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Perth Zoo African Savannah at Perth Zoo queries (25 years of Animals)

Discussion in 'Australia' started by steveroberts, 24 Oct 2016.

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  1. steveroberts

    steveroberts Well-Known Member

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    AFRICAN SAVANNAH (Is it 25 years this year since the exhibit was first opened?)

    Hey does anyone know about all the history of the animals in the African Savannah exhibit. 1991 was the opening year right?? Does anyone have details to share about

    the names of most of the animals that have been housed in the exhibit over the last 25 years. The Baboons have not always been there correct? There was a Cheetah prior

    there before Kitoko arrived in 1999. Does anyone remember the name and where he/she came from? The Painted Hunting Dogs used to be where the African Lions now live

    hey. Memphis the Rhino had a smaller enclosure adjacent to the first Meerkats prior to the two females arriving late in late 99 right. The entrance to the Savannah was

    lower before the great new Hunting Dog exhibit of 2005/2006 was opened. Wasnt the old Japanese Macaque enclosure on the fringe of entering the Savannah zone? Remember

    there being Scimitar Oryx where the Hyenas are now (werent Hunting Dogs also for a very brief stage.) I the Serval like the Baboons and Lions was a later installment

    to the Savannah in mid/late 90s if memory serves. As far as I can tell the Cheetah and Giraffe-Zebra (and maybe Radiated Tortoise?) enclosures are the only non

    changing displays in the last 25 years? I remember that Chimps were briefly in the Baboon enclosure for a short period but already remember reading somewhere on this

    site that they were en-route to Japan which makes sense as was quite a small exhibit for Chimps i think. Also remember the Fennec Foxs moving into that Savannah

    nocturnal cave in what 2000? after being in the back of the Nocturnal House for some years. Is the walk in glass surround Meerkat display that opened up in 1998/1999

    part of the original Spotted Hyena enclosure from the initial Savannah set up prior to occupying the old Oryx enclosure?

    Hope the old Oak Lawn and the rest of World of Birds goes towards spacifying the Lion & Cheetah (etc) exhibits.

    p.s Also remember both more Meerkats and Fischer's Lovebirds occupying the next door part of the Serval exhibit at some stages late 90s or early 00s? which seemed a

    bit unfair to me as it appeared to halve the Serval's roaming zone :( was it just one Serval? does anyone remember its name (thanks to Tetrapod for already reminding

    me how it was originally housed within the Primate Zone. Also I have not been to Perth Zoo since January 2006 (over 10 years now i cant believe it!!) so have not

    experienced any new changes to animal housing and displays since. Please whatever info anyone can recall about the Savannah. Animals names, offspring, what other zoos

    they came from or went to ... e.g did the Oryx go to Monarto or Western Plain in 1998? Is it true that the original Hunting Dogs ate contaminated meat??

    Thanks all in advance :)
     
  2. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Here's some info on the cheetah:


    Cheetah at Perth Zoo:

    Imported Cheetah:


    Puss Puss (M)

    Born 1962
    Arrived at Perth Zoo 16 January 1967
    Died at Perth Zoo 19 July 1975

    Duma (F)

    Born 1963 approx
    Arrived at Perth Zoo 16 January 1967
    Died at Perth Zoo 16 July 1979

    Masai (F)

    Born 27 April 1977
    Arrived at Perth Zoo 9 May 1989
    Died at Perth Zoo 11 June 1993

    Azizi (M)

    Born 1983 approx
    Arrived at Perth Zoo 31 March 1992
    Died at Perth Zoo 7 July 1998

    Kitoko (F)

    Born 7 April 1998
    Arrived at Perth Zoo 29 January 1999
    Sent to Monarto Zoo 26 October 2001
    Arrived at Perth Zoo 18 December 2001
    Sent to Monarto Zoo 5 November 2002
    Arrived at Perth Zoo 17 December 2002
    Sent to Monarto Zoo 23 October 2004
    Arrived at Perth Zoo 29 December 2004
    Sent to Orana Wildlife Park 6 February 2006

    Twande (M)

    Born 30 May 1995
    Arrived at Perth Zoo 19 September 2003
    Sent to Werribee Open Range Zoo 28 October 2003

    Shakarri (F)

    Born 11 September 2004
    Arrived at Perth Zoo 14 February 2006
    Sent to Monarto Zoo 7 Dec 2010

    Kifani (F)

    Born 29 July 2000
    Arrived at Perth 13 Dec 2010
    Died 3 April 2015


    Births at Perth Zoo:

    Unnamed (F)

    Born 8 March 2002
    Died 29 April 2002
    Dam: Kitoko (Perth)
    Sire: Scruffbag (Monarto)
     
    Last edited: 27 Oct 2016
  3. tetrapod

    tetrapod Well-Known Member

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    Hi Steve
    (Sorry to be so long at replying as I've had difficulties getting on to the site since the upgrade).
    I'll give an enclosure by enclosure from what I know - most of it is relevent to the mid-90s (the period which I worked in). Will probably take a few replies to complete.

    Part I Firstly I'll take it that you are accurate with the 91 opening date - I'm not certain, but seems about right. The design was heavily based on the Jones & Jones ground-breaking design of Seattle's savannah display. So no surprise that the then zoo's director was also American and the naturalistic concept (which wasn't present at Perth at the time) was all the rage! One thing that I will say is that the team who created the mock-rock 'lightly' distributed around the exhibit complex did an excellent job. They are some of the most realistic boulders I have ever seen. A number of them are hollow shells which double as storage or animal off-show areas. The planting inside the exhibits and outside are excellent also, providing plenty of cover, hiding fences and incorporating authentic African spp where possible. The original concept also was to prune the trees to look more like giraffe-cropped trees (not sure that this was bothered with!). The biggest negative of the the original concept was that they tried to cram too many exhibits and species into an area much smaller then Seattle's (which I'm not familiar with, but have heard from other sources). I will try to cover the problems as I go along.

    The first enclosure in the original state (I'll come back to the later changes) was the primate exhibit. Has changed a little over time with the dry moat at the rear now accessible to the inhabitants. For a long period the enclosure was either empty or housed a pair of Egyptian geese. The design was originally for a group of vervets, however they kept escaping from the exhibit. After some modifications the Hamadryas baboons moved in. Apart from destroying all the vegetation apart from the hot-wired tree, they worked well. The group of baboons (1.5.0) were previously housed in the old monkey row. They were the remnants/offspring of individuals imported from Jerusalem Zoo. For a small period they were moved out for the temporary housing of the chimp trio (1.2.0) from Sydney, before flying out to Japan. The baboons were returned to the exhibit afterwards, and since then other individuals have been added (mostly from Melbourne Zoo). Some modifications have been made to the rear of the indoor housing for outdoor off-show.

    The second display wasn't animal-based, rather it was a 'game ranger's hut + vehicle'. Mostly used for education purposes, it received less use with time + wear/tear. Not sure that it still exists.
     
  4. tetrapod

    tetrapod Well-Known Member

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    Part II The next display was the rhino bunker. The visitor's viewing was from a slightly dropped/covered over bay which one could view into the rhino exhibit on the left and, through a glass window, to the meerkats on the right. As mentioned the original male was called Memphis. He was also imported with a younger female from the US, but unfortunately suffered from an illness, which led to euthanasia relatively soon after quarantine. He remained by himself until the import of the aforementioned pair of females (part of a larger Australasian import from South Africa). The exhibit was a suitable size for a pair of rhinos, though I question whether successful breeding would have occurred. Remarkably the enclosure was also intended to house a pair of eland! Thankfully this never eventuated, as there would never have been enough room. The meerkat exhibit was nothing remarkable, although one could view the large giraffe display beyond the meerkats (hidden barrier). Following the addition of the new females and successful breeding, the exhibit was transformed and enlarged. This included the demolition of the rhino bunker/meerkat exhibit and including adjacent land to the right (a rarely-utilised peninsula attached to the giraffe exhibit) and the left where the old crocodile ponds and butterfly house stood (incredibly it was built and destroyed after the start of the savannah, existing for less then a decade, maybe only 5 years). The new area was far more suitable for the small herd (split into two pens), although realistically still not big enough for breeding white rhinos. I suspect that is why they have mostly kept non-breeding individuals since (insert comment about why Perth needs an open-range zoo).

    The first exhibit on the other side of the path was the hunting dog exhibit. This was a decent size, with two viewing bays (at either end). The dogs regularly bred in the exhibit. I believe that PZ started with 1.2.0 (but don't quote me on that), not sure on there origin, but for some reason think they may have come from the US. The dogs were moved out for the move of the lions (1.2.0 - Alistair: poss Perth born; Manzi + Mafuta: Melbourne Zoo born) from the Great Cat complex within the zoo. Lions are still in the exhibit, although individuals have changed since. Will always be only able to house a small pride of less then 5.
     
    Last edited: 29 Oct 2016
  5. tetrapod

    tetrapod Well-Known Member

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    Part III The next exhibit on the same side of the path was, and has always been to my knowledge, the cheetah exhibit. The individual that was in that exhibit during the middle of the 90s was a male, but not known to me as Azizi (as was mentioned above) but Claudius. He came from Dubbo (but this might not have been his first home), was very mature and exceptionally tame. The exhibit is not ideal for cheetahs, being round with a hill in the middle. It has never held more then 2 individuals. Judging from list of individuals, PZ has kept a few cheetahs in this exhibit over time.

    On the same side of the path, and opposite the largest exhibit (giraffe/zebra), was a steep sloping pen which originally held scimitar-horned oryx. You know oryx... that are found on flatter then flat dry scrubby land, being kept on a hill! I can understand if the flat top of the exhibit had been 4 times larger, but think this is an example of where the Seattle-plan was sized down, and it just didn't work. Cannot remember where the oryx came from, but definitely started with a 'breeding' herd of 1 male and several females. By mid 90s there were only the 5 females, as male moved on and eventually the entire herd followed male to Dubbo. With some modifications the exhibit next held the hunting dog pack. It was in this exhibit that the poisoning occurred (a batch of meat accidentally laced with euthanasia drug killing several pack members) and in the insuing disruption to the pack dynamics one or two dogs escaped over the exhibit barrier. They were recaptured within the Savannah display. I have seen similar problems arise in wolf packs when important individuals are removed - messy. The dogs were replaced by a pair of spotted hyenas from a neighbouring exhibit in Savannah (species currently still in this exhibit).

    Opposite this exhibit and in front of the largest exhibit was a connecting pair of small fully-enclosed exhibits. These have regularly been left empty, mostly due to the small size and lack of suitability. The original purpose of the exhibit was rock hyrax. As far as I am aware a small group of hyrax made it into the country, but were euthansed while in quarantine due to testing positive to a disease (Hepatitis?). No attempt was made to import others (mores the pity) The exhibit was made useable for the elderly 1.0.0 serval (previously housed in the Lesser primate area, originally from Melbourne Zoo) during the mid 90s until he died a year or two later. For a time the smallest exhibit held a couple of extra meerkats, kicked out from the main group, but when one got into the serval exhibit, the survivor/s were moved out. The exhibit has also held a flock of Nyasa lovebirds for a time, but I think the problem with the exhibit is small size and that heat is trapped in the summer. Not sure this exhibit is used currently, if it still exists.

    (I'll come back to this thread to finish at a later stage).
     
  6. steveroberts

    steveroberts Well-Known Member

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    Thanks so much :)
     
  7. tetrapod

    tetrapod Well-Known Member

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    Part IV The next two exhibits are/were on the other side of the path, and equally to the hyrax/serval/lovebird exhibit have failed the test of time. The main exhibit, on the left, held a trio of spotted hyenas (1.2.0 - one female called Annie) originally from Berkley. Unfortunately the dominant female was unable to breed and to alleviate the problems she causing, was moved to Whyalla Zoo. The remaining pair bred at least twice and the cubs left for Singapore Zoo. Unfortunately again the design of the exhibit - smallish and round, did not allow for a decent group of hyenas. The exhibit always looked like a dustball. The mockrock at this end of the savannah was definitely not to the same level as the rest. There was also a cave structure to the side, but to best of my knowledge nobody ever saw it in use. It was converted into indoor accomodation for fennec foxes, but I'm not sure for how long. To the right was the smallest exhibit in the savannah (you would be forgiven for missing it) which occasionally held Greek or spur-thigh tortoises. Not sure if that was the original intention. Think the species either left the zoo or was being used by Ed dept. Thankfully the entire area was completely renovated (cannot recall if the cave shelter survived) and now houses the meerkat colony, which you can view at ground-level via glass panels. A much better use of limited space.

    Opposite is the main viewing platform for the largest exhibit which houses the Rothschild's giraffes and plains zebras. As mentioned above this exhibit has changed minimally since the start. The giraffes (1.2.0 - mostly/all through Orana Park. Male - Anthony, largest female - Mischa) had some difficulty with the slope down to the waterhole in front of the raised viewing platform, although subsequent earthworks seems to have sorted out the slope. Was a successful breeding herd for a while (including famous 'kissing' baby photo giraffe), but with individuals rotating out I believe that Perth only has a non-breeding group now. The zebras (0.2.0 - from Auckland Zoo) had minimal interaction with their larger neighbours. They have since been replaced with others. There was also a plan to house the pair of ostrich (from within another part of the zoo) in this exhibit, but either they were considered too skittish or an antempt was made to house them in the exhibit, but this was later abandoned (and the ostrich left the zoo). There was also some suggestion that should nyala be imported (and this was being talked about in the 90s, so 20+ years the species might just be entering the country...) then they would be housed in the exhibit too. I'm not sure this would have been a great idea, space-wise. The other species to use this exhibit was a pair of Egyptian geese, and of late a flock of hemeted guinea-fowl.

    The final original exhibit was the radiated tortoises. Again I'm not if this was originally on the plan, but the species was already kept at the zoo (5-7 individuals). The exhibits are a series of low-walled pens, which have been modified over time to manage warmth/activity in winter. This species has been bred a couple of times in this exhibit.
     
  8. tetrapod

    tetrapod Well-Known Member

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    Part V The new bits. The start of the savannah was modified by taking in land that was originally used by Japanese macaques in a classic old (but quite large) concrete and mesh cage and lawn area behind it. Prior to the current renovation (during the 00s) the area was developed into a Bird flight display. Unfortunately it was constructed cheaply without any thought for longevity (the roof had no sound-proofing, so when it rained you couldn't hear a word during the show!). A pity as the Bird section put alot of time into training, for a matter of maybe a couple of years of shows. Anyway the area now houses the group of hunting dogs in a good sized pen (probably the third-biggest exhibit in the savannah).

    The other extension was at the other end where a 'tribal village' existed (in reality they were storage sheds). This area has been converted for the three Galapagos giant tortoises which were obtained from a rich private owner within WA (during 00s). Obviously they don't really fit the African savannah theme, but they are on the outskirts of the main display.

    Hopefully I have covered everything, though I'm sure to have missed something (let me know). Overall the display looks great, but I think the original plan was overly ambitious and they tried to fit too many large carnivores and didn't have the space for decent herds of antelope. Housing cheetah near other large carnivores is a general no-no, yet are now surrounded by hyenas and lions! I think black rhino may have been a better choice then whites (smaller spp for more space), particularly up until the early 80s? Perth had a female black. Hyenas were probably an unnecessary addition to the other carnivores, particularly given the limited room available. There was never enough thought for the small species: no small birds (weavers) or reptiles, outside tortoises. Vervets and hyrax were supposed to be part of the display but the exhibits were not designed well for either spp. There isn't really any opportunity to extend and I doubt the zoo would entertain the thought now.
     
  9. steveroberts

    steveroberts Well-Known Member

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    Cool thanks again, wow very detailed I appreciated reading all that. Yeah it explains a lot as all ive had to go on is random memories here and there over my 10/12 visits over the 90s/mid 00s. Dont know why hills were designed so much in the area when animals like Oryx and Cheetah were being chosen to live there. As far as I could tell when I last saw the Hyenas over ten years ago I noticed two viewing areas and apart from recognising the old Oryx viewing platform as the first of these I did notice the second viewing area for the Hyenas felt like how id originally viewed the Hyenas as a kid in early-mid 90s. This led me to assume that the Hyenas had kept their old enclosure space as well and given the additional space of the Oryx's old home. If this is the case its good to know they got a better deal, I just wish the Lions and Cheetahs got an upgrade of equal spatial fairness to the Hunting Dogs and Hyenas around the same time and not still waiting on it over a decade later. Btw I think I recall a staff member telling my cousins and I that the male Hyenas name was Ferris (this would have been about 1996). Btw remember the old Rhino & Meerkat bunker well and the graphic illustrated sign near the entrance of an dead White Rhino with its horn poached and I think the blood may have been the only coloured in part of the sign but again memory foggy. Thank god the Eland did not arrive for their sakes. Interesting to know about not housing Cheetahs near other large predators was not something I was aware of. I think perhaps Cheetah should be phased out of the Savanna for their own benefit obviously. Agree with you wholeheartedly about Black Rhinos being a better original choice. Certainly hope that the 'Oak Lawn' area and whatever space is left from the remaining 'World of Birds' that hasn't been used for the new 'Amazonia' display gets put to good use for the Savanna enclosure enlargements (especially for the Cats, Hyenas, Baboons). Thanks again Tetrapod I always look forward to your responses and appreciate the time spent on additional info :)

    p.s Golly had no idea there were so many Savanna escapees Vervets and Hunting Dogs wow! and poor little Meerkat/s that ended up being Serval food :(
     
  10. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Perth Zoo currently have a male giraffe, Armani, born in the summer of 2003 at Orana Wildlife Park to Harold and Zuri (Harold x Nathalie). I believe they have one female, after exporting another female in 2015 after she failed to breed wtih Armani (a proven breeder).

    Tetrapod, do you know the purpose of the chimpanzee's 1 year stay?
     
  11. steveroberts

    steveroberts Well-Known Member

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    Given the sad fact of Kifani the Cheetah's passing 18 months ago which I wasnt aware of until Zoofan15 let me know and Tetrapod's knowledge of housing of Cheetahs near other large carnivores as a general no-no perhaps the expansion work within the Savanna could/should focus on a considerably enlarged Lion enclosure apce and a bigger new Baboon enclosure would be good too. Also for the Hyenas which seem to be a popular animal with most visitors, there could perhaps be a future change of species for Brown Hyenas instead as they are a more threatened vulnerable species than Spotted Hyenas and being smaller perhaps an advantage for limited enclosure space like Black Rhino over White. I'll stop there before i get too far into the 'what if' realm but just wanted to quickly add i support the pligeht for the creation of an open range zoo for the large animals at perth zoo. It feels like it desperately needed to give the larger animals the roaming space they deserve and seems like its been a long wait for one now considering how long its been recommended (even in wa parliamentary minutes 30 years ago!!) Had no idea how many challenges the Savanna had and decisions that were ill thought out for the animals and hasty
     
  12. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Housing cheetahs near other large carnivores, especially lions is definately not helpful in breeding them. At Orana Wildlife Park, the two species of cat are housed at opposite ends of the park.

    Two other factors that are almost critical to breeding are the provision of large spacious enclosures and multiple choices of mates for the queen (breeding female). Since Perth Zoo cannot provide any of these factors, cheetah breeding is unlikely to occur naturally at Perth.

    I'm not sure if their current situation would allow housing of a bachelor pair. The Auckland Zoo enclosure isn't huge and relatively near to the lions, but has served well as an exhibit for two brothers.

    In my thread on cheetah in the New Zealand forums, I proposed the idea of housing a single female at the Hamilton and Wellington Zoos (on the passing or relocation of their males) and sending them on 6-8 week breeding loans to Orana Wildlife Park.

    But yes, I agree an expansion to the baboon or lion enclosure would be a better use of space. It would be nice to open up a breeding situation for lions at Perth, or the establishment of a larger troop of Hamadryas.
     
  13. tetrapod

    tetrapod Well-Known Member

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    The transfer of the chimps from Taronga was looked upon as a marketing opportunity for Perth to bring in a new display species for the summer without spending much on an exhibit. The same reasoning was behind the temporary addition of the white tiger and the seasonal animatronic dinosaur display. The Primate keeper staff were okay with it as the trio were destined for Japan, but their new exhibit was not ready. Helped out Taronga and gave the keepers some experience with a different ape. Having worked with those three chimps, they were incredibly chilled and not at all like the reputation that the species has.

    Nice to know that Perth has reverted back to a breeding situation with the giraffe.
     
  14. tetrapod

    tetrapod Well-Known Member

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    I doubt that PZ will move away from cheetahs. They are a focal species for the region and charismatic. PZ will never give the suitable space to breed them. The best way to breed cheetahs seem to be having multiple males for the females to choose from (all in seperate pens) - only open-range facilities can provide the space. PZ is happy to have only individuals or same sex pairs.

    I also cannot see the zoo going down the route of Brown hyenas. None in the region and not likely to push for a second spp of hyena. Also they seem to be poor displays (judging by other zoos) even compared to spotteds.

    As I mentioned before I doubt that PZ will look to expand the Savannah display. The main reason it was expanded in recent times was for the hunting dogs - due to PZ's committment to the species (and they're a great display too!). Cannot see anything changing from the status quo for a while. I would prefer that the zoo made a decent fist of the Amazonia display instead of the half-hearted approach so far. The range of Sth American spp available in Australia is wide enough to make a truly great display in the old World of Birds area.

    So far as the decisions made on the species and design for the Savannah, I'm sure the keeping staff past and present collectively shake their heads at times...
     
  15. steveroberts

    steveroberts Well-Known Member

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    Yes fair point I didnt know Brown Hyenas were poor display animals. It is good that the open range zoos are the place for Cheetahs to reproduce I just wish they'd make those zoos the Cheetah keeping facilities for the country (not to mention Orana in NZ and Mogo in nsw with a bit more space).

    Yes an Amazonia extension would be ideal if the Savanna is to remain in its current limitations. It would be great to see perhaps some Ocelots housed in the exhibit if there was enough space (which is why I didnt think Jaguars immediately) I feel Perth could/should try for at least one more species of wild cat
     
  16. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Your mileage may vary; I personally have always found Brown Hyena to be attractive and showy animals.
     
  17. steveroberts

    steveroberts Well-Known Member

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    Oh cool I never have seen any but would love to have. Would have thought Perth and Monarto might have chosen a species that has more vulnerability in the wild than their Spotted cousins. It seems Australia is quite limited in what species it can choose from, more so it feels than Europe and North America
     
  18. tetrapod

    tetrapod Well-Known Member

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    Possibly, but probably depends more on availability. Can't imagine there are many browns in captivity, even in Southern Africa. Saying that I saw them being bred regularly at De Wildts in South Africa.
     
  19. steveroberts

    steveroberts Well-Known Member

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    Oh cool you've visited De Wildts. Maybe because Kitoko came to perth from her in 99 the possibility of obtaining Brown Hyenas was not completely impossible. Since joining this site and reading lots more i have learned a lot more about the challenges with species selections and imports options etc. I like the idea of perth perhaps starting a new regional focus ie having the first breeding pair in the country.

    But with the Hunting Dogs and the meat incident i didnt know anything except a cousin telling me what she heard 'they died from eating contaminated meat.' So when i saw two Hunting Dogs in the great cat zone when i visited the zoo again in 1999 i assumed it was a new pair (odd thing in its own being a pack animal) but i didnt know until you told me that there were survivors (in fact sounds like from what you said the dominant pack members were the fatality).

    It got me wondering when you said the meat was laced with euthanasia drug i was assuming contaminated meat meant bacteria rather. But what i was wondering was how could a mistake like that happen anyway as to why meat would be laced with that stuff in the first place let alone be mistakenly given to the poor hunting dogs.

    But what you said about the survivors escaping from the exhibit did that happen during visiting hours? (very interesting about the impact of important pack members being removed in dog packs, makes sense though as thats how their social order works so the dominated ones would get quite haphazarded for want of a better word).
     
  20. steveroberts

    steveroberts Well-Known Member

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    Hey out of curiosity how much distance would Cheetahs need in an average sized zoo from other carnivore in an idealic sense.

    Hey would you prefer to see Lion and Cheetah be spaced out more as a savanna alteration which given the current limitation would most likely mean phasing out hyenas for upgrade space. Sorry again 'what if ' realm I know but I appreciate your perspective on this stuff considering your knowledge and experience.