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Asian Openbills In Captivity

Discussion in 'Zoo History' started by Sarus Crane, 28 Nov 2020.

  1. Sarus Crane

    Sarus Crane Well-Known Member

    23 Apr 2017
    I've been fascinated with Asian Openbills (Anastomus oscitans) and wanted to try and evaluate their status in collections over the years. You might remember I made a thread 2 years ago about them in North American collections but now I think I'd like to analyze the history of the species in all collections both public and private.

    According to Zootierliste the only zoos that held the species in the past in Europe were Berlin, Frankfurt, Walsrode, Amsterdam, Malaga, London, and Blackbrook.

    I found here on Zoochat that Blackbrook had 7 individuals. According to @bloodycurtus they arrived on October 18th, 2007, and were housed with Eurasian Spoonbills. According to @TeaLovingDave, foxes and cold weather killed off the populations at Blackbrook and Walsrode.

    Openbills shortly after arrival at Blackbrook. Photo by @bloodycurtus

    The Openbills' large aviary at Blackbrook. Photo by @Maguari

    According to @jibster in North America the only facility that housed them was the San Diego Zoo and that was 20 years ago.

    As of November 2018 there were only two remaining individuals at a private breeder in Europe. I couldn't find any more information on them within specific private collections.

    So as the most common Asian stork, why aren't they housed anymore? Is it their specialized diet of apple snails? I find this rather puzzling because African Openbills are held in captivity in both North America and Europe and have seen them being fed on both fish and small rodent diets. Maybe you have to keep them in larger flocks than the Africans and keep them in warmer conditions or house them indoors? It is recorded that one individual survived for 18 years in captivity. Either way, I think they're a fascinating species that should be brought back into collections. They're a great example of a species adapting to human-made changes in their environment and have been even expanding their range in China.
    Would you like to see Asian Openbills make a comeback to zoos and if anyone knows of any other history of the species in captivity please chime in!
    Austin the Sengi and Dormitator like this.