Join our zoo community

Big/Small Cats in Australasian Zoos – News, History and Discussion

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Zoofan15, 30 Nov 2017.

  1. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    6,097
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Melbourne Zoo - Temminck’s Golden Cats (Part One)

    Melbourne Zoo’s first Temminck’s golden cats were a pair called Golden Boy and Marigold:

    Golden Boy (M)
    Born in the wild 01/01/1968
    Arrived at Melbourne Zoo 05/03/1970
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 03/05/1981

    Marigold (F)
    Born at the Smithsonian National Zoo 02/08/1968
    Arrived at Melbourne Zoo 02/08/1971
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 05/07/1975

    Marigold gave birth to six litters at Melbourne Zoo:

    Litter One:

    Unnamed (M)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 03/01/1972
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 21/03/1972
    Sire: Golden Boy

    Unnamed (F)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 03/01/1972
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 21/03/1972
    Sire: Golden Boy

    Litter Two:

    Unnamed (F)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 31/08/1972
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 22/11/1972
    Sire: Golden Boy

    Litter Three:

    Unnamed (M)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 15/02/1973
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 30/06/1973
    Sire: Golden Boy

    Unnamed (F)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 15/02/1973
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 01/07/1973
    Sire: Golden Boy

    Litter Four:

    Timmy (M)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 02/09/1973
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 16/12/1973
    Sire: Golden Boy

    Litter Five:

    Unnamed (M)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 04/03/1974
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 05/03/1974
    Sire: Golden Boy

    Litter Six:

    Unnamed (M)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 05/01/1975
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 14/01/1975
    Sire: Golden Boy
     
    WhistlingKite24, Jambo and Tafin like this.
  2. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    6,097
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Melbourne Zoo - Temminck’s Golden Cats (Part Two)

    After the death of Marigold, Melbourne Zoo imported a new pair named Dusty and Indra:

    Indra (F)
    Born in the wild 01/01/1969
    Arrived at Melbourne Zoo 27/10/1976
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 16/05/1983

    Dusty (M)
    Born in the wild 01/02/1968
    Arrived at Melbourne Zoo 27/10/1976
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 25/06/1977

    Indra gave birth to two litters at Melbourne Zoo:

    Litter One:

    Goldberry (F)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 14/02/1977
    Died at Melbourne 22/03/1977
    Sire: Dusty

    Litter Two:

    Cassandra (F)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 05/07/1977
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 02/11/1997
    Sire: Golden Boy

    Cassandra produced two litters with her father:

    Litter One:

    Unnamed (M)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 01/02/1979
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 03/02/1979
    Sire: Golden Boy

    Litter Two:

    Unnamed (U)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 31/01/1981
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 01/02/1981
    Sire: Golden Boy
     
    WhistlingKite24, Jambo and Tafin like this.
  3. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    6,097
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Melbourne Zoo - Temminck’s Golden Cats (Part Three)

    After Golden Boy’s death, a new mate was imported for Cassandra:

    Mas (M)
    Born at Dierenpark Wassenaar 02/07/1979
    Arrived at Melbourne Zoo 13/07/1981
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 09/06/1994

    Cassandra produced a further eight litters at Melbourne Zoo:

    Litter Three:

    Cyclops (M)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 26/12/1981
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 17/07/1991
    Sire: Mas

    Cleo (F)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 26/12/1981
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 01/04/1983
    Sire: Mas

    Litter Four:

    Cleo II (F)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 05/08/1983
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 04/01/1985
    Sire: Mas

    Litter Five:

    Charon (M)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 28/12/1984
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 20/08/2000
    Sire: Mas

    Litter Six:

    Charles (M)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 05/09/1985
    Sent to Hamilton Zoo 15/02/1994
    Sire: Mas

    Litter Seven:

    Unnamed (U)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 26/08/1989
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 26/08/1989
    Sire: Mas

    Litter Eight:

    Hari (M)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 24/01/1990
    Sent to Taronga Zoo 10/12/1992
    Sire: Mas

    Litter Nine:

    Nugi (M)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 01/11/1990
    Sent to Taronga Zoo 10/12/1992
    Sire: Mas

    Litter Ten:

    Cim (F)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 23/11/1991
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 02/09/2009
    Sire: Mas
     
    WhistlingKite24, Jambo and Tafin like this.
  4. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    6,097
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Melbourne Zoo - Temminck’s Golden Cats (Part Four)

    A new male was imported to pair with Cassandra’s daughter, Cim:

    Rome (M)
    Born at Berlin Zoo 29/09/1983
    Arrived at Melbourne Zoo 21/01/1994
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 17/06/1998

    Cim gave birth to four litters at Melbourne Zoo:

    Litter One:

    Kuching (M)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 03/10/1994
    Sent to Adelaide Zoo 25/01/2007
    Sire: Rome

    Litter Two:

    Mekong (F)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 20/09/1995
    Sent to Greater Vancouver Zoo 23/09/1996
    Sire: Rome

    Litter Three:

    Mao (F)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 06/01/1997
    Sent to Taronga Zoo 15/08/2001
    Sire: Rome

    Chi (M)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 06/01/1997
    Sent to Auckland Zoo 14/08/1998
    Sire: Rome

    Litter Four:

    Jakarta (M)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 13/03/1998
    Sent to Wuppertal Zoo 13/09/2004
    Sire: Rome

    Siam (F)
    Born at Melbourne Zoo 13/03/1998
    Sent to Wassenaar Wildlife Breeding Centre 02/11/1998
    Sire: Rome

    After Rome’s death, a new mate was imported for Cim:

    Jumper (M)
    Born at Allwetterzoo Münster 07/09/1992
    Arrived at Melbourne Zoo 15/10/1998
    Died at Melbourne Zoo 04/05/2002

    Jumper and Cim never produced any kittens.
     
    WhistlingKite24, Jambo and Tafin like this.
  5. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    6,097
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Melbourne Zoo - Temminck’s Golden Cats (Part Five)

    Additional notes/info:

    Mike Brocklehurst wrote a paper on the husbandry and breeding of Temminck’s golden cat at Melbourne Zoo. He notes that two fatalities have occurred at the zoo as a result of fighting. One female was killed by a male during an introduction; and another was killed within an established pair. Looking at the above data, it would appear Marigold was the female killed within an established pair; and the female killed by a male during an introduction was either Indra, Cleo or Cleo 2.

    None of Marigold’s kittens survived infancy. It is interesting to note that the two kittens in her first litter died the same day aged two months; while the two kittens in her third litter died a day apart at the age of four months.

    Cassandra was an exceptional female. She lived for 20 years; and produced 10 litters with two mates. She was Melbourne Zoo’ youngest Temminck’s golden cat mother on record (at 18 months); and also the oldest mother on record (at 14 years).

    This data, as well of that from other zoos suggests that pairs that are successful once often experience repeat success (i.e. they’re either successful or they’re not). With this in mind, success can be maximised by the pairing of same or similar aged cats (so the male doesn’t die of old age after a couple of litters).

    The most Temminck’s golden cats Melbourne Zoo had at any one time was seven between November 1991 and December 1992: Charles, Charon, Cassandra, Mas, Hari, Nugi and Cim. With the exception of Cassandra and Cim, all cats would have had to be accommodated separately.

    The last Temminck’s golden cat at Melbourne Zoo was Cim, who died in 2009 aged 17. She was also the last of her species in Australia, as Taronga and Adelaide Zoo phased out their golden cats in 2008.
     
  6. Tafin

    Tafin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    20 Jul 2019
    Posts:
    901
    Location:
    North Island, NZ
    Do you know the cause of death of any of these kittens?
     
  7. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    6,097
    Location:
    New Zealand
    No I don’t sorry.

    The fact the two kittens in the first litter died at the age of two months, on the same day, suggests their was a link between their deaths.

    Similarly, the two kittens in the third litter died a day apart at the age of four months. This again implies there was a connection.

    The kitten in the second litter survived to two months of age; and the kitten in the fourth litter survived to three months of age.

    What’s interesting here is that these six kittens all survived the first 30 days (the most critical period) but then all died between two to four months.

    I’m not sure if their deaths influenced the decision to remove the fifth litter (a single kitten) for handrearing, or whether this was forced upon them i.e. Marigold rejected the kitten at birth.
     
    Jambo and Tafin like this.
  8. tetrapod

    tetrapod Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    1,323
    Location:
    sw england
    Firstly what a tremendous shame that Melbourne went out of keeping Golden cats - fantastic felid. At the time MZ were amongst the leading collections in the world at breeding the species. Why do zoos give up on species when they do well with them??? Also it hits all the key indicators for regional collection planning - attractive species, SE Asian rainforest, endangered. Mindboggling.

    Secondly I wonder whether part of cracking the secret to successful breeding was providing more quiet areas for the breeding female. Would explain why so many of the early litters survived past birth only to die months later. Agree that keeping a 'good' pair together also seems to be part of the recipe. Pairing up young is important. The same situation applies to Clouded leopards.
     
    Zoofan15, steveroberts and Zorro like this.
  9. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    6,097
    Location:
    New Zealand
    As far as I’m aware, the Asian golden cat is only near threatened (not endangered) and their elusive nature sadly doesn’t make for an inspiring zoo exhibit to the general public.

    The 1997 article on their breeding and husbandry did indeed emphasise that it was essential the breeding pair was kept off display with as much privacy given as possible. It was additionally recommended that the mother and her litter be placed on public display three months after birth. One of the reasons was to socialise the litter to the public to the point where they would be comfortable being on display throughout the rest of their lives.

    It’s equally frustrating that other zoos in the region didn’t persist with this species. Taronga Zoo acquired a female in 2001, but never imported a new mate for her upon the death of the male in 2002; Adelaide Zoo imported a pair in 2007, but exported them the following year.

    As proven by Melbourne Zoo, the successful formula was a compatible pair (ideally same aged); privacy while breeding; and socialisation of the kittens.
     
    Tafin likes this.
  10. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    2 Jan 2017
    Posts:
    834
    Location:
    West of the black stump
    Melbourne zoo used to have one of the best collection of small cats in the region and was known for its good collection however as been mentioned on other threads quite a few species have been culled from ZAA collections. As for zoos here doing well with some species then phasing them out can go for quite a number of other species like Western plains zoo breeding Ongars, an endangered species well suited to the climate and breeding well, I believe the first two pairs were imported from Rotterdam and more later from the USA. Some could of been sent to other collections here and perhaps a few more imports would of set them up long term with this species. Another species as has been mentioned before are Maned Wolfs, again doing well and only at TWPZ then dropped them only to have been taken up by Altina who has bred quite a few also sending off spring to other collections in Australia, they also imported new bloodlines.
     
  11. tetrapod

    tetrapod Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    1,323
    Location:
    sw england
    I was well aware of what MZ cat collection used to be - I grew up in Melbourne. It was definitely one of the major drawcards in the past. I have remarked in other threads in the past about the enfuriating approach zoos have to some exotic species in the region, of which several small cats, onagers, maned wolves, dholes, too many species of primate, coati, tapir, hippo and large rodents are all good examples!
     
    Tafin and Zorro like this.
  12. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    2 Jan 2017
    Posts:
    834
    Location:
    West of the black stump
    Me gets the feeling its a over all down sizing in number of species and I known I could easily add more to your list of yours,lol
     
    tetrapod likes this.
  13. steveroberts

    steveroberts Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Oct 2016
    Posts:
    154
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Well said it is a real shame that Asiatic Golden Cats have been phased out of Australian zoos completely (and NZ) and although efforts to house Clouded Leopards seemed to just of just been at Taronga from 1997-2005 roughly, I was very hopeful that these two felids would be long term multiple generation species of conservation breeding/ambassadorial focus hopefully in multiple Australasian zoos by now. And good to know that hopefully pairing a female and male younger as a potential breeding pair seems to reduce likelihood of territorial aggression from the male. Hope the ZAA directors come to their senses and seriously start to think about re-introducing phased out amazing species from the last 30-40 years back into Australasia.
     
    Last edited: 17 Jan 2020
    Zorro likes this.
  14. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    2 Jan 2017
    Posts:
    834
    Location:
    West of the black stump
    Agreed I believe it is a shame but look back on this trend over the years its almost as if some are just dabbling in some of these species I would like to see much better species management of the species kept within our zoos it comes across as very slap dash hit and miss!
     
    tetrapod likes this.
  15. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    6,097
    Location:
    New Zealand
    As far as I’m aware, the age of the male Golden cat isn’t influential on his level of aggression. The Zoo TV show documented the introduction of Hari (born 1990) to Hoi An (born 2001) in 2003 and he was very chilled out. He sired three litters to Hoi An, before his death of old related issues three years later. In contrast, his son Hotan (born 2004) has been highly aggressive to females throughout his life and killed his first mate when he was 4 years old.

    Hari and Hotan had very different upbringings which may have contributed to their difference in personality. It was Melbourne’s policy (where Hari was born) to socialise the kittens to people from a young age; whereas Auckland remained very hands off with Hotan and his brother (so as not to stress their mother) until he went on public display at around nine months. His aggressive nature was possibly heightened by stress at being exposed to human contact (something which wouldn’t have phased Hari so much). Just a theory/my opinion!

    I agree the pairing of a young male and young female is a good practice though as if they are successful, they will have many years of breeding together.
     
    Tafin and Zorro like this.
  16. tetrapod

    tetrapod Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    1,323
    Location:
    sw england
    Re: Clouded leopards. From what I understand in talking to TZ keepers was that management were too scared to introduce the older male to the much younger/smaller female. So an introduction never took place.
     
  17. steveroberts

    steveroberts Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Oct 2016
    Posts:
    154
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Hey Hix (side note but thoroughly enjoyed reading your review on the 'Sydney' Zoo at Blacktown), hey does this mean that say 512 wild-caught individuals would mean if cared for appropriately in captivity would mean an ongoing genetically sustainable (ie little to no founder effect issues) captive population for potential re-population of natural habitat someday. I selected 512 as its a divisible number as you'd know and the equivalent of animals forebearer 9-10 generations prior.
     
  18. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

    Joined:
    20 Oct 2008
    Posts:
    4,463
    Location:
    Sydney
    From memory, 500 was for a wild population that would ensure an effective number of 50 breeding adults. My interpretation of that is that 50 breeding adults in a zoo environment would suffice if managed intensively. But you would need to put 500 back into the Wild to have a self sustaining population.

    I’m not at home right now, and don’t have my textbook so I might not be entirely correct in what I said above. I’ll check it when I get home.

    :)

    Hix
     
    Last edited: 27 Jan 2020
  19. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 Jan 2008
    Posts:
    1,187
    Location:
    Melbourne
    There are two issues here, Firstly founding a population. 24 randomly selected individuals taken from the wild will carry 95% of the genetic variation of the wild population. However if the wild population is already small there may not be much genetic variation to capture, another reason to start captive programs early if possible.

    Secondly these animals must be bred up rapidly to meet the optional population size for the program. This is where the 500 animals comes in - at this population figure the genetic diversity can be maintained indefinitely. Well not quite but it would take a vastly larger population to get any noticeable improvement.

    Of course most zoo programs aim for a shorter time span. Typically it might be maintain 95% genetic diversity for 100 years. In this case the number of animals required depends on the generation length, considerably fewer elephants would be required than mice.

    The text you want is "Viable Populations for Conservation" ed. Soule.
     
  20. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

    Joined:
    20 Oct 2008
    Posts:
    4,463
    Location:
    Sydney
    Actually, I was thinking of "Introduction to Conservation Genetics" by Frankham, Ballou & Briscoe - it's a bit more up-to-date.

    :p

    Hix
     
    MRJ likes this.