International Zoo News Vol. 47/1 (No. 298) January/February 2000

CONTENTS

EDITORIAL
FEATURE ARTICLES
Who Was Belle Benchley? The Victimizing of History Ken Kawata
The Growth and Development of Two Hand-reared Babirusa at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park Robert Saville and Matt Hartley
From Colonial Menageries to Quantum Leap – A History of Singapore's Zoos Sally Walker
Visits to Some Latin American Zoos: Part 2 – Mexico Richard Weigl
Letters to the Editor
Book Reviews
Conservation
International Zoo News
Recent Articles




EDITORIAL

The inside back cover of every issue of International Zoo News – no doubt ignored by all our regular readers! – contains the warning that `While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of all material published in I.Z.N., the editor can take no responsibility for any remaining errors.' Following the November issue, I have reason to take refuge in this disclaimer; for, as pointed out by Clinton Keeling in his letter on pp. 38–39, the statement in 46:7, p. 447, that `European wolf cubs have been born in Britain for the first time in 250 years', simply isn't true. In fact, though the last wild wolf in Britain probably died in 1743 (and the last birth presumably took place some time earlier), European wolves were born in the Zoological Society of London's collection less than a century later.

I had not printed the original item without some preliminary checking. Looking at a few random volumes of the International Zoo Yearbook, I found relatively few births of European wolves noted anywhere, and none of these was in a British collection. The few British births listed were either of a North American subspecies or fell into the group (always the largest) for which no subspecific status was given – presumably either wolves whose origin was unrecorded or `cocktail' animals of hybrid stock. But my jump from this to the assumption that European wolves had never bred in a British zoo was unjustifiable. Mea culpa. . .

It is a timely coincidence that Mr Keeling's letter should appear in the same issue as Ken Kawata's article stressing the importance, and current neglect, of zoo history. Announcements of the `first captive breeding' of a species – in Britain, Europe, North America, the world or wherever – are familiar items in every zoo publication. But I wonder if everyone who publishes such an item realises that it is, in effect, a statement about history, a claim that `this species has never been bred in captivity before'. In the term used in a recent article in the Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society (see I.Z.N. 468, p. 501), it is therefore the assertion of a `null hypothesis', a type of statement notoriously difficult to prove.

When reprinting such items in I.Z.N., I have often wondered vaguely `How do they know?' As far as I am aware, there is no definitive list of captive breedings one can turn to for proof. To conduct a really exhaustive search of the literature would probably take weeks, and what busy head keeper or curator can spare that sort of time? The conscientious ones qualify their announcement in such terms as `believed to be the first', and may even appeal to readers to get in touch if they know of earlier breedings. More often, though, the claim is made without reservations, presumably on the authority of a limited number of statements by other writers that the species had never been bred in captivity. Yet these earlier writers were also asserting a null hypothesis, perhaps on equally inadequate evidence.

Ken Kawata quotes the example of a `scientifically-oriented' television programme – presumably incorporating considerable input from the zoo community – which stated that no Sumatran rhino had ever been bred in captivity. In this instance, information to the contrary was available in easily accessible sources; for the birth of a Sumatran calf at Calcutta Zoo in 1889 was recorded both by Richard Reynolds in the International Zoo Yearbook (vol. 2, 1961, p. 34) and by Lee Crandall in The Management of Wild Mammals in Captivity (1964, p. 512). Mr Kawata also quotes two instances where inaccurate statements reprinted in I.Z.N. – on the occurrence of twin births in elephants and on the first captive breeding of the crested argus pheasant – were subsequently corrected by better-informed readers.

These examples are encouraging, in a way. In many cases, obviously, the information is out there somewhere. But when one asks where precisely it is to be most readily found, the answer is not especially creditable to professional zoo people. For if I wanted to verify an obscure fact of zoo history, the people I would turn to are principally not those who are currently employed in the zoo business, but dedicated amateurs or freelancers – people like the above-mentioned Messrs Keeling and Reynolds, or Marvin Jones of San Diego, or any of a score of others I could name. How can their accumulated knowledge, and all the mass of information hidden in nearly two centuries of zoo literature, be made easily available to anyone who needs it? Clinton Keeling has long urged the need for a centralised, continually updated, reference source on zoological information of all kinds, combining the content of ISIS, the Yearbook, the Zoological Record and many more. The cost of publishing such a work by traditional methods always seemed to make this an impossible dream: but today, with the advent of the Internet, is it perhaps an idea whose time has come?

Nicholas Gould





WHO WAS BELLE BENCHLEY? THE VICTIMIZING OF HISTORY

BY KEN KAWATA

`Boys of summer' is a familiar way to describe baseball players in this country. The favorite national pastime is typically a summer sport, and one oppressively hot July day, I watched a Major League home game on television in the comfort of an air-conditioned living room. It was exciting; the New York Yankees' offence erupted against the Cleveland Indians. Just like a snowball picks up speed when rolling down a hill, the home team kept scoring, and defeated Cleveland 21 to 1. It is expected that newspapers offer an avalanche of data after a historical event in Major League baseball (Kawata, 1991). On the following day a local paper reported: the Yankees had the `biggest victory since routing the Washington Senators 22–1 on August 12, 1953,' `their biggest victory margin at home since beating Washington 21–1 on July 4, 1921,' `It was the first time New York reached 20 runs since a 21–7 rout at Kansas City on August 19, 1962,' and so it went on (Blum, 1999).

Indeed, baseball is inseparable from statistics and historical perspective. Since I used to live in Detroit, let me add another example. When Sparky Anderson, the popular manager of the Detroit Tigers, retired, a local paper summarized his accomplishments with a wealth of information including four `firsts' and three `onlys'. To name a few, he was the first manager `ever to win 100 or more games in a season with two different teams,' `to win a World Series in both leagues,' `on Tigers' all-time managers list with 1,331 victories and 2,579 games,' `Only manager to lead two franchises in victories,' and the list kept going (Anon., 1995).

By contrast, press coverage on zoos seldom focuses beyond `light' and `soft' news on cute and cuddly creatures. News media often get serious with `investigative reporting' when dealing with emotionally inflammatory topics, such as cruelty, suffering and euthanasia concerning the cute and the cuddly. However, they rarely provide us with substantive material on history regarding zoos. This tendency to keep a distance from the past also appears prevalent within the zoo circle. ln fact, there seems to be universal discontinuation of information flow, deliberate or unintentional, between our predecessors and the present day. In this view, what is most recently seen shines the brightest. Conversely, whatever is seemingly remote, un-entertaining and, therefore, fails to grab our attention, does not (or did not) exist. History is not chic – not `sexy' enough.

Such a tendency may be wide-spread beyond the boundaries of the United States. There is a small group in India who are trying to draw those who are interested in the history of zoos and zoology out of their hiding places. `History buffs frequently seem to hide their interest as if it were some perverse addiction' (Anon., 1996a). Interestingly, the lack of interest in history may not be confined to zoos, but also extend into the field of wildlife conservation. A scientist noted that there are underlying assumptions that present habitats of a species are optimal and that current ecological factors are more important than historical ones, and that the species' requirements are fixed. The management program of the takahe (Porphyrio mantelli), a rare bird from New Zealand, is a case in point.

Takahe have been managed in the alpine grassland where a small remnant population thrives. `Historical distributions show that they were once found throughout the country and were found in a wide range of habitat types, including grasslands, forest and dune country. . . Captive trials have shown that the birds prefer pasture grasses over their most preferred alpine tussocks. . . In spite of all this information, the idea of optimality of relic alpine habitat prevails, and no priority is being given to establishing a meta-population through island populations' (Craig, 1994).

Back to zoos. Concerning British zoos, Brown (1996) noted that `The majority of zoo establishments seem to feel a certain amount of guilt about the zoos of yesteryear. . .' Such hesitation may be ubiquitous in the zoo field. Probably, one of the reasons zoo people do not look into the past is because of the assumed history of the menageries, the skeleton in our closet. The past is characterized by allegedly short-lived animal `prison inmates' behind bars. The past has become flypaper for whatever zoo people blame for the institutional ills. ln our adoration for the present, the chief bogeyman is the one which seems most distant from today. In actuality, we condemn the past without closely and objectively examining it. Probably some of us assume that zoos used to be run by an uneducated lot who had no SSPs, environmental enrichment, Internet or molecular biotechnology, and that, therefore, the present is to be built upon the denial of the past. Such an assumption goes hand in hand with our collective arrogance. The truth of the matter is that our predecessors did what they could with what they had, just as we are doing today. It is a disservice to the profession to choose to ignore zoos' history. Perhaps it is no exaggeration to state that those who ignore our predecessors will themselves be written off by future generations.

`Not to know is bad; not to wish to know is worse,' says an African proverb (pers. observ., Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Canada, September 1996). Also, a character in a novel by Mitchell (1990, p. 154) comments, `Ignorance is frequently a good beginning for intolerance.' Intolerance easily leads to rejection and abandonment. Stories abound how piles of old zoo records were pitched into trash bins. Such was the case in Boston. Much of Franklin Park Zoo's document collection, which includes animal records, keepers' logs and plans, has been lost, and even a list of past directors cannot be provided. Older employees recall that in the late 1970s, boxes of documents were simply thrown into a front-end loader and dumped. `There is no record of most of the history of this zoo,' said Linda Rohr, the zoo's registrar and librarian. `This was not an industry where history and records were valued' (Anon., 1998). Trashing of old records is an act analogous to clear-cutting a piece of Amazonian rainforest.

Given this background, it is then small wonder that inaccurate information is often disseminated to the public, and to our peers. Starting with an episode dating back a few years, I noted a questionable newspaper account of an albino wallaby birth in Jackson Zoo in Mississippi. Based on information provided by Mike Crotty and Marvin Jones, I alerted the then zoo director that Los Angeles Zoo, at least, had one born earlier. His response: `The news media claimed our birth to be the first albino joey born in the United States because that was the information I used in the news release. I honesty felt we had a first, but I guess I stand to be corrected' (pers. comm., Swigert, August 1982).

More recently, there was a glaring error in a popular journal, reporting that Toledo Zoo, Ohio, has `the world's only hippoquarium' (O'Brien, 1993). This generated an immediate reaction. `The Toledo Zoo has a fine underwater hippo exhibit, but not the first or only one,' wrote Deckinger (1993); `the Sedgwick County Zoo (Kansas) built an underwater hippo viewing area in 1973.' Moving on to zoo-related publications, when there are six claims to be the `first' and `only' within a four-page block of one periodical (AZA, 1995), one wonders if indeed authors had checked all possible sources carefully. On the international scene, here are a few examples of inaccuracies, beginning with an elephant-sized one.

In the summer of 1990 at Port Lympne Zoo Park, `Yasmin, the 20-year-old Asian elephant cow . . . ended her pregnancy with the birth of dead twin bull calves born four weeks apart. Twins have been recorded in captivity only once before, at Munich Zoo in 1951, when both mother and calves died' (Anon., 1991). Jumping back to this side of the Atlantic Ocean, Cohen reported a few years later that Metro Washington Park Zoo's Asian elephant Me-Tu gave birth to twins. Ignoring the above case, the report went on: `According to the zoo staff, the only other recorded birth of elephant twins in captivity occurred in Munich, Germany, in 1951' (Cohen, 1994). This was followed by Furley's response (1995), `The subject is more extensive than perhaps may at first appear,' with a list of nine twin births in Asian elephants, dating back to 1920.

Examples are by no means limited to large, charismatic megamammals. It was reported that the first-ever captive breeding of the crested argus pheasant (Rheinardia ocellata) took place in Saigon Zoo (Anon., 1996b). This statement was disputed by Searle (1997). He noted that the first such event occurred some 70 years earlier, followed by three more cases in three countries during the 1920s and 1930s. Continuing on Asian animals, Reynolds (1993) made an observation about a scientifically-oriented television program, Nova, on saving endangered species. The program focused on the plight of Sumatran and Javan rhinoceroses. `The statement was made that no Sumatran had ever been bred and born in captivity! Obviously the speaker or narrator knew nothing about the one born at Calcutta Zoo in 1889 and bred there as well. Upon reflection, however, that is not surprising, given that most members of the present zoo and wildlife conservation fraternity are ignorant of – nay, outright ignore – achievements in zoos prior to the 1960s.'

Aldo Leopold, America's pioneer conservationist, is, as usual, insightful (1966, p. 246): `When the logic of history hungers for bread and we hand out a stone, we are at pains to explain how much the stone resembles bread.' To put it another way, `. . . since this is a nation with no historical memory, every generation has its own answer. . . It's the clean slate from which we are able continually to reinvent ourselves, the source of what has been best in our optimistic, idealistic culture and what has kept us childish, close-minded and brutally provincial' (Anon., 1994).

It is interesting that the aforementioned Richard Reynolds, a circus historian, specified the time period, the cut-off point where our collective memory lost its grip, as the 1960s. J.M. Johnson (1994), who once held a curatorial position at a world-famous zoo, took an overview of zoo development, stating, `Many young people in the Zoo and Aquarium Association do not have any real appreciation of how far zoos have come in the last 30 years.' He then defined the past as 1960–1990, adding `. . . many significant changes related to animal management, conservation and preservation issues were instituted in the late 1960s and early 1970s.' If indeed zoo history were to begin in 1960, would that mean that Carl Hagenbeck and William Hornaday, among other pioneers, never existed? Anyway, let us continue on the topic of the 1960s.

Carl Frederick Kauffeld (1911–1974) was a legendary reptile curator of the Staten Island Zoo in New York. He was a prolific writer and one of his books, Snakes: the Keeper and the Kept, first published in 1969, was recently reprinted. In reviewing this book, Gallant (1997) noted: `At first glance, I thought that the book would be out-of-date and that the information would be of no value to me. I soon found out that I was quite mistaken.' Nearing the end of the review, however, he made the following comment: `Unfortunately, the author does sometimes take the view of a collector. He wanted to ``acquire all of the 32 [native species of] rattlesnakes of the United States for the first time in the history of zoos.'' He does acknowledge that collecting from the field causes pressure on the wild population, but he continues to do so throughout the book.' Without a doubt, collecting is a controversial issue. However, it is too simplistic and one-dimensional to unquestionably place collecting of zoo animals in a negative light. His remark reminds me of a high school student I met in Indianapolis back in the 1970s, who said, `Theodore Roosevelt was a murderer,' adding, `He was a big game hunter.' Perhaps it was, and still is, `politically correct' to make such a statement. In the same vein, some people in the zoo field are tempted to do away with the word `captivity' (Kawata, 1993). A recent example occurred in a report of the golden-sided euphonia (Euphonia cayennensis) (Bonner, 1999). `It is believed to be the first time this species has been raised in a managed environment,' the report said. The breeding took place in an aviary, but the writer chose to substitute `managed' for `captive'.

In truth, zoos could not exist without captivity. It appears as if Bonner, along with the aforementioned Kauffeld book reviewer, is trying to remind himself, instead of convincing his readers. Or perhaps, for fear of adverse public relations effect, they are trying to accommodate some animal advocates, as if `captivity' were shameful, embarrassing and politically incorrect, and therefore something to hide. However, no matter how sugar-coated, sanitized and cleansed the semantics may be, it cannot alter the reality of captivity. Let us take the example of the great apes, bears and large cats, which are the chief crowd-pleasers, the basic zoo stock. In a typical zoo situation we put them in naturalistic, aesthetically palatable, state-of-the-art immersion exhibits. In late afternoon when we close the zoo gates, those animals are led into the night quarters. Away from the visitors' eyes, they spend two-thirds of the day in small, unnaturalistic concrete cubicles, identical to the `cages' in which they used to be exhibited during menagerie days. This also happens to some ungulates. Nowadays most of those animals are zoo-born, but their ancestors were collected from the wild in the recent past. And they did not volunteer to be in the zoo.

What we are witnessing today is historical illiteracy (Kawata, 1992). In the prevalent belief, today exists in a vacuum, cut off from yesterday. Not so, according to Ken Burns (1997), who has made acclaimed documentaries such as The Civil War, Thomas Jefferson and Baseball. `For most Americans, the learning of our history is like castor oil: dreary doses of dry dates, facts and events force-fed in boring classes with little apparent meaning for our daily life: something we know is good for us, but hardly good tasting,' he maintains. `We also find ourselves in a mesmerizing media age that tries to convince us at every turn that if we just live in an all-consuming, and thereby forgettable, present, surrounded by new toys, everything will be all right.' But, he says, history is about settling old scores. `What we tend to forget is that history isn't really about the past, it's about the present, a way of understanding who you are now. What could be more vital than conveying that? This is the stuff that wakes me up every morning.' (Quoted by Stein, 1994.)

Along a similar line Edwin Reischauer, a famed scholar, once observed (1977, p. 422): `Any view into the future depends basically on the accuracy of one's understanding of the past.' With poor or little understanding of yesterday, one's view of tomorrow is bound to be less fruitful, or futile. Inherently lacking in such a view is independent thinking, or more precisely, critical thinking. Put in this perspective, eagerness to adhere to so-called political correctness becomes increasingly meaningless.

In the 1970s, a wave of young, college-educated men and women began to arrive on the zoo scene and to occupy the higher echelons. Prior to that period, knowledge, skills and thoughts were handed down in a time-consuming, informal manner from older to younger generations at all levels from keepers to directors. This cross-generational transfer of information ceased to exist, as mentoring became a thing of the past. As a result, the current generation of zoo managers are mostly unaware of zoo heritage, and the generation gap between the dwindling ranks of older but more experienced zoo people and the younger group is gradually widening. The situation is probably similar in the British Isles, according to Clinton Keeling (pers. comm., July 1993): `Most certainly those operating them [zoos] currently would be well advised to look at the past and all its tried and proved methods.' He added, `The common denominator among them is that as far as they are concerned anything prior to the 1970s is a primaeval void. As someone said, the tragedy of youth is that it's wasted on the young.'

In 1995, during an AZA annual conference, a colleague did an informal survey of woman zoo professionals of all levels including keepers, researchers, curators and directors. She asked them, `Who was Belle Benchley?' About 15 women, including those with doctoral degrees, did not know who Benchley was. Only two women, both of whom worked at San Diego Zoo, were able to correctly identify her as the long-time director of that zoo. Mrs Benchley (1882–1973) was a rarity at a time when the zoo world was exclusively men's domain, and it might be noted that she was the first (and thus far the only) woman President of AAZPA (now AZA), elected in 1950. She should be recognized by all of us, especially women, as a role model. When that fails to happen, one wonders what ingredients are missing from this picture.

Possibly one of the ingredients is context. A recent comment by the veteran film director Mike Nichols is relevant here. Reminiscing on the days when he was a student at the University of Chicago, he remarked: `There were the 100 greatest books and everyone was reading Dostoyevsky and listening to Mozart operas, and our work was all about references and context. The interesting and strange thing about life now is that there's no longer any context, because there's not much of a past. The past is forgotten.' (Quoted by Applebome, 1999.) If our cultural life no longer has a past, it may not be surprising that Mrs Benchley, who was well known beyond the boundaries of the United States, has been forgotten in her own field. Her international fame was evidenced by the fact that the late Prof. Heini Hediger, former director of Zürich Zoo, dedicated his book The Psychology and Behaviour of Animals in Zoos and Circuses (1968) to her – `in respect and gratitude to the perfect Zoo Director Mrs Belle J. Benchley, San Diego, California.'

Speaking of Heini Hediger, a college professor once said that Hediger's writing is outdated because it was done back in the 1950s. His statement was critically examined (Kawata, 1991). Hediger's wisdom is ageless. Tromborg et al. (1991) carefully reviewed Hediger's theory on zoo animal taming, a rather controversial subject, from various aspects and noted that `Hediger is never wrong.' Also, Wemmer (1991) commented that `It's important to note that there is no unifying philosophy of zoos as compelling as zoo biology, defined by Hediger (1970) and elaborated in North America through the publication of the journal bearing that name. No other philosophy of zoos seeks to reconcile the nature of the beast in captivity with its adaptations to the wild, which is central to the achievement of all zoo objectives.' A few years ago, a colleague made a remark at a zoo meeting. She said that we have not progressed from Hediger, and his work still shines, adding `Dr Hediger did his best for the zoo profession, and we've let him down.'

In the Hedigerian view (1970), `Today the wild animal is considered to have cultural value; it is regarded as part of our heritage, to which the whole of mankind, and particularly future generations, has a legitimate claim. Zoological gardens, to which these living items of culture are entrusted, therefore represent cultural institutions.' In general agreement with Hediger, Rabb (1994) discussed the evolution of modern zoos and theorized the third and final stage of the zoo as a conservation center, the institution for environmental resources. It is indeed a lofty goal that all zoos should strive to achieve. However, in order to be a legitimate cultural institution, a zoo must be more than a place to exhibit exotic animals: it can no longer afford to be `history-impaired'. In actuality, as demonstrated throughout this account, history is not a genre recognised by zoos. This country has the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the International Circus Hall of Fame in Peru, Indiana, and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage in Oklahoma City. But we have yet to build a zoo and aquarium hall of fame. (Perhaps AZA's Richard Marlin Perkins Award and the History Committee would provide a part of the initial information basis for such an ambitious project.)

On an optimistic note, some people, although few in number, do appreciate history. `The newest exhibit at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo is based on ideas that are 27 years old,' wrote a young zoo director in Indiana (Anderson, 1995). `We made this discovery as we were sorting through stacks of files destined for the dumpster a few weeks ago. For some reason, a thin file folder labeled `History' caught our eye, and inside this folder was a tattered onionskin carbon copy of this 1968 memo: Board of Park Commissioners.' Little did he know that the memo was to provide guidelines for a $4.5 million, two-acre development. `What a moment of revelation! It was like finding the Dead Sea Scrolls. Our zoo actually has been planned and built according to these principles! With a few modifications, they constitute the core of our exhibit design philosophy,' he reported.

To close this essay, let me again quote from Brown (1996). `It is worth remembering today that the traditions and experiences of a famous history do in fact contribute strongly to the zoos of today, without the past the present would not be what it is. The modern history of zoos is roughly two hundred years old and many of the early lessons, even mistakes, have value today. Don't forget that the success of many species has been achieved over a large number of years; think of the lowland gorilla, in 1915 William Hornaday, director of the Bronx Zoo, said ``There is not the slightest reason to hope than an adult gorilla, either male or female, ever will be seen living in a zoological park or garden.'' ' The first captive birth of a gorilla took place in Columbus Zoo, Ohio, in 1956. Now gorilla births are quite routine. As Brown says, the current levels of expertise in zoos did not occur without the bitter lessons of mistakes of yesteryear. He continued, `Today's zoo man does owe a debt to the Bartletts, Hagenbecks and Crandalls of days gone by. Without the tradition of expertise one cannot hope to maintain and breed critically endangered animals such as California condors or Mauritius kestrels, where wild populations are so low that there is almost no margin of error. The history of zoological gardens, in animal welfare terms, has no shortage of tragedy, but it is a simple truism that without the past there can be no present.'

References

Anderson, J. (1995): Exhibit design objectives of the Indonesian Rainforest. 1995 AZA Regional Conference Proceedings 9–14.

Anon. (1991): Annual Report, Howletts and Port Lympne Zoo Parks. International Zoo News 38 (1): 35–42.

Anon. (1994): When America lost its innocence – maybe. Newsweek (19 September).

Anon. (1995): Sparklers. Detroit Free Press (3 October).

Anon. (1996a): Back when . . . & then? Back When . . . & Then? Vol. 1, No. 1.

Anon. (1996b): News in brief. International Zoo News 43 (8): 593.

Anon. (1998): Endangered history at the zoo. Boston Globe (12 April).

Applebome, P. (1999): Always asking, what is this really about? New York Times (25 April).

AZA (1995): AZA Communiqué (November): 19–22.

Blum, R. (1999): Bombs away! Staten Island Advance (25 July).

Bonner, J. (1999): National Aviary reports first breeding. AZA Communiqué (March): 19.

Brown, T. (1996): Gone but not forgotten. Zoo! 2: 17–21.

Burns, K. (1997): `On the edge of the unknown.' USA Weekend (31 October – 2 November).

Cohen, S. (1994): Metro Washington Park Zoo, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. International Zoo News 41 (8): 54–55.

Craig, J.L. (1994): Meta-populations: is management as flexible as nature? In Creative Conservation: Interactive Management of Wild and Captive Animals (eds. P.J.S. Olney, G.M. Mace and A.T.C. Feistner), pp. 50–66. Chapman & Hall, London.

Deckinger, L. (1993): Wichita's hippos. USA Weekend (2–4 April).

Furley, C.W. (1995): Letters to the editor. International Zoo News 42 (2): 104–105.

Gallant, B. (1997): Book review. Animal Keepers' Forum 24 (2): 67–68.

Hediger, H. (1968): The Psychology and Behaviour of Animals in Zoos and Circuses. Dover Publications, Inc., New York.

Hediger, H. (1970): Man and Animal in the Zoo: Zoo Biology. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.

Johnson, J.M. (1994): Zoo development . . . past, present and future. 1994 AZA Regional Conference Proceedings: 103–106.

Kawata, K. (1991): Hediger who? A plea for historical perspective. International Zoo News 38 (4): 5–10.

Kawata, K. (1992): Concrete cages, circuses, Crandall and computers. AZA/CAZPA 1992 Annual Conference Proceedings: 313–320.

Kawata, K. (1993): Captivity: a reality check. International Zoo News 40 (8): 13–19.

Leopold, A. (1966): A Sand County Almanac. Ballantine Books, New York.

Mitchell, W.O. (1990): Roses are Difficult Here. McClelland & Stewart, Toronto, Canada.

O'Brien, T. (1993): Ten amazing animal exhibits. USA Weekend (19–21 February).

Rabb, G.B. (1994): The changing roles of zoological parks in conserving biological diversity. American Zoologist 34: 159–164.

Reischauer, E.O. (1977): The Japanese. Belknap Press (Harvard University Press), Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Reynolds, R.J. (1993): Extract from a letter, Bartlett Society Newsletter (February), p. 5.

Searle, K.C. (1997): Letters to the editor. International Zoo News 44 (2): 106.

Stein, H. (1994): Baseball's `Civil War'. TV Guide 42 (37): 30–33.

Tromborg, C., Markowitz, H., and Mitchell, G. (1991): Was Hediger wrong? AAZPA 1991 Annual Conference Proceedings: 576–585.

Wemmer, C. (1991): Rambling thoughts on zoo biology and research. AAZPA Regional Conference Proceedings: 138–146.

[Ken Kawata is a member of the AZA History Committee, and General Curator of Staten Island Zoo, New York.]

Ken Kawata, 23 Arielle Lane, Staten Island, New York 10314, U.S.A.





THE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF TWO HAND-REARED BABIRUSA AT PORT LYMPNE WILD ANIMAL PARK

BY ROBERT SAVILLE AND MATT HARTLEY

Introduction

There are approximately 170 babirusa (Babyrousa babyrussa) maintained in 35 collections worldwide. The animal is listed as Vulnerable and is in Appendix I of CITES. Many problems have been experienced with the husbandry of the species in captivity, including a small genetic base, poor reproductive performance, maternal aggression towards young and stringent restrictions on importation. These factors have meant that the captive population has to be intensively managed to ensure the species' survival.

Hand-rearing is an important aspect of the management of small, endangered populations maintained in captivity, especially in a species such as the babirusa where litter size is small, averaging two young, and successful rearing is erratic. Few babirusa have been hand-reared to maturity.

Here we describe the management of two male babirusa, born at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, which were taken for hand-rearing due to the failure of the female to rear previous litters and the risk of infanticide. The animals were hand-reared by Robert Saville.

Case history

The mother was a 14-year-old animal who had had three previous full-term pregnancies, but had committed infanticide on all previous occasions and thus had failed to rear any young. She had been mated 162 days before parturition and had shown some nest-building and pre-partum behaviour over the week, but had not shown the full spectrum of preparations described by other authors (Leus et al., 1992; Lindsay, 1988).

It is preferable to allow the female maximum privacy, as it has been suggested that infanticide occurs if the female is disturbed during parturition. So video monitors were used to observe the female, in order to remove the youngsters before she could harm them. Previous youngsters were killed at around 36 hours post-partum; the female had shown good maternal behaviour up to this point and no reason for the infanticide could be determined.

Previous reports suggest that the vast majority of births occur during the night. On this occasion, however, the first young was born at 15.30 on the afternoon of 13 December 1996. It has been reported (Leus et al., 1992) that the interval between births averages 30 minutes; but in this case the second youngster was born 90 minutes later at 17.00.

Infant A followed the female closely and attempted to suckle; however, the female showed very little maternal instinct, but no aggression. The two youngsters were removed from the mother at 17.30. The first infant (A) weighed 600 grams, whilst the second (B) weighed 400 grams.

Nutrition

Due to the lack of published information on artificial diets for babirusa, a protocol used for hand-rearing domestic swine was adopted. Initially, the infants were each fed 2 ml of Volostrum (commercial pig colostrum substitute) at two-hourly intervals. On the third occasion this was combined with 7 ml of Volac Farmamate milk replacer. This was continued throughout the night at two-hourly intervals. Human infant bottles and teats were used.

After a total of ten feeds (20 ml) of colostrum substitute had been administered, only the milk replacer was fed. By the end of 14 December infant A was consuming 12 ml per two-hourly feed, whilst infant B was taking 8 ml. The animals were allowed to suckle until satisfied. This protocol was continued for the next two days, so that by 17 December infant A was taking 30 ml of milk per feed and had gained 150 g body weight since birth, and infant B was taking 15 ml per feed and had gained 100 g.

Five days after birth an ad lib. feeding protocol was adopted, with bottle-feeds being reduced to three-hourly intervals. The frequency of feeds was reduced as intake increased.

By 14 days of age both young had started taking solid food such as mashed bananas and grated apple, and were now drinking 1.5 litres of milk replacer daily. At this age it was first noted that the infants were ingesting hay from their bedding. Over the next week the variety of solid food increased, with bananas, apples, lettuce, carrots and parsnips being eaten. Fresh water was also provided at this stage.

At four weeks old a few commercial weaner pellets were given with the fruit and vegetables. The amount was gradually increased each day until they were given ad lib. too. When the youngsters were six weeks old they were weaned over four days by gradually watering down the milk replacer, so that by seven weeks old their food intake was ad lib. weaner pellets, 6–7 bananas, 2–3 apples, lettuce, grapes, parsnips and carrots.

Starting at three months of age, the weaner pellets were gradually replaced with the 12.5% protein pellets used for the adult babirusa.

Husbandry

The infants were housed in a one-metre square plywood box with 50-centimetre high sides, and lived in the keeper's flat. A standard infra-red heat lamp was fitted above the box. Oat straw and grass hay was used for bedding. They were allowed five hours of free exercise daily. The animals were moved to the zoo's babirusa house at seven weeks of age. For the next few weeks the heat lamp was provided in addition to the heating in the house. As the weather got warmer they were provided with access to a small sand yard, and at six months of age they were moved to an outside grass paddock.

It was never necessary to stimulate the animals to defaecate; the meconium was passed during the first 24 hours and they continued to defaecate spontaneously.

Medical management

The two animals were generally very healthy and only required veterinary attention on two occasions.

At four weeks of age, during the weaning process, both animals developed diarrhoea for a 48-hour period. They remained bright, alert and active, and were not ill in any other manner. All milk and solid food was stopped and they were given only electrolyte replacer ad lib. Faeces samples submitted for culture revealed no pathogens. Normal rations were reintroduced, but apple was omitted from the diet as it is thought that the milk and apple, in combination, were too acidic.

At six weeks of age infant A became constipated. This was treated by administering glycerine enemas and glycerine per os twice daily for three days. Food intake was not altered.

Glycerine and warm water baths were given regularly to prevent the skin drying and cracking. No vaccinations were given, as no clinical disease has been seen in this species in our collection.

Discussion

Very little information is available on the composition of babirusa milk, and thus how closely this protocol reflects the natural formula is not known. In this case two animals were successfully hand-reared using commercial domestic swine products.

Due to the lack of medical problems experienced and the fact that it is highly unlikely that the young suckled from their mother, it can be concluded that the colostrum paste used provided a reasonable level of immunity to the animals.

Previous reports suggest that these animals started eating solid food and were weaned at a younger age than maternally-raised babirusa. Jersey Zoo reports that youngsters born in their collection first started eating solids at three weeks and continued suckling for approximately one year (Lindsay, 1988).

The diets provided for the animals when fully weaned are comparable to those reported in other sources (Leus et al., 1992; Lindsay, 1988; R. Parker, pers. comm., 1991). The short periods of illness in these animals can be explained by dietary changes during weaning rather than pathological conditions.

These two animals have grown to full maturity and are still healthy individuals, suggesting that they have developed comparably to mother-raised individuals. They are also successfully re-integrated with other babirusa, showing that imprintation did not occur.

References

Leus, K., Bowles, D., Bell, J., and Macdonald, A.A. (1992): Behaviour of the babirusa with suggestions for husbandry. Acta Zoologica et Pathologica Antverpiensia 82: 9–27.

Lindsay, N. (1988): Ungulates – proceedings of a double symposium organised by the Association of British Wild Animal Keepers and Marwell Zoological Society.

Appendix

Volac Farmamate Milk Replacer analysis: Oil 14%, Protein 22%, Ash 7.5%, Lysine 2%, Selenium 0.2 mg/kg, Copper 10 mg/kg, Vitamin A 50,000 IU/kg, Vitamin D3 6,000 IU/kg, Vitamin E 100 IU/kg.

 

Robert Saville, Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, Hythe, Kent CT21 4PD, U.K.; Matt Hartley, B.Vet.Med., M.R.C.V.S., Consultant Veterinarian – Chester Zoo and Knowsley Safari Park, Gatehouse Veterinary Hospital, Lavister, Rossett, Wrexham LL12 0DF, U.K.





FROM COLONIAL MENAGERIES TO QUANTUM LEAP – A HISTORY OF SINGAPORE'S ZOOS

BY SALLY WALKER

Singapore is both a stop and a stop-over for millions of visitors passing into and through Asia. Because of its size and island nature, Singapore caters very heavily for tourism and has made a science of getting and giving the best. There are no less than six facilities in Singapore where visitors can go look at animals. Some are among the most famous in the world, e.g. Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and Singapore Night Safari. Although everyone knows about Singapore's zoos, few are aware of its very interesting colonial history with regard to captive animal collections.

The city of Singapore is often remembered by natural historians for its founder Stamford Raffles (1781–1826), a dynamic administrator and naturalist, who was also the founder of London Zoo. Raffles pursued his hobby of collecting and naming wild animals and plants wherever he was, and in Singapore at that period he found fertile ground (Hahn, 1948). H.N. Ridley, who served as superintendent of the Botanic Gardens Menagerie in Singapore in the early years of the 20th century, commented on the `eminent suitability' of having a menagerie in the colony founded by the same Sir Stamford Raffles who founded the famous London Zoo (Ridley, 1906).

Singapore has a very interesting zoo history, if we describe as a `zoo' any public facility which exhibits captive wild animals, such as the old-style botanic gardens which kept wild animals as well as flowers, trees and shrubs. Such gardens were more common than one would think – we can find several very old examples throughout South and South-East Asia. Many of them encouraged artists to paint the animals in them, and some of those paintings survive as scientific illustrations. There was such an institution in Singapore, where the botanical gardens originally belonged to the Agri-Horticultural Society, which was established as early as 1859. But the Society lacked sufficient funds and public support to maintain the gardens, and in 1874 they turned their property over to the government, who appointed a superintendent. In fact the zoological section was at first separate, making it a very early zoo indeed.

The superintendent, Mr Krohn, published the inevitable, detailed and somewhat stylised bureaucratic reports for which British colonials are well known and from which we today can gain so much historical information about both treasures and trivia. Krohn relates that in 1876 a Chinese resident of Singapore, Mr Cheang Hong Sin, presented a monkey house to the botanic gardens. A list of the animals held at that time includes a rhinoceros, sloth bear, kangaroos, many other mammals, and a number of birds; but in 1878 the government decided to get rid of the larger animals and retain small ones only, such as birds, monkeys and other small mammals. The large animals were sent to Calcutta Zoo (Ridley, 1906).

From 1888 to 1902 the zoological part of the garden was developed until the collection became `very representative of the fauna of the Malay peninsula and islands'. This is an interesting precursor of the contemporary concept of a zoo planning its collection around very specific and localised themes, which also ensures that animals appropriate to the bio-geographic region are kept. The upkeep of this menagerie was provided for by a fund called the `Gardens vote', which financed the feeding and housing; the animals were mostly donated by the public (Ridley, 1906). In 1902, an admirer of zoological gardens urged the government to provide a better type of enclosure for the animals. An estimate for improved housing was prepared, but in 1903 the government, instead of approving it, gave an order to abolish the menagerie! (Ridley, 1906)

Mr Ridley's comments about maintaining a zoo in the tropics in those days are appropriate and interesting. He remarks on the suitability of the climate, the low cost of keeping (both because indoor heating is not necessary, and because forage, fruit and fish are practically freely available), and the fact that all manner of interesting animals can be procured `for a song'. He points out that neighbouring islands and mainlands harbour species which could not be kept easily in temperate collections in Europe or America, but do very well in captivity in Singapore, and even breed. Examples of breeding in Ridley's time were jackal, `kijang' (Indian muntjac, Muntiacus muntjak), `napu' (greater Malay chevrotain, Tragulus napu), and green viper. Probably Ridley was right to say that none of these had previously bred in captivity anywhere else.

Ridley's values were not the same as ours today, but his comments are perceptive and prescient in the context of the present popularity of Singapore Zoological Garden and Singapore Night Safari. `To the large number of passengers who visit Singapore on their way eastwards or westwards, a zoological collection is very attractive, and the menagerie in its best days was known all over the world, and was the first thing asked for by the visitor' (Ridley, 1906). This is still true to a great extent today.

Contemporary zoo personnel mixing with the public frequently comment on the very peculiar ideas people have about what will make an animal `happy'. Ridley describes this ubiquitous phenomenon in 19th-century Singapore, with stories of the visitor who rushed wildly into the garden office to report that the gibbon was in terrible agony because it was howling, and another who wanted to prosecute the staff for continuously torturing the tigress at sundown, as a result of its daily `aoming' [sic] which she took to be cries of pain.

A common theme concerning zoos in general is that captivity is cruelty and avoided as torment by all animals. Ridley exhibits the traditional zoo man's enjoyment of quoting incidents which belie that myth. Once some pelicans which had been donated to the gardens were put out on the lake after spending less than a day in an enclosure. They immediately left the lake and stood on the road, wings and beaks flapping, which frightened the horses; then they returned to their enclosure and waited at the entrance all night until their keeper came and let them in. Another time, some phalangers who managed to escape were confused as to what they should do next, so they simply sat on the top of their cage all night. `If an animal dislikes captivity at all,' Ridley says, `it is easily seen. It mopes, or is restless, feeds only when no one is by, and is certain to pine away soon.'

Ridley's observations and comments are reminiscent of Gerald Durrell's popular writing. He comments `. . . some animals and birds [sic] much prefer small cages to large ones.' He also discusses the behavioural needs of animals, such as the large civets Viverra tangalunga and Pagurus leucomystax (now Paguma larvata) which `particularly dislike a bright cage. Being nocturnal animals, only coming out after dusk, the light annoys them very much and the Viverrae dislike being looked at by a crowd of people and become very nervous. To put these animals in a fine open cage that looks nice from a popular point of view is cruel. The cages should be half dark, when the animals do very well and live for many years.' (Ridley, 1906).

Some zoo keepers would do well to read Ridley now! Having observed many Asian zoos in recent years, I am puzzled why they could not have found such references, read them and learned to exhibit animals in accordance with their behavioural needs.

The Singapore Naturalists' Society and the Singapore Aquarium

In 1921, after the closure of the animal section of the botanic garden, some Singapore citizens founded the Natural History Society to pursue – among other things – the setting up of a proper zoo and aquarium in Singapore. In 1922 the society met to discuss the aquarium and were reminded by the chairman that the idea had come even earlier at the time of the Singapore Centenary itself (1919). At the meeting all the advantages of an aquarium were discussed – as a scientific endeavour, as a public attraction, etc. It was felt that the project was worth doing only if it could be done properly, involving all communities. The Rev. G. Dexter Allen suggested a combination of a zoological garden with the aquarium, and others agreed that a small experimental scheme could be tried so that experience could be gained prior to the larger project (Anon., 1924). A subcommittee was appointed but – these bodies being what they are – it is no surprise that the Singapore Zoo materialised only 50 years later. The Van Kleef Aquarium was not founded until three decades later, in 1955 (Harrison, 1985).

Of passing interest is the news in the same issue of Singapore Naturalist that at the same meeting it was announced that a black cobra caught alive during a society excursion to Bukit Timah had arrived safely in England on 21 August 1921 and was presented to the Zoological Society of London by the Singapore Naturalists' Society (Anon., 1924) .

The Malaya–Borneo Exhibition Zoo

In those days holding big exhibitions was a fashionable thing to do, and a singular such event was held in Singapore in 1922, called the Malaya–Borneo Exhibition. The Prince of Wales was scheduled to visit, and it was intended that he should see the natural wonders and potential of the Malayan countries and their people and culture. These wonders were presented as `under British influence', almost as if the colonialisation of the area had created them! A high barren area of 70 acres (28 ha) was enclosed for the event which was inaugurated by the Prince. (Anon., 1924).

The Singapore Naturalists' Society organised a zoo for the exhibition on the suggestion of their president, Major J.C. Moulton, who was the organizing secretary of the exhibition. (Anon., 1924). The fact of a zoo being organised solely for an exhibition in 1922 is quite startling, even more so when one reads of the number and variety of the animals of the Peninsular and Bornean region which could be collected there for this purpose.

The society appealed to persons in outlying areas to contribute animals for this temporary zoo. The zoo covered an area of 90 by 141 feet (27 ΄ 43 m) in a large railway `godown' (warehouse) on the exhibition grounds. To exhibit a large number of animals in such a small area is quite an achievement, but the Singapore Naturalists seem to have done it very creatively, if not quite compassionately. The zoo included a large, rectangular central aviary of 30 ΄ 25 ΄ 30 feet (9 ΄ 7.5 ΄ 9 m), fitted with small bathing pools, rocks and tree branches. Next to the aviary was a small turfed paddock holding mouse deer and other animals. Large deer were accommodated in a large open enclosure. A huge shallow tank banked up with grass was made for the tortoises and turtles. Ten `large', strong cages measuring 5 ΄ 6 ΄ 4 feet (1.5 ΄ 1.8 ΄ 1.2 m) were made for larger animals, and about 50 small cages for small mammals.

This collection must have been fascinating to both naturalist and layman. There were black panthers, tiger cubs on loan from His Highness the Sultan of Johore, clouded leopards, a Malayan bear cub, tiger-cats, binturongs, civets and monkeys. A modern zoo man would kill for the eight proboscis monkeys of different ages which were on exhibition there at one time, a perfect breeding group which did not, of course, breed. The report of the exhibition said these were `very gentle and fascinating beasts in captivity and fed readily, seeming quite contented, but one by one they died.' There were also macaques, leaf monkeys and a pair of the uncommon crested `lotong' (Trachypithecus [Presbytis] cristatus) (Anon., 1924).

Game birds and others kept in the central aviary were peafowl, jungle fowl, fireback pheasants, red-crested wood partridges, argus pheasants, peacock pheasants, hornbills, pigeons, finches and parrots. They managed to keep a flock of little egrets as well as a pair of white-necked storks, adjutant storks and even a sarus crane. The rarest birds in the exhibition were some pigeons, stated to have come from the Rhio (Riau) Archipelago and described as Columba phasma, but probably silvery pigeons (C. argentina).

There were even reptiles and invertebrates. A 27-foot (8.2 m) python later became the largest received at London Zoo when the collection was donated there. There were also black cobras and crocodiles, and even an exhibition of oriental insects which was deemed one of the `most attractive features'. The zoo was so popular and the crowd so great that at times there was fear of the barriers breaking (Anon., 1924).

After the exhibition the entire collection, but for a few animals (perhaps those owned by the Sultan), was presented to the Prince of Wales for the Zoological Society of London. As mentioned, nearly the whole collection was donated to London Zoo and shipped there on the Titan with a keeper send over from London to accompany them. Amazingly, there were few mortalities but for the argus pheasants and the proboscis monkeys, not one of which reached England alive. The collection formed one of the most important acquisitions in the history of the zoo (Anon., 1924).

Apparently the members of the Singapore Naturalists' Society themselves were disturbed at the conditions under which the animals had to be confined during the exhibition. A masterpiece of understatement is the comment that some of the members were `a trifle sad' to see their `little friends' confined in `cages rather on the small side'. They comforted themselves, however, with the thought that experience had been gained which could benefit animals in future, although how that might happen was pretty hard to imagine (Anon., 1924).

Van Kleef Aquarium

Bernard Harrison relates that although there were some small private menageries in Singapore during the first part of the century, many of these were owned by animal traders. According to Harrison, the first scientific animal collection was the Van Kleef Aquarium, which was opened in 1955 (Harrison, 1985). This aquarium was located in Central Park, River Valley Road, as late as 1993, operating under the Ministry of National Development (International Zoo Yearbook 34, 1995). The aquarium closed shortly thereafter (Bruce McKay, in litt., 1998). In passing, McKay also commented that a `coralarium' on Sentosa Island had also closed. Currently there is only one aquarium in Singapore, Underwater World Singapore.

Jurong Bird Park

The Jurong Bird Park followed the Van Kleef Aquarium; it is located on Jurong Hill, Jurong Town. The idea for a bird park was conceived in 1968, and in 1971 the park opened, covering 50 acres and constantly evolving as both a visitor attraction and a scientific institution.

Singapore Zoo

Bernard Harrison, Director of Singapore Zoo, points out that although a number of the older zoos and menageries in Asia were established by European influence, they were not model zoos `either in design or operation.' These were designed during the colonial period by Europeans for Europeans, without taking into consideration the myriad tropical factors, or that local people would be the primary users for years to come. It has been difficult to bring these old zoos up to a modern standard without completely replacing them in both location and design. The Jakarta Zoo, mentioned by Harrison, has been shifted and completely redone. Bombay Zoo and Yangon (Rangoon) Zoo, Burma, mentioned by Harrison in his study, are still in the same place and having many problems modernising. Therefore, a great deal of planning and innovation went into the now famous Singapore Zoo, which was opened to the public in 1973. Harrison points out that Singapore Zoo was set up by interested citizens of the city as a new, non-profit company, and not passed down from an earlier colonial government. The zoo specialised in mammals and reptiles, with birds and fish getting a lesser priority because of the birdpark and aquarium already established in Singapore

An interesting note is that while all this was going on, there was apparently some idea in circulation of having an `animal zoo' next to Jurong Bird Park. In 1970 International Zoo News carried a note about the Jurong Bird Park, which was under construction at the time, and envisioned `an ``animal zoo'' of about 40 acres adjacent to the bird park to be built in the near future' (Anon., 1970). This project, however, was not destined to become a reality.

Singapore Night Safari

Although Singapore Zoo keeps a great number of tropical Asian animals, it is more of a `traditional' zoo with animals from many continental areas. However, the Singapore Night Safari, although adjacent to the zoo, is an entirely different facility and a completely new concept in zoo design. The night safari is open only at night, and displays nocturnal or crepuscular animals (which many tropical species are), whose normal cycle is to sleep during the day and carry out their life activities at night. In a daytime zoo, exhibiting these has been less than satisfactory: the visitors go around in darkness and watch active animals in dimly-lit enclosures meant to simulate night-time conditions. The Night Safari consists of several primarily Asian tropical geographical areas – Himalayan foothills, Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Malayan region, Nepalese River Valley, Burmese Hillside Forest and Asian Riverine Forest – as well as micro-habitats on `trails' for smaller animals, such as Fishing Cat Trail. All of these exhibits are painstakingly furnished with appropriate flora as well as fauna.

So, after 150 years of exhibiting animals in Singapore, the most up-to-date facility could be described with the same words as the first, as `very representative of the fauna of the Malay peninsula and islands', and with the cages `half-dark, when the animals do very well and live for many years'!

It is a completely satisfactory example of an operation first dictated by straightforward practicality coming full circle to emerge as an ideal for scientific as well as commercial reasons.

 

References

Anon. (1924): Public Aquarium. Meeting August 4, 1922. The Singapore Naturalist 3 (May), Singapore Natural History Society, Singapore.

Anon. (1970): Bird Park Singapore. International Zoo News 17 (1).

Hahn, E. (1948): Raffles of Singapore: a Biography. Francis Aldor, London.

Harrison, B. (1985): A study of the planning and design principles involved in development of mammal exhibits in a tropical zoo. Unpublished Master's thesis, National University of Singapore.

Harrison, B. (1991): The future evolution of zoos. Unpublished paper presented at the conference of the International Union of Directors of Zoological Gardens, Singapore, 1991.

Ridley, H.N. (1906): The Menagerie at the Botanic Garden. Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 46.

Sally Walker, Zoo Outreach Organisation, Box 1683, Bharati Colony, Peelamedu, Coimbatore 641 004, India.





VISITS TO SOME LATIN AMERICAN ZOOS: PART 2 – MEXICO

BY RICHARD WEIGL

Mexico City, which in 1930 had only about one million people, is now the biggest metropolis in the world, with almost 28 million. It was a Sunday when I visited Chapultepec Zoo, and I found it quite difficult to see the animals – entry to the zoo is free, so thousands of Mexicans want to go there, making it very overcrowded.

Zoológico de Chapultepec, Mexico City

This is one of the four animal parks in Mexico City: the others are Zoológico de San Juan de Aragón in the east and two in the south, Bosque de Tlalpan and Parque Los Coyotes. Chapultepec, in the west of the city, was founded in July 1923 as the Alfonso L. Herrera Zoo, but now belongs to the government; it has an area of 17 hectares, and last year received 5.5 million visitors. Its collection consists of around 1,750 animals of some 211 species (mammals, birds and reptiles). The zoo is one of the most modern in the world, having closed in 1992 for remodelling on a new concept, and opened again in August 1994. The animals now enjoy enclosures that recreate their own habitats, in a series of biomes representing, for example, tropical and temperate forests, deserts, pastures and tundra. Dr Fernando Gual Sill took over as director in January 1999, having previously worked as head veterinarian since 1990. I was shown round by Dr Everardo Montfort, the vet in charge of the aviary, who has also worked there since 1990.

Just inside the entrance stands a big zoo shop, and nearby a large cafeteria. (This was the first zoo I have visited anywhere in the world which has a McDonald's catering service.) Visitors are not allowed to eat while they walk around the zoo, but only near the food sales areas, which are unfortunately very overcrowded; this rule is enforced by a security staff of about 50. The zoo also has no children's play area, and closes very early, at 4.30 p.m. All these disadvantages are the result of government policy.

To the right of the entrance is a section for desert animals with many open enclosures with large rocks for bighorn sheep, a pair of rare Mexican wolves (the subspecies which now survives in the wild only in northern Mexico, but is the subject of a reintroduction project in the south-western U.S.A.), three pinioned American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos), two coyotes, many collared peccaries, bobcats, hamadryas baboons and five dromedaries. There follows a savanna section: I saw four ring-tailed lemurs; savanna monkeys; two spotted hyaenas; two open glass-fronted enclosures for African spurred tortoises (a very productive group of about 80 of different ages) and yellow-footed tortoises (Geochelone denticulata); lions; a large mixed enclosure with groups of helmeted guineafowl, African crowned cranes (two species), four giraffes (all looking like reticulata), five brindled gnus and Grant's zebras; a male ostrich; Carlos, a male black rhino about 35 years old; a male southern white rhino; three common hippopotamus in a nice large pool; defassa waterbuck, a male sable antelope, nilgai, mouflons, blackbuck, a yak, kangaroos, llamas, a guanaco, three male American bison, two female Asian elephants (Ranny and Yammy, both here since 1954) and eland. Next, the section has two very nice rocky enclosures with large underwater viewing windows for Californian sea lions and two adult female polar bears from Canada; it was good to see the bears swimming under the water. An open glass-fronted enclosure held dark grey Mexican naked dogs (`Xoloitzcuintlis').

I then went through a tunnel and came to an aviary about 20 metres high housing 1.2 golden eagles, a pair of whom were busy building a nest, and twelve more good, equally high bird of prey aviaries with two peregrine falcons, one very old Pallas' sea eagle (said to have probably arrived at the zoo in about 1960, as it was already there when the animal inventory was started on 1 May 1965), great black hawks (Buteogallus urubitinga), white-tailed, red-tailed and roadside hawks (Buteo albicaudatus, B. jamaicensis and B. magnirostris), Harris' hawks, barn owls, great horned owls, caracaras, black vultures and 1.2 Andean condors, all three bred at the zoo. The parent condors reared seven offspring in all; they arrived in about 1960–1962, but the female died this year. The father and the other four young birds are kept in the off-exhibit breeding area, which also has many breeding pairs of macaws, African grey parrots and amazons.

Other birds to be seen near the bird of prey aviaries, in arched cages with piano-wire fronts, include peafowl, ducks, doves, cockatoos, parrots, a turaco, four thick-billed parrots, an old female great Indian hornbill, a large group of Passeriformes, emus, mute and black swans, many flamingos with a nest area, and some free-flying night herons who are also active by day. A big walk-through aviary called `Aviario Moctezuma' houses only Mexican birds. Unfortunately access is very tightly controlled by the security staff, who will not allow visitors to bring in things like bags and pushchairs, and often make people angry by keeping them waiting before letting them in. This aviary contains about 80 birds, including macaws, toucans, egrets, one American white pelican, gulls, ducks and curassows.

The next section is the Holarctic region, with many white-tailed deer, American black bears (a nice enclosure), a grassy glass-fronted enclosure for the very rare endemic volcano rabbits (Romerolagus diazi – probably the only ones to be seen in any zoo in the world), pumas, raccoons with underwater viewing windows, three small glass-fronted exhibits for a tayra and polecats, a nice wild enclosure with running water and grass for a pair of brown bears (the female Balya, of the Syrian subspecies, was born in January 1994 at Berne Zoo and donated to Chapultepec in 1997), three Canadian wolves, Canadian lynx, many fallow deer, American wapitis (twin females born in 1982), another pair of Mexican wolves, tigers, sika deer, Japanese macaques (a donation from Ueno Zoo, Tokyo, in May 1997) and grey foxes. Three large enclosures with glass fronts house three spectacled bears, born at the zoo in 1997 and 1998, young emus (hatched in January 1999) and a baby northern tamandua (T. mexicana).

Also in this section are the zoo's most valuable animals, the giant pandas. The first of this species who came to Mexico were a pair donated by the Chinese government in September 1975, who died in 1988 and 1989. At the time of my visit there were four at the zoo, all solitary: a male, Liang Liang (born 22 June 1983), and the females Xiu Hua (born 25 June 1985), Shuan Shuan (born 15 June 1987) and Xin Xin (born 1 July 1990). Xin Xin, the last to be successfully born at Chapultepec, was bred by artificial insemination; her father was Chia Chia of London Zoo and her mother was Tohui, the first giant panda to be successfully bred outside China (born 21 July 1981, died 16 November 1993)

The next section, Forests, has nice underwater viewing windows for crocodiles and turtles, and two glass-fronted exhibits, one with good artificial mangrove trees for two crab-eating macaques, and another for a single mantled howler (Alouatta palliata) with trees to climb. There is a very nice large grass enclosure with natural trees for two gorillas, the 38-year-old female Mahari from Cincinnati Zoo and her son Bantu, the first gorilla born in Mexico (at Chapultepec on 20 September 1991). Several glassed cages with artificial trees and live evergreen plants house rhesus macaques, pythons, a male white-crowned mangabey (Cercocebus torquatus lunulatus – a donation from a famous Mexican musician), one greater white-nosed monkey (Cercopithecus nictitans) and 1.3 black-nosed patas monkeys (Erythrocebus p. patas). Three male orang-utans (two born at Chapultepec) and two old male chimpanzees are all solitary, and have no live plants in their enclosures except grass. Also in this area are leopards, black panthers, tigers (including a white one said to be from Memphis Zoo), a binturong, a breeding pair of spectacled bears (the male born at Jersey, the female from Vienna, but born at Tierpark Berlin), white-throated and brown capuchins, black-handed spider monkeys in with kinkajous and coatis, agoutis, pacas, brockets, jaguarundis, black and spotted jaguars and ocelots.

Zoológico de San Juan de Aragón, Mexico City

The San Juan de Aragón Zoo, which opened on 20 November 1962, now looks very old, rather as Chapultepec did before its total remodelling. Aragón is also to be remodelled in the very near future, and will soon be closed to the public. Of its total area of 36.5 hectares, about 16 ha is developed as a zoo. In 1998 it had about 1.8 million visitors. The Director since February 1998, Dr Juan Carlos Ortega Saez, previously worked at a private veterinary practice and in the statistical department of the health bureau. Earlier the two zoos, Chapultepec and Aragón, shared a single director who devoted most of her attention to Chapultepec. About 1,070 specimens of 129 species of mammal, bird and reptile are kept mostly in very simple enclosures. Dr Patricia Reyes, a veterinarian at Aragón since 1990 and previously at Chapultepec from 1977 to 1989, was very friendly and showed me round.

There were some simple exhibits for two adult male chimpanzees from a circus, a old female savanna monkey, many black-nosed patas monkeys and hamadryas baboons, a male rhesus and two female pigtail macaques, jaguarundis and an island group of black-handed spider monkeys. There were two large enclosures with pools for hippos, and a natural woodland enclosure for Mexican wolves (in March 1998 two families from the zoo were released in New Mexico, U.S.A.). Other mammals I saw included coatis, raccoons, a male mara, ocelots, a group of five kinkajous (active in the daytime), jaguars, leopards, coyotes, bobcats, pumas, lions, tigers and 1.2 American black bears. Two large circular ponds held flamingos, one great blue heron, ducks and Egyptian geese with nine week-old goslings. In aviaries were many species of amazons, macaws and conures, two emerald toucanets (Aulacorhynchus prasinus), two keel-billed toucans (Ramphastos sulfuratus) and one hill mynah, while on the ground were tortoises, including the rare desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii).

The bird of prey aviary had a male Andean condor, two king vultures, two golden eagles, one collared forest falcon (Micrastur semitorquatus – a first for me), red-tailed and roadside hawks and caracaras. In a pool were two female Californian sea lions. There were several large, simple enclosures for two emus from Chapultepec, a male American bison, a lot of llamas (and some hybrids), many collared peccaries and a female white-lipped peccary, 1.2 white rhinos, three male giraffes (a father and his sons), two female Asian elephants (Chacha and Ciba, about 35 to 40 years old, both from a Mexican circus, where Ciba had killed a trainer), many white fallow, white-tailed and sika deer, an old pair of American wapiti, defassa waterbuck, brindled gnus, nilgai, a female yak, aoudads, and two male Mexican porcupines. A small pool housed three Morelet's crocodiles and many turtles. As in Lima, I saw wild hummingbirds. Finally, in the quarantine area were many, mostly old, animals, including a polecat, a very old female rhesus macaque and a pair of hamadryas baboons, the founders of the zoo's colony.

Zoológico Zacango, Toluca

Toluca is about 63 km west of Mexico City, and Zacango Zoo is about a twenty-minute car drive south of Toluca. The city has half a million people and stands 2,670 metres above sea level; at this height the climate is quite cool. The zoo was opened in 1982, with a little amusement park; it has an area of 32 hectares and holds approximately 1,600 animals of about 190 species (mammals, birds, reptiles, fishes and insects). There are 33 staff, and it had around 700,000 visitors last year. It is an attractive park with very fine tall trees, but is rather too far from the city, because the land (a 16th-century ranch) was donated. None of the zoo staff knew much English, but luckily for me a boy named Dennis, born in Toluca but now living in Dallas, was staying with his grandparents on vacation and working as a volunteer at the zoo, so he was able to translate into English for me.

In the primate section, grass enclosures with rocks at the back house a wild-caught female gorilla about 18 years old (at the zoo since 1986) and a pair of adult orang-utans. The gorilla takes turns with some chimpanzees in the same enclosure. (The management would like to find a mate for the gorilla, but I was unable to help with this.) Other animals nearby were black spider monkeys (on an island), capuchins, savanna and Campbell's guenons, hamadryas baboons, two mandrills, polecats, one binturong, raccoons, coatis, lions, tigers, a male Kodiak and two grizzly bears from U.S. zoos (at first most of the zoo's animals came from Los Angeles or Texas), pumas, leopards, jaguars, and a pair of Mexican wolves (the female pregnant) in a large enclosure. A pair of cassowaries in a large grass enclosure had laid four eggs. On a large pond were flamingos, many ducks, swans and geese (including one Hawaiian goose). Three golden eagles and two caracaras have not reproduced because they share a single high exhibit. Two semicircular enclosures hold pheasants, many amazons, macaws, cockatoos, little blue herons and one Louisiana heron (Egretta tricolor). There were emus in an open enclosure, and a big walk-through aviary for Mexican ducks, curassows and parrots. A reptile house displayed many insects, fishes and reptiles, including many venomous snakes.

There were two enclosures for Asian elephants. In one was a pair, Ted, a tusked bull about 50 years old, and Bee, a female of about 60; in the other was a lone tuskless bull, Ramos, about 50 years old. All three were donations from a Mexican circus, and had narrowly escaped being destroyed because they killed their trainer and another person. (I am not sure that the ages given above are correct, but that is what I was told.) Two bongos, a father and son, are probably the only ones in Mexico. A very large African savanna exhibit had Grant's zebras, ostriches, blackbuck (not, of course, an African species), defassa waterbuck and four giraffes, including one born two weeks earlier. There was a pool for common hippos, with a calf born on 3 July 1998. A female white rhino was with her son, Jimmy, born in April 1984. Various fenced and open enclosures held llamas, fallow, sika and red deer, American wapitis, Watusi cattle, yaks, African and five dwarf buffaloes, nilgai, addax, scimitar-horned oryx, sable antelopes and aoudads.

The old 16th-century ranch house is now a museum, which displays stuffed animals, mostly from the zoo, including wart hog, bongo and a male white rhino (Jimmy's father). The animal clinic is good, and the quarantine area had jaguarundi, two young jaguars, a pair of lions, tigers, an old American black bear, two black-handed spider monkeys, kinkajous, a toucan and a female woolly monkey, most probably Lagothrix l. lagotricha, said to have come from a laboratory in Mexico in 1988 and possibly the only animal of this species in a Mexican zoo.

Africam Safari, Puebla

Puebla is about 110 km east of Mexico City; it has a population of about two million, and is 2,160 metres above sea level. I was again lucky to find a guide, a young lady named Dagmar whose parents are from Germany, who works as a biologist at Aragón Zoo; she was visiting Puebla with a party of 38 students. The Africam Safari was founded in April 1972, when a private collector, Carlos Camacho, decided to open his collection to the public. (The name `Africam' was formed by blending `Africa' and `Camacho'.) Carlos was killed by tigers in 1976, but the safari park has remained in private ownership. It has about 300 staff and around 2,300 animals on a 200-ha site, and received about a million visitors in 1998.

Dr Marco Antonio Benifez, a veterinarian, showed us the quarantine station, clinic and kitchen. In the off-exhibit quarantine area were a pair of Andean condors (from Buenos Aires Zoo), golden eagles, a palm cockatoo (confiscated), several macaws, Patagonian conures etc. Going by bus through the big `Tanzania' section we saw ostriches, eight giraffes, elands, defassa waterbuck and nilgai (unfortunately not an African species). The next section was an international area for flamingos, crowned cranes, macaws, llamas, guanacos, Scottish and Watusi cattle, water buffaloes, an impala, mouflons, aoudads and capybaras. Two separate enclosures held a pair of maned wolves (both from Prague Zoo, the female born there and the male born in Munich) and a large breeding group of Mexican military macaws. Four white rhinos, five Chapman's zebras and brindled gnus were in the `Botswana' section. A female Asian elephant, Jeep, had lived alone in her enclosure since 1972. There were many free-ranging lions in the `Uganda' section; Marco told me that the park's carnivores need 400 kg of meat every day. A section called `Bakuli' had many white fallow, axis and sika deer. (I don't known what this name refers to.)

Back on the bus, we saw three addax, three scimitar-horned oryx, and (in the `Mexico' section) American white pelicans in an enclosure with two American black bears (which I was sorry to hear have been de-clawed) and white-tailed deer. Then came the Asian section, with white and normal tigers, water buffaloes and sika deer. We walked past enclosures for three hippos, eight chimpanzees and one orang-utan, and then took another bus to the American section, with bison and wapitis. A section named `Captain Camacho' had several animal exhibits as well as shops, a little museum with stuffed animals, and a monument of the founder, Carlos, with a tiger. The animals in this section were two emus, three white rheas, flamingos, pheasants, amazons, macaws, a blue crowned pigeon, a rhinoceros hornbill, hamadryas baboons, a male giant anteater from Buenos Aires Zoo (with a female due to arrive the next week from Venezuela), large hairy armadillos, bobcats, tigers, red pandas (from a Japanese zoo), Mexican wolves, striped hyaenas, maras, two nice artificial dark dens for Egyptian and Jamaican fruit bats, crocodiles (with underwater viewing windows), and two islands for savanna and squirrel monkeys.

Zoológico Guadalajara

Guadalajara, the metropolis of Jalisco state, is about 470 km north-west of Mexico City; it has 5.5 million people (the second biggest city in Mexico) and stands at an altitude of 1,570 metres. The new zoo opened in March 1988 and has an area of 40 ha, plus 150 ha in reserve (mainly poor trees and a rocky valley with scrub). It has around 2,300 animals of about 370 species (mammals, birds, reptiles, fishes and insects), and 200 staff; last year there were about one million visitors. There are many snack services, and the zoo looks well maintained.

After the nice new Mexican-style entrance, the first area was an `Australian Village' with a big walk-through aviary for 35 rainbow lorikeets; many of the birds will perch on visitors' arms and hands when offered a small cup of fruit nectar. Nearby was a newly-built enclosure ready for two koalas which were to come for three months on loan from San Diego. Black-handed spider monkeys were on some large islands with high natural trees. Nearby stands a great artificial rock with a waterfall, and inside this rock is the nocturnal house, opened in 1997, with 19 glass-fronted exhibits, well landscape in old Mexican, `western' style. The animals here included some nocturnal insects, barn owls, a female greyish mouse-opossum (Marmosa canescens) from Colima south of Guadalajara (which looked like an Australian dunnart), great horned owls, milk snakes (Lampropeltis triangulum), grey foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus nigrirostris), bobcats (Lynx rufus escuinapae), jaguarundis, cacomistles (Bassariscus astutus), about 40 vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus), ocelots, boas, raccoons, basilisk rattlesnakes (Crotalus basiliscus), about 40 Jamaican fruit bats, nine-banded armadillos, coatis, two hooded skunks (Mephitis macroura) and two large American opossums (Didelphis marsupialis).

Now we went to the older part of the zoo. There were many flamingos (only one a Chilean) with a nest area, and a circular aviary for two keel-billed toucans. Everywhere I looked were beautiful free-flying great-tailed grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus), which I was told are very common here, and also black vultures. Next to a hippopotamus enclosure stood a big shelter, part of the education area opened in October 1998. Here were some simple exhibits for black-eared marmosets, cotton-top tamarins, a squirrel monkey, 1.2 diana monkeys (from Monkey Jungle, Miami), vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops pygerythrus), crab-eating macaques, kinkajous (Potos flavus chiriquensis), ocelots, a greater grison (Galictis vittata) and a male tayra (Eira barbara senex). A nice large enclosure housed three Aldabran giant tortoises. A pair of polar bears had a large enclosure with underwater viewing windows, but had to be kept apart as the male, Chucky, had killed two other females. Two circular grassed enclosures held a male American black bear and 1.3 gorillas, the breeding pair Chato and Chiquita, who came to the zoo in 1989, and their two daughters, Faustina (born 21 March 1994) and Yari (9 April 1998), both mother-reared.

Two fenced enclosures had two male Mexican wolves and a big group of Nubian ibexes. A big amphitheatre, seating about 3,000 people, is used for a bird and reptile display. Then came three very large enclosures for American wapitis, American bison, and scimitar-horned oryx in with three female Thomson's gazelles. A children's zoo had llamas, goats, baby white-tailed deer and lechwe, and various large glass cages with two two-toed sloths in with common marmosets and a young male black howler (Alouatta pigra – confiscated, but due to be released in Chiapas), four-toed African hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris), fennec foxes, and a pair of pygmy marmosets with three babies. I was allowed to play with a black panther cub (born 6 March), twin ocelots (born 28 February) and a female striped hyaena (born 26 February).

A number of fenced, natural enclosures held two rheas, a pair of dromedaries with a young one, a male nyala (born at San Diego Wild Animal Park), a pair of brindled gnus, a female dwarf buffalo (one of many herbivores brought in from the U.S.A.), elands, Grant's zebras, two subadult female African elephants; a female white rhino, Soraida, about 31 years old, with her daughter born in 1993, defassa waterbuck, 1.4 giraffes (the breeding bull imported from Japan ten years ago), a female impala, and a pair of sarus cranes, the male on loan from Africam Safari, who it is hoped will breed.

From the zoo terrace there was a fine view of the large woodland area, which runs down to the Rio Grande de Santiago river (unfortunately very polluted). Here were three aviaries with northern helmeted curassows (Pauxi pauxi), great curassows (Crax rubra) and two highland guans (Penelopina nigra), which are found from southern Mexico to northern Nicaragua. Four large open enclosures held lions, jaguars, black panthers and pumas. In several simple circular aviaries were large numbers of macaws, conures, amazons, thick-billed parrots, cockatoos, collared aracaris, chachalacas, a female Sulawesi hornbill (Aceros cassidix), a Hartlaub's turaco (hatched at Africam Safari), a turkey vulture (Cathartes a. aura), black vultures, Mexican grey hawks (Buteo nitidus plagiatus), Harris' hawks, a king vulture, a pair of golden eagles, and a pair of red-tailed hawks (B. j. hadropus). These last came to the zoo in 1987 from Agua Azul, a small collection in a park in the city. Rocio Robles Valencia, the zoo's registrar, told me that Agua Azul kept no records, so it is impossible to know the age of these hawks, and many other animals transferred to the zoo from there; but she now keeps all the zoo's data with ISIS.

I next saw two high pyramid-shaped walk-through aviaries with ponds and lots of plants for several species of bird, including one white-faced ibis (Plegadis chihi). Then came some simple exhibits for rhesus macaques, De Brazza and savanna guenons, mandrills, a male brown capuchin, hamadryas baboons, chimpanzees and a female hybrid orang-utan, Buttons (born at Fort Worth Zoo, Texas, in March 1972). A large open enclosure held tigers, and a circular exhibit had caracaras, bobcats, coyotes (Canis latrans vigilis), and a pair of white-tailed hawks (Buteo albicaudatus hypospodius). A big circular reptile house included an outdoor enclosure for crocodiles; all the inside exhibits had very nice artificial trees, rocks, wall paintings and live plants. There were also some insects, but I was especially interested in a big Heterophrynus sp. spider, said to have been there for two years. Underwater viewing windows showed two anacondas with big fishes. Five albino Asian cobras born in May 1996 are still there; their mother came from the U.S.A. There was also an albino Mexican gopher snake (Pituophis deppei), which has been here since 1989.

Outside again, I saw two large enclosures for a big herd of fallow deer and a mixed group of nilgai and blackbuck. A large valley enclosure had many sika deer and a female Turkmenian markhor (Capra falconeri heptneri) born at the zoo in 1990. at Guadalajara zoo. Next were a breeding pair of striped hyaenas (the male said to have been born in a Cuban zoo and the female born at Zoofari, a small zoo in Taxco Guerrero, Mexico), and Heather, a female wolf of the subspecies C. l. columbianus, who was captive-born in Alaska in 1992, and was donated to the zoo in 1994 by an American woman who lived in Chapala. There were several circular cages for gamebirds (ocellated turkeys, a male Siamese fireback, a pair of great argus pheasants and a pair of Swinhoe's pheasants). Some large mixed-species enclosures had collared peccaries with white-tailed deer (O. v. sinaloae); llamas with capybaras and red brockets; a pair of ostriches with a large group of red lechwe (Kobus l. leche); and emus with black swans. In an open enclosure were a breeding pair of Morelet's crocodiles (their young were in the reptile house). A large pond had an island for black-handed spider monkeys, and many ducks, geese and swans.

In the quarantine clinic I saw a second young king vulture (hatched at the zoo on 10 February 1999), macaws and two chestnut-mandibled toucans (Ramphastos swainsonii). The off-exhibit breeding and quarantine areas have outdoor enclosures, unlike those in European zoos. Here I saw two Cape Barren geese from Leon Zoo, two pairs of king vultures and the first young one hatched here in 1997, crested guans, macaws, amazons, thick-billed parrots, two Mexican emerald toucanets, two West African crowned cranes (a very prolific pair who came from Agua Azul, where they probably arrived in 1975 – many of their offspring of different ages are still at the zoo), two coyotes, a female striped hyaena (hand-reared), bobcats, margays, many jaguars (some of them black), a female tiger and a young female giraffe (also hand-reared).

ZOOMAT, Tuxtla Gutiérrez

Tuxtla Gutiérrez is the capital of Chiapas state in the far south of Mexico. It has a population of 450,000 and stands 530 metres above sea level. The zoo's founder was Professor Miguel Alvarez del Toro; in 1942, when the state government of Chiapas was looking for a director to develop a regional zoo, he successfully applied for the position and remained until his death in 1996. ZOOMAT (the acronym stands for Zoológico Regional Miguel Alvarez del Toro) is one of the few zoos I have visited anywhere in the world which stands among natural forests, native flora and watercourses. The 30-ha grounds are very well maintained, and for me the only unattractive feature were the big red litter bins which stand around everywhere. In 1998 the zoo had 500,000 visitors (entry is free). In 1942 it had 20 animals, but now there are about 1,200, of around 220 species (mammals, birds, reptiles and insects), all belonging to the local fauna of the Chiapas region. The security staff are all women, in elegant red uniforms.

I had a brief chat about the animals with the general curator, Carlos Alberto Guichard Romero, who has worked here since 1987. He unfortunately knows only a little English, but was very friendly. (In his office I was pleased to see a poster from Frankfurt Zoo of a spectacled leaf monkey with her infant.) On a short walk through a forested area I saw many free-ranging plain chachalacas (Ortalis vetula) in a very large enclosure for a big group of collared peccaries. While I was standing there, a great many leaves fell around me, and when I looked up at the tall trees I saw a free-ranging group of black howlers. (A second similar group live near the bird of prey aviaries.) I then passed enclosures with greater grisons and Mexican red brockets (Mazama americana temama), and aviaries with scarlet macaws, two keel-billed toucans, highland guans and three mottled owls (Strix virgata). There were many free-ranging great curassows, crested guans and Mexican agoutis. I was told that approximately 66 species of bird live free in ZOOMAT.

After an enclosure with a big group of coatis, I came to a number of aviaries housing white-throated magpie-jays (Calocitta formosa azurea), collared aracaris, emerald toucanets (Aulacorhynchus prasinus), West Mexican and white-bellied chachalacas (Ortalis poliocephala and O. leucogastra), and horned guans (Oreophasis derbianus). I was especially interested to see these guans for the first time. The zoo has a male and two females in two aviaries, but unfortunately not one chick has yet been bred, though the species has been kept here since 1975. These rare birds were rediscovered in Mexico in 1973; they live only in the cloud forests between 1,600 and 3,350 metres in south-eastern Mexico (southern Oaxaca and Chiapas) and western Guatemala.

Next I saw jaguars in a very large circular enclosure, and a pair of Baird's tapirs in a nice large enclosure with a valley. (This species ranges from southern Veracruz and southern Oaxaca in Mexico through to western regions of Colombia and Ecuador.) There were five big enclosures with tall trees and rocks for ocelots, jaguarundis, pumas (P. c. mayensis) and black jaguars, a large open enclosure for two tayras, and an enclosure with rocks and many trees for two white-lipped peccaries. More aviaries held two great horned owls, a pair of crested guans (the female brooding), ocellated turkeys, many military macaws, a single spectacled owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata saturata, here since 1982, said to be from Lacandona forest in Chiapas), a blue-crowned motmot, three white-capped parrots (Pionus senilis) and a striped owl. A circular reptile museum had many exhibits with nicely-made model reptiles looking almost like the real thing. In an enclosure with small underwater viewing windows was a male South American river otter (Lontra longicaudis annectens).

After some margays and a female bare-throated tiger heron (Tigrisoma mexicanum – here since 1982), I reached a nice big aviary with many plants and running water, containing a pair of resplendent quetzals (Pharomachrus m. mocinno) with very fine long tails. Two very large open enclosures housed big groups of agoutis (Dasyprocta mexicana and D. punctata). Another big aviary held many scarlet macaws, a large fenced enclosure had a big herd of white-tailed deer, and two northern tamanduas had an enclosure with many climbing trees. A beaded lizard was in an open, rocky enclosure, and nearby was a small reptile house with many snakes and lizards, and two open enclosures for iguanas and tortoises. Two pelicans (one brown, one American white), an American darter and other birds were on a large pond, and in the middle a lot of free-flying Mexican black vultures were perched on a dead tree. Next came five high aviaries for birds of prey – a grey hawk, a great black hawk, three white hawks of the white-backed race (Leucopternis albicollis ghiesbreghti), two nice collared forest falcons (Micrastur semitorquatus naso – the northern subspecies, which ranges from central Mexico south into Colombia and Equador), a king vulture in with caracaras, and a female ornate hawk-eagle (Spizaetus ornatus vicarius) from Yucatan. Formerly a female harpy eagle lived here for about 41 years until her death in 1990. (A few wild harpy eagles were seen in December 1998 in Lacandona forest, Chiapas.)

I now passed enclosures for coyotes, raccoons and grey foxes, and two common snapping turtles in a little pond. Nearby were a free-ranging troop of Mexican black-handed spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi vellerosus). There were many more aviaries with amazons, conures and a russet-crowned motmot. A circular house for Mexican invertebrates had many species unfamiliar to me, including another Heterophrynus spider and ant lions (Myrmeleon sp.) with their sand funnels. A nocturnal house, also circular, had a mother grey four-eyed opossum (Philander opossum) with five young, who were captured 15 days earlier in the zoo. Other animals in this house included many Jamaican fruit bats, two pacas, kinkajous, two hog-nosed skunks (Conepatus mesoleucus, a species which is found from the southern U.S.A. to Nicaragua), a hooded skunk (Mephitis macroura), a spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius), an eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus), and six Central American cacomistles (Bassariscus sumichrasti). The curator of the nocturnal house, Luis Sigler Moreno, told me that the cacomistles have produced 23 offspring in six years from two mothers, and about 65% have been successfully reared.

A walk-through aviary had many species of Mexican birds, including some nice long-tailed manakins (Chiroxiphia l. linearis), which have lived here since 1990. From the visitors' footpath there was a fine view of a large pond with tall trees for white ibis, ducks and roseate spoonbills; since 1992, two spoonbill chicks have been artificially hatched and hand-reared by the curator of birds, Graciela Velasco Santiago. She was able to provide me with some interesting data on longevities of birds; for example, one male spoonbill has been there since 1982. Finally there were three good open enclosures for Mexican crocodilians (brown caiman, Morelet's crocodile and American crocodile).

Jacqueline Gallegos Michel of the zoo's veterinary staff also gave me a great deal of historical longevity data, and at the end of my visit she gave me an old poster depicting a harpy eagle, which I like very much.

 

Richard Weigl, Frankfurt Zoo, Alfred-Brehm-Platz 16, 60316 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.





LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Dear Sir,

I feel that I must comment upon the piece that appeared in the Zoo News section of the November 1999 issue (I.Z.N. 46:7, p. 442) concerning Rome Zoo and my new post there.

The piece contained a number of inaccuracies, which the author would have been aware of had he taken the time to speak to me, or any of the other senior animal staff, and not just to quote from the media, which in Italy appear to have greater than normal selective hearing. When he mentions my desire to export the lone African bull elephant, there seems to be the feeling that the last thing the zoo needs is to lose `more' animals. This is in fact one of the main problems for the new management, as there are far too many animals in the collection. No sort of population control has been applied until recently, hence many of the herds and groups are far too large for the accommodation available to them. The movement of the African bull is actually an EEP recommendation, as is the eventual acquisition of an Asian bull. The two younger female Asian elephants are 28, not 30, which may be near the end of their potential reproductive capability, but as they are unrepresented wild-caught founders they should not be written off, and there are other avenues open to their being mated sooner that do not necessitate the immediate arrival of an adult Asian bull in Rome.

I was appointed as Zoological Director, and this was made clear to all. As for the `administrative director and the scientific advisor' remaining in post, I fail to see the relevance, particularly as I have an almost totally free hand with the management of the animal collection, its staff, and the animal facilities, both existing and planned. Which is exactly why I was appointed.

With all due respect to the residents of Rome, whether they can see any change in the quality of the animals' lives compared to when the zoo was run by the municipality is really not relevant, especially when the problem of public feeding is as rife at Rome today as it was in London in 1967 when they instituted the no-feeding policy. I have recently had to install a three-metre high wire fence around the ape facilities to avoid the weekend avalanches of peanuts being thrown to the apes; these have caused recent health problems in at least one chimpanzee. The fence may not look attractive to the lay person, but it certainly improves the health, and the quality of life, of those animals.

I first visited the Rome Zoo in May 1997, when it was still very much under municipal control, and quite frankly the place was disgusting. There was a single female Asian elephant whose small concrete yard was totally covered in a deep layer of faecal material. There was not a single rope in any primate enclosure, and, as I was to discover in detail, there was absolutely no sign that any maintenance had been done to any animal facility in years, if not decades.

Prior to my arrival, but following the appointment of a new curatorial team, veterinarian, and an almost total replacement of the keeping staff, the animal enclosures were cleaned properly. Animals with long-term chronic illnesses that had been locked away off-exhibit were treated, and in some cases euthanasia was the only, long overdue, option. Cages were re-perched, diets were reviewed and altered, equipment was purchased, and a significantly advanced level of animal management was introduced. I started in August 1999, so I apologise to the people of Rome for leaving my magic wand back in London – Rome was not built in a day, and Rome Zoo cannot be rebuilt in a few months. There has been a real sea-change in how the animals are being cared for, and this has been mainly down to a dedicated team of people who have suffered greatly from misinformed reporting by the local media, an ill-informed animal rights faction, and heavily biased opinion from individuals who hark back to a golden age at Rome Zoo that has not been the case for many years.

Yours faithfully,

Douglas M. Richardson,

Zoological Director,

Bioparco (Rome Zoo),

Viale del Giardino Zoologico, 20,

00197 Roma,

Italy.

Dear Sir,

I was astonished to read the article by Jürgen Schilfarth concerning the elephants in my zoo (I.Z.N. 46:8, pp. 504–505). Mr Schilfarth has no connection with Dresden Zoo: he is not on our pay-roll, has never to our knowledge been to the zoo, and does not know the situation in the elephant house by personal observation. No wonder, that the article simply is not true in some major points:

(1) The elephants in question, who arrived in January 1999, were approximately five and seven years old, not three years. These incorrect data originate in the paperwork of animal rights activists.

(2) The house is very well suited to house an intact, small social group of females. It is big enough and has all necessary equipment. Again, Mr Schilfarth's argument is derived from anti-zoo people.

(3) It is correct that the elephant Gustl had to be separated, but this was because she showed very early a fully developed oestrus, as was checked and confirmed by the IZW (the Institute for Zoo and Wild Animal Research in Berlin), Dr Hildebrandt and Dr Goritz, who made the necessary examinations. Immediately after we got the result we asked Cabarceno to take the cow on a long-term breeding loan, which Cabarceno agreed to. In the mean time Gustl was kept separate, but still had contact with the other elephants through bars and sliding doors. She did try to attack the others, so complete contact within the group was no longer possible.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Hubert Lücker,

Director,

Dresden Zoo,

Tiergartenstrasse 1,

01219 Dresden,

Germany.

Dear Sir,

It's difficult to make sense of the news item on European wolves breeding in Berkshire (I.Z.N. 46:7, p. 447), as it isn't made at all clear whether the correspondent is referring to births in the wild or in confinement – `. . . first time in Britain for 250 years and in England for . . . nearly 700 years. . .' – as most emphatically those at the U.K. Wolf Centre are kept under strictly controlled conditions and by no stretch of the imagination can be said to be `wild'. It's well documented that the last Scottish wolf was killed in the Upper Findhorn Valley, Inverness-shire, in 1743; a persistent and consistent report claims the last English specimen was killed at St Bee's Head, Cumberland, `in the reign of King Henry VIII' (1509–1547); while in Ireland the species is said to have become extinct c. 1780, or perhaps even later.

The European wolf was one of the first large mammals to breed successfully at the embryonic Zoological Society of London, in 1829, and before that had bred on at least one occasion at the Tower of London menagerie. Since then it has consistently reared young in a number of British collections.

On different lines altogether, in his thoughtful appraisal of my guest editorial (I.Z.N. 46:7, p. 425) Christoph Schwitzer comments that I neither produce data to prove my claims nor provide a list of species concerned. These points are easily answered: my data are derived from

personal observation, plus notes compiled at the time, and although I could have made a species list, lack of space precluded the addition of several dozen animal names; I have them here, though.

Herr Schwitzer also notes that I did not refer to the self-sustaining populations of many species currently in confinement – an observation with which I readily agree, for the simple reason that I considered it irrelevant to the subject of the paper, viz. that the majority of species do not require the super-care now afforded them in most institutions. Obviously, and sadly, I failed to make myself clear.

Yours faithfully,

Clinton Keeling,

13 Pound Place,

Shalford,

Guildford,

Surrey GU4 8HH,

U.K.





BOOK REVIEWS

THE SMITHSONIAN BOOK OF NORTH AMERICAN MAMMALS edited by Don E. Wilson and Sue Ruff. Smithsonian Institution Press, 1999. xxvi + 750 pp., hardback. ISBN 1–56098–845–2. £46.95 or US$75.00.

MAMMALS OF THE NEOTROPICS (Vol. 1, The Northern Neotropics: Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana by John F. Eisenberg; Vol. 2, The Southern Cone: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay by Kent H. Redford and John F. Eisenberg; Vol. 3, The Central Neotropics: Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil by John F. Eisenberg and Kent H. Redford). University of Chicago Press. Vol. 1 (1989), x + 449 pp., paperback, ISBN 0–226–19540–6, $45.00 or £31.50; Vol. 2 (1992), ix + 430 pp., paperback, ISBN 0–226–70682–6, $48.00 or £34; Vol. 3 (1999). x + 609 pp., hardback, ISBN 0–226–19541–4, $80.00 or £56.00. (A paperback edition of Vol. 3, ISBN 0–226–19542–2, will be available shortly, price $40.00 or £28.00.)

The two works under review have obvious similarities. Each is a comprehensive, authoritative survey of the mammal fauna of a continent; each will probably be the reference source on its subject for years to come. Speaking personally, I find them both extremely valuable additions to my library. On a close inspection, however, the differences are at least as striking as the resemblances.

The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals is undoubtedly the more `user-friendly' of the two for non-professional readers, and will, I imagine, find a wide sale among amateur as well as professional zoologists with an interest in North America. It contains entries on all the mammals found in Canada and the continental United States – 419 in all, including the 46 cetaceans to be seen in offshore waters. All the entries follow a common format, with a readable species account including information on such aspects as behaviour, diet, habitat, reproduction and development, longevity, and predation, supplemented by notes on size and weight, identification, current status and, where appropriate, alternative common names, recent scientific synonyms, and recognized subspecies with their ranges. A distribution map is provided for each species, and a colour photograph where possible. Surprisingly, 150 years after the invention of the camera, the editors were unable to find photos of an appreciable number of mammals – though perhaps it isn't very surprising, given that the missing ones are mostly small and nocturnal (or, in the case of some cetaceans, large but elusive).

North American Mammals gives all its subjects roughly equal space, with no special favours for charismatic species. Viewed from a zoo standpoint, this produces some odd effects. The bison, about which hundreds of books must have been written, rates just over a page; so, to take one example almost at random, does the Texas kangaroo rat (Dipodomys elator), an uncommon rodent found only in three counties in north-central Texas. But, after all, why not? To the unbiased zoologist, kangaroo rats are just as interesting as bison. This even-handed treatment helps to remind us – if we need reminding – how unrepresentative most zoo collections are. Almost exactly half the species in this book are rodents, and bats and insectivores each account for another ten per cent. The zoo-going public will always want to see plenty of `Noah's Ark' animals, but let's not deceive ourselves that this preference mirrors the real facts of nature.

Books of this kind sometimes ignore zoos altogether, which can occasionally give a distorted picture. North American Mammals gives credit where it is due, pointing out instances where zoo studies shed light on the biology of secretive species such as the margay, and referring to the captive-breeding programmes for, e.g., the red wolf and black-footed ferret. Reference to the latter entries did, however, draw my attention to one minor source of confusion in the book. The distribution maps, the editors state, `give an indication of the general part of North America from which the species is known.' Does this mean its present range, or its historic one? The latter, to judge by the ferret map, which marks the whole prairie belt overlapping the Canadian and Mexican borders, and the red wolf one, showing the entire south-eastern quarter of the U.S.A. Yet other maps seem to depict species' present ranges – the gray wolf, for example, is shown as absent from practically the whole area south of the Canadian border, though the text correctly notes that it was `formerly distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere north of 20° N latitude'. Perhaps a revised edition could adopt a two-tone system to distinguish historic and present ranges where these differ.

This is a small quibble, however. Publishers' blurbs are rather too fond of phrases like `an invaluable reference for general reader and specialist alike'; but this claim on the dust-jacket of The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals seems to me a fair comment. This is a book which goes into sufficient detail to be of use to professionals, yet with its clear layout, profuse colour illustrations, and lucid text it contains nothing beyond the understanding of any intelligent and literate teenager. It represents scientific popularisation at its best.

With Mammals of the Neotropics we enter a rather different intellectual milieu. According to the blurb, this is another `invaluable reference', but – realistically – `for students and professionals' (and not, by implication, for the general reader). With chromosome numbers, detailed tables of body measurements, dental formulas, discussions of alternative taxonomic classifications, diagrams of evolutionary history, and line drawings of skulls and other anatomical features, we are in the world of serious academic zoology. The large, clear distribution maps are integrated with the species entries, but illustrations of the animals are concentrated in each volume into a single section of plates (mostly coloured, but some black-and-white); these are not photos, but extremely attractive drawings or paintings – which are often, in my opinion, preferable to photos for conveying the `jizz' of a species. But no attempt is made to illustrate every mammal included in the text.

Like North American Mammals, these volumes are organised taxonomically, with a chapter devoted to each order. Within this framework, to avoid repetition, material is presented hierarchically, so that information common to all members of an order will be found at the beginning of the chapter, with increasingly specific data presented later under the family, genus and species subheadings. Each volume also has several general chapters on broader topics like ecology, biogeography and evolution. Unfortunately, conservation issues are not directly discussed, nor is each species' current status indicated: thus it would be possible to read the description of, say, the brown howler (Alouatta fusca) without learning that this species is regarded as critically endangered. This seems to me to carry academic objectivity a little too far.

Again, though captive studies are frequently referred to as sources of information (and the authors mention their personal indebtedness to the U.S. National Zoo), the importance of captive-breeding programmes is ignored. For instance, the entry on the golden lion tamarin makes no reference to what must be one of the best-known of all zoo-sponsored conservation and reintroduction programmes. But this is a minor objection: after all, we must remember that zoos are subordinate to zoology, not vice versa. Obviously, zoo people have much to learn from works like this. To take one example, I was interested to read that a fairly extensive analysis of the scats of wild maned wolves indicated that nearly 60 per cent of their food consisted of Solanum lycocarpum fruit. Zoos are beginning to realise that this species is far from exclusively carnivorous; but we might do better to regard it as primarily a frugivore, in whose diet animal protein plays a merely supplementary part!

The authors have little experience in field biology, so Mammals of the Neotropics is based almost entirely on accounts in the literature and unpublished museum records. (Zoo-oriented readers should be warned that when animals are described as being in `collections', this refers to preserved specimens in museums!) Though the work is not intended as a field guide, keys to the smaller marsupials, bats, and rodents are included for use by field mammalogists with a specimen in the hand and without access to reference collections. But the volumes will more often be referred to by zoologists in libraries. After using Mammals of the Neotropics myself for several months, I feel that its main disadvantage arises from the fact that its arrangement follows the political geography of the continent, which seldom, of course, corresponds with zoogeographical divisions. Even in the first two volumes, dealing with the northern and southern ends of South America, there was some overlap in the faunas represented; and Vol. 3 covers an area which borders on the other two, so many – probably most – of its mammal species already have entries in one or both previous volumes. Of the ten South American cats, for example, six appear in all three volumes, and another three in two volumes. (A projected fourth volume, on Mexico and Central America, though welcome, will in this respect further complicate matters!) The species accounts in Vol. 3 are therefore somewhat abbreviated to avoid duplication. Inevitably, some repetition remains, but – to judge from a quick survey – less than might be expected; so it is reasonable to claim that the volumes are complementary. The introduction to Vol. 2 modestly refers to the book as a `progress report'; but what scientific work was ever anything more? Certainly, Mammals of the Neotropics is the fullest account yet published of the neotropical mammals, and a must for the library of any zoo with a number of these animals in its collection.

Nicholas Gould

HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD: Volume 5 – BARN-OWLS TO HUMMINGBIRDS edited by Josep del Hoyo, Andrew Elliott and Jordi Sargatal. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, 1999. 759 pp., 76 colour plates, about 400 colour photos, hardback. ISBN 84–87334–25–3. £110.00 from specialist bookshops or directly from the publishers, Lynx Edicions, Passeig de Gràcia 12, 08007 Barcelona, Spain (Tel: +34–93–301–0777; Fax: +34–93–302–1475; E-mail: lynx@hbw.com; Internet: http://www.hbw.com), postage and packing £6.00 extra. (For prices in other currencies please check with the publishers.)

Nowadays, like, I am sure, most other owners of the five published volumes of the Handbook of the Birds of the World, I have a fairly clear mental concept of the class Aves which divides them into two previously unrecognised sub-classes – those which already have an entry in the Handbook, and those which do not. The value of this project (I originally wrote `projects of this kind', but then realised that there are no other projects of this kind!) is to some extent cumulative – each successive volume adds to the usefulness of all the preceding ones. The more species get the Handbook treatment, the more one begins to regard it as the first place to turn to for ornithological information of all kinds – and the more one misses it when needing information on a family or species not yet covered!

Here, then, is the fifth batch, 747 species (bringing the grand total so far, by my count, to 3,250) comprising owls, nightjars, swifts, hummingbirds, and a number of smaller families from frogmouths to the oilbird (certainly a contender for the title of World's Oddest Bird). As usual, the species information is full and impressively up-to-date. Just to test this, I looked up the Moheli scops owl (Otus moheliensis), first described in 1998. (I don't really want to catch the Handbook out, but it's a reviewer's job to try.) The owl was there, of course, with an entry encapsulating probably all that is yet known about this restricted-range species from one island in the Comoros. The accompanying plate even illustrated two distinct colour morphs.

I mentioned above, in another review, my belief in the superiority of paintings over photos as a guide to identifying or distinguishing species. Where photos are best is in depicting the behaviour of animals, or their life in its environmental context. The Handbook has always scored on both counts, with its big plates showing paintings of up to 30 or more related species, and its lavish use of photos in each general family account. Is it just the pleasure of studying a new volume, or are the photos this time even better than usual? Singling out a few to mention from nearly 400 isn't easy – great dusky swifts clustered like bats on a cliff between two waterfalls; a nighthawk caught in the act of drinking in flight; a grey, flaky branch with a broken stump which turns out on close inspection to be a `freezing' tawny frogmouth; treeswifts, adult and chick, squatting on their minute nest glued to the tip of a branch; several pages of photos illustrating the relationship between the shapes of hummingbirds' bills and the flowers they feed from . . . these are examples chosen literally at random. And in each case the accompanying text is a short essay in itself, so that photo and caption perfectly complement each other, conveying several times more information than either could do on its own.

A feature of growing importance in each successive volume of the Handbook has been the Foreword, in which – rather in the manner of a guest editorial – an independent specialist comments on some aspect of the great subject of birds. This time, Nigel Collar of BirdLife International contributes a lengthy essay on what is today, sadly, perhaps the most important ornithological topic of all – assessing the nature and degree of the threats to the survival of bird species. He includes the current (1994) IUCN criteria and discusses some problems involved in their use. His contribution is appropriate, for BirdLife International (formerly ICBP) has been associated with this project from the outset. The Handbook of the Birds of the World is, among other things, a major contributor to the cause of conservation – both by inspiring its readers with a passion for the wonder, beauty and diversity of birds, and by providing them with the detailed, accurate information without which the struggle to save birds would be directionless and impotent.

Nicholas Gould

DIE GROSSEN MENSCHENAFFEN – DIE NEUE SICHT DER VERHALTENSFORSCHUNG by Volker Sommer. BLV, Munich, 1998. Quarto, 159 pp., 127 colour photographs, 4 maps, hardback. ISBN 3–405–15296–8. DM 59.90 (c. £20 or US$30).

ZOOLOGISCHE EINBLATTDRUCKE UND FLUGSCHRIFTEN VOR 1800, Band (Vol.) 2: VÖGEL, SÄUGETIERE (AFFEN, RAUBTIERE, SCHUPPENTIERE, NAGER, HASENARTIGE) by Ingrid Faust. Anton Hiersemann, Stuttgart, 1999. Folio, vii + 372 pp., 294 illus., hardback. ISBN 3–7772–

9901–4. DM 560.00 (c. £190 or US$280).

Volker Sommer is a specimen of that rare German species, the Volksforscher, the scientist-popularizer. Immaculate scientific credentials and a flair for writing make for solid, reliable, yet entertaining reading. If the subject too is a popular one, a book by Sommer should be a safe bet for any publisher. His new work on the great apes certainly deserves success. And if the good writing and up-to-date résumé of great-ape research is not enough to attract readers, the six score of colour photographs by the Swiss nature photographer Karl Amman will appeal even to those armchair naturalists who don't read German.

It's probably only a question of time before Sommer makes his name in the English-speaking world as he has in Central Europe. A resident of Cambridge since 1996, he is now professor in anthropology and primatology at the University of London. Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Biruté Galdikas are almost as well known in Germany as in Britain and the United States (Galdikas is even German-born), but books on the great apes – orang-utan, gorilla, chimpanzee and bonobo – are still relatively uncommon, and Sommer's is the only one currently in print with an encyclopaedic approach. In addition to a double-page, lexicon-like entry on each of the four great-ape species chock-full of facts and figures and coloured distribution maps, he goes into detail on the natural and cultural history of each of the great apes, concluding his book with a chapter on conservation. Although certainly no animal-rights militant, he does make a final plea for the Great Apes Project.

Sommer is best known for his original research on langurs in South Asia. He has apparently done little if any real field work on any of the great apes, but is obviously very well read and approaches the subject with a primatologist's background. No single chapter or section is devoted specifically to anthropoid apes in zoos, but their behaviour there and breeding successes are recognized in passing. Armchair cryptozoologists will enjoy his six-page discussion of the yeti as an orang-utan – if it's anything at all. Many academic primatologists may think this is a waste of six pages, but Sommer is not writing for them. Any of them who do read his text should find nothing else to quarrel with. In an appendix, Sommer lists books, over half of them in English, which he recommends for further reading. The addresses of research and conservation organizations and societies devoted to great apes, or primates in general, encourage readers to support primatology.

The initiative to publish the book, and for Sommer to write it, was apparently taken by the London- and Kenya-based photographer Karl Amman, who over the last few years has `shot' all four great apes in Central and Western Africa and Indonesia. The only quarrel I would have with the photography is the reproduction. It's a pity that Amman's photographs were printed on such dull and greyish paper. But of course that's probably the only ecologically correct way nowadays to issue such a book.

The publishers Hiersemann have no such qualms, but then they're asking for the equivalent of £190 for Volume 2 of Ingrid Faust's comprehensive catalogue of zoological broadsheets published before 1800. Excellent paper is the least a potential buyer can expect. Volume 1 was reviewed last year in I.Z.N. (46:7, p. 427). This second volume introduces readers and collectors to European and North American broadsheets depicting birds, primates, carnivores, pinnipeds, pangolins, rodents and lagomorphs. Whereas broadsheets of invertebrates and cold-blooded vertebrates illustrated in Volume 1 depicted largely natural phenomena (insect swarms or stranded giant squids, for example), the broadsheets of birds and mammals, especially of the larger animals, frequently advertised individual specimens on show. In 1738, a chimpanzee captured in `Angola' – actually what's now Guinea – was exhibited in Randall's Coffee House in Lombard Street, London, and later in the year at the White Peruke in Charing Cross. Copies of the accompanying broadsheet, published in November 1738, are in the collections of Dr Faust and of the British Library. It's apparently the only broadsheet of an anthropoid ape published before 1800 still known to be in existence. Sommer on page 85 of Die grossen Menschenaffen reminds us that the European term `chimpanzee' was introduced that year. The oldest extant broadsheets of a primate, one in French and the other in German, depict two trained mandrills brought from `India' by a Dutch seaman in 1624 or 1625. Dutch seamen also brought the `Ethiopian savage' from the `East Indies' on exhibit in Holborn Hill, London, in 1784. An advertisement for the show provides the oldest existing broadsheet depicting a lesser ape, a gibbon of some otherwise unidentifiable sort.

The species best represented in Vol. 2 of Zoologische Einblattdrucke is the wolf or feral dog, evidence of the especially close-knit relations between Canis lupus and Homo sapiens. Unlike the broadsheets depicting primates, however, those illustrating wolves are not of animals in captivity but rather of scenes considered particularly newsworthy: a wolf pack attacking a group of children in Klagenfurt in 1556, for example, the hanging of a `werewolf' in Neuses in Bavaria in 1685, and the notorious man-eating `Beast of Gévaudan', of which alone 17 different broadsheets have survived from the 1760s. Cats got into the news largely as freaks: two heads, one body, or two bodies, one head, or one body, one head, one eye, two tails, eight legs (Istanbul, c. 1690). Zoo historians should find the reproductions of the oldest known broadsheets of a common seal (South Germany, c. 1613), a walrus (Amsterdam, 1613) and a cassowary (Holland, c. 1600) in captivity of greater interest. Most, of course, will find the price of the volume prohibitive. The publishers, obviously, are banking on the good financial health of public libraries. They must be reading other newspapers than I am, as most libraries I hear of are finding their budgets strained. But those who can afford Faust's catalogue will not be disappointed by either the scholarship or the quality of reproduction. On this subject, there really is no alternative. Hiersemann, of course, are banking on that as well.

Herman Reichenhach


Information wanted

Type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes, results when the body fails to produce insulin. The onset of the disease can be sudden, and it is fatal unless individuals receive insulin daily. It typically affects children, although it can occur in adults. Type 2 diabetes, also called adult-onset diabetes, occurs when the body develops a resistance to insulin, and can be a chronic illness that may be controlled through diet and exercise. There have been informal accounts of captive great apes with diabetes myelitis. We are interested in conducting a survey of the occurrence of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and its treatment in captive chimpanzees. We plan to publish the results of this survey. If you have diabetic chimpanzees in your care, please let us know. Send pertinent information to: Jo Fritz, Director, Primate Foundation of Arizona, P.O. Box 20027, Mesa, Arizona 85277–0027 or via e-mail to jopfa@uswest.net.

* * * * *

I'm a zoo keeper at Branféré Zoo in France and I'd like to throw some light on the past of this particular zoo and its proprietors. In the 1960s, Paul Jourde and his wife Hélène decided to open the park, but with a concept of freedom for animals. Paul had a lot of contacts among zoo people all around the world and contributed to many conferences in various places. The archivist of the zoo and I would be very interested to get in touch with zoo keepers, curators and directors who knew Paul and his wife, in order to find out more about them and the animals which were exhibited at Branféré Zoo at that time. Please send any information to: Mickaël Michault, 8 rue du couvent, 56190 Muzillac, France.

* * * * *

Martin Vince is surveying flycatcher keepers on behalf of the Flycatcher Interest Group of the AZA Passerine TAG. The group want to collect as much husbandry information as possible from public and private collections. The information will be used to compile a husbandry manual and establish a model population of the verditer flycatcher (Muscicapa thalassina). It is hoped that the model population will help refine husbandry and breeding techniques for this species and, in turn, help establish guidelines for keeping and breeding similar species. If you have experience of keeping flycatchers (including niltavas), you are asked to contact Martin Vince, Assistant Bird Curator, Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Garden, P.O. Box 1060, Columbia, South Carolina 29202–1060, U.S.A. (E-mail: martin@riverbanks.org)





CONSERVATION

`Dead' lemur discovered alive

Sarph, a male black-and-white ruffed lemur, was one of five captive-born animals from Duke University Primate Center released into the Betampona National Reserve in Madagascar in December 1997. His release was part of a re-stocking effort headed by the Madagascar Fauna Group, an international consortium of zoos and related organizations dedicated to saving some of the world's most endangered animals, and headquartered at San Francisco Zoo. Each of the five lemurs wore a radio-collar, which field conservationists used to trace the animals' whereabouts. In December 1998, Sarph disappeared. He had already left the reserve once, but was recaptured and returned. The second time he went missing, the team could not locate him, and the last radio signal was picked up in February 1999. For several weeks after the disappearance, the field team searched the entire reserve and the surrounding area, and thereafter they continued to monitor Sarph's radio frequency. Another member of the original group, a female named Leticia, was killed by a fossa, and the team presumed Sarph had met the same fate.

Then, towards the end of last year, two team members were conducting censusing work in the north-west part of the reserve. The surveys involve having all of the project's conservation agents fan out throughout the reserve, simultaneously recording lemur calls and verifying numbers by finding groups or individuals when the calls are heard. Sarph was found without using any radio signal. He looked in fine condition, and was accompanied by a wild female.

Betampona is one of the very few remaining tracts of lowland rainforest in a region that once housed great biodiversity. The conservation program there encompasses not only the lemur restocking project, but the management of the reserve's natural resources, which include the ruffed lemurs and other endangered species, frogs, fish, lemurs, lizards, insects and plants. Local community education and activities, including job-creation opportunities, encourage sustainability and contribute to the overall long-term protection of the park. One of the key goals is to systematically determine the viability of wild releases of captive-bred lemurs as a conservation strategy in Madagascar, and to reinforce a small, isolated population of black-and-white ruffed lemurs in the reserve. More generally, the release component will serve as a case study in the growing field of research into the biology and effectiveness of population relocation as a means of restoring species.

Approximately 20 ruffed lemurs will be relocated to Betampona over a four-year period. In 1998 four more lemurs were released in addition to the five already relocated. These animals contribute both new individuals and new blood lines to a wild population which numbers only around 35 animals. Praesepe, a female from the original group, was recently spotted tending to a nest high in the trees where she had two offspring. This news, and the discovery of Sarph, alive, thriving and probably contributing to the wild gene pool, is significant.

Abridged from Nancy Chan and Eva Sargent, San Francisco Zoo, in AZA Communiqué (December 1999)

California condor recovery program makes slow but steady progress

Since 1992, when releases began, 88 California condors have been released to the wild in 18 different groups. Release sites have been expanded from the mountainsides of southern California's San Joaquin Valley to the Big Sur coast and the Grand Canyon of Arizona. Older birds are flying hundreds of miles and feeding almost exclusively on their own. Within a year, birds may be released in northern Baja California (Mexico). To non-biologists, the recovery program may seem to be taking an inordinate amount of time; but if there is one thing to be learned by working in endangered species recovery programs, it is that the biology of each species, and the complex, unique way it interacts with its environment, require solutions tailored to individual circumstances. Condors are different from most bird species in that everything about them appears extreme. A scoring continuum known as a species Natural History Strategy uses the symbols `r' and `K' to denote the extremes of the range, where `r' represents species with a rapid rate of population increase. Here, `r-selected' species generally have small body size, breed at a young age, have many young, and invest little in parental care. Their environments are less predictable, and population size may vary dramatically from year to year. Species such as quail, small birds of prey, and songbirds can quickly rebound in population size after a year of low population survivorship. A `K-selected' species, such as condors, large eagles and cranes, shows opposite features. They have evolved around a niche requiring a relatively stable environment. The condors' slow reproduction rate of one chick every two years in nature, and slow maturity rate, taking five to six years before sexual maturity is reached, also dictate that any program relying on the production of large numbers of birds will take time.

We are fortunate in the several positive attributes the species brings to the program. A California condor has a long life-span of 50 to 60 years. It is a large, hardy species that presents few traumatic injuries in captivity and is extremely resistant to disease, most likely due to the natural selective pressures found around the rich pathogenic environment of its carrion food. A highly social species, it is very flexible in its behavior. Still, it took the San Diego Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES) and other researchers a decade to sort out how best to raise condors, continually readjusting rearing environments to maximize reproduction in captivity.

In the two decades since we first began building a captive-breeding program in 1982, the species' total population has grown from its all-time low of fewer than 30 birds in 1984 to more than 160 today. While saving the species from extinction has been no small accomplishment, it represents only the first stage toward our overall goals of establishing at least two separate, healthy populations in the wild, each of 150 or more birds. The captive flock should number at least 150 as well, for a total of 450 birds in the overall population. Based on models that calculate current and future breeding rates, this level should be reached some time between 2015 and 2020. At that point, the species will be downlisted from endangered to threatened, but may never be removed from the threatened list, always needing some degree of management.

While the breeding program has gone exceedingly well, the process of establishing condors in their former range is taking longer than hoped. The social nature of the species makes studying them more like working with social mammal carnivores or primates. Young wild condors normally rely for years on their parents and other adults to learn how to forage collectively, what to feed on, where to roost and find safe water sources. Because we supplement released condors with food at the release site, the subsidy allows them time to gradually learn most of these basics, although not without some degree of confusion in the process.

In 1992, enough reproduction had taken place at San Diego and Los Angeles Zoos to allow us to consider the release of condors to the wild. Only two California condors were available for release that first year. Along with two young Andean condors, to round out the group socially, they were released without incident. Of 13 Andeans released in California as a test over a three-year period, only one died, by colliding with a power line. In contrast, of the first 13 California condors released later in the same area over only a two-year period, four were lost to power line collisions and one to ethylene glycol (antifreeze) poisoning. While the death from antifreeze appears to be a rare incident, the collision cases were disturbing. Mortality rates that high would greatly diminish the possibility of success. So in 1995 we began an aversion training experiment at Los Angeles Zoo to test the possibility of dissuading newly-released birds from using power pole crossarms as day perches and night-time roosts, which they had all become accustomed to do as they flew into new habitats. Instead of sending fledgling birds to the release pens in the wild, we allowed them to learn to fly in large aviaries at the zoo. The pens contained several natural perches, as well as a single mock power pole that gave a mild but uncomfortable electric shock when any condor attempted to perch on it. Time-lapse cameras monitored the birds and found that after from one to six attempts, they stopped trying to use the `power pole' as a perch. So far all condors released to the wild after receiving this Pavlovian type of conditioning have avoided landing on power poles in their habitat, regardless of the pole's design. Subsequently released birds appear to be learning from the birds that had direct experience with the mock pole. As hoped, this mortality factor has been reduced, and we have lost only one condor to power lines since 1995.

Condors as scavengers are innately curious: any activity on the landscape should be noted because it may indicate the availability of food. As naive condors begin flying greater distances, they invariably encounter people camping, hiking, or mountain biking. Most interactions with people today are not negative, with people approaching the birds to get a closer look or take a photo. Without adult condor guidance, a group of naive condors is as brave as the most daring individual in the group, and this can lead them into trouble – they have been known to approach closely to campers, land on rooftops, and even enter buildings [see I.Z.N. 46:7, p. 446 – Ed.]. Attempts to dissuade the birds by chasing them from the areas, once bad behavior is observed in the wild, have been largely ineffective. While this behavior is exhibited only 5 to 10 percent of the time, it has led us once again to aversion training during the rearing process and prior to release.

Although effective in the zoo setting, the process of making birds wary of people is difficult training to maintain in the wild. We have also noted that parent-reared birds seem to be more innately wary than birds we have reared in groups, using puppets to feed them. Experiments have been initiated this season that adjust our rearing techniques so that puppet-reared chicks experience an environment that is more like that of parent-reared birds, and this seems to be producing better results. We also observe that while young captive birds are intensely curious about their environment and test everything, they become less inquisitive as they mature. At ages five and six, they appear to focus more on what other pairs are doing and begin defending nesting territory. We hope that the released birds will behave in a similar way as they reach maturity, like wild condors of the past. Just as we have had to work through many problems with incubation and captive husbandry, we must be ready to modify the way we manage releases in order to produce condors better suited to life in the wild. While the process to save the California condor seems long, recovery can only unfold at the rate dictated by the species. Step by slow step, we are coming closer to our recovery goals, and within the next few years, we should see condors raising their own young in the wild.

Abridged from Michael Wallace in CRES Report (Winter 1999)

White rhinos sent to Australasia

On 18 October 1999, twelve (3.9) southern white rhinoceros were loaded aboard a chartered Boeing 747 freighter in Johannesburg, South Africa, and flown to Singapore, where they were transferred to the regular weekly freighters flying to Australia and New Zealand. In the evening of 19 October the animals were off-loaded at their ports of final destination (Melbourne, Perth and Auckland) and taken to quarantined facilities at Victoria's Open Range Zoo (1.3), Perth Zoo (0.2), Auckland Zoo (1.2) and

Hamilton Zoo (1.2). This transfer, under an agreement between the four zoos and South African National Parks, represents one of the largest cooperative animal acquisition projects ever undertaken in the Australasian zoo community. Some five years in planning and execution, the project was conceived under the ARAZPA Perissodactyl TAG, to support the CBSG's Global Captive Action Plan (GCAP) for rhinoceros species. The architect of the GCAP is Tom Foose, who also plays critically important roles in developing and facilitating many of the plan's component projects. The original conception of an Australasian contribution to the GCAP was promoted as early as 1992, when Paul Garland, then director of the Orana Park Wildlife Trust, participated in a key GCAP meeting in London.

The white rhino has staged a remarkable recovery within South Africa from near-extinction at the end of the last century to around 11,000 animals today. This has been largely due to the intensive efforts, particularly in the last three decades, of South African National Parks and the provincial Natal Parks Board. The species remains `conservation dependent' and the captive populations outside South Africa have never achieved viability either regionally or globally. A key objective of the GCAP is to establish a globally viable zoo population of southern white rhinos as insurance against the sort of catastrophic loss suffered by the black rhinoceros in the wild.

Peter Stroud in ARAZPA Newsletter No. 44 (November 1999)





INTERNATIONAL ZOO NEWS

Belfast Zoo, U.K.

Considerable efforts have been made to establish the François's langur (Trachypithecus f. francoisi) at the zoo. A number of animals have been imported from breeding groups at Osaka and Nagoya Zoos (Japan) and from Guangzhou and Shanghai Zoos (China) since 1994. In August 1999, two young were born in a group of 1.3 adults at Belfast. The first, a female, was removed for hand-rearing as her inexperienced mother showed no interest in the infant, and was clearly exhausted following the birth. The hand-rearing effort is proceeding well, and the baby is gradually being introduced to the breeding group. The second infant, a male, was born to a female from Osaka. The mother and infant were separated from the main group for ten days following the birth, as both other females in the group took the baby and refused to give it back to the mother. The mother and baby have now been reinstated in the group and the infant is doing well. These births represent a first for this species at Belfast Zoo, and only the second and third births in Europe.

Mark Challis in EAZA News No. 28 (October–December 1999)

Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

Brookfield opened its Salt Creek Wilderness exhibit on 14 August 1999. This outdoor experience provides an enjoyable and dynamic immersion adventure for guests, and also raises awareness about the importance of protecting local species and natural habitats. The exhibit includes the zoo's existing Indian Lake, a nature trail and a new demonstration wetland exhibit called `Dragonfly Marsh'. Dragonfly Marsh was planned to provide wildlife habitat, to improve water quality in Indian Lake, and to serve educational and research purposes. It is thought that thousands of years ago the site may have been a natural wetland, but restoring it was far from simple. Scientists and engineers were called in to determine if the hydrology, soils, structure, and plant materials at the site could support the desired functions.

Soil scientists looked for the physical and chemical properties of a wetland's special `hydric' soils, to find whether this site had the capacity to support wetland plants, and whether the soil would hold water for an adequate period of time and support biological processes. Their initial investigation revealed the presence of these special soils. Other undisturbed soils also indicated past prairie-woodland, which was good news since the outer zones of the wetland also need to support these kinds of plants. However, part of the site had been altered by fill dumped from construction sites around the zoo. Tall ridges and mounds of soil had cut off the natural watershed and probably reduced the movement of groundwater. These soils had to be removed.

Water is the next crucial ingredient in a wetland – how much is available, when it becomes available, and how it moves through the wetland will determine the kinds of plants the wetland will support. At Dragonfly Marsh, investigators discovered that the hydrology was highly disturbed. To compensate, engineers developed a way to artificially move water through the site, allowing it to support the desired plant communities. The system combines pumped water, deep pools, and a small levee with a water-control structure. The water for the wetland is pumped from the adjacent Indian Lake into the deep pools at a higher elevation than the lake, and then seeps into the ground, heading back downhill. This provides a continuous source of groundwater flow through the wetland back into the lake. A levee and water-control structure provide the means (along with pumping) to flood different areas of the wetland, recreating the effect of seasonal flooding that occurred naturally before the watershed was cut off.

Plants for Dragonfly Marsh were selected based on the educational, research, and wildlife-support goals for the wetland, the water supply and quality, water depth, soil types, length of growing season, and water flowing characteristics. To provide the desired variety of plant communities, deep water, emergent, sedge, and wet prairie zones were created. Since the hydrology of the site was highly disturbed, the soils primarily determined the placement of the different zones. Together, the soil, the water, and the plants in this recreated wetland represent an accurate and sustainable image of the types of wetlands common to northern Illinois – an image vital to the educational goals of Brookfield Zoo.

Extracts from Wetlands, a special publication from the Chicago Zoological Society

Healesville Sanctuary, Victoria, Australia

The dingo (Canis familiaris dingo) is a relative newcomer to Australia, having arrived between 3,000 and 5,000 years ago. It is believed to be a descendant of the Indian wolf (Canis lupus pallipes). Dingoes weigh from 15 to 24 kg, with the females smaller than the males. They rarely bark, but have many vocalisations including long, piercing howls. They are found throughout mainland Australia in a variety of habitats, including alpine forests, deserts, coastal scrub and tropical rainforests. A dingo's territory typically features rocky outcrops, caves, hollow logs or patches of dense vegetation that make suitable den sites. The availability of prey often determines the size of an animal's territory. In sparsely vegetated regions a territory may be more than 100 km2 while in dense forest it may be less than 10 km2. The dingo is believed to be common throughout mainland Australia. In some areas it is trapped and poisoned because it preys on sheep and cattle, while in other regions, such as the Victorian Alps, it is protected. Interbreeding with domestic and feral dogs threatens the dingo subspecies. Indeed, it is difficult to distinguish pure dingoes from hybrids, resulting in uncertainty in identification of the dingo's status.

Unlike domestic dogs, the dingo breeds only once a year. Mating is most common between March and September. After a gestation period of 63 days the female gives birth to between two and 12 pups, the average being six, whom she suckles until they are weaned at four months of age. The diet varies according to the availability of prey, but may include wallabies, kangaroos, possums, wombats, lizards, insects and birds, as well as feral mammals such as pigs, goats and rabbits. The dingo usually hunts alone, but will occasionally form packs to chase large prey. At Healesville they are fed a variety of meat including rabbit, chicken, beef and rat, as well as cheese, eggs and vitamin supplements.

We currently have three pairs of adult alpine dingoes at the Sanctuary. Two pairs are over ten years old, and the newest less than four. Our exhibits have been landscaped with local plants for about three years, and the enclosures are well equipped for behavioural enrichment. (In the early stages of planting, an 11-year-old female, Calka, enjoyed jumping and swinging sideways from some of the casuarinas using her mouth.) Large holding pens behind the display enclosures provide the animals with more space at night and are interesting for them as they are somewhat different to their daytime areas. The day enclosures wouldn't maintain their growth if the animals had overnight access.

We had tried breeding with our older pairs but had encountered infertility problems. In 1999, however, our youngest pair, Harry and Opal, produced six puppies in May. Our dingoes are walked on the public pathway between 1.00 and 3.00 p.m., and visitors are able to see or meet them, depending on the pairs and the suitability of animal contact. Visitors really enjoy meeting them, and they are a particular hit with school children and tourists. We are very proud of our dingoes, and require them to meet a large number of people and deal with distractions such as trucks and machinery. We are planning to retain a single pair of the pups, and a complex training routine has been established for these two. Like the adults, they are expected to respond well to a great deal of attention from the public, so they are taught to heel, sit, stay and come. We also expect them to react well under pressure and, for this reason, we are introducing them to as many new objects and noises as possible. So far, they are responding brilliantly.

Abridged from Kate Miller, Tully Sprake and Jo Downey in Zoo News Vol. 19, No. 4 (December 1999)

Indianapolis Zoo, Indiana, U.S.A.

Since 1989, the zoo has been researching African elephant behavior and reproduction in the hope that we may aid in the long-term survival of both captive and wild populations of elephants. This ties directly with several of the goals of the AZA Elephant SSP: (1) to create a self-sustaining captive population of elephants in North America; (2) to educate our visitors and the general public about these animals and engender respect for them; and (3) through education, to encourage conservation of habitat and species.

Reproductively, African elephants have not fared well in captivity in North America. Currently, we have an aging population of females, few males, and even fewer proven males. In the last 14 years, none of the few calves born in the captive population have survived beyond a year of age. In the entire history of African elephants in North America, fewer than 25 calves have been born, with only half of them surviving to a year of age. In the last 14 years, there have been only nine confirmed pregnancies, from which no calves survived, and two pregnancies are still pending.

The recent birth of a female calf at Pittsburgh Zoo [see I.Z.N. 46:8, p. 509] gives hope that the zoos currently trying to breed African elephants in the U.S.A. may find further success. This pregnancy resulted from a natural mating between the cow and a resident bull. Although natural breeding is more desirable, the lack of males in North America and the expense and logistical difficulties in transporting females to these males makes the development of a successful assisted reproduction protocol vital to the survival of the species.

Indianapolis Zoo has had extraordinary success with research in the area of assisted reproduction of African elephants, with the result that two of our five females are now pregnant by artificial insemination, with calves due in the year 2000 – the first African elephants successfully impregnated by this method. In addition, there is one Asian elephant also successfully impregnated by AI [at Dickerson Park Zoo, Missouri (see I.Z.N. 45:6, p. 393) – Ed.]. The reproductive physiology of the five female African elephants in Indianapolis has been studied in depth over the last decade through a cooperative effort between the zoo and a number of other institutions. Through studies of the hormones progesterone and LH (luteinizing hormone), and following reproductive tract changes via ultrasound, the team members were able to determine the correct time to try to inseminate the females with sperm collected from among the few reproductively viable male elephants available. Combined with the technique developed for the artificial insemination procedure [see I.Z.N. 45:7, pp. 450–451] and the superb training of our elephants, these developments led to the pregnancies of Kubwa (due March 2000) and Ivory (due September 2000).

Kubwa, now aged 23, was successfully impregnated by AI in May 1998. The semen for the procedure came from Dale, a 20-year-old bull at Kansas City Zoo. Ivory was impregnated the following October with semen from a 14-year-old bull at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The success of the procedure gives hope that a part of the answer to ensuring a continued captive population of African elephants is at hand.

Abridged from Debbie Olson and Judith Gagen in AZA Communiqué (November 1999)

Inokashira Park Zoo, Tokyo, Japan

The zoo began keeping common kingfishers (Alcedo atthis) in an outdoor cage in 1997. An artificial river bank 2 m wide, 1 m high and 1.3 m deep was built at the back of the cage, and three nest-boxes were placed in it.

On 11 April 1999, an egg was found in the water of the pond. It had fallen from a burrow constructed by the birds. It was then realised that the nest-boxes were a hindrance, so they were quickly removed. Unimpeded by nest-boxes, the birds began to dig new burrows on 18 April, working in five different places. In about one week a suitable burrow was ready, and about a week later it appeared that eggs had been laid. On 21 May the male began to carry fish into the burrow, and it was presumed that the eggs had hatched. Three chicks emerged from the nest, but two had deformed feet and soon died. The remaining chick was healthy. During the nesting period, the female laid another clutch of eggs and brooded them, so that the male had to care for the first batch of hatchlings by himself. At times he would carry a fish into the nest, but instead of giving it to the chicks, he would attempt to lead them to the pond. In this way he appeared to be teaching the chicks the connection between the fish and the pond. He also demonstrated diving with the chicks looking on. Seven days after leaving the nest the healthy chick caught its first fish. From then on the male stopped caring for the chick, and after the 17th day he would drive it away when it approached. For this reason the chick was separated from the parents.

In all this year five breeding attempts were observed, including the one at the beginning of April. The third clutch of eggs was eaten by a snake, and so was the fourth batch of chicks. The fifth clutch hatched on 20 August, but the male refused to feed them, and himself began to beg food from the female. In spite of feeding attempts by the female, the chicks all died on the 18th day after hatching.

English summary of article in Japanese by Takashi Kimura, published in Animals and Zoos Vol. 51, No. 11 (November 1999)

`La Torbiera' Zoological Park, Agrate Conturbia, Italy

Highlights of 1999 at `La Torbiera' were the successful rearing of eight European mink and the birth of our first Philippine spotted deer (Cervus alfredi), both firsts for Italy. Both species are closely linked to in situ conservation projects supported by `La Torbiera' Zoological Society.

Last year also marked the return of tigers to the park after some years of absence. The young Siberian male Xiper was received from Prague in September, and a female is expected during 2000. In November two snow leopards born in April and their mother Thay were integrated with the father, Timor, without any problem. In December a female Pallas's cat arrived from Vienna. An exhibit for European mink was completed in December to house three young born in 1998. At the end of 1999 `La Torbiera' held 70 species of bird and 28 of mammal.

Spartaco Gippoliti

Orana Wildlife Park, Christchurch, New Zealand

Nearly 15 years of work came to fruition with the birth of a male white rhinoceros calf at the park in August 1999. As both the mother, Utani, and the father, Cyrano, are captive-born and only 8% of captive-born animals breed, park staff are very excited about the birth. Utani gave birth in the paddock just as one of the worst storms of the winter was about to hit Christchurch. The birth was very quick, with the calf on the ground by the time staff reached her, after they realised labour was under way. Utani's maternal instincts proved good and she had nudged the calf to its feet within the hour. Because of the imminent storm, keepers intervened to take the calf into the shelter of the prepared boma. The mother required no encouragement to follow the truck carrying him and they were reunited inside.

Utani proved to be a capable mother in all respects, and staff adopted a policy of leaving her to get on with it. The calf gained weight at an estimated rate of 4.5 kg per day. The pair were kept in the boma for a fortnight, checked at regular intervals and shielded from too much attention, to allow them to bond. At two weeks, the calf was introduced to the media and the pair coped with such aplomb that it was decided that mother and son could go on display the following week. Orana Park has 4.2 white rhinos, and it is hoped that having a calf in the herd will stimulate the other female to breed.

Shirley Diver in ARAZPA Newsletter No. 44 (November 1999)

Riverbanks Zoological Park, Columbia, South Carolina, U.S.A.

The following births and hatchings took place during the period October to December 1999: 3 toco toucan, 22 Henkel's leaf-tailed gecko, 4 giant leaf-tailed gecko, 1 crocodile skink, 7 yellow-banded poison-arrow frog.

The following were acquired: 2.0.1 hellbender, 1 Abyssinian ground hornbill, 1.0 pink-backed pelican, 3.0 golden-breasted starling, 2.1 Fea's white-headed viper, 1.1 Indochinese box turtle, 1.1 Pan's box turtle, 1 Everglades pygmy sunfish, 30 yellowtail snapper, 2 painted greenling, 2 China rock fish, 1 harlequin tuskfish, 1 lionfish, 1 Picasso trigger, 1.1 clownfish, 1 emerald serpent star, 10 lookdown, 1 summer flounder.

Alan H. Shoemaker

Collection Manager

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

Termite mounds rise from the ground in River's Edge, the zoo's newest attraction. The mounds have been naturalistically created and are actually in two separate exhibits, one housing cheetahs and the other, nearest to the walkway, a pack of dwarf mongooses (Helogale parvula). This nearer mound is more than a display enhancement – it actually provides shelter for the mongooses.

The dwarf mongoose is the smallest of the mongoose family and the most social. Unlike most small carnivores, it lives in cohesive groups. Among larger social carnivores, hunting is probably the main reason for communal living. By hunting in packs, they kill more frequently, take bigger prey, and are able to keep other predators from stealing their kills more effectively than can a single individual. Yet the dwarf mongoose exhibits little teamwork in finding and killing its prey. Rather, its colonial behavior has the important benefit of defense against predators. Pack members take turns scanning the habitat's environs for danger from elevated areas such as the tops of termite mounds that house the colony. While not on sentry duty, a mongoose can forage or rest in relative security. The sentry sounds a loud call if an eagle or jackal is spied, resulting in a scramble for cover by the other mongooses. Bonds between pack members are strong, and sick and dying members are fed and cared for.

In dwarf mongoose society the successful breeders are the alpha pair that dominate all other group members. They are usually the oldest members of the pack. Besides the breeding pair, a pack typically includes subordinate adults, yearlings and juveniles. Most groups number between six and 12 individuals, but some have been documented with populations of more than 20. The tenure of an alpha pair may last for many years. The female leads the pack, while the male is the most alert for danger and intrusions by predators or rival packs. The other members feed, play with and care for the offspring, freeing the mother for the extra feeding time she needs to keep producing milk.

Abridged from Maryann Weiss in Zudus Vol. 14, No. 1 (January/February 2000)

Sea World, Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia

The male dugong rescued last November [see I.Z.N. 46:3, p. 181] has reached 101.5 kg and is set to be moved to his third pool since arriving at Sea World for rehabilitation. This pool was kindly donated by Clark Rubber and holds 55,000 litres of salt water. The animal's future was the subject of discussion during a meeting involving the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, dugong experts from the University of Queensland and James Cook University, the Humane Society International, and representatives from the zoological and aquarium industries. His future eventually involves, if feasible, release back into Queensland waters. This would only occur after a time in a sea pen in the shallow waters of Moreton Bay, where he will experience tides and currents, and learn how to feed for himself. The beginning of this process is at least 12 months away and further discussions will be held to determine the exact process.

Marnie Horton in ARAZPA Newsletter No. 44 (November 1999)

Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, Kansas, U.S.A.

Two thousand Puerto Rican crested toads (Peltophryne lemur) were hatched at the zoo in spring 1999 and 5,000 more in the fall. This year's successes are a first for Sedgwick County, which is only the fourth zoo to have bred the species. Twenty animals are being maintained at the zoo as additions to the captive component of this animal's SSP. All the other tadpoles were shipped to Puerto Rico for release. In fall of 1998, senior zookeeper Eli Bryant-Cavazos participated in the construction of a satellite pond in Guanica State Forest, Puerto Rico, in which our tadpoles were released. The adult toads had been cycled through a cool season, introduced to rain chambers, and injected with lutenizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH). The spring tadpoles – one large clutch and a second, much smaller one – resulted from two successful pairings. The fall tadpoles also resulted from two successful pairings.

The zoo is also proud to announce the successful hatching of a Russian cobra (Naja oxiana). This is the first recorded hatching of this species in a North American zoo. One fertile egg and nine `slugs' were laid on 8 June 1999. This was the first reproductive event for both parents. Tail wrapping had not been observed since 3 June 1998. The male was separated from the two females for one week each month. A rainy season was provided from October through March, resulting in a slight cooling of ambient temperature. Basking temperature was set at approximately 95° F (35° C). The egg weighed 16 g and was incubated at 82° F (28° C) in a 1:1 vermiculite:water medium. Incubation time was 55 days.

AZA Communiqué (December 1999)

Tallinn Zoo, Estonia

In 1999 the most important occasion for the zoo was the opening of the new tropical house. As its construction had taken five years, it was a long-expected event. This new facility is not in fact a separate building. For ten years after the Moscow Olympic Games, when Estonia was still part of the Soviet Union, it was not permitted in our republic to start any sports or cultural construction. At the zoo, the former military storehouses temporarily adapted for animal keeping were rapidly decaying, and our plan to build a great number of new facilities failed. When Estonia became independent in 1991, the city had no resources to make investments in the zoo, and only urgently needed repairs could be carried out. The display of fish, amphibians and reptiles was in the worst state. So a risky decision was made to demolish the most dilapidated part of the old building and construct an extension to it, a small tropical house which would meet modern needs. At the start we had only one-fourth of the necessary funds, donated by sponsors, but the building company EKVA was ready to manage the project regardless of likely breaks in the work. After a few chimpanzees were confiscated from sailors, we had to make changes to the plans, as we had no suitable accommodation for these animals. By the end of 1997, after three years of work with longer or shorter intervals, a third of the project was completed. Although the financial situation of the city had slightly improved, we could not expect that it would cover all construction costs during the two years that were left until our 60th anniversary. But thanks to an active campaign by the Friends of the Tallinn Zoo, a positive decision was achieved and we got the missing resources by instalments from the state budget.

Now the new tropical house is open, and although it still needs some adjustment, we hope that soon other new, up-to-date structures will follow. Despite the confined space, our long-time architect Rein Kersten has succeeded in creating a functional and well-proportioned facility. The new 8.35 m high building of sandwich-type metal panels is linked to the lower original structure and has a sloping roof of multi-wall polycarbonate glazing sheets. The relatively steep pitch of the roof makes snow removal easier in our cold winters. We hope the expensive roofing will be compensated for by savings in future heating costs. To make use of the space under the sloping roof, a gallery with showcase-type glass cages was built. From the gallery visitors can get a panoramic view of the main floor. The building covers an area of 700 m2 and is divided into three rooms separated by glass walls and having different automatically controlled humidities and temperatures. In the richly-vegetated main room and the gallery the humidity is 100% and the temperature 30° C. In the room for the chimpanzees the humidity and temperature are somewhat lower, and the room for Chinese alligators has the lowest settings.

The main purpose of the exhibit is to introduce some life-forms of the rainforests to our visitors, who are accustomed to our severe northern climate and, because of Estonia's present economic situation, have hardly any chance of visiting the tropics or seeing similar exhibits in other countries.

In the main hall there are three enclosures with pools for the crocodilians, represented by salt-water and dwarf crocodiles. The floor in the enclosures is partly heated. As we are going to keep butterflies in this hall, we will not have free-flying birds there: the birds, as well as the marmosets and tamarins, reptiles and amphibians, will be exhibited in glass cages. Four cages in the gallery are partitioned off and destined for nocturnally active species to be exhibited in reversed day and night conditions. At present the chimpanzees can be let out into an outdoor cage of 40 m2, but next year a new, larger enclosure will be built; visitors will then be able to view the apes across a water-filled moat or from a gallery above the enclosure.

Abridged from Mati Kaal in Tallinn Zoo's calendar for the year 2000

Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, Germany

On 25 September 1999 the most extensive building operations in the park's history came to an end. Outdoor enclosures for musk oxen and Mishmi takins, a large cattle house with outdoor enclosures for gayals, Nellore zebus, dwarf zebus and Ankole cattle, as well as two log cabins with four outdoor enclosures for deer covered an area of 3.8 ha. The latter accommodate our breeding groups of Persian fallow deer, barasinghas, Burmese brow-antlered deer, and a new group of hog deer which we got from the breeding group at Dresden Zoo. The total cost of this complex, borne by a German lottery foundation, amounted to DM 5.5 million.

Dr Bernhard Blaszkiewitz

Toledo Zoo, Ohio, U.S.A.

The zoo's newest exhibit, the Arctic Encounter, was unveiled on 7 January 2000. This exhibit is the largest ever in the zoo's 100 years, and will feature not only underwater viewing of polar bears and seals, but also an extensive interpretive area about life at the `top of the world'.

The polar bear exhibit in Arctic Encounter features a land area of 6,000 square feet (560 m2) with a 1,600 square foot (150 m2) pool twelve feet (3.65 m) deep. The harbor and grey seals will enjoy a 4,000 square foot (370 m2) land exhibit and a 3,000 square foot (280 m2) pool eight to 12 feet (2.45–3.65 m) deep and holding 210,000 gallons (nearly 800,000 liters) of chilled salt water. The polar bear exhibit also features a freshwater stream that will be sporadically stocked with fish. There are seven saltwater streams and two waterfalls in the exhibits, as well as many other natural features designed to make the residents feel at home.

Zoo visitors can also enjoy the interactive area, which features a `kids' cave' that simulates a polar bear den, with nose-to-nose viewing for bears and visitors, and a temperature gauge for comparing indoor and outdoor temperatures. Visitors will be able to test their survival skills on an imaginary journey through the Arctic. The Arctic Encounter also includes several off-exhibit areas for its residents, including the `dig zone' – 2,500 square feet (230 m2) of natural substrate for the bears to play in.

Toledo Zoo press release

News in Brief

San Antonio Zoo, Texas, U.S.A., has successfully bred fifth-generation Lake Victoria cichlid Platytaeniodus degeni, designated a priority species by the AZA Freshwater Fish TAG in 1998. At the time, San Antonio was the only U.S. zoo holding this species. By the end of July 1999, the zoo had propagated 174 fifth-generation fry, and has since begun to distribute the offspring to other institutions.

AZA Communiqué (October 1999)

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An Andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus) chick has been hatched at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge, U.K., the first to be hatched there since 1987. Slimbridge, the only collection to breed this species, has a flock of 38 and believes this latest success may be the result of raising the water level, which produced more mud for nest-building. At the time of writing, three other eggs were still being incubated.

Avicultural Magazine Vol. 105, No. 2

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In April 1999, a male Arabian oryx was born at the Tisch Family Zoo in Jerusalem, Israel. This is the first calf of a three-year-old pair from Hai-Bar Reserve in the Negev. The species once ranged the southern deserts of Israel and is now being reintroduced to the Arava Valley by the Israeli Nature Reserve Authority. Several dozen animals have been successfully reintroduced during the past three years. The primary goals of this zoo – also known as the `Biblical Zoo' – are to breed, exhibit and reintroduce indigenous fauna as appropriate. In addition to serving an educational function, its naturalistic oryx enclosure holds a backup population for future reintroductions.

Abridged from Shmulik Yedvab in EAZA News No. 28 (October–December 1999)

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On 27 August, a female black duiker (Cephalophus niger) was born at Los Angeles Zoo, California, U.S.A. This calf is the 16th successful birth of black duiker at the zoo since the staff began working with the species in 1989. A male red-flanked duiker (C. rufilatus) was born on 6 September. This represented the 34th birth of this species at the zoo. Both calves are being hand-reared.

AZA Communiqué (November 1999)

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Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, U.K., reports the successful parent-rearing of a scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber) chick hatched on 5 September 1999. Although parent-rearing has been reported before, the bird keepers believe this is rather unusual as the zoo has a very small flock with only two breeding pairs. They would be interested to hear from other zoos on this subject.

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On 30 October a fire destroyed the four-year-old Ocean City Aquarium in New Jersey, U.S.A. More than 60 reptiles and 100 fish died. The survivors, many of whom were rescued by firefighters, included 20 turtles, 12 alligators and crocodiles, three boa constrictors, two pythons and a moray eel.

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The first striped possum (Dactylopsila trivirgata) to be bred in captivity was given its first outing on 22 September at London Zoo, U.K. The arrival of the female infant was a pleasant surprise for the keepers, who had been trying since 1996 to get her parents to mate. Information learned from the birth could now help to save the species, whose natural habitat in northern Australia and New Guinea is under threat. [Striped possums, who are largely insectivorous, share with the aye-aye the feature of an extremely long finger for extracting insects from deep crevices – a nice example of convergent evolution. – Ed.]

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Bristol Zoo, U.K., is helping people to cope with their fear of spiders by running spider phobia courses. A three-and-a-half-hour session includes presentations by zoo staff, group discussion, relaxation, hypnotherapy and an optional meeting with some real spiders, ranging from the large Mexican red-kneed tarantula through to British house spiders. The courses have been running for two years with great success – many people attend who are very frightened of spiders, but by the end of the session can calmly pass a spider around in a pot, even taking time for a close look.

Bristol Zoo press release

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Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Ohio, U.S.A., announced its first birth of a single, male pacarana (Dinomys branickii) on 2 August 1999. This little-known South American forest rodent is listed as Endangered, and births in captivity are rare. The baby is being parent-reared in a mixed-species exhibit with two-toed sloths and squirrel monkeys.

AZA Communiqué (December 1999)

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The giant panda Hsing Hsing was put to sleep at the U.S. National Zoo, Washington, D.C., on 28 November 1999. He was suffering from incurable kidney disease and other ailments linked to his age, 28, which is well beyond the normal life expectancy for the species. With Hsing Hsing's death, there are now five giant pandas in U.S. zoos, three at San Diego and two who arrived recently at Zoo Atlanta, where they will stay for a ten-year research project [see I.Z.N. 46:2, p. 123].y





RECENT ARTICLES

Bailey, T., and Anderson, S.: Commonly encountered hatching and post-hatching problems in bustards. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 105, No. 3 (1999), pp. 114–126. [National Avian Research Center, Abu Dhabi. Houbara (Chlamydotis undulata), kori (Ardeotis kori), rufous-crested (Eupodotis ruficrista) and white-bellied (E. senegalensis) bustards.]

Baker, W.K.: Are there different types of tactics and equipment that can be utilized for different animals in a crisis? Part 3. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 26, No. 10 (1999), pp. 393–394. [Primates.]

Baker, W.K.: Are there different types of tactics and equipment that can be utilized for different animals in a crisis? Part 4. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 26, No. 11 (1999), pp. 434–435. [Carnivores.]

Baker, W.K.: Are there different types of tactics and equipment that can be utilized for different animals in a crisis? Part 5. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 26, No. 12 (1999), pp. 471–472. [Hoofstock and megaherbivores.]

Bakker, R.: De bonobo's van Apenheul. (Apenheul's bonobos.) De Harpij Vol. 18, No. 4 (1999), pp. 2–6. [Dutch, with English summary. A relatively new bonobo exhibit in Apenheul has two inside enclosures visible to the public, one of 70 m2 and 6 m in height, the other of 25 m2 and 3 m high. Two more inside enclosures, also 25 m2 and 3 m high, are a storey lower than the first two, somewhat resembling different zones in a tree. These enclosures and an outside 4,000 m2 island are variously furnished with chestnut wood poles, ledges, ropes, a jungle-gym and a net. Two 6 m2 enclosures are also present for separation of individuals as necessary. A biosubstrate, consisting of 50-cm tree bark overlaying a drainage system, is used in the indoor enclosures. It is easy to clean, soft and springy and will last for years. A group of 12 (5.7) bonobos now inhabits the enclosure, 1.1 of whom were born in the group. The first bonobos to arrive, 2.0, were placed in the enclosure on 24 May 1997. A female was introduced on 2 July 1997, and another female on 26 February 1998. A group of 1.3 bonobos from Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) arrived on 3 March 1998. An introduction of the entire group (then 4.6), carried out in subgroups on 11 March 1998, took only two-and-a-half hours and proceeded without aggression, while a great amount of sexual activity and grooming took place. A hand-reared male who spent a long time alone and was later held in smaller groups has become much more social since the larger group was formed.]

Bardgett, I., and Bardgett, D.: Breeding the whiskered lorikeet. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 105, No. 3 (1999), pp. 106–109. [Oreopsittacus arfaki. (See also under Low, below.)]

Borman, R., Gratton-Fabbri, L., and Fritz, J.: `Peanut butter bombs': an enrichment device for captive chimpanzees. The Newsletter Vol. 10, No. 3 (1999), pp. 1–3.

Budde, C.: Subadulte und juvenile Graue Kronenkraniche, Balearica regulorum gibbericeps: Das Verhalten und das Management von Junggesellengruppen in Zoologischen Gärten. (Behaviour and management of young crowned cranes in a mixed-species group.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 6 (1999), pp. 401–405. [German, with English summary. The study compares the behaviour of a bachelor group of East African crowned cranes at White Oak Plantation, Yulee, Florida, with the behaviour of non-parent birds and chicks. In the bachelor group juvenile and subadult crowned cranes were kept together with demoiselle cranes and West African crowned cranes. Subadults spent significantly more time vigilant than any other age class. Juveniles and subadults preened more than any other age class and fed less. Their behaviour was also affected by the dominance of the adult cranes of the other two species. It was unclear whether the birds' increased vigilance and the reduced time spent feeding was due to the presence of the other crane species or to the absence of their own parents.]

Crandall, K.A., Posada, D., and Vasco, D.: Effective population sizes: missing measures and missing concepts. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 4 (1999), pp. 317–319.

Dressen, W., Kindermann, N., and Osswald, C.: Erste natürliche Aufzucht des Krokodilwächters (Pluvianus aegyptius) im Krefelder Zoo. (First natural breeding of Egyptian plovers at Krefeld Zoo.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 6 (1999), pp. 390–400. [German, with English summary. For more than seven years a group of eight Egyptian plovers was kept in the African river aviary at Krefeld Zoo. In late 1997 the addition of heaters under and above a sandy area was immediately followed by obvious territorial behaviour of a pair directed to all conspecifics. Both sexes participated equally in the defence of the sandy area. Territorial behaviour was so intense that the rest of the group had to be removed. In 1998 and 1999 mating behaviour, breeding and hatching took place from February until June. Nesting was always confined to a sandy area with ground heater. Both parents cared for the precocial young and exposed food to it over 34 days. In 1998 two clutches of one egg each were laid, of which one chick hatched after an incubation of 25 days. At 39 days the fully-fledged juvenile was found dead with shock symptoms of unknown cause. In 1999 two clutches totalling five eggs were laid, and four chicks hatched. Three died at days 1, 2 and 9, but one female chick was successfully parent-reared. Parental care behaviour described includes egg- and chick-burying, belly-soaking of the clutch and the chick, and the parental `all clear' call.]

Earnhardt, J.M.: Reintroduction programmes: genetic trade-offs for populations. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 4 (1999), pp. 279–286. [Because genetic diversity may impact population persistence, the genetic composition of reintroduced and captive populations is critical. For captive-managed species with known pedigrees, individual animals can be selected to create reintroduced populations with specific genetic compositions. Five genetic and demographic strategies for selecting animals were tested on four species (sunbittern, maned wolf, Andean condor and Mexican wolf) chosen for their diverse population structures. Selection strategies were based on criteria identified in field and theoretical studies. Simulated reintroductions of animals from captive-breeding programmes created a genetic conflict. Among the different strategies, increases in the genetic diversity of one subpopulation were negatively correlated with changes in the genetic diversity of the other subpopulation. For example, the release of genetically over-represented animals was the most beneficial strategy for a captive-breeding programme, but provided the least genetic diversity for the reintroduced population. However, gains and losses in genetic diversity between populations varied with different selection criteria and different population structures. Because captive-breeding histories vary for each species, changes in genetic composition cannot be accurately predicted and no one strategy is universally optimal. Thus, genetic trade-offs must be assessed for each population relative to specific programme goals.]

Encke, B.: Zoo – was sagt der Ökonom dazu? (The zoo – an economist's view.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 6 (1999), pp. 369–376. [German, no English summary.]

Fowler, A., Glen, L., and Kitcherside, M.: Iron content of ramphastid diets. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 105, No. 3 (1999), pp. 130–131. [Iron storage disease (haemochromatosis) is a major cause of mortality in captive toucans. It is currently controlled by dietary management, and the authors present analyses of the iron content of some diets and supplements.]

Frankham, R., Lees, K., Montgomery, M.E., England, P.R., Lowe, E.H. and Briscoe, D.A.: Do population size bottlenecks reduce evolutionary potential? Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 4 (1999), pp. 255–260.

Gadsby, L.: Der Drill – Integrierter in situ- und ex situ-Artenschutz. (The drill – integrated in situ and ex situ conservation.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 15, No. 2 (1999), pp.12–14. [German, with English summary. The drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus) is one of Africa's most endangered primates. Surveys have shown that its habitat in Nigeria and Cameroon is broken into at least 11 discontiguous forest blocks on the mainland and two on Bioko island (Equatorial Guinea). Commercial hunting continues in all areas, despite the existence of protected areas, and the reduction in group size and density may affect reproductive strategies. The Drill Rehabilitation and Breeding Center in Nigeria, initiated and operated by the NGO Pandrillus, has successfully established natural-sized reproductive drill groups (a total of 39 wild-born and 33 captive-bred drills), which are kept in electric-fenced forest enclosures. The project's goal is to eventually release groups to the wild; emphasis is given to conservation education and local promotion of drills and wildlife conservation. The article includes recommendations for further work, both in and ex situ, for the drill.]

Goss, D.L.F.: Creating artificial vines for natural zoo displays. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 26, No. 11 (1999), pp. 449–451. [Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.]

Guerrero, D.: Animal behavior concerns and solutions: camel training (Camelus dromedarius) in an Australian zoo. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 26, No. 10 (1999), pp. 390–392.

Guerrero, D.: Animal behavior concerns and solutions: coati evaluation (Nasua nasua): American zoo. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 26, No. 11 (1999), pp. 426–428.

Guerrero, D.: Animal behavior concerns and solutions: North American river otter (Lontra canadensis): American aquarium. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 26, No. 12 (1999), pp. 465–469.

Haller-Probst, M., and Wiesner, H.: Benjeshecken und -haufen im Münchner Tierpark Hellabrunn. (`Benjes' hedges and heaps at Munich Zoo.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 6 (1999), pp. 377–389. [German, with brief English summary. Benjes hedges and heaps (named after their inventors Hermann and Heinrich Benjes) are barriers or mounds of piled-up branches and brushwood, sometimes underplanted with shrubs or climbing plants which grow up through them. In recent years they have been used very successfully at Munich Zoo. Many wild species – mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians – have found new living space in and around them, and the zoo animals enjoy them for climbing, scraping, nibbling or to rest beneath.]

Kirchshofer, R.: Zum Stand der Zoopädagogik in deutschsprachigen Ländern: Ergebnisse einer Umfrage von 1996. (Results of a 1996 investigation into the state of zoo education in German-speaking countries.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 6 (1999), pp. 353–368. [German, no English summary.]

Krebs, E., and Kaumanns, W.: Geburtenkontrolle bei der Mantelpaviankolonie (Papio hamadryas) des Kölner Zoos. (Reproductive control of hamadryas baboons at Cologne Zoo.) Zeitschrift des Kölner Zoo Vol. 42, No. 4 (1999), pp. 163–177. [German, with English summary. P. hamadryas is a species with a high reproductive rate in captivity. At Cologne Zoo in June 1994, ten harem leaders or initial group leaders and nine young adult males (`followers') were sterilised. This method resulted in a decreasing reproductive rate in the following three years. In 1998 there was a surprising change – more females gave birth than was expected. The reason was possibly that competition between females for access to the harem leader resulted in interactions and copulatory contacts by the females not only with their leader but also with the unsterilised young followers. The herding behaviour of a harem leader is not totally effective for one-male units with a large number of females, especially if the leader is getting older and the females show synchronised oestrus. In this case the oestrous females tend to move away from their one-male unit and copulate secretly with the group's young followers. Afterwards, however, they do not stay with the follower but return to their one-male unit to rear their offspring within the harem group.]

Kurt, F.: Die wachsende Bedeutung der Zoologischen Gärten für die Erhaltung des Asiatischen Elefanten (Elephas maximus). (The growing importance of zoos for the conservation of Asian elephants.) Zeitschrift des Kölner Zoo Vol. 42, No. 4 (1999), pp. 151–158. [German, with English summary. One-third of the surviving population of Asian elephants (about 15,000 out of a total of c. 45,000) are in captivity, so zoos (with about 1,500 animals) are of growing significance in the conservation of the species. Under traditional zoo management, reproduction and survival rates are low due to chaining, obesity, lack of movement and numbers of socially non-integrated animals. Living conditions can be improved by offering food which the elephants themselves must prepare, providing opportunities for active skin care, and maintaining self-contained social groups. The author also proposes partnerships between zoological gardens and southern Asian elephant camps.]

Landucci, G., Dobrzelecki, L., and Keefe, K.: Painting as enrichment for Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's 0.1 protected contact African elephant. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 26, No. 10 (1999), pp. 400–404.

Laubscher, C.: Fischer's lovebird (Agapornis fischeri). Parrot Society Magazine Vol. 33, No. 12 (1999), pp. 417–420.

Lee, D.S.: Timothy – a famous and not to be forgotten tortoise. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society Vol. 34, No. 10 (1999), pp. 225–227. [Timothy, a female (sic) Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca), lived for many years in the garden of the 18th-century English naturalist Gilbert White. White's writings on the animal probably represent the first detailed study of the natural history and captive husbandry of a tortoise.]

Low, R.: Breeding large macaws. Parrot Society Magazine Vol. 33, No. 12 (1999), pp. 406–412.

Low, R.: The painted conure. Parrot Society Magazine Vol. 34, No. 1 (2000), pp. 13–15. [Pyrrhura picta.]

Low, R.: Whiskered lorikeets need special care. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 105, No. 3 (1999), pp. 110–111. [Oreopsittacus arfaki. (See also under Bardgett, above.)]

Marín, A., and Matesanz, A.: Some notes on the piping hornbills at Guinate Tropical Park, Lanzarote. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 105, No. 3 (1999), pp. 97–102. [Ceratogymna fistulator.]

Marshall, T.C., Sunnucks, P., Spalton, J.A., Greth, A., and Pemberton, J.M.: Use of genetic data for conservation management: the case of the Arabian oryx. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 4 (1999), pp. 269–278. [Analysis of genetic markers in 343 Oryx leucoryx, representing most of the major groups world-wide, suggests that management of the species has led to substantial genetic mixing between populations. Forty per cent of the alleles in one additional sample from the pre-extinction population in Oman were not found in any contemporary oryx, and two out of four contemporary populations were deficient in rare alleles, suggesting that the species has lost some neutral genetic variation. The microsatellite loci were sufficiently polymorphic for identification of an Arabian oryx sample in a forensic context, but not sufficiently for large-scale parentage inference. The authors suggest that it is important to evaluate whether genetic markers are likely to have sufficient power to answer particular conservation questions prior to committing conservation resources to genetic typing.]

Morrow, C.J., Wildt, D.E., and Monfort, S.L.: Reproductive seasonality in the female scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah). Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 4 (1999), pp. 261–268. [Conservation and Research Center, Front Royal, Virginia, U.S.A.]

Murray, D.L., Kapke, C.A., Evermann, J.F., and Fuller, T.K.: Infectious disease and the conservation of free-ranging large carnivores. Animal Conservation Vol. 2, No. 4 (1999), pp. 241–254.

Mylniczenko, N.: Detection of reproductive behavior in the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli). Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 26, No. 11 (1999), pp. 440–448.

Pagel, T.: Der Balistar: seine Heimat, Biologie, Haltung und Zucht sowie die Bemühungen um seine Erhaltung. (The Bali mynah: its native habitat, biology, husbandry and breeding, and efforts for its conservation.) Zeitschrift des Kölner Zoo Vol. 42, No. 2 (1999), pp. 55–78. [German, with very brief English summary.]

Rinke, D.: A black stifftail duck at Vogelpark Walsrode. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 105, No. 3 (1999), pp. 112–113. [A male North American ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) bred at Walsrode developed completely black plumage at maturity. The author would like to hear of any similar cases elsewhere.]

Rossi, J., and Rossi, R.: A population survey of the Brazos water snake, Nerodia harteri harteri, and other water snakes on the Brazos River, Texas, with notes on a captive breeding and release program. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society Vol. 34, No. 11 (1999), pp. 251–253.

Shaffer, J.: One of the many uses for target/clicker training in the children's zoo section of the Baltimore Zoo. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 26, No. 10 (1999), pp. 412–413.

Sinander, T.A.: To bag a dik-dik: another option in small antelope management. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 26, No. 12 (1999), pp. 492–496. [Madoqua guentheri, Philadelphia Zoo. A specially-designed bag and prior training for stress-free capture and restraint.]

Volf, J.: Haltung und Zucht vom Manul, Otocolobus manul (Pallas, 1776), im Zoologischen Garten Prag. (Management and breeding of Pallas's cats at Prague Zoo.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 69, No. 6 (1999), pp. 406–416. [German, with English summary. The captive status of Pallas's cat is precarious: the few young reared and the occasional imports are insufficient to maintain the zoo population. At Prague Zoo, the species was kept from 1951 to 1985; in total, 22 individuals were imported from the former Soviet Union. They bred only twice, and in neither case did the young survive to adulthood. Mortality was high (almost 50%) in the first year after arrival at the zoo, most frequently caused by parasitic and bacterial diseases. Few of the cats reached the age of ten years, and the record longevity was that of a female who lived at the zoo for 11 years and three months (she was at least one year old on arrival). To improve breeding results, the author makes the following recommendations: to minimize stress by keeping the cats off-exhibit; to keep them in a hygienic, infection-free environment; to keep them in pairs; to form potential breeding pairs, if possible, from individuals coming from the same shipment (thus increasing the probability that they will be of an identical subspecies and of the same degree of acclimatisation); to isolate the pregnant female in time to prevent her aggression against the other adults and/or against her own young; and to supervise the young extremely carefully during their transition to solid food.]

Wolf, J.: Die Borkenratten – ein Bericht über die grössten, spektakulärsten und leider auch bedrohtesten Nager der Welt. (Cloud rats – a report on the biggest, most spectacular, and sadly most endangered rodents in the world.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 15, No. 2 (1999), pp. 6–8. [German, with English summary. All six species of cloud rats – Phloeomys pallidus, P. cumingi, Crateromys schadenbergi, C. paulus, C. australis and C. heaneyi, are endemic to the Philippines. C. paulus, from the island of Ilin, is now considered to be extinct. Most of the other species are threatened as a result of habitat destruction and hunting for meat or as pets. The Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations has started a research and captive-breeding programme in cooperation with various zoos and international conservation NGOs for the critically endangered C. heaneyi at the Mari-it Conservation Center on Panay island. The author's mission during an eight-month stay was to contribute to the improvement of husbandry conditions for these more or less unknown animals.]

Wolf, J.: Zwei Projekte für bedrohte Tierarten der Philippinen auf Negros und Panay. (Two projects for endangered species in the Philippines.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 15, No. 2 (1999), pp. 4–6. [German, with English summary. The author, a zoo keeper and veterinary assistant, spent eight months working as an assistant in two wildlife conservation and breeding centres, the Negros Forest and Ecological Foundation in Bacolod City and the Mari-it Conservation Center in Lambunao. Both facilities were established for husbandry and breeding of confiscated endangered endemic Philippine species such as Philippine spotted deer, Visayan warty pig, Panay bushy-tailed cloud rat (Crateromys heaneyi), and various hornbill, parrot and bleeding heart pigeon species.]

Woolham, F.: Flycatcher warblers. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 105, No. 3 (1999), pp. 103–105. [Captive management of Seicercus spp., in particular the chestnut-headed flycatcher warbler (S. castaneiceps).]

Zomer, A.: Voorplanting van Incasterns. (Breeding Inca terns.) De Harpij Vol. 18, No. 4 (1999), pp. 8–9. [Dutch, with English summary. A colony of Inca terns (Larosterna inca) at Emmen Zoo are held in an outdoor enclosure from April through October, and then offered the possibility of breeding in a 6.4 ΄ 3.2 ΄ 4.3 m winter enclosure. Six nest-boxes lined with peat dust are placed 3.5 m from the ground and nest checks are made using a pole with a small mirror fixed on the end. The incubation period for this species is 24 days, fledging occurs at 41–46 days of age and pairs may lay again 18 to 23 days after a nest is empty. Four pairs bred in 1998, and it was decided to remove one egg per clutch because the parents did not seem capable of rearing both chicks. Each pair produced two clutches, and eight chicks were hatched by the parents. Five chicks were left with their parents (three survived), and three were taken for hand-rearing. These three fledged, but six chicks hand-reared from day 1 from eggs removed from the nests only lived for 10 to 14 days. It was therefore decided to leave future chicks with the parents for the first three days so that they could receive important antibodies. Five pairs, including one pair reared at the zoo, nested in 1999. Nine chicks hatched and were reared, of which four were removed for hand-rearing at three days old.]

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, 3601 S.W. 29th Street, Suite 133, Topeka, Kansas 66614, U.S.A.

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

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

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

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

Parrot Society Magazine, Parrot Society, 108b Fenlake Road, Bedford MK42 0EU, U.K.

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

ZGAP Mitteilungen, Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz e.V. (Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations), Franz-Senn-Strasse 14, D-81377 München, Germany.

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