|GUEST EDITORIAL||Robert Wrigley|
|The World's First Captive Breeding of the Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise,
Jurong BirdPark, Singapore
|Khin May Nyunt, Wong Hon Mun and Lim Tit Meng|
|Zoos in Tanzania||John Tuson|
|Research on Nocturnal Behaviour of African Elephants at Schönbrunn Zoo||Isolde Weisz, Andrea Wuestenhagen and Harald Schwammer|
|The Brothers Grimm and the Brothers Heck||David Barnaby|
|Letters to the Editor|
|International Zoo News|
Overpopulation, poverty and wildlife extinction
[This article is reprinted with modification from CAZA News (Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums), January-February 2000.]
Under the onslaught of an ever-increasing human population, it has become clear that humanity and the world's environments and ecosystems are now under serious threat. In their landmark books, Ehrlich and Ehrlich (1970) and Wilson (1992) demonstrated with overwhelming evidence that reducing the human population, and hence lessening demands on natural ecosystems, is the over-riding factor in the struggle to conserve the natural world. The current frenzy for exploiting natural resources and escalating environmental degradation by the world community are in stark contrast to traditional beliefs of aboriginal peoples about Mother Earth. The spiritual inter-relatedness of earth, water, plants, animals and people demanded that great respect be shown to each part of this unity of life. They appreciated (as few people do today) that their very survival depended on caring for the natural world.
However, both in past times and at present, when people are in desperate need, they have little choice but to exploit Nature to the fullest of their abilities and technologies. Witness the rapid extinction of hundreds of species of large animals in North America, Europe, Madagascar, Australia and New Zealand, shortly after early people arrived and populated these land masses. The American Great Plains region formerly supported a fauna of large animals as rich as that found today in Africa. In the last 18,000 years, rapid climatic changes, ecosystem dislocations, and particularly over-harvesting by people, have left a decimated assemblage of large animals. Over 73% of large mammals and large birds in North America were wiped out (Martin and Klein, 1984).
Overpopulation and conservation
Dedicated wildlife conservationists valiantly try to manage ecosystems and wildlife populations
by conducting research projects, establishing large natural preserves, maintaining genetically
diverse captive-breeding programs, developing education programs, and many other activities.
But increasingly they are being overwhelmed by the demands of an ever-growing human
population. As a biologist and educator, I find it disheartening how infrequently the critical
topic of birth control, or family planning, is stressed in society in general, and in the signs and
programs of zoos and aquariums. We feel justified and safe in discussing human
overpopulation and the resulting habitat loss and environmental degradation, but fear to tread
further to the logical conclusion. True, birth control is a taboo subject fraught with
public-relations risks, and it may challenge dearly-held concepts about individual rights and
family. Ultimately, however, it is the most important message our leaders and educational
institutions can champion in saving the Earth's ecosystems, for us and for their treasury of
wondrous plant and animal life.
Perceiving the problem
It is a daunting task to be heard and understood by people who do not wish to be confronted with lifestyle restrictions, or depressing facts about human poverty and the demise of wildlife and the environment. Pre-election platforms of political leaders often include promises to eliminate or alleviate the serious problem of child poverty and related tragedies of society. While no one questions the desperate need to find solutions, discussions and programs centre on treating symptoms and seldom on the over-riding cause of the dilemma - lack of family planning.
As long ago as 1798, the young British clergyman and economist Thomas Robert Malthus pointed out, in his Essay on the Principle of Population, that in favorable times food production increases in an arithmetic progression (2, 3, 4, 5), while the human population (like all life forms) increases geometrically (2, 4, 8, 16). Unfortunately, this compounding of humanity means that the population will always outstrip food supply and social services, leaving an ever-increasing segment of people without adequate resources on which to survive or to enjoy a decent quality of life.
Unknown to most people, species are tuned by natural processes, over immense periods of time, for parents to produce (on average) only a sufficient number of surviving offspring to replace themselves - meaning two. Ancestral females of our species evolved the ability to have over a dozen children in their short lives - a necessity under high levels of mortality. Around 20,000 years ago, there was an estimated world population of three million people, which likely had a negligible effect on their surroundings. To ensure tribal survival and integrity, the customs and spiritual beliefs of our ancestors became ingrained with the concepts of large families and dominion over all other life.
The population explosion
The discovery of agriculture around 9,000 years ago changed everything, generating a giant leap in human birthrate and survival. Starvation lessened as an ever-looming factor in limiting population numbers, as it had likely operated effectively over millions of years of human evolution. During the period of the Egyptian Pharaohs, the world's population passed 100 million, reaching 250 million at the time of Christ, 500 million by 1650, and one billion by 1850 (Ehrlich and Ehrlich, 1970). With improving technology for food production and distribution, medical care, and social programs, numbers climbed to 2.5 billion in 1950 and 6 billion in 1999.
By the year 2050 (within our children's lifetime), it is anticipated that the burgeoning human population will level off at between 11 and 15 billion, driving over 25% of the Earth's wildlife (or biodiversity) into extinction (Wilson, 1992). The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) believes one-third of all plant and animal species could be gone in 20 years. We are now losing wildlife at the rate of 75-100 species per day (Wilson, 1992), squandering through ignorance and greed a 3.6-billion-year heritage of life on the planet. Humans now consume almost half the entire world's photosynthetic capacity (Girardet, 1999). In terms of biomass, there is an estimated 250 million tonnes of humanity and over one-half billion tonnes of our livestock (Cincotta and Engelman, 2000). There are simply not enough room and resources for all of us and wildlife to survive. We surpassed a sustainable level, in balance with Nature, many centuries ago. A study of global human numbers has revealed that the existing population is already three times the planet's carrying capacity to provide a reasonable lifestyle (Pimental, 1994).
The human tragedy
Countless millions of children die of starvation and neglect each year, and over half the world's population is seriously malnourished and drinks contaminated water, in spite of massive humanitarian efforts by generous countries and agencies. Some organizations (including certain religious and political groups) and leaders continue to encourage large families, in an outdated effort to maintain their institutional power and influence; but at what cost? Few people appear to realize that all this human suffering, loss of wildlife, and environmental damage are needless, preventable through education and the practise of family planning in which couples produce no more than two children. Ancient customs and religious beliefs die hard.
To maintain the present course is madness and irresponsible. Nature's ecosystems progressively curb plague species like ours through drastically increased rates of mortality - escalating famine, terrible wars over contested lands and beliefs, clashes over disappearing resources, devastating outbreaks of old and new diseases, massive loss of life from each major natural event of weather and earth movement, debilitating stress, and poisoning from thousands of toxic and waste products (all 'negative-feedback loops' in the jargon of biologists).
A matter of education
When will parents, educators, politicians, and clergy gain the knowledge, courage and dedication to speak out and support family planning? When will leaders and the public recognize that overpopulation is the root of so many community problems, and stifles our most earnest efforts to solve them? While the birthrate in Canada and a few other 'first-world' countries has finally dropped below two young per couple, there are still many parents exceeding this essential limit, and often without the resources to care for them. Even if parents can afford to raise many children, each individual in a first-world country consumes and pollutes at over 18 times the rate of a poor person in an under-developed country, thereby compounding the negative effects of overpopulation, and postponing the obvious solution.
As Malthus pointed out so long ago in harsh economic terms, 'the surplus' is destined for a life of poverty and misery. Society's caring social programs, technology, and natural resources can never keep pace with the incessant demands arising from exponential human population growth. The survival of life-support systems and wildlife, our civilization, and social justice depend ultimately on an ethic of family planning, communicated through the teaching of life skills at home, school and church, and supported by governments, concerned groups, industry and the media. With a right to reproduction must come knowledge and responsibility.
Returning specifically to zoos and aquariums, deep down we realize that wildlife species cannot be 'saved' in the long term by protecting them solely in a cocoon of captivity in zoos. Without the existence of sustainable wild populations - free-ranging, interacting with their environment, and evolving - each species will end up hopelessly inbred, a mere genetic shell of its ancestral stock, and eventually doomed to extinction. Humans and all other species were created within magnificently complex ecosystems, and without these nurturing wombs they will surely pass away before their time. Maintaining natural ecosystems is absolutely dependent on a massive reduction in the current human population, which cannot occur without family planning, and this in turn relies on a strong educational message backed by resources. For our facilities to succeed in our common mandate of wildlife conservation, we must promote birth control and family planning in our programming with courage and determination. The support of these initiatives at home and in developing countries (where populations continue to rise dramatically) complements the great efforts and achievements of zoos and aquariums in conserving captive and wild populations of wildlife and their habitats.
What can we do?
We may stagger under a feeling of hopelessness as we become conscious of what is happening to our only home - the Earth - and of the terrible plight of so many people and wildlife. One often hears the question: 'What can one individual do to help?' Many of us respond by attempting to live in moderation, purchasing wisely, donating to worthy causes, recycling materials, and by supporting conservation legislation. While these actions are positive steps, by far our most significant individual contribution is to have two or fewer children. In the long term, this is the only factor that really counts.
Robert E. Wrigley, Ph.D.,
Assiniboine Park Zoo,
2355 Corydon Avenue,
Canada R3P 0R5.
Cincotta, R.P., and Engelman, R. (2000): Nature's Place: Human Population and the Future of Biological Diversity. Population Action International, Washington, D.C.
Ehrlich, P.R., and Ehrlich, A. (1970): Population, Resources, Environment - Issues in Human Ecology. W.H. Freeman and Co., San Francisco.
Girardet, H. (1999): Workshop: greening urban society. World Conservation 1: 10.
Martin, P.S., and Klein, R.G. (eds.) (1984): Quaternary Extinctions - a Prehistoric Revolution. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.
Pimental, D. (1994), quoted in 'Mobilizing to combat global warming', D. Hayes, World Watch, March/April 2000.
Wilson, E.O. (1992): The Diversity of Life. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
[Robert Wrigley is a biologist who has worked as a Curator and Director of the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature, and Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre, and as Curator of the Assiniboine Park Zoo]
My appeal for more news from zoos has been very successful - material has already been received from more than 20 previously non-contributing collections. I am extremely grateful to all those who have responded so generously to my request - and hope they may inspire those who have not yet done so to join the rush!
Ironically, it will take me a while to assimilate and evaluate all the extra material, so the full benefits of the improved situation will only gradually become apparent in the pages of the magazine. Also, I have just acquired internet access; this should open up further sources of zoo-related information, but here too some time-lag is inevitable before I feel fully at home with my new sources. But I hope that soon - and certainly well before the beginning of next year, when it enters on its second half-century of publication - International Zoo News will be fulfilling its traditional role more comprehensively than ever before.
International Zoo News - cumulative index published
A cumulative index to I.Z.N. Vols 39-46 (1992-1999) has been compiled and is now available, either on disk or as a paper print-out. The disk version is in WordPerfect 5 (which should be easily convertible into most modern PC word-processor formats). The printed version is supplied unbound on loose A4 sheets. Prices: disk £3.00, paper £5.00 (including postage and packing worldwide). Please send payment with order to the I.Z.N. office. (To avoid the inconvenience and expense of transferring a small sum of money internationally, overseas readers may add the payment to their next subscription if they wish.)
BY KHIN MAY NYUNT, WONG HON MUN AND LIM TIT MENG
The twelve-wired bird of paradise (Seleucidis melanoleuca) inhabits the lowland alluvial rainforest of mainland New Guinea and adjacent Salawati Island (Beehler et al., 1986). It is a sexually dimorphic species. The adult male has a brighter plumage than the female, and takes several years to acquire adult plumage. Although this species is not threatened, a full field study of its behaviour and ecology has not been adequately made. The only report of its breeding status in captivity is from Taman Burong (bird park), Bali, where a female laid a two-egg clutch in May 1996, but these were destroyed prior to hatching (Frith and Beehler, 1998). Therefore Jurong BirdPark is very pleased to be the first facility in the world to breed the twelve-wired bird of paradise in captivity. We have shown our commitment to the captive propagation of this species by expending much time and effort on this research. The result has been a success and we would like to share the details of this accomplishment.
Aviary design, landscaping and general husbandry
The off-exhibit breeding aviaries are behind the display aviaries, with a passageway separating the two, which is used as a servicing area. Each of the three breeding aviaries is divided into seven compartments, each of which (measuring 4 m × 3 m × 5 m high) can be connected by a lower sliding door. This can be used to separate the male and the female. The display aviary is provided with an overhead sliding door which opens to give the birds access to the breeding area.
The display aviary is heavily landscaped with Ficus trees (F. benjamina and F. triangularis), nutmeg trees (Myristica fragrans), bananas (Musa sumatrana and M. grandnain), jambu trees (Eugenia jambos), ground plants (Cycas rumphii, Ophiopogon japonicus, Schefflera arboricola, Polyscias fruticosa, Etlingera elatior, Pandanus brosimus) and Macarthur palms (Ptychosperma macarthurii). In the breeding aviaries, we have chosen the tall bushy branches of the bamboo (Bambusa spp.), Ficus benjamina and Rhapis palms (R. excelsa), as these provide strong support for the nests. In the display and breeding areas, the perches are placed horizontally and vertically for courtship display and mating.
A man-made pool (1.4 m × 1 m × 100 mm deep) is located in the display aviary. It is used for both drinking and bathing. In order to ensure clean and cool water, the supply is kept flowing. A small portable basin is also provided in each breeding compartment.
Figure 1. Nests for Seleucidis melanoleuca, Jurong BirdPark.
The birds' daily feeding is as follows (all feeding trays are sheltered to keep the food dry and clean):
8:00 a.m.: low-iron pellet, green bean, mealworm, long bean, carrot, sweet corn and lettuce
1:00 p.m.: papaya, banana, grape and pear
8:00 a.m.: low-iron pellet, hard-boiled egg, green bean, soft-skinned mealworm, long bean, carrot, sweet corn and lettuce
11:30 a.m.: mealworm and minced meat
1:30 p.m.: papaya, banana, grape and pear
4:00 p.m.: soft-skinned cricket and grasshopper
A choice of three types of nesting facility are provided in the breeding aviaries and hung at different heights (ranging from 1.5 metres to 3 metres). They are a square plywood nest-box (Figure 1a), an oval cane basket (Fig. 1b), and a funnel-shaped nylon net (Fig. 1c).
Although there are seven breeding compartments, only five of these were needed for the two breeding methods in this experiment. Compartment 3 was kept empty to prevent any visual contact between the two females.
In the first method, the birds were chosen by their appearance (good body condition and fully-grown plumage). One female and two males were placed in compartments 1 and 2 with the connecting lower sliding door left open. If fighting occurred this door could be closed to provide a safe refuge.
In the second method, pairing (roosting together, feeding and preening each other) was observed in the display aviary. The chosen pair was put in compartments 4 and 5. As in the first method, the connecting door was left open. No other birds were introduced to the breeding and passageway areas. The display aviary overhead door was closed.
Neither of the methods worked during 1994. In the first method, the males displayed together and the female was ignored, remaining in the next compartment, no. 2. In the second method, the male and female occupied the same compartment, but no nesting or mating behaviour was observed.
In January 1995 the breeding methods were changed. All breeding compartments and the display aviary overhead sliding door were opened; a horizontal perch was fixed to this sliding door. More horizontal perches and feeding trays were added to the passageway. These allowed the birds to come out from the display aviary to feed, to hop from perch from perch, and to generally familiarize themselves with a new area (both the passageway and the open breeding aviaries). The passageway was used for feeding and the breeding aviaries were reserved for breeding purposes only.
It took two months (January and February 1995) before the birds were familiar both with their changed environment and with the keepers feeding them in the passageway. In March 1995, two females were observed roosting and resting on the nest-boxes and cane baskets inside the breeding compartments. The males used the passageway only for eating. They preferred the larger space of the display aviary for display purposes.
On 19 April 1995, in breeding compartment 3, one of the females (the one used in the first method in 1994) was observed carrying nesting materials (Musa sumatrana fibre) to the lower nylon nest (1.5 m from the ground). The nest was hung at the back of the breeding compartment (away from the passageway).
On 20 April a second layer of soft ginger (Etlingera elatior) bark and Macarthur palm stem and leaves were added to the nest for support. On 25 April the female bird chose to add fineFicus benjamina root as an inner layer. All the nesting materials were freshly collected from the trees in the display aviary. The female was observed building the nest between 7:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. She was very protective of the nest and chased away all the birds in her compartment to prevent the nest from being destroyed. Only minimal interaction between females was observed.
On 27 April the female was no longer building her nest. The following day at 8:30 a.m. the male birds were making a lot of noise, and mating was observed on the horizontal perch in the display aviary. There were two males involved, one with full plumage and the other unplumaged. The plumaged male was on top of the female, while the other, unplumaged, male was displaying beside them. The whole mating process took three minutes.
In the afternoon the female was seen searching for and eating brown snail shells found on the ground of the display aviary. She then returned to compartment 3 and was confined there. Next morning the door was opened again but she did not want to come out. She rested on the plywood box and cane basket for the whole day.
In the morning of 30 April one egg was seen. The other birds were locked in the display aviary with their food so as not to disturb the incubating female. During the incubation period, the female was seen feeding at 9:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Bathing was observed in the morning and afternoon. The rest of the time she was sitting on the nest. Sometimes she responded to a male courtship call from the display aviary.
On 19 May broken eggshell was seen thrown into a corner of the aviary. It was presumed that the chick had hatched, but it was not seen until the afternoon because the female was covering it. Feeding of the chick was not observed on the day of hatching. On the second day the female tried to feed the chick only with mealworms. We were not able to observe very closely because of the nest location and our wish not to disturb an inexperienced female. This chick survived for 28 days, at which point it was found with a broken neck after falling out of the nest.
Although we removed the dead chick, the female continued to call and search the ground. We then reopened the breeding aviary and display aviary doors. The unsuccessful nest was removed immediately. We changed the nest location by building a nest frame (735 mm × 300 mm × 90 mm) on the feeding platform (380 mm × 300 mm × 12 mm) at a height of 1.2 metres from the ground and near the passageway inside each of the breeding compartments. This placement made it easier to monitor.
On 20 June 1995 the female proceeded to build her nest on the feeding platform in compartment 2, and it was completed in a week. On 26 June, feeding took place in compartment 1, with the lower door left open between compartments 1 and 2. The female rested on the nest-box for the afternoon, but no mating was observed. Using the same nest, she laid three more clutches, each of a single infertile egg, over the next three months. They were a very light brown colour. The first of these eggs (clutch 2) was laid on 28 June and removed on 19 July; it measured 38.44 × 25.55 mm. The second was laid on 1 August and removed on 12 August (41.13 × 26.03 mm); the third was laid on 27 August and removed on 13 September (40.45 × 25.88 mm).
On 27 September a fifth egg (clutch 5) was laid, again in the nest. This time the colour was very shiny. A small hole was noticed in the shell, and transparent nail polish was used to cover it. On 16 October 1995, after 20 days of incubation, the chick was hatched and the eggshell was thrown onto the nest platform.
At the age of one week, minced meat, crickets and grasshoppers were added to the chick's diet. During this time small black ants were seen in the nest. This was of concern as they might have harmed the featherless chick, but it was observed that they only ate the chick's faeces. The ants may have been part of a natural ecosystem.
At 11 days the chick opened its eyes. However, it spent most of the time sleeping. It only made a soft sound when the female attended it for preening and feeding. The female was no longer sitting over the chick, but sat on the edge of the nest. At 14 days old, the chick became very active and started to look around with curiosity. At 21 days it came out of the nest and walked around the platform to exercise its legs. A few perches were attached to the edge of the nest to prevent it from falling to the ground.
At 22 days old, the chick was on the nest perch, and by the afternoon it was on the ground. A ground perch was added. The female called from the central perch and demonstrated how to jump from perch to perch. She started to feed the chick with pellets at 23 days old. At 34 days the chick could fly well and had learned how to pluck leaves from the trees and also to pull nesting materials from the nest. At 50 days old it was seen eating on its own, but with the female's assistance.
On 20 December 1995, when the chick was about two months old, the female was removed to
the adjacent compartment due to her interest in the calling of the male. Two days later she was
released into the passageway and display aviary. Occasionally the female was seen feeding the
chick through the wire netting. This chick survived for a year, but died when it was chased and
attacked by the adult males after release to the display aviary. Thus a painful but valuable
lesson was learned.
From 1998 to 1999, three more chicks were produced by the same female, using the same nest, but with a different mate each time. For safety and to allow partial hand-feeding, all the chicks were transferred to our off-exhibit Breeding and Research Centre.
[Webmaster: to reduce loading times we have placed additional pictures from Jurong in a separate file]
1. Horizontal and vertical perches play an important role in courtship and mating.
2. The male and female of this species need the freedom to make a natural selection of mate.
3. The female prefers to choose her own nesting materials from the trees growing in the enclosure.
4. The female chooses to build her nest at an average of 1.5 metres from the ground, with an open view to monitor her surroundings.
5. Even the unplumaged male will take part in a courtship display.
6. Mating takes place after the nest is completely made.
7. After mating, the female rests for a few days to develop the egg and also searches for calcium sources.
8. The female lays one egg per clutch and incubates for 20 days.
9. When the egg is fertile, it is very shiny.
10. The nest is not destroyed when an infertile egg is removed, and it is often reused.
11. The breeding season is all year round.
12. The female prefers to feed only soft-skinned insects to the young chick up to the age of two weeks.
13. No vitamins were used. Mealworms, crickets and grasshoppers were first placed in cuttlefish bone for extra calcium.
|Year||Egg laid||Egg removed||Chick hatched||Chick removed|
We would like to extend our gratitude to our Bird Supervisor, Zainal Rasip, for his observations of breeding behaviour and for taking the photographs.
Beehler, B.M., Pratt, T.K., and Zimmerman, D.A. (1986): Birds of New Guinea. Princeton University Press, Princeton.
Frith, C.B., and Beehler, B.M. (1998): The Birds of Paradise Paradisaeidae. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
[Khin May Nyunt and Wong Hon Mun, Jurong BirdPark, 2 Jurong Hill, Singapore 628925; Lim Tit Meng, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260.]
BY JOHN TUSON
Tanzania is rightly famed for the excellence of its wildlife. There can be few names as evocative as those of Serengeti and Ngorongoro, and those wonderful reserves, along with many lesser-known places such as Gombe Stream, Ruaha, and Zanzibar's Jozani Forest, make this East African country a prime destination for those with any zoological interest. Tanzania is less well-known for its zoos, and when I accepted a two-year contract to teach there, starting in August 1998, I rather feared that those two years would be zoo-free. However, such fears have proved to be groundless, and I have managed to find several establishments which could be described as zoos - even if, in some cases, such a description would perhaps be rather an exaggeration.
There are three 'snake parks' in Tanzania, all located close to national parks. Two are rather good; one is very poor. The superior pair are both in the safari heartland of northern Tanzania: the MBT Snake Park is just outside the boundary of the Arusha National Park; the Meserani Snake Park is on the road connecting Arusha with Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara. The two are quite different in character: MBT exists primarily as a breeder and exporter of reptiles, is much quieter, and has a broader collection; Meserani is attached to a busy camp-site and bar, offers camel rides, sells less-than-tasteful tee-shirts proclaiming 'I survived the snake park', and is a far more commercial operation. The architecture at both of the parks is simple: snakes are housed in rows of rectangular, glass-fronted boxes, with some non-venomous species in open pits. Other reptiles - monitors, chameleons, tortoises, crocodiles - are also kept in pits. At Meserani the collection is entirely composed of local species; at MBT some exotics are also present, including king cobra, black-tailed rattlesnake, and the ubiquitous red-eared terrapin. At MBT, too, there is a far better collection of chameleons (around ten different species and subspecies) and chelonians; these groups are represented at Meserani, but the emphasis there is much more firmly put upon snakes. Both parks maintain most of the snake species one might expect - green and black mambas, boomslangs, spitting cobras and so on - with one or two more unusual species as well, such as Usambara bush viper (Atheris ceratophora) at Meserani, and East African egg-eating snake (Dasypeltis medici) at MBT. The fact that MBT's primary task is to export its animals means that its collection is constantly changing, but on both of the visits I have made a fine array of reptiles has been on display. The park's name, incidentally, stands for 'Mountain Birds and Trophies', even though it is reptiles with which it is now concerned. With relatively low visitor numbers, each park is able to offer a guided tour to each group of visitors, and these are of an excellent standard, with very knowledgeable guides and plenty of opportunities to touch and hold a variety of species. Unfortunately, these opportunities are only really ever going to be open to tourists: both parks are sited well away from population centres, and very few Tanzanians would be able to make their way there, even if they were inclined to do so.
The less impressive snake park is to be found in the small town of Mikumi, just outside the national park of the same name in central Tanzania. The collection here is neither so broad nor so well maintained, and a rather depressing shabbiness sits over the whole establishment. At the time of my visit several yellow baboons, blue monkeys and vervet monkeys were on display, in rather cupboard-like cages, as well as a single banded mongoose. Given their apparent condition, I would not expect these mammals to live out long and happy lives.
Another type of 'zoo' which one sees in Tanzania are ornamental collections, attached to upmarket hotels. Some of these are very small (a hotel in Arusha has some very pleasant aviaries for spoonbills, flamingos and crowned cranes), while some are quite dreadful (one expensive hotel in Dar-es-Salaam has a scruffy and ill-kept collection in its back garden, with, at the time of my visit, an ostrich roaming free and four dead ducks floating on a pond, amongst other delights). More extensive, and far more impressive, is the collection at the Mount Meru Game Sanctuary, a beautiful hotel half an hour's drive from Arusha town. One or two smaller enclosures contain porcupines, baboons, vervet monkeys, and, most remarkably of all, what appeared to be a Sanje mangabey (Cercocebus sanjei) - almost certainly the only one of its kind in captivity. Unfortunately, I was unable to ascertain just how this unusual primate ended up in a hotel some 350 miles from its home range. The highlight at Mount Meru, though, is a large paddock, perhaps an acre or two in extent, in which zebra, waterbuck and eland, as well as saddle-billed and yellow-billed stork, sacred ibis and ostrich can all be seen. Some of the more exclusive safari companies use this hotel as a starting point for their trips, and it is easy to see why: it's a beautiful place, and the main paddock provides a nice glimpse of the animals likely to be encountered on any trip into a national park. Again, though, these collections - good and bad - are unlikely to be seen by more than a handful of Tanzanians.
More easily accessible for local people are two small but excellent establishments on the island of Zanzibar. At the north end of the island, near the small village of Nungwi, is found the Mnarni Natural Turtle Aquarium. This is essentially a large rock-pool, in which a dozen or more hawksbill and green turtles - as well as a good number of fish - are contained. There are one or two educational graphics, and a family of wild vervet monkeys live in the trees around the pool, but essentially the turtles are all there is to see here. Despite this, we were thoroughly impressed by the Turtle Aquarium: not only does it provide tourists with a close-up view of some fascinating animals (and the chance to feed them too), but it also gives the local people, in what is a very poor area, a financial incentive for the preservation of wildlife. Equally good is Zala Park, a small zoo near to the Jozani Forest (home of the endemic Zanzibar red colobus monkey). Zala Park is run by an enthusiastic Zanzibari, Muhammed Haji, who happily leads visitors around his collection. The information signs he has produced are of an excellent standard, and what is perhaps most encouraging of all is that Zala Park doesn't simply exist for tourists: a classroom is located on its site, and at the time of our visit Mr Haji was encouraging a group of local children to appreciate the suni antelopes. These suni are of a subspecies endemic to Zanzibar (Neotragus m. moschatus) and are perhaps the most interesting animals in a collection which also includes eastern tree hyrax (Dendrohyrax validus) and various reptiles. We were also delighted to see a very large marsh cane rat (Thryonomys swinderianus), but this, unfortunately, was only a short-term resident, destined to be fed to a big rock python.
The closest that Tanzania comes to a conventional zoo is at the Engosheraton Zoological Gardens, an extraordinary place on the outskirts of Arusha. I can normally sniff out a zoo with all the alacrity of a French pig looking for truffles, but Engosheraton escaped my notice for a long while. Even when I did learn of its existence, it took a long taxi journey through the less salubrious side of Arusha to find the zoo - quite possibly the only zoo in the world to advertise a hair-dressing salon among its facilities. The animal side of the operation is arranged around a neatly tended quarter-acre of garden. Crowned cranes and flamingos (greater and lesser) wander around freely, the rest of the zoo's stock is confined to a string of very small cages. These cages are clean, and the animals appear well-fed, but - out of ignorance, I feel, rather than neglect - standards of husbandry are rudimentary: primates are denied branches, birds are denied a safe haven into which to retreat. What makes Engosheraton a notable place, though, is its collection, which is filled with animals which may not be very rare in the wild, but which are infrequently seen in zoos. Among its mammals are African palm civet (Nandinia binotata arborea), greater galago (the zoo's symbol), black-and-white colobus, giant pouched rat, a pair of spotted hyenas, and, sharing a small paddock, a Thomson's gazelle and a bush duiker. Mongooses and squirrels of uncertain species, as well as porcupines, genets, baboons and vervet monkeys (which - miraculously - had bred on the day before I visited) are among the more commonplace mammals on show. Engosheraton's bird collection is also surprisingly broad, with Hartlaub's turaco (four of them squeezed into a box the size of a large television set), blue-naped mousebird and green pigeon (peacefully coexisting in another less-than-spacious cage), vulturine and helmeted guinea-fowl, and several bird of prey species (the less said about their cages the better). There are also a number of reptile species on show - nothing too unusual, but a fair representative collection.
Engosheraton may not be West Berlin, but to come across a zoo with just short of 50 vertebrate species in an Arusha suburb is fairly remarkable. As to who actually visits the place. . . On this point I am not sure. Tourists coming to see the wide open spaces of the Serengeti are unlikely, on the whole, to be drawn to look at sleeping creatures in rabbit-hutch size cages, while Engosheraton is sufficiently far out of Arusha town centre to deter local visitors, even with the added attraction of being able to have one's hair cut at the same venue. Nor is the purpose of the place especially clear: I can't believe it would show any sort of a profit for its owner, animals are not - apparently, at least - on sale, and any claims to an educational role would be far-fetched: identification 'signs' are hand-written on scraps of paper, and the guided tour extended no further than 'this is mole snake . . . this is vervet monkey. . .'
The final Tanzanian zoo is a pitiful place, on a small island on Lake Victoria - Saa Nane Island, just off the coast from the large town of Mwanza. The collection here - three spotted hyenas, a lion, a leopard and a chimpanzee - is quite awfully housed, and the condition of the animals is poor. It is all rather depressing. A herd of impala are free to wander around the island, which also supports good wild populations of birds and lizards. Grim though it may be, Saa Nane has an interesting history. In the 1960s, Rubondo Island National Park, also on Lake Victoria, was stocked with a variety of introduced animals: chimpanzees, elephants, roan antelope and black rhino amongst them. This introduction is in itself a fascinating story, and whilst the rhino and roan antelope have long gone (the former due to poaching), the chimpanzees have thrived in a way which would, presumably, be very interesting to those working in reintroduction programmes with other primates. But to return to Saa Nane, its original role was as a staging post for the animals which were being taken to Rubondo. The remains of one or two enclosures can be seen, and there are hints that it hasn't always been the shocking place that it is today. Hopefully, too, it won't always be such a dreadful place in the future, for I believe very strongly that a zoo like Saa Nane has enormous potential. Mwanza is not a tourist destination, and so most of the 15-20,000 people who visit Saa Nane each year are local. The numbers may not be vast - Tanzanians are fully capable of recognising a badly run place when they see one - but the demand is there, for schools, and for people seeking relaxation and enlightenment.
A well-run zoo in a place like Mwanza - or Arusha or Dar-es-Salaam - would be a resource of the utmost worth. My experience in Tanzania has shown me that it is a myth that Africans are not every bit as fascinated by their wildlife as Europeans and Americans. On the contrary, many of our students have shown themselves to be highly knowledgeable about the local wildlife, and respectful of its place in the environment. There is, too, a very definite sense of pride in the country's wildlife. But beyond an occasional family of vervet monkeys taking their crops, most Tanzanians do not get to see a great deal of their wildlife: the national parks might as well be on the other side of the world - the cost of visiting them is just too high for the vast majority of Tanzanians. But when they do have a chance to see animals, most Tanzanians are thrilled to do so: the tortoises and chameleons we have kept in our house have fascinated visitors, and when we organised a school trip to Mikumi National Park we were swamped by students wanting to go (and furthermore, the majority of those students then went on to pay the not insignificant sum of 500 shillings - about 50 pence or 80 cents - to enter the less-than-impressive Mikumi Snake Park). So people do want to see animals - at the moment they just don't have the opportunity to do so. If Western conservation bodies expect Tanzanians to give up vast amounts of land to wildlife, it might be a good idea if they helped to make that wildlife rather more accessible to those Tanzanians. In financial terms it would not cost a great deal to offer the advice, expertise and resources needed to transform somewhere like Saa Nane into a worthwhile zoo. The rewards for doing so would be very high indeed.
[John Tuson is returning to England this summer, and may be contacted c/o The Mill House, Yapton Road, Barnham, West Sussex PO22 0BD, U.K.]
17th to 25th March 2001
I am arranging a zoo tour to California in March 2001, visiting Los Angeles and San Diego.
Travel and accommodation costs are: £630
Travel insurance: £55
Total cost of the holiday: £685
A deposit of £155 (+ £55 insurance) is required by 31st August. The balance of £475 is required by 2nd December.
Full details and a booking form are available from:John Partridge,
Tel.: 0117 973 6480; E-mail: Johnpartridge@aol.com
BY ISOLDE WEISZ, ANDREA WUESTENHAGEN AND HARALD SCHWAMMER
[Webmaster: to reduce loading times we have placed additional pictures of the elephants at Schönbrunn in a separate file]
Since the Schönbrunner Tiergarten (Schönbrunn Zoo), Vienna, Austria, changed from a state to a private institution in 1992, nearly the entire zoo has been reconstructed and turned from a menagerie into a modern wild animal facility, following the aims of the World Zoo Conservation Strategy.
A new facility for African elephants (6,700 m²) was opened in 1996 (Schwammer, 1997), which allows a modern approach to keeping elephants in breeding groups. The facility consists of a 4,600 m² outdoor range, separated for cows and bulls, and an extensive indoor range. In addition, there are three extra pens for cows and three pens for the use of a protected contact system. This allows the keeping of at least two bulls.
Research into the nocturnal behaviour of so-called diurnally active animals in general, and of elephants in particular (Brockett et al., 1999; Kurt, 1960; Tobler, 1992), is rather rare. Therefore projects dealing with this topic have been initiated at Schönbrunn Zoo (Schwammeret al., 2000; Wuestenhagen et al., 2000). Target questions were determining time budgets and discussing nocturnal husbandry needs.
Material and Methods
Six (1.5) African elephants currently live at Schönbrunn and were the subjects of the present study. They are the seven-year-old bull, Pambo, and the females Anna (39 years), Jumbo (40), Drumbo (24), Sabi (14) and Tonga (14). During the night Jumbo, Drumbo and Sabi stay together, while the other two females, Anna and Tonga, and the bull Pambo are kept in separate pens. In the new facility none of the animals any longer has to be tethered at night. All the cows are kept hands-on; only the bull is trained in protected contact.
For research on the elephants a video system was installed. Sony Color video cameras (Type CCD-Z3/CCD-Z3E) equipped with an instrument for night vision, sponsored by Swarovski Optik K.G., were used to observe the nocturnal behaviour of the elephants both in the extensive indoor range and in the pens. The nights were recorded with a JVC BR-9020E time-lapse videocassette recorder.
Data were collected from 11 December 1998 to 10 April 1999; over 13 hours per night (from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.) were recorded. Nights were statistically analysed only if the animal could be identified and therefore observed for at least 90 per cent of the total time.
Various activities were distinguished:
ac - activity (feeding, playing, locomotion)
st - standing (no movement at all)
ld - lying down; ldr - lying down right; ldl - lying down left
re - resting (i.e. sleeping while standing, only Anna)
we - weaving
sc - social contact (any interaction between the animals)
The animals were active for 352 minutes (Anna) up to 518 minutes (Jumbo) per night. There were great differences between the animals in their duration of standing and lying down. Anna and Jumbo did not lie down at all. Weaving only occurred in Anna and Tonga.
The elder females Anna (39), Jumbo (40) and Drumbo (24) spent significantly more time standing (ranging between 160 and 260 minutes) than their younger conspecifics Pambo (7), Tonga (14) and Sabi (14) (p < 0.01). For 80 +/- 19 per cent of the time, Jumbo stood close to the sleeping Sabi.
Table 1. Mean values of nocturnal activities.
Except for the 39-year-old Anna, who suffers from arthritis, all the animals are active for more than 50 per cent of the time each night. This implies a total of 18 hours of activity per day, i.e. the whole day and at least six hours per night. These data are in agreement with observations on the behaviour of free-living elephants (Eltringham, 1982).
The animals are kept without tethering and no fights were observed during the investigation period. The possibility to choose their social partners or favourite sleeping area is one of the advantages of the new elephant facility. Permanent interaction between the animals leads to a stable and therefore secure social structure for humans and elephants. In addition, the outdoor range allows the elephants to stay in a healthy condition.
Analysing the ratio of standing time per night reveals that the younger elephants Pambo (7), Tonga (14) and Sabi (14) almost never stand. The elder females Anna (39), Jumbo (40) and Drumbo (24) spend significantly more time standing. The mean standing time per night apparently increases with the age of the animal, whereas the mean duration of sleeping time decreases.
Two animals never lie down. Anna, 39 years old, cannot lie because of arthritis in both forelegs. Only 'resting' was observed; in this typical position Anna leans against the wall, resting her head and trunk on the lower part of the wall. In Jumbo, 40 years old, no bodily ailments have been diagnosed so far. Pathological alterations are therefore unlikely. Another reason for sleeping whilst standing could be her alpha-position in the herd. In wild-living elephants, older and high-ranking females sleep standing in an upright position, watching over their sleeping clan (Kurt, 1991). At night, Jumbo stands near the sleeping Sabi most of the time.
The other four elephants lie down when sleeping. They all sleep for periods of 30 to 180 minutes, interrupted by social contacts and activity, for example feeding (Schwammer et al., 2000; Wuestenhagen et al., 2000). The sleeping ratio differs from night to night, and also between individuals. For example, the mean sleeping time per night of the 24-year-old Drumbo is significantly smaller than that of the younger elephants Pambo, Sabi or Tonga.
In order to improve keeping conditions by enriching nightly activity times, too, the construction of special automatic feeding machines for fruit and hay has been started. These feeders provide the animals with several small amounts of fresh, unspoiled food in the early morning hours.
On 24 May 1999, after intensive training, the female Tonga was allowed to join the group comprising Jumbo, Drumbo and Sabi. During the following days she established herself without any complications or fights in the alpha position in the herd. The integration of Tonga has therefore been successful.
A follow-up project is planned at Schönbrunn to determine whether the new social structure of the herd leads to any differences in the nocturnal behaviour of the elephants, in particular in their sleeping behaviour.
The observations of the nocturnal behaviour of African elephants at Schönbrunn Zoo demonstrate that the animals are active for at least half of the night. The maximum sleeping time is five hours per night, with enormous individual differences. In general, older animals sleep less per night than younger ones.
During the night, elephants either sleep, are active in some way, or stand around not doing anything at all. This standing behaviour is rarer in the younger elephants and more frequent in the older females.
As far as the incidence of weaving is concerned, stereotyping behaviour only occurs in Anna and Tonga. Since Tonga became integrated into the herd, she has stopped weaving.
Improving our knowledge of the nocturnal behaviour of animals kept in zoos is necessary to understand the animals' needs and therefore improve their living conditions.
We want to thank BGT for sponsoring the whole project at the Vienna Zoo, Erlung Kohl for technical support, and all of the elephant guardians at the Vienna Zoo for their cooperation.
Brockett, R.C., Stoinski, T.S., Black, J., Markowitz, T., and Maple, T.L. (1999): Nocturnal behavior in a group of unchained female African elephants. Zoo Biology 18: 101-109.
Eltringham, S.K. (1982): Elephants. Blandford Press, Poole, U.K.
Kurt, F. (1960): Le sommeil des elephants. Mammalia 24 (2): 258-271.
Kurt, F. (1991): Das Buch der Elefanten. Heyne Verlag, Munich.
Schwammer, H. (1997): A new facility for African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at the Schoenbrunn Zoo, Vienna. Journal of the Elephant Managers Association 8 (2): 68-71.
Schwammer, H., Weisz, I., and Wuestenhagen, A. (2000): Nocturnal social behavior of six African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at Vienna Zoo. Journal of the Elephant Managers Association, in press.
Tobler, I. (1992): Behavioral sleep in the Asian elephant in captivity. Sleep 15 (1): 1-12.
Wuestenhagen, A., Weisz, I., and Schwammer, H. (2000): Schlafverhalten bei sechs Afrikanischen Elefanten (Loxodonta africana) im Tiergarten Schönbrunn. Der Zoologische Garten, in press.
[Dip. Vet. Andrea Wuestenhagen, Wittegasse 2/8, A-1130 Vienna, Austria
Dipl. Vet. Isolde Weisz, Kienmayergasse 8/17, A-1140 Vienna, Austria (E-mail: Isolde.Weisz@gmx.net);
Dr Harald M. Schwammer, Vice Director, Schoenbrunner Tiergarten, Maxingstrasse 13b, A-1130 Vienna, Austria (E-mail:email@example.com).]
BY DAVID BARNABY
'There was once a poor woodcutter who went into the forest to hunt. . .'
'Long ago there was a king who had a beautiful pleasure-garden behind his castle. . .'
Many cultural strands come together at Tierpark Sababurg - a wild animal park not far from Kassel. Kassel is in Germany, in the Land of Hessen, quite near to the old East-West German border, on the west side. Let us take these strands separately, before we re-entwine them into Tierpark Sababurg.
Strand 1: the local 'wildparks' of Germany
The major zoos of Germany are, in the main, well-known and widely respected - certainly by the sort of people who read I.Z.N. In addition to the major zoos there are lots of recreational wildlife parks, most often set in woodland areas. They very frequently have an enclosure for European wild hogs (Sus scrofa) who live among the trees. (There are still quite a few of these animals living genuinely wild in rural but not necessarily remote areas.) The other stock comprises mainly European animals of the sort which live happily enough in a woodland or meadow setting: roe deer, lynx, ibex, red deer, owls in large aviaries, and so on. The bigger parks may have wolves, European bison and the re-bred wild horses or 'tarpans'.
Such places are very often part of a system which includes activities for humans such as marked woodland walks and keep-fit trails. There is nearly always a pleasant eating place, varying in size, but which often sells hot pea soup (with wurst if you want) in winter. I used the word 'local' in my subheading because the main visitors to these places are the people who live within short driving distances. The visitors are local people who tend to treat them with respect and expect them to be properly looked after. They are well used.
Frequent characteristics of these places are:
- the 'European-ness' of the majority of the animals;
- the woodland setting;
- an environmental awareness (these places usually feel like a part of the environment, and not superimposed upon it);
- a more indefinable subculture of a German attitude towards forests and what should be in them.
I have deliberately not named any such parks because I want to stay with the generality, and because they are truly numerous.
Strand 2: fairy tales
I can remember more than one park where parents with young children could see tableaux (sometimes coin-operated) of the famous German fairy tales set among the trees. I recall one where Baron Münchhausen 'flew' through the trees on a cable - and yet I still felt myself in a wood and not in a fairground.
Across the road from the Sababurg Animal Park is a genuine castle - Sababurg itself. This is the very castle associated with the story of Dornröschen or Sleeping Beauty. (This is one of the Grimms' stories, but we have it first via Perrault in the French language, where the word for 'wood' occurs in the title - La Belle au bois dormant.) There is no need for Disney at Sababurg - we are too close to the original. Its shop does sell Sleeping Beauty souvenirs; but such trivialisation (if it is trivialisation) does not alienate the story from forest and folk-tale roots. The theme of a thorn connects Dornröschen with the Sababurg Park's first boundary, and with Germany's great medieval epic, the Nibelungenlied, which will be mentioned briefly below.
Maybe I have trained myself to look for such things, but I feel that German forest folklore is never far away. In the pile of bargain-priced books in German supermarkets and department stores is always an edition of Grimms' Folk Tales. The fairy tale still holds its own. Forests and their inhabitants have always been a significant factor in German cultural history.
Strand 3: hunting
It is a small step from the previous strand to this one. Current (British?) political correctness apart, hunting has been for countless generations one of the main forms of contact between humans and the bigger wild animals. The concept of plunging into the deep forests to seek out the secretive beasts became firmly enmeshed in medieval, neo-medieval and Romantic cultures. The beasts were mythical - dragons and unicorns - or real but with sometimes near-mythical ferocity or other qualities - bison, aurochs, wild horses, bears, wolves. The ultimate closeness of contact was to thrust a spear or sword into the heart of the beast. In the most traditional hunting legends, the hunter is light, courage, chivalry; the beast is darkness, evil, brute, deviousness. To accomplish these feats the rich hunters wore their finest clothes and ventured into the forest with drums beating and horns playing.
Most zoos and wildlife parks have an indoor display area for exhibitions. The Tierpark Sababurg has a permanent museum illustrating the history of hunting in the area.
Strand 4: the Brothers Grimm
The eighteenth century saw a rise in European nationalism. One of the more intelligent aspects of nationalism was a systematic and serious study of one's own language and culture. Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, whose home patch was Kassel and its environs, were serious philologists, i.e. researchers into the history of languages. Such studies are almost inseparable from studies of local folk tales. The brothers gathered together a collection of such folk tales, which was to become the world classic that we know as Grimms' Fairy Tales. The tales were only partly for children; they were the oral culture about the forests, beasts, lords and peasants. (The tales as we generally know them have been somewhat sanitised, and we have turned them into 'children's stories'.)
In the town of Kassel itself, there is a Grimm Brothers Museum.
Strand 5: the Brothers Heck
Two other brothers form a significant strand in this weave. The brothers were German, well-educated, interested in Germany's language, folklore, traditions and literature; in hunting, and in the wild beasts which wandered through their culture's history. The brothers themselves hunted wild animals. Their interest in the wild beasts of the traditional German landscape comes as no surprise, because they were both zoo directors. Lutz Heck was the director of Berlin Zoo and Heinz Heck the director of Munich Zoo. The animals of Germany were indeed a strand among their own interests, but, as zoo directors, they naturally spread those interests to include the animals of the whole world.
Their fascination with the beasts of German tradition and literature was combined with their zoological knowledge. They thought of the beasts of literature as real animals. Their view was broad enough for them to quote the description of the hunting of the wild horse from theNibelungenlied, and to encompass a state-of-the-art knowledge of genetics. The science of genetics has leapt forward even since the times of the Hecks (the early and mid-twentieth century), but their genetic concepts were not faulty.
In an unprecedented series of cross-breeding experiments lasting over a quarter of a century, they bred back the aurochs, the European bison and the tarpan or wild horse. Each brother worked independently, with his own breeding programme but with the same aim. Each, via his own route, succeeded by all testable criteria. Each blended genetics and animal husbandry, to create the real animals known only from art, history, literature and folklore. Much of their work, i.e. herds of animals, was destroyed by the Second World War, but not all of it. Some results of their work, generations later, can be seen at Tierpark Sababurg.
I confess it was one of my personal zoological magic moments of 1999, when I watched a herd of 'aurochsen' (unafraid, black-tipped forward-pointing horns, orange dorsal stripe, black bulls, lighter cows and calves) at close range, then looked up and beyond them to see, in the same woodland-surrounded meadow, a herd of tarpans (all mouse-grey, most with short manes and darker dorsal stripes).
The Hecks, by the way, also took the first steps towards re-breeding the South African quagga. Here again, the war put a stop to that attempt. This particular work was taken up by another German, Reinhold Rau in Cape Town, armed with even greater genetic evidence, forty years later. Extrapolating from the broad view of the Hecks, there is no doubt in my own mind that the present South African Quagga Project is as much a cultural phenomenon as a zoological one. [On the Quagga Project, see further David Barnaby's article in I.Z.N. 46:2, pp. 94-98 - Ed.]
Tierpark Sababurg: the strands re-entwined
For a generation or more now, zoos have been forced to ask themselves some crucial questions, such as 'Why exactly is this zoo here?' or 'What are our precise aims?' Some zoos have found these questions easier to answer honestly than others. The results of this period of questioning have been generally fruitful and beneficial. A lot of mental fuzziness and garbage has had to be thrown out. I suspect that Tierpark Sababurg is one of those that knows exactly why it is there and what its particular role is.
It has its own history, which is closely tied to the locality. About 450 years ago, Hessen was ruled by Landgraf Wilhelm IV. This prince was known as 'the learned one on the princely throne' because of his interests in the sciences and mathematics. In 1571 he established a zoological garden at the Sababurg, the hunting castle in the heart of the Reinhards Forest. The great thorn hedge which then surrounded the immense park, and which became a part of the Sleeping Beauty story, was later replaced by a 5,000-metre-long wall. The prime purpose of the animal park was at first to furnish the kitchens with meat. Gradually it took on a more scientific and cultural role, where the more secretive or exotic animals could be observed. Exotic animals, as well as Germany's own, have long been a part of Sababurg's collection. A herd of Przewalski horses comes as no surprise in a place like this, but be ready, too, to observe the penguins.
The park lay neglected for hundreds of years, with occasional interludes for necessary repairs. Only in 1971 did the local council of the nearby village, Hofgeismar, bring the threads back together. The days of the local lord were long over. The revived park unashamedly wanted to nurture those beasts recreated from the actual past, and from the legendary and literary past, descendants of the work of the brothers Heck. These are the creatures who occupied this very place as well as the folk tales. The park is currently home to 450 animals; the tarpans, aurochsen and European bison are only three of 80 different species kept there. Tierpark Sababurg is a serious zoological institution with a sound breeding record. The enclosure labellings are large and very informative.
The heritage of hunting is implicit in the park and explicit in the museum. The museum also has exhibits concerning the past and present use of the local forests from the point of view of economics and ecology. Adjoining the animal park itself, and open to the public, is a truly wild forest (Urwald). I have said enough about the cultural significance of forests. Sleeping Beauty's castle is across the road. A few miles away, in Kassel itself, is the museum of the brothers Grimm.
The road to Sababurg goes through a landscape of woodland, hills and meadows. As one approaches the park, the occasional statue of a tarpan stands by the roadside to reassure the traveller of the route. At the last turning to the park, the junction is marked by a statue of a wisent, the European bison.
At Tierpark Sababurg, informed animal husbandry and zoology merge with history, literature and folklore. Each separate discipline seems to have taken off its own blinkers. In its geographical locality and its cultural heritage, Tierpark Sababurg itself forms a kind of organic whole.
[Webmaster: to reduce loading times we have placed additional pictures of Sababerg in a separate file]
With thanks to Jenny McMullan.
Grimm, Jakob and Wilhelm, (1822): Kinder- und Hausmärchen. Many translations and editions.
Heck, Heinz (c. 1951): The breeding back of the aurochs. Translation from the German by Winifred Felce, Oryx Vol. 1, No. 3.
Heck, Heinz (c. 1951): The breeding back of the tarpan. Translation and introductory note by Winifred Felce, Oryx Vol. 1.
Heck, Lutz (1952): Tiere - mein Abenteuer. English edition, Animals My Adventure, trans.
E.W. Dickes, 1954.
O'Neill, Thomas (1999): Guardians of the fairy tale: the Brothers Grimm. National Geographic Magazine Vol. 196, No. 6 (December), pp. 102-129.
The address of Sababurg Animal Park is:
Tierpark Sababurg, Verwaltung, Kasinoweg 22, 34369 Hofgeismar, Germany.
[David Barnaby, 189 Stockport Road, Timperley WA15 7SF, U.K.]
In my review of Mister Zoo (I.Z.N. 47:2, pp. 109-111), I gave the year of Dr Charles Schroeder's death as 1990, based on the information on p. 266 of the book. Dr Vernon Kisling, chairman of the AZA History Committee, has pointed out that Dr Schroeder passed away in 1991, not 1990. Indeed, both R. Wagner (AAZPA Communiqué, May 1991, p. 1) and Dr Roger Conant (A Field Guide to the Life and Times of Roger Conant, 1997, p. 496) give the year of his death as 1991. Marvin Jones tells me that Dr Schroeder was born on 29 July 1901 and died on 21 March 1991. I apologize for the error.
Ken Kawata,23 Arielle Lane,
What an extraordinary statement there was, hidden in the middle of Michelle Povada's recent article about a ruffed lemur at London Zoo (I.Z.N. 47:2, pp. 95-103): 'in a perfect world there would be no need for keeping such creatures [i.e. lemurs] in captivity.' Why on earth not? Is Ms Povada really suggesting that in a 'perfect world' the people of London would not have the opportunity to see a living lemur? Is she really suggesting that, beyond their perhaps rather nebulous role in conservation, zoo's such as London's serve no other purpose? Is she reallysuggesting that zoos are nothing more than a necessary evil? How very odd. And how depressing, too, that someone who used to work at one of the world's finest old zoos should think this way.
John Tuson,The Mill House,
ELEFANTEN-DOKUMENTATION 1999 edited by Alexander Haufellner, Jürgen Schilfarth and Georg Schweiger. European Elephant Group, 1999. 160 pp., paperback. DM56.00 plus postage from Alexander Haufellner, Am Koglerberg 7, Grünwald, D-82031, Germany (Tel.: 0049-89-6412091; Fax: 0049-89-64919378).
Elefanten-Dokumentation 1999 supplements and updates the two previous publications of the European Elephant Group, on Elephants in Europe (1993) and North America (1997), which were reviewed in I.Z.N. 40:6, p. 35, and 45:3, pp. 161-162 respectively. Like them, it is a large-format book with numerous really outstanding photographs. Also like them, it is, of course, in German (the Group's hope, expressed in 1993, to find a sponsor for English translation and publication was unfortunately never fulfilled). This inevitably reduces its potential market, which in turn - such are the economics of small-scale production - increases its cost. Even so, neither the language nor the price (roughly £18 or $27) will deter non-German 'ele-freaks' familiar with the earlier volumes - they know that if they want the information (and the photos), this is the only place where they can get them. And as I pointed out in my earlier reviews, language is of very little relevance to anyone consulting the lists and tables which form an important part of all these books. The present volume, for example, includes lists of all elephants ever born in Europe (showing, encouragingly, that the totals have increased since 1993 from 121 to 164 for Asians, and from 11 to 25 for Africans), and supplementary lists updating the North American statistics in the 1997 book. Anyone who has personally tried to compile information of this kind will know what a daunting task it can be; so we can be grateful that the EEG has done the work for us. And in the light of recent controversy in this magazine about possible anti-zoo bias in the members of the Group, it is worth mentioning that the present book has been published with financial help from Tierpark Hagenbeck in Hamburg.
BIOLOGY OF MARINE MAMMALS edited by John E. Reynolds III and Sentiel A. Rommel. Smithsonian Institution Press, 1999. viii + 378 pp., hardback. ISBN 1-56098-375-2. £44.95 or US$75.00.
CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT OF MARINE MAMMALS edited by John R. Twiss and Randall R. Reeves. Smithsonian Institution Press, 1999. xiii + 471 pp., hardback. ISBN 1-56098-778-2. £35.95 or US$60.00.
Though published as separate works, with different editorial teams and only one contributor in common, Biology of Marine Mammals and Conservation and Management of Marine Mammals form an obvious pair, similar in format and issued simultaneously by the same publisher. Together they form a satisfyingly wide-ranging reference source, and few marine mammal enthusiasts, in zoos or elsewhere, are likely to be content with only one of the two books.
Biology of Marine Mammals is set at an intellectual level which makes it suitable for undergraduate and graduate students, and is probably the most comprehensive textbook ever produced on this branch of zoology. Countless studies have been published dealing with particular groups, especially cetaceans and pinnipeds, but I know of no book which covers in comparable detail all the marine mammals, including the sirenia, the sea and marine otters, and the polar bear. Following a general, introductory survey of the 119 species, there are chapters on functional morphology, solutions to the physiological problems of living in water, sensory systems, energetics, reproduction, communication and cognition, behaviour, and distribution, population biology and feeding ecology. A final chapter, less typical of a biology textbook but regrettably necessary, discusses environmental contaminants and their possible effects on marine mammal health. Despite the exponential growth of interest in, and study of, marine mammals in recent decades, many aspects of their biology remain insufficiently understood - for example, how they cope with the pressure and oxygen deprivation associated with diving, how they maintain body temperature while immersed in cold water, how they regulate the water/salt ratio in their body fluids, and how they navigate over vast distances in the superficially featureless environment of the oceans. The 22 expert contributors provide a detailed and well-referenced commentary on these and many other questions, frequently comparing marine mammals with one another and with terrestrial mammals (including man).
Today, it is hardly possible to have an interest in any group of animals without becoming concerned about the man-made threats to their future. The situation is especially acute in the case of many marine mammals. In recent decades pressure of public opinion has done much to reduce - though not yet to end - direct human persecution; but we go on killing these animals in a variety of indirect ways. The 31 contributors to Conservation and Management of Marine Mammals consider many aspects of the subject, including such 'non-biological' ones as public attitudes in North America, national and international legislation, interactions of marine mammals with fisheries, the whaling debate, the Antarctic treaties, and the regulation of marine debris pollution. One chapter provides a balanced discussion of the controversial issue of marine mammals in captivity. The 'heads I win, tails you lose' situation zoos can find themselves in is nicely illustrated by the authors' comment that as recently as the mid-1960s killer whales were widely regarded as a pest species; then a few were taken into captivity, and were such effective ambassadors for their species that within a few years public attitudes had reversed and a vigorous anti-captivity campaign was under way on their behalf.
In some respects Conservation and Management of Marine Mammals is less comprehensive than its companion volume, having something of the character of a symposium rather than a textbook. Specialist contributors are given the freedom to write at length on their own topics. So two chapters are devoted to the Hawaiian monk seal, and one each to manatees, the North Atlantic right whale, the interactions between pinnipeds and salmon in the Pacific north-west, and some selected examples of small cetaceans at risk. This concentration on particulars is no bad thing, for good conservation ultimately depends on good science. And also, of course, on a multi-disciplinary approach, of which this book, with its insight into the economic, social and political aspects of marine mammal conservation, is an excellent example.
Wild whooping cranes hatch again in U.S.A.
Two whooping crane (Grus americana) chicks hatched at Kissimmee Prairie, central Florida, in March, the first of the species to be bred in the wild in the United States in 60 years. Last year was the first time a pair of the endangered birds laid eggs at the Florida site. Whooper nests are floating platforms anchored to marsh vegetation, which makes them vulnerable to predators, and before last year's eggs could hatch, they disappeared, apparently eaten by a snake or an alligator.
The whooping crane, the rarest of the world's 15 crane species, was near extinction by 1938, when only two small flocks remained, one which bred in Canada and wintered on the coast of Texas, and another non-migratory flock in Louisiana. A storm wiped out all but six of the Louisiana birds, and none laid eggs again. The last survivor of that flock died in 1950. Strict legal protection, habitat preservation and international U.S.-Canada cooperation saved the Canadian breeding population, which has risen from a low of 15 or 16 birds in 1941 to around 150 today. Since the mid-1960s captive propagation has become increasingly successful, and there are four breeding groups in North American collections, at the International Crane Foundation, Patuxent Environmental Science Center, San Antonio Zoo and Calgary Zoo. There have been several reintroduction attempts, of which the Florida project, launched in 1993, is the most successful.
Naples Daily News (24 March 2000), with additional data from Cranes: Their Biology,
Husbandry, and Conservation (eds. D.H. Ellis, G.F. Gee and C.M. Mirande), Hancock House, 1996.
A consortium to help lemur conservation
The European Association for the Study and Conservation of Lemurs (AEECL) is a consortium of European zoos and universities with an active interest in conservation and research activities in Madagascar, primarily with lemurs. The Association's annual general meeting in January 2000 updated all those who provide funding for its work and discussed the plans for the forthcoming year. The group's work has focused on four key areas: the study of genetic variability in black lemurs (Eulemur macaco), the evolution of the northern sportive lemurs (Lepilemur septentrionalis), genetic studies of grey gentle lemurs (Hapalemur griseus) and, most excitingly, the creation of a reserve area for Sclater's lemur (E. m. flavifrons) in Sahamalaza in the north-east of the country.
In 1999 there was major progress in establishing the reserve area. As a result of much lobbying by the group's representatives, the Malagasy government officially recognised the importance of the area and the need for protected status. The consortium commissioned a report on the situation in the proposed area from Wildlife Conservation Society (New York) staff based in Madagascar, which established that local people are already starting to degrade the habitat which only three years ago was in good condition. Inventories were also compiled to establish the diversity of animals and plants in the area. It was discovered that there are at least 13 mammal species (including six lemurs), 53 resident bird species (including the rare Malagasy fish eagle), and 25 species of reptile.
Because there are numerous villages in the area it is unlikely that a national park will be established, as this would need the removal of the local people, so it is important that close links are formed with the villagers. When the protected area is established, it will be essential that the locals understand the importance of the area, and they will need to be shown how to exploit its natural resources without destroying them. To this end the consortium is working with the son of a local chief who is very supportive of the project and carries considerable respect in his own community. He is undergoing training at a similar community-based conservation project established by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in another part of the country.
Further information about the AEECL may be obtained from Dr Jean-Marc Lernould, Mulhouse Zoo, 51 rue du Jardin Zoologique, 68100 Mulhouse, France.
Gary Batters in The Friends of Banham Zoo No. 11 (May 2000)
Ten years of Andean condor releases
In 1999 the Andean Condor Release Program celebrated its 10th anniversary. A consortium
including the Colombian Ministry of the Environment, the Zoological Society of San Diego,
the Peregrine Fund, the Colombian Zoo Association, and 12 U.S. zoos have worked together
to hatch, rear, transport, release and monitor 50 Andean condors over the past ten years. The
eggs and chicks were propagated in 16 institutions, both North American and Colombian,
while the release and monitoring of the birds has been the responsibility of Colombian biologists.
The bird, the world's largest raptor, was once found along the entire 5,000-mile [8,000 km] length of the Andes, but it has been either eliminated or reduced to a remnant population in the north, with declining numbers throughout the rest of its distribution. To create a new pioneer population of condors along the three branches of the Andes in Colombia, four release sites were chosen to form links in the chain of what is hoped will be a naturally expanding population in the future. This vision is coming closer to reality with the confirmed reproduction of at least one pair of released birds, and the unconfirmed reproduction of two other pairs. The program originally began as a surrogate effort in support of the California Condor recovery program in southern California, but has matured and has itself become one of the most successful conservation programs in the world today.
Abridged from Alan Lieberman in AZA Communiqué (May 2000)
Spix's macaw recovery project update
The Spix's macaw population has been reduced to only one male bird in the wild, with around 30 individuals in captivity. The lone male has been paired with a female blue-winged macaw, and in 1999 the pair successfully raised replacement blue-winged macaw chicks. In the fourth attempt in three years, the replacement of clutches of the hybrid pair with ones from nests of wild blue-winged macaws has proved successful.
The experiment provides evidence that the hybrid pair is capable of fostering young. The next development in establishing a wild population of Spix's macaw will be to provide the hybrid pair with captive-bred Spix's macaw chicks for fostering.
World Birdwatch Vol. 21, No. 4 (December 1999)
TIERPARK BERLIN-FRIEDRICHSFELDE, GERMANY
English summary of the 1999 annual report
In 1999 1,411,743 visitors came to the zoo. On 25 September we opened the enclosures for
Asiatic cattle and deer, takins and musk ox. Three new aviaries for macaws and cockatoos
were finished. The most important breeding successes in 1999 were the births of 1.1 African
elephants, on 15 January and 9 April respectively; they are the first African elephants born in
Berlin, and only the seventh and eighth African elephants born in Germany [see I.Z.N. 46:8,
pp. 470-474]. Snow leopards had their first offspring in Berlin. Sextuplets were born to the
Pallas' cats, and four of the kittens grew up. The manatees had a stillbirth.
Other notable breeding successes among the mammals were as follows: 2.1 eastern kiang, 0.1 Somali wild ass, 1.2 Grevy's zebra, 2.0 Hartmann's mountain zebra, 1.1 vicuna, 0.1 Persian fallow deer, 2.1 Thorold's deer, 1.0 Bactrian red deer, 2.6 Vietnamese sika deer, 0.2 Timor deer, 3.1 Burmese thamin deer, 0.1 Rothschild's giraffe, 1.1 wood bison, 2.2 Arabian oryx, 2.3 scimitar-horned oryx and 0.1 mhorr gazelle. Hog deer returned to the collection. A male musk ox and 3.1 Mishmi takins grew up.
Noteworthy breeding successes in the bird section were: 2 Dalmatian pelican, 1 white pelican, 1 goliath heron, 2 waldrapp, 1 bearded vulture, 1 hooded vulture, 2 red-crowned crane and 3 hyacinth macaw.
A Przewalski horse bred at the Tierpark was supplied for the reintroduction project in Mongolia. During the year the park published updated International Studbooks for Asiatic wild asses, African wild asses, Persian fallow deer and Vietnamese sika deer.
WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY, NEW YORK, U.S.A.
Extracts from the Annual Report 1999
Congo Gorilla Forest
In the Bronx Zoo's 100th anniversary year, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) opened its most ambitious, innovative, and effective animal exhibit ever - the Congo Gorilla Forest. This 6.5-acre [2.6 ha] exhibit is far more than a conventional zoo display. It gives our Central African species spacious habitats that convey to guests a remarkable feeling of their homes in the wild. In all, the new exhibit houses approximately 400 animals of 55 species, including primates, ungulates, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates. Its breeding group of gorillas is one of the largest in North America - 19 (6.13) animals in two family groups, plus three youngsters in an off-exhibit nursery. Other animals to be seen in the exhibit include okapis, red river hogs, mandrills, Wolf's and De Brazza guenons, black-and-white colobus, African pygmy geese, grey-cheeked hornbills, ornate Nile monitors, rock pythons, jewel fishes, butterfly and electric fishes, giant beetles, millipedes, termites and white-spot assassin bugs.
Congo Gorilla Forest embodies many new designs and techniques in zoo horticulture, with over 15,000 plants of nearly 400 species, ranging from 50-foot [15 m] trees to delicate orchids. The living plants are seamlessly intertwined with ten miles [16 km] of fabricated vines and great fabricated trees. Okapis, who prefer dense brush areas but are often exhibited in open pastures at zoos, now live in a forest glade with bamboo and ferns. Mandrills roam the first lushly-planted mandrill exhibit in a northern zoo (mandrills can be very hard on plants). The gorillas are able to forage for food in their exhibit as they would in the wild. For visitors, the experience of the forest is heightened by rolling mist and the ambient sounds of insects, birds and frogs.
Informative, interactive graphics and special exhibits, combined with a state-of-the-art environmental education center, help visitors, children, and schoolteachers learn about the ecology of these animals and their needs. Congo Gorilla Forest also highlights WCS's research and conservation programs in Central Africa, and visitors are given the opportunity, via computer, to decide which of these projects will receive the support of their admission fee.
Following the completion of Congo Gorilla Forest, the mammal department will shift its focus for the near future, in part, to New World tropical forest primates such as squirrel, capuchin, saki, and titi monkeys, and particularly the marmosets and tamarins. A management plan for these small but fascinating animals will incorporate the efforts of the mammal collections in all the WCS animal facilities and provide the keeper staffs with increased opportunities for involvement in research and conservation programs.
The ornithology department took part in a number of collaborative projects with other zoological institutions. The department's chairman and curator Donald Bruning continued to work with Taman Safari and Taman Mini Bird Park in Indonesia, and these efforts resulted in Taman Mini Bird Park being the first Indonesian facility to breed the maleo (Macrocephalon maleo). Senior keeper Patti Cooper worked with keepers at Singapore's Jurong BirdPark on management protocols for birds of paradise. Assistant collection manager Marcia Arland visited Entebbe Zoo, Uganda, to review their facilities for pied kingfishers (Ceryle rudis). These dramatic-looking colonial nesters usually lose one or two young per clutch, so the department will collect nestlings that might otherwise starve, hand-rear them in Uganda, and bring the adults back to the Bronx Zoo for display. In return for Entebbe Zoo's participation in this project, WCS will help the zoo develop graphics for Ugandan visitors to learn more about their local bird species.
Assistant curator John Rowden travelled to Borneo to observe Bulwer's wattled pheasants (Lophura bulweri) in the wild. The zoo has three pairs of these birds, but to date the captive-breeding program for the species has been unsuccessful. Rowden found populations of wild pheasants and learned about their behavior and movements by interviewing village residents; he hopes to establish a long-term field conservation project for the species. The zoo's first lesser adjutant stork chick was successfully reared by its parents this year. Other notable hatchlings included Montezuma oropendola, Congo peafowl, and fairy bluebirds.
Among notable acquisitions in the herpetology department was a group of azure dart frog tadpoles from the National Aquarium in Baltimore. These animals are offspring of frogs caught in the wild in a remote area of south-eastern Surinam. An AZA Population Management Plan has been established for this spectacularly colored species, which survives only in a few isolated patches of forest, making gene flow between frog populations nearly impossible. An exhibit was remodeled from a South American rainforest into a Madagascar spiny desert, a change reflecting the department's long-standing interest in protecting the radiated tortoise and its native habitat. During the spring, curator John Behler and collections manager William Holmstrom spent three weeks in Madagascar, conducting health and habitat assessments for wild radiated tortoises. The field studies and the new exhibit complement the breeding program at St Catherines Wildlife Survival Center, which produced 13 young during the year. Other significant hatchings and births included two dozen dwarf African clawed frogs, Australian frilled dragons, and Merten's water and ornate Nile monitors. Samantha, our world-famous reticulated python, was carefully removed from her habitat for a physical exam. When the keepers measured her, they were surprised to learn that she stretched more than 25 feet [7.5 m], surpassing her previous world-record length by a foot.
St Catherines Wildlife Survival Center
The Wildlife Survival Center on St Catherines Island was created in 1974, and for the past 25 years has focused its programs on rare and endangered species that do not do well in traditional zoo settings, and on developing new techniques in animal management. From troops of ring-tailed lemurs ranging freely through the live oak canopy to wattled crane chicks foraging in large marshlands, the Center continues to meet the challenges of applied conservation. This year Center staff participated in two reintroduction projects: of captive-bred black-and-white ruffed lemurs into Betampona Reserve, Madagascar, and of wattled cranes to bolster a declining wild population in South Africa.
New York Aquarium
The Aquarium's newest animal exhibit, Stars and Stripes Forever, features sea stars, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers. It is designed to educate viewers about the biodiversity of the echinoderms, whose 6,500-plus known species occur in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes and live from the polar seas to the tropics.
A northern fur seal pup, named Ursala, was born to the colony. The aquarium is one of only five AZA institutions to exhibit this species, and the event received national media attention, as did massage therapy for Nuka, the walrus.
New York Wildlife Centers
At Central Park Wildlife Center, the enrichment program for mammals and birds has inspired a number of exhibit changes. A new 'hot springs' for the snow monkeys [Japanese macaques] was created, simulating the mountain waters of the monkeys' native habitat in northern Japan. The animals can be seen in late fall and winter soaking and bathing in the misty waters.
A male coyote captured in Central Park was successfully integrated into the existing group at Queens Wildlife Center; he seems to get along well with the other three animals. The story of his capture made all the local and some national papers. With the completion of a cold-weather holding area, the Center can keep its American alligators year-round. A new exhibit was opened featuring barred owls, and a propagation program was started for the thick-billed parrot, the only remaining parrot species that occurs naturally within the continental United States.
A cotton-top tamarin born at Prospect Park Wildlife Center came as the culmination of an eight-month hormonal study of reproduction in this highly endangered primate. Other births and hatchings included a North American porcupine, parma wallabies, prairie dogs, Madagascan day geckos, bearded dragons, and poison dart frogs.
[The full Annual Report lists no fewer than 359 WCS research and conservation projects around the world, so what follows is necessarily no more than a brief sampling from this abundance. - Ed.]
To meet the challenges that lie ahead in the new millennium, WCS has adopted as a major conservation strategy a focus on 'landscape species' - those creatures that require the largest areas to ensure their survival and whose preservation will have the greatest positive impact on all the other creatures that dwell in these areas. Landscape (or seascape) species may be large, such as elephants, tigers, and eagles. They often range widely and occur at low densities. They may be migratory, like humpback whales, breeding in one place and feeding in another. Landscape species may gather in big groups and depend on seasonal, widely dispersed foods. Few parks or reserves are big enough or encompass enough life zones to protect landscape species. Many of these animals are cultural icons and indicators of current and future problems. Their conservation is a cost-effective way to protect the richness of nature. Also, landscape species often greatly affect the structure of the biological and human communities in which they live.
For example, WCS scientists are investigating the numbers, ecology, and health of Mongolian gazelles and kiangs. They have gathered experts from North, Central, and South America to map the range and population status of the jaguar, the biggest cat in the Americas. They are working with local people in Africa and other zoological institutions around the world to ensure the survival of gorillas in the wild and in captivity. And our new Marine Conservation Program is helping to sort out the dynamics of shark and grouper populations in the Atlantic Ocean and coordinating WCS's efforts to protect coral reefs around the world.
One of the most charismatic landscape species in Central Africa is the gorilla. WCS is the only organization in the world conducting field studies on all three gorilla subspecies. In 1998, we published the results of the first comprehensive survey of eastern lowland gorillas (G. g. graueri), finding a surprisingly robust population of 17,000 living around Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and today we are focusing efforts on protecting these great apes from poachers and habitat loss. WCS researchers have also analyzed the DNA of gorillas in Nigeria; the animals could belong to a new subspecies, and if so, with an estimated 100-200 animals, this would be the most endangered gorilla subspecies.
Mandrills are also featured in the Bronx Zoo's Congo exhibit. In Gabon, researchers radio-tracking these animals found that four collared mandrills stayed together most of the year in a group numbering about 750, and covered over 40 square miles [100 km2], sometimes moving more than six miles [9.5 km] in a day. Thus, to protect mandrills, it will be necessary to protect big areas of forest. They also discovered a social organization unknown in any other primate. Male mandrills come into the group during the breeding season in what is best described as a moving 'lek'; then, from November to May, the males leave, presumably becoming solitary.
Among the numerous WCS projects in Asia are studies of elephants, orang-utans and white-winged ducks in Sumatra, tigers in northern China, the Russian Far East, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and India, coral bleaching and mortality (associated with global warming) in the Maldives, and ungulates and large carnivores in the Nepal Himalayas and south-eastern Tibet. In China, Endi Zhang moved ahead with a program to improve awareness in the community of wildlife product consumption - the first wildlife consumer-oriented program based in China by any international conservation organization. His evaluation indicated that the project has changed attitudes among school students and students of traditional Chinese medicine - future consumers of wildlife.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, several major projects were launched that focus on conservation of key wildlife in major Neotropical landscapes. Among the species highlighted by studies in this region are mealy parrot in Guatemala, jaguar, puma, ocelot and Baird's tapir in Belize, mountain tapir in Colombia, vicuna in Peru, Magellanic penguin in Argentina and the Falkland Islands, and Andean flamingo in the high-Andes throughout the birds' range in Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, and Chile.
Species studied in North America included lynx in the lower 48 states (with an innovative use of scented rubbing posts that collect hair for DNA analysis), ocelot in south Texas, red knots (arctic-breeding migratory shorebirds in population decline), and bald eagles in Alaska (as a top predator bridging the line between aquatic and terrestrial habitats, this species can indicate an ecosystem's health and the success of management practices).
In WCS's marine studies, fisheries conservation is a major focus. Assessment of shark populations in U.S. waters of the Atlantic revealed that some populations were more depleted than previously thought and in urgent need of rebuilding; in May, the U.S. government adopted the WCS scientific model as the basis for its shark recovery plan, and the same approach is now being applied to North Atlantic swordfish. Dan Erickson carried out field trials of a new bait for longline fishing gear, designed to reduce unwanted catch - called 'bycatch'. Worldwide, bycatch is estimated at 27 million metric tons a year. To curb this excessive mortality, he helped devise a bait that is attractive to species fishermen want to catch, such as halibut, but repellent to species that cannot suffer excess mortality, such as Pacific cod. As an extra conservation benefit, the bait is made from bycatch in the pollock fishery. Studies took place of small-scale fisheries in Peru and Cape Verde. At WCS's field station at Glovers Reef Atoll, Belize, managers Tom Bright and Cindy Liles attract top-notch scientists and work with the government to protect the fish and corals of this spectacular marine ecosystem; and Jacque Carter compiled a guide to the fishes of Belize, which will serve as a vital resource for scientists, conservationists, and managers.
WUPPERTAL ZOO, GERMANY
Summary of the 1999 annual report
During the year the zoo was visited by 586,474 (1998: 594,618) people. On 31 December 1999, 4,968 animals of 486 species were exhibited (1998: 5,049 animals of 494 species).
The most important arrivals were: 1.0 greater tenrec, 1.0 black spider monkey (gift from Emmen Zoo), 1.0 black panther, 1.1 yellow-backed duiker, 3 scarlet ibis, 2 little egret (gift from Wilhelma, Stuttgart), 0.1 Bewick's swan, 2.2 long-tailed duck, 3.3 Argentinian ruddy ducks, 2.2 yellow-headed day gecko (Phelsuma klemmeri) (gift from Frankfurt Zoo), 1.0 green tree monitor, 1.2 white-lipped pit viper.
The following were the most noteworthy breeding results: 2 red-necked wallaby, 2.2 short-eared elephant shrew, 0.1 greater tenrec, 2.0 golden-headed lion tamarin, 0.1 lion-tailed macaque, 0.1 drill, 0.1 lar gibbon, 1.0 orang-utan, 7 Patagonian cavy, 1.0 acouchy, 1.1 Gordon's cat, 3.1 black-footed cat, 0.3 Siberian lynx, 1.1 black panther, 2.2 Californian sea lion, 1.0 kiang, 1.2 Grant's zebra, 2.2 red river hog, 8 collared peccary, 1.0 dromedary, 1.0 guanaco, 1.3 southern pudu, 1.0 Ankole cattle, 1.0 eland, 1.0 Siberian ibex, 19 elegant crested tinamou, 1 king penguin, 3 red-cheeked ibis, 2 black-necked swan, 7 magpie goose, 2 coscoroba swan, 12 red-breasted goose, 1 Hawaiian goose, 2 blue-winged goose, 2 African black duck, 2 common eider, 2 spectacled eider, 4 white-winged wood duck, 34 common goldeneyes, 5 bufflehead, 4 smew, 5 black-headed ruddy ducks, 1 African white-backed duck, 2 bearded vulture, 1 bateleur, 3 white-naped crane, 2 red-crowned crane, 15 avocet, 1.2 eclectus parrot, 4 white-eared turaco, 12 guira cuckoo, 5 tawny frogmouth, 1.1 red-billed and 0.2 black-billed streamertail hummingbirds, 7 pale-legged hornero, 3 vermilion flycatcher, 7 barn swallow, 2 house wren, 5 Rothschild's mynah, 3 raven, 1 New Guinea crocodile, 7 giant blue-tongued skink.
Zoo Collectors Meeting
The 11th International Zoo Collectors Meeting will be held on 9-10 September 2000 at Allwetterzoo, Münster, Germany. Activities will include a visit to Rheine Zoo.
For registration or further information, please contact:
Dr Klaus Schüling, Zoo-Verein Münster, Sentruperstr. 315, 48161 Münster, Germany (Tel.: ++0251 311523; Fax: ++0251 311524; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Cincinnati Zoo, Ohio, U.S.A.
On 1 July 1999, a female okapi at the zoo gave birth to the smallest known calf ever to survive, weighing only 24½ pounds [11.1 kg], half the average birth weight of about 49 pounds [22.2 kg]. At around 3.30 a.m., zoo night staff discovered the male calf, who was left alone by his mother and unable to stand. His body temperature was only 88F [31C] and he urgently needed help. Head veterinarian Mark Campbell and head nursery keeper Dawn Strasser were called in and immediately started cleaning and warming the calf. Once he had warmed up, he started to stand on his own.
It took a group effort of three nursery keepers, two veterinarians and a veterinary technician to attempt to save this baby. They first tried tube feeding him to build his immune system with colostrum. The next day, veterinarians drew blood for immunoglobulins to see if the colostrum was absorbed. The test was negative, so the next option was to give him goat plasma - the species are not related, but this plasma was readily available at the zoo. During the next couple of days, the calf's condition was up and down, so Strasser began calling zoos all over the country, asking if anyone had okapi or giraffe plasma stored. Finally, a veterinary technician from San Diego Wild Animal Park confirmed that they had okapi plasma to send. When a Federal Express package with three small bags of plasma arrived two days later, the veterinarians decided that the transfusion must be done immediately. The entire procedure only took about 45 minutes, but the outcome would last a lifetime.
Each day the calf showed signs of improvement, and within three days of the transfusion he was back on regular formula. The vets think that it was the combination of okapi plasma and a new formula that helped the calf's progress. For the next two months, his status was up and down. Currently, nursery keepers sit with the calf for a couple of hours each day and bottle-feed him five times a day. Strasser still can't believe that a 24-pound calf is still living and that he weighs 253 pounds [115 kg].
AZA Communiqué (March 2000)
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Ohio, U.S.A.
The zoo's newest exhibit, Australian Adventure, opened to the public on 8 June. This $10 million Australian-themed children's zoo spans eight acres [3.2 ha] and features three areas: Koala Junction, Wallaby Walkabout and Kookaburra Station. The aim is to enable young children (ages 3-12) to become acquainted with Australian wildlife and gain an understanding of the role of animals in the wild and at a working Australian ranch.
Koala Junction houses three koalas, the first in the zoo's history, as well as two Goodfellow's tree kangaroos, with indoor and outdoor exhibits for year-round viewing. Nearby is an aviary where guests can observe and feed dozens of colorful rainbow lorikeets. Wallaby Walkabout is a winding public walkway where a mob of red and grey kangaroos, Bennett's wallabies and wallaroos roam freely. Magpie geese, Australian wood ducks and plumed whistling ducks inhabit the pond in this area.
Kookaburra Station features a 55-foot (17 m) 'yagga tree' - a simulated Australian baobab tree with a children's tree house, slide, suspended bridge, and many animal exhibits. Other elements include the Reinberger Homestead, a Victorian-style ranch house containing animatronic animals and interactive displays. This homestead and the surrounding areas portray life on a ranch in the outback, with sheep shearing demonstrations and a yard where visitors can enjoy close-up encounters with merino sheep, goats, and donkeys. Rides on dromedary camels are also available. Other animals on view in Australian Adventure include phalanger, feather glider, kowari, galah, cockatiel, kookaburra, bearded dragon, blue-tongued skink, shingle-backed skink, frilled lizard, carpet python, White's tree frog and marine toad.
Abridged and adapted from Cleveland Metroparks Zoo press releases
Denver Zoo, Colorado, U.S.A.
'Absolutely,' was my initial reply when asked if I would be interested in trying to breed Komodo dragons. Johnny Arnett, Area Supervisor from Cincinnati Zoo, asked me this shortly after he arrived in November 1999 with Naga, North America's largest Komodo dragon. He was on loan for a three-month stay to kick off the opening of Denver's Dragons of Komodoexhibit, and Johnny had accompanied him on the flight. Upon seeing our largest dragon, Odoe, Johnny pointed out what a superb dragon specimen she was and said that her mother was smaller at the time she bred with Naga. As studbook keeper for Komodo dragons, he proposed that since Naga was here, it was the right time of the year for breeding, and it was a good genetic pairing, we should attempt a breeding. After some serious discussion, the decision was made to follow this recommendation.
The first thing to be done was to acclimate the two dragons to each other before allowing them together. A wire-mesh door was inserted between the two exhibits, allowing the animals to see each other and, more importantly, to smell each other by flicking their tongues through the mesh. During the introduction period, Naga spent most of his day looking through the mesh at Odoe, while she spent her energies excavating huge holes and tunnels in her exhibit. This activity continued for one week before the day arrived when we removed the mesh door and allowed Odoe to enter the main exhibit with Naga.
Within two minutes of her entering, Naga approached, followed and mounted her. Komodo
dragon mating is typically a protracted process of the male lying either on or next to the
female, attempting to mate whenever she is receptive. This behavior continues unabated for
many weeks, and true to form this happened between Naga and Odoe for almost five weeks. In
the wild females usually chase males away when ovulation is complete. With Odoe, she merely
moved away from Naga and his interest completely waned, so at that time we separated him
into the secondary exhibit. This allowed Odoe to remain in the larger exhibit, which has areas
with deep soil to allow digging for nesting. And dig she did. There were times when she would
dig a hole in which she could completely disappear, all in the matter of 30 minutes. These 'test'
tunnels are dug so that the female can find the exact spot that meets correct depth, soil
temperature, and moisture requirements. The challenge for dragon keepers is to know when
and where the eggs are laid - a difficult task, since Komodo dragons lay their eggs at night and
are expert at hiding their nests. To help with night-time observations we set up low-light video
cameras to cover the entire exhibit, and each morning reviewed the tapes. Setting up these
cameras proved to be crucial, as Odoe dug a 35-inch deep by five-foot long hole [0.9 × 1.5 m],
laid her eggs and covered the entire nest in the middle of the night.
After reviewing one particular tape, keeper Sue Krauss and I decided that Odoe had most likely laid her eggs the previous night. We gathered a group of keepers and began carefully excavating the suspected site. Sure enough, we found the eggs, a clutch of 27. As we retrieved them we noticed that all but three were abnormally shrunken, but decided that they all had the potential to be viable and started to incubate them. Sadly, within two days the 'good' looking eggs had shrunk, and the rest looked even worse. We continued to incubate them to make sure, but after several weeks most of them had turned very hard and had begun to fungus, so they were opened, checked for any signs of fertility (which none had), and discarded.
We are not completely disheartened since it was Odoe's first breeding attempt. We learned a great deal about the process of pairing up these rare lizards, and sometime in the future we hope to have another chance at making baby dragons.
Abridged from Rick Haeffner in Zoo Review (Spring 2000)
Frankfurt Zoo, Germany
The zoo has kept South African fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus) continuously since 1954, and today, with ten (2.8) animals, has the world's biggest and most successful zoo group. Since 1970 no fewer than 34 young have been born here. In 1994-1996 only six zoos bred the species, and 42% of all captive-bred young in this three-year period were born in Frankfurt.
In 1939 an old seal enclosure with a round pool only ten metres in diameter was replaced by a new enclosure constructed in quartzite rock from the Taunus mountains, with a tiled pool 30 m long which had a surface area of 200 m2 and a depth of from 0.8 to 1.6 metres. When it opened, this pool housed six eared seals of four species. But in recent years this pool had become so dilapidated that water was penetrating the masonry and large areas of the tiles had dropped off. Moreover, the depth of water was inadequate.
In April 2000 we opened the new Seal Cliffs exhibit. For the seals, naturally, the most important element in the new enclosure is the water: the new pool covers 300 m2 and is from two to four metres deep. (In places the possible depth was restricted by the presence of a subway tunnel underneath.) The water is cleaned by a three-stage filter plant (unfortunately not yet working entirely satisfactorily), which takes from six to eight hours to process the entire 900-m3 contents of the pool. At times an underwater jet causes a powerful current which encourages the seals to play. Two 10-cm-thick glass panes in a grotto enable visitors to watch the seals swimming among the rocks four metres under water.
It was important that the gunite 'rocks', both under and above water, should match the retained portions of the old quartzite rear wall. In our opinion this was successfully achieved - indeed, the artificial rocks look even more natural than the real ones! The 190-m2 land surface has also been given a larger area of sand, and part of this - and of the rocks - has been planted. The new flat shores are very 'pup-friendly'. Three new holding enclosures with pools supplement the renovated old one, and new service areas, including storage for 980 kg of frozen and 280 kg of refrigerated fish, complete the facility.
Translated and abridged by Nicholas Gould from a Frankfurt Zoo press release
Indianapolis Zoo, Indiana, U.S.A.
The first African elephant in the world ever conceived by artificial insemination was born successfully at the zoo on 6 March 2000. The 201-pound [91 kg] female calf was born to 24-year-old Kubwa after an uneventful two-hour labor following a 22-month gestation. Pride in the achievement is shared by Kansas City Zoo, whose bull, Dale, provided the semen for the procedure.
For the first time ever, the birth was followed from the day of conception to the birth using both progesterone assay and transrectal ultrasound. Zoo staff monitored the progesterone through blood serum weekly from conception through day 600, three times a week from day 601 to 625, then daily from day 626 through 647, and finally twice daily from day 647 (when a significant drop in progesterone level signaled labor was approaching) through delivery on day 653. Results of the assays were used to determine decreases in progesterone to help predict the date of parturition. The staff also monitored the changes in the cervix, vagina and mucous plug through transrectal ultrasound twice daily starting at day 649 to predict the onset of labor. The calf was removed immediately after birth for a veterinary check. She was walking with support at 4.43 a.m., walking unsteadily without support by 4.54 a.m., and fully walking by 5.39 a.m. She was reintroduced to the cow at 5.18 a.m. The entire process was low-stress, calm and uneventful. The calf began nursing at 1.40 p.m. on that same day.
Abridged from AZA Communiqué (April 2000) [see I.Z.N. 45:7 (1998), pp. 450-451, for a report on this artificial insemination. - Ed.]
John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
From 21 to 23 April, visitors to the aquarium were able to enjoy free tastings of delicious seafood. The serious purpose behind this and other activities was to educate the public, showing them how to help conserve our favorite seafood species and promote the health of the oceans. The new Audubon Seafood Lover's Almanac was available for purchase; this book is filled with information about species threatened by overfishing, alternative choices to popular but declining seafood species, and delicious recipes. Also available was a seafood guide, printed on wallet-sized cards, to help restaurant customers make the right choices. For instance, Chilean sea bass and swordfish are examples of seriously declining species, while mahimahi, striped bass and tilapia are thriving. Conservation staff members were on hand to answer questions about positive fishing methods and other issues. 'If we keep consuming certain seafood at the pace we're going and with the current fishing practices, in the not-too-distant future the fish simply won't be available,' says Jeff Boehm, vice-president of Shedd's research and veterinary services.
Abridged from a Shedd Aquarium press release
National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
'Medicine for terrestrial invertebrates is in its infancy,' says Dr Brent Whitaker, the aquarium's Director of Animal Health. When Whitaker and his colleague Dr Ian Walker searched for literature on the subject to aid in their diagnosis and treatment of a sick tarantula, they found very little. The Theraphosa blondi - commonly known as a goliath bird-eating tarantula - was brought to the aquarium with an ulcerative lesion on its abdomen. The lesion was growing, and would surely impair the spider's next molt; but a more urgent problem was that it leaked hemolymph, or fluid from the tarantula's abdomen, which is essentially like a water balloon. Since spiders use hydrostatic pressure for support and movement, the animal's abdomen was sagging, and it could hardly walk.
The veterinarians' first step was to culture the lesion and perform a cytological examination; they were looking for the presence of inflammatory cells, fungi, bacteria or cancerous cells. They began treating the area with a topical antibiotic, but saw no improvement. As the spider grew sicker, it stopped eating. Speculating that the lesion might be the surface of an abscess that they could open and flush out, Whitaker and Walker scheduled a computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan with a local private veterinarian. At this point, following an Aquarium press release about the animal's treatment, the story began to appear in newspapers around the country, and the spider even appeared briefly on CNN. Research biologists from universities, veterinarians, and members of the public proffered advice, and classes of elementary schoolchildren sent get-well cards.
Unfortunately, the procedure's results were ambiguous, even to the vet who performed the scan. 'This stuff is so new, it's hard to interpret the information,' says Dr Whitaker. Clearly, however, the lesion was not well defined within the spider, so removing it did not appear to be a good option. The next step was to attempt a biopsy. When Dr Walker pulled off a tiny piece of the infected area, the spider's hemolymph spurted out - the lesion was definitely not an abscess. The fluid clotted quickly, and the vets sealed the wound with cyanoacrylate glue. Not surprisingly, the histopathologist who tested the sample had never before examined a spider's tissue, but the result was a clear diagnosis: the lesion was caused by a fungal infection. According to Dr Whitaker, the spider may have been bitten before it was captured: two dimples in the lesion's center could have come from a rodent's teeth.
The next puzzle for the vets to solve was treatment. 'Usually, you try what works with other animals,' says Dr Whitaker. They considered several options, including surgical excision of the whole infected area. 'That would have been a long shot,' Dr Walker admits. Another possibility was administering an antifungal drug, but the vets were not sure of its possible side effects. The most prudent course seemed to be to treat the lesion with antifungal ointment. However, the drug wasn't absorbed by the spider's exoskeleton, and in the end, the tarantula died.
'We're always up for a challenge,' says Dr Whitaker, 'and we went from zero to 60 in terms of building a knowledge base about these animals. Of course we learned the details of its anatomy, but we also learned techniques for diagnosis and treatment - where to inject it, what we needed for sedation, what procedures it could withstand. Having gone through this, we'll be more prepared the next time.'
The tarantula was not the only invertebrate at the aquarium to receive care from the Animal Health Department. The vets routinely work with marine species, including horseshoe crabs, sea stars, and cephalopods such as a giant Pacific octopus. They have also treated other arthropods, including a millipede with mites, centipedes with neurological damage, and other tarantulas. In the millipede's case, they anaesthetized the animal, scraped off many of the mites, and smothered the remainder with olive oil, since a miticide would have killed the millipede too. The centipedes were reacting to toxins in their soil and recovered when it was changed. One tarantula had lost a leg; Dr Walker glued it back onto the stump. He also performed oral surgery on another spider, cutting a sheath of partially molted exoskeleton away from its fang.
In most invertebrate cases, the veterinarians can only find references on an animal's biology or husbandry needs. Some literature does describe particular diseases or medical problems. While this information is certainly helpful - 'Medicine involves understanding the whole animal,' says Dr Whitaker - very little has been published that focuses specifically on medical treatment. Likewise, other veterinarians may not be able to help much: 'Zoos and aquariums tend to focus on the health of their larger animals,' Dr Whitaker explains. 'Although other vets would certainly enjoy the challenge of treating invertebrates, their time or opportunities may be limited.' Financial considerations are, of course, also a factor. One veterinarian described the aquarium's efforts on behalf of the tarantula as 'probably the most that's been done to help a spider.'
However, the work of the aquarium's vets shows how the situation is changing. Dr Whitaker believes that as more zoos and aquariums feature invertebrates, the need to develop medical treatment will grow. 'Some of these animals are increasingly hard to find in the wild,' he points out. 'If procuring them becomes more difficult, there will be a greater incentive to treat the ones already in captivity.' So perhaps, a CAT scan of a spider will no longer be a news story.
Andrew McBee in AZA Communiqué (May 2000)
Newquay Zoo, U.K.
New herb baskets are giving the zoo's three species of endangered African monkeys - diana, colobus and sooty mangabey - access to a range of aromatic herbs. Herbs play a valuable role in many animal and human diets on account of their strong flavours and healing properties. Garden and keeping staff have created three identically planted baskets. The monkeys have access to the herbs by means of a mesh panel which keepers remove when working in the enclosure. This allows staff to monitor and record which herbs are eaten on a regular basis. The herbs have been chosen for their hardiness as well as their attractive taste and smell. Of the first selection of herbs over the winter, little attention has been paid to thyme, rosemary and lavender. However, sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) has proved popular with the monkeys. This plant is used by people to aid digestion. A new baby colobus born in November has now been adopted and named 'Woodruff' by one of our visitors.
Pawprints Vol. 3, No. 1 (April 2000)
St Louis Zoo, Missouri, U.S.A.
A litter of five Kenya horned vipers (Bitis worthingtoni) were born at the zoo on 11 January 2000. The neonates ranged from 2.3 to 2.8 g in weight. Although copulation was not observed, the male was noted to show particular interest in the female from late June through early September 1999. The female began utilizing the basking area on 25 October 1999.
The parents and an additional pair were acquired on 28 May 1998. The adults are housed in fiberglass units measuring 44.4 × 45.7 × 48.3 cm with a bark/gravel substrate, live grass clumps and rocks for basking. Factors contributing to this successful breeding are thought to be the availability of daily and seasonal temperature fluctuations, including a cooling period of 62-65F [16.7-18.3C] from late May to early September and the provision of thermal gradients for the female through the use of basking lights.
This small viper is endemic to Kenya's high central rift valley and is restricted to altitudes over 1,500 meters. This is believed to be the first captive breeding of the species.
J. Ettling in AZA Communiqué (April 2000)
Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, Germany
At Easter 2000 the Tierpark opened two new enclosures. Between Friedrichsfelde Castle and the pheasantry four new aviaries for parrots were finished. Their areas are 40 and 50 m2respectively, and they are 5 m high, with dome-shaped mesh roofs. Each aviary is connected with an indoor enclosure, where the birds can be observed by visitors through glass panels. We have chosen the following occupants:
- Black parrots (Coracopsis nigra), triplets from a private breeder.
- Festive amazons (Amazona festiva bodini), a pair from Loro Parque, Tenerife, the only pair at a German zoo. (The subspecies is named after Dr Heinrich Bodinus, director of the zoological gardens in Cologne and Berlin in the 19th century.)
- Yellow-bibbed lories (Lorius chlorocercus), a group of nine from Tierpark Cottbus.
- Green-winged macaws (Ara chloroptera); a pair of these birds lives in the fourth aviary.
Between the Alfred Brehm House and the penguin enclosures we have turned an area of 1,000 m2 into a naturalistic enclosure for cheetahs surrounded by a 2.4 m high We obtained an 18-month-old pair of cheetahs born at Wassenaar Wildlife Breeding Centre, the Netherlands, from Neuwied Zoo.
Dr Bernhard Blaszkiewitz
Wilhelma Zoo, Stuttgart, Germany
After last year's break, our griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) have bred again. A fluffy chick is basking in an untidy, roughly-made nest of sticks and being fattened by its parents. In the wild the nest would be high up on a cliff face in the Alps or in our local mountains, the Schwäbische Alb, and nobody except the parents would ever see the chick. But our little vulture is easy to spot on its nest platform high on the slope above the insect house.
Griffon vultures normally live exclusively on carrion; so even in the zoo they can be seen eagerly pecking at old bones, picking off the last fibres of meat with their big, sharp beaks. They don't eat the actual bones - that's the job of the bearded vultures (lammergeiers). Even here in the zoo, as in the wild, they have to defend their food against the pushy crows, who seize every opportunity to steal the bones. At present [24 May] the vulture chick is 'spoon-fed' all its food, but in a few weeks it will be fledged, and from then on it must fight for its share of the sheep ribs.
Translated by Nicholas Gould from a Wilhelma press release
News in Brief
German police believe that the animal rights group who freed three circus tigers in Warsaw in mid-March may also be behind the release of four polar bears at Nuremberg Zoo two weeks later. The bears escaped from their enclosure after someone broke two thick padlocks on a gate. Zoo staff tried to immobilise them with tranquillizer darts, but were hampered by a strong wind and the fact the bears still had their thick winter fur; so finally, and most reluctantly, the decision was made to shoot them. The bears had been sent to Nuremberg from Karlsruhe Zoo, which is undergoing renovations.
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A baby drill was born on 23 March 2000 at Zoo Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A., bringing the number of drills at the zoo to 12, and the total U.S. captive population to 21. Atlanta is the only zoo in the United States with a breeding pair of drills, and one of only three to house a drill collection. The new baby is the seventh drill to be born to Inge and Adonis, a 12-year-old pair who have been at the zoo since 1990.
AZA Communiqué (May 2000)
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On 19 April Lootas, a female sea otter (Enhydra lutris) at Seattle Aquarium, Washington, U.S.A., gave birth to her first cub. Now nearly three years old, Lootas was hand-reared at the aquarium after being rescued from the sea off Alaska when her mother was run down by a fishing boat. If it survives, the cub, a male, will be the fifth sea otter bred and reared at the aquarium, the only U.S. institution to breed the species. Sea otters have also been bred at several Japanese collections.
* * * * *
Eight female lobsters were stolen from the Anglesey Sea Zoo, Wales, U.K., in February. The animals are worth only £10 each, but can lay up to 200 eggs a year. The zoo rears the young and releases them in local waters as part of a restocking scheme begun in 1983.
* * * * *
Chinese scientists at Wolong Research Centre are trying to encourage male giant pandas to mate by showing them video films of pandas copulating. The centre's director, Zhang Hemin, claims that the technique - which provides an artificial substitute for the direct views of mating that young pandas would have in the wild - is effective, and has reduced the proportion of impotent males at Wolong from 80% to 60%. But Dr Zhang denied recent media reports that the Centre has dosed pandas with sex-enhancing drugs such as Viagra.
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Zoo New England (Franklin Park Zoo), Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., has partnered with LiveWave, Inc., a live interactive video programming network, to offer internet users the first-ever live full-motion video from a gorilla exhibit. Web users who log on towww.livewave.comcan control the camera angles through their computers to observe and study their favorite gorillas in the exhibit, which includes an infant and five other gorillas - silverback Kitombe, adult females Kiki and Gigi, and juvenile males Okpara and Little Joe.
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Two calves of the endangered black-faced impala (Aepyceros melampus petersi) were born at Lisbon Zoo, Portugal, in July and August 1999. A few months later a group of 1.3 was sent from Lisbon to Barcelona Zoo, Spain. At present, this subspecies is kept in only three zoos worldwide - Pretoria, South Africa, Lisbon, and now also Barcelona. The international studbook, kept by Lisbon Zoo, listed only 34 animals at 31 December 1999.
Eric Bairrão Ruivo in EAZA News (April-June 2000)
* * * * *
The Zoological Society of San Diego presented its first gold conservation medals in 1966. Since then, the medals have been awarded to only a select few recipients from around the world, people the Society considers to have made outstanding contributions to wildlife conservation. It is especially pleasing to be able to report in I.Z.N. that one of this year's awards has been given to the magazine's proprietor, John Aspinall. As almost all our readers will know, Mr Aspinall's achievements in the field of captive breeding have extended over four decades. The wild animal parks he founded at Howletts and Port Lympne in Kent, south-east England, have a list of successes few zoos can equal. If one species must be singled out, it is the gorilla: John Aspinall has the distinction not merely of having created the world's most prolific captive colonies of these animals, but also of doing more than any other person or organisation to rescue orphan gorillas and set up safe sanctuaries for them in Africa.
Baker, W.K.: What level of impact do emotions have in the zoo environment? Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 27, No. 3 (2000), pp. 111-113.
Baker, W.K.: What options are available for crisis and safety training? Animal Keepers' ForumVol. 27, No. 5 (2000), pp. 206-207.
Baker, W.K.: What happens when crisis management fails? Part 2. Animal Keepers' ForumVol. 27, No. 2 (2000), pp. 78-79.
Baker, W.K.: What do you look for in a shipping crate and what precautions should staff members take in advance of a dangerous animal transfer or shipment? Animal Keepers' ForumVol. 27, No. 4 (2000), pp. 163-166.
Bashaw, M.J.: The behavioural effect of reintroduction of a hand-reared lion cub to her social group. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 27, No. 3 (2000), pp. 131-136. [Zoo Atlanta.]
Berghaier, R.: Good-bye to all of that, reflections on 24 years of zookeeping. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 27, No. 2 (2000), pp. 66-68. [Philadelphia Zoo.]
Crawford, D., and Clendinin, M.: Making conservation a reality: prairie restoration at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Denver, Colorado. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 27, No. 5 (2000), pp. 208-211. [Describes the work done on the project by volunteer zoo keepers.]
Crissey, S.D., Meehan, T.P., Langman, C., and Pruett-Jones, M.A.: Vitamin D metabolites 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D and kidney function indices and the relationship to diet in Goeldi's monkeys (Callimico goeldii). Zoo Biology Vol. 18, No. 6 (1999), pp. 565-574. [In Brookfield Zoo's Goeldi's monkey colony, a large number of deaths related to renal disease has been documented. Review of post-mortem results from the past 20 years revealed that in deaths of animals over 18 months of age, renal disease was a primary pathologic diagnosis. Although the nutrient requirements of Goeldi's monkeys have not been described, previous studies have suggested that their vitamin D metabolism may differ from those of other New World and Old World monkeys. The Brookfield animals had been fed a diet containing a commercial marmoset diet that contained vitamin D3 at concentrations approximately seven times that of the traditional canned primate diet. The purpose of this study was to examine the vitamin D status of these animals and, if possible, link it with indices of kidney function. Though no definite link was established, the authors conclude that it is very likely that Goeldi's monkeys are not similar to Callitrichids in their metabolism of vitamin D metabolites, and urge the need for further study of this aspect of the species' captive diet.]
Crissey, S.D., Barr, J.E., Slifka, K.A., Bowen, P.E., Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis, M., Langman, C., Ward, A., and Ange, K.: Serum concentrations of lipids, vitamins A and E, vitamin D metabolites, and carotenoids in nine primate species at four zoos. Zoo Biology Vol. 18, No. 6 (1999), pp. 551-564. [An analysis of the nutritional status of 94 primates of nine species (black-handed spider monkey, eastern colobus, sooty mangabey, Schmidt's monkey, mandrill, yellow baboon, chimpanzee, orang-utan and gorilla) at Brookfield, Fort Worth, Lincoln Park and North Carolina Zoos.]
Dierenfeld, E.S., and McCann, C.M.: Nutrient composition of selected plant species consumed by semi free-ranging lion-tailed macaques (Macaca silenus) and ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) on St. Catherines Island, Georgia, U.S.A. Zoo Biology Vol. 18, No. 6 (1999), pp. 481-494. [Diets known to support growth and reproduction of these species in zoos were provided to supply basic nutritional needs of these animals at the Wildlife Conservation Society's Wildlife Survival Center. Hence, foods selected by these semi free-ranging primates, observed over the course of one year, were assumed to be representative of preferred forages and plants that could be physiologically utilized. With no consideration of the contribution of the provisioned diet, behavioral and chemical differences were noted. The lemurs had a much higher diet diversity compared with the macaques. The macaque staple food selections comprised leaves and seeds, with fruits eaten only seasonally, whereas fruits and leaves were primary food items for the lemurs, with buds and seeds eaten seasonally. Overall, forages selected were low in protein and high in fiber, relative to estimates of dietary requirements for non-human primates. Annual weighted means of forages selected met calcium requirements for the lemurs, but not the macaques, and were low in sodium, phosphorus and iron for both species. Despite differences in food items selected, the nutrient composition of forages consumed was notably similar between these disparate primates.]
Edwards, M.S., and Ullrey, D.E.: Effect of dietary fiber concentration on apparent digestibility and digesta passage in non-human primates. II. Hindgut- and foregut-fermenting folivores. Zoo Biology Vol. 18, No. 6 (1999), pp. 537-549. [Although leaf-eating primates of both groups digest plant fiber effectively, the digestive efficiencies of hindgut fermenters (howlers) are significantly less than those of foregut fermenters (colobine monkeys); but both types show increased retention times and reduced rates of passage. Maintaining plant fiber in the captive diets of these specialized primates at 15% acid detergent fiber, while minimizing presentation of readily fermentable carbohydrates (e.g., starch and sugars), is recommended to promote normal microbial fermentation and gastrointestinal function.]
Edwards, M.S., and Ullrey, D.E.: Effect of dietary fiber concentration on apparent digestibility and digesta passage in non-human primates. I. Ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata variegata andV. v. rubra). Zoo Biology Vol. 18, No. 6 (1999), pp. 529-536. [This study showed that, although classified as frugivores, ruffed lemurs are capable of utilizing a diet containing 15% acid detergent fiber (a level found in commercial diets intended for specialized leaf-eaters such as howler monkeys, colobus and langurs).]
Grams, K.: Exhibitry and enrichment of North American river otters (Lontra canadensis) at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 27, No. 4 (2000), pp. 171-183.
Guerrero, D.: Animal behavior concerns and solutions: elephant training. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 27, No. 5 (2000), pp. 200-203.
Guerrero, D.: Animal behavior concerns and solutions: lemur evaluation (Lemur fulvus).Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 27, No. 2 (2000), pp. 62-65.
Guerrero, D.: Animal behavior concerns and solutions: the training term 'deprivation'. Part 1.Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 27, No. 3 (2000), pp. 116-118.
Guerrero, D.: Animal behavior concerns and solutions: the training term 'deprivation'. Part 2.Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 27, No. 4 (2000), pp. 155-157.
Heymann, E.W., and Smith, A.C.: When to feed on gums: temporal patterns of gummivory in wild tamarins, Saguinus mystax and Saguinus fuscicollis (Callitrichinae). Zoo Biology Vol. 18, No. 6 (1999), pp. 459-471. [Wild moustached and saddle-back tamarins show a gum 'feeding itinerary': gums are preferably consumed in the afternoon. The authors interpret this as a behavioural strategy to prolong the time that the gums are retained in the gastrointestinal tract, as only through prolonged gut retention (i.e. through the night, when tamarins do not defecate) can the complex carbohydrates found in gums be subjected to microbial fermentation. It is suggested that more attention be paid to feeding itineraries in field studies of primates, as such information may help to identify optimal strategies for feeding schedules in captive primates.]
Lukas, K.E., Hamor, G., Bloomsmith, M.A., Horton, C.L., and Maple, T.L.: Removing milk from captive gorilla diets: the impact on regurgitation and reingestion (R/R) and other behaviors. Zoo Biology Vol. 18, No. 6 (1999), pp. 515-528. [Although no gorilla health problems are associated with regurgitation and reingestion (R/R), these behaviors are not observed in wild gorillas, so are presumed to be a product of captive management and therefore undesirable. Despite the fact that milk, yogurt etc. are not part of the natural diet, dairy products were once thought to be an important component of gorilla nutrition, and are still fed by a significant percentage of zoos. In this study, the elimination of milk from the gorilla diet at Zoo Atlanta resulted in significant reduction of R/R, even when the milk was replaced with diluted or undiluted fruit juice. Elimination of milk also increased foraging activity and the consumption of high-fiber foods.]
Luyster, J.: Enclosure enrichment for a visually impaired Rüppell's griffon vulture (Gyps rueppellii). Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 27, No. 5 (2000), pp. 225-227. [Louisville Zoo, Kentucky.]
McCormick, H.: Reproduction of an imprinted southern ground hornbill at Tracy Aviary.Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 27, No. 2 (2000), pp. 74-75. [A hand-reared male Bucorvus leadbeateri, very human-oriented and aggressive, sired a chick which was successfully parent-reared. The male assisted in the rearing process by feeding the female, whose nest was against a chain-link fence separating the two birds.]
Meylink, W.: Artis' Afrika Savanne. (Amsterdam Zoo's Africa Savannah.) De Harpij Vol. 19, No. 1 (2000), pp. 2-4. [Dutch, with English summary. While Amsterdam Zoo, situated in the heart of the city, has worked towards the goal of exhibiting animals in a non-traditional fashion for the last 30 years, negotiations for additional land to carry out modernization plans moved slowly. Thus the new African Savannah, built on about a hectare of land adjacent to the original zoo, was completed just a half-year ago. The animals now inhabiting this exhibit include four Grevy's zebras, six white-tailed gnus, two ostriches, two Egyptian geese, two southern ground hornbills, two crowned cranes, four helmeted guineafowl and two white pelicans. No animals were injured during transfer to their new enclosure, and the social hierarchy between the different species and individuals is now largely established.]
Neptune, D., and Larsen, E.: Multi-male bisexual entellus langur troop: it can be done! Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 27, No. 5 (2000), pp. 228-234. [Utah's Hogle Zoo, Salt Lake City. The Old World Monkey TAG has decided that Presbytis entellus does not have a genetically viable U.S. population; in Hogle Zoo's group of 2.3 adults, both the males have been neutered.]
Nijboer, J.: Het met de hand grootbrengen van jonge dieren. (Hand-rearing young animals.) De Harpij Vol. 19, No. 1 (2000), pp. 8-11. [Dutch, with English summary. While the general policy at Rotterdam Zoo is to avoid hand-rearing, there are occasionally cases in which a new-born animal is abandoned or otherwise does not receive sufficient food, so that hand-rearing is considered the best option. Appropriate conditions, and usually a great deal of expertise, are necessary, and if the chance of success is not realistic and will almost certainly only lead to long and unnecessary suffering, no attempt is made. Factors that will optimize the chances for survival such as hygiene, temperature, humidity and feeding method should be carefully considered. Milk replacements for mammals must supply enough energy and nutrients, taste good and be digestible. A table is shown with six basic types of milk replacements in terms of amounts of dry matter, fat, protein and carbohydrates, and the types of animals for which these categories apply is mentioned in the article.]
O'Connor, K.I.: Mealworm dispensers as environmental enrichment for captive Rodrigues fruit bats (Pteropus rodricensis). Animal Welfare Vol. 9, No. 2 (2000), pp. 123-137. [The dispensers were placed into the bats' enclosure at Jersey Zoo and their behaviour recorded over 14 days. For seven days the dispensers were empty but, for the remaining seven, 20 mealworms were placed in each dispenser. The number of bats feeding declined with increasing time from initial food presentation in all cases, but the presence of mealworms in the dispensers decreased the rate of decline. In addition, the number of bats active within 20 cm of the food in the dishes and on the heater tops increased significantly when mealworms were present. Although the presence of mealworms had no effect on the number of flights made by the group of bats as a whole, both the number of bats on the enclosure floor and the amount of aggression observed in the enclosure decreased when mealworms were present. Installation of the dispensers meant that the bats found food items as a consequence of their natural exploratory and foraging behaviour, and as such they provided important ingredients for approximating a natural habitat and improving welfare.]
Reason, R.: Reproductive parameters in female giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) at Brookfield Zoo. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 27, No. 3 (2000), pp. 120-124. [The author stresses that, even for a relatively well-known species like the giraffe, some basic reproductive information remains provisional and further study is needed.]
Robertia, J., Sauceda, J., and Willison, R.: Conditioning three species of aridland antelopes for weight collection - a case study on Hippotraginae. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 27, No. 5 (2000), pp. 214-223.[Dallas Zoo; Oryx leucoryx, O. dammah and Addax nasomaculatus.]
Serio-Silva, J.C., Hernández-Salazar, L.T., and Rico-Gray, V.: Nutritional composition of the diet of Alouatta palliata mexicana females in different reproductive states. Zoo Biology Vol. 18, No. 6 (1999), pp. 507-513. [A study based on observation of a semi free-ranging troop of mantled howler monkeys in southern Mexico.]
Sweetland, D.: Animal behavior modification and training in zoo keeping, a survey (revised).Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 27, No. 4 (2000), pp. 167-169.
Thachuk, G.: The hand-rearing and reintroduction of Chip and Dale. Animal Keepers' ForumVol. 27, No. 2 (2000), pp. 80-89. [Valley Zoo, Edmonton, Canada; cotton-top tamarin (Saguinus oedipus).]
Ullrey, D.E., Bernard, J.B., Peter, G.K., Lu, Z., Chen, T.C., Sikarskie, J.G., and Holick, M.F.: Vitamin D intakes by cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) and associated serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations. Zoo Biology Vol. 18, No. 6 (1999), pp. 473-480. [Rickets and osteomalacia have been reported frequently in captive callitrichids. Some have assumed that these conditions are a consequence of unmet, unusually high requirements for vitamin D, and that these high requirements are characteristic of all New World primates. As a consequence, certain commercial diets formulated for New World primates contain such high concentrations of vitamin D that their consumption by other species has resulted in signs of vitamin D toxicity. This study suggests that a dietary vitamin D3 concentration of 2,500 IU/kg dry matter was more than sufficient to support normal growth and adult weights, reproduction and general health in a colony at Potter Park Zoo, Lansing, Michigan.]
van Herk, R., and Veldhuis, J.: 'Nederlandse dierentuinen hebben een leidende rol in de wereld.' ('Dutch zoos have a leading role in the world.') De Harpij Vol. 19, No. 1 (2000), pp. 18-25. [Dutch, with English summary. An interview with Antoon van Hoof, director of Burgers' Zoo, Arnhem. Mr van Hoof left his university studies in 1961 to manage Burgers' Zoo, a family business, when his father became seriously ill. Since that time the zoo has become quite famous for its enclosed eco-displays the Bush, the Desert, and the recently built Ocean. Mr van Hoof has become a well-recognized media personality, particularly through a series of television programmes featuring visits to zoos and information about animals. A masterplan for Burgers' Zoo was developed in 1969, but the underlying eco-theme of the park had already been established with the construction of its safari park in 1968, in which the emphasis was on providing an environment that would allow animals to behave naturally. The next phase completed was the world-famous chimpanzee centre, built in 1971. Technical limitations delayed the construction of the Bush for some time, and it did not open until 1988. The plants in this rainforest ecosystem were then relatively small, so visitors and colleagues alike had no idea what the exhibit would become and was intended to do, i.e. to offer visitors the opportunity to experience a complete and balanced rainforest ecosystem. This has also been the goal of the Desert and the Ocean. Mr van Hoof feels that other Dutch zoos should not be considered a threat, but rather as a stimulus for the public to visit colleague zoos to gain different experiences, as each zoo is consciously working to emphasize its distinct character. He also maintains that all zoos have something to offer regarding what to do and what not to do in zoo design.]
Veenhuizen, R.: De oerzons in Dierenpark Wissel. (North American porcupines at Wissel Zoo.) De Harpij Vol. 19, No. 1 (2000), pp. 26-28. [Dutch, with English summary. Wissel Zoo received 3.4 adult porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum) on 17 December 1996. Their diet has been altered somewhat over time, and now consists of apples, carrots, endive and equal parts of kangaroo, primate, cat and rodent chow. They also receive browse, and show a strong preference for willow and maple above other branches. The porcupines had some small crusts around the eyes and peeling skin on the nose upon arrival, and three weeks later the problem had greatly worsened in some individuals. The problem proved to be a fungal infection, so an Imaverol solution (20 ml/l) was applied to the animals and their enclosure three days a week for the first month and once a week thereafter. The porcupines were moved to their permanent, 10 to 12 m long and 3 to 6 m wide island enclosure when it was ready three months after their arrival. The island is furnished with tree trunks and roots and a large number of poles, some up to 3.5 m high, interconnected by diagonally placed poles. Shelters are attached to the poles at various points, and additionally the tree roots serve as important hiding places for very young animals. The first young was born on 24 April 1997, followed by a sibling two days later. A third, weaker, young was born a week thereafter, but did not nurse, and efforts to hand-rear it failed. The two mother-reared young ate adult food after the first week and grew quickly. One young was also born in 1999.]
Veltman, K., and van der Zanden, R.: Biologische gewasbescherming; beestjes bestrijden met beestjes. (Biological control: fighting pests with pests.) De Harpij Vol. 19, No. 1 (2000), pp. 5-7. [Dutch, with English summary. Historically, botanical and zoological collections in zoos were housed separately; but through the current practice of exhibiting habitats and virtual ecosystems, plant and animal collections have become mixed. In many cases application of pesticides to control invertebrates damaging plants is no longer an option because of potential damage to other life-forms in the enclosure. The company Entocare provides a biological control service for three Dutch zoos, other environmentally concerned institutions and even shopping centres. Entocare has some 25 different 'products' that it uses in these services, most of which are cultured by the company. Should a pest plague occur for which the company has no appropriate predator, it can research the possibilities and produce one. Biological control is a slow and ongoing process that requires periodic assessments, but if done correctly can be very effective and non-damaging - except to the targeted pest, of course.]
Zinner, D.: Relationship between feeding time and food intake in hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas) and the value of feeding time as predictor of food intake. Zoo Biology Vol. 18, No. 6 (1999), pp. 495-505. [In a study of 18 hamadryas baboons at the German Primate Center, it was found that time spent feeding and number of feeding bouts could explain only 30% and 40%, respectively, of the variation in the ingested amount of food. A prediction of feeding success solely by measuring feeding duration or number of feeding bouts is therefore not recommended, and an estimation of food intake from ingestion rates and feeding time has to be treated with caution.]
Publishers of the periodicals listed:
Animal Keepers' Forum, American Association of Zoo Keepers, 3601 S.W. 29th Street, Suite 133, Topeka, Kansas 66614, U.S.A.
Animal Welfare, Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead, Herts. AL4 8AN, U.K.
De Harpij, Stichting De Harpij, Van Aerssenlaan 49, 3039 KE Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Zoo Biology, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158, U.S.A.
Sally Walker's article 'White tigers - the Indian viewpoint' was published in I.Z.N. 36:6 (1989), pp. 9-11, not in 38:6 (1991) as stated in the last issue (p. 197). The issue in question is out of print, but a photocopy of the article will be sent free of charge to any reader on request.