undescribed flora and fauna, cannot be over-emphasised.

Abridged from Roger Wilkinson in Chester Zoo Life (Autumn 1999)

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Jersey, Channel Islands, U.K.

In September horticulturists from some of the U.K.'s major zoos visited the Trust's organic farm. They were in Jersey to attend a three-day conference where they discussed a variety of topics, ranging from the biological control of pests and diseases to plant toxicity and the hazards of encouraging animals to eat natural growth within their enclosures.

Caryl Kemp, the head of the zoo's landscape department, stresses the positive contribution that landscape and horticulture can make to improving the lives of animals in captivity. `Plants and animals should live in harmony with each other. At Jersey Zoo we grow a variety of produce for the animals, and also ensure that enclosures feature bushes and plants which are relevant to a particular species and its native habitat,' she says.

Jersey is one of the few British zoos to have its own organic farm. It was created in the mid-1970s to provide the animals with chemical-free foods such as sunflowers and maize. Up until the early 1980s it was run by staff members assisted by a team of volunteers. The decision was taken to increase the variety and quantity of flowers, fruit and vegetables produced, and it is now managed full-time by members of staff.

Mrs Kemp hopes that Jersey's organic farm will encourage other zoo horticulturalists to work more closely with keepers so that a more holistic approach to keeping animals in captivity can be adopted. `Our organic farm started off in a very small way, and I hope that delegates will be so excited by the idea that they will be able to find a small area of land where they can grow produce for the animals. This can be a relatively low-cost venture.'

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust press release

John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

West Indian rock iguanas (Cyclura spp.) are among the largest and most conspicuous lizards found in the Western Hemisphere. They are also one of the most endangered lizard groups in the world.

Sixteen Cyclura species and subspecies are distributed among a number of islands and remote cays in the Greater Antilles and Bahamas, where they pursue a primarily herbivorous lifestyle in xeric limestone or sandy beach habitats. The decline in Cyclura populations is the result, directly and indirectly, of human activity. The iguanas face habitat loss, hunting pressure, and predation by, or competition with, feral animals. The insular ecology of these lizards magnifies the effects of these threats to the degree that iguana populations can drop significantly, or even be extirpated, in the course of a few years.

All species in the genus are listed in the IUCN Red Data Book for endangered amphibians and reptiles. Three species, C. collei (Jamaica), C. nubila lewisi (Grand Cayman), and C. pinguis (British Virgin Islands) are critically endangered and receive assistance from AZA institutions, including John G. Shedd Aquarium. This assistance can take many forms: headstart and captive-breeding programs, financial support for field research and genetic studies, and education initiatives aimed at bringing the plight of these species to the forefront of the conservation community.

Shedd Aquarium currently works with the Grand Cayman iguana (C. n. lewisi). The aquarium's colony is on exhibit for captive-breeding purposes and to promote education through public interpretation and lectures. In conjunction with our ex situ programs, the aquarium also conducts field research using our 80-foot research vessel Coral Reef II as a floating field station. Since 1995, the aquarium has offered opportunities for interested members of the public to help staff members survey populations of the Exuma Island iguana (C. cychlura figginsi). Participants contribute a nominal fee to participate. Through this unique non-profit public program, 30 people, most with non-scientific backgrounds, have become involved in iguana conservation. Because of the increased research assistance, we have collected a tremendous amount of data in a relatively short time. Additionally, opening the research to `paying volunteers', who receive basic training in field biology techniques, provides participants with knowledge of and appreciation for conservation science in general and Bahamian natural history in particular. Our work to date includes determining the range of C. c. figginsi and surveying its populations, collecting blood samples for genetic studies, discovering a new iguana population, erecting educational/awareness signs on islands, and presenting conservation-based seminars at Bahamian schools.

Garnering public support for the conservation of lower vertebrates is more difficult than for high-profile `charismatic megavertebrates'. Moreover, many people harbor a deep-seated mistrust of reptiles. Involving the public exposes a wide cross-section of people to an animal that, under everyday circumstances, receives minimal attention. The experience educates people about the truly intriguing natural history of iguanas and opens the way for an increased respect and admiration for reptiles in general.

The experience is also intended to strike a deeper chord by immersing people in a beautiful, yet fragile, ecosystem. Participants see first-hand how impacting one species, directly or indirectly, can negatively affect an entire ecosystem. We hope this `take home' lesson about the interdependent nature of ecosystems helps shape their attitudes about other conservation issues, whether it be tropical rainforests, the arctic tundra, or their local forest preserves.

The participants also learn about the role of the Bahamas National Trust in creating and maintaining the country's national parks. Often participants join the trust to help support the Bahamas national parks system. Finally, the aquarium's iguana field program contributes indirectly to the economies of the local communities through an influx of cash for supplies and gifts at island stores and the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park.

Shedd Aquarium is a partner with other AZA institutions and the IUCN/SSC West Indian Iguana Specialist Group in a long-term commitment to the conservation of West Indian rock iguanas. In addition to contributing to the hard science, its conservation program helps raise awareness of the pressing need to protect these animals and their habitat both among the public that is the aquarium's audience, and among the Bahamian people who will benefit from Cyclura's continued survival in their midst. For more information about this program or future research excursions, contact: Chuck Knapp,, or Roger Klocek,

Chuck Knapp and Karen Furnweger in AZA Communiqué (July 1999)

Milwaukee County Zoo, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

A Rüppell's griffon vulture (Gyps rueppelli) hatched at the zoo on 9 April. The egg was laid on 13 February and was immediately removed from the nest for artificial incubation. The chick is being hand-raised. On hatching it weighed only 4.5 ounces (127 g) and was no longer than a human hand. To keep the chick from becoming imprinted on its human carers, keepers remain screened from sight and wear a plastic hand-puppet that looks like an adult vulture. The chick's daily food intake is roughly one-fourth of its total body weight.

Rüppell's griffon vultures are quite rare in zoos, with less than 30 in North America. The chick will take about seven years to reach sexual maturity; if it is a male, it will remain in Milwaukee to breed with a female whose previous mate died.

AZA Communiqué (July 1999)

Pittsburgh Zoo, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

The zoo's plans for a major new aquarium complex, due to open in the summer of 2000, include a revolutionary new idea, a revolving aquarium. Pittsburgh will be the first zoo in the world to publicly exhibit such technology. Besides having commercial appeal and a 360-degree viewing angle, the revolving aquarium fosters more natural light exposure and water flow that benefits aquatic life, particularly delicate coral species. In nature, corals receive light from changing radial directions as the earth spins on its axis and rotates around the sun. Rotating an aquarium helps to mimic these natural lighting conditions, while creating better water motion, which stimulates the corals, brings them food and removes their waste products. Pittsburgh Zoo, which houses the largest coral collection in the continental U.S., and is a leading international coral research and propagation center [see I.Z.N. 45:4, pp. 248–249 – Ed.], has great interest in all of these features.

AZA Communiqué (August 1999)

Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A.

Education, conservation, and community outreach, especially to children, are integral components of the zoo's mission. Research clearly shows that the presence of animals helps reduce stress and often speeds illness recovery. This concept drove the development of our satellite zoo at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. Designed by our exhibits department, and constructed as a joint zoo and hospital staff undertaking, it features reptiles and amphibians in five displays that highlight rainforest, pond and desert habitats. Daily husbandry is provided by our zookeepers, and the animals were donated by the Rhode Island Herpetological Association. To ensure the exhibits meet hospital policy as well as the zoo's husbandry standards, officials from the hospital, as well as the zoo, maintain an open dialogue and periodically attend care and use meetings of both institutions. Since opening in December 1997, the `Zoo in a Human Hospital' has been an overwhelming success, providing young patients and hospital staff with a glimpse of our natural world in an otherwise sterile environment.

AZA Communiqué (August 1999)

Rome Zoo, Italy

Douglas Richardson, formerly of London Zoo, has been appointed director of Rome Zoo (previously municipally-controlled, but now privatised and officially renamed the `Bioparco'). In his first public interview, he claimed that changing the zoo completely will take at least five years. He pointed out the difficult situation of many of the animals, especially the elephants. To solve this problem, some (more) animals will leave the zoo, including the lone bull African elephant Calimero. Meanwhile he hopes to acquire a bull to mate with the three female Asian elephants, although they are perhaps too old for first pregnancies (they are all over 30). He recognises the historical importance of the zoo, and emphasises the breeding results achieved with threatened species such as African wild dog and Nile lechwe.

Richardson's appointment followed heavy criticism by a municipal commission of the zoo's animal husbandry standards under its new owners; attention was drawn to the absence of a technical director with experience of zoo management. However, Richardson's duties seem to be those of a general curator, as both the administrative director and the scientific advisor remain in their positions. The municipality has announced that as early as possible a scientific commission will be appointed to provide advice on the management of the zoo. According to a recent survey, three out of four Romans say they have not observed any changes in the animals' quality of life in the Bioparco compared to the old municipal zoo.

Spartaco Gippoliti

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

The zoo is proud to announce the hatching of three whooping cranes (Grus americana) in April 1999. These hatchings are believed to be the first in a U.S. zoo since San Antonio's previous success in 1979. [The species is regularly bred at the International Crane Foundation, Baraboo, Wisconsin, and the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, Maryland, and has also bred at Calgary Zoo, Canada – Ed.] Whooping cranes are the largest of the crane species, and perhaps the most endangered. Wintering in the estuaries along the southern coast of Texas from November through April, they are one of Texas's most prized `native' species. Almost extinct just five decades ago, and still extremely endangered, this charismatic species is slowly inching its way back to a viable population.

San Antonio presently has two pairs of adults. In January, in order to stimulate courtship behavior, floodlights were used to gradually extend the adult cranes' photoperiod. Video cameras were installed to monitor their behavior, and regular copulation was seen in one pair; the other pair was unsuccessful. Artificial insemination was initiated in February and continued through April, using semen from both the zoo's adult males as well as semen shipped from Patuxent.

The chicks have been isolation-reared in an enclosure some distance from the main zoo grounds. To prevent imprinting, no visual or auditory human interaction has been permitted. Keepers are draped in white costumes and a crane puppet is used to mimic and encourage eating, drinking, exercise and socialization. The chicks also have constant visual and auditory contact with an adult pair of whooping cranes that reside in an adjacent enclosure.

Costumed keepers interacted with the chicks hourly from 7.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. daily until the tenth week. The chicks were then placed in a netted pen with a more grassy substrate and a pond. Their access to the inside has been discontinued and keeper interaction is gradually lessening. The youngest chick died in its fourth week, but the remaining two, both female, are thriving and testing has determined that there is one chick from each pair of adults. The chicks will ultimately be released into Florida's Kissimmee Prairie non-migratory flock of released birds.

AZA Communiqué (August 1999)

San Diego Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES), California, U.S.A.

Of all the great ape species, the least is known about bonobos. In the wild, they have suffered from habitat destruction and the bushmeat trade, so that possibly fewer than 10,000 remain in central Africa. Add to this an extremely small captive-breeding population of about 121 animals worldwide, with a slow reproduction rate (intervals of four and a half years), and it is clear that a study was needed to understand reproduction among captive bonobos. Because the largest U.S. bonobo population is in San Diego – 16 individuals between the Zoo and the Wild Animal Park – we believe that the future for this species will be influenced by what we learn of their reproduction today.

The study's focus is on questions of social stress and how this affects sexual relationships within the troop; how a female's estrous cycle development and adolescent sterility are hormonally regulated; and whether mating is restricted to coincide with the female's ovulation. A study under captive conditions is needed in order to collect urine samples, evaluate swelling levels, and keep track of each individual's behavior. Through analysis of fecal and urinary samples in the endocrinology lab at CRES, we characterized ovarian hormone metabolites, which led to a better understanding of the relationship between hormones, perineal swellings and social behavior in bonobos. This substantial baseline information will be essential for monitoring populations in their native habitat.

There are reports in the scientific literature on the social and reproductive behavior of common chimpanzees and bonobos, but data on ovarian activity is less available; in bonobos, this has been based almost exclusively on the conspicuous perineal swellings of the females. One hypothesis was that association patterns would change across phases of the ovarian cycle. However, statistical analysis revealed no significant pattern in associations across the ovarian phases, and it seems likely that social factors play a large role in association patterns. The bonobo is known to be a very social species, especially the female, who associates regularly with both males and females (among common chimpanzees, the female–female bonding is less prevalent). Therefore, if the female is already associating frequently with both males and females, changes in association levels may be small and difficult to detect with a small group size.

Also, timing of ovulation in bonobos may be difficult for males to assess, given the prolonged periods of sexual swelling and female receptivity, which together may conceal the exact time of ovulation from an observer. If the male does not know when the female is actually most fertile, he will not change his association patterns with her as much as if he knew. Further, the female's continuous receptivity indicates that she too may be unaware of her time of ovulation, and so her association patterns with the group members would not be expected to be greatly influenced by the menstrual cycle.

Androgens belong to a class of hormones that are primarily found in males, such as testosterone, and they are known to influence female proceptive sexual behavior in a number of species: gorillas and chimpanzees, as well as humans. When compared with chimpanzees, androgen levels in bonobo females were elevated during a greater portion of the follicular phase, which is when the ovaries and uterus are being prepared for ovulation. Comparisons of behaviors and elevated hormone levels show that socio-sexual behavior between females is significantly correlated with testosterone levels. This seems to have evolved to allay social tensions resulting from larger group size, while allowing females to form bonds with each other to maintain priority at feeding sites. The strong correlation between testosterone and female–female non-reproductive sexual behavior suggests that this physiological change co-evolved with associated behaviors, specifically those that encouraged female–female bonding.

These preliminary results from the study are indicators of the bonobo's distinct position among hominoids. Bonobos appear to be behaviorally, and to some degree physiologically, different from the common chimpanzee, while demonstrating some similarities to humans. This may lead to new insights into the evolution of primate behavior.

Mike Jurke, Ph.D., Endocrinology Division, in CRES Report (Fall 1999)

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

Sea World's state-of-the-art Penguin Encounter exhibit houses four species of penguins, numbering more than 200 birds. Halfway through the incubation period, a gentoo penguin egg was discovered with about half its shell pushed inward. It is suspected that the parents, or another intruding penguin, may have broken it in the nest, which is actually a pile of rocks. When aviculturist Cyndi Laljer held the egg up to the light, she found that though the chick was a little cramped, it was still moving around, so she applied a liberal coat of `Elmer's Glue-all' to prevent the membrane from drying and ripping. After two weeks in an incubator, the chick broke out of its reinforced shell, with a little assistance from the staff. The chick, appropriately named Elmer, thrived and is now fully grown.

AZA Communiqué (August 1999)

Tama Zoo, Tokyo, Japan

A project team was formed at the zoo in autumn 1998, which began keeping Japanese moles (Mogera imaizumii) donated to the zoo or captured on the premises. An exhibit was opened in the insectarium on 5 January 1999, where a mole captured on the zoo grounds was displayed. The exhibit uses aquarium tanks, metal screen tubes, and PVC pipes. The mole's claws grew too long in the screen tubes, so they were connected to an aquarium filled with earth where the mole could dig tunnels and keep its claws suitably worn down. The aquarium is only 6 cm wide, so the mole can be watched as it digs. Mealworms are supplied as food, but for nutritional balance they are raised on a diet of carrots and hedgehog pellets.

The moles do not feel safe unless they are in their tunnels, so even when they have to stick their heads out to get food, they keep their hind legs inside the tunnel. Their movements inside the tunnels are very agile, and they have no trouble at all turning or reversing direction. They can move backwards or forwards with equal speed, and move just as easily in vertical tunnels as in horizontal ones.

Thanks to a newspaper article on the mole exhibit, a golf course in a neighbouring prefecture offered to help obtain animals for it. With a plentiful supply of moles assured, the team is now able to conduct research on the animals.

English summary of article in Japanese by F. Kikuchi, published in Animals and Zoos Vol. 51, No. 8 (August 1999)

Taronga Zoo, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

For over a year now, keepers on the African section have been conditioning two giraffes for an artificial insemination program. The two animals involved are Hope, aged 16, and her daughter Nyota, aged seven. Neither animal had had previous crush conditioning.

The program started slowly. When separated from her mother for conditioning, Nyota became very stressed. Eventually it was decided to put Hope into the adjoining holding yards during Nyota's conditioning. This practice worked – Nyota was far more relaxed when she could see her mother. Nyota is quite a sensitive animal; initially she responded badly to being confined in the opened crush, and was slow to adapt to it being closed. However, after a lot of persistence and her favourite foods, she finally settled down enough for us to start some hands-on work.

First we had to close the crush (tighten it against her) and put poles in to limit her movement. Although this took a long time, things became easier once she had settled into this new part of her routine. The next step was to condition her to be touched around her neck, rump, tail, genitals and udder. She would need to tolerate this conditioning to enable us to take blood, administer injections and internal examinations (including ultrasounds), and express a supply of milk if needed.

We are presently at the stage where we have the animals very comfortable with the whole conditioning procedure. We are now waiting for an artificial insemination expert to begin ultrasound work so that we can determine the giraffes' oestrous cycles. Once these are established we will need a semen sample. Our male giraffe is castrated, but Melbourne Zoo has an unrelated, crush-trained male who they hope will provide us with a healthy sample. If all goes to plan, remembering that giraffes have a gestation period of 15 months, we hope to see a new addition to the herd in about two years.

Anthony Dorrian in ARAZPA Newsletter No. 43 (August 1999)

News in Brief

A giant panda was born on 21 August at San Diego Zoo. The parents, Shi Shi and Bai Yun, arrived in San Diego in September 1996 for a 12-year research study after lengthy negotiations with the Chinese government; China retains ownership of both animals and any offspring. The new baby is only the fifth giant panda born in the U.S.A., and the first since 1989. It was first examined by zoo staff on 4 September; it seems to be healthy, and is most probably female.

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Ronnie Critchley, a British conservationist who died in August at the age of 93, deserves a brief footnote in zoo history. When he was living in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) in the 1960s, he adopted many orphaned wild animals. Among them was a young male elephant, Jumbolino, who was brought to England in 1964, and in 1978 at Chester Zoo became the father of the only known hybrid African–Asian elephant. The baby, Motty, lived for only two weeks; his preserved body is now in the Natural History Museum in London.

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The world's first `virtual' zoo has been introduced by Howletts Wild Animal Park, U.K. Computer users who call can watch live pictures of tigers, gorillas, elephants and other animals in their enclosures 24 hours a day, provided by six zoom cameras. The site also includes conservation information.

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Edna, the first brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) born in Britain, has been delighting crowds at the Butterfly and Wildlife Park, Long Sutton, Lincolnshire, since her birth in the summer. Her appearance came as a surprise to staff at the park, because they had no way of knowing she had been born while she remained inside her mother's pouch. There are very few brushtail possums in zoos, and births are rare outside their native Australia.

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Les Reid, 83, of Pine Mountain Club, California, returned home to find eight condors in his bedroom. `It was a beautiful moment,' said Reid, who is a member of the environmental group the Sierra Club. Forty-nine captive-bred birds have now been released into the wild, but most of them have no fear of humans.

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Following the death of a bear cub at a small rural zoo in Iowa, U.S.A., health officials had to track down about 400 people who had recently visited the zoo. Many of them were put on a course of five rabies injections. The five-month-old cub had shown no symptoms before it died, and it was only during a post-mortem examination that veterinary workers found it tested positive for the rabies virus. The cub was so docile that visitors had been encouraged to pet and kiss it, and even to feed it mouth-to-mouth. The zoo had broken no laws and had passed a government inspection in June. All the other animals are now in quarantine, and the zoo has been closed.

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Seven Indo-Chinese tigers (Panthera tigris corbetti) were born this spring and summer at San Diego and Cincinnati Zoos as part of an SSP collaborative breeding effort. On 20 April, four (4.0) cubs were born in Cincinnati to a father belonging to the zoo and a mother on loan from San Diego. The three (2.1) San Diego cubs were born on 10 June to parents both on loan from Cincinnati. All seven cubs are being parent-reared.

AZA Communiqué (August 1999)

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Giraffes at Edinburgh Zoo, U.K., are providing saliva samples for a scientist searching for a cure for people with breathing difficulties or digestive problems. Christopher Viney of Heriot-Watt University is examining the molecular structure of mucus and its role in such complaints as stomach ulcers and cystic fibrosis. He decided to include giraffes in his study, which previously looked at mucus from slugs and pigs' stomachs, when he was reading a book to his young daughter and came across a reference to the fact that their tongues are lubricated with thick mucus to help them to swallow thorny plants. Professor Viney collects the saliva using a jam-jar with lumps of fruit in the bottom. When a giraffe sticks its tongue into the jar, a slick of mucus is left behind.

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An outbreak of avian malaria is threatening Britain's penguin population. Marwell Zoo has lost its entire colony of 21 African and five macaroni penguins, eight birds died in Bristol's newly-opened enclosure, and there have been several deaths and many sick birds at Edinburgh since the beginning of the summer. The disease, carried by midges and mosquitos which have proliferated during the warm summer weather, eats into the birds' brains, causing lethargy followed by a swift death. Other zoos are preparing to protect their penguins with anti-malarial drugs.

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Three red-billed hornbill (Tockus erythrorhynchus) chicks recently hatched at Folsom Children's Zoo, Lincoln, Nebraska, U.S.A., despite the fact that the nest-box, along with the female and three eggs that were sealed in the nest at the time, had to be moved from an outdoor aviary into inside quarters due to husbandry problems. The mother remained inside the cavity for eight more weeks, after which all three eggs hatched successfully.

AZA Communiqué (August 1999)

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European wolf cubs have been born in Britain for the first time in 250 years, and in England for the first time in nearly 700 years. The six cubs, four of which survive, were born at the U.K. Wolf Centre in Berkshire, which is run by Roger Palmer, a former City broker who became fascinated by wolves on a visit to America in the 1970s. Most of the wolves in British zoos have always been of North American stock.

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A female Sichuan takin (Burdorcas taxicolor tibetana) calf was born at Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley, Minnesota, U.S.A., on 25 May; she weighed 23½ pounds (10.7 kg). The father, Buddy, was born at San Diego Zoo in 1990 and came to Minnesota in 1991. The mother, Xing Xing, arrived in 1996 as a one-year-old, also from San Diego. She was first introduced to the male in fall 1998, and less than nine months later the calf was born. As well as the Sichuan, there are three other subspecies of takin – the Shaanxi, Mishmi and Bhutanese. Habitat destruction and over-hunting threaten these animals, but little is known about their numbers in the wild. Only about 25, of which 18 are Sichuan, are in U.S. zoos.

AZA Communiqué (July 1999)


Bahuguna, N.C.: Housing the red panda in captivity. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 5 (1999), pp. 18–20. [Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoo, the only Indian zoo which is breeding Ailurus fulgens.]

Baker, W.K.: Are there different types of tactics and equipment that can be utilized for different animals in a crisis? Part 1. Animal Keepers’ Forum Vol. 26, No. 8 (1999), pp. 302–303.

Baker, W.K.: Are there different types of tactics and equipment that can be utilized for different animals in a crisis? Part 2. Animal Keepers’ Forum Vol. 26, No. 9 (1999), pp. 346–347.

Baker, W.K.: When is it time to stop and reevaluate during a crisis management situation? Animal Keepers’ Forum Vol. 26, No. 7 (1999), pp. 256–257.

Bhatta, G.: Some aspects of general activity, foraging and breeding in Ichthyophis beddomei (Peters) and Ichthyophis malabarensis (Taylor) (Apoda: Ichthyophiidae) in captivity. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 5 (1999), Journal section pp. 23–26. [Caecilians.]

Binder, H.: Dr. David Friedrich Weinland – Wissenschaftlicher Sekretär des Zoologischen Gartens in Frankfurt am Main in dessen ersten Jahren, erster Schriftleiter der Zeitschrift `Der Zoologische Garten'. (D.F. Weinland, 1829–1915, first scientific secretary of Frankfurt Zoo and first editor of Der Zoologische Garten.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 5 (1999), pp. 335–343. [German, no English summary.]

Blaszkiewitz, B.: Erneut Berliner Zwergflusspferd (Choeropsis liberiensis) im Alter von 31 Jahren gestorben. (Another pygmy hippo dies at 31 years old.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 5 (1999), p. 351. [German, no English summary. Tierpark Berlin; a pygmy hippo at Berlin Zoo in 1991 also died at 31. Both animals were males. (This age, however, is well short of the record for the species.)]

Bowen-Jones, E., and Pendry, S.: The threat to primates and other mammals from the bushmeat trade in Africa, and how this threat could be diminished. Oryx Vol. 33, No. 3 (1999), pp. 233–246.

Brooks, T., Tobias, J., and Balmford, A.: Deforestation and bird extinctions in the Atlantic forest. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 3 (1999), pp. 211–222. [The Atlantic forests of South America hold a great concentration of biodiversity, but most of this habitat has been destroyed. We therefore expect many species to become extinct, and yet no bird extinctions have conclusively been recorded. There could be three explanations for this. First, birds may be able to adapt to deforested landscapes. Second, many species may have become extinct before they were known to science. Third, there may be a time-lag following deforestation before extinction occurs. The authors present the most complete list to date of the endemic birds of the Atlantic forests (124 forest-dependent species), and then use the species–area relationship to predict how many species they expect to become extinct through deforestation (51 species, i.e. 41%). They also count how many Atlantic forest endemic birds are independently considered `threatened' with `a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term future' (45 species, i.e. 36%). The similarity of these totals suggests that there is a time-lag between deforestation and extinction, and that deforestation accurately predicts threat to Atlantic forest endemic birds.]

Campbell, M., and Brown, J.: A crosstown keeper exchange. Animal Keepers’ Forum Vol. 26, No. 9 (1999), pp. 349–352. [Compares experiences of exchange keepers at Brookfield and Lincoln Park Zoos, Chicago.]

Conway, W.: Linking zoo and field, and keeping promises to dodos. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 8 (1999), pp. 26–29. [Keynote address, 7th World Conference on Breeding Endangered Species.]

Coote, T., Loeve, E., Meyer, J.-Y., and Clarke, D.: Extant populations of endemic partulids on Tahiti, French Polynesia. Oryx Vol. 33, No. 3 (1999), pp. 215–222.

Forbes, S.H., and Hogg, J.T.: Assessing population structure at high levels of differentiation: microsatellite comparisons of bighorn sheep and large carnivores. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 3 (1999), pp. 223–233.

Frädrich, H.: Von Bangkok nach Berlin: eine tiergärtnerische Chronologie. (From Bangkok to Berlin: a zoo chronology.) Bongo Vol. 29 (1999), pp. 9–26. [German, with very brief English summary; describes the long-standing relationship between Berlin Zoo and Thailand.]

Glick-Bauer, M., and Dierenfeld, E.S.: Dietary intake and digestion in rock hyrax (Procavia capensis) at the Prospect Park Wildlife Center. Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 5 (1999), pp. 293–300. [The animals in this study selected food items that were high in water and soluble carbohydrates and low in fibre. Digestible energy intake was approximately 130–150 kcal per day, which agrees with previous studies indicating that hyraxes have lower energy requirements than other eutherian mammals. The diet offered proved effective in providing the hyraxes' nutritional and calorific needs. However, the substitution of fibrous, palatable browse for hay might help to increase fibre consumption, thus avoiding gastric disorders. The animals only ate about two-thirds of the food provided, the greater proportion of it in the evening, so it was recommended that the feeding regimen be altered to provide a smaller portion of the diet in the morning.]

Göltenboth, R.: Zur derzeitigen Situation der Spitzmaulnashörner weltweit. (The current situation of the black rhino worldwide.) Bongo Vol. 29 (1999), pp. 117–118. [German, with brief English summary. Notes that the remaining population in Kenya and Zimbabwe has stabilised thanks to improved anti-poaching measures.]

Grelle, C.E. de V., Fonseca, G.A.B., Fonseca, M.T., and Costa, L.P.: The question of scale in threat analysis: a case study with Brazilian mammals. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 2 (1999), pp. 149–152. [`Habitat loss overestimates the number of threatened species when the entire species pool is considered (endemics and wide-ranging species). Restricting the analyses to the endemic species, the predicted extinction as a function of habitat loss in the Atlantic Forest and in the Cerrado is found to be greater than the number of taxa actually listed as threatened. This relation is reversed in the Amazon. . . We suggest that there is both theoretical and empirical evidence to suggest that threat analysis will generate more accurate estimates of species loss when conducted on a more local scale, particularly for the fauna of non-insular, continental regions.']

Grguric, G., Komas, J.A., and Gainor, L.A.: Differences in major ions composition of artificial seawater from aquarium tanks at the New Jersey State Aquarium. Aquarium Sciences and Conservation Vol. 2, No. 3 (1998/1999), pp. 145–159.

Guerrero, D.: Animal behavior concerns and solutions: evaluation of kranky kinkajou. Animal Keepers’ Forum Vol. 26, No. 8 (1999), pp. 296–299. [Coping with sudden aggression towards a handler by an adult male Potos flavus.]

Guerrero, D.: Animal behavior concerns and solutions: plucking parrot. Animal Keepers’ Forum Vol. 26, No. 7 (1999), pp. 252–254. [Suggestions for curing self-mutilation by a young ex-pet macaw.]

Guerrero, D.: Animal behavior concerns and solutions: training programs. Animal Keepers’ Forum Vol. 26, No. 9 (1999), pp. 338–340.

Harrison, B.: The living animal and its exhibit as interpreter: exhibition techniques in modern zoos. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 1 (1999), pp. 23–27. [Includes a useful illustrated guide to types of exhibit barrier. (Bernard Harrison is director of Singapore Zoo.)]

Hartwig, S.: Beobachtungen zur Integration eines Afrikanischen Wildhundes (Lycaon pictus) aus Zoohaltung in eine Wildfang-Gruppe und deren gemeinsame Auswilderung. (Notes on the integration of a zoo-raised African hunting dog into a wild-caught group and their release together.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 5 (1999), pp. 324–334. [German, with brief English summary. In September 1997, a wild-caught pack (2.0 adults and 1.2 three-month-old pups) were released together with a captive-raised female (nine months old) into Matusadona National Park, Zimbabwe. The pack had been caught in a cattle-ranching area and translocated to the park, where they were kept for 53 days in an enclosure. The captive-raised animal was introduced to the pack 23 days prior to their release. The author's observations suggest that puppies play an important role in the integration process of juvenile individuals; they can be considered as a link between the adults and the integrated animal. The puppies showed interest (frequent play behaviour) in the new pack-member from the beginning, whereas the adults only tried to make contact with the integrated female a few days prior to release. But she was accepted during common feeding by the adults from the first day, whereas the puppies chased her away from the carcass. The pack and the integrated animal were sighted hunting together ten months after their release.]

Hauffe, F., and Klös, H.-G.: Der Tierillustrator Erich Schröder. (Animal illustrator E. Schröder.) Bongo Vol. 29 (1999), pp. 69–80. [German, with very brief English summary; includes six colour reproductions of the artist's work.]

Henningsen, A.D.: Levels of recirculating reproductively-related steroid hormones in female elasmobranchs. Implications for reproduction in a captive environment. Aquarium Sciences and Conservation Vol. 2, No. 3 (1998/1999), pp. 97–116. [National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. The endocrine control of reproduction in elasmobranchs (sharks, skates and rays) is more similar in many ways to that of higher vertebrates such as mammals than to that of teleost fishes. Knowledge gained from studies of the endocrine regulation of the reproductive cycle can be used to enhance the reproductive success of these animals in captivity.]

Hutchins, M.: Zoos, aquariums and wildlife conservation: future trends and current challenges. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 8 (1999), pp. 30–31.

Jarofke, D.: Ein Denkmal für das prominenteste Zootier der Nachkriegszeit: Flusspferd Knautschke (29.5.1943–20.6.1988). (A tribute to the most prominent zoo animal of the post-war period: Knautschke the hippopotamus.) Bongo Vol. 29 (1999), pp. 107–110. [German, with brief English summary.]

Kaiser, H., and Rouhani, Q.: Growth of juvenile Synodontis petricola (family: Mochokidae) fed on a formulated diet, Artemia or Spirulina and combinations thereof. Aquarium Sciences and Conservation Vol. 2, No. 3 (1998/1999), pp. 117–123.

Kalinowski, S.T., and Hedrick, P.W.: Detecting inbreeding depression is difficult in captive endangered species. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 2 (1999), pp. 131–136. [During the past two decades, pedigree analysis has documented inbreeding depression in many captive populations. This and subsequent research has led to a recognition that inbreeding depression is a potentially important determinate of small population fitness, in both captivity and the wild. Modern captive-breeding programmes now universally avoid inbreeding. The authors used simulation to investigate how much traditional pedigree analysis will reveal about the effect of inbreeding in such populations. They conclude that `captive-breeding programmes for endangered species will not reveal the amount of deleterious genetic variation in many species. In fact, breeding programmes designed to maximize gene diversity will produce pedigrees with minimal ability to detect inbreeding depression. . . For most species . . . the conservative approach will be to continue to avoid inbreeding and to accept a fair amount of uncertainty regarding the effect of inbreeding.']

Kisling, V.N.: Zoo history and the Sanyal legacy. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 4 (1999), Back when . . . & then? section, p. 2. [The author makes the case for studying zoo history, with special reference to R.B. Sanyal of Calcutta Zoo, author of the pioneering book A Handbook of the Management of Animals in Captivity (1892).]

Klös, H.: Naturschutzinitiativen des Zoo Berlin in anderen Staaten. Teil 2: Das Borkenrattenprojekt auf den Philippinen. (Berlin Zoo's overseas conservation initiatives. Part 2: Philippine cloud rat project.) Bongo Vol. 29 (1999), pp. 59–67. [German, with brief English summary.]

Kühne, R.: Eine neue, zeitgemässe Gehegebeschilderung für den Berliner Zoo. (Berlin Zoo's new, state-of-the-art labelling system.) Bongo Vol. 29 (1999), pp. 81–87. [German, with very brief English summary.]

Lange, J.: 85 Jahre Zoo-Aquarium – heute ein Zentrum für die Haltung von Quallen. (Berlin Zoo Aquarium's 85th anniversary – today a centre for jellyfish husbandry.) Bongo Vol. 29 (1999), pp. 35–42. [German, with brief English summary.]

LeBlanc, D.: Bat enrichment survey. Animal Keepers’ Forum Vol. 26, No. 7 (1999), pp. 267–285. [Detailed results of a survey of environmental enrichment methods used with numerous bat taxa in over 60 zoos worldwide.]

Loi, P.K., and Tublitz, N.J.: Long term rearing of cuttlefish in a small scale facility. Aquarium Sciences and Conservation Vol. 2, No. 3 (1998/1999), pp. 135–143. [Our knowledge about cephalopod rearing comes mainly from large marine centres, with much less known about small-scale rearing facilities. The article describes a bench-top (c. 450-litre) aquarium system that is relatively inexpensive, easy to maintain, and suitable for long-term rearing of cuttlefish.]

Lopez, P.S.: Accounts of one successful and one unsuccessful African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) litter. Animal Keepers’ Forum Vol. 26, No. 8 (1999), pp. 321–327. [Honolulu Zoo, Hawaii, U.S.A.]

Löwenberg, A.: `Die Natur kennt keinen Abfall' – Eine Anlage zur Haltung von Blattschneiderameisen (Hymenoptera, Myrmicinae) auf dem ausserschulischen Lernort Deponie. (`There's no waste in nature' – an enclosure for leaf-cutter ants for use in out-of-school education.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 5 (1999), pp. 301–310. [German, with brief English summary; Atta cephalotes.]

McCarthy, M.A., and Lindenmayer, D.B.: Conservation of the greater glider (Petauroides volans) in remnant native vegetation within exotic plantation forest. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 3 (1999), pp. 203–209.

McGowan, P., Ding, C.Q., and Kaul, R.: Protected areas and the conservation of grouse, partridges and pheasants in east Asia. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 2 (1999), pp. 93–102.

McShea, W.J., Leimgruber, P., Aung, M., Monfort, S.L., and Wemmer, C.: Range collapse of a tropical cervid (Cervus eldi) and the extent of remaining habitat in central Myanmar. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 3 (1999), pp. 173–183.

Mehrdadfar, F.: Behavioral activity budget of black rhino (Diceros bicornis bicornis) at a watering place. Animal Keepers’ Forum Vol. 26, No. 9 (1999), pp. 358–368. [Summarises field notes made in Etosha National Park, Namibia.]

Mehrotra, P.K., Bhargava, S., Choudhary, S., and Mathur, B.B.L.: Tuberculosis in sloth bear at Jaipur Zoo. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 7 (1999), Journal section p. 68.

Mehrotra, P.K., Mathur, B.B.L., Bhargava, S., and Choudhary, S.: A case of pasteurellosis in male sloth bear at Jaipur Zoo. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 8 (1999), Journal section pp. 91–92.

Mellen, J.D.: Minimum standards for keeping small felids in captivity. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 5 (1999), pp. 14–17.

Milner-Gulland, E.J.: How many to dehorn? A model for decision-making by rhino managers. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 2 (1999), pp. 137–147. [A model is presented for decision-making by the manager of a small rhino reserve facing a poaching threat, with the objective of maximizing the rhino population size in the long term. The results suggest that the optimal strategy is to dehorn as many rhinos as possible annually, except at very low rhino population sizes, budgets or mean horn sizes. The simple strategy of dehorning annually regardless of population size or mean horn size gives very similar results to the optimal strategy. Other potential strategies (such as dehorning only half the rhinos each year) performed badly. Selling horns and reinvesting the proceeds in rhino conservation did not provide enough revenue to significantly increase rhino population sizes.]

Myers, M.S.: Feeder designs at the Audubon Park and Zoological Gardens. Animal Keepers’ Forum Vol. 26, No. 9 (1999), pp. 369–372. [Preventing food loss to wild birds (specifically, heron, egret and ibis).]

Nettelbeck, A.R., Streicher, U., and Nadler, T.: Das Besetzen einer Freianlage mit Gibbons im Endangered Primate Rescue Center, Vietnam. (A semi-free gibbon enclosure at the EPRC.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 5 (1999), pp. 311–323. [German, with brief English summary. In July 1998 two (1.1) immature southern white-cheeked gibbons (Hylobates leucogenys siki) were released into a 2-ha semi-wild enclosure consisting of a small hill surrounded by an electric fence. After a few days the two gibbons appeared to be well adapted to their new environment and spent only a little time inside their cage, in which they were still fed and to which they had permanent access. (See further the plan and photo in I.Z.N. 45:4, pp. 204–205 – Ed.)]

Nobert, B.: Erste Zuchtfolge beim Japanischen Serau (Capricornis crispus) im Zoo Berlin. (First breeding of a Japanese serow at Berlin Zoo.) Bongo Vol. 29 (1999), pp. 27–33. [German, with brief English summary.]

Ochs, A.: Ein Texaner zieht um – Suche und Auswahl des neuen Elefantenbullen für den Zoo Berlin. (A Texan moves in – finding a new elephant bull for Berlin Zoo.) Bongo Vol. 29 (1999), pp. 43–49. [German, with brief English summary. An Asian bull trained for protected contact was imported from Houston Zoo.]

Pappas, T.: Controlling the raccoon in zoological collections. Animal Keepers’ Forum Vol. 26, No. 8 (1999), pp. 314–315. [Controlling a wild pest predator.]

Penrose, A.: Easter goes to the elephants at Wildlife Safari. Animal Keepers’ Forum Vol. 26, No. 8 (1999), pp. 316–317. [Wildlife Safari, Winston, Oregon. Children hid fruit in an enclosure, after which the elephants were able to search for it.]

Raethel, H.-S.: Erfahrungen mit der Cervidenhaltung im Zoologischen Garten Berlin in der Zeit von 1945–1997. (Experiences of deer husbandry at Berlin Zoo.) Bongo Vol. 29 (1999), pp. 89–105. [German, with brief English summary.]

Reading, R.P., Mix, H., Lhagvasuren, B., and Blumer, E.S.: Status of wild Bactrian camels and other large ungulates in south-western Mongolia. Oryx Vol. 33, No. 3 (1999), pp. 247–255.

Reinhard, R., and Wozniak, C.: Die Malaien- oder Weissflügelente (Cairina scutulata) und ihre Haltung und Zucht im Berliner Zoo. (Keeping and breeding the white-winged wood duck at Berlin Zoo.) Bongo Vol. 29 (1999), pp. 51–57. [German, with very brief English summary.]

Robinson, T.J., and Matthee, C.A.: Molecular genetic relationships of the extinct ostrich, Struthio camelus syriacus: consequences for ostrich introductions into Saudi Arabia. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 3 (1999), pp. 165–171. [Mitochondrial DNA sequencing supported a close genetic association between the Arabian S. c. syriacus and the North African S. c. camelus, supporting a management decision (based predominantly on their geographic proximity and phenotypic features) to introduce S. c. camelus into areas once occupied by the extinct Arabian subspecies. The presence of a shared lineage in these taxa indicates that gene flow between the two geographic forms may have been possible in the recent evolutionary past, probably along the Egyptian-Sinai-Israel passageway. Their analyses also suggest a recent common ancestry for the southern African S. c. australis and the East African S. c. massaicus. The Somali race, S. c. molybdophanes, is phylogenetically the most distinct of the ostrich taxa.]

Rodríguez-Estrella, R., Rubio Delgado, L., de Bonilla, E.P.D., and Blanco, G.: Belding's yellowthroat: current status, habitat preferences and threats in oases of Baja California, Mexico. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 2 (1999), pp. 77–84. [Geothlypis beldingi.]

Rossi, J., and Rossi, R.: Notes on a nearly successful captive breeding and the parasite-related death of a narrow-headed garter snake, Thamnophis rufipunctatus. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society Vol. 34, No. 9 (1999), p. 210.

Rowe, G., Beebee, T.J.C., and Burke, T.: Microsatellite heterozygosity, fitness and demography in natterjack toads Bufo calamita. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 2 (1999), pp. 85–92.

Rushton, S.P., Lurz, P.W.W., South, A.B., and Mitchell-Jones, A.: Modelling the distribution of red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) on the Isle of Wight. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 2 (1999), pp. 111–120.

Sabapara, R.H.: Multiple infection in a rusty-spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus). Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 7 (1999), Journal section p. 67. [A rescued wild kitten was brought to Sakkarbaug Zoo, Gujarat, India, but died from heavy parasite infestation.]

Sabapara, R.H., and Vadalia, D.M.: Haematology and serum chemistry of Indian wolf (Canis lupus pallipes). Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 8 (1999), Journal section pp. 92–93. [Sakkarbaug Zoo, Gujarat, India.]

Schifter, H.: Bemerkenswerte Vögel aus dem Berliner Zoo in der Vogelsammlung des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien. (Noteworthy birds from Berlin Zoo in Vienna Natural History Museum's collection.) Bongo Vol. 29 (1999), pp. 111–116. [German, with brief English summary.]

Schratter, D.: Zur Haltung und Zucht des Japanischen Seraus (Capricornis crispus crispus). (Husbandry and breeding of the Japanese serow.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 5 (1999), pp. 281–292. [German, with brief English summary. At the end of 1997, 105 Japanese serows were living in captivity in 31 institutions, only six of them outside Japan. Up till that time, 420 had been born in captivity, but the mortality rate remains very high. Schönbrunn Zoo, Vienna, has bred serows since 1994, and the article describes the species' husbandry there. (For a brief report on the Japan Serow Center, Gozaisho, see I.Z.N. 46:2, pp. 116–117 – Ed.)]

Schürer, U.: Zwillingsgeburt bei einem Bongo (Tragelaphus eurycerus) im Zoologischen Garten Wuppertal. (Birth of twin bongos at Wuppertal Zoo.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 5 (1999), p. 352. [German, no English summary. Of 1,012 births recorded in the bongo international studbook, only seven are of twins.]

Scott, G.W., Hull, S.L., and Rollinson, D.J.: Surface breaking behaviour in a population of captive rays Raja: the expression of a need to forage? Aquarium Sciences and Conservation Vol. 2, No. 3 (1998/1999), pp. 161–169. [Scarborough Sealife Centre, U.K. The behaviour was found to have a temporal link with a scheduled feeding event, and to be most common in animals assumed to be hungry. It is suggested that the behaviour is appetitive and is a method of foraging appropriate to the captive situation.]

Scott, G.W., Rollinson, D.J., and Hull, S.L.: Modification in feeding regime reduces the performance of surface breaking behaviour in a population of captive rays (Raja). [Surface breaking behaviour in captive rays has been identified (see above) as a potentially abnormal behaviour related to feeding in captivity. The current study tests and supports the predictions that improvements in the methods of food delivery away from surface feeding, to a more natural benthic nature, will result in a reduction in the level of the behaviour.]

Sheffer, R.J., Hedrick, P.W., and Velasco, A.L.: Testing for inbreeding and outbreeding depression in the endangered Gila topminnow. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 2 (1999), pp. 121–129. [Poeciliopsis o. occidentalis.]

Singh, S., Singh, C., Kumar, A., Sinha, K.K., and Mishra, P.C.: Hematology of tigers, leopards and clouded leopards in captivity. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 4 (1999), Journal section pp. 7–9.

Snell, J.: Enclosures – standards recommended for the care and exhibition of flying foxes. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 10 (1999), pp. 21–24.

Stockwell, C.A., and Weeks, S.C.: Translocations and rapid evolutionary responses in recently established populations of western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis). Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 2 (1999), pp. 103–110.

Taylor, A.C., Sunnucks, P., and Cooper, D.W.: Retention of reproductive barriers and ecological differences between two introduced sympatric Macropus spp. in New Zealand. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 3 (1999), pp. 195–202. [In their native Australia, tammar (M. eugenii) and parma (M. parma) wallabies are allopatric and differ markedly in habitat use, social structure and degree of reproductive synchrony. They occur sympatrically only on Kawau Island, New Zealand, as a result of introductions last century. The study shows that the species maintain broad reproductive and biological distinctions, despite enforced sympatry in a novel environment. Genetic data reveal no evidence for hybridization. This is essential information given the known or likely high conservation value of New Zealand stocks. Kawau Island is the only predator-free site with M. parma, a species whose persistence in Australia is threatened by fox predation.]

Tipping, D.R., and Miller, P.J.: The effects of photoperiod and `resonance' lighting schedules on sexual maturation in female common gobies, Pomatoschistus microps. Aquarium Sciences and Conservation Vol. 2, No. 3 (1998/1999), pp. 125–134. [The responses of captive immature female gobies to photoperiod were examined. This species responded to long daylengths with greater gonadal growth and more advanced sexual maturation than when exposed to short daylengths. However, there was no obligatory photoperiod requirement, since sexual maturation occurred after prolonged continual exposure to short daylengths. The elucidation of the mechanism of daylength measurement in fishes will greatly enhance our understanding of teleost reproductive physiology. Further experiments are required on several species to firmly establish whether teleosts measure photoperiod with an `hourglass' or circadian resonance mechanism.]

van Heezik, Y., Seddon, P.J., and Maloney, R.F.: Helping reintroduced houbara bustards avoid predation: effective anti-predator training and the predictive value of pre-release behaviour. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 3 (1999), pp. 155–163. [The success of captive-breeding and release programmes is often compromised by predation of released individuals, which are naïve about predators. Pre-release behavioural preparation of release candidates in the form of anti-predator training has been attempted infrequently, usually using models of predators, but success was most often measured in terms of improved behavioural responses rather than survival to breeding age after release. The authors report that post-release survival of captive-reared houbara bustards (Chlamydotis [undulata] macqueenii) was improved through exposure to a live predator (a red fox) before release – a result with possible applications for a wide range of species currently the focus of reintroduction projects. They also show that rearing houbara with minimal human contact and training with a model of a predator had no effect on post-release survival.]

Vyas, R.: Skin moulting of Indian rock python Python molurus in captivity. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 10 (1999), Journal section pp. 120–125.

Walker, S.: A brief history of the Central Zoo, Nepal. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 10 (1999), p. 30. [Formerly known as Kathmandu Zoo.]

Walker, S.: A brief history of the Dhaka Zoo, Bangladesh. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 10 (1999), p. 31.

Walker, S.: Bear matters . . . because bears matter! Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 5 (1999), pp. 10–13. [Notes on the status of bears in Indian zoos.]

Walker, S.: Endemic and non-endemic mammals in Indian zoos – civets and mongooses of India. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 8 (1999), pp. 7–18. [Includes detailed notes on 16 taxa.]

Walker, S.: Major events and trends in Indian zoos since independence with particular reference to the National Zoo Policy, 1998. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 1 (1999), pp. 3–10.

Walker, S.: Mammals in Indian zoos – badgers, martens, weasels, polecats, stoats and otters of India. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 9 (1999), pp. 1–9. [Includes notes on 16 taxa.]

Walker, S.: Mammals in need of attention – Chiroptera (bats) of India. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 10 (1999), pp. 1–12. [Includes notes on 23 taxa.]

Walker, S.: The Hagenbecks and Sri Lanka. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 4 (1999), Back when . . . & then? section, pp. 6–7.

Walker, S., and Molur, S.: Endemic mammals in Indian zoos: Part 1. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 6 (1999), pp. 1–8. [Includes detailed notes on the captive status and future prospects of seven taxa – brush-tailed porcupine (Atherurus macrourus), Kashmiri deer or hangul (Cervus elaphus hanglu), Nilgiri langur (Trachypithecus johnii), dhole (Cuon alpinus), bonnet macaque (Macaca radiata), Indian wild ass (Equus hemionus khur), and Nilgiri tahr (Hemitragus hylocrius).]

Walker, S., and Molur, S.: Endemic mammals in Indian zoos: Part 2. Zoos’ Print Vol. 14, No. 7 (1999), pp. 9–18. [Includes detailed notes on four taxa – Manipur brow-antlered deer (Cervus e. eldi), lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus), Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), and giant squirrels (Ratufa spp.).]

Woodroffe, R.: Managing disease threats to wild mammals. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 3 (1999), pp. 185–193.

Publishers of the periodicals listed:

Animal Conservation, Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park, London NW1 4RY, U.K.

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

Aquarium Sciences and Conservation, Kluwer Academic Publishers, P.O. Box 322, 3300 AH Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

Bongo, Zoo Berlin, Hardenbergplatz 8, 10787 Berlin, Germany.

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

Oryx, Blackwell Scientific Publications Ltd (for Fauna and Flora Preservation Society), Osney Mead, Oxford OX2 0EL, U.K.

Der Zoologische Garten, Urban & Fischer Verlag GmbH, P.O. Box 100537, D-07705 Jena, Germany.

Zoos’ Print, Zoo Outreach Organisation, Box 1683, Peelamedu, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 641 004, India. [Zoos' Print now incorporates separately numbered pull-out sections, e.g. (monthly) Zoos' Print Journal for scientific, peer-reviewed articles, and (occasional) Back when . . . & then?, the newsletter of the Society for Promotion of History of Zoos and Natural History in India and Asia.]