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A Guide to the Rarities of the Southwestern United States

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Westcoastperson, 29 Jun 2021.

  1. Westcoastperson

    Westcoastperson Well-Known Member

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    So of course if you didn't know this thread is inspired by the original thread by @amur leopard.
    This thread is a guide to the rarities of the Southwestern United states including: California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. I figured since it is such a large hotspot for Zoo enthusiasts because of it's juggernauts like SeaWorld, Monterey Bay Aquarium, San Diego Zoo, Los Angeles Zoo, and Phoenix Zoo; someone should go through and point out important rarities at these zoos and at some of the lesser known institutions. I have decided to only do the Southwest because North America lacks a ZTL like database for species so this will be on what I and other Zoochatters have seen. The only are I may need help with is Northern California but that will come later.
    The grading system will work like this:
    R - somewhat rare
    R - Only at a few American institutions
    R - Only holder in North America
    I will start either today or tomorrow with Nevada to start the thread off slow.
     
  2. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    What are your cutoffs for these numbers? Is R 5 collections, 10, 20?

    How will you be determining that a place is the only holder (as well as your other numbers) without having a central database to refer to? Won't people have to give input or provide you with a list before you start doing this project? Otherwise you might start off by saying something like "Zoo A is the only one to have Lowland Paca", only for someone to tell you they've seen Lowland Paca at other places before.
     
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  3. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

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    When there is only one of something in the United States, it is usually well documented on ZooChat. (The white-thighed hornbill at Wildlife World Zoo comes immediately to mind...).
     
  4. Westcoastperson

    Westcoastperson Well-Known Member

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    Yes, people will have to give input. Luckily I have species lists for both San Diego Zoos and I have SeaWorld's rarities memorized and I have a friend collecting a full list for Pheonix and I plan on visiting Los Angeles to collect a more updated species list. As I said earlier I will need help with Oakland and some of the Northern California zoos (also I may need help with a few bird collections around the place). But this will get a bit messy because of the lack of a central database. I will get corrected at one point that's just how it is. That's why I'm starting with Nevada, it's easy so we will be able to work out problems there. I will need direct input so I will try and direct message certain people for help in areas, and of course, if I mess up just tell me.
    As for the cutoffs, they will be fairly large groups (to account for error), so somewhat = 5-15 and only a few is 2-5.
     
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  5. Great Argus

    Great Argus Well-Known Member

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    Ok question, do species rare in the Western half of the US but common in the east count here or are we looking at North America as a whole? Ie Pygmy Hippo only at SDZ in the west.
    I'm assuming the thread is from looking at the population of the species in North America as a whole, but just for clarification.
     
  6. Westcoastperson

    Westcoastperson Well-Known Member

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    It’s North America as a whole.
     
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  7. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

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    Pygmy hippo is also at Wildlife World Zoo (not a very good exhibit based on photos I have seen, but they are there nonetheless).
     
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  8. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member

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    Counting northern CA as part of the southwest feels really strange.
    You do realize there's hundreds of zoos, aquariums, and nature centers in the area, right? Not just the major/AZA ones?
     
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  9. Westcoastperson

    Westcoastperson Well-Known Member

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    I think I chose it because geographically it makes sense because I am also including Reno, Salt Lake, and Denver; but if when I get to that area it’s too much I will scrap it.
     
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  10. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

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    That is a good point. When I did my book Zoos of the Southwest, the only part of California I included was the southeast desert (meaning The Living Desert was the only facility).
     
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  11. Great Argus

    Great Argus Well-Known Member

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    I've never seen any of those three cities considered Southwest...
     
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  12. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I've seen both northern CA and all three of those cities referred to as Southwest, and in my reading those states are frequently called the Southwest collectively. The definitions vary and are subjective, but personally I don't have any issue with this definition of the region.

    Thanks for the reply @Westcoastperson. I asked because I wasn't sure if you had done this kind of species list/reference work for the US before, but it seems like you have a decent idea of what this thread will realistically look like and that's all I wanted to check in about. Having the cutoffs for categories is helpful for contributors as well, so thanks for clarifying that.
     
  13. Westcoastperson

    Westcoastperson Well-Known Member

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    So the definition of the Southwest varies depending on the person you ask which is why I defined the area I was referring to in my first post. I was doing it by state so if the state is considered in the Midwest I do the whole state.
    Well I have a pretty good idea of species commony held in the US and I plan on using zooinstitutes as a base for the amount of rarities in the US. The only area I will have trouble with is birds (especially when we get to San Diego) but I should be fine.
    Also I’m not going to be able to start the Nevada section for at least a day.
     
  14. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member

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    Zooinstitutes can be a good starting off point, but looking at the unique animals for some USA zoos, they're way off on what qualifies as unique.
     
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  15. Westcoastperson

    Westcoastperson Well-Known Member

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    Oh I know that they have massive gaps, I also plan on cross referenceing media, discussions, species lists made on zoochat, and whatever else I can find. Also luckily some of the smaller actually list all of their species so I’m good there.
     
  16. Westcoastperson

    Westcoastperson Well-Known Member

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    Ok first up we have Nevada
    Now Nevada isn't exactly known for its rarities or for its amazing exhibits. Many of the animal exhibits found randomly at Vegas's resorts and casinos are sorely lacking and the to zoos in Reno isn't very great either. The only place in Vegas that is truly worth the visit is the Springs Preserve with some great exhibits and a few good rarities.

    Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay bay:

    A good aquarium that also has reptile and freshwater exhibits.

    Fish: Galapagos Shark, Bowmouth Guitarfish, Green Sawfish, Scalloped Hammerhead

    Springs Preserve:
    A great outdoor museum that is definitely worth the visit.

    Mammals: Botta’s Pocket Gopher, Desert Cottontail, Merriams Kangaroo Rat

    Sierra Safari Zoo:
    The exhibits at this zoo are generally pretty terrible and I would not suggest visiting.

    Mammals: Vervet Monkey, Patas Monkey
     
    Last edited: 4 Jul 2021
  17. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

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    Funny I never thought of desert cottontail as being rare, but in captivity it probably is. Just seems odd to me because I see several at my home every day.
     
  18. Great Argus

    Great Argus Well-Known Member

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    Ok, so it's rare based on all North America.

    Monterey Bay Aquarium, Aquarium of the Pacific, SeaWorld SD at least all have Green Sea Turtle, and many other places also do across North America. Not rare.

    No Galapagos Shark at Mandalay Bay? That's the biggest rarity there.

    Both baboons aren't hard to find, especially in roadside zoos. Same goes for Aoudad.

    Lady Amherst's Pheasant is a common find in roadside zoos in particular, and you can buy a pair for around $200. I don't think they qualify either.
     
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  19. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member

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    I tried to withhold judgement on this thread until you made a post, and now that you have, I feel I need to comment here. Your Nevada post is a mess, which really doesn't bode well for the states with more zoos.

    For Mandalay, I'll give you the three fish at the lowest ranking, though I'm not sure if two of them fit that; I'm less versed than some others when it comes to sharks and large fishes. Green sea turtles are abundant across the country, I'd guess at least 50 holders. Practically every aquarium has at least one. And yet you somehow missed the large shark species Mandalay is the only holder of, one that's been mentioned quite a bit on ZC?

    For Sierra Safari... I have no clue what makes you think any of those are even the slightest bit rare, to be honest. There's around 50 holders each for most of those species. 70 for spotted hyena. Well over 100 for aoudad. The pheasant is one of the most common exotic birds in captivity, present in nearly every non-AZA zoo I go to (and some of the AZA, as well).
     
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  20. Westcoastperson

    Westcoastperson Well-Known Member

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    Thank you both for the information I have edited the original post. For the three shark species the bow mouth should have been underlined from the document where I have these all stored but it didn't translate, the green sawfish had 13 individuals in 2014 and this (separate) source has it at around seven holders:
    Where Do Sawfish Live, and Scalloped Hammerheads have a turbulent history in captivity but from what I can tell there are four holders Maui, Monterey, Georgia, and the aforementioned. I put it in the other category in case an aquarium-like Adventure in New Jersey had some I didn't know about.
     
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