International Zoo News Vol. 50/6 (No. 327)    September 2003

 

                                   CONTENTS

 

GUEST EDITORIAL                     John Tuson

 

FEATURE ARTICLES

 

A Chronobiological Investigation of       Angela S. Stoeger-Horwath

Four Cheetah Cubs at Schönbrunn Zoo       and Harald M. Schwammer

 

Sanaa Zoo: A Possible Breeding Centre           Lucy Vigne and Esmond Martin

for the Arabian Leopard

 

A Case Study of the Mating of a Pair            M. Velasco and M.T. Abelló

of Gorillas from Different Social Groups

 

New Status for Johannesburg Zoological          A.C. van Bruggen

Gardens in South Africa

 

Book Reviews

 

Conservation

 

Annual Reports

 

International Zoo News

 

Recent Articles

 

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GUEST EDITORIAL

 

My wife and I recently took our son to a long-established and well-regarded zoo in southern England. When I'm on my own, I am happy to drive half-way across the country to see a sleeping aardwolf or check out the new tapir paddock; when I'm with my family, however, not even the presence of an okapi, a sifaka or a yellow-backed duiker will compensate for a grotty café, for unclean loos, or for the air of shabbiness which is all-too-prevalent in all-too-many zoos. And visiting very many zoos, as I do, I am repeatedly drawn to the conclusion that not enough care is taken of visitors, that too often those visitors are taken for granted, and, ultimately, that so much more could be done, so easily, to make each visitor's experience altogether more pleasant. This particular visit was the nadir. The animals at the zoo were wonderful – fascinating species, well cared for (even if, very often, their enclosures had been designed, seemingly, to look as unnatural as possible, and to offer the very worst viewing of the beasts within). No, the problem wasn't the animals, but everything else. The catering, the toilets, the shop, the visitor areas of the zoo: all could have been – and should have been – a great deal better. It just wasn't a very nice day out – and, having haemorrhaged about sixty pounds by the time we'd paid for admission, purchased a guidebook, bought an execrable lunch, and then handed over three pounds for the car park, it wasn't exactly a cheap day out either.

 

There has never, as far as I know, been an article in International Zoo News devoted to the subject of zoo catering. But if one thing is going to make or break a visit to a zoo for a huge number of visitors, it is going to be the quality of the food on offer. I don't think anyone would expect gourmet food to be available in a zoo restaurant, but it would be nice, occasionally, if one could make a zoo visit safe in the knowledge that on arrival one would be able to purchase reasonable, healthy food, at a reasonable price, and then eat that food in reasonable surroundings. It wouldn't be much to ask, surely. And yet, when I think of British zoos, I can recall very few that reach even these modest targets. Awful food, served on paper plates, to be eaten with plastic cutlery – and an extortionate price to be paid for the privilege, too! Sitting at a dirty picnic table, the detritus of other visitors' meals gusting around in the breeze (surely it wouldn't be too difficult for someone to come along and clear the tables before the paper plates and plastic cutlery start getting blown about?), trying to summon up some enthusiasm for a desiccated sausage roll or a plate of the greasiest chips – it really isn't very much fun. There are some honourable exceptions, of course, but even the best zoo catering is usually only excellent in comparison to the worst. I can think of a few zoos where the food is all right, but none where it is actually wonderful. In comparison, the small municipal museum in my home town of Hove has a delightful café, in which uniformed waitresses serve teas, cakes and light meals. The place is constantly packed. In the recent past, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London has advertised itself as `a great café with a nice museum attached'. Would that a zoo's café could be similarly successful.

 

Were I a zoo director, I would far rather invest in a new aviary than in a new toilet block, but here again is an area where so many zoos are so lacking. However magnificent the gorillas, however wonderful the hornbills, a leaking toilet, no soap and nowhere to change a baby's nappy are going to cause disgruntlement. Why should I, as a zoo-goer, pay sixty pounds to visit a place where nobody can be bothered to clean the loos? And if I do pay sixty pounds to do so, I'm not going to return, nor am I going to recommend the place to my friends.

 

And then there's the car park. Again, `Zoo Car Parks of the World' has yet to appear as a feature article in IZN, but maybe someone should get writing. There is a zoo in the English Midlands where the car park really does feel like a little slice of Stalingrad in the immediate aftermath of the battle. What sort of a tone does that set for the rest of one's visit? But on my family day out, it wasn't the aesthetics of the car park which bothered me, but the fact that a zoo in the middle of nowhere – and thus a zoo for which public transport really isn't an option – had the temerity to charge a not insignificant sum of money for each vehicle parked. Do they want people to return to the zoo, for heaven's sake? How many visitors must leave this particular zoo feeling, just a little, as though they have been ripped off?

 

I once worked in a small zoo for a short while. It wasn't one of the country's great zoos by any stretch of the imagination, and its lack of scientific integrity was occasionally obvious. And yet visitors loved it. Why? Simple: the café was fine for a light meal and a drink, the loos were clean, the bins were regularly emptied. The gardens were pleasant, the shop was decent. There were some nice animals too, but they were almost an added bonus – firstly and most importantly, this zoo was a good place to visit. The zoo's director regularly prowled the grounds. Woe betide the staff if bird droppings hadn't been cleaned off a sign, or if gardening equipment had been left in view, or if a feeding-time talk was a few minutes late starting. The staff grumbled, of course, but the results were obvious. Similarly, Drusillas Zoo in Sussex is not a scientific zoo in any way at all. As a regular visitor, I cringed just a little as an expensive new exhibit was constructed for those most remarkably unremarkable creatures, prairie dogs. Populism comes first here in the choice of species, and I would, of course, rather have a `real' zoo in my locality. And yet, as a place to visit, Drusillas cannot be beaten. The staff – even the students working there during their summer vacations – are charming. There is no litter. The playground – totally separate from the animals – is wonderful (and well maintained, and clean). The restaurant is absolutely reasonable. The gardens look good (even in August). They don't even charge you to park your car. And for all these reasons, Drusillas is a success. It has no herds of rhinos, no world-renowned collections of gibbons, no breeding programmes for nocturnal mustelids. But it does have nice loos – and it has extraordinary numbers of visitors.

 

The need to look more carefully to the needs of visitors was recognised as long ago as 1983, when the English Tourist Board published the findings of a committee which had been established in order to investigate ways in which zoos could `attract more visitors and thereby help ensure their future viability'. In that report, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu argued that zoos `must strive to improve so that . . . a visit to the zoo will be a desirable, enjoyable and rewarding activity.' He – and the rest of the committee – concluded that `the main failures of many zoos have been the lack of appreciation of the needs and expectations of their visitors at a time when the quality of tourist attractions was rising.' There are, of course, many zoos which do appreciate the needs and expectations of their visitors, but twenty years on from Lord Montagu's pronouncements, in too many zoos not enough has changed.

 

Most readers of this article would place such considerations as cafés, loos and car parks way down on their list of priorities when assessing the wonderfulness – or otherwise – of any given zoo. The writer of this article would certainly do so – were he only visiting zoos by himself. But visit a zoo with someone who is not a zoo specialist, and the story is very different. And remember, the overwhelming majority of visits are made by such non-specialists. It is their money which pays for the conservation programmes, for the obscure rodents, for the new animal exhibits. They really do need to be appreciated just a little bit more.

                                                                    John Tuson

Reference

Lord Montagu (chairman) (1983): Britain's Zoos: Marketing and Presentation – The Way Forward to Viability. English Tourist Board.

 

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A CHRONOBIOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION OF FOUR CHEETAH CUBS AT SCHÖNBRUNN ZOO

 

BY ANGELA S. STOEGER-HORWATH AND HARALD M. SCHWAMMER

 

Schönbrunn Zoo, Vienna, Austria, has a long tradition in keeping cheetahs, although none were ever successfully bred. In the course of the reconstruction of the big cat facility (finished in 1994), a new stock of animals was combined to form a breeding group (Schwammer, 1999). Thanks to the splendid cooperation of the Louwman family from the Wassenaar Wildlife Breeding Centre in the Netherlands, the first two cheetah cubs were born at Schönbrunn on 26 October 1999 to Mona (born in 1995 at the breeding station in Pretoria, South Africa).

 

The birth of four (2.2) cubs on 31 May 2001 was our second breeding success. Both parents, the female Mona and the male Tom (born 1993 at Wuppertal Zoo, Germany) were brought to Vienna at approximately seven months of age. Under these circumstances, it was possible for the keepers to establish a relationship with each juvenile animal. It seems to be very important that cheetahs, especially the females while having cubs, trust their keepers and never feel annoyed by their presence. Female cheetahs at San Diego Zoo, who are deliberately habituated when young in order to reduce the stress of subsequent handling, never abandoned any of 24 litters (Laurenson, 1993). Increased keeper–animal interaction has also been shown to improve the reproductive success of several captive small felids (Mellen, 1991).

 

The new big cat enclosures were designed to fit in well with the husbandry requirements and biology of the different felid species. Husbandry seems to be the key factor for a good breeding performance in any exotic species, but especially in cheetahs (Caro, 1993; Oorschot, 1998). In developing the enclosure concepts, various zoos were visited and basic scientific information was applied (Lee, 1992; Lindburg, 1982; Manton, 1970, 1971; Marker and O'Brien, 1989; Marker-Kraus and Kraus, 1991). Attention was paid to the shyness of the cheetah, which arises from competition and predation in the wild by other carnivores, particularly lions and hyenas, resulting in a constant state of watchfulness and stress (Oorschot, 1998). The indoor enclosures as well as the nest-box, are, of course, always off-exhibit.

 

Cheetahs have not bred well in captivity (Marker and O'Brien, 1989); only about one-third of zoo-maintained cheetahs have ever reproduced (Oorschot, 1998). Up to 1989, those institutions which successfully bred cheetahs had experienced neonatal mortality approaching 50% (Grisham and Lindburg, 1989). Today, the situation is improving. In 1999, 94 cubs were born in 28 litters at 15 facilities (out of 272 facilities) in eight countries (Marker, 1999). The infant mortality (< 1 month) had declined to 8.5%. The total of cub deaths under six months was 9.5% – almost a third of the cub mortality in 1998 (Marker, 1999). These data confirm that most of the captive cub mortality occurs within the first month of life, with the first weeks being a particularly vulnerable period (Degenaar, 1977; Laurenson, 1993; Marker and O'Brien, 1989; Marker-Kraus and Grisham, 1993). Chronobiological investigations of cheetah cubs may be helpful to comprehend the critical periods of survival. For this reason, we observed our litter for 38 days for 24 hours per day. One aim of the chronobiological studies is to gain behavioural examples of healthy litters with normal development, making it easier to recognize in time if things are going wrong. If comparative data about suckling time, rest time, pattern of the female's nest-box visitation, etc. exist, keepers and zoo managers can be alerted if anything deviates to a significant extent from the data of litters with normal development, and action can be taken in time, before serious problems with the cubs arise. This may be achieved by simple behavioural observation via video camera without any human interference! Chronobiological observation could be an additional easy way of controlling the development of exotic species in the zoo.

 

Materials and methods

 

An infra-red video camera installed at the top of the nest-box made it possible for us to observe Mona and the cubs twenty-four hours a day while reducing human interference to a minimum. We observed the litter from birth on for 38 days via the video camera, taking down the following variables: the time the cubs spent lying quiet next to the teats (whether suckling or not); the side of the body Mona preferred to lie on during suckling; the pattern of Mona's nest-box visitation; the play behaviour of the cubs; their licking behaviour; and the duration of their occupation of the nest-box.

 

Results

1. Birth

 

During birth it is recommended that the mother be separated from other cheetahs (Oorschot, 1998). However, during parturition on 31 May 2001, Mona was kept together with her daughter from the first litter, which turned out to be no problem. During the day, Mona already spent much time in the nest-box. Her daughter also often entered the box and lay down next to her.

 

One hour before parturition, obvious strong labour could first be observed. At 17 h 47 m the first cub was born. Fifty seconds following birth, Mona started licking her cub. After 26 minutes the second cub was born and without hesitation Mona started licking it. Forty-two minutes later the third, and after another 49 minutes the fourth, cub was born. Directly following parturition each cub started searching for the teats and finally, after one hour, all four had started suckling.

 

Mona's eighteen-month-old daughter did not dare to approach, after the first cub was born. After smelling the cub, she seemed to be irritated and did not enter the nest-box any more.

 

The first night, Mona did not leave the nest-box except for four minutes around midnight. As all four cubs were of roughly the same size and were all suckling, it was not necessary to weigh them either after birth or on the following days, ensuring minimum human interference.

 

2. Time lying next to the teats

 

It was not possible to determine whether the cubs were suckling, or if they were dropping off the teats while falling asleep between two suckling bouts. For this reason we recorded the time during which they were lying quiet next to the teats, either suckling, sleeping or resting. There was a slightly fluctuating but mostly steady decline in the daily time the cubs spent in this way (Fig. 1). In the first two days after birth, they spent over 18 hours lying next to Mona's teats, suckling and sleeping. On the third day there was a strong decline to approximately ten and a half hours. But until day seven, the time did not fall below ten hours per day. At five weeks old, the time the cubs spent lying quietly next to the teats varied from two to five hours per day.

 

Figure 1. Time the cubs spent lying quietly next to the teats each day.

The mean time of one `bout' (i.e. the time spent lying by the teats between all four cubs' moving or obviously changing position) on the first day was approximately one hour and a quarter, declining rapidly to half an hour on the third day and varying around a mean of half an hour per bout for the following 37 days.

 

3. The body side Mona preferred to lie on during suckling

 

In the first 21 days, Mona spent 52% of the time lying down in the nest-box close to her cubs. During suckling she preferred to lie on her left side (63.4%, i.e. approximately 1.8 times as much as on the right side). In an sample survey of eight days (03.06.–10.06.01), when lying in the nest-box suckling the cubs, Mona was looking towards the entrance of the box 98.2% of the time, irrespective of the side she was lying on (Fig. 2). Only twice, for a short period of time, did she lie down without facing the entrance.

 

 

4. Pattern of nest-box visitation

 

During the first three weeks, Mona spent a mean of seven and a half hours outside the nest-box per day, with the longest continuous absence around a mean of one and a half hours. She only once stayed away from her cubs for more than three hours (three hours and 23 minutes) at a stretch.

 

In comparing the time Mona spent outside the box each day, a considerable variation can be seen from day to day. For the first two days, she stayed outside the box for just three hours in total. She spent noticeably more time outside the nest-box during the day than at night (Fig. 3). In total, she spent 124 hours and 8 minutes outside the box between 07.00 and 19.00 during the first three weeks. In contrast, she spent just 21 hours and 28 minutes outside the box between 19.00 and 7.00, which is about 5.8 times less than during the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 2. The nest-box: Mona facing towards the entrance.

Figure 3. Time Mona spent outside the nest-box during 24 hours.

Naturally, the mother fixation was very strong. Every time Mona left the box, the cubs were restless and crawled around for several minutes, until they cuddled up to each other and calmed down. When Mona was present, the cubs usually lay snuggled up against her belly between her fore- and hind-legs. Sometimes, during sleeping, Mona changed sides, turning her back on the cubs. Then the cubs would soon become restless and start searching for physical contact with their mother.

 

5. Play behaviour

 

During the time of video observation, no play behaviour could be observed.

6. Licking behaviour

 

Whenever Mona entered the nest-box, she started licking her cubs for several minutes, with a mean time of nine minutes. After licking them, she usually washed herself for several minutes. Immediately after this procedure, she lay down with the cubs. She also often licked them for several minutes during suckling.

 

7. Duration of nest-box occupation

 

On 8 July, 39 days after parturition, the cubs emerged from the nest-box for the first time.

 

Discussion

 

During birth, it is usually recommended to separate the mother from other cheetahs (Oorschot, 1998). However, Mona was kept together with her daughter from the first litter, who was 18 month old. As it was not possible to separate them without taking the risk of injuring the young female when closing the gate of the chute, it was decided to keep her in the enclosure during the birth, since no aggressive interaction between the two females had taken place so far. It turned out to be no problem, which can probably be put down to the close relationship between the two animals, although the cheetah's solitary nature usually includes the avoidance of family groups and, by the age of 18 months, females are normally already leading a solitary life. Nevertheless, after the first cub emerged, the young female did not dare to enter the nest-box any more, and consequently she was separated from Mona and the cubs.

 

All four cubs seemed to suckle one hour after parturition. Unfortunately it was not possible to determine when they were actually suckling. They would fall asleep during suckling and drop off the teats, which could not be clearly observed on the video tape. It seems to be important that during the first hours the mother stays with the cubs for most of the time. The cubs are allowed to lie in a row for a long period of time, next to the teats, giving them the opportunity to suckle every time they are awake. On the first two days, they lay next to the teats for approximately 18 hours, alternately suckling and sleeping. These two days are probably a key factor in the survival of the cubs, as in the wild, also, mothers hardly leave the litter in the first two days except to drink (Laurenson, 1993). An observed female left the lair for only two hours during the first three days after giving birth (Laurenson, 1993). The cubs need to build up their energy for survival, and they need enough time for resting and sleeping in between the bouts of suckling. Further, it is important to build up the immune system, which happens mainly in the first two days. This is probably the reason why mothers showing normal maternal behaviour stay almost continuously with their cubs for this period.

 

On the third day, there was a big drop in the time Mona spent in the nest-box, and also a drop in the time the cubs could spend lying cuddled between her legs next to the teats. However, the time did not fall below a total of ten hours per day in the first week. Keepers and zoo managers should take warning if the time allowed for suckling falls repeatedly well below the ten-hour mark during the first days.

 

In the following three weeks, Mona spent a mean time of seven and a half hours per day outside the box, but usually not more than three hours in a row. This result also resembles the maternal pattern of lair site visitation in the wild, where mothers spend on average 9.6 hours away from their cubs, although there is considerable variation within individuals from day to day (range 3.8–27.8 hours) (Laurenson, 1993). This day-to-day variation could, in total, also be observed in Mona's pattern of nest-box visitation, although this finding cannot be directly compared to that in the wild, because hunting, obviously, does not occur. There seems to be another important difference in the pattern of lair site visitation by wild cheetahs and the pattern of nest-box visitation observed in Mona. In the wild, mothers avoid drawing the attention of other predators to the position of their lair site (Laurenson, 1994), staying away for hunting or resting for a longer continuous period of time, and returning after dark on more than half of all occasions (Laurenson, 1993). Mona, by contrast, often left the nest-box for just a few minutes, returned, licked her cubs and left again – in wild terms, revealing her `lair site'. It seems clear that the pattern of lair site, or nest-box, visitation is not based solely on maternal instinct. The experiences mothers have in the wild are an important factor in the pattern of lair site visitation. Mona, of course, never had the experience of losing a litter as a result of an lion or hyena attack. For that reason, she practised a pattern of nest-box visitation which is, in terms of anti-predator strategy, very different from that of a wild mother. But, just as is observed in the wild, she preferred to leave her cubs alone during the day. She spent approximately six times as long outside the box during the day as in the night. She usually cut down on her walking from 7 p.m. on.

 

In general Mona gave the impression of being calm and unconcerned. In the wild, all litters observed (n = 22) that reached four weeks of age were moved to another lair at least once (Laurenson, 1993). In captivity, human interference and excessive noise were cited as the principal cause of cub mortality at the De Wildt Breeding Centre in South Africa (Oorschot, 1998). They made mothers nervous and caused them to repeatedly move their cubs. Mona never moved her litter, indicating that she did not feel disturbed.

 

During the time of video observation, no play behaviour could be observed, which corresponds with our expectation. Before two month of age, cubs have poorly developed motor skills (Caro, 1995) and are asleep between bouts of suckling.

 

Mona used to lick her cubs every time she entered the nest-box, but also during suckling. Licking is an important social behaviour and a tactile way of communication. This social, tactile communication is very important to establish the mother–offspring relationship, and is an important indicator for normal maternal behaviour.

 

Occupation of the nest-box ended after 38 days, which is shorter than the average of 58 days observed in the wild by Laurenson (1993). There is a trend for larger litters to spend less time in the lair than small litters (Laurenson, 1993), but this does not explain such a difference. The reason why Mona left the nest-box quite early might probably be put down to the fact that she felt undisturbed and safe in her enclosure.

 

The results of our chronobiological investigation show again, that some differences between the maternal behaviour of wild and captive cheetahs do exist. But these differences do not have to concern keepers and zoo managers, as maternal behaviour is, to an great extent, based on experience. It is important to continue chronobiological investigations of captive litters to achieve more detailed data for comparison. If keepers and zoologists notice any major deviation in important behaviours of their female or cubs, action can be taken in time. The most important aspect of the chronobiological method is that all this can be achieved without additional human interference, which should always be kept to an minimum. Chronobiology may be a helpful means of promoting the survival of the young of several exotic species in zoos.

 

References

Caro, T.M. (1993): Behavioural solutions to breeding cheetahs in captivity: insights from the wild. Zoo Biology 12: 19–30.

Caro, T.M. (1995): Short–term costs and correlates of play in cheetah. Animal Behaviour 49: 333–345.

Degenaar, J.P. (1977): Aspects of reproduction in captive cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). M.Sc. thesis, University of Pretoria.

Grisham, J., and Lindburg, D.G. (1989): Cheetah master plan. In A.A.Z.P.A. Species Survival Plan Program, pp. 3–10. Oklahoma City Zoo.

Laurenson, M.K. (1993): Early maternal behavior of wild cheetahs: implications for captive husbandry. Zoo Biology 12: 31–43.

Laurenson, M.K. (1994): High juvenile mortality in cheetahs and its consequences for maternal care. Journal of Zoology (London) 234: 387–408.

Lee, A.R. (1992): Management Guidelines for the Welfare of Zoo Animals: Cheetah. Federation of Zoological Gardens of Great Britain and Ireland, London.

Lindburg, D.G. (1982): Behaviour problems in captive reproduction. Zoonooz 55 (11): 4–7.

Manton, V.J.A. (1970): Breeding cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) at Whipsnade Park. International Zoo Yearbook 10: 85–86.

Manton, V.J.A. (1971): A further report on breeding cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) at Whipsnade Park. International Zoo Yearbook 11: 125–126.

Marker, L., ed. (1999): International Studbook Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) 1999. Cheetah Conservation Fund, Otjiwarongo, Namibia.

Marker, L., and O'Brien, S.J. (1989): Captive breeding of the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) in North American zoos (1871–1986) . Zoo Biology 8: 3–16.

Marker-Kraus, L., and Grisham, J. (1993): Captive breeding of cheetahs in North American zoos: 1987–1991. Zoo Biology 12: 5–18.

Marker-Kraus, L., and Kraus, D. (1991): The status of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). Draft report to IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group.

Mellen, J.D. (1991): Factors influencing reproductive success in small captive exotic felids (Felis spp.): a multiple regression analysis. Zoo Biology 10: 95–110.

Schwammer, H.M. (1999): Breeding cheetahs at the Vienna Zoo. In International Studbook Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) 1999 (ed. L. Marker). Cheetah Conservation Fund, Otjiwarongo, Namibia.

van Oorschot, W. (1998): Management Guidelines for Mother-reared Cheetahs in Captivity. Wassenaar Wildlife Breeding Centre, the Netherlands.

 

Angela S. Stoeger-Horwath and Harald M. Schwammer, Schönbrunn Zoo, Maxingstrasse 13b, 1130 Vienna, Austria. (E-mail: hschwammer@zoovienna.at)

 

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SANAA ZOO: A POSSIBLE BREEDING CENTRE FOR THE ARABIAN LEOPARD

 

BY LUCY VIGNE AND ESMOND MARTIN

 

The Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr) is one of the most endangered large mammals in the world – there may be as few as 200 surviving in the wild. Perhaps half of these are in Yemen, where villagers trap and kill the animals as they are domestic stock raiders. In the last few years several have been kept privately in very small cages in wretched conditions for display, such as at the Tahreer Zoo in central Sanaa. The new Sanaa Zoo is now rescuing such animals and is attempting to breed them, which if successful, could be a major contribution to Arabian leopard conservation. The authorities are cooperating with the Sharjah-based Arabian Leopard Trust (ALT), where there is an important leopard breeding programme [see IZN 50 (1), 43] which has expertise and financial resources which are not yet available at Sanaa Zoo.

 

Fortunately, since our first visit to Sanaa Zoo when it had just opened, as we described in International Zoo News Vol. 46, No. 7 (1999), the zoo has developed noticeably with improved animal care. The new Governor of Sanaa, Ahmed al-Kohlani, who is in charge of the zoo, has improved the quality of the animal diets, and there are now two full-time vets and an assistant who are in charge of the food. Such improvements show that the zoo is becoming a more suitable site for breeding leopards and other endangered Yemeni species, but a lot more expertise, training and money are still required.

 

The most noticeable developments since 1999 have been the building of larger cages for the various Yemeni mammals that have increased significantly in number. There are now four (2.2) Arabian leopards. In the nearby cages are 14 mongooses, nine striped hyenas, nine caracals, six porcupines (three zoo-born), five wolves (three zoo-born), four foxes, three civets and three honey badgers; and there are three gazelles which are located near the bird enclosures. The original small bird cage is now home primarily to about 80 doves, while the birds of prey have been put into two much larger enclosures with space to fly around. The predominantly ground-dwelling birds are in different enclosures lower in height. There are about 21 Arabian red-necked partridges, 15 black kites, ten griffon vultures, six spotted eagle owls, five kestrels, two Philby's rock partridges, an Egyptian vulture, a dark chanting-goshawk, a fan-tailed raven, a barn owl and a quail. There are also ducks, geese, peacocks and turkeys. Some of these figures are estimates, as the zoo does not yet have its animals recorded. We suggested that all the animals at the zoo should be listed with all known details to form a studbook as is common practice for other zoos around the world.

 

The most recently finished building is the Reptile House, which was also the most popular during our visit, with crowds of visitors watching the keeper holding a snake while music played from a cassette player. There were a monitor lizard, two chameleons, two cobras, five pythons and six small snakes, plus 21 chelonians. In the centre of the reptile house is a display of stuffed animals that have died in the zoo, including the skull of the zoo's only Yemeni ibex (a male who died in 2001). A stuffed lion in the middle of the display has red paint for blood dripping from his mouth. The audience was more enthralled by the display, which dramatically showed small animals being eaten by larger animals, than by the living reptiles, which were not named and had rather spartan enclosures.

 

The large baboon enclosure had 16 sacred baboons brought in from the wild, which have now bred up to a total of about 50. The giraffe enclosure still has no giraffes, just two horses which children are allowed to ride, another popular attraction at the zoo.

 

In general, the animals looked well fed and in good condition, with clean cages. A few branches are needed in some cages, especially in the reptile house for the animals to climb, and for the birds of prey because the small eucalyptus trees do not provide enough space for them to perch. Some mammal cages – such as that for the caracals – were overcrowded, and stress levels were high amongst the animals, who have nowhere to escape from each other or from public view and require places to hide. For the larger mammals, such as the hyenas, leopards and wolves, the cages are still too small.

 

While the number of lions has expanded, with nine born in the zoo making a total of 17, so far no leopard cubs have survived. Compared to the lion enclosures, the leopard cages are far too small. So in late 2001 two leopards were put into one of the large lion enclosures; but the female escaped, as there was no roof. She was found, coincidentally, in the garden of a friend of the zoo supervisor in a village 36 km from Sanaa. Two of the seven lion enclosures have since been netted on top, but they are apparently still not suitable for the leopards, who can climb up and then pounce onto the keepers at feeding time. So the leopards remain in their small cages. Although twins have been born in the zoo, the mother rejected them, probably due to too much human disturbance. One cub did survive for six months, but died of cold in January 2003. Sanaa is situated at 2,200 m and the winters do get cold. A heater was afterwards acquired and put in the clinic where the leopard had been, and where two lion cubs were still being hand-reared. This tragic incident draws attention to the serious need the vets and all zoo staff have for assistance and training in looking after the leopards and all the animals. The clinic is being relocated to a larger building nearby that has been bought by the Sanaa Capital Secretariat. But the staff are desperate for veterinary equipment as well as training. There is no operating theatre, and very few vaccinations, antibiotics or other drugs have been available for the animals. `We have to watch animals heal with no drugs,' the staff lamented. We had meetings with the Adviser to the President, who is also the Secretary General of the ruling party, Dr Abdul Karim al-Iryani, and with the British Ambassador, Frances Guy, who were both enthusiastic to welcome outside support.

 

The zoo staff hope that some training will soon be available to them, especially for leopards, thanks to the agreement set up with the ALT. The decision to send Yemen's first leopard to Sharjah occurred in 1995 and that leopard is now a grandfather. In early January 2003 a second leopard, also a male, went to Sharjah, having been recovered from the ghastly private Tahreer Zoo (see our previous IZN article mentioned above). As described in the Yemen Observer published on 11 January 2003, `The cruel situation of the incarcerated leopard came to the spotlight of the foreign media and pushed Sanaa authorities to pay 2 million Yemeni rials (US$11,000) for this tiger [leopard] and other animals and keep them in the Sanaa City Zoological Park.' The ALT helped to pay this expense; as well as the leopard, baboons, hyenas, porcupines, kites, vultures and snakes were rescued. There is now a new rule banning bad zoos put in place by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), which has also been responsible for coordinating the ALT leopard breeding agreement. It is a relief that this and another small private zoo in Sanaa, in Hayel Street, have been closed down. `These zoos were brutal and cruel and the people had no idea how to look after the animals and feed them well,' said the Sanaa Zoo Administrative Manager, Hashim al-Hindi, who held the same job when the zoo was opened. He is young, and like the other zoo staff, eager to learn more about animal care and zoo administration.

 

Mr al-Hindi had our last IZN article translated into Arabic so he and his staff could read it properly and follow up on its suggestions. Similarly on our latest visit the staff were enthusiastic for our ideas to improve the zoo. The Mayor of Sanaa also met us at the zoo for detailed discussions. He told us that the zoo had thankfully stopped buying the common animals brought in by villagers: people still bring them hoping to sell them, but they are turned away. Regrettably, the animals often die of their injuries received during capture. We watched a dying kite outside the zoo gates in the hands of its captor, who later left the dead bird on display at the top of a stone column. The television and radio stations, which are increasing their number of environmental programmes, should announce that this trade with the zoo has stopped. The EPA staff are updating their policy on the buying of Yemeni wildlife, making it illegal, and will publicize this when finalized. Zoo staff said they now had too many of the same common species. They want instead more diversity, such as the rare ibex, and also non-Yemeni species, including crocodiles, giraffes, ostriches and zebras, in exchange for some of their animals. The ALT in Sharjah may give the zoo some of these species in exchange for leopards, and the Embassy of India has been approached. The staff also want to develop an aquarium and bird gardens. Perhaps an invertebrate house would be another possibility, costing little and providing interest and knowledge to the public about animals other than vertebrates. A botanical area could also be established, showing some of Yemen's more unusual plants. The zoo is in the process of being landscaped with grass terraces, but grass needs much watering and there is a great shortage of water in the Sanaa area, while indigenous succulents would grow well in the zoo grounds without constant watering.

 

Yemenis know very little about wildlife, and the zoo provides an important educational role. School children and others must be encouraged to visit the zoo and be taught to respect and protect Yemen's wild animals and those in other countries. In November 2001 the Mayor of Sanaa established in Sanaa's old town an Environment Awareness Centre which is also run by the Sanaa Capital Secretariat. We talked to the staff who at present go around Sanaa educating people primarily not to drop litter. They said they would be happy to lecture at the zoo on broader topics to do with Yemen's wildlife, and to encourage Yemenis not to buy traditional daggers with new rhino-horn handles that are still in demand, threatening the survival of eastern Africa's rhinos. We gave the zoo some wildlife posters, including those of rhinos, which were temporarily distributed in the reptile house until an Education Centre is established in the old clinic. The staff asked us for basic equipment for the Centre such as a slide projector. Information boards about Yemen's animals, and a simple brochure about the animals in the zoo, are also much needed. Another requirement for the zoo is that all the animals in the cages should be properly named. At present, for example, the leopards are called `tigers' and the gazelles are labelled `gerenuks', while most species are given no names or distribution maps at all. The staff would appreciate outside assistance on these matters from experienced zoo staff from other countries to develop an informative zoo with an effective education centre. This is so important in Yemen, a country where shooting animals has always been the norm, where a house without a gun is not a house. Education on wildlife conservation is essential if the country's wild animals are to survive.

 

In order to improve the zoo's finances, during our meetings with the staff we suggested they keep detailed records concerning their budget and the number of tickets sold at the gate. Revenue has recently dropped as the novelty of the zoo has worn off, and without much publicity, visitors have been fewer. The entrance fee is just US$0.27 per adult and $0.16 per child, but only on the Friday holiday is the zoo comfortably full of visitors. Although accurate records of the number of paying visitors have not yet been compiled, the zoo earns monthly from entrance fees about $1,650 to $2,750. Expenditure per month, meanwhile, consists of $2,200 for salaries, $1,375 for maintenance and development, $5,500 for food and $1,100 for bonuses, adding up to a total expenditure of about $10,000 a month. The Mayor of Sanaa, therefore, is forced to subsidize the zoo, obtaining most of the money from his official cleaning fund.

 

The President of Yemen has put a high priority on developing the zoo. He is personally very interested in the welfare of Yemen's leopards in particular. The zoo has important potential for Yemen's wildlife, both in the area of education, and also to help breed some of the more endangered species, notably the Arabian leopard. Animals could perhaps at a later date be reintroduced into the wild, if and when a well-protected national park can be established in Yemen. Wildlife conservation is a new concept here. The country and its unique wildlife require and deserve much outside assistance to increase the success of the zoo in its role of conserving wildlife. We suggest that expertise and resources should be provided to Sanaa Zoo from the better-run zoos in the Gulf, especially those in the United Arab Emirates. Sanaa Zoo and the Arabian Leopard Trust must cooperate more closely. Readers who are interested in helping the Sanaa Zoo may contact the authors of this article directly.

 

Lucy Vigne and Esmond Martin, P.O. Box 15510, Mbagathi, Nairobi, Kenya (E-mail: rhino@wananchi.com).

 

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A CASE STUDY OF THE MATING OF A PAIR OF GORILLAS FROM DIFFERENT SOCIAL GROUPS

 

BY M. VELASCO AND M.T. ABELLÓ

 

Introduction

 

The gorilla breeding group at Barcelona Zoo, Spain, consists of Xebo, a male from Rotterdam Zoo, born in 1996, and two females, Machinda and Kena, born at Barcelona Zoo in 1978 and 1981. In another non-breeding group the dominant male is Snowflake, 39 years old, a previously good breeding male but with no offspring since 1986. Since the death of his preferred mate, Ndengue, in 1997, he has been sharing his enclosure with his daughter, Virunga, born in 1979, and Coco, an eight-year-old female, brought to the zoo after being confiscated by customs in 1995. Despite the avoidance of incest expected between related primates, Snowflake periodically copulates with his daughter Virunga when she is on heat. In spite of the regularity of Virunga's oestrous cycle and the frequency of couplings, no gestation has resulted and Snowflake appears to have lost his reproductive capacity. Virunga's passivity when Snowflake tries to mate with her is also notable. She keeps her hind quarters down towards the floor, making penetration difficult, and moves away when he finishes.

 

All the gorilla infants born at the zoo over the last few years have been hand-reared because their mothers, also hand-reared, didn't know how to care for them appropriately, a problem described by several authors (Kirchshofer, 1970; Beck and Power, 1988; Meder, 1990; Lindburg and Fitch-Snyder, 1994).

 

Virunga is the only captive-born, mother-reared gorilla that we have at the zoo, and until March 2000 she was nulliparous. Since a mother-reared female is more likely to take proper care of her offspring (Beck and Power, 1988), we think it is important for Virunga to become pregnant to see if she is able to develop appropriate maternal skills. Also, having offspring from her would allow us to safeguard her genetic contribution for the future.

 

Method

 

In 1999 we began to monitor Virunga's ovarian cycle. On a daily basis, we check urine for the presence of blood (indicator of menses) with Multistix® 10 SG (Bayer) and luteinizing hormone (LH) (indicator of ovulation) with SureStepÔ LH Ovulation Test (Applied Biotech, Inc.). The results show that Virunga has a fairly regular cycle, and when we detect the presence of LH, she is also more receptive to mating with Snowflake.

 

Every day the first urine of the morning is analysed between 7.30 and 10.00 a.m., as at this time, after the night's resting period, the probability of a high concentration of blood or LH is greater and thus its detection is easier. When LH is detected in the urine, we try to bring the breeding male Xebo into contact with Virunga in the following 24 hours. Both animals are kept in their bedrooms while the other gorillas are transferred to their outside enclosures, to avoid interference from the other members of the group and to achieve a more relaxed atmosphere. Xebo and Virunga are placed in adjacent quarters separated by a sliding door with bars that keep both animals in visual, olfactory and possible physical contact through the bars. We monitor their behaviour for approximately half an hour and have, until now, observed the behaviours shown in Table 1, below.

 

Table 1. Behaviours of male and female gorillas in adjacent quarters with visual and olfactory contact.

Individual         Affiliative behaviour   Agonistic Behaviour

Virunga   – stays close to the door which  – charges at the door which

(female)    separates her from the male      separates her from the male

          – vocalizes `well-being'         – waits to go back to her usual

          – coughs and shouts at the male    group and sits beside the door  

          – defecates more than usual        connecting with her group

 

Xebo      – stays close to the door which  – charges at the door which

(male)      separates him from the female    separates him from the female

          – vocalizes `well-being'           and makes displays

          – manipulates his genitals       – walks around the room without

            – masturbates       stopping

 

When both individuals develop affiliative behaviours, we open the sliding door between them and the doors connecting to other rooms, giving them the maximum space available and alternative escape routes. After allowing them physical access, if we observe the female escaping from him or the male behaving distantly or aggressively towards her, we stop the introduction and return each individual to their usual group. Prior to returning them, we spread feeding enrichment in the outside enclosure to facilitate their incorporation in the group.

 

If we observe a mutual interest in each other we let them stay together and keep out of their vision to give them an opportunity for privacy. After a few minutes, one to five, mating usually begins. We keep the pair together for a period of two to four hours. The resting interval between matings can be from 15 to 30 minutes and copulating takes longer at first (100–120 seconds) and a shorter time later on (45 seconds).

 

Shortly after mating, the female sometimes approaches the male asking to copulate again, and the male reacts by pushing her down on the floor and holding her neck tightly in his mouth, but without hurting her. The female responds by running after him for a few minutes. If this aggressive behaviour is not too excessive, we let them solve their differences themselves, but if the aggression increases we separate them immediately. After any aggression, short displays of reconciliation and affiliative behaviour are usually observed. The best time to separate and return them to their usual groups is when both animals are relaxed and distanced, avoiding making the separation a hard break.

 

Results

 

We have introduced Xebo to Virunga on 13 occasions, observed mating on nine occasions, and two pregnancies have resulted from them (Table 2).

 

Table 2. Summary of Virunga's reproductive history, 02.07.99–20.10.01.

Date  LH test     Reproductive behaviour with Xebo

02.07.99    LH +        mating

19.07.99    Pregnancy +

20.06.00    LH +        Mating on days 20 and 21

01.11.00    LH +        No introduction for management reasons

03.11.00                Female has no interest, no mating

08.01.01    LH + (light)      Female not receptive, no mating

12.01.01    LH +        Female receptive but male distant. No mating

16.02.01    LH +        mating*

20.03.01    LH +        mating

23.05.01    LH +        Mating (4 copulations, first two longer than last two)

26.06.01    LH +        Mating

27.07.01    LH +        No mating

28.07.01    LH +        Mating (2 copulations)

28.08.01                Mating with Snowflake (male of her group)

27.09.01    LH +        Mating (3 copulations)

26.10.01    LH +        Mating

20.10.01    Pregnancy +

* Copulations monitored on 16.02.01 (we usually do not observe the animals while mating to give them more privacy):

– 11.00: 100 seconds

– 11.30: 75 seconds

– 11.45: 60 seconds

– 12.15: 50 seconds

– 12.34: 50 seconds

– 13.00: 40 seconds

 

Discussion

 

As males, when introduced to a new female, usually show their power in an aggressive way to impress and dominate the female, associating a pair of gorillas can be risky. Knowing the female's reproductive cycle can facilitate the introduction of a new male by establishing the time of ovulation. Determining the day of ovulation is not easy in female gorillas because there is not the same visual swelling as in chimpanzees or some other primate species. Use of a commercial test can provide this information and confirm the predictions made by expert keepers based on the female's behaviour. By testing on a daily basis for LH and blood in urine we can determine if the female has a regular cycle and the date of maximum receptivity, facilitating her introduction to a male.

 

In our case, we have twice succeeded in getting a healthy female pregnant by a male from another group, when breeding from her would otherwise have been impossible due to the age of the male with whom she is normally housed for other management reasons.

 

Acknowledgements

Sincere thanks to Anne Alexander for translating this paper into English and to our colleagues of Barcelona Zoo for enthusiastically collaborating in this special project.

 

References

Beck, B.B., and Power, M.I. (1988): Correlates of sexual and maternal competence in captive gorillas. Zoo Biology 7: 339–350.

Kirchshofer, R. (1970): Gorillazucht in Zoologischer Gärten und Forschungsstationen. Zoologische Garten 38: 73–96.

Lindburg, D.G., and Fitch-Snyder, H. (1994): Use of behaviour to evaluate reproductive problems in captive mammals. Zoo Biology 13: 433–445.

Meder, A. (1990): Integration of hand-reared gorillas into breeding groups. Zoo Biology 9: 157–164.

 

M. Velasco and M.T. Abelló, Parc Zoològic de Barcelona, S.A., Parc de la Ciutadella, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.

 

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NEW STATUS FOR JOHANNESBURG ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS IN SOUTH AFRICA

 

BY A.C. VAN BRUGGEN

 

The Johannesburg Zoological Gardens in Hermann Eckstein Park in the prestigious suburb of Parkview was founded in 1904. Grounds, buildings and animals were donated by Messrs Wernherr, Beit and Co. to the public in perpetuity. Since that time the zoo has been run by the City of Johannesburg. It has experienced ups and downs throughout its almost one hundred years of existence. In fact, after the superb National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria it is the second most important zoo in Africa. Nowadays it has an extensive collection of animals with a strong emphasis on Africa, embedded in a lush and beautiful park, indeed a green oasis in this, the major conurbation in southern Africa.

 

The logo of Johannesburg Zoo is the honey badger (Mellivora capensis), a species rarely seen in European zoological gardens.

Great improvements have been made over the last 15 years, but financial problems had led to a crisis in the year 2000. The administration of the City of Johannesburg has been reorganized and the zoo was incorporated as a non-profit company on 1 July 2000. This means that it is now run as a private company with the power to raise its own income, but with a hefty subsidy from the city (in 2001–2002, R20.8 million, which equals about Euros 2.5 million or £1.8 million). It looks as if Johannesburg, as regards its zoo, has taken a leaf out of the book of the venerable Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna, which only started to really prosper once it was freed from state control in 1991.

 

The City of Johannesburg is run by an Executive Mayor who directs a City Manager, under whose power are three departments: Utilities (water, electricity, waste), Agencies (roads, parks and recreation), and Corporations (metro/bus, fresh produce market, property and projects, civic theatre, zoo). Note that the zoo no longer falls under `Parks and Recreation'. This general privatisation has already led to more efficiency and cheaper services. The zoo has a similar structure, with a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) under a board of seven directors, with four managers, i.e. New Business and Property Development (outsourced), General Manager (Corporate Services), General Manager (Marketing) and General Manager (Operations). The last-mentioned section includes five divisions: Veterinary Services, Horticulture, Maintenance, Animal Collections, and Rietvlei Zoo Farm. The CEO is Mrs Thembi Mogoai, who has had a career in business, coming to Johannesburg from Durban International Airport where she was assistant manager. The General Manager (Operations) is Dr Eloise Langenhoven, formerly the Chief State Veterinarian of South Africa. In connection with the new policy, the mission statement now reads as follows: `To successfully manage and develop the Johannesburg Zoo into a world-class facility, driven by competent, motivated and customer-focused people.'

 

I have visited this zoo regularly during the period when we lived in South Africa (1957–1966) and incidentally since. Paging through my notes, I find that these fully reflect the ups and downs of this in fact quite important zoological establishment. At times it was quite run-down, and I read in my diary following a visit in 1975 that I was disappointed (to say the least) by what had been achieved in the long period (nine years!) since my last visit. The multi-million-population urban complex of Johannesburg is the financial heart and mining headquarters of southern Africa, making it the richest city in the whole continent, so it should indeed have a world-class zoological gardens. For a long time entry was completely free, a policy that was only discontinued in the early 1970s. Free entry of course meant that all income was derived from the city. The zoo was run by the Parks Department, which inter alia suffered the loss of the first really good director, Willie Labuschagne, who went to Pretoria Zoo in 1985.

 

Johannesburg Zoo encompasses mainly mammals large and small, with a good representation of the charismatic species, a good collection of birds, and a few reptiles. There is a distinctly African bias and – unfortunately – many (successful) exotic species have been or are being phased out. There is no aquarium, but nearby Pretoria Zoo has a good one, as well as representative collections of amphibians and reptiles. The animals in Johannesburg are shown in accommodation of varying quality. There is a good number of state-of-the-art enclosures and some interesting combinations of species, particularly as regards small mammals and birds. As in Pretoria, some old enclosures have been retained empty as `museum pieces' with appropriate labels.

 

The African megavertebrates are well represented and rightly so, e.g. lowland gorilla (the male Max became world-famous for arresting a burglar who, while on the run from neighbouring wealthy Parkview, found himself in the animals' outside enclosure), chimpanzee, mandrill, African savanna elephant (who have bred twice), both species of rhino and hippopotamus, giraffe, a good series of antelopes (many in breeding groups, some rare species represented), Cape buffalo, zebra, large cats, Cape fur seal, etc. Among the exotic animals the polar bears in their luxurious custom-built enclosure are always crowd-pullers. Both Johannesburg and Pretoria Zoos have always been unlucky with their giraffes, and so far they have not succeeded in establishing viable breeding groups.

 

As far as exotic mammals are concerned there is always the problem of which taxa should be represented in a major South African establishment. Kangaroos, deer, Barbary sheep/ibex, camels, tapirs and bears are groups unknown in sub-Saharan Africa and are vital for their roles in the system of the mammals. It is a moot point whether American bison, tiger and orang-utan should qualify; after all, Africa has its own wild cattle, big cats and apes. The odd historical fact is that at one time (the late 1950s) there was only a single African elephant in all southern African zoological gardens (Pretoria, obtained from the then Belgian Congo). Indeed, the assistant director of Pretoria Zoo was specifically sent to Sri Lanka to acquire (among other animals) an Indian elephant (1958). This was also the elephant species usually seen in local circuses. Only after culling started in the Kruger National Park, and also when safe chemical restraint was developed, did local African elephants become available.

 

Dr A.C. van Bruggen, National Museum of Natural History, P.O. Box 9517, 2300 RA Leiden, the Netherlands (E-mail: acvanbruggen@hetnet.nl).

 

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BOOK REVIEWS

 

INTERNATIONAL ZOO YEARBOOK 38, edited by P.J.S. Olney, Fiona A. Fisken and Catherine Morris. The Zoological Society of London, 2003. viii + 413 pp., photographs, diagrams, hardback. ISSN 0074–9664. £69.00, Euros116.00 or US$126.00 (plus £6.00, Euros10.00 or $9.00 postage outside U.K.).

 

The arrival of the latest volume of the Yearbook is more than usually welcome. The worryingly long interval since the publication (in 2000) of the previous volume inevitably gave rise to some anxious speculation whether the series had reached the end of the road. It hasn't: indeed, the dust-wrapper of the present volume even announces the special subject – zoo animal nutrition – for Volume 39, to be published next year. This is good news for everyone with a serious interest, professional or otherwise, in zoos. The complete set of Yearbooks – currently occupying 1.2 metres of shelf space! – is far and away the most important reference source we have, and its value is cumulative. Noticing that more than half the volumes are still in print, some of them at ridiculously low prices by today's standards, I can't help wondering whether the zoo community is sufficiently appreciative of what a treasure-house of information the Yearbook represents.

 

Naturally, over more than four decades of publication, the Yearbook has seen some changes (documented by Peter Olney in an article in the present volume). However, the tripartite structure established in Volume 1 – special topic, general articles and reference section – still forms the basic framework today. Volume 38's first section, with the theme `Zoo Challenges: Past, Present and Future', almost constitutes a re-launch for the series, with a number of extremely distinguished contributors assessing how zoos got where they are today, and what the future may have in store for them. Taken as a whole, these 15 articles virtually amount to an action plan for the zoo world. They start with William Conway on `The role of zoos in the 21st century,' Michael Hutchins on `Zoo and aquarium animal management and conservation: current trends and future challenges,' and John Knowles on `Zoos and a century of change.' Other topics are the roles of the Yearbook itself, the International Species Information System, the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group and the Re-introduction Specialist Group. Other authors discuss education, legislation, ethics, genetic studies, reproductive technologies, environmental enrichment, and welfare, husbandry and veterinary care. The section ends with a detailed analysis of the `characteristics of a world-class zoo or aquarium in the 21st century.' All the papers in the Yearbook are listed, with summaries, in our Recent Articles section, below.

 

Section 2 has ten articles on the usual wide range of topics. Eight of them relate to particular species – Indian python, mountain peacock pheasant, koala, eastern pygmy possum, two-toed sloth, orang-utan, walrus and killer whale. A computerized record system developed for the management of bustards in Abu Dhabi has clear relevance for other species; and the section ends with a useful piece giving guidance for anyone compiling a husbandry manual.

 

Section 3 of the present volume has the familiar biennial details of zoos and aquariums of the world, and the lists of regional and national zoo associations and international studbooks, but follows Yearbook 37 in omitting the annual statistics on animals bred and zoos' holdings of rare species. The underlying reason is, of course, that the growth of ISIS has meant increasing duplication of effort in the compilation of data. A software program, projected some years back, to convert ISIS data to Yearbook house style, has now been developed. It was announced in Vol. 37 that inclusion of the lists would be resumed in the present volume; but in the event, evidently, a decision has been postponed, and we are told that discussions on future ISIS–Yearbook collaboration are continuing. No doubt the proposed development of ZIMS [see IZN 50 (4), 233–4] will further delay resolution of the problem. Meanwhile, the ideal of easily available, accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive data on zoos' holdings remains unrealised. The number of institutions sending information to ISIS is still more than 200 fewer than regularly featured in the Yearbook. This, though, may not always be the case; and it must be admitted that internet lists offer the possibility of constant updating, whereas the Yearbook statistics were never less than two years out of date. I shall wait with interest to see how matters develop. What is certain, on the evidence of the present volume, is that the Yearbook has more than enough vigour and confidence to survive any necessary changes to its role.

 

Nicholas Gould

 

ARCHÄOLOGIE UND BIOLOGIE DES AUEROCHSEN/ARCHAEOLOGY AND BIOLOGY OF THE AUROCHS ed. by Gerd-Christian Weniger. Neanderthal Museum, Mettmann, 1999 (Wissenschaftliche Schriften des Neanderthal Museums, Band 1). 200 pp., illus., paperback. ISBN 3–9805839–6–1. Euros41.

AUROCHS, LE RETOUR . . . D'UNE SUPERCHERIE NAZIE by Piotr Daszkiewicz and Jean Aikhenbaum. H.S.T.E.S., Paris, 1999. 160 pp., 8 illus., paperback. ISBN 2–9514364–0–8. Euros21.

 

`The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived, though its first material expression be destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again.'

 

The preservation of endangered species is one of the most popular justifications for keeping wild animals in captivity, and William Beebe's famous comment of 1906 is frequently quoted by conservationists in zoos and elsewhere to this day. But how about recreating an extinct species after all? Beginning in 1934, two German zoo directors, the brothers Lutz and Heinz Heck of the Berlin and Munich Zoos respectively, did indeed experiment in `back-breeding' two species of extinct European ungulate: the aurochs (Bos primigenius) and the tarpan (Equus gmelini). The aurochs was apparently last recorded in a game park near Königsberg in East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, westernmost Russia) in 1669; the last known tarpan, a mare, was killed in the Ukraine at Christmas 1879. By `back-breeding' (Rückzucht) the Hecks meant crossing what were considered primitive breeds of cattle and horses respectively to bring out specimens resembling their original ancestors, selecting after each generation those offspring for further breeding that came closest to the archetype. Of course one couldn't and can't really speak of back-breeding `species'; by definition animals belong to a common species if they can produce fertile offspring. What the Hecks wanted to do was to recreate the wild European progenitors of two popular domestic animals for release in Germany's growing number of national and game parks. The tarpan wasn't much of a problem, nor was it really a challenge: only a year after the last tarpan disappeared, the Mongolian wild horse was discovered (for science) in central Asia by the Polish-Russian explorer Nikolai Przewalski. The Hecks nevertheless preferred to experiment with various horse breeds, and within a decade had `tarpans' resembling the original so well that 18th-century naturalists brought in on a time machine probably wouldn't have known the difference. The domestic horse, however, has not diverged from the wild horse as much as most cattle breeds have from wild oxen.

 

The aurochs – the English and French names are a corruption of the German term Auerochs, possibly `ox of the wetlands' – is known from innumerable sub-fossil skeletons, prehistoric cave art and many descriptions, but only one genuinely reliable, life-like illustration made while the animal was still around, a painting of the 16th or early 17th century by an unknown, presumably Polish, artist discovered by the British zoologist Hamilton Smith over 170 years ago in an Augsburg, Bavaria, antique shop. To make a long story short: the back-bred `aurochs' was not a success, at least not to date. The colours, size and general appearance are all right; it's the horns that present an apparently insurmountable problem. Not only do the size and form of the original aurochs' horns differ from the Hecks' faux- or neo-aurochs; sexual dimorphism in the genuinely wild species was apparently much more pronounced than in domestic cattle of any breed. One of Europe's few dozen herds of the Hecks' version of the aurochs can be observed in a 16-hectare (40-acre) paddock of woods and meadows in the Neandertal Game Park east of Düsseldorf. A report on the social structure and behaviour of the herd examined over a period of one year is one of 16 papers in a volume of proceedings published in 1999 (but still in print!) by the Neanderthal Museum in nearby Mettmann. (In case you're wondering what's been misspelled, the game park uses the modern, the museum the obsolete spelling of the valley where Homo neanderthalensis was first discovered.) The DIN-format (A4) book chock-full of photos, drawings, maps, graphs and tables covers just about everything one would want to know about the aurochs from archaeology to zoology. Ten of the papers, by British, French, Swiss, Hungarian, Danish and German contributors, are in English; six, by more Germans and two Spaniards, in German. Summaries are in the language not used for the paper itself.

 

There is one aspect of the aurochs' history, however, that is neglected in the museum's proceedings: the political background to the Hecks' back-breeding project. The Polish biologist Piotr Daszkiewicz and the French journalist Jean Aikhenbaum have looked at just that, and are convinced that the Hecks were propagating nothing less (or more) than a grand Nazi hoax, as the subtitle of their recent book emphasizes. Lutz and Heinz were the sons of the legendary (in Germany, anyway) Ludwig Heck, director of the Berlin Zoo from 1888 to 1931. Lutz Heck succeeded his father in Berlin, whereas Heinz, married to a daughter of Carl Hagenbeck, which compensated somewhat for his lack of a doctorate, became director of the Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich in 1928. Not exactly socialists, they both accommodated themselves quite well to the Nazi regime established in 1933, Lutz apparently more so than Heinz. Berlin was, after all, the capital of the country, and Munich the seat of the Nazi party. The wrong word in the wrong company and either would have been out of a job. Lutz was out of a job as soon as the war was lost, but Heinz stayed on until 1969. Dr Daszkiewicz and Mr Aikhenbaum would have us believe that the Hecks were very nasty Nazis indeed, although they fail to tell us how Heinz Heck survived the denazification process in the U.S. zone to which Munich belonged after 1945. They don't really tell us much at all; their book, quite frankly, is what the French would call a polemique, and Americans perhaps more crudely but to the point a `hatchet job' – full of innuendo but weak on facts, especially anything from original sources. Perhaps the Hecks deserve it; after the war both were less than candid about their association with the Nazi dictatorship. But do we, who are expected to buy and read their book, deserve it? Dr Daszkiewicz and Mr Aikhenbaum see a big cover-up in the story of the Hecks' aurochs breeding project, and they're determined to expose it. On page 116 they write that some Berlin Zoo historians prefer to `forget' Lutz Heck altogether, citing as proof the fact that his name does not come up at all in `that great monograph devoted the history of the Berlin Zoo, Der Grosse [sic] Tiergarten in Berlin (1993).' Unfortunately, that book is not a history of the zoo at all, but rather the story of a large public park just outside the Brandenburg Gate. The Tier in Tiergarten is a reference to the deer that were once kept in the park, not to animals in general. The problem is, apparently, that neither Dr Daszkiewicz nor Mr Aikhenbaum can read German; if they could, they would have noticed within the first couple of pages of Der grosse Tiergarten what the book is about – and that Lutz Heck really had no place in it. Lutz and Heinz Heck themselves are quoted only a couple of times, and then only from books or papers available in French or English. The authors make real use of only one German-language publication, and even then only of the photographs and captions, it seems. The name of that paper's author (Kai Artinger) is consistently misspelled.

 

The aurochs back-breeding project was basically a failure, yes. But was it really a hoax, a forgery? The fact that the Hecks began their project in 1934 was presumably no coincidence. The Nibelungenlied of the 13th century has Siegfried killing four aurochs and a wisent in the forests of western Alsace, and recreating an ancient Germanic environment (within park borders) was as much Nazi ideology as getting back Alsace again. But if the Hecks were indeed solely interested in appeasing the Third Reich, with no genuine zoological curiosity guiding their efforts, Dr Daszkiewicz and Mr Aikhenbaum have failed to make their case. An abridged version of Chapter 1 of their book was initially offered as a contribution to the French science monthly La Recherche, but the editors declined to publish it, apparently without giving the authors a satisfactory reason. Dr Daszkiewicz and Mr Aikhenbaum insinuate sinister motives in a footnote (on page 15), but that chapter, like the others, just isn't backed up by original research. The Nazi period at Berlin and Munich (and other German) zoos deserves more attention than it has received to date, and the same goes for the initial motives behind the aurochs project. Access to the zoos' records – as far as they survived the air raids – should be available now, but one will have to read German fluently to make use of them. Being full of anti-fascist indignation, however noble that certainly is, just doesn't carry a book.

 

Recreating lost species or subspecies need not be a reactionary effort per se. The quagga back-breeding project in South Africa can hardly be narrowed to an apartheid ideology (see IZN 46:2, pp. 94–98, 1999), and Science reports on `back-crossing' hybrids to create an American chestnut (Castanea dentata) resistant to cankers (Vol. 295, p. 1628, 2002). In another contribution to Archäologie und Biologie des Auerochsen, Hans-Peter Uerpmann of Tübingen University sees an important purpose in preserving the faux-aurochs we have. Wrong horns or not, as large ungulates of a kind that once did inhabit central Europe, they can still help preserve a natural environment of mixed forest and meadows that would otherwise have to be left in the hands of the forester. And as a feral type of cattle, they may also be able to enhance the gene pool of a domestic animal that has become impoverished genetically during the last decades. Attempting to back-breed the aurochs may have been a folly, but it was not a crime.

 

Herman Reichenbach

 

NEW YORK'S BIGGEST LITTLE ZOO: A HISTORY OF THE STATEN ISLAND ZOO by Ken Kawata. Kendall/Hunt Publishing, Dubuque, Iowa, 2003. 193 pp., black-and-white illus., softbound. ISBN 0–7575–0178–8. $20.00.

 

Imagine starting a zoo in the shadow of an existing famous zoo (Bronx Zoo) and in the midst of an economic depression (the great depression of the 1930s). Such an effort requires a clear purpose, a distinctive collection, and resourceful individuals. Fortunately the little zoo in Barrett Park had all three. And so, from the very beginning of this book, one learns about the zoo's incredible efforts at education, its outstanding reptile collection, and its roster of outstanding employees and supporters. This includes many names that are still remembered today: James Chapin, Carl Kauffeld, Ernest Thompson Seton, John Werler, Dave Zucconi, along with many others well known at the time. Still more were to follow, including the first woman zoo veterinarian, Patricia O’Connor [see IZN 50 (5), 262].

 

Ken covers all of these aspects in detail without boring the reader: the programs, collections (and there were some rare and fascinating animals), and personnel. And, of course, there are the struggles, growth, highlights and disappointments. In addition, the reader is treated to insights on how and why things were done the way they were, as well as why the running of a zoo changed from this zoo's beginning in 1936 to the present day. The book presents a view of American zoos through the eyes of this particular one. The depression, war years, hopeful 1950s, turbulent 1960s, the 1970s (when big changes occurred for this zoo), and the following decades when many institutions went from being city park zoos to international conservation centers.

 

Written by someone who is knowledgeable about both zoos and zoo history, the book puts local events into national historical context. It covers the daily accomplishments and the outstanding achievements. This local picture/big picture combination makes the story more enjoyable; and it is enhanced by many black-and-white photographs, a chronology, a list of staff publications, a list of sources, and an index. Several institutional histories have been published recently, particularly from the older and larger zoos. But this history of the `biggest little zoo' holds its own and makes the Staten Island Zoo's many achievements better known.

 

Vernon Kisling

 

HET BOS VAN BLAAUW. GOOILUST EN HET CORVERSBOS. BIOGRAFIE VAN EEN 'S-GRAVELANDSE BUITENPLAATS by T. Coops. Terra/Lannoo, Warnsveld/Tielt, 2003. 240 pp., illus. (b/w and colour), hardback. ISBN 9058971090, Euros35 (= c. £23).

 

This in all respects beautifully produced book features the story of two estates, one of which was the scene of the last large-scale private menagerie in the Netherlands, Gooilust (1896–1936). Frans Ernst Blaauw (1860–1936) belonged to the landed gentry and owned the estate of Westerveld in the Gooi area in the central part of the country. Blaauw, greatly interested in keeping mammals and birds, acted as voluntary assistant to the director of the Amsterdam Zoological Gardens, Dr. G.F. Westerman, in the years 1878 to 1881. He forged close ties with this zoo, a relationship beneficial to both parties. In 1885 he founded his own private menagerie on the Westerveld estate, where he successfully established his unique (at that time) breeding herd of black or white-tailed wildebeest (1886 to some time after his death). His life changed greatly after his marriage in 1890 to the wealthy Louise Six, who owned the nearby estate of Gooilust. The marriage (without issue) was, to put it mildly, less than happy, with the husband trying to get his wife declared insane and committed to a lunatic asylum. He only partly succeeded here, but the result was that after her death in 1934 the Gooilust estate was bequeathed behind his back to the national conservation body (Vereniging tot Behoud van Natuurmonumenten in Nederland) with the proviso that the animals (transferred from Westerveld to Gooilust in 1896) had to disappear. . . This was, however, only effected on his death in 1936.

 

Blaauw was a colourful landowner who became a friend of the like-minded Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey and who also cultivated his acquaintance with the German ex-Kaiser, living in exile nearby in Doorn. Blaauw was an enthusiastic traveller, visiting North and South America, South and East Africa, on which great journeys he wrote limited-edition books. However, as an author he is mainly remembered for his magnificent monograph in English on the cranes of the world (1897, only 170 copies printed), with colour plates by Leutemann and Keulemans.

 

His animals were bequeathed to the Duke of Bedford, but because of a foot-and-mouth epidemic they could not be sent to England. Eventually the Duke accepted only the waterfowl, other animals being sent to the British aviculturist David Ezra, the French ornithologist Jean Delacour, the London Zoo (two Przewalski horses), and the new Wassenaar Zoo (1937–1986) which obtained waterfowl, ratites, llamas, American bison (breeding stock kept until a few years before its closure) and black wildebeest. Some wildebeest and black-necked swans remained at Gooilust until the 1950s. Over almost half a century Blaauw kept around 30 species of mammal (e.g. South African oryx, eland, various species of deer, South American camelids, Grevy's zebra, red kangaroo, etc.), more than 170 species of bird (e.g. kiwi and other ratites, cranes, many species of waterfowl, the now rare kagu and South African black oyster-catcher, secretary bird, crowned pigeons, glossy starlings, etc.), and a few reptiles. He had varying success in breeding, but outstanding results were obtained with the black wildebeest and American bison. European bison failed to thrive, and also the Przewalski horses were not a success, resulting in a valuable imported specimen ending up in the National Museum of Natural History (Leiden). This museum was also one of the beneficiaries of Blaauw's will, obtaining inter alia animal paintings by famous artists such as the German Wilhelm Kuhnert, a portrait of Linnaeus, and a not inconsiderable sum of money.

 

The birds were Blaauw's greatest love, although one should not forget that he also embellished his estate with a host of unusual exotic plants, mainly shrubs and trees, many still extant. The partly walled garden featured a bird house, aviaries and various ponds for the more delicate waterfowl (among them rarities such as Hawaiian geese and trumpeter swans, both of which successfully bred). He was a superb aviculturist, even bringing safely home in a cardboard box a pair of slender-billed conures (Enicognathus leptorhynchus) acquired in Chile during his trip to South America. They subsequently bred and reared young in his aviaries at Gooilust.

 

The book contains a wealth of information about the family and their history, the various estates, visitors, gardens and menagerie; it also encompasses a list of the publications (mainly zoological) by Blaauw. The volume, a valuable contribution to Dutch zoo history, is profusely illustrated (partly in colour) and a joy to hold and read – a gem of a book! The only drawback is that the author obviously has not consulted a zoologist. Some advice from a person in the know might at least have supplied scientific names for the animals only shown under their names in Dutch and corrected a few of the (usually minor) mistakes.

 

A.C. van Bruggen

 

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CONSERVATION

 

More zoo places needed for Philippine spotted deer

 

The Philippine spotted deer (Cervus alfredi) is the world's most endangered deer species. Originally occurring on all five of the larger Central Visayan Islands, it is now extinct on three of them, and its forest habitat has declined by more than 95% on the remaining two (Panay and Negros). What habitat remains is heavily fragmented, and the last few existing sub-populations are still subject to heavy poaching pressure.

 

In order to save the species from extinction, Mulhouse Zoo, France, in cooperation with the Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz (Munich, Germany) and Fauna and Flora International (Cambridge, U.K.), initiated a conservation programme that has, as one component, a breeding programme in the Philippines and in Europe.

 

A first group of the deer arrived in Mulhouse from the Philippines in 1990. The animals settled in well and soon started to breed. In 2001, after over two years of planning, a second group, unrelated to those that arrived in 1990, was imported to Europe via quarantine in Poznan Zoo, Poland. By early 2003 12 zoos in France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, the U.K., Poland, the Czech Republic and Austria had become partners in the programme. The captive population in Europe increased to 29.30.2 animals on 1 January 2003.

 

An integral component of the programme is financial and scientific support to local rescue and breeding centres in the Philippines, where herds of spotted deer were founded with rescued, confiscated and donated animals. Under the leadership of William Oliver (Fauna and Flora International) and with the support of all participating zoos as well as other organisations, three local `rescue centres' have evolved over the last 15 years into leading local conservation centres, which continue to function as rescue and breeding centres for endangered Philippine wildlife species, provide employment for Filipinos with an interest in conservation, and function as conservation education centres.

 

What started off as a recovery programme for C. alfredi has expanded over the years to other highly endangered endemic species, including Visayan warty pig, Panay cloud rat, Visayan writhed hornbill, Philippine eagle owl, Philippine hawk eagle, endemic populations (probably representing undescribed species or subspecies) of Philippine sailfin lizard, and others. Numerous other organisations (but mostly zoos in Europe, the U.S.A. and Australia) have joined in over the years and become major long-term funding partners in this multi-species conservation and recovery programme for one of the globally most endangered `biodiversity hotspots' – the central Philippine islands.

 

While expansion of breeding programmes for Visayan warty pigs and Panay cloud rats from the Philippines to Europe are planned for the immediate future, the longest established of these programmes – the Philippine spotted deer programme – is now at a critical point: with 12 zoos now participating and the `new' animals imported in 2001 adding more genetic diversity to the gene pool, the programme urgently needs more partner zoos. Philippine spotted deer are relatively easy to maintain in zoos and provide few management problems. Unlike many other deer, however, they need heated winter quarters in northern and central Europe and, again unlike many other deer, females can be aggressive to each other. Breeding herds of up to five or six females are possible, but usually only by building up numbers from a founder female and her daughters and granddaughters. Such female groups may be stable for years, but sudden aggression directed against one particular female, requiring her separation, or the restructuring of herds, can occur. It is thus desirable to find more partners for the programme who can provide more than one enclosure for the species. This will reduce the need to move deer between partner zoos, in turn reducing unnecessary stress on the animals – and on the programme coordinator! On the positive side, enclosure size can be smaller than for many other deer species, and as this species is not a very good jumper, fences can be lower than for most other similar-sized deer.

 

Partner zoos are expected to make a one-off or yearly financial contribution to continuation and expansion of conservation activities in the Philippines. However, no fixed amount has been set; this will be negotiated with each partner zoo individually, based on the zoo's financial resources and desire to help. Participation of each new zoo will have to be endorsed by the wildlife authorities of the Philippines (all deer and their progeny are owned by the Philippine government), requiring a waiting period of a few months before animals can be sent to a new zoo. Any zoo interested in partnering in this programme should contact Jean-Marc Lernould (jean-marc.lernould@hrnet.fr) or Jens-Ove Heckel (jens-ove.heckel@landau.de).

 

Abridged from Jean-Marc Lernould, Jens-Ove Heckel and Roland Wirth in EAZA News No. 43 (July–September 2003)

 

Conservation of Sahelo-Saharan antelopes

 

In May, we visited Agadir in Morocco to attend two concurrent meetings that focused on the conservation of the arid-land antelopes of North Africa. The first was the Second Regional Workshop on the Conservation and Restoration of Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes, organised by the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme. This meeting brought together delegates of range states to review progress since the signing of the Djerba Declaration in 1998. The second was the Fourth Annual Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group (SSIG) Meeting. This forum brings together individuals and organisations that are actively engaged in the conservation of desert wildlife. Marwell hosted the inaugural SSIG meeting, so we are delighted that the forum has become such a successful initiative and the enthusiasm of its members remains so strong.

 

There are six arid-adapted antelope species from the periphery of the Sahel and Sahara deserts: dama gazelle, slender-horned gazelle, Cuvier's gazelle, dorcas gazelle, addax and scimitar-horned oryx. All these species are of cultural, economic and ecological significance in their natural range, hence international conservation efforts that are now underway. Four species can be seen at Marwell Zoo, including the scimitar-horned oryx, which provided our principal motivation for participating in these meetings. Our work with this species forms one of the cornerstones of Marwell's conservation portfolio, linking the ex situ management of a species that became extinct in the wild to its reintroduction in former historic range.

 

The CMS workshop began with an overview of recent problems and progress of Sahelo-Saharan antelope conservation on a regional basis. International initiatives have been slow to implement and illegal hunting is compromising conservation efforts. However, some initiatives within range states have made good progress. Thirteen range states presented details of the status of antelope within their borders, conservation initiatives that are underway and projects planned for the future. It was encouraging to hear such enthusiasm, though tempered with the realism that many countries simply do not have the resources or expertise to carry out their ideas and strategies. Fortunately, the CMS Sahelo-Saharan Antelope Programme has managed to secure some funding, and members of SSIG bring expertise and further opportunities for financial support to the table.

 

The SSIG meeting began with reports from members on their activities during the last year. This included results of survey work and research in North Africa. We contributed presentations on Marwell's activities, including management of the European scimitar-horned oryx population, our initiative to identify important genetic lineages in the global captive population through a collaborative project with the University of Southampton, and an update on the Sidi Toui reintroduction project in Tunisia [see IZN 45 (4), 238–9; 47 (7), 459]. Thereafter, the SSIG delegates discussed how to meet range state requests for help on various matters from protected area management to reintroductions. This resulted in the formation of a number of working groups and a series of new initiatives are now underway.

 

Between the CMS and SSIG meetings, we were treated to a visit to the Souss Massa National Park. This protected area on the Moroccan coast is most notable for hosting the world's remaining colony of northern bald ibis or waldrapp. However, it is now also home to free-ranging herds of scimitar-horned oryx and addax. There is a certain degree of controversy surrounding this project because it represents an introduction, not a reintroduction, of these antelope. Scimitar-horned oryx may have previously occupied parts of Morocco, but it is unlikely that they ever occurred in the Souss Massa area. Furthermore, it is doubtful whether addax ever existed in Morocco unless groups strayed into the border regions during their migrations. The Moroccan authorities see Souss Massa as a staging post for producing antelope for releases elsewhere in the country. The addax population is genetically diverse, and offers a free-ranging backup to the captive population and a potential source of animals for releases in former historic range elsewhere in North Africa. While it was interesting to see large numbers of these antelope looking apparently at home in this arid environment, it was equally strange to see them against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean!

 

Souss Massa offers an opportunity to exploit the undoubted tourism value of having impressive herds of antelope close to the holiday resort of Agadir. Whether the ecological consequences of introducing antelope and developing tourism in the area will prove costly remains to be seen. Plans to build a holiday complex in the park that would have been situated on bald ibis feeding grounds have fortunately been shelved!

 

Several countries are keen to have herds of scimitar-horned oryx returned to their former range. Efforts have begun in Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal, while Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Egypt, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Sudan have expressed an interest in receiving oryx in the future. While the political will appears to be turning in favour of reintroductions, efforts must be made to conserve or restore habitats, increase public awareness, and enact or enforce mechanisms for legal protection. Hopefully, the CMS initiative will, in the not too distant future, help facilitate international cooperation that will allow oryx to once again cross borders during their migrations and be protected by trans-frontier agreements.

 

Abridged from Tim Woodfine and Tania Gilbert (Department of Conservation and Wildlife Management, Marwell Zoo, U.K.) in Marwell Zoo News No. 116 (Summer 2003)

 

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ANNUAL REPORTS

 

NATURZOO RHEINE, GERMANY

Excerpts from the Annual Report 2002

 

Spectacular new arrivals, pleasing breeding successes and numerous animal transfers – 2002 was a busy year in the animal collection of NaturZoo Rheine.

 

Twin births are the norm in our ring-tailed lemur group. We see a genetic predisposition for this, as we can follow up maternal lines for many generations, and the percentage of twin births in this line is as high as 80%. With three sets of twins this year, the group has grown to 14 animals.

 

If only births of lion-tailed macaques could be equally numerous! But this is, of course, not possible by nature and it is a special problem for this species in zoos. After two cases of attempted infanticide by male Clinton towards young female Asha in the past year, we did not risk combining these two animals again, so we brought in young male David from Rostock Zoo as a companion and future partner for Asha. Just the day after his arrival we found Asha with her left hand nearly completely torn off. We were able to work out that Clinton had caught and bitten her through the separation fence. The veterinarian had to work for two hours to repair the wound, and by intensive treatment over weeks he was successful in saving Asha's hand, though it is handicapped in function by partial stiffness and the loss of three fingers. Asha quickly learned to adapt to this handicap and after her recovery we combined her with David. From the beginning they proved a perfect, playful team. The final integration of adult females Vera and Nicole with Clinton then went ahead in the same way without any problems, and six months later Vera gave birth to a male baby who is growing up perfectly.

 

Eleven Barbary macaques were sent to Tierpark Berlin, but this number was nearly outweighed by the nine young born this year. We foresee a future need for hormonal implants to reduce population growth in this species, as it is getting more difficult to find suitable places for surplus Barbary macaques.

 

After the death of the old gelada baboon male Düsi in 2001 it was necessary to find a successor for him. A male born in 1994 in Rheine and currently living with a brother and a half-brother as a bachelor group at Colchester Zoo was found to be the most suitable candidate in respect of age and degree of relationship to the females. We decided to take back all three males from Colchester, and we gave in exchange three younger males from our stock. One of the returned males travelled on to Wilhelma, Stuttgart, and the impressive Genesis and his half-brother Mufasa – only slightly younger but considerably less developed – became integrated to the females of `Group 2'. We took time to habituate the males and females to each other, and chose a time for combining them when the highest-ranking female was in oestrus and presented towards Genesis through the fence. After one very short but nevertheless severe fight between the females and Genesis, the situation stayed quiet but it was a long time before one could speak about a `relaxed' situation. There was also one case of infanticide, and afterwards we also lost the mother of this killed baby; she died suddenly and post mortem examination did not help to explain the causes satisfactorily. However, by the end of the year Genesis was the father of two babies. Mufasa became the companion and protector of the half-grown members of the group, and we believe that he is building up relations for a future harem of his own. For transfers and integrations of gelada males, we can recommend working with two related or at least harmonizing males of different ages. We have repeatedly found that the younger one then plays an important role in protecting the young and half-grown members of the group.

 

Shortly after the female white-handed gibbon Bessy had left for Rhenen Zoo, the Netherlands, we had to separate her brother from his parents, too. He had been tolerated by them since his birth in 1993, which seems to be a remarkable long time.

 

Among the rodents we can report ongoing breeding successes with the prairie dogs, Patagonian cavies and Cuban hutias. We are continuing to be the `main supplier' of the latter species for Europe, and this year we sent a larger group to Colchester Zoo. From Osnabrück Zoo we purchased a group of orange-rumped agoutis who will live at ground level in the oropendola aviary.

 

The former wallaby enclosure had become unattractive over time, and it made no sense to keep a second group of red-necked wallabies there while a larger group were living in the quite new and pleasing walk-through enclosure in our expansion area. Within a short time our own staff transformed the grey paddock into 400 square metres of green landscape with hills and bushes, with dead tree-trunks and ropes for climbing, to offer ring-tailed coatis a comfortable home. We received five female coatis from Wilhelma, Stuttgart. After very brief habituation they accepted the electric fencing – just five electric wires up to a height of 60 cm from the ground – and became favourites with the visitors right from the start. It is impressive to see how agile they are when climbing in a 15-metre-high birch tree. In the tree-top they jump from branch to branch very much like monkeys, and they eagerly build nests made of twigs and leaves.

 

Harbour seal Susi delivered a male but lost interest in him when he fell ill within the first few days. So when he recovered we had to hand-rear the pup. With the help of Seal Nursery Pieterburen, the Netherlands, who provided advice and a special milk-replacer, and under the dedicated care of our staff, Sam grew up without any further complications.

 

The comings and goings of Sumatran tigers caused the greatest attention and attraction of the media. Young female Kim, who arrived last year from Rotterdam, needed a long time to habituate to her new surroundings and keepers. Our old female Friederike helped Kim to feel more comfortable just by her presence in the close neighbourhood. We never saw any aggression between the two females through the separating fence, but we did not risk bringing them together. Then Friederike left for her new home at Doué la Fontaine, where an old male was awaiting her. So there was now a place for a suitable partner for Kim. But the EEP could not offer a really suitable one, so with their agreement we took advantage of an offer from Dortmund Zoo to bring in their old male Attjak, who had been living alone there. Attjak's history was not too promising for an easy introduction to Kim, as he had been kept for most of his live together with his brother and later alone. Nevertheless we thought it would be the best for Kim – and Attjak – to try to bring these two tigers together. Attjak had significantly less problems starting to feel at home in his new surroundings. Also the contacts the two tigers made through the separating fences were friendly. But we waited until Kim showed signs of maturity, and short before her second oestrus she and Attjak met for the first time in the outdoor enclosure. Fortunately this first rendezvous was completely unspectacular, and from the first day on we could manage the two tigers in daily routine work as if they had been together for ever. We can say today that `two hearts have been united', and we are absolutely convinced that bringing together these two individuals has contributed considerably to their welfare.

 

To refresh our ageing group of Humboldt penguins we received four young birds from Tierpark Berlin. Breeding results from our penguins have been unsatisfactory for the past few years and the unbalanced age-structure might be a reason for this. We also need to find the reason for lack of breeding and rearing in the wetland aviary. Whereas we counted the usual high numbers of young cattle and little egrets, we only had one scarlet ibis reared, and not even one roseate spoonbill. Meanwhile we are encountering an opposite problem with our white storks: We have a growing number of nesting pairs in our free-flying colony and we have lost any overview of the numbers of young. By the end of the season we counted more than a hundred birds assembled during feeding times in the White Stork Reserve.

 

The bird keepers did a great job again in rearing huge numbers of waders. Flocks of redshanks and ruffs could be sent to the zoos of Paignton, Colchester and Cologne and the bird parks of Walsrode and Marlow. In the order Charadriiformes we acquired as a new species Inca terns, who will finally find a home in the Seabird Aviary for which construction started by the end of the year. The ten birds are all captive-bred in 2002 and arrived from Rostock, Walsrode and Amsterdam.

 

The crested oropendolas repeated their breeding success from last year and this time two females fledged from two nests. Even more impressive is the number of at least 37 reared textor weavers in our large colony. We counted at the end of the year 112 birds, most probably the largest flock of this species in any zoo worldwide.

 

With the opening of a 200-m2 outdoor terrarium – another project planned and built by zoo staff only – for tortoises, our group of Hermann's tortoises were put in the limelight, much to the pleasure of both the visitors and the animals. Our stock of this species was more than doubled with the arrival of ten confiscated animals on loan from the authorities.

 

Achim Johann, Director

 

ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON, U.K. (London Zoo and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park)

Extracts from the Annual Review 2002

 

Despite the year being one of the wettest of the past century, visitor numbers were well above plan at Whipsnade, where there were almost 505,000 visits in total: in the past ten years, only 1996 saw higher numbers. By contrast, London Zoo suffered along with many other attractions in the capital from the national museum free entry scheme, which was put in place in December 2001. Whilst the Natural History Museum, as an example, reported visitor numbers increasing by more than a million (over 70%), most paid-for attractions in London saw a downturn. Total visits at London Zoo were 915,000.

 

Conservation

 

Following a Society-wide review of our conservation activities, six Conservation Programmes have been identified – Bushmeat and Forests, Carnivores and People, Deserts and Rangelands, Marine and Freshwater, U.K. Native Species, and Island Ecosystems.

 

An exciting new development this year has been the agreement to work with the EC-funded ECOFAC forest conservation and management programme in central Africa. A specific focus has been on gorilla eco-tourism at the Mikongo Conservation Centre in the Lope National Park, Gabon. This is one of the few places in Africa where it is possible for tourists to see lowland gorillas, and we are supporting sustainable conservation and tourism.

 

A major ZSL project, the Jambi Tiger Project, is being carried out in conjunction with an oil palm plantation company in Sumatra. Here, ZSL is working with plantation and logging company tiger scouts to study tigers and their prey. The teams are already investigating the relationships between land management, pig densities and tiger densities; the results will be used to select appropriate areas of the plantation for wildlife conservation, and to develop land management approaches which include wildlife corridors suitable for tigers and other large mammals, such as tapirs. In Russia, ZSL is now part of an international coalition known as ALTA – the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance. ALTA partners share information, work cooperatively and manage more than half of the relevant conservation projects in the Russian Far East. ZSL is also working in partnership with the IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group to produce a database on cat conservation projects world-wide. The existing Global Tiger Projects Database, produced by ZSL in 2001, is being expanded to include other taxa and adapted for use on the web, so that Cat Group members around the world can both contribute and access information – a valuable tool for both conservationists and donor organisations.

 

Considering carnivore biology in a number of countries, we have studied how different carnivores respond to prey availability. Our analysis shows that despite the great variation in size and habits, carnivore numbers change consistently in relation to their body weight and the quantity of prey needed to support them. We find that, regardless of the species of predator or prey, approximately 10,000 kg of prey supports 90 kg of predator. Thus, this amount of prey could support 90 individual 1-kg mongooses or one 90-kg jaguar. Animal abundance is important for understanding the structure of animal communities and for conservation planning.

 

Our field teams continue to work in Saudi Arabia, in both on-going research and management of the captive collection at the King Khalid Wildlife Research Centre and the monitoring of wild and reintroduced species. In the western Empty Quarter, we have maintained six-monthly monitoring of the reintroduced sand and mountain gazelles and of rangeland conditions. Our results show evidence that there are now over 1,000 sand gazelles at this site (starting from zero in 1995), while the mountain gazelle population (zero in 1996) has spread over more than 1,000 km2, making it one of the largest continuous areas occupied by this species in the country.

 

Livestock–wildlife interactions featured in a study of topi antelopes (Damaliscus lunatus) in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Among mammals, the habit of mating in aggregations on traditional arenas, or `leks', is very rare. We completed a three-year study on topi – one of the few species showing this behaviour – and demonstrated that these leks may evolve for similar reasons in mammals as in birds. The study also highlights potential problems faced by topi in the wild, because lekking behaviour is increasingly under threat from cattle grazing.

 

Over the last decade vultures of the Gyps genus (griffon vultures) have declined by more than 95% across India. Three species have moved on to the IUCN's red data list as critically endangered. In the 1980s, one of these species (the Indian white-backed vulture G. bengalensis) was regarded as one of the most abundant large birds of prey in the world. ZSL, the RSPB and the Bombay Natural History Society are conducting research, funded by a U.K. Darwin Initiative grant to the Institute of Zoology, to monitor the status of India's vulture populations and investigate the cause of the decline.

 

We continue to support a significant element of Project Seahorse work in the Philippines. Regional data on seahorse population densities, coral reef habitat, socio-economic factors and the seahorse fishery are currently being analysed to build predictive models that may guide coastal management strategies. In fishing grounds that are extensively damaged by dynamite fishing, large brown algae have overgrown the coral and inhibit regeneration. To address this threat, a low-technology approach of algal cropping is now being piloted as a potential reef rehabilitation method.

 

We have developed models of food depletion to understand the interaction between migratory brent geese (Branta bernicla) and intertidal green algae on the east coast of England. Since the geese prefer intertidal habitats, and switch to feeding inland only when these are depleted, we were able to predict circumstances when geese will switch to feeding inland. Our model proved extremely good at predicting the timing of switches. Geese cause financial losses to farmers when feeding inland on crops, and the ability to predict the duration and .intensity of inland feeding is helpful for developing management solutions.

 

The most complicated phase of construction of a mini-reserve for Partula snails in Tahiti was completed during the year. The initiative was aimed at protecting the last five surviving partulid species from the extinction threat posed by the introduced predatory snail Euglandina rosea. This work was funded by the Biodiversity Trust, with contributions from London and Edinburgh Zoos. In addition to these field activities, discussions have been held with the French Polynesian government to develop a coherent conservation programme for these species.

 

Research

 

Information on the digestive physiology of giraffes is vital for optimal feeding and management of the species in captivity. High-energy feeds, and diets too high in fibre, can cause a range of ruminant-associated problems. Captive giraffes can also suffer from a condition in which severe depletion of body fat stores occurs. We studied nutrient digestibility in giraffes at Whipsnade, and the results were used to calculate food intake and energy use, and to provide an optimum diet for the giraffes held in our zoos.

 

Avian aspergillosis is a widespread, common fungal disease, which in captive birds occurs particularly at times of stress. It is a significant cause of mortality in captive penguins, and most outbreaks occur in newly introduced birds, with sporadic cases in established groups. We have developed methods to assess exposure to the fungus, and are working to develop methods for early detection of the clinical disease.

 

Many cross-species studies have identified social and ecological correlates of parasite abundance and disease prevalence that might influence the evolution of the immune system, and therefore lead to significant differences in the immune response among species. We studied how one component of the immune system varies among primate species. Our findings support the idea that the risk of disease infection from the environment and the risk of injury have played a role in immune system evolution among primates; and indicate that some species may be more compromised by disease as a result of changing habitats and intensive management than others.

 

Females of many species have become adapted for reproductive strategies that involve some degree of sperm storage. While some species, e.g. bats and some insects, store spermatozoa for months or even years, others store them for a few days. Understanding these natural mechanisms may help the development of better sperm transport and storage media for use in genetic management programmes, whereby spermatozoa could be sent between widely dispersed locations without having to transport the animals themselves. Our detailed studies suggest some complex interactions between sperm and cell surface membranes which we are investigating further.

 

Semen freezing and storage, coupled with the use of artificial insemination, is increasingly proposed as a strategy for supporting the genetic management of wild animals and rare breeds of domestic species. Organised collections of frozen semen, embryos and oocytes, known collectively as Genetic Resource Banks (GRBs), are being set up around the world. We have also been developing some of the organisational policies and procedures that are essential for setting up GRBs.

 

Non-invasive hormone monitoring is a useful tool for evaluating the reproductive status of individual animals, and can be used to aid decisions by population managers. Although a thorough understanding of the reproductive cycles in the species of interest is required before techniques can be applied, once this has been established, there are interesting possibilities. As a result of our study on the reproductive biology of the mhorr gazelle, efforts can now be focused on individuals that may be of significant genetic value to the population, but limited in their ability to breed naturally.

 

Observations of wild spotted hyenas suggest that the highest-ranking immigrant males monopolise reproduction in hyena groups, but field observations are rare. We used long-term field data along with molecular genetic analyses to investigate the distribution of paternity among male hyenas. Our results show that most cubs are sired by immigrant males, and that length of residence is more important than rank. It also seems that female choice may play a more important role in limiting control by dominant males than do power struggles among males.

 

Despite widespread interest in the evolution of social intelligence, little is known about how wild animals acquire and use information about social companions, or how social knowledge benefits individuals. Elephants, because of their large brains and complicated social systems, are particularly intriguing in this respect. In collaboration with the University of Sussex and the Amboseli Elephant Research Project, we studied how well different families recognised other individuals. Elephants can discriminate between groups but there was great variation between different groups; some were better at discriminating than others. This difference was largely explained by the age of the oldest female, who presumably holds the greatest store of social knowledge. This result has important implications for conservation as well as evolutionary biology. In many mammal societies the oldest individuals are also the largest, and these tend to be particular targets of hunters and poachers. If family groups rely on these individuals for their store of social knowledge, then whole populations may be affected by the removal of a few key individuals.

 

In a wide variety of animal species, females vocalise just before, during or immediately after they mate. These vocalisations, or `copulation calls', are common among primates but not well understood. In a recent study of female copulation calls of yellow baboons in Kenya, we showed that calls from different females were individually distinct, so males could distinguish between them. Females closer to ovulation gave different calls, so males may be able to judge how likely it is that a copulation with the caller will result in a successful fertilisation. Finally, calls were longer and more complex during matings with higher-ranked males.

 

Why do life histories and mating systems vary so extensively across bird species? In a research monograph published this year (Evolutionary Ecology of Birds), this question was addressed through a systematic analysis of ecological and life history information on some 3,000 species. Variation among ancient avian lineages explains most of the present-day variation, and most life history variation is correlated with variation in one ecological trait – nesting habit. The analysis showed how ancient diversification in nesting habit between species can explain much of the vast range of life history diversity seen in living birds.

 

The zoos at work

 

The year was one of the most challenging in the history of elephants in ZSL, following the transfer of the three females from London Zoo to Whipsnade at the end of 2001. The excellent new facilities enabled the integration of all the individuals in various combinations. By the end of the year the various compatibility issues were still a challenge; however, Azizah had been mated by Emmett, so the signs are encouraging. The year was marred by the death of Anna following complications from a retained foetus. ZSL played a significant role in the development of husbandry guidelines for elephants which were published by the Federation of Zoos and will set standards on the future care of elephants in the U.K. and possibly elsewhere in Europe.

 

The challenge of finding suitable replacement species in the Casson Pavilion (the old elephant house) at London Zoo was exacerbated by the departure of Jos, the male black rhino. This presented the opportunity to give the anoas a better space and they appreciated this through the summer; with the Bactrian camels and pygmy hippo, the pavilion still provided a worthwhile area for our visitors.

 

There were a number of significant mammal births, including three Grevy's zebra and another sea lion at Whipsnade; births at London Zoo included a giant anteater, pottos, Geoffroy's marmosets and a golden-headed lion tamarin. At Whipsnade, the dwarf mongoose colony continue to reject their youngsters; this time two neonates were rescued and hand-reared, and both have been successfully reintegrated with the group.

 

The old male Indian rhino, Kumar, died leaving a number of successfully breeding offspring and a possibly pregnant grand-daughter in European zoos. Efforts have been underway for some time to find a new male to join the two young females but, as yet, this has not been achieved.

 

The bird department achieved a first U.K. breeding of black-necked aracari. This was eventually achieved by taking one of the two chicks for hand-rearing using a puppet as a surrogate parent. Other significant breedings included black hornbill, corncrake, king penguin, smew and hooded merganser. Harris hawks and grey parrots, bred at Whipsnade but hand-reared, successfully joined the birds in the flying demonstrations. The endangered Mindanao bleeding heart dove reared a chick for the first time at London Zoo, and it was satisfying to see the scarlet ibis rear a chick for the first time for several years.

 

The arrival of two pairs of Montserrat orioles was probably the most exciting species acquisition of the year. Successful breeding at Jersey Zoo meant they were looking for partners to expand the captive programme following the emergency rescue of a number of specimens after the volcano eruption on the island.

 

The aquarium staff managed to maintain their record of successes despite the distraction of assisting with the development of the new aquarium to be based at Silvertown Quays. This year first breedings included the Kotsovado cichlid from Madagascar, the Lake Kutubu rainbow fish and the short-snouted seahorse. Other significant breedings included the pot-bellied seahorse, black and striped Barombi Mbo cichlids, the Otjikoto tilapia and the crescent zoe.

 

The Web of Life exhibit bred the giant rhino cockroach as a first breeding outside Australia, and saw giant weta crickets bred through to second generation. The carpet barberry moth programme at Whipsnade continued its success and provided a number of larvae for reintroduction, although there are still problems on occasions with predation. As part of the English Nature field cricket programme, 3,149 nymphs were successfully released in four sites. Dormice and corncrakes bred by ZSL also joined English Nature's reintroduction programmes, the latter in partnership with the RSPB. This was an initial trial release following successful breeding through the year. The corncrakes proved to be quite a challenge, but after a roller-coaster year many of the problems seem to have been resolved and we look forward to 2003 with optimism that we can meet the challenges of rearing a significant number of birds for release.

 

                                   *   *   *

 

INTERNATIONAL ZOO NEWS

 

Apenheul Primate Park, the Netherlands

 

Apenheul acquired a number of wild-caught black howler monkeys (Alouatta caraya) in the late 1980s. Some went to other collections and a few died; by 1995, only three (1.2) remained. This trio made no attempts at reproduction, nor was there any breeding when the male was changed, twice. Finally, a male from Port Lympne who arrived at Apenheul in 1999 did start breeding with the two wild-born females. However, none of the offspring survived. Then one of the two females died after an otherwise successful caesarean section. It was decided to hand-rear the male baby, as he was the only offspring of this wild-born female. This went surprisingly well and he was successfully reintegrated into the `group' at about five months of age. Very soon afterwards the other female gave birth to a daughter, whom she proceeded to raise as if she had done nothing else all her life.

 

Eight months later she gave birth again, but this offspring died. Then, again eight months later, she gave birth to twins. There was some doubt about the survival potential of twin howlers: there were twin Mexican black howlers (A. pigra) born in the U.S.A. who were raised successfully, and there have been reports of twins in the wild in Belize, which did not all make it; but we decided to let nature take its course. The twins are now nearly half a year old and during this time have never required any attention other than their mother's.

 

Frank Rietkerk in EAZA News No. 43 (July–September 2003)

 

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.

 

The aquarium recently announced a number of rare births in its freshwater stingray breeding program. In April, four black peacock stingray (Potamotrygon leopoldi) and two otorongo (P. castexi) pups were born, the first of these species to be born at Audubon. The P. leopoldi births are the first captive breeding of this species, while the otorongo births are the second known captive births of their species. Meanwhile, breeding behaviors have been observed in the aquarium's jaguar stingrays (P. menchacai). If breeding is successful, the births will also be the first in captivity. In total, the aquarium has five species in its freshwater ray population. Since the breeding program began in 1993, more than 275 stingray pups from four different species have been born. The aquarium was also the first to breed the night sky black ray (P. henleii) in captivity.

 

Communiqué (American Zoo and Aquarium Association), July 2003

 

Baghdad Zoo, Iraq

 

The re-opening of Baghdad Zoo is a little-noted yet significant American success, despite being overshadowed by continued conflict and rising death tolls. The zoo and its animals were casualties of war. When the city fell on 9 April, looters swarmed in and broke open cages to steal the animals, especially the exotic birds. Those too large or dangerous to steal or eat – including the lions – were freed to prowl the streets. Those still locked in their cages were left without food and water. They might have died, but for Delta Company of the U.S. Army's 10th Engineers. They secured the zoo, re-captured the loose beasts and scrounged food for the pitiful creatures. Other American soldiers donated their own rations and found generators to restore the zoo's electrical power.

 

A South African expert arrived to help Iraqi zookeepers care for the animals; other foreigners began to raise money. U.S. and Australian troops removed the military vehicles, weapons and shells left by Iraqi troops, cleared away the debris, and repaired cages and buildings, and in late July, three months after the heavy fighting ended, the zoo reopened. Once the Middle East's largest zoo with 450 animals, it now has just 80 on display. Some, such as the big cats and other carnivores, were retrieved from the bizarre menageries maintained by Uday Hussein and other regime members.

 

The American Zoo and Aquarium Association collected $90,000 for the zoo. David Jones, director of North Carolina Zoo, who led the fund drive, says $10,000 was paid for more than 50 animals found in Baghdad's privately-owned Lunar Park. The park's owner agreed not to traffic in exotic beasts again. Some $35,000 was paid to the International Fund for Animal Welfare to provide food, water and veterinary equipment. Wild Aid, the World Society for the Protection of Animals and other groups are assisting that effort. The U.S. military has also given additional money, says Jones, who also heads a similar campaign to restore the zoo in Kabul, Afghanistan.

 

Now, a ten-year crash program is being planned to end the zoo's isolation. Jones hopes to take the Iraqi staff to the region's better-run parks, such as Bahrain's Al-Areen Wildlife Park and Qatar's Doha Zoo, to create `a network of people that can help'. He hopes to raise more money to modernize the facilities here. Though not up to modern standards, the zoo is already important to a still-insecure city. `It's one of the few places in Baghdad where women and children, in particular, can go and walk freely,' Jones explains, `and not feel like they're in the wrong place.'

 

Abridged and adapted from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review website (http://www.pittsburghlive.com)

 

Baltimore Zoo, Maryland, U.S.A.

 

The zoo is proud to announce what may be the first captive breeding of the Indian flapshell turtle (Lissemys punctata andersoni). The clutch of eight eggs was laid on 8 December 2002. The first turtle hatched on 28 June 2003, and a second on 7 July. The female had previously laid a clutch of 17 eggs on 13 October 2002, but the nest got flooded and they failed to hatch. Before that she had dropped one or two eggs in the water at random intervals going all the way back to 2001. She has since laid another clutch of five eggs on 1 June 2003.

 

Our other two adult females have not produced any eggs, even though we have introduced them to our males and courting behavior has been observed. Our group consists of 3.3.3 animals, with the three juveniles probably turning out to be 2.1.

 

I have been unable to locate any record of captive breeding of this species, so I'm announcing it as the first in this country at least. If any reader knows any different, please let me know so I can make the appropriate apologies. If you have any questions or need any more information, please feel free to contact me.

 

Karen St John, Reptile Collection Manager, on the Turtle Survival Alliance website (http://www.turtlesurvival.org)

 

Chester Zoo, U.K.

 

Red birds of paradise (Paradisaea rubra) occur only on several small islands off the coast of West Papua (the Indonesian-governed western half of New Guinea, formerly Irian Jaya) where they are considered near-threatened. The birds have a very restricted distribution and threats include habitat destruction and trapping for skins. Very few birds of paradise are kept in zoos, and the Studbook for Red Birds of Paradise and world centre for breeding them is based at the Bronx Zoo, New York. Chester received a pair on breeding loan in May 1999. Both birds were bred in New York in 1998. Two of our staff went to New York and gained experience by working with colleagues there before accompanying the birds to Chester. Special off-show facilities were built at the zoo to house them, and in April 2000 they were transferred in the Islands in Danger exhibit.

 

Birds of paradise take many years to attain full breeding plumage, and the male at Chester, who is now just over five years old, only recently acquired tail streamers but otherwise remains in an immature plumage. The pair, who until recently had been living together, were separated at the beginning of March this year, as it is known that males may interfere with breeding attempts by destroying any nests built by females. Once the hen was observed nest-building she was allowed short daily visits on 10 to 14 April to join the male in his quarters, returning to her own breeding aviary afterwards. She laid two eggs, the first on 15 April and the second two days later. Notwithstanding his lack of breeding plumage, our male proved his fertility when the first chick hatched on 1 May 2003 and the second one to two days later.

 

The hen reared the chicks on a diet of insects (mainly wax moth larvae and locusts) and fruit, being especially partial to blueberries. Both chicks fledged on 18 May and, although now able to fly, were still being fed and cared for by their mother when these notes were penned on 4 June.

 

This breeding is especially significant in that this is the first time that red birds of paradise have been bred in the U.K. It is also unusual and very satisfying in that the hen, with no previous experience of hatching or rearing chicks, successfully fledged two young on her first breeding attempt. Credit must also be given to the bird keeping staff and curatorial team at Chester for planning and providing the conditions in which this successful breeding could occur. We of course hope that this may be the first of many breedings of this important and most attractive bird at Chester.

 

Roger Wilkinson in EAZA News No. 43 (July–September 2003)

 

Fort Worth Zoo, Texas, U.S.A.

 

In mid-July, a baby Philippine crocodile (C. mindorensis) hatched at the zoo. Fort Worth is only the second institution outside of the Philippines to breed this species. The hatchling is approximately six inches [150 mm] long. In about ten years, it will be full-grown; females reach about five feet [1.5 m] in length, and males grow to eight or nine feet [2.4–2.7 m]. in length. The hatchling's sex has not been determined.

 

The parents-to-be began displaying courtship behavior in December 2002; the pair rubbed their snouts together and the male blew bubbles out of his mouth. The female then began building a nest. In April several eggs were laid in the water, and keepers placed two of them in an incubator and closely monitored them for approximately three months.

 

It is estimated that no more than 100 Philippine crocodiles survive in the wild, and the species is considered the most critically endangered of all crocodilians.

 

Tracy Sturrock, Communications Coordinator

 

Frankfurt Zoo, Germany

 

For almost seven years, the technology of infra-red thermography has been used increasingly frequently in zoos as well as in wild animals, not only to control their health but also to study the aspect of thermoregulation. This technique is 100% non-invasive, which means that the animal does not even realize that it is being `studied'. By means of a special infra-red camera, the animal's body heat is analysed, and images – `thermograms' – are recorded and evaluated on the spot or later, in greater detail, on the computer. With this camera, even moving images may be taped using a video recorder.

 

On a thermogram, warm skin spots are marked red, moderate ones yellow to green and cold ones blue to violet; white-coloured fields are warmer than the upper extreme, black ones are colder than the lower extreme temperature on the scale. Each colour of an image is individually correlated with a certain temperature in °C. On the scale next to the image, the correlation between a colour and a temperature is always shown, so the images may only be interpreted using the comparative evaluation scale.

 

In order to investigate several aspects of thermoregulation and answer questions such as `Why don't a penguin's feet freeze to the ice?' or `How do sea lions, dolphins or parrots release body heat?', a researcher from Frankfurt Zoo visited Loro Parque in Tenerife, Spain, where the biggest penguinarium in Europe houses Antarctic penguins in an authentic snow and ice habitat. The infra-red images show very clearly what scientists had theoretically found out years ago analysing the structure of blood vessels. When a penguin stands on an icy surface, it uses a complex counter-current heat exchange system. The blood vessels of a penguin's legs are arranged in such a way that the arteries, which carry warm blood towards the legs, lie close to the veins that lead the blood back towards the heart. The heat of the arteries is transferred to the veins, warming the blood which flows towards the body and cooling that which flows into the legs. As a consequence, the feet are kept cold, which prevents them from warming and melting the ice underneath, which, otherwise, would cause them to get stuck to the surface. A similar process affects the wings, whose surfaces would otherwise release too much heat into the air. Once in a while, however, a penguin has to warm up its feet to improve the exchange of metabolic substances. To this end, it tips up its feet and rests its entire weight on the heels and tail, reducing contact with the icy surface. That way, it can warm up its feet but prevent them from sticking to the ice.

 

This principle of counter-current heat exchange may also be observed in dolphins, seals and sea lions when, in cool water, they try to lose the least possible heat from the flippers or feet, which are not very well insulated; like penguins, they have to put on the `radiator' now and then to support the metabolism in their extremities.

 

As far as the parrots are concerned, we observed that some species with larger beaks, e.g. hyacinth macaws, may use the lower mandible to release heat. Smaller parrots such as amazons do not have to rely on this measure under the same temperature conditions, since they have a better relation of surface area to body mass. Birds and mammals produce plenty of heat during the metabolic process, and for those that have a larger body, the release of heat becomes a real problem when the air is very hot and humid. In that case, the hyacinth macaw releases heat through the beak by increasing blood circulation in the lower mandible, or seeks water or moist clay to cool down. The blue-and-yellow macaw, on the other hand, has a spot of skin on the cheeks where almost no feathers grow which it may use to release heat through increased blood circulation. When it is excited or stressed, the blood circulates much faster through this spot, making the bird look as if it has `red cheeks'. The palm cockatoo is another species that uses its featherless cheeks for heat regulation, though in a slightly different way: when it is cold, it may contract or relax its facial muscles to move the small feathers around the lower mandible and make them cover the featherless cheeks completely; when it is comfortable with the temperature, it relaxes the muscles and the bare red skin of the cheeks becomes visible again.

 

Abridged and adapted from Sabine Hilsberg (Frankfurt Zoo) in Cyanopsitta (newsletter of Loro Parque Fundacion) No. 69 (June 2003)

 

John Ball Zoo, Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A.

 

The piping plover (Charadrius melodus) is a small, stocky shorebird that utilizes wide, flat, sandy or stony beaches to nest. The female lays four eggs in its nest lined with broken shells or pebbles, and both parents care for the eggs and chicks. Piping plovers are migratory birds; in the spring and summer they breed in the northern United States and Canada, and they winter in the southern U.S., Mexico or the Caribbean.

 

In 1986, the species was declared endangered by the U.S. Endangered Species Act. This action was taken primarily due to human encroachment and subsequent loss of habitat. In 1992, an effort to capture and hand-rear abandoned eggs was initiated by the Universities of Minnesota and Michigan, with the added assistance of volunteer zookeepers from zoos in the Great Lakes region. The scheme has been a success – its ongoing efforts have increased the piping plover population from 12 wild pairs in the mid-1980s to over 50 today.

 

This unique program counts on volunteer expert zoo staff to assist in all aspects of captive rearing. They are utilized in field observations, animal husbandry suggestions, feeding, and behavioral observation. As the plover population increases toward recovery, there is a greater need for captive-rearing staff. John Ball Zoo's own keeper, Merrie Pieri-Clark, is one of the volunteers involved in the effort. In late July, she spent a week in Pellston, Michigan, where she helped to hatch seven eggs and hand-rear the chicks. `The chicks are born running,' says Merrie. `They need only a little coaxing to eat solid pieces of food.'

 

Abridged from a John Ball Zoo press release

 

Kristiansand Zoo, Norway

 

As the opening of `The Tiger Kingdom' on 18 May 2003 marked the first time ever that tigers have been kept in Norway, it was almost a national event. Through the EEP programme for Amur tigers, we were able to get a male from Kyiv Zoo, Ukraine, and a female from Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland. The building of their large enclosure started in January 2002 and cost two million euros.

 

The approximately 7,500-m2 outdoor enclosure is nicely situated in a forest area. The many trees are mainly oak and pine, and there is also a dense bottom vegetation of heather and small bushes. The enclosure is in a natural valley, with a height difference of approximately 30 metres between the top and bottom. The fence surrounding the enclosure is five metres high, with the top metre angled 45 degrees inwards, and the bottom secured in concrete or bolted to the rocky ground; five electric wires are attached at the top and bottom of the fence. Two small natural waterfalls run together into an artificial lake (300 m2) to provide water.

 

A public path with bridges surrounds three-quarters of the enclosure. The tigers have many possibilities to hide away. We constructed a 70-metre-long underground tunnel leading into the enclosure to give the public extra opportunities to study the animals close up. They can view them through safety windows in the tunnel, and can almost feel the tigers' breath through the steel bars.

 

The house is situated in the lowest part of the enclosure, and contains toilet facilities, a souvenir shop and a snack bar for visitors, and three sleeping boxes (4 ´ 6 metres) and a big indoor area (180 m2) visible to the public for the tigers. The animals can move on two levels decorated with trees and `Russian Taiga' paintings on the walls. The floor of the tiger area is covered with a 40-cm-deep layer of wood chips. Two other sleeping boxes located just outside the house are roofed, thereby offering protection during winter storms.

 

The tigers are kept together all the time and can walk around both inside and outside as they like. The animals live in great harmony, showing no signs of stress. They have been very gentle towards each other, even from the very beginning when they were being introduced after a very short period of acclimatisation. They are very active and use the whole area. Their keeper is stimulating their natural behaviour in different ways, such as by hiding their food so that they have to use their hunting instincts to find their meals. Their favourite food is moose (Alces alces) – we receive a great deal of moose meat because many of these animals are killed by traffic in our part of the world.

 

Gunn Holen Robstad in EAZA News No. 43 (July–September 2003)

 

Kyiv (Kiev) Zoo, Ukraine

 

A new complex, `Bear Continent', was officially opened on 19 July 2003. The construction lasted three and a half years – from January 2000 to July 2003. The total cost, including design, came to approximately US$950,000, and was paid from the city budget.

 

The complex consists of two large naturalistic enclosures for brown bears (1,100 and 780 m2), and five smaller enclosures for small and middle-sized mammals (badgers, raccoons, lynx, mustelids). On the inside, the walls fencing the bear enclosures are covered with fibre concrete creating the appearance of high rocks. In the larger enclosure (intended for 1.1 Ursus arctos lasiotus) there is an artificial river with a row of shoal-basins 0.3–1 m deep, and rifts simulating rapids in a mountain river. The water is supplied by pumps in a closed loop with constant topping-up of fresh water. There is also an artificial waterfall dropping from one of the side walls. The river ends up in the front of the enclosure, where it goes down a bank into a large pool (about 3 m deep). The smaller enclosure (intended for 1.1 U. a. isabellinus) also has a closed water loop, pool and artificial waterfall.

 

Humans and bears meet eye-to-eye at Kyiv Zoo.


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The ground in both enclosures is natural soil with natural vegetation. During construction 36 trees of four species aged 30 years or more were preserved. In addition, some fruit bushes – currant, raspberry and blackberry – were planted in the enclosures. The tree branches which had to be cut off were made into piles resembling wind falls for behavioural enrichment purposes. Some areas in the enclosures were covered with bark from broad-leaved trees. Some of the tree trunks are protected from contact with the animals, but others are available for species-specific behaviour.

 

The visitors can observe the bears and other animals through armour-plated glass. Posters with educational materials present interesting information on the biology of the species in the exhibit.

 

The grand opening of Bear Continent took place in the presence of camera crews representing six TV companies and 28 other mass-media organisations. The inauguration ceremony was followed by zoo competitions and quizzes for children, devoted to the residents of the new facility. According to Yevgen Kyrylyuk, General Director, in the future, after reconstruction of the old bear facility adjoining the new one on the north, one more bear species in Kyiv Zoo – Ussuri black bear (1.2) – will also enjoy an improvement in living conditions.

 

Konstantin Orlov and Alla Nikitina

 

Loro Parque, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

 

By mid-July, we had already ringed a total of 993 chicks this year. But as we all know, quality is what really matters when breeding young parrots in captivity. Therefore we have undertaken decisive changes and construction work at the `baby station', in order to optimise conditions for hand-rearing our chicks. As a consequence, chicks which are taken from the nest to the baby station are now separately raised from those which hatch in the incubator.

 

Another important aspect are three large outdoor aviaries the young are transferred to as soon as they fledge. These aviaries house young parrots of different species. Due to the rich food on offer and the presence of other congenerics the chicks quickly learn how to feed independently. Furthermore, it gives them the chance to practice their flight skills. At present, in these `playground aviaries', we have flocked very different species such as large macaws, cockatoos, amazons, parakeets, lories and hanging parrots. Our visitors enjoy lingering in front of the aviaries, watching the busy activity of the youngsters. Only a few weeks after the rebuilding of the baby station, we can already say that the change was really worthwhile!

 

At present, our staff are hand-rearing two chicks of one of our Philippine cockatoo pairs, as well as two red-tailed amazon chicks. The first young hyacinth macaw is being raised by its foster parents, a pair of green-winged macaws which are experienced breeders. Our pileated parrots (Pionopsitta pileata) have, so far, been held in pairs for reproduction, resulting only in infertile clutches. Therefore, two and a half months ago, we decided to keep three pairs in a flocking aviary, with surprisingly good results. After the usual rank disputes, peace came and one of the pairs finally started breeding. Eventually, for the first time ever at Loro Parque, a young pileated parrot hatched, and at the time of writing another three fertile eggs are about to hatch.

 

Young parrots of various species are transferred to Loro Parque's `playground aviaries' as soon as they fledge.

 

Another first breeding for us has been the hatching of a Marajó yellow-headed amazon (A. ochrocephala xantholaema). The chick is being hand-reared at the baby station. Another highlight has been the hatching of two young long-tailed parakeets (Psittacula longicauda), who are being raised by their parents. This species has become rather uncommon in captivity, and little breeding success is being reported, so this hatching contributes at least a little to the preservation of the species in captivity.

 

Abridged from the report for July compiled by Matthias Reinschmidt, Curator, Loro Parque

 

Marwell Zoo, U.K.

 

On 15 July Marwell experienced the rare occurrence of a twin giraffe birth. The 1.1 babies were born to 17-year-old Biffa after a pregnancy of some 450 days; the father, Christopher (12), arrived last year from the West Midlands Safari Park. Biffa recovered quickly from the births and showed maternal care to both babies. Sadly, however, the male calf was found to have an incurable leg defect and would not have survived, so he was euthanased on 22 July. Statistically, twin giraffes occur once in 10,000 births, and it is very unusual for both to survive. [Twins are known to have been successfully raised on only three occasions – at Parc Safari Africain, Canada, in 1975, at Longleat, U.K., in 1986, and at Duisburg, Germany, in 1994 (see IZN 44:1, 39–41) – Ed.]

 

`Back to Africa' is a charitable trust established four years ago by two South African veterinary surgeons and a South African National Parks ecologist. These founders were aware of the success of many zoos in breeding African species, often to the point of surplus, and saw a chance to establish reservoirs of these animals for long-term security within their native continent.

 

Marwell is one of the world's major breeders of African hoofed animals and, as such, was approached by Dr Hamish Currie of Back to Africa as a source of such animals. We found a great deal of common ground and another Marwell/African partnership was born. Developing breeding groups of known animals for long-term security in their native continent became a goal shared by Back to Africa and the Marwell Preservation Trust. In June this goal became a reality when four sable antelope (Hippotragus niger), one male and three Marwell-bred females, left us to join a controlled breeding group in a South African National Parks reserve near Kimberley. In February I visited this area, where sable antelope from Dvur Králové and Rotterdam Zoos are already established and breeding. Later this year it is planned to send a number of roan antelope (H. equinus) to Swaziland, where the species has been extinct for at least 40 years.

 

None of these animal returns are `reintroductions' in the strict meaning of that expression. There are many stages before animals can be established as truly wild populations. These include adaptation to disease risks to which they have never before been exposed, learning about new food sources, and, eventually, learning about predators. Compared to their wild cousins, zoo animals have lived in a very benign Welfare State! These factors, together with – in many cases – DNA testing to establish suitability to certain areas, mean that the animals that leave Marwell and their descendants for at least one generation will remain under human management.

 

Marwell press releases (giraffe); John Knowles in Marwell Zoo News No. 116 (Summer 2003)

 

Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, Oklahoma, U.S.A.

 

An Australian invasion has descended upon the zoo with the arrival of `The Lorikeet Adventure'. The attraction, opened on 23 May, features 30 lorikeets now housed in a new aviary near the children's zoo. The flock will be gradually increased to between 80 and 100 birds over the next year. Visitors who may prefer a less interactive experience can view the birds year-round from outside the aviary. Meanwhile, the permanent habitat also invites willing guests into an interactive free-flight aviary where they can come nose-to-beak with the lorikeets. Small containers of nectar can be purchased to bring the lorikeets within range to interact with guests. Of the 53 different lorikeet species, the zoo will be showcasing Swainson's, ornate, green-naped, Edwards's and dusky lorikeets, along with black-capped, red and Duyvenbode's lories.

 

Communiqué (American Zoo and Aquarium Association), July 2003

 

Orana Wildlife Park, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

Orana is only a holder of tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus) in support of the Captive Management Programme, so we were excited by the discovery of six baby tuataras in March 2003. The mother is 16 years old and was transferred to Peacock Springs Wildlife Park, Christchurch, for breeding purposes in April 2002. She has only now reached normal breeding age for the species. Prior to her transfer, she was held for several months in a different enclosure from the one where the babies were discovered. Normal incubation lasts from 12 to 16 months.

 

Park staff estimated that the youngsters were approximately two weeks old when they were found, based on comparisons with baby tuataras raised at Peacock Springs. It is surprising that they were naturally incubated and hatched – other institutions induce the females and then artificially incubate the eggs. An amazing fact is that the enclosure in which the babies were found has recently been extensively renovated. New burrows were formed, the substrate was dug over and new plantings were added. This renovation occurred in preparation for the arrival of five five-year-old juvenile tuataras, who were on display in the enclosure when the babies were discovered.

 

The babies are currently kept in separate terrariums for identification purposes and have progressed well since they were first found. We intend to have them on display soon.

 

Abridged from Call of the Wild (Winter 2003)

 

Parco Natura Viva (Garda Zoological Park), Bussolengo, Italy

 

The park was established in 1969 and is involved in conservation and breeding of many species belonging to EEP or other relevant international conservation programmes. It supports many behavioural and reproductive research projects. Within the framework of a research project with biologists from Turin University on the ontogeny of vocal communication in lemurids, we focused our attention on early post-natal mother–infant communication in ruffed lemurs (Varecia v. variegata and V. v. rubra).

 

Recordings were made while a mother–offspring pair from three different groups were in a nest-box during three different reproductive seasons (1995, 1996 and 2002). The nests were placed inside the enclosures eight to fourteen days before the offspring's birth. Nests were positioned over an existing shelf and fastened to the enclosure structure. A microphone was set in each of the nest-boxes and could be linked to a tape recorder without entering the enclosure. Leaves and twigs were also placed in the enclosure to give the female a chance to build the nest herself. Five out of six females chose our boxes as a nest.

 

Recording began as soon as the birth of an offspring was noted. Recordings were made for four to eight hours a day during the first three days during three reproductive seasons. Recordings were computerised and split into single call files that were subsequently processed by Praat 4.0 software in order to extract spectral and temporal measures, including duration, fundamental frequency, second harmonic, third harmonic and fourth harmonic. Frequency of vocalisations was also calculated. Processed signals included 18 `trrs', 69 `whines' and 118 `mews'.

 

We compared the acoustic structure of mews emitted by mothers inside and outside the nest-box to determine whether the artificial nest allows for high-quality recordings and is effective in avoiding unwanted changes in acoustic signals. None of the five parameters differed significantly between mews recorded outside and inside. We noticed that both mothers and offspring emitted mews (low amplitude contact calls) and whines (high frequency-modulated vocalisations). We identified an additional vocalisation made by infants that could not be matched with the ones previously described, which we named the `trr' vocalisation. Recordings we made of this vocalisation averaged 488 ms in duration and had a very low amplitude of 40–60 dB, with no clear harmonic pattern recognisable. Infants began emitting trr vocalisations within six hours after the birth and only made this vocalisation when the mother was in the nest-box. We never recorded it outside the nest. Even if its function is still to be investigated, the trr is certainly a useful indicator of normal development. We recommend nest-box recording in lemurs as a valuable non-invasive monitoring tool, and stress its potential to investigate early post-natal behaviour of these prosimians.

 

Abridged from Marco Gamba, Cristina Giacoma and Cesare Avesani Zaborra in EAZA News No. 43 (July–September 2003)

 

San Diego Wild Animal Park, California, U.S.A.

 

Each month our Education Department holds a class called Safari Cadets, in which the students – aged from seven to 11 – get to make or provide some type of enrichment for a variety of animals throughout the park. The enrichment can be something fun, stressful, tasty, smelly, or messy, but the goal is to encourage the animals to respond with behaviors they might use in the wild. Sometimes there may not be any reaction at all, but that's part of enrichment. Having our students join in is a great way for them to interact more closely with the animals and gain a greater understanding of a particular species and its environment.

 

One of the best things about doing enrichment is that we get to venture into areas that most visitors cannot see. We get to go behind the scenes and sometimes even right into the animal enclosures, with supervision and the animal in a safe holding place, of course! For instance, one project sent us inside the wart hog enclosure to dump piles of layered mulch that we prepared prior to going in. The Cadets sliced and diced various foods, then we dumped some clean mulch into a wheelbarrow, put in a layer of food, then another layer of mulch, and repeated the process. We headed into the enclosure to dump the mulch in several piles while the animals were in their bedrooms. Once everyone was out of the enclosure, the keepers released the wart hogs. It was as much fun for them as it was for us to watch them rooting quickly and excitedly through the mulch to find the food. The students learned that this is how wart hogs forage for their food in the wild, by rooting through dirt with their long snouts and using their excellent sense of smell.

 

To make `burritos' (tortilla wraps) for our elephants, the students chopped up produce, then sprinkled the pieces on a flat section of hay. The hay was then rolled up like a giant burrito and tied with two pieces of acacia browse. The Cadets went into the elephant enclosure and placed the burritos, along with other items from the elephants' diet, throughout the enclosure. Then they watched the elephants come out and go on a burrito hunt. Some of the animals picked up whole burritos and put them in their mouths, while others shook them apart to pick out their favorite food items. The students learned that an elephant's trunk has more than 100,000 muscles to make it strong and flexible, that it can pick up a food item the size of a dime, and that they forage from the ground as well as from high places that they can reach with the trunk extended.

 

In order to observe the hunting behavior of a tiger, we used a leg of lamb and wrapped it in clean burlap, then suspended it with a garage door spring and a bolt from a tree in the center of the enclosure. From the observation deck, we watched Blanca, a white Bengal tiger, sneak and stalk ever so quietly along the exhibit, then without warning leap at the burlap bag, pull it down, shred the bag with her sharp claws, and run away with the meat in her mouth. This all happened in a matter of minutes! We could see Blanca sniff the air, wiggle her vibrissae (whiskers), hunch down low and attack, then use her carnassial teeth to grab the meat – quite a moment to understand the power of a predator.

 

For the lions, one time we had a huge, 130-pound [60-kg] pumpkin that the kids carved out and then stuffed with meat. Keepers put it in the enclosure, and one of the lionesses picked it up in her mouth. It was so big that she teetered back and forth as she tried to balance while walking with it. Then she dropped it. Pieces flew, and she dashed after them, trying to get them all in one place so she could protect them. Even the keepers were excited to see her run like that. Lions can sleep as much as 20 hours a day, but don't let that fool you – they can move fast when they want to! Another lion enrichment activity was wonderfully odorous. We took a rock and had our aardvark scent-mark it with his very strong, distinctive odor, then placed the rock in the lion enclosure. When the lions were released, the female, Nyota, sniffed the air, searched for the rock, and then licked it and rubbed both her face and body against it again and again. We asked the students if Nyota thought an aardvark was in the enclosure, or if she was trying to disguise her own lion scent to aid her in hunting, as she might in the wild. Then, as a variation on the theme, we put out elephant feces. The lioness rolled her whole body in it, and the Cadets realized that she then smelled like an elephant instead of a lion, which could be useful for hunting.

 

Some of the animals we create enrichment for are smaller species. A favorite for these animals is the `cricket stick'. Foxes, meerkats, and birds of prey all really enjoy them. We try to make items from recycled materials if we can, so we use old paper towel and toilet paper rolls for these. We punch holes in the cardboard tube, crimp one end, put live crickets in the tube and maybe some mealworms, then crimp the other end to close it. For birds, we might use nuts or seeds. Other projects we've undertaken have been to tenderize meat for the condors, hang a bone for the fossa, create an obstacle course for a kinkajou, or make a basket out of browse to hold onions for an okapi.

 

Having Safari Cadets programs every month takes a lot of teamwork. All ideas have to be approved by keepers, animal care managers, nutritionists, and veterinarians to ensure the safety and well-being of the animals. We have created an incredible team, working together to help enhance the lives of both the animals and the students who participate in our programs. The students also get a sense of camaraderie and ownership, learning respect for the animals and realizing the importance of caring for them properly. They may get to know specific animals, and they are great facilitators in sharing their knowledge with others. Education raises awareness, awareness leads to participation, and participation creates empowerment – all to reach our goals of caring for animals and understanding their part in our world.

 

Abridged from Rhonda Maschka in Zoonooz Vol. 76, No. 8 (August 2003)

 

Schönbrunn Zoo, Vienna, Austria

 

After years of negotiation and preparation, the zoo welcomed its newest members on 19 March 2003 – a young pair of giant pandas. The female YangYang (`sunshine') and the male LongHui (`dragon sign') were both born in 2000 at the research and breeding centre of Wolong in China. The ten-year loan agreement comprises a cooperative research effort for giant panda conservation in situ as well as ex situ, an exchange of knowledge in wildlife and environmental management, and financial support for efforts of the Chinese State Forest Administration and WWF China to conserve and protect valuable panda habitat. We are currently developing proposals for projects including research on gonadal development and cognitive behaviour.

 

The pandas' new home is in the historic elephant house, in which mandrills and vervet monkeys were kept until last year. New adaptations of the 1,100-m2 outside enclosure and 200-m2 indoor exhibit include air conditioning and a fog system as well as climbing trees, elevated platforms, water pools and natural bamboo growth. A monitoring system of 13 cameras inside and outside should enable keepers and researchers to supervise the pandas and collect valuable data, especially during future mating seasons. The pandas are not yet sexually mature and the male displays no aggression towards the female, rather he demonstrates friendly affection to his playmate. This enables us to keep them together now, even though they may have to be separated when mature. The exhibit is designed in such a way that glass panels divide both the inside and outside enclosures into two halves with gates that can be closed if the animals have to be separated. A screened opening will still guarantee olfactory, acoustic and visual communication.

 

The pandas are fed home-grown bamboo supplemented by different species of bamboo from a plantation in southern France. Every two weeks a 700-kg truckload of fresh growth arrives at the zoo, and is stored in a newly constructed cool room. In the future, we hope to be able to provide enough bamboo for both animals from our own four-hectare plantation in south-eastern Austria.

 

The pandas can be found grazing the lawn in the outside enclosure like ruminants on sunny days. Their natural diet includes small amounts of animal protein. However, our pair were not familiar with this and consequently we are currently offering various insects, meats and mice to detect individual preferences. Treats offered include leaf-eater pellets, carrots, apples, red peppers, and various other vegetables. These treats are especially valuable during daily training sessions, in which the pandas learn through imitating their familiar keeper to be touched by veterinarians through the bars, to sit upright, and to stand on their hind legs. After just a short amount of training, the first X-ray and ultrasound images have already been successfully taken without having to anaesthetize the animals.

 

Abridged from Regina Pfistermüller in EAZA News No. 43 (July–September 2003)

 

Singapore Zoo

 

The zoo's latest eco-exhibit, `Elephants of Asia', is modelled after one of the few remaining logging areas in the hill tracts of Arakan in Burma, where elephants are still used in sustainable logging operations. The $4m exhibit uses immersion and themed environment display techniques involving guests' senses of sight, smell, hearing and touch, allowing them to immerse themselves in the ecological and cultural experience of Burma.

 

Built along the tranquil waters of the Seletar Reservoir, the one-hectare exhibit comprises a viewing loft, rustic thatched huts with tiered seats and a 300-metre-long elevated boardwalk. The largely wooden structure will enthral guests with panoramic views of the majestic elephants on one side, and the tranquil beauty of the reservoir on the other. The zoo's four elephants (three females and a sub-adult male) will enjoy an open space of 2,500 m2, equipped with `luxurious' mud wallows, scattered boulders, an island oasis and a waterfall descending three feet into a massive pool. During the presentation, visitors will be able to appreciate how the elephants are bathed and scrubbed by their mahouts. In the thatched huts along the jungle path leading to the exhibit, colourful graphics and interactive artefacts provide compelling information on the sad plight of elephants.

 

For centuries, elephants were widely used for logging activities. This sustainable logging of rainforests was much preferable to the use of heavy industrial machinery, which is known to cut down vast areas of rainforest indiscriminately. In recent years, however, more logging companies are demanding faster and more efficient felling methods, resulting in the quick disappearance of the world's tropical rainforests. This has also resulted in the unemployment of many mahouts and their elephants, forcing them to take to the streets or circuses for survival of both man and animal.

 

The zoo hopes to educate its guests on the importance of sustainable logging and the current plight of the 40,000 Asian elephants left on the planet. To bridge the gap between visitors and these gentle giants, a `wild' elephant ride is being launched in conjunction with the opening of Elephants of Asia. The elephants will ferry guests around what seems like a rugged riverbank with overhanging shrubs, gushing water and ancient rock formations. The entire experience – part of the zoo's new wave of nature exhibitry, which allows guests to journey to different geographical regions of the world – showcases an entire ecosystem involving animals, human culture, plants and geology typical of a tropical Burmese rainforest.

 

Dr Oh Soon Hock giving acupuncture treatment to Tirto, a Komodo dragon at Singapore Zoo.

 

Tirto, an eight-year-old Komodo dragon at the zoo, has been experiencing difficulty in swallowing and eating. Initial treatment did not yield much result. What's worse, he has begun to drag himself around, a sign that he is losing the use of his front legs.

 

As it is the first time a Komodo dragon has been observed to suffer from these symptoms, veterinarians at the zoo are devising a more holistic approach to save Tirto from a potentially fatal disease. To prevent further deterioration of the animal's health, Dr Oh Soon Hock relied on his knowledge of Chinese acupuncture to find the cause of this suspected neurological disorder. Drawing upon the ancient knowledge of Chinese meridian points, Dr Oh traced similar points along Tirto's back, from the skull to the base of the spine.


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What Dr Oh is attempting is to stimulate these vital points, freeing energy blockages that he believes are causing the problem. At the same time, Western medical treatments like antibiotics are also being used.

 

`Meridian points exist in all animals as fundamental pillars of life,' stresses Dr Oh. He also comments that both Western and Eastern treatments help in the understanding of the root cause of a problem. `We do preventative care to avoid chronic problems down the road.'

 

Following the use of acupuncture and herbal concoctions, Tirto has begun to show signs of recovery. He is beginning to eat and is less agitated. He is also showing signs that he is enjoying the treatment.

 

`This kind of care is individualized,' says Dr Oh, `and takes into account the emotional, physical, and mental aspects of the animal.' To ascertain if Dr Oh is correct in his diagnosis of this neurological disorder, Tirto will be sent for an advanced MRI brain scan at Singapore General Hospital.

 

Dr Oh, a veterinarian with Singapore Zoo for 15 years, is also a qualified acupuncturist. He began applying traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in his treatment of the zoo's animals when conventional Western medicine did not work. Dr Oh believes that TCM has a place in mainstream veterinarian science.

 

Vincent Tan

 

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RECENT ARTICLES

 

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Baker, W.K.: We are currently using pump shotguns set up for hunting purposes for potential crisis situations, what can we do to upgrade to make them more suitable for a crisis? Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 30, No. 2 (2003), pp. 56–57.

Blaszkiewitz, B.: Eine Sumpfburg vom Maulwurf (Talpa europaea) im Tierpark Berlin. (A mole `fortress' on wet ground at Tierpark Berlin.) Milu Vol. 11, No. 1 (2003), pp. 74–75. [German, no English summary.]

Blaszkiewitz, B.: Friedrichsfelder Elefanten-Chronik – Nachtrag 2000–2002. (Elephants at Tierpark Berlin – update 2000–2002.) Milu Vol. 11, No. 1 (2003), pp. 30–35. [German, no English summary.]

Blaszkiewitz, B.: Seekuh-Darstellungen in Tiergärten. (Artistic representations of Sirenia in zoos.) Milu Vol. 11, No. 1 (2003), pp. 76–85. [German, no English summary.]

Bloomsmith, M.A., Tarou, L.R., Lambeth, S.P., and Haberstroh, M.D.: Maternal response to mother–offspring separation in the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). Animal Welfare Vol. 12, No. 3 (2003), pp. 359–368. [For management purposes, chimpanzee mothers and their offspring are often physically separated from one another at an earlier age than they would be in the wild. Studies of the behavioural and physiological effects of separation on infant behaviour have been conducted, but few have examined the response of the mother to separation from her infant, particularly in great apes. The authors examined the response of 12 chimpanzee mothers to separation from 15 of their offspring ranging from 1.8 to 5.4 years of age. There was a significant increase in inactivity following separation of the offspring in a subgroup of mothers that was studied more intensively on the first day of separation. Maternal age, infant age, presence of other offspring, and past experience with mother–offspring separation had no effect on response to separation. These results contradict those of mother–infant separation studies in monkeys and indicate that most behavioural indicators of well-being are stable in chimpanzee mothers that remain in their familiar environment and social group following offspring separation.]

Bruning, D.: A coordinated captive-breeding programme for Rothschild's or mountain peacock pheasant Polyplectron inopinatum. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 152–159. [In the late 1980s a coordinated captive-breeding programme was initiated for P. inopinatum after it was discovered that the species was probably being smuggled from Malaysia to Singapore and sold on from there. Under an agreement set up in 1991, ownership of wild-caught birds would remain with the Malaysian government, as would 50% of any progeny: the other 50% would be owned by the holders of the birds as long as they continued to participate in the programme. Thirty-two pheasants were removed from the wild over a number of years and c. 450 have hatched and been reared from 16 of these original founders. The author describes basic husbandry and breeding procedures, as well as the success achieved by the breeding programme.]

Byers, O., and Seal, U.S.: The Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG): activities, core competencies and vision for the future. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 43–53. [The programmes of the CBSG are expanding in scope, increasing in complexity and reaching more diverse groups as group members explore and develop the versatility, diversity of applications, robustness and multi-disciplinary scientific basis of their workshop processes. The authors provide a brief description of CBSG's background and its present capabilities, the dynamics of the workshop process, the human cognitive factors influencing decision making and the underlying CBSG philosophy as a framework for projection of its directions into the near future.]

Conklin, D., Elkins, B., and Shelton, K.: The importance of quarantine for aquarium animals. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 30, No. 2 (2003), p. 58.

Conway, W.: The role of zoos in the 21st century. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 7–13. [Zoos have been overtaken by the rapidity of wildlife extinction and most of their conservation programmes are unresponsive. To fulfil their obligations to society, and to survive, zoos must become proactive conservation organizations, applying their popularity to win support for wildlife protection and their expertise to help sustain reduced numbers of wildlife in marginal habitats.]

Cooper, M.E.: Zoo legislation. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 81–93. [Many countries have legislation to regulate zoos that requires these institutions to be licensed and inspected. A European Union Directive also requires that zoos in member countries have conservation objectives. Although the form and content of zoo legislation are diverse, there are common elements and these are discussed. Zoo regulation is usually supported by written standards relating to species, exhibits and management.]

Dosch, A.: The Blanding's Turtle Recovery Program. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 30, No. 3 (2003), pp. 103–105. [Emydoidea blandingii; Cosley Zoo, Wheaton, Illinois.]

Fast, H., Hollunder, M., Schwammer, G.V., and Schwammer, H.M.: Die `Botschaft der Regenwälder' – das neue Regenwaldhaus im Tiergarten Schönbrunn. (The `Message of the Rainforest' – Schönbrunn's new rainforest house.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 4 (2003), pp. 193–210. [German, with brief English summary. The opening of the rainforest house marks the 250th anniversary of Schönbrunn Zoo. It was decided to show visitors a specific cross-section of a mountain slope in Borneo's rain forest, and also the Asian rainforest's link with the sea in the form of a simulated mangrove forest. The project shows an exquisite selection of about 65 animal and 400 plant species and demonstrates the global significance of this richly structured habitat. But the primary goal is to let visitors actually experience the rainforest feeling, rather than merely view an exhibition of plants and animals. This goes hand in hand with an effort to educate the public about the ongoing threats and to promote conservation measures.]

Flesness, N.R.: International Species Information System (ISIS): over 25 years of compiling global animal data to facilitate collection and population management. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 53–61. [ISIS, a computer-based information system for wild animals maintained in captivity, was established at Minnesota Zoo in 1973. By 1989 it was an independent organization with a Board of Trustees. Membership of ISIS has increased steadily and at the time of writing (February 2002) the pooled database included information on over 322,000 live tetrapod specimens, over 134,000 fishes (many in groups), plus a larger number of their ancestors, at 595 institutions in 68 countries on six continents. ISIS produces routine pooled inventories and other reports on request, and three software tools for personal computers have been developed: ARKS (Animal Records Keeping System) for maintaining basic specimen records, MedARKs (Medical Animal Records Keeping System) for veterinary records and SPARKS (Single Population Animal Records Keeping System) for veterinary records, studbooks, genetic and demographic analyses, and Species Survival Plans. Having collected data for over 25 years, ISIS is also a highly credible source of information from the zoological community for use by international conventions and regulatory bodies.]

Harper, L., Eyre, S., Kibbey, C., and Partridge, J.: Hand-rearing a two-toed sloth Choloepus didactylus at Bristol Zoo Gardens. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 178–186. [The authors describe the hand-rearing of a female sloth from birth to her death at the age of ten months. Developmental issues are discussed in detail, including diet, health, growth and weaning. The infant was successfully introduced to an adult female in preparation for long-term pairing with a young male. Socialization, integration and imprinting issues are also discussed. Retrospective analysis concluded that this was a worthwhile hand-rearing exercise that may be of benefit to others maintaining the species.]

Hatt, J.-M., Hung, E., and Wanner, M.: The influence of diet on the body composition of the house cricket (Acheta domesticus) and consequences for their use in zoo animal nutrition. Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 4 (2003), pp. 238–244. [A study was conducted to evaluate the influence of diet on selected aspects of body composition of house crickets over a three-week period. Subadult crickets were purchased from a commercial breeder, randomly divided into three groups, and kept under identical conditions except for the diet. Group A received ad libitum only water, Group B lettuce, and Group C a commercial cricket diet. On days 0, 7, 14 and 21 samples of each group were collected and analysed for water, total nitrogen, fibre, ash, fat, gross energy, vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, and phosphorus content. There were no significant differences in the values analysed between the three groups. It is concluded that in subadult crickets over a three-week period the diet does not appear to have a significant impact on the body composition and possibly the nutritional value of crickets used as whole prey food. Based on the analyses the importance of improving the nutritional content of crickets with a vitamin and mineral supplement is discussed.]

Hicks, P.: `This little piggy had a hoof trim': training a warthog for hoof work. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 30, No. 3 (2003), pp. 121–125. [Disney's Animal Kingdom, Florida.]

Holden, S., Haynes-Lovell, K., and Spittall, D.: Operant conditioning with polar bears – another form of enrichment. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 30, No. 2 (2003), pp. 63–78. [Sea World, Queensland, Australia. The article was originally published in Thylacinus 26 (2).]

Hutchins, M.: Zoo and aquarium animal management and conservation: current trends and future challenges. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 14–28. [The turn of the century appears to be a good time to examine the role of zoos and aquariums, both in the past and present, and to predict what role these organizations will play in animal management and conservation in the future. In this review three main trends are considered: (1) the loss of wildlife habitats and, therefore, wildlife, (2) the increase in the number of animal-welfare and animal-rights organizations, and (3) the continued urbanization of the Earth's human population. Several predictions and positive action points are given for each trend and if these are taken on board and developed, zoos and aquariums of the future may become leaders in conservation, education and science.]

Hutchins, M., and Smith, B.: Characteristics of a world-class zoo or aquarium in the 21st century. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 130–141. [At the start of the 21st century modern zoos and aquariums are expected to contribute to the survival of the species they display, to educate the public, and to maintain the physical and psychological well-being of the animals in their care. For the future, however, zoos and aquariums will have to be extraordinary in both quality and accomplishments. The authors describe the characteristics of a world-class zoo or aquarium, ranging from organizational structure and philosophy, and staff recruitment and training, to animal care and husbandry, research, conservation, education and exhibit design. The importance of inter-institutional cooperation, technology, government affairs, marketing and development, and public relations are also discussed. In the future managers will have to take a more holistic approach to all these characteristics in order to achieve their core mission without losing sight of the primary objectives of the zoo or aquarium.]

Jackson, S.M.: Standardizing captive-management manuals: guidelines for terrestrial vertebrates. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 229–243. [Captive-management or husbandry manuals for wild animals maintained in captivity are invaluable resources for those working in zoos and aquariums. The more detailed the manuals the more useful they are. These documents should report every known aspect of the focal species and highlight gaps in knowledge. This ensures that successful studies are not repeated and pointers are given towards new research that could be developed to find out more about the species. The author sets out a possible standard for those compiling captive-management manuals for terrestrial vertebrates in an attempt to ensure that nothing is missed out.]

Johnston, S.D., McGowan, M.R., O'Callaghan, P., Cox, R., Houlden, B., Haig, S., and Taddeo, G.: Birth of koalas Phascolarctos cinereus at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary following artificial insemination. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 160–172. [This paper documents the successful development of an artificial insemination (AI) programme for the koala. The protocols for trials involving two methods to induce ovulation and two insemination techniques are described. In Trial 1, interrupted coitus using a `teaser' male successfully induced ovulation in nine females. Five of these were inseminated while conscious using a modified `foley catheter' (Cook insemination catheter), resulting in the births of two offspring. The other four were anaesthetized and inseminated using a technique which allowed visualization of the most cranial portion of the urogenital sinus, where semen was deposited using a 3.5 Fr. `Tom-cat catheter' (urogenitoscopic insemination). Three of the four females inseminated by this technique produced pouch young. Microsatellite analysis of DNA from the pouch young excluded the teaser males as possible sires, confirming that all offspring were sired by donor sperm. In Trial 2, eight females were induced to ovulate by injecting them with 250 IU of human chorionic gonadotrophin. A luteal phase was confirmed in all eight, but only one gave birth following urogenitoscopic insemination. The koala pouch young in this study are the first of any marsupial to be conceived and born following AI procedures. Details of the procedures used are presented and the significance of AI to the conservation biology of P. cinereus discussed.]

Kaiser, M., and Gebauer, A.: Ein neuer Tiergarten am Rande Pekings – Beijing Wildlife Park. (A new zoo on the outskirts of Beijing.) Milu Vol. 11, No. 1 (2003), pp. 76–85. [German, no English summary.]

Kastelein, R.A., Kershaw, J., Berghout, E., and Wiepkema, P.R.: Food consumption and suckling in killer whales Orcinus orca at Marineland Antibes. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 204–218. [Between 1976 and 1996 food consumption and suckling in killer whales maintained at Marineland Antibes, France, were studied. The food intake of the whales was still increasing at 20 years of age, when they were consuming c. 19,000 kg of fish per year. Wild killer whales will expend more energy foraging than captive animals and probably eat more than this. A seasonal pattern of food consumption was observed in all the whales, although this may have been caused by seasonal changes in the feeding schedule. Data on the number of suckling bouts per 24 hours in the first 5–10 days after birth of 1.1 calves are presented, together with the body measurements of a 13-year-old male.]

Kastelein, R.A., Klasen, W.J.C., Postma, J., Boer, H., and Wiepkema, P.R.: Food consumption, growth and food passage times in Pacific walrus Odobenus rosmarus divergens pups at Harderwijk Marine Mammal Park. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 192–203. [Between 1978 and 1997 the food consumption and growth of five walrus pups were studied. Four wild-born pups were hand-reared on formula and one other pup, born at the park in June 1995, was suckled by its mother. The two formulas used in this study are described, and the chemical composition and calorific content of one formula and of a sample of walrus milk are provided. The four hand-reared pups (and all hand-reared walrus pups reported in the literature) had a lower mass than the suckled pup at similar ages. The suckled pup grew, on average, 18 kg a month during the first six months after birth. At the age of 13 months, when two pups were being weaned from formula to a fish diet, the mystacial vibrissae went through a growth spurt. Food passage times were measured by adding carmine red dye to the formula and the median initial passage time was 12 hours in one pup and 17 hours in the other.]

Kirkwood, J.K.: Welfare, husbandry and veterinary care of wild animals in captivity: changes in attitudes, progress in knowledge and techniques. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 124–130. [Since the first zoos were founded, attitudes to keeping wild animals in captivity have changed considerably. A much firmer conviction that animals have the capacity for consciousness – and thus suffering – has been one factor in the growth in concern for welfare in recent decades. The pursuit of conservation goals and higher welfare standards has driven remarkable advances in the husbandry, veterinary science and care of wild animals.]

Knowles, J.M.: Zoos and a century of change. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 28–34. [Over the last 100 years changes in life-style expectations of the human population have brought about unprecedented demands on the Earth's resources. Over the same period responsible zoos have developed from menageries to satisfy the curiosity of the masses to conservation organizations with a greater sensitivity to the welfare of animals and an improved knowledge of animal husbandry. Cooperation and education are required to stem the flow of the growing extinction crisis now facing many populations of wild animals. The author presents a personal view of the role that zoos have played in addressing these challenges in the 20th century.]

Kormann, J.: Erfahrungen bei der Bekämpfung von Glasrosen (Aiptasia spec.) durch Kleins Falterfisch (Chaetodon kleinii) im Riffaquarium. (Notes on fighting between sea anemone and Klein's butterfly fish in a reef aquarium.) Milu Vol. 11, No. 1 (2003), pp. 57–60. [German, no English summary.]

Lantermann, W.: Afrikanische Langflügelpapageien (Poicephalus, Psittacidae) im Zoo. (Poicephalus spp. parrots in zoos.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 4 (2003), pp. 234–237. [German, no English summary.]

Majolo, B., Buchanan-Smith, H.M., and Morris, K.: Factors affecting the successful pairing of unfamiliar common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) females: preliminary results. Animal Welfare Vol. 12, No. 3 (2003), pp. 327–337. [Laboratory primates are often housed in same-sex pairs to avoid single housing and when breeding is to be prevented. However, pair formation is not without risks, as fights and injuries may occur. This study focuses on the pairing of unfamiliar common marmoset females, aiming to assess its success rate and whether age can predict the result. In a total of 28 pairings, almost 80% of pairs were compatible beyond one week, and most of the fights occurred well within the first week after pair formation. Pairs in which one of the females was sexually immature (i.e. below 15 months) were significantly more compatible than pairs in which both females were post-pubertal. First encounters were characterised by sniffing of the unfamiliar animal. Aggressive behaviours occurred frequently following pair formation but they were unidirectional, and in only two pairs was veterinary treatment required. This study shows that pairing of unfamiliar common marmoset females is a safe practice if one individual is sexually immature, a result that supports observations of both group and pair formation in other primate species. However, given the potentially detrimental effects of removing young females from their natal groups, the authors argue that it is preferable to remove two sisters from their natal group when female pairs are required. However, when a single sexually mature female requires a companion so as to avoid single housing and no mature sibling is available, an older, but still sexually immature, unfamiliar female that has had a normal development within the family should be considered.]

Matschei, C.: Haltung und Zucht von Goralen, Nemorhaedus (Smith, 1827), in Zoologischen Gärten von Nordamerika, Europa und Singapur. (Husbandry and breeding of gorals in zoos in North America, Europe and Singapore.) Milu Vol. 11, No. 1 (2003), pp. 43–56. [German, with very brief English summary. Three species are kept, N. goral, N. caudatus and N. baileyi. Currently, the most successful taxon is the Central Chinese goral (N. g. arnouxianus); all those in the U.S.A. and Europe are descended from seven animals imported in the 1980s to San Diego Zoo, but Singapore has received animals from China separately. More than 130 births have been recorded; some U.S. zoos discontinued breeding in the late 1990s.]

Murphy, J.A., Phillips, B.T., and Macreadie, B.: Husbandry and breeding of the eastern pygmy possum Cercartetus nanus at Healesville Sanctuary. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 173–178. [In 1998 6.4 C. nanus were placed in a large communal outdoor enclosure. After four months two females each had a litter of four pouch young and a third had a single pouch young. The husbandry conditions which resulted in successful breeding in 1998 and 1999 are described and goals for future husbandry and research are outlined. At the time of writing, and to the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first published record of C. nanus breeding in captivity.]

Olney, P.J.S.: The International Zoo Yearbook: past, present and future. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 34–42. [The I.Z.Y. was first published in 1960 by the Zoological Society of London to provide an authoritative channel for the international exchange of information about zoos. Although the general style and layout of the Yearbook were established in Volume 1, the articles in the first two sections have developed from short notes and short articles, to longer, peer-reviewed manuscripts that are more in line with the style of scientific journals. The data reported in section 3 have also been refined and augmented over the 40 years of publication. The author describes the historical beginnings of the Yearbook, details the processes by which it has developed and looks to the future of this reference book, which is indispensable to anyone concerned with the care and conservation of wild animals.]

Olney, P.J.S.: Zoo challenges: past, present and future. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 1–3.

Pagel, T.: Der `Regenwald' im Kölner Zoo – Hintergründe und Erfahrungen aus den Letzten drei Jahren. (Cologne Zoo's `Rainforest' – background and experiences of the last three years.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 4 (2003), pp. 211–227. [German, with brief English summary. The theme of the house is the rainforest of South-East Asia. Besides a large number of tropical birds, it houses insects, fishes, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. The education department was involved in the planning of the house from the start. The concept is reflected in the structure of the house: first, the visitor enters an adventure hall and later on gets information about the plants and animals, working up to the principles of conservation and sustainable use. The presentation also shows the conservation efforts of Cologne Zoo in the region; in connection with the new tropical house, it has established a nature conservation project in central Vietnam.]

Pohle, C.: Rotbüffel (Syncerus caffer nanus) im Tierpark Berlin. (Dwarf buffalo at Tierpark Berlin.) Milu Vol. 11, No. 1 (2003), pp. 36–42. [German, no English summary.]

Rabideaux, K.: Piping plover (Charadrius melodus). Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 30, No. 3 (2003), pp. 111–114. [Milwaukee County Zoo, Wisconsin.]

Rudloff, K.: Im Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde 2002 erstmalig gehaltene Tierformen. (Animals first kept at Tierpark Berlin in 2002.) Milu Vol. 11, No. 1 (2003), pp. 5–29. [German, no English summary; includes 48 photos of the animals concerned.]

Ryder, O.A.: Genetic studies in zoological parks and their application to conservation: past, present and future. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 102–111. [The development of new scientific techniques has led to significant advances in our understanding of biodiversity and the threats facing animal populations. Zoos have been at the forefront of the application of these techniques, ranging from cytogenetics to the analysis of small-population biology, with the aim of improving animal management and facilitating in situ conservation. Many of the key applications of genetic analysis are discussed; for example, assessing species diversity, utilizing studbook data, understanding genetic diseases and the related implications for captive breeding and reintroduction, together with the latest technological developments. The increasing power of genetic analysis will offer fundamental insights into aspects of biology that are of direct concern to zoos.]

Shepherdson, D.J.: Environmental enrichment: past, present and future. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 118–124. [Interest and activity in the field of environmental enrichment have blossomed over the last decade, and the sophistication and utility of the concepts underlying enrichment have grown correspondingly. Combined with the enthusiasm of animal keepers, this has resulted in demonstrable improvements to the welfare of zoo animals. The next step is for enrichment to be incorporated systematically into the husbandry programmes of all zoos and aquariums, and this is beginning to happen. Detailed systematic studies utilizing large sample sizes are needed to test and refine hypotheses in order to ensure that enrichment activities continue to be effective in the future.]

Stanley Price, M.R., and Soorae, P.S.: Reintroductions: whence and whither? International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 61–75. [The authors review the occurrence and quality of reintroductions of plants and animals, and the use of reintroduction as a tool in conservation biology. The Re-introduction Specialist Group (RSG) of the IUCN/SSC was created in 1988 and the activities of the Group are described. Illustrations of innovative processes and practices, developed within improved frameworks of policies and legislation, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, show that reintroduction has become a more rigorous discipline with the potential to contribute to community-restoration programmes. The activities of the RSG have contributed to this achievement.]

Stehlík, J.: A note on breeding the jungle cat (Felis chaus) at Ostrava Zoo. Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 4 (2003), pp. 228–233. [A study of reproduction in the jungle cat was undertaken at Ostrava Zoo, Czech Republic, from 1983 to 1997. Seven (4.3) animals were used for the study. In one male, sexual maturity was determined at the age of 20 months. In five cases with three females the average length of gestation was found to be 65.6 days. During the study period three females gave birth to 80 kittens (43, 25, 12) in 30 litters. Births took place at all times of year except September, October and November. In seven cases the females gave birth once a year, in eight cases twice a year. The female Maja gave birth three times in 1985, the female Liba four times in 1991. The females successfully reared at least one litter of kittens a year. Average litter size was 2.66 (min. 1, max. 6). The sex ratio of the kittens was 1.58:1. Juvenile mortality was very high – 73.8%.]

Stevens, P.M.C., and McAlister, E.: Ethics in zoos. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 94–101. [Animals have been kept in captivity since around the time of the ancient Egyptians. Over the centuries people have captured and maintained groups of wild animals for numerous reasons, ranging from the display of wealth to education and conservation. However, Homo sapiens has not always treated its fellow creatures well and this has led, more recently, to the development of legislation and codes of ethics in order to improve the welfare of animals in human care. The authors describe some historical attitudes to captive wild animals and report on the development of the WAZA Code of Ethics in 1999.]

Strauss, G., and Wisser, J.: Pyometra bei einem Waschbären (Procyon lotor). (Pyometra in a raccoon.) Milu Vol. 11, No. 1 (2003), pp. 69–73. [German, no English summary.]

Tscherner, W.: Am Anfang war der Wirt – von Parasiten und ihren Wirten. (In the beginning was the host – parasites and their hosts.) Milu Vol. 11, No. 1 (2003), pp. 61–68. [German, no English summary.]

Walsh, T., and Murphy, J.B.: Observations on the husbandry, breeding and behaviour of the Indian python Python molurus molurus at the National Zoological Park, Washington, DC. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 145–152. [Social behaviour and reproductive biology are reported for a group of 3.2 pythons. Details of the enclosure and the conditions provided for artificial incubation are also described. Twenty-two fertile eggs were laid by one wild-hatched female and the clutch was removed for artificial incubation in two slate-bottomed aquariums, at temperatures ranging from 27.2 to 32.2°C. Sixteen young hatched successfully. Temperature appears to play a critical role in hatching success and coloration of the hatchlings, and this parameter is discussed.]

Wildt, D.E.: The role of reproductive technologies in zoos: past, present and future. International Zoo Yearbook Vol. 38 (2003), pp. 111–118. [Reproductive technologies have been playing a role in zoos for more than two decades. However, the value of these techniques has largely been misunderstood. There has been an over-emphasis on hyperbole and the `quick-fix' (the attempted use of assisted-breeding techniques to produce offspring rapidly), and too little emphasis on the prerequisite need to understand fundamental reproductive processes. The real value of these technologies is in delving into species-specific mechanisms that regulate reproductive success. Thus, the priority should always be using the technologies as tools to generate new knowledge that can then have applied benefits to management, ex situ or in situ. Models of using this strategy to develop successful assisted-breeding programmes are discussed, as well as the importance of integrating science between researchers and animal managers.]

 

Publishers of the periodicals listed:

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

Animal Welfare, Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, The Old School, Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead, Herts. AL4 8AN, U.K.

International Zoo Yearbook, The Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park, London NW1 4RY, U.K.

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

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