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Are there any Galapagos species besides tortoises in zoos?

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by DavidBrown, 20 May 2011.

  1. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

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    Does anybody know if there are currently, or have been historically, any endemic species from the Galapagos Islands beyond the ubiquitous tortoises in zoos anywhere in the world?

    Galapagos penguins? Marine iguanas? Darwin's finches? Lava lizards?

    I have never seen or heard of any Galapagos species other than tortoises in zoos, and am curious why that is given their scientific importance. I imagine that Ecuador strictly prohibits their collection and export, but obviously the tortoises were collected at some point.

    Any insight or information is appreciated.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    historically many species have been kept outside the islands, including marine iguanas (did not survive well in zoos), land iguanas, penguins, Galapagos doves, etc. Nowadays not so much.

    Ecuador has very strict laws regarding the export of Galapagos fauna, so there's not likely to be any major Galapagos exhibits being constructed in zoos any time in the foreseeable future.

    There's another thread on it somewhere on the forum.
     
  3. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the information Chlidonias. I did not know that any of these species were ever in zoos and am very interested in learning this history. I will look through the archives for the thread you mention.
     
  4. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

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  5. Sneeuwpanter

    Sneeuwpanter Well-Known Member

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    Monteray bay aquarium and shark reef aquarium have galapagos sharks. Although they're not an exclusive galapagos species as they spread wider the the galapagos islands
     
  6. Maguari

    Maguari Never could get the hang of Thursdays. Premium Member

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  7. gerenuk

    gerenuk Well-Known Member

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    At one time the Oklahoma City Zoo had an exclusive Galapagos Islands exhibit. Not quite sure exactly what species they had in it.
     
  8. KatherineAlex

    KatherineAlex Member

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    Hello!

    I never thought about that fact before, and now that you have brought this up, I find it interesting! However, I am sure it is mostly due to the laws of import/export as well.

    You mentioned that perhaps the Galapagos turtle was exported at some point and you are correct. I was luck enough to go on a NatGeo expedition to Galapagos and we learned a fair bit. Actually most of these turtles were taken from the islands (causing the horrible loss of population) long long ago as a food source for passing ships, so perhaps there were turtles left over. They aren't even sure how long these turtles live at this point so this is entirely possible. Also, I think there is more knowledge of the Giant Tortoises, and so much work being done with them at the Charles Darwin Research Center that they might have some special agreement specifically for that species.

    @DavidBrown...crazy about the penguin falling off the roof!

    What Galapagos species would you like to see in a zoo? I think the different types of finches would be interesting with a bit of Darwin's notes.
     
  9. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    Are there any Galapagos species...

    Galapagos Doves were in private aviculture in the 1950s, and initially bred well, although the stock petered out eventually.
    Various of the finches were kept and bred by [I think] University of Southern California [?]
     
  10. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    FBBird beat me to it, but I remember seeing Galapagos doves at the Jardin des Plantes (Paris Menagerie) around 1972.
    The late David Lack collected some live Darwin's finches to bring to England for breeding studies in April 1939. Unfortunately they went into moult and several died on the voyage to Panama, so the circumstances were not propitious (politically or zoologically). He took them to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco instead: the Academy had organised several expeditions to the Galapagos in previous years. The birds did quite well in California and several species bred, but experiments in cross breeding failed - providing evidence that they were truly separate species. Information from Lack's classic book 'Darwin's Finches'.

    Alan
     
  11. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the information everyone.

    It looks like there have been several historical experimentations with keeping Galapagos species. None except for the tortoises have persisted to the present due to lack of knowledge about how to replicate natural conditions needed for survival (marine iguanas), gross negligence (penguin keeping 101: don't let them wander around on your roof), and eventual disinterest (cessation of Galapagos dove and finch breeding).
     
    Last edited: 20 May 2011
  12. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    Galapagos species

    I don't think it was lack of interest with the doves, more that the birds just stopped breeding
     
  13. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the clarification. I did not know of the Galapagos dove until you mentioned it in your post. I looked the species up and it is beautiful.

    I guess if one wants to see any of these non-tortoise species then have to make the trek to the islands...probably the way that it should be.
     
  14. Joker1706

    Joker1706 Well-Known Member

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    If I remeber right, Frankfurt kept marine and land iguanas from Galapagos in their Exotarium in the 50´s and 60´s for a longer time...
     
  15. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    If I remember right The Avicultural Magazine ( UK-magazine ) mentioned in the 1980-ties that a collection in the Bahama's kept some Galapagos penguins.
    The Galapagos doves have been much longer been in captivity and at the time I worked at Walsrode ( late 1980-ties ) I even took care of them ! I must have some photos of them but can't find them right now ( when I do I'll place them in the Gallery ). Problem with them was that the population was very inbred and most of the eggs proofed infirtile. Even so I think there may well be even today some in privat collections !
     
  16. arcticwolf

    arcticwolf Well-Known Member

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    I don't understand why zoos don't make Galapagos themed exhibits. Even though almost all of the endemic species can't be found in captivity, there are still quite a few non-endemic species that can. I think that a zoo could create an exhibit with giant tortoises, flamingos, brown pelicans, and marine fish. There could even be a California sea lion exhibit with signs explaining how Galapagos sea lions evolved from their Californian cousins.
     
  17. condor

    condor Well-Known Member

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    I'd be very surprised if any collection kept real Galapagos penguins in the 1980s or later. If a collection said they did, I'd need a photo as evidence that they weren't one of the other Spheniscus. Wouldn't be the first time a zoo misindentified animals in their collection.

    just a minor note: While they are sister taxa, Galapagos didn't evolve from Californian. Both originate from a common ancestor, a "proto-Zalophus", and split into separate lineages about 2.5 million years ago. Regardless, zoos could certainly still use Californian with appropriate explanation as part of a Galapagos exhibit.
     
  18. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    Louis Mowbray of the Bermuda Aquarium collected animals from the Galapagos in 1933 and bred the penguins in that decade (he was the first to breed them in captivity). I would say the Avicultural Magazine article referred to by vogelcommando was from the 1980s but it was talking about the 1930s collection.
    Bermuda Biographies - Louis Mowbray
     
  19. arcticwolf

    arcticwolf Well-Known Member

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    Sorry about that! I was watching a video about Galapagos wildlife a few days ago (I forget what it was called) that said Galapagos sea lions evolved from California sea lions. Thank you for giving me the right information.
     
  20. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    Are there any Galapagos....?

    That Avicultural Magazine article was from the 1930s, and is illustrated by a photograph. Given enough time to dig around in the study here, I could probably find it. Or anyone interested can look in the A.M. online index.
    Anyone interested in birds really ought to join the Society; it's worth the subscrption for the Magazine alone, and UK members get the benefit of twice yearly social meetings, usually at zoos.