International Zoo News Vol. 49/1 (No. 314) January/February 2002
Simple Enrichment Techniques for Bears, Bats and Elephants Untried and Untested Graham Law and Andrew Kitchener
`Jungle Jewels', Jurong Bird Park's South American Aviary Ong Sue-Lyn and Gavin Lee Choon Ping
Mating- and Birth-related Behaviour in Captive Oriental Small-clawed Otters Sajitha Nair and Govindasamy Agoramoorthy
Letters to the Editor
International Zoo News
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This issue of International Zoo News is my hundredth since I took over the editorship in the summer of 1989. At that time, I had very little idea just what I was taking on. I had always maintained that the best way to learn to do something is to go ahead and do it, but had never imagined being allowed to test this theory on something as intimidating as an international magazine with a specialised professional readership. I was embarrassingly aware of the depth of my ignorance, but hoped I might manage to conceal it from readers until it had become a little less blatant. To be honest, over twelve years later I'm still hoping!
Editing I.Z.N. has certainly been a learning experience for me. I know much more about zoos, and zoology, than I did when I started. But the consciousness of my own ignorance won't go away. The further one advances the frontiers of what one knows, the more one becomes aware of how much unknown territory lies beyond those frontiers. (This is, of course, true of mankind as a whole, not just of individuals.)
That I should write editorials to be read by professional zoologists and zoo people still seems to me, as much as ever, a clear case of someone `teaching his grandmother to suck eggs'. (In German, I've just discovered, the equivalent proverb is `The egg wants to be cleverer than the hen' Das Ei will klüger sein als die Henne!) Just occasionally, though, even in my early days, I believe I had something to say which really needed to be said. In one of my first editorials [I.Z.N. 37 (1), pp. 23] I strongly criticised an (unnamed) American zoo for suggesting that words like `happy' were `anthropomorphic terms' which should not be used when referring to animals. I was reminded of this recently when I read Donald R. Griffin's book Animal Minds: Beyond Cognition to Consciousness (reviewed below, pp. 2728). Do any zoo people still think in that outmoded, behaviourist way about their animals? If so, it's time they joined the rest of us in the 21st century!
A minor but not unrelated point which has always bothered me is the way some zoo publications put animals' individual names in inverted commas. Presumably the implication must be that animals, unlike human beings, don't have `real' names. This seems to me insulting to animals (as well as being typographically unattractive). Even worse is the habit of referring to animals of known gender as `it' rather than `he' or `she'. On this, I'd like to quote something Jane Goodall once said in an interview (Scientific American, October 1997, p. 21). She described how her first paper on the Gombe chimpanzees came back from the journal Nature with the words `he' and `she' changed to `it'. `How they would even want to deprive them of their gender I can't imagine. But that is what it was, animals were ``it''. Makes it a lot easier to torture them if they are an ``it''. Sometimes I wonder if the Nazis during the Holocaust referred to their prisoners as ``its''.'
I haven't recently checked whether Nature has stuck to its policy on this. But since 1989 I've taken good care that any material published in I.Z.N. has `it' altered where appropriate to `he' or `she', `which' to `who', and so on. If any readers disagree with me on this, I'd like to hear from them, but they won't find it easy to make me change my mind. I'm not much bothered by sexual politics and the fashionable objections to such words as `mankind', `chairman' and the like, but where animals are concerned I'll always do my best to keep I.Z.N. politically correct!
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SIMPLE ENRICHMENT TECHNIQUES FOR BEARS, BATS AND ELEPHANTS UNTRIED AND UNTESTED
BY GRAHAM LAW AND ANDREW KITCHENER
In recent years interest in enrichment techniques for many species has spawned a plethora of ideas for stimulating the interest and behaviour of captive animals (Field, 1998). However, not all of the enrichment practised in zoos can be said to stimulate natural behaviour, in the correct behavioural context. For example, the reaction of a cat to human perfume sprayed in its enclosure, or indeed the response of a polar bear, tiger or elephant trained to perform a particular behaviour on command, are not part of the normal behavioural repertoires of these species. Intensive training of zoo animals, where they display behaviours that have been selected as appealing, may indicate to some a changing role for the captive animal a role in which the animal `ambassador' performs educational, politically correct and appealing behaviour that will, with luck, win it a place in the consciousness of the visitor, thus increasing the species' chances of survival in the lottery of the wild. It has been suggested that a lack of the expression of wild-type behaviours in animals does not necessarily mean that their welfare has been reduced (Veasey et al., 1996), and this may indeed be the case.
For animals kept in the zoo environment, however, we believe that the form of enrichment used is likely to be more successful and appropriate where it stimulates the expression of naturally-occurring behaviours. The main problem with many enrichment techniques involving the use of novel stimuli is that the animals habituate rapidly to them. This requires extra keeper effort in withdrawing and reintroducing these `novel' stimuli in order to continue to elicit responses. In contrast, natural enrichment techniques stimulate typical behaviours, such as foraging and scent-marking, which continue to be elicited on a daily basis. Natural enrichment is not only beneficial for the animals in question, but also provides a wide variety of educational opportunities for zoo visitors by placing animals in an appropriate behavioural context.
The two simple, natural enrichment techniques described here provide opportunities for natural foraging behaviours in bears, bats and, with appropriate engineering, elephants.
The wobble tree for bears
Bears are ingenious at finding food and, though much work has been done in zoos regarding enrichment (Partridge, 1992), it is difficult to come up with new ideas. However, valuable information can sometimes come from field reports and the accurate, anecdotal observations of natural historians. For example, according to S.H. Prater (1948) the sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) `climbs for fruit
or shakes it down with its great paws.' From Prater's description it is easy to imagine how the bears deal with fruit suspended high above their heads, on trees that are too thin for them to climb, but too thick for them to snap.
These published observations promoted the idea of creating an artificial tree that would stimulate this `tree-shaking' feeding behaviour in captivity. The artificial fruit tree was named the `wobble tree' the name indicating how the device would behave when pushed around by a foraging bear. The wobble tree was designed to stimulate tree shaking in captive sloth bears in order to acquire food. It is likely that other bear species would use the same technique when faced with a similar situation. The tree consists of a tall wooden post fitted at the top with a large wire dispenser (Fig. 1). The bottom of the post is slotted into a metal pipe sunk into the ground. The metal pipe acts as a loose-fitting socket for the wooden post, so that when it is pushed by the fore paws of the bear it rocks back and forth. In order to get sufficient movement it may prove necessary to shape the end of the post by chamfering the edges. Alternatively, placing a round stone in the base of the hole may provide Figure 1. The `wobble tree'.
the same action. The wire dispenser at the top of the pole, resembling a riddle, has a high rim to retain food items. Holes cut in the side of the rim allow food to fall out as the tree is shaken (see illustration, front cover). These holes can be adjusted to suit the differing sizes and shapes of various food items. The wire floor of the dispenser allows the bears to see and smell the food on offer, stimulating their appetitive behaviour. It may be necessary, depending on the roughness of the post used to construct the tree, to fit a sheet of smooth tin around it to prevent the bear from attempting to climb. In order to prevent the unlikely event of food from the dispenser falling down into the wobble tree socket, a simple deflector at the base of the tree can be constructed. To facilitate restocking of the food dispenser, without the use of a ladder, a simple tool can be manufactured.
Fruit bat pivoting feeder
One of us (GL) first observed kinetic feeders for fruit bats at the Lubee Foundation in Florida. They were of a simple see-saw design with fruit fixed at the high end of a pivoting branch. When the bat landed to collect food, the branch swung downwards with the weight of the bat. It was interesting to note that when the bat left the feeder it pushed itself clear, seemingly predicting the upward-swinging arc of the branch. The movement of the fruit bat feeder helps to mimic, to some extent, the natural motion of the tree experienced by a bat when feeding. The absence of movement in branches provided for birds and, more famously, for golden lion tamarins in captivity has been commented on in the past as problematic (Beck et al., 1991). Captive-bred tamarins were found to be reluctant to travel on small flexible branches when reintroduced into the wild (Menzel and Beck, 2000). The reason for this was that the captive animals were not used to the movement of natural tree branches bending underfoot. In the zoo the perches used by the tamarins had been firmly fixed at each end and were devoid of movement. A number of the animals were killed by terrestrial predators, to which they would not normally be exposed (Beck et al., 1991). The remainder had to be returned to captivity as they could not adapt quickly enough to survive. This reinforces the argument that captive animals need more realistic environments in captivity if they are to maintain their ability to survive in the wild.
For welfare reasons, and in view of the fact that bats may be in captivity for a number of generations before being reintroduced into the wild, we should take every opportunity to provide for their natural behaviours. It is well known in the pet bird trade and the zoo world that the flight muscles of birds kept in over-restricted captive environments can waste due to lack of exercise (Fowler, 1978). In the laboratory, wrist joint problems, wing lesions and signs of pectoral muscle degeneration have all been associated with lack of exercise in bats (Racey, 1989). Fruit bats become incapable of flight if kept in a small cage for a period of a month (Fowler, 1978). Flight can be re-established in these cage-bound bats by tossing them by their feet towards a human catcher or an inclined net (Fowler, 1978).
Hibernating bats, such as the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), are known to experience a reduction in bone thickness during their dormant period (Whalen et al., 1973), and yet are able to cope when the active period returns. Fruit bats, however, do not hibernate as part of their normal activity pattern, and so are unlikely to be able to show the same restorative powers when subjected to long periods without flight. Captive Rodrigues fruit bats (Pteropus rodricensis) have been shown to continually gain weight throughout their life through deposition of subcutaneous fat, rather than body weight reaching an asymptote in adulthood (Kitchener et al., 2000). Older bats are probably incapable of any flight and about a third of their weight is subcutaneous fat.
Although the reason for this continuing weight gain has not been fully investigated, it seems possible that it is a consequence of being fed a rich diet and having little exercise. A standard practice in zoos has been to feed bats from food containers suspended from the mesh roof or sides of their enclosure. The bats then simply clamber across the roof to the food dishes using their hook-like thumbs, rather than flying. However, in the wild, fruit bats may fly up to 50 kilometres every night in search of fruiting trees (Mickleburgh and Carroll, 1994). Many bat exhibits in Britain (with the notable exception of that at Chester Zoo) are relatively small in area and often do not provide an extensive flight. Therefore, any husbandry techniques that help to stimulate an increase in the flight time of captive bats may also result in improved fitness.
A simple fruit bat feeder designed by engineers from the University of Strathclyde incorporated a see-saw movement of the feeder arm.
However, care should be taken when introducing these feeders into mixed-species bat enclosures, as it is known that in familiar territory echolocating bats sometimes use memory to navigate and so may accidentally collide with any unfamiliar object in their path (Racey, 1989). Care must also be taken to ensure that the sensitivity of the bat feeder to the weights of the feeding bats is adjusted to take account of the body weight changes that may occur as the bats exercise more.
Environmental enrichment plays an important role in the day-to-day management of wild animals in captivity. Perhaps, however, more thought should be given to examining why we are using a particular approach, and an attempt made to rationalise why we think it appropriate for the species concerned. We know much more today about how animals behave in the wild, and marvel at their ingenuity and adaptations for survival. And yet, in captivity, we struggle to think of sustainable enrichment appropriate for particular species, which tax and stimulate the animals' physical and mental capabilities. An animal displaying natural behaviours, rather than displaying an ability to perform unnatural behaviours, has a strong educational role to play. Reading field study reports and watching wildlife films that portray how animals behave in the wild can stimulate ideas. The swaying, stilt-like walking manoeuvres of the orang-utan moving through the forest above the ground, the clouded leopard rushing down a tree head-first facilitated by its highly flexible ankle joints, or the elephants shaking the tree so that the food falls to the earth all these behaviours are observed in the wild and yet rarely, if ever, allowed to manifest themselves in any form of enrichment in captivity. The role of zoos is not just to conserve animals, but also, as much as possible, to conserve the animals' behavioural repertoire and morphology (Markowitz, 1997). It seems that the enrichment of the lives of zoo animals still has much to achieve and remains a stimulating challenge for all those involved.
We would like to thank the following, without whose help the above article would not have been possible. Mr Bill McCracken of the Department of Design Manufacture, Engineering Management at the University of Strathclyde, who designed and built a promising fruit bat feeder scheduled for testing at Chester Zoo. The management and staff of Chester Zoo, in particular Dr Stephanie Wehnelt, Research Officer, for their unstinting support, help and advice throughout this project. The carnivore and works department staff at the Zoological Society of London for their innovative adaptation of the wobble tree. Rosanne Strachan, graphic designer, University of Strathclyde, for her illustrations. Mr Eric Strachan, artisan and artist, for his technical drawings of prototype bat feeders and wobble trees. Dr Joyce Ferguson, University of Glasgow, for reviewing the text, and Dr Rob Young of Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Minas Gerais for his helpful comments.
Beck, B.B., Kleiman, D.G., Dietz, J.M., Castro, I., Carvalho, C., Martins, A. and Rettberg-Beck, B. (1991): Losses and reproduction in reintroduced golden lion tamarins Leontopithecus rosalia. Dodo 27: 5061.
Field, D. (1998): Guidelines for Environmental Enrichment. Association of British Wild Animal Keepers, Bristol.
Fowler, M.E. (1978): Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine. W.B. Saunders, Philadelphia.
Kitchener, A., Merryweather, J., and Allchurch, T. (2000): The effect of captivity on the flight musculo-skeletal system of fruit bats (Pteropus spp.). In EEP Yearbook 1998/9 (eds. F. Rietkerk, B. Hiddinga, K. Brouwer, and S. Smits), pp. 553555. EAZA Executive Office, Amsterdam.
Markowitz, H. (1997): The conservation of species-typical behaviors. Zoo Biology 16: 12.
Menzel, C.R., and Beck, B.B. (2000): Homing and detour behavior in golden lion tamarin social groups. In On the Move: How and Why Animals Travel in Groups (eds. S. Boinski and P.A. Garber), pp. 299326. Chicago University Press.
Meredith, M., (2001): Africa's Elephant, a Biography. Hodder and Stoughton, London.
Mickleburgh, S., and Carroll, J.B. (1994): The role of captive breeding in the conservation of Old World fruit bats. In Creative Conservation: Interactive Management of Wild and Captive Animals (eds. G. Mace, P. Olney, and A. Feistner), pp. 352364. Chapman and Hall, New York.
Partridge, J. (ed.): Management Guidelines for Bears and Raccoons. Association of British Wild Animal Keepers, Bristol.
Prater, S.H. (1980): The Book of Indian Animals (4th ed.). Bombay Natural History Society, Bombay.
Racey, P.A. (1989): Bats. In UFAW Handbook on the Care and Management of Laboratory Animals (ed. T. Poole), pp. 240255. Longman Scientific and Technical, Essex, U.K.
Veasey, J.S., Waran, N.K., and Young, R.J. (1996): On comparing the behaviour of zoo housed animals with wild conspecifics as a welfare indicator. Animal Welfare 5: 1324.
Whalen, J.P., Krook, L., and Nunez, E.A. (1973): A radiographic and histologic study of bone in the active and hibernating bat (Myotis lucifugus). Anatomical Record 172: 97.
Graham Law, University of Glasgow (E-mail: G.Law@admin.gla.ac.uk); Andrew Kitchener, National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
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`JUNGLE JEWELS', JURONG BIRD PARK'S SOUTH AMERICAN AVIARY
BY ONG SUE-LYN AND GAVIN LEE CHOON PING
`Jungle Jewels', a perfect haven straight out of the South American rainforest, is set in the midst of Jurong Bird Park, Singapore. This South American aviary is a home away from home for 58 different species of South American birds. Avid aviculturalists, bird-lovers and everyday visitors will all be delighted by the contrasting experiences offered in this exhibit, where one can encounter an array of small but colourful and precious birds from the tropical rainforest.
The flight aviary offers a unique opportunity to admire these birds. Standing 14 metres tall, with an area of 2,300 square metres, this column-free aviary houses more than 800 exotic birds, and allows native flora of the tropical rainforest to flourish. Over 60 plant species are planted in Jungle Jewels, including heliconias, epiphytes, bromeliads, cannonball tree (Couroupita guianensis) and other flowering plants. Heliconias are amongst the most stunning of the rainforest flowers. They provide a food source for nectar-feeding birds such as hummingbirds and honeycreepers, and water collects in the upturned petals of the flowers, forming small pools for the birds to drink from.
The residents of the flight aviary are as spectacular as the colours of the rainbow. Visitors who spend a few quiet moments will be pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of birds. Among the smallest are the four species of honeycreepers, often mistaken for hummingbirds due to their size and coloration. The female honeycreepers of all four species may seem similar at first sight, but a closer look will reveal their different shades of green. The males are more outstanding in their brilliant colours, for example the red-legged honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus), a favourite with its contrasting bright red legs and blue and black plumage. Visitors will also frequently spot the male purple honeycreepers (C. caeruleus) with their combination of royal purple plumage and yellow legs. It is a common sight to see these honeycreepers hanging on the flowers of the banana plants trying to reach the nectar, or attempting to hover like hummingbirds in front of the nectar feeders.
Tanagers are considered one of the delights of bird watching in the tropical rainforest. Here in Jungle Jewels there is a total of twelve species, including the exceptionally colourful paradise tanager (Tangara chilensis). With a combination of colours including green, purple, black, blue, yellow and orange on a small bird, the paradise tanager lives up to its name.
As visitors stroll through the flight aviary, the constant drumming heard in the background will alert them to the presence of woodpeckers in the vicinity. However, do not confuse the black-cheeked woodpeckers (Melanerpes pucherani) with the black-spotted barbets (Capito niger). They may both have similar red and black plumage and display constant pecking behaviour, but upon a closer look the barbets are more stoutly built.
Tubular seed feeders hung strategically around the flight aviary are prime locations to spot the yellow-hooded blackbirds (Agelaius icterocephalus), as well as two species of seed-eaters and three species of finches. On the ground below these seed feeders, various species of doves and pigeons are often seen eating up the fallen seeds.
Spangled cotingas (Cotinga cayana) and pompadour cotingas (Xipholena punicea) are often favourites among visitors because of their vivid plumage. But they are often surprised by the stark contrast between the handsome male and his grey and plain-looking female. The male spangled cotingas are brilliant blue with a deep maroon throat, and the male pompadour cotingas are light pink with streaks of darker pink.
To help simulate a real South American rainforest scene, there is a waterfall at the end of the flight aviary, complete with a mist system. Visitors will especially appreciate this in the early mornings when hummingbirds or saffron finches (Sicalis flaveola) are seen bathing there. This waterfall flows downwards into three separate ponds, the favourite haunts of the wattled jacanas (Jacana jacana), red-billed and white-faced whistling ducks, and teals.
Of all the exotic-looking birds in Jungle Jewels, none can be comparable to the iridescent glow of the hummingbirds. The giant hummingbird (Patagona gigas) is said to be aggressive in the wild; here in our flight aviary, however, it is rather shy and timid a `gentle giant', in fact. The fully iridescent sparkling violet-ear (Colibri coruscans) often displays its skills in spectacular dives, exposing its brilliant green and purple plumage. The males are sometimes so engrossed in trying to impress the females that they almost land on a visitor's head, and on such occasions it is difficult to say who is more surprised.
The oasis hummingbird (Rhodopis vesper) is unique among the Jungle Jewels collection because of its dimorphic plumage. Try to catch a rare but brilliant glimpse of its pink throat when it turns to face the sun's rays; this is done to attract the duller-looking grey females. Although originally from the cold and arid mountain tops of the Andes, the amazilia hummingbirds (Amazilia amazilia) have adapted well to the warmer and more humid climate of Singapore; in fact, they have settled down well enough to show signs of nesting behaviour.
The smallest bird in Jurong Bird Park is the Peruvian sheartail (Thaumastura cora). The elegantly-built male, with its two majestically long tail feathers and with its wings barely visible in flight, is a captivating sight to behold. Due to its petite frame, it is a challenge to spot one of these birds among the thick foliage; but the rewards are well worth the effort, for the Peruvian sheartail has no peer.
The South American avifauna is by far the largest in the world, containing over a third of all living bird species. Jungle Jewels allows visitors to experience part of this infinite richness, the true gems of nature, which will slowly but surely disappear if we fail to protect our fragile rainforest.
Ong Sue-Lyn and Gavin Lee Choon Ping, Jurong BirdPark, 2 Jurong Hill, Singapore 628925 (E-mail: Brc@birdpark.com.sg).
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MATING- AND BIRTH-RELATED BEHAVIOUR IN CAPTIVE ORIENTAL SMALL-CLAWED OTTERS
BY SAJITHA NAIR AND GOVINDASAMY AGORAMOORTHY
The oriental small-clawed otter (Amblonyx cinereus) is the smallest among the 13 extant species of otters in the subfamily Lutrinae (Foster-Turley et al., 1990). This species lives in streams, rice fields and coastal mangroves and is common in South-east Asian zoos. In the wild, small-clawed otters feed on crustaceans, molluscs, fish and other small aquatic animals; in captivity, fish forms their main diet. A. cinereus is a highly adaptable species in its climatic requirements and is widely distributed from north-western India to south-eastern China, the Malay Peninsula, southern India, Hainan, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and Palawan (Nowak, 1999). Although the species is common in Asia, little is known about its behaviour, either in the wild (Foster-Turley et al., 1990) or in captivity (Leslie, 1971; Timms, 1971; Lancaster, 1975).
About 30 small-clawed otters have been housed in different exhibits in Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, of which only four adults (2.2) were handled in the animal presentation section. Details on Singapore Zoo have been presented elsewhere (Agoramoorthy and Hsu, 2001). Between 1 February and 30 June 2001, observations were carried out on four otters that were handled at the zoo to record data on their activity patterns and behaviour, using all-occurrences sampling (Altmann, 1974). The otters were trained to perform recycling behaviour. A single otter usually performed during a show; it came out, collected a few empty cans and plastic bottles and put them into a recycle bin. The otters' front feet are only partially webbed, with rudimentary fingernail-like claws, used for probing in mud and under stones; in the wild they generally use their hand-like paws to catch their prey (Foster-Turley et al., 1990). This means they are well suited to perform the action of picking up cans and bottles to drop into the recycle bin; the otters were trained to do this task by the use of food rewards. The performance taught people about the importance of recycling, while for the otters these outside activities apparently provided mental and physical stimulation of a kind not normally available to them in an otherwise monotonous captive life. One of the performing otter females delivered and successfully raised two pups. In this paper, we describe details on the birth and on birth-related behaviour among A. cinereus, including information on basic husbandry.
The otter group consisted of four adults, two males, Pedro (nine years old) and Aramis (five), and two females, Helena and Peggy (both five years old). Aramis, Helena and Peggy are siblings. They were housed in one enclosure, while Pedro was in the adjoining one. Pedro was unable to get along well with Aramis, so they were not mixed. Pedro was inactive and showed no interest in the others. The only activity he willingly participated in was the recycling behaviour at the shows. In an attempt to boost Pedro's activity, we provided enrichment and toys, including dry leaves, empty plastic bottles, ropes, and `mobiles' made of wood and rope to stimulate climbing. However, he showed no interest in any of these things; so we introduced Helena and Peggy to his enclosure in order to observe how this would affect his behaviour. This introduction resulted in a revival of his normal behavioural activities, including mating.
Mating and birth
Pedro preferred to copulate with Helena and never with Peggy. The earliest copulation was recorded on 14 February 2001 and the last one was on 3 April. Mating usually took place in the pools during the late morning and afternoon. There were no visual signs of pregnancy in Helena. She performed the recycling behaviour during a public presentation on 26 April 2001, the day before parturition. On 27 April at 8.00 a.m. drops of blood were seen on the floor of the enclosure. When staff looked around it from the outside, a pup was spotted, which was lightly covered with blood and faeces. Helena had been observed to mate with Pedro during pregnancy, and the last mating was observed 24 days before parturition. The gestation was calculated to be 70 days, which is about a week longer than the reported (6064 days) gestation period for A. cinereus (Nowak, 1999).
Behaviour of otters toward pups
The mother was separated from her adult siblings to reduce disturbance to the pup. But she was restless when isolated and carried the pup in her mouth, vocalised in distress and appeared agitated. Therefore Pedro and Peggy were put back in with Helena, which seemed to calm her down. There were a lot of faeces, urine and blood in the enclosure, but it was thought best for the otters to be left alone. The other two did not show any aggression toward the pup. By late morning, Helena was seen lying in front of the door, on her side, with a second pup. At noon, all three adult otters ran to the door and kept vocalising. Both pups were later seen near the pool. An empty cardboard box with towels was placed in the middle of the enclosure to keep them warm. Meanwhile, gunny sacks were hung around the mesh walls of the enclosure, covering the back and sides. Only the lower half was covered, leaving the upper part open for ventilation.
By that time, the mother had carried one of the pups into the box. However, she seemed excited and sometimes left her other pup unattended, near the pool. This second pup was slightly smaller than the first one and seemed wet. While the first one was already drying off and vocalising, the second pup was quiet and taking shallow breaths. A large pet carrier with cardboard boxes, shredded newspapers and dried leaves was provided that mimicked the `natal couches' wild otters construct to keep their young warm (Taylor and Kruuk, 1990). The door of the carrier was removed and the carrier was placed in the middle of the enclosure. This was to allow the mother a choice of bedding material. The keepers then cleaned up most of the blood and faeces to keep the area dry. By evening, Helena had carried her pups into the pet carrier and was lying next to them. She remained there with her pups most of the day, but once or twice carried the second pup out and left it near the pool. She also carried the first pup to the door and groomed it. She allowed the first pup to suckle from her once during the day. No suckling was seen from the second pup throughout the day. Her two siblings were lying either on top of the pet carrier or along the edge of the pool.
The next day, Helena and her pups were in the pet carrier and both pups were suckling. This was observed three times during the early afternoon. She has continued to be attentive to both pups until the time of writing. Aramis, the other male, occasionally sniffed the pups. The mother allowed the keepers near the pups and they were able to handle them when required. She did not show any aggression. The otters were kept together throughout the day, except during feeding, when Helena was fed in the enclosure with her pups, and Aramis and Peggy were transferred to individual crates and fed there. After they had all eaten, they were put back in the group. Generally, Helena did not show any unusual reaction to other group members when they were transferred in and out of the enclosure. When she was alone with her pups, when they were about two weeks old, she was observed swimming in the pool on two days in a row; each time, she swam for about eight minutes and afterwards returned to her pups.
On 8 May 2001, Peggy was seen carrying the pups in her mouth, resting next to them, and also attempting to suckle them. On the morning of 14 May, she was seen gathering dry leaves and placing them around the pups. Both the mother and Peggy were found sleeping in the pet carrier with the pups. Although A. cinereus in captivity has been reported to be monogamous (Leslie, 1971; Timms, 1971; Lancaster, 1975), the interesting allo-mothering behaviour shown by Peggy is a good example of kin recognition, which usually occurs in animals that live in social groups (Holmes and Sherman, 1983).
Growth of pups
The pups were not weighed for the first two weeks to avoid inducing stress; but weights were taken and recorded weekly from the third to the sixth week of age. This was done either with the mother in the enclosure, or with her confined in a crate. Helena did not show any aggression or attempt to protect the pups from the person weighing them. She stayed beside them, watching and vocalising. The pups both gained weight steadily over these weeks; initially one was heavier than the other, but after a month they both weighed much the same. On 31 May 2001, after 34 days, both pups were found with their eyes open, which is close to previous reports (Leslie, 1971; Duplaix-Hall, 1975).
A typical day of working with the otters involves checking the physical and psychological well-being of the animals in the morning, cleaning the enclosures, feeding and providing enrichment activities. At 8.15 a.m. the otters are transferred to clean enclosures. Transferring is done with the aid of dog pellets that are used as food rewards. The pellets are kept refrigerated in a blue plastic mug-like container. The otters recognize the container and are alert when it is shaken, causing the pellets to make a rattling sound. While transferring, the keeper shakes the container to get the otters' attention, and then the door is unlatched. The otters run out and then pellets are thrown into the enclosure, randomly (about 30 pellets or 10 grams). The otters run into the enclosure to eat the pellets, each getting almost an equal number (i.e. about ten pellets). The enclosure door is then closed and latched. This whole process takes about three minutes. Feeding of all the otters is done only after they are separated; each is fed in an individual area. This is to ensure that each otter gets its appropriate amount of food. They are all fed two varieties of small-scaled sardine-like fish, capelin (Mallotus villosus) and herring (Clupea sp.).
The otter enclosures are washed twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening. In the mornings, the enclosures are washed with Dysene disinfectant. Before the washing, all the otters are transferred. Once they are out, the enclosures are sprayed with a water hose to remove faeces. Then the pools are drained and sprayed. If there are oily fish residues, the pools are disinfected and cleaned with a sponge. They are then filled up with water. Meanwhile, after the water has been drained from the pools, the floor is scrubbed with disinfectant solution, and afterwards sprayed thoroughly. Once the enclosures have been cleaned and the pools filled with water, the otters are moved back to their enclosures.
We are indebted to Dr Kwa Soon Bee, Chairman, and Bernard Harrison, Chief Executive, for their inspiration and support. We are grateful to our colleagues for their kind cooperation. We thank Dr Minna J. Hsu and Vinodh Ayathan for critically reading an earlier version of the manuscript.
Agoramoorthy, G., and Hsu, M.J. (2001): Singapore Zoological Gardens. In Encyclopedia of the World's Zoos (ed. C.E. Bell), pp. 11551159. Fitzroy Dearborn, Chicago.
Altmann, J. (1974): Observational study of behaviour: sampling methods. Behaviour 49: 227265.
Duplaix-Hall, N. (1975): River otters in captivity: a review. In Breeding Endangered Species in Captivity (ed. R.D. Martin), pp. 315327. Academic Press, London.
Foster-Turley, P., Macdonald, S., and Mason, C. (1990): Otters: an Action Plan for their Conservation. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
Holmes, W.G., and Sherman, P.W. (1983): Kin recognition in animals. American Scientist 71: 4655.
Lancaster, W.E. (1975): Exhibiting and breeding the Asian small-clawed otter Amblonyx cinerea at Adelaide Zoo. International Zoo Yearbook 15: 6365.
Leslie, G. (1971): Further observations on the oriental short-clawed otter Amblonyx cinerea at Aberdeen Zoo. International Zoo Yearbook 11: 112113.
Nowak, R.M. (1999): Walker's Mammals of the World (6th ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.
Taylor, P.S., and Kruuk, H. (1990): A record of an otter (Lutra lutra) natal den. Journal of Zoology 222: 689692.
Timms, W.H. (1971): Observations on breeding the oriental short-clawed otter Amblonyx cinerea at Chester Zoo. International Zoo Yearbook 11: 109111.
Sajitha Nair, Singapore Zoological Gardens, 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore; Dr Govindasamy Agoramoorthy, Singapore Zoological Gardens and Dept. of Biological Sciences, National Sun Yat-sen University, P.O. Box 59157, Kaohsiung 80424, Taiwan (E-mail: email@example.com).
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
I was saddened to read of the death of Bernard Heuvelmans (editorial, I.Z.N. 48:7, pp. 422423), but interested to see the discussion of cryptozoology that it prompted.
Whilst agreeing with you that there is a `cruel handicap' within cryptozoology in that when a cryptid species is proved to exist it immediately passes into the realms of `normal' zoology, there are two hybrid situations which seem to be virtually ignored by both groups of researchers. This leaves an important lacuna for the species concerned and for zoology generally.
The first situation is where a species is thought to have been extinct in an area, but appears to have lingered on, no matter how `official' its extinction. In the South-west of England we have this situation with the pine marten (Martes martes). Although officially reported as extinct here since before 1915 (Macdonald, 1995, p. 313), there have been sightings until, at least, 1991 (Downes, 1996, p. 49). A similar situation seems to have occurred in several states in the U.S.A. with the puma, officially extinct for some considerable time, typically 100+ years, but still occasionally seen. The classic example is the state of Maine, but Michigan has recently been added to this privileged list (Sharp, 2001). In these cases the cryptozoologists usually treat the animal as being of little interest because it is an indigenous species that is still present in other parts of the country, and the conventional zoologists consider the current reports to be either myths or mistakes, because the animal is officially extinct.
The second situation is a similar one, but with some profound differences. This relates to the `alien big cat' phenomenon in the United Kingdom. The two or three professional cryptozoologists in the country are now not showing much interest in the subject because the animals have, to their minds, been virtually proved to exist. Conversely the professional zoologists are convinced that these animals do not exist, and will therefore not take the reports seriously. As a result a hotch-potch of interested naturalists are consulted by the media when sightings occur. Some of this group are very sensible, others less so, often making totally unjustifiable statements about possible population sizes. One particular individual has `assessed' the puma population of Wales to be greater than that in any part of its original natural habitat! (For those who are interested, many of the respectable groups have web sites which can be found using the appropriate words in a reasonable search engine).
This diversity of views on the `alien big cat' situation also seems apparent within zoological gardens. One or two take reports seriously and deal with the evidence on its merits, possibly getting some publicity out of the situation; others deny the existence of such animals and treat telephone reports and queries virtually as `nuisance phone calls'.
From the biological viewpoint the cryptid species (literally `hidden' or `secret'), whether prehistoric survivors, survivors from the last century, or introductions, must be of serious interest because of the challenges these animals meet both as individuals and species. The very raison d'être of modern zoological collections is normally conservation and education, and the species that hover between the realms of the conventional zoologist and the cryptozoologist must, by definition, be both in need of conservation and capable of supplying a lesson in biology to any budding zoologist by virtue of their existence.
Chris. M. Moiser,
18A Pasley Street,
Plymouth PL2 1DP,
Downes, J. (1996): The Smaller Mystery Carnivores of the Westcountry. Centre for Fortean Zoology, Exeter.
Macdonald, D. (1995): European Mammals: Evolution and Behaviour. Harper Collins, London.
Sharp, E. (2001): Tracking down the ghost cats of the north woods. Detroit Free Press (15 November).
The much-discussed Encyclopedia of the World's Zoos contains an unconscionable number of errors although one of the most glaring is perhaps the least obvious of all. I refer to several erroneous statements concerning the pioneering work on education in zoological gardens.
Gaby Schwammer, writing on early education in such places (p. 397), specifically states, `The London Zoo was the first to take this step in Europe, when its governing body . . . appointed an education officer in 1958. . .' This is completely untrue, as when the Ashover Zoological Garden was officially opened (by J.L. Longland, Director of Education for Derbyshire) on 3 April 1955, it was ready to function primarily as a teaching medium in fact, a notice at the gate pointed out that although casual visitors were welcome, they must appreciate that the place was primarily designed for teaching purposes. Apart from a very comprehensive system of labelling [see I.Z.N. 36 (4), pp. 2021 Ed.], the exhibits (later said by Hans Resenbrink, education officer at Amsterdam's Artis, to be the finest he'd seen anywhere in the world), there was a natural history museum, a zoological library and reading-room (which the public were welcome to use some of them did), a gallery of animal art, and a school-room/lecture-room; and we were already operating the extra-mural lecture service to schools. There were also facilities for one-day and weekend courses. Furthermore, these activities had already been operational for nearly a year, as the place was unofficially opened on 18 June 1954, when a party of 50 children came from a Huddersfield school.
Frau Schwammer then states (p. 399), `In the early days only very few zoo educational facilities existed in Europe . . . three in Great Britain (London 1959, Paignton and Wildfowl and Wetland Trust) . . .' A correction: there were four, one of which preceded the others by several years.
This lack of recognition is bad enough, but far worse was penned by Bristol's Stephen Woollard (for whom I have every professional respect) on p. 395 `. . . London and Paignton were among the first in the U.K. to appoint education staff . . .' (not a word about Ashover). And on p. 940 is the utterly ludicrous `Only at the end of the 20th century did all these elements come together . . . in which zoo staff and volunteers ``took the zoo'' into the community.'
So what's wrong with these seemingly innocuous comments? The first is self-explanatory no acknowledgement of the place that began it all and it must be borne in mind, too, that it wasn't obvious to the casual visitor at either of the named institutions that educational facilities were available. Remember, too, that the appalling standard of labelling at both at that time meant that the visitor learned little or nothing during the course of his or her trip. As for the second statement, since Ashover had been taking animals into schools, colleges, teacher-training establishments, youth clubs, community centres and the like since the early 1950s, it's half a century out, literally! I am particularly upset by Mr Woollard's comments because having read my book One Man and His Animals he knows the correct facts of the matter full well.
In the days of my youth and ignorance, I looked forward to liaising with the late Jan Hatley, Paignton's very able first education officer, but to my astonishment she made it abundantly clear she didn't wish to reciprocate, and furthermore made no bones about resenting what we were doing at Ashover. The evidence, then, suggests that she has left some sort of legacy along these lines, for her successors to take upon themselves. . .
13 Pound Place,
Surrey GU4 8HH, U.K.
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ANIMAL MINDS: BEYOND COGNITION TO CONSCIOUSNESS by Donald R. Griffin. University of Chicago Press, 2nd edition, 2001. xv + 355 pp., hardback. ISBN 0226308650. $27.50 or £17.50.
I have always been puzzled by the ability many experts have to lose sight of the essential truths of the subject they devote their lives to studying. This has nowhere been more striking than in the field of animal psychology. For decades the orthodox scientific opinion, often known as `behaviourism', was that animals are incapable of conscious thoughts or emotional feelings. This view was always in direct conflict with the experience and instincts of almost anyone who directly interacts with animals in everyday life, from pet owners to farmers and zoo keepers. Moreover, if true, it takes away any obligation for us to treat animals humanely. If they can't think or feel, how can they suffer? Vivisection and other horrors then become as morally neutral as tinkering with the workings of a machine. (In practice, I've noticed, many behaviourists humanity, to their credit, triumphing over logic seem reluctant to accept the full, cruel implications of their conviction.)
Donald Griffin has done more than anyone else to combat the behaviourists on their own ground. He first began compiling evidence that animals think back in the 1970s, when he was almost a lone voice among the professionals. But whereas the common sense of ordinary people alone wasn't ever going to be enough to turn the tide, Griffin, a veteran scientist whose achievements included pioneering studies of echolocation in bats, was a protagonist whose opinion carried a lot of weight. Today the tide has definitely turned. And since few things are deader than yesterday's orthodoxy, there's a good chance that behaviourism will soon look as passé as creationism or Ptolemaic cosmology.
It was one of the major tenets of the behaviourists that only directly observable behaviour should be considered in explaining what animals do; subjective mental experiences, especially conscious thinking, should be ignored since they are perceptible only to the one who experiences them, so that statements about them cannot be independently verified. In Animal Minds, a completely revised and updated edition of a book first published in 1992, Griffin argues that scientists can and should investigate questions of animal consciousness. He marshals a formidable body of evidence to support his opinion. Studies of animal intelligence tend to be biased in favour of the obvious species great apes, dolphins, elephants, parrots. Griffin casts his net far wider, citing in great detail observations on such varied species as pelicans, minnows, bumblebees and shrimps. Describing the hunting behaviour of spiders of the genus Portia, who feed on web-building spiders which they catch by mimicking the precise vibratory signals associated with the web-builder's courtship behaviour, he comments, `If monkeys did what these spiders do, we would be strongly tempted to conclude that they were acting intentionally.'
Again and again, I found myself appalled and almost incredulous at his revelations of just how dogmatic scientists can be. When the facts seem to indicate that animals are thinking consciously, many behaviourists react by forcing those facts into the Procrustean bed of their own ideology. A good example quoted by Griffin is T. Ingold who, writing in 1988, even brought in a quotation from Karl Marx (another dogmatist!) to back up his view that a beaver building a dam could not conceivably be aware of the consequences of its actions. (The same writer apparently resorted to a classic sophistry by trying to imply that those who suggest animals are sometimes conscious are claiming that all animals always are!) Behaviourists are delighted when animals do something foolish and wasteful of effort, and adduce it in support of their mechanistic theory. Yet, Griffin comments, we don't apply the same standards to members of our own species, who are equally prone to perform stupid, inefficient and futile actions from time to time.
This point leads to the argument which has always seemed to me decisive the one from evolutionary theory. We know the behaviourist argument is invalid in the case of our own species. But ever since Darwin it has been impossible to regard human beings as totally separate from the rest of the animal kingdom. The other animals are our relations; we and they are parts of a continuum. Only the fact that some elements of that continuum are lost in the past has encouraged us, wrongly, to imagine that an unbridgeable gulf exists between us and them. Consciousness has so many benefits for an organism's survival that it would be astonishing if it had not evolved in some form relatively early in the history of life on earth. Every zoologist who is so far unconvinced that animals can be conscious should read Donald Griffin's book with an open mind, and then think again.
PRIMATE TAXONOMY by Colin Groves. Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001. viii + 350 pp., hardback. ISBN 156098872X. $65.00.
The taxonomic revolution has finally come to the mammals in the shape of Colin Groves's Primate Taxonomy. For much of the 20th century we have been guided by Ernst Mayr's biological species concept (BSC), which states that species are `groups of actually or potentially interbreeding natural populations that are reproductively isolated from other such groups'. However, many biologists have had their reservations about the BSC, so that in the last 20 years or so several rival concepts have arisen, the most successful of which by far is Joel Cracraft's phylogenetic species concept (PSC). The PSC defines as a distinct species any population which has at least one diagnostic character that allows that population to be distinguished from others. The effect on avian taxonomy has been profound; many former subspecies have been promoted to species, and this has had important implications for conservation. Now many more species are confined to smaller geographical regions and are in need of conservation. Applying the PSC to primates, based on many years of studying mostly museum specimens, has led Groves to raise the number of primate species from a paltry 233 in Wilson and Reeder's Mammalian Species of the World in 1991 to a majestic 348 (if I have counted correctly) only ten years later. However, as Groves points out, the classification presented in Primate Taxonomy is really only a working document, which will undoubtedly form the basis of further primate taxonomic research to come.
Primate Taxonomy is, however, more than just a list of primate species. The first part would be useful to any one who wants to find out about the mechanics of taxonomy, including what taxonomy is, how it evolved and what it does, how we use the framework or hierarchy of classification, the different species concepts that attempt to explain what species are, and a brief history of primate taxonomy. Groves even gives clear instructions as to how to go about revising the taxonomy of a mammal group (species, genus, family etc.) using museum collections, which will hopefully influence the sometimes rather ad hoc pronouncements that have appeared in the last few years, based on only a few hundred base pairs of DNA or the efforts of those who have no taxonomic training.
Many people seem to be deterred from reading taxonomic works, especially those without any pictures, but Groves writes in an easy and entertaining style which makes all aspects of the taxonomic process clear and interesting. For example, he analyses species concepts as belonging to two main groups; theoretical species concepts, like the BSC, that deal with the process of speciation, and operational species concepts, like the PSC, that describe the pattern. Groves opts for the PSC for living primates as the only workable option, even if it leads to an apparent proliferation of species. This has important consequences for conservation, as under the BSC, subspecies tend to become buried within species when it comes to legislation, and therefore highly distinctive taxa may be totally overlooked. Obviously, this also creates a headache for conservationists, as there are now many more species that need protection in the wild as well as captive breeding in the world's zoos, which are already tight for cage space.
One problem area remains. Subspecies became a trendy pursuit for the taxonomist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A plethora of subspecies are currently recognised, many of which are poorly based in science, because they often depend on single (often atypical) specimens. Usually the 75% rule is applied; if 75% of the individuals from one population are distinguishable from 100% from a neighbouring population by at least one character, then a subspecies can be defined. However, watch out for clines, where one form changes into another form gradually over a geographical range. Inadequate sampling may appear to show two or more subspecies, but these clinal forms do not get their own subspecific names.
Well, that is enough of the theoretical. What effect has Groves had on primate taxonomy? For (almost) every species and subspecies, not only are scientific and vernacular names given, but also the key synonyms (invalid scientific names), geographical distribution and, most importantly, their diagnoses, i.e. those characters which allow the species or subspecies to be distinguished from others. Taking each family in order, these are the taxonomic surprises:
Dwarf lemurs (Cheirogaleus spp.) have increased from two to seven species, including two brand new ones described by Groves in 2000. Brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus) subspecies are all now recognised as separate species. Two of the grey gentle lemur (Hapalemur griseus) subspecies, the Alaotran and western, have also been raised to full species. Many of the former subspecies of the two main sifaka species, Propithecus diadema and P. verreauxi, have also been reborn as full species.
The galagos have proliferated into many new species in recent years, and Groves is now encouraging the lorises to catch up, with both slender and slow species dividing into two species each, as well as suggesting a few more, which still require names.
Groves now includes the callitrichids within the Cebidae (which retains some of its traditional members such as the capuchins), but splits away from that group three new families the Nyctipithecidae (douroucoulis), Pitheciidae (sakis, uakaris, titis) and Atelidae (howlers, woolly and spider monkeys). As might be expected, several new species appear courtesy of the PSC.
Although the Cercopithecidae remains recognisable, and some additional species appear in most genera, the most dramatic changes are reserved for the langurs. The entellus langurs (Semnopithecus) multiply from one to seven species, and the douc langurs (Pygathrix) are trebled. Changes among the great apes are well known, after being reported in BBC Wildlife Magazine last year; the gorillas and orangs both double to two species each.
By their very nature, however, books have long gestations, and so the latest primate discoveries are not included in this epic work. To my knowledge three mouse lemurs, two marmosets and a titi have all been described as new species in the last year or so. Groves also highlights great uncertainties in our current classifications, particularly among the galagos, where many more species may remain to be discovered.
Primate Taxonomy is an excellent book for all kinds of reasons. It teaches us about taxonomy and how to do it properly, and it gives us a whole new perspective on the primates and their conservation needs. It would undoubtedly have benefited from hundreds of illustrations (there are a miserable seven figures in the whole book), and I hope that this will be addressed in an inevitable second edition. However, ultimately, Primate Taxonomy shows us how little we know about this important group of mammals and how little time we have, given current rates of habitat loss, to find out more before we lose species accidentally through ignorance of their basic taxonomy.
Andrew Kitchener, National Museums of Scotland
PRIMATE CONSERVATION BIOLOGY by Guy Cowlishaw and Robin Dunbar. University of Chicago Press, 2000. xii + 498 pp., hardback or paperback. ISBN 0226116360 or 0226116379. $75.00 or £47.50 (hardback); $27.00 or £17.50 (paperback).
The attention recently focused on the bushmeat trade in tropical Africa, and the well-publicized fate of Miss Waldron's red colobus (Procolobus badius waldronae), the first primate taxon believed to have become extinct in modern times, have helped to alert many people to the conservation crisis now confronting the primates. Primate Conservation Biology gives its readers a detailed grounding in the theoretical and practical concepts which need to be understood if the conservation of these animals is to have any chance of success. (What a relief, incidentally, that the authors eschew the currently trendy term `nonhuman primates' if all zoologists could avoid stating the obvious, in this and other respects, the saving in paper, ink and readers' time would be considerable!) The word `biology' in the title indicates the book's unique value; almost half the text is devoted to a survey of the primates' diversity, behaviour, ecology, distribution and population dynamics, material which would be valuable even to a reader not primarily interested in conservation per se.
Although the present threat is uniquely widespread and severe, a longer view reveals that the primates have never been a static group. The last two million years, in particular, have seen complex patterns of species formation and disappearance powered by the succession of glacial and interglacial periods and the worldwide climate changes they triggered. Even rainforest destruction turns out to be something that has occurred a number of times in the past, and not all its consequences have been bad in the course of the Pleistocene the rainforests of Africa, Southeast Asia and South America shrank at times to perhaps one-third of their present extent, and it is to this periodic fragmentation that we owe the present diversity of, for example, gibbon, guenon and callitrichid species. This evidence of the recuperative powers of nature is comforting, in a way. But not very comforting the knowledge that rainforests (contrary to the assertions of many conservationists) can regenerate doesn't help us much if they take thousands of years to do so.
The above paragraph was a digression, but not one totally unrelated to a review of Primate Conservation Biology; for this is a rich book, packed with stimulating ideas and specific case studies, and almost any page chosen at random would have the same power to inspire fruitful trains of thought. But the book's dense structure does not conceal the underlying unity of its argument, one that mutatis mutandis could be applied to many other taxa besides primates that effective conservation must be founded on detailed knowledge of the biology of the species one is trying to conserve, and the ecology of their environment.
The biology and conservation sections of the book are linked by a chapter reviewing the limited data on extinction processes in primates. This concentrates largely on two taxa, baboons and lemurs. Among the former, the most dramatic decline has been that of the genus Theropithecus, from a middle Pleistocene range extending from sub-Saharan Africa through to the Mediterranean and northern India to the present tiny relict population of T. gelada in the Ethiopian highlands. This was largely a `natural' (i.e. non-anthropogenic) phenomenon, the result of climatic change causing a reduction of temperate grasslands (though there is some evidence that human predation may have accelerated the process). The loss of all the larger lemur species, on the other hand, coincides so closely with the spread of Homo sapiens in Madagascar that human responsibility is incontrovertible; the only doubt is over the relative importance of habitat loss and hunting.
Habitat disturbance and hunting provide the topics of Cowlishaw and Dunbar's next two chapters, for the Madagascan experience is now being repeated throughout the tropics. Primates are hunted not merely for food (though this is the most important reason), but also for ornamental or supposedly medicinal body parts, to control crop raiding, or to be sold alive as pets or subjects for biomedical research. Sustainable hunting is possible in theory but uncommon in practice. And whereas many forms of habitat disturbance can be relatively mild and allow some primates to persist reasonably well, logging operations in conjunction with hunting, not merely in the well-publicised case of West Africa but throughout the tropics, is proving a disastrously destructive combination.
Having set the scene and described the problems, Cowlishaw and Dunbar turn to a discussion of the ways in which wild primate populations can be protected from extinction. They draw a distinction between long-term objectives, `strategies', and `tactics', i.e. finer-level methods, devoting a chapter to each. One strategic problem, for example, is setting taxon priorities. Risk of extinction might seem the obvious consideration, but evolutionary uniqueness is arguably more significant e.g. it seems reasonable to regard the proboscis monkey, a monotypic genus, as more intrinsically valuable than the Sulawesi macaque, equally endangered but one of 16 Macaca species. The chapter on tactics includes sections on protected areas, sustainable utilization, and captive breeding with the ultimate goal of restocking or reintroduction. The latter, despite a few notable successes, has yet to be proved cost-effective when compared with in situ protection. But of course primate conservation doesn't depend on finding a single magic solution. The truth is that a careful combination of approaches offers the only hope that the present wealth of primate species or at least a substantial proportion of them can survive well into the future. That is the final message of this readable, practical and important book.
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Asiatic cheetah `in grave danger of extinction'
It is believed that fewer than 60 Asiatic cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) now survive in the entire Asian continent, most of them on the edge of Iran's Kavir Desert. The subspecies once ranged from Arabia and Palestine to India.
The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) carried out a survey in September 2001. The team included George Schaller, WCS's Director of Science, his colleague Tim O'Brien, and Ali Reza Jourabchian from Iran's Department of Environment. Schaller said afterwards: `Based on our talks with many people and on our own observations, it is clear that the cheetah in Iran is gravely threatened with extinction. Urgent action is needed to offer this species a future. Just as Iran takes pride in preserving its great cultural treasures, it needs to view and treat the cheetah as a great natural treasure.'
The team spent a month surveying three protected areas where cheetahs still exist Kavir National Park, Khar Touran World Biosphere Reserve and Daranjeer Hunting Prohibited Area. They found a variety of suitable habitat, but prey species, such as gazelles and urial sheep, were scarce.
In the 1970s, estimates of Iran's cheetah population ranged from 100 to 400. But widespread poaching of cheetahs and their prey during the early years of the 1978 Islamic revolution, along with degradation of habitat due to livestock grazing, have pushed the species to the brink of extinction.
Schaller and O'Brien were encouraged by the dedication and commitment of the Department of Environment staff to improve conditions in the protected areas. The sprawling Khar Touran area has only 20 park guards to patrol more than 5,400 square miles (8,640 km2). As a result, thousands of head of livestock illegally graze in its core area.
The WCS plans to carry out a comprehensive census next year of cheetahs and other predators, including leopards and wolves, and it looks forward to the possibility of other projects to help protect Iran's diverse flora and fauna.
Wildlife Conservation Society press release (31 October 2001)
Red List success stories
Not all is gloom and doom for Red Listed species, thanks to the IUCN/SSC Action Plans and other conservation measures they have inspired. In fact, there have been some notable success stories, usually measured by the movement of a species down the list to a `less-threatened' status.
A species or subspecies is pronounced Extinct when years of targeted searching fail to locate it. Fortunately, however, this is not always the last word. In 1996, when the Madeiran land snail (Discus guerinianus) had not been seen for 130 years, it was listed as Extinct. But that decision was apparently too quick: in 1999 it was found on a part of the island where it was previously not known to occur. Its new classification as Endangered represents a new lease on life.
The Fernandina rice rat (Nesoryzomys fernandinae) from the Galapagos Islands, known only from skeletal fragments in owl pellets, was listed as Extinct in 1996 prematurely, as it turned out. In the late 1990s it was discovered on the island of Fernandina, mainly around the rim of the island's volcano. The species is now listed as Vulnerable a welcome boost in status.
The ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), assessed as Extinct in 1996, has now been reclassified as Critically Endangered after a sighting in 1999.
Several other species have moved down the threat categories or been removed from the Red List altogether. Perhaps better information has emerged, or conservation action has been successful. Some examples are the Chinese crested ibis, Mauritius kestrel, Laysan duck, Hawaiian goose, Bermuda petrel, white rhino, whooping crane and short-tailed albatross. Confronted with depressing statistics about biodiversity loss, conservationists can take heart from their successes. Let's hope there are more in our future.
Abridged from David Brackett, Chair, IUCN Species Survival Commission, in World Conservation Vol. 32, No. 3 (2001)
White-winged guans reintroduced to wild
On 23 September 2001, six critically endangered white-winged guans (Penelope albipennis) were reintroduced to the wild in the Chaparrí Private Conservation Area, Lambayeque department, Peru. The species is confined to a few remote forested valleys in Peru, and was presumed extinct shortly after its discovery in 1876, until it was rediscovered in 1977. Since then the population, already very small, has been much diminished due to hunting, and now possibly fewer than 100 individuals survive in the wild. The remaining populations are small and fragmented, and still thought to be declining in some areas.
Shortly after the bird's rediscovery, Fundación Cracidae Perú was founded and a captive-breeding programme established. The captive population has increased to more than 100 birds, and this is the first release from the programme. The reintroduction began nearly two years ago with selection of the first site and construction of pre-release aviaries. Local observers will follow the first six birds released using radio-telemetry equipment. If all goes well there will be more releases at Chaparrí and elsewhere. It is hoped that the reintroduction programme will augment the small wild population at Chaparrí and link it to another population in the adjacent Laquipampa Reserve.
The Chaparrí Private Conservation Area is the first of its kind in Peru and a model for future conservation in the region. The community of Santa Catalina de Chongoyape set up the 36,500-ha reserve with guidance from Peruvian wildlife photographer Heinz Plenge. It is now one of the most important protected areas in the Tumbesian region of northern Peru and supports 35 restricted-range and four threatened bird species. It is also the site of conservation programmes for spectacled bear, Andean condor and guanaco. More information on the project may be found at http://www.Chaparri.org.
World Birdwatch Vol. 23, No. 4 (December 2001)
Information wanted mammalian hybrids
I am currently carrying out a long-term survey on mammalian hybrids for eventual publication. Anne P. Gray's work on the subject (1972) is now due for up-dating.
I am particularly eager to obtain pictures of relevant crossings and details of individuals of all taxonomic combinations above subspecific level. Most such individuals are only produced or occur in zoological collections and seldom in their natural environment, so if anyone is able to assist in any way, I would be most grateful.
Sam Whitbread, B.Sc. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
P.O. Box 4, Todmorden, Lancashire, OL14 6DA, United Kingdom.
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Elephant reproduction in Europe, Israel and North America in the year 2000
The birth rate of elephants in human care is very low compared to the number of animals kept in zoos. Consequently, the aim of a self-sustaining population has not been reached so far. The high juvenile mortality rate, as well as the deaths of older calves born in zoos (a two-year-old African female in Sigean, France, and a five-year-old Asian male, born in Hamburg, in Pont Scorff, France), present further setbacks.
The increased number of births of African as well as Asian elephants may be signs of an improvement which started in 1992. The reasons for this positive development may be found in increased efforts of some zoos to improve their enclosures in order to facilitate breeding. Individual groups were enlarged and bulls were integrated. As a consequence, many female Asian elephants who had been imported from Burma between 1988 and 1990 bred regularly,
North America shows no remarkable increase in the elephant birth rate. But the pregnancies of five Asian cows in the Ringling breeding station in Polk City, Florida, hints at a positive development. It is noteworthy that a big circus announced these events. But the number of zoos breeding elephants is still insignificant. It is very pleasing, however, to see the fresh start North America is making at the moment in breeding African elephants at least three pregnancies (by natural insemination) were announced.
The number of elephants of both species bred in Ramat Gan, Israel, is still unique worldwide. But building up of younger stock should be in the centre of interest. It is remarkable that four of the six Asian births in Europe in 2000 occurred in socialized groups (i.e., in a community of several cows and their calves). Three of the calves are growing up in integrated groups (the fourth calf was of low viability). These calves were born without veterinary intervention or help (the mothers were not chained). This fact shows that matriarchally dominated groups of experienced mothers have been formed (for example in Emmen) in recent years, giving hope of continued breeding in these places in future. Asian calves were also born in Ramat Gan with the group, including the bull, present.
Experience proves that it takes years sometimes even decades to build up socially integrated groups. Various drawbacks can never be avoided. But in the long run only this type of care may lead to breeding which can fulfil the needs of animals in captivity.
Jürgen Schilfarth, European Elephant Group, in Elephant-Journal (magazine of the European Elephant Keepers and Managers Association) Vol. 4, No. 1&2 (2001). [See the original article for the full list of births.]
Longevity in the black rhinoceros
The maximum age hitherto recorded in a black rhinoceros in captivity was that of the female Mary, who lived at Chicago Zoological Park, Brookfield, from 26 June 1935 to 18 March 1980, a period of 44 years and 9 months. This has now been surpassed by two other animals in American zoos. Columbus Zoo, Ohio, imported a male, Clyde, in either 1953 or 1954 (unfortunately, the exact date is unknown). He died on 10 December 2000 after a period of 46 or 47 years in captivity. A new record was set by the male Rudy, who was imported by Prospect Park Zoo in New York on 12 July 1954. He was transferred to Detroit Zoo, Michigan, on 13 July 1988 and had to be euthanised on 5 December 2001 due to arthritis and pains connected to his old age. He lived for 47 years and 4 months (17,313 days) in captivity. As most animals were imported when they were between one and two years old, the current longevity record for the black rhinoceros seems to be established as 48 or 49 years.
Problems of great hornbill captive management
The EEP for the great hornbill (Buceros bicornis) is coordinated by Koen Brouwer, also the EAZA Hornbill TAG Chair. Koen is also director of the offices of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) and of the Dutch Zoo Federation. This combination of responsibilities gives Koen a different perspective from that of other EEP coordinators. Combining these tasks is sometimes difficult, but is also in some ways easier and more efficient, as hornbill business can be taken care of during transaction of other business.
The state of the Great Hornbill EEP is sobering. There were approximately 100 birds when the EEP was initiated ten years ago. Since then 30 adults have died, and 15 chicks have hatched, of which only ten have survived. The population has remained stable, however, through recruitment, as Koen has invested much effort into bringing single birds held in small zoos or private facilities into the EEP. Only a couple of pairs have bred consistently, and they may well become over-represented in the near future. The reasons for this poor reproduction are not certainly known, but lack of suitable nest sites and incompatibility between partners are thought to be two frequent problems. Furthermore, as all hornbills are tropical or subtropical, temperatures of outdoor enclosures in northern climates are not optimal.
Field researchers have been able to provide some insights into management needs, and husbandry guidelines are now in development using these data and zoo experiences. The TAG has much contact with hornbill field researchers and conservationists, and TAG members support a number of in situ projects.
The possibility of setting up great hornbill `dating centres' has been discussed for many years, and this was finally attempted in 2001 at Burgers' Zoo, Arnhem, with pairs from four zoos (Amsterdam, Antwerp, Arnhem and Rotterdam) participating [see further below, pp. 4445]. Some of the hornbills were re-paired at the end of the experiment, and it is hoped that these changes will be fruitful. It would be very desirable to set up such a dating centre in a southern European zoo with warmer temperatures during the winter, when these birds are generally in breeding condition, as this is possibly the best time for pair selection to take place.
Robert van Herk, Ko Veltman and Harald Schmidt in De Harpij Vol. 20, No. 4 (1991)
Genetic tests suggest two species of African elephant
The genetic dissimilarity between forest and savanna elephants `is as great as between lions, tigers, jaguars and snow leopards,' says Stephen J. O'Brien, head of a genetic research laboratory at the U.S. National Cancer Institute. O'Brien is lead author of an elephant study published in the journal Science. He and his co-authors analyzed genetic specimens collected from 195 African and seven Asian elephants, and found clear evidence of a `species level' genetic difference between the two African types.
The genetic samples were collected over eight years using darts fired into animals living in 21 widely separated groups in Africa. The darts were designed to punch and hold a small sample of skin from the target animals, and then drop to the ground, allowing researchers to retrieve bits of skin containing gene samples. The technique was developed to enable researchers to trace the origins of illegal ivory.
According to O'Brien, the genetic difference between forest and savanna elephants is about 58% of that between African and Asian elephants. Something, perhaps some physical barrier, split African elephants into two groups thousands of years ago, he says. `We don't know what the barriers were between these two, but their habitats are clearly different and they have been isolated for a long enough time for speciation to take place. When they did come into contact, they avoided breeding with each other.' Out of 21 groups genetically analyzed, only one showed evidence of cross-breeding, and `that probably happened up to about 100 generations ago.'
O'Brien estimates that there are about 350,000 savanna elephants in Africa and about 150,000 forest elephants. Just 20 years ago, the population of African elephants was more than 1.5 million. Samuel Wasser, a conservation biologist at the University of Washington, says he and his colleagues have conducted an even more extensive genetic survey of the elephant, and they agree that the African animals are of two distinct species. The forest elephant is entering a new phase of poaching danger, Wasser says, because logging and road building have penetrated its dense jungle home and given poachers easier access. The illegal sale of the distinctive pink-hued ivory and meat from the forest elephant have both increased in recent years.
Abridged from Paul Recer in Gray Matters (Elephant Managers Association) Vol. 5, No. 3 (July/August 2001)
Animal welfare crisis looms in U.S.A.
A new Texas law will require county governments to either regulate or prohibit the ownership of dangerous wild animals. (Similar rules are already in force in most of the state's cities.) It is thought that many counties will go for an outright ban because they cannot afford the costs involved in regulation. If so, it is likely that many owners will be forced to find their animals a home at zoos or rescue centers, which are likely to be overwhelmed by the numbers involved more than 5,000 tigers, alone, are estimated to be in private hands in Texas. `We're already way beyond our capacity, and so is everybody else in the country,' says Cindy Carroccio, co-director of Austin Zoo, which cares for hundreds of abandoned or abused animals.
The crisis in Texas is only one example of a growing problem. No one knows how many wild animals are in private hands across the U.S.A., or where they are more than 60,000 tigers, for example, are estimated to be privately held. `You can buy a tiger for $200, and when they're small, they're cute, adorable,' says Ms Carroccio. `But when they grow to 500 pounds and people realize they've gotten in way over their heads, by then it's too late.' At present, eight states have imposed statewide bans on private ownership of wild animals; three have no rules at all; and the rest have only minimal forms of control.
New York Times (10 December 2001)
Cannibalism documented in lammergeiers
For the first time, a team of Spanish scientists has documented sibling aggression, followed by the death of the younger chick (cainism), and the subsequent use of its remains to feed its elder sibling (cannibalism) in the lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus). Their study is part of a programme developed by the Spanish Ministry of Environment to find out the causes of the current reduction in productivity by the otherwise growing population of lammergeiers in the Pyrenees. By placing video cameras inside a nest, the scientists were able to document a full breeding cycle in which two chicks were hatched. Only the six-day-older chick fledged, after a four-month stay in the nest. Its younger sibling died of starvation when four days old, after receiving pecks and being kept away from food by the older chick. On the fifth day, the surviving chick was fed the remains of its younger sibling.
The study sheds new light on the conservation of this unique and poorly-known species, which is scarce and threatened with extinction in Europe. It raises the possibility of taking second chicks from nests in the wild (where they act as a reserve in case the first egg fails to hatch) and saving them for conservation purposes (captive breeding, population stocking, reintroduction etc.). It has also revealed essential information on chick diet and other aspects of the breeding biology which is applicable to current conservation work on the species. The authors of the study will conduct further research in the next breeding season. This will entail finding new nests, as lammergeiers when successful choose a different eyrie each year.
World Birdwatch Vol. 23, No. 4 (December 2001)
Lizards may locate food by smell
Although squamate reptiles are known to locate conspecifics by scent-trailing and to locate and identify prey by tongue-flicking substrates, an ability to locate food using only airborne cues has previously only been suspected based on observations that dead animals can be used as bait for Komodo dragons and that some nocturnal geckos aggregate on flowers. In an article in the journal Physiology and Behavior (Vol. 74, No. 3, pp. 339342), two biologists at Indiana University-Purdue University, W.E. Cooper and V. Perez-Mellado, report a simple field test of the ability of the omnivorous species Lilford's wall lizard (Podarcis lilfordi) to find fruit hidden under opaque cups. When a board having two identical cups spaced one metre apart, one empty and the other hiding a freshly-cut piece of apricot, was placed in the habitat, lizards first contacted the cup hiding fruit at well above chance frequency. Upon contact with a cup, lizards were significantly more likely to stay next to it, tongue-flick at high rates, climb the cup and attempt to bite it, if it hid a piece of apricot. The ability to follow a concentration gradient of airborne volatile chemicals to its source is very likely mediated by olfaction, but participation by, or primacy of, vomerolfaction [sensing via Jacobson's organ, as in the flehmen behaviour of some mammals Ed.] cannot be excluded.
Adapted from HerpDigest (http://www.herpdigest.org) Vol. 2, No. 20
(6 January 2002)
New Bartlett Society publications
The Bartlett Society has recently published two compilations by David Barnaby. The Elephants of Belle View traces as far as the records permit the history of elephants kept in Manchester from 1860 to the zoo's closure in 1977 (and beyond one of these animals may still be alive in Belgrade Zoo). Separate chapters explore curious sidelines such as a dead elephant left in a Lancashire wood in the 1940s and a fragment of British art history first published in I.Z.N. 37:5.
Quagga Quotations: a Quagga Bibliography prints hundreds of references to quaggas, from 1658 to the present, with bibliographic references and, in most cases, short extracts.
The Elephants of Belle View and Quagga Quotations are available by post from John Adams, 61 Belmont Road, Portswood, Southampton, SO17 2GD, U.K., prices £4.50 and £5.70 respectively (overseas orders £1 extra, please, to cover airmail postage).
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BURGERS' ZOO, ARNHEM, THE NETHERLANDS
Summary of the Annual Report 2001
The year 2001 was a very prosperous one for Burgers' Zoo. With 1,612,000 people, the number of visitors was somewhat lower than the previous year, mainly due to foot-and-mouth disease. In 2000, Burgers Ocean was opened, which caused a dramatic increase in attention from the press, resulting in a record of 1.8 million visitors.
The zoo used this `intermediate year' to renovate some older parts, such as the enclosure for reindeer. The cages for Sri Lankan leopards (P. p. kotiya) were replaced by three spacious enclosures, of which two are off-show. The main enclosure measures 500 m2, is up to six metres high and contains a lot of enrichment elements, like several natural trees, a waterfall and pond, shrubs and bushes to hide in, and also a computer system to supply the leopards at random intervals with small pieces of meat. At the same time we exchanged our wild-caught and over-represented pair of leopards with the old pair from Warsaw Zoo, Poland. This pair are also wild-caught, but have never succeeded in rearing their offspring. Now that they are approaching the end of their reproductive lives, we wanted to give these `oldies' a final chance to reproduce, so we brought them to Arnhem and provided each of them with a new partner. The male has already mated with a proven breeding female here, so most likely his genes will not be lost when he dies.
The apes also received a lot of attention this year. We played an active role in the EAZA bushmeat campaign to increase public awareness and disapproval of hunting for meat in tropical countries to supply European markets. No fewer than 76,000 signatures against the trade were collected at Burgers' Zoo, the highest number in Europe! Our gorillas also helped to draw attention to the conservation of primates, and gave birth to no fewer than four (1.3) offspring. Also, five (2.3) gorillas were sent to Leipzig Zoo, Germany, where a new ape house was opened [see I.Z.N. 48 (5), p. 342 Ed.]. The Bornean orang-utans produced a healthy female baby, and one of the two adult males was sent to Fuengirola, Spain, on the recommendation of the EEP.
Burgers' Zoo was proud to announce the birth of 0.3 (0.1 DNS) aardvarks in 2001; full details were published in I.Z.N. 48 (6), pp. 401402.
Building work on the new aquarium was finished in 2001. Culture facilities for corals, jellies and coralfish have been constructed. Two shark species, Chiloscyllium arabicum and Hemiscyllium occelatum, have reproduced. Various damselfish produced eggs, and in the coming years experiments will be done to try to grow them to adult fish. About 150 stony corals and soft corals were cultured behind the scenes and were introduced into the 750,000-litre coral reef tank. The most interesting newcomers to the Ocean were a group of eight white-spotted eagle rays (Aetobatus narinari). They had some difficulty with feeding at first, and had to be taught to eat from a stick.
Other births and hatchings at Burgers' Zoo during 2001 include 17 (3 DNS) black-footed penguins, 30 (2 DNS) striated herons (Butorides striatus), 1.1 white-tailed sea eagles (which were, with approval of the EEP coordinator, released in Israel), 0.1 king vulture, 0.0.2 griffon vultures, 2.0 northern ground hornbills, 26 (3 DNS) hooded pitta (P. sordida), 0.0.4 Merriams kangaroo rat (Dipodomys merriami), 1.1 (0.1 DNS) black mangabey, 2.2 Baringo giraffe (G. c. rothschildi), 0.1 eastern bongo, and 0.1 blue duiker (Cephalophus monticola).
Noteworthy acquisitions include an unrelated male blue duiker (C. m. schultzei) from Asson Zoo, France, and 2.3 Gila monsters (Heloderma suspectum) from Randers, Denmark.
Marc Damen, Curator
HELSINKI ZOO, FINLAND
Extracts from the Annual Report 2000
Births and hatchings this year included a number of species which had never bred here before, such as 15 Colombian rainbow boas (Epicrates cenchria maurus a common breeder in zoos, but these were the first reptiles ever born here), 8 (3 DNS) scarlet ibis, 2.1 leopard cats, 0.1 griffon vulture (successfully reared by both parents, who had laid eggs for many years, but never previously reared a chick), and 0.2 Goeldi's monkeys.
Other animals bred included 0.1 emperor tamarin (S. i. subgrisescens), 3 (1 DNS) Asian lions, 1.0 snow leopard, and 1.1 wolverine. This last was of extreme importance to the captive stock in Europe; the mother, Sala, was wild-caught in Norway and this was her first litter. The captive wolverine population is based on only a few founder animals with a most unequal representation, so genetic refreshment is of great importance for the captive stock, which currently is exposed to inbreeding and severe loss of genetic diversity. Sala's was the seventh wolverine litter recorded in Helsinki, where three different pairs have produced a total of 8.9 cubs.
During the year we also obtained some species which had not been exhibited in the zoo for a long time. A trio of Russian flying squirrels (Pteromys volans) were obtained from the wild, and one of the two females was provided with a radio transmitter before she was released to a nature reserve in the vicinity of Helsinki. The construction of a new Otter and European Mink Complex offered us opportunities to exhibit the European otter again. Otters are famous for their curiosity and their habit of carefully investigating all new objects and enclosures a habit which unfortunately has also made them successful escapers. Our Swedish colleagues had informed us that during the year four otters had already managed to escape from zoos in Sweden. We therefore had the new exhibit inspected by several persons with experience in otter keeping before we introduced a young wild-caught female but unfortunately this female was no exception, and after two weeks in the exhibit, she escaped, never to be seen again! A more serious setback was the loss of our female European mink, apparently taken by a free-flying eagle owl.
The arrival of three Siberian jays (Perisoreus infaustus) from the northern part of the country is also worth mentioning. This species was kept at the zoo in great numbers in the 1960s, but it is still a species rarely seen in captivity. Other important bird arrivals were 2.0 lesser white-fronted geese, 1.1 smews (Mergellus albellus), 0.1 great grey owl (Strix nebulosa lapponica) from Poznan Zoo, and a white stork from Ranua Zoo, Finland. A new male Himalayan tahr was imported for our breeding herd from Dresden Zoo.
A number of animals of EEP species left us for other collections, among them a sub-adult male Amur tiger to Aalborg, a male snow leopard to Wildpark Lüneburger Heide, a male Amur leopard to London and a female red panda to Odense. Six Pallas's cats, bred the previous year, also left for new homes in Great Britain and on the continent. One of them was exchanged for an unrelated captive-bred cat from Tierpark Berlin in order to establish two breeding pairs in Helsinki; sadly, however, the imported female died of toxoplasmosis later in the year.
The bird department had many successful hatchings, including both boreal and hawk owls (Aegolius funereus and Surnia ulula). Although both species have bred before in Helsinki, this is still a rare event in the zoo world today as is shown by the fact that all the youngsters were immediately reserved and left our premises before the end of the year. The hawk owl has bred here three times before, in 19811983, and the boreal owls have had nestlings six times, although the latest reproduction took place in 1985.
For the first time, we lost an Amur leopard female due to aggression from the male. The pair had been introduced to each other with every precaution usually taken when carnivores are introduced to each other at first they were only kept together for a short time during daylight, then for the whole day, and later also for the night, when they seemed to be totally compatible. Everything went smoothly until the keepers found the female dead in the enclosure one morning. This female, Kveta, was an older animal with earlier breeding experience in our zoo, but her partner was a new animal who had arrived from Frankfurt Zoo. Kveta's death left us with two single high-ranking males, so one of them was transferred to London Zoo later in the year.
During the year, a European bison was transported to the Oksy Reserve in Russia for the joint restocking programme established some years ago with zoos in Germany and the Netherlands. After the political and economic crises in Russia in the early 1990s, it was found that the bison population had dropped by 38% by the middle of the last decade. During the next few years, almost 200 animals are planned to be released in Russia, mainly bred in Russian breeding farms and zoos, but also supported with animals provided from the West. Helsinki has so far supported the project with 2.4 animals born in the zoo.
For the first time, Helsinki participated in a reintroduction programme for European wild cats taking place in Bavaria, Germany. The programme started in 1984, when the first captive-bred cats were released close to Wiesenfelden. Since then, more than 400 cats have been released in Germany, many of which were bred in zoos in Germany and the Netherlands, as well as at the Nordic Ark in Sweden. To be able to participate, the animals offered to the programme must be of known origin.
THE NORDIC ARK (NORDENS ARK), HUNNEBOSTRAND, SWEDEN
Extracts from the Annual Report 2000
At the end of the year, Nordens Ark had a total of 485 amphibians, birds and mammals of 65 different species and domestic breeds. Breeding took place in four species of wild bird, 11 wild mammals and 14 out of 20 native domestic breeds.
The work and breeding of green toad (Bufo viridis) spawn continued for the fifth year. As a result we were able to release some 1,300 toads in locations in the south of Sweden. For a second year we also provided new genetic material to strengthen the population of fire-bellied toads (B. bombina), which resulted in a release of 200 toads.
Breeding of the lesser white-fronted goose was very successful, with seven chicks hatched in 1999 and 14 in 2000; in all, Nordens Ark has delivered 44 young chicks for the reintroduction project over the years. We brought in five young chicks of the white-backed woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos) from Norway and Latvia, though problems with imports, transport, licenses and not least the laborious hand-feeding were quite considerable. After discussions with the Swedish Society for the Conservation of Nature, the organisers of this captive-breeding and reintroduction project, it was agreed that a breeding facility for the species was to be built. The young chicks and two pairs already in the zoo formed four breeding pairs. Unfortunately, we lost two birds due to a parasite disease, so at the moment we have two pairs intended for breeding. Wild nestlings will also be collected, probably from Norway, and in the future we hope to be able to keep 1015 woodpecker pairs in a planned breeding enclosure.
Our old snow leopard, Tai, who gave birth to ten cubs over the years, was moved to the non-public section. One of her last litter of quadruplets was Thangra, our new breeding female. She had two cubs in May by the male Titus. One male bred here, Taison, was sent all the way to Padma Naidu Himalayan Zoo in Darjeeling, north-east India. A German team accompanied Taison all the way, and the resulting film on international breeding cooperation was shown on several TV channels in Germany. Our European wildcat, Ninni, had a litter of 2.2. The European otter has regularly bred here for several years, and this year all three females whelped. As otters rarely breed in captivity, this is extremely gratifying in fact, our otters are the only ones in the Nordic countries that regularly give birth.
Christer Larsson, Leif Blomqvist and Marcus Toreld
ROYAL ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA (Adelaide and Monarto Zoos)
Extracts from the Annual Report 2000/2001
At Adelaide Zoo, a male giraffe was born on exhibit, to the delight of zoo visitors; this was mother Jamala's second baby. The birth of the zoo's first Malayan tapir signified the start of a breeding program which had its origin two years earlier, when the mother, Mia, was imported from Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A., as a mate for Sulong, who was originally from Singapore Zoo. An ultra-sound test confirmed that Mia was pregnant, and the historic birth took place in the early hours of 19 October. This was the first time this species has been born at the zoo, and only the second time in Australia.
Two very significant Sumatran tiger transfers were undertaken to assist the Society in its regional and global captive management plan for this critically endangered subspecies. Our resident male Lari was transferred to Mogo Zoo in New South Wales, and a male was received from Tierpark Berlin as the `perfect match' for our female Kemiri.
There were a number of important arrivals at Adelaide Zoo. A male Sumatran orang-utan, Pusung, came from Singapore Zoo, and is being introduced to our resident female, Karta. Two male African lions arrived from Melbourne Zoo, following the sad euthanasing of our long-time resident pair for age-related reasons. Planning is under way to import two females from Auckland Zoo. A female African painted dog came from Western Plains Zoo, and 1.4 hamadryas baboons from Melbourne, greatly improving the genetic make-up of Adelaide's existing population. After some adjustments to the exhibit, the old and new groups were introduced without incident. A pair of blood pythons was put on exhibit in the re-landscaped and re-modelled old anaconda exhibit in the Reptile House; it is the first time this species has been on exhibit in Adelaide.
At Monarto Zoo, the birth of yet another calf brought the giraffe population to 14, the largest herd in Australia. The arrival of South Australia's first ever white rhinoceros in December 2000 begins the first chapter of an exciting captive-breeding program which we hope to expand in 2002, with more rhinos being imported from Krueger National Park in South Africa. Extensive fencing and construction was required for the African painted dog habitat, the only drive-through enclosure for this species in Australia. Two dogs arrived from Adelaide Zoo in April 2001, and it is hoped that a further import of a pack will take place in 2002.
Monarto's director, Chris Hannocks, accompanied six euros (Macropus robustus erubescens) to Opel Zoo, Germany, in April 2001. This transfer formed part of the promotion to launch the new euro currency in Europe!
The Society continued to work with conservation programs for both exotic and native species. Among the highlights in conservation of native species for 2000/2001 were the following:
Hooded plovers (Thinornis rubricollis) are considered vulnerable in the wild due to predation by feral cats and the impact of tourism often hatchlings leaving their beach nests are vulnerable to being run over by four-wheel-drive vehicles. Society bird staff collected five young `on permit' from Kangaroo Island to help improve the genetic make-up of the existing captive population at Adelaide Zoo.
A wild population of one of Australia's most endangered birds, the black-eared miner (Manorina melanotis), was translocated from a site in South Australia to the Sunset National Park, Victoria. This species has been part of a captive-breeding program at Adelaide for several years, with a total of seven chicks being hand-raised to fledging.
For the first time in more then 30 years the orange-bellied parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) was bred at Adelaide Zoo. This nationally endangered species, which breeds only on the western coast of Tasmania and winters in the south-east of mainland Australia, has been the subject of a recovery program for a number of years. The zoo was successful in breeding four birds.
The yellow-footed rock wallaby (Petrogale xanthopus) release program, approaching its fifth anniversary, continues to thrive, with second-generation offspring forthcoming. Monitoring continues twice a year. The future of the program will hopefully lead to the reintroduction of other species in Aroona Sanctuary. Discussions with the Department of Environment and Heritage are under way to assess the potential for release of other species including the greater bilby (Macrotis lagotis).
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INTERNATIONAL ZOO NEWS
Amersfoort Zoo, The Netherlands
The 13th September 2001 is marked in the annals of Amersfoort Zoo as a very special day, for it was then that the Indian rhinoceroses Daan and Zimon arrived.
The zoo management had consulted with the EEP coordinator in Basel about keeping two male rhinoceroses together, namely Daan, born in July 2000 at Rotterdam Zoo, and Zimon, born in September 1998 at Planckendael Zoo, Belgium. They arrived in Amersfoort on the same day, accompanied by their regular keepers. In order to make them leave their transportation boxes more quickly, their new corrals were strewn with their own excrement. The animals could see, hear and smell each other right from the start. Their first encounter was accompanied by much whistling and hissing, but without any sign of aggression.
On 14 September Zimon was given the opportunity to explore the small enclosure (40 m2). However, he only had eyes for Daan licking and nuzzling, they stayed together. On the next couple of days their contact intensified. On 17 September 50 square metres were fenced off from the big corral to give Daan the opportunity to get used to the outside enclosure. This went according to plan, partly because the rhinos were already accustomed to the
Young male Indian rhinos Daan and Zimon at Amersfoort Zoo.
mini-train that drives around their enclosure. Right from the beginning the outside door had been left ajar to familiarise both animals with the sight and sound of the train, and after four days they did not take notice of it any more. On 20 September Zimon entered the outside enclosure for the first time. This enclosure is surrounded by rocks 1.25 metres high, with pebbles at their base. At a height of one metre an electric cattle fence is secured to the rocks. The terrain consists of a loampit with water (30 m2), a swimming pool with a depth of 2.25 m, many hillocks and heavy tree trunks (1.25 m in diameter), several green patches and trees. Watching them swim for the first time in their lives was exciting. They were a bit frightened at first because they could not feel any ground beneath their feet. However, it soon became clear that they had found a new hobby!
Because it was decided that both of them had to explore the entire outside enclosure separately, the rhinos were not yet let outside at the same time. This was only to be done when they were sufficiently relaxed in their new surroundings. On 6 October, Daan was let outside, and as soon as he was at ease, Zimon was let out as well. When Daan saw Zimon he froze and refused to move. After a couple of minutes Zimon was called inside again. On the 7th everything again happened according to the same scenario. Why? As long as they had no direct contact they were extremely affectionate to each other. Another try was decided upon, and on 9 October the corners of the outside enclosure were fenced off and the rhinos were let out together once more. They walked up to each other straight away, started to whistle and hiss, and licked each other's muzzle and ears.
From that moment onwards they have been close friends: they run together, swim together, take mud-baths together, wrestle together and eat on one square metre. In short, Daan and Zimon are inseparable.
Burgers' Zoo, Arnhem, The Netherlands
In autumn 2001, the zoo offered to temporarily set up the first European great hornbill `dating centre' [see further above, p. 35]. An off-exhibit area primarily used for housing non-winter-hardy species was made available. Before being moved to the dating centre, all eight hornbills (housed as pairs) from four zoos (Amsterdam, Antwerp, Arnhem and Rotterdam) were given transponders and a pseudotuberculosis vaccine, were tested for parasites, and began an extra vitamin B treatment a week before transport. Once at the centre, the birds were housed separately in eight cages with visual and auditory contact. They were given a week to adjust before the partner choice trials began. One bird was released into a hallway adjoining all the cages for six hours in one day, and the interactions with the other birds recorded by video. There were three series of trials, i.e. each bird was placed in the hall three times throughout the experiment.
It was found that in the six weeks that the birds were at the zoo they did not change their dietary habits, i.e. they ate only the items familiar to them from the diet of their home zoo. Activity levels of all the birds were highest in the first and third trials; it is thought that activity was lower during the second trial because many of the birds were moulting at that time. Some birds were more active than others generally, and all the males showed particular interest in one female. The pair from Antwerp seemed clearly most suited to each other, based on the number of positive interactions seen, and they were sent back together. The results were more ambiguous with the remaining hornbills, and as all three pairs had been held together at their resident zoos for some time without much reproductive activity, the males were switched so that each of the other three females will be re-paired with a new partner. While this experiment was relatively short (six weeks in total) and undertaken during the non-breeding period, both of which factors may have influenced success, it was nevertheless considered a positive step in the right direction and a very valuable learning experience.
Wineke Schoo in De Harpij Vol. 20, No. 4 (2001)
Cango Wildlife Ranch, Oudtshoorn, South Africa
The staff of the ranch were devastated that seven of their hand-raised cheetahs were apparently deliberately poisoned on 11 November 2001 in what appears to have been a well-planned, malicious act. When the cheetahs started to show signs of being unwell, staff on duty called the owner of the ranch, Andrew Eriksen, the senior curator and the general manager to say that something was wrong. Then one animals after another began to collapse. The ranch's vet Dr Glenn Carlisle was immediately informed, and the animals were transferred to the surgery, where he and ranch staff struggled to save them.
`The effects of the poison were horrific,' says Eriksen. `Three of our cheetahs died one after the other. Naf and Cuddlebum, two boisterous 18-month-olds, died first, followed by a nine-month-old female, Aurora. Three others, including Aurora's sister, continued to fight the effects of the poison, which included hemorrhaging in their lungs, long into the afternoon. The seventh cheetah, named Goggles, who it appeared had luckily ingested very little of the poison, reduced the staff to tears when she started to come round and, on seeing her handlers, started purring and licking them, displaying the incredible bond of trust that develops between these cats and those who care for them.
All of the endangered animals at the ranch, including the cheetahs, are supported by the Cheetah Conservation Foundation, a non-profit organization. As there is a fear that this could happen again, the Foundation feels it essential to provide security to their surviving cheetahs as well as the other big cats, which include the only white tigers in Africa. To this end it is appealing to corporations and members of the public who can help them with the donation of CCV cameras and systems, fencing or money, as the estimated cost is approximately R100,000. Anyone who is able to assist in any way should contact Jenny Schmidt, Public Relations Officer, Cheetah Conservation Foundation (Tel.: ++ 021 852 6336) or Rob Hall, General Manager, Cango Wildlife Ranch (++ 044 272 5593).
Chester Zoo, U.K.
Experience and research have taught us that more than anything else, zoo visitors appreciate the opportunity to be close to, or even in beside, the animals. While this is rarely possible for reasons of health, safety and welfare, we decided to be innovative with our bat exhibit, the `Twilight Zone'. Until 1997, the zoo's two bat species, Seba's short-tailed and Rodrigues fruit bats, had been housed in a rather dated facility that gave them little opportunity for sustained flight and offered limited viewing to visitors. Plans for the new exhibit were developed to provide as much space as possible for the animals in a dramatic walk-through environment where the visitors would be totally immersed in a tropical experience.
From the outside the building doesn't look particularly inspiring: it is basically a large agricultural shed. But inside, a sophisticated, computer-controlled environment is landscaped to mimic a rocky valley covered with lush vegetation. Supporting species in the exhibit include a variety of large catfish in the central lake, Mexican blind cave fish, imperial scorpions and giant hissing cockroaches. (The latter two are likely to be replaced with some kind of small nocturnal lemur in the future.) Forty-two Rodrigues and approximately 200 Seba's bats fly around in semi-darkness while visitors walk freely among them. Initial concerns that visitors might try to initiate unwanted contact with the bats proved largely unfounded; however, for peace of mind, staff are always present making sure the bats are safe, providing on the spot information, and reassuring visitors who anticipate bats sucking their blood or getting tangled in their hair!
The temperature throughout the exhibit averages 24° C, but stratification naturally occurs, with highs of 31° at the top of some of the taller trees. All of the vegetation is artificial (although no one has ever noticed!) and requires a surprisingly high degree of maintenance. Staff members spend a lot of time sticking leaves on branches and rearranging twigs that bats have displaced. Humidity averages 70% and can be raised simply by spraying the exhibit. The computer-controlled reversed lighting regime ensures that the bats are active while the zoo is open. The three lighting phases are:
Twilight One: Begins at 10 a.m. with a 20-minute sunset fading to a state of darkness that is equivalent to a night with a full moon;
Twilight Two: A much darker phase that begins at 6.30 p.m. when the exhibit has closed; and
Daylight: Begins with a 20-minute sunrise at 9.30 p.m. and lasts until 10 a.m. the following morning.
Both species are fed a variety of fruits presented in ways that encourage natural foraging behaviours. Although the bats do squabble (loudly!) at feeding stations, there is little real aggression in the colony. Large Rodrigues males do establish territories and younger, smaller males are seen off quickly and efficiently should they cross the line. Females, not surprisingly, are welcomed by the territory-holders, who are the fathers of most of the youngsters.
Free to fly in 4,000 cubic metres of airspace with ample opportunities for climbing, the bats have benefited enormously from their transfer to the Twilight Zone. Bats that were previously the chiropteran equivalent of `couch potatoes' now fly vigorously around the exhibit. In addition, the naturalistic environment encourages social behaviours previously unobserved by zoo staff.
Vicki Powell, one of the zoo's funded Ph.D. students, spends part of the year on Rodrigues Island studying bats in order to investigate their distribution, dispersal and conservation. Results of this study will be used for a Population and Habitat Viability Analysis (PHVA). With more than 3,000 bats on the island, the population appears to be healthy. However, in the past hurricanes have caused a decline of up to 50% of the population, so maintenance of the species in captivity is clearly a priority.
Currently there are approximately 700 Rodrigues fruit bats in 29 collections worldwide. Other zoo studies are currently establishing the genetic relationships of all zoo specimens. The resulting database will prove invaluable not only in managing breeding programmes but also in determining the best individuals for reintroduction to the wild should this ever become possible or necessary.
Since opening in September 1998, the Twilight Zone exhibit has proven to be a great success, enthralling the public who often leave with a completely different attitude to bats. ]n 1999 the exhibit was awarded the prestigious UFAW award for excellence in animal welfare.
Stephen McKeown and Paul Howse in AZA Communiqué (October 2001)
Dallas Zoo, Texas, U.S.A.
Eight banded pit vipers (Trimeresurus fasciatus) were born at the zoo on 1 July. A group of 2.2 specimens arrived here in March 2000. A pair were placed together in late November and courtship and copulation were observed multiple times throughout December. The babies averaged 3.26 grams and all were approximately 14 centimeters long. A relatively rare pit viper in collections, with only nine other specimens in two other institutions on the International Species Information System (ISIS), it is endemic to the tiny Indonesian island of Djampea. This is believed to be the first captive reproduction of this species.
AZA Communiqué (September 2001)
Denver Zoo, Colorado, U.S.A.
Denver recently became the second zoo in North America to successfully breed the red river hog (Potamochoerus porcus). In 1997, the zoo received its first red river hog, named Rose, on breeding loan from San Diego, and in 1999 a pair were purchased from the National Zoo in Pretoria, South Africa. The pigs were sent by air freight to an international quarantine station in Warsaw, Poland, for 60 days, where they were tested for African swine fever. After they cleared all the testing requirements, they were flown to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's quarantine station in Newbergh, New York, for another 30 days. Here they were re-tested and observed for any signs of an infectious disease. Rhea and Rambo (their South African names) passed all the tests and arrived in Denver just after Christmas 2000.
In spring 2001, we introduced Rose and Rambo, and it was love at first sight. By early May we observed mating for the first time. Our veterinary department arranged for a consulting veterinary radiologist to conduct an ultrasound exam in order to determine whether or not Rose was pregnant. She was not sedated but allowed the exam as she ate some treats in her stall. We were elated to observe two fetuses. (Red river hogs normally have two to four offspring.) The exact gestation period is unknown, but it was believed to be between 120 and 130 days. During the next several months Rose's abdomen greatly increased in size. The staff separated Rambo and eagerly awaited the impending birth.
On the afternoon of 5 September Rose demonstrated some nesting behavior that had never before been documented in zoos. About seven hours prior to the birth she began to construct a nest in her outside exhibition yard. First, she pushed some bark mulch into a four- to five-foot [1.21.5 m] circular arrangement. Next she carried sticks that were scattered around the yard and placed them on top of the mulch. She then carried large mouthfuls of hay to the nest and placed them on top of the sticks.
She would have delivered in this nest, but it started to rain and cold weather was predicted for that night. The staff were able to move Rose into her heated holding barn, and it was bedded with wood shavings and hay. During the night she was monitored with a closed-circuit TV camera and monitor. She delivered four piglets over a 45-minute period; unfortunately one was stillborn. The three healthy piglets weighed about two pounds [0.9 kg] each. Infant red river hogs are reddish-brown with white stripes to help camouflage them in the forest light. This significant birth took us a year and a half to achieve, but the results were well worth the wait.
Lynn W. Kramer in Zoo Review (Fall 2001)
Detroit Zoo, Michigan, U.S.A.
The `Arctic Ring of Life', the world's largest polar bear exhibit, opened in October 2001. A unique feature of the 4.2-acre [1.7-ha] exhibit is Polar Passage, a clear tunnel 70 feet [21 m] long in which visitors can get close to diving and swimming polar bears and seals.
In addition to seven polar bears, the exhibit also features four Arctic foxes, two snowy owls, four harbor seals, one rescued grey seal and one rescued harp seal. Creating an accurate environment for its inhabitants, the Arctic Ring of Life contains 300,000 gallons [1,135,000 litres] of chilled salt water and ice machines that will make blocks of ice weighing up to 1,800 pounds [800 kg]. Cooling pads throughout the exhibit will also be used to keep the animals cool during Michigan summers.
The exhibit not only provides visitors with an exciting viewpoint of Arctic life, but also explores the relationship between Arctic people (Inuit) and wildlife, reflecting how both have adapted in unusual ways to their extreme landscape.
AZA Communiqué (December 2001)
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Jersey, Channel Islands, U.K.
The Trust has been named as a regional winner in a Royal Mail competition which aims to reward the smart marketing of charities. To finance an innovative project to create a water-cleansing reed bed at Jersey Zoo [see I.Z.N. 48 (5), p. 340], 5,000 local Channel Island supporters were mailed asking them to `buy a reed'. In return they received two free tickets to the zoo so that they could see their reeds being planted. Launched in March 2001, the campaign, run in conjunction with editorial support from the Jersey Evening Post, had raised more than £80,000 by Christmas. The reed project has not only begun to naturally cleanse and filter the water at the zoo, but is also creating a haven for both native and exotic wildlife living there, as well as attracting many new visitors from the local community.
Franklin Park Zoo, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Zoo staff were expecting a potto (Perodicticus potto) birth in December 2001 or January 2002, so the 24 August discovery of a new-born potto clinging to a branch was a pleasant surprise. Should the infant survive, it will be a significant step in the success of captive breeding of pottos. The birth to mother Tallensi, who is wild-born, has added diversity to the gene pool of the captive population, increasing the chances for species survival. With fewer than 30 pottos in North American collections, genetic diversity is paramount to the population's success.
Until the 1990s, only wild-caught pottos were breeding, and with a high incidence of males born in captivity, genetically unrelated breeding pairs were difficult to form. Pottos have a relatively low reproductive rate, usually breeding only once a year. Tallensi's last offspring, born in January 2001, did not survive. Her new infant has yet to be sexed, as female potto genitalia mimic that of the males, leading to possible confusion in determining the gender of young animals.
AZA Communiqué (December 2001)
Gladys Porter Zoo, Brownsville, Texas, U.S.A.
In the early morning of 6 January, a malfunction in a space heater caused a fire in the enclosure that houses an extended gorilla family spanning three generations. The heat from the fire melted a plastic water line, and the leaking water mixed with the contents of a jug of chlorine cleanser used in the exhibit, emitting toxic fumes which killed three gorillas and critically injured a fourth. The three who died Kayla, aged ten, her son Makoko (1), and Uzuri (2), the daughter of one of Kayla's sisters were all born at the zoo. A fourth animal, two-year-old male Caesar, spent some time under sedation and on a ventilator, but is recovering well. The remaining eight animals had to be treated for chlorine inhalation.
Late the following day Penney, a 16-year-old female, gave birth to a stillborn baby. Zoo officials attributed the miscarriage to stress resulting from the incident.
Abridged from Houston Chronicle (8 January 2002) and Brownsville Herald (14 January 2002)
Görlitz Zoo, Germany
Görlitz's red panda enclosure is one of the largest in any zoo, and has a naturalistic design and planting scheme. Initially, chain-link and electric fencing were chosen for the perimeter, but they did not prove to be effective; nor did the original mixing with white eared pheasants (Crossoptilon crossoptilon drouyni), as the pandas several times tried to catch the birds. Both problems have since been alleviated; the fence was covered with Plexiglas, and the pheasants are now housed in a separate aviary. The exhibit now features four attractive species representative of a Central Asian habitat, and has three parts: an 1,100-m2 mixed enclosure for red pandas and Chinese muntjacs, a 165-m2 aviary for white eared pheasants and blue magpies (Urocissa erythrorhyncha), and a visitor area with a Chinese pavilion and a playground.
A location for a naturalistic exhibit was available in the zoo, containing 100-year-old rhododendrons, yews, a pine and a meadow elements also found in the natural habitat of the red panda. Bamboo was the one missing element needed to create a forest resembling those of the Sichuan province of China. Over 100 large bamboo plants (Phyllostachys aureosulcata, Sasa palmata, Sinarundinaria murielae and S. nitida) were, therefore, planted and enclosed with an electric fence, so that the pandas would not be able to eat their favourite food all at once; however, as the animals ignored the electric wiring, the bamboo had to be taken out again. A handkerchief tree (Davidia involucrata), a Chinese juniper (Juniperus ΄ media), a mountain ash (Sorbus vilmorinii) and an aralia (A. chinensis) were added as substitutes, adjacent to various shrubs such as monkshood (Aconitum spp.) and senecio (Senecio spp.). In addition to their regular diet, the pandas feed on berries from the yews, mountain ash and raspberry bushes, as well as on grass and herbaceous plants from the meadow.
The outdoor enclosure has 60-mm wire mesh fencing 1.8 m high, with 2-mm thick Plexiglas attached to the inside of the fence, and display windows made of safety glass. There is a naturalistic brook (80 m long) with a source pool, open areas with grasses and herbaceous plants for supplemental nutrition, and exercise trees for the pandas to use, including two groups of yew. Furnishings include two hollow tree trunks, two sleeping crates each divided into three sections, two feeding boxes (one heated) for the pandas, and a covered feeding station for the muntjacs. The aviary also has wire mesh fencing (1.8 m high, 30 mm mesh width) with a net canopy; it is planted with shrubs and a roosting tree for the pheasants, and has a small covered feeding station.
In the visitor area, a reed-covered pavilion, a replica of a real building in Sichuan, contains information about the animals and about Chinese culture. There is a `panda playground' for children where they can climb like pandas, view the enclosure from above and try different quizzes and games. A `secret path' leads through the rhododendrons to the pandas' sleeping area.
Contact with Professor Fu Wen Wei (China) was initiated by the red panda studbook keeper Dr Angela Glatston. Professor Wei heads a research project on the social organization and mating system of wild red pandas in Sichuan province, and the zoo is giving financial support to this project.
Abridged and adapted from the Görlitz Zoo presentation in the ZooLex Gallery at www.zoolex.org. [Visitors to the website will find many more technical details and numerous colour photos of this exhibit.]
Kansas City Zoo, Missouri, U.S.A.
Dr Kirk Suedmeyer, the zoo's senior staff veterinarian, is the first person to perform a transabdominal ultrasound on a pregnant African elephant. While other zoos have performed transrectal ultrasounds on elephants during the first trimester of pregnancy, they were unable to obtain images once the calf dropped into the mother's abdomen. Having performed successful transabdominal ultrasounds on orang-utans, black rhinos and lions, Kansas City Zoo staff believed they could capture images of the elephant calf. They began by training Lady, the zoo's 33-year-old cow, to enter a special restraint so they could conduct the procedure. They also spent many hours getting her accustomed to the ultrasound equipment. Dr Suedmeyer and his staff performed weekly transabdominal ultrasounds on Lady for ten months, capturing images of the uterus, reproductive membranes, and the fetus's legs, ears, trunk and/or tail. Dr Suedmeyer demonstrated the technique during a workshop on elephant ultrasound at an elephant sanctuary in Little Rock, Arkansas, by imaging an elephant fetus. Since then, other zoos have imaged elephant fetuses following his technique.
Despite heroic measures by veterinary staff, Lady's calf, due at the end of September 2001, experienced difficulties during labor and sadly did not survive. Dr Suedmeyer surmised that the calf's head was turned to one side, preventing it from being born. The staff tried several times without success to induce labor. Lady would have been the oldest elephant in captivity to have a first offspring.
In addition to groundbreaking advances in transabdominal ultrasounds, Kansas City Zoo has achieved the following successes in African elephant breeding:
Developing state-of-the-art elephant breeding and pregnancy protocols;
Gathering physiology data that will be used by zoos around the world; and
Developing an operant conditioning program to track and collect such data as hormonal levels and blood samples.
It is also one of the first zoos to perform semen collection without the use of anesthesia. Last year, Kansas City partnered with Indianapolis Zoo for the first-ever successful birth of an African elephant by artificial insemination. The sperm was donated by Dale, Kansas City's bull elephant, who also sired Lady's calf.
Abridged from Beth Paulsen in AZA Communiqué (December 2001)
London Zoo, U.K.
London has won a Zoo Animal Welfare Award in the annual competition run by the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) which recognises exciting new initiatives in zoo animal husbandry and housing. The prize was awarded for the high standard of accommodation for invertebrates and `lower' vertebrates in the Zoo's unique biodiversity exhibit, the `Web of Life', housed in the Millennium Conservation Centre. The exhibit was judged to have best promoted natural behaviour, high standards of animal welfare and public understanding of animal needs.
Located in a state-of-the-art, environmentally progressive building, the Web of Life is the world's first zoo exhibition specifically tailored to feature biodiversity and its conservation. Using a unique combination of over 60 live animal exhibits, with species ranging from locusts and cockroaches to Bali mynahs and giant anteaters, the project which was partially funded by the Millennium Commission investigates and explains the meaning of biodiversity and the need for conservation in a clear, fascinating and exciting way. Interactive displays and on-show breeding facilities illustrate each part of the biodiversity story.
UFAW's other award for 2001 was given to Blackpool Zoo for their Gorilla Mountain exhibit [see I.Z.N. 47 (6), pp. 396397].
Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport, Oregon, U.S.A.
A small flock of Caspian terns (Sterna caspia) have joined the five other species of shorebirds and seabirds in the aquarium's walk-through aviary. The Caspian, the largest tern species, has a wide distribution which includes the Oregon coast. The birds were part of an Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife research project on salmon smolt consumption by seabirds on the Columbia River. The chicks were hand-reared to measure growth rates and determine the feeding needs of growing terns from hatching to fledging; they were given to the aquarium because they could not be released into the wild. The aquarium's aviary offers seabirds ample diving opportunities in two separate pools, with below-water windows allowing visitors to watch them `fly' underwater.
Adding the terns to the aviary was a gradual process, closely monitored by staff and volunteers. `We carefully acclimated the terns to their new surroundings,' says Bryant Tarr, curator of birds, `with the new birds spending progressively longer periods of time in the aviary. Our outdoor aviary is large enough, with ample room for flight, but the birds needed to learn it's not limitless. They've done a great job flying around the aviary and steadily avoiding close encounters with the netting.'
Oregon Zoo, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
In December 2001, two wild-caught pygmy rabbits (Brachylagus idahoensis) were delivered to the zoo, where a breeding program is designed to eventually repopulate portions of Washington state with the species. The rabbits, along with two others already at the zoo, came from Sagebrush Flat, the only place in Washington where the species is still known to survive. Thirteen others at Washington State University in Pullman were taken from Sagebrush Flat last spring.
In coming weeks, scientists will carefully watch the animals to see whether they show signs of being ready to breed. Pygmy rabbits reproduce in the spring, but start to undergo physical changes showing their readiness to mate in December or January. They are prolific, bearing up to three litters of four to six babies each year, so the captive-breeding program has a good chance of success.
Once widespread through the vast and arid shrub-steppe lands of eastern Washington, the rabbits declined steadily as fields of wheat and other crops overtook the pockets of deep, rich soil they need to dig their burrows. Food is another factor driving their decline. Sagebrush (Artemesia tridentata) is crucial to their survival, supplying their winter food supply; but sagebrush has traditionally been targeted for eradication by farmers and ranchers throughout the West. Also, the half-pound, four-inch-high [225 g, 100 mm] rabbits are eaten by a variety of predators, including eagles, hawks, coyotes, badgers and weasels.
Washington's pygmy rabbits have been isolated for thousands of years from the main population (itself classified as near-threatened), which stretches across parts of Idaho, California, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. Scientists say the state's population is genetically distinct and may constitute a separate subspecies. It is unclear exactly how many of Washington's pygmy rabbits remain besides the 17 in captivity. Biologists found evidence of activity at 14 burrows at Sagebrush Flat, but a single rabbit often uses more than one burrow.
Officials hope to start reintroducing the rabbits into the wild in 2003. But before the release can succeed, more shrub-steppe habitat will have to be protected and restored. The ecosystem, which has been reduced to less than half its original expanse and degraded in many areas, is the focus of a major campaign by the Nature Conservancy of Washington, which last year bought 16,000 acres [6,500 ha] adjacent to Sagebrush Flat. The organization is working with private landowners and the government in as non-confrontational and cooperative a way as possible to restore and protect the shrub-steppe.
Abridged from Seattle Post-Intelligencer (27 December 2001)
Riverbanks Zoological Park, Columbia, South Carolina, U.S.A.
Attendance in 2001 was up to 900,000, in contrast to the previous year's low of 710,000. With the rest of our 20 million dollar expansion program due to be completed in March, culminating in the arrival of two koalas from Japan, we look forward to exceeding one million visitors in 2002, an incredible goal for a zoo in a city of only 600,000.
Births and hatchings during the period October to December 2001 were as follows: 1 Matschie's tree kangaroo, 2 Prévost's squirrel, 2 troupial (DNS), 1 golden weaver, 2 pink-necked fruit dove (DNS), 1 blue-faced honeycreeper, 1 crocodile skink, 10 Henkel's leaf-tailed gecko, 2 giant leaf-tailed gecko, 1 crocodile skink. The following were acquired: 0.3 African elephant, 2.0 meerkat, 2.0 Chinese magpie, 0.1 hooded pitta, 0.1 Bali mynah, 0.1 boat-billed heron, 1.1 king parrot, 1 green-naped lorikeet, 3 Buru red lory, 1 Moluccan red lory, 2 Rosenberg's lorikeet, 4 dusky lory, 1.0 shama thrush, 1.0 quince monitor.
Alan H. Shoemaker, Collection Manager
St Louis Zoo, Missouri, U.S.A.
The date is nearing for the introduction of animals in the final phase of the zoo's River's Edge exhibit. Our quarantine facility has become a mini-ark, holding a varied assortment of new arrivals (wart hogs, Chacoan peccaries, giant anteaters and carmine bee-eaters, to name a few). Still other animals continue to arrive for breeding and conservation purposes. For nearly all of the zoo's new residents, a minimum 30-day quarantine is a basic component of our preventive medicine program against the introduction of an infectious disease.
Perhaps a case study is the best way to explain the value and preventive nature of this program. While the great apes at St Louis have never had tuberculosis, they, like their human cousins, are susceptible to it. There are only two ways that they could get it: from close contact with either other great apes that are infected or infected humans. In the latter instance, all of the zoo's keepers who have contact with the apes are tested annually for TB. For the former, all new apes entering the zoo must have three negative tests before they are released from quarantine. (In great apes, the standard site for TB testing is not the forearm, but the eyelid. This allows a reading of the test at 72 hours by looking for swelling, and the animal does not have to be anesthetized to have its arm examined.)
In 1995, St Louis Zoo took the lead in writing the quarantine standards that were adopted by AZA, our accrediting body. Under the standards, quarantined animals undergo a series of tests that include a minimum of three rounds of fecal analysis for parasites (and treatment as necessary), a complete physical examination and routine blood count and broad-spectrum serum chemistries (that show any indication that something might be amiss). Other tests are specific to each species. Many venomous snakes' blood is drawn and tested for paramyxovirus, a virus in the measles family that causes respiratory and neurological disease in many snake species. Parrots and doves are tested for chlamydiosis, `parrot fever'. When an animal, such as an elephant, that is too large for our facility is considered for the collection, the AZA's guidelines prescribe a pre-shipment testing protocol designed to diagnose any infectious diseases before the animal is transferred.
Although nearly all of our arrivals come from other zoos, most of them in North America, animals are sometimes imported from overseas. In the case of primates from outside the U.S.A., the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) enforces strict standards. St Louis is one of only seven U.S. zoos approved by the CDC to quarantine newly-imported primates. The last animals quarantined under these standards were tamarins imported from the New World Primate Center in Brazil. Hoofstock, such as antelope, from countries in which foot-and-mouth disease is present, also undergo a special U.S. government-supervised quarantine in New Jersey to prevent the spread of that disease. Once released to U.S. zoos, they are subject to special monitoring for an additional two years, and then can only be traded to other AZA-accredited institutions.
Abridged from R. Eric Miller in Zudus Vol. 15, No. 4 (July/August 2001)
San Diego Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES), California, U.S.A.
For 30 years, San Diego Wild Animal Park has been extremely successful in breeding the southern white rhinoceros. In the early 1970s, 22 rhinos were brought here from South Africa, and since then, 89 births have occurred. However, such positive results can lead to a false sense of security for the captive population, because as the offspring (F1 generation) of these wild-born rhinos became mature, it came as a surprise that the captive-born females were not reproducing. The low to zero reproductive rates in the F1 generation were not confined to the San Diego herd. In fact, in the U.S. captive population of white rhinos, only 7% of the F1 generation have reproduced. This is a serious situation, because the original wild-born population imported in the 1970s is now reaching the end of its reproductive life.
Concern about the ageing rhino population led the Endocrinology Division of CRES, together with the Behavioral Biology Division, to begin a study involving several zoos that would evaluate the reproductive patterns of both normally and subnormally reproducing rhino females. Non-invasive collection of feces samples permitted daily collection of information without disturbing the rhinos, and provided details on the reproductive status of each female. From the fecal progestin data we could determine if a female was ovulating, pregnant, or non-reproductive. These initial studies suggested that some of the rhinos were having infertile cycles, perhaps due to early miscarriage.
In the reproductive or behavioral study of any species in captivity, it is important to understand the normal biology of their free-ranging counterparts. With the use of hormone analyses from non-invasively collected samples, this is now a possibility. We organized a collaborative project with Professor Norman Owen-Smith from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, because he is renowned for his study of the behavior of free-ranging white rhinos. Professor Owen-Smith had already established a field study site in the Umfolozi Game Reserve that we were able to join. Funded by several granting organizations, we began a project to study the hormonal and behavioral aspects of reproductive biology in wild rhinos.
To be able to find and follow rhinos in the bush, we installed radio transmitters in the horns of several females so that we could track them by radio signals. Females coming into heat were usually accompanied by a dominant bull who attempted to court the female with `hic-pant' vocalizations and tried to rest his chin on her hindquarters. We are currently analyzing the fecal samples in our lab to see if we find the same type of hormone patterns that we found in our captive population. In our studies with captive rhinos, we had found two types of reproductive cycle, a short one lasting about 35 days and a long one lasting about 70 days. The longer cycles appeared to be associated with subfertilities, but we were uncertain which type was really normal. So far, our behavior data from the field point to a normal cycle of about 30 to 35 days for wild rhinos.
If this trend holds, then we will have a better understanding of the reproductive problems facing captive rhinos and will be able to apply this information to appropriate management and treatment. These efforts should help prevent the looming crisis in the captive propagation of the southern white rhino, a magnificent species saved from extinction during the last century and one that we hope will begin to breed well in captivity.
Nancy Czekala in CRES Report (Winter 2001)
San Diego Zoo, California, U.S.A.
Four newly-hatched Anegada iguana (Cyclura pinguis) hatchlings mark the first successful breeding of this species in any zoo. The iguanas, which are native to Anegada Island in the British Virgin Islands, are the third most critically endangered iguana in the world. There are fewer than 300 remaining in the wild, and their population has undergone an 80% decline since the 1960s, severely threatened by free-ranging livestock, habitat loss and feral cats that kill off juvenile iguanas.
San Diego's group of iguanas is the only captive-breeding group in existence. These new hatchlings serve as an important safety net against extinction in the wild. In addition to the breeding group at San Diego, the Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES) has helped establish a head-starting facility on Anegada designed to house and care for up to 100 juvenile iguanas until they are large enough to be released into the wild. Ongoing field studies by CRES biologists include surveying the wild population of iguanas and studying their nesting ecology.
Although these rare iguanas were initially housed away from the public at the CRES facility, they are now on exhibit at the zoo's Reptile Mesa.
AZA Communiqué (December 2001)
Schwerin Zoo, Germany
Because the old Siberian tiger enclosure, built in 1972, was not compatible with today's style of animal management, planning to replace it began in 1994. The new enclosure, opened in May 2000, includes a tiger house with six night quarters, keeper access and keeper areas, two entrance enclosures with keeper access, two main outdoor enclosures (of 1,220 m2 and 407 m2) and a visitor area. The outdoor enclosures are built into a hillside covered with mature oaks and beeches, and the existing understorey, composed primarily of elder, provides the backdrop, creating a densely wooded environment similar to the tigers' natural habitat. Additional planting was primarily used outside the exhibit and for greening the fences, and some of the plants are native to the Amur River region.
A man-made creek traverses the exhibit, ending in a large pond and a water hole. (This creek runs out into the visitor area for a few metres before returning into the enclosure, strengthening the impression that the tiger habitat and the visitor area are united while creating an additional attraction.) Planting and furnishing in the exhibit are varied in order to create different spaces and heights. These variations provide retreats for the tigers, which usually live a solitary life in the wild. The enclosure surface was either left natural or is filled with sand and gravel. Tree trunks in the entrance enclosures keep the tigers busy with climbing and scratching. The tiger house is an unheated log cabin with a `green' roof that retains rainwater.
Abridged and adapted from the Schwerin Zoo presentation in the ZooLex Gallery at http://www.zoolex.org. [Visitors to the website will find many more technical details and numerous colour photos of this exhibit.]
Sea World, Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia
The Polar Bear Shores complex, completed in December 2000 as the first stage of Sea World's Ocean Science Center, depicts an Arctic summer theme. Polar bears, which are only relatively recently derived from the brown bear, are quite capable of flourishing in the wild under climatic conditions which, at certain times of year, appear quite un-Arctic; for example, a polar bear denning area at Hudson's Bay in Canada experienced a temperature average of 35° C over two weeks in the summer of 1998. Sea World's fully shaded open-air exhibit, with chilled underwater viewing, is the only polar bear display in Australia.
Polar Bear Shores was designed to promote natural behaviours to the maximum extent feasible in a non-wild situation. Visitors will witness bears climbing, basking, diving, swimming, foraging for food, and with successful breeding caring for young. The complex comprises a public presentation area (the on-exhibit bear habitat, with pool and landscaped dry areas) and a service complex, including off-exhibit exercise yard, dens and pools, and support facilities. The off-exhibit facilities are designed to ensure that male and female bears may be housed and moved separately; two distribution races enable an isolated bear to be moved between the dens, exercise yard and on-exhibit area without contact with a bear in any other of those locations.
Wild polar bears are essentially solitary for much of their life, and special care needs to be taken with captive animals to minimise intra-specific aggression; so physical structures, such as formed rockwork and logs, are placed in the on-exhibit habitat and the exercise yard to allow a bear to remove itself from the view and/or attention of a more dominant animal. The primary exhibit area allows for stimulating topography changes using proven environmental enrichment techniques. These include variation of terrain, `furniture' such as logs, rocks and water features. An array of toys such as boomer balls are introduced into the exhibit to stimulate the bears' naturally inquisitive nature and to provide for physical exercise. The exhibit is landscaped with trees and shrubs. The terrain has a composite of various substrates including loam, gravel, and rocks for digging and burrowing. Dry beds of stone and gravel are used to encourage the animals to fossick for food. The climbing terrain includes a strategically placed rock platform; this provides the bears with an accessible vantage point enabling long-distance viewing beyond their enclosed exhibit. The large main pool is up to four meters deep to encourage diving, and is stocked with fish to allow the bears to hunt for food. In addition, a fresh-water stream flows through the exhibit, creating different water levels in individual pools from 200 mm to one meter. Differing grades of river stone are incorporated, just as occurs in the natural habitat of the species.
Several climate control facilities are available. All the pools have water chilled to 1517° C. A retractable shade cover allows 90% solar filtration. The fabric roof shade structure incorporates sprinkling systems to simulate rain, and the artificial rock walls have built-in misting systems to provide additional cooling. Stimulation of the bears' olfactory sense is provided by strategically placed fans which create breezes that bring in a multitude of scents, both ambient and deliberately introduced via purpose-planted herb beds.
Two full-time keepers are specifically dedicated to the polar bear exhibit. Weigh scales and foot baths are located at the bear entry points from the exhibit and exercise yard in both distribution races to enable the animals' physical condition to be monitored, and to provide for paw medication to be readily administered as required. A crush is located in one of the races to allow basic veterinary procedures to be undertaken without compromising the safety of either bears or personnel. An isolation den is available to enable the veterinarian to perform on a sedated bear the more involved procedures which cannot be undertaken in the crush; the den may also be used to quarantine an ill or recovering bear.
The bears undergo protected-contact operant conditioning which incorporates husbandry matters, veterinary procedures, gate and pen conditioning, and physical and psychological challenges. Such a program greatly reduces the occurrence of stereotypic behaviour when the challenges of the natural environment are not present. `Target' and `station' conditioning techniques, in conjunction with positive reinforcement, are utilised to encourage voluntary movement of animals within the exhibit, husbandry behaviours and animal separations, and to create stimulating mental challenges for the bears. Browse, scatter feeding, hidden food items and unpredictable feeding schedules are also utilised to stimulate the animals.
Since the polar bear is a large, powerful and intelligent carnivore, special measures have to be taken to ensure the safety of both the public and Sea World personnel. At the same time, its intelligence requires that keepers must be able to interact closely with the bears to implement behavioural enrichment procedures. All dens and keeper service corridors are subject to video surveillance, and the keeper corridors incorporate intercom facilities. The off-exhibit dens and service area incorporate the latest in remotely-operated bear containment doors and locking devices; and both the on-exhibit bear habitat and the off-exhibit exercise yard incorporate bear exclusion `safe havens' into which staff may rapidly retreat in the event of an emergency.
Abridged and adapted from the Sea World presentation in the ZooLex Gallery at www.zoolex.org. [Visitors to the website will find many more technical details and numerous colour photos of this exhibit.]
Tama Zoo, Tokyo, Japan
A pedigree record was begun in 1991 for the Japanese golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos japonica). At the time, there were only 11 specimens in captivity, and in view of its decline in the wild, it was judged to be the raptor most urgently in need of captive breeding. A pair began to lay eggs at Tama Zoo in 1994, but the female died soon after, and only the male was left. In order to form new pairs, in 1996 a male and female from the Niigata Prefectural Protection Bird Center and a female from Akita City Omoriyama Zoo were acquired. All three were wild-bred birds taken into protective custody for one reason or another.
The four birds were kept together in one cage, and then pairs were formed on the basis of observed behaviour. Each pair was put into a separate cage. Blinds were set up so that the nests could be kept out of sight, and a feeding routine was established which could be carried out in as short a time as possible so as not to disturb the birds.
One of the pairs bred in 1997 and a chick was born, but it died after 48 days during a long period of rainfall. From 1998 to 2001 each pair laid two eggs every year. Some of the eggs did not hatch, but a total of nine chicks survived. Still, it is worrisome that the hatching rate is only 70% for one pair and 50% for the other; these are lower values than for other captive birds.
The Ministry of the Environment in 1995 initiated a project for the conservation and breeding of the Japanese golden eagle, and zoos throughout the country are scheduled to take part in this program.
English summary of article in Japanese by Yoshinori Kojima, published in Animals and Zoos Vol. 53, No. 11 (November 2001)
University of Georgia Marine Education Center and Aquarium, Skidaway Island, Savannah, Georgia, U.S.A.
The Center operates an education facility and public aquarium year-round, and each year thousands of school students participate in a two-hour program, which includes learning about and handling our touch tank animals. The menagerie that is presented to the children often includes the slender sea star (Luidia clathrata), which is common along local beaches. Because Luidia feeds well in captivity and is not usually perceived as a threatened species, it is a very suitable touch tank animal for younger students to study. About 86% of individuals in a wild population of Luidia experience arm loss, so it is no surprise that our touch tank animals are in varying states of repair when they are first caught. However, even without a full complement of arms, our sea stars feed well.
We wanted to understand the human handling effects on sea stars as they relate to the health of the animals used in our programs. Each sea star can receive daily `attention' from up to 60 pairs of hands during a 30-minute span. If handled too often, sea stars that reside in touch tanks have been known to fall apart in one's hands.
How much stress are we putting on our touch tank animals by handling them, and how can we quantify that stress? If a sea star previously had 3.5 arms, for example, how long would it take to regenerate the arms under continual handling compared to animals in a similar state of repair that were not handled at all? We make the assumption that the measured regeneration rates of non-handled sea stars represent `normal' regrowth. We also assume that stress (i.e. handling) interferes with the normal regeneration rate. Thus, we hypothesize that the regeneration rates of arms in non-handled sea stars will be greater than in handled sea stars.
Newly collected sea stars were acclimated to an indoor flow-through touch tank system for 81 days. During this time, they were fed fish every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Once acclimated, the sea stars underwent minor surgery. We cut two adjacent arms off each sea star for the purpose of measuring arm regeneration rates. Our experimental design consisted of 32 sea stars in all: 16 controls (non-handled) and 16 `handled' ones. Each animal was contained in a separate compartment of the flow-through tank, and fed normally during the three-week experiment. The controls were only handled during arm length measurement once per week. The 16 handled sea stars received the daily treatment we call the `Flip and Dip': volunteers removed each one from the water, flipped the animal over in their hands every 30 seconds, then dipped it into the salt water for five seconds to rehydrate. This procedure was repeated for five minutes. By doing so, we hoped to produce the same kind of stressful situation that the sea stars experience during the handling portion of our touch tank programs. At the week's end, every arm of each sea star was measured and recorded.
What we found was not a shock. During the first week neither the handled nor the control sea stars regenerated new arm tips. Wound healing was observed, however. The animals began to regenerate new arm tips during week 2. At the end of this week, the average length of the regenerated arm tips of the control animals measured 2.6 mm, compared with an average of 2.3 mm in the handled animals; however, this difference was not significant. At the conclusion of the experiment (week 3), the control organisms' average regenerated arm length measured 5.5 mm, one millimeter more than that for the handled group, a highly significant difference.
After concluding the experiment, we continued to feed all the experimental animals, but did not touch them for an additional 20 days, after which they were all measured again. Surprisingly, the control group now had an average regenerated arm length of 6.61 mm, as opposed to an average of 3.34 mm for the handled sea stars. Is this a delayed stress response? How long, if ever, would it take for the control and handled groups to have equal regeneration rates? We were not able to find out this time, but the research continues. We have, however, learned how to best rotate sea stars in order to promote rather than inhibit arm regeneration. We now rotate the sea stars out of the touch tank after one week of handling and place them into a `retirement home'. After one month we may use them again. As in all research, this study has generated further questions regarding ways to keep our animals healthy. We hope this report will encourage further research projects on the rotation of touch tank animals.
Maryellen Timmons, Christine Muir, Pete Schlein and Sue Finkle in AZA Communiqué (December 2001)
News in brief
By early January, fund-raising to save the animals of Kabul Zoo, Afghanistan, had exceeded all expectations by collecting $233,000 in the U.S.A. alone. The fund's coordinator, David Jones of North Carolina Zoo, said the money would provide emergency food and veterinary care for the animals, and some would also be used to repair the zoo's bullet-riddled and damaged buildings and cages.
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The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) has presented the Heini Hediger Award to Prof. Roger J. Wheater, O.B.E. The award, established in 1996, is given for outstanding service and dedication to the zoo and aquarium community. Roger Wheater was director of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (Edinburgh Zoo) from 1972 to 1998. During this time he served on numerous national, regional and international councils, boards and committees, including periods as chairman of the Federation of Zoological Gardens of Great Britain and Ireland, chairman of the editorial board of the World Zoo Conservation Strategy document, a member of the editorial board of the International Zoo Yearbook, and president of the WAZA's predecessor, the World Zoo Organisation. Previous recipients of the award were Dr George Rabb, Dr Ulysses Seal, Jeremy Mallinson, O.B.E., and Dr William Conway.
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Taipei (Taiwan) and Beijing (China) city zoos have tentatively agreed on an animal exchange programme, but some difficult political problems may hinder the realization of what would be an unprecedented cooperation project. Taipei Zoo offered a list of five species fat-tailed lemur, squirrel monkey, white-handed gibbon, orang-utan and kinkajou, while Beijing Zoo also proposed five species for exchange squirrel monkey, Asian black bear, and Manchurian, Stanley and white-naped cranes. Taipei Zoo officials say the proposed exchange would give them the hoped-for opportunity to introduce the endangered white-naped crane to Taiwan. But in view of the constant political disputes between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, it may take some time for the two governments to approve the scheme. After lengthy discussions, Taipei Zoo has tentatively decided to apply for the approval of both governments for sending kinkajous to Beijing on an experimental basis.
Taipei Times (10 January 2002)
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Adelaide Zoo, South Australia, is proudly showing off its latest acquisition, three endangered Aruba Island (Crotalus durissus unicolor) rattlesnakes. Adelaide is the only zoo in Australia to have them, after 1.2 were shipped from a breeding zoo in the U.S.A. The snakes come from Aruba Island, off the north-west coast of Venezuela, where their natural habitat is slowly being lost to mining and tourism; the only way to save the species is through a captive-breeding program. The zoo aims to get three more snakes, making up three pairs, and hopes for breeding success within 12 months or so.
Abridged from HerpDigest (http://www.herpdigest.org) Vol. 2, No. 12
(11 November 2001)
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On 2 November 2001 the Asiatic elephant, Kewa, gave birth to a healthy female calf at Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, Germany. The bull Ankhor is the father. Both parents, born in 1983, came to us from Burma. The baby was one metre high and her body weight was estimated at 100 kg at least. The pregnancy lasted somewhat more than 21 months. This was the second birth to Kewa, but her previous calf was stillborn on 17 January 1998 [see I.Z.N. 45 (2), p. 121]. The new calf has been named Temi. She increases the elephant stock at Tierpark Berlin to 16 animals.
Dr Bernhard Blaszkiewitz
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Five bottle-nosed dolphins were born at the World of the Sea, Harderwijk, the Netherlands, in 2001. The pregnant females were placed in a separate group in January in expectation of the births. Honey, a 34-year-old wild-born dolphin, gave birth to a son in January. Four more males were born in May; unfortunately one was stillborn, but the remaining three are all being successfully mother-reared. The fact that these three first-time mothers had the opportunity to experience the birth and the rearing of Honey's baby prior to their own births may have contributed to their success. Harderwijk's dolphins have been kept in a large 7,500 m2 (15 million litre) `lagoon' since 1997, and seven young have been born. As well as dolphins, the lagoon houses Californian sea lions, fish and other organisms.
Niels van Elk in EAZA News No. 36 (OctoberDecember 2001)
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Burks, K.D., Bloomsmith, M.A., Forthman, D.L., and Maple, T.L.: Managing the socialization of an adult male gorilla (Gorilla g. gorilla) with a history of social deprivation. Zoo Biology Vol. 20, No. 5 (2001), pp. 347358. [Most non-human primates exhibit aggression during changes in social group composition. In zoos, group membership changes are necessary for optimal population management, but can elicit problematic aggression. Furthermore, some primates with a long history of social deprivation are hyperaggressive when introduced to conspecifics. In this study, a male gorilla with a 30-year history of social deprivation was introduced to two females at Zoo Atlanta. There were no incidents of severe aggression, though he exhibited temporary peaks in aggression, mostly as predicted, which the socialization procedure managed effectively. Throughout the socialization process, affiliative behavior occurred at very low levels and there were few changes across study phases, also as predicted. The authors argue that the potential for severe problems during great ape social introductions requires planning and evaluation, but should not deter the practice of increasing the complexity of their social groupings. As demonstrated by this study, even apes with aberrant social histories may lead social lives.]
Correia, J.P.S.: Long-term transportation of ratfish, Hydrolagus colliei, and tiger rockfish, Sebastes nigrocinctus. Zoo Biology Vol. 20, No. 5 (2001), pp. 435441. [Describes methods used for the successful transportation of five rockfish and ten ratfish from Vancouver to Lisbon, with journey times of 51 and 44 hours, respectively.]
Durrant, B.S., Millard, S.E., Zimmerman, D.M., and Lindburg, D.G.: Lifetime semen production in a cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). Zoo Biology Vol. 20, No. 5 (2001), pp. 359366. [Lifetime semen production data provide valuable insight into a species' natural history and biology, as well as information about the potential fertility of males at various life stages. An understanding of the ages of sexual maturity, peak sperm production, and gonadal senescence will contribute to the design of species management plans for captive, free-ranging, and reintroduced populations of exotic animals. To describe these life stages in the cheetah, semen was collected biweekly for 13 years from a hand-reared, solitary male at San Diego Wild Animal Park, beginning at three years of age. The 338 ejaculates were obtained non-invasively by artificial vagina. Ejaculate volume and sperm motility score, concentration, and normal morphology were recorded. A sperm quality index incorporating all five semen parameters was calculated to facilitate ejaculate comparisons. Polynomial regression analysis revealed a significant effect of age on volume, which increased throughout the animal's lifetime except for a reduction between ages 10 and 12. Concentration was also significantly affected by age and increased from the age of 3 to the age of 10, then decreased. The sperm quality index revealed a significant effect of age as it increased from age 3 to age 8, then declined as the male grew older. The cheetah did not reach peak semen production until age 8, and continued to produce good quality semen for several more years. These data were somewhat unexpected, given the average cheetah life expectancy of approximately 7 years.]
Gill, A.B., and Andrews, M.J.: The behavioural response of coral reef fish following introduction to a novel aquarium environment. Aquarium Sciences and Conservation Vol. 3, No. 4 (2001), pp. 281306. [Following the construction of a large-scale public aquarium (Blue Planet Aquarium, Ellesmere Port, U.K.), the authors investigated how wild-caught Caribbean reef fish responded to their first encounter with a novel environment, by designing a behavioural study to determine the fishes' responses in relation to their locomotory mode. Nine species of fish representing three locomotory modes carangiform, sub-carangiform and labriform/sub-carangiform were observed over a four-week period following their first introduction to the aquarium. Fish activity levels and spatial distribution were quantified in relation to time since their first encounter with the novel environment. The most important result was that, regardless of locomotory mode or ecology, all of the species extensively explored the novel environment rather than settle on the first habitat that they encountered. This is a particularly interesting result for territorial species. More specifically, however, there were significant differences between species in activity through time. Carangiform activity level was lowest in the initial phases of an encounter with the novel environment, subsequently rising to a stable level. The other species had variable activity throughout the study, but all of them exhibited a phase of low activity at some stage. In terms of the fishes' use of the 2.5 million litres of water, six species utilised the whole of the aquarium based on a predefined zoning scheme. Although the initial activity level was low, carangiform swimmers used at least 90% of the zones in the early phases of an encounter with the novel environment, and subsequently used all of the zones. Sub-carangiform species also used 100% of the zones by the end of the study. Three of the four labriform/sub-carangiform swimmers used a maximum of 90% of the zones. There was no significant difference between species in their use of the zones. However, each individual zone was subject to differential use by the fish. Owing to the extensive scale of the aquarium, the authors discuss the applicability of the behavioural results obtained to the natural environment in the context of the ecology of the species of fish studied.]
Gordon, A.K., and Bok, A.W.: Frequency and periodicity of spawning in the clownfish Amphiprion akallopisos under aquarium conditions. Aquarium Sciences and Conservation Vol. 3, No. 4 (2001), pp. 307313. [A. akallopisos kept under aquarium conditions in South Africa spawned on average 2.2 ± 0.8 times per month throughout the year. There was no significant correlation between percentage of pairs spawning and phase of the moon or tidal patterns. The increase in the number of spawnings during some spring and summer months appeared to correlate with changing photoperiod rather than changing water temperature.]
Kruger, D.P., Britz, P.J., and Sales, J.: The influence of livefeed supplementation on growth and reproductive performance of swordtail (Xiphophorus helleri Heckel 1848) broodstock. Aquarium Sciences and Conservation Vol. 3, No. 4 (2001), pp. 265273.
Levsen, A.: Transmission ecology and larval behaviour of Camallanus cotti (Nematoda, Camallanidae) under aquarium conditions. Aquarium Sciences and Conservation Vol. 3, No. 4 (2001), pp. 315325. [The parasitic fish nematode C. cotti has been reported from a number of freshwater fish species around the world. Its wide geographical distribution seems mainly to be the result of anthropogenic dissemination due to extensive ornamental fish trade. In most reports it is assumed that C. cotti's life cycle involves cyclopoid copepods as intermediate host and various freshwater fishes as final host. However, the species' relatively frequent and persistent occurrence in aquaria worldwide strongly indicates flexibility in its life cycle, i.e. the ability to infect the final host directly. The present study has shown that under aquarium conditions, without any presence of copepods, C. cotti is able to infect various phylogenetically distant fish species directly for at least three generations. It was further shown that the infective free-living first-stage larvae may survive for more than three weeks in the host-external environment, and that their host-attracting behaviour does not preclude direct transmission to the final fish host. Any treatment for C. cotti under aquaculture or aquarium conditions should be directed towards both individual infected fish hosts and the free-living larvae on the substrate.]
Liesegang, A., Hatt, J.-M., Nijboer, J., Forrer, R., Wanner, M., and Isenbügel, E.: Influence of different dietary calcium levels on the digestibility of Ca, Mg, and P in captive-born juvenile Galapagos giant tortoises (Geochelone nigra). Zoo Biology Vol. 20, No. 5 (2001), pp. 367374. [Calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P) are very important minerals in reptile nutrition, but many diets still are not balanced. To achieve optimal growth, including a healthy skeleton and a strong shell, a well-balanced supply of these minerals is prerequisite. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the digestibility of diets with different calcium levels, with special emphasis on the digestibility of minerals. Fourteen tortoises at Zürich and Rotterdam Zoos were used. The animals were housed indoors at a mean temperature of 23° C and 25° C, and at 65% and 60% humidity, respectively. The animals from the same zoo were fed the same diet, which consisted of vegetables, herbs, and a mixture of different Ca sources. Daily mixed fecal samples of all tortoises were collected and analysed. The results indicated that higher Ca concentrations in the diet led to an increased apparent digestibility of Ca, Mg, and P. The influence on digestibility of an increased fat and decreased fibre content in one diet is also discussed.]
Looper, S., Anderson, G., Sun, Y., Shukla, A., and Lasley, B.: Efficacy of levonorgestrel when administered as an irradiated, slow-release injectable matrix for feline contraception. Zoo Biology Vol. 20, No. 5 (2001), pp. 407421. [Reliable and safe methods of reversible contraception are needed for use in zoo felids. Levonorgestrel was found to be effective when tested in domestic cats as a model for exotic cats.]
Miller, D.S.: Review of oleoresin capsicum (pepper) sprays for self-defense against captive wildlife. Zoo Biology Vol. 20, No. 5 (2001), pp. 389398. [Pepper sprays appear to be a `less-than-lethal' option for repelling attacks; they may also deter animals from approaching, before an attack occurs. Such products should only be used when human life or severe injury is at stake. They work by causing irritation of the ocular and respiratory membranes that distracts or debilitates the attacker. However, some highly motivated animals may not be sufficiently incapacitated by the physiological effects of pepper spray on mucous membranes, and may also be able to override any sensations of pain. The author gives advice on choosing suitable products and setting up training programs and policies for their use.]
Oldengarm, H.: De bruidsnacht: nieuwe bavianenvrouwtjes in Emmen. (The wedding night: new female baboons at Emmen Zoo.) De Harpij Vol. 20, No. 4 (2001), pp. 1214. [Dutch, with English summary. Hamadryas baboons have been housed at Emmen since 1974. The original group consisted of 21.4 wild-caught animals. The group has flourished, and by 2000, despite the departure of many animals and various birth control measures, the group numbered around 150. While the group has been quite prolific, there have been concerns about its genetic diversity, with only one unrelated female contributing new genetic material since the group was formed. Recently, therefore, ten unrelated females between two and five years of age were acquired from Cologne Zoo. The animals first underwent a six-week quarantine, a prophylactic worm treatment and various disease tests, and were marked with tattoos, transponders and individually identifiable temporary markings on the body by shaving the hair. They were also all photographed. One female, later found to have a liver problem, did not come out of the narcosis used while these activities were performed. It was decided to introduce two females first to one adult male, so that they would have a protector, the integration would be easier and mate choice could be better controlled. These females were first held in visual and olfactory contact with the chosen male for an hour in the night holding area. Thereafter physical contact was allowed, and once the male demonstrated the urge to herd these females, the other females were allowed inside. The newly-formed harem was allowed first access to the outdoor enclosure the next day, and once the females had had a chance to become familiar with their new surroundings, the rest of the baboons were gradually released to the outdoor enclosure in small groups.]
Patton, M.L., White, A.M., Swaisgood, R.R., Sproul, R.L., Fetter, G.A., Kennedy, J., Edwards, M.S., Rieches, R.G., and Lance, V.A.: Aggression control in a bachelor herd of fringe-eared oryx (Oryx gazella callotis) with melengestrol acetate: behavioral and endocrine observations. Zoo Biology Vol. 20, No. 5 (2001), pp. 375388. [Aggression control is becoming an important component in the management of animals in captivity, but rigorous quantification of aggressive behavior has heretofore been lacking. This study was done to assess the ability of melengestrol acetate (MGA) given with feed (1.54 mg/kg) to control aggression. Systematic behavioral observations were conducted and fecal androgen content was measured for 42 and 90 days, respectively, before treatment, and during the 42 days of treatment. There was a significant reduction in concentrations of fecal androgen, which was apparent after the first week of treatment. There was measurable MGA excreted in the feces during treatment. Although treatment did not arrest all aggressive behaviors, the decline in androgens and increase in MGA was accompanied by a significant reduction in several measures of agonistic behavior. Posturing, aggressive contact, pursuit, and submission occurred significantly less frequently after treatment, and there was also a reduction in fighting-intention movements. Thus, both ritualized and non-ritualized aspects of aggression were affected. Reductions in hormones and aggressive behaviors coincided temporally, suggestive of a potential causal relationship. Consistent with this hypothesis is a strong positive correlation between fecal androgen and total aggressive acts. This effect was not the result of a single behavioral element but occurred across several categories of agonistic behavior.]
Sadovy, Y., Mitcheson, G., and Rasotto, M.B.: Early development of the mandarinfish, Synchiropus splendidus (Callionymidae), with notes on its fishery and potential for aquaculture. Aquarium Sciences and Conservation Vol. 3, No. 4 (2001), pp. 253263.
Schoo, W.: Dating centre voor dubbele-neushoornvogels. (Dating centre for great hornbills.) De Harpij Vol. 20, No. 4 (2001), pp. 811. [Dutch, with English summary; see pp. 4445, above.]
Troncone, L.R.P., and Silveira, P.F.: Predatory behavior of the snake Bothrops jararaca and its adaptation to captivity. Zoo Biology Vol. 20, No. 5 (2001), pp. 399406.
van Amersfoort, M.: MKZ in Dierenpark Wissel. (Foot-and-mouth disease at Wissel Zoo.) De Harpij Vol. 20, No. 4 (2001), pp. 3032. [Dutch, with English summary. While all of the Dutch zoos were concerned about the possible consequences of the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in spring 2001, few were directly affected. This was unfortunately not true for Wissel Zoo. As the cases of FMD came closer, the uncertainties grew: would zoo keepers be quarantined on the site; would animals have to be euthanised, and if so which ones (susceptibility of some species was not clear); and, once it was decided by the government that the artiodactyls would have to be euthanised, when would this occur? It was in fact several weeks after the decision was made, as a `ring vaccination' policy was practised, in which animals were vaccinated to stop the disease spreading, but then were later sacrificed, so that the Netherlands could again have `FMD-free' status. The uncertainty was very difficult to cope with, and it was quite odd to actually help the people sent to `clean up' the site load the children's farm goats, as well as the sheep and llamas, to be sacrificed elsewhere. The author sums the experience up by stating `it is an experience that we will never forget, but certainly hope never to repeat.'
van der Hoef, M.: Giraffen in een mannengroep. (A bachelor group of giraffes.) De Harpij Vol. 20, No. 4 (2001), pp. 2427. [Dutch, with English summary. Amersfoort Zoo approached the EEP coordinator about possibilities of acquiring some giraffes for a savannah exhibit. There was a great need to find facilities for surplus young male giraffes, since they cannot be housed in mixed-sex groups without causing a great deal of unrest, so it was proposed that Amersfoort hold a group of these. A building was rapidly designed, and building permits were received one month before the animals were to arrive. There are three separate stalls in the 17.5 by 11.7 m building, as well as a small kitchen and a loft for storing hay and other food. The stalls can be further divided, and there are sliding fences that can be used to move animals. It was decided that the males must be separated indoors because of the experiences with the all-male group at Beauval Zoo in France; a young male there collapsed under the weight of an older male who mounted him in a stall. While this dominance behaviour is common and fairly harmless in a large enclosure where the animal being mounted can simply walk off, in this case the young male was trapped in the corner. The outdoor savannah area of the Amersfoort enclosure is 14,500 m2 and is half woods and half sand with a few trees. The woods have been protected using naturalistic barriers of pebbles and tree trunks, but there are three pathways through the woods, enabling the giraffes to use the entire enclosure. At the time of writing the group consisted of five giraffes from four zoos, with two more expected from other zoos. One now present is a hybrid and one that will arrive is a reticulated giraffe. One of the baringo giraffes now present is an older male who is dominant merely because of his size. He is much more self-assured and exploratory than the younger animals, and has a calming effect on the group. He has been of great value in convincing the younger giraffes to venture into new areas.]
van Heezik, Y., and Seddon, P.J.: Influence of group size and neonatal handling on growth rates, survival, and tameness of juvenile houbara bustards. Zoo Biology Vol. 20, No. 5 (2001), pp. 423433. [The authors examined the influence of group size, sex, year, and environmental enrichment on growth of a large sample of captive-bred houbara bustards (Chlamydotis [undulata] macqueenii) at the National Wildlife Research Center, Taif, Saudi Arabia, as well as the influence of regular handling on survival. Growth rates of chicks kept in groups of eight were depressed compared with chicks in groups of five. Differences in growth rates between males and females were not significant at fledging (35 days), but were so by 80 days, although inter-individual variation still precluded reliable sexing by body mass at this age. Growth rates varied between years, suggesting that management practices may affect growth and, potentially, the reproductive performance of birds. Survival of birds receiving extra handling, mainly in the form of regular weighing, was significantly higher than that of birds receiving little handling. The effect of environmental enrichment on tameness was also assessed. Tameness is desirable in the captive flock, where stress is perceived as a major impediment to reproductive performance, preventing the successful collection of semen from males and insemination of females, delaying recruitment, and causing non-breeding among both sexes. Extra handling and environmental enrichment was applied to a sample of chicks, and tameness of juveniles was assessed in a variety of ways, but no significant difference was found between the enriched birds and a control group. The enrichment protocol might be improved by increasing the period of time during which birds were handled and associating handling with food rewards, although the time required to carry out such a protocol may be constrained when large numbers of chicks are produced.]
van Herk, R., Veltman, K., and Schmidt, H.: EEP's in dierentuinland: neushoornvogels: investeren in een moeilijke soort. (EEPs in zooland: great hornbills: investing in a difficult species.) De Harpij Vol. 20, No. 4 (2001), pp. 27. [Dutch, with English summary; see p. 35, above.]
Zijlstra, M.: Leven in tenten: weefmieren. (Living in tents: leaf-cutter ants.) De Harpij Vol. 20, No. 4 (2001), pp. 2021. [Dutch, with English summary. Emmen Zoo acquired a colony of leaf-cutting ants approximately a year ago. The colony consists of approximately 10,000 workers and one queen, although a colony can have multiple queens. The ants nest in a lemon and a mango tree approximately 1.5 m in height. They have built some eight tents of diverse styles ranging from simple to lavish. The ants are kept at approximately 20° C and are fed crickets and mealworms with the occasional cockroach or grasshopper thrown in for extra protein. Sugar or honey water are served as greatly appreciated sources of `fuel'.]
Publishers of the periodicals listed:
Aquarium Sciences and Conservation, Kluwer Academic Publishers, P.O. Box 322, 3300 AH Dordrecht, The Netherlands.
De Harpij, Stichting De Harpij, Van Aerssenlaan 49, 3039 KE Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Zoo Biology, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158, U.S.A.