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2007 in review

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Coquinguy, 21 Nov 2007.

  1. Jo

    Jo Well-Known Member

    23 Nov 2007
    Adelaide, Australia
    Sorry, bit off topic, but I was at Taronga doing a study on Brooke the leopard seal when the young rescue male was bought in. Not long after we left, the other female arrived. It was a pretty special time for me, and I am a leopard seal convert!
  2. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

    30 Aug 2005
    the point i was trying to make, which seems to have fallen on deaf ears, is that if you have only enough room amongst an entire region's zoo to build a 'more' viable population for one species of bear than it might as well be an endangered species like the sun bear.
    not only is the sun bear endangered, but its held by almost all of our major zoos, is, in a geographic sense closest to Australia, which fits with all of our zoos long range plans (last time i checked no zoos were thinking about recreating a eauropean biome).
    in addition, Australasia's zoo community, including zoos in SEA are cooperating well together on a number of programs for Asian wildlife, and as there are Syrian Brown Bears, Kodiak and European bears currently held in Australia (all of them old), it simply makes sense to concentrate on the sun bear because there is a decent number of potential founders already in the country.
    and finally, sun bears are difficult to breed in captivity, all the more reason to focus on this species and try to improve the breeding record.
    African Lions, chimpanzees, River Hippo-yes, in the case of all 3 species mentioned there is very little value in breeding any of these species from a conservation standpoint, other than for advocacy. but im not about to suggest we should phase out any of these species in favour of more endangered species, like Bonobo, or Barbary Lions etc, because many of the points i raised above regarding the sun bear can be applied to these species, particularly the fact that one of ARAZPA's main policies in terms of regional collection planning is based upon, if, whether or not a species is endangered, is it held widely in the region already?
    i dont always spring to Patrick's defence. it just so happens that Patrick isnt wrong in my opinion most of the time ;)
  3. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

    29 Nov 2004
    melbourne, victoria, australia
    not quite, and if i didn't articulate myself well then i take responsibility for that. what i'm saying is that we shouldn't keep endangered species in captivity unless they are managed in a way in which display does not compromise captive breeding. now i understand that brown bears are not particuarly endangered (and even if they were breeding programs do on occasion create surplus individuals), so theoretically one could say there is no problem with us importing and keeping a few in zoos in australia for display despite not having the resources allocated to them for a proper breeding program.

    but at this stage in time, keeping brown bears will impact on that zoos ability to support a growing population of endangered sunbears. and that should be a priority.

    this issue is especially magnified in australia, as we have so few zoos and thus such little space. if australian zoos want to make a substantial contribution to the captive propagation of endangered species we must reduce the number of species we keep, at least in the short to medium term.

    not exactly...... i don't think either of us are saying that zoos should keep endangered species only, but we are saying they should be prioritised. we are not saying phase out vulnerable hippo for an endangered monkey. but we do say if practical pick an endangered monkey over another. as glyn says zoos are in the process of phasing-out certain species and other in and naturally the issue of diversity within the collection is taken into account. hell if we were that strict with our prioritising zoos would be nothing but a breeding center for leadbetter's possums and hemeted honeyeaters!

    the other issue that comes into play is the species current status within australian zoos. as we have both said, brown bears in this country are elderly and of mixed race. to start a breeding program would be like starting one from scratch, as if we had virtually no bears in australia at all.

    the other example mentioned on another thread is chimps. there are lots of chimps in australia, but in terms of hypothetical reintroduction it wouldn't be desirebale to return ours to the wild like perth recently did with an orangutan. becuse they are subspecies hybrids. so why do we keep them? well we have quite a lot. they are long-lived and act as ambassadors for a very important conservation message our zoos work on - the bushmeat trade. there also arn't really any non-hybrid chimps for us to start replacing them with.

    its all very much a case by case issue. currently no zoos are planning exhibits that include europe or north america (except maybe australia zoo). primarily our conservation efforts are directed to asia and africa and those continents (along with a much smaller collection of south american animals) gives us a mass diversity of animals to display.

    so we are not arguing that we shouldn't maintain non-endangered species. just that if we are going to maintain endangered species that it shouldn't be compromised by non-endangered species. we have to free up space in general and at some point more than a few species have gotta go. brown bears are an ideal candidate. as unfortunate as that is.

    and by the way, we all have our favorites. in reality, i'm sure a degree of personal preference within the zoo community dictates at least in part what
    stays and what goes when it comes down to the narrowed down list of phase-out candidates. i for one think it is a shame jaguars are on the way out, because they are representatives of the alpha-predator from south america and without them the south american collection is alot little less diverse. also within the cat collection of australain zoos they are arguably the most attractive of all the roseatte spotted cats.

    but, theres few and they are old. and i suspect one day, when we have more sustainable populations in our zoos, they might come back.