International Zoo News Vol. 50/1 (No. 312) January/February 2003
|Chester Zoo||John Tuson|
|Diet-based Enrichment Ideas for Small Primates||Jamie Craig and Clare Reed|
|Bristol Zoo Gardens Supporting Primates in Cameroon: a Partnership with Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund||J. Bryan Carroll, Melanie Gage, Louise Hurst and Neil Maddison|
|Analysing Visitor Behaviour in the Bird Area of Belo Horizonte Zoo, Brasil||Cristiano Schetini de Azevedo, Michele Badaró Lima, Ângela Bernadete Faggioli and Cristiane Speziali Menegazzi|
|Letters to the Editor|
|International Zoo News|
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This issue sees the start of a new phase in the history of International Zoo News: from now on, the magazine will be owned and published by Chester Zoo. This is only the third such change in over half a century. After taking over the fledgling publication from Bent Jørgensen, Gerard van Dam successfully combined the roles of editor and proprietor for 20 years. He was uniquely fitted for the job, being a prosperous businessman who was also a dedicated and knowledgeable zoo enthusiast; but this inevitably meant that his act was a hard – indeed, impossible – one to follow. So when, at the end of 1973, ill-health forced Mr van Dam to find a successor, an arrangement was found which has continued ever since, whereby IZN‘s owner subsidizes it financially while contracting an editor to carry out the work of producing the magazine. From 1974 to 2002 the burden of ownership was carried by John Aspinall and, since his death in 2000, by the John Aspinall Foundation; it is safe to say that without this generous support the magazine would long ago have ceased publication. On a personal note, I feel enormous gratitude to John for changing my life by giving me the opportunity to edit IZN; I will always honour his memory and feel a great admiration and affection for the two magnificent collections he founded.
That said, I am delighted that Chester Zoo has agreed to take over responsibility for the magazine. Probably most readers of IZN are already aware of Chester‘s pre-eminent position among British zoos – _the de facto national collection‘ is a phrase I have heard more than once when discussing the hand-over with zoo connoisseurs. John Tuson‘s article below will, I think, demonstrate that this description is well-deserved. Under Chester‘s sponsorship, IZN‘s future is in good hands. Readers will not notice any immediate differences in the appearance and content of the magazine; there will no doubt be changes in the future, but I am confident that they will be for the better, and will enable the magazine to play an increasingly valuable part in the international zoo and aquarium community.
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When I wrote my editorial in last November‘s issue criticising the frequent inaccuracies in zoo publications, I should have known I was tempting fate! A number of errors have now come to light in that issue and the following one. The letter from John Edwards (below, p. 38) shows that Milwaukee Zoo‘s 1919 cub Zero (IZN 49 (7), p. 404) was far from being the first polar bear bred and reared in captivity. Other corrigenda in these two issues are as follows:
49 (7), p. 296, paragraph 1, line 7, should read _. . . maximum SVL greater than 200 mm.‘ (I confess, with some embarrassment, that this mistake arose from my reading _>‘ in the author‘s text as _<‘.)
49 (7), pp. 438–439: the name of the Nuremberg Zoo keeper is Martin Geisendörfer; and the harpy eagle chick was hatched in an incubator and only introduced to its foster-mother a month later, on the approximate _hatching‘ date of her own unfertilised egg.
49 (8), p. 494, col. 2, lines 12 and 14, _Vincennes‘ should read _Versailles‘. In mitigation, Herman Reichenbach tells me that Louis XIV established menageries at Versailles and Vincennes, both of which apparently survived until the Revolution. (He is unsure whether the latter was on the same site as the present Paris Zoo.) But it was of course Versailles that was the model for Schönbrunn and _the subject of many histories over the centuries.‘
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The new Rhino Resource Center
The idea of a _Rhino Resource Center‘ was born during a Rhinoceros Workshop led by Dr Ulysses Seal at the International Elephant and Rhino Research Symposium held in Vienna in June 2001. Delegates had gathered from all continents and were often unaware of all the valuable and interesting projects undertaken in other parts of the world. It was widely perceived at the time that communication between countries and rhino researchers needed improvement. The global rhino community would benefit from a center, where all literature and reports would be assembled and summarized, and where a resource database would be kept up-to-date. With the initial support of the International Rhino Foundation and SOS Rhino, several steps were taken towards the establishment of a center. We have received the endorsement of the African and the Asian Rhino Specialist Groups and the IUCN Species Survival Programme. A substantial amount of literature on the five species of rhinoceros has been assembled, and currently over 8,200 references dating from Roman times up to the latest books and articles are available in original or photocopies. The Rhino Resource Center (RRC) has been registered as a charitable organization in the Netherlands under the supervision of a small board chaired by Dr Nico van Strien. Most significantly, a website has been designed, which can be found on the internet at www.rhinoresourcecenter.com. While the site is still being developed, soon the entire database of rhino literature will be available and can be searched by author, date or word in the title. Work is well in hand to add specific information on a wide variety of subjects relating to the rhinoceros. While this is only a beginning, there is ample scope for the RRC to be established as a center for all information on research, conservation and management of all five species of rhinoceros.
To achieve optimum benefit for the global rhino community, the work of the RRC needs to be expanded and upgraded. We are looking for organizations, zoological gardens or individuals to sponsor the work of the Rhino Resource Center. For further information, please contact us.
Nico J. van Strien and Kees Rookmaaker
Foundation Rhino Resource Center, c/o IUCN Species Survival Programme,
219c Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, United Kingdom
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BY JOHN TUSON
Which is the finest zoo in the world? It‘s a discussion which can keep a group of zoo people going for hours. Make it simpler: which is the greatest zoo in Europe? The debate is still going to rage. But in answer to the question, _Which is the best zoo in the United Kingdom?‘ the answer is, perhaps, rather easier. Historically it may be London Zoo. For flamboyance it may be Howletts or Port Lympne. For a collection of rarities, perhaps Belfast. But if one is judging in terms of visitor numbers, or collection size, or rate of development, or visitor satisfaction, or sheer ambition, there can only be one answer: Chester Zoo.
At Chester can be seen the country‘s biggest group of chimpanzees, the biggest group of Asian elephants, around a dozen orang-utans, and one of the biggest collections of birds. The zoo‘s tropical house is massive and massively impressive, and whilst the aquarium is relatively small, it is one of the finest in Britain if judged on its work with the breeding of conservationally significant fish. As a general collection of familiar animals there is nowhere else in the country to touch Chester: at the end of 2001 the stocklist ran to a total of 57 species of mammal, 193 species of bird, 64 species of reptile and amphibian, and 113 species of fish, and encompassed pretty much all of those species which the majority of visitors might expect to see (with the possible exceptions of bears and hippos, absent from the zoo since 1992 and 1991 respectively). There are one or two unusual species to be seen at the zoo, as well, but the mammal collection contains few surprises (65% of those mammal species were either EEP or European Studbook species) and it is at the more esoteric end of the bird, reptile and fish collections that Chester holds species rarely shown elsewhere. But at Chester it isn‘t so much the collection which is impressive as what has been done with that collection: there may be very many zoos which display Asian elephants, Sulawesi macaques, jaguars and even black rhinos, but there are few which do so with such élan and imagination.
That such a magnificent zoo as this should exist in a small city like Chester is largely due to one hugely energetic and marvellously ingenious man: George Saul Mottershead. Mottershead grew up around animals, and after enlisting in the army during the Great War he initially found himself looking after cavalry horses. It wasn‘t long, though, before he was sent to fight in France, and at the battle of the Somme he was badly injured. Back in England, after a long and ultimately successful struggle to walk again, Mottershead started a market gardening business at Shavington near Crewe, and soon added first an aviary, then a selection of other animals, in an attempt to lure in customers. (Many decades later, Banham Zoo in Norfolk would be founded under similar circumstances.) Before long the zoo had outgrown its original purpose, and whilst the animals were doing quite well (the second recorded captive birth of a golden lion tamarin occurred at Shavington), Mottershead was looking to move elsewhere. The Oakfield estate, on the outskirts of Chester, seemed ideal: a house, its various outbuildings and nine acres [3.6 ha] of land were purchased for £3,500, and in December 1930 Mottershead, along with his family, moved in.
Local opposition meant that it was to be another few months before the embryonic zoo could open its gates to the public. There followed several years of financial struggle, until in May 1934 the North of England Zoological Society was formed, and charged with the running of the zoo. Its first director-secretary was Mottershead himself (with his wife as catering manager and his daughter as assistant curator), and the following years would prove to be quietly successful. By the outbreak of war in 1939, Chester Zoo had developed into an institution which enjoyed a fair amount of local support and maintained a collection of some size and scope. With the coming of war, however, its future did not look good, and indeed the following six years were as tough for the young zoo as they were for the rest of the country: food was short, as were staff, and amongst the casualties was Charlie, the zoo‘s first penguin, who did not appreciate the strips of horse flesh which replaced his usual diet of fresh herrings.
But paradoxically the war was of great benefit to Chester Zoo, for its ending created a set of circumstances which would immediately allow Mottershead to demonstrate his opportunistic skills. As early as V.E. Day, bears were being rehoused, despite the restrictions which were placed on building at this time, and over the coming decade a massive expansion was undertaken – in both the zoo‘s size and its content. Building materials may have been in desperately short supply, but Mottershead scoured the surrounding countryside for anything which he thought could be put to good use. Over two thousand anti-tank roadblocks were gathered, and were soon employed in the construction of enclosures for, amongst others, lions and polar bears. By the end of the 1940s the zoo, which now covered 65 acres [26 ha], was being visited by more than 300,000 people a year.
The momentum of the post-war years was maintained throughout the fifties and into the sixties: the zoo‘s motto – _Always building‘ – could not have been more appropriate as construction after construction, many of them innovative and unique, appeared at Chester Zoo. A giraffe house was constructed roof first, with the walls being added to as the inhabitants within grew ever taller; Mottershead‘s daughter and son-in-law built the still-used aquarium in their spare time; and in 1956 the chimpanzees were moved out of their cages and onto islands for the first time. There was some trepidation, with fears that the chimps would make short work of crossing the moat which contained them. Prior to their move, therefore, they were not fed for twenty-four hours, and their food was instead stacked on the opposite side of the moat. But despite their hunger, none of the apes would cross the water to get the food, and thus it was concluded that the barrier was sufficient to keep these potentially dangerous animals in place. Chester has been keeping chimpanzees on a large island ever since, with a group which currently numbers around thirty animals.
In 1961 the zoo opened its massive Pachyderm House. Back then it was filled with rhinos, hippos and tapirs, as well as the elephants who still call it home today. The story of Chester‘s progress with the keeping of elephants is perhaps indicative of the way in which successful breeding programmes can take many years, and many setbacks, to become established. During its early decades the zoo was content simply to display an elephant or two without any thought of attempting to breed them. For the past thirty years, though, Chester have kept bulls, and in 1974 their first Asian elephant was born. It died shortly after birth, and a further tragedy occurred the following year when its father, Nobby, burst out of his enclosure and was eventually shot when he threatened to rampage across a main road. Success was around the corner, however: on 8 May 1977, Jubilee arrived – the first elephant to be conceived, born and raised in Britain. The following year there was an extraordinary event, when Sheba, an Asian female, gave birth to a calf which had been sired by an African male [see photo, IZN 48 (3), p. 174 – Ed.]. It was a unique hybrid which survived for just eleven days, but its birth threw into question much which had previously been thought to be true about the relationship between African and Asian elephants. After this birth, elephant breeding at Chester went quiet for a decade, but towards the end of the 1980s the zoo had begun building up its herd of Asian elephants: from a starting point of three animals in 1986, the Chester group had been increased to ten by 1996, with arrivals from Glasgow, Chessington, London, Twycross, Whipsnade and, perhaps most significantly, the bull Chang from Denmark. Chang soon showed himself to be an able father: a female was born in 1993, but died during the birthing process. Even more tragically, another female, Karha, was born in 1995 to the same mother as the 1993 calf, Thi-Hi-Way. Karha was hand-reared, and appeared to be thriving until, at the age of seventeen months, she died. A month earlier she had undergone difficult surgery after swallowing a stone, but she appeared to have overcome that setback. Her death was a huge blow, but still Chester pushed on. A further calf – Sithami – was born on the last day of 1997, in August 1998 two cows at Twycross Zoo produced calves who had been sired while they were on breeding loan at Chester, and then in 2000 two further youngsters, Assam and Po Chin, were born. The elephant breeding programme was well and truly up and running. But alongside that massive success came an even more massive tragedy: in 2001, a keeper, Richard Hughes, was killed while working with the Chester elephants. A simple but touching memorial to him can be seen close to the entrance to the elephant house. And what of the elephant house itself, now more than forty years old? Aesthetically it leaves a little to be desired, but in practical terms it quite obviously works well. The house resembles a large barn, although its interior has been considerably enhanced both by generous planting and by a series of signs, produced by the zoologist and writer Colin Tudge, which give detailed information on the Chester herd. They are a little out of date now, having been originally produced in 1991, but nonetheless they are still immensely interesting and go well beyond the usual zoo interpretative material. [See Colin Tudge‘s article _A new philosophy of zoo labelling‘, IZN 38 (5), pp. 5–11 – Ed.] Sharing the interior of the house are some great Indian hornbills. The outside paddock is large – the elephants enjoy about two acres [0.8 ha] in total – and while it was a little featureless at first, it is now a wonderful area in which to view an impressive herd of elephants, with its finest features being a four-metre-high waterfall feeding into a 135,000-litre swimming pool – both are much enjoyed by the animals. Plans are in hand to further extend the elephant housing, thus ensuring that Chester will continue to be able to claim the rather portentous title of _National Elephant Centre‘ for themselves.
The opening of the Pachyderm House was followed in 1964 by that of what is still perhaps the most spectacular building at Chester Zoo: the Tropical House (recently re-named the Tropical Realm). Like so many Chester houses, the Tropical Realm has an inauspicious exterior: it looks like a large and rather old-fashioned agricultural building. Inside, though, it is a different story: the building is about 60 feet high, 200 feet wide, and 250 feet long [18 ´ 60 ´ 76 m], and it is packed with dense tropical foliage through which visitors are allowed to perambulate. And of course there are animals too: the vast majority of the zoo‘s reptile and amphibian collections are maintained in here, as is a large selection of birds. There used to be a number of mammals too – gorillas, pygmy hippos and various nocturnal creatures – but now there is only a family of buffy-headed capuchins (Cebus apella xanthosternos), whose generous indoor accommodation on the edge of the Tropical Realm is attached to an outdoor island which is one of the constituent parts of a newly-evolving _Forest Zone‘. The main body of the Tropical Realm is filled with just birds, reptiles and amphibians – and those spectacular plants.
In many ways it is the plants which make this house, just as elsewhere they make so much of the zoo. Chester employs as many gardeners as some zoos have keepers (including two botanical and horticultural curators), and evidence of their endeavours is spread throughout its many acres. The formal gardens are at their finest in the zoo‘s centre, where masses of roses bloom and where a fountain surrounded by flowers provides a welcome oasis of calm. Eighty thousand spring-flowering plants are planted every autumn, with the same number of summer flowers in late spring. Several areas of the zoo have recently been developed to tell a botanical story (there‘s a Roman garden, and an interesting area telling the story of grass). But perhaps more impressive than the formal plantings are the more naturalistic ones which enhance the many animal enclosures – and nowhere is this truer than in the Tropical Realm. Bananas and palm trees are amongst the foliage in there, as well as rubber plants, orchids, and many others. The overall impression is astonishingly authentic: there is no sign here of the tendency displayed at some zoos, where tropical houses are maintained as though the jungle was a neatly ordered and well-organised place in which each plant keeps to its allotted space. Water, too, plays a big part in establishing the atmosphere of the Tropical Realm: there‘s a massive waterfall plunging into a pond close to the entrance – it‘s the noise as much as anything else which is striking.
In amongst all of this are a multitude of birds: perhaps the most spectacular are the weavers, whose nests can be seen hanging from the larger plants. As in all such tropical houses, patience is rewarded: the longer one waits and the quieter one is, the more one will see. In all, around thirty species are free-flying. Confined to a string of enclosures are many further species: in here are great Indian and rhinoceros hornbills in enclosures developed from the old gorilla dens (rather more suitable for medium-sized birds than for massive primates), as well as Congo peafowl, wrinkled and tarictic hornbills, and a large collection of Columbiformes. On the other side of the house to the aviaries is the zoo‘s reptile and amphibian collection. The most unusual animals in the reptile collection are probably the tuataras: Chester has long maintained this species, a well-known _living fossil‘ which has existed for around 200 million years. By 1994 their collection was down to one last female. At this stage a further eight animals arrived from New Zealand, accompanied on their journey by the Maori chief Ben Hippolite, so hopes are once again high that they will breed – although with tuataras taking twenty years to mature, it will, as with so many animals, be a long process. Komodo dragons (housed in the zoo‘s Islands in Danger exhibit) are possibly the most spectacular reptiles to be seen in Chester, although aficionados may find equal interest in several other rarely-seen monitor species: Timor (Varanus timorensis), spiny-tailed (V. acanthurus) and lace (V. varius). Alongside the zoo‘s reptiles are small groups of amphibians and invertebrates as well.
Although it is several decades old, Chester‘s Tropical House is still one of the most exciting animal houses in a British zoo. It is big enough – and full enough – to merit a visit to the zoo in itself, and on a cold day several hours might happily be spent within it. In America the trend of the past twenty years has been towards massive and expensive tropical houses, employing a wealth of technological wizardry to present an image of the wild. At Chester, though, things are a little bit more home-spun: this is, in effect, a very large shed in which plants and animals have been allowed to prosper. It is a great deal more satisfying than the majority of its American counterparts, and is certainly one of Chester‘s biggest assets.
The ten years which followed the completion of the Tropical House were Chester Zoo‘s golden age. As well as the Tropical House, the massive new Pachyderm House and a big monkey house had also been recently built. Each year more than a million people were visiting the place (a figure second only to that enjoyed by London Zoo) and, following Mottershead‘s spell as president of the International Union of Zoo Directors between 1961 and 1964, its reputation was growing. But unfortunately, progress could not be maintained.
With Mottershead getting older – in 1966 he celebrated his seventieth birthday – the development and improvement of Chester Zoo ground slowly to a halt. There were new developments, of course, but a lecture theatre (1972) and the Jubilee Gardens (1977) were not going to attract massive crowds, and the zoo remained largely unchanged. In February 1978, Mottershead had a stroke, and three months later he died. He had presided over the birth and development of what had become one of the foremost zoos in the world, but it was now a zoo which had fallen behind its many rivals. There followed an interregnum of six months before the new director – London Zoo‘s curator of mammals, Michael Brambell – could take up the reins of power. The situation he inherited was not entirely healthy. As he told me in 1994, towards the end of his spell as director, _At the time when I arrived there was nothing wrong with Chester Zoo that a new floor, new walls, and a new roof wouldn‘t have put right. The trouble was that long after it was still necessary to build on the cheap, the zoo had continued to do so. The result was that floors sloped away from drains, so that keepers had to sweep water uphill, there was no insulation, in a high wind roofs blew off.‘ Indeed, during one particularly blustery night a restaurant was lifted in its entirety and blown into the zoo‘s car park. And it wasn‘t just the infrastructure of the place which was found wanting: _The zoo was bankrupt in everything except cash, and it didn‘t even have that much cash.‘ Brambell‘s period in office was thus a time of consolidation, of behind-the-scenes work, and, perhaps most crucially, of re-invention. A parsimonious zeal was adopted in the management of the zoo‘s accounts; the unspectacular but essential tasks which had previously been neglected were at last seen to (new roofs, new drainage, new electrical systems); and Chester was reborn as one of the new generation of conservation-minded zoos whose words on the subject of saving wildlife from extinction were more than just a bland platitude.
During Brambell‘s sixteen-year spell as director, there were new developments as well. A large penguin pool was inaugurated in 1981, and, even more notably, a new chimpanzee house was completed in 1989. The chimp house cost £380,000 and resembles a large oast-house, its conical roof giving plenty of space in which the chimps inside can climb and explore. Attached as it is to their large island home, it provides a wonderful display of these remarkable animals with whom Chester has had so much success, especially since 2000, when that island was filled with a spectacular artificial forest of fifty tall tree-trunks, linked with ropes and nets. The group is entirely self-sustaining, with two or three youngsters being born each year. Elsewhere in the zoo, enclosures for Amur tigers and Asian lions were rebuilt in the 1980s, and in 1993 a large new aviary – _Europe on the Edge‘ – was constructed. The aviary is based around the shell of the zoo‘s erstwhile polar bear accommodation, which, though state-of-the-art in the 1950s, had outlived its usefulness by the time of the last bear‘s death in 1992. In its construction it is simple: a very large fish-net is held up by five supporting poles, and within the 10,000 cubic metres of space thus provided a variety of birds from the broad European zoological region known as the Western Palearctic are allowed to thrive. A waterfall, stream and beach area, along with some artificial cliffs, provide a variety of different habitats in which can be seen waldrapp ibis, red-billed choughs, several species of duck and wader, and – most impressive of all – European black and European griffon vultures.
But the two most fundamental alterations during Brambell‘s period in office did not involve animals at all. The first arrived in 1991, in the shape of a monorail which takes visitors around the zoo. Riding on the monorail is exciting in its own right, but more practically than that, it does provide a means of getting around what is a very large zoo, as well as giving an alternative view of many of the species over which it passes. Its construction was a bold step by the zoo, and its popularity with visitors appears to have vindicated that bravery. The shape of the zoo was further altered when a new entrance was completed in 1995, allowing much easier access as well as enabling a large new shop to be built. It would, perhaps, have been rather more glamorous to spend the money on a new cat or hippo house, but this was a project which was vital if the zoo was to be able to deal with the visitors – just under a million a year – who are so important if progress is to be maintained.
When Brambell retired in 1995 he was succeeded by Chester‘s third director: Dr Gordon McGregor Reid, an expert on African fish who had previously been the zoo‘s curator-in-chief. The zoo he inherited was in robust shape. An active and aggressive marketing department had ensured that money was steadily flowing in, whilst philosophically the zoo and its governing society were sure of their mission. As a display of living animals, too, the zoo was strong. Reid has picked up the baton and continued to sprint. The last of the zoo‘s eyesores – houses for cats and small mammals which had little to commend them – have gone, while the rate of development has continued to astound. Already his tenure has seen major new exhibits for bats, jaguars, monkeys, rhinos and island fauna, with many exhibits fundamentally improved, including those for sea lions and penguins, as well as chimpanzees and elephants.
It hasn‘t all been easy, though. In 1996 the zoo‘s visitor numbers were threatened by the opening of the Deep Sea World Aquarium, just five miles away in Ellesmere Port and – and here‘s the sore point – part-funded by a multi-million pound European Commission grant. Revisiting the press coverage of the time indicates just how far the zoo has progressed in under a decade: _Every tourist attraction in the area, including the zoo, is declining,‘ Phil Crane, the guiding force behind Deep Sea World, told The Independent newspaper. The same article (_Two big fish battling for one small pond‘) made dire predictions for the zoo (_. . . too long on a pedestal. . . far too inward-looking‘), foreseeing no way for it to survive alongside its upstart neighbour. In the event, visitor numbers have risen by around 25% since 1996, and the zoo is stronger and more vibrant than ever. Clearly, somebody has been doing something right.
The zoo is split into two parts by a small public bridle-path, crossed either by the monorail or by a massive bridge. The western half has traditionally been the least built-up, with a series of paddocks alongside the accommodation for monkeys and elephants. The zoo‘s collection of ungulates has improved enormously in the past decades, and now includes several unusual species, such as Burmese brow-antlered deer, sable antelope, a herd of onager and, best of all, a quartet of Philippine spotted deer (Cervus alfredi) – one of the few real zoo rarities in the Chester mammal collection. Further Asian deer and antelopes are to be seen in an attractive but frequently overlooked paddock known as the Asian Plains. This part of the zoo also features the successfully breeding group of black rhinos, who in 2002 moved into an innovative and attractive new house, round and with a real African feel to it. The house cost £750,000, and, in keeping with recent Chester tradition, has been graced with a rather melodramatic name: the Tsavo Rhino Experience. Also in keeping with recent Chester tradition, it contains some superb interpretive material. In the near future it is hoped to mix other species in with the rhinos: meerkats, lechwe and wart hogs have all been mentioned as possibilities.
The western half of the zoo is also the location for two of Chester‘s most notable recent developments: the Twilight Zone Bat Cave and the Monkey Islands. The bat exhibit is large, walk-through, and contains around 200 Rodrigues fruit bats and Seba‘s short-tailed bats. From the outside it is unprepossessing, but within it is undeniably impressive, if a little dark. Visitors undoubtedly love it – the queues are large, the feedback overwhelmingly positive. The bats, too, appear to do very well in it. But on a personal level I must admit that I like to be able to see bats, and thus I find the Chester exhibit a little underwhelming. Which is something that can most certainly not be said of the hugely impressive monkey house. Originally built in the early 1960s, the house had started to look its age, with small areas allotted to the animals and a museum-like feel which did little to show the monkeys at their best. By 1997, though, it had been changed beyond recognition. The original shell of the building remains, but within far more space is allotted to the three major species displayed: lion-tailed and Sulawesi macaques, and mandrills (these last share their enclosure with a pair of Campbell‘s guenons). Each group also has access to a large island, on which trees, long grass and wild flowers grow. The island for Sulawesi macaques is enhanced by the presence of an impressive waterfall. An extension to the house is home to a group of Colombian black spider monkeys, and also allows visitors to see into the modern kitchen area where keepers prepare the animals‘ food. Rather than walking across a neatly tiled floor, visitors now find themselves trekking across the same wood-chips which cover the floor of the monkeys‘ spacious indoor areas. The visitor area contains a variety of outstandingly good interpretive material, and, as with the Tropical Realm, this is very much a building in which it would be possible to while away an hour or more. As a house for monkeys this is amongst the best in Europe; as a visitor attraction it is one of the finest zoo exhibits in Britain. It is a superb development, which very much sets the standard for Chester‘s future progress.
Over on the east side of the zoo, the Tropical Realm and the chimpanzee and orang-utan islands tend to dominate, but there is much else which is of interest. Groups of Grant‘s zebra, giraffe, lowland anoa, Congo buffalo, red lechwe, bongo, babirusa, red river hog and Arabian gazelle complete the zoo‘s collection of hoofed mammals. There are more primates to be seen here too: a series of islands on the zoo‘s canal provide a home for groups of lemurs and tamarins. None of these are easy to spot on their densely planted islands, but when they are visible they look superb. In addition to the lions and tigers, the eastern half of the zoo is also home to further carnivores: serval, maned wolf, red panda, sea lions (their enclosure recently remodelled), otters and – on a superbly planted and roped island – a large group of coatis which prove that animals don‘t need to be rare in order to appeal to the visiting public.
The most spectacular carnivore display, though, comes in the shape of the jaguar house – sorry, the _Spirit of the Jaguar‘ – opened in 2001. It is another example of how Chester has set the benchmark for British zoos, and, again, is a wonderful example of what imagination and expertise – and money – can achieve. At a cost of £2,000,000 – paid for by Jaguar cars – Spirit of the Jaguar is the most expensive single exhibit in British zoo history. A large central _drum‘ provides viewing of two very large indoor areas for the cats, one a very convincing slab of rainforest, the other an equally attractive slice of savannah. Two large outdoor paddocks are available for the jaguars as well. The indoor areas are stunningly well designed, with superb viewing to be had. The educational material in the house is stunning too: Chester‘s education department has produced some marvellous material over the past decade, and here that material is at its finest. The issues of jaguar conservation are presented in an attractive and balanced way, and there is a great deal to learn here. The planting of the building is wonderful, and, with a supporting cast of various invertebrates, poison-arrow frogs and butterfly goodeid fish (Ameca splendens), Spirit of the Jaguar is a magnificent addition to Chester Zoo.
The children‘s farm is on the east side too, and the aquarium, but the rest of this half is dominated by the remainder of the zoo‘s bird collection. The parrot house is a building which is past its best, but the collection within is excellent (at the end of 2001 Chester‘s collection of psittaciformes ran to 37 different species). Rather more modern in concept is the Condor Cliffs aviary – another to be constructed around the shell of what was once a bear pit. Like several of its predecessors, the aviary employs fish-netting to cover its roof, and its size means that the Andean condors within can swoop around a great deal more than they could in their previous enclosure. They share their home with some much smaller turkey vultures, as well as with the (artificial) skeleton of a llama. A large pool, into which a waterfall pours, adds to the aesthetic appeal of the aviary, and whilst its interest would be heightened further if, perhaps, capybara or mara could be added to the display, this is yet another first-rate enclosure, constructed at a low cost, which provides an excellent home for its residents. Similarly good is a range of aviaries for owls, constructed in 1994 as part of an employment training scheme, and home to, amongst others, spectacled, white-faced scops, and great grey owls. Other avian highlights include a range of aviaries for Mauritius kestrels, the remodelled penguin pool (or _Rare Penguin Breeding Centre‘) in which 22 Humboldt‘s penguins were bred in 2001, and flocks of Caribbean and Chilean flamingos totalling about 120 birds.
The newest major addition to the zoo‘s bird housing is another building burdened with a perhaps rather grandiloquent name: _Islands in Danger‘. Converted out of the zoo‘s old bird house, this is a pleasant environment in which can be seen St Lucia amazons, red birds of paradise, crowned pigeons, Papuan lorikeets – and the zoo‘s Komodo dragons. Models of the Easter Island statues, as well as one of a dodo, give a suitable _island‘ theme to the area.
As well as looking after its animals, Chester also looks after its visitors. Its shop is possibly the best of any British zoo, with items you might actually want to buy in amongst the usual array of rubber snakes and menacing-looking stuffed toys; the café, likewise, serves food you might actually eat (a rarity, this), and there‘s also quite a good restaurant in the Oakfield House around which the zoo has developed. The zoo publishes what is by far the best guidebook of any British zoo, and is responsible for one of the most readable, well-thought-out annual reports as well. In so many areas of operation, Chester Zoo seems to do things as they should be done.
Things aren‘t perfect, of course. The mammal collection could do with more quirkiness, and is weak in species of less than mandrill-size. The obsession with giving daft names to exhibits can grate – a recent addition to the children‘s zoo is called _Marmot Mania‘, begging the question of who might ever feel maniacal over prairie dogs. Some of the ungulate areas, and some of the bird housing, is a little past its sell-by date. But these are minor quibbles. Certainly, much more serious accusations could be levelled at practically any zoo in the world – and especially at any one which is more than seventy years old.
As it enters a new era, Chester Zoo appears to be in remarkably rude health. Its animal collection is large and well-housed. Its visitor numbers are high (over a million in 2001, despite the temporary closure brought about by the effects of the foot-and-mouth outbreak), and Society membership is at an all-time high (over 17,000 members, compared to less than 4,000 as recently as 1993). The zoo‘s reputation is once more as strong as it was at the height of Mottershead‘s golden era. It is a zoo that is working hard for conservation, but which hasn‘t forgotten that in order to succeed it needs to show good groups of animals in interesting surroundings. It is no longer allowing complacency to sneak in, and with £8 million already spent in the latest round of development the pace isn‘t yet relenting (expect to see orang-utans rehoused soon). If Chester is now almost certainly the finest zoo in Britain, this is an accolade that it looks unlikely to lose in the foreseeable future. The last word should go to former director, Michael Brambell: _When I first came here,‘ he told me, just prior to his retirement, _I was asked by a local reporter what I wanted to achieve, and my answer was that I wanted people at Jersey Zoo to be saying that they wanted to be like Chester, in the same way that everybody else was always saying that they wanted to be like Jersey. Well, people are still saying that they want to be like Jersey, but hopefully they‘ve started saying they want to be like Chester as well.‘
John Tuson, 44 Cowper Street, Hove, East Sussex BN3 5BN, U.K. (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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DIET-BASED ENRICHMENT IDEAS FOR SMALL PRIMATES
BY JAMIE CRAIG AND CLARE REED
The purpose of the project at Drusillas Zoo Park described below was to try as many suitable enrichment ideas as possible in order to find out the best methods of keeping our animals active and alert throughout the day, as well as introducing new food items into their diets. The enrichment was usually carried out at around midday and went some way in improving the visibility of more secretive species.
The species under study were as follows:
Geoffroy‘s marmoset (Callithrix geoffroyi);
Common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus);
Pygmy marmoset (Callithrix pygmaea);
Goeldi‘s monkey (Callimico goeldii);
Red-handed tamarin (Saguinus midas);
Cotton-top tamarin (Saguinus oedipus);
Pygmy slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus).
Scattered insects: These could be mealworms, giant mealworms, crickets, locusts, stick insects etc. The method is simply to scatter the insects at a variety of levels over a wide area to encourage natural behaviours such as stalking and pouncing.
Exudates: Marmoset gum is syringed into holes and crevices in branches and also into modified gum dispensers. These are hanging logs with holes drilled to various depths and angles. Exudates form part of the daily diet of some of the species under study, most notably the pygmy marmoset.
Bird nests: These are man-made nests, constructed of leaves, hay and wet mud, that are moulded into a nest shape and left to dry naturally. The nest is then lined with soft feathers or sawdust and a variety of food items placed inside, e.g. small pieces of boiled egg, insects or fruit. The nest is then positioned in branches high up in the enclosure.
Nectar: We use lory nectar and mix it into a paste rather than a liquid. Small amounts are then dotted around the enclosure or in hanging logs. Only a small quantity is used due to its high sugar content.
Hanging baskets and coconut shells: Typical hanging baskets generally have too wide a mesh to be much of a challenge to smaller primates, so they can be covered with smaller mesh. The baskets are filled with hay and insects are added. The primates can cling to the mesh and extract prey items with their hands. The coconut shells are hollowed out and have holes drilled randomly in the husk. The halves of the shell are then filled with hay and insects and joined back together, attached to a length of rope or string and hung in the enclosure to provide a more testing version of the basket.
Bird feeders: Typical wire bird feeders were used as a smaller alternative to the hanging basket. This encourages the use of fingertips to remove prey rather than the whole hand and arm.
Fruit: Bunches of grapes, sliced melon etc. are hung in awkward positions around the enclosure to encourage animals to work to obtain their food. Care must be taken with this so as not to unbalance their diet, so feeds need to be adjusted accordingly.
Effects on species
We tried to judge the success of enrichment by the length of time it occupied the animals, as well as the added bonus of introducing new food items into diets. It is worth pointing out that whilst not all species fully utilised these ideas, it still provided them with visual stimulation. Having observed these studies I would say that curiosity plays a huge part in the life of these primates, whether they are rewarded for their efforts or not.
The following is a summary of results from each particular species. This is a rough overview compiled from our studies, but should give an insight into how different animals use these enrichment techniques.
Scattered insects – Males appeared to forage for longer than females. The eldest male would only begin feeding once the keeper had left the enclosure. The breeding female often stole insects caught by other members of the group. Flying insects such as locusts were the most popular, mealworms the least. At least 45 minutes of thorough searching was observed.
Nectar – The whole group were equally keen, even attempting to take nectar direct from the bowl. They foraged for around 30 minutes, and activity levels appeared to rise for the rest of the day.
Exudates – These were very successful with a hand-reared male and juvenile female, and showed learning behaviour in the youngster. The eldest male has never been observed taking gum.
Bird nest – The most confident group members approach first, but all will raid the nest and then break it apart to make sure anything edible has been removed. This process usually lasted at least an hour, and the nest can be modified to make it more resilient.
Bird feeder – Use of this was dominated by the breeding female, and others would only approach once she had lost interest. Juveniles in the group have been observed swinging on the feeder as part of their play.
Coconut shell: When this was introduced, the whole group were cautious and began alarm calling. They would not touch the coconut, but did forage underneath as mealworms dropped to the floor.
Scattered insects – Both foraged, but the male appeared content to sit on the floor and let the insects come to him. The female foraged for much longer and would also steal food from the male.
Nectar – Both were very keen. The female preferred the hanging log whilst the male immediately went to the smears on branches.
Exudates – These were more successful with the female, who also attempted to take gum directly from the syringe (this can be very useful when medicating an animal). The male again preferred drops on branches to the hanging log.
Bird nest – They would never visit the nest simultaneously. If one was at the nest, the other was invariably sitting on the floor foraging.
Bird feeder – This was more successful for the male, but was used mainly as a swing during play. The female was rarely seen using the feeder.
Coconut – This was very successful for both individuals, although the female did tend to dominate the shell.
Hanging basket – This was more successful for the male, but again really only as a swing. The female did show interest in the basket, but was more often observed foraging underneath as the insects fell out.
Scattered insects – Both animals showed little foraging behaviour for insects on the ground, but would stalk insects on branches and also on leaves.
Exudates – These were extremely successful for both individuals. Neither would stop feeding until all the gum had gone. Exudates are a vital part of this animal‘s natural diet, so gum is given daily in varying amounts.
Bird nest – Both will methodically pick nests apart, but are not particularly interested in the contents.
Scattered insects – The breeding female forages for longer than the rest of the group. The younger animals prefer to forage in the branches and are reluctant to go to the ground. All insect types are taken, apparently without preference.
Nectar – The younger animals seemed more interested in this than the adults, possibly as a result of the highly active youngsters seeking out energy-rich food. The breeding male has never been observed taking nectar.
Exudates – No member of the group has ever been observed taking gum.
Bird nest – The adults dominated the nest, leaving the youngsters to forage for mealworms that had dropped to the floor. This ensured that all group members could participate, albeit at differing levels.
Hanging grapes – The adults took grapes by carefully stretching towards them and twisting them off the stem. The youngsters clung to the underside of branches and lowered themselves towards the bunch; if they approached too quickly it caused the grapes to swing and made it much harder for the animals to reach them. This meant that they had to adapt their approach in order to be successful.
Bird feeder – The breeding female sat and foraged underneath the feeder. The younger members of the group were very interested in the feeder and kept touching and swinging it, but never actually used it to feed from. The adult male showed the least amount of interest.
Hanging basket – The breeding female was the only group member to climb onto the basket and forage through it; all the others pulled the basket towards them to obtain the insects.
Scattered insects – The animals were particularly interested in flying insects, i.e. locusts, which they would pursue around the enclosure with great enthusiasm. They were not particularly keen on any other insects; however, they seemed to derive much pleasure from watching the insects escape, and have even been observed picking up insects and examining them before dropping them to the enclosure floor.
Nectar – The adult female dominated the hanging log, so the males foraged for the nectar smears on the branches or waited for the female to finish on the log.
Exudates – They were all very keen on gum, although the breeding female was the most interested and would often approach the keeper and take it from the syringe.
Bird nest – All were very interested in the nest and would return to it periodically throughout the day. The female dominated the area but all group members appeared to gain more from picking the nest apart.
Bird feeder – The whole group used the feeder, but mainly as a swing or perch, although they did occasionally eat the insects if they could easily obtain them.
Grapes – The youngest male seemed to show the most intelligence, as he pulled the string towards him to enable him to retrieve the grapes. The adult female sat on the floor of the enclosure and waited for the grapes to be dropped by the males.
Scattered insects – The female spent longer foraging than the males, but they all went straight to the ground and searched enthusiastically.
Nectar – The female attempted to monopolise all feeding areas, whereas the males would find one patch and remain at it until it was finished; this often resulted in the female actually consuming less, despite her efforts.
Exudates – They would all watch the keeper intently, but none was ever observed eating gum.
Bird nest – The female dominated the nest and would stay with it. The males were forced to run back and forth taking as many insects as possible before being chased away by the female.
Hanging basket/coconut – The animals, particularly the female, were very cautious of both these items. However, the males would use both, climbing onto the basket and hanging by their hind feet to reach the coconut.
Hanging grapes – The males all soon discovered that if they hung by their feet they could reach the grapes. The female had difficulty with this and resorted to waiting underneath for fruit to fall.
Pygmy slow loris
Scattered Insects – The animal (a solitary male) would scan the enclosure and stalk insects methodically until they were all gone. Larger insects were preferred.
Nectar – He licked at the branches before moving on to the hanging log. He used his tongue and fingers to remove all the nectar from each hole in turn.
Exudates – He behaved much the same as with nectar. He would spin the log around rather than changing position to get to the feed holes.
Bird nest – He would approach the nest from several different angles before finally reaching in to take insects. He then returned to the nest periodically throughout the day.
Coconut shell – The animal was very cautious, and scent-marked constantly when the coconut was first used. He took time to get up confidence, and even then appeared reluctant to reach inside.
Bird feeder – He would take up position adjacent to the feeder and pick off the mealworms as they emerged through the wire mesh.
These observations were carried out at Drusillas Zoo Park over a period of four months and proved very useful, not only in testing enrichment ideas, but also by providing information into group dynamics and individual traits. Based on our findings, we have fine-tuned our enrichment programme for these species, and activity rates, as well as the general health of the animals, have improved accordingly.
[If any readers would like more details on this subject or could let us know of any other ideas, please contact one of the authors at the addresses below.]
Jamie Craig, Head Keeper, Omega Parque, Quinta do Medronhal, Caldas de Monchique, 8550 Monchique, Portugal; Clare Reed, Head Keeper, Drusillas Zoo Park, Alfriston, East Sussex BN26 5QS, U.K.
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BRISTOL ZOO GARDENS SUPPORTING PRIMATES IN CAMEROON: A PARTNERSHIP WITH CAMEROON WILDLIFE AID FUND
BY J. BRYAN CARROLL, MELANIE GAGE, LOUISE HURST AND NEIL MADDISON
In 1996, following a review of conservation activity undertaken over the previous three years, Bristol Zoo Gardens adopted a policy of linking major exhibit areas within the zoo to conservation projects in the wild. This applied particularly (but not exclusively) to exhibit areas that were part of the redevelopment programme that was undertaken between 1995 and 2000. Under this policy a suite of conservation projects has been developed which are listed in Table 1.
Table 1. Exhibit areas linked to conservation activity in the field.
Exhibit area Conservation activity
Bugworld Support for Partula snail research
Reintroduction of barberry carpet moth (Pareulype berberata)
Twilight World Research on Livingstone‘s fruit bat (Pteropus livingstonii)
Reintroduction of water voles (Arvicola terrestris)
Gorilla Island Support for Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund sanctuary activities
EAZA Bushmeat Working Group
Wallace Aviary Support for NFEFI Breeding Centre, Negros, Philippines
Support for habitat protection, Cebu, Philippines
Support for wildlife surveys, Philippines
Seal and Penguin Coast Support for Falklands Island Conservation
Support for SANCCOB – Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds
Okapi Support for Okapi Conservation Programme, Epulu, Democratic Republic of Congo
Zona Brazil Support for Lion Tamarins of Brazil Fund
Avon Gorge exhibit Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project, Bristol
In addition to these programmes Bristol Zoo has, for over ten years, supported the activities of the Hawk and Owl Trust in the south-west of England through funding for their conservation officer.
This paper is an account of the activities undertaken in collaboration with Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund in Yaounde, Cameroon.
Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund
Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund (CWAF) is a British registered charity founded in 1996 with the main purposes of alleviating the suffering of non-human primates in Cameroon (mainly orphans from the bushmeat trade), and advancing public education on the conservation, care and treatment of these animals. Professor Dick Ashford of the University of Liverpool chairs its Board of Trustees.
The charity was founded by a British zoologist, Chris Mitchell, who was travelling in Cameroon and found primates and other animals kept in appalling conditions at the Mvog Betsi Zoo in Yaounde, the capital city. As a result of government cutbacks during economic crises in the 1980s, animals were not cleaned, not fed adequately, if at all, and received no veterinary care. The zoo had few visitors and was effectively abandoned and semi-derelict. CWAF has worked with the Ministry for the Environment and Forestry (MINEF) since 1996 to effect considerable change at Mvog Betsi Zoo, resulting in massive improvements in animal care, and more recently capital investment by MINEF into the zoo buildings and infrastructure. Recognising the small size of the zoo, MINEF has also provided a site for a second centre for CWAF in an area of forest known as Mefou, which is to be designated as a national park.
Mvog Betsi Zoo
The Mvog Betsi Zoo is located in the Marché Melen area of the city. In 1996 it was about 3.2 ha in area. The boundary wall was in disrepair, there were people living illegally within the zoo, it was overgrown and there were abandoned cars on the zoo land. There were some cages within the zoo which housed a number of animals, usually having been confiscated by MINEF. A brief chronology of efforts within the zoo since then is given below.
1996 – Chris Mitchell established the charity in the U.K. A grant from the Ernst Kleinwort Trust enabled him to return to Cameroon to begin the redevelopment of Mvog Betsi Zoo as a primate sanctuary. With the agreement of the Government of Cameroon, he set about redeveloping some of the enclosures and changed the way in which the animals were cared for.
1997 – CWAF provided food, tools and equipment for the workers.
Bristol Zoo Gardens became a financial supporter of the project, in line with its mission of conserving threatened species and promoting a wider understanding of the natural world.
New areas were built for mandrills, drills and baboons, guenons, mangabeys, civets and several other animal species.
Local staff were employed to hand-rear orphaned apes from the bushmeat trade and the illegal local pet trade and to build enclosures.
1998 - A vegetable garden was planted within the grounds to help provide food for the animals.
A volunteer scheme for expatriates was established to provide practical assistance, to raise more funds and to allow non-invasive studies to be undertaken at the zoo.
1999 – Due to the ever-increasing number of animals arriving at the refurbished site, the project employed a veterinary nurse to deal with the continuing health problems related to disease and severe malnutrition.
New gorilla and chimpanzee enclosures and sleeping quarters were built with funding received from the British High Commission.
2000 – Extra land was made available to the zoo, allowing an expansion to about five hectares.
A new exhibit was built for orphan chimps, allowing them to have a large open area surrounded by electric fence.
A British business, Direct Marketing Support, funded assistant management for the project. This support continues to this day.
The Cameroon Government offered to provide CWAF with land in the proposed Mefou National Park, near the town of Mfou, Centre Province.
An African grey parrot aviary was built as a home for confiscated birds.
2001 – A new MINEF Conservator at the zoo, working with CWAF, developed a strategic plan for the zoo.
A six-roomed, 300-square-metre education centre was erected within the zoo grounds, funded by the Government of Cameroon.
Education programmes were developed with the support of the Wildlife Protectors Fund.
The Government of Cameroon continued to invest in redevelopment of the zoo for visitors.
A new enclosure for baboons was built with funding from the Canadian High Commission.
2002 – A new Conservator was appointed and transfer of some responsibilities to MINEF staff such as animal keepers took place, assisted by CWAF employees.
An application for funding from the U.S Government, under the Great Ape Act, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to supply equipment for the education centre, was successful.
A new veterinary centre was provided by MINEF and equipped by CWAF.
Mefou Primate Sanctuary
In 2000 the government made its offer to provide land for the sanctuary in a 1,000-ha area of forest called Mefou, outside the city close to the town of Mfou. This area is one of the few substantial tracts of forest left within the environs of Yaounde. The forest is around the confluence of two rivers and is a mixture of farm/fallow farmland, swampy areas and riverine forest. It has been logged recently but substantial trees remain in part of the area. While there are no large animals left in the forest, it provides an interesting and varied mosaic of habitat for both plants and animals. The government plans to designate Mefou as a National Park and the gazetting process is under way.
2000 – Mefou forest became home to a variety of orphaned species including 14 chimpanzees, three gorillas, and 11 monkeys of four species including three drills (Mandrillus leucophaeus).
Two large electric-fenced enclosures were constructed inside the park, which enclosed areas of forest, comprising 900 m2 for drills funded by the British High Commission and 1,500 m2 for young chimpanzees funded by Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Night accommodation for three juvenile male gorillas was also constructed.
A generator, donated by Colonel and Mrs Sivan, was installed within the camp to supply electricity to CWAF and the villagers of Ndangan.
People from surrounding villages were employed to care for the animals, guard them at night and cook for the volunteers.
A site assessment team, comprising team members from Bristol Zoo Gardens, CWAF, MINEF and Parkman Engineering, visited Mefou to assess its viability as a new centre for conservation activities. The U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office funded the site assessment.
Gazetting of the proposed Mefou National Park began.
2001 – Quarantine facilities were constructed for new arrivals. A local villager was employed to care for them.
Volunteer accommodation was upgraded from tents to wooden huts.
Direct Marketing Support funded a pick-up truck for the transportation of supplies from Yaounde to Mefou.
A 900-m2 enclosure was built to accommodate juvenile gorillas with funds donated by the Gorilla Foundation.
Three female gorillas were moved from Mvog Betsi Zoo and introduced to the males already housed in the forest.
A satellite cage (introduction unit) was added for the introduction of future arrivals.
Educational information signs about the animals were erected and translated into French, the local dialect and English.
2002 – A 4,000-m2 area of forest was designated to provide an extensive chimpanzee enclosure with funds donated by Colonel Sivan.
A well was dug and a pump installed with funds donated by Bristol Water and Colonel Sivan. This supplies CWAF and the village of Ndangan with fresh water.
A botanical survey was undertaken by Kew Gardens in collaboration with an Earthwatch team.
It can be seen that much has been achieved in the seven years since the project began, thanks to the enthusiasm and hard work of everyone associated with it. Early in 2002, however, Chris Mitchell left the project following the critical illness of his wife. An interim management team was put in charge until funding to recruit a new director could be found. In November, Colonel Sivan volunteered to fill that role, providing stability and leadership once again at a critical time in the development of the project.
CWAF has recently been advised in its activities by the Pan African Sanctuaries Alliance. This will allow the current CWAF personnel to benefit from the experience of others in sanctuary management and to ensure appropriate prioritisation of effort and expenditure.
The role of Bristol Zoo Gardens
Throughout the time that Bristol Zoo has been supporting the CWAF project, we have fulfilled a variety of roles:
1. Fundraising: We have committed funds from our conservation budget and raised considerably more from our visitors. In total we have provided on average around £20,000 per annum over the last four years. Fundraising from visitors is achieved through direct donation and through an _Adopt an Ape in Africa‘ scheme. In addition we promote CWAF membership in the zoo. The project is the focus of an interpretation panel within the Gorilla House and is highlighted by keepers during their daily public talks. Additionally, we seek funds for the project from other zoos, trusts, foundations and other sources. This has resulted in a growing number of supporters being recruited.
2. Advisory: Advice has been given on a variety of matters including fundraising (above), veterinary issues, education programmes, animal husbandry and project management. Management support for the team in Cameroon was particularly important during 2002.
3. Training: Several project personnel have participated in the training programmes provided by Jersey Zoo‘s International Training Centre. Following that programme they have spent time at Bristol Zoo receiving additional training and visiting other U.K. animal collections as part of their development.
4. Project champions: We have promoted the project in several domestic and international arenas, most notably to EAZA and to British Federation zoos.
All these roles continue to be vital to the project. Forward-looking sanctuary projects can, and should, be much more than a refuge for animals. With the right combination of education programmes and conservation breeding programmes, and given the right relationship with the government of the country, sanctuaries can make a significant contribution to conservation. The formation of the Pan African Sanctuaries Alliance in 2000, with the encouragement and support of the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG), underlines this view. As environments and habitats come under increasing pressure, sanctuaries will find themselves custodians to some of the world‘s rarest animals. This is particularly so in the remaining equatorial tropical forests, including the Congo Basin. Zoos of the developed world will need to collaborate with projects like this one in Cameroon in order to achieve many of their conservation aspirations as outlined in the World Zoo Conservation Strategy. Sanctuaries need the support of the zoo community. They need funding, and many would benefit from practical help in developing appropriate management strategies and regimes for long-term care of the animals they hold. Zoos can contribute through provision of skills, training and education materials as well as funds. In return, zoos benefit from association with projects in the wild. It puts our efforts with some endangered species programmes into the context of helping species in the wild, as well as allowing those species in our collections to fulfil their potential as ambassadors for their counterparts in the wild. In short, it is what the zoos of the 21st century are about.
The contribution of Bristol Zoo Gardens would be meaningless without the contributions from the many other project supporters. It would be difficult to name them all, but they include those who contribute expertise on a voluntary basis, from the Trustees of CWAF and others in the U.K. acting in a support role, to the many who have worked on the project in Cameroon through the voluntary scheme and in other ways. Many organisations have supported the project over the years both logistically and financially. Particular thanks must go to John and Kim Fogg of DMS, Tony Rose of Wildlife Protectors Fund, Rachel Hogan and Saira Ndi, and Colonel and Mrs Sivan, for their support over the years.
Address for correspondence: Dr J. Bryan Carroll, Bristol Zoo Gardens, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 3HA, U.K.
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ANALYSING VISITOR BEHAVIOUR IN THE BIRD AREA OF BELO HORIZONTE ZOO, BRAZIL
BY CRISTIANO SCHETINI DE AZEVEDO, MICHELE BADARÓ LIMA, ÂNGELA BERNADETE FAGGIOLI AND CRISTIANE SPEZIALI MENEGAZZI
1 – Introduction
For hundreds of years zoos were only places that displayed animals to satisfy people‘s curiosity, but nowadays they have assumed other important roles, among them the enlargement and dissemination of knowledge (Alho, 1991). Zoos reach hundreds of millions of people all over the world. Whatever their level of interest may be, it offers an opportunity for education. This, together with the mass character of zoo visiting and the fact that it is occurring in almost every country of the world, gives zoos an unequalled potential to heighten public and political awareness of the importance of nature conservation. The diversity of visitors also gives an extra dimension to the education potential of zoos (IUDZG/CBSG(IUCN/SSC), 1993).
To create an effective programme of environmental education, it is important that zoos know their public profile. Parameters such as age, sex, types of visitor grouping, the time spent looking at exhibits and the attractiveness of the exhibit graphics, supply valuable information about what kind of environmental activities can better educate the maximum number of visitors (Hill, 1971).
The purpose of the present study was to evaluate visitor behaviour in the Bird Area at Belo Horizonte Zoo, Minas Gerais, Brazil. We determined how long people spent in the Area, which exhibits were most viewed, how much time people spent looking at the exhibits, and which birds they looked at the most and why. We also collected suggestions for the improvement of the attractiveness of the Bird Area. The results of this work will be used in planning the renovation of the Area.
2 – Materials and methods
The Bird Area of Belo Horizonte Zoo (BH Zoo) consists of a 25-year-old building. There are 52 exhibits varying in size from 18 m2 to 2,042 m2. Forty-two exhibits are located in a central building and the remaining ten stand on both sides of the central building. The Area is divided into four rows, representing the different routes that can be walked by the visitors.
The Area holds 172 birds belonging to 61 species and 14 orders. The exhibit animals are not grouped taxonomically. Some exhibits house single species, others are shared by two different species. The birds in the exhibits are quite varied and reflect the many morphological and taxonomic types found in nature. Most of the birds are visible at all times.
The graphics in the building are limited to small (30 ´ 50 cm) identification labels at each exhibit. These signs provide information such as name, distribution, habitat and natural food. Some labels are missing.
The study was divided into two parts, Visitor behaviour and Visitor profile and suggestions.
2.1 – Visitor behaviour
The study was conducted during May and July of 2001. All days of the week and every hour of the 9:00–17:00 day were sampled as equally as possible. Individuals to be observed were chosen at random as they entered the Area. No visitors under seven years of age were tracked. The sample was of 56 visitors.
The time spent by the visitors on each exhibit was calculated using a stopwatch. The subjects were tracked through the Bird Area, and we recorded to the nearest second the total time in the Area and the time spent at individual exhibits. The timing of exhibit stops was begun when the individual‘s attention appeared to be focused on an exhibit and terminated when attention was directed elsewhere. The mean time spent in each row and the number of visitors that passed through each row were also recorded.
The reading of the labels was also recorded, and a code was created to classify these interactions: A – only the name of the bird was read; B – total reading of the label; and C – the label was not read.
2.2 – Visitor profile and suggestions
The study was conducted during August, September and October of 2001. Excluding weekends, all days of the week and every hour of the 9:00–17:00 day were sampled as equally as possible. Individuals to be observed were chosen at random as they entered the Area. They were divided into five age categories: 7–10, 11–20, 21–30, 31–40 and 40+ years. No visitors under seven years of age were tracked. Four social groups were used: solitary, family groups, student groups and friend groups. The subjects were tracked through the Bird Area, and when they left it they were given a questionnaire. One hundred questionnaires were completed.
3 – Results
3.1 – Visitor behaviour
The total number of individuals tracked was 56. The mean number of seconds spent in each exhibit are shown in Table 1. The exhibit that showed the greatest holding power was that of the ostrich, the second most powerful being of the Indian peafowl. The exhibits of the channel-billed toucan and the burrowing parakeet showed the least holding power.
The total number of visitors and the type of interaction with the labels in each exhibit is shown in Table 1. Most of the visitors (50.6%) read only the name of the birds, and almost the same number of individuals read the entire label or did not read it at all (23.3% and 26.1% respectively). Some of the exhibits did not have a label; in these cases, only the number of visitors that stopped in front of the exhibit was recorded.
The mean time spent in each row, the number of visitors that passed through each row, and the mean time spent in each enclosure of the rows are shown in Table 2. Row D was the most used by the visitors and row A was the least used, but the difference between the rows was minimal. Although row D was not the most used, it was the row where the public spent the most time looking at the exhibits (44.8 seconds). The exhibits in row B were observed the least.
3.2 – Visitor profile
The number of questionnaires collected was 100. The male:female ratio of the sample group was 41:59 (Table 3). Excluding the age category 7–10, all age classes were covered, but the bulk of the observations were of individuals from 21 to 30 years of age. The majority of subjects were in student groups. Friend groups and solitary were the next most numerous, and nearly equal in number. Family groups were rare, making up only 10% of the sample. Fifty-six visitors were at university and twelve had already completed university (Table 3).
The public chose the harpy eagle as the most attractive bird of the Area, with 30% of the votes. Hyacinthine macaw (10% of votes), toco toucan and Indian peafowl (8% each) were the next most popular birds (Table 4).
According to the visitors, colour was the bird‘s characteristic that most attracted them (54%). Song, habits and size (16%, 15% and 6% respectively) followed colour in the rank of characteristics. The results are shown in Table 5.
Ninety-seven visitors said they read the labels displayed at each exhibit, two people did not read them and one person did not answer the question. Information about the birds‘ habits was most looked at by the visitors, followed by the photo of the bird (37% and 32% respectively). Feeding and reproductive information were less interesting (Table 6).
The public also gave some suggestions for the improvement of the Bird Area. Among these, an increase in exhibit space (43%), the construction of a brand new aviary (34%), and an increased number of species (8%) were the most often suggested (Table 7).
4 – Discussion
The demographic characteristics of the sample population in this study were comparable to those of zoo visitors in other studies (Meyer, 1988; Salvador et al., 2001), with a population that is characterized by roughly similar numbers of males and females, and a majority of people between 21 and 30 years of age. These studies, however, identified families as the predominant visitor group, whereas in our study school and college students provided the predominant group. These results suggest the high importance of zoos in education (Mergulhão, 1997). It is important to remember that the questionnaires were not distributed at weekends, which are cited by Meyer (1988) and Salvador et al. (2001) as the main _family days‘ of the week. This could have contributed to the results found.
The mean time spent looking at individual exhibits was similar to the times found in other studies (Marcellini and Jenssen, 1988; Salvador et al., 2001; Serrell, 1978), and it was remarkably short. According to Falcão and Barros (1999), informal education institutions such as zoos – have to promote exhibits that attract and retain the visitors for a sufficient time to allow learning to occur. Labels that present information about the animal exhibited have great importance as a knowledge source, so their holding power should be studied. Labels manufactured with expensive materials and displaying only _important‘ information (from our point of view) can be a waste of time and money, in terms of educational effects, if they are not properly evaluated (Mergulhão and Vasaki, 1998).
More than 50% of the visitors only read the name of the bird; 23% read the entire labels and 26% did not read the labels. These results show that the labels attract the public but do not have the power to hold them. Falcão and Barros (1999) postulated that the low frequency of reading does not impoverish the visit. The text would help the visitor to construct an interpretation, but even without reading, there is an exhibit to be explored in its environment and this context forces interpretation. What we want, however, is an increase in interactions of type B (i.e., total reading) and a reduction in interactions of type A (i.e., only reading the name).
Texts, photos, posters and plates have to be produced to induce or favour social interactions (Gaspar and Hamburger, 1988). It is not essential that the objects are interactive, since what matters is not the manipulation of the objects, but the interaction between the observers. This kind of interaction was noted in the present study, showing that the labels fulfilled the public‘s expectations (only 5% of the visitors suggested the changing of the existing labels to new ones). The photographs on the labels were useful to attract the public and information about birds‘ habits was often read. This kind of information could be explored further in future label renovation projects.
Our observations on visitors‘ behaviour, when compared with the answers to the questionnaires, showed great disparities. When asked, people answered that they read the entire labels, but when observed, we found that more than 50% of people only read the name of the bird. This result suggests that the presence of the interviewer constrains the interviewee, inducing him to give what he thinks is the _right‘ answer, and not one which corresponds with what really happened (a phenomenon so common that a special term – _prestige bias‘ – has been invented to describe it). According to Ludke and André (1986), when an interviewee is confronted with questions that have no correlation with his moral universe, he has a tendency to present answers that confirm the interviewer‘s expectations, rather than trying to solve a problem that had never previously occurred to him.
More than 50% of those questioned said that the colours of the birds were the characteristic most responsible for their attractiveness. Song, habits and size were the next most frequent responses. These results were also found by Salvador et al. (2001). But when asked what bird was the most attractive, 30% voted for the harpy eagle – a very curious result, since the harpy eagle is not a brightly coloured bird, but a grey, black and white eagle with a shrill and extended song (Sick, 1997). The next three most attractive birds, although brightly coloured, have songs that are not melodious. Size (voted the fourth most important characteristic) is the feature the four most popular birds have in common. The harpy eagle is the biggest Brazilian eagle; the hyacinthine macaw and toco toucan are the biggest representatives of their families, and the Indian peafowl is one of the biggest of the Phasianidae. Larger birds or exhibits were more popular than smaller ones. Few species in the central building of the Bird Area were popular, the central rows were less used by the visitors and the time spent in this building was significantly less than in the lateral exhibits. The arrangement of the exhibits in the building (side by side), the reduced size and the great number of exhibits may be responsible for the results found. When we analysed the suggestions for the improvement of the Bird Area given by the visitors, we found that increasing the size of exhibits was their main concern, with the construction of a new building in second place, corroborating these hypotheses.
Understanding visitor behaviour is a complex process influenced by many factors (Marcellini and Jenssen, 1988), and there is a great disparity between how zoo professionals would like the public to respond to exhibits and how they do in fact respond. A great deal of thought, time, and money is being expended on developing beautiful naturalistic exhibits in zoos. However, it may be that our customers are paying minimal attention to these wonderful creations. It is hoped that a better understanding of our public will allow us to improve the interaction between the visitor and the exhibit.
5 – Conclusions
The short time our visitors spend in the Bird Area and the minimal time spent viewing individual exhibits indicates that the majority of our public are apparently not showing as much interest in our exhibits as we would like them to. It is important for us to use the results found in the present study, since there is a programme to reform the Bird Area of BH Zoo. A good renovation should not only guarantee better welfare for the birds but also improve the visitor education and keeper facilities of the Area.
We would like to thank Dr Robert John Young for suggestions on the manuscript, the keepers of the Bird Area of BH Zoo, the staff of BH Zoo Education Centre, Carlyle Mendes Coelho, Director of BH Zoo, and Luciana Resende Allain, Alexandre Lúcio Schettini and, especially, João Bôsco Ferraz for their assistance.
Alho, C.J.R. (1991): A redescoberta dos museus. Ciência Hoje 13 (73): 40–47. (In Portuguese.)
Falcão, D., and Barros, H.L. (1999): Para além da interatividade nos museus de ciências. Museu de astronomia e ciências afins: CNPQ. (In Portuguese.)
Gaspar, A., and Hamburger, E.W. (1988): Museus e centros de ciências: conceituações e propostas de um referencial teórico. In Pesquisas em ensino de fisica (ed. R. Nard). Esculturas Editora, São Paulo. (In Portuguese.)
Hill, C.A. (1971): Analysis of the zoo visitor. International Zoo Yearbook 11: 158–165.
IUDZG/CBSG(IUCN/SSC) (1993): The World Zoo Conservation Strategy: the Role of the Zoos and Aquaria of the World in Global Conservation. Chicago Zoological Society, Illinois.
Ludke, M., and André, M.E.D.A. (1986): Pesquisa em educação: abordagens qualitativas. E.P.U., São Paulo. (In Portuguese.)
Marcellini, D.L., and Jenssen, T.A. (1988): Visitor behavior in the National Zoo‘s Reptile House. Zoo Biology 7: 329–338.
Mergulhão, M.C. (1997): Zoológico: uma sala de aula viva. In Educação ambiental: caminhos trilhados no Brasil (ed. S.M. Pádua and M.F. Tabanez), pp. 193–200. Ipê, Brasília. (In Portuguese.)
Mergulhão, M.C., and Vasaki, B.N.G. (1998): Educando para a conservação da natureza: sugestões de atividades em educação ambiental. EDUC, São Paulo. (In Portuguese.)
Meyer, M.A.A. (1988): Que bicho que deu: pesquisa de educação ambiental no Jardim Zoológico de BH. Editora UFMG, Belo Horizonte. (In Portuguese.)
Salvador, A.V., Andrade, G.X., Lutterbach, A.A., and Ramos, E. (2001): Perfil e interações dos visitantes com os animais em exposição na Praça das Aves da Fundação Zoo-Botânica de BH. Anais do 25o Congresso da Sociedade de Zoológicos do Brasil, Brasília, p. 308. (In Portuguese.)
Serrell, B. (1978): Visitor observation studies at museums, zoos and aquariums. AAZPA Annual Conference Proceedings, 229–233.
Sick, H. (1997): Ornitologia brasileira. Nova fronteira, Rio de Janeiro.
Cristiano Schetini de Azevedo, Michele Badaró Lima, Ângela Bernadete Faggioli and Cristiane Speziali Menegazzi, Fundação Zoo-Botânica de Belo Horizonte, Av. Otacílio Negrão de Lima, 8000 Pampulha, CEP 31365–450, Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (E-mail: email@example.com.)
Table 1. Mean number of seconds (± SE) spent looking at exhibits of Bird Area, the total number of visitors and the type of interaction with the labels in each exhibit, for 56 visitors. Interaction type A – only the name of the bird was read; interaction type B – total reading of the label; and interaction type C – the label was not read.
Exhibit Bird Species Mean time Interaction Interaction Interaction Total
(seconds) type A (%) type B (%) type C (%) numberof ± SE visitors
52 Ostrich – Struthio camelus 84.7 ± 5.3 27.0 27.0 46.0 37
42 Indian Peafowl – Pavo cristatus 66.8 ± 1.3 – – – 36
51 Common Cassowary – Casuarius
casuarius 58.9 ± 5.2 31.8 54.6 13.6 22
50 Greater Rhea – Rhea americana 56.1 ± 9.0 37.5 33.3 29.2 24
46 Harpy Eagle – Harpia harpyja 51.8 ± 0.7 46.7 46.7 6.6 30
40 Mealy Amazon – Amazona farinosa 46.2 ± 1.0 55.6 18.5 25.9 27
21 Green Peafowl – Pavo muticus 40.7 ± 1.3 – – – 37
43 Blue and Yellow Macaw – Ara ararauna 39.2 ± 2.2 51.6 25.8 22.6 31
48 Scarlet Macaw – Ara macao 32.4 ± 4.1 52.0 32.0 16.0 25
45 Hyacinthine Macaw – Anodorhynchus
hyacinthinus 29.2 ± 1.2 46.7 40.0 13.3 30
36 Toco Toucan – Ramphastos toco 24.5 ± 1.6 55.2 27.6 17.2 29
47 Savannah Hawk – Buteogallus
meridionalis 24.1 ± 1.4 – – – 25
15 Golden Conure – Guaruba guarouba 22.0 ± 1.0 57.1 17.9 25.0 28
20 Grey Parrot – Psittacus erithacus 19.7 ± 1.3 40.0 28.0 32.0 25
25 Bleeding-heart Pigeon – Gallicolumba
luzonica & Knysna Turaco – Tauraco
corythaix 19.6 ± 0.8 39.3 46.4 14.3 28
7 Chattering Lory – Lorius garrulus 17.6 ± 4.6 51.7 27.6 20.7 29
19 Sclater‘s Curassow – Crax fasciolata 17.3 ± 1.4 62.0 27.5 10.5 29
22 Crane Hawk – Geranospiza caerulescens 15.8 ± 2.9 48.3 24.1 27.6 29
44 Great Horned Owl – Bubo virginianus 15.6 ± 1.0 – – – 29
1 Sulphur-crested Cockatoo – Cacatua
galerita 14.2 ± 4.5 51.9 29.6 18.5 27
14 Orange-winged Amazon – Amazona
amazonica & Red-winged Tinamou –
Rhynchotus rufescens 13.2 ± 0.8 48.3 31.0 20.7 29
6 Vinaceous Amazon – Amazona vinacea 12.9 ± 2.6 60.7 14.3 25.0 28
13 Red-billed Toucan – Ramphastos
tucanus 12.5 ± 0.8 50.0 26.7 23.3 30
34 Pileated Parrot – Pionopsitta pileata &
Silver Teal – Anas versicolor 12.5 ± 2.1 42.9 32.1 25.0 28
9 Spot-billed Toucanet – Selenidera
maculirostris & Green-winged
Trumpeter – Psophia viridis 12.0 ± 0.6 48.3 27.6 24.1 29
33 Rainbow Lory – Trichoglossus
haematodus 11.9 ± 5.3 53.6 17.8 28.6 28
35 Purple Glossy Starling – Lamprotornis
purpureus & Grey-winged Trumpeter –
Psophia crepitans 11.7 ± 1.4 62.1 20.7 17.2 29
12 Yellow-faced Amazon – Amazona
xanthops & Solitary Tinamou –
Tinamus solitarius 11.6 ± 0.9 51.8 24.1 24.1 29
16 Cayenne Rail – Aramides cajanea 10.4 ± 1.2 48.3 24.1 27.6 29
30 Red-browed Amazon – Amazona
rhodocorytha 10.4 ± 2.1 53.4 23.3 23.3 30
18 Buff-necked Ibis – Theristicus caudatus 10.2 ± 0.8 53.6 17.8 28.6 28
17 Rufescent Tiger Heron – Tigrisoma
lineatum 10.1 ± 0.8 44.8 20.7 34.5 29
3 Red-breasted Toucan – Ramphastos
dicolorus 10.0 ± 3.1 55.2 17.2 27.6 29
5 Black-necked Aracari – Pteroglossus
aracari 9.9 ± 2.9 48.4 25.8 25.8 31
11 Hawk-headed Parrot – Deroptyus
accipitrinus & Small-billed Tinamou –
Crypturellus parvirostris 9.2 ± 1.1 48.3 13.8 37.9 29
4 Yellow-legged Tinamou – Crypturellus
noctivagus & Violet-bellied Parrot –
Triclaria malachitacea 9.1 ± 4.8 46.4 17.9 35.7 28
32 Little Corella – Cacatua sanguinea 8.1 ± 1.6 – – – 30
8 Saffron Toucanet – Baillonius bailloni 8.0 ± 1.6 69.0 13.8 17.2 29
27 Red Lory – Eos bornea 7.9 ± 0.9 56.7 16.7 26.6 30
26 Mandarin Duck – Aix galericulata 7.8 ± 0.7 43.3 26.7 30.0 30
38 Nanday Conure – Nandayus nenday 7.3 ± 0.9 60.7 14.3 25.0 28
41 White-eared Conure – Pyrrhura leucotis
& Rock Partridge – Alectoris graeca 7.3 ± 1.9 53.3 6.7 40.0 30
39 Razor-billed Curassow – Mitu tuberosa 7.3 ± 1.7 41.4 17.2 41.4 29
31 Blue-throated Conure – Pyrrhura
cruentata 7.2 ± 1.4 56.7 16.7 26.6 30
37 Green-winged Trumpeter – Psophia
viridis 7.0 ± 1.3 – – – 29
29 Hill Mynah – Gracula religiosa 6.5 ± 2.0 43.3 20.0 36.7 30
28 Nocturnal Curassow – Nothocrax
urumutum 6.5 ± 2.7 53.3 16.7 30.0 30
10 Red-spectacled Amazon – Amazona
pretrei 6.2 ± 1.3 55.2 13.8 31.0 29
2 Crested Curassow – Crax alector 6.1 ± 2.4 51.7 24.1 24.2 29
40 Violet Turaco – Musophaga violacea 6.1 ± 1.0 55.2 13.8 31.0 29
24 Channel-billed Toucan – Ramphastos
vitellinus 6.0 ± 0.7 62.1 6.9 31.0 29
23 Burrowing Parakeet – Cyanoliseus
patagonus 5.1 ± 1.0 54.8 12.9 32.3 31
– = Exhibits without labels.
Table 2. The mean time spent in each row, the number of visitors that passed through each row, and the mean time spent in each enclosure of the rows.
Row Number of visitors Mean time spent in Mean time spent in the row (minutes) each enclosure of the
A 32 3.5 30.4
B 34 3.4 9.8
C 36 4.3 12.6
D 43 2.2 44.8
Table 3. Composition of visitor sample by sex, group types, age, and schooling. (100 questionnaires completed).
Category Number of visitors
(= percent of total)
Age in Years
Incomplete Elementary School 10
Complete Elementary School 2
Incomplete High School 6
Complete High School 12
Incomplete University 56
Complete University 12
Table 4. The ten most attractive birds in the Bird Area of Belo Horizonte Zoo.
Species Number of visitors
(= percent of total)
Harpy Eagle – Harpia harpyja 30
Hyacinthine Macaw – Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus 10
Toco Toucan – Ramphastos toco 8
Indian Peafowl – Pavo cristatus 8
Purple Glossy Starling – Lamprotornis purpureus 7
Common Cassowary – Casuarius casuarius 4
Red-winged Tinamou – Rhynchotus rufescens 3
Grey Parrot – Psittacus erithacus 3
Bleeding-heart Pigeon – Gallicolumba luzonica 3
Great Horned Owl – Bubo virginianus 2
Other birds 15
No answer 7
Table 5. Birds‘ characteristic that most attracted the visitors to the Bird Area of Belo Horizonte Zoo.
Characteristic Number of visitors
(= percent of total)
* = Behaviour, nothing.
Table 6. The attractiveness of the different parts of the labels chosen by visitors to the Bird Area of Belo Horizonte Zoo.
Most attractive part of label Number of visitors
(= percent of total)
Table 7. Visitors‘ suggestions for the improvement of the Bird Area of Belo Horizonte Zoo.
Suggestion Number of visitors
(= percent of total)
Increase of exhibit space 43
Construction of a new building 34
Increase in the number of species 8
New information labels 5
Improvement in the off-exhibit area 3
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
I was very interested in both your Editorial in IZN 49 (7) and the article on the Milwaukee polar bears – for the successful series of births there was not the first.
In 1889, a pair of young polar bears arrived at Skansen, Stockholm, Sweden, and by the end of 1907 they had produced 15 cubs, of which eight survived (and one, a female born in 1904, was pregnant by her father). These facts are contained in a short note by Henry Scherren (best known for his book The Zoological Society of London, published in 1905) in The Field for 7 December 1907. But, most interestingly, Scherren stated, _These facts effectually dispose of the pretensions of the young polar bear at Dresden which is represented on a picture post-card with a legend to the effect that it is the only one reared in captivity.‘ Thus, almost a century ago, people were already finding mistakes to correct!
Incidentally, a Hoffmann‘s sloth was born at London Zoo on 9 May 1876. This would have been the one referred to by Crandall as having been born prior to 1953 – some seventy-seven years previously, to be exact.
26 Rhondda Grove,
London E3 5AP, U.K.
I nominate the Editorial in Volume 49 (7) as the best and most perceptive so far in the annals of IZN – and that‘s against some pretty stiff competition. It had to be said, and at last someone has said it, drawing attention to the almost unbelievable lack of animal-knowledge on the part of so many who are professionally involved in zoology, particularly zoological gardens. Furthermore, it‘s a situation that, to the best of my knowledge, prevails in no other sphere.
However, it‘s by no means new, as when I opened the Ashover Zoological Garden in 1955 I was utterly astounded at the animal-ignorance of so many of my colleagues – among whom dealers, showmen and an unconscionable number of ex-builders predominated in those days. When it became known that I could distinguish a mammal from a bird I was frequently asked the most astonishing questions about the care of this common species, or requested to identify that equally familiar one. It was this unexpected situation that prompted me to write in my book The Ashover Zoological Garden, _This is on a par with a garage proprietor saying to another __I‘ve just been told about something called a Fiat – what might that be?‘‘ or a bank manager phoning a colleague to say __I‘ve just been told about some things called francs or something like that. Have you ever heard of them?‘‘ ‘
Today those occupying the top positions in animal collections are of a very different ilk, as the majority were well educated prior to entering university – but did more than the merest handful request animal books as birthday presents, or choose to keep out-of-the-ordinary _pets‘, as children? In most cases the answer is a definite _no‘, with the result that this lamentable dearth of faunal knowledge hasn‘t changed one iota over the decades. In short, far too many superintendents, press-officers, publicity mangers and the like are simply not _animal-people‘ at all – and just look at some of the consequences thereof.
A well-known American zoological garden‘s press office releasing the sensational news that a remarkable breeding achievement has resulted in a unique hybrid between an antelope and a goat – to be known as a _takin‘ (!). An even better-known collection in that country, one of whose trustees stated that he‘d oppose the acquisition of a pair of white rhinoceroses, as he vehemently disapproved of the exhibition of _freaks such as albinos.‘ In our own country I‘ll pick out at random a curator of mammals (in a very self-satisfied institution) who had never heard of a tamandua, and the superintendent of another place who didn‘t know what a kittiwake was. . .
I‘ll always remember a conversation I had with two colleagues many years ago. I‘d – perhaps rashly – used the term _sexual dimorphism‘ and was promptly taken to task for using _jaw-breaking words like that – why don‘t you use ones that ordinary people like us can understand?‘ This was rather like a doctor complaining that another talking about a tracheotomy was spouting gibberish as far as he was concerned. What saddened me, though, was the clear implication that someone privileged to operate a wonderful place such as a zoological garden, a faunal paradise on earth, should be no more than just an _ordinary‘ person. No wonder so many zoos were badly-run in those days. . .
13 Pound Place,
Surrey GU4 8HH, U.K.
I was not surprised to read your editorial in IZN 49 (7) about inaccuracies in zoo publications. Last year, on a visit to a European zoo, I saw two Sumatran elephants. To my astonishment the label claimed they were _the first Sumatran elephants in captivity outside Sumatra.‘ Consulting the book Elefanten in Zoo und Circus: Dokumentation Teil 2 – Nordamerika (A. Haufellner, J. Schilfarth and G. Schweiger, European Elephant Group, 1997) I found that two young cow elephants came to Washington, D.C., from Sumatra in 1918, and that another Sumatran female lived at Philadelphia Zoo for over 30 years. Also, major Dutch zoos obviously kept Sumatran elephants in the 19th and 20th centuries when Sumatra was part of the Dutch East Indies. And in Germany this form was kept at Hagenbeck (Hamburg), Frankfurt, Munich and Wuppertal from the 1930s to the 1950s. There may possibly have been still more in captivity in the past.
Even the International Zoo Yearbook is not free from mistakes. For example, in Vol. 36, p. 618, the _census of rare animals in captivity‘ lists pygmy hogs (Sus salvanius) as being in two zoos, Kiryugaoka, Japan, and Stuttgart, Germany, in 1996. As far as I know, the last captive specimen outside India died at Zürich Zoo in 1984. I assume the 2.2 animals recorded at Stuttgart were really babirusa. As for the 6.8.3 at Kiryugaoka, who knows? Maybe they were Japanese wild boar. . . Again (p. 613), 1.1 fossas (Cryptoprocta ferox) are listed at Colchester in 1997 but not in 1996, though these animals had in fact arrived at the zoo in 1995 and 1994 respectively. The explanation appears a few lines down, where Colchester is credited with a pair of Malagasy civets – whose scientific name, significantly, is Fossa fossana – in 1996!
Finally, the Yearbook may be partly responsible for the zoos you mention claiming to have bred _endangered‘ Bactrian camels. In its list of _mammals bred in captivity and multiple generation births‘, this species is marked with an asterisk, indicating that it is _listed by the IUCN as being threatened in the wild‘, even though all the 44.45.3 camels bred in 1996 were really of domestic origin.
60316 Frankfurt am Main,
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DARWIN & CO. - EINE GESCHICHTE DER BIOLOGIE IN PORTRAITS edited by Ilse Jahn and Michael Schmitt. C.H. Beck (www.beck.de), Munich, 2001. 2 vols., 552 + 574 pp., illus., hardback. ISBN 3–406–44642–6. Price #59.90 (c. £38 or US$59).
DIE GESCHICHTE DER HERPETOLOGIE UND TERRARIENKUNDE IM DEUTSCHSPRACHICHEN RAUM edited by Werner Rieck, Gerhard Hallmann and Wolfgang Bischoff. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde (www.dght.de), Rheinbach, 2001 (Mertensiella, Nummer 12). 759 pp., illus., hardback. ISBN 3–9806577–3–6. Price #32.00 (c. £20 or US$31).
Few Poles or Dutch presumably visit Walhalla, the hall of fame east of Regensburg in Bavaria built between 1830 and 1842 to resemble a Greek temple, celebrating great (or at least famous) Germans. Those that do might look askance at the busts of Copernicus and Rembrandt van Rijn, wondering if the pantheon hadn‘t in fact been constructed between 1933 and 1945. There‘s a long story to that, certainly out of place here, but in the romantic, patriotic spirit dominating the decades between the Napoleonic wars and the democratic uprisings of 1848, ethnic solidarity and historical consciousness guided those deciding whom to put on the pedestals. A couple of decades later, many Germans might have been happy to honour Charles Darwin in Walhalla as well, however abhorrent he himself might have considered the suggestion. After all, whereas for Copernicus, at least, German was the mother tongue, Darwin apparently couldn‘t even speak the language. Nevertheless, a German edition of On the Origin of Species was published by early summer 1860, the first in a foreign language, and Darwin soon enjoyed a loyal following in Germany. If Huxley was Darwin‘s bulldog, Ernst Haeckel became Darwin‘s dobermann.
A biographical dictionary is, in a way, a hall of fame too: who is to be honoured with an entry? Time was, a German biographical dictionary of biologists would have been called in translation, well, _Biographical Dictionary of Biologists‘. Nowadays publishers want snappy titles, and even such a well-established and respected scholarly publisher as Beck isn‘t ashamed to push sales with a _Darwin & Co.‘ Darwin sells, even today, and he‘s arguably Germany‘s most adoptable Briton after Shakespeare. The subtitle – _A History of Biology in Portraits‘ – is more to the point. Starting with Linnaeus (in whose time the term _biology‘ was first coined, in the 1760s) and ending with Barbara McClintock, 57 naturalists and biologists are portrayed in 50 chapters in roughly chronological order, with about 20 pages devoted to each. Dr McClintock and Elena Timoféeff-Ressovsky are the only two women biologists who made it into the handbook. Darwin, Huxley and Haeckel are in here, of course, Huxley with his whole family. Although most names could be found in any good general encyclopaedia – for those who haven‘t dumped theirs for the internet – the individual entries, though perhaps not as long as in the Dictionary of Scientific Biography, are certainly more comprehensive than in Britannica or Brockhaus. This being a book of reference, the individual biographies can be read in any order; there‘s no red thread, such as the development of evolutionary theory, running through the two volumes. Only three of the entries concern what one could call _zoo-ologists‘, that is zoologists associated with zoos: Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire of the Paris Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes, Oskar Heinroth of the Berlin Aquarium and Julian Huxley of London Zoo. Unfortunately, their careers in those institutions remain largely neglected. The standards of the biographies are very high, nevertheless, and although over three dozen authorities contributed to the two volumes, the editors did a fine job of homogenizing the format while keeping the texts lively.
A book of reference, of course, will be excused fewer errors than a popular biography, and although I‘m admittedly no expert on any of those portrayed, the only mistakes I stumbled over were on the edges, so to speak. Altona in Holstein, for example, the ancestral town of the Warburgs, was never Danish. Yes, the king of Denmark was for four centuries the duke of Holstein, but that didn‘t make Altona any more a Danish town than Hanoverian London was ever German. Americans might be surprised to learn that Kentucky, the home state of Thomas Hunt Morgan, was a member of the Confederacy during the Civil War. But I‘m nitpicking now. Ilse Jahn, best known for her standard history of biology originally published in 1982, and Michael Schmitt of Bonn University have collected a fine set of essays, as enjoyable to browse through as it is useful to refer to.
Biographies are also a central feature of Die Geschichte der Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde im deutschsprachigen Raum (hereafter the Geschichte), published by the DGHT, the German Society for Herpetology and Terrarium Studies. With some 8,000 members, the DGHT claims to be the world‘s largest society devoted to the study of reptiles and amphibians. I find that, frankly, hard to believe. Although Germany is far and away the most populous country within the European Union, it still has less than a tenth the population of China or India, only a third that of the United States and half that of Brazil or Indonesia, five huge nations with a far more interesting herpetofauna than Central Europe‘s. But why should the chairman, in his preface to the Geschichte, lie? The American Society of Ichthyology and Herpetology has less than 3,000 members; the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles claims on its website to be the largest international herpetological society, but neglects to offer any figures. Perhaps by _largest international‘ the SSAR means _largest English-language‘. Whatever, herpetology certainly has a strong tradition in Germany and the German-speaking regions around it, as is well reflected in this fat and fact-filled volume.
The biographical section portrays 112 herpetologists with, on average, over two pages devoted to each. Individual chapters on the history of the herpetological collections of Central Europe‘s major natural history museums are preceded by only two, unfortunately, on zoo-like institutions: the Vivarium Darmstadt and Düsseldorf‘s Aquazoo. The 22-page history of the (table-top) terrarium and 14-page history of reptile exhibitions might be of more, the chronicles of individual local groups of the DGHT surely of less, interest to readers of IZN The Geschichte is laid out like a magazine in a way: it‘s a hodgepodge of very interesting and not so interesting articles mixed together with little structural discipline. We get good if brief reviews of the development of herpetology in Austria, Switzerland and what used to be called East Germany, in addition to stories like _The police and snakes‘, _Behaviour of DGHT members damaging to the society‘ and _German prisoners-of-war build a zoo in the USA‘. As in any good magazine, there are many nice pictures, as well as the obligatory group photos of participants of meetings and excursions. Only the most enthusiastic members of the DGHT will want to read the Geschichte from cover to cover, but anyone with an interest in reptiles and amphibians will still find much to peruse and much to look at. As reading material for the tube or the plane, unfortunately, it‘s a bit too heavy.
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Breeding the Arabian leopard in captivity
The Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife (BCEAW), Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, has twice witnessed the birth of the endangered Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr) during 2002. Both births were closely observed via closed-circuit camera systems to monitor for signs of complications during or after parturition. Two cubs, Barq and Amtar, were born on 19 March. They are the result of the successful pairing of Hesra, on loan from the Oman Mammal Breeding Centre, Muscat and Al-Jezira, who originates from the National Wildlife Research Centre in Taif, Saudi Arabia. Both cubs are being mother-reared and the three leopards will be left as a family unit for as long as possible to allow the cubs to mature fully.
The second litter was also sired by Al-Jezira and was born to Carla, who gave birth to two fully developed cubs on 25 June after an uneventful 96-day pregnancy. This was the first second-generation birth of leopards at the centre, as Carla was born in an enclosure not far away. It is also the first third-generation birth for the international breeding programme coordinated by staff at the breeding centre – Carla‘s mother, Hesra, was born in captivity in Oman.
This was the three-year-old mother‘s first litter and, whilst she appeared to care for the cubs as an experienced mother would for the first few days, the summer heat and her inexperience soon caused her to abandon them. By the time staff were able to access the den one cub was already dead and the other in some distress and weakening. Both were immediately removed, and the surviving male is now being hand-reared by resident staff.
Both litters are genetically very important to the captive population, as they are the first offspring of Al-Jezira, an unrelated founder. The births this year bring the total number of leopards born at BCEAW since 1998 to 11 (5.6), eight (4.4) of whom are still surviving.
The current living captive population of Arabian leopards consists of 38 (18.20) animals of whom 19 (9.10) are wild-caught. Less than 30% of the wild-caught individuals have bred successfully, leaving over 70% as potential founders. To ensure the success of both the captive-breeding programme and the conservation of the species, it is essential that these wild-caught animals be integrated into the programme without delay. Current estimates place the global wild population numbers as low as 82 and no higher than 250, further highlighting the need for cooperation.
Jane Edmonds in EAZA News No. 40 (October–December 2002)
Recent conservation assistance for the St Vincent parrot
With the support of several international organisations, a number of positive steps forward were taken by the forestry department of St Vincent during 2002 towards the conservation of their national bird, the St Vincent parrot (Amazona guildingii). This included several trips by myself to St Vincent to support conservation initiatives on behalf of Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, Barbados, with partial funding of my travel expenses being provided by the Loro Parque Foundation.
The year began with major structural renovation being carried out at the Calvin Nicholls Wildlife Complex that houses a large captive population of the species [see IZN 49 (5), pp. 276–278]. This work has significantly improved the physical environment for the captive birds. At the same time, the forestry department were also preparing for the latest census of the parrot in the wild. The census work was made possible with support from the World Parrot Trust, who donated about US$1,500 of field equipment, including such items as compasses, waterproof binoculars, lanterns and flashlights, first-aid kits, surveyors‘ vests, ponchos, backpacks, and field notebooks. The census, completed during the months of March and April, suggests that the wild population remains at a stable number of around 550 birds, although there is some cause for concern in the distribution of the population and patterns of disturbance to their primary habitat across this range.
With the renovation works to the complex completed, the next area that was identified to enhance the husbandry of the captive population was a dietary review. The birds have been receiving a diet based mainly upon fruits and some vegetables, supplemented by crushed calcium carbonate tablets and poultry feed pellets. It was decided that it would be highly beneficial to replace the poultry pellets with a good-quality parrot pellet food product and a broad-spectrum vitamin, mineral and amino acid supplement. This was made possible when Mark Hagen, of the pet food and care products company Rolf C. Hagen, made the generous offer to provide a free supply of food products to the captive populations of A. guildingii in both St Vincent and Barbados. Three products are now being supplied on a regular on-going basis: Tropican, a pellet diet for parrots; Tropi-mix, a low-fat diet for obesity-prone parrot species, made from a combination of Tropican pellets, dried fruits and low-fat cereals etc.; and Prime, a vitamin, mineral and amino acid supplement powder.
There was also a clear need to provide improved public information to visitors at the wildlife complex, which is situated in the National Botanical Gardens in Kingstown. Individual cage signs for each enclosure to provide some basic information about the species exhibited were made possible thanks to a donation of signs from the education department of Chester Zoo in England, which operates the _Zoo Signs‘ service. They supplied signs for all wildlife species housed at the facility, ranging from red-footed tortoise, green vervet monkey and common agouti to the St Vincent parrots.
In July a two-week veterinary workshop was conducted in St Vincent by the field veterinary programme of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), New York. Dr Sharon Deems of WCS and Emily Ladwig, a senior keeper at Bronx Zoo, conducted a thorough health review of all captive St Vincent parrots on the island, including specimens held by private keepers as well as the main population at the complex. Emily Ladwig was also able to spend a significant amount of time working with the aviary staff to review some of their husbandry routines and the practical implementation of the new dietary products. The staff greatly enjoyed the opportunity to interact with other animal care professionals, and plans are being prepared to enable some of the Vincentian staff to receive additional training abroad in 2003. The principal government veterinarian, Dr Hachshaw, is due to travel to Tenerife at the invitation of the Loro Parque Foundation to participate in practical training in avian surgery techniques in the veterinary clinic there, while some of the keeping staff are due to travel to Paradise Park in England for training at the invitation of the World Parrot Trust.
By October some additional signs had also been installed at the complex to supplement the public information available. The first was a renovated version of an old sign describing the St Vincent parrot and its role and need for protection as the national bird of St Vincent and the Grenadines. The second was a newly-commissioned sign that illustrates a wide variety of the unique forms of wildlife found in St Vincent, with a message about the need to protect the island‘s biodiversity. Work on both signs was funded by Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary.
Roger Sweeney, Associate Director, Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, Worthing, Christ Church, Barbados, West Indies
Avicultural Society funds in situ research
Having recently adopted a pair of bushy-crested hornbills (Anorrhinus galeritus) living in the wild in Thailand as part of its policy of becoming more actively involved in conservation and research, the Avicultural Society has now taken the decision to help fund a research project studying the yellow-throated laughing thrush (Garrulax galbanus) in China. It is a project that is already well established and has the full support of the Chinese government, local forestry authorities and the local community.
The yellow-throated laughing thrush has been kept in European collections since the late 1980s, but in the early 1990s concern grew over the status of the two subspecies which occur on mainland China – G. g. courtoisi and G. g. simaoensis. The Munich-based German conservation organisation ZGAP provided grants to Chinese colleagues to investigate the status of the wild populations of these two Chinese forms, and in the 2000 breeding season, G. g. courtoisi was finally discovered breeding in the wild in Wuyuan (north-east Jiangxi). A total of 80–90 birds were counted, in two breeding flocks approximately 40 km apart. Two more breeding sites were found in 2001. This brought the known total to some 150–160 birds living in one small area.
They breed in flocks, close to rivers. All four breeding flocks have been around villages, very close to houses, and the 20 or more nests found have all been in the canopy of mature trees. These trees are traditionally protected by the villagers, and with their cooperation the local forest office has declared the breeding sites mini protected areas.
Much remains to be learnt about G. g. courtoisi; for example, nothing is known about where it goes after the breeding season. Shortly after the young are able to fly, all the birds, both young and adult, disappear into the hills. This important unresolved mystery may be solved by fitting some of the birds with tiny radio transmitters, and this could be one way in which the funding is used. Another would be to undertake a similar study of G. g. simaoensis.
Malcolm Ellis (Hon. Editor,
The Avicultural Magazine)
Seychelles giant tortoises breed at last
The Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles started its tortoise and terrapin conservation projects in 1997 [see IZN 45 (1), pp. 4–10] with the hope that in five years the animals would have settled in and started breeding. Over 200 eggs later we were starting to give up hope, but the fifth year proved to be our lucky one. In November 2002 our first Seychelles giant tortoise (Dipsochelys hololissa) egg hatched, followed by a second a few days later. These eggs were produced by Josephine, the youngest tortoise (at 16 years) and Adam, probably the oldest at somewhere beyond 100. The first hatchling was named Gerry after Gerald Durrell at the request of Dick and Sharon Mooney, who adopted a tortoise two years ago and have been waiting patiently for news of hatchlings. The second tortoise has been named David after our Patron, Sir David Attenborough.
These hatchlings were enough to make 2002 a year to remember, but the surprises continued with an Arnold‘s tortoise (D. arnoldi) egg hatching in December. Two more eggs also hatched in that clutch, the very first clutch laid by Betty, the smallest of the starved tortoises rescued from a Bougainville hotel. We never thought Betty had a serious chance of breeding with such an awful history. We are not yet completely certain of the paternity of these eggs, as two successful matings were recorded different males. We are delighted with these tiny additions to the project, who already show remarkable species differences. The Seychelles giant tortoises are dark and broad, whilst the Arnold‘s are much narrower, taller and a light brown colour.
A tortoise and turtle tour of Seychelles may be organised for June/July 2003. This would be an opportunity to see the new hatchlings on Silhouette Island and the tortoise and terrapin (Pelusios subniger parietalis and P. castanoides intergularis) breeding projects, and to visit several islands looking for wild tortoises, terrapins and sea turtles. If you are interested, please contact Justin Gerlach at 133 Cherry Hinton Road, Cambridge CB1 7BX, U.K. or by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Abridged from Seychelles Giant Tortoise News No. 13 (December 2002)
Keeping Galapagos birds healthy
Because avian diseases can present significant risks to the survival of wild bird populations, a cooperative program to monitor avian health in the Galapagos Islands was developed in 2001 between Saint Louis Zoo, the Des Lee Professorship in Zoological Studies at the University of Missouri in St Louis (UMSL), the Charles Darwin Research Station, the Galapagos National Park and the Hawaii Field Station of the National Wildlife Health Center.
Over the past two years, the program has had two basic components: firstly, an ongoing monitoring program that examines samples from Galapagos hawks (Buteo galapagoensis), Galapagos doves (Zanaida galapagoensis), waved albatrosses (Phoebetria irrorata), Darwin‘s finches (Geospiza spp.), smooth-billed anis (Crotophaga ani) and the introduced domestic chickens and rock doves, and secondly, an organized effort to transfer information and technology to Ecuadorian personnel.
Island populations are uniquely susceptible to many risks, including the threat of introduced diseases. A clear example of this risk is Hawaii, where of the 88 bird species present when the Polynesians first arrived, only 28 remain. In contrast, the avian fauna of the Galapagos Islands, well-known after Charles Darwin‘s voyages and subsequent studies, remains relatively intact – to date, although several native bird species are severely threatened, none have gone extinct. Avian diseases that might have a notable impact on wild populations, such as avian malaria, have not yet been reported in the Galapagos. However, the Culex mosquito vector has been recorded, and avian pox is present on human-inhabited islands in both domestic and endemic bird species. With increasing commerce between the archipelago and the mainland, the risk of introduced diseases is escalating.
The wild species studied were selected because UMSL graduate zoology students already had access to them in their ongoing studies. These species presented an interesting contrast. The Galapagos hawk populations on each island are isolated, so they represent the top of the food chain for each locale, whereas the far-ranging eating habits of the waved albatross should represent the health of the surrounding ocean. Another facet of the project is the analysis of patterns of disease transmission between monogamous and polyandrous hawk populations, as well as a comparison between the Galapagos doves found on islands with introduced rock doves and those from more pristine islands. The domestic chickens and introduced rock doves are important as _sentinel‘ species for diseases in the wild because they can be necropsied to obtain definite diagnostic information.
Additional sampling for heavy metals is planned for the future, as are more polymerase chain reaction techniques for avian malaria and more advanced studies of the evolution of diseases such as avian pox. New diseases, such as West Nile virus, will also be considered. Since the program is ongoing, it will allow for opportunities to compare changes in health issues over time. One of our goals is to use our findings to make practical recommendations that prevent the spread of disease. For example, scientific evidence may suggest alterations to be made in the existing quarantine regulations. Unique resources and the expertise of each of the partners are critical in developing a long-term monitoring program to prevent the introduction of disease. In that light, our program is a partnership that is developing an _early warning system‘ for the avifauna of this unique ecosystem.
Abridged from R. Eric Miller and Patricia Parker in AZA Communiqué (December 2002)
Lemur release in Madagascar
Since November 1997 the Madagascar Fauna Group (MFG) has released 13 captive-bred black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia v. variegata) into the Betampona Reserve in eastern Madagascar. The release program has three major aims: to assess the ability of captive-bred lemurs to adapt to a wild existence, to attempt to reinforce the small, isolated resident population at Betampona of approximately 35 to 40 individuals, and to contribute to the protection and conservation management of this lowland rainforest reserve.
Three releases have been carried out to date: 3.2 animals in November 1997, 1.3 in November 1998 and 3.1 in January 2001. All the lemurs had varying degrees of free-ranging experience in forest habitats prior to their release, either at Duke University Primate Center, North Carolina, or at the Wildlife Conservation Society‘s St. Catherine‘s Island, Georgia. All were at least second-generation captive-bred. Nine were born in free-ranging environments and four in cage environments.
A _soft‘ release, including provisioning post-release, was employed to minimize early losses and allow the lemurs to habituate to their new environment. They were held for a minimum of two weeks in cages at the Madagascar Fauna Group base camp, and at least five days in cages in the forest prior to release. During this period forest fruits were provided. Release areas were carefully selected in the reserve after detailed botanical survey work to identify the presence of sufficient food resource tree species. Further selection criteria included the absence of a resident wild group and proximity to the project base camp for ease of monitoring.
Each lemur was fitted with a radio transmitter collar prior to release. The lemurs were (and still are, if necessary) provisioned with commercial primate diet, and water was provided in baskets suspended in the forest canopy. Such supplemental feeding has been deemed necessary during the winter months when marked falls in body weight have been recorded. Veterinary intervention is provided if animals show clear signs of physical distress. A non-invasive method of weighing the lemurs was developed to enable close monitoring of their condition. Data are also collected from the wild population to allow a comparison of behavioral and habitat use variables between the two groups.
The following measures of success were employed: (1) Successful adaptation to the natural habitat – survival for one year without supplementary feeding, and/or successful reproduction, and (2) Successful contribution to the wild population – integration into a wild group and successful reproduction with a wild individual.
Five of the 13 are currently surviving, including one male who has integrated into a wild group, but has yet to reproduce. Five (2.3) fell victim to predation by fossas. One (1.0) died of malnutrition; one (0.1) disappeared from the reserve; and one (0.1) was withdrawn from the release program, due to poor adaptation after two years in the wild. Two males have survived for more than one year without supplementary feeding. One pair bred twice: the first infants did not survive, but on the second occasion, triplets were successfully raised beyond weaning. One female triplet is still surviving and has paired with a wild male.
Lessons learned so far include the following:
(1) Integration and reproduction with the resident population will not occur quickly by the current release method. It appears that male ruffed lemurs emigrate from their natal group. Given the success of one male in integrating into the wild population, it is suggested that a more effective strategy for reinforcing small, isolated populations would be the release of young males in a location peripheral to wild groups.
(2) Captive-bred lemurs are particularly vulnerable to predation by fossa. In the course of the release program (4.5 years), none of the wild study group (n = 10) was lost to predation. No realistic method of training captive-bred Varecia to avoid predation by fossa has yet been devised. The best option would be to encourage rapid integration of released animals into wild groups, where they could learn predator-avoidance skills directly from their wild conspecifics.
(3) Free-ranging experience during early development appears to increase the likelihood of successful adaptation post-release.
(4) Free-ranging experience does not necessarily increase the likelihood of survival until integration with wild individuals occurs (due to point 2 above).
(5) During the winter, supplementary feeding is necessary for the released lemurs due to loss of weight and condition at this time.
Despite a mortality rate of 61.5%, certain measures of success have been achieved. The ability to survive beyond one year without provisioning, to reproduce successfully, and to integrate with the resident population have been demonstrated by some of the released lemurs. To date they have made no contribution to the gene pool of the wild population, but there is reason to be confident that this will occur in time.
In conclusion, it has been demonstrated that captive-bred black-and-white ruffed lemurs can adapt to a wild existence, although losses will be high and integration with the wild population will be a lengthy process. The project is currently entering its second phase, where the progress of the remaining lemurs will continue to be closely monitored. No releases are planned during the next three years. At the end of this monitoring period a decision will be made on the necessity for and advisability of future releases.
Abridged from Adam Britt, Charlie Welch and Andrea Katz in Reintroduction News No. 21 (June 2002)
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Managing herps in European collections
The EAZA Amphibian and Reptile (AR) TAG was established in 1992. Just as in other TAGs, the group consists of specialists in the field who can advise on which taxa need attention from EAZA zoos and on development of strategies to provide the needed attention. A great difference between the AR TAG and most others is the number of taxa to be considered – many thousands, rather a contrast to e.g. the Bear or Penguin TAG. A serious problem faced by the AR TAG, both in the past and currently, is getting the experts involved with the relevant taxa to the TAG meetings. The curator in charge of amphibians and reptiles also covers other animal taxa (e.g. fishes) at most zoos. Often a choice must be made regarding his or her priorities in which meetings to attend – and somehow amphibians and reptiles have usually been on the losing side.
In 1994 there were only two AR EEPs – for the heloderms and for the Cuban boa – and no European studbooks (ESBs). Since then, another three EEPs, for Chinese alligator, Egyptian tortoise and Komodo dragon, have been established, and ESBs have been set up for seven species: rhinoceros iguana, Jamaican boa, Madagascan tree boa, giant Asian pond turtle, spiny turtle, Amboina box turtle, and black marsh turtle. Proposals for an EEP for the Cuban iguana and for ESBs for the blue poison-arrow frog and pancake tortoise will be discussed at the next AR TAG meeting, and other taxa will be (re)considered over time.
The TAG is also examining other issues, such as the snake paramyxovirus, IATA transport guidelines and protocols for working with poisonous snakes. The TAG is also finding its way to cooperation with private holders and with zoo associations in other regions. Means by which the TAG and its members can contribute to conservation, either through captive breeding or direct support of in situ conservation projects, are being explored and progress is being made.
The establishment of a regional collection plan is a high priority for all TAGs, and volunteers are developing collection plan proposals for various taxon groups for consideration by the TAG. Many taxa fall into the _monitor‘ collection plan category, meaning that the TAG would like to keep an eye on these taxa, and possibly consider more intensive programme management. The resulting long list of taxa is not easy to oversee, so a short list of the taxa that require the most immediate attention has also been made.
English summary of article by Gerard Visser in De Harpij Vol. 21, No. 4 (2002), pp. 2–8.
Possible parthenogenesis in sharks
The hatching of two white-spotted bamboo sharks (Chiloscyllium plagiosum) at Belle Isle Aquarium, Detroit, Michigan, in July 2002 was met with celebration and a bit of bewilderment, since the new mother is housed with only one other bamboo shark, who is also female. The two adult sharks have laid eggs in the past, but without a male present to fertilize them they were assumed to be non-viable and were normally discarded.
In 2001, at Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, Nebraska, a bonnethead shark (Sphyrna tiburo) also gave birth with no male presence. This was the first reported instance in an accredited institution that raised suspicions that sharks may be able to reproduce parthenogenetically; Belle Isle‘s new babies are the second. Genetic testing will soon begin on the newly-hatched sharks to determine whether or not they are indeed true parthenogenetic offspring, or if another explanation is available. Tests may reveal that the mother is actually both male and female, thus capable of fertilizing its own eggs, a trait common in invertebrates such as snails and in some lower vertebrates such as mangrove killifish and gobies. Another possible explanation is that Belle Isle‘s shark was actually fertilized by a male at a very young age.
AZA Communiqué (November 2002)
Four black rhinos in England – in 1877
In the belief that the black rhinoceros male Theodore, living in London Zoo from 11 September 1868 to 12 April 1891, was the only representative of his species in Britain during his lifetime, I was surprised to find a notice of a temporary exhibit of another three animals in 1877. They were part of the second Nubian Show which Bernhard Kohn, animal trader in the Egyptian Sudan, had assembled for Carl Hagenbeck and his brother-in-law Charles Rice. The caravan, which consisted of 15 people and a variety of animals and objects, toured Germany from July 1877 onwards, and made short visits to the Jardin d‘Acclimatation in Paris and to London before being disbanded later in the year. Their stay in London was arranged by Rice and was noticed in Nature on 20 September 1877: _There is on view at present at the Alexandra Palace an interesting collection of fourteen Nubians with a number of animals, comprising six ostriches, six giraffes, five elephants, twenty-one racing dromedaries, three rhinoceroses, two hunting dogs, two Abyssinian spotted donkeys, four buffaloes, two zebus, monkeys, &c.‘ Among the people there was a Homran man, aged nineteen, _who has the three rhinoceroses under his special care, and which follow him and lick his hand like pet lambs.‘ The correspondent of Nature clarified the presence of the rhinoceroses in the next issue, dated 27 September 1877: _As might have been expected, the three rhinoceroses now exhibited in the Alexandra Park are specimens of the African Black Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros bicornis).‘ There was _a pair being about eighteen months old, and the other a male not more than a year old. In the larger specimens the posterior horn is much smaller than that upon the nose, whilst in the young male its presence is only indicated by a slight rugosity.‘ These three rhinoceroses probably returned to Hagenbeck‘s compound in Hamburg and took part in subsequent Nubian shows in Germany. They were later joined by a fourth black rhinoceros, and two of them lived at least ten years in captivity.
Dr Kees Rookmaaker (E-mail: email@example.com)
Memorial services for zoo animals
As an example of a distinct difference between Western and Japanese cultures, visitors to Japan often notice what appears to be a tombstone on the zoo grounds. The stone monument is a cenotaph for animals – no animal remains are buried underneath it. Ceremonies are conducted to honor the souls of deceased zoo animals, typically during the autumnal equinox, attended by not only the zoo staff, but animal representatives as well. People offer a bouquet of flowers and prayers for peace for the animals that devoted their lives to humans. A recent study reveals that 70% of zoos and 27% of aquariums polled have such cenotaphs (evidently people do not feel the same degree of kinship with fish as they do with mammals). The study also shows that 49% of the institutions conduct such memorial services.
Excerpted and translated by Ken Kawata from _70% of zoos have cenotaphs‘ by Tei Shimizu, Asahi Evening Newspaper (28 October 2002)
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AUCKLAND ZOO, NEW ZEALAND
Extracts from the Annual Report 2001–2002
Zoo staff successfully collected 20 juvenile Mahoenui giant weta (Deinacrida mahoenui) to assist with the Department of Conservation‘s (DoC) Weta Recovery Plan. Working with this threatened species will allow staff to gain the necessary husbandry experience for the similar Wetapunga giant weta, which we hope to obtain in the future. Special new enclosures are to be built for weta in the new financial year.
Auckland Zoo plays a key role in Operation Nest Egg (ONE) by hatching and rearing chicks from wild-laid eggs of the North Island brown kiwi. Young chicks are returned to an island crèche where they grow up naturally in a predator-free environment. Once they reach their adult weight they are moved back to the mainland. This season we have hatched and released a record 18 chicks for ONE, bringing the total number released by the zoo to 72. We successfully hatched two eggs taken when freshly laid and artificially incubated for the full incubation period, the first documented case for this. Another success this year has been increased kiwi activity in the Kiwi House due to enclosure improvements, which has increased viewing from 22% to 80%.
Native frog species have suffered catastrophic declines due to infestation with the chytrid fungus. This year the zoo was approached by DoC to assist with conservation and research for Archey‘s frogs (Leiopelma archeyi). The programme has external funding, and there are plans for a special frog enclosure to be built at the zoo by early 2003 to house a population of Archey‘s frogs. The zoo will be working closely with DoC to increase the population of this endangered species, and will also work with other frog experts to screen for the chytrid fungus and work towards finding a cure.
Despite no successful breeding this year, we released seven Cuvier Island tuatara (which hatched here in 1998) and six Red Mercury Island tuatara (which hatched in 1997) back to their respective islands.
The zoo was invited by the DoC to participate in the National Kokako (Callaeas cinerea) Recovery Programme. A young hand-reared female, which had been hatched on Tiritiri Matangi, and a wild-caught male from Puketi Forest in Northland, were brought to the zoo in March. Three juvenile kaka (Nestor meridionalis) fledged in the Glade New Zealand Aviary, and another three captive-bred birds were moved to Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, Wellington, where they will be released. The sanctuary is home to the second mainland population of kaka to be re-established through captive breeding and release.
The zoo often takes care of fairy tern (Sterna nereis) eggs requiring temporary incubation due to potential threats to wild nests such as storms and high tides. Ten eggs, which were doomed in the wild, were transferred here. Six were viable and were transferred to foster nests, resulting in the fledging and banding of three chicks. This effort helped to make this season the most successful yet for this vulnerable species. Seven young brown teal (Anas chlorotis) were raised for DoC‘s recovery programme, Operation Pateke, and four of these were released into the wild.
The zoo‘s Conservation Fund, set up in 2000, now provides support for two field projects – the Sumatran Orang-utan Project and a turtle/tortoise ecology project at Cuc Phuong National Park in Vietnam. Zoo veterinarian Dr Richard Jakob-Hoff and his team were contracted to assist the Seychelles Ministry of Environment in health screening endangered Seychelles white-eyes (Zosterops modestus) prior to translocation from one island to another.
The Zoo‘s Wildlife Health and Research Centre was also contracted to perform the first systematic health surveillance of wild and domestic parrots and waterfowl in New Zealand for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Little is known about diseases carried by wild animals in this country. Without this baseline information, it is difficult to assess the biosecurity significance of diseases detected during routine health screening of individual animals. It is also impossible to make informed decisions on disease threats to native and introduced birds.
The DoC continued to contract Dr Jakob-Hoff to provide technical advice on wildlife health issues. Topics this year included interpretation of health screens on brown teal, black stilt, weka, kiwi and takahe. In addition, he gave advice on handling gravid brown teal, commented on the significance of newly-discovered blood parasites for native species, and advised on the format of a database for recording cases of ill-health in native species.
An excellent training and conditioning programme with our giraffes has made semen collection from the bull and artificial insemination of the cows possible. However, staff were taken by surprise in February when an ultrasound (carried out in preparation for artificial insemination) revealed one cow was pregnant. Faecal progesterone checks have since revealed that our second female is also pregnant. Both calves are due in late 2002. Semen collected from the bull is being transferred to two Australian zoos.
The birth of four black-handed spider monkeys (Ateles g. geoffroyi), a siamang and three ring-tailed lemurs have delighted our visitors, and also added valuable representatives to their respective regional breeding programmes.
In July 2001, after years of planning, 20 greater flamingos arrived from Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in England. The zoo‘s exotic birds team leader Michael Batty had been stationed at Slimbridge to see them through incubation, hatching, and their first months of life. Unfortunately two birds were lost in quarantine, but 18 healthy birds (who are gradually _pinking up‘) are now out on display, much to the delight of visitors. Despite some problems obtaining a holding permit for little blue penguins (Eudyptula minor), six birds were finally transferred to the zoo from Marineland, Napier.
A total of 527 clinical cases were attended to at the zoo‘s Wildlife Health and Research Centre during the year. Parasites, infections and injuries accounted for the majority (59%) of presentations. Other significant contributors to ill-health were nutritional imbalances (11 %) and inflammatory conditions (8%). Bite wounds accounted for the majority of injuries among mammals such as primates; some of the rhinos also gave each other minor horn injuries. A significant rise in this year‘s injury statistics (122 compared to 82 last year) is largely accounted for by foot cracks in our new flamingo flock; changes to the pond substrate ultimately allowed their feet to heal.
The main contributors to the 13.2% mortality rate this year were juvenile mortality in Jackson‘s chameleons, and the death of a number of frogs. The chameleons gave birth to 72 young, of which 23 died, a mortality rate of 32%; in the wild, the rate is usually over 90% for this species.
BURGERS‘ ZOO, ARNHEM, THE NETHERLANDS
Annual Report 2002
During the year, a total of 1,620,000 people visited the zoo. This is an increase of 8,000 over the previous year, making 2002 in terms of attendance the second-best year (after 2000) in the history of Burgers‘ Zoo.
In the past year a lot of new constructions and renovations were completed. The Sri Lanka leopards had been given a new enclosure in 2001, and in 2002 the enclosure of their neighbours, the black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas) was completely demolished and rebuilt. These shy animals seem to feel quite comfortable in their new environment, as they present themselves very well to the public and do not show any stereotypic behaviour at all, although the experience of other zoos suggests that they are very sensitive in this respect.
In Burgers‘ Ocean the coral reef tank developed according to our expectations and many live corals, both confiscated and captive-bred, could be introduced into their new environment. In the corridor between Burgers‘ Bush and Burgers‘ Ocean an aquarium for jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) was completed and turned out to be a major attraction. These jellyfish take the visitors on a _journey‘ to the bottom of a south-east Asian coral reef.
In our animal collection, 2002 can be considered to have been a year of important breeding successes – for example, with our wart hogs (Phacochoerus africanus). We and three other European zoos each received 1.2 wart hogs from the Gambia in 1997. However, the Arnhem animals did not reproduce at all in past years. Two years ago we received a female born in Rotterdam, and a year later a young male from Antwerp, because we expected the three wild-caught animals to be past reproductive age. However, at the beginning of 2002 both the Rotterdam female and one of the wild-caught females gave birth to litters, with six offspring in total (1 DNS). It turned out that the wild-caught male had mated these two females long before the Antwerp male arrived, so the latter, together with the non-breeding wild-caught female, left Arnhem for Kronberg.
We had our first white rhino offspring since 1988, with a calf born and successfully reared by her 32-year-old mother. This female had given birth only once before: in 1981 she delivered a son who died due to shortage of milk. In past years we have invested a lot of time and money into stimulating reproduction in this species. Both our males and all the females were investigated by a team of scientists, and even artificial insemination was attempted; however, it turned out that this baby rhino must be the result of a natural mating.
The ringtails (Bassariscus astutus) rewarded our efforts. This species can only be seen in a handful of European collections; there is no recommendation for it from the EAZA Small Carnivore TAG, but it plays an important role in our story of the Sonora Desert. We therefore keep two pairs: one in our indoor eco-display Burgers‘ Desert, and one behind the scenes in our former nocturnal house, which has been closed to the public for the last couple of years. The latter pair made use of their privacy, and in the spring two male offspring were born and mother-reared. In the autumn these sons were exchanged for the pair on show, so there are now two pairs behind the scenes. At the end of the year the parents of the first litter again reproduced, and this time the mother gave birth to three offspring (1 DNS).
In the bird section, too, we began to reap a harvest after years of efforts. In recent years, by use of domestic poultry, the keepers have taught the trumpeters (Psophia crepitans) how to incubate eggs and rear offspring. The birds passed the test with success, because this spring the female produced three eggs and the couple reared their chicks themselves as if they had done it a thousand times before. They even produced a second clutch of two eggs, and the first three offspring (all males) even assisted in rearing the new chicks, though unfortunately these failed to survive.
In summer 2001 we used one of our off-show bird houses to hold a total of eight great Indian hornbills [see IZN 49 (1), pp. 44–45 – Ed.]. By use of camera observations we tried to find out if the birds had any preferences for one particular individual of the other sex; pairs that seemed to be attracted to each other were placed together in one of the co-operating zoos. We kept two left-over birds and managed to put them together, so that at least we had a pair for educational purposes. However, against all expectation this spring the female produced three eggs. She threw one out of the nest, a second one was infertile, but the third was fertile; unfortunately the chick died during hatching. Despite this failure we are extremely happy with this result, as there is hardly any reproduction in great Indian hornbills hatched in captivity.
We were very disappointed when in Burgers‘ Ocean our male leopard shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) suddenly died of an infection. Much to our surprise, several weeks later the female produced seven eggs, of which four turned out to be fertile. Three of these eggs also died after a couple of weeks, but at the time of writing one egg still contains a little live shark which is due to hatch in mid-February. During the past year the staff of Burgers‘ Ocean have managed to propagate many soft corals, stony and horny corals.
The reproduction of aardvarks at the zoo [see IZN 48 (6), pp. 401–402] has continued, and in 2002 both breeding females gave birth and each reared a daughter. Burgers‘ Zoo is European Studbook Keeper for this species, of which there are only about 40 in captivity. Our female twins of 2001 moved to Colchester (U.K.) and Randers (Denmark).
In the summer of 2002 we decided to euthanise one of our female Asian elephants, because she was clearly suffering from arthrosis in the back legs, so that she could hardly move. A few weeks after her death we received another elephant from Amersfoort Zoo to join our remaining female.
During the year we carried out almost 250 animal transfers. Apart from those mentioned above, the most notable were as follows: three chimpanzees went to Plzen (Czech Republic), one male chimpanzee, seven domestic yaks and our former breeding male giraffe (G. c. rothschildi) to Gänserndorf (Austria), two bongos and two male giraffes to Thoiry (France), six Grant‘s zebras to Amersfoort, a female black-tipped reef shark (Carcharinus melanopterus), which was confiscated in the Netherlands, to the new Valencia Aquarium (Spain), two male lions and six meerkats to Bosphorus (Turkey), two white-tailed sea eagles to the National Birds of Prey Centre (U.K.), and three eaglets of the same species to Israel for release. Two species disappeared from Arnhem because they did not fit into our collection plan: the two last Watusi cattle went to Cabarceno (Spain), and the last ostriches to Pont-Scorff (France).
In January 2002 we unexpectedly received 170 turtles of six species who were destined for the Chinese food markets but confiscated in Hong Kong [see IZN 49 (2), pp. 98–99, and 49 (4), p. 232]. Almost a thousand came to Europe, and we took care of the first days in Europe for 170 individuals. A few weeks after their arrival, once their condition had improved significantly, more than 120 turtles could be forwarded to other EAZA institutions; the rest, mainly giant pond turtles (Orlitia borneensis), remained in Arnhem.
Someone left us two red-winged parrots (Aprosmictus erythropterus) and seven king parrots (Aliserus scapularis); these birds were very welcome, as they had been on our wanted list for a long time. Another long-felt wish became reality when we received a male secretary bird from Birdpark Alphen a/d Rijn (Netherlands) to pair with our female of this species. From the London Aquarium we received a female black-tipped reef shark (Carcharinus melanopterus) which was confiscated in the U.K. Berlin Zoo sent us a group of blue jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) for our new aquarium.
We received 15 (6.9) European otters (Lutra l. lutra) from both the wild and captivity as part of a reintroduction project of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Fisheries. These animals passed their quarantine period at Burgers‘ Zoo, where they were treated against diseases and transmitters were implanted so that their daily activities can be followed from a greater distance. They were released in the northern part of the Netherlands in different protected areas, and so far they are doing well.
The year 2002 ended with two new arrivals: we received from Dortmund, Hannover and Lisbon a total of four male roan antelopes (Hippotragus equinus) for our safari section; and finally, we acquired a group of Barbour‘s seahorses (Hippocampus barbouri), who have already reproduced behind the scenes!
Marc Damen, Curator of Mammals, Burgers‘ Zoo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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INTERNATIONAL ZOO NEWS
Avifauna Bird Park, Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands
Avifauna, in operation for 50 years, was the first bird park in the world. It is now exploring different methods to increase its current annual attendance of 300,000 visitors to 450,000, while remaining essentially what it is – a bird park. Because most birds are not _sexy‘, presentation is important in attracting visitors. Educational bird shows, contact areas (e.g. the Lory Landing) and keeper talks are well received by the public, and an expansion of such exhibits is planned. However, Avifauna is trying to achieve a balance between the mixed and interactive exhibits preferred by the public, and enclosures that encourage reproduction of threatened or otherwise unusual species.
The attractive Philippine Hall, in which some birds are free-flighted, and others, including rare hornbills, are held in pairs, is a good example of the approach planned for the future. In addition to serving breeding and exhibit functions, the Hall provides educational emphasis on the in situ conservation work that Avifauna supports in the Philippines, and mammals (in this case an endangered cloud rat species) serve to accent the avian theme. Indeed, mammals will be exhibited more frequently throughout the park, but only to complement the birds, which will remain the focus – an interesting contrast to the average zoo!
The famous Avifauna children‘s playground will also undergo substantial change, including incorporation of biotope themes and use of more natural materials. But the popular playground clearly only increases Avifauna‘s attractiveness, so it will definitely remain in the masterplan!
English summary of article by Robert van Herk and Rogier van der Zanden in De Harpij Vol. 21, No. 4 (2002), pp. 13–16.
Beauval Zoo Park, France
On 6 July 2002 the park opened a new tropical greenhouse exhibit focusing on Australian species, including koalas, Matschie‘s tree kangaroos, brush-tailed bettongs, several bird and reptile species and a marine aquarium. The greenhouse has a total area of 800 m2 and is 12 m high. There are five indoor enclosures of 50 m2 each, three for koalas and two as mixed exhibits for tree kangaroos and bettongs. Visitors can view these animals through three-metre-high glass panels, and video cameras have been installed allowing for continuous behaviour observations by staff and visitors. The house also includes two aviaries housing Major Mitchell‘s cockatoos and two terrariums for carpet pythons and green tree pythons. The marine aquarium is 6 m long, 3 m high and 3 m deep and houses over 2,000 fishes as well as invertebrates such as anemones and corals.
The building is fully air-conditioned, with a temperature that is maintained at 22° C and a relative humidity between 60% and 70% to mimic the Australian climate. The animal enclosures contain artificial rockwork, dead trees and wooden platforms. Both the rocks and the floors in the enclosures as well as the visitor areas are painted in a red colour that resembles the typical Australian rocks and soils. Wall paintings of various Australian habitats further help to recreate a naturalistic Australian environment.
Beauval received its first koalas on breeding loan – a male came from Lisbon Zoo and a female from Planckendael (Belgium). Both animals are owned by San Diego Zoo. A keeper and curator from Beauval have received training in koala husbandry at Duisburg (Germany) and Planckendael as well as at San Diego. For the first month after the animals‘ arrival a keeper from San Diego stayed at Beauval to ensure that all was going well. Two female tree kangaroos have arrived at Beauval on breeding loan from Gladys Porter (Brownsville, Texas) and Cologne Zoos. A further male is expected from Duisburg.
Françoise Delord and Stéphanie Bidaux in EAZA News No. 40 (October–December 2002)
Emmen Zoo, the Netherlands
On 11 July 2002 the zoo opened a large, naturalistic new exhibit for a big group of Humboldt penguins. (Emmen Zoo staff member Pierre de Wit has managed the EEP for this species ever since it was established.) The exhibit has a total surface area of 3,440 m2, of which 2,975 m2 is land (including a service area) and 465 m2 water. The total water volume is 842 m3 and maximum water depth is 2.6 m. A special feature of this exhibit is that clearly separate areas have been created for swimming and resting on the one hand, and breeding on the other.
Upon approaching the new exhibit, visitors will first view the penguins in the water and beach area. A wave machine creates quite large waves on the water surface. Next to the pool there is a pebble beach, with artificial cliffs behind. A number of narrow paths lead uphill through the cliffs to the separate nesting grounds. Visitors can follow one of these paths, much like those used by the penguins, to reach the breeding area, where a path winds through the nesting grounds, with only a low fence separating birds and people. The penguins can cross the visitor path through tunnels underneath it, About 75 artificial nest holes have been created, while the soil (a combination of loam, sand and fine grit) allows the birds to dig their own burrows as well.
After visiting the breeding grounds, visitors enter the education centre. This is built like a penguin _school‘, where penguins learn about penguin life, penguin behaviour, penguin conservation, etc. Obviously, the emphasis is on the Humboldt penguin. The second section of the centre is a penguin _house‘ in which visitors can learn about the daily life of the Humboldt penguin: how they spend their day, what they eat, etc. The education messages are presented in a fairly comical way, with children being the targeted audience.
The visitors‘ route continues through a large corridor with a panoramic view of the penguins underwater through a 24 m long and about 2 m high acrylic panel. Right in front of the panel are two outlets of an automatic feeding system. Fish is released from pipes underwater, just above the bottom of the pool, at irregular intervals. As a result of this feeding technique the penguins spend a considerable time collecting food, and often this is done in groups.
An off-display service area is currently under construction. This includes a building with facilities for veterinary treatment of birds, quarantine, office space and fish storage. The service area also includes a square into which the penguins can be herded, in case the exhibit needs extensive cleaning or other reasons demand temporary removal of the birds from the exhibit.
At present the exhibit houses 145 Humboldt penguins, and this colony will be allowed to grow. In addition, coscoroba and black-necked swans and Magellanic steamer ducks share the new exhibit. There are plans to replace these with brown pelicans in the future.
Pierre de Wit in EAZA News No. 40 (October–December 2002)
Loro Parque, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
After a long breeding pause, our cactus conures (Aratinga cactorum) have again produced offspring; the chicks are being raised by their parents. It is extremely important that this species reproduces because, apart from six females, there is only one male in our collection. With the successful hatching of these three young, we hope to increase our number of males, who may later be paired with the other females.
Our Abbott‘s cockatoos (Cacatua sulphurea abbotti), too, had a very successful season; first, two chicks of this species, which is a critically-endangered subspecies of the lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo, were hand-reared in the baby station; this first clutch was followed by another one later in the year. The two chicks in question are being raised by their parents and are doing very well.
Two Morotai yellow-backed lories (Lorius garrulus morotaianus) were hatched by their parents in August and have already reached independence. Two pairs of Müller‘s parrots (Tanygnathus sumatranus) raised three young, a good result for a species which is not very common in captivity. Three thick-billed parrot (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha) chicks were hatched and reared; this represents an excellent result for a rare parrot species which is not very common in European collections.
A very special event was the successful raising of two blue-headed macaws (Ara couloni) from a pair which were themselves bred at Loro Parque. Consequently, we already have second-generation birds of this species in Loro Parque. Another notable success was the hatching of three short-tailed parrots (Graydidascalus brachyurus). After a chick was reared for the very first time last year, the keeping of this small parrot in large flocking aviaries seems to prove worthwhile.
Early last year, we reported the arrival of three pairs of Brazilian grey-breasted conures (Pyrrhura leucotis griseipectus), and by November two of them were already raising young. Another positive result with recently acquired parrots was with our new parrotlets. Among others, the Santarem green-rumped parrotlet (Forpus passerinus deliciosus) has been extremely successful and produced a number of chicks.
For the first time in three years, our lesser vasa parrots (Coracopsis nigra) have produced offspring again. Two years ago, as these birds have traditionally shown little interest in breeding, we decided to transfer 14 young individuals who had been held in pairs into a flocking aviary, in view of the rather peaceful character of this species. After that, three pairs started reproducing last year, but unluckily all the eggs were infertile. This year, again, three pairs laid eggs, three of which hatched and were raised to independence. So flocking in larger aviaries has proven successful, and the future will tell us if further pairs are going to raise young.
Just in time for the beginning of the fifth International Parrot Convention which took place here in September, the new lory aviaries were inaugurated. To finish the 48 new exhibits in time, our staff worked day and night during the last few days. We even managed to transfer the pairs into their new homes before the beginning of the convention. What is most important is that these new aviaries are characterized by larger dimensions, measuring between three and five metres in length and a height of almost three metres. The flights are separated by PCV panels painted in light, pleasant colours. The back part of the interior consists of artificial rocks designed by a specialist team, provided with hidden access to the nest boxes and the food dishes, indistinguishable to the visitor. In between the aviaries, we have randomly placed narrow beds of plants which go very well with the ones grown inside the different aviaries. The ground of the latter is covered with volcanic sand, and natural branches, swings and ropes offer the lories a variety of tools and instruments to keep them busy. Overhead sprays provide necessary cooling on hot and muggy days.
In December we added another species to the collection, the collared lory (Phigys solitarius), when we took over two pairs from a German breeder. These birds, which are very rare in captivity, will be moved to the La Vera breeding centre after a six weeks‘ quarantine period and will hopefully start reproducing soon. The species, which originates from Fiji, measures approximately 20 cm; these animals are very active, and even in the quarantine cages they are constantly moving. We are looking forward to presenting this colourful and beautiful lory species to the visitors in the park.
In December 2002 Loro Parque celebrated its 30th anniversary. The park opened its doors for the first time on 17 December 1972, when it covered an area of 13,000 square metres. Since then, it has grown to 135,000 m2 and has become one of the leading zoos in Europe.
Abridged from the reports for September–December 2002 compiled by Matthias Reinschmidt, Curator, Loro Parque
Los Angeles Zoo, California, U.S.A.
In May 2002, the zoo completed the three-and-a-half-year process of becoming accredited by the American Association of Museums as a botanical garden, a status our Horticultural Division is justly proud of. But achieving it wasn‘t easy. _The zoo moved to its current location in 1966 and most of the plants here were planted at that time,‘ says horticulturalist Janica Jones, who came to the zoo four years ago and spearheaded the accreditation process. _But nobody had bothered to identify and record them. As part of accreditation, we had to go out and give all these plants an accession number. We‘ve so far accessioned and cataloged 7,500 – and counting.‘
Like the animals for whom they provide shade, food, and the occasional jungle gym, the zoo‘s botanicals are an international bunch. There are wine palms from Chile, from whose pulp both wine and honey can be made, cork oaks from Spain, dawn redwoods from China, and grass trees with spear-like leaves and honey-scented flowers from Australia. There is fresh browse from the world over, including the South African kaffir plum (Harpephyllum caffrum), a big favorite with the zoo‘s denizens. The zoo‘s 80 acres [32 ha] are also home to cactus, succulent, and rose gardens. There are cycads, gingkos and conifers whose relatives have been on Earth since the Mesozoic era, and which are sometimes referred to by visiting schoolchildren as _dinosaur plants‘. Native Californian species have been reintroduced into the riverine transition zone that encircles the zoo‘s parking lot, a weir that catches rain water and filters it before it makes its way to the Los Angeles River. And other native plants and trees, such as live oak (Quercus agrifolia), pine, and chaparral will soon be incorporated into the new entry plaza to further evoke and establish a _traditional California‘ theme.
And then there‘s the Maya breadnut tree or _ramón‘ (Brosimum alicastrum). The zoo has been carefully husbanding this native of Central American rain forests and other tropical climates because, as Jones explains, the ramón just might save the world. _This is such an important plant, ecologically,‘ says Jones, of the slender green shoots sprouting in pallets in the zoo‘s greenhouse. _The fruit, about the size of a hazelnut, is treated the same way you treat coffee-beans – roasted and ground. You can make a beverage that‘s loaded with vitamin C and protein – but no caffeine. Or grind it into flour and make tortillas, bread, cake, whatever. The benefit to the zoo is the ramón‘s potential for feeding our animals – the Mayans fed the leaves to their livestock, and zoos in Mexico use it as a dietary staple. We‘ve been shipping out ramón seeds to botanical gardens and zoos to see if it‘s viable in this region. Its potential to sustain the rain forests and help feed the planet is really staggering.‘
The long-sightedness to see horticulture‘s role beyond the zoo‘s periphery is part and parcel of Jones‘s – and the zoo‘s – philosophy. While Jones says accreditation has been _satisfying‘, she doesn‘t see it as an end, but as part of a continual process of growth and renewal. _The thing about having the zoo accredited as a botanical garden is that it really opens up the world of plants to a whole new audience,‘ Jones says. _Most botanical gardens are geared toward a specific population. At the zoo, we have the opportunity to get kids interested, and to hold their interest in plants, which they have naturally. We get to nurture that interest. We get to show them how plants, animals, and people come together. That‘s what this program is all about, and that link is unbreakable.‘
Adapted from Zoo View Vol. 36, No. 3 (Fall 2002)
Marwell Zoo, U.K.
Our new Desert Carnivores House has been specifically designed for sand cats and other small animals that inhabit arid desert areas. The building currently houses a group of four sand cats, as well as yellow mongooses, bushy-tailed jirds and spiny-tailed lizards. The house is dehumidified and heated to provide suitable living conditions, and the design allows animals to move between their indoor enclosures via cat-flaps, which they have quickly learned to use, and glazed external enclosures.
Sand cats were scientifically recognised about 150 years ago, but it was not until the latter part of the 20th century that it was discovered that there are four subspecies, from North Africa, Turkmenistan, Arabia and Pakistan. Little is known about their wild status, but the Pakistan subspecies is considered to be the most endangered. The animals at Marwell are of the Arabian subspecies Felis margarita harrisoni, and were bred at Bristol Zoo. Initially Marwell has a single-sex male group as part of the requirements of the EEP for the species. It is vital to ensure that a diverse stock of animals is maintained in collections, and Desert Carnivores is large enough to accommodate future breeding pairs of these animals and their offspring.
Sand cats suffer from respiratory problems if they are exposed to humid conditions for too long. It was therefore important to provide them with enclosed indoor quarters with controlled temperature and humidity. However, a diversity of environment is also beneficial for most animals, so the external glazed enclosures with natural ventilation were added. For long-term flexibility of use, the building was designed to have two suites, each with two indoor enclosures, an outdoor glazed enclosure and an off-exhibit enclosure. All the enclosures in each suite are inter-connected with lockable cat flaps. The staff service corridor has a separate door to isolate each suite; thus each of the two areas can be independently heated and dehumidified. Two additional enclosures allow small animals such as reptiles and rodents to be exhibited. Rooflights and windows provide natural daylight, while glazing between enclosures allows the inhabitants to watch each other and see what is happening outside. Daylight is supplemented by artificial lighting, and heat pads and heat lamps provide warm spots around the enclosures.
Abridged from John Adams in Marwell Zoo News No. 112 (Autumn 2002)
Ouwehands Zoo, Rhenen, the Netherlands
The female polar bear Huggies was found by a research team in May 1994 on Wrangle Island near Siberia when she was five months of age. The motherless cub was brought to Ouwehands Zoo. On 16 December 2000, Huggies left for Kolmarden Zoo, Sweden, where she would have the chance to breed. On 19 November 2001 the staff at Kolmarden reported that she was pregnant and asked that she return to Rhenen. Spaces for pregnant polar bears were already occupied at Ouwehands at that time, and it was decided to wait to move Huggies until she had given birth and the cub was old enough to travel with her.
A 205´ 90 ´ 122 cm bear crate was fitted with two sliding doors, 35 cm in height and 30 cm wide, on one side. A mesh crate was attached to the same side to allow room for the cub to escape the mother through the doors during transport. A keeper from Ouwehands went to Kolmarden a week before the transport to train the bears to accept the crate and to help with the transport. But the inside enclosure where the bears were housed was too small for the training to proceed, so it was decided to lightly anaesthetise the cub as well as the mother for placement in the crate, as a case had occurred in which an anaesthetised mother stood up when she heard her cub scream. Once in the crate, the anaesthesia for the cub was reversed, but the mother was allowed to wake up naturally before the trip. It was soon found that Huggies could stick her head through the sliding doors connecting the two crates. and it was decided to shut these, so that the cub would remain with the mother in the main crate.
It had been planned to travel primarily by night when temperatures are cooler and traffic jams fewer. The bus left Kolmarden at 13.30 on 13 March 2002, arriving at Ouwehands 15 hours later. Both animals remained calm, and the cub nursed approximately every two hours. It ran behind its mother whenever anything unexpected happened, but soon reappeared to see what was going on. While the decision to leave the cub and mother together had been controversial, it appears in this case to have been the right decision.
English summary of article by Marga Gerritsen in De Harpij Vol. 21, No. 4 (2002), pp. 28–31.
Riga Zoo, Latvia
The first time I saw the three Vietnamese Rhacophorus verrucosus frogs that arrived at the zoo, I was enchanted by their rough lichen-coloured skin and variegated bellies. The female also has a snub-nose, shaped slightly like a Turkish shoe. All three (2.1) frogs were placed in a wet terrarium with branches, plants, a water pool and a gravel dry area. The female almost immediately hid behind a brick, but the males started to vocalize. Despite their small size (about 1.5 cm length) they became some of the loudest animals in our amphibian collection.
Although we observed amplexus several times, eggs were laid only after hormonal stimulation. Approximately 100 white eggs, about 1 mm in diameter, and almost without mucus, were laid on leaves and branches on 15 June 2002. This laying behaviour is atypical of Rhacophorus spp., and it was concluded by E. Ryboltovsky (the first breeder of R. verrucosus) together with specialists from St Petersburg Zoological Institute, that these frogs more likely belong to the genus Philautus.
The leaves, with eggs attached, were hung above water in a separate bowl with an average temperature of 25° C. The first tadpole hatched after nine days and the last after 20 days. While egg development was comparatively long, the tadpole stage was short, averaging 20 days. The last tadpole metamorphosed 53 days after spawning. At the time of writing, two months later, the froglets are about 4 mm in length. Their favourite foods are fruit flies and small crickets.
Ilze Dunce in EAZA News No. 40 (October–December 2002)
Southport Zoo and Conservation Trust, U.K.
The main project for 2002 was the complete redevelopment of our chimpanzee accommodation, which is scheduled for completion early in 2003. This has proved to be a time-consuming exercise, as construction has had to run parallel with the integration of our two remaining adult male chimps, Jackie (who was hand-raised by the zoo directors) and Jason (who was parent-reared). Despite some inevitable _rough and tumble‘ during the early stages of the introduction, the two brothers now thoroughly enjoy each other‘s company, and spend much of the day playing together and grooming each other.
The upgrade to the chimp facility has seen the entire exhibit raised by a metre in height, with a new _climbing frame‘ structure employed in the roof. By knocking two cages into one, the main outdoor enclosure is now much larger, giving us more scope for structural enrichment. A new rock with a cave shelter has been constructed along the back wall of the exhibit, and many new ropes and platforms are also being added. Indoor accommodation has been improved, with a new larger play area that can be split into two sleeping dens. This arrangement allows the chimps to have visual and tactile contact at night, but they are physically separated to stop any fighting. The final stage of the redevelopment will see the construction of a separate under-cover yard, deep-littered with straw, joined to the main exhibit by a new tunnel system.
The past year also saw two smaller building projects come to completion. In May a new exhibit for meerkats was completed, with three young males from Flamingo Land taking up residence. This exhibit has proved very popular with keepers and the visiting public alike. In October an empty enclosure that formerly housed binturongs was converted to hold a trio of ring-tailed lemurs who came to us from Banham Zoo. They too have settled in very well.
Other arrivals include: 2 white-fronted marmoset, 3 capybara, 2 mara and 2 Cameroon sheep from Twycross, 1 cotton-top tamarin, 12 African spiny mouse and 2 Kenyan sand boa from Leeds Tropical World, and several species of reptile and amphibian following the closure of Poole Aquarium in Dorset.
Among the most notable breeding successes this year was the rearing of five eclectus parrot chicks, the first born at the zoo for ten years. All of the chicks had to be hand-raised as the parents started to pluck their feathers when they began to fledge. We also bred 0.3 mandrills, 2 African crested porcupine and over 20 African spiny mice (a critically endangered species) amongst others.
Finally, October 2002 saw Douglas Petrie hand over the title of Managing Director to his son Jeremy. Doug has been the driving force behind Southport Zoo for 35 years and will of course continue to be involved as Chair of the zoo‘s Board of Directors. The new management team responsible for day-to-day running will consist of Jeremy Petrie (Managing Director), Carole Petrie (Company Secretary),
Tony Lewis (Estates Manager) and Paul Juniper (Collections Manager). We are all looking forward to an exciting new period of redevelopment in 2003.
Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, Germany
On 25 November 2002 the Tierpark introduced to the public a new group of exhibits with a total area of 6.8 hectares. They are on hilly ground in the eastern part of the park (which has a total area of 160 ha). Near to the Thorold‘s deer enclosure there are now six new enclosures for ungulates, holding Sichuan takin (Budorcas taxicolor tibetana), Chinese goral (Naemorhedus goral arnouxianus), Afghanistan red sheep (Ovis ammon cycloceros), Cretan wild goat (Capra aegagrus cretica), markhor (C. falconeri heptneri) and blue sheep (Pseudois nayaur). Each of these enclosures has a size of between 1,400 and 3,000 m2. A 430-m2 aviary for Steller‘s sea eagles and an enclosure for Siberian lynx complete the area. The lynxes came from Wuppertal Zoo, but the other species are from our original stock.
The total cost of this complex, borne by the Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin, amounted to three million euros.
Dr Bernhard Blaszkiewitz
Zoological Center Tel Aviv, Ramat-Gan, Israel
Warda, our Asian elephant matriarch, delivered her eleventh offspring, a male, on 18 August 2002 at the age of 45. Warda‘s first calf was born in the now-defunct Tel Aviv Zoo in 1973 when she was 14. Her average inter-birth interval has been 34.5 months, ranging from 26.5 to 47.0 months. The most recent interval was 26.5 months, indicating that her fertility has not declined with age.
This appears to be a remarkable record for a zoo elephant, both because of the number of young she has borne so far and her age. Asian elephant females in the wild are reported to have an average of seven calves in their reproductive life span, with an inter-calf interval of three to five years. Recent research suggests that fecundity of elephants in south India for ages 15–50 is 0.225 births/female/year, declining in the age range 51–60 to (only!) 0.20 births/female/year. Warda could thus theoretically deliver several more calves over the next decade!
All of Warda‘s calves have been delivered between midnight and 7:00 a.m., in her box stall, shared with one or two of her offspring. Usually no staff were present. Of the eleven young, the first two died in infancy, and one as a three-year-old. Of the others, two pregnant daughters went to Rockton, Ontario, Canada, in 1993, one male (Alexander) is now a breeding bull in Rotterdam, another male (Victor) is at Berlin Zoo and a third in Jerusalem. The remaining female calves and infants are in Ramat-Gan.
Our success in breeding Asian elephants revolves around Warda and Motek, the breeding bull. Although four other females have given birth to six other calves in Ramat-Gan, only one survived infancy – and he was hand-reared. Four of these births were to primiparous mothers and two of those occurred when the mothers were under the age of six. The mothers crushed their calves in three of the primiparous births, and in two other cases the calves died under the age of three months.
The significance of this latest birth to the zoo world is that it shows that multiparous females in good health can continue to breed well into their fifth decade, giving the _aging‘ Asian elephant population in captivity a slightly better chance of becoming self-sustaining.
Amelia Terkel in EAZA News No. 40 (October–December 2002)
* * *
Anderson, S.J., Bird, D.M., and Hagen, M.D.: Semen characteristics of the quaker parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus). Zoo Biology Vol. 21, No. 5 (2002), pp. 507–512. [Samples were collected from eight captive birds using the massage technique. The study provides the first rigorous semen data from this species, and demonstrates that good-quality samples, suitable for artificial insemination, can be collected regularly using this technique.]
Blaszkiewitz, B.: Breitmaulnashorn (Ceratotherium simum) im Alter von 42 Jahren gestorben. (Death of a white rhino at 42.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 72, No. 6 (2002), p. 463. [German, no English summary; Tierpark Berlin.]
Brandstätter, F., and Osmann, C.: Ungewöhnlicher mageninhalt eines Humboldtpinguins (Spheniscus humboldti). (Unusual stomach contents of a Humboldt‘s penguin.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 72, No. 6 (2002), pp. 459–460. [German, no English summary. The bird, at Dortmund Zoo, died from poisoning after swallowing a common toad.]
Clauss, M., Kienzle, E., and Wiesner, H.: Importance of the wasting syndrome complex in captive moose (Alces alces). Zoo Biology Vol. 21, No. 5 (2002), pp. 499–506. [The authors conducted a survey on the causes of moose deaths at 19 European facilities. The age at death was recorded for 205 animals, and the cause of death for 131 adults. The _wasting syndrome complex‘ (WSC) was the single most important mortality factor in adult animals, being responsible for 47% of all cases. Other important factors were intraspecific aggression (13%) and malignant catarrhal fever (12%). The number of deaths showed a peak at the age of 6–8 years. A similar peak was found in the age distribution of WSC cases only, suggesting a cumulative process that leads to the death of an animal once a threshold is reached. While the dominance of WSC is in accord with the American literature, the high incidence of intraspecific aggression found in this and other European surveys is not reported in North America, possibly due to lower stocking rates. While in the North American literature the consumption of grass and grass products is regarded as the main factor triggering WSC, infection with whipworms (Trichuris spp.) and continuous reinfection through pasture grazing is emphasized as the main danger in Europe. Most reports of WSC in the literature concern animals who grazed in pasture-like enclosures. In no case was WSC triggered by controlled feeding of freshly-cut grass fed to animals in holding pens. In the present survey, in half of all documented WSC cases Trichuris infestation was reported as well. The authors suggest that the contribution of Trichuris to the problems of moose husbandry has been underestimated.]
Cosgrove, J.J., Beermann, D.H., House, W.A., Toddes, B.D., and Dierenfeld, E.S.: Whole-body nutrient composition of various ages of captive-bred bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) and adult wild anoles (Anolis carolinensis). Zoo Biology Vol. 21, No. 5 (2002), pp. 489–497. [Food taste, texture, size, color, shape, and even movement are all important characteristics of diets for some animal species, and it is often not possible to match these characteristics with artificial diets. Consequently, whole prey is included in the diet of a number of captive carnivorous species. Although many carnivores regularly consume lizards in the wild, zoos generally use lizards sparingly due to the difficulty in obtaining and maintaining feeder lizards for use as whole prey. However, for a lizard eater, such as the critically endangered Micronesian kingfisher (Halcyon cinnamomina), green anoles can be a prominent dietary whole prey. Few published data are available on the nutrient composition of lizards; but such data could provide useful guidance in developing nutritionally sound feeding practices for both the lizards used as prey and for their secondary consumers. The authors chemically analyzed wild-caught adult anoles (which are typically used as whole prey in the diet of lizard eaters) and neonate, 11-day-old, and 17-day-old bearded dragons (a potential whole-prey species) to determine the whole-body concentrations of vitamins E and A, crude protein, and minerals. Significant differences were noted between neonate and older dragons for concentrations of all the minerals except calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P). The neonates generally exhibited lower concentrations of all minerals except magnesium and iron than the older lizards. The concentration of vitamin E was higher, and that of vitamin A was lower in neonates than in older animals. The whole-body concentrations of protein, vitamins A and E, Ca, P, potassium, sodium, copper and manganese differed significantly between bearded dragons and anoles. Overall, anoles differed from dragons in most nutrients examined, and should not be considered an identical nutritional substitute; although similar in size, they contained less water and more protein, Ca, and P than neonate dragons, and lower concentrations of vitamins E and A, as well as other minerals analyzed. Observed differences may be due to diet or ecological adaptations, but further study is required in which larger groups of animals, more age categories, and chemically defined diets are used. In general, nutrients met or greatly exceeded nutritional concentration requirements determined for domestic carnivores and poultry, a combination of which may provide the most suitable physiological model for the feeding of lizards as whole prey to carnivorous birds.]
Dressen, W.: Zur sozialen Verträglichkeit von Jaguarundis (Herpailurus yagouaroundi). (Sociability in the jaguarundi.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 72, No. 6 (2002), pp. 417–423. [German, with English summary. The high degree of sociability in this species has long been recognised in the literature. Krefeld Zoo has exhibited jaguarundis since 1965, and successful breeding started in 1974. The author describes the development of a family group of seven animals from 1998 until spring 2000. The experienced breeding pair lived with two succeeding litters for 15 months without any serious agonistic conflicts. During and following birth the male was not separated from the female, who tolerated him in the nest one day after birth. All family members often rested together and practised intense mutual grooming. The author concludes that the main conditions for gregariousness in this species are high social tolerance between the breeding partners and low competition, especially for food, and that jaguarundis‘ social abilities may differ from those of other smaller felids.]
Gerritsen, M.: Transport van ijsbeer Huggies met haar jong. (Transport of a female polar bear with her cub.) De Harpij Vol. 21, No. 4 (2002), pp. 28–31. [Dutch, with English summary. See p. 62, above.]
Haftmann, U., and Wiesner, H.: Fallbeispiel – Behandlung einer schweren Hufverletzung beim Przewalskipferd (Equus przewalskii). (Case study – treatment of severe hoof damage in a Przewalski‘s horse.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 72, No. 6 (2002), pp. 461–462. [German, no English summary; Munich Zoo.]
Herrick, J.R., Campbell, M.K., and Swanson, W.F.: Electroejaculation and semen analysis in the La Plata three-banded armadillo (Tolypeutes matacus). Zoo Biology Vol. 21, No. 5 (2002), pp. 481–487. [Three males at Cincinnati Zoo were each electroejaculated on one to five occasions, and high proportions of morphologically normal spermatozoa were seen in all analyzed samples. Sperm concentration and motility were usually low, and urine contamination was a persistent problem – possibly due to anesthesia, unique reproductive anatomy, and/or improper probe placement. Poor sperm recovery, urine contamination, and sensitivity of spermatozoa to culture medium must be addressed before electroejaculation can be used routinely in this species.]
Jones, M.L., and Heck, M.M.S.: Dr Heinz Hartmann Heck – a remembrance 1927–2002. Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 72, No. 6 (2002), pp. 456–458. [Heinz Heck, a son of Berlin Zoo director Lutz Heck, moved to the U.S.A. in 1959, where for the next 32 years he was curator and subsequently zoological director of the famous Catskill Game Farm collection of rare ungulates.]
Klein, B., Praag, J., de Koeier, K., and Oosterwijk, W.: Dierentuinen in Denemarken: een reisverslag. (Zoos in Denmark: a visitors‘ report.) De Harpij Vol. 21, No. 4 (2002), pp. 32–36. [Dutch, with English summary. The authors, keepers from Apenheul primate zoo, the Netherlands, toured seven Danish zoos in May 2002 – Copenhagen (very much a city zoo), Odense (a smaller zoo, 8 ha in area, with a marshland theme in a large portion of the zoo), Ebeltoft (a 40-ha zoo built 10 years ago, with many savannah enclosures), a Scandinavian animal park near Kolind, Regenskov (consisting of two tropical rainforest buildings), Aalborg (an 8-ha city zoo), and Givskud (an easily accessible safari park). Among differences from Dutch zoos noted were the acceptance by both the Danish public and zoo personnel of euthanasia as a management option, and the work hours, as keepers often work 07.00 to 15:00 in Denmark.]
Krebs, E., and Kaumanns, W.: Management und Geburtenkontrolle bei Mantelpavianen (Papio hamadryas) im Kölner Zoo. (Management and birth control in hamadryas baboons at Cologne Zoo.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 72, No. 6 (2002), pp. 424–441. [German, with English summary. This species has a high reproductive rate in captivity, which often leads to space problems and therefore may require the use of birth control procedures. The authors analyse the development of the large hamadryas colony at Cologne Zoo over a period of six years before and six years after birth control measures were put into practice. Although all harem leaders and males older than six years were vasectomised, numbers of births decreased by only 50%. Non-vasectomised males younger than six years of age are assumed to have fathered offspring in 15 out of 18 groups. The harem leaders of the groups studied were not able to monopolize access to their females. In the post-vasectomy period a tendency to synchronize sexual swellings within the harem groups was found. The number of aggressive interactions between the females increased. There were no signs of qualitative changes in species-specific social patterns. Over the total 12-year period of observation the number of small harem units grew, mainly due to transfers of females from older harems to young adult males. In most cases the transfers seemed to be induced by the females.]
Lukas, K.E., Barkauskas, R.T., Maher, S.A., Jacobs, B.A., Bauman, J.E., Henderson, A.J., and Calcagno, J.M.: Longitudinal study of delayed reproductive success in a pair of white-cheeked gibbons (Hylobates leucogenys). Zoo Biology Vol. 21, No. 5 (2002), pp. 413–434. [Concern over a lack of breeding success in a pair of white-cheeked gibbons prompted a four-part study of gibbon behavior and physiology at Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago. Data were collected to determine the female intermenstrual interval (IMI) and identify periods of peak receptivity. Subsequent behavioral data were gathered during both female menses and estrous periods to formulate a behavioral profile for each gibbon. The female experienced a species-typical IMI of 21.9 days and exhibited heightened levels of behavioral receptivity toward the male during estrus. The male exhibited high levels of human-directed behavior throughout the day. Closing the exhibit to visitors did not result in higher levels of social proximity or prosocial behavior between the pair, although it did eliminate the male‘s human-directed behavior during the experimental conditions only. The female exhibited higher levels of social grooming, solicitation of the male, and proximity to the male when the pair was locked indoors. Based on those findings, the pair was moved to an exclusively indoor exhibit. The female‘s visibility to the public decreased substantially in the new exhibit, but there were no other significant behavioral changes. Nearly one year after the exhibit change, the female gibbon was confirmed to be pregnant. Although the results of this study cannot be used to infer causal conditions that resulted in the pregnancy, they do support the notion that systematic documentation of animal behavior and physiology may be used as a tool for monitoring reproductive behavior and informing management decisions.]
McGeehan, L., Li, X., Jackintell, L., Huang, S., Wang, A., and Czekala, N.M.: Hormonal and behavioral correlates of estrus in captive giant pandas. Zoo Biology Vol. 21, No. 5 (2002), pp. 449–466. [Variability in female estrus expression has been identified as a barrier to captive panda reproduction. In China, researchers have reported that 80% of females in captivity exhibit _weak estrus‘ or _absence of overt estrous behavior‘. Previous research has included only one to three animals, limiting understanding of the causal factors related to this variability. In 1997 a study was initiated to evaluate the reproductive biology and behavior of one of the largest captive populations of female giant pandas in China. The researchers tracked the presence or absence of 13 behavioral and physiological indices of estrus in six females. All the animals ovulated during the study, and the data revealed that behavioral and physiological indices differed in their temporal relationship to ovarian hormones. Scent-marking, a behavior that functions to attract males to the female, was present six days before the estrogen peak, but not afterwards. Bleat and chirp vocalizations were closely associated with the estrogen peak; however, receptive behaviors, such as lordosis and _tail up when touched‘, were most closely associated with falling estrogen levels during the most probable time for fertilization. Although all females displayed some type of estrous behavior during the study, individual females varied in the presence or absence of attractive, proceptive, and receptive behaviors. Despite the variation in the behavior of individual females, the hormonal data suggest that the variability in estrous expression in this population was not hormonally based.]
Meier, J., Jarofke, D., and Vix, M.: Viruses in snakes (Reptilia: Ophidia): a review. Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 72, No. 6 (2002), pp. 442–455. [Within the last three decades many studies on viruses in snakes have been published. This article allows fast access to the primary literature. The risk of virus transmission from snakes to humans is very small, but snakes with viral infections may endanger whole snake populations in zoos.]
Mikkola, H.: Dr Jevgeni Shergalin, Scientific Director of Zoolit – an e-mail interview. Tyto Vol. 7, No. 3 (2002), pp. 8–14. [Dr Shergalin (e-mail: email@example.com) is an Estonian zoologist whose company, Zoolit, offers a complete search and translation service in the zoological literature of the Soviet Union and the ex-Soviet countries.]
Penfold, L.M., Ball, R., Burden, I., Jöchle, W., Citino, S.B., Monfort, S.L., and Wielebnowski, N.: Case studies in antelope aggression control using a GnRH agonist. Zoo Biology Vol. 21, No. 5 (2002), pp. 435–448. [Maintaining surplus captive male antelopes in bachelor groups can result in aggression in some species, leading to injury or death. Suppressing endogenous testosterone using gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogs has been used in primates to control aggressive behavior, but little information is available on their use in non-domestic ruminant species. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a slow-release GnRH agonist (deslorelin) on circulating hormone concentrations, semen and sperm characteristics and behavior in male gerenuk (at White Oak Conservation Center, Yulee, Florida), dorcas gazelle and scimitar-horned oryx (at Busch Gardens, Tampa). Body weight, testicular volume, circulating hormone concentrations, ejaculate traits, and behavior were recorded before and during deslorelin treatment. Quantitative behavioral data were collected for gerenuk and dorcas gazelles for 30 minutes three times a week, starting a month before deslorelin treatment, and the mean incidence of combined aggressive behaviors (supplanting, foreleg kicking, sparring, marking, and mounting) was compared before and during the treatment. No statistical difference in body weight, semen volume, sperm concentration, sperm motility or sperm morphology was found, nor were any differences observed in the mean incidence of any aggressive behavioral traits.]
Poley, D., and Poley, I.: Parc ornithologique du Pont de Gau. (Pont du Gau Bird Park.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 72, No. 6 (2002), pp. 395–416. [German, with very brief English summary. This park, developed from a bird collection attached to a restaurant, now has an important conservation role in the Camargue region of France.]
Tintner, A., and Kotrschal, K.: Early social influence on nestling development in waldrapp ibis (Geronticus eremita). Zoo Biology Vol. 21, No. 5 (2002), pp. 467–480. [The authors attempted to test the effects of raising a waldrapp as a single chick from hatching to the age of three weeks, as compared to raising it together with nestmates, on development and juvenile socialization. In times of food shortage, interference competition between nestlings may cause quick starvation of all but the largest chick. In the context of establishing a free-flying, semi-tame colony at the Konrad Lorenz Research Station in Grünau, Austria, 12 zoo-bred hatchlings were experimentally hand-raised under ad libitum food conditions. Seven individuals were placed into three nests in visual and acoustical contact with each other to mimic a colony situation. Five others were raised in isolation for the first 21 days after hatching, and were then united with the sibling-raised individuals in a colony-like situation. After hatching, isolated chicks showed high frequencies of distress calls; they begged and ate less, put on less weight, and were less active than the socially-housed chicks, and fledged an average of six days later. As the groups did not significantly differ in excreted corticosterone metabolites, the authors assume that the lack of social stimulation, rather than stress, caused the observed effects in the singly-raised chicks. After unification, individuals of both groups tended to stay apart from each other. Formerly singly-housed birds mainly interacted dyadically among themselves, whereas the sibling-raised birds tended to have more varied contacts with colony members of different ages. The potential applications of these results to conservation and management are discussed.]
van Herk, R., and van der Zanden, R.: Avifauna slaat de vleugels uit. (Avifauna stretches its wings.) De Harpij Vol. 21, No. 4 (2002), pp. 13–16. [Dutch, with English summary. See p. 57, above.]
Visser, G.: EEP‘s in dierentuinland: reptielenprogramma‘s in een stroomversnelling. (EEPs in zooland: reptile programmes shoot the rapids.) De Harpij Vol. 21, No. 4 (2002), pp. 2–8. [Dutch, with English summary. See p. 49, above.]
Publishers of the periodicals listed:
De Harpij, Stichting De Harpij, Van Aerssenlaan 49, 3039 KE Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Zoo Biology, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158, U.S.A.
Der Zoologische Garten, Urban & Fischer Verlag GmbH, P.O. Box 100537, D-07705 Jena, Germany.