International Zoo News Vol. 48/3 (No. 308) April/May 2001


OBITUARY – Warren D. Thomas
GUEST EDITORIAL Spartaco Gippoliti
Aspects of Langur Reproduction and Management at Bristol Zoo Siân Waters, Natalie Quinton and Darren Webster
The Hand-rearing and Reintroduction of an Eight-day-old Mara at Suffolk Wildlife Park Nicholas J. Prior
Zoo Notes from Venezuela and the Dominican Republic Richard Weigl
The History of the National Elephant Centre, Chester Zoo Paul A. Rees
Letters to the Editor
Book Reviews
International Zoo News
Recent Articles

* * *


Warren D. Thomas, 1930–2001

Warren D. Thomas, D.V.M., director of Los Angeles Zoo from 1974 to 1990, died on 17 March 2001. Active in retirement as a lecturer on cruise ships and as a consultant to Los Angeles Zoo, Thomas was in Brunei when he succumbed to a debilitating and unexpected illness following a valiant fight for his life.

Born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1930, Thomas realized as a teenager that he had a distinct interest in the preservation, health, and well-being of the earth's rare and endangered wildlife. This passion led him to obtain a degree in veterinary medicine from Ohio State University in 1959. While still a student and working part-time as a keeper at Columbus Zoo, Thomas played a key role in the successful birth of Colo, the world's first captive-bred gorilla.

Later, Thomas served as the director of Oklahoma City Zoo, Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, and Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, and was responsible for the complete design and construction of the last of these. He also acted as a consultant and designer of zoos worldwide. However, it was his 16 years at Los Angeles Zoo that solidified his reputation as one of the progressive visionary leaders in zoos. He revitalized the city-owned and -operated facility and helped make it one of the great zoos of its time in the field of rare and endangered species conservation. He concentrated in particular on primates and antelopes, but also involved the zoo in a cooperative breeding program for the nearly extinct California condor which now serves as a model for different agencies working for the survival of other species.

Thomas's reputation in the field of wildlife conservation was further enhanced by his untiring efforts in the formation of the Sumatran Rhinoceros Trust. He was instrumental in bringing together four U.S. zoos and the appropriate Indonesian officials to forge a relationship that enabled the importation into the United States of a small group of these critically endangered animals. As a result, the birth of a baby Sumatran rhino is expected this fall to Emi, a female from Los Angeles sent on breeding loan to Cincinnati Zoo.

Upon his retirement in 1990, Thomas lectured on cruise ships all over the world accompanied by his wife Marilyn, a former Los Angeles Zoo docent chairman. His humorous and informative signature lecture, `Gorillas I Have Known and Loved', will be remembered by many. He also served as a consultant for Los Angeles Zoo for the past three years. Thomas is survived by his wife, Marilyn, his former wife, Maria, three children and five grandchildren. Donations in memory of Dr Warren D. Thomas may be made to the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association Campo Gorilla Reserve Fund.

Adapted and abridged from the Los Angeles Zoo website (

* * *


Present trends in mammal taxonomy and their consequences for ex situ conservation

Mammalian taxonomy is living through a new golden age, and several new species and genera have been discovered or re-evaluated since the standard Mammal Species of the World of Wilson and Reeder (1993) was compiled. Most of the newly recognized species are the result of museum-based taxonomic revision or molecular research, and often old names excluded as synonyms have been revalidated.

It is easy to assume, especially for non-specialists, that taxonomic knowledge is homogeneous among mammal orders, as in recent years new species have been described and proposed in a number of orders – in the Neotropics, for example, spanning from primates to rodents and chiroptera (Patterson, 2000). As a result of changing species recognition criteria, many former subspecies have been raised to species level. The number of recognised primate species in the Neotropics has more than doubled in two decades, and gorilla and orang-utan are now believed to include two species each, and a number of subspecies. If a once recognized species with a wide distribution is split into many different species, or a totally new species is found in a narrow range, the consequences for conservation assessment are evident. I foresee an exponential growth of taxa included in the IUCN Red List in the next few years. But what are the consequences for the zoo community?

Firstly, the continued increase in species must lead to the development of more restrictive criteria for inclusion of `nominal' taxa in ex situ programmes. It is a fact that for some charismatic species, practically all `nominal' subspecies are subject to coordinated captive-breeding programmes (e.g. tiger), and that such programmes are numerically dominated by some large-sized, attractive mammal and bird taxa.

Impaired taxonomic treatment (resulting in higher endemism or threatened rates for particularly well-known `attractive' taxa, such as primates or parrots, for example) may cause a bias of interest and resources allocated to conservation for these groups, a factor already afflicting our scientific knowledge of threatened species.

In 1990, the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust began a breeding programme for the Malagasy giant jumping rat or vositse (Hypogeomys antimena). This species is the sole living member of its genus, a second larger species, H. australis, being already extinct, and its range is now restricted to an area measuring less than 20 by 40 km. It is sad to say that this captive-breeding programme is at risk of being discontinued because of the slight interest in the zoo community (Cowan, 2000), despite the continuing and predicted decline of the species' natural range (Sommer and Hommen, 2000). Incidentally, Hypogeomys is among the 62 genera (not species!) of rodents identified as threatened in a recent global assessment (Amori and Gippoliti, 2001). It is perhaps time that some measure of phylogenetic diversity was included in the selection of taxa for ex situ programmes. An example of this approach is offered by Cracraft et al. (1998) for Panthera tigris, which identified the Sumatran tiger as the most distinctive of living populations.

Secondly, it is not uncommon for overestimation of threat level for a large charismatic species to lead to the establishment of species-specific or even ex situ conservation programmes of dubious utility for overall habitat and species conservation (van Balen et al., 2000).

Finally, the systematics of low-appeal small-sized mammals is still very far from being satisfactorily understood. Staying with Malagasy rodents, the seven genera known in the 1980s (two new genera were described in 1996 and 1998) continue to be included in one subfamily, Nesomyinae, even though `they are so distinct that each could stand as a member of a separate tribe or subfamily. . .' [my italics] (Carleton and Musser, 1984, p. 343).

Zoos should help the public to gain a wider view of biodiversity conservation, beyond what can be described as the `panda approach' (cf. Entwistle and Dunstone, 2000). In the end, this may be the single most important contribution of zoos to wildlife conservation.


Amori, G., and Gippoliti, S. (2001): Identifying priority ecoregions for rodent conservation at the genus level. Oryx 35 (2), in press.

Carleton, M.D., and Musser, G.G. (1984): Muroid rodents. In Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World (eds. S. Anderson and J.K. Jones), pp. 289–379. John Wiley and Sons, New York.

Cowan, K. (2000): International Studbook for the Madagascar Giant Jumping Rat Hypogeomys antimena: Number Two 1998–1999. Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Jersey.

Cracraft, J., Feinstein, J., Vaughn, J., and Helm-Bychowski, K. (1998): Sorting out tigers (Panthera tigris): mitochondrial sequences, nuclear inserts, systematics and conservation genetics. Animal Conservation 1 (2): 139–150.

Entwistle, A., and Dunstone, N. (eds.) (2000): Priorities for the Conservation of Mammalian Diversity: Has the Panda had its Day? Cambridge University Press, London.

Patterson, P.D. (2000): Pattern and trend in the discovery of new Neotropical mammals. Diversity and Distributions 6: 145–151.

Sommer, S., and Hommen, U. (2000): Modelling the effects of life history traits and changing ecological conditions on the population dynamics and persistence of the endangered Malagasy giant jumping rat (Hypogeomys antimena). Animal Conservation 3 (4): 333–343.

van Balen, S., Nijman, V., and Prins, H.H.T. (2000): The Javan hawk-eagle: misconceptions about rareness and threat. Biological Conservation 96: 297–304.

Wilson, D.E., and Reeder, D.M. (eds.) (1993): Mammal Species of the World: a Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

Spartaco Gippoliti,

c/o Center of Evolutionary Genetics, CNR, via dei sardi 70, 00185 Rome, Italy. (E-mail:

* * *





Bristol Zoo Gardens began to exhibit Javan or silver langurs (Trachypithecus auratus) and Hanuman langurs (Semnopithecus entellus) in 1983 and 1985 respectively. Both species bred well, resulting in some information on reproduction, particularly for Javan langurs, for which there are few documented data. The husbandry methods used to maintain both species are outlined below. In zoological collections surplus male offspring typically present problems in the captive management of many primate species, which are kept in uni-male or harem social groups. For many collections euthanasia cannot be the management tool for surplus primates. Thus, alternative methods must be tried, using information on social groupings in the wild as an indicator of potential management strategies. The different methods of managing surplus male langurs between 1993 and 1997 at Bristol and the resultant species-specific differences encountered with regard to these management strategies are described below.

The Hanuman langurs exhibited at Bristol were of the Sri Lankan subspecies, S. e. thersites (Carman, 1993). Hanuman langurs are very adaptable and are found from the Himalayas to Sri Lanka, occupying a wide range of habitats; unlike other Asian colobines, they are not predominantly arboreal (Bennet and Davies, 1994). In Sri Lanka this subspecies was found to live in groups of from 20 to 30 individuals containing more than one adult male. This structure appeared to be maintained throughout the year, with groups tending to split into subgroups for foraging (Ripley, 1970). Adult males migrated between groups and violent take-overs were observed. In other parts of Hanuman langur distribution males were also found in all-male or predominantly all-male bands (Ripley, 1970).

However, things may be more complex than they appear, as researchers at one site have reported that juvenile males only left after their natal group had been taken over by another male and not because they had reached puberty (Mathur and Manohar, 1991). Male relationships within these bands have received little attention, although in one location they were composed of male half-siblings plus their deposed father (Moore, 1986).

Reports of reproductive data available for the Hanuman langur state that females first give birth at around 54 months both in the wild (Winkler et al., 1984) and in captivity (Harley, 1988). The gestation estimate is 200 days (Harley, 1985). Interbirth intervals in the wild are reported as 15.3 months (Winkler et al., 1984) and 26.5 months (Newton, 1987). Male Hanuman langurs are reported to reach maturity at between five and six years of age (Roonwal and Mohnot, 1977; Vogel and Loch, 1984).

Information on Javan langurs is sparse. The only study undertaken on Trachypithecus auratus sondaicus in western Java found that this subspecies lived in predominantly uni-male groups of from ten to 20 animals. Although all-male groups and solitary males were reported, no violent male take-overs were observed (Kool, 1989). There is no documented information regarding the reproductive biology of this species.


Both species of langur were housed in the Monkey House at Bristol. The cages were of similar size and design. The inside cages were split into an upper and lower level and measured 9.2 m2 by 4.5 m high. The floors were of tiled bricks and the walls were also tiled. Cage furniture consisted of a network of wooden poles and various ropes. The outdoor enclosures measured 19.8 m2 by 5.2 m high and had a soil substrate covered with forest bark. There was a network of logs of varying heights within the enclosure. The indoor and outdoor enclosures were connected by means of a heavy mesh tunnel. The cages were cleaned daily using a bacterial disinfectant. Unfortunately, due to the large numbers of animals within the langur groups, it was not practical to cover the floor with any sort of substrate inside. Fresh browse was hung on a regular basis within the outdoor or indoor enclosures depending on the weather. Free access was allowed indoors and outdoors throughout the year, apart from when the cages were being cleaned. Scatter feeding also took place at regular intervals.

A crush cage was available for isolating animals when veterinary attention was necessary or when they were being transferred to another collection. All the cages in the monkey house were connected by means of sliding doors to one another and to the centrally situated crush cage in the service passage. The crush cage eradicated the need for restraining these easily stressed primates using nets.

The diet for both langur groups consisted of various fruit and vegetables with boiled eggs daily. Pears were not given as they had an adverse effect on faeces consistency, but citrus such as orange was fed with no such effect. Boiled rice, dried fruit, peanuts and browse were also given. The langurs also got a varied scatter feed on a daily basis, consisting of some of the following: primate pellet, flaked maize, sunflower seed and dog biscuits. Although langurs have a history of deaths due to digestive disturbance (Calle et al., 1995; Janssen, 1994), the only animal lost due to a gut obstruction was a young female Hanuman langur in 1994.

Reproductive History

From 1987 to 1997, 20 (10.10) Hanuman langurs were born with 18 (9.9) or 90% surviving to adulthood. The original females were wild-caught and only one of the captive-bred females gave birth at Bristol; this was at the age of 42 months, younger than previously documented (Harley, 1988). The inter-birth intervals of the three females ranged from 305 to 988 days with a median of 410 days and a mode of 468 days.

The Javan langur group began with one male and three females. These animals were believed to be of the subspecies Trachypithecus auratus auratus. The original male died in 1985 without siring offspring. Females were then sent to Twycross Zoo to mate with their breeding male and returned to Bristol where they gave birth. Another male arrived at Bristol in 1989. He was later suspected to have belonged to a Sumatran subspecies of T. cristatus, so his offspring were thought to be hybrids, as were the offspring from the breeding male at Twycross (Waters, 1994). Recent taxonomic investigations of the Bristol group have suggested that they may be ebony/silver leaf monkey hybrids or of unknown origin (J.B. Carroll, pers. comm.). For many years the core of the group at Bristol was five breeding females with the aforementioned male plus their offspring of varying ages.

There were 31 (10.18.3) captive births of Javan langurs at Bristol between 1983 and 1997. Of these 25 (15.10) or 81% survived to adulthood. The age of captive-bred females at first parturition ranged from 42 to 58 months (n = 7), with a mean of 50 months. The median is 52 months and the mode is also 52 months. The shortest interbirth interval recorded for a female at Bristol is 252 days (her first infant did not survive). Interbirth intervals ranged from 252 to 703 days, with an average of 432 and a median of 448.

Management of young adult male langurs

During 1995 the Hanuman langur group consisted of 12 (5.7) individuals and included four sub-adult males, the eldest of which was four years old. Characteristic male displays were frequent and consisted of the males charging round the enclosure, bouncing against the sides of the cage and then leaping from place to place. When a young female's arm was broken during an aggressive bout all four young males were removed from the group and placed in the adjacent enclosure. Displays and loud calls were still frequent from both the young males and the dominant male, as there was still visual contact between the groups, but there was no intragroup aggression. After the bachelor group had been transferred to another collection, the dominant male ceased these displays. It was decided that the dominant male should be vasectomised because he was genetically over-represented in the U.K. and it was rather difficult to place surplus individuals of the species. After the death of one of the original breeding females, the social composition of the group in August 1997 was 5 (1.4).

Due to the suspicion that the Javan langurs were hybrids it was difficult to place them in reputable collections, and so from 1993 the group size ranged from 19 (11.8) to 22 (12.10). Trouble only occurred, however, when male offspring reached the age of three to four years and tried to take over from the dominant male. As with all uni-male primate species in captivity, it is difficult to place male offspring. Although documented evidence from the wild was sparse, it seemed feasible to attempt to house two sibling males together without any females in the vicinity. After ten months, fighting erupted which was serious enough for one male to need veterinary attention. Two more attempts were made to keep the two males together, both of which ended in serious fighting and further veterinary intervention. This development meant that both males would have had to be housed alone on a long-term basis without social contact with conspecifics, and so the decision was taken to euthanase them. Belfast Zoo had similar problems with four T. a. auratus which were eventually disbanded as a result of severe aggression between the males (M. Challis, pers. comm.). However, these were pure animals and were eventually needed for breeding elsewhere.

In March 1995 two young male Javan langurs of 40 and 45 months of age were causing a great deal of tension within the group, and aggressive interactions with the dominant male had commenced. It was decided to castrate the two young males. in an attempt both to keep them in the group and to ensure that the dominant male remained dominant. In order to prevent further breeding, it was also decided not to castrate the dominant male, but to carry out a vasectomy. This meant that his hormone levels would remain unaffected and he would hopefully continue as the dominant individual. All three males had their operations on the same day and were kept together, but separated from the rest of the group, for four days. When the males were reintroduced to the group it became evident that the adult male had once again regained full dominance over the younger males (Webster, 1996). The situation became more relaxed after the young males had been castrated, and a change in their behaviour was observed. They began nursing infants, and one male in particular was harassed by the more dominant females in the group, receiving small bite wounds and scratches (Webster, 1996). Immediately after this intervention the group became calmer.


From the maintenance and breeding of these primate groups some information is available regarding the breeding biology of the Javan langur. Intragroup problems among both species began to occur when elder male offspring were almost four years old. There was a marked difference in the compatibility of males kept in bachelor groups. From our experience, and contrary to the (admittedly sparse) literature, it was not feasible to keep sibling bachelor groups of Javan langurs, but, as predicted by the literature, sibling bachelor groups of Hanuman langurs did not present a problem. Given the problems of aggression between Javan langur males plus the difficulty of placing them elsewhere, perhaps castrating individuals who will not be needed for breeding could be tried as a management strategy when euthanasia is not an option.


Bennett, E.L., and Davies, A.G. (1994): The ecology of Asian colobines. In Colobine Monkeys: Their Ecology, Behaviour and Evolution (eds. A.G. Davies and J.F. Oates), pp. 129–171. Cambridge University Press.

Calle, P.P., Raphael, B.L., Stetter, M.D., Mangold, B.J., Doherty, J.G., McNamara, T.S., and Cook, R.A. (1995): Gastrointestinal linear foreign bodies in silver leaf langurs (Presbytis cristatus). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 26: 87–97.

Carman, M. (1993): Register for the Hanuman or Entellus Langur (Presbytis entellus), No. 1. Zoological Society of London.

Harley, D. (1985): Birth spacing in langur monkeys (Presbytis entellus). International Journal of Primatology 6: 227–242.

Harley, D. (1988): Patterns of reproduction and mortality in two captive colonies of Hanuman langur monkeys (Presbytis entellus). American Journal of Primatology 15: 103–114.

Janssen, D.L. (1994): Morbidity and mortality of douc langurs (Pygathrix nemaeus) at the San Diego Zoo. In Proceedings of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians and Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians (ed. R. Junge), pp. 221–226. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Kool, K.M. (1989): Behavioural ecology of the silver leaf monkey (Trachypithecus auratus sondaicus) in the Pangandaran Nature Reserve, West Java, Indonesia. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

Mathur, R., and Manohar, B.R. (1991): Departure of juvenile male Presbytis entellus from the natal group. International Journal of Primatology 12: 39–43.

Moore, J. (1986): Paternity in all-male groups of langurs (Presbytis entellus). Primate Report 14: 30–31.

Newton, P.N. (1987): The social organisation of forest Hanuman langurs (Presbytis entellus). International Journal of Primatology 8: 199–232.

Ripley, S. (1970): Leaves and leaf monkeys: the social organisation of foraging in gray langurs. In Old World Monkeys: Evolution, Systematics and Behaviour (eds. J.R. Napier and P.H. Napier), pp. 481–509. Academic Press, New York.

Roonwal, M.L., and Mohnot, S.M. (1977): Primates of South Asia: Ecology, Sociobiology and Behaviour. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Vogel, C., and Loch, H. (1984): Reproductive parameters, adult male replacements and infanticide among free-ranging langurs (Presbytis entellus) at Jodhpur (Rajasthan), India. In Infanticide: Comparative and Evolutionary Perspectives (eds. G. Hausfater and S.B. Hrdy), pp. 237–255. Aldine, Hawthorne, New York.

Winkler, P., Loch, H., and Vogel, C. (1984): Life history of hanuman langurs (Presbytis entellus). Folia Primatologica 43: 1–23.

Waters, S.S. (1994): Register for the Javan or Silver Leaf Langur (Trachypithecus auratus), No. 1. Bristol Zoo Gardens.

Webster, D.A. (1996): The effect of neutering within a group of silver leaf monkeys (Trachypithecus auratus). Ratel 23: 25–27.


We are very grateful to Bryan Carroll and John Partridge of Bristol Zoo Gardens for their advice and comments regarding this article.

Correspondence (e-mail only) to: Siân S. Waters ( Reprint requests to: Natalie Quinton, Keepers Flat, Blackpool Zoo, East Park Drive, Blackpool FY3 8PP, U.K.

* * *



On 14 April 2000, a baby mara (Dolichotis patagonum) was discovered in a mixed exhibit at Suffolk Wildlife Park which housed five (3.2) mara, three (1.2) Bennett's wallabies and two (0.2) domestic goats. The young mara, a male, seemed lively and bright, and during the first few days was observed suckling regularly. Both mother and baby seemed fine. However, on 22 April, eight days after parturition, the mother died from a severe womb infection; there had been no signs of illness leading up to the death. It was consequently decided to attempt to hand-rear the orphaned baby.

The mixture offered to the baby mara was made up of 100 ml boiled water (cooled to blood temperature), and four scoops of SMA Gold Milk Powder (using the scoop in the tin), with two drops of Abidec. The above formula was first offered to the baby at 16.30 on 22 April, four hours after his mother was found dead, through a 10 ml syringe with a small teat at the end. To prevent the mara from wriggling and to make it easier to hold him, a pillow case was wrapped around him. The first 7 ml of milk was mainly lost down the mara's chin; however, he then latched onto the teat and started to suck so strongly that the plunger in the syringe pushed down automatically. By the end of the first feed he had taken 53 ml and when put back into the pen started to `chatter' and `whistle' quietly. After taking 26 ml and 40 ml at 18.00 and 21.00 respectively, he was then uninterested at midnight and 03.00. After he took 20 ml at 06.00, the next two feeds were given with a four-hour interval at 10.00 and 14.00. After he was fed at 19.00 he was stimulated and passed faeces for the first time since hand-rearing had begun. They were dark green and looked normal.

To start with the baby was kept in an 81 cm square weldmesh pen 30 cm high (the weldmesh was 50 mm square); a lid of the same material prevented him from jumping out.

When the mara was 11 days old feeds were reduced to four a day, and this continued for the next seven days. At 13 days old, the mara was moved into a stable, off-show to the public, to allow him more space to move about. The stable was 3.66 m long and wide, and 4.57 m high. A heat lamp was set up as a precaution and was switched on at night until the mara was three weeks old; the lamp was fixed 80 cm off the ground. Feeds were reduced to three a day when he was 18 days old, and then cut down to two from 24 days. They were then reduced to just one a day from 31 days. The strength of the milk mixture was increased to six scoops of SMA powder to 100 ml water when the mara was 19 days old, and it stayed the same strength until he was 37 days old. As he was slowly weaned off the milk, the formula was changed slightly, between 39 and 42 days, to 75% milk mixture and 25% water; it was changed again at 43–46 days to 50% milk and 50% water, and at 47–50 days to 25% milk and 75% water. The feed at 49 days was the last to be given. The most the mara ever took in one feed was 140 ml. After the last feed his health and weight were monitored just as closely as before, but he seemed content eating the fresh food offered, as well as grass. When he was on four feeds – including a midnight feed – there were six-hour intervals between them; the midnight feed was cut out on three feeds, but there were still six-hour gaps between the day feeds. When on one feed he was fed at eight in the morning.

Fresh food and water was offered daily, as a guinea-pig was put in with the mara for company. To start with, the fresh food consisted of chopped apple, cabbage, lettuce, carrot and a coarse calf mix. As the mara got older, other fruit and vegetables were gradually introduced to get him used to the diet fed to the adult maras; these were broccoli, celery, tomato, cucumber and brown bread. The mara was observed eating cabbage at 20 days (although he could have been eating solids a lot earlier). When he was ten days old he was seen `tasting' water. Table 1 gives a rough guide to what fresh food was given and at what age.

Quite a bit of food was left to begin with, but it was put in anyway to allow for the guinea pig. Hay was used as bedding to give the mara a chance to eat it, and he was observed eating hay after 14 days. Fresh food was cut out after 50 days, by which time he had joined the adult group and was on grass.

The mara was first weighed after sixteen days, when he weighed 800 g; from then on he was weighed each week (see Table 2). He was placed inside a pillow case during weighing.

In order to introduce him gradually back into the adult group, at 37 days he was placed in a fenced-off area of about 40 m2 within Pets' Paddock, allowing contact with the adult maras (as well as the wallabies and goats) through the weldmesh, but was taken out at night and put back into the stable. This also got him used to grass, which he started eating straight away.

The mara was monitored to make sure he was all right outside, mainly in case it rained too heavily, but whenever it did rain he immediately went into the small hut which had been provided for him. This routine carried on until he was 46 days old, when he was finally put in with the adult group for three hours a day, from 13.15 to 16.15 hours; a member of staff stayed in the enclosure to step in if any excessive aggression occurred. When the baby was first put into the paddock, he was put close to the group. After a few minutes the adults went over to him, sniffing his genital regions and generally taking an interest in the newcomer. The interest died down after an hour, with the baby eating grass and inspecting his new surroundings. From 51 days old he was left in his pen overnight.

The mara initially had little fear of our visitors, so it was decided to introduce him to the group out of hours, until he had learned to move away from people. It was noted between 63 and 69 days that he was looking a little thin along the back and neck and somewhat `pot-bellied'. When checked by the vet at 69 days, he was diagnosed as being slightly blighted and thin, with `probable bacterial overgrowth leading to abnormal fermentation and malabsorption' (quoted from the park record diary). He was to be put on a course of prebiotics as soon as it could be sourced, although he continued to put on weight, and before he was started on the course, his abdomen had begun to look not quite so distended. The mara started on the course of prebiotics at 75 days and stayed on them for seven days.

The hand-rearing and reintroduction of the mara ended when he was 100 days old, when he was weighed for the last time. At the time of writing (February 2001) he is approaching one year old, and is still running with the group with no problems.


Macdonald, D. (1984): The Encyclopaedia of Mammals. Equinox, Oxford.

Rosenthal, M.A. (1974): Hand-rearing Patagonian cavies or maras Dolichotis patagonum at Lincoln Park, Chicago. International Zoo Yearbook 14: 214–215.

Products mentioned in the text

AbidecÔ multivitamin drops, Warner/Lambert Consumer Healthcare, Eastleigh, Hampshire SO53 3ZQ, U.K.

Coarse Calf Mix Ration, H & C Beart Ltd., Brighton Mill, Stowbridge, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE34 3PD, U.K.

SMAÔ Gold Infant Milk, SMA Nutrition, Huntercombe Lane South, Taplow, Maidenhead, Berks. SL6 0PH, U.K.


My thanks to Terry Hornsey, Haylee Parker, Melanie Anderson and Sarah Fairhurst for their invaluable assistance and advice during the hand-rearing.

Nicholas Prior, Suffolk Wildlife Park, Kessingland, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 7SL, U.K.

Table 1. Fresh food given daily to the infant mara at different ages.

8–17 days

2 cabbage leaves, 2 lettuce leaves, celery leaves (1 stick), half apple chopped or 1 medium carrot sliced, 2 handfuls coarse mix feed.

18–25 days

2 cabbage leaves plus one-quarter cabbage, 2 lettuce leaves plus one-quarter lettuce, 1 stick celery, half apple chopped or 1 medium carrot sliced, 1 tomato quartered or 1 branch broccoli, 2 handfuls coarse mix feed.

26–50 days

As above plus 1 slice brown bread (this became the mara's favourite food), 2 celery sticks chopped, 2 branches broccoli (if available).

Table 2. Weight record of infant mara.

Age of mara (days) Weight of mara (g)

16 800

21 925

28 1075

35 1225

42 1285

49 1405

56 1365

60 1325

63 1455

70 1565

77 1585

84 1925

91 2225

100 2295

Appendix 1: Hand-reared mara – feeding and husbandry notes.

Day Amount taken each Comments

feed (ml), (total

amount in brackets)

8 53/26/40 (119)

9 0/0/20/17/10/15 (62) Stimulated to pass dark green faeces.

10 15/36/17/12/21 (101) `Tasted' water.

11 15/40/22/40 (117) Fed in pen without restraint.

12 24/36/22/37 (119)

13 25/42/25/48 (140) Moved and fed in side stable, switched to 20 ml syringe.

14 25/57/27/34 (143)

15 30/40/50/60 (180)

16 40/20/50/73 (183) Weighed – 800 g.

17 40/40/40/53 (173)

18 50/60/60 (170)

19 40/73/40 (153) Strength of milk increased to 6 scoops SMA / 100 ml water.

20 25/35/40 (100) Seen nibbling cabbage.

21 58/40/40 (138) Weighed – 925 g. Switched to 50 ml syringe.

22 60/25/30 (115)

23 40/20/45 (105)

24 15/70 (85)

25 25/50 (75)

26 45/57 (102)

27 50/70 (120) Not locked in pen at night, left with run of whole stable.

28 40/40 (80) Weighed – 1075 g.

29 50/50 (100)

30 30/50 (80)

31 70

32 50

33 80

34 60

35 97 Weighed – 1225 g.

36 100

37 70 Put in fenced-off part of pets' paddock with no problems, put back in stable at night.

38 80 Put in pets' paddock every day and taken out at night.

39 92 Milk mixture changed to 75% milk, 25% water.

40 140

41 102

42 100 Last day of current mixture; weighed – 1285 g.

43 60 New mixture – 50% milk, 50% water.

44 130 Seen eating bread.

45 70

46 30 Put in with mara group for 3 hours, went well.

47 65 New mixture – 25% milk, 75% water.

48 40

49 70 Last planned feed, but weight and health will be monitored carefully.

* * *



I had already visited seven Latin American countries in 1997 and 1999, and the neotropical fauna were constantly new and fascinating to me. Therefore in May 2000 I visited two more countries in the region, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, and made notes on zoos and their animals.

There are three zoos in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. The city has a good modern metro service with air-conditioned and very comfortable carriages; all the zoos are easy to get to with only a few minutes walking. The metro service is safe and not too expensive.

Parque Zoológico El Pinar, Caracas

The first zoological garden in the city of Caracas was El Pinar, opened in 1945 in the south of the city on a seven-hectare site. This zoo is very limited for space and partly mountainous; but it has reptiles, birds and smaller mammals, as well as big cats and some domestic herbivores, in all 83 species with about 381 specimens (mammals, birds, reptiles and insects). The zoo is very clean and has many snack services.

A young `ecological ranger' explained about the zoo and its animals to visitors as they came through from the entrance. The first exhibit is a big aviary with a lot of plants and rocks for American white and scarlet ibises, cattle egrets and two yellow-knobbed curassows (Crax daubentoni). Next is a pool with very green plants and natural land surface, housing one American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) in with many Arrau River turtles (Podocnemis expansa). There are three very simple concrete-floored cages divided into small sections for macaws; amazons; two king vultures in with two American black vultures and one turkey vulture; two crested caracaras in with two savanna hawks and one white-tailed hawk; two barn owls in with two great horned owls and one spectacled owl; two crab-eating foxes (Cerdocyon thous); one tayra; two ring-tailed coatis; one crab-eating raccoon and four prehensile-tailed porcupines (Coendou prehensilis). Two plain houses with metal bars hold pumas, ocelots and a male lion–tiger hybrid, Simba, born here on 18 April 1996 and one of the favourite animals in the park.

A new walk-through butterfly house, said to be the only one in Venezuela, was opened in 1998 with show cases for bird-eating spiders and insects. Four large fenced enclosures with rocks house four collared peccaries, one llama, African dwarf goats, mouflons and domestic sheep. There is a large contact area with goats, sheep and a donkey, with a young girl guard in ranger uniform; a children's play area is nearby. Two small round cages hold three jaguars and an adult female brown bear, Rita, from a Russian circus. Three large exhibits divided into several sections with good planting and bushes contain one cotton-top tamarin, a male brown capuchin, squirrel monkeys, kinkajous, two white-bellied spider monkeys, a male woolly monkey and three female savanna monkeys, a burrowing owl, two toucans, and a male black-and-white hawk-eagle (Spizastur melanoleucus, a first for me). A zoo veterinarian told me that this impressive bird was found in June 1999 with an injured right wing on a mountain (Cordillera de la Costa) near Caracas. This species, which ranges over a wide area of Central and South America, is probably not seen in zoos outside Latin America.

The monkey exhibits are mostly not planted, but have good trees for climbing. An open enclosure houses many weeper capuchins. Three chimpanzees and five hamadryas baboons live in cages with metal bars, and next to them I saw two open oval enclosures for two male lions and four tigers. There are several different large open enclosures with pools for two male giant otters, two South American tapirs, two white-tailed deer in with many tortoises, and two capybaras in with young caimans.

Parque Zoológico Caricuao, Caracas

A large (630-hectare) park area which opened in the far south of the city of Caracas on 31 July 1977 included 36 hectares for a zoo. It is a pleasant place for visitors, with plenty of green vegetation, lakes and a small river. There are some snack services. The animal enclosures are mostly large, but do not contain very many animals. I saw a lot of free-flying cattle egrets, night herons, scarlet ibises, curassows and some troupials (Icterus sp.), and also free-climbing weeper capuchins. This and other species, such as spider monkeys, being native to the region, have no problem with the climate when living free at some Latin American zoos.

Near the main entrance I met two adult horned screamers (Anhima cornuta). These birds are not separated from the public, but free in the zoo. There are nice ponds for black swans (Cygnus atratus) and other waterfowl, then various large, round, open enclosures for macaws, and amazons; a female American alligator (hatched in April 1974 at Fort Worth Zoo, Texas, and here since September 1975, at which time two more went from Fort Worth to Barquisimeto Zoo); American and Orinoco crocodiles and spectacled caimans. A grassed exhibit has sections for a female tiger, a pair of lions, pumas and jaguars. There is a large contact enclosure with goats and sheep for children. Several good-sized open fenced enclosures hold many tortoises, a pair of crab-eating foxes, South American tapirs with young, a pot-bellied pig, collared peccaries, two guanacos and fallow deer. An off-exhibit quarantine facility houses many macaws and amazons, one red-billed toucan (Ramphastos tucanus), two white-bellied and one black spider monkey, two ocelots and a female pacarana (Dinomys branickii), born in June 1995 at Cali Zoo in Colombia (see my trip report, I.Z.N. 46:8, p. 491). This species, the only living member of its genus, occurs in the highlands of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Bolivia and is rarely seen in zoos. Four very large open grassed enclosures hold African herbivores – three elands, two male aoudads and two female African elephants, Margarita and Ruperta, both of whom have been here since the zoo opened in 1977. The large elephant enclosure has a natural sand substrate with a pool and some big rocks for the animals to rub against. The last exhibit is a large lake with flamingos, roseate spoonbills and many capybaras; in the middle is a big tree where many cattle egrets build their nests.

Parque del Este `Romulo Betancourt', Caracas

This 76-ha park is situated on the east side of the city of Caracas. It opened in 1961, and has about 90 species and 200 specimens (mammals, birds, reptiles and insects), with nice lakes, very tall palm trees and evergreen landscaping, giving the opportunity for a long and very enjoyable walk.

The good animal collection, in which I noted a pair of Venezuelan giant otters, two male jaguars from Venezuela and many weeper capuchins, are all kept in large open enclosures with natural substrates and water-filled moats. Two female American and a pair of big Orinoco crocodiles and many spectacled caimans share good-sized open enclosures and large pools with a large number of South American river turtles of two different species, Arrau River turtles and yellow-headed sidenecks (Podocnemis unifilis). A very large open water enclosure with a nicely planted island houses four anacondas (Eunectes murinus gigas). A circular reptile house with an open tunnel walkway for the public shows a good collection of reptiles and insects, mostly endemic but also some exotic, in glass exhibits. An adult female harpy eagle is kept in a round aviary, next to which are three large aviaries divided into several good-sized sections, mostly filled with plants and trees. The birds I noted were two crested caracaras, one king vulture, one grey, one white-tailed and three roadside hawks (Buteo nitidus, B. albicaudatus and B. magnirostris), one black-chested buzzard-eagle (Geranoaetus melanoleucus), a pair of yellow-knobbed curassows, chachalacas, macaws, conures, amazons, two striped owls (Asio clamator), two red-billed toucans, one green oropendola (Psarocolius viridis), one green and one violaceous jay (Cyanocorax yncas and C. violaceus) and many Passeriformes (thrushes, cardinals, tanagers, troupials).

Parque Zoológico de Las Delicias, Maracay

Around 110 kilometres west of Caracas, the first and oldest zoo in Venezuela was founded in 1915 by the dictator Juan Vicente Gomez (President of Venezuela 1909–1935); it has an area of about six hectares. The zoo mostly looks quite old, but is very clean, with many fine tall trees and shaded areas. Some of the exhibits and enclosures are fairly plain and simple, but conditions for the animals are good. There are around 1,120 specimens (mammals, birds and reptiles).

When I went through the main entrance I was starting my 200th visit to animal collections around the world (including not only zoos but also aquariums, animal parks, bird parks and the like). To the right of the main entrance, in a square enclosure fenced with heavy iron girders, stands an old female Asian elephant, Lucky, who has been here since 1953 and is thought to be the last Asian elephant in Venezuela. Next, in various good-sized open enclosures, are a female common hippopotamus, Nina, said to have been born here in the 1960s, four South American tapirs, collared peccaries, a pair of aoudads, and capybaras. The old bear house has several sections with metal bars, with the walls newly painted light brown; here live a big adult male brown bear looking like a grizzly (confiscated) and three male hybrid spectacled/Asiatic black bears, born here in 1981. (See the Barquisimeto Zoo report for more details about such hybrids.) Then come some nice wire-mesh enclosures for pumas with cubs, three jaguars and a tiger. A very large round aviary in two parts, with rocks, but unfortunately not high enough, makes a fairly good place for harpy eagles, a wild-caught male about two years old, who still looks immature, and two adult (over 20 years old) females, one of whom laid two infertile eggs a year ago. The next aviary holds a pair of king vultures with a young bird hatched in January 1999. There are many red-footed tortoises (Geochelone carbonaria) in an open fenced enclosure. Two very large, rather plain exhibits are divided into sections, in which I noted a female crab-eating fox, a male tayra, a male kinkajou, a female crab-eating raccoon, ocelots, little spotted cats, a male prehensile-tailed porcupine, Central American agoutis (Dasyprocta punctata), chachalacas, black curassows, peafowls (in the past these were free in the zoo, but they were stolen), macaws, amazons, a male red-billed toucan, single Harris's, roadside, grey and savanna hawks, two pairs of crested caracaras and a female black solitary eagle (Harpyhaliaetus s. solitarius), here since 1983. This bird, another first for me, was of the southern subspecies, found in Colombia, northern Venezuela, and south through the humid Andes to north-west Argentina; its status is very poorly known, and both this and the northern subspecies are probably not shown in any zoo outside Latin America.

A round terrarium with a tunnel walkway for visitors has glass exhibits showing a good collection of reptiles. Next come some old exhibits with weeper capuchins, two female white-bellied spider monkeys, three hamadryas baboons and two solitary adult male chimpanzees, Gaspar, aged about 38, and Pancho, about 52, both here since 1964. Three natural moated open enclosures hold American and Orinoco crocodiles; an American female has laid eggs. There is a large enclosure with tall grass for 1.2 Venezuelan white-tailed deer beside a large lake with one maguari and one wood stork (Ciconia maguari and Mycteria americana), two flamingos and other species of waterbirds. In an off-exhibit (quarantine) area I saw a male white-fronted capuchin, an adult male red howler monkey (Alouatta seniculus) confiscated from a private owner, a male crab-eating raccoon and a very young jaguarundi.

Aquarium Juan Vicente Seijas, Valencia

Around 50 kilometres west of Maracay, this ten-ha zoo including an aquarium was opened in December 1975. About 30 staff work there. In front of the zoo entrance stands a big round aviary for parrots with a lot of natural plants and trees. The site has many valleys; some of the paths are narrow and there are some difficult steps, and also some paths go directly alongside animal exhibits, though mostly the animals are not aggressive to visitors. All the animals are in good condition. Snacks are available.

Two male pumas, a king vulture, two crested caracaras and a male harpy eagle are kept in different plain exhibits. An open enclosure with a pond houses a single Orinoco crocodile. In a very large lake in a valley are many river turtles, with white-tailed deer and a pair of South American tapirs with a young one born in March 2000. At the lake I saw roughly a thousand youngish, dark brown frogs about ten millimetres long, but unfortunately I did not know their species. Next come several fairly plain exhibits, where I noted one white-tailed hawk, five more crested caracaras (one free-flying caracara was trying to make contact with them on the top of the exhibit), two yellow-headed caracaras (Milvago chimachima), three species of curassows (Crax daubentoni, C. rubra and C. tomentosa), a striped owl, pygmy marmosets, cotton-top tamarins, one confiscated tamarin (not yet identified, but I recognized it as a white-footed tamarin (Saguinus leucopus), which I saw last year in Bogotá and Cali Zoos in Colombia), two subspecies of white-bellied spider monkeys, weeper capuchins, seven very young, wild-born red howler monkeys (Alouatta seniculus), a female crab-eating fox, kinkajous, ring-tailed coatis, a pair of giant otters in an open wire-mesh enclosure with a pool, a female greater grison (Galictis vittata), a pair of jaguarundis, ocelots, jaguars and prehensile-tailed porcupines. One collared peccary and many tortoises are in open fenced enclosures.

Finally, the aquarium house has many endemic fishes (electric eel, pacu, etc.), reptiles (both native and exotic), amphibians and insects. I am no reptile expert, but some of these are endemic to Venezuela and perhaps never seen in zoos outside South America, so I noted two Venezuelan slider turtles (Trachemys [Pseudemys] scripta chichiriviche), one Zulia toad-headed turtle (Phrynops zuliae) and the venomous Venezuelan lancehead (Bothrops venezuelensis). A male and three female Amazon River dolphins of the Orinoco subspecies (Inia geoffrensis humboldtiana) are the only ones shown in any South American zoo; one of the females is pregnant. I spent some time watching these very fascinating animals. It may be worth mentioning that this subspecies, I. g. humboldtiana, is not listed in Wilson and Reeder's Mammal Species of the World (1993). A pair of these dolphins have lived here since 1987 and another female since 1994; all were caught in the Apure River in Venezuela. A female calf, Artemis, was born here on 19 October 1994; the mother was pregnant when captured. Artemis is the only Amazon River dolphin successfully reared in captivity anywhere in the world. (A good article, `Management of the Amazon River dolphin Inia geoffrensis at Valencia Aquarium, Venezuela', by E.O. Boede, E. Mujica-Jorquera and N. de Boede, appeared in the International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 36: 214–222, 1998.) The last three Amazon River dolphins outside South America are a male from Peru who has lived at Pittsburgh Zoo, U.S.A., since 23 October 1970 (M.L. Jones, pers. comm.) and two males from the Apure River who have been at Duisburg Zoo, Germany, since 16 March 1975 (A. Winkler, pers. comm.). Pittsburgh's dolphin holds the longevity record for this species in captivity, and Duisburg was the first, and is still the only, European zoo to have imported the species. A small gift shop near the pool has many items relating to the dolphins.

Before I left I was surprised when a keeper showed me a three-month-old orphan pale-throated sloth (Bradypus tridactylus). This infant was allowed in my hand, and I saw the adult feeding about twenty metres up in a tree. This was the first time I have seen a free-living sloth.

Parque Zoológico y Botánico Bararida, Barquisimeto

Around 360 kilometres west of Caracas, this 22.5-ha zoo was opened to the public on 21 September 1967, but the site was already in use as a botanic park. Inside the entrance stand many evergreens and other impressive trees and plants; and around the zoo there are wide shady paths, where I saw some free-ranging red howler monkeys and pale-throated sloths (which I was told had been released here 25 years ago). Some round cages of various sizes with plenty of trees and naturalistic planting hold four yellow-knobbed curassows (with a female brooding), a pair of barn owls, a male southern ground hornbill, a red-billed toucan and a black-necked aracari (Pteroglossus aracari) from Venezuela, two southern tamanduas (Tamandua tetradactyla), a pair of mandrills and some hamadryas baboons.

A double-wattled cassowary, the only one in Venezuela, has been here since 1991 in a large enclosure fenced with approximately 150-cm-high wire-mesh; alongside is a pond with some scarlet ibises, one Cape Barren goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) and four horned screamers, here since 1994, from Barinas State, Venezuela. Three earth-floored conical cages house a male hybrid orang-utan, Mo, born in March 1975 at Taronga Zoo, Sydney, and three chimpanzees (a male, Toto, born in 1985 at El Pinar Zoo, Caracas, and two females, Lulu, here since 1968, and Lili, born here in 1975). Two wire-mesh exhibits with several sections, well furnished with trees, rocks and live plants, hold black-eared marmosets, saddleback and cotton-top tamarins, a pair of common squirrel monkeys, a male tayra, ring-tailed coatis, crab-eating raccoons, kinkajous, ocelots, jaguarundis, and at the back of an exhibit a female olingo (Bassaricyon gabbii).

Anacondas are kept in a fenced exhibit with a pool, and a large square enclosure with two viewing windows holds river turtles, two double-striped thick-knees (Burhinus bistriatus) and two prehensile-tailed porcupines. A male giant otter is in an open natural-looking enclosure with a pond. A plain off-exhibit cage houses a white-bellied spider monkey, four species of capuchins, vervet and savanna monkeys, and a pair of de Brazza's monkeys from Toronto Zoo. South American tapirs share an enclosure with capybaras; collared peccaries, white-tailed deer and a giant anteater are kept in separate open enclosures. By chance I saw that a giant anteater had caught a free-ranging sloth; after about 20 minutes of play fighting and sniffing, however, the sloth luckily got away uninjured via the wire-mesh and climbed a tree. I am not sure how and why the sloth got into the anteater enclosure. In spite of the species' wide range, there are not many giant anteaters to admire in zoos around the world.

Several species of amazons, macaws and some families of Passeriformes are kept in a rather plain exhibit. Next comes a bird of prey aviary, well planted inside and out, with two king vultures, four Harris's hawks and a male harpy eagle (here since 1980), and nearby is a large, high, round aviary for a pair of Andean condors who arrived from San Diego in 1989; the male, Bud, hatched on 22 June 1987 at San Diego Zoo and the female, Rana, on 29 April 1987 at San Diego Wild Animal Park. There are two large moated islands for different species of spider and woolly monkeys, and then two nice open enclosures with grass, trees, and a backdrop of rocks for spectacled bears. Two American alligators (from Caricuao Zoo, Caracas, but originally from Fort Worth), American and Orinoco crocodiles are in open fenced enclosures with ponds. Near the crocodiles is a large children's play area. A small round exhibit holds nine-banded armadillos, and a larger one, also round, has yellow-knobbed curassows, chachalacas and two Hoffmann's sloths. In other wire-mesh open enclosures are another giant anteater, a vicugna, llamas, alpacas, a male Père David's deer (born in April 1986 at Nuremberg Zoo, here since May 1988), and a male Venezuelan brown brocket (Mazama gouazoupira cita) from Falcón state.

A pair of Caribbean manatees (Trichechus m. manatus), both from Venezuela (1.0 from Lago de Maracaibo, 0.1 from the Apure River), swim in a small round pool of sheet metal with underwater viewing, though visitors are unfortunately only allowed near the animals at weekends and on holidays. Next to a very attractive, large lake, with a green island in the middle covered with tall palm trees, stands a refreshment area, where visitors can look around the park while they eat; they can also pedal boats around the lake, which holds a lot of fishes and river turtles, including a very big (almost one metre long) South American river turtle. Two open grass enclosures with some bushes and pools house a pair of big brown bears (looking likely to be Kodiak), here since 1979, and two very old female Asiatic black bears, here since 1971 (though one is now in the clinic), in with a male hybrid offspring of a male spectacled and female Asiatic black bear, born on 11 September 1975 at Las Delicias, Maracay, and here since 1989. This hybrid male – a first for me – is black, except for his whitish lower lip and jaw. This animal and the other hybrids at Maracay are very interesting, because of the great geographical separation of the two genera, and probably unique. A article about this hybrid bear by Edgardo Mondolfi and Ernesto O. Boede, `A hybrid of a spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) and an Asiatic black bear (Selenarctos thibetanus) born at the Maracay Zoological Park, Venezuela', was published in Memoria de la Sociedad de Ciencias Naturales La Salle 115 (January–June 1981). Finally, a male spectacled bear, Pedro, born on 10 February 1991 at Nuremberg Zoo, who came to Barquisimeto on loan via Leipzig Zoo, is still here.

Three large plain enclosures hold two dromedaries, three water buffalos and two American bison. A plain round cage has more weeper capuchins, and a wire-mesh natural-floored exhibit has four sections for 1.2 lions, 1.1 jaguars, 1.1 pumas and a male white tiger from a Mexican circus. This last animal was in very poor health on arrival at the zoo, with almost no coat, but now looks in very good condition, thanks to the zoo veterinarians. A male giraffe from Africam Safari, Puebla, Mexico, shares a very large enclosure with two female Chapman's zebras, and other good enclosures of various sizes house 0.4 ostriches, a female African crowned crane (here since 1977), 0.2 African elephants (here since 1979), 1.1 southern white rhinos (here since 1978), four common hippos and an aoudad. A lot of free-living large iguanas are everywhere around the zoo. There are two nice moated islands for 1.1 ring-tailed lemurs and 2.0 red howler monkeys. In the quarantine area I saw a ring-tailed lemur, a male crab-eating macaque, savanna monkeys and many amazons, among others.

I am very grateful to Dr Pedro Trebbau Millowitsch, 71, the founder and President (from 1991 until his retirement in September 2000) of FUNPZA (Fundación Nacional de Parques Zoológicos y Acuarios), which has 17 member institutions in Venezuela. Dr Millowitsch gave me much help by both faxing of information and personal chats, and provided all the contacts in Venezuelan zoos on my visit. He was in the past director at El Pinar (1958–1974) and Caricuao (1974–1978 and in the 1980s) in Caracas. Many thanks also to Salvador Boher, a member of FUNPZA, who drove me to Maracay and Valencia (I do not drive), and to Alexander Blanco, assistant veterinarian at Maracay Zoo, and Mildred de Sosa, assistant to the general curator Jose Manuel Pernalete at Barquisimeto Zoo, both of whom contributed very interesting data for my work on the longevity of mammals and birds. And finally, my thanks to all the Venezuelan zoo people who guided me on my tours of their zoos. I very much enjoyed all my visits to Venezuelan zoos.

Parque Zoológico Nacional (ZOODOM), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Just through the entrance of this zoo is a beautiful, large area of natural forest, and nearby two very clean lakes with many Caribbean flamingos, one bar-headed and two barnacle geese (Anser indicus and Branta leucopsis), and separately a pair of mute swans with a cygnet. This zoo was opened to the public on 6 July 1975 and is around 100 hectares in area. A large passenger vehicle was waiting at a stop, but I was very disappointed that it waited for nearly an hour until all the seats were full before starting out. It drove along a very clean asphalt road, nicely forested, with round cages for birds and savanna monkeys, but unfortunately would only stop for a few seconds, giving no chance to observe the animals. Luckily it is also possible to walk to view the animals better. There are some very large grass enclosures (with a swamp) for southern white rhinos; two zebras; fallow deer; nilgai; water buffaloes and one ankole cattle in with two elands, near a big stone quarry for aoudads. Then came an island for spider monkeys, some fenced open enclosures for two double-wattled cassowaries, ostriches and many emus, and a shady exhibit for spotted hyenas and jaguars. One female chimpanzee lives in an open enclosure with grass and natural trees. Incredibly, two large open enclosures for lions and tigers have no safety barrier for visitors, only bushes along the top of a ditch about ten metres deep. A small round cage holds lemurs, and a nice open enclosure with a pond has American crocodiles. Several plain, very shady round cages house two king vultures, two African grey parrots, amazons, including Hispaniolan amazons (A. ventralis), four barn owls, two ashy-faced owls (Tyto g. glaucops – a first for me) from Hispaniola, one black spider monkey and two capuchins. A very high aviary holds one cockatoo and many amazons; the safety barriers here – and elsewhere in the zoo – are very dangerous, being made of barbed wire.

I walked on to the top of the zoo, with a fine view over the park landscape; the weather was very hot. Then I saw some very small round exhibits for reptiles (anacondas and other snakes) near to `Gran Pajarera', a big walk-through aviary with a lot of plants and trees, but a very poor collection of birds (one white stork, many West Indian whistling ducks, peafowl and some doves); it has a watercourse, but it was dry. I found the exit closed and had to go back to the entrance at the top of the aviary. There were a single salmon-crested cockatoo, laughing kookaburra and raven in small bird cages at the aviary. The children's zoo has a great many rhinoceros iguanas, tortoises and crocodiles, four red-tailed hawks (Buteo j. jamaicensis, a subspecies from Jamaica, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and the northern Lesser Antilles), macaws, donkeys, wild boars, a mother white-tailed deer with twins, six zebus and sheep. There are a shop and some snack services, and a large children's play area.

Acuario Nacional, Santo Domingo

When this aquarium was founded I do not know, but it is very clean and has many attractive glass-fronted exhibits of species from the Caribbean Sea and the Amazon, and a good collection of invertebrates. Visitors can view the sharks, turtles and fishes from a glass tunnel. There is an open enclosure for rhinoceros iguanas. The aquarium garden has a pleasant walkway near the bottom of the cliffs with wide views over the Caribbean.


My thanks to the editor, Nicholas Gould, who has improved the English style of this and my previous articles on Latin American zoos (I.Z.N. 46:8 and 47:1).

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

* * *



This article is dedicated to the memory of Richard Hughes (Senior Keeper, Elephant Section, Chester Zoo).


The elephant herd at Chester Zoo has a history stretching back 60 years. The zoo was founded by George Mottershead in 1930, when he brought his family to live in Oakfield House at Upton-by-Chester in Cheshire. The original collection of animals came from an earlier zoo at Shavington, near Crewe. In 1934 the North of England Zoological Society was formed, but in these early days the zoo possessed no elephants. Asian elephants have been kept by the zoo continuously since 1941, but between 1955 and 1979 the zoo also kept a small number of the African species. Chester now has the only breeding herd of Asian elephants in the U.K., and the zoo is making an enormous financial investment in its future in the development of a National Elephant Centre.

Chester's first elephants (1941–1959)

Chester Zoo's first elephants were two Asian cows called Molly and Manniken (Howard, 1984). One was eight and the other ten years old when they arrived towards the end of 1941 with their Singhalese mahout, Khanadas Karunadasa (who was known as Kay). At the outbreak of World War II they had become separated from Dourley's Tropical Express Revue, a German–Argentinian concern, that was travelling in Europe. The elephants became stranded in Northampton and George Mottershead heard about their plight from Ralph Marshall, a theatrical agent. The elephants had originally been offered to the government for work in the forests, but the Forestry Commission's rules made no provision for the employment of elephants, so George Mottershead agreed to take them in.

An old garage became the zoo's first elephant house, but the animals were not confined to this. During fine weather they spent most of their time in either the orchard, near the polar bears, or the field, near the Malayan sun bears. The zoo immediately set up an Elephant Fund to assist towards their upkeep and to contribute to their purchase in the event of their owner deciding to sell them. A similar fund exists for the elephants to this day.

Molly was eventually purchased, but unfortunately Manniken was in such poor condition that she died soon after arrival at the zoo. Molly had been with Kay since he was ten years old. He had trained her in Ceylon and the two were inseparable. During the summer months she gave rides around the zoo to children and adults every day except Friday, her day off. During the winter months she was kept in her stable. In 1949 the zoo obtained Barbar, a 20-year-old Asian cow, from Whipsnade as a companion for Molly, and she soon joined her giving rides around the zoo.

After the end of the Second World War George Mottershead set about building a new Elephant House, constructed largely from anti-tank blocks, pill boxes and concrete slabs collected within a ten-mile radius of the zoo. The garage that was the original elephant accommodation eventually became a maintenance yard.

The new house was officially opened on 15 August 1949 by `Nomad', a well-known radio personality from the BBC's Northern Children's Hour, accompanied by the BBC commentator Eric Jolly. They entered through the doors of the new building mounted on Molly's back while Barbar played a solo on a mouth organ to the assembled crowd of some 4,000! In his speech Nomad drew attention to the historical significance of the event: `The opening of a new elephant house is an important event in the history of any zoo. It happens, perhaps, only once in a lifetime. . .' Little could he have known that within 50 years the zoo would embark on the construction of the most ambitious elephant facility ever seen in the U.K.

Molly began suffering from arthritis in the summer of 1953. From that time onwards she was only taken outside for exercise. Sunray treatment had little effect and on 24 April 1954 she was euthanised.

In 1955 the zoo obtained a pair of five-year-old African bulls, Rascal and Bobo, from a dealer who had promised to supply a rhino, but could not fulfil the order. At the time these animals were the only African bulls in Britain. They were part of a consignment of animals valued at £10,000 that arrived at Avonmouth on 26 July aboard the freighter City of Bedford. John Seago and a team of trappers had captured the animals during a six-month African expedition.

Rascal was slightly larger than Bobo, and by the time they arrived at the zoo he had almost broken out of his crate. The newcomers were initially accommodated in facilities intended for rhino. However, they soon outgrew this and began destroying the roof of the rhino house. With the arrival of a new black rhino imminent, the zoo had no option but to transfer their two African elephants to the elephant house to live with Barbar.

By 1957 it was clear that Chester needed new accommodation for its elephants, and plans were made to construct a large new enclosure on the west side of the zoo. By the summer of 1957 the bridge across the bridleway which now links the East Zoo to the West Zoo was already well under construction, but work on the new Pachyderm House did not begin until 1959.

The 1960s – a new elephant house and an anthrax outbreak

The new Pachyderm House was built by the zoo's own construction staff at a cost of £12,000. It covered an area of 20,000 square feet [1,860 m2] and measured 150 feet [46 m] long, 50 feet [15 m] wide and 30 feet [9 m] high. The indoor accommodation was originally moated on three sides, with a 14-foot [4 m] high wall to the rear. An additional dry moat divided the area into two enclosures, the larger of which contained a bath. The outside paddock had an area of approximately one acre [0.4 ha] surrounded by a dry moat. Two corrals, constructed of heavy metal girders, were later built within the outside paddock (Wait, 1983). This facility forms the basis of the present elephant accommodation.

In the late summer of 1960 two black rhinos were installed in the new Pachyderm House. By Easter 1961 Barbar, Bobo and Rascal were moved in ready to greet the Bank Holiday crowds and the new house was officially opened. The house was planted out with an impressive variety of tropical and sub-tropical plants that had been grown in the zoo's greenhouses. These plants provided the local house sparrows with ample material for nest-building, and on one occasion keepers removed 40 nests in an attempt to drive the birds from the building and reduce plant damage.

Sally and Judy joined the herd in August 1961, both aged around five years. They were caught wild in Thailand and shipped from Bangkok to Liverpool docks. Their owner arrived at the docks with a van that was far too small to carry the crates containing the two elephants. He contacted the zoo and George Mottershead agreed to look after them temporarily; but they stayed. About six months later, in February 1962, a 15-year-old African female called Sheila joined the herd from Dudley Zoo. By the summer of 1962 the Pachyderm House was home to two rhinos, two half-grown hippos and six elephants, three Asian and three African. Later that year the rhinos were relocated to a newly constructed Rhino House.

In 1964 disaster struck. On 18 March Sheila died of anthrax. This was a particular set back for the zoo because George Mottershead had hoped that Sheila would give birth to the first African elephant born in captivity. Within the next four days the anthrax outbreak also claimed Rascal and Bobo. Then on 22 March, when she appeared to have recovered from anthrax, Sally died of heart failure. Although the zoo was not closed during this outbreak, visitors were not allowed in the area around the pachyderm house. The source of the anthrax outbreak was never established. In a few short days Chester's herd was reduced from six elephants to just two. Only Judy and Barbar survived.

In the early part of 1964 the elephant paddock was resurfaced. About a quarter of the area was concreted to produce an area of hard standing adjacent to the elephant house and an outdoor pool was also added. The zoo quickly began looking for replacement animals and in June 1964 four African elephants arrived at the zoo: Gina, Nicola, Zoë and Paula. They were obtained from a dealer, probably the Chipperfield organisation as they were importing a large number of elephants into the U.K. around this time to populate the new safari parks. Unfortunately their condition was so poor that all four animals were euthanised within days of their arrival. In a period of just three months in 1964 the zoo lost eight elephants.

In August 1964 Jumbolino, a two-year-old African bull, arrived from Rhodesia to join Chester's remaining elephants, Judy and Barbar. He had been abandoned at the age of six months in the Luangwa Valley and had been cared for by Lieutenant-Colonel and Mrs. R.A. Critchley of the Wildlife Conservation Society of Northern Rhodesia. When he had outgrown his home on their ranch near Lusaka he was presented to the zoo. Jumbolino was flown to London and then transported to Chester by road, arriving at the zoo at 2.00 a.m. Keepers found his name difficult to say and renamed him Bubbles.

In 1965 the herd expanded to five animals. Sheba, a nine-year-old Asian cow, arrived in February from Flamingoland, and in September Nobby, a three-year-old Asian bull, was boarded at Chester by an animal dealer from the Midlands who could not accommodate him.

The 1970s – the first births

In 1971 Kate and Crumple, two Asian cows, visited Chester for about four months while a new house was being built for them at Blackpool Zoo. In 1972 Barbar died at the age of 39; she had lived at the zoo for 23 years.

In October 1974 Sheba was pushed into the moat by one of the other elephants. She was successfully recovered but four days later miscarried a full-term male calf, fathered by Nobby. At the end of October 1975 Nobby escaped from the grounds of the zoo. He was followed to a nearby residential area where an attempt was made to tranquillise him. He was in musth at the time and the tranquilliser had no effect. Zoo officials had no alternative but to shoot their only Asian bull.

In May 1977 Jubilee was born to Judy. Keepers found him in the elephant house, a month earlier than expected. Jubilee was the first Asian elephant born in the U.K. and was named by viewers of the BBC children's television programme Blue Peter. Judy successfully reared him to adulthood with the help of Sheba.

At around 9.00 a.m. on 11 July 1978 Sheba gave birth to a male calf in the paddock. He was named Motty (after George Mottershead) and his father was Bubbles – an African bull. The calf was of very great interest to the zoological community because scientists had believed that the two species could not interbreed. For this reason no one had realized that Sheba was pregnant. Motty had a curious and unique mixture of African and Asian characteristics: a novel result of hybridisation that is unlikely ever to be seen again. His head, ears and trunk were `African', except for the trunk tip, which was characteristic of the Asian species, having only one `finger' rather than two. His vertebral column was convex like the Asian, but shaped like the African species above the shoulder. His forelegs possessed five toenails but his hind legs had only four. This is typical of the Asian elephant, but considerable variation is found in African elephants. Motty was six weeks premature and 27 kg under weight. He was unable to stand until he was three days old. Sadly, he died of necrotic enterocolitis and E. coli septicaemia after only ten days. His skin was subsequently preserved and put on display at the British Museum (Natural History) in London.

In 1978 Dr Michael Brambell succeeded George Mottershead as the director of the zoo. Under his direction the seeds of a breeding herd were to be sown, but not before the zoo lost its last African elephant. In 1979 Bubbles fell into the moat. Some contemporary reports claimed that his fall was probably the result of a heart attack, while others claimed he was pushed into the moat by the cows. The Fire Brigade set up a block and tackle and with the help of keepers desperately tried to recover him for some five or six hours. When Bubbles was freed he was unable to stand properly and it became apparent that he had sustained a serious back injury. Unfortunately zoo officials had no alternative but to euthanise him. Bubbles was the last African elephant to live at Chester.

The 1980s – establishing a breeding herd

In 1980 the old elephant house was demolished to make room for a new toilet block. The herd now consisted of just three elephants: Sheba, Judy and her son Jubilee.

Around 1985–6 the dry ditches in the elephant house were filled in with concrete and replaced by fences made from railway lines.

In 1986 two females from Aalborg Zoo, Denmark (Lena and Bierma) were boarded at Chester at the request of Belfast Zoo during the construction of their new elephant facilities. They stayed for almost two years before being transferred to Belfast. A third female, Kirsty, arrived from Glasgow Zoo in 1987. Part of the wall of the elephant house had to be removed in order to bring her into the building from the rear.

The next year, 1988, was a turning point for the zoo. In October Chester acquired Chang, a seven-year-old Asian bull, from Odense Zoo in Denmark. This was to be the start of the establishment of a viable breeding herd at Chester. Chang was born in Copenhagen Zoo to Ida. His father, Chieng Mai, had sired six calves. Chang was moved to Odense Zoo when he was three years old, and when he arrived at Chester he was one of just five Asian bulls in British zoos (including Jubilee). About seven months later, in May 1989, another Asian cow, Kumara, arrived from Whipsnade.

The 1990s – breeding success and the establishment of the Asian Elephant EEP

The 1990s was a period of reconstruction when many new elephants joined the herd. Maya arrived at Chester in July 1990, after spending a short period at Bristol Zoo as a companion to their Asian elephant, Wendy. She had originally been acquired from a French circus and at Chester joined a group consisting of Sheba, Chang, Kumara, Kirsty, Judy and Jubilee. In 1991 Thi-Hi-Way joined the herd from London and Judy was transferred to Dublin Zoo.

The European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for Asian elephants was established in 1991, co-ordinated by Kuno Bleijenberg with the assistance of studbook keeper Rob Belterman (both of the Royal Rotterdam Zoological and Botanical Gardens). The first report of the EEP listed 41.171 elephants living in 76 zoos at 31 December 1991. At this time Chester held 2.5 elephants and, within the EEP, only Rotterdam (2.7) and Emmen (1.9) held larger herds, although Copenhagen and Givskud had herds of similar size to that at Chester (Anon, 1992).

Early in 1992 Jubilee chipped the end off his left tusk. Infection caused an abscess to form and the zoo had to call in Dr Peter Kertesz, a London dentist specialising in zoo animal work, to remove the tusk. The operation was a success and Jubilee quickly returned to full health.

Geetha, from London Zoo, visited Chester from mid-April to mid-May 1992 in the hope that she would mate with Chang. During her short stay she was pushed into the moat by Kirsty, but fortunately she was unhurt and keepers were able to lead her back out. Although Geetha did not become pregnant she nevertheless came into oestrus several days after the predicted date, thereby demonstrating that her translocation to Chester did not interrupt her reproductive cycle. Khaing Mya Htoo, also from London Zoo, visited for a month in the springs of 1993 and 1994. She was mated by Chang but did not conceive. In 1993 Thi produced a female calf fathered by Chang, but unfortunately she attacked her and the calf died the same day.

Jangoli arrived from Flamingoland in January 1994 and Kirsty was moved to Dublin Zoo on the same day. Rani and Buria, from Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, arrived on breeding loan in April. Rani returned home in December, but Buria stayed until May 1996. Unfortunately, neither of these cows conceived.

In September 1995 Dr Gordon McGregor Reid became the zoo's third director. In December of the same year Thi produced a second female calf, Karha. Once again she attacked the calf, but when she kicked her into an adjacent pen keepers pulled her to safety. As a result of Thi's persistent aggressive behaviour it was decided that Karha should be hand-reared, and the keepers created a nursery in the former hippo area of the elephant house.

In October 1996 Tonzi and Mimbu, from Twycross Zoo, visited Chester on breeding loan. Both returned home pregnant and gave birth to Tara and Karishma in August 1998, just 21 days apart.

On 18 March 1997 staff at Liverpool University's Large Animal Veterinary Hospital at Leahurst performed an operation on Karha to remove a stone from her oesophagus. Sadly, after surviving this life-saving operation she eventually succumbed to osteoporosis just over two months later, at the age of just 17 months. The zoo had arranged to acquire a young bull, Upali, from Zürich Zoo as a companion for Karha. He arrived on 16 May 1997, just nine days before she died.

Just over seven months later, in December 1997, Thi gave birth to Sithami, her third calf, and she has raised her successfully. Upali has proved to be a valuable companion for Sithami and has been play mounting her since she was less than a year old. Such early sexual experience is likely to be extremely important to the future breeding potential of these animals.

In April 1998, after a labour of almost 24 hours, Jangoli gave birth to a stillborn male calf weighing 180 kg. This is thought to have been the largest calf born to an Asian elephant in Europe.

In June 1998 Jubilee was transferred to Belfast Zoo, primarily to free space during construction work on the elephant house. When he was young he had a series of health problems and was considered to have little breeding potential. However, more recently he has shown an interest in cycling females and his move to Belfast provides the opportunity for him to mate with their cows.

In 1999 work on a new indoor bull pen was completed. The new outdoor bull enclosure was opened at the end of April 1999. Although Upali and Kumara walked through the gate into the new enclosure the first day it was opened, it was some six months before all members of the herd were confidently utilising this new area (Rees, 2000a).

The opening of the new bull enclosure marked the completion of the first stage of the enlargement and redevelopment of the elephant accommodation aimed at creating a National Elephant Centre. An important feature of this new facility is that it allows vehicular access to the outside paddock, essential for the safe movement of elephants between Chester and other collections.

By the end of the decade Chester Zoo's herd consisted of one adult bull (Chang), five adult cows (Sheba, Thi, Jangoli, Kumara and Maya), a juvenile bull (Upali) and a two-year-old cow (Sithami). Two pregnancies had also been confirmed, with births predicted in July 2000 (to Jangoli) and November 2000 (to Thi).

2000 and beyond – establishing a national breeding centre

In November 1999 work began on the redevelopment of the main elephant enclosure. For the next six months Chang was confined to the new bull enclosure, while the rest of the herd spent the day in an existing outdoor corral well away from the construction work.

On Easter Friday 2000 the herd was released into the new outdoor enclosure for the first time. It is bounded by a ha-ha and includes a 2.5 m deep pool and a 4 m high walk-through waterfall. A rock wall houses feeding devices and a high-level observation hide has been constructed for the use of visiting students and scientists. This new facility has significantly enhanced the behavioural repertoire of the animals, as they are now able to swim, climb, and lie down on the sides of the ha-ha. They can feed at different levels in an artificial rock wall, and will also be provided with specially designed feeding devices spread around the enclosure.

On 18 July 2000, after many weeks of night-time surveillance by keepers, Jangoli gave birth to a bull calf who has been named Po-Chin. The young bull experienced some initial difficulty in suckling as he was too short to reach his mother's nipples. Fortunately, by the next day he had developed a novel suckling position, kneeling down on his back legs so that his head pointed upwards.

Thi produced another bull calf, Assam, on 7 October 2000, about a month earlier than expected. He was discovered by keepers amongst the cows and calves when they arrived in the morning. By the end of the year 2000 the Chester herd numbered ten elephants.

Captive breeding

Chester Zoo currently holds the only breeding herd of Asian elephants in the U.K. Port Lympne holds 14 (4.10) Asian elephants, but unfortunately has not been successful in rearing calves, in spite of seven births (Juniper, 2000). This herd was moved from Howletts in 1977.

Between 1941 and December 2000 Chester Zoo received 32 adult and juvenile elephants, of which 24 were Asian, including six cows on breeding loan, two of which subsequently produced calves. Between 1979 and December 2000 nine calves were produced at Chester, but only five survived more than a few days. Thi's reproductive history is particularly interesting because she produced four of these calves. She gave birth to her first calf in 1993 but killed it shortly post-partum. Two years later she produced a second calf that was subsequently rejected (Karha). A further two years later Thi produced a third calf (Sithami) and successfully reared her. Almost three years later she produced a fourth calf (Assam) and immediately accepted him. After a poor start, Thi has developed into a competent mother.

Chester has been instrumental in demonstrating the benefits of transporting cow elephants to breeding bulls. The zoo already has good facilities for the safe handling of bulls and these facilities will be further improved by the planned second bull pen and extension of the cow pens.

While captive breeding requires that animals be moved from one zoo to another it is important that social groups are not unnecessarily fragmented. There is considerable evidence that cows form special, long-lasting relationships in captivity (Garai, 1992; Schmid, 1995) and that allomothering is an important feature of calf-rearing (Rapaport and Haight, 1987). The breaking of social bonds between adult cows is likely to interfere with the normal social development of calves. At Chester, Sheba has acted as an allomother to every calf that has been born, even though she has never successfully reared a calf herself. Her importance to the breeding programme is not as a producer of calves but as a caretaker. The presence of other nulliparous cows is also undoubtedly important in the socialisation of calves.

The elephant herd at Chester Zoo was founded by a pair of performing elephants and has evolved into one of the largest breeding herds in captivity. The zoo is now leading the way in elephant management in the U.K. by investing in its facilities and maintaining a more-or-less natural structure to its elephant herd. It is imperative that zoos recognise the importance of social behaviour to the future breeding potential of these complex animals (Rees, 2000b; Rees, in press). In the very long term, if captive-bred animals are to be returned to the wild the cultural transmission of normal behaviour patterns is likely to be critical to their survival. This can only be achieved if captive elephants are kept in herds where youngsters can observe and interact with older and more experienced animals, just as they do in the wild.


Assembling this brief history has been a complex task as the zoo kept few details of changes to the herd in its early days and some of the available data are inconsistent. Some information on the early history of the herd (1941–1965) has been extracted from Johns (1974), and I am grateful to my colleague Ian Peters for drawing this source to my attention. The zoo's stock book records changes to the herd from 1962 onwards, and during a visit to Chester in 1996 the author was provided with a taxon report from the zoo's computerised records for Elephas maximus covering the period from 1 January 1985 to 10 July 1996. Additional information was obtained from a list of the elephants in the U.K. national herd published in Spooner and Whitear (1995).

This account could not have been written without the assistance of current and former members of the zoo staff. Nick Ellerton (formerly Curator of Mammals) and Neil Spooner (Animal Projects Manager) kindly gave me access to zoo stock records. Derek Lyon, MRCVS, (formerly consultant veterinarian to the zoo) generously provided information on pregnancies and other events from his extensive personal notes. The zoo's librarian, Jane Woodward, allowed me access to the zoo's collection of newspaper cuttings, Annual Reports and back issues of Our Zoo News and Zoo Life. Mick Jones (Head of the Elephant Section) provided invaluable information about the recent history of the herd, and my daughter, Clara, kindly assisted with the tedious task of checking the consistency of the dates of the events recounted here.


Anon (1992): Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) EEP Annual Report 1991. In EEP Yearbook 1991/92, including the Proceedings of the 9th EEP Conference, Edinburgh, 6–8 July 1992 (eds. K. Brouwer, S. Smits and L.E.M. de Boer). EAZA/EEP Executive Office, Amsterdam.

Garai, M.E. (1992): Special relationships between female Asian elephants Elephas maximus in zoological gardens. Ethology 90: 197–205.

Howard, A.L. (1984): Chester Zoo: The First Half Century. North of England Zoological Society, Chester, U.K.

Johns, J. (1974): Zoo Without Bars: The Story of Chester Zoo. Carousel Books, Transworld Publishers, London.

Juniper, P. (2000): The management of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park. Ratel 27 (5): 168–175.

Rapaport, L., and Haight, J. (1987): Some observations regarding allomaternal caretaking among captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Journal of Mammalogy 68 (2): 438–442.

Rees, P.A. (2000a): The introduction of a captive herd of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) to a novel area. Ratel 27 (4): 120–126.

Rees, P.A. (2000b): Are elephant enrichment studies missing the point? International Zoo News 47 (6): 369–371.

Rees, P.A. (in press): Captive breeding of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus): the importance of producing socially competent animals. In Current Researches in Wildlife Conservation and Management (eds. B.B. Hosetti and M. Venkateshwaralu).

Schmid, J. (1995): Behavioural effects of keeping circus elephants in paddocks. In Proceedings of the Eighth U.K. Elephant Workshop (eds. N.G. Spooner and J.A. Whitear), pp 18–27. North of England Zoological Society, Chester, U. K.

Spooner, N.G., and Whitear, J.A. (eds.) (1995): Proceedings of the Eighth U.K. Elephant Workshop. North of England Zoological Society, Chester, U.K.

Wait, P. (1983): The management of elephants and experiences at Chester Zoo. In Proceedings of Symposium 7 of the Association of British Wild Animal Keepers (ed. J. Barzdo), pp. 41–48.

Dr Paul Rees, School of Environment and Life Sciences, Allerton Building, University of Salford, Salford M6 6PU, U. K. (E-mail:

* * *


Dear Sir,

The article `Hornbills in zoos: a review' by Harro Strehlow (I.Z.N. 48:2, pp. 78–103) contained an enormous amount of information, but – unfortunately – also one small error.

Mr Strehlow mentions Houston Zoo as being the first collection which successfully bred the African crowned hornbill (Tockus alboterminatus) during 1993. In the Avicultural Magazine Vol. 82 (2), 1976, Malcolm Ellis reports the breeding of this species by M. and B. Glover of Birdland at Malindi, Kenya. After two unsuccessful attempts, two young left the nest during the third breeding on 11 February 1976.

Yours sincerely,

Maarten de Ruiter,

Pr. Beatrixstraat 9,

4793 CV Fijnaart,

The Netherlands.

Dear Sir,

I noted, somewhat ruefully albeit objectively, the text of the leaflet enclosed in the February issue of I.Z.N., in which the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums [sic] sets out the qualities it seeks in its future Director.

No fewer than seven qualities/skills/abilities are needed – yet whether or not this paragon knows one species from another, or indeed a bird from a mammal, appears to be of paramount unimportance; the advertisement doesn't even hint that an interest in animals might be of some assistance. In fact, apart from the blurb at the top of the leaflet, the crucial word `animal' doesn't receive even a mention.

Coincidentally, in the same issue I rhetorically asked whether in time zoological collections will be less concerned about animals than about abstract concepts of them. If this leaflet is a preview of the future, it would appear to amplify my contentions. To a large extent Sic transit gloria mundi. . .

Yours faithfully,

Clinton Keeling,

13 Pound Place,



Surrey GU4 8HH, U.K.

* * *


ZOO AND AQUARIUM HISTORY: ANCIENT ANIMAL COLLECTIONS TO ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS edited by Vernon N. Kisling, Jr. CRC Press, 2000. xxiv + 415 pp., hardback. ISBN 0–8493–2100–X. $69.95.

In this massively ambitious volume, Vernon Kisling has marshalled a team of zoo historians from around the world into producing a comprehensive international history of zoos. The book is undoubtedly flawed, both in design and in execution, but is nonetheless a success. Kisling's efforts have added another volume to the library of essential zoo texts.

Kisling himself starts proceedings with an overview of `zoo' history from the end of the last ice age through to the beginning of the European Renaissance. There then follow ten chapters on specific continents and countries (Great Britain, U.S.A., Australia, India and Japan are the countries considered to be worthy of their own chapters). These chapters are written by a variety of experts, many of whom will be familiar to readers of I.Z.N.: Sally Walker, Clinton Keeling, Harro Strehlow and Ken Kawata are amongst an all-star cast. The book finishes with a chronological, but by no means complete, list of the world's zoos.

The flaws in this book are numerous, and they need to be dealt with first before the (many) wonderful aspects of Zoo and Aquarium History can be considered. The issue of what makes a zoo a zoo is clearly a complex one, and there can be no watertight definition, but too much of this book seems to be taken up with consideration of things very far from even the most all-encompassing definition. Kisling's opening chapter really does start off at about 10,000 B.C., and whilst what he writes is not without interest it is surely of only the most marginal relevance to zoos. Similarly, several later chapters devote much attention to medieval developments – interesting, possibly, but zoological gardens? Not really.

A more significant problem comes in those later chapters, when the question of just what is being attempted becomes rather vague. In the section on African zoos, for example, one suspects that the listing and brief gazetting of all the continent's zoos has been attempted (many are absent, however, with reasonably well documented zoos in Mali, Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, amongst others, being missed). But having a quarter of a page devoted to a rather vague account of the Blantyre Zoo in Malawi (it contains `a few large animals', apparently, alongside `a number of birds') seems downright odd when the British chapter can find no room for such internationally significant places as Howletts, Port Lympne, Marwell and Longleat. Similarly, some writers slip into a cataloguing of the first lion to be born, the first hippo to arrive, the first bison paddock to be constructed. History is more than just a list of dates and facts, and whilst such lists are interesting they don't, in themselves, do much to elucidate zoological garden history.

The final significant problem with Zoo and Aquarium History comes with its too-frequent factual vagueness. When collections of the past are being discussed that vagueness is understandable, but when the only details of a contemporary collection are the stark statistics of the International Zoo Yearbook, or a comment such as `it is not known when the zoo began or much else about it' (that's what we hear about the zoo in Thimphu, Bhutan), the vagueness detracts from the book's worth.

So, this is a book of several problems – and that is without even touching on the fact that, while Nepal, Bolivia and Senegal are all covered, New Zealand, Canada and the whole of Central America seem to have slipped through the net. But if all of this sounds harsh, then there is much to admire in this volume. The research is often wide-ranging, the pictures are often superb, and the stories told are often wonderful. A few highlights, taken at random from the book's pages, will illustrate its qualities. There could be nobody better able to tell the story of the Tower Menagerie than Clinton Keeling, and he does so here in his usual lively style, focusing on the unsung heroes such as the keeper Alfred Cops who `pioneered modern wild animal husbandry in England.' In the Indian chapter, Sally Walker challenges the oft-repeated assertion that zoos outside North America and Western Europe are largely worthless with a fascinating account of the way in which the subcontinent's zoos have developed in the modern era. The `biological parks' she describes in towns such as Hyderabad and Vishakapatnam, where locally-found species are displayed in large enclosures designed so as to fit sympathetically into the surrounding countryside, offer a possible model for zoos across the world, particularly in Africa and South America. And I was particularly taken by the various accounts of zoos' suffering during war-time: `Events that affect societies often also affect zoos,' writes Harro Strehlow, and there are plenty of examples of this, perhaps the most striking of which comes from Ken Kawata's chapter on Japan, in which we hear of the elephants which were starved to death and the carnivores which were strangled with ropes when they were considered to be too dangerous to be left alive during the Second World War. Interestingly, though, Kawata suggests that this culling was ordered not so much out of necessity as from a desire to stir hostility towards the enemy by pinning the blame for the popular animals' deaths on them.

But the fact that it is a random selection such as this that gives an impression of this book's strengths tells its own story. A historian's job is to take random stories, random events, and spot the pattern which they form. Too often in this book that pattern is not spotted, and so much attention is paid to the individual trees that we get no real picture of the entire forest. One notable exception is the chapter on the zoos of Australia, written by Catherine de Courcy, which, because it does attempt to take a broader view of zoo history, is by some distance the most satisfying chapter in the book. In some ways de Courcy's task was easier than that of the other writers: while those who wrote about zoos in Britain, Western Europe or the U.S.A. needed to consider several hundred zoos, to say nothing of the many pre-zoo animal collections, de Courcy had only to look at half a dozen or so major collections. But in doing so, she really does manage to show how and why Australia's zoos developed as they have. The initial impetus – the acclimatization movement – largely explains the foundation of the country's major urban zoos, and a remarkable family – the Lesovefs – played an important part in their subsequent development. De Courcy traces the pattern of Australian zoo history through the stages of foundation and development, then the difficult period of 1920–1960 when zoos stagnated, and then the modern period during which Australian zoos have progressed to a position among the world's best. Having read her chapter, one does not simply have a string of facts (first tapir born, first anteater displayed, first bear cage built), but rather an understanding of Australia's zoos and their history – and it is the provision of such an understanding that should be the historian's primary task.

There may be a great deal to criticise in Zoo and Aquarium History, but given the book's enormously ambitious nature it was perhaps inevitable that problems would be encountered. However, one fact should not be overlooked when contemplating the value of the book: from first to last it is a fascinating pot-pourri. Vernon Kisling is to be applauded for its appearance. In his preface, he expresses the hope that the book will `stimulate the growing interest' in the subject of zoo history, and in that objective I am sure it will be a real success.

John Tuson

THE VARIETY OF LIFE by Colin Tudge. Oxford University Press, 2000. xvi + 684 pp., hardback. ISBN 0–19–850311–3. £35.00.

COMMON NAMES OF MAMMALS OF THE WORLD by Don E. Wilson and F. Russell Cole. Smithsonian Institution Press, 2000. xvi + 204 pp., paperback. ISBN 1–56098–383–3. $19.95 or £14.95.

Colin Tudge's name will be familiar to most I.Z.N. readers as the author of one of the classic zoo books, Last Animals at the Zoo (Hutchinson Radius, 1991). But he has a string of other books to his credit on various aspects of the life sciences – giving that term its widest possible application, for he has written not merely about genetics, ecology and evolution, but also about food and agriculture. His Future Cook (Mitchell Beazley, 1980) is one of my favourite cookery books!

The Variety of Life's subtitle, `A Survey and a Celebration of all the Creatures that Have Ever Lived', indicates the book's immense scope. We have all seen estimates of the number of living species on earth – 30 million is a number much quoted. But Mr Tudge suggests that the true total is likely to be far greater. Every species of reasonable size may have at least one specialist nematode worm dependent upon it; mites are a little-studied but clearly ubiquitous and diverse group; above all, the list of known bacteria (and archaea, a newly-discovered, distinct group of bacteria-like micro-organisms), which currently stands at around 40,000, may quite possibly represent a mere ten-thousandth part of the real total. And when we look at `all the creatures that have ever lived', the numbers take another exponential leap. Even in large, relatively recent life-forms, the known extinct species far outnumber the living ones – 150 extinct proboscideans against two living species, for example. Most species are smaller and faster-breeding than elephants, and have been around many times longer; Tudge concludes that `it would be surprising if the total number of species in the past did not exceed the present inventory by at least 10,000 times.' Clearly, then, in attempting to survey this vast field in a single book, Colin Tudge is taking on a daunting task. (He points out that simply to list in print the scientific binomials of the 1.7 million named species would take `around seven fat volumes'.) It is through classification that large masses of data can be made comprehensible; so The Variety of Life uses the discipline of taxonomy, or systematics, to reveal the pattern that underlies the mind-numbing diversity of living creatures.

In his introductory chapters (`The Craft and Science of Classification'), Tudge guides us through the origins and history of taxonomy, explaining in a beautifully clear and reader-friendly way the meaning of the key technical terms of this science – convergence, divergence, radiation, homology, homoplasy, synapomorphy, symplesiomorphy. . . General problems are illustrated by discussion of specific examples – do sea lions, walruses and seals descend from a common ancestor, are chimps more closely related to us or to orang-utans? The different sources of data relevant to systematics, from morphology to molecular biology, are described and evaluated. Taxonomy, after being marginalised for several decades, is becoming a focal topic again under the impact of molecular methods. Inevitably, this makes some aspects of it controversial, and Tudge gives us an insight into some of the things taxonomists are currently arguing about. An example which actually reached the popular press some years back is the `are birds dinosaurs' question. The school of taxonomy known as `cladistics' replaces the familiar taxon with a more rigorous concept, the clade, defined as `the common ancestor of a group plus all its descendants'. If, as is now fairly generally agreed, birds evolved from dinosaurs, they are members of the dinosaur clade. Strict cladists are therefore forced to refer to dinosaurs in the old familiar sense as `non-avian dinosaurs'. Again, any clade containing reptiles must also include birds and mammals, as descendants of reptiles. Cladists are reduced to speaking of `non-avian, non-mammalian amniotes', or more concisely `Reptilia*' (the convention adopted in this book), the asterisk indicating that this is a traditional, non-cladistic grouping retained for reasons of convenience. (`Reptilia' without an asterisk would mean reptiles, birds and mammals.) Summed up so briefly, cladistics looks like a logical theory carried to ludicrous extremes; in its defence I would point out that difficulties like those which shock us in the case of the familiar land vertebrates might pass almost unnoticed in the classification of the other 99+% of living creatures.

The second, and longer, part of The Variety of Life consists of the survey of living things. Naturally, this is arranged in accordance with the latest taxonomic thinking, based mainly on molecular evidence. Some of the material presented here has probably never before been published in a form accessible to the reasonably intelligent general reader. It made me uneasily aware of how outdated my own mental picture of life-form classification was. Indeed, until now I had hardly moved beyond the concept I acquired in childhood – basically, Linnaeus's division into two `kingdoms', plants and animals. Tudge compares the intellectual revolution represented by the new taxonomy with that which resulted from the Copernican overthrow of Ptolemaic cosmology. Living creatures are now thought to belong to three `domains', two of which consist of the bacteria and the archaea; the third domain (the `Eukaryotes') includes possibly 20 distinct kingdoms, just three of which are animals, plants and fungi. Astonishingly, these three groups – and especially animals and fungi – are close relatives within the huge variety of eukaryotes as a whole. Colin Tudge apologises for the bias (`mega-eukaryote chauvinism') which prompts him to devote disproportionate space to them – animals, for example, get 365 pages, more than half the book, whereas many other kingdoms are summarised in a paragraph or two. Few readers are likely to grumble, however; knowing roughly where and how slime moulds or diatoms fit into the overall pattern of life is probably as much as most of us need to know about slime moulds or diatoms – if we want more information, there are specialist books to turn to. Meanwhile, Tudge's 365 pages on animals provide a fascinating overview of the variety within this one kingdom to which we are, understandably, so attached. His wise decision to make his subject-matter `all the creatures that have ever lived' adds a dimension, the temporal, lacking in most zoological writing; just as human institutions are illuminated by a knowledge of their history, so today's biodiversity becomes more coherent and comprehensible when viewed as the end product of millions of years of evolutionary change. This treatment shows, too, how partial our everyday concepts may be; the class Aves, for example, is divided into eight subclasses, of which modern birds are just one – the other seven are known only from fossil evidence. Viewed as a whole, through time, the tree of life has many more branches and twigs than most of us ever imagined.

The overview of the animal kingdom in The Variety of Life is far more than just a list. It is full of illuminating analogies, witty asides and fascinating digressions which illustrate the author's lively, eclectic mind and carry the reader pleasantly along with him. I can't resist giving one more or less random example. Discussing the cephalopods, `some of the most dashing, powerful and spectacular of all creatures on Earth', Tudge explains that what seems to have held them back from total dominance is a physiological accident, the fact that copper rather than iron carries the oxygen in molluscan blood. Copper `is better at storing oxygen than distributing it, like a librarian who hates people to borrow books. So squids and octopuses are spectacularly lacking in stamina; given to brilliant, often jet-propelled rushes, but not to the steady haul or the repeated flashes of the vertebrate. A shame – or perhaps not. Perhaps if it were otherwise, this book might have been written by a cuttlefish.' No zoologist, professional or amateur, will fail to be instructed and delighted by this part of the book. Colin Tudge shows that taxonomy can be fun: a valuable lesson, since – as Spartaco Gippoliti points out in his Guest Editorial, above – taxonomic knowledge has implications for conservation that none of us can afford to ignore. In the final part of his book, `Saving what is left', Colin Tudge briefly surveys the prospects for preserving biodiversity in an increasingly human-dominated world. (He regards captive-breeding as a useful part of the action needed.) When it is necessary to choose which species to conserve, he argues, taxonomy should guide our choice. Ideally we should save representative members of every family, or at least of every order. All species, on this reckoning, are far from equal. Lose one species of elephant, and we lose half the surviving members of the order Proboscidea, a group whose history goes back to the Eocene. Contrast this with the loss of a beetle, one out of at least 300,000 members of the order Coleoptera. In absolute terms, then, an elephant species is at least 150,000 times as important as any one species of beetle. Looked at in this way, zoos' traditional emphasis on the `charismatic megavertebrates' seems undeserving of the criticism it frequently receives today – even if it has until now been maintained for the wrong reasons.

`Named' species are, of course, defined by their possession of a scientific name. The vast majority of such species – most of those beetles, for example – have no vernacular name in English (or any other language). In Common Names of Mammals of the World, Don Wilson and Russell Cole provide what is – surprisingly – the first list to give an English name to every species of mammal. In hundreds of cases – mostly rodents, insectivores and bats of tropical regions – no common name previously existed, and the authors devised a number of guidelines – most of them very straightforward – to follow in creating new names. The process can be illustrated by looking at their treatment of the white-toothed shrews (Crocidura), a large genus few of which previously had standard English names. In some cases the scientific name is translated: C. andamanensis becomes `Andaman shrew', C. baileyi `Bailey's shrew', C. planiceps `flat-headed shrew'. Others appear to be near-translations, but leave one speculating on the possible thinking behind the original specific name: C. attila is `Hun shrew', and C. niobe `stony shrew', presumably a reference to the Greek myth of Niobe whom the gods turned to stone. European members of the genus, naturally, had English names already: C. russula and C. suaveolens (literally `sweet-smelling', an unusual feature in shrews) were the `greater' and `lesser white-toothed shrew', clear enough names in a European context, but unhelpfully vague within a genus ranging throughout Eurasia and Africa; the authors' choice of, respectively, `white-toothed shrew' and `lesser shrew' seems, if anything, even more imprecise. No doubt they had their reasons for every choice, and in a slim work of reference they could not be expected to elaborate those reasons. Every name is a label, and in a sense arbitrary: what matters is that it should be generally accepted. I wish I could come back in a hundred years and see how many of Wilson and Cole's creations have passed this test of survival. Certainly I shall try to use them myself should the need arise.

Most mammals, of course, already have English names: the problem is that many of them have several different ones. Here, the authors are treading on sensitive ground; we all have our preferences, and don't like being told to change usages we have followed all our lives. It's nice, on the other hand, to have one's prejudices supported. I've been altering `Francois langur' in zoos' reports to `François's langur' for years – from now on I can quote Wilson and Cole as my authority for doing so. Political correctness sometimes sheds its malign influence on animal names, so I was relieved to find that the authors sanction the continued use of `killer whale' and `Indian rhinoceros', both of which have been attacked by the self-appointed thought police in recent years. But their preference for `pygmy chimpanzee' over `bonobo' does surprise me, for the latter is surely the term most primatologists today would favour. (`The term ``pygmy chimpanzee'' ', Colin Tudge comments in The Variety of Life, `can be considered defunct.')

Well, you can't please everyone all the time, and although nobody is likely to accept all Wilson and Cole's rulings, they are trying to do something that's worth doing. I hope plenty of zoologists will buy the book and test it out in use. If they report back to the authors, a subsequent edition may remove such faults as it has. To start this process moving, I'd like to point to the curious omission of Przewalski's horse, and the equally curious inclusion of Steller's sea cow and the Madagascan pygmy hippopotamus in a list of supposedly extant species.

Nicholas Gould

LIFE UNDERGROUND: THE BIOLOGY OF SUBTERRANEAN RODENTS edited by Eileen A. Lacey, James L. Patton, and Guy N. Cameron. University of Chicago Press, 2000. xii + 450 pp. ISBN 0–226–46727–9 (cloth) or 0–226–46728–7 (paper). £41.00 or $65.00 (cloth); £15.50 or $24.00 (paper).

You might think that life underground would be very dull and very hard work. After all, you cannot see anything, it tends to be hot and humid, and to go anywhere new, you have to dig your way through disobliging soil. However, Life Underground is a fascinating and very comprehensive review of our current state of knowledge of subterranean rodents. Many rodents do, of course, live in burrows underground, but this volume deals only with those species that live most of their lives underground. Astonishingly this adds up to five families of rodents, comprising 20 genera and 140 species (of the ones we know about!), which are found worldwide except for Australia and Antarctica.

Being confined to tunnels all the time, the subterranean environment is often very unpleasant with very little or no light, relative humidities often reaching 100%, and air that is high in carbon dioxide and low in oxygen owing to poor ventilation. The only positive aspect is that temperatures are fairly uniform, so that subterranean rodents are often able to exploit otherwise hostile environments. In addition, living in underground tunnels allows their inhabitants to either avoid or deter most predators. However, the one major limiting factor to worldwide domination by subterranean rodents is the lack of suitable soil for digging; it must – for obvious reasons – not have too high a content of either sand or clay.

Life Underground is divided into three main sections that deal with discrete and yet interlinked subject areas, namely, organismal biology, population and community ecology, and evolutionary biology.

Organismal biology deals with the many ways in which subterranean rodents are adapted to their lives underground. One myth that is exploded rather well is that subterranean rodents from different families and genera show convergent evolution of their morphology for life underground. This is not necessarily so; to give one example, rodents may dig in one of three ways (scratch digging, chisel-tooth digging and head-lift digging). What I found particularly interesting was the physiological adaptations. Subterranean rodents have long hindguts for their body size so that they can support highly efficient microbial fermentation of vegetarian diets; this seems to be an adaptation for feeding on poor-quality diets found in the habitats where they live. Consequently, they have low metabolic rates (which is probably just as well given the poor ventilation), and they have also have a high thermoneutral range, which means that they do not waste energy unnecessarily in maintaining a constant body temperature, in an otherwise fairly stable environment. One major disadvantage of life underground is the lack of sunlight, so that vitamin D cannot be synthesised in the skin, which could affect absorption of mineral nutrients from the gut. As might be expected, subterranean rodents have found ways to overcome these problems which do not depend on vitamin D. Other chapters in this section deal with the sensory environment, particularly the use of tactile and vibrational communication; species that use acoustic signals tend to outnumber those using both acoustic and seismic ones, but the reasons for this are not known. Studies of reproduction in subterranean rodents have been limited, because they are aggressively non-gregarious, except for the sociable bathyergids such as the naked mole-rat, which have consequently borne the brunt of our research effort.

The section on population and community ecology deals with how subterranean rodents react to each other and the other species in their environment. One chapter discusses the factors which affect populations in space and time, including the different kinds of burrow systems and their locations, and the foraging ecology of the species, including their selection of which vegetation to eat and the caching of food for harder times. It also deals with demographic factors and life-history parameters which affect population structure. Of course, any account of life underground would be incomplete without a review of sociality and coloniality.

The final section deals with evolutionary biology, which brings together all the foregoing material into a synthesis of subterranean life. With their limited mobility and powers of dispersal, resulting in an often patchy distribution, subterranean rodents show the potential for rapid speciation. Various evolutionary themes are explored including the fossil record, genetic structure (including the role of hybridisation in speciation) and coevolution, particularly with ectoparasites.

Given the growing popularity of naked mole-rats as zoo exhibits, Life Underground offers a great deal of stimulating insight into a wide diversity of rodent species, which will hopefully lead to further species being exhibited to the public and studied for their own worth, in order to fill the numerous gaps that remain in our knowledge of these remarkable rodents.

Andrew Kitchener,

Department of Zoology,

Royal Museum of Scotland

CETACEAN SOCIETIES: FIELD STUDIES OF DOLPHINS AND WHALES edited by Janet Mann, Richard C. Connor, Peter L. Tyack and Hal Whitehead. University of Chicago Press, 2000. xiv + 434 pp. ISBN: 0–226–50340–2 (hardback), 0–226–50341–0 (paperback). £56.00 or $80.00 (hardback), £24.50 or $35.00 (paperback).

Cetaceans are one of the most socially diverse and complex orders of all mammals. This account of cetacean societies, written in many ways as a textbook, covers everything from photo identification and acoustic recognition right through to the highly complex political, and indeed social, issues surrounding the conservation and management of wild cetacean populations. Cetacean Societies is no coffee-table book and is focused very much at the cetacean enthusiast, but has a great deal to offer the behavioural ecologist, providing a broad overview of cetacean research without assuming a great deal of prior knowledge.

This book was developed in many ways along the lines of Primate Societies (Smuts et al., University of Chicago Press, 1987), and although its emphasis is primarily behavioural, the authors use morphology and physiology to define and describe cetacean society structure. Unlike the field of primate research, where the social structure of over 100 primate species is known, cetacean society research is very much in its infancy and is limited to about a dozen species. This is due in part to the elusive nature of marine mammals and the practical difficulties involved in their study. A comparison is made here with the level of understanding of primate societies reached in about 1965 but, as has happened since then with primates, it is expected that there will be a rapid acceleration of our understanding of these amazing species over the next few decades.

A good background is given in the history of the study of whales and dolphins, starting with the `whaler-naturalist', and there is some reference to the study of captive cetaceans and the change in public perception towards captive research over the last two decades, with, for example, the Klinowaska report which led to the closing down of all U.K. dolphinaria in the 1980s. Apart from the considerable welfare implications of captive study, environmental restrictions introduce a large element of experimental error. The distortion of behaviours through captivity for non-terrestrial, migratory species with enormous ranges is thought to be huge, and the positive outcome has been the promotion of another phase of cetacean research – field studies.

The diversity of current field research is shown through a myriad examples, and the main body of the text is split into three parts, starting with methodologies and techniques such as photo identification, acoustic recording and analysis, classifying vocalisations and identifying individual animals by their acoustic signatures. Tagging and its associated difficulties – both ethical and practical – is also considered. The application of genetic databases is discussed, with comparison of both invasive sampling methods such as biopsy and more benign techniques such as the collection of sloughed skin from sperm whales. Of course, species that are exploited commercially provide a wealth of material for genetic analysis, and ironically it is often these exploited populations that are in most urgent need of genetic analysis for their protection.

Part Two describes in detail the four most widely studied cetacean species: the bottle-nosed dolphin, killer whale, sperm whale and humpback whale. Each of these species is used to characterise a specific aspect of cetacean behavioural ecology and highlight some of the more unusual quirks of cetacean behaviour, such as that of the bottle-nosed dolphins of Shark Bay, Australia, who carry conical-shaped sponges on their rostra that are thought to function as protection whilst they are probing the bottom for prey. There are also details of the famous killer whales and bottle-nosed dolphins who risk beaching themselves in pursuit of prey. These charismatic and unusual behaviours are examined in order to whet the appetite, and are followed with details on how best to observe and record information for each species in the wild.

The beauty of this book is that the science is there in good measure, but is interspersed with anecdotal accounts to keep the reader enthralled and enthused. Issues which are dealt with in this section include mass stranding, by-catch, commercial exploitation and aboriginal subsistence hunting. Because each of the four species is dealt with in turn by an expert in that field, there is also some diversity in the writing style, which is most welcome after one has ploughed through some of the more technical topics.

The third and final section deals with the real core of cetacean studies, starting with a comparative study of group living in whales and dolphins, reproductive strategies and social bonds. There is an excellent chapter on cetacean communication, one of the fields that many of us find the most fascinating, and some of the more tricky acoustic concepts are explained in a very simple and palatable fashion.

Other forms of communication such as chemical, visual, tactile and electrical, are also discussed. The theme throughout the book is to introduce a concept and then explain how it is useful in terms of the behavioural ecology of these animals, for example in terms of predator–prey relationships or mother–calf recognition, and the whole array of communication techniques are used to analyse the hierarchy of social structure within a pod and even within a population.

An entire chapter is dedicated to the protection and management of wild populations, highlighting the extent of past exploitation and some of today's threats, such as heavy metals and PCBs, noise and disturbance, global climate change, habitat loss and degradation, and commercial whaling, which despite an international moratorium continues to plague certain species. A reasonable overview is given of management techniques; however, the management of cetacean stocks is a political minefield. Many passionate individuals, normally amiable advocates of conservation and animal welfare, often find themselves pitted against each other in the complex maze of cetacean conservation.

Finally the book ends with a look at cetacean research in the future, and points out that the high degree of mobility in cetaceans gives them the opportunity to maintain social bonds with members of their natal group even after dispersal. We do not know for sure, for example, that young males who form bachelor groups do not return to the family pod. The least known of all the whale groups is the beaked whales, and it is likely that the future will hold some very interesting explanations for the unusual anatomical features of these species. The teeth of the male strap-tooth whale, for example, grow over the upper jaw and are thought to limit the opening of the jaws to just a few centimetres, raising a question as to what is their prey species and how they feed.

Overall, the enthusiasm of the authors for their subject is conveyed throughout, and there can be few cetologists who will learn nothing from perusing the myriad examples in the text, as the subject matter is so broad-ranging. There is a smattering of good-quality colour photos and many more excellent diagrams and black-and-white photos used to illustrate ideas and concepts. It is splendid to see at last a book that integrates the diverse aspects of cetacean science which have so often in the past been presented as discrete units.

Philippa Brakes

AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES OF MADAGASCAR AND THE MASCARENE, SEYCHELLES, AND COMORO ISLANDS by Friedrich-Wilhelm Henkel and Wolfgang Schmidt. First English edition, translated from the original German by Hinrich Kaiser. Krieger, 2000. viii + 316 pp., 269 colour photos, hardback. ISBN 1–57524–014–9. Available from Krieger Publishing Co., P.O. Box 9542, Melbourne, Florida 32902–9542, U.S.A. (Tel.: ++ 407–724–9542; Fax: ++ 407–951–3671; E-mail:, price $64.50.

Recent years have seen an enormously increased interest in the wildlife of the region covered in this volume, and some of its reptiles and amphibians – such as the tomato frogs, day geckoes and radiated tortoise – are becoming a familiar sight in zoos. Many people, therefore, will welcome the appearance of this book, which gives generous coverage to 55 amphibian and 166 reptile species (together with separate treatment of some distinctive lizard subspecies). Though notes on vivarium care are included for most species, this is not primarily a book for herp keepers, so much as a manual for ecotourists: for anyone visiting Madagascar or the Indian Ocean islands, it will be almost as essential an item of luggage as Conservation International's Lemurs of Madagascar (1994). The descriptive notes on each species are supplemented by colour photos, most of which are of superb quality. Many of these animals are of extraordinary beauty, and these photos do them full justice.

Both the authors have travelled widely in the region, and their descriptive notes reflect this, especially in the details they give of where and when each species may best be seen. Nevertheless, some features of the book left me feeling rather dissatisfied. The fact that vernacular English names are seldom given, even where one – such as `golden mantella' or `radiated tortoise' – exists and is widely used, is obviously the fault of the translator and publisher, rather than of the original authors. More surprising is the absence of information on the conservation status of many species. The section on the Round Island day gecko (Phelsuma guentheri) does note that it is highly endangered, and praises the successful work of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust to conserve it. But this attention is unusual: writing of the Madagascan side-necked turtle (Erymnochelys madagascariensis), for example, the authors describe it as `found in the rivers and lakes of western Madagascar,' implying a fairly widespread species, and add that `because Madagascans consume this animal with delight, it could be that they are now absent from the smaller lakes' – a totally inadequate comment on a species recognised by the IUCN/SSC as Endangered. It is curious, too, that after mentioning Jersey's reforestation work on Round

Island with reference to the gecko, the authors seem to forget about it in their section on the Round Island skink (Leiolopisma telfairi), where they write, `In all probability, Round Island will simply be a bare rocky outcrop in the Indian Ocean in the near future.' In fact, the native vegetation of Round Island has been recovering well since the elimination of introduced goats and rabbits; it was they, rather than cyclones as stated by Henkel and Schmidt, that threatened to destroy the island's vegetation.

The original German edition of the book was published in 1995. In the five-year gap before the appearance of the English edition, knowledge of the herpetofauna of the region has continued to grow. An obvious instance is the rediscovery in 1997 of two species of Seychelles giant tortoise (see I.Z.N. 45:1, pp. 4–10). Henkel and Schmidt, writing in 1995, could not have known about this; but the production of the English version should have provided the opportunity for the text to be scrutinised and updated by a competent herpetologist. Krieger, a publisher with many herpetological books on their list, must have access to many such people. Should the book go into a second edition, I hope this suggestion may be acted upon; meanwhile, what we have here is an attractive and useful (though not fully comprehensive) field guide which misses the chance to be a thoroughly reliable work of reference as well.

Nicholas Gould

* * *


Some current worries for zoo people

Coming out at six-weekly intervals, I.Z.N. cannot attempt to present an up-to-date picture of many events of serious concern to the zoo community, simply because anything we published about a fast-moving story would be long out of date before it reached our readers. Even so, I cannot completely ignore two of the most worrying items in the news as we go to press in late April – the foot-and-mouth outbreak in Britain and the proposed closure of the Smithsonian Conservation and Research Center in the United States. I hope that by the time you read this the news on both subjects will be more encouraging.

As far as foot-and-mouth is concerned, it may be that the worst is already over. Until a few weeks ago, virtually every animal collection in Britain was closed; many were suffering severe financial losses, staff were being laid off and in some cases there was serious talk of possible closure. As I write, cautious optimism seems in order: most collections re-opened in time for Easter, and several report that visitor numbers were actually greater than last year's. It is not yet possible to say what long-term implications the outbreak may have; if, as seems likely, wild deer have become infected, the virus may be here to stay. I suspect an element of paranoia in the British reaction to what is, after all, a relatively mild disease, and it would be interesting to hear comments from some zoos in regions where foot-and-mouth has long been endemic.

It was in early April that the director of the U.S. National Zoo, Lucy Spelman, announced the planned closure of the zoo's Conservation Research Center (CRC) at Front Royal, Virginia, effective from 31 December this year. The reason given was that `resources are simply not available to maintain the CRC as a world-class facility and as a center for scientific excellence.' The Center, which is closed to the public, is one of the most important and productive zoological research establishments in the world. `In one brutal and ill-advised action,' commented the Washington Post, `the National Zoological Park has been reduced from the world's pre-eminent zoo-based conservation organization to just another small zoo, with a handful of Ph.D. scientists (almost all in reproductive physiology). Gone will be programs in marine mammal biology, molecular genetics, small population genetic management, migratory birds, field ecology, GIS and remote sensing, animal behavior, monitoring and assessment of biodiversity programs, and most importantly, conservation biology (including long-term ecological field studies in the U.S. and abroad).'

Is it really credible that the richest country in the world lacks the resources to maintain so valuable an institution? Unsurprisingly, the proposed closure has aroused a vociferous campaign in support of the Center. The developing story can be followed on the internet at

Nicholas Gould

Elephant ultrasound workshops in India

Elephants are challenging animals to manage due to their great size, strength and intelligence. Many medical diagnostic methods, including radiography, have been limited in their scope because of the size of the animal. Other procedures have required anesthetics with their inherent risks. Since 1995, a new procedure has revolutionized our understanding of elephants. This technique is ultrasonography, a procedure that gives a clear view of many internal organs of elephants. Dr Thomas Hildebrandt of the Institute for Zoo Biology and Wildlife Research in Berlin, Germany, initiated this technique with elephants. In collaboration, he and Dr Dennis Schmitt, of Southwest Missouri State University and the Ringling Center for Elephant Conservation, have worked with numerous captive elephants in many facilities in the northern hemisphere. As a result, ultrasound technology has improved modern elephant husbandry. It provides reproducible real-time images, cross-sectional imaging of tissues, organ structures and motions, morphometric measurements, documentation and preservation of data. The advantages of this technique favour its more widespread use. In veterinary and biological sciences, it offers new information regarding embryonic development, uterine and ovarian function, muscle development, digestive processes etc. where classical experimental techniques are limited.

In February 2001, at the invitation of Dr Raman Sukumar, Chair of the IUCN Asian Elephant Specialist Group, and Dr V. Krishnamurthy of the Asian Elephant Research and Conservation Center in Bangalore, ultrasound workshops were held at two different sites in southern India. The workshop instructors were Drs Hildebrandt and Schmitt using ultrasound equipment kindly provided by the Institute for Zoo Biology and Wildlife Research.

The first workshop was held from 13 to 15 February at the Theppakadu Elephant Camp, in the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, and was hosted by Dr Krishnamurthy. Besides the theoretical presentations, a total of eight camp elephants were assessed by ultrasonographic examinations (three males of 27 to 48 years old and five females of 30 to 60 years). Semen was collected from two of the bulls using manual stimulation. The use of ultrasonography for imaging other organs such as lymph nodes and heart was also demonstrated. The elephants were in good health and the quality of care in the camp was impressive, as were the extensive records of each animal.

The second workshop, coordinated by Dr Jacob Cheeran, was held from 17 to 20 February at the Kerala Agricultural University, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, in Mannuthy in the coastal state of Kerala. Lectures were well attended by veterinarians and college students. The state of Kerala has approximately 550 captive elephants, most of which are males. For practical demonstrations of the ultrasonographic technology, three bulls ranging in age from three to 27 years, were brought from nearby temples to the college for the assessments. Semen was collected using manual stimulation from one of the bulls. The opportunity was also made available to demonstrate the technology on a privately-owned female elephant. All four elephants were in good health. By chance we were able to watch a team of veterinarians led by Drs Cheeran and K.C. Panicker from the Elephant Study Centre in Thrissur dart an adult male. This was the 422nd elephant tranquilisation for this team, and their expertise in these situations was evident.

This unique opportunity to share international knowledge was invaluable to further the understanding of elephant biology. We were pleased at the strong interest demonstrated by the workshop attendees in the application of ultrasonography to elephant biology. Especially encouraging was the attendance of both well-established and younger veterinarians and biologists, as well as college students. Our hosts in India were extremely helpful in accommodating the requests to facilitate the ultrasonographic examinations and workshops.

The continued collaboration with researchers using this valuable resource of well-trained elephants and competent staff can provide valuable information for the management of captive and free-ranging elephants. An example is the possibility of the herpesvirus in the native elephants. Until these workshops, there had been no indication that this virus existed in native elephants. However, the clinical symptoms described for the recent deaths of three young elephants in one of the camps may change this hypothesis, and submission of samples from any suspicious deaths should be fully investigated for the presence of herpesvirus.

The ongoing testing of elephants for other potential medical issues such as tuberculosis is highly recommended. With the potential movement of elephants within the region in the future, it is in the best interest of the captive and free-ranging elephants to maintain a vigilant watch for this and other diseases.

Dr Dennis Schmitt, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri, U.S.A.

Dr. Thomas Hildebrandt, Institute for Zoo Biology and Wildlife Research, Berlin, Germany

Heidi Riddle, Riddle's Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary, Greenbrier, Arkansas, U.S.A.

Enrichment video library for Europe

Environmental enrichment is not merely a slogan any more, but has become a main aspect of modern zoo biology. Thus some of the issues which Heini Hediger was already promoting 50 years ago are now gaining significance. Meanwhile, enrichment conferences and seminars are held regularly not only in the U.S.A., but also in Europe.

A working group called `Shape of Enrichment', which was founded in the United States in 1991, focuses on enrichment for zoo and wild animals. In close co-operation with the American Association of Zoo Keepers, one of their key activities is, besides the issue of a periodical of the same name, the building up of a video library, whose tapes are lent free of charge to interested institutions.

On 1 January 2001, Schönbrunn Zoo opened the European subsidiary and offers the entire `Shape of Enrichment' video collection for loan to interested colleagues in Europe, Africa and the Near East. Institutions can borrow up to three videos at once, for a fortnight. At present, the collection comprises 48 different video tapes in PAL and NTSC systems. In addition, we are working at Schönbrunn on new video films in close cooperation with other zoos.

The `Shape of Enrichment' European subsidiary can be reached on the internet at, with an order form and detailed conditions for interested institutions. The order form can be filled in directly via the internet or printed out and faxed to Schönbrunn Zoo. Kindly address inquiries directly to Harald Schwammer ( or Sabine Frühwirth (, or fax +431–877 9641.

Dr Harald M. Schwammer,

Vice Director, Schönbrunn Zoo.

* * *


Adelaide Zoo, South Australia

Dr David Schultz, senior veterinarian at the zoo, had obtained permits from National Parks to catch 2.0 yellow-footed rock wallaby (Petrogale xanthopus) joeys and bring them back to Adelaide in order to improve the genetics of our captive colony. Trials had previously been run with pouch swaps between yellow-footed, tammar (Macropus eugenii) and brush-tailed rock wallabies (P. penicillata), and joeys had been able to survive for a period of six hours out of the dam's pouch. However, the transfer of a wild-caught animal into the pouch of a captive animal had never been attempted previously.

The selected site to catch new males was Wilkawillina Gorge, Flinders Ranges National Park, where Ph.D. student Mark Lethbridge has been trapping yellow-foots for several years. Prior to the trapping, all females at Adelaide and Monarto Zoos were caught, pouch-checked, and joeys' tails were measured in order to be able to match wild-caught joeys for the intended surrogacy. Once the joeys had been taken out of the pouch it would be a race against time, so two teams had been formed with two cars ready to go.

We got lucky on the first day when we checked the second trap. The joey's tail measured 104 mm and matched Wobbles's joey almost exactly. The new founder was rushed to Adelaide, where Wobbles was anaesthetised and made ready for the pouch swap. (Keeper Jodie Ible volunteered to hand-rear the other pouch young.) Incidentally, Wobbles is the young from one of the females released at Leigh Creek. Her mother was found dead several months after the release, but Wobbles was pulled as a joey and hand-reared by Dr Sue Conaghty, now veterinarian at Monarto. Wobbles has since proven to be an excellent dam for breeding and has raised several young here at the zoo. We were therefore particularly pleased that one of the wild-caught joeys matched hers.

Team 2 (Dr David Schultz and two vet students, Alex and Carly) had to climb a few more mountains, but got lucky on the second day in trap 9. This joey was slightly smaller (80 mm) and matched one of the Monarto dams, who was quickly brought to Adelaide's Animal Health Centre for the transfer. Regular pouch movement has been observed since then. The dams are being kept under observation at the Centre.

Alex Emmerich in Zoo Times Vol. 17, No. 1 (March 2001)

Baltimore Zoo, Maryland, U.S.A.

The zoo recently got the go-ahead from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to import 20.20 adult Panamanian golden frogs (Atelopus zeteki) and 100 end-stage tadpoles to be used as the first specimens in a captive colony for Project Golden Frog. Researchers left for Panama on 27 December to search for and gather pairs of frogs in amplexus, or tadpoles completing their metamorphosis stage.

The project, which initially received more than $30,000 from the Conservation Endowment Fund, has also received grants from Columbus Zoo, Oklahoma City Zoo, Cincinnati Zoo, Miami Metrozoo and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The funding from these institutions will provide both U.S. participants and Panamanian scientists with four-wheel-drive field research vehicles, which will display the names and logos of all contributors.

AZA Communiqué (April 2001)

Baton Rouge Zoo, Baker, Louisiana, U.S.A.

Joe Clawson, curator of Baton Rouge's `Kidszoo', has stocked the children's zoo with nearly two dozen barnyard breeds. Many young visitors are as mesmerized by the cows and chickens as they are by the monkeys and giraffes. After all, says Clawson, they can see wild animals every time they turn on the television, thanks to the abundance of wildlife programs. But old-fashioned barnyard breeds are now rare, such as the Rhode Island Red chicken, which has illustrated just about every children's story with a chicken in it.

These animals had traits that once were invaluable. Many could survive by foraging for their own food. Others ate insect pests. But they fell out of favor as America's agricultural needs evolved and grew. Until the 1930s, a small-time farmer didn't need a cow to produce ten gallons of milk a day. Because there was no refrigeration, most of the milk would wind up as pig slop or waste, so a modestly producing, foraging, small cow was perfect. Modern commercial livestock farmers have developed hybrid cattle, poultry and hogs for production characteristics – chickens that lay lots of eggs quickly, cattle that grow fast and produce the best meat. The trouble is, though, that the new breeds need antibiotics and steroids just to stay healthy, because their immune systems are not as robust as their ancestors'. They are virtually clones, with the result that there is little or no genetic diversity in America's modern cows, chickens and pigs.

The children's zoo area is now stocked with 19 heritage breeds, animals who closely resemble the ones that adapted to America's farms for generations. During the past year, Clawson has more than doubled the number of heritage breeds at Kidszoo. They include Guinea hogs, Dominique chickens, and American buff geese (all classed as Critical, with only a handful of registrations nationally); Dexter cows, Tamworth pigs, Jacob sheep and buff ducks (slightly more abundant, but still kept only in relatively low numbers); and Rhode Island Red chickens, Indian runner ducks, Galloway and belted Galloway cattle, and Gulf Coast native sheep. These old-fashioned animals are more than entertaining for zoo visitors. They help keep alive the nation's agricultural heritage, and one day, they may even be called on to save the day. Heritage breeds could never compete with modern breeds for production, but they do hold something invaluable: hearty constitutions. Over the years, they adapted around the country, passing on their resistance to disease and parasites from generation to generation. A disease or parasite epidemic in today's commercial populations could prove catastrophic, because all the animals are genetically so similar. In that situation, producers might need to cross-breed survivors with heritage breeds to boost their immune systems.

Abridged from The Advocate (New Orleans) website (

Beekse Bergen Safaripark, The Netherlands

Special research projects using faecal or urine analysis are being carried out for three species at the park. The 1.2 wart hogs have not yet produced young. The amount of testosterone in blood samples of the male has been analysed by the University of Vienna, and an attempt to evaluate sperm quality has been made in cooperation with the University of Utrecht. The latter effort failed to identify viable sperm, but it is unclear whether this was due to technical problems or to infertility. Analysis by the University of Vienna of faecal samples from the two females collected twice weekly indicated that neither female was cycling. One female received two hormonal treatments of PG 600 combined with 440 IU serumgonadotrophione (FSH) and 200 IU choriongonadotrophine (LH); while results from faecal samples are not yet available, there was no physical sign that she cycled after either treatment.

Faecal samples from the white rhinoceroses are also used to determine the females' oestrous cycles. The oldest two females were first studied, and while both have copulated with a male, one does not have a cycle and the other, earlier thought to be pregnant, appears not to be so. The younger females, who also copulate with males, are now being studied. Collection of their faeces twice a week is a bit more challenging as they are held in a group.

The oestrous cycles of the five approximately 15-year-old African elephant cows are studied via weekly urine samples analysed by the German Primate Center. A Europe-wide project is being carried out with the cooperation of this institution to determine the cycles of all the Asian and African elephant cows included in the EEP. Two of the five females at Beekse Bergen do indeed have a regular oestrous cycle, and it is hoped that there will soon be facilities to house a bull so that these cows have a chance to reproduce.

English summary of article by Rolf Veenhuizen in De Harpij Vol. 19, No. 4 (2000)

Cameron Park Zoo, Waco, Texas, U.S.A.

The zoo's general curator, Johnny Binder, and herpetarium curator, Terri Cox, went on a conservation research trip in December and January to the Nariva Swamp in Trinidad to collect South American water snakes (Helicops angulatus). The snakes are typically found in the lower areas of the northern and southern basins, or aquatic areas, of Trinidad. `The place we went to was a watermelon farm,' says Cox. `The area where we worked was about two miles long, and we set up minnow traps in the drainage ditches. There had been a flood the week before we got there, so the ditches were filled with water. The snakes would swim into the traps. It was exciting to go out the next morning and see what we had.' The research team included Binder, Cox and Neil Ford, a professor of biology at the University of Texas at Tyler and a research biologist with the university's Ophidian Research Center. The group also collected the reptiles by walking the swamps at night, armed with flashlights and gloves. They collected 170 snakes – 117 water snakes and 53 other snakes characteristic of that region. Only 16 snakes were brought to the United States, and two are currently on exhibit in the zoo's herpetarium. The others will be studied at the university's research center.

The group also conducted a conservation study of the area to determine what other reptiles live there. `We had a permit to bring back only 16, so we took pictures of the others, then released them,' says Cox. `We chose six of the healthiest males and ten of the females who looked like they were pregnant.' She describes the snakes as `docile'. `Out of the 16, we only had five bite. Another interesting feature is that they constrict their prey before eating it. They eat mainly fish and frogs.'

The female water snakes are unusual because they can change their reproductive process from laying eggs to giving live birth, depending on environmental conditions; only 15 species of reptile have this ability, with few snakes possessing the characteristic, so it is hoped to study the process in the captive specimens. The two females currently at the zoo will be exchanged periodically with those at the research center in Tyler. Eventually, the snakes will be returned to Trinidad, and the offspring kept in the United States. Cameron Park is believed to be the first U.S. zoo to hold the species.

Adapted from the Waco Tribune-Herald website, 5 March 2001

Khao Kheow Open Zoo, Chon Buri, Thailand

The nine-year-old twin Asian elephant cows Joom and Jim were the star attractions of the zoo. But on the morning of 16 March Joom began vomiting and had a bloated stomach; she became wild and destructive and attacked her keeper. Vets treated her with antibiotics and antihistamine, but her condition steadily worsened. She lost all her strength, collapsed at about 3 p.m., and died a few hours later. It was suspected that she had taken water or grass tainted with insecticide, but at this stage the cause of death was unknown. Joom was quickly buried to prevent transmission of disease, but some of her organs were sent for laboratory tests. Zoo director Thanapat Pongpamorn said he was concerned about Jim, who was in low spirits after the death of her sister. `The twins were very close. Jim is depressed and has refused to eat. She is being kept under close watch as we fear she might die.'

The pair were probably the world's only living elephant twins. A number of twin births, all of Asian elephants, have taken place in zoos in recent years (Port Lympne, 1990; Washington Park, Portland, 1994; Antwerp, 1996; Fort Worth, 1996); of these, one of the Portland twins survived, but all the other calves were stillborn.

Bangkok Post (18 March 2001), with additional material by Nicholas Gould

[For more about twin births in elephants, see I.Z.N. 41:8, 54–55; 42:1, 52; 42:2, 104–105; 43:6, 465; and 43:8, 592.]

Moscow Zoo, Russia

British vet John Lewis recently flew to Moscow to save the zoo's walruses from a painful, possibly lethal, case of mass toothache. He plans to return at the end of April with a team led by the British zoo dentist Peter Kertesz, to remove infected tusks from ten of the animals – probably the biggest dentistry operation ever carried out on walruses.

Beforehand, Lewis was working out how to lift and operate on ten unconscious animals weighing 600 kg each. `They're not great patients,' he says. `The anaesthetic is challenging and their breathing is a problem, but we can overcome that with equipment being made specially for this job.'

Walruses in the wild keep their tusks and gums healthy by hauling their huge frames onto outcrops, prising molluscs from rocks and, for the males, fighting over females. But the zoo's pampered walruses – who were found orphaned on Russia's Pacific coast – do little more with their tusks than bang them on the edge of their pool and the metal bars of their enclosure. `Broken tusks are not only painful but dangerous, because infection can track into the skull and the body and be life-threatening,' says Lewis. He has reassured zoo officials that their charges will feel far better after the operation. `It sounds like a big operation to us, but for the walruses it's removing a small structure from a very large animal – a few days after I don't think they will feel any different.'

Donations in Britain and Moscow have raised about a third of the $20–25,000 needed to pay for the equipment, its transfer and the labour of experts who may have to devote three hours or more to each walrus's pair of troublesome tusks. `Walruses are always a challenge and I like challenges,' says Lewis. `Doing ten in a batch is probably unique, but it's just a marathon as opposed to a sprint.'

AltaVista website (, 28 February 2001

Philadelphia Zoo, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

The zoo's herpetology department has witnessed some rare chelonian hatchings in the past few years. These include: four Galapagos tortoises hatched in 1997; 11 Central American river turtles (Dermatemys mawi) hatched in 1998, representing the second ex situ hatching and first captive breeding from founder animals of this species; one big-headed Amazon River turtle (Peltocephalus dumeriliana), hatched in March 2000; three black wood turtles (Rhinoclemys funeria) hatched on 19 November 2000 after 119 days of incubation; and a pancake tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri) hatched in February 2001, representing the 17th hatchling over the past six years.

AZA Communiqué (April 2001)

Réserve Africaine de Sigean, France

Pareda, an 11-year-old Somali wild ass (Equus africanus somalicus), gave birth to a female foal in her night box during the night of 28 to 29 August 2000. Pareda, originating from the Werner Stamm Foundation in Oberwil, Switzerland, is taking excellent care of her young. Both were held in the night box for the first three days after delivery to keep a close eye on the foal and because of unfavourable weather conditions. The mother and foal were then first introduced to the other two mares in the outdoor enclosure, and thereafter to the stallion several days later. This is Pareda's seventh young at Sigean. She had two stillbirths in 1992 and 1993, followed by four (2.2) surviving foals between 1994 and 1998. Hopes are high that the youngster born in 2000 will be her fifth surviving foal. This is all the more important as the Somali wild ass EEP numbered only 30.31 specimens on 1 January 1999, with no more than seven (3.4) surviving foals in 1998.

Frédéric Tardy in EAZA News 33 (January–March 2001)

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

The following births and hatchings took place during the period January to March 2001: 2 black-footed cat, 1 Prévost's squirrel (DNS), 1 galah cockatoo, 2 snow-crested robin chat, 6 blue poison arrow frog, 5 yellow-banded poison arrow frog, 1 lined leaf-tailed gecko, 12 Henkel's leaf-tailed gecko, 3 giant leaf-tailed gecko.

The following were acquired: 4.1 slender-tailed meerkat, 0.1 golden-headed lion tamarin, 1.1 blue-faced honeyeater, 0.3 troupial, 1.1 Indian pygmy goose, 2.1 North American ruddy duck, 1 violet-necked lory, 1.1 hooded pitta, 0.1 green-naped pheasant pigeon, 1.1 dhyal thrush (magpie robin), 0.1 common shama thrush, 2.1 curl-crested aracari, 0.2 Rothschild's mynah, 2.2 Madagascar flat-shelled tortoise, 1.0 eastern coral snake, 2.0 blue crab, 1 eastern mud snail, 2 striped mullet, 9 common mullet, 3 summer flounder, 50 Atlantic silverside, 15 striped killifish, 20 mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus).

Alan H. Shoemaker, Collection Manager

Sado Crested Ibis Conservation Centre, Japan

A crested ibis (Nipponia nippon) donated from China two years ago has recently laid four eggs at this breeding centre on a remote island 290 kilometres north-west of Tokyo. It is the third time that this bird, known as Yang-Yang, has laid eggs since 1999, when she and a male, You-You, were presented by Chinese President Jiang Zemin to Japan's Emperor Akihito. In the past two years, three ibis have been hatched in Japan, including in 1999 Yu-Yu, the first crested ibis successfully bred in captivity. Once a favourite subject of Japanese painters, the species – mostly white with a red face and a long, narrow beak – was common in Japan until hunting, development and fertilisers destroyed its habitat.

Saigon Zoo, Vietnam

In November 2000 the director of Saigon Zoo requested Melbourne Zoo's support for improving its education and reptile display capacity. Hence, Chris Banks, Curator of Herpetofauna at Melbourne, and Jen Lee, Senior Education Officer at Victoria's Open Range Zoo at Werribee, visited Saigon Zoo for two weeks in late November to early December. Jason Muller, an experienced mammal keeper at Werribee, accompanied them.

The education department at Saigon was established in October 1999 and remains the only such department in a Vietnamese zoo. Jen worked closely with its head, Mr Vo Dinh Son, and two teachers to develop and deliver new teaching programs, source additional resource materials, plan the inclusion of appropriate `education animals' for the zoo's classroom and assess the department's needs for equipment and furniture. A series of recommendations were made on how the department can best develop over the next year. It is hoped that the teachers will be able to spend time at zoos in Victoria, Australia, in 2001 to continue the exchange of ideas and programs.

A new reptile house for Saigon Zoo was built and opened in August 2000. However, the exhibits were not fully landscaped and the zoo requested help in completing this task and planning the reptile collection for the next five years. Chris Banks worked alongside the reptile curator and keeper to assess the needs of each exhibit, as well as the building itself. One immediate issue was the lack of shade (creepers and other plants will address this over the next year or so), and shadecloth was purchased and installed for the benefit of visitors, staff and the animals. A series of exhibits were landscaped, with the keepers showing real enthusiasm for developing these further. The requirements for each species were discussed, and these are being translated into Vietnamese for the direct benefit of the keeping staff. A recommended collection plan was presented, together with suggested improvements to the operation and structure of the building.

A short-term signage system, consisting of the English, Vietnamese and scientific names of each species, as well as a summary of some interesting facts about them, was developed and installed. In addition, Chris presented a two-day workshop on reptile husbandry, which was attended by staff from the zoo, as well as nearby universities, crocodile farms, veterinary institutes and national parks.

Jason Muller worked primarily with the carnivore curator and his keepers, demonstrating landscaping techniques in the large cat exhibits, but also drawing up landscaping plans for the small cat complexes and the bears.

The visit has been reported in Vietnamese newspapers. All three participants acknowledge the hospitality of the Saigon Zoo staff in hosting their stay and making the visit a stimulating and enjoyable one.

Chris Banks and Jen Lee in ARAZPA Newsletter No. 49 (February 2001)

San Diego Zoo, California, U.S.A.

A kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus) hatched at the zoo on 1 December 2000 and is currently being reared by its parents. Found only on the island of New Caledonia, a French Territory in the South Pacific, the kagu is an unusual species with no close relatives. Outside its native home, the kagu has always been extremely rare in captivity and currently can be found in only four collections worldwide. A pair was sent to San Diego in 1997 from Parc Zoologique et Forestier, New Caledonia, where both birds were raised in captivity over ten years ago. This is the first successful breeding in the United States.

The kagu is an endangered species with an estimated wild population of less than 700. The introduction of dogs to New Caledonia in the late 1700s is now believed to be the number one threat to the kagu. A large flightless bird, it is an easy target for feral dogs. Habitat loss is also a problem, as only about 20% of the once extensive mainland forest remains. Fortunately the kagu is receptive to captive management and has reproduced regularly since the 1970s on New Caledonia. Successful reintroductions were carried out in the 1980s when captive-reared birds were released into a National Park and subsequently paired with wild birds. Predator control and the elimination of hunting in the park contributed to this success. At present, however, the number of kagus that occur in fully protected areas is not sufficient to maintain the species long-term. Additional managed areas need to be established; dogs in particular will need to be controlled. The kagu maintains a high profile in New Caledonia where its image and name are used extensively as the emblem of the Territory and on commercial and administrative logos.

Another rare native of New Caledonia, the horned parakeet (Eunymphicus cornutus), was raised last year for the first time in the zoo's history. This is also believed to be a first breeding for the United States. Three captive-bred pairs were received from Europe in 1999. Twelve chicks have hatched since April 2000, all from one pair.

AZA Communiqué (April 2001)

Tama Zoo, Tokyo, Japan

On 17 July 2000, a Malayan sun bear baby was born and became the first offspring of this species to survive at Tama Zoo. Births had taken place three times in the past, in 1996, 1998 and 1999, but the cubs did not survive. The male of the pair, aged 18, was wild-caught, and the female Momoko, aged ten, was captive-born at Melaka Zoo, Indonesia.

The one thing common to the three cub deaths was a severe attack of urticaria. Past keepers thought that the cause was excessive licking of the cub by Momoko. Weaning was also thought to be a problem, because death always occurred between the ages of three weeks and three months. In the 2000 birth, the following precautions were taken:

1. Up to the year 2000, mother and cub had been kept confined in the birth den, but this time they were allowed free access to the outside after ten days. At first they were only allowed out during the day, but from the end of September they were allowed out at night as well.

2. Whereas at previous births the four windows had been boarded up to keep the den dark, in 2000 only two windows were boarded up and the other two were simply shaded with bamboo screens, for better air circulation, and a fan was sometimes used to prevent the air in the den from becoming too humid and stagnant.

3. Instead of the straw used in previous births, the floor was covered with slender bamboo stalks that had been well dried in the sun.

4. Easily digested milk and yogurt were used to wean the cub.

Faint mewing was heard inside the birth den on 17 July, and this was conjectured to be the day of birth. Counting backwards, the period of pregnancy was 100 days. In the days immediately following the birth, the keepers avoided approaching the den as much as possible. On day 35, Momoko was seen holding the cub in her mouth. It was the first time this behaviour had been witnessed, but Momoko was apparently trying to hide the cub. But after that, the keepers had more and more occasions to view the baby.

On the evening of 15 September, mother and cub were seen in the outside enclosure. But even when outside, the mother kept trying to keep out of sight. On 22 September, a light rash appeared on the cub's body. After this, the den was left open at night as well as in the daytime, and the rash disappeared and hair loss stopped. At the beginning of November, the cub was observed eating, and defecation was also observed. Momoko stopped trying to hide the cub, and it began venturing away from her to play.

English summary of article in Japanese by Mitsuhiro Terada and Gaku Kumagai, published in Animals and Zoos Vol. 53, No. 3 (March 2001)

Taronga Zoo, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Taronga has just opened the newest of its exhibits, named `Creatures of the Wollemi', which focuses on the unique flora and fauna of Australian east coast sandstone escarpments. The exhibit takes the form of an enormous walk-through facility, 70 m by 22 m, with a roof height of 12 m. The existing sandstone rock faces have been retained and augmented with additional mock rock features to provide visitors with a pathway through a sandstone gorge. The entry of the exhibit features a group of the recently discovered Wollemi pines.

The habitat is blended from wet sclerophyll forest at one end, through to open woodland at the other. On entry visitors experience direct views into a series of pools fed by a large waterfall, in which platypus are being successfully displayed with long-necked turtles and chestnut teal. Rock outcrops are home to eastern water dragons, while further along the path colonies of Cunningham's skinks sun themselves among sandstone boulders. On the higher rock ledges brush-tailed rock wallabies can be seen, while parma wallabies and echidnas are in view within a few meters of the public pathway.

Over 100 birds of 23 species are displayed, including honeyeaters, bowerbirds, cockatoos, finches, pigeons and figbirds. Many species are already beginning to show reproductive activity. Butterflies are also being propagated for regular addition to the exhibit.

Full-size trees were brought in give an instant effect, with a horticultural component of over 4,000 specimens of 50 species being utilised in and around the exhibit.

It is the first time that Taronga has tackled a facility holding multiple taxa on this scale, and the results have been extremely pleasing. Currently mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibia and invertebrates are coexisting well and displaying a much greater range of behaviours than previously seen when housed in smaller, more traditional exhibits. In total, over 200 specimens, representing over 40 species, are housed in the exhibit. Additional species and specimens will be added as the vegetation develops, and it is anticipated that lyrebird, topknot pigeons and noisy pittas will be added in the future.

Chris Hibbard in ARAZPA Newsletter No. 49 (February 2001)

Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, Germany

On 21 December 2000 a house for lower African primates was opened as the last part of the section for African fauna. (Enclosures and buildings for giraffes, zebras, African wild asses, African buffaloes and desert antelopes were finished earlier.) The new primate house has an area of 1,600 m2, of which the visitors' hall occupies 700 m2. Five species are housed there: gelada baboons and red-crowned mangabeys (Cercocebus t. torquatus), who were already kept at the Tierpark, and, as newcomers, De Brazza's monkeys (from Lodz Zoo, Poland), mona guenons (from Gettorf Zoo), and patas monkeys (from Duisburg Zoo). Each species has four enclosures of 20 m2 each, at least two of which are fitted with a pane of glass towards the visitors. The outdoor enclosures are fitted out with natural ground and climbing trees; they will be opened at Easter 2001.

Dr Bernhard Blaszkiewitz

News in brief

Papa, Dallas Zoo's only common hippopotamus, was euthanized on 26 February 2001 because of age-related health problems – he had difficulty walking and seeing, and could not lie down comfortably. At 53 years old, Papa was believed to be the oldest captive hippo in the world. He is thought to have been born in captivity, and was bought 45 years ago from a European breeder.

A female anaconda gave birth to 23 babies at Singapore Zoo in April. The snake, Da-She, is one of three adult anacondas brought in by the zoo to commemorate the Year of the Snake, and was pregnant on her arrival last December. Both mother and babies are doing well. The zoo plans to display the baby anacondas soon, and to enrol them in an exchange programme with other zoos once they reach sexual maturity at around eight years old.

* * *


Albrecht, U.: Vergnügen und Belehrungen: Die Geschichte bürgerlicher Stuttgarter Tiergärten im 19. Jahrhundert. 2. Teil: Nills Tiergarten (1871–1906). (Entertainment and education – the history of the zoos of Stuttgart in the 19th century. Part 2: Nill's Zoo.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 1 (2001), pp. 15–56. [German, no English summary.]

Anderson, L.: The breeding behaviour of macaroni penguins (Eudyptes chrysolophus) at Edinburgh Zoo. Ratel Vol. 27, No. 4 (2000), pp. 141–152.

Brickell, N., and Konigkramer, T.: Further notes on the Drakensberg siskin Serinus totta symonsi. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 106, No. 3 (2000), pp. 118–121.

Brown, J.L.: Reproductive endocrine monitoring of elephants: an essential tool for assisting captive management. Zoo Biology Vol. 19, No. 5 (2000), pp. 347–367. [The author summarizes our current knowledge of elephant endocrinology and offers suggestions on how to use the technology to maximize reproductive potential.]

Burden, P.: Breeding the white-collared yuhina. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 106, No. 3 (2000), pp. 97–98. [Yuhina diademata.]

Callaghan, E.: The San Blas jay, a cooperative breeder. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 106, No. 3 (2000), pp. 111–117. [Cissilopha sanblasiana.]

Clarke, J., and Kerry, K.: Diseases and parasites of penguins. Penguin Conservation Vol. 13, No. 1 (2000), pp. 5–24.

Cornejo, J.: Hand-rearing an Asian green starling Aplonis panayensis. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 106, No. 3 (2000), pp. 122–125.

Czernay, S.: Ungewöhnliches Alter bei einem Marderhund, Nyctereutes procyonoides. (Unusual longevity of a raccoon dog.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 1 (2001), pp. 68–69. [German, no English summary. The animal, a female at Halle Zoo, was at least 12 years old when she was put to sleep in August 2000.]

Fogel, G.: Observations on the giant sungazer lizard, Cordylus giganteus, in captivity. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society Vol. 35, No. 12 (2000), pp. 277–280.

Galama, W.: Disney's Animal Kingdom: a new species of theme park. De Harpij Vol. 19, No. 4 (2000), pp. 20–23. [Dutch, with English summary. The article, written by a Dutch research fellow working at DAK, looks at the zoo from the point of view of both a visitor and a zoo professional.]

Gottschalk, C.: Eine neue Mustelidenkokzidie aus Lutra lutra (L.). (A new coccidian parasite of mustelids found in the otter.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 70, No. 6 (2000), pp. 361–368. [German, with very brief English summary.]

Gottschalk, C., Heidecke, D., and Prange, H.: Nahrungsökologische und parasitologische Untersuchungen am Fischotter (Lutra lutra [L.]) in Ostdeutschland. (Dietary and parasitological research into otters in eastern Germany.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 1 (2001), pp. 7–14. [German, with very brief English summary.]

Hailey, A.: Implications of high intrinsic growth rate of a tortoise population for conservation. Animal Conservation Vol. 3, No. 3 (2000), pp. 185–189. [Demographic analyses suggest that chelonians will have a low ability to withstand harvesting, although most have been based on stationary or declining populations. In contrast to this prediction, a wild population of spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca) in northern Greece grew at the instantaneous rate r = 0.137 from 1980 to 1990, with a doubling time of 5 years. This high rate was similar in both adult and 10 cm animals, showing that it was not due to changes in population structure, and may thus be taken as an intrinsic rate of increase. The rate was higher than that of most large mammals, and suggests that sustainable harvesting would be a viable conservation strategy for chelonians if tightly regulated. Ranching or farming operations for chelonians would be even more likely to succeed, given their high fecundity. A resumption of trade in Mediterranean tortoises is, however, unlikely to be economically sustainable.]

Hamadanian, A.: First steps to establish a new population of onagers in Yazd Province, Central Iran. Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 1 (2001), pp. 62–63.

Hendrickson, S.L., Mayer, G.C., Wallen, E.P., and Quigley, K.: Genetic variability and geographic structure of three subspecies of tigers (Panthera tigris) based on MHC class I variation. Animal Conservation Vol. 3, No. 2 (2000), pp. 135–143.

Hermes, R., Olson, D., Göritz, F., Brown, J.L., Schmitt, D.L., Hagan, D., Peterson, J.S., Fritsch, G., and Hildebrandt, T.B.: Ultrasonography of the estrous cycle in female African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Zoo Biology Vol. 19, No. 5 (2000), pp. 369–382. [The endocrinology of the elephant estrous cycle has been well characterized, but little emphasis has been placed on evaluating corresponding changes in the reproductive tract. Ultrasound was used to document changes in reproductive tract morphology throughout the estrous cycle in four cycling female African elephants.]

Hildebrandt, T.B., Göritz, F., Pratt, N.C., Brown, J.L., Montali, R.J., Schmitt, D.L., Fritsch, G., and Hermes, R.: Ultrasonography of the urogenital tract in elephants (Loxodonta africana and Elephas maximus): an important tool for assessing female reproductive function. Zoo Biology Vol. 19, No. 5 (2000), pp. 321–332. [At present, the worldwide captive elephant population is not self-sustaining. The major reason for low reproductive rates is the heretofore undiagnosed reproductive disorders of nulliparous females of prime breeding age. Recent advances in ultrasound technology have facilitated the detection of these disorders in non-sedated animals. Approximately 2,000 ultrasonographic examinations were performed in more than 280 captive and wild African and captive Asian female elephants. The entire urogenital tract was scanned, measured, and documented to provide a reference for ultrasound specialists involved in elephant breeding programs. The primary pathological lesions that influenced reproductive rates in these females were uterine tumors and endometrial cysts and ovarian cysts that resulted in acyclicity. The detection of these disorders and their stage of development can be used by elephant managers to make decisions on which animals to include in breeding programs.]

Hildebrandt, T.B., Hermes, R., Pratt, N.C., Fritsch, G., Blottner, S., Schmitt, D.L., Ratanakorn, P., Brown, J.L., Rietschel, W., and Göritz, F.: Ultrasonography of the urogenital tract in elephants (Loxodonta africana and Elephas maximus): an important tool for assessing male reproductive function. Zoo Biology Vol. 19, No. 5 (2000), pp. 333–345. [The success rate of captive elephant breeding programs worldwide is poor. Along with undiagnosed reproductive disorders in females and fatal diseases such as the newly discovered herpesvirus infection, male infertility is now considered a major contributing factor in the failure to maintain self-sustaining captive populations. To address questions related to male reproductive dysfunction, approximately 309 ultrasonographic assessments combined with semen collection were performed in captive (n = 10) and wild (n = 4) African and captive (n = 61) Asian elephants. Bulls ranged from four to 50 years of age and were examined at nine institutions in North America, 13 in Europe, two in Africa, and seven in Asia. Transrectal ultrasound was used to characterize the morphology and functionality of the entire urogenital tract, including the testes and accessory sex organs. The percentage of observable reproductive tract pathology in adult males was remarkably low (14%), even in older bulls. However, apparent infertility of non-organic cause in these otherwise healthy bulls was high (32%). Semen quality varied markedly in ejaculates collected from the same bull, as well as from different bulls; although many of these bulls could serve as semen donors for natural mating or artificial insemination, the inconsistent production of good-quality ejaculates raises questions as to the reliability of these individuals to participate in breeding programs. The apparent inhibitory effect of suppressive social interactions on reproductive potential also needs to be investigated. Ultrasound examinations combined with semen collection should be conducted periodically to estimate the reproductive value of each bull and determine whether altered management strategies are needed to enhance captive breeding.]

Ibler, B.: Zwillingsgeburt beim Bongo im Tiergarten Nürnberg. (Twin bongos at Nuremberg Zoo.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 1 (2001), pp. 69–70. [German, no English summary.]

Juniper, P.: Applying conservation genetics techniques to assist captive breeding programmes. 2: Lessons to be learnt from previous genetic bottlenecks. Ratel Vol. 27, No. 4 (2000), pp. 128–132.

Kitchener, A.C., and Dugmore, A.J.: Biogeographical change in the tiger, Panthera tigris. Animal Conservation Vol. 3, No. 2 (2000), pp. 113–124. [The number of tiger subspecies is a major conservation issue that is difficult to resolve owing to small, fragmented extant populations and limited historical samples in museums, which compromise the rigour of both molecular and morphological taxonomic studies. Rather than considering a static taxonomic approach to geographical variation in the tiger, the authors consider the changing biogeographical range of the tiger through the last glacial–interglacial cycle, based on habitat associations of modern tiger specimen records, and environmental reconstructions from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM – approximately 20,000 years before present). They regard this cycle as representative of the numerous glacial cycles that span the evolutionary history of the tiger since its appearance in the fossil record about two million years ago, thereby giving a deep-time perspective. The key issue is to determine the extent to which ancestral populations of the tiger were geographically isolated. If no geographical isolation is likely, and gene flow between tiger populations could be maintained until modern times, then diagnosably distinct populations could not have evolved. Their reconstructions show that only two tiger populations were likely to have experienced significant geographical isolation from the main species distribution; these were to the west of Tibet (during the LGM) and in Japan (throughout the glacial cycle). In addition, the LGM is likely to have seen the partial separation of peninsular Malayan and Sunda Islands tigers from mainland populations. From a biogeographical perspective it seems probable that only three contemporary populations were sufficiently separated for the evolution of distinct populations, which can be regarded as subspecies or evolutionarily significant units. Therefore, most variation in modern tiger populations is probably clinal, which has important implications for future conservation strategies both in the wild and in captivity.]

Langbauer, W.R.: Elephant communication. Zoo Biology Vol. 19, No. 5 (2000), pp. 425–445. [Elephants live in a complex society in which both long- and short-distance communication plays an important role in the ability to locate mates and to maintain intra- and inter-group cohesion. They use a variety of sensory channels to achieve this communication, as well as to advertise physiological states, allow reliable assessment of intent, and engage in other behaviors of group living. The majority of long-distance communication is probably via infrasonic vocalizations and chemical signals; vocalizations, chemical signals, and visual and tactile displays all play a role in short-distance interactions. Although much is known about the general social and behavioral contexts of elephant communication signals, more work needs to be done to elucidate the specific role of many signals. The next critical step is to collect and categorize the calls of known individuals for later playback experiments to confirm their function. In addition, the way that physiological state affects chemical signals and vice versa is worthy of further study, as is the role of chemical, acoustic, and perhaps seismic signals in long-distance communication. Tactile and visual displays have been qualitatively described, but there is a need to quantify their role in the dynamic behaviors (such as conflict management) that maintain elephant society. Finally, the way in which signals from multiple sensory channels interact has been little studied and provides a rich arena for future work.]

Lantermann, W.: Geschlechtererkennung, `ambivalentes' Sexualverhalten und gleichgeschlechtliche Paarbindungen bei Blaustirnamazonen (Amazona aestiva) – Volierenbeobachtungen. (Gender recognition, ambivalent sexual behaviour and same-sex pair formation in blue-fronted amazons.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 70, No. 6 (2000), pp. 403–415. [German, with English summary. Blue-fronted amazons sometimes form homosexual pairs in captivity. The mechanisms of pair bonding are qualitatively identical in hetero- and homosexual pairs. Consequently the birds should recognize individuals of the opposite sex by their dominance behaviour. Permanence and intensity of the sexual display are the leading features of male behaviour; female birds display appeasement signals and submissive behaviour towards the partner. In some instances, when there are detrimental conditions (in group size, group composition and age structure) in captivity, the birds form homosexual pairs, whose `quality' of partnership is comparable to that of heterosexual pairs. In these cases one bird takes the dominant (`male') role, the other the submissive (`female') role, irrespective of the real sex of the birds. The author discusses whether such homosexual pairs may also occur in the wild, and if so, whether there are evolutionary advantages in such types of pair bonding.]

Macdonald, D.W., Tattersall, F.H., Rushton, S., South, A.B., Rao, S., Maitland, P., and Strachan. R.: Reintroducing the beaver (Castor fiber) to Scotland : a protocol for identifying and assessing suitable release sites. Animal Conservation Vol. 3, No. 2 (2000), pp. 125–133. [The general problem of evaluating the potential success of mammalian reintroduction plans has been tackled by a case study illustrating a four-phase approach to finding and assessing potential sites for the reintroduction of European beavers to Scotland, combining the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), fieldwork and population modelling. Phase 1 used GIS to investigate the wider availability of habitat for beavers in Scotland, and predicted that there is the capacity to support in the order of 180 to 390 beaver families. Phase 2 involved the preliminary assessment of nine sites using brief field surveys. Phase 3 focused further on the three most suitable sites, where a thorough habitat survey was used as a basis for calculating carrying capacities of between three and five families. Finally, phase 4 used population modelling to assess the viability and likely spread of beavers following release at these three best sites. High, medium and low parameters were derived from the literature, and populations were predicted to persist and spread as long as at least the medium parameters were used. This exercise illustrates the power of combining field surveys and GIS-based population modelling as a tool for planning reintroductions in general.]

Marshall, T.C., and Spalton, J.A.: Simultaneous inbreeding and outbreeding depression in reintroduced Arabian oryx. Animal Conservation Vol. 3, No. 3 (2000), pp. 241–248. [In most species the offspring of closely related parents have reduced fitness compared with the offspring of unrelated parents, a phenomenon known as inbreeding depression. However if parents are very distantly related, their offspring may also have reduced fitness. This pattern, outbreeding depression, has been most commonly observed in plants and only rarely in animals. The authors examine the consequences of inbreeding and outbreeding on juvenile survival of reintroduced Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx) in Oman, a population with a small number of founders drawn from a number of sources. Using microsatellite-based measures of inbreeding and outbreeding, there was no apparent relationship between inbreeding or outbreeding and survival when inbreeding and outbreeding were tested in separate statistical models. However, when inbreeding and outbreeding were tested in the same statistical model, they found simultaneous inbreeding depression and outbreeding depression acting on juvenile survival. Outbreeding depression may be more common in vertebrates than previously supposed, and conservation strategies that seek to maximize the genetic diversity of managed populations may risk mixing lineages that are sufficiently differentiated to cause outbreeding depression among descendants.]

McNeilage, A., Plumptre, A.J., Brock-Doyle, A., and Vedder, A.: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda: gorilla census 1997. Oryx Vol. 35, No. 1 (2001), pp. 39–47. [This park supports a population of gorillas that has become the primary gorilla population for tourism following the genocide in Rwanda. Previous estimates made in the early 1990s indicated that the population numbered around 300 individuals. This census was the first in Bwindi to use a method successfully developed in the Virungas, which utilizes a complete sweep across the park within a short period of time by a large number of teams working simultaneously. The estimated population was 292 individuals, suggesting – based on previous estimates – that the population is stable. As most gorillas were found in the centre of the southern section of the park, it appears that there is room for the population to grow.]

Mikota, S.K., Larsen, R.S., and Montali, R.J.: Tuberculosis in elephants in North America. Zoo Biology Vol. 19, No. 5 (2000), pp. 393–403. [Within the past four years, tuberculosis (TB) has emerged as a disease of concern in elephants. Between August 1996 and May 2000, Mycobacterium tuberculosis was isolated from 18 of 539 elephants in North America, indicating an estimated prevalence of 3.3%. Isolation of the TB organism by culture is the currently recommended test to establish a diagnosis of TB; however, culture requires 8 weeks. Further research is essential to validate other diagnostic tests and treatment protocols.]

Neuwald, A., and Heckner-Bisping, U.: Neue Wege in der Haltung von Flachlandgorillas, Gorilla gorilla gorilla (Savage & Wyman, 1847), im Loro Parque Teneriffa. (A new way of keeping gorillas.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 70, No. 6 (2000), pp. 376–402. [German, with English summary. A study of the first European all-male gorilla group at Loro Parque, Tenerife, analysing the influence of a large (2,000 m2), densely planted enclosure on the social structure and social interactions of the bachelor group. The authors also stress the importance for the social structure of the one mother-raised gorilla, who functions as a social link in the group.]

Olson, D., and Wiese, R.J.: State of the North American African elephant population and projections for the future. Zoo Biology Vol. 19, No. 5 (2000), pp. 311–320. [The African elephant has historically received less attention in the captive community than the Asian elephant, and only 25 African elephant calves had been born in captivity in North America as of 1 January 1999; also, juvenile survival is low. Using realistic life table models, the future of the population can be predicted. The current population is relatively young compared to that of the Asian species, and may be able to become self-sustaining without further importation, if reproduction and juvenile survivorship increase significantly in the next ten years.]

Ostro, L.E.T., Silver, S.C., Koontz, F.W., and Young, T.P.: Habitat selection by translocated black howler monkeys in Belize. Animal Conservation Vol. 3, No. 2 (2000), pp. 175–181.

Patterson, S., and Lemos-Espinal, J.: Preliminary observations on the care and breeding of Crotaphytus dickersonae (Iguania: Crotaphytidae). Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society Vol. 35, No. 9 (2000), pp. 201–204.

Ralls, K., Ballou, J.D., Rideout, B.A., and Frankham, R.: Genetic management of chondrodystrophy in California condors. Animal Conservation Vol. 3, No. 2 (2000), pp. 145–153. [Five out of 169 fertile California condor eggs laid in captivity have exhibited chondrodystrophy, a lethal form of dwarfism. Pedigree records indicate that this condition is probably inherited as an autosomal, recessive allele. The authors estimate that the frequency of this putative allele is about 9%. This high frequency is probably due to a founder effect. They consider three management options for the allele: ignoring it, eliminating it by selection and minimizing its phenotypic manifestation by avoiding matings between possible carriers, and recommend the last option, because an unacceptably large proportion of condors (up to 78 out of 146) would be prevented from breeding under a selection strategy designed to eliminate the allele. They predict that many captive populations of other species will prove similar to this one in that it will prove inadvisable or impractical to select against one or more deleterious alleles detected in the population.]

Rasmussen, L.E.L., and Krishnamurthy, V.: How chemical signals integrate Asian elephant society: the known and the unknown. Zoo Biology Vol. 19, No. 5 (2000), pp. 405–423. [The importance of chemical senses to elephants was recognized anecdotally in ancient times. The authors describe how modern scientific tools, such as molecular biological techniques, highly sensitive gas chromatographic/mass spectrometric instrumentation, and statistically valid ethological methods, have allowed the study of real events of chemical communication between elephants. Such communication encompasses long- and short-range navigation, relationship recognition, and inter- and intrasexual exchange of reproductive condition, metabolic state, and social status. The article includes suggestions as to the focus of future studies.]

Rees, P.A.: The introduction of a captive herd of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) to a novel area. Ratel Vol. 27, No. 4 (2000), pp. 120–126. [Chester Zoo.]

Richman, L.K., Montali, R.J., and Hayward, G.S.: Review of a newly recognized disease of elephants caused by endotheliotropic herpesviruses. Zoo Biology Vol. 19, No. 5 (2000), pp. 383–392. [Two newly recognized herpesviruses cause a fatal disease syndrome in elephants; one is fatal for Asian and the other for African elephants. The syndrome affects predominantly young elephants and has been described in North America, Europe and Israel. The predominant clinical signs for both species include lethargy, edematous swellings of the head, neck, and thoracic limbs, oral ulceration, cyanosis of the tongue, and death of most elephants in 1–7 days. Three affected young Asian elephants recovered after a 3–4-week course of therapy with the anti-herpesvirus drug famciclovir. Additional reported herpesvirus-associated lesions in otherwise healthy African elephants include localized skin papillomas, proliferative vulval lymphoid patches and pulmonary nodules; recent findings suggest that these localized lesions in healthy African elephants may be one source of the herpesvirus that causes disseminated disease and death in both species. These findings have implications for management practices in facilities keeping both African and Asian elephants and in protecting natural elephant habitats from virulent forms of the virus.]

Riddle, H.S., Riddle, S.W., Rasmussen, L.E.L., and Goodwin, T.E.: First disclosure and preliminary investigation of a liquid released from the ears of African elephants. Zoo Biology Vol. 19, No. 5 (2000), pp. 475–480. [African elephants occasionally discharge a slightly acidic aqueous solution from their ears. It is possible that they possess ear glands that play a role in conspecific chemical communication.]

Robertson, K.M.Y., and van Schaik, C.P.: Causal factors underlying the dramatic decline of the Sumatran orang-utan. Oryx Vol. 35, No. 1 (2001), pp. 26–38. [The major threats to the survival of Sumatran orang-utans are identified as habitat loss (mainly from conversion to oil palm plantations), habitat degradation and habitat fragmentation. The immediate causes of this are identified as weak compliance with regulations and laws, weak law enforcement and the weak legal environment; corruption is identified as the ultimate causal factor underlying all three factors, along with a frontier mentality and bureaucratic constraints. Together, they have resulted in the destruction of prime orang-utan habitat. Several political actions are recommended to improve the effectiveness of habitat conservation, and several technical challenges are to be overcome once the policy context is right.]

Roos, C., and Nadler, T.: Molecular evolution of the douc langurs. Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 1 (2001), pp. 1–6. [The phylogeny and systematics of the genus Pygathrix is still controversial. This is due to the fact that doucs are rare in the wild and in institutional collections – as living or as museum specimens. This is the first molecular study of the three extant douc langur taxa; its data show that P. nigripes is the most basal group, while P. cinerea and P. nemaeus are sister taxa. Based on the molecular distances, the authors propose that all three taxa should be recognized as separate species. Furthermore, within P. nemaeus and P. nigripes two distinct clades were found, which may reflect geographic variations or even distinct subspecies.]

Rossi, J., and Rossi, R.: Comparison of growth, behavior, parasites and oral bacteria of Brazos water snakes, Nero harteri harteri, raised in an outdoor enclosure with related specimens raised indoors. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society Vol. 35, No. 10 (2000), pp. 221–228. [The snakes kept in a large outdoor enclosure (in Florida) were significantly heavier and longer, and demonstrated significant differences in behavior (e.g. greater flight response distance, greater aggression when picked up) when compared to snakes maintained indoors in aquariums. Parasites and oral bacteria isolated from the two groups were also measurably different. The authors suggest that the snakes in the outdoor enclosure grew at a similar rate to wild members of the same species, and that this may have implications for the production of snakes to be utilized in release programs.]

Rothe, H., and Thiess, A.: Bemerkenswerte Beobachtungen an einer Gruppe semifrei-lebender Weissbüschelaffen (Callithrix jacchus). (Noteworthy observations on a semi-free-living group of common marmosets.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 1 (2001), p. 69. [German, no English summary. Describes the group scaring off a hawk which had attacked one of them, the eating of a dead bunting, and the predation and eating of a lizard.]

Rubery, M.: Breeding the lesser flamingo Phoeniconaias minor. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 106, No. 3 (2000), pp. 126–128. [Hillside Bird Oasis, U.K.; probably the first successful breeding of this species in the British Isles.]

Schaftenaar, W.: Zoönosen en gezond verstand. (A healthy understanding of zoonoses.) De Harpij Vol. 19, No. 4 (2000), pp. 8–10. [Dutch, with English summary. Veterinarians in Dutch zoos, together with the representatives of the Dutch Public Health Ministry, have developed a protocol for treatment of persons bitten, scratched or otherwise potentially exposed to a contagious zoonosis carried by a primate. Some practices in the protocol that can help reduce the chance of disease transmission include: use only qualified personal that are aware of the risks; give Hepatitis B vaccinations and regular TB tests to personnel who might come into contact with primates; quarantine new primates for adequate periods and test for zoonotic diseases during the quarantine period; and annually test a certain percentage of primate species that regularly come into contact with the public for viruses. Furthermore, all Dutch zoos should participate in research (via blood tests of all primates handled) to study how viruses are spread through a population. There is, though, a danger of drawing wrong conclusions from such a study, as primates can have antibodies to diseases that they do not carry, and can carry diseases for which they do not have the appropriate antibodies. For example, many macaques that carry Hepatitis B do not have antibodies to this very dangerous (to humans) disease.]

Schofield, P.: Breeding the Madagascar turtle dove Streptopelia picturata. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 106, No. 3 (2000), pp. 107–110.

Schulte, B.A.: Social structure and helping behavior in captive elephants. Zoo Biology Vol. 19, No. 5 (2000), pp. 447–459. [Adult elephants have complex societies that differ markedly between the sexes. Their social structure and cooperative behavior may have evolved in part to prepare young elephants to meet the challenges of an expansive environment, predators and parasites. In captivity, such forces are relaxed or eliminated, yet captive elephants display a similar repertoire of behaviors to their wild counterparts. The author compares the social structures of wild and captive elephants, and suggests that the variation in group sizes, degrees of relatedness, and age structures in zoo elephants could be used to explore such topics as the development of social behavior, the functional significance of allomothering, and the ability of elephants to recognize kin or social group members.]

Schürer, U.: Lebensalter von Pfauentrogon und Breitschnabeltodi im Zoologischen Garten Wuppertal. (Longevity of a pavonine quetzal and a broad-billed tody at Wuppertal Zoo.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 1 (2001), p. 68. [German, no English summary. The quetzal lived in the zoo for nearly 19 years, and the tody for more than 12 years.]

Sinder, M.: Hohes Lebensalter bei einem männlichen Seelowen (Zalophus californianus). (High longevity of a male Californian sea lion.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 1 (2001), pp. 67–68. [German, no English summary. The animal died in October 2000 after nearly 26 years in the dolphinarium at Münster Zoo; he was at least 30 years old.]

Stehlík, J.: Reproductive biology of the European lynx, Lynx lynx (Linnaeus, 1758) at Ostrava Zoo. Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 70, No. 6 (2000), pp. 351–360. [This study was undertaken between 1977 and 1996. Fourteen (7.7) animals were studied. In 2.2 animals sexual maturity was found to be reached at the end of the second year of life. Length of oestrous and gestation periods were established in four cases with two females; oestrus lasted two days and gestation lasted 72 days. The oestrous period occurred twice in March, once in February and once in April. In 1977–1996 seven females gave birth to 28 (10.17.1) young in 15 litters. The season of birth was May–July, but most kittens (66%) were born in May. The average litter size was 1.87 (min. 1, max. 3). The sex ratio of the young was 1:1.7. Juvenile mortality was high (50%). Longevity of one female was 21 years. Age at last reproduction was 12 years.]

Swain, J.E., and Miller, R.R.: A postcryogenic comparison of membrane fatty acids of elephant spermatozoa. Zoo Biology Vol. 19, No. 5 (2000), pp. 461–473.

Tollini, J., Brocksen, A., and Sureda, N.: Prevention and treatment of avian malaria in a captive penguin colony. Penguin Conservation Vol. 13, No. 1 (2000), pp. 28–31. [Spheniscus magellanicus, San Francisco Zoo.]

van Schaik, C.P., Monk, K.A., and Robertson, K.M.Y.: Dramatic decline in orang-utan numbers in the Leuser Ecosystem, Northern Sumatra. Oryx Vol. 35, No. 1 (2001), pp. 14–25. [Due to legal and illegal logging, this ecosystem, which contains the world's largest orang-utan population, has seen a very rapid decline, by c. 45%, from c. 12,000 in early 1993, over a 6- to 7-year period. During 1998 and 1999 losses occurred at a rate of about 1,000 orang-utans per year. At this rate, further losses in the near future are expected to put the survival of Leuser's orang-utans in serious doubt.]

Veenhuizen, R.: Mest- en urine-onderzoek in Safari Beekse Bergen. (Faecal and urinary research at Beekse Bergen.) De Harpij Vol. 19, No. 4 (2000), pp. 14–16. [Dutch, with English summary; see above, pp. 202–203.]

Velte, F.: Masse und Gewichte des Braungebänderten Bambushaies (Chiloscyllium punctatum). (Size and weight of brown-banded bamboo sharks.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 70, No. 6 (2000), pp. 369–375. [German, with brief English summary. On hatching, sharks at Opel-Zoo, Kronberg, weighed between 16 and 19 g (average 17.25 g) and had a total length between 17 and 17.5 cm (average 17.25 cm). Growth starts at the earliest in the second week of life. During the first year of life the hatching length triples, and in following years the growth rate decreases steadily. Adult males are larger than females.]

Veltman, K.: Web of Life: Het nieuwe insectarium van London Zoo. De Harpij Vol. 19, No. 4 (2000), pp. 2–5. [Dutch, with English summary. The Web of Life opened at London Zoo in spring 1999. The building, primarily built of glass, is well insulated and made of high-quality materials. Butterfly and field cricket gardens, an orchard with honey bees and an educational marsh with a family of hedgehogs are exhibited outside the building. The themes presented in the building are evolution and such threats to wildlife as pollution, over-exploitation through trade and hunting, habitat fragmentation, introduction of exotic species, and medicinal use of animals. Conservation and the role of zoos in conservation are also topics presented. Many educational graphics and interactive materials as well as a select few live animals, mainly invertebrates but also some vertebrates, are used to illustrate themes. Non-visitor areas include six climate-controlled propagation rooms, a laboratory, a greenhouse for producing food plants, a computer room with three computers, and office and keeper-lounge space. Non-visitor work areas are also on exhibit to the public.]

Wiese, R.J.: Asian elephants are not self-sustaining in North America. Zoo Biology Vol. 19, No. 5 (2000), pp. 299–309. [Demographic analysis of the captive Asian elephants in North America indicates that the population is not self-sustaining. First-year mortality is nearly 30%, and fecundity is extremely low throughout the prime reproductive years. Without continued importation or a drastic increase in birth rates, the North American population will drop to approximately ten elephants in 50 years and be demographically extinct. To establish a self-sustaining population, fecundity must increase to four to eight times the historical rates. Emerging techniques such as artificial insemination may assist by allowing reproduction by the numerous females that do not have access to a mate, but other obstacles exist as well, such as finding space for an increasing number of bulls. Importation of young females from documented self-sustaining populations overseas is one alternative option, and the number of imports per year would be minimal.]

Williams, P.H., Burgess, N.D., and Rahbek, C.: Flagship species, ecological complementarity and conserving the diversity of mammals and birds in sub-Saharan Africa. Animal Conservation Vol. 3, No. 3 (2000), pp. 249–260. [More biodiversity could be protected in situ if the few species that attract the most popular support (the `flagship' species) had distributions that also covered the broader diversity of organisms. The authors studied how well different groups of mammals performed for representing the diversity of mammals and breeding birds in of sub-Saharan Africa, and demonstrate that choosing areas using either conservationists' six primary flagship mammals (both rhinos, elephant, gorilla, chimpanzee and bonobo), or the `Big Five' (actually six) mammals popular with wildlife tourists (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhinos) is not significantly better for representing the diversity of mammals and birds than choosing areas at random. Furthermore, neither of these groups is significantly better for representing the diversity of mammals and birds than groups of the same number of species chosen at random. In order to succeed in representing many mammals and birds in area selection, it is not sufficient for the groups used for selection to occur in many different ecoregions, they must also have low overlaps in distribution, so as to provide high ecological complementarity. Therefore there may be a need for an explicit policy to balance the requirements of flagship conservation and broader biodiversity conservation, which will have implications for the distribution of resources.]

Wolff, E., and Linhart, P.: Die Aqua-Terrarien-Erlebniswelt im Schönbrunner Tiergarten (Wiedereröffnung am 6. April 2000). (Re-opening of Schönbrunn's aquarium/terrarium `experience' exhibit.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 70, No. 6 (2000), pp. 351–360. [German, no English summary.]

Woodroffe, R.: Predators and people: using human densities to interpret declines of large carnivores. Animal Conservation Vol. 3, No. 2 (2000), pp. 165–173.

Zschokke, S., and Steck, B.: Tragzeit und Geburtsgewicht beim Zwergflusspferd, Hexaprotodon liberiensis. (Gestation length and birth weight in the pygmy hippo.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 1 (2001), pp. 57–61. [German, with English summary. In captive pygmy hippos, the average birth weight was found to be 5.25 kg and the average gestation period 199 days. Neither weight at birth nor gestation period differed between male and female offspring. A comparative analysis showed that primiparous offspring had shorter gestation periods and lower birth weights than multiparous offspring. Weight at birth was also reduced in inbred offspring, in offspring that were born relatively shortly after the previous offspring of the same dam, and in offspring with a shortened gestation period. Weight at birth was found to be a determining factor in infant survival. Offspring with a weight at birth of less than approximately 5 kg had a higher infant mortality than heavier offspring. The results suggest that utmost attention must be paid to the avoidance of inbreeding in this species, and that dams should not be mated earlier than half a year after the preceding birth.]

Publishers of the periodicals listed:

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

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

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

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

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

Penguin Conservation, 8060 Upper Applegate Road, Jacksonville, Oregon 97530, U.S.A.

Ratel, Association of British Wild Animal Keepers, c/o Luke Gates, Chessington World of Adventures, Leatherhead Road, Chessington, Surrey KT9 2NE, U.K.

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

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