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Carnivores in mixed exhibits

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

  1. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I know that initially there was a lot of misunderstanding by zoos and the zoological community about the dietary requirements and ecology of the species in the wild. Zoos were feeding them diets heavy on meat content which was drastically shortening their lifespans through them developing kidney and liver health problems like bladder stones. In the wild over 50 % of their diet is fruits and mainly lobeira so around the 1970's zoos started feeding them more fruits and vegetables which seems to reduce health problems.

    Also they are prone to being parasitized by a giant kidney worm which causes scarring to the liver resulting in eventual death. The hypothesis was / is that the maned wolf requires the tannins in the lobeira fruit to fight off parasite infections and because these compounds effectively kill kidney worms.There is a paper written by zoologists at Sao Paulo zoo in the late 60's describing how the inclusion of lobeira in captive wolves diets virtually stopped these kinds of parasite infections (da Silveira, 1969).

    But a lot of zoos now ( due to difficulties in growing the plant, veterinary advances in medication and treatments and dietary analogues to the fruit) to the best of my knowledge no longer actively go about feeding their captive maned wolves lobeira fruit.

    If nothing else it could be an interesting experiment and if it is possible to grow this plant in glasshouses in ex-situ captive populations abroad it could somewhat help with the nutrition , wellbeing, and enrichment of the maned wolf.
     
    Last edited: 25 Nov 2019
  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    Is it allowed to just post seeds into the UK? Wouldn't there be some sort of biosecurity regulations?
     
  3. DesertRhino150

    DesertRhino150 Well-Known Member

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    I would be inclined to believe that there would be some sort of biosecurity regarding importing seeds, especially for Solanum lycocarpum which (according to DEFRA) appears to be a major host for a virus affecting tomatoes and peppers.

    UK Plant Health Risk Register
     
  4. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it is indeed allowed to 'just' post seeds to the UK - a quick look on-line will give an idea of the level of trade.
    In this instance, because Solanum lobeira (lycocarpum) is listed as a possible concern, but not from Brazil or indeed any South American country, clarification has been requested - as is normal for any import.

    Yes indeed. So far as I know, in Europe there is no basic parasite problem which affects Maned Wolves; we certainly have had no such experience. The danger in Europe is more due to the decline in interest, followed by phasing out, and subsequent lack of potential holding places, resulting in much reduced breeding recommendations. The problem then of course, is that when recommendations are given, circumstances act against successful reproduction. This has a fine tipping point with a spp which doesn't breed automatically, does so in small numbers, and ages quickly.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 25 Nov 2019
  5. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Moderator Staff Member

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    There are definitely regulations surrounding the import of seedlings and plants. For example, there are off-show greenhouses at Kew dedicated to housing CITES-regulated plants confiscated by Customs. Even with seedlings, for example orchid seedlings, those coming from outside the EU require phytosanitary certificates for them to come through Customs - without a certificate, the plant will be destroyed.

    Not sure how it works with seeds, but there are very likely regulations for these coming in from outside the EU.

    Plant health controls
     
  6. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    It seemed to be a frequent problem for maned wolf husbandry a couple of decades back particularly in Sao Paulo zoo and inclusion of lobeira in the diet did seem to reduce and / or eliminate parasite load. However, perhaps the prevalence of the kidney worm in South America as opposed to Europe may be because it is a less common parasite in the latter region (not entirely sure about this) ?

    That is such a shame to hear. I have to be honest, I don't really understand the lack of interest regarding these animals as they are easily maintained , of conservation concern, and of course very interesting creatures too. Out of curiosity is there a similar problem facing the keeping of other South American canids such as the bushdog in captivity ?

    In Brazil quite a few institutions no longer actively breed the species , but they are commonly kept as they are often brought in when injured by cars, wild fires or dog attacks for emergency veterinary treatment. Rehabilitation to the wild is often not an option due to the extent of these injuries so they frequently end up being kept permanently by zoos.

    I know from the last estimates it is Sorocaba zoo of all of the Brazilian institutions that have managed to have the best breeding success with the species and in addition to this there are are a few rehabilitated ones behind the scenes.

    Sadly the problem is that new maned wolves are coming in all the time injured so the zoo does it best with the very limited space it has (the vet team do an incredible job) but it is often a case of being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of injured maned wolves , giant anteaters and other creatures that arrive. The incidence of this kind of problem only seems to get bigger each year as more natural habitat gets sliced up by roads or swallowed up by urbanization and agricultural expansion.
     
    Last edited: 25 Nov 2019
  7. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    CITES and Animal/Plant Health are quite separate, and are implemented by departments which (appear at least) to have minimal if any contact with each other.
     
  8. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    These are the only two spp of SA canid established in Europe, so far as I know - but I dont know the situation ref the BushDog, so must defer. I guess it is deemed to be a better display, and appears to be bred to surplus still. Certainly it is a species we are offered routinely.
     
  9. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    O.c. - do you know if Solanum lobeira (lycocarpum) is tuber forming, like a potato? - or more like a tomato? The genus does both, but I would guess if S.l. forms bushes, it does not die back annually and need tubers - but I cannot find confirmation. Seeds of tuber forming spp are prohibited, but those of non-tuber forming spp are permitted. Please contact me again, before you send anything, and I will re-check for any changes, as the regulations are different practically every time you ask...!
     
  10. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    From what I've seen it doesn't have tubers like a potato and is more like a tomato. It is a very resilient woody shrub / bush ( roughly around the size of a buddeliea bush ) and the fruit (which are huge great things that grow to about the size of a coconut and have a very hard skin that is best opened with a machete ) grow from branches typically from the mid section and towards the top of the tree. It doesn't die back annually and you can even find "wolf apples" growing on it during the dry season but it fruits most prolifically in the rainy season which is when the wolves spend much of the time eating it.

    Don't worry , It will likely be a while (sometime early in the new year) anyway before I am able to get some of these fruits and to extract the seeds as the ones I obtained before did not work but when I get some I'll let you know in advance about sending and that kind of thing.
     
    Last edited: 25 Nov 2019
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  11. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    About the nutrition content of S. lycocarpum, it may be easier to outsource it to a lab in S. America. it could be even done already, because I saw a paper about food value of S. lycocarpum fruit.
     
  12. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Yes it could be done that way and there are several labs and botanical gardens that would be able to help in this, but I suppose it may also be good to try to grow them abroad in glass houses.

    There would be no risk of them become invasive species as they would almost certainly not be able to survive in the wild in the UK or Europe due to the very specific soil conditions needed that could only be met by human assistance and light conditions that would only be able to be supplied artificially or in glasshouses.

    Not to mention the plant is only able to disperse its seeds through fruits being consumed by the mammals of the cerrado and it typically needs leat cutter ant nests to germinate (the wolf defecates on ant hills to mark territory and these get taken into the nests by the ants where they grow).
     
    Last edited: 25 Nov 2019
  13. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

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    The risk of importing is not only the species itself, but more importantly pathogens/microbes that can be present on the seeds. Until recently this risk was underestimated, but new research is showing that seeds can be a vector...
     
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  14. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Dont worry. I will have to have a look into this , as I've said I wont be taking any risks in sending out seeds that could potentially be vectors for anything that could have negative impacts abroad and will probably consult botanical gardens as to risks involved.
     
  15. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    As I said above, the importation of Solanum spp seeds from species with underground tubers into the UK is prohibited. The importation of Solanum spp seed from species without tubers is permitted (controlled). Such import permission and control mechanisms are controlled by UK DEFRA. Any requirements will be set by them under the regulations ruling at the time of export/import, and the opinions of others, be they ZooChatters or Botanical Gardens will be of no consequence. We have considerable experience of import and export from (and to) most continents including South America, and in the case of non-CITES species, UK DEFRAs demands are the only concern, and will account for all potential invasivity and health issues, plus of course any requirements of the exporting country - be they for animals or plants.
     
  16. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    You may even check if Kew Gardens or any European botanical garden breeds these plants. I read somewhere that Kew holds seeds of 10% of worlds plants, so a common edible plant could be in.
     
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  17. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure they have some (seeds in their seed bank programe , not growing plants ) , but if they are viable to use is a different question and I think they would be rather reluctant to give any of these away. I just think it is (hopefully) much easier for me to collect and send them than to rely on the goodwill of a botanical garden like Kew.

    Lobeira is edible and I've read in academic papers that in certain rural communities in states such as Goiás , Mato Grosso do Sul and possibly some in Minas Gerais these fruits are used to make jellies and jam preserves. But when I've asked rural people living in rural areas and cerrado regions that I've visited in Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais states I've always been met with a look of disbelief and comments like "why would we eat that ?" or "only wolves eat those fruits" or "it can give people the ****s".

    That said I seem to remember that there were studies done on the viability and sustainability of growing lobeira and other fruits of the cerrado for human consumption that seemed to suggest that at least nutritionally they are very healthy (good antioxidants if I remember correctly) for consumption.
     
    Last edited: 25 Nov 2019
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  18. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Moderator Staff Member

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    Those seeds will be in these Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst. They're kept for long-term genetic storage rather than cultivation.

    But, it would be worth contacting botanical gardens, the nearest to Hamerton would be Cambridge, because there would be a wealth of botanical knowledge there. They may have experience in growing the plants, and knowledge of how viable they are to cultivation in the UK. Even if they're not actively grown here at present, they were probably attempted at some point, probably by Kew, and notes taken of what did and didn't work. The horticulturalists I've met are very happy to talk plants and cultivation!
     
  19. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Moderator Staff Member

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    One note about the Millennium Seed Bank, as part of the monitoring of the viability of the stored seeds, they do attempt to germinate a certain number of seeds from each batch on a regular basis. All part of the research into how long different seeds can be stored long-term. Some seeds store better than others, and some not at all.
     
  20. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I know that they are grown successfully in the Sao Paulo botanical garden (An Atlantic rainforest ecosystem so very different from cerrado in terms of microclimate etc) using a glasshouse where plants from the cerrado biome are kept on display. I would think that this could also be achieved with plants kept ex situ in glasshouses even given the temperature and climatic differences of Europe.
     
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