International Zoo News Vol. 49/2 (No. 315) March 2002
|Fish 'n' Chimps: Conservation Education in Action||Lynn Hughes and Stephen P. Woollard|
|Environmental Enrichment for Parrots in Naturalistic Settings||Ng San San|
|A Visit to the Island of Mallorca||Harro Strehlow|
|Social Behaviour and the Level of Stress Hormones in a Group of Ring-tailed Lemurs||V.A. Meshik, I.Y. Orbachevskaya and V.S. Kudrin|
|International Zoo News|
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Zoo animal nutrition has been a subject of serious study for at least the past four decades. However, as anyone who reads widely in zoo-related periodicals (or even merely scans the entries in I.Z.N.'s Recent Articles section) will know, nutritionists are still far from having all the answers. I have recently read articles dealing with the topic of obesity in widely differing species of zoo animal, Galapagos giant tortoises (Geochelone elephantopus) and ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata).
Western Plains Zoo, New South Wales, Australia, has kept a group of eight (4.4) Galapagos tortoises since 1988; they have never bred. It was noticed that three of the animals developed large swellings in the thyroid region and thickening at the base of the tail. In March 2000, examination of a biopsy sample from the thyroid region of one animal led to a diagnosis of steatitis. (This is a disease, not uncommon in domestic dogs and cats, in which body fat becomes inflamed and painful; it seems to be linked to the presence of excessive fat in the diet.) It also became apparent that all the tortoises were overweight; so a new diet was instituted, with reduced calories and fat and increased fibre. So far, this seems to be having some effect in reducing the tortoises' obesity; and naturally there are hopes that breeding success will follow in due course.
In a study of 43 ruffed lemurs in 13 European zoos (Schwitzer and Kaumanns, 2001), body weights were compared with those of two different samples of wild ruffed lemurs, and the captive animals' mean weight was found to be significantly higher than that of the wild ones. By the authors' estimate, nearly half (46.5%) of the captive animals were obese. Another study by the same authors (Schwitzer and Kaumanns, 2000) indicates that ruffed lemurs show a strong preference for foodstuffs rich in sugars. In the wild, where food availability varies greatly through the year, this would have survival value, encouraging lemurs to `cash in' on seasonal gluts of fruit. In captivity, with fruit available ad lib. at all times, it turns into a recipe for long-term obesity.
The parallel which springs to mind, inevitably, is that of modern Western man. For us, as for zoo animals, malnutrition manifests itself more often as over-indulgence than as deficiency. Obesity is even commoner in the human population of North America and some European countries than in zoo lemurs! Whether we'll ever manage to get ourselves on to a more austere and healthier diet seems improbable; but there's no excuse for allowing our zoo animals also to succumb to the diseases of affluence.
Schwitzer, C., and Kaumanns, W. (2000): Feeding behaviour in two captive groups of black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia v. variegata, Kerr 1792). In Zoo Animal Nutrition (eds. J. Nijboer, J.M. Hatt et al.), pp. 117128. Filander Verlag, Fürth, Germany.
Schwitzer, C., and Kaumanns, W. (2001): Body weights of ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata) in European zoos with reference to the problem of obesity. Zoo Biology Vol. 20, No. 4 (2001), pp. 261269.
Ward, D.: You are what you eat: steatitis in Galapagos tortoises. Thylacinus Vol. 25, No. 3 (2001), pp. 1315.
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FISH 'N' CHIMPS: CONSERVATION EDUCATION IN ACTION
BY LYNN HUGHES AND STEPHEN P. WOOLLARD
The conservation role of modern zoos is now recognised to be a multi-faceted one, going beyond ex situ coordinated breeding programmes to include in situ activities such as funding for reserve management, research, partnerships with other organisations and governments, and education programmes.
Ultimately, for conservation to be successful in the long term, it is important to (a) raise the funds and support required, and (b) gain the support and involvement of local people, for example, to appreciate the need for conservation and its benefits. Education is therefore an essential element of conservation. The oft-quoted Baba Dioum (a Senegalese conservationist) highlighted this, by saying:
`In the end we will conserve only what we love and respect.
We will love and respect only that which we understand.
We will understand only what we are taught or allowed to experience.'
Education programmes in situ, linked to the field conservation project, are more relevant to the local people involved and to the community, than an isolated `out of the blue' environmental education project, and as a result are largely easier to implement, although this is a relatively new development in zoo conservation strategy. However, it is equally important that zoo visitors (ex situ) are encouraged to understand the issues around conservation of species and habitats, and this can then be translated into support and fund-raising.
This is easier said than done. Many of our visitors are aware of endangered species and factors such as destruction of rain forests and hunting of wildlife, and that zoos are trying to save them. However, there is a danger that the message can become diluted and our visitors leave with an unclear understanding of the issues. For example, visitors could find out at the zoo about gorillas being threatened in the wild, and even donate money to support them, but still go away and buy timber furniture made from wood unsustainably extracted from the gorilla's habitat.
Bristol Zoo Gardens and the EAZA Bushmeat Campaign
Bristol Zoo Gardens has an in situ project based at Yaoundé Zoo and Mefou National Park in Cameroon, in conjunction with the Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund (CWAF) and agencies of the Cameroonian government. This project is designed to: greatly improve the facilities at Yaoundé Zoo; care for and rehabilitate orphans of the bushmeat trade, mainly chimps and gorillas, both in Yaoundé and at Mefou; develop education programmes about the local wildlife; and raise awareness of the illegal bushmeat trade and its effect on wildlife, especially primates.
In recent years conservationists have begun to sound the alarm regarding the enormous impact of the illegal bushmeat trade, and the zoo community has been quick to respond. In April 2000 the first meeting of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) Bushmeat Working Group was held at Bristol Zoo Gardens, under the chairmanship of Dr Bryan Carroll, the zoo's Operations Manager. As a result of this group's discussions (several meetings) and with the involvement of other organisations, a range of activities to tackle the bushmeat trade were identified, and one of the outcomes was the 2001 EAZA Bushmeat Campaign, and the highly successful EAZA Bushmeat Petition.
The EAZA bushmeat petition was supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and CD-ROMs bearing the petition form, fact sheets, and photographic images of the bushmeat trade were prepared at Bristol Zoo Gardens with an accompanying information pack prepared at the EAZA office, and both then circulated to EAZA members. The photographic images were generously donated by Karl Amman, who through his photographs and articles had highlighted the issue of the illegal bushmeat trade more widely. Karl was also a member of the campaign steering group. By November 2001 over 1.8 million signatures had been collected and all 400 kg of petitions were formally presented to the European Parliament.
At Bristol Zoo Gardens we wanted to do more than just collect signatures or even just highlight our Cameroonian project. We wanted to tackle public awareness and understanding of the bushmeat issue and associated activities such as timber extraction, and what people could actually do to make a difference.
The Education Department have run themed events throughout the school summer holidays for a number of years associated with campaigns such as the U.K. Zoo Federation's Tiger Week in 1996, and Native Species Campaign 199798. However, in 1999 we began to highlight our involvement with CWAF and focus upon primates, especially chimpanzees and gorillas. The activities run in 1999 and 2000 included `Acting Ape' workshops, colouring competitions, pledges of support, staffed displays/exhibition areas, and talks. For example, one of the more provocative displays was a dining table set out with a large silver serving dish beneath which was a model gorilla head and a label, `What's on the menu?' Staff were on hand to provide more information along with accompanying display boards and activities. We also used the slogan `Man Eating Gorilla' to attract attention and create a talking point, raising the issue of people eating gorillas, rather than gorillas being man-eaters!
We were delighted with the public response; but at this time, whilst we recognised that a huge number of our visitors were taking an interest, we were concerned that the focus was upon the African bushmeat trade and that some people were leaving with the idea that this was an African problem, involving Africans, and not something they personally had anything to do with.
So in 2001 we decided to go one step further and challenge our own visitors actions with the question: `Would you eat an endangered species?'
Unsurprisingly everyone we asked said no, with a few giving provisos such as `If I was starving I might,' etc. However, this opened the door to our message. `It is quite possible that many of you have eaten an endangered species cod!' Whilst cod is not endangered in all of its range, it is now seriously threatened in the North Sea, due to over-fishing. Various other fish species are now also commercially threatened. Bristol Zoo Gardens therefore widened the focus of the Bushmeat Campaign to look at the decline in fish stocks, thus making it explicit that Africans are not the only people whose eating habits have led to declines in populations of wild animals. The exploitation of our fish stocks provided a relevant example to use with our visitors, which we could compare and link to the illegal bushmeat trade involving primates. Therefore our campaign in 2001 was titled: `Fish 'n' Chimps' (a pun on Britain's favourite take-away meal, fish and chips).
Whilst raising awareness of the threats to species from cod to gorillas was important, we wanted to enable our visitors to actually do something about it. One of the things people could do was to sign the EAZA bushmeat petition. This was a central element in the Education Centre (where the majority of Fish 'n' Chimps activities took place), and the petition was also available in the Primate Section and Activity Centre, and sometimes also on the zoo's main lawn. As a result we collected over 39,000 signatures, the second-highest U.K. zoo total. (Well done to Paignton Zoo, who managed to get just over 43,000 signatures, the highest U.K. total). In addition donation boxes enabled people to make a contribution to our work with CWAF.
As a result of our previous campaigns and events, and after some research and meetings, we decided that one of the best things people in the U.K. can do is to use their consumer power and choose the more sustainable and environment-friendly products. At Bristol Zoo Gardens we have been providing information about Fairtrade Foundation certified products, e.g. coffee, tea and chocolate (and selling some in our shop) for some time, and we have also been highlighting the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification scheme for timber products and buying this timber for some of our needs. In 2001 we also collaborated with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to promote their certification scheme for sustainable fishing.
Fairtrade, FSC, and MSC certification schemes are receiving greater public and retail support, and therefore our visitors could be informed of what logos to look for when shopping. Rather than just tell people about these schemes, we set up displays to attract attention:
Fairtrade A giant inflatable banana was used to draw attention to the examples of Fairtrade products now available. Examples of the products and information about where to buy them were provided. The link between bushmeat, poverty and Fairtrade was explained.
MSC information about the Marine Stewardship Council and World Wide Fund for Nature's responsible seafood purchasing tips were displayed. Stickers and Audubon seafood cards were available to take away, providing further information on responsible seafood consumerism. Our restaurant hasn't had cod on the menu for some time and the message was reinforced with information about the over-fishing of cod stocks shown on posters entitled `For Cod's Sake!' which were displayed by the queuing area, while leaflets were available for customers to read as they waited to buy their food.
FSC a wooden outdoor table and chairs, barbecue briquettes , and toilet tissue all bearing the FSC logo were on display with leaflets about FSC certification for supporting sustainable forestry. In addition, nearby was a photo-board story showing unsustainable deforestation and its links to the bushmeat trade (meat being transported on logging trucks and trains), to reinforce the reason why buying FSC certified wood is better than uncertified timber/wood products.
One of the centre-pieces of the Fish 'n' Chimps display was designed to present visitors with the idea of purchasing the meat from wild animals in a situation they could relate to. A traditional butcher's market stall, complete with striped awning, green `grass' matting, red and green plastic `garnish' and a `special offers' butcher's blackboard was constructed. Available `for sale' on the bushmeat stall was chimpanzee (a life-like cuddly toy), gorilla head (a stuffed life-like mask), crocodile (from the Education Department's biofact collection), fish fingers and MSC lobster (empty boxes). Each item had a message attached to it so that `shop customers' could learn the ecological consequences of their actions. For example, the gorilla head message was that gorillas will be extinct in the wild in ten years if they continue to be killed for bushmeat, while the lobster box said `Well done choosing seafood products with the MSC symbol means that it was caught by fishermen who are not taking too many fish out of the sea.'
These messages are largely adult-orientated, so to involve the children (hopefully whilst their parents were signing the petition and finding out about the things they could do) we ran a `make a thumb-print' activity for children to pledge their support. In 2000 using this activity we focused upon the Forest Stewardship Council and in 2001 the Marine Stewardship Council. This activity simply involved children pressing their thumb onto a coloured ink pad and then onto to a small piece of paper, and if they wanted to, adding their name, or turning their thumb-print into a little picture. Then each thumb-print was pasted onto a huge wall display featuring the logo of FSC in 2000 and MSC in 2001, blown up to around four metres square. As the weeks of the summer campaign progressed the logo was transformed into a colourful eye-catching array of hundreds of thumb-prints. At the same time a nominal charge (20p) was made the money going towards our funds to support CWAF and each child received a small thank-you in the form of a postcard or an MSC `fluffy' animal sticker (all donated by MSC).
One of the other issues that we brought to the attention of visitors is the association of mobile phones and mineral extraction (coltan) in places such as Congo. A giant mobile phone was suspended from the ceiling and displayed next to information about the effects of coltan mining on the bushmeat trade. Visitors were given the opportunity to take a ready-written letter and a ready-addressed envelope to send to their mobile phone company asking them to ensure that they sourced coltan from places where animal populations and village communities were not being adversely affected.
Measuring success of conservation education events
Education is a long-term strategy and a cumulative one, such that an instant transformation of attitude and action is unlikely. However, if the same message is received from a variety of sources over a period of time, there is a greater likelihood of action. In the case of Fairtrade, FSC and MSC labelling, there is also an issue of availability of these products. People may well try something on the off-chance after seeing it mentioned at the zoo, but if they have to specifically search or ask for the product far fewer people are going to try it.
In 2001 a survey at Bristol Zoo Gardens was conducted with visitors arriving and leaving the zoo. As it is an inconvenience to visitors to be asked to fill in a questionnaire, the design was user-friendly and consisted of just four questions asked by staff near the zoo's entrance/exit.
The questionnaire aimed to investigate whether people had learnt to: recognise the MSC logo and understand its meaning, and that certain species of animal are endangered. Three endangered species (gorilla, Partula snail and cod) were pictured along with two common species (brown rat and seagull).
Over ten days, approximately 40 visitors were questioned each day: 20 between 10.00 a.m. and 10.30 a.m., and 20 between 3.30 p.m. and 4.00.p.m. If a visitor was questioned on entering the zoo, care was taken not to ask the same visitor as they left the zoo. In all, 175 visitors were questioned on entry and 190 on exit.
Of the visitors questioned when leaving the zoo, 33% had visited the Conservation Education Centre, which suggests that at least 42,000 visitors went into the Education Centre Fish 'n' Chimps display during the six weeks.
Not surprisingly, 90% of people questioned knew that gorillas are an endangered species, whilst only 29% thought Partula snails are endangered. However, it was interesting that 61% of people questioned said cod was endangered and significantly 64% of these people said this on leaving the zoo, suggesting that many of them had discovered this during their visit. Just 7% questioned on entry recognised the MSC logo, whilst 33% recognised it on exit.
This small-scale survey illustrates that at least to some extent the campaign raised the profile of the Marine Stewardship Council and recognition that cod is an endangered species. The huge display of thumb-prints, 39,000 signatures on the petition and the funds raised are all further indications of the success of the campaign. In addition Bristol Zoo Gardens played a key role in the EAZA campaign and was called upon by many other zoos for ideas and information, and as a result the `bushmeat message' has now reached millions of people throughout Europe, and attracted attention from African governments too.
What the 2000 and 2001 campaigns at Bristol Zoo Gardens have shown is that the highly emotive and complicated issues associated with the illegal bushmeat trade and over-exploitation of natural resources such as forests and marine species, can be made interesting and relevant to zoo visitors, such that they can actually do something about it, as well as support the zoo financially in its direct in situ and ex situ conservation projects.
Conservation education is not an optional add-on, it is an integral part of any successful conservation programme both at home and abroad.
A huge number of people and organisations helped to make these events a success. In particular we would like to acknowledge the help of all the temporary summer staff involved; the Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund; Corinne Bos, EAZA Head Office; the International Fund for Animal Welfare (who provided financial and logistical support for the EAZA bushmeat petition); Louisa Barnett and the Marine Stewardship Council; Anna Jenkins and the Forest Stewardship Council; B & Q; and Constable Robinson Publishers.
Lynn Hughes, Education Officer and Summer Campaign Coordinator, and Stephen P. Woollard, Assistant Head of Education, Bristol Zoo Gardens, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 3HA, U.K. (E-mail: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org)
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ENVIRONMENTAL ENRICHMENT FOR PARROTS IN NATURALISTIC SETTINGS
BY NG SAN SAN
Parrots are active, inquisitive, communicative and highly social animals. An unchanging environment, together with a set routine of daily activities, does nothing to occupy their intelligent minds and powerful, restless beaks. More than other birds, they suffer from boredom; and when they are bored, they are prone to direct their energy towards destructive activities. Many species often wreck the vegetation planted in an aviary. This destructive tendency also extends to the beautiful plumage of the birds themselves golden conures (Aratinga guarouba), for example, bite their own feathers and those of their aviary-mates to such an extent that flight becomes impossible. For this reason, environmental enrichment is an indispensable aspect of keeping parrots in captivity. Moreover, some species, such as the amazons, are prone to obesity, which leads to health problems; enrichment activities help to prevent this by encouraging exercise. Besides improving animal welfare, a `spin-off' from the practice of environmental enrichment is that it enhances the visitor's day at the zoological park compared to a listless animal trapped in a cage, a lively animal engaged in stimulating and purposeful activities undoubtedly does more to interest, and perhaps educate, the visitor.
Enrichment often takes the form of commercial or improvised `toys', such as swings, that provide parrots with amusement and distract them from harmful behaviour. However, these toys would look out of place in the naturalistic setting of a display aviary, perhaps even defeating the aim of exhibiting animals in the context of their natural habitat. Hence, a challenge presents itself: how can environmental enrichment be provided to enhance the welfare of captive parrots while maintaining the aesthetic appeal of the exhibit? This paper discusses several enrichment methods used to meet this challenge at Parrot Paradise, Jurong BirdPark, Singapore.
Prior to devising and implementing enrichment activities for a species, one should, at the very minimum, obtain an understanding of it in the wild, such as its foraging and nesting habits in its native habitat. With parrots, two important factors to take into consideration are their dependence on trees and their sensory abilities.
Parrots are mainly distributed through the tropics and subtropics; only a few species are found in temperate areas. Most species favour lowland tropical forests, where trees are a dominant feature. Trees are very much a part of a parrot's life, as they provide shelter and food for these birds in the wild. Most parrots nest in existing hollows in trees. The zygodactyl feet of parrots reflect their dependence on trees, being highly dexterous and adapted for grasping branches and holding food. Most parrots are mainly green with splashes of red, blue and yellow, a combination which helps them blend into the colours of leaves, flowers and fruits in the forest canopies.
To design enrichment activities that appeal most to the species involved, thus yielding maximum success, one should attempt to perceive the world from the species' standpoint. Like other species, parrots are equipped with varying levels of adeptness in their senses. Perhaps there are other senses that are not known to us. Most parrots can see well and have good colour vision. They generally have sharp hearing; parrots were historically used as sentries. Compared to other birds, parrots have an excellent sense of taste; whereas chickens have about 25 taste buds, parrots have about 300 to 400.
In the wild, much time and energy are devoted to foraging, which takes up a considerable portion of a parrot's waking hours. It is kept occupied `productively' locating normally eaten food, procuring it, breaking it down if necessary, then eating it. Upon encountering a likely new food source, it uses its keen senses to explore it, incorporating it into its regular feeding regime if suitable. Bearing in mind its keen sense of taste and interest in foraging, food-based enrichment activities would undoubtedly yield much success.
Wild lories and lorikeets feed on the nectar and pollen of flowers. At Jurong BirdPark, plants in bloom, ascertained to be pesticide-free, are collected and given to these birds. Stalks of Dillenia suffructicosa, Ixora spp., parrot plantain (Heliconia psittacorum) etc., with leaves intact, are placed in `browse-holders'. These are 4-cm-wide PVC pipes which are cut into 9 cm lengths, spray-painted brown and then nailed or screwed on inconspicuously behind vertical portions of the perches. The birds approach the blossoms excitedly and lap at the flowers with their brush-tipped tongues. Nectar solutions may also be sprayed on the blossoms. Occasional, but always welcome, treats for parrots at Parrot Paradise come in the form of fruiting or budding plants. The fruits and buds of red gum (Eucalyptus camandulensis), weeping fig (Ficus benjamini), red beefwood (Casuarina equisetifolia) and bembusu (Fagraea fragrans) are taken eagerly. Some lories, such as black-capped lories (Lorius lory), take the juices of C. equisetifolia and proceed to smear them on their feet and under their plumage. Perhaps these juices have a pesticidal effect.
At Parrot Paradise, fruits and vegetables are normally cut up and placed in feeding dishes which are located 30 cm from the floor in the service trench in every aviary. Regular foods are presented in different ways to create interest. Halved or whole papayas, apples, guavas, corn-on-the-cob or combs of bananas are impaled on nails or hung on perches. Given a choice of papayas offered in the regular feeding tray or on the perch, some birds, such as Duyvenbode's lory (Chalcopsitta duivenbodei), showed a preference for the latter. Perhaps this mirrors their feeding habits in the wild, where they instinctively seek out high feeding sites; or maybe they are merely attracted by novelty.
For ground-feeders like superb parrots (Polytelis swainsonii) and regent parrots (P. anthopeplus), scattering handfuls of seeds on the bare ground not only allows them to adopt their natural feeding habits but also keeps them purposefully occupied.
The parrots at Parrot Paradise are given a fresh selection of cut-up corn-on-the-cob, carrots, apples, guavas, long beans and lettuce. A seed-and-grain mix, consisting of red and white millet, hemp, brown rice and canary seed, together with some sunflower seeds and peanuts, is also given. In the afternoon, fresh papayas and bananas are given. Whole or slightly-crushed nuts in shells, such as brazil nuts, almonds, pecans and hazelnuts, are given sporadically.
Taking advantage of the adaptable eating preferences of parrots, several new food items have been added over the past half-year. Cooked dry corn kernels, sugar cane, oranges, halved coconuts, and soaked or sprouted wheat and mung beans are offered in different combinations every day. Coconuts, oranges and soaked wheat were quite readily accepted by the birds. The rest of the new items are taken in varying amounts by different species. Alexandrine parakeets (Psittacula eupatria) and moustached parakeets (P. alexandri) will eat some sprouted mung beans, while a salmon-crested cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis) has never failed to go for cooked dry corn kernels eagerly. Reluctance of the birds to try new foods has resulted in varying amounts of new items being discarded. But despite this initial wastage of food, these new food items will still be given for the long-term benefit of the birds. During the introduction of new foods, the birds were more closely observed than usual for any signs of sickness.
The landscape of an aviary is an important factor in the well-being of birds as well as in aesthetic appeal. The days of displaying animals in barren, caged exhibits are long gone. Space is often a limiting factor in zoological parks; but landscaping can increase the complexity of an enclosure, thus opening up a new `scenario' with different possibilities to the captive animal at every turn and corner. Natural features, such as plants (especially those matching the colours of the animals) and boulders, help to camouflage or obscure the animal, thus imparting a feeling of security. Most parrots are mainly green, which helps them to blend into the colours of the forest foliage. Being able to camouflage themselves among the green leaves of the aviary vegetation must, to a certain extent, lessen the stress of being exhibited. This feeling of security contributes to captive-breeding success. Also, in the hot, humid climate of Singapore, the plants help to reduce glare from the sun and cool down the aviaries. Slight concealment of the birds also encourages visitors to stay longer at each exhibit, trying to distinguish the birds from the foliage.
Much effort has gone into simulating the natural habitats of the species exhibited at Parrot Paradise, both improving the well-being of the birds and enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the exhibits. There are 32 display aviaries, each with a theme, such as `Lowland forest, Southeast Asia', `Arid woodland, Australia' and `Cactus shrubland, South America', with native species of parrots housed in each one. Realistic landscapes are painted on the walls and, as far as possible, vegetation native to the depicted landscape has been planted in each aviary.
For example, Patagonian conures (Cyanoliseus patagonus) are found in the open, sandy plains of Argentina and the Andean foothills of Chile. Here, large trees are few and far between, so the birds have taken to burrowing into river banks and sandstone cliff-faces where they nest in large colonies. At Parrot Paradise, these birds are housed in an aviary with the theme `Semi-arid plains, South America', and planted with Pennisetum spp. and ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata). In this aviary, a glass-fibre reinforced concrete (GFRC) rockwall with holes that lead into off-display nest-boxes simulates the native habitat. The first clutch of chicks died; this was presumed to be due to poor design of the nesting boxes, which were modified. Subsequently, two chicks have so far been successfully bred in these simulated nesting sites and have joined the flock of seven other birds in the aviary.
Macaws and other parrots regularly visit river banks in the Amazon rainforest to eat the mineral-rich clay found there, which provides the necessary salts and minerals missing from their predominantly vegetarian diet. A type of fine clay, kaolin, also helps to chemically bind and neutralize toxic substances which can then be passed out of the body. Several species of large macaw are housed with blue-headed parrots (Pionus menstruus) in a 17 m by 8 m, 5 m tall aviary. In this aviary, outcrops have been added to the GFRC rockwall, in which clay is placed and subsequently taken by the macaws. In another aviary of similar dimensions, cockatoos often bathe and drink from a GFRC stream. On a hot day, jenday conures (Aratinga jandaya), nanday conures (Nandayus nenday) and red-fronted conures (Aratinga wagleri) bathe at the waterfall in their aviary.
Parrots need to gnaw. In the wild, the abundance of trees satisfies this need. In a planted aviary, plants need to be replaced from time to time. Once or twice weekly, fresh browse is given as `sacrificial' plant material. More browse is placed in those aviaries which are more severely denuded of plants, since it can be presumed that birds in these particular aviaries have a stronger need to gnaw. Some examples are the cockatoos, rainbow lorikeets (Trichoglossus h. haematodus), blossom-headed parakeets (Psittacula roseata) and golden conures. As parrots have a keen sense of taste and often take plant juices after peeling off the bark, a variety of browse species are given, including African sandalwood (Baphia nitida), lady palm (Rhapis excelsa) and Macarthur palm (Ptychosperma macarthurii).
In aviaries with bare, earth substrate, the soil is raked daily. Sometimes, mung beans, canary seeds, millet and wheat are sown in separate clumps. Shoots and leaves appear and grow to one centimetre high in about one and a half days. Ground-feeding parrots such as regent parrots uproot these sprouts, which helps to distract them somewhat from the aviary vegetation.
Tabasco sauce, heavily diluted and sprinkled over aviary plants using a watering can, has to a certain degree repelled some species from attacking the plants. Five black-headed caiques (Pionites m. melanocephala), three dusky parrots (Pionus fuscus) and a white-headed parrot (P. senilis) are housed in an aviary planted with dinnerplate aralia (Polyscias balfouriana) and other plants. The P. balfouriana had always remained stunted due to excessive pruning by the birds. After tabasco sauce was applied daily, then weekly and subsequently not at all, the birds stopped harassing the plants completely. Tabasco sauce also apparently had a repelling effect on the brush-tongued, nectar-feeding lories and lorikeets, which perhaps have more sensitive taste buds. It is important to start with a heavy dilution initially, slightly increasing the dosage of tabasco sauce until the intended effect is achieved. Obviously this application should merely be a mild deterrent to the birds, and should never be used if it compromises their well-being. The dilution used at Parrot Paradise was 1:700.
In the wild, parrots have an abundant choice of places on which to settle. To gain a better perception from their point of view, perches in an aviary can be likened to furniture in a house. There should be a selection of horizontally- and vertically-inclined perches of varying thickness and good, strong wood to withstand gnawing and peeling. If there are insufficient perches, squabbles and fights may occur among the aviary occupants to gain the best perching sites. On the other hand, an excessive number of perches reduces opportunities for exercise, as parrots tend to climb or hop to the nearest perch. Hence, the placement and choice of perches are important considerations.
Upon observation at Parrot Paradise, the birds were found to show a preference for horizontal and high perching places. Perhaps being able to rest its weight on both feet more or less equally increases a bird's comfort, and being able to observe from a high point enhances its feeling of security. As far as possible, only tall branches or trunks with many outward-branching limbs are used as perches. To maximise the distance between perches and thus the distance available for flight, the perches are placed at diagonal, opposite ends of the aviary.
For the smaller parrots such as iris lorikeets (Trichoglossus iris) and blue-crowned hanging parrots (Loriculus galgulus), there are perhaps more innovative ways of installing perches. Lianas, with their natural torsion, are an alternative to regular, smooth-barked perches. With their zygodactyl and dexterous feet, parrots have a reasonably keen sense of touch; thus a different texture in their furniture will make a positive impact, however minute, on their well-being. Cardinal lories (Chalcopsitta cardinalis) have been observed to use liana perches more often than the regular ones.
Under certain growing conditions, the plant Baphia nitida undergoes extensive branching from one or two interconnected limbs. The interconnected network of limbs, though thin (about 12 cm wide), is strong. Denuded of leaves, this web of limbs is then fixed on the aviary roof, appearing somewhat like a safety net. When birds land on one of the limbs, the entire web, being flexible, moves up and down. Compared to a regular, rock-solid, immobile perch, this web of limbs offers some unpredictability to an everyday action.
Most parrots are hole-nesters. Highly adaptable, they use a wide variety of nesting sites, such as tree hollows, rock cavities and, in the suburbs of towns, even the eaves of house roofs.
Besides installing regular, vertical, hollow nesting logs, smaller logs are hung high in a slanting position in the aviary. Some logs have also been half-buried in the ground. Wood shavings are normally used as nesting materials. Depending on their availability, unusual nesting materials such as Macarthur palm and the bamboo Bambusa multiplex are sometimes placed in the aviaries. Galahs (Eolophus roseicapillus) have been observed to carry bamboo twigs back into their nesting log. Lovebirds (Agapornis spp.) always eagerly tear off strips of palm fronds to line their nesting holes.
As described earlier, every aviary has a theme and houses a collection of birds native to that area. A mixed collection enhances natural habitat simulation in the wild, a bird engages in not only intraspecific but also interspecific interactions. Aggressive species must not, of course, be housed with meek ones. The size of the birds can, at best, provide only a general criterion for the choice of species to be housed together, as it is common to observe smaller birds attacking others. For example, two yellow-streaked lories (Chalcopsitta scintillata) attacked a much larger Pesquet's parrot (Psittrichas fulgidus), injuring its eye, and had to be removed from the aviary. Both interspecific and intraspecific bonds must be broken up to prevent a concerted attack on other birds. A close understanding of the social dynamics of each aviary, together with calculated transfers of birds in and out of the aviary, will help to prevent unnecessary fights.
Environmental enrichment is indispensable to the keeping of intelligent species and should be incorporated into the daily duties of the keeper. Although it is tempting to design complex enrichment activities, slight changes to existing features which are also economical can do much to improve the welfare of the captive animal. As the aesthetic appeal of the naturalistic setting cannot be compromised on, one encounters more constraints when devising and implementing enrichment activities in such exhibits. An on-going, close observation of the parrot's behaviour, and a dedicated attitude on the part of the keeper can greatly contribute towards effective environmental enrichment.
This paper is not solely my own effort. All the plants mentioned were identified by Emily Lim, Assistant Curator (Horticulture). Dr Wong Hon Mun, Executive Director, reviewed the paper and gave much-appreciated advice. Mee Mee, Curator (Birds), Lim Hee, Senior Assistant Curator (Birds), and Tang May May, Resource Officer, also helped and encouraged me. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all of them.
Ng San San, Avicultural Officer, Jurong BirdPark, 2 Jurong Hill, Singapore 628925 (E-mail: SanSan@birdpark.com.sg).
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A VISIT TO THE ISLAND OF MALLORCA
BY HARRO STREHLOW
The island of Mallorca (Majorca) in the Mediterranean Sea is famous as a place for bathing and basking on sunny beaches, for giant hotel complexes and overcrowded masses of tourists. It is true that this is part of the island's character. But Mallorca is much more than just a tourist destination. It has a famous wildlife with endemic and other rare species. Worth mentioning in this context is the Mallorcan midwife toad (Alytes muletensis), for which a breeding programme exists at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust to support the small population on the island. Another well-known species whose population is supported by a breeding programme of the European zoo community is the black vulture (Aegypius monachus). Mallorca, together with the mainland of Spain, is the European stronghold of this species.
The island's avifauna is rich and interesting. Many central European birds stop there in spring and autumn during their migration. Permanent residents include Sardinian and Cetti's warblers (Sylvia melanocephala and Cettia cetti), blue rock thrush (Monticola solitarius), Thekla lark (Galerida theklae) and crag martin (Ptyonoprogne rupestris). Apart from the mountains, another place of special interest for naturalists is La Albufera. This is a wide area of wetland with large parts overgrown by reed. Waders live there in abundance; sometimes flamingos come in, as do herons and egrets of various species, ospreys and marsh harriers (Circus aeruginosus). The most remarkable resident is a small bird, the moustached warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon), whose largest population in the western Mediterranean region is in La Albufera.
A place like Mallorca with millions of visitors each year attracts all kind of shows and entertainment. It is no wonder that animal collections are part of this business. Six collections are open to the public, all of which are almost unknown outside Mallorca: a bird park, a small zoo, Natura Parc, at Santa Eugenia, a nature reserve at Puigpunyient, the Marineland near Palma, a safari park at Cala Millor and the Acuario de Mallorca at Porto Christo. And last but not least Ornis, the breeding station of Vogelpark Walsrode, was situated on Mallorca.
We arrived in Mallorca in November 2001 just one day after the most violent storm within living memory. Power lines were broken and the water supply was destroyed in many parts of the island. More than sixty thousand trees, mostly Aleppo pines, were uprooted and blown down, blocking roads and destroying some of the infrastructure of the island. Many more trees had lost their crowns or large boughs. So it was a chaotic situation, and for the first few days it was impossible to travel through the island.
As a result, of the six places open to the public we could only visit two; a third was closed during our stay because of the damage the hurricane had caused in its grounds. We also visited the former Ornis. What follows is a short report on these visits for the benefit of any readers who may visit Mallorca in the future.
Our first visit should have been to the safari park. This park was founded in 1969 by the animal dealer and zoo owner Herman Ruhe; he also used it as a place of acclimatisation for the tropical animals he imported into Europe. The park has changed its owner and its location from time to time, but is still in existence. When we arrived about a week after the storm, we could see some emus walking in an enclosure near the road, but the rest of the park was closed. Everywhere we could see fallen trees which obstructed every road inside. I believe that even much of the infrastructure, such as fences, was destroyed. Only a lone hoopoe and some doves enlivened the area around the entrance, but none of the park staff could be found. We heard later on from friends that most of the animals are still living there but the future of the park is uncertain.
The Acuario de Mallorca is situated near the well-known Cuevas del Drach (Dragon Caves), which attract many visitors and where many bus-tours stop. In contrast to the caves, the number of visitors to the aquarium is low. The aquarium is a two-story building, with fresh-water fishes on the upper floor. Despite the high number of large tanks, the number of species is low. Most of the tanks exhibit different races of goldfish, and others show common `hobby' fishes. Seeing all this, you begin to think that the price for all these common fish is too high and that you have wasted a day. But then you come downstairs to the Mediterranean section, and here the impression is quite different. The number of tanks is somewhat smaller than in the fresh-water area; but the tanks are often very large, and contain large fishes as well. Here in the salt-water section you find what one looks for in an aquarium, a diversity of species which gives an impression of the diversity of life in the sea. The largest tank is a square of some eight or ten metres each side with a rocky centre. Animals like sharks, rays or other large fishes swim constantly around this central structure. The visitor can look into this tank from two sides and see the fishes coming and going. The aquarium's Mediterranean exhibits are so interesting that they make the visitor forget the fresh-water section. So all in all the Acuario del Mallorca is worth a visit.
The last animal collection we could visit was the Natura Parc at Santa Eugenia. In a leaflet the park promises: `Natura Park is a natural centre where the animal and plant diversity of Majorca and foreign countries can be discovered.' It is owned by a private individual who started with a collection of tropical birds and some mammals, but today it has changed. When you come to the entrance the first animal you can see is a finch in a small cage which hangs on the entrance house. Behind the entrance is a classroom, which shows the importance given to natural history education in Spain generally and also in this private zoo. Despite all the difficulties Mallorca was having during our stay, some classes with their teachers visited the Natura Parc when we were there.
You next come to a nicely landscaped area with many small ponds stocked with ducks, geese and swans. The most notable we saw were some nenes (Branta sandviciensis) and coscoroba swans (C. coscoroba). Flamingos and pelicans also live there. As in other parts of the park, not all the species are named.
Behind the ponds is the most interesting part of the Natura Parc. On both sides of a pathway are enclosures with Mallorcan domestic animals the black Mallorcan pig, the Mallorcan goat, ducks, doves, horses, cattle and other breeds which lived on the farms of Mallorca for a long time. Each enclosure contains a historic building a stable, a dovecote and so forth. Most of these buildings are between fifty and a hundred years old, or built in the old style with original materials. The Mallorcan goat or cimarronas is of special interest. Of the 25,000 to 30,000 feral goats living in the mountains of Mallorca, only 5,000 belong to this race; the others are hybrids with other breeds imported from the Spanish mainland. To protect the indigenous race, a programme of hunting the hybrids recently started, with the first 200 killed last November. The shot animals are fed to the vultures.
Two walk-through aviaries are worth mentioning. Originally they both contained groups of exotic birds, which were easily available then. Today, in the first aviary, only a fruit dove and a pair of exotic lapwings survive from that time, and a small collection of native Mallorcan birds live in the aviary red-legged partridges (Alectoris rufa), various species of finches and others. The second aviary houses a collection of waxbills and exotic finches of the most common species. Other enclosures contain breeding groups of llama, guanaco and fallow deer. A male and three female blackbuck in an enclosure represent the antelopes. The enclosure is very small, and so most of the fence was covered with mats and only a small part was open to see the animals. A glasshouse for butterflies was well planted, but with no butterflies inside: maybe November is too late for most species. The most interesting species we saw at Natura Parc was a European black vulture, part of the conservation project for this species. Some larger aviaries, not open to the public, may hold more black vultures, but it was impossible to find anybody we could ask about it. The enclosures were clean and the animals seemed to be in good health. To sum up, Natura Parc is a small collection centred on indigenous domestic animals and the farm culture of Mallorca; the entrance charge of 1100 pesetas [approximately £4 or $6] seems somewhat too high for this.
Of the places we could not visit, Marineland is the only collection in Mallorca which is listed in the International Zoo Yearbook 36. Its leaflet shows dolphins and sea lions, parrots, and fishes in an aquarium. We did not get any information about the other two collections.
We were at least able to visit Ornis. This establishment, which was never open to the public, was the breeding station of Vogelpark Walsrode, and had such superb breeding successes as two subspecies of rhinoceros hornbill and many species of parrot. Following Walsrode's change of ownership [see I.Z.N. 48 (5), p. 332 Ed.], all the birds had to leave Ornis and were brought back to Walsrode or sold to other collections early in 2001. This was a very hard step to take, and all the people who worked there except the curator were dismissed. The hurricane destroyed nearly all the aviaries and breeding cages at Ornis. The falling trees left hardly anything undamaged; only the house and the working rooms were not hit by falling trees. One can imagine what would have happened if all the rare and valuable birds had been inside their cages and aviaries. The future of Ornis remains unclear. The ground and buildings are owned by a Spanish foundation, but this does not have enough money to use the grounds for keeping and breeding birds. Whatever happens to this project, the great Ornis, with its superb breeding record and its stock which sometimes numbered more than two thousand birds, is gone forever.
Dr Harro Strehlow, Meierottostrasse 5, 10719 Berlin, Germany. (E-mail: email@example.com)
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SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR AND THE LEVEL OF STRESS HORMONES IN A GROUP OF RING-TAILED LEMURS
BY V.A. MESHIK, I.Y. ORBACHEVSKAYA AND V.S. KUDRIN
The emotional state of animals in captivity is one of the important objects of investigation for zoologists in zoos. However, objective indicators of the emotional state of animals, especially the state of stress in all its features, have not yet been discovered. It is of great importance for zoo researchers to find non-invasive methods of working, as this enables them to avoid additional stressful factors, such as catching, immobilization and medical manipulations. Non-invasive methods may also provide the opportunity for constant objective control of an animal's psychological state during procedures which may cause stress, e.g. changing the structure of a group or moving an animal from one enclosure to another. It is necessary to watch not only a single animal, but also groups of animals in different situations, in order to assess and understand specific moments in their lives: how the members of the group and individual animals cope with external changes, e.g. changes in their environment or surroundings; what methods of manipulation (by keeping staff) do not disturb the animals; how the animals react to different internal situations in the group. It is also necessary to control changes within groups that are either forming or in the process of disintegrating.
An animal's reaction to stress factors is determined to some extent by its position in its social group. Thus, the biochemical correlates of stress may be different in different members of the group. It was shown in an investigation of squirrel monkeys that dominant males, who had high levels of stress hormones while they were in their normal enclosures, demonstrated a decrease of stress hormones when they were separated from the group. In new enclosures their level of stress hormones was lower than that of subdominants. Physiological stress in free-ranging ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) has been estimated using a steroid-extraction method to measure cortisol levels from female faeces (Cavigelli, 1999). Faecal cortisol measures were significantly correlated with dominance indices: high-index individuals had high cortisol values, and low-index individuals had low ones.
This is probably why one of the most effective methods of controlling an animal's emotional state makes use of the assessment of the level of stress hormones present in the organism (Moberg, 1987). However, in order to avoid stress in the animal, it is necessary to find non-invasive methods of assessing the level of hormones. In the present study we applied one such non-invasive method measuring the fragments and metabolites of stress hormones in the faeces and attempted to find a correlation between some indicators of social behaviour and hormonal levels for ring-tailed lemurs kept in a group.
Materials and methods
The observations were carried out on a ring-tailed lemur group of ten individuals. In the group there were three males one adult of reproductive age (N8) and two young ones (N9, N10) and seven females three breeding adults (N2, N3, N4), one non-breeding adult (N1) and three young ones (N5, N6, N7). Sixty hours of observation took place over ten days in June 1998.
Faeces of all the members of the group were collected for the analysis of hormone levels. Observations were performed by the method of continuous protocol with tape recording. Registration was done according to the `onezero' method. Three main types of social behaviour were registered (Table 1), i.e. affiliative behaviour (grooming and long-term close proximity), agonistic behaviour (fights, pursuit and attacks), and social investigative behaviour (short-term proximity and sniffing of partners). In calculating statistical parameters, the proportion of contacts of these types as a percentage of all initiated and received social contacts was determined, and the coefficient of correlation for the forms of behaviour considered was calculated according to the Spirman method.
A preliminary attempt was made to determine the level of hormones in the faeces of all the members of the group. In order to do so, during two days of the observation period faeces of all the animals were collected (the animals stayed in the group and the researcher observed them, collected faeces and identified them). Analysis of hormonal level was performed in the Institute of Pharmacology of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences according to the following method (Moberg, 1987; Romanova et al., 1995). Fresh samples were homogenized in ten volumes of 1N HClO4 with the addition, as a reference standard, of dioxibenzilamide (DOBA) at 1.0 nmole/ml. The samples were centrifuged for ten minutes at 10,000 g, and the supernatant was filtered through 0.2 ìm cellulose filters for one minute. Twenty ìl of filtrate was placed in an analytical HPLC column Ultrasphere-C 18.5 ìm, 4.6 ´ 250 mm. Noradrenaline (NA), dioxiphenylacetic acid (DOFA), dopamine (DA), 5-oxyindolacetic acid (5-OIA) and 5-oxytriptamine (5-OT) were eluted under isocratic conditions in a 0.1 M citric-phosphate buffer containing 0.3 mM Na-octansulphonate, 0.1 mM EDTA and 8% acetonitril (pH = 3.6). The flow rate was 1.0 ml/min. Monoamines and metabolites were quantified using a glass-carbonic electrode (+ 0.8 B potential; Ag/AgCl comparative electrode).
Friendly contacts were initiated least often by the eldest female (N1), and most often by one of the younger females (N6). Of the other members of the group, the young males often initiated friendly contacts (N10 more and N9 less), and so did the young females (N6 more and N7 less). Few friendly contacts were initiated by the eldest male (N8) and the adult females (N4 less, N3 more).
Only some individuals initiated agonistic contacts. This form of behaviour was observed only in adult animals, and if we placed them in diminishing order, the first (i.e. most aggressive) would be N1, followed by N8, N3, N4 and N2.
The young female N7 initiated social-investigation behaviour most often, and the eldest male N8 least often.
The young male N9 was the most frequent recipient of friendly contacts, while the other young male N10, on the other hand, received them very rarely. Among the young females, N5 most often received friendly contacts, whereas N6 very rarely did. Among the adults, N8 received friendly contacts much less frequently than N2.
Agonistic behaviour was addressed only to the males and to the young female N6. Social-investigation behaviour was much more often addressed to the adult female N3, and much less to the young male N9.
Table 2 shows the results of analysis of the level of stress hormones and their metabolites in the lemurs' faeces. One of the main substances playing a part in the processes of the central nervous system (CNS) is serotonin (Huho, 1990). When it takes part in nervous processes, serotonin turns into several metabolites. Thus the general level of serotoninergic processes in the nervous system can be evaluated by the summary excretion of serotonin and its derivatives. Serotoninergic processes are connected with the level of emotional excitation in the nervous system, i.e. the level of anxiety and aggression in animals (McLeod et al., 1996). We consider the levels of serotonin and its derivatives in the faeces of our group of lemurs to be a hormonal indicator of their individual levels of stress and anxiety. The highest level of serotonin in the group was observed in N3 and N4.
The level of dopaminergic mediators and their metabolites, i.e. the summary level of noradrenaline and dopamine (NA + DA), determines the balance of the processes of excitation and relaxation in the CNS (Huho, 1990). A high level of dopaminergic mediators indicates a state of calmness and satisfaction in an animal (Stoof and Kebabian, 1984). We consider the summary level of NA and DA in faeces as a hormonal indicator of the animal's level of calmness. In our group the highest level of dopaminergic mediators was observed in N5. N8, N1 and N7 had a moderate level of such mediators, which, most likely, may indicate their ambivalent state, or a neutral and calm state at the moment when the samples were collected.
Table 2 also contains data on the correlation between the level of serotonin derivative 5-oxyindolacetic acid (5-OIAA) and serotonin as such (5-OT). This information gives us an idea of the activity of the enzymes responsible for serotonin metabolism, which shows the specific features of biochemical processes in the nervous system of the animal, rather than of its emotional state. In an indirect way, however, this correlation shows the adaptability of the nervous system and the speed of processes in the CNS. In our group, this correlation was highest in N8. This fact allows us to suppose that N8's nervous system is more adaptable, and thus he can adjust to unfavourable environmental influences more easily than other members of the group. N6, on the other hand, has the lowest correlation, which may indirectly suggest persistent excitation in her CNS.
A preliminary comparison of the data concerning the level of stress hormones and their metabolites with the social behaviour of each separate individual does not show any obvious correlation between these processes. This fact is connected with individual difference in the level of hormones. However, a definite correlation can be seen between hormonal levels and social activity in an animal. The high level of excitation in N3 and N4 is observed together with a high percentage of received social-investigation forms of behaviour (N3 has the highest), a moderate level of received friendly contacts and the absence of received agonistic forms of behaviour. The indices of initiated contacts are also moderate.
The high level of calmness, judged by the level of hormones NA + DA, which is characteristic of N5 and to some extent of N8, N1 and N7, is not linked to any specific types of behaviour and their indices.
Most likely, correlation between hormone levels and the indices of social behaviour depends to a great extent on the individual limits of perception of social contacts, which, in turn, are determined by a complex of factors that could be analyzed only by additional investigation. However, despite the fact that clear individual correlations are absent, the statistical analysis of the data (by Spirman's coefficient of correlation) has shown several connections.
For all the members of the group a negative correlation (R = -0.0830, p = 0.0029) has been shown between initiated friendly behaviour and initiated social-investigation activity. This finding allows us to suppose that initiation of investigative activity and initiation of friendly behaviour are mutually exclusive.
A positive correlation (R = 0.5909, p = 0.0510) has been found between received friendly behaviour and initiated social-investigation reactions. Probably social-investigation behaviour is necessary for the constant `checking' of members of the group by other members, and the more confident an individual feels (the more friendly contacts he or she gets), the more frequently he or she `checks' the other members of the group. Besides, friendly behaviour might be a sort of reaction to investigative behaviour (i.e., it might be similar to post-aggressive friendly contacts).
A positive correlation (R = 0.6493, p = 0.0306) was observed between received agonistic contacts and initiated friendly behaviour. This finding can be explained by the fact that post-aggressive friendly contacts are initiated by those individuals who themselves are the object of agonistic interactions. Most likely the greater part of friendly interactions are, in fact, post-aggressive, which means that reception of agonistic interactions is linked to an increased occurrence of initiated behaviour by subordinate animals.
In the process of our investigations we have compared the level of several hormones in faeces and the data concerning the social behaviour of all the members of the group. It has been found that the fewer agonistic forms of contact the animal gets, the calmer it is and the higher is the level of NA + DA (the negative correlation of these indices is R = -0.764723, p = 0.009979 for the group as a whole). This means that the calmer the animal is, the fewer agonistic contacts are addressed to him or her; and a calm animal more often becomes the object of friendly behaviour.
A positive correlation (R = 0.785714, p = 0.036238) was found between the level of calmness (NA + DA) and the friendly contacts received, but only in females. This correlation can be compared with the one for friendly contacts and initiated social-investigation contacts. We may assume that the initiation of investigative contacts takes place mainly in calm animals. In females the high `hormonal level of calmness' negatively correlates (R = -0.785714, p = 0.36238) with the share of received social-investigation contacts. This proves that social-investigation contacts either cause a certain excitation or are addressed to excited individuals.
The level of stress or excitation (5-OT + 5-OIAA) in females negatively correlates with the amount of friendly reactions (R = -714286, p = 0.071344) and positively correlates with the number of received social-investigation reactions (R = 0.714286, p = 0.051344). The more excited a female is, the more investigative reactions she gets or the more often other members of the group check her, and vice versa. The initiation of agonistic interactions is not connected with an increase of hormonal indices of stress and excitation.
A comparative analysis of the correlation between the levels of hormones in the lemurs' faeces and the indications of social behaviour in the group allows us to suppose that the social functions of agonistic and social-investigation behaviour are similar, but are less evident in social-investigation behaviour. Agonistic contacts were sometimes initiated by calm individuals, but social-investigation contacts appeared more often when animals were experiencing a degree of certain excitation and anxiety. Friendly contacts were addressed mainly to calm individuals, and seemed to be most often observed in post-aggressive interactions.
In the present study a first attempt has been made to compare some data relating to social behaviour in a group of lemurs and their hormone levels. Several correlations were found between the basic forms of social interaction (subordination, agonistic and social-investigation behaviour) and the level of hormones (serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine) in the faeces of the animals. However, the data obtained in this study are to some extent preliminary, and this investigation needs to be continued.
Cavigelli, S.A. (1999): Behavioral patterns associated with fecal cortisol levels in free-ranging female ring-tailed lemurs, Lemur catta. Animal Behaviour 57: 935944.
Huho, F. (1990): Neurochemistry Basis and Principles. Moscow, MIR.
McLeod, P.J., Moger, W.H., Ryon, J., Gadbois, S., and Fentress, J.C. (1966): The relation between urinary cortisol levels and social behavior in captive timber wolves. Canadian Journal of Zoology / Revue Canadienne de Zoologie 74 (2): 209216.
Moberg P.J. (1987): Problems in defining stress and distress in animals. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 181: 12461250.
Romanova, G.A., Kudrin, V.S.,and Malikova, L.A. (1995): Correction by glycine and piracetam of the alteration in neurotransmitter amino acids and high integrative functions of brain after focal cortex ischemia. Pharmacology Research 31 (Suppl.): 128.
Stoof, J.C., and Kebabian, J.W. (1984): Two dopamine receptors: biochemistry, physiology and pharmacology. Life Sciences 35: 22812296.
V.A. Meshik, Moscow Zoo, Bolshaya Gruzinskaya ul. 1, Moskva 123242, Russia (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org); I.Y. Orbachevskaya and V.S. Kudrin, Research Institute of Pharmacology, Russian Academy of Medical Science.
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TROGONS AND QUETZALS OF THE WORLD by Paul A. Johnsgard. Smithsonian Institution Press, 2000. xii + 223 pp., 32 pp. of colour plates, hardback. ISBN 1560983884. $49.95.
The 39 currently recognized species in the family Trogonidae (the trogons and quetzals) have always held a special place in the imagination of ornithologists. Partly, this is a result of their extraordinary beauty the resplendent quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) would come high on anyone's list of the world's most beautiful birds, but many others in the family must run it close. Equally important, however, is the family's biogeographic status: few other bird families are so ubiquitous a presence in the world's tropical forests. Trogonids are found throughout the tropics, in South and Central America, Africa and South-east Asia. They are not in general, it must be said, a conspicuous presence; their way of life overwhelmingly arboreal, solitary, frequently motionless and seldom flying has made them the despair of many bird-watchers.
Astonishingly, the last and only comprehensive book on the Trogonidae was published by John Gould in the 19th century. Information about the natural history, ecology and status of many of the species has always been hard to come by. Paul Johnsgard, an academic biologist and author of nearly 40 books, has done a fine job by bringing virtually all that is known about the trogonids into a single, excellent volume.
Like the same author's The Pheasants of the World (reviewed in I.Z.N. 47:3, 179180), the book falls into two parts. Part One, Comparative Biology, gives an overview of the family the evolutionary relationships of the group, anatomy and morphology, general biology and ecology, and breeding biology, well illustrated with line drawings, maps, tables, and charts. Part Two consists of species accounts of each of the 39 species, including vernacular names, range (with good-sized, clear maps), subspecies, morphometrics, description, identification, geographic variation, ecology, behavior, breeding biology, and conservation and evolutionary relationships. (The rationale for linking these last two topics is unclear, and in practice I found this category the least satisfactory part of the species accounts.) A surprising number of entries have `no information available' listed under at least one heading, indicating how much work remains to be done on this group of birds. An appendix giving derivations of scientific and vernacular names is a feature I'd like to see copied by other bird books.
I must not end without mentioning the book's 32 pages of colour plates. Most of these are reproductions of John Gould's lithographs; these are classic works by one of the great masters of bird illustration, so their appearance in Trogons and Quetzals of the World is a real bonus for purchasers of the book. Gould's illustrations are supplemented where necessary by the work of contemporary artists (who mostly stand up to the comparison quite well). All in all, with its splendid illustrations and a text as comprehensive as is currently possible, Paul Johnsgard's book is one that every enthusiast for the Trogonidae will wish to own.
DIE KULTURGESCHICHTE DES ZOOS edited by Lothar Dittrich, Dietrich von Engelhardt and Annelore Rieke-Müller (Ernst-Haeckel-Haus-Studien, Band 3). VWB, Berlin, 2001. 216 pp., 40 illus., paperback. ISBN 3861354829. Euros 24.00 (c. £15 or US$21).
Conference proceedings can be some time in the making, especially, apparently, if their topic is the history of zoos. But then only two have been published to date, as far as I know at least. New Worlds, New Animals was published in 1996, seven years after the book's contents were first read before a hundred-odd people in Washington celebrating the National Zoological Park's centennial. The chapters of Die Kulturgeschichte des Zoos were originally presented at a symposium in Lübeck in 1995. Lübeck too has a zoo, but not one that anybody would really want to go to, and presumably with no prospect of reaching 100 (see John Tuson in I.Z.N. 46:4, pp. 203204). The city, however, is really beautiful. The venue of the Lübeck symposium was thus not the Tierpark, but the local university's Institute for the History of Medicine and Science. The initiative was apparently prompted by the former director of Hannover Zoo, now a prolific zoo historian, Professor Lothar Dittrich. Readers of I.Z.N. may recall him and coeditor Dr Rieke-Müller as authors of three zoo-historical tomes reviewed in Vols. 46 (pp. 102105) and 47 (180182). They and Professor Engelhardt, the host in Lübeck, managed to attract an impressive roster of experts for the conference and the proceedings, including three zoo directors still in office (Cologne, Frankfurt am Main, Munich) in addition to the one retired. Two scholars, one each from the Netherlands and the United States, spoke (and wrote) in English; the other twelve contributions are in German.
Proceedings tend to be a potpourri of all sorts of articles, the one common denominator being the volume's title. Die Kulturgeschichte des Zoos (`The Cultural History of Zoos') is no exception. Strictly speaking, three of the essays do not really cover history: they are general albeit good introductions to modern zoo management, to aspects of the protection of animals and animal rights in zoos, and to conservation opportunities in zoos. Chapters on zoo veterinary medicine, the science of zoo biology, and school classes in zoos do at least skim over the development of their respective subjects before, again, offering introductions to the uninitiated. Rosl Kirchshofer's chapter on `The Importance of Zoological Gardens for Schools' especially is the best short, yet comprehensive, survey of the topic I know. But if that's not enough real history for those particularly interested in the passage from menagerie to zoo, the remaining chapters more than compensate for those essays with too much `culture' and not enough `history'.
Prof. Dittrich himself offers a brief overview of royal German menageries from c. 1760 to 1860, whilst Dr Rieke-Müller gives what's basically a summary of their (at the time of the conference yet to be published) 1998 book on the establishment of zoos by bourgeois elements (the term is not meant to be derogatory here) in the decades thereafter. Bettina Paust of the Joseph Beuys Archives in Bedburg-Hau (that's in the Rhineland near the Dutch border) writes on two Viennese menageries of the Baroque, one of which developed into today's Schönbrunn Zoo. The journalist and art historian Sigrid Dittrich goes back to the Renaissance, descanting on the iconography of exotic animals kept 500 years ago at the courts of Europe. Florence Pieters, the recently retired chief librarian of the magnificent Artis Library at Amsterdam Zoo, surveys Dutch menageries of the 17th and 18th centuries and their stock, for the most part, of course, imported from the Dutch East and West Indies. The American scholar Donna Mehos proffers a summary of her unpublished Ph.D. dissertation on `The Rise of Serious Science at the Amsterdam Artis Zoo'. The science historian Ilse Jahn of Berlin writes on the menagerie at Versailles and its influence on 17th-century French zoology. Hans Werner Ingensiep of Essen University, finally, presents the only portrait of an animal in zoos, a 20-page history (including illustrations) of the gorilla in captivity.
Looking at the contributions, it's obvious that the book's contents do not quite live up to its title: it is not the cultural history of zoos. For one thing, among the strictly historical essays there's a definite bias towards the history of menageries in German-speaking central Europe and the neighbouring Netherlands, with only Dr Jahn's paper on Paris representing the rest of the world. Gorillas are the only animals treated in any depth. But the mixture is a rich one each chapter by itself is well worth reading, and although the general essays (on zoo management and conservation opportunities in zoos, for example) may offer nothing new to the zoo experts and enthusiasts that most readers of I.Z.N. presumably are, most of the contributions on specific historical aspects should provide new information even to well-read savants. Although not printed on art paper, the illustrations, albeit black-and-white, are an additional attraction of the book. The articles of art-historical interest, those by Frau Dittrich and Vrouw Pieters, and the contribution by Frau Paust are particularly well illustrated. The historical photographs of gorillas are occasionally disturbing, reminding one (as well they might) of the cell-like enclosures anthropoid apes were traditionally kept in. History was not always kind to the animals kept in captivity, but as Dittrich et al. well show, menageries and zoos provided over the centuries a vital link to mankind's appreciation of nature.
AQUARIUM CAREERS by Jay Hemdal. Writer's Showcase, 2001. xvi+ 126 pp., paperback. ISBN 0595201512. $12.95. (Available online from the publishers at www.iuniverse.com/bookstore, or from amazon.com.)
`There are many better ways to earn a living than being paid to work with captive aquatic organisms.' That sentence, rather surprisingly, appears in the introduction to Ray Hemdal's slim volume. In context, though, it makes excellent sense. People don't go into aquarium work, or indeed zoo work, primarily for the money. Mr Hemdal, who is Curator of Fishes and Invertebrates at Toledo Zoo, Ohio, makes it plain that for him from the age of eight or nine there was only ever one obvious career choice. Aquarium Careers is aimed at readers who, like him, `have the interest and aptitude to make working with aquariums their career, their life's work and their passion.'
Aquarium Careers takes the would-be aquarist through every aspect of the subject. It begins with a chapter on education school, college, and the various extra-curricular activities which may be relevant to the career in question (a mixed bag, including among others art, boating, horticulture and scuba diving!). Several chapters follow on the different jobs available, in the private sector (i.e. directly or indirectly linked to the retail pet trade), in public aquariums, in universities and museums, and even running a fish hatchery business from home (Hemdal recommends angelfish as a promising speciality). The advice given is realistic and occasionally deflating. Most students who talk about becoming marine biologists, apparently, dream specifically of working with dolphins; Jay Hemdal tells them that they have statistically less chance of doing this than of being elected to the House of Representatives!
A chapter on job acquisition is full of useful tips, for example on circumventing the familiar problem of getting experience when every post demands experience as a prerequisite. A final chapter on Related Topics includes Hemdal's thoughts well worth reading on such matters as ethical issues, exhibit design, data management and interactions with the public.
Aquarium Careers, though aimed primarily at the American reader, would be of use to any intelligent teenager with a leaning towards this line of work. Every such teenager will visit zoo or aquarium gift shops from time to time, so it should find a steady sale in such places.
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International Elephant Foundation projects for 2002
The International Elephant Foundation (IEF), a non-profit organization dedicated to saving elephants by providing funds and scientific expertise to support elephant conservation programs worldwide, has announced its conservation projects for 2002. `We have doubled our conservation funding from last year,' says Michael Fouraker, IEF president. `Tremendous support from throughout the wildlife conservation community is allowing us to expand our scope of elephant conservation more rapidly than was originally projected.' IEF-funded conservation projects in 2002 will include:
Reproductive strategies in the male African elephant. IEF will support Henrik Rasmussen, a researcher with Save the Elephants in Samburu, northern Kenya, in his investigation of the mating strategies of wild male elephants. To date, his research has provided insights into the behavior, movements, and habitat use of bulls in different reproductive states. The project will combine detailed behavioral studies of wild bull elephants (whose age and social context within the overall population is known) with remote collection-of-movement data using Global Positioning System collars and non-invasive techniques for collection of hormone and genetic samples.
Cryopreservation of African elephant semen. Artificial insemination in elephants is a viable technique that enables elephant holding institutions to establish pregnancies without moving the female to another institution. In addition, this technology may have applications in maintaining genetically healthy wild populations of elephants in the future, as herds are confined into small islands of isolated habitat. The main goal of this project is to develop elephant semen freezing protocols that will result in a greater than 50% progressively motile sperm post-thaw.
Use of urinary cortisol analysis to assess adrenal function in Asian and African elephants. To encourage successful elephant breeding in captivity, there is a growing obligation to assess the adequacy of environmental and husbandry conditions for optimal elephant behavior, health and reproduction. Likewise, the need is now greater than ever to examine the well-being of elephants as ethical questions are raised about maintaining animals for research, economic, education or entertainment purposes. The goal of this Fort Worth Zoo research project is to address elephant well-being using a scientific, experimental approach by studying urinary cortisol to non-invasively monitor adrenal status in elephants. Combined with the assessment of behavioral traits, these analyses will significantly benefit our understanding of how environmental or management changes may affect the well-being of elephants in captivity.
Habitat survey of radio-collared Sri Lankan elephants. Handapanagala has been a highly publicized humanelephant conflict area in Sri Lanka. Elephants frequenting this area cause depredation and hardship to the local people, prompting the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) to drive the elephants into other areas. In an effort to diminish future conflicts, the DWLC will radio-collar two elephants to monitor their movements and determine their preferred habitat and seasonal ranges. This empirical data will then be utilized by the DWLC in the development of their elephant conservation and management strategies.
Status of domestic elephants in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan people have had a long association with elephants. Elephants were used by the ancient kings for war, ceremonial purposes and as gifts to kings and potentates of other countries. Temples had elephants, which took part in religious ceremonies and parades. This long association helped to develop a lasting affinity between men and elephants in Sri Lanka. Today the number of wild and domestic elephants in Sri Lanka is diminishing, and every wild and domestic elephant is key to the future of Asian elephants. Work is underway to save wild Asian elephants, but thus far data is lacking on the population and status of domestic elephants. This study will ascertain the present status of domestic elephants in Sri Lanka. It will not only enable researchers to find out the present number of domestic elephants, but will also give researchers an insight into the expectations, aspirations, and ideas of their owners. This will help policy makers to make decisions with regard to the future management and conservation of the domestic elephant population in Sri Lanka.
Cameroon wild elephant habitat. The IEF is providing funding support to North Carolina Zoo for a five-year study, now in its third year, which follows elephant land use and migration patterns in Cameroon. Wildlife officials use the data to identify and protect valuable elephant habitat and increase local support of elephant conservation by reducing intrusions on crops and human settlements near the study areas. To date, 11 elephants have been successfully collared; the location data has strengthened Cameroon's elephant conservation strategies and reduced conflicts between people and elephants in the study area.
Professional and educational scholarships. IEF announced its annual funding of a variety of professional and educational scholarships, including scholarships to the AZA's Principles of Elephant Management training course, the Ultrasound Workshop for Wildlife Veterinarians, and the International School for Elephant Management for elephant handlers. Elephant keepers and researchers are encouraged to contact IEF to learn more about these scholarships.
IEF will evaluate and possibly adopt additional elephant-related conservation and research projects throughout 2002.
As a non-profit organization dedicated to elephant welfare, IEF solicits donations to fund worthy conservation and research projects worldwide. With minimal administrative costs, IEF is able to put more than 95% of their budget directly into elephant programs. Four of IEF's nine board members are employees of AZA member institutions: Columbus Zoo, Indianapolis Zoo, Fort Worth Zoo, and Disney Animal Kingdom. To learn more about IEF or to contribute to elephant conservation efforts, visit IEF's website at www.elephantconservation.org.
7,500 turtles confiscated in Hong Kong
On 10 December 2001, an illegal shipment of nearly 7,500 critically endangered turtles valued at $3.2 million was en route to China for the food trade when it was intercepted by Hong Kong customs. This shipment, the largest-ever seizure of live turtles in Hong Kong, was immediately transported to Kadoorie Farms Botanic Gardens in Hong Kong for identification and initial triage.
Although the turtle trade has existed for thousands of years, it has only recently depleted wild populations at unsustainable rates. When Chinese currency became convertible in 1989, it became possible for the Chinese to import turtles from other countries, including Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, Burma, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia, exhausting their wild populations. At present, every country in the region has national legislation that affords at least some protection to some turtle species. In addition, all countries except Bhutan and Laos are signatories to CITES, the provisions of which should be implemented through national legislation. Overall, the scope and extent of existing laws are adequate to protect most, though not all, turtle species, but enforcement is frequently insufficient. Among other factors, the inability of customs officers and others to identify turtle species with any accuracy is a serious obstruction to effective enforcement. In response to the Asian turtle crisis, the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) was organized under the auspices of the IUCN, with a mission to develop and maintain a global network of living tortoises and freshwater turtles with the primary goal of providing maximum future options for the recovery of wild populations. The number of freshwater turtle species added to the world's critically endangered list has more than doubled in the last five years, primarily as a result of their use as a food source (in Asia) and in traditional Chinese medicine.
Of the twelve turtle species confiscated in Hong Kong, ten were identified by the IUCN as critical, endangered or vulnerable. The seizure is a unique opportunity for the TSA to develop captive populations through animals that would otherwise be destroyed. The turtles are to be sent to Florida, where they will be used in the development of `assurance colonies' by the TSA, which will maintain these species for their eventual recovery.
Other organizations involved in the seizure and conservation efforts were: Conservation International, University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Lab, Memphis Zoo, University of Miami, Alapattah Flats Turtle Preserve, New England Turtle Hospital, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Southwest Texas State University, UC Davis, and Florida Atlantic University.
AZA Communiqué (February 2002)
Easter spells disaster for a critically endangered parrot species
The yellow-eared parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis) was once abundant across the High Andes of Colombia and Ecuador. However, by the late 1990s it was feared extinct, until Proyecto Ognorhynchus rediscovered a small population in central Colombia. Thanks to their efforts, working with the local community, this population has steadily increased, from 81 birds in 1999 to approximately 130 birds today.
In January 2001, a second population of 277 birds was found in western Colombia, a considerable extension of their known range. Proyecto Ognorhynchus immediately sent in a research and conservation team, funded by Loro Parque Foundation and working with CorAntioquia (a regional environment agency). It soon became clear that the population was severely threatened because the wax palms (Ceroxylon spp.) on which the parrots are totally dependent were being felled at an alarming rate. The wax palm, Colombia's national tree, is critically endangered and grows extremely slowly. Mature trees may be more than 500 years old. At Easter each year, Palm Sunday is popularly celebrated around the world with palm-frond-waving parades. Unfortunately, in most towns in the Colombian Andes, wax palms are the fronds of choice for this procession. Ahead of Palm Sunday, CorAntioquia approached the local priest to ask him to encourage his congregation to use alternatives, such as the far commoner Wettinia palm. Despite this, on Palm Sunday roughly 400 villagers, and even some police, who had been advised of the palm's legally protected status, were carrying wax palm fronds. This equates to the destruction of roughly 100 trees. Proyecto Ognorhynchus is now intensifying environmental awareness and conservation activities with local communities to avoid a repeat of this needless destruction, and in October, more than 200 members of the community participated in a World Birdwatch day event at the site.
Ironically, Palm Sunday parades in the area where yellow-eared parrots were first rediscovered do not pose a threat; FARC guerrillas are active there, and do not permit the felling of live palms.
World Birdwatch Vol. 23, No. 4 (December 2001)
Working to conserve freshwater mussels
They're as low-profile as it gets river mussels. Yet these unassuming mollusks lurking on the bottoms of streams and rivers are notable for at least two reasons: they are indicators of the health of local waterways, and they include the most endangered family of organisms in North America. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists 62 endangered species and eight threatened species (and about 30 extinct ones) among North America's nearly 300 varieties of freshwater mussels. Several AZA institutions in the South-east and Midwest are committed to turning those numbers around through captive propagation, reintroduction and relocation programs.
The wholesale decline in freshwater mussel species is the result of habitat and water-quality degradation through dredging, damming, siltation, discharge of sewage and toxic wastes and polluted runoff, as well as competition from non-native mollusk species. Doug Sweet, Curator of Fishes at Belle Isle Aquarium, has charted the decline in the Detroit River. Until quite recently, 36 of Michigan's 40 native mussel species were found there. But European zebra mussels (Dreissena sp.) were introduced by way of ballast water into Lake St Clair, just upstream of Belle Isle, in the mid-1980s, and by the early 1990s, while studying shell remains in muskrat middens, Sweet found just 21 species. Ten years on, `We think the river's completely wiped out,' he says. `Even the muskrats aren't finding anything.'
The Detroit River watershed is also home to species such as the purple lilliput (Toxolasma lividus) that are found nowhere else in the state. Sweet is applying for a grant to fund a survey of the last known purple lilliput population in Michigan, located in a tributary of the Detroit that has been invaded by zebra mussels. He wants to assess the feasibility of moving the population to a site upstream of any zebra infestations. He is also trying to propagate a more common species of lilliput to learn techniques that can be used with the state-endangered variety.
The John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago has assisted the Illinois Department of Natural Resources since 1992 in surveying major river systems for populations of the state's 61 surviving mussel species. In 1999, when a developer planned to replace a mile-long farm ditch with an environmentally engineered re-creation of the stream that originally meandered across the land, Roger Klocek, Shedd's senior conservation biologist, recruited staff members and volunteers for a six-day exercise to relocate 2,000 mussels from the ditch to the new stream. What started as a rescue operation turned into a long-term research project. Each animal was measured and marked for future identification. A year later Klocek and his team returned to the stream to check on the mussels. The first-year mortality rate was 6.5% among a sample of 195 retrieved mussels, but the rate dropped to about 0.5% in 2001. Shell growth has ranged between 2 mm and 6 mm a year.
Klocek will start looking for baby mussels in 2003. `That's because the juveniles burrow into the substrate for the first few years and don't pop out until they're three to four years old.' Mussel larvae, or glochidia, are parasitic, attaching to the fins and gills of host fish during the early stages of development. Each mussel species depends on one or more specific fish species for this incubation service. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has worked for several years with researchers at Ohio State University to match mussel glochidia with their specific host fish. That project grew into a partnership with the university and other bodies to build a $70,000 freshwater mussel research facility, due to open in 2002. `Ohio is mussel country,' says Doug Warmolts, Assistant Director of Living Collections at the zoo. `We have a watershed just south-west of Columbus where more mussel species are found than in Europe and Australia combined.'
At the research facility, Warmolts and Dr Tom Watters, curator of mollusks at Ohio State's Museum of Biological Diversity, will expand their work on host fish identification and delve into the husbandry requirements of the different species. In addition, Warmolts says, they will set up a culturing program for target species federal- and state-listed mussels in the area with the goal of reintroduction or relocation. The new facility will also function as a mussel refuge in case of a toxic spill in a key waterway or a zebra mussel infestation that threatens a population.
Big rivers, like the Mississippi and Ohio, are the key to mussel diversity. The web of tributaries little creeks and streams with countless mini-habitats, provides fertile ground for speciation. The mussel motherlode, however, is in the South-east, where the glaciers didn't erase the landscape, the rivers are older and evolution has been at work for a very long time. Just along a 70-mile [112-km] stretch of the Conasauga River, in a tributary of the upper Coosa River in Tennessee and north-western Georgia, one can find 28 species of mussels, as well as 76 species of fishes and 22 species of snails.
The Coosa River basin was the site of the largest modern extinction event in North America, singling out freshwater mollusks. Between 1924 and 1975, 12 species of freshwater mussels and 28 species four whole genera of snails were obliterated as hydroelectric dams were constructed. The remaining species are so rare, says Dr Paul Johnson, research scientist for the Tennessee Aquarium Research Institute (TNARI), that relocation efforts aren't an option. Instead, he leads a captive propagation and reintroduction program with Coosa River mollusks at TNARI headquarters in Cohutta, Georgia, just across the border from the Tennessee State Aquarium. `A big component,' he says, `is surveying the upper Coosa basin and looking for any brood stock that's left.' Fish of the host species are held in the propagation facility. Wild mussels are located, and when the females are gravid, Johnson's team extract the glochidia, which are only a quarter-millimeter in size, and artificially infect the host fish with these larvae. The mussels develop on the host for six to eight weeks, then fall off, at which stage they're ready for release. In 2001, Johnson and other scientists from TNARI and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released more than 900 juvenile fine-lined pocketbooks (Lampsilis altilis) and about 50 Alabama moccasinshells (Medionidus acutissimus) into a tributary of the Conasauga. Eight other species are targeted for propagation and release efforts.
`If you look at the percentage of total species diversity that's been lost,' says Johnson, `the extinction rate of freshwater aquatic animals in the South-east is the highest for any ecosystem in North America, and it ranks second globally, just behind tropical rain forests.' If current losses continue, he adds, that rate will more than double in the next century. `Most of us who work day-to-day down here believe we've got about 30 years left to secure enough sites and translocate or artificially reproduce enough juveniles to save these animals.' The situation is complicated by that low-profile quality of mussels. `Ninety-five percent of these species fit in a cigar box. They don't draw public attention to their conservation cause.' Neither, he says, do minute mollusks attract federal money. `Endangered species recovery is still geared toward the big vertebrates. If this work is going to continue,' he concludes, `it will have to happen under zoos and aquariums. Very few places are left that can do this kind of work, so it's really critical that zoos and aquariums are taking more of an interest.'
Abridged from Karen Furnweger in AZA Communiqué (January 2002)
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INTERNATIONAL ZOO NEWS
Adelaide Zoo, South Australia
Scoliosis is the medical term for curvature of the spine. Long recognised as a problem in children, it is not what you associate with koalas; but that link has been the subject of Emily Milbourne's honours project.
Emily is the winner of the Raymond Last Scholarship, offered jointly by Adelaide University and the Royal Zoological Society of South Australia for a study in comparative anatomy. She is well placed to undertake such research, for while studying in the Department of Anatomical Sciences, she is also a part-time animal keeper at Adelaide Zoo. When she was looking for an Honours project, her professor suggested a study of the koala spine. Even the normal anatomy of koalas, particularly in the back and limbs, has not been fully described. So Emily is dealing with the normal anatomy first, and then going on to describe scoliotic animals.
Scoliosis in koalas and humans seems to take different forms. `The spine, instead of being straight, develops a sharp angle to one side,' says Emily. `It's as though the animal had been snapped by bending its head down to its feet.' Cleland Wildlife Park, where koalas are permanently on show, has a number of cadavers from natural deaths, dog attacks and car accidents, and these bodies are being made available for the research. `The koala I am currently studying was ten years old when it died. It showed problems at one to two years, some difficulties with movement and pain now and then, increasing as it grew older. But because it was in captivity, it would not have had the difficulties of a wild koala, which would have to be agile on the ground to avoid predators and much more active in getting food. Koalas are quadrupeds, not bipeds like us. But just as we sit upright, they spend at least 19 hours each day sitting upright with a spine which isn't designed for that. Gravity acts very differently on horizontal and vertical spines, so when a quadruped sits upright, it is going to change the forces acting on its spine.'
The best figures suggest that up to 5% of koalas may be afflicted with scoliosis. Emily's work will find out how serious a problem the disease is, and may suggest better modes of treatment for it. The zoo plans to create a new koala habitat and exhibit in the near future. Emily hopes that if her work shows that scoliosis has an environmental origin, it may assist zoos in designing better habitats of this kind, but she sees other benefits, too. `Since the koala is one of Australia's best known animals, it is good to have a description of its basic anatomy that other researchers can use, and which will help them detect abnormalities,' she says. `In terms of scoliosis, I don't think that my research will determine what causes it, but because it hasn't been researched before, it should provide a starting point for others who may find the cause, or any genetic links.'
Dr Rob Morrison, president, Royal Zoological Society of South Australia, in Zoo Times Vol. 17 (November 2001)
Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, California, U.S.A.
Traditionally, sea dragons have been a challenge to maintain in captive conditions. Their specific nutritional and environmental requirements demand meticulous attention to detail. However, these animals have become quite popular within the past ten years, making them a showpiece for any modern public aquarium collection.
There are two species of sea dragon leafy and weedy. Both resemble large seahorses, but sea dragons have elaborate leaf-like appendages, allowing them to hide in their native southern Australian seaweed. The leafy sea dragon (Phycodurus eques) surpasses the weedy sea dragon in extravagant accessories. However, the weedy sea dragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) is considered by some to be the more delicate of the two species, making it very difficult to maintain in captivity. Like other syngnathids, it is the male sea dragon that carries the fertilized eggs and broods them until hatching. However, instead of having a brood pouch as seahorses do, sea dragons carry their eggs on the underside of their tail, which becomes swollen and `spongy' during the reproductive season.
The Aquarium of the Pacific houses 12 leafy sea dragons and seven weedy sea dragons. In May 2000, one of our male weedy sea dragons made history by being the first sea dragon in North America to successfully receive a clutch of eggs from a female. However, over subsequent days, the pregnant male began to drop the eggs, a common problem with sea dragon reproduction. In an attempt to give the animal some privacy, husbandry staff transferred him to a separate holding system. Unfortunately, however, the animal succumbed to a bacterial infection and died, probably as a result of the stress of being separated from the original population. The few remaining eggs dropped off and hatched prematurely, surviving for only a few days.
On 5 May, we were delighted to discover that another male weedy sea dragon had become pregnant, holding approximately 50 eggs. After noticing some aggression from the other sea dragons that caused some damage to a few eggs, we decided to isolate the pregnant male. However, instead of placing him in a separate system, we simply suspended a floating basket in the exhibit to allow him to see the rest of the population and avoid competition for food. This strategy worked, and by the fourth week of pregnancy, the babies began to hatch.
Taking a brief sigh of relief, we quickly realized that the challenge was just beginning! Nurturing the babies was complicated, again due to the sensitive nature of weedy sea dragons. We placed them in a flow-through tank that was connected to the original exhibit and tried various combinations of water flow and light. Unfortunately, many of them were born prematurely and were unable to survive for more than a few days. However, the eggs hatched over a two-week period and those that were more developed survived. Currently, we have 16 juvenile weedy sea dragons that have now survived over ten weeks, making it the first time in world history that this delicate species has been successfully bred in captivity.
Much to our surprise, a second male became pregnant on 23 June 2001. Luckily, the first male had finished giving birth, so we simply moved our second male into the `birthing basket'. The babies from this male were much more developed when born, allowing us to successfully maintain 52 babies, which are four weeks old at the time of writing.
Like many successful captive reproductive programs, much of what we do is based on intuition and luck. However, in this particular case, I believe that our attempt to create a completely natural environment, including seasonal adjustments in water temperature and lighting, assisted us in achieving this historic event. Much is left to learn about these incredible creatures. With future advances in captive sea dragon breeding, we hope to contribute to a better understanding of this protected species.
Sandy Trautwein in AZA Communiqué (October 2001)
Belfast Zoo, Northern Ireland, U.K.
One of our largest recent imports was that of Boulas, a mature silverback gorilla. We were delighted to be offered him on breeding loan by Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, which together with its sister park Howletts holds the largest number of captive gorillas globally. Boulas quickly made his mark in the group, and proved a popular arrival with the females. Some weeks after his arrival, he contracted a viral pneumonia, which necessitated his separation and close medical supervision for a prolonged period; but he is now well on the road to recovery, and steadily re-asserting himself among the group following his recent re-integration.
For the large walk-through aviary, we imported additional southern bald ibis (Geronticus calvus) from Pretoria Zoo to join our original small flock. We cooperate with an international breeding programme for this species, which is rarely seen in European collections. We hope that the new birds will encourage breeding in our flock, and that perhaps in time we can play an active role in this programme.
We were fortunate to have two young female Vieillot's crested fireback pheasants (Lophura ignita) made available to us from a private breeder of the species. They will join the adult male we already held, and as they are infrequently bred in zoos, they should prove an interesting challenge for the future.
We have imported a male Temminck's golden cat from Heidelberg Zoo, Germany. As this species is kept in only a handful of zoos around the world, and just seven or so other European zoos, he is an important addition to our collection of rare and endangered felids. Equally rarely seen in the wild, these cats are presumed to be critically endangered; they are undoubtedly under threat from habitat destruction, loss of suitable prey species and hunting, and there may be only a few thousand left in their native South-East Asia. As this is a new species to the zoo, we plan to hold Timmy, as he has been called, for a while until we have gained some experience with him. We then hope to be able to acquire a suitable female for pairing with him, and maybe in due course repeat our recent successes with cheetah, clouded leopard and black-footed cat.
In the penguin enclosure, our breeding flocks of both gentoo and Humboldt's penguins have had another productive year. All the chicks were parent-reared, an important factor for the future breeding potential of the chicks themselves. Disappointingly, eggs laid by the rockhoppers proved infertile, and the king penguins failed to lay any eggs at all. Both species are kept in small flocks, and we will soon have to review our future plans for these two attractive species. We will have to consider our chances of acquiring more of both species, or perhaps sending our remaining birds to join established breeding flocks elsewhere.
Just days before our mouse lemurs' proposed departure to Blackpool Zoo, two babies were born in the group. The arrival of the infants delayed the move somewhat, but the whole group is now doing well in their new home. Three white-bellied pygmy marmosets (Cebuella pygmaea niveiventris), which are rarely seen in Europe, have been born, and the group now numbers 15 individuals. We are planning to reduce the size of this extended family group by sending out some of the older offspring to carefully selected collections in Europe.
There was successful breeding from our two pairs of emperor tamarins. We imported the breeding male in our second group from Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, a while ago, and he is unrelated to the majority of other emperor tamarins in Europe. His infants, once mature, will be made available to the breeding programme, and will be useful new bloodlines for the European population of this endangered species. We are particularly pleased that the pied tamarins (Saguinus b. bicolor) have bred again, for the second time this year. Their captive management is complicated, and they require close attention to be paid to all aspects of their life in the zoo. They are critically endangered in the wild, and the development of a safe breeding population of pied tamarins in zoos in the Americas and Europe is seen as crucial to the survival of the species. Few zoos worldwide hold them, and even fewer successfully breed them, so we are proud to have again joined the exclusive list of pied tamarin breeders.
Two of our langur species have bred. An infant was born into our Javan brown langur (Trachypithecus a. auratus) group; the father came from Port Lympne, while the mother was born here in the zoo. Three purple-faced langurs (T. vetulus monticola) have also been born, two of them to females in our larger group, which now numbers eight individuals. Given that this species is so rarely kept outside Sri Lanka, and that the maintenance and breeding of langurs in captivity is difficult and complicated, this is another great success for the zoo. The third baby was born to a separately-housed pair. His birth was unexpected as his mother, we felt, was rather old, and health checks earlier in the year had suggested she would not be able to conceive, so we are delighted that she has proved us wrong. As we were the only European holders of purple-faced langurs, and it is important that the species becomes established in the region with a number of holders, this trio, of parents and baby, have recently moved to Twycross Zoo in England.
Huge excitement was generated in the zoo with the birth of our second Malayan tapir during the summer. Only a handful of calves are bred annually by zoos around the world, and they often suffer health problems during their first months of life. We adopted a slightly more robust approach to the management of the young tapir and her mother, and combined with the vigilant care of zoo staff, including a weekly health check from our consultant vet, she has grown into a beautiful young animal, who is rapidly acquiring the black-and-white coloration of an adult tapir.
Abridged from Mark Challis, Assistant Zoo Manager, in Zoo Crack No. 52 (Winter 2001/02)
Bristol Zoo, U.K.
Twelve baby West African dwarf crocodiles (Osteolaemus t. tetraspis) hatched at the zoo on 4 October 2001 , constituting the third breeding success for their diligent mother. The young crocodiles, fed crickets dusted with vitamin powder, are progressing very well. They will be left with their mother as long as possible, hopefully for at least a year or two.
This is the smallest crocodile species in the world the babies are only about 20 cm long and will grow to a maximum of 1.5 to 2 metres. In the wild these crocodiles are found in rivers and pools in the rainforests of West Africa, where they have become threatened by habitat destruction and hunting. After mating, the female crocodile made a nest out of bark chips and decaying vegetation. She then laid her eggs in a chamber in the middle, covered them over and guarded the nest for three months. The mother tended the nest very carefully, removing or adding nest material every day to ensure that the eggs incubated at the right temperature. When the baby crocodiles were ready to hatch they started calling from inside the eggs. The mother then opened the nest and took the eggs one at a time to the shallow water to release the baby crocodiles.
Bristol Zoo press release
Cotswold Wildlife Park, Burford, U.K.
We have kept many different species of touracos, among them the western grey plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator), which has been a difficult bird to breed in captivity; in 1996 nine chicks hatched but none survived past twelve days. Since then we hope we have found the secret. In 1997 our pair hatched two more chicks, which survived our twelve-day record and continued to do well. We noticed this time that many plants in the aviary were being eaten by the parents, in particular rose-bay willow-herb (Epilobium angustifolium). To divert the birds from eating our well-planted aviary, we spiked whole lettuces onto branches; these were readily eaten, but the birds' hunger for the other plants remained. One chick survived, which was only the second time that this species had been bred in the U.K.
Soon another clutch of three eggs hatched, but the chicks died before reaching twelve days. There had been no rose-bay willow-herb in the aviary this time; perhaps it had been a vital ingredient in the chicks' diet?
In 1998 the season's first clutch of three chicks hatched, and we supplied plenty of lettuce and rose-bay. At 35 days the smallest chick was pushed out, so we hand-reared it; it survived and became a big hit with the public, even making a TV appearance on Rolf Harris's Animal Hospital. Since then, we have bred 12 further grey plantain-eaters, always ensuring good supplies of rose-bay in the aviary, which seems to have made all the difference. The plant is currently being scientifically analysed in the hope that we may find other species with similar qualities, to help us give the best diet for breeding endangered birds in captivity.
Nathan Crockford in Wild Talk 2001
Dallas Zoo, Texas, U.S.A.
Bird keepers at the zoo are pleased with the results of a unique rearing experiment conducted with their 12th and 13th Abyssinian ground hornbills (Bucorvus abyssinicus), hatched in late April 2001. In the wild, these birds produce two eggs but only raise one chick. Captive hornbills also produce two eggs, but the second is usually removed, and sometimes artificially incubated. If there is a successful hatch, the chick is usually hand-reared separately from its sibling.
Because of the cooperative nature of the hornbill parents, the keepers decided to leave both chicks with their parents. The keepers fed the smaller male chick as needed, but left the other rearing duties to the parents. The feedings occurred five times a day, and were reduced to three as the smaller chick gained weight. Eventually, the chick learned to eat from a pan on its own. The parents did feed the smaller chick, but not enough to sustain it. Aggression did not become a problem for the hornbills until the chicks fledged. When the group was put on exhibit, the male became somewhat antagonistic, but his behavior was surprisingly focused on the older female chick, which until this point had been favored by both parents.
AZA Communiqué (November 2001)
Detroit Zoo, Michigan, U.S.A.
In February, hundreds of Panamanian golden frog (Atelopus zeteki) tadpoles were successfully hatched at the zoo's National Amphibian Conservation Center (NACC). The zoo now has five pairs of adult golden frogs, another 100 `youngsters' and 600800 tadpoles. This is a significant step forward for Project Golden Frog, an international conservation initiative to save the species through captive breeding and field studies.
The last few remaining populations of Panamanian golden frog Panama's national symbol live in the country's western and central rainforests. The species is struggling to survive because of loss of habitat due to deforestation, use of pesticides, and the illegal collection of the colorful creatures for the exotic pet trade. It could be extinct in five years if conditions don't improve. Also, a new threat is on the horizon. A fungal outbreak that has already driven the golden frogs of Costa Rica to extinction could deal the Panamanian species its final blow.
`We're so excited about the success of our breeding efforts,' says Andy Snider, the zoo's curator of reptiles and amphibians. `The fungus has been seen in Panama, but not in the golden frogs' habitat; that's why we've been working so hard. So if the fungus does hit quickly, there will be a reserve population.'
Although the frogs' future in the wild is bleak, zookeepers in Detroit and Baltimore are seeing success in the area of husbandry. Three pairs of the frogs have reproduced at Detroit Zoo this year and there is a chance that other pairs will mate. That means the tadpole population could double. The tiny creatures are kept in aquariums in breeding rooms, where their natural habitat of streams is simulated with flowing water. They eat only algae, which the zoo produces, but will soon switch to a diet of powdery paste that will be spread on the rocks.
Snider is optimistic most of the tadpoles will survive, keeping the NACC at the forefront of amphibian conservation efforts. `We built the center for this kind of project: to save endangered species and conduct non-stressful research,' he says. `The tadpoles are a major test for us.' When they are full-grown, the frogs will be a pure golden yellow or gold with black markings. A couple of the adults could be on exhibit for the public to see by the end of the year.
In addition to captive breeding and research, Detroit Zoo plays an important role in field studies of Panamanian golden frogs. Kevin Zippel, NACC curator, made a three-week visit to Panama in January to collect data on the temperature, size, skin secretions and threats of frogs in the wild. `While we are making great strides in captivity to prevent the extinction of golden frogs, the zoo and its partners have been most instrumental in saving this species by supporting field studies and educational initiatives in Panama by working with the community,' says Zippel.
Daily Tribune (7 February 2002)
Helsinki Zoo, Finland
The environmental policy followed by the zoo shop and kiosks requires a closer look at packages, waste management, recycling and purchasing policy. We try to be a good example to our customers. For instance, the zoo shop van is an electric one, painted to resemble a leopard's coat, with a smile in the front mask, and has become a favourite of our young visitors. The electric leopard is drawing attention to alternative power sources in automobiles and promoting the image of electric cars, as people notice how quiet and handy they are.
The zoo kiosks serve Fair Trade coffee and tea, products from which farmers in producing countries receive a higher price than from `regular' produce. At our shops and kiosks we strive to avoid extra packaging that would only result in extra rubbish in the zoo premises. We also sort our waste before disposing or composting. The waste suitable for composting is processed in our own facilities.
In our non-food range we naturally sell the kinds of mainstream products customers are most likely to buy. However, we have also given more-than-average display space for products that have an environmental or ethical background, or both. This means we try to promote these products as much as possible by giving them the best support among the range of products kept at our shops. On the one hand we of course look for items most likely to succeed commercially, but on the other they should be strongly related to sustainable development. Many of our items originate in the rainforests of South America and Asia. One of our ideas is that when people living in rainforests get their income by doing something not involved with tree felling or slash-and-burn agriculture, and get paid according to their needs, their attitude is positive as regards nature preservation in that area. For example, we sell balsa products, musical instruments and embroidered textiles of rainforest origin, hand-made by local artisans. It is in the interest of these artisans to maintain the forests for their own income. Our customers will therefore get a unique product and the artisan a fair income.
Among our interesting articles which have symbolic and practical value in the protection of rainforests is the tagua nut. Tagua nut trees grow in rainforests and to secure a continuous crop of nuts the forests must be preserved. Tagua nut, also called plant ivory, is a very hard material and artisans carving this material must he both skilful and careful. This is one of several examples of products that have proved to be commercially successful and competitive in price, so that we can say that fair trade really is a viable option, not the sole reason to buy a product.
For the zoo visitor seeing Fair Trade products and items made in the rainforest does not necessarily make a difference. This is probably not because of a lack of interest, but rather because during a short visit in the shop or kiosk there is not really much of a chance to absorb the information offered with the products. So, despite giving more space to such products, there must be easily visible signs explaining and pointing out the important items. The staff must also be trained to tell about and bring up the issues and be ready to discuss them in more detail with interested customers. Training and information is needed for the staff before they start working. For this we have prepared an information package for the shop employees.
Modern society is flooded with shops and commercial products of unlimited variety. Although it is difficult, we think zoo stores should offer something different. We strive to find products that are not for sale in any other shop, especially not in supermarkets or any other ordinary store, and products that support our general conservation ideals. We have managed to do this without losing revenues for the zoo.
Markku Ahtola in Helsinki Zoo's Annual Report 2000
Jerez Zoo, Spain
White stork (Ciconia ciconia) populations decreased dramatically throughout western and southern Europe during the second half of the 20th century, leading the species to become extremely rare in these regions. More recently, populations have experienced a spectacular increase, partly due to the use of new food sources (mainly rubbish dumps) and to changes in winter movements: many individuals now stay in southern Spain during the winter rather than migrating to Africa. The increase is also in part due to greater public awareness and application of conservation measures. The stork population in the city of Jerez has grown spectacularly over the last 15 years, from one nesting pair in 1987 to 35 in 2001. Conservation measures enforced by Jerez Zoo have been instrumental in this increase, which is three times higher than the Spanish mean.
White storks had been common around Jerez for centuries, but their nests slowly disappeared until in 1987 there was only one breeding pair on the top of an aviary at our zoo, located on the outskirts of the city. This pair was attracted by the group of captive storks kept inside the aviary. We began releasing captive individuals and putting nest platforms on top of the aviary to promote nest construction in 1987, and released all chicks hatched in the aviary during the following years. The chicks were kept in captivity during their first winter to prevent them from migrating, as it has been shown that many youngsters die during their first migration to Africa. We also put nest platforms up in all suitable places around the zoo, especially in dead trees.
Our zoo also has a wildlife rehabilitation centre which receives a considerable number of storks each year. Some of these birds have injuries which preclude release back into the wild. These storks are kept in an open enclosure with platforms close to the ground so that they can breed. Some of the birds have reared chicks who have flown free in our zoo, although some individuals have laid infertile eggs due to mating problems caused by amputated wings. These handicapped birds have, however, been very useful as foster parents for injured or orphaned chicks received at the centre. All chicks reared by these pairs have flown free in the zoo after being identified with rings.
Some of the storks bred at the zoo started to build nests on city monuments again in the mid-1990s. Today, the stork colony at the zoo includes 35 breeding pairs in total, with six more in the rest of the city.
Thanks to identification by rings, we have been able to know that many youngsters hatched in the zoo colony (both free and in captivity) started to breed later at our zoo, currently forming more than half of the breeding adults. We have also been able to compare the advantages of releasing captive-bred youngsters when it comes to building colonies. Captive-bred storks joined the colonies as breeders in greater numbers than those born in the wild (35% versus 22%), and they also started to breed almost a year earlier (2.81 versus 3.42 years).
Public awareness campaigns were carried out at the same time that storks were released at the zoo and nest platforms were erected. We mainly relied on the local press to disseminate information on the problems that white storks face. We have advised different firms and organisations on artificial platform construction to promote reproduction of the species. This activity has frequently been performed by us with the assistance of volunteers from the `Club Amigos del Zoo'. We have sometimes placed unreleasable storks in enclosures near an artificial nest site to attract colonisation in new areas. Two out of the three efforts within our zoo have worked.
A team of people from Jerez Zoo has participated in bird banding campaigns and population counts of white storks in Cádiz for the last 15 years. These activities are coordinated by Manuel Barcell, director of Jerez Zoo. More than 5,000 chicks have been marked in total, and ring recoveries and sightings provide valuable information on the species. A Ph.D. study on the reproduction biology of the species, mainly utilizing white storks marked by this team, is being undertaken and another is currently being carried out on migration behaviour.
Conservation work is also carried out during the stork banding campaigns. One of the problems white storks in the region face today is the death of chicks through entanglement in plastic strings used to bale hay for feeding livestock. The strings, left in the fields by farmers, are carried by the storks to their nests to serve as bedding, where they become lethal traps for chicks. We have been carrying out a study on the impact of plastic strings on stork reproduction and have been able to save many chicks from certain death by releasing entangled birds and by removing all strings from the nests we access in our banding activities. We also distribute leaflets about this problem to the people who live close to stork populations, so that they do not leave plastic strings in the fields any more.
Iñigo Sánchez in EAZA News No. 37 (JanuaryMarch 2002)
John Ball Zoo, Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A.
Vitamin D3 is critically needed in order for reptiles to properly metabolize calcium. Reptiles who do not have sufficient levels of D3 in their systems may suffer from metabolic bone diseases that reduce bone density and cause severe lethargy, weakness, and softening of shells in turtles and tortoises. In the wild, reptiles synthesize vitamin D3 from the ultraviolet (UV) spectrum of light. Since many reptiles exhibited by zoos in the northern United States are not exposed to natural sunlight, vitamin D3 deficiencies may occur. In the past many zoos supplemented these reptiles with a dietary form of the vitamin, and/or by exposing them to UV lights in their exhibits. While these lights do work, overexposure could cause harm to the animals' eyes.
Last year Erin McIntosh, a Grand Valley State University biology student, and Brint Spencer, then Animal Curator here at the zoo, began a project to determine the optimum duration of exposure to UV light for reptiles. By changing the time of exposure we hoped to establish a sufficient length of time without harming the reptiles. The testing was done via collecting very small amounts of blood from the test subjects periodically and having it analyzed for vitamin D3 levels.
The study was conducted using three Blanding's turtles, one green iguana, one spiny-tailed iguana, one caiman and one Gila monster from the zoo's collection. Initially the reptiles were exposed to the UV lights for 12 hours per day. This was done by replacing the regular light bulbs in the reptiles' exhibits with full spectrum UV bulbs for a period of eight months and collecting blood at the end of that period. Subsequently the time of exposure was reduced to six hours, three hours and one and a half hours per day for a period of one month each. Blood was collected at the end of each month. The times of exposure were then increased again for one month each to three hours and six hours, with blood collections at the end of each month.
Erin has analyzed the data and results indicate an increase in vitamin D3 levels in all species tested. Optimum exposure times vary dependent upon the species, but other factors influencing the levels of exposure within the enclosure need to be looked into more closely before final conclusions can be reached. These factors include the introduction and/or removal of other animals from the exhibit and how that might have affected the areas where the test animals basked under the test lights. Behavioral changes in the animals may also be examined. Erin plans to continue with her research in this area, and is currently working with zoo staff to formulate the next step in the project. Results of this study will hopefully benefit reptiles in other zoos, not just here at John Ball Zoo.
Norah Fletchall, assistant zoo director, in Zoo News Vol. 18, No. 5 (December 2001)
John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
At 9 a.m. it was breakfast time for Shedd's giant Pacific octopus. Senior aquarist Ernie Sawyer was ready with two shrimps and two smelts served in a closed screw-top plastic jar. Mealtime for the large, red octopus isn't just nourishing it's enriching. Shedd, like other zoological institutions, has long provided behavioral enrichment for its marine mammals and other higher vertebrates. Now it's creating stimulating, rewarding activities for the thinking invertebrate as well.
Octopuses are renowned for their intelligence and dexterity. They are also reclusive animals that hunt by night and tuck themselves into a tight-fitting lair during the day. `More often than not,' said Sawyer, `if you see an octopus in a public aquarium, it's hiding in a cave or a corner. Enrichment gives the animal a chance to do some problem solving and gives guests a chance to see it in action as a hunter.'
The octopus moved in on the half-gallon [2-litre] jar and engulfed it in his mantle. This expandable, bag-like structure conceals a sharp beak for tearing apart fish or crushing crabs, lobsters, shrimps and clams. The jar reappeared as the octopus gripped it with the powerful suction disks on his arms. `The lid isn't real tight,' said Sawyer, `so I'm hoping he'll succeed.' The octopus did, in under three minutes.
Sawyer sets up the `prey puzzles' for the octopus to succeed. `The first thing I ever gave him was a jar with a friction-fit lid, where he just had to squeeze it and the top would pop up. It was really easy, and he learned that quickly.' Next, the aquarist left the top off the small opening of a 2-liter pop bottle, and the octopus readily poked in an arm and pulled out the fish. It took five attempts to figure out the screw-top jar. `He played around with it the first time, then went off to an easier puzzle,' Sawyer said.
Sawyer plans to gradually increase the challenge, using different-shaped containers and lids that are secured with nylon wing-nuts. All of the puzzles are made from safe, sturdy materials. At this session, even after the octopus had devoured the food, he continued to grip the jar and the lid. One arm probed the jar's inside surface.
Octopuses often capture prey just by touch; but they also have keen eyesight. Aside from their horizontal pupils, the eyes of this distant relative of clams and snails are similar to vertebrate eyes, with a cornea, lens and retina. Octopuses and the other cephalopods, including squid, cuttlefish and chambered nautilus, can see images something scientists say other invertebrates cannot. The combination of an advanced brain, sharp eyes and eight exquisitely maneuverable grasping arms can tax the ingenuity of the enrichment provider. Aquarists at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Ohio offered their octopuses mass-produced enrichment devices developed for primates. All proved too simple for the invertebrates, whose superior dexterity, unhindered by a rigid skeleton, allowed them to solve one puzzle in six seconds. `The next step,' suggested assistant curator George Parsons as the octopus finally released the jar, `is to teach him to put the lid back on!'
Karen Furnweger in WaterShedd Vol. 23, No. 1 (Winter 2002)
Los Angeles Zoo, California, U.S.A.
Los Angeles has established itself as one of the pre-eminent institutions in the breeding and husbandry of tapirs. The reason for this well-deserved reputation is our successful programs involving all four tapir species. Although our work with Baird's, Brazilian and Malaysian tapirs has been noteworthy, the zoo's most significant triumph has been with mountain tapirs (Tapirus pinchaque). These perissodactyls are extremely endangered, and it is estimated that their numbers in the wild are only in the hundreds.
Under the leadership of former director Dr Warren Thomas, the zoo was able to acquire mountain tapirs in the 1960s. The arrival of these animals was rather inauspicious, however. Although breeding did occur, there was a high infant mortality rate. Through thoughtful observation and extensive communication with field researchers and Colombian zoo officials, it was determined that the animals' diet, which contained a high percentage of processed food, was the culprit. This discovery made it possible for our zoo to assume the leadership role in mountain tapir husbandry, with ten successful births since we began the breeding program. All of the mountain tapirs in captivity in North America are owned by Los Angeles Zoo.
Unfortunately, because we have been working with such a small population, inbreeding is becoming a serious problem. Two years ago, I visited Peru and Ecuador on a quest to acquire or exchange mountain tapirs, and was dismayed to discover that there are none in captivity there. This year I will be traveling to Colombia to meet with government officials in Bogotá to discuss the possibility of establishing a captive-breeding program in that country. The vision for this conservation effort would involve working with a Colombian zoo to begin a captive-breeding program, once governmental approval was obtained.
The involvement of the federal government in Colombia is critical, not only in approving this project conceptually but in helping to identify orphaned animals in private ownership or assisting in the difficult task of gathering animals in the wild. The tapirs would be taken to a specially constructed breeding facility at a zoo, where they would be put into an environment that would hopefully promote breeding. Los Angeles would provide financial assistance for the breeding program, and also offer staff assistance so that the proper husbandry for the tapirs would be followed.
Colombian zoo staff would be invited to visit Los Angeles so that they could gain first-hand experience in working with these animals. We would also send one of our tapir keepers to work with their staff, providing them with additional professional experience and expertise. The desired results of these efforts would be the establishment of a viable captive-breeding program, eventually leading to an exchange of captive-bred animals. This exchange of animals with new genetics is critically important to Los Angeles Zoo if we are to continue to exhibit mountain tapirs. Then, once the captive-bred population grows to a significant size, safe zones in Peru or Ecuador could be identified as release sites for captive-bred animals.
Abridged from Manuel A. Mollinedo, director, in Zooscape (December/January 20012002)
Marwell Zoo, U.K.
[Four members of staff of the Hampshire Constabulary have begun a unique project at Marwell: a study of the individualisation by fingerprints of the Sulawesi crested macaque. Here is their first report on this fascinating study which, it is hoped, will help primate conservation.]
We had asked the curator, Peter Bircher, for permission to take a set of fingerprints from a macaque to compare with a set taken from a chimpanzee. Peter explained to us the difficulties of identifying individual macaques. The normal method is by means of a microchip or a tag. However, with the Sulawesi macaque and some other species, problems arise with the regular failure of the microchips. Worse still, the animals injure themselves and each other when biting the chips and tags. Therefore Marwell was without an indestructible form of individual identification. Peter also explained that the number of this species in the wild is thought to be extremely low. The problems he was experiencing with microchips and tags could have an impact on the recognition and recording of numbers in the wild. Any positive findings from our project could have wide-ranging uses for others working for the conservation of primates in the wild. We began our project on 22 August 2001, and estimate that it will take two to three years of voluntary research on our part. We have five objectives:
(1) To ascertain whether the macaque sweats through its hands and feet and therefore has the capability of leaving `latent' fingerprints on surfaces (as human beings do). (Latent means invisible to the naked eye but revealed by fingerprintng techniques). We soon established that they do leave latent marks after experiments using a perspex board, employing the techniques used at crime scenes. Ten latent fingerprints were lifted from the board after it was walked on by one of the macaques. Repeated experiments have echoed this result.
(2) To identify whether there are specific ridge pattern types which can be indexed to the Sulawesi species, and whether the ridge details form unique individualisation for each animal (as in human beings). We have established that the species has ridge patterns on the palmar and plantar surfaces of hands and feet, and that these are formed in patterns of whorls. We feel confident that individualism will be the case because of similarity in macaque and human gestation. We have also seen what appear to be different monkeys' finger- and footprints among marks left on windows by the macaques at Marwell. Confirmation of individualisation of fingerprints is anticipated at a much later stage when we shall take sets of fingerprints from the animals during health checks. These will be taken in the same way as those taken from criminal suspects and will be compared using the same techniques.
(3) If individualisation can be proved, to form a database of primate fingerprints for Marwell. This will depend on the results of objective 2 and will involve recruiting people with computer expertise. A training package (which we would design) would be needed.
(4) If individualisation by fingerprints can be shown, to identify ways in which this can be transferred and used for conservation of the species in the wild. This will depend on our results and the mechanics of our study. We will need to recruit and train people to build custom-made objects.
(5) To ascertain whether there are specific ridge patterns which can be indexed to different species and subspecies of primates. Fingerprints left by the macaques appear to form index patterns of whorls that differ from those so far taken from a chimpanzee, which formed loops and arches. This will be a final stage of our project, when we expect to compare fingerprints taken from the Sulawesi macaques against those of other species and, if indications of differences appear present, to compare subspecies.
We hope that our study will assist conservation of Sulawesi macaques both in captivity and in the wild. For those working with captive primates, benefits would include a database of primates using fingerprint identification. It would be easy to recognise individual primates and ensure accurate records of origins, health and bloodline. This would also prevent inbreeding for a healthier population. Our study would help with the tracking and monitoring of colonies of primates in the wild. When animals are reintroduced to the wild, the identification from latent fingerprints lifted from planted objects at frequented sites means that a colony could be tracked and monitored. A database of fingerprints of reintroduced animals would lead to the quick and easy identification of any primate found dead, either by poaching or from natural causes. If the identified animal were the breeding female or dominant male, the need to reintroduce a member to the group would be quickly recognised, thereby reducing vulnerability and improving survival. Many primates are endangered, and we hope that our findings can make a difference to the conservation of these fascinating animals.
Whendie Backwell, Heather Foster, Tim Young and Steve Parker in Marwell Zoo News No. 110 (Spring 2002)
Münster Zoo (Allwetterzoo), Germany
The topic of Asian turtles is turning into a long-running tragedy, already well known as the `Asian turtle crisis'. Turtles are honoured in many Asian cultures as a symbol of longevity, strength and wisdom; but this adoration paradoxically leads to their demise. According to Asian beliefs, eating of animals or parts thereof may transfer their positive qualities to man. Thus, some turtle species have already vanished from the earth because of uncontrolled consumption, and many more are now on the brink of extinction. Moreover, the habitats of turtles are increasingly being destroyed by deforestation, cultivation and human occupation.
The Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations (ZGAP) and Münster Zoo, together with turtle specialist Elmar Meier and the German Society for Herpetology (DGHT) are collaborating in a project to save several critically endangered Asian turtle species from extinction. Right inside the entrance of Münster Zoo, the `International Centre for Conservation of Turtles' (IZS, i.e. Internationales Zentrum für Schildkrötenschutz) will combine a turtle breeding station with a thematic centre for species conservation and public education consisting of a permanent species conservation exhibit, a `research workshop' and the existing zoo education department.
ZGAP will cover the building costs of the breeding station, and the zoo is providing the site and will bear the running costs (power, food, water, veterinary care). A founder stock of animals is already present and is assigned to the project by contract. As from summer 2002, all visitors to the zoo will be informed about species and habitat conservation in general and the Asian turtle crisis in particular. Stable captive collections of turtle species will be established and biological data will be collected and published. The IZS will thus offer not only a safe refuge for the turtles in the short-term, but hopes also to guarantee the survival of the species in the long run by a combination of ex situ and in situ conservation.
English summary of article by H. Jörg Adler, Martina Raffel and Roland Wirth in Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 72, No. 1 (2002), pp. 4250.
Orsa Grönklitt Bear Park, Sweden
For the first time ever, it is now possible via a web camera to follow life in a bears' den where there are new-born cubs. The camera, which shows pictures directly over the internet (at www.orsa-gronklitt.se), will follow the movements of the mother and her cubs, and their progress up to their leaving the den in April/May. The project is included in the bear park's work of spreading information and knowledge about the brown bear, which is Europe's largest predator. In addition to showing pictures from the den, which are updated every two minutes, the website will also include comments and information on the Swedish brown bear from bear expert Sven Brunberg, and visitors will be able to ask Mr Brunberg questions on the website.
The bear park at Orsa-Grönklitt, founded in 1986, has an enclosed area of 90,000 square metres, making it Europe's biggest bear park. It is located in a wilderness setting, and a survey on behalf of the Swedish government has proposed that it should be Sweden's national predator centre. In addition to 20 or so bears, Orsa Grönklitt has wolves, lynx, wolverines and arctic fox. The park's large area enables the animals to live in a well-protected environment similar to the one they would have in the wild.
Abridged from a press release, 16 January 2002
Poznan Zoo, Poland
Poznan Zoo has a long history of keeping and breeding armadillos. Some species of armadillo appeared more or less regularly in Polish zoos after World War II, due to good contacts with Polish emigrants living in Argentina. Additional armadillos arrived through dealers at the beginning of the 1970s. Unfortunately most of these animals were imported as single individuals, and no sustainable population was founded for any armadillo species. After a several-years' pause in importation, another shipment of hairy armadillos (Chaetophractus villosus) arrived in 1986 from La Plata Zoo in Argentina. This time several pairs were imported and distributed to zoos. The pair at Poznan began breeding in 1989. A total of 45 young have been reared, including five in 2001. Twenty-seven of these were fully reared and subsequently distributed to zoos in Europe.
These good breeding results, as well as knowledge of well-established breeding groups of three-banded armadillos (Tolypeutes matacus) in North American zoos, encouraged us to start working with this other armadillo species as well. A pair arrived in Poznan on 29 May 2001. A pinkish baby, roughly the size of a table-tennis ball, was discovered in the nest-box beside the female during a routine check on 31 August 2001 the female had apparently arrived at the zoo in early pregnancy. The male was immediately separated and all further nest-box examinations were discontinued for a time. A quick look into the nest-box three weeks later revealed a brownish baby, then tennis-ball size. The young armadillo is now fully self-sufficient at the age of three months. It is hoped that this very interesting species can be established in European zoos. This is probably the first birth of the species in Europe.
Radoslaw Ratajszczak in EAZA News No. 37 (JanuaryMarch 2002)
St Louis Zoo, Missouri, U.S.A.
One of the roles of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) Wildlife Contraception Center at the zoo is to investigate possible new contraceptive methods. Although the MGA implant (which contains the synthetic hormone melengestrol acetate) is widely used by zoos and works well in most species, it requires handling the animal in order to insert the implant under the skin. There are routine, safe procedures for restraining or anesthetizing most species.
Giraffes, however, pose a problem. Anesthetizing them can be a challenge, so as an alternative to implants, Depo-Provera, an injectable hormone-based contraceptive also available for women, has been used for contraception. But because giraffes are so large, they require a huge dose compared to women, which, of course, means a huge pharmacy bill. In some of the other hoofstock species that are managed in large groups, handling each individual to insert an implant can be a problem, so Depo-Provera, injected via dart, was being used.
Since an injection protocol was a problem for other zoos as well, staff from the Center approached animal feed manufacturers Purina Mills, here in St Louis, about formulating a food product with the MGA contraceptive hormone mixed into it for giraffes and other hoofstock species. Since MGA is active orally, like birth-control pills, it can be given by mouth, but giving each animal a pill each day could also be a challenge! So, the best compromise seemed to be having the contraceptive mixed into the food the animals eat.
Purina Mills already produces a nutritionally balanced herbivore pellet which is widely used in zoos for hoofstock species, so this was the perfect carrier for MGA. We developed two types of herbivore pellet, each of which contains a different concentration of MGA. This was necessary to be able to feed a variety of species of different body sizes. For example, a giraffe weighing approximately 1,800 pounds [800 kg] requires a higher dose of MGA per day than does a Speke's gazelle weighing 35 pounds [16 kg]. Having two concentrations also allows us to mix and match if we want to adjust the MGA dose and/or change the amount fed among animals that aren't eating what they should.
MGA has been fed to domestic cattle for decades. Therefore it was known to be safe for related species. However, since it has never been fed to giraffes and most other exotic hoofstock, we had to get permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and have to send reports to the agency on a regular basis. In order to assure compliance, any zoo wishing to participate in the MGA feeding program must register with the Contraception Center. Registration includes listing all species to be treated, the MGA concentration being used, and the quantity of feed served to each animal. In addition, participating zoos can contact the Center if they have any problems which they need help in solving. The Center also offers the opportunity for zoos to participate in ongoing research projects investigating the effectiveness of MGA feeding in different species.
We are especially excited about the new MGA feed product, since it is the first new contraceptive introduced to zoos in 25 years, and it represents a major accomplishment for our new Contraception Center. We are also very fortunate to have Purina Mills and its great staff here in St Louis.
Cheryl Asa and Jan Dempsey in Zudus Vol. 17, No. 1 (January/February 2002)
San Diego Zoo, California, U.S.A.
In koalas, `olfactory clues take precedence over the visual,' says Fred Bercovitch, a behavioral biologist with San Diego's Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES). In fact, a sniff is so important to female koalas that it might well decide which males, appearance to the contrary, win out in the contest for sexual partners.
The zoo has so many koalas that more than half are on loan to other zoos. In the wild, however, there is concern for the long-range survival of this species. So CRES researchers have embarked on a long-term study to find out how and why koalas make the choices they do. The research could even shed some light on human sexuality visual stimuli are very important to humans when it comes to attraction, but other factors are at work too, including the sense of smell.
At San Diego Zoo, koalas are paired from the standpoint of genetic compatibility. That means humans, not koalas, do the pairing, although the animals are still free to ignore each other if the relationship doesn't `click'. But in the wild, female koalas are the ones who normally decide who they are going to mate with. They are thought to act largely on information conveyed in the males' scent, which might even hold clues as to who would make the best partner genetically. The koala population at the zoo is large enough for inbreeding not to be a major concern at the moment. But there is still an occasional infusion of new animals from Australia, with four arriving in 1990 and another in 1995.
One practical outcome of the koala study might be a way to trick a female, by using the scent of one male, into mating with another and more genetically desirable male whose advances she would normally ignore, Bercovitch says. Research will include extensive monitoring of koala reproductive behavior; chemical analysis of male scent (males have a scent gland under the skin in the chest) and female hormone levels; and recording the males' bellowing, a relatively new field called bio-acoustics. Although normally placid, male koalas can raise quite a racket when they want to. And their yells, or bellows, are thought to play an important, but as yet not understood, role in mating. The zoo is uniquely situated to do such a study because it not only has the largest colony 72 individuals in all of koalas outside their native Australia, but also has the ability to perform laboratory analyses in-house and on a timely basis, rather than having to send samples someplace else and wait for the results. Of San Diego Zoo's six dozen Queensland koalas, 42 are on loan to other institutions in the United States and Europe. As for the 30 animals in the San Diego koala barn, 14 are males, 15 are females and one is a joey, too young for zoo staff to determine its sex. The colony is thriving, and all told, there have been 103 births at the zoo since the first koalas arrived in 1925.
Koalas are not officially endangered in the wild. But they are listed as threatened by the U.S. government, although Australian authorities apparently do not see it that way. But the situation could change as the human population grows in Australia. `One hundred years from now,' says Bercovitch, `without the preservation of habitat, the koala could be like the panda is today, just confined to little pockets.' And although there is no immediate concern for the koalas' survival, it is only one step from the pandas' endangered status to extinct.
Abridged from San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 February 2002
Tallinn Zoo, Estonia
A Sichuan blue sheep or Chinese bharal (Pseudois nayaur szechuanensis), a mammal quite rarely met in the wild and even more rarely in zoos, was born in Tallinn on 24 June 2001. The lamb, the first in the history of our zoo, was a female an especially welcome arrival in view of the fact that in Europe only six zoos hold this species and most of the animals are male. She was named Nike after the Greek goddess of victory, as a reward for our hard work since we acquired this interesting species. Her parents, David and Naomi, arrived from San Diego Zoo in 1998 and 1999 respectively.
Another significant breeding in 2001 was the hatching on 15 May of our first Steller's sea eagle after 38 days' artificial incubation. We had been waiting for this day ever since 1994, when we received five young wild-bred birds from the Russian Far East. The Steller's, the largest sea eagle in the world, nests on the coasts of the Okhotsk and Bering Seas and the lake shores of the northern Primorski region. In winter, many birds migrate to winter in Japan or Korea. The wild population within this vast range is estimated at 7,000 birds. It might seem that the species is not at risk, but unfortunately it is extremely sensitive to habitat changes. While ducks, for instance, can fly at high speed for 24 hours on end and cover hundreds of kilometres, the sizeable sea eagle can be in active flight only for 25 minutes a day, so it is very dependent on its habitat. There is much cause for concern because on the continental shelf of the Okhotsk Sea about 20 oil deposits have been discovered. In some places drilling has already started, but in others such oil giants as Exxon, Sadeco and Shell have been making preparations since 1997, intending to build some ten oil platforms serving hundreds of wells on the continental shelf of northern Sakhalin. The construction of pipelines in a seismically active region of harsh climate will imperil the animal and plant life of the whole region, distorting the food chain at the top of which are the sea eagles, who feed mainly on salmon.
The situation is alarming. Hopefully in future oil production will become less harmful, but it is always better to take precautions. In case the oil industry has a disastrous impact on the eagle's population in the wild, it would be feasible to establish a viable captive population of Steller's sea eagle, perfect the methods of breeding and management, and be ready for reintroduction of the species in the future. So far, the eagles have bred only in a few zoos. The first chick hatched at Moscow Zoo in 1987. Since then, Almaty (Kazakhstan), Sapporo (Japan) and, at long last, Tallinn have succeeded in breeding the species. The greatest number of chicks have been raised at Almaty Zoo.
Although zoos have already managed to raise 25 Steller's chicks, most of them descend from a pair bred at Almaty, and each new hatching is essential for the establishment of a genetically diverse and viable captive population. As of 1 January 2000, the international studbook lists 77 (37.40) birds in 19 zoos and breeding centres. In protecting a rare species it is always necessary to coordinate monitoring activities in the wild and measures taken in captivity. Since 1997, the regional association EARAZA, which links 35 East European and North Asian zoos, has found resources to support field research on the eagle in the Khabarovsk region by Dr Vladimir Masterov of Moscow State University. Getting an overview of the status of this rare species in the wild may help, in cooperation with zoos, to save it from complete destruction.
Abridged from Vladimir Fainstein, Tatjana Miljutina, Jana Sajadjan, Julia Pent and Mikhail Fainstein in Tallinn Zoo's 2002 calendar
Tama Zoo, Tokyo, Japan
During 2001, as a trial procedure, newly-hatched chicks of several species of birds were hand-reared for several days and then returned to their parents or given to foster parents after they had gained sufficient strength. Many chicks were saved in this manner. The method allows for flexibility in rearing chicks without having to choose between complete hand-rearing and complete natural rearing.
The oriental white stork (Ciconia boyciana) lays one egg every other day. so that the chicks are all of different sizes, and it is hard to save the last one. In 2001, a pair that bred successfully in the past was unable to copulate because the male was injured, and they were brooding infertile eggs. The other pairs produced a total of four chicks. The two smallest of these were hand-fed for two weeks, and when their weight had increased 100-fold they were given to the infertile pair. When the chicks were exchanged for the dummy eggs in the nest the male became wary, but the female immediately adopted the chicks, and together with the male successfully reared them.
In recent years, black-faced spoonbill (Platalea minor) chicks left with the parents always died after only a few days. The parents would make a number of attempts at feeding, but they were not persistent, and the chicks kept moving their heads, so that they did not get enough food. The parents also seemed bothered by the chicks' continual clamouring for food. Therefore, in 2001, the eggs were immediately moved to an incubator and the parents were given dummy eggs to brood. The only chick that hatched was returned to the nest at seven days of age. But it still did not seem to be getting enough to eat, so the keeper supplemented the parents' feeding for a further seven days.
A pair of black storks (C. nigra) lost interest in breeding for two years, and even pushed the chicks out of the nest. In 2000, changes were made to the captive environment in hopes that they would settle down, but this had no effect. In 2001 the eggs were hatched in an incubator, and the chicks were returned to the parents at six and nine days of age, but the attempt was unsuccessful. In the same year a new pair had mated and were rearing a single chick well, so they were given a nine-day-old chick of the reluctant pair. The chick of the new pair had hatched six days prematurely, so it was already five times larger than the foster chick. But the new pair accepted it readily, and both chicks survived.
The females of two pairs of great white crane (Grus leucogeranus) were artificially inseminated, and an attempt was made to give their chicks to foster parents. Two pairs of red-crowned cranes (G. japonensis) were brooding infertile eggs, so each was given a fertile G. leucogeranus egg. Both hatched and survived. One female foster parent fractured her bill and could not feed the chick, but it survived thanks to the strenuous efforts of the male.
English summary of article in Japanese by H. Sugita, Y. Kojima, R. Sakashita, N. Miyamoto and Y. Takahashi, published in Animals and Zoos Vol. 53, No. 6 (June 2001)
Walsrode Bird Park, Germany
A number of notable breedings occurred in 2001 at Walsrode. Several species were reared for the first time at the park, including kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus), great bird of paradise (Paradisaea apoda), red bird of paradise (P. rubra) and Madagascar crested ibis (Lophotibis cristata). Great blue touracos (Corythaeola cristata) hatched chicks, one of which was found dead, with bark in its stomach, at approximately 24 days of age. An egg was recently (28 November 2001) laid by the Andean cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruviana), and we await the results of this breeding attempt eagerly.
Walsrode received its first two kagus from Parc Zoologique et Forestier de Noumea, New Caledonia, in 1997; unfortunately this `pair' turned out to be two males. A female arrived from Noumea in 1998, and another in 1999 from Yokohama Zoo, Japan (which in turn received an unrelated kagu from New Caledonia for its breeding programme). The females were paired to the two males at Walsrode, and each produced her first egg in January 2000. Although both eggs were fertile, they did not hatch.
The second breeding season started in November 2000, and `Pair 1' has since laid eggs on 21 November and 23 December 2000, and 17 March, 8 May, 18 June, 25 July, 7 September, 24 October and 29 November in 2001. One chick was reared to the age of 25 days by the parents, and three other parent-incubated chicks died shortly before hatching. Five chicks have hatched in an incubator, of which two died within a few days. One of the other three was successfully hand-reared; it is now in full adult plumage and remains healthy. The other two are also being hand-reared; one is 45 days old at the time of writing (30 November), while the last chick hatched on 25 November. `Pair 2' had three eggs starting in January 2001, but none hatched. This pair had to be separated in the spring when the male became aggressive. The pair was recently reunited in a much larger, off-exhibit aviary, and copulations were observed soon after.
Kagus have never before been reared successfully in a European zoo. Kagus outside of New Caledonia include only 12 birds in Yokohama, four at San Diego Zoo, approximately 30 in a private non-cooperative collection in France, and now seven in Walsrode. Although the poisoning of feral cats and dogs has considerably increased the in situ population in one national park of New Caledonia, the future of this unique bird is generally still very insecure.
Birds of paradise require special facilities and attention to stimulate breeding. Males and females must be housed separately, or the males will dominate the females, destroy nests and even eat eggs and chicks of their own kind. The challenge is to find the right time to release the female into the male's enclosure for copulation. We were successful twice in 2001, when females of both red and great bird of paradise completed their nests, and, after having visited the males at their courtship sites, laid eggs and incubated their clutches, consisting of two eggs and one egg respectively.
The female great bird of paradise successfully reared her chick, making history, as this is the first breeding of this species in captivity. The three clutches of our great bird of paradise female confirm the findings from the few nests found in the wild that the clutch consists of only one egg. The red bird of paradise female lost her chick about three days after hatching. Fortunately, we had taken one egg from her two-egg clutch for artificial incubation because its shell had a few thin cracks. The chick hatched and was reared in our hand-rearing station.
Another highlight was the first breeding of Madagascar crested ibis. One of our four pairs, comprising two 18-month-old birds, built a huge nest and laid two eggs. Both eggs were transferred to an incubator because the ibises did not incubate them reliably. One chick hatched on 15 June 2001 and was hand-reared. It is a male and is still doing very well. Only one of the other three pairs initiated nest building, but they never completed the nest.
Dieter Rinke in EAZA News No. 37 (JanuaryMarch 2002)
News in brief
In February a two-month-old chick became the first captive-bred kiwi to be released into the wild. Moata, bred at Auckland Zoo, was released on Motuora Island in the Hauraki Gulf. She was incubated artificially from the moment her egg was laid. The bird will live with dozens of other kiwis on the island until she weighs 1 kg and is big enough to defend herself against stoats; she will then be released on the mainland.
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Tombi, a 30-year-old white rhinoceros at Memphis Zoo, Tennessee, is believed to be the world's most prolific rhino. On 29 January she gave birth to her tenth calf, a healthy 134-pound [60-kg] male.
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A female Rowley's palm viper (Bothriechis rowleyi) gave birth to eight young on 31 August 2001 at San Antonio Zoo, Texas, U.S.A. Another female gave birth to six young on 27 September. The species has only been bred twice before in captivity, at Houston Zoo in 1989 and 1990. Rowley's palm viper is a rare, endemic Mexican pit viper restricted to isolated cloud forests in the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas. San Antonio staff visited Cerro Baul, Oaxaca, in May in hopes of securing new bloodlines for the breeding group, but no palm vipers were observed in any of the remaining fragmented cloud forest, though locals have reported recent sightings of the secretive snake.
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Debbie, a South American tapir at Twycross Zoo, U.K., became seriously depressed after her mate died. She went off her food and spent all day in a corner of her cage. But she made a surprising recovery when zoo staff installed a television showing a video of life in the rain forest, which features a few tapirs. She watches the same footage again and again, and as soon as the tape stops she starts making a fuss to let the keepers know it needs rewinding. But she should soon resume a more normal life, as the zoo has now tracked down a new mate for her.
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In January, three bitterns (Botaurus stellaris) were spotted by a warden at the Wetland Centre, a recently created nature reserve close to central London [see I.Z.N. 47 (7), 419425]. It is the first time that bitterns have been seen so close to the heart of the capital. Wardens are especially pleased that the birds have discovered the reed beds of the reserve only five years after they were planted. There are only an estimated 35 breeding pairs resident in Britain, although the number is increased by occasional winter visitors.
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Clarry, a koala believed to be the world's oldest documented male member of the species, died at San Francisco Zoo in February; he was 19 years old. Some females have lived even longer. One of two koalas who arrived from Queensland in 1985, Clarry sired seven offspring during his time at the zoo. Koalas in the wild generally live to be about 12, when they lose their teeth and can no longer grind up their food; Clarry's life span was extended partly by the zoo's efforts to provide him with ground eucalyptus leaves mixed with a high-calorie liquid supplement.
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A giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) reserve has been set up on Mount Qinling in north-west China. The salamanders' numbers are decreasing as a result of poaching and expanding activities by local people. The one-square-kilometre reserve now has 47 salamanders, 40 of which were rescued by local police last December and transferred to the reserve.
HerpDigest (www.herpdigest.org) Vol. 2, No. 23 (28 January 2002)
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The world's longest-living captive penguin died on 11 February at Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium, Japan, at the age of 41. Ginkichi, a male king penguin, was about two years old when captured from the wild in 1962, and had been at the aquarium for 39 years and nine months. He had grown weak since late December, and despite vitamin supplements and other efforts to improve his health, became almost completely blind from cataract. The previous longevity record for a captive penguin is thought to have been about 28 years, set at Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland.
Japan Times, 13 February 2002
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Sauna and Bonito, a giant anteater pair at London Zoo, U.K., who produced twins in August 2000, now have another baby, born on 19 January. Sauna was bred at Santa Barbara Zoo, California, and Bonito at Dortmund Zoo, Germany, two zoos which are the acknowledged world leaders in breeding the species. The London twins, a male and a female, will shortly be moving to zoos in Germany and Denmark. There are fewer than 150 giant anteaters in the international studbook.
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Adler, H.J., Raffel, M., and Wirth, R.: Das Internationale Zentrum für Schildkrötenschutz (IZS) in Münster ein Beitrag zur Welt-Zoo-Naturschutzstrategie. (The International Centre for Conservation of Turtles at Münster Zoo a contribution to the world zoo conservation strategy.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 72, No. 1 (2002), pp. 4250. [German, with English summary. See above, pp. 114115.]
Ange, K.D., Rhodes, S., and Crissey, S.D.: Browse consumption and preference in the Rodrigues fruit bat (Pteropus rodricensis). Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 28, No. 12 (2001), pp. 475482. [Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, Illinois. The bats in the study consumed browse, and preferred some types to others apparently on the basis of mineral, protein and moisture content. Further research into this topic is needed.]
Austen, N.: An investigation into how to improve the husbandry of the western grey kangaroos held at Paignton Zoo. (Part 1) Ratel Vol. 28, No. 6 (2001), pp. 204223. [Macropus fuliginosus.]
Austen, N.: An investigation into how to improve the husbandry of the western grey kangaroos held at Paignton Zoo. (Part 2) Ratel Vol. 29, No. 1 (2002), pp. 420.
Baker, W.K.: What can be done to prepare for the terrorist event? (Part 1) Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 29, No. 1 (2002), pp. 1112.
Baker, W.K.: What can be done to prepare for the terrorist event? (Part 2) Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 29, No. 2 (2002), pp. 6162.
Behet, A., and Rothe, H.: Home-range Nutzung durch Weissbüschelaffen (Callithrix jacchus) unter Semi-Freiland Bedingungen. (Home-range use by common marmosets in semi-free conditions.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 6 (2001), pp. 403412. [German, with English summary. The animals in the study had lived for several years under laboratory conditions. To assist them to adjust, before being given access to a 1.5-ha area within an open enclosure of c. six hectares, they were confined for three months to a wooden hut with veranda and cage (hut-cage-complex, HCC). Runways made from roofing slats were built in a star-like pattern around the HCC. Within four days after release from the HCC to the semi-free enclosure, the new home range (which included the HCC, its immediate surroundings and the runways) had been inspected by all group members. This initial high frequency of exploratory behaviour then gradually decreased, in the three months of the study, almost to the same level as when they were confined to the HCC. Group cohesion was very marked, as individual animals on their own were seldom seen. Despite the concentration of social behaviour in or near the HCC, foraging and feeding activities occurred also in peripheral sites around the home-range and, in particular, adult offspring seemed to observe the activities of a neighbouring Callithrix family from these vantage points.]
Billings, T.: New kiwi vitamin premix formula. Thylacinus Vol. 25, No. 3 (2001), pp. 56.
Blaszkiewitz, B.: Frühe Geschlechtsreife beim Rentier (Rangifer tarandus) (Early sexual maturity of a reindeer.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 72, No. 1 (2002), p. 57. [German, no English summary. On 25 June 2001 a female reindeer at Tierpark Berlin gave birth to a calf (which died the next day). The female was born on 1 May 2000, and was therefore under 14 months old when she gave birth, and six or at most seven months old at the time of conception.]
Blaszkiewitz, B.: Seekuh-Zwillinge im Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde. (Twin manatees at Berlin Tierpark.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 4 (2001), pp. 427429. [German, no English summary. The births took place on 23 August 2001; one calf was stillborn, the other survived.]
Blaszkiewitz, B.: Tiergärtnerische Eindrücke aus der Ukraine. (Impressions of some Ukrainian zoos.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 4 (2001), pp. 490499. [German, no English summary. Brief reports on Kiev, Kharkov and Nikolaev Zoos and Askania Nova Zoo and Reserve.]
Bockheim, G.: The moulting cycle of the African jaçana Actophilornis africanus in aviculture. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 107, No. 3 (2001), pp. 115120. [Disney's Animal Kingdom, Florida.]
Brandt, B.: Bongohaltung (Tragelaphus euryceros) im Zoo Rom mit Bemerkungen zur Verbreitung und zum Schutz dieser Antilopenart. (Bongos kept at Rome Zoo, with comments on the distribution and conservation of the species.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 4 (2001), pp. 503507. [German, with English summary. Several authors have given conflicting dates to the bongos who arrived at Rome Zoo in the 1930s. A male, captured in the Aberdare Mountains (Kenya), arrived on 9 January 1934 and died on 17 August 1938. A very young female, captured in the Ituri Forest (then Belgian Congo), arrived on 14 November 1935 and died on 1 June 1947. No attempt was made to breed from the two animals.
The author questions, on biogeographical grounds, the current taxonomic division into two subspecies. He calls for urgent conservation measures directed towards the bongos of West Africa, and a molecular study to investigate the relationships among all major bongo populations; and suggests that until results of this are available, three separate `conservation units' should be recognised for the bongo a western (euryceros), a central (cooperi) and an eastern (isaaci).]
Brickell, N.: Collated data on the Timor sparrow Padda or Lonchura fuscata. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 107, No. 3 (2001), pp. 121124.
Chag, M.: Conservation takes flight: sharing the importance of bat conservation with our guests at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 28, No. 12 (2001), pp. 464472.
Cleeton, P.J.: Breeding the house crow Corvus splendens. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 107, No. 4 (2001), pp. 149151.
Dabrowska, A., and Smielowski, J.: Some observations on the behaviour of the Chinese golden cat, Catopuma temmincki tristis (Milne-Edwards, 1872) at Wassenaar Wildlife Breeding Center. Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 6 (2001), pp. 394402.
Dampier, L.: Hammocks as a management tool for bats. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 28, No. 12 (2001), pp. 450452. [Lubee Foundation, Gainesville, Florida.]
Dathe, F.: Pflege und Vermehrung von Amboina-Scharnierschildkröten, Cuora amboinensis (Daudin, 1802), im Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde. (Keeping and breeding the Amboina box turtle at Berlin Tierpark.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 4 (2001), pp. 443452. [German, no English summary.]
Elsner, R.: Techniques that promote the psychological well-being of captive primates and their application in the husbandry and management of gorillas (Gorilla g. gorilla) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) at Lincoln Park Zoo at Lester E. Fisher Great Ape House. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 29, No. 2 (2002), pp. 6684.
Gallsworthy, G.: Husbandry of pygmy hippos in captivity. Ratel Vol. 28, No. 6 (2001), pp. 187201.
Garner, R.: Preliminary captive Aiptasia sp. anemone low-voltage eradication research. Thylacinus Vol. 25, No. 3 (2001), pp. 1821. [Aiptasia is a common pest species in aquariums.]
Gibbs, A., and Blyde, D.: Further educational opportunities for the zoo and wildlife industry: a graduate diploma in captive vertebrate management. Thylacinus Vol. 25, No. 3 (2001), pp. 710.
Gregson, J.: Breeding the Papuan wreathed hornbill Aceros plicatus at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, England. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 107, No. 4 (2001), pp. 165166.
Guerrero, D.: Animal behavior concerns and solutions: the pros and cons of using collars and harnesses on exotic wildlife. (Part 1) Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 29, No. 1 (2002), pp. 910.
Guerrero, D.: Animal behavior concerns and solutions: the pros and cons of using collars and harnesses on exotic wildlife. (Part 2) Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 29, No. 2 (2002), pp. 5960.
Hewston, N.: The Omei Shan liocichla Liocichla omeiensis. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 107, No. 3 (2001), pp. 109114.
Hibbard, C.: Assessment of the Norfolk Island green parrots Cyanoramphus novaezeelandiae cookii presents a challenge for the future. Thylacinus Vol. 25, No. 3 (2001), pp. 1517.
Holland, G.: Avian diet research in New Zealand. Thylacinus Vol. 25, No. 3 (2001), pp. 25. [Auckland Zoo; black stilt (Himantopus novaezelandiae) and petrels (Pterodroma spp.)]
Indrawan, M., and Rangkuti, F.: Status des Natuna-Langurs auf den Natuna-Inseln. (Status of the Natuna leaf monkey.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 17, No. 2 (2001), pp. 2021. [German, with English summary. Bunguran Besar in the Natuna archipelago (Indonesia) represents a small-island ecosystem with rich biodiversity. Its status has not been documented for almost 70 years. This study reviews current economic development and its effect on the island's biodiversity, with emphasis on the status of the endemic Natuna leaf monkey (Presbytis femoralis natunae). Altogether, 21 sightings of Natuna leaf monkeys were made during the 14 days of surveys. The langurs could be observed in all kinds of habitats between 0 and 650 metres above sea level. Solitary-ranging individuals as well as groups of up to five were recorded, but interviews with locals indicated group sizes of up to 20 and more. Most frequent sightings occurred in rubber plantations. Local tendencies exist for hunting juvenile langurs for pets. The Indonesian policy of decentralization of political power has led to a reduction of budget as well as personnel for conservation. Thus, conservation capacities should be increased by encouraging local stakeholders in co-management and consultative processes. This study, a priority project identified in the Asian Primate Action Plan, was initiated and funded by ZGAP.]
Johann, A.: Haltung und Zucht des Krähenstirnvogels (Psarocolius decumanus) im NaturZoo Rheine. (Husbandry and breeding of crested oropendola at Rheine Zoo.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 6 (2001), pp. 383393. [German, with English summary. The species has been kept at the zoo since 1998. In 2001 a chick fledged and was successfully reared. In general the maintenance of this species poses no great problems, though there seems to be a need for spacious aviaries. The birds proved to be mainly frugivorous, but they use larger amounts of animal food, for example mealworms, boiled egg, softbill mixture and especially raw minced meat, during the breeding season and when feeding chicks. Health problems resulted mainly from parasites. The birds bred successfully when the group consisted of 2.3 adults. In general they showed a high degree of seasonality: nest-building and brooding occurs from mid-April to early August. The material of choice for nest-building was long strands of raffia, and the birds have so far left living vegetation in the aviary untouched. The author expresses the hope that zoos may establish a self-sustaining captive population of one species of Psarocolius for the purposes of education and variety in animal collections.]
Kaiser, M.: Neue Volierenanlagen für Papageien und Kanarienvögel im Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde. (Tierpark Berlin's new aviaries for parrots and canaries.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 4 (2001), pp. 439442. [German, no English summary.]
Kolter, L., and Zimmerman, W.: Die Haltung von Junggesellengruppen für das EEP-Przewalskipferd Hengste in Gehegen und Reservaten. (Management of bachelor groups for the Przewalski's horse EEP stallions in enclosures and reserves.) Zeitschrift des Kölner Zoo Vol. 44, No. 3 (2001), pp. 135151. [German, with brief English summary. The establishment of bachelor groups was a main goal of this EEP from its start in 1986. Up to 1.1.2000, a total of 187 stallions were kept in 29 groups. Problems due to long-lasting incompatibilities between two or more stallions were reported from 19 groups. Serious injuries as well as deaths were caused by severe aggressive interactions, predominantly fights. Escalating fights between bachelors in the field are unknown. Factors which may contribute to the increased aggression under captive conditions were identified by comparison with the situation in free-living horses. The effect of changes in the group composition and age structure were analysed by using studbook data. Increased aggressiveness may occur occasionally after new members enter a group. But the main factor is the age composition. Aggressors are mainly of the age class 68 years. Social behaviour was studied in several bachelor groups. It was dominated by non-agonistic contacts. In a group composed of animals in the critical age class, the frequency of agonistic interactions was higher than in groups of younger animals. Splitting of a group into subgroups may occur, caused and maintained by attacks from the dominant stallion. Selection against characters which are related to increased aggressiveness has to be prevented, in order to preserve the potential of the zoo population. To optimise the management of bachelor groups, so that it matches with all facets of stallion behaviour, it is crucial to collect more information. Empirically gained data as well as those from scientifically based long-term research projects are necessary.]
Kormann, J.: Erfolg und Misserfolg mit Steinkorallen in unserem Rifflagunen-Aquarium. (Success and failure with stony corals in Tierpark Berlin's reef-lagoon aquarium.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 4 (2001), pp. 453458. [German, no English summary.]
LeBlanc, D.: Adoption of a lesser short-nosed fruit bat (Cynopterus brachyotis) in captivity. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 28, No. 12 (2001), pp. 444447. [Lubee Foundation, Gainesville, Florida.]
LeBlanc, D.: Is it time for commercial bat enrichment? Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 28, No. 12 (2001), pp. 490493.
Ledbrook, V.: Guidelines on the husbandry of captive Asian short-clawed otters. Ratel Vol. 29, No. 1 (2002), pp. 2835. [Amblonyx cinereus; Birmingham Nature Centre, U.K.]
Lewis, N.: Guidelines for using live bats in education programs: recommendations by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association Taxon Advisory Group for Bats. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 28, No. 12 (2001), pp. 440443.
Lewis, P.: Observation of cooperative pup-rearing in straw-colored fruit bats. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 28, No. 12 (2001), pp. 494495. [Jacksonville Zoo, Florida.]
Martin, B.: Vier Jahre Goldaffen-Schutzprojekt im Norden Vietnams. (Four years of the Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey Conservation Project.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 17, No. 2 (2001), pp. 1416. [German, with English summary. For four years, the Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey Conservation Project (TCP) in Na Hang has cooperated with the Forest Protection Department to preserve the remaining snub-nosed monkeys (Pygathrix avunculus) in Tuyen Quang Province. One of the most important activities was the establishment of a ranger group with almost 50 members. The group patrols the main roads as well as Na Hang Reserve, protecting it from poaching and logging. Sightings of animals and occurrence of poaching, logging and status of the forest are registered regularly. Since 1998 the rangers have observed snub-nosed monkeys on 22 occasions. Estimated population size ranges between 100 and 150 animals living in several groups, the two largest comprising more than 40 animals, in an area of less than 1,000 ha. Biological data recorded on surveys have been used to propose the establishment of another nature reserve which was approved by the Vietnamese government in September 2001. The provincial government has now decided to resettle two villages within the region and will be supported by the TCP with financial as well as advisory support. Alternatives to poaching and logging are offered to locals in cooperation with other NGOs, and education material (posters, exercise books, stickers etc.) is provided and distributed.]
Matschei, C.: Rangordnung und agonistisches Verhalten innerhalb einer Goralgruppe im Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde. (Social hierarchy and agonistic behaviour in a group of gorals at Tierpark Berlin.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 4 (2001), pp. 500502. [German, no English summary.]
Maunder, L., and Goodwin, I.: Husbandry of Rodrigues fruit bats (Pteropus rodricensis): a new exhibit to Marwell Zoological Park. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 28, No. 12 (2001), pp. 448449.
Meier, G.: Hartes Ringen um den Tahiti-Monarchen. (A hard struggle for the Tahiti flycatcher.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 17, No. 2 (2001), pp. 1213. [German, with English summary. The Tahiti flycatcher (Pomarea nigra) belongs to a genus that is endemic to the southern Pacific, containing only six species of which one is already extinct. Like the other Pomarea species, it is on the brink of extinction, mainly due to the impact of invasive species like the black rat and some introduced bird species. The local ornithological society, Manu, started a project in the late 1990s, aiming to prevent further losses of the flycatcher's world population, which numbered not more than 26 in 1999. With continuous funding from ZGAP and their French sister society CEPA, Dr C. Blanvillain and her colleagues were able to conduct intensive surveys as well as active protection measures against rats and other invasive species. Those actions provided a better understanding of how to conserve the last four remaining flycatcher populations more effectively in future, and led to a wide acceptance of the project throughout the island. Up to September 2001, the project resulted in the fledging of 17 young of whom ten survived.]
Müller, P., and Junhold, J.: Erste tiergärtnerische Erfahrungen mit der neuen Menschenaffenanlage im Zoologischen Garten Leipzig. (First experiences of zoo staff at Leipzig Zoo's new great ape exhibit.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 72, No. 1 (2002), pp. 1227. [German, with brief English summary. (See I.Z.N. 48 (5), p. 342, for a brief report on this exhibit.)]
Mulvany, J.: Breeding the Palawan peacock pheasant (Polyplectron emphanum) in a mixed exhibit. Ratel Vol. 29, No. 1 (2002), pp. 2426. [Drusillas Zoo, U.K. The birds shared an enclosure with cockatoos, lories and pigeons.]
Pechlaner, H., and Schwammer, H.M.: Zehn Jahre Projekt-Elefant in Wien programmierte Nachzucht beim Afrikanischen Elefanten (Loxodonta africana). (Schönbrunn Zoo's ten-year project for planned reproduction of African elephants.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 72, No. 1 (2002), pp. 2841. [German, with brief English summary. (Some details of this project were published in the articles by Harald Schwammer et al. in I.Z.N. 47 (4), 228233, and 48 (7), 424429.)]
Pohle, C.: Erste Erfahrungen bei der Zucht von Manulen (Otocolobus manul) im Tierpark Berlin. (First experiences of breeding Pallas's cats at Tierpark Berlin.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 4 (2001), pp. 418426. [German, no English summary.]
Prabhakar, B.: Successful rearing of Indian sarus crane (Grus antigone antigone, Linnaeus) in captivity in Lucknow Zoo. Zoos' Print Vol. 17, No. 2 (2002), pp. 2122.
Ranger, M.S.: David Fleay Wildlife Park is a real Noah's ark. Thylacinus Vol. 25, No. 3 (2001), pp. 1112.
Reading, R.P.: Erhaltung der Saiga in Kalmykien. (Saiga conservation in Kalmykia.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 17, No. 2 (2001), pp. 57. [German, with English summary. The bad economic situation in Kalmykia has resulted in increased poaching of saiga (S. tatarica) for meat and horns of male animals for use in Chinese medicine. Surveys in 2000 estimated only 26,000 animals in Kalmykia, compared to 300,000 in 1985. Only about 1% were males. Dr Anna Lushchekina of the Russian Academy of Science developed a proposal for saiga conservation and management in cooperation with the Denver Zoological Society (DZS). Additional funding was obtained from WWF's Large Herbivore Initiative, ZGAP, Nature Conversation International and the AZA Antelope TAG. In May 2001, Dr Richard Reading (DZS) visited Kalmykia to assess the situation and to provide recommendations. The breeding facility near Elista, recently constructed mainly with funding from ZGAP and run by the Center for the Study and Conservation of Kalmykian Wildlife, is currently expanding. The breeding stock consisted of 14 males and 17 females, of whom 14 were pregnant. All the animals looked healthy. Funding provided, the center plans to construct a 4 km2 enclosure as a holding facility to acclimatize animals before restocking.
During a visit to saiga habitat, small groups (<1025) and a few large herds (several thousand) were located, with flight distances of a couple of kilometres. Saiga skulls scattered throughout the steppe were all male and most had their horns cut off. The grasslands appeared to provide adequate forage for saiga. A survey in May 2001 resulted in an alarming population count of 18,000 animals another 30% reduction.]
Reason, R., and Laird, E.: Weight parameters for captive giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis). Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 29, No. 1 (2002), pp. 2629. [Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, Illinois.]
Riger, P.: Rousettus aegypticus an overview: exhibition, infant mortality, and colony management. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 28, No. 12 (2001), pp. 460463. [Nashville Zoo Breeding Facility, Joelton, Tennessee.]
Riger, P., Bear-Hull, D., and Harmon, L.: Use of chiroptera in multi-species exhibits. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 28, No. 12 (2001), pp. 434438.
Rose, K., and Hopkins, C.: Do vitamins A and E have an impact on the fertility of Humboldt penguins Spheniscus humboldti? Avicultural Magazine Vol. 107, No. 4 (2001), pp. 167176. [This study at BirdWorld, Farnham, U.K., suggested that vitamin A and E supplementation increased fertility and reduced mortality.]
Rübel, A.: Die Würde des Tieres in Ethik und Recht und die Zoologischen Gärten. (Zoos and the `dignity of the animal' in ethics and law.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 72, No. 1 (2002), pp. 511. [German, with brief English summary. The author considers the implications for zoos of the introduction of the term `dignity of the creature' for the first time into the constitution of a nation (Switzerland).]
Rudloff, K.: Fischuhus eine kleine Reminiszenz. (Fishing owls a brief reminiscence.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 4 (2001), pp. 430438. [German, no English summary. Scotopelia and Ketupa spp.]
Schofield, P.: Necklaced and other laughing thrushes. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 107, No. 4 (2001), pp. 152156. [Garrulax spp.]
Schreier, C., Schmid, H., and König, B.: Untersuchung zur sozialen Struktur zweier Gelbbrustkapuziner-Gruppen (Cebus apella xanthosternos) im Zoo Zürich und ihrem Zusammenhang mit dem Fortpflanzungserfolg der beiden Gruppen. (Study on the social structure of two groups of buffy-headed capuchins at Zürich Zoo and its connection with breeding success in both groups.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 6 (2001), pp. 413428. [German, with English summary. In order to maximize breeding success and especially genetic variability, the six capuchins (two males, two females, one subadult and one baby) at the zoo are kept in two separate groups. The small number of animals per group, two and four respectively, and the spatial proximity with possibilities of contact through a grid between the cages, are conditions that vary considerably from the situation in the wild. The two animals in the smaller group do not breed and show conspicuous stereotypical behaviours. The authors investigated whether there was any connection between the social composition of the groups and the breeding failure of the two individuals in the smaller group. The social relationships in the two groups were investigated. Several choice tests were carried out to ascertain whether the two animals in the smaller group were to be viewed as members of the larger group in the neighbouring cage. The results indicated that the two groups are indeed to be viewed as just one group. The proceptive behaviour of the female of the smaller group shows clearly that the male in the larger group is the alpha male. Even when she is not in oestrus she shows a preference for the animals in the larger group.]
Seddon, P.J., and Ismail, K.: Influence of ambient temperature on diurnal activity of Arabian oryx: implications for reintroduction site selection. Oryx Vol. 36, No. 1 (2002), pp. 5055. [The distribution of the Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx) had declined markedly by the time European explorers documented distributions, and the species became extinct in the wild by the mid-1970s. Consequently, historical distribution records may be unreliable indicators of current habitat suitability for reintroductions. In this study diurnal behaviour of oryx was recorded within a central Saudi Arabian reintroduction site. Oryx were less active on warmer days due to an increase of resting in shade at the expense of feeding time; there was an inverse relationship between temperature and feeding. During hot conditions (maximum ambient temperature >40° C) some individuals spent less than two hours feeding during the day, compared with an average of 4.8 hours during cooler weather. This suggests the importance of shade trees to permit year-round occupancy in reintroduction sites. Selection of sites according to documented distribution may focus on treeless areas, probably formerly part of the winter range. Absence of shade could result in migration out of the reserve, into areas where oryx risk being shot.]
Seidel, B.: Dermatomykose bei einem jungen Afrikanischen Elefanten (Loxodonta africana) Fallbericht. (Report on a case of dermatomycosis in a young African elephant.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 4 (2001), pp. 467471. [German, no English summary.]
Singh, P.: Kanpur Zoological Park a zoo in a forest. Zoos' Print Vol. 17, No. 1 (2002), pp. 1921.
Stenke, R.: Projekt Goldkopflangur auf Cat Ba, Nord-Vietnam: Wachpersonal und ein Schutzgebiet für die höchstbedrohte Primatenart. (Project Golden-headed Langur guards and a sanctuary for the most endangered primate species.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 17, No. 2 (2001), p. 4. [German, with English summary. Results of a recent population census suggest that only about 54 individuals of Trachypithecus poliocephalus survive. An emergency program for this langur species has been elaborated which consists of three steps: positioning of guards in the immediate vicinity of the langur groups, establishment of a strictly protected langur sanctuary, and evacuation and translocation of langurs into this protected area. The first guards have already been set, and a suitable area for a sanctuary is identified. The first technical measures to secure the future sanctuary are currently being carried out.]
Strauss, G., Wisser, J., and Tscherner, W.: Erkrankungen junger Mähnenwölfe (Chrysocyon brachyurus) im Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde. (Illness of young maned wolves at Berlin Tierpark.) Milu Vol. 10, No. 4 (2001), pp. 459466. [German, no English summary. Since 1970, 71 cubs have been born at the park, of whom 30 did not survive their first year.]
Swengel, F.: Endangered Philippine fruit bat captive breeding project. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 28, No. 12 (2001), pp. 486489. [Describes the Center for Tropical Conservation Studies' captive-breeding facility in Dumaguete City, Negros, the Philippines.]
Thomas, J., and Smales, I.: The re-establishment of the orange-bellied parrot to Birch's Inlet, south-west Tasmania. Thylacinus Vol. 25, No. 3 (2001), pp. 2224. [See I.Z.N. 48 (8), 518519.]
Volk, C., and Gräff, S.: Ethologische Untersuchungen zur Haltung von Somali-Wildeseln (Equus africanus somalicus) in Zoologischen Gärten. (Behavioural research on the management of Somali wild asses in zoos.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 71, No. 6 (2001), pp. 369382. [German, with brief English summary. The study took place at Wilhelma Zoo, Stuttgart, and Tierpark Berlin. Activities, utilization of the enclosure and social behaviour were quantified by focal-animal sampling and scan sampling. Like their free-living conspecifics, the zoo asses spend most of the day foraging and therefore stay mainly at the feeding places. The animals spend resting periods in the proximity of walls or trees, or lie on sand islands. The locomotion part of the time budget of the mares seems to be independent of the size of the enclosure. In both groups, friendly relationships exist among adult individuals; sociopositive behaviour was observed more frequently than agonistic behaviour. Overall, the frequency of social contacts seems to depend on the size of the enclosure, as both sociopositive and agonistic behaviour were seen more frequently in smaller enclosures.]
Waine, J.: Pathology and diseases of touracos. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 107, No. 3 (2001), pp. 100104.
Ward, D.: You are what you eat: steatitis in Galapagos tortoises. Thylacinus Vol. 25, No. 3 (2001), pp. 1315. [Obesity may explain lack of breeding success in Geochelone elephantopus individuals at Western Plains Zoo, New South Wales, Australia. A new diet was formulated to reduce calories and fat and increase fibre levels.]
Webber, D.: Colonial roosting requirements of captive microbats. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 28, No. 12 (2001), pp. 453457. [Bat World Sierra, Placerville, California. Includes instructions for making roosting pouches for communal use.]
Whitman, K.: Rodrigues fruit bat conservation in action. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 28, No. 12 (2001), pp. 483485. [In situ work by Philadelphia Zoo staff.]
Publishers of the periodicals listed:
Animal Keepers' Forum, American Association of Zoo Keepers, 3601 S.W. 29th Street, Suite 133, Topeka, Kansas 66614, U.S.A.
Avicultural Magazine, Hon. Secretary, Avicultural Society, P.O. Box 47, Edenbridge, Kent TN8 7WP, U.K.
Milu, Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, Am Tierpark 125, D-1136 Berlin, Germany.
Oryx, Cambridge University Press (for Fauna and Flora International), The Edinburgh Building, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 2RU, U.K.
Ratel, Association of British Wild Animal Keepers, c/o David Fowler, Chessington World of Adventures, Leatherhead Road, Chessington, Surrey KT9 2NE, U.K.
Thylacinus, Australasian Society of Zoo Keeping, P.O. Box 248, Healesville, Victoria 3777, Australia.
Zeitschrift des Kölner Zoo, Zoologischer Garten, Riehler Strasse 173, D-50735 Köln, Germany.
ZGAP Mitteilungen, Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz e.V. (Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations), Franz-Senn-Strasse 14, D-81377 München, Germany.
Der Zoologische Garten, Urban & Fischer Verlag GmbH, P.O. Box 100537, D-07705 Jena, Germany.
Zoos' Print, Zoo Outreach Organisation, Box 1683, Peelamedu, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 641 004, India.