International Zoo News Vol. 48/7 (No. 312) October/November 2001




First Successful Artificial Insemination in an African Elephant in Europe Harald M. Schwammer, Thomas Hildebrandt and Frank Göritz
Development of a Management Plan for a Captive Population of St Vincent Amazon Parrots in Barbados Roger G. Sweeney
ZooLex – a Professional Zoo Design Website Monika Fiby
Book Reviews
International Zoo News
Recent Articles

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The death of Bernard Heuvelmans (1916–2001) robs the zoological world of one of its most controversial, provocative and entertaining characters. `Cryptozoology', the branch of science which he named, and to which he devoted his life, is inevitably regarded with suspicion by many – perhaps most – serious zoologists; yet few of them, I imagine, are totally unfamiliar with Heuvelmans's two great works, On the Track of Unknown Animals and In the Wake of the Sea Serpents (English editions, 1958 and 1968 respectively). It is worth pointing out that there is nothing intrinsically unscientific about cryptozoology. It does, though, suffer from one cruel handicap – any of its cases which proved to be based on fact would immediately pass from it into the realm of `normal' zoology. If the yeti, the Nandi bear or the Loch Ness monster were found to exist, cryptozoology would score a major triumph but simultaneously lose a section of its subject-matter. Even if this is a valid science, it is a science doomed to stay perpetually at or beyond the outer limits of respectability.

A fat book could be filled – probably several have been – with accounts of the animal species discovered since the great anatomist Georges Cuvier in 1812 made his notorious remark that there was `little hope of discovering new species of large quadrupeds.' It's a pleasant mental exercise to devise an imaginary zoo stocked exclusively with species which would make Cuvier eat his words – gorilla and bonobo, siamang and gelada, pygmy hippo and giant forest hog, giant panda and Père David's deer, gerenuk and Grant's gazelle, okapi and mountain nyala, Lord Derby's eland and Chacoan peccary, Grevy's zebra and Przewalski's horse, Komodo dragon and New Guinea crocodile. . . (To form a balanced collection, one would need to add a few of the innumerable small quadrupeds, and extending the terms of reference to cover birds would make available such showy species as Congo peacock, Bali mynah, Lear's macaw, takahe, James's flamingo, Philippine eagle and several species of pheasant.) The process goes on: even though one of the large quadrupeds described from Indochina in the past decade has turned out, embarrassingly, to be non-existent [see I.Z.N. 48 (2), p. 117], two others, the Vu Quang ox (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) and giant muntjac (Megamuntiacus vuquangensis), have been captured alive, photographed and studied.

It must be admitted, however, that while Heuvelmans's general argument may have been valid, his specific cases look increasingly like wishful thinking. He does not score highly as a predictor of zoological discoveries. New species have been discovered, but they are not the species whose existence he championed. The yeti, orang pendek, moa, giant sloth, mammoth, bunyip, South American anthropoid ape and the rest remain obstinately extinct or undiscovered four decades after he discussed them in On the Track of Unknown Animals. At the risk of making the same mistake as Cuvier, I'd guess that discoveries of new large animals become less likely with every year that passes. Those two Indochinese ungulates aren't typical of recently described species. These days, newly discovered vertebrates tend to be small and fairly closely related to known species. Many of them, too, are the result of taxonomic revision, like the process by which the dwarf galago (Galagoides demidoff), treated as a monospecific genus until the 1980s, has since then been split by some taxonomists into seven or more distinct species. So a decline in discoveries in the field won't necessarily mean that the total number of vertebrate species stabilises at around the current figure. Colin Groves's new book Primate Taxonomy (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001), to be reviewed in a forthcoming issue of I.Z.N., divides gorillas and orang-utans, for example, into two full species each. All `new' animals, of course, were really there all the time; but from now on an alarming number of them may turn out to be already in our zoos. Multiplication of species in this way will present conservationists and zoo people with unwelcome new challenges and problems. The only reward will be the rather cold satisfaction of achieving a more accurate model of the diversity of the animal kingdom – a poor substitute, many may feel, for the romantic dreams of the cryptozoologists.

Nicholas Gould

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Worldwide, a total of four elephants have been born using artificial insemination techniques, and additional animals are currently pregnant (Hildebrandt et al., 1999, 2001). This paper documents the first successfully completed artificial insemination in elephants in Europe (Schwammer, 2001). An effort is made to critically evaluate the methodology and the future perspectives of captive breeding in elephants. The key to the success of such a project, beyond the serious commitment and conscientious efforts of the entire team, undoubtedly lies in perfectly planned and implemented logistics.

At Schönbrunn Zoo, Vienna, Austria, the overall goal is natural reproduction, but the bull proved to be too young. In order to avoid waiting until the cows were too old, the decision was made to artificially inseminate one of them, named Sabi. The cows are aged 16, 16, 26 and 42 years, and the bull is now nine years old.

The successful veterinarian team consisted of Thomas Hildebrandt and Frank Göritz from the Institute for Biology and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin. A complete programme was developed in a cooperative effort involving these specialists, the Schönbrunn curator, and the elephant keepers. The most important elements of this programme were as follows: the selection and specific training of the cow (Schwammer and Riddle, 1999; Schwammer, 2000a); the selection of the father; the collection and transportation of the semen; the prediction of ovulation using sonography and hormonal oestrous cycle monitoring in order to correctly time the insemination; and, finally, the non-surgical introduction of the semen into the female reproductive tract (Hildebrandt et al., 2000).

Management concept for keeping elephants at Schönbrunn Zoo

At Schönbrunn, the elephant cows normally roam together freely by day and by night. In winter, if very cold, a 500-m2 indoor enclosure is available [see photo, I.Z.N. 47 (4), p. 229 – Ed.], and in summer they have access to both the indoor and outdoor enclosures. This appears to be a major step in the direction of modern elephant keeping. Schönbrunn's new elephant facility (Schwammer, 1997) was designed not only to do away with tethering at night, but also to make keeping the animals in pens obsolete (even though such pens continue to be available for special purposes). The application of this concept has enabled us to reduce stereotypic behaviours to virtually zero (Schwammer, 2000b). This approach has even been successful with a 40-year-old animal.

Training the elephant cow Sabi

Sabi was gradually accustomed to the appearance of the various instruments and the sounds they produce. The individual procedures such as ultrasound examinations and daily blood sampling quickly became routine for both the animals and the human team. In the end, the elephant stood still on four pedestals and was in no way constrained. She was fed with treats while two veterinarians undertook the insemination from below and two additional veterinarians inspected the process rectally using ultrasound. Four animal keepers looked after the animal during the entire process.

Semen collection and daily transport from the U.K. to Austria

A suitable bull elephant was located at Colchester Zoo, U.K. The reproductive potential of the 18-year-old bull had to be clarified by Thomas Hildebrandt and his team prior to the actual insemination procedure, just as in the case of Sabi. The ejaculation of the elephant was triggered by a manual, rectal massage. The vitality of the sperm in the ejaculate was examined in every case. Fresh semen was flown in on three consecutive days.

Artificial insemination, pregnancy and birth

The non-surgical insemination procedure developed and patented by the IZW required Sabi to stand still for from half-an-hour to one hour. That the animal tolerated the entire procedure without being sedated or tethered was a superb achievement by both her and the team of keepers. The second attempt on 23 July 1999 proved to be successful. The pregnancy was confirmed after three months by ultrasound examinations, and, for the first time, 3D-ultrasound was used to document the growth of the small baby in the mother's womb. It should be noted here that Sabi was fed a special mixture of minerals and vitamins that was specifically developed and appropriately dosed for pregnant elephant cows by the firm Salvana (Germany). Regular and intensive exercise helped keep Sabi physically fit.

The author compiled a birth protocol, and the theoretical course of events was played through by Thomas Voracek, one of the zoo vets. A complete array of items, from medication to substitute milk for elephants, was at hand. Dennis Schmitt from Dickerson Park Zoo (Springfield, Missouri, U.S.A.) was called in as a consultant to prepare for the birth and conduct the technical veterinary check-ups; he examined Sabi one last time in February using ultrasound. The progesterone level, which usually drops rapidly shortly before birth, was monitored daily by the Human-Medical Laboratory Heinz Koppel in Vienna. This allowed the team to wait calmly and ultimately predict the birth date. As soon as the progesterone level dropped below 400 pg/ml, night watches were introduced (see Table 1).

Based on a precautionary approach, Sabi was considered to be potentially inexperienced because she was to give birth for the first time. Therefore, the decision was made to keep her in a pen overnight, in full view of and in close proximity to the other three free-roaming cows. Tethering capabilities were installed for the birth, but the animal's behaviour made this a secondary consideration.

On 25 April 2001, on the 643rd day of pregnancy, the elephant baby – a sturdy bull – was born. The contractions lasted 46 minutes, the birth itself only three minutes. The entire process took place without a hitch. During the birth, Sabi was able to move about freely in three pens, and the other cows were able to follow the birth without any great excitement.

At birth, the baby – who was named Abu – weighed 111.5 kg and was 92 cm tall. Sabi accepted him immediately and after two hours he drank milk for the first time.

The first three months

Within the first three months, Abu gained more than 100 kg in weight (see Table 2). As opposed to most young elephants, who normally have no control over their small trunks, Abu stretched his trunk towards the keepers after only a few hours. After six days he was able to draw water up with his trunk and to spray it into his mouth. After nine days, he used it to grasp grass stems. At the age of 12 days he already carried a stick across the enclosure.

After excursions in the indoor facility and following our close examination of the behaviour of the cows, Abu had his first direct contact with the lead cow, Tonga. The remaining cows were introduced in gradual steps, and after 16 days the newborn animal and the four cows had become an integrated group. They fulfilled their aunt and guard roles in an exemplary manner, and for Abu the process of learning social behaviour had already begun.


The keeping of bulls continues to be impossible in many elephant facilities. Artificial insemination, however, should not be viewed as an alternative strategy designed to eliminate any need for keeping bulls.

After the start of this project was publicized, many European zoos expressed interest, and the repeated requests for information gave rise to three special workshops and courses on this topic in Vienna. More than 100 elephant specialists (keepers, veterinarians and curators) from Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, India, Israel, Italy, Slovakia, Sweden and the U.S.A. have participated.

The video sequences of the birth clearly document what we already knew long ago from observations in the wild, namely that elephant cows turn around and want to move during the contractions and the actual birth itself. This is certainly not possible if the animals are prophylactically tethered. Since babies are all too often killed by their mothers directly after birth, this assessment and opinion should clearly not be generalized and offered as a strict recommendation. On the other hand, accepting this risk has allowed Schönbrunn to advance one step further. The behavioural analyses of the cows who watched the birth, the subsequent group integration and the events thereafter have even led to our decision to allow any future birth, regardless of which cow is involved, to take place within the group. After all, the goal is to build up a breeding group that is both physically and psychologically healthy and that exhibits a maximum of natural behaviours.

The fact that we could keep the elephants together 24 hours a day (with the exception of the separated bull) enabled the group behaviour that developed to be observed and documented during Sabi's pregnancy. Interestingly, the hierarchic system solidified and an astounding group coherence developed. This can be interpreted as the precursory stage for the `aunt role' of the cows.


Robert Hermes, Guido Fritsch (both Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), Berlin), Dennis Schmitt (Springfield), A. Tropeano, Tony Mitchell (Colchester Zoo), Fredrik Mohlin, Gerd Kohl, Almut Kimbacher, Gregor Hirsch, Simon Stöger, Thomas Voracek, Wolfgang Zenker, (Schönbrunn Zoo), Heidi Riddle (Arkansas), Franz Schwarzenberger (Vet. Med. Uni.), Debbie Olson, Jeff Petersen (Indianapolis).

Sponsors and Adopt-an-Animal participants

Prokopp Klassenlotterie, Austrian Airlines, Pharmacia-Leathon, Die Erste Bank, BGT-Personalservice, Salvana Tiernahrung GmbH, Medizinisch-diagnostisches Laboratorium Heinz Koppel.


Hildebrandt, T.B., Göritz, F., Hermes, R., Schmitt, D.L., Brown, J.L., Schwammer, H., Loskutoff, N., Pratt, N.C., Lehnhardt, J.L., Montali, R.J., and Olson, D. (1999): Artificial insemination in the African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants. Proceedings, Conference of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, 83–86.

Hildebrandt, T.B., Göritz, F., Fritsch, G., Rohleder, M., Schwarzenberger, F., Schwammer, H., Mohlin, F., Tropeano, A., Mitchell, T., and Hermes, R. (2000): Artificial insemination in the African elephant Sabi at the Vienna Zoo – a tour behind the scenes. Proceedings of the Workshop, Lectures and Survey in Reproductive Biology of Asian Elephants (Thailand).

Hildebrandt, T.B., et al. (2001): Results of artificial insemination programmes in Asian and African elephants kept under different management systems. In Recent Research in Elephants and Rhinos (abstracts). Schüling Verlag, Münster, Germany.

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

Schwammer, H., and Riddle, H. (1999): Training elephants for medical care, treatment and research. 39th International Symposium on the Diseases of Zoo and Wild Animals, May 1999, Vienna. Pp. 441, Vienna.

Schwammer, H. (2000a): Training elephants for reproductive assessment procedures. Proceedings of the Workshop, Lectures and Survey in Reproductive Biology of Asian Elephants, Thailand.

Schwammer, H. (2000b): Reducing stereotypical behaviour of African elephants. Paper presented at Elephant Research Symposium, Portland, Oregon.

Schwammer, H. (2001): From artificial insemination to birth: a case study about African elephants. In Recent Research in Elephants and Rhinos (abstracts). Schüling Verlag, Münster, Germany.

Table 1. Sabi's progesterone levels during the last ten weeks of pregnancy

Date Progesterone (pg/ml) Date Progesterone (pg/ml)

15/02/01 3,670 10/4/01 970

27/02/01 1,090 11/04/01 840

06/30/01 1,170 13/04/01 440

13/03/01 1,410 17/04/01 1,040

16/03/01 1,210 18/04/01 1,230

20/03/01 1,460 19/04/01 1,170

26/03/01 1,270 20/04/01 830

30/03/01 1,480 21/04/01 610

02/04/01 1,330 22/04/01 340

05/04/01 1,270 23/04/01 240

09/04/01 840 24/04/01 50

Table 2. Weight of African elephant calf Abu during the first three months

Date Weight (kg) Date Weight (kg)

25/04/01 111.5 28/05/01 155

28/04/01 110.3 04/06/01 159.5

29/04/01 112.5 08/06/01 170.5

07/05/01 118 17/06/01 181

11/05/01 130 19/06/01 182

12/05/01 134 21/06/01 186

13/05/01 135 24/06/01 190

16/05/01 138.5 29/06/01 195

17/05/01 141.5 03/07/01 199

20/05/01 144.5 06/07/01 201

21/05/01 148 19/07/01 216

23/05/01 151 22/07/01 220

Dr Harald M. Schwammer, Vice Director and Curator, Tiergarten Schönbrunn, Maxingstrasse 13b, A-1130 Vienna, Austria (E-mail:; Dr Thomas Hildebrandt and Dr Frank Göritz, Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), PF 601103, D-10178 Berlin, Germany (E-mail,

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The St Vincent amazon parrot (Amazona guildingii) is a conservation-sensitive species endemic to the eastern Caribbean state of St Vincent and the Grenadines. A captive population of St Vincent amazons have resided in Barbados since 1973, being formerly housed at the Oughterson Zoo until its closure in 1998. Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary is primarily a wetland restoration project with a charter to promote conservation of biodiversity, environmental education and sustainable eco-tourism. It is the view of the Nature Sanctuary that the group of St Vincent Amazon parrots should be maintained within the Eastern Caribbean region as a resource for locally-based conservation, education and research programmes, and the Sanctuary therefore put forward a plan to manage these birds from 1998 onwards as a conservation outreach programme. With the obvious concern for the conservation status of this species and the need to ensure a suitable standard of animal welfare and husbandry management, the CITES scientific committee for Barbados requested the Nature Sanctuary to prepare a management plan for this captive population of birds.

General biology of the St Vincent amazon parrot

The St Vincent amazon parrot is a full species within the genus Amazona without described subspecies variation (Forshaw, 1989). Although no subspecies are recognised, general plumage is extremely variable in colour and three distinct colour phases are known, these being the `green', `bronze-brown' and `orange' coloured specimens. Adult St Vincent amazons measure up to 41 cm in length. Normal weight for adult wild birds is considered to be 580–700 g, but captive birds of this species are prone to extreme obesity if not maintained under close management.

The St Vincent amazon is found only in the forested areas of the island of St Vincent in the Lesser Antilles. The species is listed on Appendix 1 of CITES and its conservation status is classed as Vulnerable in the IUCN/SSC Red Data List (Snyder et al., 2000). Since the late 1980s the wild population has been surveyed by biennial censuses which suggest that the population is quite stable, possibly even increasing during the last decade. The current wild population is considered by the Forestry Department to number approximately 600 individuals (Fitzgerald Providence, pers. comm.). Historical threats to the wild population have included hunting of individuals, either for food or for the pet trade, habitat conversion and occasional natural disasters such as Hurricane Allan in 1980 and the eruption of Mount Soufrière in 1979. Both of these natural events directly eliminated undetermined numbers of wild parrots as well as destroying a considerable amount of remaining forest coverage (Snyder et al., 2000).

History of the captive population in Barbados

The group of St Vincent amazons which formed the population at the former Oughterson Zoo, were brought to Barbados by Mr William Miller in the early 1970s. Mr Miller had previously lived in St Vincent and acquired ten of the birds between 1969 and 1971. In 1973, he moved back to become resident in Barbados and sought legal permission from the St Vincent authorities to export the birds to his breeding project, which later became the Oughterson Zoo. The St Vincent cabinet discussed and approved the initial movement of four birds in 1973, followed by approval for the remaining six in 1974. The group of birds were then resident in Barbados prior to Barbados becoming a signatory to the CITES convention, so the original group, and resulting progeny, are legally considered as having pre-convention status. This population remained under the ownership of Oughterson Zoo until 1998, during which time the zoo changed ownership and record keeping for the population was poor or non-existent. In the years between 1973 and 1998, a number of St Vincent amazons were bred at Oughterson Zoo from this population and a number of birds were exported. There has been controversy that although the zoo was achieving some breeding, the number of birds exported seems to exceed what could realistically be expected to have been produced by captive breeding. In view of this controversial history suggesting that this group of birds could have been used as a `cover' for illegal activities, the Nature Sanctuary upon taking over ownership of the group of birds immediately sought participation in an independent scientific DNA study to confirm the relatedness of the current population and to allow DNA parentage analysis of any future offspring produced.

During the two decades that the group have been present in Barbados, little or no cooperation took place between those managing the birds in Barbados and the St Vincent authorities up until October 1998. Since the birds were transferred into the management of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, officials from the Sanctuary have established a cooperative relationship with the St Vincent Forestry Department. This has included several field trips by Sanctuary officials to St Vincent and a visit to Barbados in April 2001 by the Director of Forestry from St Vincent to review the status of the captive parrots managed by the Sanctuary and to discuss opportunities for new conservation initiatives to protect the wild population.

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, concept and structure

The main focus of Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary is to restore the Graeme Hall Swamp to a state of natural balance that can be enjoyed by both the local community and visiting tourists as a site of natural beauty and as an environmental education focal point. The involvement of the Sanctuary with the captive population of St Vincent amazons came as a result of the need to relocate this group of birds when the former Oughterson Zoo closed in 1998. The birds are not intended to be part of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary project at the main swamp restoration site, but will instead be managed as part of a conservation outreach programme. The return of the amazons to St Vincent was not considered because of the lack of additional facilities in the St Vincent forestry department, where up to 60 captive birds are already managed between the government aviaries and licensed private individuals, and because of the potential risk of disease introduction to the St Vincent mainland parrot population.

The relocation of the birds from the former zoo to the new breeding centre managed by the Sanctuary took place without problems on 10 September 1998, and a message was sent to the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture in St Vincent to inform them of the updated location and current status of the birds.

Preparation of a management plan for the captive population

Following the movement of the birds, the preparation of a management plan was considered necessary for a number of reasons, the most important of which were as follows:

– Compliance with CITES legislation. The Barbados captive population had been established prior to the country becoming a signatory to the CITES convention. However, given the history of poor record keeping and the suggestion that the population had been used for illegal `laundering' of wild birds, it was considered necessary to produce a report updating the CITES authorities about the status of the population, the individual identification of each bird, and current information now available from the DNA relatedness study conducted by Dr George Amato (Wildlife Conservation Society). The management plan describes the status and history of the population and established DNA relatedness evidence with which future progeny can be compared.

– Animal welfare and husbandry guidelines. Given that the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary is a relatively new organization, it was considered advantageous to produce a management plan, which would outline husbandry guidelines, establish protocols to deal with routine care issues and plan contingency measures for any emergency situations that might arise. Husbandry guidelines described in the management plan for the St Vincent parrots match the standard of guidelines being developed in European and North American zoological collections for amazon parrot species which are the subject of EEP and/or SSP management programmes.

– Conservation relevance and research opportunities. The preparation of a management plan provides the opportunity to review how the population might be considered as a conservation resource, to provide opportunities for captive research and also to consider how the presence of this population in Barbados could provide a focus for the funding of field study and environmental education initiatives in St Vincent. It was decided that the direction for conservation planning should come from the forestry department of St Vincent, so the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary has adopted a position of seeking to support conservation activities, as requested and prioritised by the forestry department.

Captive management parameters

No written records accompanied the birds when they were transferred into the ownership of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary. Each individual bird is now identified with a microchip implant. A historical record for each bird has been constructed from available anecdotal information. The validity of this information has been verified in many cases by close examination of each bird’s physical status during veterinary review and by the DNA relatedness study that is examining all known captive specimens of the St Vincent amazon. A computerized record system has now been created to maintain accurate and informative future records for this population.

When transferred from Oughterson Zoo in October 1998, the birds were moved into a new housing facility. An area of land was selected in an undisturbed area of open fields. A hardstand measuring 11.6 m by 8.55 m was built and surrounded by a chain-link fence with shade netting to provide a windbreak. A solid roof was constructed over this area and then a number of cage units were built of two sizes. Larger cages, measuring 3.7 m (length) by 1.82 m (width) by 2.14 m (height) were built to accommodate the adult pairs, with smaller cages (2.45 m ´ 1.22 m ´ 1.84 m) to provide single accommodation for five individual birds. Each cage features two main horizontal perches (one situated towards the front of the cage, with the second towards the back running across the width). Perches running the length of the cage are not provided; this is to encourage flight exercise by the birds. A feeding shelf is provided in each cage along with regular provision of cut branches for chewing wood, and other occupational items such as natural fibre rope.

While the described cages proved adequate for the period from October 1998 until 2000, it was felt that the accommodation facilities could be further improved. In particular, the presence of several males in close proximity is thought to be a behavioural inhibiting factor for successful breeding. From 2001 onwards a new area has been prepared that will provide larger accommodation units individually spaced between areas of natural plant barriers to reduce inter-male aggression caused by the sight and sound of other male birds. The new cages measure 7.0 m ´ 1.8 m ´ 1.8 m. These cages are suspended on a solid wooden frame, with the wire mesh floor of each cage being some 75 cm above ground level to allow for easy daily cleaning. The wooden framework encloses the wire mesh to provide stability, with the legs of the wooden frame being cemented into the ground. These new cages also feature a feeding shelf that allows for the provision of food and water without the need to physically enter the cage. The new cages allow for increased exercise and better standards of hygiene. There is less aggression behaviour between the birds, as the cages are separated, with a row of plants forming a visual barrier between each pair.

The dietary regime for the St Vincent amazons reflects husbandry protocols for other species of amazon parrots that are regularly managed in zoological collections (Stoodley, 1990; Sweeney, 1997; Sweeney, 1998). The feeding protocols have been adjusted to manage the obesity problems of several individuals. This obesity has been the long-term result of poor management and diet during the years at Oughterson Zoo, and will take time to correct. The birds are now under close dietary control to slowly restore them to a healthy body weight. For the short-term, all dry seeds and nuts have been removed from the diet to be replaced by a low-fat dietary pellet. The birds receive a mixed salad of fruits and vegetables early in the morning, with a second feed in the afternoon when pellets are provided. The birds' weight loss is being monitored regularly and discussed with our veterinary advisors.

The principal veterinary advisor in the management of these birds is Dr Susan Clubb, D.V.M., who has many years' experience of specialist avian medicine and is a past-president of the Association of Avian Veterinarians. Dr Clubb undertook a health review of the amazons in October 2000 and acts as a consultant. Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary also works with local veterinarian Dr John Duckhouse from the Content Veterinary Clinic in St Thomas, who carries out any necessary treatment of the birds in liaison with Dr Clubb. The veterinary services laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture are consulted on questions of diagnosis and routine screening.

Breeding management parameters

The St Vincent amazon is considered to be one of the least studied parrot species in the Caribbean (Snyder et. al., 2000). Captive breeding has been irregularly achieved by a small number of zoological collections. The St Vincent amazon breeds annually in the wild and produces a clutch of from two to four eggs. The breeding season occurs at the end of the annual dry period from March to July. The nesting site is usually situated within a trunk cavity of a tall tree (particularly Dacryodes excelsa). Incubation of eggs takes 26 days and the chicks require ten weeks before fledging. Sexual maturity is achieved by the fourth year. Life expectancy is speculated to be up to 80 years.

The St Vincent amazon is not sexually dimorphic, so the sex of all current birds has been confirmed by endoscopic and DNA examination. Future inclusion within the on-going DNA relatedness study will allow for the gender of future progeny to be confirmed by DNA examination.

Pairing arrangements are determined by genetic relatedness and by assessment of compatibility. The nest boxes provided measure 64 cm (height) by 46 cm (length) by 42 cm (width) and are filled with clean wood shavings (obtained from untreated wood). The boxes are left undisturbed during the incubation period unless the brooding female displays problematic behaviour (prolonged periods outside of the nest box; agitated and aggressive behaviour). From the date that it has been calculated that the first egg is due to hatch, closer observation of the nest box interior is initiated. The appearance of each chick is monitored to ensure good physical development (i.e. that body mass is as expected for their age and that eyes, skin, wings, legs, toes and feathers appear normal); that they are not infested by ecto-parasites, such as mites; that there are no signs of parental aggression; and that they are being fed correctly by the parents.

If eggs need to be removed from the nest box for any reason, artificial incubation and hand-rearing parameters to be used are similar to those for other amazon parrot species (Jordan, 1989; Stoodley, 1990; Sweeney, 1998).

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary has stated its commitment to the St Vincent Forestry Department that the birds will be managed on a non-commercial basis and that no birds will be moved without the Department's knowledge. The Sanctuary further commits itself to manage the birds in accordance with the regulations of the CITES convention. Any movement or exchange of birds in the future will only be undertaken for reasons of genetic management or to enhance conservation programmes being undertaken in St Vincent. The DNA relatedness study is proposed to be an on-going programme, allowing the opportunity for confirmation of captive-bred parentage in advance of any proposal to relocate any specimens.

Development of the conservation and research potential of the population

At the time that the Nature Sanctuary took over the management of these birds, dialogue was initiated with the forestry department in St Vincent to ensure that our involvement with the species could be a positive experience in using the captive population as a proactive conservation resource.

The presence of a captive population provides opportunities for research into the natural biology of a species. In the case of the St Vincent amazon, several subject areas can be researched in captivity. Dietary research, behavioural study and veterinary procedures are examples where a captive population can produce knowledge of conservation relevance to the wild population. The Sanctuary has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Natural Resources Management Programme of the University of the West Indies. It is our hope that this MOU will provide a framework to promote both in situ and ex situ conservation outreach programmes.

One of the justifications for maintaining captive populations of wildlife is to provide a safe genetic holding pool should a natural disaster adversely hit the wild population. The captive population in Barbados must, however, be regarded with caution in this respect due to their exposure to other wildlife while at the Oughterson Zoo. Modern conservation management of captive parrots is overshadowed by several serious psittacine-specific diseases, which are highly dangerous and, in some cases, cannot be diagnosed until the clinically ill stage. Such diseases include the proventricular dilation virus, psittacine beak and feather virus, a variety of psittacine-specific herpes viruses and the obligate intracellular parasite Chlamydia (psittacosis). Any captive populations outside of St Vincent and the Grenadines, such as those that exist in Barbados, North America and Europe, should be subject to a strict health evaluation programme before being considered for a potential re-stocking exercise. Given the current stability of the wild population and the presence of a captive population within St Vincent itself, expatriate populations are unlikely to be considered for release back into nature.

However, the presence of a captive population does provide other opportunities to further conservation planning for the wild population. We intend to use our association with the St Vincent amazon to promote captive research and to source the resources and facilities required for the implementation of an effective conservation programme by the St Vincent Forestry Department. The Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary has already committed to provide conservation-support funding to the Department for an initial five-year period.


Forshaw, J. (1989): Parrots of the World (3rd edition). Blandford Press, U.K.

Jordan, R. (1989): Parrot Incubation Procedures. Silvio Mattacchione and Co., Ontario, Canada.

Snyder, N., McGowen, P., Gilardi, J., and Grajal, A. (2000): Parrots: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan 2000-2004. IUCN, Cambridge, U.K.

Stoodley, J. (1990): Genus Amazona. Bezel Publications, Channel Islands, U.K.

Sweeney, R.G. (1997): European Regional Studbook for the Red-spectacled Amazon Amazona pretrei. Loro Parque, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Spain.

Sweeney, R.G. (1998): The husbandry, breeding and European regional studbook of the red-spectacled amazon at Loro Parque. International Zoo News 45 (6): 352–362.

Roger G. Sweeney, Associate Director, Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, Worthing, Christ Church, Barbados, West Indies. (E-mail:

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ZooLex is an online publication on zoo design for zoo professionals. The website was launched in September 2000. It is developed and maintained by the ZooLex Zoo Design Organization, a non-profit organization based in Vienna, Austria.

When you are looking for information on animal exhibit design and construction, the ZooLex website ( is the best place to go. Here you will find information on exhibits for specific animal species as well as companies offering special products and services for zoos.

The ZooLex Gallery

The ZooLex Gallery is the core part of the ZooLex website. Its main uses are for reading and publishing animal exhibit presentations. You can go to the ZooLex Gallery from every ZooLex page by using the Gallery button on the top navigation bar. The Gallery presents animal exhibits from zoos and similar institutions worldwide. You will find technical specifications of exhibits, detailed descriptions of their purposes and features, site plans and many pictures. All information is prepared online and systematically saved in a database. For the first time, zoo professionals can easily present animal exhibits on the internet by using ZooLex online forms.

We have designed the ZooLex Gallery to make it a useful database and an attractive publication for you. Various search methods help to find specific information. Icons allow users to capture topics at a glance. Layout of text and tables facilitate fast reading. An abundance of pictures make the ZooLex Gallery unique as an attractive resource on animal exhibit design and construction.

Cooperation with I.Z.N.

In a cross-media cooperation between the editors of ZooLex and I.Z.N., the strengths of a website and a journal will be combined. While the internet enables colour pictures to be published at a lower cost than print, a journal can accompany its reader. Presentations of animal exhibits are a common topic of both I.Z.N. and ZooLex. In the future, I.Z.N. subscribers will find summaries of ZooLex animal exhibit presentations in I.Z.N.. A reference to the corresponding ZooLex web page will lead to the complete presentation on the internet with full text and pictures. An archive of ZooLex animal exhibit presentations is accessible in the ZooLex Gallery.

Gallery index

The first page you access in the ZooLex Gallery is the Gallery index. On this page you will find a list of animal exhibits presented in the Gallery, with the latest entry at the top. In the right margin you will find a yellow form with search options, a grey form for a log-in and another yellow form for subscribing to the ZooLex Newsletter.

On the left side, exhibit entries are listed, each giving the name of an exhibit, the name of the institution hosting this exhibit, and a little picture of an animal inhabiting the exhibit. By default, the list is ordered alphabetically by the names of institutions. However, you may order the list alphabetically by exhibit name or chronologically by opening date, the latest opening being listed first. You can also create your own list of animal exhibits by typing in a certain animal species, city or country you are looking for. When you have found an exhibit you are interested to see, you only need to click on the exhibit name to open a page with the selected animal exhibit presentation.

Animal exhibit presentations

ZooLex animal exhibit presentations start with the name of an institution and its exhibit presented. The date of publication is given on the right side. All presentations have the same structure and layout. They show text on the left side and a row of little thumbnail pictures on the right. The presentations cover an extensive range of topics:

– the address of the institution, with a link to its website;

– the maximum number of animal species for which the exhibit was designed;

– the size and costs of the exhibit;

– its opening date;

– the start of design and construction and the companies involved;

– a description and list of plants used in the exhibit and in the visitor space;

– descriptions of exhibit features dedicated to the animals kept, to the keepers in charge and to the visitors to the exhibit;

– measures taken for interpretation and management of the exhibit;

– research being done in the context of the exhibit;

– projects relating to the conservation of the species kept in the exhibit; and

– considerations taken into account during design and construction which contribute to the conservation of natural resources and to the use of local materials.

The topics are represented by little blue icons which you will find at the top and at the end of each presentation and along the text. Each icon stands for a heading and is clickable, taking you up and down the page.

The little thumbnail pictures in the right margin are also all clickable. You can choose between two sizes (in KB) of the picture. If you are interested in reading captions you may browse the smaller pictures and use the little peach-coloured arrows to see the next or previous picture. The pictures typically show an overview plan of the zoo, a site plan of the exhibit, pictures of animals and visitors using the exhibit, and special exhibit features.

At the end of each presentation you will find a counter showing the actual number of persons who have visited this specific animal exhibit presentation. The ZooLex Gallery is the most visited part of the ZooLex website. We help our repeat visitors not to miss new publications of animal exhibits with a special free service, our Newsletter.

ZooLex Newsletter

The most comfortable way to keep up to date with ZooLex is to subscribe for the ZooLex Newsletter. All subscribers are informed when an animal exhibit is published.  A link supplied in the newsletter allows you to go straight to the announced animal exhibit presentation. You can subscribe and unsubscribe for the ZooLex Newsletter anytime. All we require for registration is an e-mail address.

Publishing in the Gallery

We believe that a database of interesting examples of animal exhibits promotes good exhibit design. Zoo professionals find inspiration and useful contacts. Zoo visitors learn about appropriate exhibit design and appreciate institutions striving for improvements and excellence.

The ZooLex Gallery presents all types of animal exhibits. We have found that the ZooLex audience is very interested in the use of new technologies and features in exhibit design and new combinations of species. We also try to present exhibits for animals which are hard to keep or particularly rare. We like to show exhibits that provide animals with a suitable environment, keepers with an appropriate working place and visitors with a desirable experience. We think that plants and interpretation should play an important role in exhibit design, and invite presenters of exhibits with a botanical or educational emphasis. We are also looking for exhibits focusing on conservation. Conservation of animal species may be a topic of interpretation. Conservation of natural resources may also be incorporated in exhibit design and construction – use of local materials and of technologies for saving and recycling water, energy and waste are valuable contributions to conservation. Exhibit presentations of these types are desirable contributions to ZooLex. We particularly welcome presentations of low-budget exhibits as role models for our professional audience.

Publishing in ZooLex is free. Submitting material for publication in the ZooLex Gallery is as easy as sending e-mails with attachments. You are very welcome to contribute to the Gallery. We offer options to submit information online and offline. In order to publish in ZooLex, you need to follow the guidelines below.

Submissions to the Gallery

Submissions to the ZooLex Gallery can only be done in agreement with the institution hosting the exhibit to be presented. The person responsible for the submission could be a staff person, someone from the design team or a volunteer. When entering the `Guest Area and Registration' on the Gallery page, this person can register as a ZooLex member for free.

When you have registered as a new ZooLex member with your name and e-mail address,  you will get a password for re-entering your member area. All member areas are password-protected. The password allows you to access your member area. You can create, submit or delete submissions only from your member area. As long as you are working on a submission this exhibit presentation is not visible on the internet.

When you choose to create a new exhibit presentation you will receive an exhibit ID. Each ZooLex exhibit presentation has its own ID. In your member area all your exhibit presentations are listed with their IDs. A link allows you to go to ZooLex online forms and work on your exhibit presentation at any time. You can type into ZooLex online forms and upload information. You will see the results in a `Preview'. The preview format looks exactly like the format of presentations in the Gallery. When switching between forms and preview you will see your exhibit presentation grow. You may look in the `Help' file or print it before preparing your first exhibit presentation. A template will help you to prepare exhibit presentations offline. You may also print and send a completed template to ZooLex for publication on the website.

When you are finished with an exhibit presentation online, you only need to inform ZooLex by e-mail. We will check the submission for clarity and completeness and publish your animal exhibit presentation.

If you don't have digital material or don't have resources to upload digital material, you may fill in the template and send it to ZooLex by mail or e-mail. Please contact and let us know what kind of material you have available. We will find an easy way to present your animal exhibits in ZooLex.

Monika Fiby, ZooLex Zoo Design Organization, Sobieskigasse 9/12, A-1090 Vienna, Austria. (E-mail:

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GIFTTIERE: EIN HANDBUCH FÜR BIOLOGEN, TOXIKOLOGEN, ÄRZTE UND APOTHEKER (2nd edition) by Dietrich Mebs. Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft, Stuttgart, 2000. ix + 350 pp., 320 illus., hardback (laminated boards). ISBN 3–8047–1639–3. DM 148.00 (c. £47 or US$69).

GIFTIGE UND GEFÄHRLICHE SPINNENTIERE: HUMANPATHOGENE SKORPIONE, MILBEN UND SPINNEN (2nd edition) by Günter Schmidt (Neue Brehm-Bücherei, Band 608). Westarp, Hohenwarsleben, 2000. 216 pp., 52 illus., softback. ISBN 3–89432–405–8. DM 46.00 (c. £15 or US$21).

Poisonous animals once made popular exhibits at zoos. Especially we boys were always keen to get to the reptile house and tap on the windows of the cobras and rattlesnakes. The glass looked secure enough, but like riding a roller-coaster, just maybe. . .

Our kids and (we're getting to that age) grandchildren now have far fewer opportunities to shudder at the thought of a poisonous snake slipping out. There aren't that many around, not in zoos in Europe anyway. My local zoo has just one species of poisonous animal, the ubiquitous bird spider. The reptile houses everywhere, in downsizing their collections, have decided that poisonous snakes (along with the crocodilians) could go first. The problem with crocodiles, of course, is their demand for space, which zoos today are more likely to respect than in the past. The days when a menagerie could get away with keeping twenty species in one big pit are gone, fortunately, but few have the space to create nineteen additional big pits. Venomous snakes, on the other hand, are just considered a hassle. Poisonous snakes are dangerous, keepers and at least one zoo director (Carl Kauffeld of New York's Staten Island Zoo) have died of snake-bite, so why bother?

Venomous animals, as the toxicologist Professor Dietrich Mebs of Frankfurt am Main University shows well in a new edition of his comprehensive and handsomely produced handbook, represent a fascinating group of the world's fauna. Not only snakes, of course, but lizards, fish, jellyfish, arachnids, insects, even species of bird and mammal can cause humans harm with their venom, if not necessarily deadly. Their venom represents an important step in the evolution of animals' arsenals of defence and offence, and spans the animal kingdom. Over sixty Australians have been killed by one species of jellyfish alone within the last century, and Mebs reckons Australia to be the country with the densest population of poisonous animals. Seventy per cent of Australia's snake species are venomous, as opposed to approximately fifteen per cent worldwide. Mebs thinks the Australian taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) the most venomous land animal anywhere, although the Guinness Book of Animal Records considers its smaller relative O. microlepidotus to be more dangerous still. Whatever, within the last twenty years an average of only four people have died annually of snake-bite down under. Worldwide, however, over 40,000 apparently die each year after having been bitten by a snake, most of them in India and Burma. How many of them are zoo keepers is apparently not recorded. Mebs himself, as a 22-year-old student taking care of the reptile collection at his university, barely survived the bite of a heloderm to join the world's perhaps 500 experts on animal venom. Gifttiere (Venomous Animals) does not list every single species of poisonous animal, but looks at each zoological group in detail, describes representative species, and offers useful information (that one hopes will never be used) on the structure and effect of the poisons and, frequently citing case-histories, the best methods of first aid and therapy. And his book is beautifully illustrated, with colour photographs for the most part, as well as insightful diagrams. But as its subtitle suggests, the target group are professionals; amateur naturalists will find the book heavy going unless they've retained well their school biochemistry.

Günter Schmidt's Giftige und Gefährliche Spinnentiere (Venomous and Dangerous Arachnids) is addressed at amateurs, but will satisfy professionals as well. Bird spiders, tarantulas, are not only amongst the most popular of poisonous animals in zoos, but are equally popular as pets. One of the reasons, of course, aside from their impressively fierce looks and their relative tameness (as spiders go), is the weakness of their venom – at least if one chooses the right kind. Worldwide, far more people die annually from the bite of a snake or sting of an insect than from the bite or sting of an arachnid. In the United States, for example, according to Schmidt, on average 14 die annually of snake-bite and 17 from the sting of a bee or wasp, but only nine from the bite or sting of an arachnid. In neighbouring Mexico, on the other hand, the odds of getting killed by a scorpion are ten times greater than by snake-bite. In Australia nine times as many people were killed by snakes as by spiders (or sharks) during the decade 1960–1970, but the number of deaths by snake-bite there has been dropping continuously since then. Obviously, mortality also depends on what venomous animals are around to bite one.

Schmidt, a retired pharmacologist, is the author of five books and over 370 scientific articles on arachnids. His volume, now in its second edition, within the Neue Brehm-Bücherei series (the German equivalent of the New Naturalist) can be considered a synthesis of his research and reading on that class of animal. If a zoo has only one species of poisonous animal, odds are that it will be either a spider or a scorpion, and Schmidt has written as fine and comprehensive an introduction to them and their poisons as one could hope for.

Herman Reichenbach

VON LANDOIS ZUM ALLWETTERZOO: 125 JAHRE ZOO IN MÜNSTER edited by Michael Sinder. Schüling, Münster, 2000. 264 pp., illus., hardback (laminated boards). ISBN 3–930962–14–4. DM 29.90 (c. £9.60 or US$14).

VOM HEIMATTIERGARTEN ZUM FAMILIENZOO IM GRÜNEN: 50 JAHRE TIERPARK NORDHORN by Werner Straukamp, Thomas Berling and Reinhard Prüllage. Schüling, Münster, 2000. 112 pp., illus., hardback (laminated boards). ISBN 3–930962–13–6. DM 24.80 (c. £8 or US$11.60).

The Westphalian Zoological Garden in Münster celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1999 and its 125th anniversary a year later. Like Carl Hagenbeck's Tierpark in Hamburg and the Frankfurt am Main Zoological Garden, really two zoos at different locations and different periods of time had the same name as well as the same ownership and management. The zoo one visits today in Münster is a 27-hectare (67-acre) garden on the western outskirts of the city inaugurated on 2 May 1974. On 31 December 1973, a zoo with an identical name, animals, director and ownership structure had closed down for good on a 6-hectare (15-acre) site near the city's centre. Münster is the historical capital of Westphalia, but since 1946, when that region became incorporated into the new province of North Rhine-Westphalia with the capital in far-away Düsseldorf, it has become largely known as a cathedral and university town – and for its zoo, which attracts annually over three times as many people as the city has population. (If you're thinking of Münster cheese, that's named after Münster in Alsace, now of course French and usually spelled without the Umlaut, although still pronounced as if it had one.)

The new Westphalian Zoological Garden is popularly known as the Allwetterzoo – that is, the zoo for all kinds of weather. It's said of Münster that always either the church bells are ringing or it's raining. A novel (though hardly attractive) feature of the zoo are the covered walkways connecting the major animal houses. The dominant material is concrete. As the recently retired director of Berlin's Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Biology noted when participating in a survey of Germany's major zoos for Stern magazine last year, Münster's garden has all the charm of an Autobahn fly-over. The zoo got poor marks for its brutal architecture, especially as concrete hardly weathers well, but in fairness a lot of green has grown over the grey, and the new enclosures, especially those initiated since its current director took over in 1994, all received top marks in Stern. (In fairness, too, I should perhaps admit here that I was another of the `judges', and am thus equally responsible for the ranking, although I was not in Münster for the survey.)

One of the scraps Münster was tossed when it lost its status as capital after the war was as co-headquarters, along with Düsseldorf, of what is now Germany's second-largest bank, popularly known as WestLB. Thirty-five years ago the original office block the bank had in Münster became too small for its growing purposes, and the directors threatened to move to Dortmund, Westphalia's largest city, if a downtown site could not be found for them. The old zoo, although full of attractive and historically interesting animal houses, was really too small and crowded to stay in the big league, and a land swap was soon arranged. The WestLB got its new – and really ugly – concrete monster on the old menagerie site, and the zoo more cement but also four and a half times as much space five kilometres to the west.

Michael Sinder has written a fine history of both Westphalian Zoological Gardens, not too long (it covers only a third of the book), but with all the pertinent and interesting facts. The Landois of the title is Professor Hermann Landois, the founder of the zoo and the society that runs it. Originally the organization was named the Westphalian Society for the Protection of Birds and Breeding Fowl and Songbirds, and the zoo was during its first quarter-century for the most part a Heimattiergarten, a zoo with largely local fauna. It was not until 1921 that the society's name was changed to reflect its true purpose, but four years ago the current director, Jörg Adler, established the Westphalian Society for Wildlife Conservation, known by its German abbreviation as the WGA. The emphasis of the new society is less on the protection of birds, which are well enough represented in Germany, but rather on primate conservation, especially in Southeast Asia. The second part of Von Landois zum Allwetterzoo is Adler's chapter on his own concepts for the future of the zoo and its potential for conservation. Other chapters are devoted to a short biography of Hermann Landois, the history of keeping great apes and marine mammals in Münster, the zoo and the arts (i.e. statuary and the zoo's animals as subjects), and the zoo's place in the development of Münster's social and cultural environment. The book is well illustrated with contemporary and historical photographs and plans, and rounded out with statistical appendices, a bibliography and a comprehensive index. Along with its attractive price, it's a model of a jubilee volume.

With the name Westphalian Zoological Garden, Münster obviously laid claim to having the zoo of the region, and into the 1930s it really had the only one. Now there are several, including three good zoos only half an hour down the Autobahn in one or another direction. The zoo in Nordhorn, however, is not in the same league. It's actually just outside Westphalia in Lower Saxony, only a few kilometres from the Dutch border. The exhibits are signposted in Dutch as well as German, but halfway between Emmen and Rheine it has stiff competition. Covering only four hectares (less than ten acres), albeit with another four and a half hectares on the drawing board, its rarest animals are Indochinese leopards, Hartmann's zebras and chimpanzees. Altogether fewer than 600 animals representing 80 species currently inhabit the zoo, and looking at the zoo's own photos in its jubilee volume, I'm not sure they should all be there. Nordhorn's menagerie is a classic example of a local zoo in a small county town desperately in need of some excursion site for its citizens. Apparently up to 150,000 do visit the zoo annually. That too, as in Münster, is three times the local population – but Münster has a quarter-million inhabitants.

Tierpark Nordhorn was founded in 1950 by an unemployed mason looking for something constructive to do on what was originally less than a hectare leased from the town. Annual attendance during its first decade was rarely more than 20,000. Its development was slow and difficult, as Straukamp, the author of the historical chapters, painstakingly shows. Only since 1994, with the creation of a non-profit-making limited-liability company (gGmbH) owned and financed equally by the town and the county, has its existence been really secure. (It has also managed to get money from Brussels, apparently because of its location near a national border.) The Tierpark is now a member of EAZA, though not of the VDZ (Association of German Zoo Directors), and participates in both the ISIS and EEP programmes. The current director, Thomas Berling, and Reinhard Prüllage review recent developments in the zoo and its perspectives for the future, and Berling adds a chapter on the only race of a domestic animal of local origin, the Bentheim sheep. (The district of which Nordhorn is county town is named Bentheim.) The book's appeal, presumably, will be mostly local, but collectors of zoo histories will find it nicely illustrated and certainly reasonably representative of the development of a small-town menagerie. Tierpark Nordhorn will probably never get many visitors from Münster or further afield, but then that is not its ambition.

Herman Reichenbach

Recently published – The Elephant's Foot: Prevention and Care of Foot Conditions in Captive Asian and African Elephants edited by Blair Csuti, Eva L. Sargent and Ursula S. Bechert. Iowa State University Press (2121 South State Avenue, Ames, Iowa 50014, U.S.A.), 2001. 172 pp., hardback. ISBN 0–8138–2820–1. $59.95.

The Elephant's Foot is a compilation of over two dozen papers presented at the 1998 North American Conference on Elephant Foot Care and Pathology, plus contributions by invited experts. The papers show that most elephant foot problems can be mitigated through creative, competent husbandry and appropriate facilities. They cover a wide spectrum of treatments and philosophies; included are opinions on trimming tools, epoxies, pad trimming, and various soaks, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. This book eliminates excuses and gives excellent, even perspectives on what is possible and should be expected from any elephant program. The Elephant's Foot should be on the shelf of every elephant manager.

Abridged from a review by Geoff Creswell in Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 28, No. 9 (September 2001)

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Wolf reintroductions in the U.S.A. – successes and failures

Discussions about carnivore reintroduction in the United States are still dominated by efforts focusing on gray wolves (Canis lupus). The reintroductions of wolves to the Greater Yellowstone area and central Idaho are tremendous successes, as both areas now support well over 100 animals. Reproduction has been consistent from nearly the outset of the projects, and now dozens of pups are added to the populations each spring. Conflicts with humans and depredations of livestock have been less than expected. The success of the projects has prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (U.S.F.W.S.) to initiate plans to remove the gray wolf from the list of endangered species for the Northern Rockies region.

In the south-western portion of the country the reintroduction of Mexican wolves (C. l. baileyi) continues to progress. After three years of releases into the Apache National Forest in Arizona and the Gila National Forest in New Mexico, the free-ranging population includes about 25 animals organized in several breeding pairs. Conflicts with humans have been less serious than predicted, and reproduction in the wild has been documented and is expected to become commonplace. The project is currently initiating a three-year review, and expectations are that it will be favorable.

The news is not so good for the red wolf (Canis rufus) reintroduction project. This effort, which was initiated in 1986 at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in north-eastern North Carolina, experienced good progress until the mid-1990s. At that time field biologists began to suspect that hybridization with coyotes (C. latrans) was becoming a serious threat to the genetic integrity of the C. rufus population. Subsequent fieldwork confirmed this suspicion. Currently the project is in the second year of a three-year assessment to better quantify the frequency of hybridization and to consider field techniques for reducing its occurrence to an acceptable level. It is possible that such measures will prove ineffective. If so, within a decade or so the red wolf will probably cease to exist in the wild. Interestingly, hybridization with coyotes was one of the main reasons that the U.S.F.W.S. decided in the 1970s to initiate a captive-breeding program by removing the last few naturally occurring red wolves from the wild in south-western Louisiana and south-eastern Texas.

The successes and failures of previous wolf reintroductions have set the stage for a new effort to restore the gray wolf, via reintroductions, to the Southern Rockies Ecoregion. This portion of the U.S. stretches from south-central Wyoming, through western Colorado, into north-central New Mexico. The Ecoregion is characterized by about ten million hectares of public land that supports robust populations of native ungulates like elk (Cervus elaphus) and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus). Two science-based studies (one facilitated by the SSC/IUCN Conservation Breeding Specialist Group) conducted during the last decade concluded that the Ecoregion could support 1,000 to 2,000 wolves, mostly on public land where conflicts with humans would be minimal. Many consider the Southern Rockies Ecoregion to be a mother lode of potential for wolf recovery. Moreover, successfully restoring Canis lupus to this portion of the U.S. would improve the prospects for restoring a metapopulation of wolves right along the Rocky Mountains from Canada to Mexico!

The conservation community recognizes the tremendous potential of the Southern Rockies, and in response over a dozen organizations have formed a coalition to facilitate wolf recovery. The coalition, based in Colorado, is known as the Southern Rockies Wolf Restoration Project. The project was officially launched in 2000 and has gained important momentum since then. For example, a meeting of the project's steering committee during March 2001 resulted in 12 individuals assuming responsibility for over 100 tasks to be completed by August 2002. The odds of wolves being restored, via reintroductions, to the Southern Rockies Ecoregion are improved mightily if the project can maintain that level of energy for an extended period of time. More information can be obtained from the project's website (www.

Mike Phillips in Re-introduction News (IUCN/SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group) No. 20 (August 2001)

Jaguar population subdivisions and their relevance for conservation

The jaguar (Panthera onca) historically ranged from the southern U.S.A. to Patagonia. This range has now been considerably reduced, and remaining populations are threatened by habitat loss, fragmentation and human persecution. To design adequate conservation strategies for this species, it is very relevant to determine whether there are major geographic subdivisions that have been historically isolate (`subspecies'), which should be managed separately. It is also relevant to assess levels of genetic diversity in different regions, and to infer the overall evolutionary history of the species, so that natural historical processes can be maintained as much as possible in our management strategies.

Eight jaguar subspecies have been commonly recognized in recent years. However, a recent study [summarized in I.Z.N. 44 (4), p. 254] based on skull morphology found no significant evidence of their distinctiveness. This led to the possibility that jaguars could perhaps be managed as a single unit. We have further investigated this issue by analyzing about 40 jaguar individuals of known origin, sampled from Mexico to southern Brazil, using two types of molecular markers: mitochondrial DNA sequences and 29 nuclear microsatellites.

Jaguars display moderate to high levels of diversity with these markers, and show no evidence of reduced variation that could cause foreseeable problems to their survival. No strong geographic structure was observed, so that the recognition of major, historically isolated groups – subspecies – is not supported, in agreement with the above-mentioned morphological study. Our results indicate that present jaguar populations are the result of a somewhat recent (200,000 to 800,000 years old) expansion and colonization process, and have maintained considerably high levels of gene flow throughout broad geographic areas. This population history is quite different from that inferred for other Neotropical cats, particularly the ocelot, margay and oncilla, which show marked geographic subdivision and ancient historical groups.

Although no major geographic partitions were observed among jaguar populations, we were able to detect evidence of genetic differentiation among three to four broad geographic areas: Central America (perhaps subdivided into two subunits), northern South America (north of the Amazon river), and southern South America (south of the Amazon). These partitions are likely to be due to historical reduction in gene flow across certain geographic barriers (e.g. the Amazon, which has also been found to play such a role for other Neotropical cats). Although these groups show statistically significant evidence of genetic differentiation, their isolation has not been complete, and some gene flow among them has probably been maintained historically. Further studies with increased samples may detect more refined patterns of geographic substructure at a regional level, including instances where isolation by distance (clinal variation) is playing an important role in the dynamics of genetic variation.

Even though jaguars lack deep geographic partitions (subspecies), our results have indicated the existence of more subtle genetic differentiation across broad geographic areas, which should be taken into account when designing conservation strategies. It is also important to consider that local adaptation to diverse environments may have led to genetic differentiation at particular genes, not assayed in our analyses. We therefore support the implementation of operational conservation units for jaguars defined on a biome or ecosystem scale, taking into account the historical barriers to dispersal identified in our study, and coordinating management on a regional basis.

Abridged from Eduardo Eizirik, Warren E. Johnson and Stephen J. O'Brien in Cat News (IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group) No. 34 (Spring 2001)

A conservation project for West African primates

A new conservation initiative founded in January 2001, West African Primate Conservation Action (WAPCA), is an informal interest group made up of several European zoos and conservation organisations which have the common goal of conserving primates in the Upper Guinean Forest. This forest is one of the `biodiversity hot spots', i.e. the areas with the richest terrestrial species diversity. Only 1.4% of the earth's surface is covered by the worldwide 25 hot spots, but more than 60% of all plant and animal species exist in these areas, and 96% of the most endangered primate species live in just seven of them.

The Upper Guinean Forest is a coastal rain forest area which extends from eastern Sierra Leone to Ghana. An abundance of species found nowhere else in the world occur in this habitat, for example zebra duiker, lesser spot-nosed guenon, Kuhn's mongoose and West African linsang (Poiana leightoni). Some of the world's most threatened primate (sub)species are found in the eastern part, in eastern Ivory Coast and south-west Ghana, such as the white-crowned mangabey (Cercocebus atys lunulatus), the Roloway monkey (Cercopithecus diana roloway) and the white-thighed black-and-white colobus (Colobus vellerosus). Another endemic taxon, Miss Waldron's red colobus (Procolobus badius waldroni), was officially declared extinct in September 2000 after a survey in summer 2000 in its last possible refuges failed to find evidence of its existence. The main risks these primates face are habitat destruction and commercial hunting for bushmeat. Moreover, young living primates, as a by-product of bushmeat hunting, are sold on markets as pets; they often live in deplorable conditions and are kept in an extremely poor state of health.

The true number of surviving Roloway monkeys, white-thighed black-and-white colobus and white-crowned mangabeys is not precisely known, but several surveys in recent years have shown a dramatic decline. Roloway monkeys and white-crowned mangabeys are also a rare sight in zoos, and as far as we know C. vellerosus is not kept in zoos outside West Africa. At present, there are only 28 Roloway monkeys and 40 white-crowned mangabeys in European zoos. The captive breeding of each of these subspecies is coordinated in an EEP (at Mulhouse Zoo and Barcelona Zoo respectively). But in addition to breeding these primates in captivity, it is absolutely necessary to enforce in situ conservation in the eastern Upper Guinean Forest to protect them from suffering the same fate as Miss Waldron's red colobus. monkey.

The following institutions participate in WAPCA as of April 2001: Heidelberg Zoo (which coordinates WAPCA activities), Landau Zoo, Münster Zoo, the Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations (Munich), Mulhouse, Doué la Fontaine and La Palmyre Zoos, and the Conservation des Espèces et des Populations Animales (CEPA); the French institutions will concentrate more on activities in the Ivory Coast. Barcelona Zoo has also promised to participate in WAPCA soon, and several other European zoos are interested. Nick Lindsay of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has already tried to establish a conservation project for Roloway monkeys in Ghana a few years ago [see I.Z.N. 43 (5), pp. 300–301] and now strongly supports activities by WAPCA. ZSL has cooperated with the Ghanaian zoos in Accra and Kumasi for a long time, and these contacts are very valuable for our planned conservation activities in Ghana.

A conservation project in Ghana coordinated and financially supported by WAPCA should include the following aims:

– By carrying out detailed primate surveys in western Ghana, areas can be recommended for higher protection status. In those areas with valuable species abundance, the observance of wildlife protection laws must be guaranteed to prevent further hunting and habitat destruction in the future. By training, supporting and paying wardens, WAPCA will help to increase motivation of wildlife staff and therefore protection of primates and other wildlife in this forest area. Illegally kept primates must be searched for and confiscated. A housing and breeding facility must be established for these animals, possibly in cooperation with the Ghanaian zoos. By providing financial and advisory support as well as training of zoo staff, WAPCA will help Ghanaian zoos to become an important partner for the government in conservation matters. The housing facility can also be used as the base for an education campaign to inform local people about the need to protect primates and other wildlife: support in developing educational material for schoolchildren, students, zoo visitors and tourists is one of the tasks of WAPCA.

– Increase of ecotourism in order to provide local people with an alternative source of revenue will also be supported by WAPCA. In this way the interest of local people in saving endemic nature may be strengthened.

First contacts with the Ghanaian government are very promising. As a confirmation of cooperation in conservation efforts, a Memorandum of Agreement between the Ghanaian Wildlife Division and WAPCA should be concluded. For that, Peter Hoppe, a veterinarian, is travelling to Ghana for two months as a delegate of WAPCA. He will also collect information about the husbandry conditions in the zoos of Accra and Kumasi, as well as about the situation in local markets concerning bushmeat and illegal keeping of primates. WAPCA is also supporting an American student, who will carry out several primate surveys in the summer of 2001 to study distribution and habitat use of Roloway monkeys and other threatened primates in western Ghana. We will use the results and recommendations from these visits to continue with the next steps: building a housing facility for confiscated primates and selecting a forest area where further conservation activities can be concentrated.

We hope this joint initiative of several European zoos and conservation organisations will help to prevent the extinction of white-crowned mangabeys, Roloway monkeys and other West African endangered primate species. For further details, please contact Heidelberg Zoo at

Abridged from Sandra Reichler in EAZA News No. 35 (July–September 2001), Heidelberg Zoo, Germany

The wider implications of amphibian population declines

Since the herpetological community first became aware of them in 1989, the sudden and catastrophic declines that have occurred among amphibian populations in many parts of the world have become the focus of intense research. What messages are there in the results of this research for the wider conservation community?

Many amphibians have declined, along with species belonging to other taxa, as the direct result of habitat destruction, degradation and change. While it is important to monitor such events, the primary focus of the Declining Amphibian Populations Task Force (DAPTF) is to investigate the numerous and wholly unexpected declines that have occurred within national parks, nature reserves and other protected areas, where habitat loss should not be a factor. The most obvious implication of these declines is that they raise serious doubts about the effectiveness of protected areas as a means for conserving biodiversity. As David Wake, one of the founders of the DAPTF, put it, `putting a fence around biodiversity just isn't working.'

There have been two recurring features of amphibian declines in protected areas. Firstly, many have been very sudden, with populations disappearing over a period of one or two years. Secondly, while some amphibian species have been affected, others have not. These two features have helped to foster the implicit assumption that there is a single, globally-acting cause for amphibian declines that affects only certain kinds of amphibian species. This concept of a `smoking gun' has stimulated a great deal of innovative and exciting research into potential causes, notably increased UV-B radiation, climate change, pollution and disease. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that, while all these factors have played a part, to varying degrees in specific declines, no single factor can be held responsible for all amphibian declines. Indeed, there is increasing evidence that amphibian declines are caused by complex synergistic interactions between a number of causal factors. In a very recent study, Kiesecker et al. [Nature 410 (2001), 681–684] present evidence that, in the western U.S.A., climate change and increased UV-B radiation have acted together to create circumstances in which amphibians are more likely to succumb to a pathogenic fungus. Another implication of amphibian declines, therefore, is that the causes of extinction are often not simple or obvious, and that we should not assume that similar phenomena have a common cause.

By focusing their attention on amphibians, there is a danger that researchers, such as those working within the DAPTF, may come to assume that they are looking at phenomena that are unique to amphibians. This is clearly not the case. All the factors so far identified as being harmful to amphibians, such as UV-B, climate change and pollution, are harmful to other taxa. While many diseases, such as the fungal disease chytridiomycosis which is affecting amphibians throughout the world, are specific to amphibians, it is becoming increasingly clear that disease is a major threat to many wildlife populations. To give but two very recent examples, populations of vultures in India have been all but wiped out in the last two years [see I.Z.N. 48 (4), p. 257], and a disease is currently sweeping through California's oak trees. Why wildlife populations seem to be becoming more susceptible to infectious disease is one of the major questions currently facing conservation biologists.

It is commonplace in reviews of amphibian declines, and particularly in grant applications, to see the argument that amphibians deserve special attention because they are especially sensitive to environmental degradation. This is based on particular features of their physiology, life history and habitat requirements. While there may be some merit in this argument, it is very clear that many other groups are undergoing a similar phenomenon. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) maintains an index of biodiversity, categorized by habitat type. The index for freshwater habitats, based on time series data for 194 species of vertebrates, including amphibians, reveals a decline of 50% between 1970 and 1999. This is a faster rate of decline than that for any other habitat type, including tropical forest. These data suggest that freshwater habitats are under particular threat, and that amphibians may thus be part of a much larger process. Among freshwater species, freshwater bivalves appear to be declining even more dramatically than amphibians and may thus have an even better claim for special attention.

The work of the DAPTF falls within the general area called Conservation Biology, but there is very little that we have been able to do that can truly be called `conservation', in the sense that it seeks to reverse population declines. The reason for this is simple – amphibian declines cannot be reversed until their causes are understood. What the DAPTF is doing is documenting, as fully as it can, one facet of the global decline in biodiversity, by recording and seeking to identify the causes of extinction events. Perhaps we should stop calling ourselves conservation biologists, and describe ourselves more accurately as `extinction biologists'.

Prof. Tim Halliday, International Director, DAPTF, in Oryx Vol. 35, No. 3 (July 2001)

Eradicating rats to save an endangered bird

The Seychelles magpie-robin (Copsychus sechellarum) is often considered the most endangered of the 11 extant Seychelles endemic birds. Once widespread, it underwent a dramatic range contraction, mainly because of habitat destruction and introduced predators, so that by 1962 only one population remained, on the island of Frégate. Here, the numbers of birds fluctuated widely, at times as low as nine or 12 individuals, because of the establishment of cats on the island or through changes in land management practice. In 1990, BirdLife International and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (BirdLife in the U.K.) implemented the Seychelles Magpie-robin Recovery Programme to undertake research on the species in parallel with active conservation measures. Habitat management, supplemental feeding and translocation were key tools to improve the fortune of this species. Today Cousin and Cousine hold almost half of the world population, but Frégate is still of vital importance, with between 40 and 50 birds.

Rats have colonised the majority of the Seychelles, and only a few smaller islands have remained rat-free. Black rats (Rattus rattus) are by far the most widespread, whilst brown rats (R. norvegicus) are restricted to a handful of islands. The black rat is a semi-arboreal species and consequently a serious nest predator, whilst the brown rat is more terrestrial but tends to be more predatory.

In September 1995 a brown rat was discovered on Frégate, probably an individual that was accidentally introduced from cargo brought in during hotel redevelopment work on the island. Soon, rat numbers on Frégate exploded in the presence of a superabundance of food, and early attempts at eradication were unsuccessful. The rats killed magpie-robin fledglings and competed with the birds for food. Any relief that nests were relatively safe from terrestrial brown rats was tempered by the impact on Frégate's other taxa, and the endemic Frégate tenebrionid beetle (Polposipus herculeanus) population has undergone a dramatic decline since 1995.

An operation to eradicate rats on Frégate (and also Curieuse and Denis) was scheduled for June 2001. The procedure required the distribution of the powerful anticoagulant Brodifacoum on a cereal-based carrier to all parts of the island. This was carried out using a spreader bucket slung beneath a helicopter, precision-guided by a global positioning system. Brodifacoum has high toxicity to mammals, moderate to birds, low to reptiles, and invertebrates are unaffected. The bait was formulated to minimise risks to non-target animals, but it was decided that the safest option to protect the magpie-robin population was to place them in captivity for at least three months, along with more than 300 Seychelles fodies (Foudia sechellarum) and 160 Aldabran giant tortoises (Geochelone gigantea). This was a daunting prospect, for the capture and management of a Critically Endangered species throughout an eradication programme had never before been attempted.

The capture phase began in April, with construction of aviaries. Where possible these were sited so that birds could be held in their home range. By May the tortoise team were catching tortoises up to 1.7 m long and weighing half a ton using a tuna net and a tractor, and the capture of birds was well under way. Fodies were easily caught using mist-nets set at communal feeding areas. The magpie-robins posed more of a challenge, with some birds clearly remembering being captured in earlier years, and these individuals were especially difficult to catch. A combination of traps and nets was employed, and the last pair was finally lured into an aviary in late May.

After capture, magpie-robins were given a thorough veterinary screening. They were kept under close scrutiny, tempted with favourite foods and weighed regularly. Most of them, with their placid and confiding temperament, took to captivity easily. They accepted an artificial diet of an egg-based mixture containing Madeira cake and commercial foods, supplemented with live prey. Within weeks some pairs had started to breed in nest-boxes, and seven young were raised in captivity.

Bait was applied in June and July. This was an anxious time for the team. Heavy rain soon after the drop could easily disperse the bait, and uncertainties existed over whether the rats would take the bait or if too much natural food was available. These concerns were unfounded: the effect of the bait was immediate and dramatic. The rats simply vanished. On the first night they took the pellets back to their burrows and never re-emerged.

By August, rain and insects had dispersed the last remnants of bait and the release phase could begin. A cautious approach was taken. Cages were opened and birds allowed to make their own way to freedom. An intensive supplementary feeding programme then followed. However, the robins took the final phase in their stride with typical aplomb, taking tentative hops to freedom, followed by excited territorial displays, and breeding commenced within days of release.

The operation was highly successful. No losses were incurred during the rat eradication programme, and post-release survival and breeding success of the birds has been very high. Moreover, early indications suggest that rats have successfully been extirpated, although a year must elapse before Frégate can be officially declared rat-free. There are wider implications for biodiversity in the Seychelles. If the operations to clear Denis and Curieuse islands of alien predators prove to be successful, these islands could be suitable to receive populations of several endangered endemic birds. Given the success of this project, there are plans for further conservation work, including translocation of threatened birds, through the BirdLife Seychelles Avian Ecosystems Restoration Project.

Abridged from James Millet in World Birdwatch Vol. 23, No. 2 (June 2001)

Pheasant taxonomy: a cunning way to remove species from the Red List!

Ever since Edwards's pheasant (Lophura edwardsi) and the imperial pheasant (L. imperialis) were discovered in the Annamese lowlands of central Vietnam in the 1920s, they have proved to be enigmatic. Edwards's was never seen again in the wild until 1996, the captive population of imperial in Europe died out, and the only recent specimens from the wild date from 1990 and 2000. In 1975 another form in this genus from the same small area (<10,000 km2) was named as the Vietnamese pheasant (L. hatinhensis). In the 1995–99 edition of the Pheasant Action Plan, all three of these taxa were listed as Critical.

In 1998–99, Pamela Rasmussen (Smithsonian Institution and Michigan State University Museum) presented morphological and historical evidence from all existing specimen material of the imperial pheasant. She concluded that all the available data strongly supported a hybrid origin for the imperial, and involving the silver pheasant (L. nycthemera) as one of the parents. In response to her findings, Alain Hennache (National Museum of Paris) set about trying to mimic the crucial wild hybridisation events in captivity at Clères Zoo, using Edwards's ´ Berlioz's silver pheasant (L. n. berliozi) crosses. Three male offspring were obtained and moulted into their adult plumage during 2000. Two were very like the type-described imperial, and the third closely resembled the only two recent wild specimens of this taxon from Vietnam (both immature males). It is also worth noting that European aviculturalists `reconstructed' a line resembling the imperial after the demise of the original population founded on birds brought from Vietnam. Mitochondrial DNA sequences produced by Ettore Randi (Instituto Nazionale per la Fauna Selvatica, Italy) from the 2000 wild specimen suggest that this bird had a form of silver pheasant as its mother. The results of DNA microsatellite analyses, which should reveal the identity of the father as well as confirming that of the mother, are still awaited, but suspicion is focused on Edwards's pheasant.

Turning to the third of these taxa, the key diagnostic characteristic of the male Vietnamese pheasant is the presence of several white central tail feathers. Such white feathers have also been noted recently by Hennache in three captive specimens bred from Edwards's parents in France, the U.S.A. and Germany, and making these birds indistinguishable from Vietnamese pheasants. The populations producing these individuals are recognised to be highly inbred, and similar plumage variations have been noted in the small captive population of the closely-related Swinhoe's pheasant (L. swinhoei) in Australia.

An analysis of plumage variation in Vietnamese pheasants in captivity in Vietnam and Europe shows that the number of white tail feathers is variable and asymmetrical, with the extent of their development increasing with age. The feathers in question are not always fully white, sometimes being spotted or patched with brown. It appears that wild birds are as variable as captive-bred individuals in these respects, and a wild male trapped in 1999 even had some white wing feathering in addition.

All these observations are consistent with the notion that inbreeding in very small and isolated Edwards's populations may produce the birds that have thus far been classified as the Vietnamese pheasant. And the extreme levels of forest destruction and fragmentation that have been wrought in the Annamese lowlands provide exactly the circumstances in which this should be expected to happen repeatedly. This second hypothesis by Hennache, again based mainly on observations in captivity, is now also under investigation by Randi, using DNA sequence analysis on the largest sample of captive-bred and wild specimens that can be assembled.

Pending any definitive results, however, Edwards's and Vietnamese pheasants are classified as Endangered, and imperial is listed as Data Deficient, in the new edition of the Pheasant Action Plan for 2000–04 and the parallel BirdLife publication, Threatened Birds of the World. But the expectation must be that only one of these taxa, namely Edwards's pheasant, will survive (albeit Red Listed) for much longer!

Peter Garson, Chair, WPA/BirdLife/SSC Pheasant Specialist Group, in WPA News No. 65 (May 2001)

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Museums and zoos – the benefits of collaboration

When a zoo animal dies it is essential that we find out why, and in all good zoos post mortem examinations are carried out to establish what diseases and other problems animals had. However, after this there is an important role for these dead animals in research that can benefit endangered species whether in the wild or captivity.

The National Museums of Scotland have been working with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland for many years to preserve dead animal specimens. However, whereas in the past this mainly involved their use in educational displays, we have now also begun to use them actively in research including taxonomy, anatomy, molecular biology, ageing and population studies, and even archaeology. For example, the surplus Arabian oryxes from Edinburgh Zoo that were culled last year have all been preserved as skeletons in our collections. These are useful in ageing studies for comparison with reintroduced wild populations and for identifying bones from archaeological sites in the Middle East, which we have been supporting at the Universities of York and Durham.

At the museum, the animals are usually skinned and their skeletons are cleaned up. In the case of mammal skins, these are tanned using a commercial tanning agent called Lutan and are then dried flat and flexible, but bird skins are just cleaned and dried and made up in a traditional way for easy reference. Fleshed-out skeletons are cleaned up in a process called maceration: the bones are heated up in large stainless steel tanks at about 60–80° C with Persil automatic washing powder, which helps remove the flesh and grease. After soaking in bleach to kill off any enzymes, the bones are left to dry. Smaller skeletons are macerated in an incubator using a solution of sodium perborate. We also take a small muscle sample, which is preserved in a -40° C freezer; these samples are made freely available to molecular researchers who are eager to extract DNA for taxonomic and other studies. Sometimes, smaller specimens or some internal organs are preserved in ethanol or formalin to allow dissection of soft tissues in anatomical and histological studies. After the specimen has been prepared it is registered in the collection; in other words, it is given a unique number by which it can be readily identified in the future. In the case of zoo animals, we record also the dates of birth and death, studbook number and origin.

So having got our specimens on the shelf, what use are they? It would take a very long article to cover all the aspects of use of specimens in our collections, but one area which I am interested in is the effects of captivity on the morphology of animals. For example, compared with the wild, there may be significant differences in nutrition and activity in captivity, which may affect the development of the skull, teeth and skeleton. We are just beginning a collaboration with San Diego Zoo to look at the effect of different diets on captive cheetahs.

Recently, we carried out a research project in collaboration with the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Bristol Zoo on the endangered Rodrigues fruit bat, which is commonly kept in British zoos, to see the effects of captivity on its ability to fly. In the wild, fruit bats may fly many kilometres every night in search of fruiting trees. This is a level of activity that would be difficult to replicate in captivity, and until recently many fruit bats were kept in small enclosures where opportunities for flight were limited. This study is still continuing, but we have been examining the sizes of the flight muscles and the mechanical structure of the wing bones to see if these have developed differently in wild-caught compared with captive-bred bats. Although we found no differences (in other words, even wild bats adapted to a `couch potato' lifestyle), we found that, throughout their lives, the fruit bats accumulated body fat until about one third of their body weight was fat and they were probably incapable of flight. Now that some zoos, such as Chester, have built large flights for their fruit bats, it would be interesting to repeat this study in a few years' time to see if they have benefited from more exercise, as would be expected.

Another study we have undertaken recently was to look at bone and tooth diseases in captive bears. Bears usually live very long lives in zoos, but they are often kept in inappropriate enclosures. Over the last 20 years many British zoos, including the Highland Wildlife Park, have decided to no longer keep bears until they can provide suitable accommodation. When a bear is very old and moves around stiffly, it can sometimes be very difficult to decide whether it is in severe pain or not. Animals often try to hide their suffering to avoid being picked on by others.

Over the years, I had noticed that there were abnormalities in the bones of captive bears, including damaged canine teeth, abscesses in the jaw, bony growths and erosion of the joints on limb bones and vertebral columns. In collaboration with the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and Cologne Zoo, we examined the incidence of these problems in the skeletons of captive bears. We found that once over the age of 18, these problems occurred in more than 80% of captive bears, and all except one had some problem that probably caused severe pain. Consider for a moment that captive bears may live to be 50 years of age – that means that up to 60% of the animal's life may be spent in severe and increasing pain. Mary, a brown bear who was euthanased last year at the Highland Wildlife Park, had tooth problems that could and should have been treated, but her skeletal problems were too severe.

By doing studies like ours, we can help zoo curators and keepers make informed decisions about when and how to treat the problems of ageing, and when and whether to decide to euthanase an animal on welfare grounds. There is no point in keeping old animals alive for our benefit or for longevity records, if the individuals are likely to be suffering in silence.

Abridged from Dr Andrew Kitchener in Arkfile (Royal Zoological Society of Scotland) Vol. 10, No. 3 (Autumn 2001)

[Readers wishing to learn more about Dr Kitchener's zoo-related work should refer to his article `The role of museums and zoos in conservation biology', International Zoo Yearbook 35 (1997), pp. 325–336.]

Sandgrouse project for European zoos

A total of 30.60 chestnut-bellied sandgrouse (Pterocles exustus), confiscated in the United Arab Emirates, have been made available to EAZA zoos. It was agreed at the joint Avian TAG meeting in March 2001 that importation of these birds into the EAZA region would only be acceptable if there is a good chance of establishing a viable captive population of the species in the region, i.e. it must be possible to meet the species' captive husbandry requirements and there must be enough zoos willing to work with the species to offer some chance of maintaining it over the long term.

Representatives from three of the zoos present (Antwerp, Chester and Rotterdam) reported that their zoos had favourable experiences working with sandgrouse, although this group of birds has died out in European zoos, possibly because of the low numbers and dispersed efforts. S.A. Hinsley and D.J. Hockey wrote in the Avicultural Magazine [Vol. 95:2 (1989), pp. 62–73]: `As subjects for aviculture, sandgrouse are to be highly recommended. As seed eaters, they are relatively easy to feed, they cheerfully tolerate temperatures from 0° C to 45° C, they appear to be robust and resistant to diseases and parasites, they are long-lived, will breed in captivity, have few if any excessively bad habits, become tame and friendly if treated kindly and all have their own, highly individual personalities.'

Sandgrouse are best kept in small groups; one person suggested 3.3.0 as the most reasonable for captive situations. These birds are ground-dwelling and therefore are also very compatible with more arboreal species, and indeed have been held with a variety of species successfully. Some hand-rearing and parent-rearing information is available.

The greatest problem in housing these birds appears to be their tendency to erratically flush when startled, which occurs fairly frequently. Holding them in a soft aviary structure, clipping their wings and providing them with visual barriers in the middle of the enclosure are strategies that have been used to reduce likelihood of serious accidents. They are also reported to `soak up water like a sponge' and to become easily chilled when wet, although there does not seem to be any other direct links to health problems. Sand was suggested by one person as the best substrate to reduce wetting problems.

Sandgrouse are included within the EAZA TAG system in the Pigeon and Dove TAG. Anyone interested in collaborating in this attempt to establish sandgrouse in European zoos should contact Cathy King (Rotterdam Zoo) at e-mail

A unique combination of brutality and ignorance

Cairo Airport vets drowned a four-month-old gorilla `for fear it might have carried diseases that could spread to Egyptian animals'. The baby gorilla flew in from Lagos on 16 September with its owner, an Egyptian-Nigerian woman, who did not have a licence for taking an endangered species across international borders. Airport officials argued over what to do with the gorilla, with vets wanting to kill it and wildlife officers wanting to give it to Giza Zoo; however, the zoo does not have an enclosure for gorillas. The vets said they opted to drown the primate in a container filled with chemicals because of the risk that contaminated blood could be spilled if they chose another method.

It is not difficult to imagine what would have been the late John Aspinall's reaction to this appalling story. I well remember him arguing that the insistence on anthropoid apes being quarantined following international travel was pointless unless similar restrictions were also imposed on human beings, since these closely-related species suffer from a virtually identical range of diseases.

Nicholas Gould

A new technique for solving chromosome puzzles

There seemed to be nothing unusual about the sample that arrived from Kansas City Zoo one day last spring. A routine skin biopsy taken on a male Siberian tiger, Nick, during his annual health exam was sent to the cytogenetics lab at San Diego's Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES) so that the cells could become part of the living Frozen Zoo collection. But with the help of a new computer system, we would soon discover that Nick had a very unusual genetic abnormality.

Studying the chromosomes of rare and endangered species is similar to solving a puzzle. Every week, researchers in the cytogenetics lab can be found meticulously pairing the chromosomes of taxa as diverse as fruit bats, gorillas, sifakas and okapis to create karyotypes, or chromosome maps, specific to each species. These karyotypes reveal important information, such as the normal diploid chromosome number for a species, distinct differences that distinguish subspecies, and the presence – or absence – of genetic abnormalities in an individual.

On any given day, cells from 50 to 100 animals can be found growing in incubators in the cytogenetics lab. The cells are derived from small skin biopsies taken opportunistically during routine health exams and then sent to CRES from participating zoos throughout the United States, as well as from field research sites that include Argentina, Oman, Zimbabwe and Madagascar. Several weeks later, the cells have multiplied sufficiently and are then preserved in the Frozen Zoo, where they remain in a state of `suspended animation' indefinitely and are made available for a variety of research projects. As part of the documentation process each cell line is karyotyped to verify the sex and species. Occasionally, we find something unexpected, as in Nick's case.

Just before Nick's biopsy arrived in the lab, we acquired an innovative, multifunctional imaging system that allows computerized image capture, karyotyping, and archiving of chromosomes for any species. Similar systems for clinical analyses of human chromosomes have been available for several years, but because of the diversity of our animal samples, we required a system with the versatility to accommodate more than 375 species or subspecies with chromosome numbers ranging from 6 to 84! We were one of the first labs to use the newly developed software.

Before we acquired this computerized imaging system, each karyotype was produced by a labor-intensive process that involved photographing the cells on 35 mm film, developing and printing the film, and then cutting and pairing each chromosome manually. The new automated system allows much more rapid processing and analysis of the data, in part by eliminating the darkroom work, so it was possible to quickly see that Nick had 39 chromosomes instead of the expected 38 that is normal for tigers. Next, using the mouse instead of scissors, the chromosomes were paired according to distinct banding patterns and arranged into a karyotype – all on the computer screen.

It soon became clear that Nick's extra chromosome was a second X, one of the two types of sex chromosomes. This 39,XXY abnormality, never before documented in an exotic felid, meant that Nick was sterile, an unexpected finding that provides critical information for the Siberian tiger captive-breeding program. The efficiency of the imaging system makes it possible to produce and analyze data, as in Nick's case, in about half the time that the manual method required. In addition, the digital karyotypes can now be sent instantly by e-mail without reducing the resolution of the detailed chromosome banding that is critical for accurate analyses.

Perhaps one of the most important advantages gained from this computerized system is the ability to archive our unique karyotype collection, one of the largest of its kind. Previously, each manually-produced karyotype was organized by species and stored in one of over 100 black binders. This storage method not only requires a great deal of space but also makes the irreplaceable collection vulnerable to loss by fire. The new imaging system makes it possible to archive hundreds of karyotypes on a single DVD disc, which can then be duplicated and stored in several locations for safe-keeping.

Without the advanced technology provided by this unique imaging system, researchers in the CRES cytogenetics lab would not be able to perform karyotype studies on as many animals, and surprising findings like Nick's genetic abnormality could go undetected. We've come a long way from the early days of CRES in the 1970s, and this new technology is a great tool for solving chromosome puzzles of rare and endangered species.

Marlys Houck in CRES Report (Summer 2001)

Chimpanzees use meat to `buy' allies

Three major hypotheses have been suggested to explain why wild chimpanzees hunt and share meat – that they hunt to compensate for seasonal food shortages, that males hunt to obtain meat to swap for matings, or that males use meat as a social tool to develop and maintain alliances with other males. Observations of a group of chimpanzees at Ngogo in Kibale National Park, Uganda, did not support the food availability or meat-for-sex hypotheses, but did support the male social bonding hypothesis. Hunting occurred primarily during periods of food abundance rather than scarcity. The presence of oestrous females did not correlate with the tendency of males to hunt, and meat-for-sex exchanges rarely occurred. Males shared meat non-randomly and reciprocally among themselves, and exchanged meat for support in conflicts.

J.C. Mitani and D.P. Watts in Animal Behaviour Vol. 61 (2001), pp. 915–924

Potential medical uses of frog venom

Researchers at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, U.K., believe that molecules called peptides, secreted by many frog species to ward off predators, have enormous potential value in medicine. The team, headed by Professor Chris Shaw, have been investigating the properties of frog venoms for several years. They use very mild electrical stimulation to encourage the frogs to secrete their venom, which is then broken down into its component parts in the laboratory. After screening the venom, they are able to explore its medical potential, if any.

Peptides obtained from the giant Mexican leaf frog have been found to reduce blood pressure by 50% when administered in very low doses; the same frog also produces a peptide which stops blood from clotting, opening the way for new treatments for deep vein thrombosis. A tree frog from Australia has peptides which are effective in tackling conditions which are resistant to conventional antibiotics, an increasingly alarming problem in medicine; the peptides work in a novel way, embedding themselves in the membrane of the bacteria and effectively bursting the cell. Bacteria cannot become resistant to them. Molecules from a North American pond frog are similar to messenger molecules in the human body which are known to stimulate or inhibit the growth of cancer tumours. Other potential uses are in the fight against leukaemia and in reducing damage to bone marrow from chemotherapy treatment.

Abridged from HerpDigest Vol. 2, No. 7, a free, weekly, electronic newsletter on reptile and amphibian conservation and science (see

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Adelaide Zoo, South Australia

The zoo is an Associate of the University of Adelaide. The work of Dr Peter Hornsby, a Visiting Research Fellow at the university, is one example of the type of cooperation which is occurring between the two organizations. Dr Hornsby has just completed a two-year search for brush-tailed phascogales (Phascogale tapoatafa) – small, carnivorous marsupials with large bushy tails, the Australian equivalent of tree shrews – in suitable habitat in South Australia. None were found, and it seems certain that the species is now extinct in the state.

Dr Hornsby's work has come at an opportune time. The whole of South Australia is at present being covered by a Department for Environment biodiversity survey, and the department are keen to incorporate his data into the survey because, while his team have been looking for phascogales, they have effectively been sampling arboreal mammals. Other species detected by the sampling methods included the native yellow-footed antechinus, bush rat and ring-tailed possum, and introduced black rats were also common. The detection of these other species showed that Dr Hornsby was using effective techniques. These were `hair tubes', well known to wildlife researchers, in which PVC tubes of a suitable diameter are lined with double-sided adhesive tape. Each tube is baited in its centre and fixed to a tree trunk. Any animal entering the tube leaves hairs attached to the tape, and species can be identified by microscopic examination of a single hair. Dr Hornsby used 900 of these hair tubes in his survey, after spending some time developing the design with the help of phascogales at the zoo, and also at Healesville Sanctuary.

While the extinction of South Australia's phascogales now seems beyond doubt, it may not be permanent. Dr Hornsby hopes the next stage will be to give serious consideration to reintroducing the species. `That would require breeding colonies in the zoo,' he says. `Taking into account Adelaide Zoo's track record of breeding rare and endangered animals for reintroduction into the wild, this is a role we hope that the zoo would take on board.'

Meanwhile, Dr Hornsby's work with rock wallabies has already had a more positive result. There has been national interest in surrogacy trials at the zoo, in which young joeys of very rare brush-tailed rock wallabies (Petrogale penicillata) are transferred to the pouches of other wallaby species. These foster mothers rear them as their own, leaving the brush-tailed mothers free to bear additional young and swell the numbers of the dangerously small population.

Abridged from Rob Morrison in Zoo Times (Royal Zoological Society of South Australia) Vol. 17, No. 2 (June 2001)

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Ohio, U.S.A.

Cincinnati is proud to be the first zoo in 112 years to announce the birth of a healthy Sumatran rhinoceros calf. On 13 September, Emi, the 11-year-old female on loan from Los Angeles Zoo, delivered her calf, a male, in the privacy of her stall at Cincinnati Zoo.

On the afternoon of 12 September, Emi was observed pacing in the barn, and she did not eat as much as usual. As the night progressed she paced even more, and by morning appeared ready to begin serious labor. She did eat her breakfast, but then began pacing and getting up and down. She soon began to show signs of contractions, and at 9.20 a.m. her water broke. The calf was fully delivered by 11.23 a.m. Within the first five minutes, Emi began licking him, and soon after he attempted to stand. At three hours and 19 minutes after birth, he was successfully nursing. The next day he was examined and weighed 72.6 pounds [33 kg].

This achievement required years of research. Dr Terri Roth, director of the Zoo's Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW), used ultrasound technology and hormone analysis to understand the estrous cycle of the Sumatran rhino and to discover that these rhinos are induced ovulators (i.e., eggs are released from the ovary only after mating with a male). This critical finding helped solve the mystery of breeding this species in captivity. In addition, another challenge had to be overcome. Emi seemed incapable of carrying a pregnancy to term, losing five pregnancies within the first three months of gestation.

Since no information existed about pregnant Sumatran rhino hormone levels, it was not known if Emi's levels were adequate for sustaining a pregnancy. Therefore, it was decided to put her on a hormone supplement (progesterone) to see if this would solve the problem. Blood samples were analyzed and regular ultrasound exams were conducted to monitor and evaluate the progress of Emi's pregnancy. She had been taken off the supplemental hormone and was carrying the pregnancy by herself ten days before delivery.

This is a species on the brink of extinction, and the birth of this long-awaited calf is monumental to all conservationists who have been working so hard to save the Sumatran rhino. Emi and the zoo's male, Ipuh, are both on loan from the Indonesian government as part of a captive-breeding program established in 1984 as a cooperative effort among Malaysians, Indonesians and Americans, with four U.S. zoos (Bronx, Cincinnati, Los Angeles and San Diego) becoming involved.

At present, there are thought to be about 300 Sumatran rhinos left in the wild and only 15 in captivity. There has not been a successful breeding in captivity resulting in the birth of a live calf since 1889 at the Calcutta Zoo in India.

Emi was thought to be about one year old when she arrived at Los Angeles Zoo in November 1991. In response to recommendations from the Sumatran Rhino SSP, she was relocated to Cincinnati in 1995 in the hope that she would breed with Ipuh. `She is a curious and often playful animal who finds numerous ways to entertain herself,' says Dr Roth. `She is very amiable, but can display her spoiled side when she is hungry and breakfast is late. Her calm, cool attitude towards most everything leads me to believe she will make a wonderful mother.'

Two weeks after the birth, everything continues to go well. The calf now weighs 113 lbs [51 kg]. Emi is a perfect mother and the calf has been observed jumping around and playing. If all continues to go well and the weather is not too cold, we are planning on bringing both Emi and the calf outside in mid-October. It is our hope that representatives from Indonesia will be here – all the Sumatran rhinos in the United States are on loan from the Indonesian government, and it will be their honor to name this incredibly significant young animal.

Abridged from Cincinnati Zoo press releases

Gladys Porter Zoo, Brownsville, Texas

On 9 October, a female and two male white rhinos were mistakenly put together in an enclosure; there should have been two females and one male. The males went into a dominance display and began fighting, and 36-year-old Fred died in the scuffle. The keeper who put the males, Fred and 29-year-old Ben, in together immediately realized his mistake when he saw them begin to fight. He at once put the female rhino, 35-year-old Tilly, in with them. In the struggle the two males fell into the moat, and Fred was pushed into the deeper end and suffocated in the mud. After zoo staff rescued Ben from the moat, they were trying to move him into a barn when he charged them. He picked up and threw a maintenance worker, Juan Rodriguez, who broke his right leg, dislocated his left shoulder and severely sprained his left ankle.

Ben was eating hay several minutes after the incident. He was kept indoors the next day for observation but was apparently unaffected. Dr Don Farst, the zoo's managing director, said that some of Fred's tissue would be sent to researchers `to try to learn from the dead animal as much as they can.' The animal's remains will be buried on the zoo grounds.

Dallas Morning News (12 October 2001)

Healesville Sanctuary, Victoria, Australia

Between 1993 and 1998, a total of 77 orange-bellied parakeets (Neophema chrysogaster) died at Healesville. Post-mortem examinations of 41 of these initially failed to find the cause of death. However, after samples of kidney, liver and pancreas of 15 birds were analysed, significant levels of zinc were found, and this is thought to have been the most likely cause of death. The source of the excessive levels of zinc seems to have been the poor-quality, unpainted, galvanised wire mesh used in the construction of the aviaries. The effects can possibly be alleviated by painting the wire with good-quality paint which will not flake or chip, or by washing the wire with acetic acid (vinegar). Most significantly, though, when the wire was replaced with nylon mesh, during the first four months only one bird died (of an unrelated cause), and the previously low fertility (54–66% during 1995–1998) increased to 86%.

Peter Holz in Australian Aviculture (January 2001), reported in Avicultural Magazine Vol. 107, No. 2 (2001)

Highland Wildlife Park, Kincraig, Scotland, U.K.

Over many years, staff at the park have been perfecting the techniques for breeding two threatened native galliform species, the capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) and black grouse (Tetrao tetrix). Preparations for the breeding season began this year in mid-April, with both cock capercaillies in full lek. Our capercaillies have three enclosures. The front two have one male in each, while the five females have the run of all three by way of access holes big enough for them to pass through but too small for the males. This is an ideal set-up for the breeding season, giving all the females their choice of male.

Nests were set up this year in the rear enclosure out of sight of visitors, giving the females a nice quiet area in which to lay their eggs. The food for all the birds is in the front two enclosures, so the hens must visit the cocks in order to feed.

Meanwhile, our black grouse cocks did not seem to be keen on lekking at all. Each breeding group consists of one cock and three hens who have the run of three units. Although the cocks and hens could see each other through the dividing mesh and across the lobby, there was still no displaying. So Jeremy Usher Smith, the Park Manager, decided to attach mirrors to the wall at the birds' eye level. Within a day, the sound in the breeding unit was amazing and the birds were a sight to behold – the males were strutting in front of the females and attacking the mirrors!

We have learned, over the years, that the management of black grouse and capercaillie is much the same. Nests are set up with grass and blaeberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) turfs forming a bowl-shaped base. On top of the bowl, dried grass and moss are added and again shaped to form a perfect nest. Sitka spruce, pine and noble fir branches are formed over the nests giving the birds total privacy.

Luckily, the park's location means that we can provide the birds with fresh pine, spruce, willow, rose-bay willow-herb (Chamaenerion angustifolium), fresh grass turfs, heather and many more natural foods throughout spring and summer. We also feed them chopped apple and carrot sprinkled with a nutrient supplement (SA37), whole cabbage (if we chop it they will not eat it), oats, wheat, grit and maintenance pellets which provide protein. Protein levels are very hard to get right, and lessons are learned each breeding season. Capercaillie and black grouse put on weight very quickly, and we keep a close watch on the percentage of protein levels. Just before introducing the birds to their breeder pellets, which are slightly higher in protein than normal maintenance pellets, we worm the birds. Fluvenvet worming powder is mixed with the dry food and fed for one week, after which the birds move on to the breeding pellets.

Alongside all this activity with the capercaillie and black grouse, we have our collection of all shapes and sizes of domestic hens. They are deloused and wormed just before leaving them in peace so that they will lay lots of eggs and eventually go broody. These hens make fantastic foster mothers, as capercaillie in particular make poor mothers. We go by the size of the hen – big fat fluffy-bottomed ones are fine for capercaillie eggs and little bantams are perfect for black grouse. When the hens go broody, we snatch them from the hen house and set them up in their own small room in the breeding unit. Straw nests behind wooden boards are perfect for the hen to first settle in on her own eggs.

This year the capercaillies began laying on 30 April, and the black grouse – who are always later – on 10 May. We stole the eggs from both lots of birds and swapped them for hens' eggs, encouraging the birds to keep laying. This year we found that if the hens' eggs were boiled in tea they turned out looking very like the `real' eggs! Once a batch of eight was collected, we put them under the broody hen. It was then just a matter of waiting for hatching. Incubation takes 26–28 days for both species.

A few days before the chicks were due to hatch, we set up heat lamps in the units as an extra precaution, giving the chicks a warm spot if they wandered away from the hen. Once the chicks hatched, they were fed hard-boiled egg yolk mashed with chick crumbs for the first three days, then egg white, yolk and crumb, then, after phasing out the yolk by the end of the first week, just the crumb. Also, right from the start, the chicks were fed willow, pine, spruce, grass turfs, rosebay willowherb, blaeberry and heather turfs, chopped apple and carrot with SA37. As a back-up, and only if we have no broodies, we have our still-air incubator on standby – but nothing is as good as a broody hen.

At the time of writing – July – we are still very busy. The first chicks to hatch were a batch of three capercaillies on 4 June. Out of a total of 32 capercaillie eggs being incubated we have, to date, ten chicks. Most of the eggs were infertile, and sadly five chicks died shortly after hatching. One in particular lived for twelve days, but the old familiar problem cropped up – it grew too quickly and went off its legs. We are still waiting for seven to hatch.

A number of the black grouse eggs were also infertile, and a few weak chicks died shortly after hatching. We have at the moment a total of ten chicks living, and are still waiting on eleven incubating.

Morag Sellar in Arkfile (Royal Zoological Society of Scotland) Vol. 10, No. 3 (Autumn 2001)

Loro Parque, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

The hand-rearing of parrots is a fundamental captive management technique and, in many cases, the only possible course of action when chicks have been rejected by their parents. Making use of the great number of birds held at Loro Parque, a study was carried out in order to establish the growth rates of parent-raised chicks of psittacids and compare them with growth rates obtained from chicks fed by hand. The study was carried out during two breeding seasons, and the weights of a total of 59 individuals of different species, reared by their parents, were taken. Data for hand-raised chicks were obtained directly from Loro Parque's nursery, where they are weighed every day.

Although many growth rates of different hand-raised species of psittacids have been published, there are not many publications that compare the growth rates of hand-raised chicks with parent-raised ones. Data available for red-fronted macaws and palm cockatoos suggest strong differences in growth rates between parent-rearing and hand-rearing. Echo parakeets fostered by ring-necked parakeets had higher growth rates, a higher maximum weight, and higher fledging weight than hand-raised chicks of the same species.

The growth rates of parent-raised and hand-raised chicks were established for the following taxa: Ara maracana, Ara rubrogenys, Aratinga solstitialis, Cacatua leadbeateri, Cacatua tenuirostris, Pionites melanocephala, Poicephalus robustus, Pyrrhura egregia, Pyrrhura perlata and Eclectus roratus polychloros. For the selection of species two criteria were followed: only species with non-aggressive pairs and with a high number of individuals hand-raised at Loro Parque were used.

The chicks' weights were recorded twice a week between 8 and 9 a.m. Data were taken at the same time as food was served, to take advantage of the time when the parents came out of the nest. When the chicks had food in their crop, the approximate weight was estimated by filling small latex pouches with a known amount of the same seed mixture and matching the volume of the crop with one of the pouches. The chicks that showed problems during the study (malnutrition, feather-plucking) were transferred to a hand-rearing centre where they could finish their growth.

We only consider here data from two species, red-fronted macaw (Ara rubrogenys) and crimson-bellied conure (Pyrrhura p. perlata). We found that although parent-raised chicks initially grow faster, hand-raised chicks eventually reach similar body weights and can be successfully weaned. Among suggested reasons for the observed differences in growth rates are a difference in the way the parents feed their chicks, the presence of symbiotic bacteria and/or an unknown growth factor (`crop milk') in the parents that is transferred to the chicks, or possible nutritional deficiencies in the hand-feeding diets. An additional factor might be stress associated with hand-rearing.

Some of the conure chicks were with their parents during their first seven days of life and then, for various reasons, were hand-raised until weaning. The growth of these chicks was practically the same as that of chicks raised exclusively by their parents. This result supports the theories about the transmission of some type of growing factor from adults to chicks through the crop in the early days of rearing, although we have not carried out any study confirming this factor.

Ana Navarro and Ignacio Castañon in Cyanopsitta No. 60 (March 2001)

Moscow Zoo, Russia

At the end of June 2001, two giant pandas arrived on loan for the summer season, as a gesture of friendship between Beijing and Moscow Zoos, continuing a long but sometimes difficult association between two great nations.

The 19-year-old female Wen-Wen (Studbook No. Peking 28) and four-year-old male Ben-Ben (Peking 55), accompanied by four specialists – a veterinarian, two keepers and a translator (fluent in English, Russian and French) – were accommodated in the beautifully renovated Carnivore Pavilion in the old part of the zoo, not far from the entrance. Some foodstuffs, in particular rice porridge, were brought from China with the animals; but palatable Phyllostachys spp. bamboo was obtainable in and around Moscow.

Both Ben-Ben and Wen-Wen are the only survivors of twin litters. Wen-Wen has been loaned out within China three times before between 1992 and 1997, but this is her first foreign assignment!

These two are not the first giant pandas to be exhibited in Moscow Zoo's long history. The males Ping-Ping and the famous An-An arrived in the late 1950s, dying on 29.5.61 and 18.10.72 respectively. Both can still be viewed in a glass case in the Zoological Museum in Moscow.

Chris Brack

Münster Zoo (Allwetterzoo), Germany

In 1997, planning started for a new orang-utan enclosure on the site of the old polar bear exhibit. The new enclosure forms part of the concept `Allwetterzoo 2000 Plus', which will include `four parks in one': primate park, horse and children's park, elephant park and sea park. The outdoor exhibit for the 1.3 Bornean orangs is structurally varied and contains many plants. A weather-resistant giant root from Alaska, several oak treetops between 8 and 10 m in height and a live ten-metre plane tree offer about 1,000 m3 of accessible climbing space. Live trees which are not designated for climbing are protected from the orangs with bark-like painted aluminium plates. Moreover, the trees are secured by a special process with tight cables running under the floor, since normal tree stabilization with guy-ropes in the air would put the apes at risk. Natural rocks – e.g. Hönnetal limestone and three Vietnamese river marble blocks weighing four to eight tons – are placed around a waterfall and linked to a landscape of artificial rockwork ending in a water-filled moat which forms the barrier between humans and animals. The moat is partially filled with gravel to reduce its depth for the safety of the orangs. It is planted to look natural, and is used by the oriental small-clawed otters who share the exhibit.

The indoor part of the exhibit forms a tropic hall covering an area of 500 m2 and measuring between 8 (eaves) and 14 (ridge) m high. Here, artificial rockwork is used to create the impression of a natural river bank. Tropical plants line the visitor area and the back of the exhibit. The gap between trees and exhibit barriers is always a minimum of 3.5 m: this is considered to be wide enough, since orangs move hand over hand or swing but do not jump. Electric wire provides additional safety and is placed beyond the apes' normal reach. The roof is made from three layers of transparent Teflon sheeting, supported on round and T-shaped beams reaching 14 m at the highest point. The Teflon permits 95% diffusion of all light wavelengths supporting plant growth. In addition, the orangs profit from the roof's transparency when staying indoors for longer periods during the winter. Some roof segments can be opened for ventilation. In order to prevent escapes by the tropical birds (magpie robin, blue-backed fairy bluebird, black-crested bulbul, golden-fronted leafbird, black-headed starling, black-headed oriole and pale-bellied white-eye) inhabiting the hall, these openings are covered with a 15-mm mesh net. On the outside the entire roof is screened with netting to prevent intrusion by jackdaws and other wild birds. Out of sight of visitors are four boxes for holding individuals separate for veterinary treatment or before introduction.

The tropic hall is planted with more than 50 tropical plant species. Among the most distinctive are two species of palm, Caryota mitis and Cyrtostachys renda. Oak tree tops of up to 9 m high are installed in the natural soil, providing about 300 m3 of climbing space. Climbing opportunities high up are much more important for this tree-living species than the indoor ground area of 160 m2. As with the outdoor enclosure, a moat separates visitors and animals, and is used by the otters. To get outside, both species use the same swinging doors, which are kept closed for weather protection but can be easily opened by both orangs and otters. To prevent the blocking of an entrance or exit by a dominant animal each of the three areas, outdoor exhibit, indoor exhibit and boxes, has two doors. Orangs are very skilful and have a lot of persistence, so all screws in the animal area are specially secured.

A bark-covered path takes visitors through the densely-planted hall, and in order to see the `forest people' climbing freely in the trees, visitors can stand on a lookout platform six metres up on top of an artificial strangler fig. The walk around the outdoor exhibit is also thickly planted, with bamboo creating a jungle-like environment.

The indoor climate simulates that of the Asian rainforest, with temperatures of 22° C by day and 2–3° C less at night. Humidity is kept at around 80%. This climate is created by using a waterfall, sprinklers, a heating system with static radiators in the visitor area, air heating in the animal area, and heating pipes in the back wall. The water in the moat is heated to 24° C from under the floor; this adds to the humidity, since the water is hotter than the surrounding air. Plants are watered with warm recycled water which is distributed by sprinklers under the roof and on the back wall of the exhibit as well as by pipes in the soil. In order to prevent the orangs from going outside with wet fur, sprinklers are only situated at the rear of the exhibit.

Abridged and adapted from the Münster Zoo presentation in the ZooLex Gallery at (see the article by Monika Fiby, above, pp. 438–443). [Visitors to the website will find many more technical details and numerous colour photos of this exhibit – Ed.]

Owl Centre (World Owl Trust), Muncaster Castle, Cumbria, U.K.

Ninety per cent of the 171 bird species and subspecies lost in historical times lived on islands. For this reason the World Owl Trust pays particular attention to endangered species of owls faced with a similar fate. Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) in the Greater Antilles island group in the Caribbean Sea has a total area of just 76,200 km2 but is home to four owl taxa found nowhere else on earth – the ashy-faced owl (Tyto glaucops), the Hispaniola short-eared owl (Asio flammeus domingensis), the Hispaniola stygian owl (A. stygius noctipetens) and the Hispaniola burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia troglodytes). All of these are in danger due to the burgeoning human population in Hispaniola, which has exploded from c. five million in 1950 to c. 16 million in 1999, inevitably resulting in much loss of natural habitat. In February 1999, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the Dominican Republic government and the Society for the Conservation and Research of Owls, an organisation affiliated to the World Owl Trust, with the goal of enhancing the populations of owl species and subspecies endemic to Hispaniola.

By far the most endangered species on Hispaniola is the ashy-faced owl, once thought to be a race of the barn owl but now regarded as a full species. It inhabits areas covered in scrubby trees where caves exist for it to nest in, whereas barn owls are very much open-country birds. Unfortunately Hispaniola has been invaded by the much larger and more powerful American barn owl (T. alba pratincola), which is able to take a wider range of prey than the endemic owl. As the island's trees have been chopped down, this has created ideal habitat for the barn owl at the expense of the more specialised ashy-faced owl. Conservation breeding programmes now seem to be the main hope of saving this unique bird from extinction.

Efforts began in 1990 when six wild-caught birds were brought from the Dominican Republic to Germany by Walsrode Bird Park, who then sent them to their breeding centre in Mallorca, Spain. Unfortunately the birds consisted of just one female and five males, which meant that only one breeding pair could be made up. In 1995, however, six (1.5) birds hatched, giving the opportunity to create six pairs. Some of these were distributed to other collections, and an international studbook was started to ensure that maximum benefit could be achieved by mixing the bloodlines of the six founders.

Since 1995, 15 owlets have hatched, but sadly only two of these were females. Of the entire European population of 24, only seven are females, which means that only seven potential breeding pairs exist, one of which consists of siblings, rendering it unsuitable for the breeding programme. Two pairs have yet to breed. We are therefore delighted to report the successful breeding of two ashy-faced owls at the Owl Centre, our first and the first U.K. breeding involving one of the wild founders. We are now obviously praying that both turn out to be females!

Abridged from Tony Warburton in World Owl Trust News Bulletin (Summer 2001)

Rainforest Habitat, Lae, Papua New Guinea

We have now micro-chipped our 21 tree kangaroos (and our six echidnas – three long-nosed and three short-nosed). We have three joeys at the moment, two Matschie's and one Goodfellow's. Some Australian zoos have inquired about getting tree kangaroos, and I have suggested that perhaps a national proposal to import some specimens into Australia be given to the Papua New Guinea government. Certainly we are now breeding to excess and need homes for these animals.

We have recently added two new exhibits, one for New Guinea quolls (Dasyurus albopunctatus) and one for three of the more spectacular birds of paradise, Princess Stephanie's, blue and emperor (Astrapia stephaniae, Paradisaea rudolphi and P. guilielmi). Our collection of birds of paradise now numbers nearly 100 specimens representing 13 species. Already the female Stephanie's is nesting in the new exhibit.

Our Victoria crowned pigeons have raised three young (separately) and are sitting again at the time of writing. We currently have about 20 specimens – some awaiting DNA sexing results, as are our four single-wattled cassowaries and four dwarf cassowaries, which we hope to introduce to each other soon.

The `tenkile' (Scott's tree kangaroo, Dendrolagus scottae) project in Sandaun Province is now well under way, with the appointment of a National Project Officer. He has visited the Lumi area and has been given assurances of cooperation and a continuance of the current hunting moratorium. We hope soon to begin the establishment of the Tenkile Research Centre at Lumi. Local people are keen to see development in this largely neglected district, and are hoping this project will bring attention to their area. We estimate that there are fewer than 200 specimens of this tree kangaroo left on the planet, none being in captivity. People, zoos or companies interested in sponsoring this most worthwhile project may contact me at the Rainforest Habitat, Unitech Lae (e-mail: An NGO called the Tenkile Conservation Alliance has been established to carry out the recovery program with help from the local stakeholders.

Abridged from Peter Clark in Thylacinus Vol. 25, No. 2 (2001)

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

Births and hatchings during the period July to September 2001 were as follows: 2.1 Amur tiger (DNS), 3 black-footed cat, 1 troupial, 2 red-legged honey creeper, 3 blue-winged leafbird (DNS), 3 toco toucan (1 DNS), 4 Taveta golden weaver, 1 pink-necked fruit dove, 4 superb starling (2 DNS), 2 snow-crested robin chat, 1 keel-billed toucan, 3 green tree monitor, 19 Henkel's leaf-tailed gecko, 11 giant leaf-tailed gecko (1 DNS), 3 western chuckwalla, 1 Chinese crocodile lizard, 5 black-headed python, 7 twig snake and 56 gold-spotted poison-dart frog.

The following were acquired: 1.1 magpie robin, 0.1 hooded pitta, 1.0 northern hawk-headed parrot, 0.1 pheasant pigeon, 1.1 Arakan forest turtle, 5 Sulawesi forest turtle, 2 Atlantic loggerhead turtle, 1.1 Yemeni blue agama, 1.0 western fence lizard, 2.1 crevice spiny lizard, 1.0 blue spiny lizard, 1.0 western collared lizard, 2 waxy tree frog, 2 gopher frog, 2 bog turtle, 1 octopus, 10 lined seahorse.

Alan H. Shoemaker, Collection Manager

Rostock Zoo, Germany

The old monkey house at Rostock had housed monkeys for 30 years without undergoing any renovation or changes. Parts of the building even dated from the turn of the century when the zoo was started. In 1997, after some of the species had been moved to new enclosures, the old building was ready to be replaced. The new South America House was designed to use the maximum available space between existing exhibits and the historic dahlia garden. An existing 80-year-old silver birch was incorporated into the design, with the building forming a semicircle around the tree. Cotton-top tamarins and visitors share the courtyard, and a balcony-like walkway marks the edge of the building and the border of the capuchin monkeys' outdoor exhibit. Visitors can view the monkeys from two levels, from the ground and from the walkway at roof level. People are often surprised by the low (1.2 m) fence: but the monkeys found out quickly how unpleasant it is to touch the inconspicuous electric wire, and prefer to make use of the area inside the fence. At the moment the exhibit houses 3.7 capuchins, 4.0 coatis, 3.7 cotton-top tamarins, 3.1 common marmosets and 1.1 chestnut-fronted macaws.

On the grounds of the outdoor exhibit there was an existing stand of spruce and Douglas fir. Since these trees are mature the monkeys have not damaged them so far. An existing hazel tree is protected by electric wire. The space along the path between the enclosure and the barrier is planted with shrubs of different heights. This prevents visitors from seeing the exhibit from all along the path and allows views from certain points; where high plants block the view on one side of the path, visitors turn to exhibits on the other side until another viewing opportunity opens to the monkey exhibit. Thorny roses keep visitors on the path.

The group of ten capuchins live in a generous indoor room which can be viewed by visitors through two large glass panels. The capuchins and coatis can also make use of an outdoor enclosure furnished with tall climbing trees connected by dead branches, a pond, climbing nets and ropes. The marmosets also have access to this enclosure, but they don't use it very much; recently, they have been given access to the courtyard with the birch, which they share with the cotton-top tamarins. The birch is very popular for play, but a sleeping box mounted in the tree is rarely used – the monkeys prefer to sleep in their boxes inside the building. There are now plans to add black-mantled tamarins (Saguinus nigricollis) to the common marmoset exhibit.

Abridged and adapted from the Rostock Zoo presentation in the ZooLex Gallery at (see the article by Monika Fiby, above, pp. 438–443) [Visitors to the website will find many more technical details and numerous colour photos of this exhibit – Ed.]

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

In May, the zoo unveiled a new touchscreen apparatus designed to study the effects of choice and enrichment on orang-utans and grizzly bears. Several studies show that animals that are given some active control over their environment have significantly lower levels of stress than animals with no enrichment opportunities. The `Microtouch thru-glass', developed by the Allied Group, enables researchers to teach the animals a basic language through the use of lexigrams. Each symbol represents a noun, such as a piece of food, a picture, or a sound. Each lexigram gives the animal the opportunity to view a short video, listen to various sounds, and choose different food items. Eventually, the animals will be able to play a matching game with members of the public, in which zoo visitors will see and hear what the orang-utans choose. These devices have never before been tested on grizzly bears. The zoo intends to install them in the grizzly habitat, however, in the hope of collecting valuable cognitive data. The touchscreens will give the bears the option to hear and view different stimuli, as well as choosing food rewards by touching the screen with their noses.

AZA Communiqué (July 2001)

South Lakes Wild Animal Park, U.K.

This zoo is situated in the foothills of the Lake District at Dalton in Furness, Cumbria, in the north of England. Focusing on large mixed exhibits and open environments, the zoo was an idea created and developed solely by David S. Gill. At the time of its construction back in 1993/4, he was an animal nutritionist with no connections to zoos, but a desire to see education and conservation brought into the public awareness by the reality of a close, wild experience for all to react to, in order to assist worldwide conservation issues. He built the zoo with his own hands and to this day still designs all the facilities, now with the help and assistance of the large staff.

The zoo opened to the public on 28 May 1994. During 1995, 55,000 visitors entered and experienced the development of the antelope facilities and lemur enclosures. In this year free-ranging lemurs became a feature of the zoo. The following season, with visitor numbers growing to 101,000, was the `year of the tiger' at South Lakes, seeing the arrival of our first tiger, Toba, a Sumatran, who took up residence on 1 April 1996, followed in December by two Amur tigers, Egor and Nina. Fund-raising now started for tiger conservation in the wild.

In 1997 we opened the Australian Experience, a large natural `bush' walk-through area with large numbers of kangaroos, wallabies and bird species. This was our first major move into becoming the largest collection of macropod species anywhere in the world. Cheetahs also first arrived during this year, when 150,000 people visited the zoo.

The arrival of the rhinos took place in March 1998, a significant step in the development of the African region in the zoo.

1999 saw the major development of the primate house and facilities. Ground-breaking electric fencing and open environments give all the primates a unique facility within this zoo with no cages at all. There were 220,000 visitors this year.

Our giraffe facilities were completed and the giraffes arrived in March 2000, giving visitors to the zoo the sight of Africa – giraffe, rhinos, zebra and antelope all together. With another significant increase in visitors, the zoo won the award for the top attraction for all-round excellence in the Lake District in both 1999 and 2000.

During 2001 the zoo saw continued development. It is still, as far as we are aware, the only zoo in the U.K. which holds two pure subspecies of tiger. Our Amur and Sumatran tigers are within the EEP, but their main focus is to help highlight the problems these magnificent animals are facing in the wild. Here at South Lakes Wild Animal Park our priority mission has always been to actively take part in and fund direct conservation action in situ. David Gill is the founding trustee of the internationally active charity, the Sumatran Tiger Trust, raising not only awareness but large amounts of money (US$340,000 and rising) to finance and support the Sumatran Tiger Project in Sumatra (a partnership between the Sumatran Tiger Trust and the Tiger Foundation). Our tigers in the zoo are challenged each day, for they have to utilise all their senses and dexterity in a unique method of behavioural enrichment to feed themselves. They are encouraged to utilise all the strength and power they possess to climb poles to gain their food and to `hunt' for the meat in various hiding places. This system has been in place for five years and has created amazingly fit and active `wild' tigers.

South Lakes also houses the largest and most varied collection of Australian macropods in Europe, nine species in all, including the only groups of tammar (Macropus eugenii), river sand (M. agilis) and swamp (Wallabia bicolor) wallabies in the U.K. Other rarities such as the brush-tailed rock wallaby (Petrogale penicillata), long-nosed potoroo (Potorous tridactylus) and brush-tailed bettong (Bettongia penicillata) share this region, along with large mobs of red kangaroos (Macropus rufus), western grey kangaroos (M. fuliginosus) and white-throated wallabies (M. parma). All but one of these species has bred successfully in this mixed area.

Currently at South Lakes we are involved in 35 international breeding programmes, and in particular play an important role as the coordinator for the Geoffroy's cat (Oncifelis geoffroyi) EEP, the lar gibbon (Hylobates lar) ESB and the kangaroos ESB (including seven studbooks). We are proud to be an active member of EAZA.

Another striking feature of this relatively new zoo is the free-flying parrot collection, with a large self-sustaining flock of Patagonian conures (Cyanoliseus patagonus) and three species of large macaws.

Our free-ranging lemur colonies have been developing over the past five years, and five species/subspecies have become accustomed to living a truly `wild' existence within the boundaries of the zoo, including white-fronted brown lemurs (Eulemur fulvus albifrons) and black lemurs (Eulemur macaco macaco). In 2001 births in these groups included six ring-tailed lemurs, six red ruffed lemurs and one black-and-white ruffed lemur.

Other exciting developments include a large outdoor free-flight area for Rodrigues fruit bats, giving visitors a sunlit experience of these animals feeding and flying around a well-planted enclosure. At present this exhibit holds an all-male colony under the management of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

The zoo's owner, David S. Gill, is in the process of developing a new zoo project in tropical north Queensland, Australia, which will link its management and in situ and ex situ conservation efforts with those of South Lakes Wild Animal Park, promoting conservation of the environment in both hemispheres with equal enthusiasm. Readers can find further information at

Grahame Smith, B.Sc. (Hons), P.G.C.E.,

Education Officer

Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde,


During recent weeks the Tierpark could record some welcome breeding successes in the bird section. Three crane species have offspring this year. Besides two red-crowned cranes (Grus japonensis), which hatched in June and are being reared by their parents, and two demoiselle cranes (Anthropoides virgo), which also hatched in June and are growing up with a foster mother, a bantam hen, the Tierpark succeeded in breeding and rearing a Siberian white crane (G. leucogeranus). This success is a first for the Tierpark and, after those at Vogelpark Walsrode, the second in Germany. Two pairs of Siberian cranes have lived here since 1992 and 1994 respectively. All four birds arrived here via Walsrode; one male hatched at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin, U.S.A. The other three adult birds were bred at Walsrode. In spite of taking part in mating displays they had never produced offspring, and we therefore decided to try artificial insemination this year, which was successful. On 22 September a Siberian crane chick hatched under a turkey hen and is being reared by the foster mother without problems. Another Siberian crane chick died during hatching on 29 May.

We are grateful to the Cracid Breeding Center, Zutendaal, Belgium, for their assistance in the artificial insemination.

Dr Bernhard Blaszkiewitz

Ueno Zoo, Tokyo, Japan

The Brahminy blind snake (Ramphotyphlops braminus) is widely distributed in the tropics. Its northern limit in Japan is the southern part of Kyushu, but it is now also found in the Izu Islands as an introduced species. Shortly after the vivarium was opened at Ueno Zoo in July 1999, specimens caught on Hachijojima Island and elsewhere were received, so it was decided to build an exhibit for them. [This species, also known as the `flowerpot snake', is thought to have spread by stowing away among the roots of plants being transported around the world. – Ed.]

An artificial ant nest was constructed of plaster of Paris inside an aquarium. Observation showed that the snakes became active around 7.00 p.m. They were disturbed by a flashlight, but did not seem to mind the illumination of a darkroom safety light. As they became used to their new environment, brighter illumination could be used, as long as it was not too bright, and they would even feed in the light.

For food, various small arthropods were tested, but the snakes reacted best to termites, so they were fed termites collected on the zoo grounds. When termites are introduced into the artificial nest, the snakes react to the smell and movement, and begin searching, flicking their tongues in and out. When a snake's body makes contact with a termite, it presses it against the wall of the tunnel and seizes it in its mouth. They almost always begin swallowing the termite from the abdominal end, and when they reach the head they bite it off and drop it. About 30 or 40 termites are introduced into the exhibit every five to seven days. About 20 of these are eaten immediately, and the rest are left alone for two or three days.

Brahminy blind snakes are all females, and they reproduce by parthenogenesis. Three eggs were observed being laid on 9 July 2000. The eggs measured 4 mm by 16 mm, which is very large for a snake only 150–180 mm long and 2 mm in diameter. In the beginning the eggs were milky white, but became black at the centre as the days passed, reminding one of silkworm cocoons. The babies took a whole day to hatch out, all three emerging safely on 25 August. They measured 65–70 mm in total length.

English summary of article in Japanese by Ryohei Komaya, published in Animals and Zoos Vol. 53, No. 6 (June 2001)

News in brief

Emmen Zoo, the Netherlands, wants thousands of plates and cups for its cafeteria which can be cleaned and fed to animals after use. The zoo is looking for a commercial partner in South America to produce the tableware from banana leaves. It sees the project as an environmentally sound solution – banana producers would be able to get rid of their waste, jobs would be created in South America, waste would be avoided at the zoo and food provided for its animals. Officials want to use the first banana crockery next year; if the product proves successful, the zoo is considering bringing it on to the market.

* * * * *

Two elderly gorillas who were becoming listless have discovered a new appetite for life with an allotment. Samba and Nico, both aged 40, have lived on an island at Longleat Safari Park, U.K., for 15 years since being acquired from a circus in Switzerland. Up to now, keeper Mark Tye, has tried to add interest to their diet by hiding fruit and vegetables around the island for them to find; but then it occurred to him that he could go one stage further by planting vegetables such as carrots, cabbages and maize around the island. As they grew, Nico and Samba would be able to dig them out of the ground exactly as they would in the wild. The scheme has been a success, except that the gorillas are too impatient to wait for the vegetables to grow to a decent size before eating them.

* * * * *

Reinhard Reynisson, the mayor of Husavik in north-east Iceland, is thinking of importing crocodiles for waste disposal and as a tourist attraction. `This is not a joke,' he says. `We are looking into it seriously.' He was inspired by an article in a magazine describing a Colorado waste-disposal scheme using crocodiles. The idea is to keep the crocodiles in the geothermal water that is used for domestic heating and to produce electricity in the town. [As Husavik is a fishing port, much of the waste would presumably be fish residues. – Ed.]

* * * * *

Brazil is stepping up pressure for the repatriation of three Lear's macaws that have been in Britain since 1998. The macaws were among the birds confiscated from breeder Harry Sissen [see I.Z.N. 48 (6), p. 359]. According to the Brazilian environmental agency, IBAMA, there are an estimated 246 Lear's macaws left in the wild, up from 132 in 1999. `We have waited and now we want our macaws back,' says an IBAMA spokesperson. `They are endemic to Brazil and this is the way it works under international laws. We have already received Lear's macaws back from France and Singapore.'

* * * * *

For three nights, between 6 p.m. and 4 a.m., a caller plagued staff at Blair Drummond Safari Park, Stirling, Scotland, phoning them up to a dozen times in a row. Each time, the noise down the line was the same: heavy breathing and an occasional sniff. If you put the phone down, he called straight back. Finally, when Bob Fotheringham, the park manager, was on the point of contacting the police, the mystery caller gave the game away by letting out a loud shriek. When staff searched their chimpanzees' island enclosure, they found a mobile phone hidden in the straw bedding. Chippy, an 11-year-old male, had taken the phone from his keeper's pocket, and it is thought that random jabs at the buttons gave him access to the stored numbers of staff; he could then call repeatedly by pressing the redial button. He is believed to have shrieked because he recognised the voice of one of his keepers.

* * *


Adloff, A.: Postwertzeichen mit Motiven aus dem Tierpark. (Postage stamps with themes from Tierpark Berlin.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 3 (2001), pp. 335–339. [German, no English summary.]

Blaszkiewitz, B.: Afrikanum IV – ein neues Haus für Niedere Affen im Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde. (A new house for lower primates at Tierpark Berlin.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 5 (2001), pp. 303–309. [German, no English summary.]

Blaszkiewitz, B.: Friedrichsfelder Giraffen-Chronik – Nachtrag 1996–2000. (Giraffes at Tierpark Berlin – supplement 1996–2000.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 3 (2001), pp. 298–301. [German, no English summary.]

Bouman, I.: The reintroduction of Przewalski horses in the Hustain Nuruu mountain forest steppe reserve in Mongolia: an integrated conservation development project. Gazella Vol. 27 (2000), pp. 27–51.

Bullock, J., Kuker, T., Porter, J., and Ozburn, D.: The evolution of elephant management at the Lee Richardson Zoo. Journal of the Elephant Managers Association Vol. 11, No. 1 (2000), pp. 58–69. [Documents this Kansas zoo's switch from a free to a protected elephant management system.]

Carmichael, T.: Captive husbandry and rehabilitation of the striped possum Dactylopsila trivirgata picata in far north Queensland. Thylacinus Vol. 25, No. 2 (2001), pp. 2–7. [Rainforest Habitat, Port Douglas, Queensland.]

Digney, P.: Regent honeyeater – the challenge and achievement of artificial propagation. Thylacinus Vol. 25, No. 2 (2001), pp. 20–21. [Xanthomyza phrygia; Adelaide Zoo.]

Enright, R.: Capturing elephants on film. Journal of the Elephant Managers Association Vol. 11, No. 2 (2000), pp. 148–154.

Fagan, D.A., Oosterhuis, J.E., and Roocroft, A.: Captivity disorders in elephants: impacted molars and broken tusks. Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 5 (2001), pp. 281–303. [Molar malocclusion and traumatic injury of the tusk are both relatively common problems associated with the management of elephants exhibiting `captivity disorder syndrome'. These two problems have a history of difficult treatment options, frequently expensive, time-consuming and labour-intensive, but with a reputation of poor success. Recent advances in the clinical practice of veterinary dentistry have provided numerous well-documented solutions to many common dental problems, which only a few years ago frequently remained undiagnosed and untreated. The same can be said concerning molar malocclusion and tusk injury in the elephant. It is now possible to apply fairly straightforward, predictable clinical solutions to these two problems. Moreover, early diagnosis facilitates the application of both proven preventative measures and successful treatment alternatives.]

Ferreras, P., Gaona, P., Palomares, F., and Delibes, M.: Restore habitat or reduce mortality? Implications from population viability analysis of the Iberian lynx. Animal Conservation Vol. 4, No. 3 (2001), pp. 265–274. [Managers trying to preserve populations of endangered carnivores are often forced to choose between restoring habitat to allow larger breeding populations or reducing risks of mortality to increase survival rates. The authors modelled the viability of a metapopulation of Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) under several scenarios (habitat restoration, anti-poaching, reduction in road kills) in a real landscape to evaluate their relative effects. Increasing carrying capacity was highly effective when performed on the local populations that acted as `sources' (i.e. had the ability to grow up to their carrying capacity), but had no effect when carried out on the `sinks' (i.e. populations that tended to decrease). Realistic scenarios consisting of partial removal of human-related mortality predicted high risk of extinction. When combined, the effects of both management options are highly dependent on where they are carried out. If the sinks are the only targets of carrying capacity enlargement, a complete removal of human-caused mortality is required, whereas increases in the carrying capacity of sources are always effective. The metapopulation risk of extinction decreases dramatically if connectivity among source populations can be improved. Only a detailed knowledge of the spatial and demographic structure of the populations, combined with simulations of realistic situations, can help managers to select the a priori optimal strategy, which probably combines different management options.]

Gerlach, J.: Predator, prey and pathogen interactions in introduced snail populations. Animal Conservation Vol. 4, No. 3 (2001), pp. 203–209. [The introduction of the carnivorous snail Euglandina rosea to Pacific islands by biological control programmes has had a devastating effect on native snail populations, in particular Partula spp. In situ conservation of Partulidae would require intervention to reduce the E. rosea population to an extent far higher than can be achieved by currently available control methods.]

Guerrero, D.: Animal behavior concerns and solutions: addressing behavior problems with alternative therapies. Animal Keepers’ Forum Vol. 28, No. 9 (2001), pp. 342–344.

Guerrero, D.: Animal behavior concerns and solutions: aggression. Animal Keepers’ Forum Vol. 28, No. 8 (2001), pp. 305–307.

Hall, V., and Hall, C.: Captive breeding of silvereyes, Zosterops lateralis, at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Thylacinus Vol. 25, No. 2 (2001), pp. 8–9.

Hille, M.: Die letzten Völkerschauen im Zoo Berlin 1952 und 1953. (The last ethnological displays at Berlin Zoo.) Bongo Vol. 31 (2001), pp. 69–72. [German, with very brief English summary.]

Horsfield, W.: Captive breeding of the Cape parrot. Parrot Society Magazine Vol. 35, No. 10 (2001), pp. 345–350. [Poicephalus robustus.]

Hutterer, R.: Berlin und die Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde. (Berlin and the German Society of Mammalogists.) Bongo Vol. 31 (2001), pp. 97–120. [German, with English summary.]

King, J.: A simple device for rectal administration of medication. Journal of the Elephant Managers Association Vol. 11, No. 1 (2000), pp. 74–75.

Kolbe, H.: Erstimporte, markante Punkte früher Haltungen sowie Erstzuchten der Entenvögel in Deutschland bis zum Jahresende 2000 (II). (First importation, notable details of early husbandry, and first breedings of waterfowl in Germany up to the end of 2000. Part II.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 5 (2001), pp. 335–353. [German, no English summary (but much of the information is in the form of dates and zoo locations requiring little or no knowledge of German).]

Kolter, L., Kaumanns, W., and Herrmann, H.-W.: Forschung im Zoologischen Garten Köln. (Research at Cologne Zoo.) Zeitschrift des Kölner Zoo Vol. 44, No. 2 (2001), pp. 83–96. [German, with English summary. Since 1990, 28 diploma and doctoral theses have been based on research activities initiated by Cologne Zoo. Some of these projects – on e.g. Przewalski horses, bears, and primates – are briefly presented in the article.]

Kormann, J.: Bemerkenswetes Alter einer ungewöhnlichen Aktinie, der Westatlantischen Kragenanemone, Actinostella flosculifera (Lesueur, 1817). (Noteworthy longevity of an unusual sea anemone.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 3 (2001), pp. 302–304. [German, no English summary. The animal has lived at Tierpark Berlin since 1967.]

Kus, E.: International Symposium on the Preservation of the Przewalski Horse. Gazella Vol. 27 (2000), pp. 13–16. [Full English summary of article in Czech.]

Laubscher, C.: Focusing on black-cheeked lovebirds. Parrot Society Magazine Vol. 35, No. 4 (2001), pp. 119–124. [Agapornis nigrigenis.]

Low, R.: Stella's lorikeet. Parrot Society Magazine Vol. 35, No. 6 (2001), pp. 192–196. [Charmosyna papou.]

Low, R.: The blue-rumped parrot. Parrot Society Magazine Vol. 35, No. 7 (2001), pp. 230–232. [Psittinus cyanurus.]

Lundberg, U., Szdzuy, K., and König, I.: Beobachtungen zur Verhaltensontogenese Afrikanischer Elefanten (Loxodonta africana) im Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde. (Notes on behavioural development in African elephants at Tierpark Berlin.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 3 (2001), pp. 392–408. [German, no English summary.]

Matschei, C.: Komfortverhalten und Individualdistanz bei Alaska-Moschusochsen (Ovibos m. moschatus im Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde. (Comfort behaviour and individual distance in musk oxen at Tierpark Berlin.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 3 (2001), pp. 382–391. [German, no English summary.]

Melo, L.: Medical management and rehabilitation of an Asian elephant due to trunk trauma. Journal of the Elephant Managers Association Vol. 11, No. 2 (2000), pp. 144–147. [Houston Zoo, Texas.]

Naylor, S.: National Zoological Park, New Delhi. Zoos’ Print Vol. 16, No. 10 (2001), pp. 17–24.

Niemitz, C.: Astronautentraining im Flusspferdhaus? Kinematische Studien über die Auswirkungen der Schwerkraft auf die Fortbewegung. (Astronaut training in a hippopotamus house? Film studies of the effects of gravity on locomotion.) Bongo Vol. 31 (2001), pp. 63–68. [German, with English summary. In order to elucidate the effect of gravity on the locomotion of a quadruped, students of the Free University of Berlin studied the locomotor repertoire of a common hippo both on dry land and in the huge aquarium of Berlin Zoo. On land only a diagonal walk (i.e. with left hind foot and right front foot swinging together or vice versa) and trot were observed. Under water the hippo nicely performed a coordinated gallop and about 1.5 m high gallop-style leaps. As on land the contact phase of the hind limbs with the ground is shorter than that of the forelimbs, so too under microgravity. The duration of one step cycle was about 2.5 seconds on land, 13% to 19% of which was the swing phase, while the stance phase lasted 81% to 87% of the step cycle. Under water, on the other hand, the swing phase lasted about as long as the whole cycle under full gravity. Surprisingly, the degree of movement of the wrist and ankle joints were greater under less weight load under water than on land.]

Nogge, G., and Pagel, T.: Marabus im Zoologischen Garten Köln. (Marabou storks at Cologne Zoo.) Zeitschrift des Kölner Zoo Vol. 44, No. 2 (2001), pp. 55–62. [German, with brief English summary. Data are presented on hand-rearing and development of young birds. It seems to be better to keep birds who can fly, as otherwise more infertile eggs are likely. Keeping marabous in mixed exhibits, especially with hoofstock, does not seem to be a problem for breeding as long as the birds have access to safe nest sites in a separate area of the enclosure.]

Norris, K., and Herkes, R.: Rhino hoof management at Perth Zoo including the use of operant conditioning. Thylacinus Vol. 25, No. 2 (2001), pp. 14–19. [Ceratotherium simum.]

Oehler, D.A., Schmid, S.C., and Miller, M.P.: Maintaining least auklet, Aethia pusilla, at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden: hand-rearing protocol with field, development and behavioral observations. Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 5 (2001), pp. 316–334. [Least auklets were collected as chicks on St Lawrence Island in 1993 and 1994 from nest-sites where they were susceptible to predation by arctic fox. A hand-rearing formula, consisting of krill Euphausia superba was produced and supplied the chicks with sufficient amounts of wax esters to develop properly while demonstrating that this auklet does not have a mechanism for assimilating high amounts of proteins. A mean weight of 100.2 grams (n = 26) was obtained at fledging, and food intake ranged up to 149% of body mass per day in the first week, decreasing to under 65% at fledging. Fourteen per cent of the colony required hand-feeding for up to 65 days, demonstrating a higher dependency on their care givers than other captive-reared auklet species.]

Perrin, M.: Reclassifying the Cape parrot. Parrot Society Magazine Vol. 35, No. 9 (2001), pp. 301–303. [Two taxa previously regarded as subspecies of Poicephalus robustus are now reclassified as P. f. fuscicollis and P. f. suahelicus.]

Pohle, C.: Erste Zwillingsgeburt beim Somaliwildesel (Equus africanus somalicus) und drei weitere Fälle von Zwillingsgeburten bei Equus hemionus. (First twin birth in Somali wild ass and three other instances of twins in Asian wild asses.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 3 (2001), pp. 295–297. [German, no English summary. The Somali twins were stillborn at Tierpark Berlin on 30 January 2001; of the other twins described, only one female kulan at Kolmarden Zoo, Sweden, was born alive (on 12 October 1990), survived and is still living.]

Raethel, H.-S.: Vom Affenhaus zum Raritätenkabinett. Die Chronologie eines hundertjährigen Tierhauses des Berliner Zoos 1844–1944 (Teil 1). (From monkey house to rare animal exhibit: the hundred-year history of a Berlin Zoo animal house. Part 1.) Bongo Vol. 31 (2001), pp. 55–61. [German, with very brief English summary.]

Reillo, P.R., Durand, S., McGovern, K.A., Winston, R., and Maximea, M.: Reproduction in Dominican amazon parrots – implications for conservation. Parrot Society Magazine Vol. 35, No. 5 (2001), pp. 165–170. [Amazona arausiaca and A. imperialis.]

Rudloff, K.: Im Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde 2000 erstmalig gehaltene Tierformen. (Animals first kept at Tierpark Berlin in 2000.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 3 (2001), pp. 267–294. [German, no English summary; includes 42 photos of the animals concerned.]

Sahu, R.K.: Unusual animal behaviour and earthquake. Zoos’ Print Vol. 16, No. 9 (2001), pp. 6–7. [The author is Superintendent of Kamala Nehru Zoo, Ahmedabad, India, which was recently affected by an earthquake.]

Sals, T.: A non-intrusive diet program for milky eagle owls (Bubo lacteus). Animal Keepers’ Forum Vol. 28, No. 8 (2001), pp. 326–330. [Brookfield Zoo; the use of closed-circuit TV and time-lapse photography to study feeding behaviour.]

Sandor, I., and Zimmermann, W.: Przewalski's horses in the National Park Hortobágy. Gazella Vol. 27 (2000), pp. 52–64. [Hungary.]

Schmidt, P.W.: Als Luftwaffenhelfer auf dem Zoo-Bunker. (Air-raid protection at the Berlin Zoo shelter.) Bongo Vol. 31 (2001), pp. 73–80. [German, with very brief English summary. Describes some effects of World War II on the zoo; in his teens the author participated in the dramatic rescue of the young male hippo Knautschke, whose house was hit by bombs on 30 January 1944.]

Seidel, B., and Tscherner, W.: Jungtiererkrankungen bei Hirschen – zootierärztlicher Bericht. (Diseases of young deer – a veterinary report.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 3 (2001), pp. 313–334. [German, no English summary.]

Spasskaya, N.N.: Revision of the osteological material of the Przewalski horses (Equus przewalskii Poljakov, 1881) in museums in Czech Republic. Gazella Vol. 27 (2000), pp. 76–95. [Full English summary of article in Russian.]

Stamm, D.: Activities of the Werner Stamm Foundation at Tachin Tal. Gazella Vol. 27 (2000), pp. 69–70. [Reintroduction of Przewalski horses in Mongolia.]

Stamm, D.: Werner Stamm Foundation for the Preservation of Endangered Species of the Equid Family. Gazella Vol. 27 (2000), pp. 65–68. [Switzerland.]

Stehlík, J.: Haltung und Zucht von Karakalen (Caracal caracal) im Zoo Ostrava. (Care and breeding of caracals at Ostrava Zoo, Czech Republic.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 5 (2001), pp. 310–315. [German, with English summary. Ostrava Zoo has been breeding caracals since 1975, and 5.6 animals have been used for breeding in the period 1975–1998. The first successful rearing took place in 1979. Two males reached sexual maturity at 24 and 25 months respectively, and two females at 14 and 16 months. Based on eight cases with three females, the average length of oestrus was 1.75 days (min. 1, max. 4), and the average gestation period was 77.3 days (min. 74, max. 79). In 1976–1998 six females gave birth to 57 (34.20.3) young in 22 litters. The season of births was March–October, with most kittens (31.8%) born in June. One female on two occasions gave birth twice in one year. The mean litter size was 2.59 (min. 1, max. 7). The sex ratio of kittens was 1.7:1. The youngsters' mortality was high (56.1%). The longevity record was 12 years 1 month (male) and 13 years 7 months (female); the male bred successfully at the age of 12, and the female reared her last kitten at the age of nine.]

Strauss, G., and Allgoewer, I.: Zur Kataraktentwicklung bei handaufgezogenen Bennettkänguruhs (Macropus rufogriseus). (Cataract development in hand-reared Bennett's wallabies.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 3 (2001), pp. 305–312. [German, no English summary.]

Treydte, A.C., Williams, J.B., Bedin, E., Ostrowski, S., Seddon, P.J., Marschall, E.A., Waite, T.A., and Ismail, K.: In search of the optimal management strategy for Arabian oryx. Animal Conservation Vol. 4, No. 3 (2001), pp. 239–249. [Extirpated from the wild in 1972 by overhunting, Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx) were reintroduced in Saudi Arabia in March 1990; 17 oryx were released into Mahazat as-Sayd, a 2,244 km2 fenced reserve in west-central Arabia, which lies at the periphery of their historical home range. The population has increased to 346 animals. The National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development, and those that manage the herd, have recently asked, `What is the optimal management strategy to assure long-term persistence of the species, given the absence of immigration and predation?' Food resources, determinants of rates of mortality and birth, co-vary with unpredictable rainfall in the area. The authors developed a computer model that evaluated the probability of extinction under various management strategies: no intervention, removing a fixed number of animals each year, removing a fixed percentage of animals each year, and removing all individuals above a threshold. Their analyses suggested that the most successful management plan consisted of removing all oryx above 70% of carrying capacity. Their study may provide a useful model for evaluating management plans for a variety of threatened animal populations in desert ecosystems.]

Tscherner, W.: Der Magenparasit Echinuria uncinata (Rudolphi, 1819) Soloviev, 1912 bei Wasservögeln im Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde. (The stomach parasite E. uncinata in waterfowl at Tierpark Berlin.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 5 (2001), pp. 354–364. [German, with English summary. E. uncinata is a pathogenic nematode of the proventriculus of anseriform birds. It has a worldwide distribution. The life cycle is indirect, with water fleas (mainly Daphnia spp.) as intermediate hosts. At Tierpark Berlin between 1977 and 1999 the parasite was found in 126 of 575 dissected birds. The crested screamer (Chauna torquata) was found as a new host. The intensity of infestation was low in 68% of the positive birds. The highest number of worms – 2,000 – was counted in a spotbill duck Anas poecilorhyncha). The majority of infested birds were found between midsummer and early autumn, parallel with the peak of Echinuria larvae in the water flea population. As the coprological diagnosis of the parasite gives uncertain results, the identification of larvae in the intermediate hosts is recommended. A new effective method is described.]

Unger, B.: Die Berliner Stadtbären im Köllnischen Park. (Berlin's municipal bear enclosure.) Bongo Vol. 31 (2001), pp. 12–20. [German, with very brief English summary. The author tells the story of the bear-pit in Köllnischer Park, Berlin, opened in 1939 and modernised in 1990.]

Valdovinos, E.: Effects of enrichment items on the Sacramento Zoo orang-utans. Animal Keepers’ Forum Vol. 28, No. 9 (2001), pp. 354–364.

van Heezik, Y., and Ostrowski, S.: Conservation breeding for reintroductions: assessing survival in a captive flock of houbara bustards. Animal Conservation Vol. 4, No. 3 (2001), pp. 195–201. [Conservation breeding for reintroduction is becoming a popular option for restoring threatened populations. Whereas post-release results are widely reported in the literature, little empirical information is presented on the captive populations that often make such releases possible, even though fecundity, fertility and survival rates can have an impact on the outcome and cost of wild population re-establishment. The authors present results of survival analyses carried out on a captive population of houbara bustards (Chlamydotis undulata) to determine peak periods of mortality, and by identifying sources of variations in mortality to recognize the potential impact of management practices on productivity. There were two main mortality peaks: during incubation (53% survival of fertile eggs), and by six months post-hatching (75% survival of hatchlings). Management-related variables influencing survival of eggs and chicks included the year when laid, the cohort of females laying them, and possibly sex. Most post-hatching deaths were due to trauma and infectious diseases. Trauma-related deaths usually follow collisions with cages, and imply selection for the captive environment, an undesirable trend in populations maintained for reintroductions. Reducing losses during incubation would have the largest impact on production of birds for reintroduction, enabling the release of more birds, and reducing the overall costs of the project.]

Vodi_ka, R., and Hess, L.: Immobilisation of the Przewalski horse (Equus przewalskii). Gazella Vol. 27 (2000), pp. 102–103. [English summary of article in Czech.]

Volf, J.: The last refugium and reintroduction area of the Przewalski horses, Equus przewalskii Polj., 1881. Gazella Vol. 27 (2000), p. 108. [English summary of article in Czech.]

Vyas, R.: Breeding of the Indian roofed turtle Kachuga tecta in captivity. Zoos' Print Journal Vol. 16, No. 10 (2001), pp. 600–603. [Sayaji Baug Zoo, Vadodara, Gujarat, India. The species' breeding biology was studied from 1991 to 1999. Courtship was observed from September to January and nesting from October to April, with a peak in January and February. A total of 34 nests were recorded during the study, with an average of 4.85 nests per year. The clutch size averaged 5.8 eggs (range 3 to 12). Average incubation was 108 days (range 64 to 195). Breeding success was 48.81 per cent, and temperatures played a vital role in the breeding performance.]

Weigert, H.: Zur Geschichte des `Zoo-Bunker'. (History of the Berlin Zoo air-raid shelter.) Bongo Vol. 31 (2001), pp. 91–93. [German, with very brief English summary. The huge shelter near the zoo was built in 1940 and demolished with great difficulty after World War II.]

Wilson, S.: Breeding the chattering lory Lorius garrulus at Melbourne Zoo. Thylacinus Vol. 25, No. 2 (2001), pp. 10–12.

Zverina, M., Sharp, M., Winkler, D., and Daugherty, L.: Husbandry care of African elephants at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Journal of the Elephant Managers Association Vol. 11, No. 2 (2000), pp. 138–141.

Publishers of the periodicals listed:

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

Animal Keepers’ Forum, American Association of Zoo Keepers, 3601 S.W. 29th Street, Suite 133, Topeka, Kansas 66614, U.S.A.

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

Gazella, Prague Zoo, U trojského zámku 120/3, 171 00 Praha 7, Czech Republic.

Journal of the Elephant Managers Association, Indianapolis Zoo, 1200 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 46222, U.S.A.

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

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

Thylacinus, Australasian Society of Zoo Keeping, P.O. Box 248, Healesville, Victoria 3777, Australia.

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

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

Zoos’ Print, Zoos' Print Journal, Zoo Outreach Organisation, Box 1683, Peelamedu, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 641 004, India.