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animals we feel sorry for

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Coquinguy, 14 May 2007.

  1. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I'd agree with the part about all the extra requirements for Polar Bears making them much more expensive to maintain in captivity properly, than other bears.

    But virtually all the larger UK Zoos used to exhibit Polar Bears in the 1950's/60's, at one or two (like Chessington & Bristol), Polar Bears were the LAST species to go. Also several provincial zoos in the UK have bred Polar bears, some quite successfully too, though they never made the headlines in the the same way as London Zoo's used to.
    That's just a bit of zoo history for you- today only one Uk zoo still has one, an old female(Mercedes) at Edinburgh. Due to the usual critisism they weren't going to replace her when she died, but are now talking about a major new Arctic exhibit with possibly..... Polar Bears.
     
  2. MARK

    MARK Well-Known Member

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    Grant did you ever see the Polar bears at Whipsnade years ago?.
     
  3. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Yes I did, many times (this is still about 'animals we feel sorry for....')

    I don't know if you ever saw it? They had a cement/rockwork enclosure surrounded by a barred enclosure fence with overhang, exactly like the original lion and tiger enclosures. It was situated near them on the north-facing escarpment of the zoo.(all these enclosure are no more) The last pair were 'Amos' & 'Mosa' - they bred nearly every year and reared at least one set of cubs, maybe more- but were largely forgotten in contrast to London's pair(Sam and Sally, and parents of 'Pipaluk') on the Mappin terraces

    I can also remember the previous pair 'Ivy' and 'Mischa' at ZSL too- they were the parents of the famous 'Brumas' born in the 1950s- possibly the most famous zoo animal in Britain ever. She died as an adult but quite young -well before her parents.... (so I felt sorry for her....)
     
  4. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    we could turn this thread around completely and look at animals who we consider are getting the relative best they can (in a zoo situation). we all agree that the more space the better, but dropping all other considerations zoos need animals which means some animals end up in urban situations.
    so, which animal species do people think are effectively managed under circumstances. id have to nominate seaworld's polar shores, taronga's elephant team, dreamworld's tiger team (for reasons of providing stimulation etc)
     
  5. ^Chris^

    ^Chris^ Well-Known Member

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    I think in a lot of zoo's I've been to that exhibit them, tigers get a pretty bad deal. Big cats are one of those zoo staples that are required to get the visitors but often they seem pretty neglected, mostly in the space side of things.

    Bears have always had a pretty poor zoo record, which everyone seems to agree with, but in Britain most bears seem to have been phased out, then brought back with fresh new exhibits.

    I don't know what anyone else thinks, but any cetaceans, I don't care where really, don't have what they need in captivity. I think there's some animals that will never be happy in zoos- they are animals whose normal living conditions it is impossible to recreate.

    Pinnipeds seem to lack a little too. I'm not suggesting that they're unsuited to captivity, certainly not in the way whales and dolphins are, but if you consider a sea lion as a large predator equivalent to a lion say, they don't get anywhere near the same space.

    As for Glyn's suggest of which animals we think are getting the best they can?

    Well to try and backtrack on my above comments, (what a whinge i've had!) Bristol's Fur seal exhibit certainly offers the space needed, and equally importantly the pool depth required. In terms of bears, Chester's seem pretty happy, they even managed to stop some pre-programmed stereotypical behaviour it had picked in it's last home using enrichment methods (and a tooth op). Tigers? Still looking I guess, Longleat's exhibit seemed good, but Safari parks always offer plenty of space.

    That's the way I see it at least.
     
  6. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    yep.

    melbournes brown bears are of the syrian subspecies. theoretically they will do just fine as stand-ins in an asian mountains or himalayan type exhibit, however ALL BROWN BEARS in the region are being phased out..

    at this stage melbourne have not listed an intention to keep sunbear, though i'm sure that will happen when the brown bear die..

    thats pretty much whats happening. currently in australasia there are a few pairs of sun bears scattered around, some polar bears at seaworld and three subspecies of brown (european, kodiak and the more numerous syrian). no other bear species are here (there used to be some american blacks at a zoo in mildura but i'm not sure if they are still alive). ARAZPA have developed a plan for sunbear and nominate it as the priority bear species for the region (arguably one of the hardest bears to breed in captivity!). obviously seaworld will continue to keep polars however..
     
    Last edited: 18 May 2007
  7. boof

    boof Well-Known Member

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    Getting back to animals we feel sorry for , an animal I feel sorry for is the leopard seal at Taronga. I thought it came to the zoo to be rehabilitated from a cookie cutter shark injury to its side. Why wasn't this animal released after rehab. It was a young animal and it had a fair chance of survival once it recovered from its injuries. Why did they keep it? Were Taronga looking down the track to the Southern oceans exhibit or was it unsuitable for release. I know they had another leopard seal before this one, but I think the chances of getting another are remote. I think, although they are solitairy animals in the wild, this one is going to lead a very lonely existence for the rest of it's life even if it's new exhibit is brand new.
     
  8. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    i dont really feel sorry for the leopard seal. the leopard seal is solitairy. if i wanted to get that picky, id scrape up more sympathy for the tigers and snow leopards, who are meant to be solitairy but are generally kept together.
    ;)
     
  9. boof

    boof Well-Known Member

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    Yeah,I know tigers and snow leopards are solitairy but live together at the zoo. That is something that could be easily fixed if Taronga had more space. My point is that the leopard seal will never get a chance to breed, but will be keep forever with no chance to find a mate or are Taronga hoping for a male to wash ashore somewhere.
     
  10. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    i just found a leopard seal in my pool. problem fixed ;)
    in that sense its sad, but theres obviously a reason why the seal is there at the zoo, otherwise she would have been released. so at least she's alive when she would otherwise be dead. and there is a chance for her to breed if a male does in fact wash up. looking at this animal in a strictly rational sense though, i think loneliness experienced by a naturally solitairy animal could be hard to quantify???
     
  11. boof

    boof Well-Known Member

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    I get your point about animals not getting lonely. Do you know or does anyone else know why it wasn't released? I was of the understanding that she was to be released. She is young and looks to be in excellent condition. obviously there must be a reason it has been kept. Would like to hear the reason from the zoo.
     
  12. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    since you mentioned tigers - melbourne zoo has now switched to a system of keeping their tigers seperate unless during breeding. they rotate them between the main exhibit and the small off-display enclosure at the back. i believe its ordinarily a day-on day-off type arrangement (though ramalon is probably only having access to the large exhibit at night at the moment since the priority is surely to have mother and cubs on display during the day).

    i think its a much better system, the cats live a more natural lifestyle that is no doubt in some species better stimularion for breeding and it also avoids having to put females on contraceptives - which can have undesired effects..
     
  13. ZooPro

    ZooPro Well-Known Member

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    As far as I know, she was very thin when she arrived, and had a habit of beaching herself on a number of beaches around Sydney. She was deemed not fit to be released, and permission was granted for her to stay at the zoo.

    I'm not sure if the zoo has plans on releasing her at any stage, but somehow, I doubt it.
     
  14. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Syrian has always been my favourite subspecies/race of Brown bear- that lovely shade of pale blonde (I think the technical term may be 'isabelline' colour) not found in any of the other subspecies. They seem to be fairly common in Australian zoos, presumably because somewhere allowed them to breed. The ones at Melbourne and Perth are the last I have seen anywhere....

    Sun bear's very short coat for tropical living would no doubt suit them for Australia better than the big heavy-coated BRown bears, so phasing out the latter is probably wise.
     
  15. boof

    boof Well-Known Member

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    thanks Zoopro.
     
  16. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    they certainly are a distinctive type arn't they? very easily recognised by their colour and small size.

    about as "common" as anything in our very few zoos. melbourne had cubs in the 80's or early 90's and thus a few of the other "pairs" in the region are actually siblings. perth dumped their animals with dodgy savid gill and are now sweating it out in far north queensland. but adelaide, mogo and melbourne still have their animals.

    yeah they should be better suited to the summers - though our browns seem to moult pretty effectively. i'm actually quite fond of bears and think they could be promoted and displayed as much bigger attractions.

    whilst i like the sunbears i hope one day we are at a pont were we can expand our selection to include asiatic black bears as well..

    interestingly red pandas are now considered of no-relation to other procyonids (sp?) and actually very small and primitive bears or bear-ancestors...

    so technically they ARE related to giant pandas (of which i want to start a movement back to the old name of "panda bear") after all!! - just maybe no more than they are to other bears!
     
  17. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    brown bears are wonderful animals, even taronga's athritic pair still put on a good show. mogo's pair are from melbourne arent they, and if thats not spot and stripe then who are the bears at national zoo, canberra.
    anyway, just to reinterate pat's point, all of our brown bears are related, old, theres a gender inbalance, and recommended for phase out. so goodbye brownbears.
    much as i like sunbears, the havent realy grown on the public a smuch yet, and i think thats mainly because they are presente as somewhat neurotic, think wellington, taronga's pacing animals. in the future, better designed facilities might make this a better species to exhibit.
    collectively, there are quite a few institutions in this country holding bears. taronga, canberra and adelaide have the most. but theres melbourne, perth, mogo, cairns, alma and wellington too. which is a large number.
    if auckland zoo got on board thats ten zoos in total holding bears. if all of them had the capacity to hold at least a pair, with tatonga, adelaide and canberra holding as many sun bears in total as they do now brown and sun combined, theres no reason why our region couldnt manage a population of over 30 animals.
    thats quite alot when you think about it, and alot more viable. i hope we get to this situation one day.
    a second bear species??? i agree with asiatic black bears as a potential candidate, or sloth bears. i know they arent part of any long-range forecast for the region, but if this species was limited to open range zoos like weribee, monarto, dubbo, orana and hamilton then thats between 10-15 animals again. i guess participation and cooperation would be the key to a second specie sof bea rin this country. first and foremost though, sun bears should be commited to.
     
  18. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    As someone else said, Sunbears don't have the impressive appearance of the larger(e.g. brown) bears, and they do seem to suffer worse problems of stereotypical behaviour than other speciues in captivity. Comparatively few zoos in Europe exhibit(even less breed) them either.

    Asiatic Black Bear used to be a common species in the Uk but has been all but phased out. The main problem with these species seems to be obesity, too much eating coupled with too much inactivity. Belfast (the only Uk zoo I know of which keeps them), put their pair of Sun Bears on a crash diet- which did help, but how to promote a more active regime and better living conditions remains a problem for most bears in zoos. Like the higher primates, bears are intelligent creatures which spend much time in the wild foraging for food- with food provided in captivity, there's a lot of spare time to fill...

    Pat, what are your ideas for exhibiting them differently than presently?.
     
  19. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm pretty sure I heard the keepers at Mogo say that their brown bears were rescued from a circus where they were not well looked after (I may be wrong there). They certainly like to perform!

    1999:
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    2003:
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  20. ZooPro

    ZooPro Well-Known Member

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    Mogo's Syrian Brown Bears are a brother/sister pair that were born at Melbourne Zoo in 1993 - Sorry Sim!