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Carnivores in mixed exhibits

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Jurek7, 10 Oct 2017.

  1. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    One of rather a lot of species phased out at the time on the grounds of being too unshowy, or deemed dead-end species in captivity - from what I heard through the grapevine, the maned wolves were deemed both.

    Nothing replaced them; the anteaters have lived alone in the exhibit in question for several years now. The exhibit they were briefly moved into after being placed on the surplus list (a hillside enclosure which used to hold European Wolves) has variously been vacant and held surplus animals since their departure - currently it holds a male Philippine Spotted Deer.
     
  2. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Shame really as they are quite impressive looking canids , though I agree they are very shy and could be considered "not showy enough".
     
  3. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    By Edinburgh maybe, but fortunately not by all zoos holding them...
     
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  4. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    It doesn't suprise me as I've seen a similar preference in captive wolves for fruit and veg over dead white rats or chicks , very curious behaviour for a canid.

    In Santuario Caraca I've seen them fed both fruit and chicken but unfortunately I was too much in awe of the sight of the wild animal up close to pay much attention to what it selected to eat first but it certainly seemed to like chicken bones. In the Serra da Canastra park (where I've seen wild ones too) they seem have seasonal variations in diet relating to climatic conditions and fruit availability and go for more rodents and tinamou for large parts of the year.

    I think there is one confirmed observation / record obtained through a long term field study of predation of larger prey : A maned wolf was seen stalking and killing a sick or injured pampas deer ( I think this was either seen in the Brazilian Pantanal or in the Beni Savanna region of Bolivia , I struggle to remember which). However, this is likely to have been far more opportunistic rather than regular natural predatory behaviour of the species.

    I have talked to farmers in Sao Paulo state who claim that they have persistent problems with wolves raiding chicken coops (which I'm quite cynical about really) and sometimes this can lead to human-wildlife conflict and poisonings or shootings. However, the general consensus in rural areas is that they are not very much of a problem and it is crab eating foxes and puma that are the chicken thieves (much more probable / realistic IMO).

    In terms of the dynamics of groups , it used to be believed that they were predominately asocial animals up until the breeding season but some recent research findings suggest that there is quite a lot of interaction and territorial overlap between individuals. Certainly in the captive conditions/ institution that I am most familiar with them being kept in there were (female passed away) / are parents kept with adult offspring with no problems.
     
    Last edited: 24 Nov 2019
  5. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    I am sure this is they key. Fruit cannot be available for much of the year. Red Foxes in the UK are known to feed on blackberries and other seasonal fruit, but only for the few weeks this is available. In our experience with the 12 Maned Wolves held here over the years including two litters born and reared, fruit is taken (keenly often) at certain times of year and ignored at others..
     
  6. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting to hear this Andrew and I agree. I think through much of their range lobeira (it is a huge coconut sized fruit) is a constant part of these animals diet and especially in the rainy season when they grow like mad in the cerrado. But through the dry season the availability of these (and other native plants) fruits dwindle and the wolves became more active predators of small game.

    With this in mind I've actually obtained a number of these fruits in the wild and had plans / ideas to grow/ cultivate in zoo for feeding the wolves , but there is difficulty with them being grown in the right environmental conditions and it is hard to replicate the kind of soil conditions of the Cerrado in ex-situ.
     
  7. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    They are certainly not as showy (visible?) as other similar sized canids, but are much more settled and less nervous than Jackals - and as they are not destructive, relatively weak for their size, generally do not dig, climb or jump they are very easy to house in simple and cheaply constructed accommodation, which would never hold Hunting Dog, Timber Wolf, Dhole or even Dingo. Their aching beauty far, far outweighs their other 'failing', their strong smell - which might also have played some part in decisions to phase out...
     
  8. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    It is very interesting to know that lobeira has such a long fruiting season, I did not know this. That is certainly a major difference from temperate Europe, where fruit is very seasonal.
     
  9. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree. My observation has been if they are given the opportunity to hide they will typically spend a lot of time out of sight but I think this may be in most cases much more due to an innate overall behavioural trait of shyness and avoidance than a response to stressors in captivity. Under wild conditions they have quite a lot of enemies that will seek them out and kill them and remains of maned wolves are found in puma and jaguar scat. Not to mention all the anthropogenic threats they face which make them very wary animals indeed.

    In the wild they are very hard to spot and in fact I can only think of Santuario Caraca as an exception to this rule (it is often said that there is an 100% chance of seeing one but I would say it is probably nearer to an 80 % , still remarkably high). Even in Serra da Canastra which is famed for its opportunities to take striking photographs of maned wolves in the wild you will typically have a much greater chance of seeing pampas deer and giant anteater than a wolf.

    About the smell. Quite a few times I've followed recent trails left by the maned wolf in the wild and heard what I've believed to be them moving around in the undergrowth but the only way of knowing for sure is when I've caught a whiff of that tell tale faintly Marijuana like smell. Once I've smelt that then I can then establish that there is an unseen wolf watching me somewhere.
     
  10. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    A pet Red Fox I knew, was very fond of fruit, especially pears. Every dog I've had, has liked fruit. Mind you, three of those have been Labradors (two currently sat here), which eat everything except lemons and tea bags. Apparently some even eat tea bags.
     
  11. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Do you think that lobeira would be possible to grow in glass houses in the UK ?
     
  12. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    If Maned Wolves are so calm, maybe they can be tamed and used in demonstrations (like cheetahs are in some zoos). And then immediately leap from 'non interesting' to 'favorite of the public'. Even with the smell.
     
  13. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I love the idea , particularly in Brazil as there is an urgent need to educate visitors about these animals given the anthropogenic threats they are facing in the wild and I think it would make people come to see these animals in a more positive and empathetic light and perhaps ideally be more concerned with their conservation.

    However, regrettably I definitely think that would be a difficult thing to achieve in practice as they are not so much calm as they are nervous and conflict avoidant (not the best word , trying to find a better one to use). Both in captivity and in the wild maned wolves (even tame ones) are jumpy , easily stressed / highly strung , temperamental and prone to being scared by even sudden movements or any kind of loud noises.

    I think for that reason they wouldn't be very suitable for demonstrations because of the noise of crowds and amount of people. That said , I've seen a young hand reared giant anteater (another highly strung species and actually potentially aggressive sometimes) used successfully, albeit selectively, in demonstrations and environmental education events with the public. Maybe if planned well (with smaller and more select crowds perhaps) something similar could work with the wolf.
     
    Last edited: 24 Nov 2019
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  14. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    I think that pretty much anything can be grown under glass, IF you have 'green fingers'! Not sure of the viability. A bit of research into its make-up might give us a more viable and available alternative, perhaps.
     
  15. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Well if your zoo would like some lobeira seeds to try this out , just let me know , I'd be able to send some over to the UK
     
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  16. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    I would agree with this. One of the (if not the first) breedings in the UK was a hand-rearing of a single pup by Ian and Marjorie Gibb at the dealers Ravensden, from a few days old. This animal was eventually to give Ian an unprovoked and unexpected severe bite, which put him into A+E. I was also told that the pair which had been at Kilverstone for some years, bred the year the park closed. Previously they had been serviced by staff with no separation and no problems, but as the female came into oestrus (with no outward visible signs) they attacked their keeper, who had to radio for rescue from the branches of an apple tree in their enclosure where he had taken refuge. They might be normally retiring and certainly no match for a Puma or Jaguar, but they are large enough to be taken very seriously.
     
  17. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Wow ! I could have never imagined them being that aggressive , but I suppose like all wild animals they are capable of it under certain circumstances.
     
  18. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, that's very kind - yes please. Google 'Hamerton Zoo Park' please, our details will come up on the 'Contact Us' page.
     
  19. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Ok will collect some with this in mind
     
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  20. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Indeed :) I meant, of course, that they were one of several species phased out by Edinburgh in particular at that time.

    Very interesting; perhaps this is an area which would benefit from additional research by someone with the time, opportunity and means to look into the matter in a more comprehensive fashion, comparing the nutritional makeup of lobeira to fruit more readily available ex-situ, looking at how the nutritional needs of the animals change - or not - throughout the year, and working out how these factors interact. As you noted above, research of this kind might allow further finessing of the captive husbandry for the species.... along with being interesting in its own right, of course!