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Taronga Zoo elephants are in

Discussion in 'Australia' started by jay, 21 Jul 2005.

  1. jay

    jay Well-Known Member

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    Well the Enviroment Minister has given his approval and the importation of the eight elephants is going to go ahead, at least until the RSPCA delays it with their legal action. So, regardless of what the RSPCA says, it will be the elephants who will continue to suffer as they are kept in quarantine.
     
  2. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

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    elephants in quarantine

    If/when Auckland zoo decides to import elephant/s , you can be sure that they will be staying in quarantine for a lot longer than their counterparts who are bound for Australian zoos !!
     
  3. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    elephants in zoos

    hi everyone
    i know that lately there has been qute a bit of talk about what to do with the elephants we have in australia if the zoos didnt get their import proposal ok'd. some of you suggested amalgamating the scattered individuals and small groups into a super-herd, where the larger social grouping would hopefully inspire natural breeding behaviour.
    in 2001 london zoo sent its 3 female elephants up the M1 to whipsnade to join their existing herd of a bull and two cows. now, we all know that two calves were born last year. but what i found was most interesting is that apparently the two girl groups are mainy seperated and only occassionally introduced. i know burma and renae at taronga used to gang up on heman at times...does anyone else find ths funny. i guess its interesting, that even though they are herding animals,their instinct is to stay within their well-established groups. maybe its not just the size of the herd, but the presence of other herds in the vicinity, that stimulate breeding. then on the other hand, look at perth, who are waiting to confirm if recent mating activity in their tiny herd resulted in a pregnancy.
    elephant breeding...there are so many questions and few straight answers.
     
  4. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    all too true glyn.

    i was a big advocate of the "super-herd' plan and felt it would have been the most responible option for the zoo's if they wanted to breed elephants. however after reading much on the individual elephants in australasia i discoverd that of the zoo population of 3 males and 7 females, only 2 males and 2 females were actually capable of breeding! still, although it would therefore be enevitable that the zoo's would need to import more animals if the program was sucessful, no doubt the "super -herd" would have been a great place to start and quite sucessful. i believe the presence of other animals of the same sex is likely to be just as important to males as females in stitulating breeding behaviour and its a shame none of the zoo's will be caring for more than one bull now their silly city zoo breeding program has been approved.

    similarily to heman being picked on, one of melbourne zoo's silverbacks, rigo lives seperate from the rest of the troop as the females pick on him too!
     
  5. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    yes its dire, well, it was anyway

    yeh, i have got to say the situation is pretty hopeless. even if perth's pair do succeed in breeding two animals is too small to base a genetically viable breeding program on...
    in the future unrelated animals from their sub-species would need to be imported or assisted reproduction investigated. as for bong su and burma from auckland being paired up, it would seem like the logical thing to do although once again there is the same problem with the long term direction of any program. if offspring were produced, where would unrelated mates be sourced from?
    i guess in either case the only thing the zoos have going in their favour (or against it) is the animals long life span and slow rate of reproduction. the time frame would give the program a little flexibility. what i would like to know is that had the import proposal been turned down categorically, what would of happened? would australia's zoos band together in a last ditch effort to breed these 4 animals or would each zoo hold on to their respective elephants and stand by as they all died out?
    given the commercial, conservation and education value of this species i dont think the latter would of been an option...
    going back a few years, before the massive, expensive redevelopment of taronga and melbournes exhibits, what would i have done if i was steering arazpa's think tank on the species?
    well if the urban zoos were steadfastly determined to retain their elephant exhibits, and importation was definitely out then i would have suggested that taronga's exhibit be designed on the protected contact system and kept heman, burma and hopefully arna the circus elephant in sydney as a non-breeding herd.
    my elephant exhibit would have covered almost the whole area the new rainforest precinct encompasses, so 2.5 hectares just for the elephantsJUST FOR THE ELEPHANTS . this is a hard one to swallow, as im an open range zoo advocate, and especially because burma and heman cant be taken outside and exercised...
    the primate, bird, tapir, binturong, fishing cat, spotted deer exhibits that have been squeezed into the new asian exhibit i would have incorporated on the site of the old flamingo pools, which is instead now a restuarant, (and this on a site where flat ground is at a premium). i also would have developed the giant tortoise exhibit and remodelled the condor aviary into a primate exhibit. the picnic lawns opposite the heritage lised fig trees would have been able to hold another exhibit, as would the old sun bear exhibit. spotted deer and tapir could have been given access to the elephant exhibit through a design similar to aucklands springbok/giraffe/rhino exhibit.
    this would have given the elephants so much more room, the stimualtion of a mixed species exhibit and even allowed for heman to be held seperately. does anyone remember what the old friendship farm looked like? the lower water buffallo paddock would of been perfect for him, and 'large enough'.
    as for melbourne i have not been yet so maybe im not in the best position to comment. but perhaps mek kepah and bong su could have been kept in the city and the auckland animals consolidated with them. as all three females are accustomed to leaving their exhibits with their keepers they could still be exercised and the herd scenrio (4 animals) would, fingers crossed, stimulate breeding. alternatively the program could of been at weribee.
    as for more than one bull, i have mixed feeling about this one. whipsnade and chester, who both have had success with this species, only have one bull, and portland zoo, in america ( i think), which if thats the right one is renowned for its success, thinks that there they have too many bulls and that they are supressing each others willingness to mate. they are having a baby drought. and then look at the black rhino on breeding sabbatical at taronga for the same reason.
    perth i would leave alone, things there seem to be progressing well and besides their animals are of a different subspecies (besides trisha).
    if at any time circus animals were offered to our zoos i think they should of jumped at the chance, to increase herd size and for social stimulation. so breeding activity would centre on melbourne and perth zoos. auckland zoo would lose out on a major drawcard, but just think what an amazing opportunity they would have? they could redevelop the elephant yard into, maybe a gorilla rainforest. a first for new zealand, a chance to participate in another regional breeding program and they would have a new, charismatic species to market and draw in crowds. and i dont know about quarantine laws, but just think? pygmy hippo, bongo? mandrills, guenon, okapi???
    taronga, too, wouldnt lose out at least not in the short term. heman and burma might be a bit too old to breed, but with elephants living into their 70s in lots of zoos, they would of been around for at least another 20 years (the average functional 'lifespan' of a zoo exhibit, and who knows, by 2025 sydneysiders wouldnt 'need' an elephant in their zoo?) by then, maybe a bull calf or two surplus to perth or melbourne could be sent there?
    anyway, all this is irrelevent now. the importation has got the go ahead, and although i have some misgivings, im generally happy about it. bring on the baby elephants...i hope

    and whilst everyone is focusing on asian elephants, what about african elephants? western plains long term master plan calls for an extensive overhaul of their elephant exhibit. my uncle took a safari to africa last year where wardens at a national park had met with representatives from the zpb of nsw recently. are we going to be having the same debate about this species in the future?
     
  6. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    believe me glyn, many of the points you have brought up are very valid and i have thought them many times myself. logically, i can think of no reason why none of these options were explored, especially the open range concept and pooling the zoo communities elephants together, other than commercial reasons.

    i may be able to shed some light on some of the questions or points that you have made.

    firstly the general scientific consensus is that their are only 4 subspecies of asian elephant - the sumatran, sri lankan, mainland and newly classified bornean. the sri lankan no doubt has it's genes diluted after hundreds of years of indian elephants being taken there and interbreeding with the local animals. under this classification ALL elephants from mainland asia are one subspecies elephas maximus indicus. therfore, the breeding perth and melbourne animals, who were all sourced from malaysia are the same race as the imported thai animals. even should the mainland animals be sub-dived, certainly animals from thailand and the neighbouring malay penninsular are one and the same.

    the zoo's will be breeding a pure subspecies of elephant.

    as for breeding african elephants, an email i sent the NSW zoo board a year or so ago was responded with a "no plans" on the idea. as far as i know they gave up when faced with the prospect of importing another bull. the cows are now too old to breed anyway.

    melbourne zoo's new elephant exhibit is much larger and (in my opinion) much better designed than what i have seen of the new taronga one. it has all the right facilities and the right concept for breeding elephants, i just don't think any city zoo can provide enough space for a herd of the worlds largest terrestrial animal.
     
  7. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    elephant subspecies

    hey patrick
    the subspecies of asian elephant i understand well. as you said, human influences have to some extent diluted the purity of these races over the centuries. isis currently breaks down the world elephant population following these sub speces, and draws a distinction between the animals held in perth ad those in the rest of the australasian region. this is what i was referring to.
    american breeding programs generally drop these distinctions, with so few animals left capable of reproducing, although some people in the north american zoo community argue that sub species purity should be maintained as priority although i am not sure what arazpa's position on the matter is?
    interestingly, its a similar pattern with the subspecies oflions, african hunting dogs and black rhino also kept in australian zoos...
    as for the african elephants, that was just an anecdotal piece i threw in. with the zpb of nsw, nothing is really certain until it actualy happens. some concepts materialize, others are kept quiet. babirusa and philipine spotter deer have not yet arrived, though they were supposed to and may arrive yet and andean condors breeding with siblings is also something that the zpb is not going to publicise. given the controvesy surrounding the asian elephant import the idea of an african import might not be publically floated for sometime. or it may never happen as your source says.
    and as with the case of dora the indian rhino's importation, they dont always follow regional collection principles. it is my understanding that the indian rhino importation did draw some critisism from other zoos, and arazpa, who maintain that african rhino species should be the focus of australasias zoos with limited holding capacity and resources. so we will see with the african elephants...
    and dude, you couldnt have said it any better about keeping elephants in the city.
     
    Last edited: 6 Sep 2005
  8. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    hi glyn.
    yeah i am an avid isis browser myself and i had noticed that the elephants in oz are classified as separate subspecies. like you say, lion subspecies cause a stir too. i have read many scientists now believe they should really only be divided into african and asiatic, something the zoo's no doubt can use to their advantage. i was under the impression the entire black rhino population at dubbo where of the pure southern subspecies and that the only individual who was not of this race was sent to the states to join his respective pure-blood breeding program. as for dora the indian rhino, i gotta say, ever since viewing them in the wild i am obsessed with indian rhino. also, with 3 very good open range zoos in australia, wih no limitations of space (at least i know werribee uses only a fraction of their total owned land for the animals) i cannot see why we have any issues about space for another rhino species. we have all the other main players of the indian floodplains (blackbuck, nilgai, 3 deer species, indian porcupines, macaques, otters, fishing cats, almost bengal tigers) and an asian themed mixed species exhibit would have been awesome. elephants would have been perfect here!

    i know spotted deer have been on the table for bloody years, but i did not know of babyrusa. i had hoped this species would one day join our zoos as they would make a wonderful "wallacia" exhibit along with crested macaques, cuscus, birds and komodo dragons.

    the zoos seem to be all over the place with priorities. hopefully now the elephants have the go ahead we will see some attention desperately needed new stock for other species like malayan tapir and congo buffalo.
     
  9. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    rhino sub species

    hey patrick
    the rhino who went off to the us a few years back was actually kwanzaa. he was the first calf born at wpz and went to fossil rim wildlife sanctuary in texas. the other male who left australia was of the michaeli sub species if i remember rightly and went to howletts wild animal park over here in the uk.
    as for congo buffallo, i cant remembe if they are listed in arazp's long term collection planning manual as a 'phase out' species, of which there are over 40. i had access to this document in the past, revealing among other things, an ambition for sumatran rhino at australia zoo, black rhino at monarto and duiker at taronga.
    regarding isis figures, i sometimes find these disturbing. in terms of small population size, lack of births and low numbers of pure subspecies, as well as lone animals. it particularly angers me when these trends involve endangered or threatened species. a number of species that spring to mind-banteng cattle are one. western plains is one of the few institutions to hold this species. its herd is derived from animals sourced from the coburg peninsula in cape york back in the 1980s. the feral population there is larger than the wild population in java, yet its genes are just as pure and i think the long term conservation status of this attractive species of forest cattle would benefit from a more secure captive population. as for malayan tapir, i know this species, being asian and endangered is viewed as a priority. but eye problems are a source of worry for arazpa.
    babirusa were a quarantine issue-aqis doesnt like pigs apparently. the world zoo population of this species is really low and a number of issues currently hinder its captive propogation. for the meantime, i think they should be kept in zoos in the regions where they already are-america and europe-if taronga obtains some and breeds them considerable funds would have to be expended to import more unrelated stock-funds better spent on other species already present in the region. collared peccary-vulnerable in the wild but a 'phase out' in australasia are just as interesting, although less bizarre and would fit in great with our amazon rainforest or pantanal wetlands.
    what about a flooded forest exhibition where a visitor operated button periodically lowers or increases the water depth in the tank, or an asian riverine habitat simulating the tidal zone? i think this would be a great way of involving zoo visitors and engaging them with the adaptions wildlife have made for to cope with one of the worlds most dynamic eco-systems.
    as for the asian wetlands exhibit-sarus crane would also be great, giant asian pond turtle, chinese alligators and philipine crocodile, philipine sailfin lizard.
    a few more species i would like to see in australian zoos as safety-net populatons are fijian parrot/fruit dove species curently viewed as being conservation dependent and secondary populations of new zealand birds, reptiles and invertbrate. that, of course is in addition to our own species. interestingly, the recovery plan for land birds endemic to the threatened christmas island eco-system indicates that in the future a captive breeding program based in australian zoos will play a major part in the preservation of some of these species.
    was giving a bit of thought to zoo exhibit priorities lately, especially after reviewing the thoughts of a leading american zoo authority who commented on and congratulated australias zoos on concentrating and promoting so heavily native species. we do have remarkable fauna, and in the past our quarantine laws may have meant our australian sections could have been born out of neccessity (difficulty in obtaining exotic species). in the past australians did seem to suffer a bit of a cultural cringe-everyone knew about orangutans and tigers but very little about bilbies and wombat. i think aussie zoos are doing a good job to reverse this and shift the focus from exotic mega-vertebrates to our own remarkable species.
    i like the way taronga has its wollemi exhibit and much-maligned backyard to bush (more on this later), monarto its mallee, weribee and melbourne their own grassland exhibits, and then perth has its native species propogation facility. plus dedicated wildlife parks and bio parks in the case of alice springs, brisbane forest and territory wildlife park throughout the country. scotland has its own highland wildlife park and arizona in the u.s its desert park-but how many countries can boast to have such a comprehensive range of institutions whose sole or major focus is on indigenous wildlife AND still open to the general public?
    even more of this stuff would be great and from the taronga masterplan i can see that wollemi and b2b are just the cornerstone of their renewed focus on our natural heritage. future plans will see amazonia transformed into a kakadu billabong and the whole eastern flank of taronga will reveal itself through a carefully staggered redevelopment as a series of native biomes as the visitor gradulally descends the slope-towards papua new guinea below the elephant temple.
    i cant wait for this...
     
    Last edited: 11 Sep 2005
  10. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    glyn,

    i would be particuarly interested to know which species where listed as "phase-out" and "phase-in" in that arazpa document you have. would it be possible to email it to me or list them on this site?

    sumatran rhino's at australia zoo? only one of the world's rarest animals in the wild AND in captivity! what a dreamer, he has more chance of getting his hands on a panda bear....

    there are so many exotic species here in australia that appear to be a priority for breeding, yet have no real founder stock to breed with! it drives me mad (and most of the zoo keepers i have spoken to). the list is a very long and exaustive one, but it would be fair to say that we can expect a 50% decrease in the number of exotic species in australia in the next 10 years or so. i find this particuarly sad when realistically, so many of these species can be maintained cheaply and bred intensively at any of the open range zoo's.

    malayan and brazilian tapir, pygmy hippo, collared peccary, nilgai, sitatunga, bongo, banteng, congo buffalo....

    many of these ungulate species are held in in low, often single-sexed groups scattered throughout australasia. i fear that if a more generous and active approach be taken to maintain a population, there will not be one left at all.
     
  11. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    were a bit off track here

    hey patrick
    the long term collection plan is actually a sensitive document that i was privvy to see. i dont have access to it anymore, one of the reasons why my memory is a bit sketchy.
    anyway...
    a few really interesting species will be arriving at taronga zoo in the future, malayan chevrotrain, duiker, slow loris, dhole, porcupine, colobus and mandrill. new species could, as i have said before also include the babirusa and springbok.
    as for the ungulates and other grazing species in australasian zoos the future plan is to have population management programs for...
    giraffe, zebra, bongo, oryx, addax, eland, springbok, blackbuck, kudu and sable antelope.
    based on demographics and other criteria, arazpa has concluded that at least 20 individuals of these species should be kept in australasia to ensure genetic variability and persistence. these guidelines are then used by the studbook coordinator to create regional target population numbers based on a number of other criteria including space and genetic variation.
    regional breeding programs are in place for...
    chapmans zebra, przewalskis hose, asian elephant, common hippo, pygmy hippo, malyan tapir, white and black rhino.
    these species are ones that
    a)have high conservation priority
    b)are aready present in the region
    these criteria make them either category one or two species.
    therefore the australasian zoos can make their commitment to global conservation without high importation costs. australasian zoos are limited in both their capacity to house these species in terms of numbers and resources available for commitment. whilst future importations will see the bongo population steadily increase to a regional herd of 35 and the number of holder institutions for the tapir is also projected to rise. the problem with malayan tapirs is that globally the zoo population is relatively small and sourcing unrelated animals of suitable breeding ae is a setback. consequently, arazpa's long term collection plan is a way of effectively utilising resources and maximising conservation outcomes.

    other species, like banteng, water buffalo, barbary sheep, hymalyan tahr, nilgai, peccary, wapiti, american bison brazillian tapir and various deer species are managed as category three or 4 species; maintained in zoos for educational purposes or in low priority breeding prgrams.
    these species, with some exceptions are all fairly numeous in overseas zoos and so not seen as a major priority although their wild status varies greatly. there are still stock transfers (monarto sent nilgai to wpz in 2003, bison are moved from wpz to other zoos and two female wapiti arrived at wpz to broaden the gene pool in 2004) and studbooks to control or limit breeding though. the use of ai as a tool to broaden the gene pool is also an alternative.
    for the species that are regarded as phase outs i would still like to see their genetic material integrated with overseas breeding programs or the animals exported for the same goal. some bloodlines represented in australasia may not be present in overseas breeding programs so establishing them should be a priority rather than just letting the animals die out. sitatunga, grevys zebra, forest buffalo and gemsbok are examples.
    the genetic purity of some species in australia in terms of subspecies may be one reason why zoos arent making long term commitment to some species.

    this is where it gets tricky though. you may be wondering, well where do the persian onagers at wpz or indian rhino fit in? and thats the thing, they dont really. despite being critically endangered and part of international breeding programs, the number of aussie zoos indicating their capacity to hold these species is collectively low and so wpz, which holds both species will probably maintain breeding programs for them alone. its a similar story with the langurs and the variety of big cats in australsian zoos. when you consider that in the wild, any vertebrate population below 500 is considered critically endangered, a review of isis stock holdings shows that some species in captivity around the world are in pretty dire straights.
    australasian zoos i believe should focus on larger numbers of less species. personally, i think australian zoos should focus soley on african rhinos-the white rhino herd in our region is currently above 25. similarly, african lions who are near threatened in the wild have a stable regional zoo population. the tiger breeding program is also reaching its target point too.
    there are some long term plans i disagree with. australian zoos are commited to breeding programs for only ring-tailed lemurs and white ruffed lemurs. white-fronted lemurs, in perth and wpz will be phased out. these lemurs are more endangered and rarer in captivity. from a resource point of view, (its cheaper to keep two rather than three species) it is a logical decision, but the global ring-tail population is registered as being over 1000. i would like to have seen white-fronted maintained or all resources focused on just the white-ruffed.

    when it comes to running zoos and breeding programs it is expensive, (though you wouldnt always know it from the way some zoos seem to throw it around. i did stop sponsoring animals at taronga after i found out they payed an undisclosed ammount to the organising commitee of sydney harbour's new years eve fireworks display for promotional purposes. alot of conservation money went up in smoke, and the zoos reputation is already fairly wide ranging). every rhino imported costs $35, 000 to freight or fly in, not including quarantine. so if you consider the money spent on dora the indian rhino and his $2.85 million home, thats alot of money that could have went to enhancing the african rhino programs. i also dont like the idea of bringing species into australian zoos when, if they are already present in another region, but far from established. at the moment, dora, a potential breeding male rhino is alone in australia. whipsnade zoo in the uk has to share its bull with basle zoo in switzerland because of shortages. in japan, dora;s mother is the only female indian rhino. i would rather see the zoo population stabilise in those regions before we launcha breeding program down under. clouded leopards are another example. difficult to breed in captivity, i think the few animals of breeding age should be kept in america and europe until ongoing husbandary issues are sorted out.
    intensive breeding programs at open range zoos might be able to provide space to their animals and access to natural grazing, but they still need to provide their animals with supplementary foodstuff and labour costs dont change either.
    the recent drought in western nsw for example, has reduced much of wpz's paddocks to stubble; despite irrigation the exhbits there still remind me alot of horse agistment paddocks-overstocked, overgrazed and compacted. also, most of the exhbits range in size from o.5 hectares to 5 hectares, and as any person who has studied agriculture, with particular reference to stocking rates could tell you, any suggestion that these animals should obtain most of their food from their exhibits is not feasible. so basing a breeding program in the country can reduce some costs but sometimes only marginally.
    also, whilst theyve got the land, wpz is a good 5 hours away from the nearest major city and despite it global reputation still attracts only half a million people a year. monarto and weribee are closer to the city and in the future it is conceivable to speculate that both these zoos may overtake their suburban founders in both the range of species on display and in captive breeding programs, all within travelling distance of the city.
    here in the uk whipsnade could serve as a model for future open range zoos in australia, with not only hoof stock and big cats but also primates including great apes, birds, and many small mammal species leaving london zoo to focus alot more heavily on conservation breeding programs for small mammals, birds, reptiles, invertebrates, fish and research. in the future maybe melbourne and adelaide could evolve into this sort of breeding centre.
    the capacity of our open range zoos for expansion in terms of new exhibits obviously needs to be staggered and any plans well conceived, considering all apects including financial viability. expansion isnt just about the physical property.
    its the same for the breeding programs. on a cost analysis basis is it financially viable to base a gorilla breeding program in the city or country, or both? will importing more sitatunga for a breeding program in australia have significant conservation outcomes for the species? you could ask the same of elephant imports, but the general public are more likely to spend their money supporting in-situ elephant conservation projects than they are on one for barbary sheep.
    with the limited capacity of australasian zoos to hold these species, i can see the sense in arazpa recommending the skewing of our current range of zoo species. our access to open range facilites, mild climate and experience with breeding large mammals places us in a good position to conserve many dryland species and the potential of our zoos will be increasingly realised in the future.
    at least know alot more attention is being paid to this sort of thing than in the 1980s. pre isis, pre ssp, american zoos had a whole range of wild pig species available to them. they bred well, too well. zome zoos reduced their range, alot in fact. then the remaining pigs got old and died. the last giant forest hog outside of africa is now in the san diego zoo. there is a lesson in this for all zoos. id still like my children to see the spectacular markings of a banteng. id also like to know that zoos commitment to conservation is more meaningful than the old postcard philosopy of yesteryear.
    zoo conservation is about quality-not quantity.
     
    Last edited: 20 Sep 2005
  12. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    thanks for your very interesting and informative response glyn. i believe zoo's are facing a really huge crisis on their hands. many species are going extinct not only in the wild, but in zoo's as well. i read an article about old world monkeys in the US. it suggested that even since the introduction of SSP's many rare species in american zoo's are in very serious risk of dissapearing. apparently everyone wants the not so endangered black and white colobus monkey's (of which there is a bit of a shortage) whilst endangered macaques, magabies and langurs go extinct in the zoo community. i agree that having populations of an endangered animal spread thinly over the worlds zoo's is undesireable, but who keeps what? australia collectively has just small populations of any given species really, with a collective range of species that reflects those one usually enounters in any zoo. they don't really have enough zoo space to hold sustainable populations of ANY species. that is as long as they continue to under-utilise the open range zoo's.

    i think the situation with the monkeys in the US illustrates how little many zoo-based CBP's really do for conservation.

    i once sent an email to melb zoo regarding the phase-out of persian leopards. the "breeding program" was started in the 80's by the end of the 90's it was already abolished. the leopards where offered to the european breeding program, but since the animals originated from that program, their genes where already well represented. the same may be true of the white-fronted lemurs at dubbo and many other species here.

    i think in the end we we not only see regional similarities between the range of species held in zoo's, but we will end up with a global population of "zoo animals" one much less diverse than that of what we have today.

    and i think that may end up being a good thing. most CBP's that really work are struggling, little projects such as the EPRC in vietnam, or the drill breeding center in nigeria. they are usually based in the animals native environment and are infused with fresh genes from rescued wild animals. if zoo's are to want to continue to display francois' langurs alongside more common spider monkeys then they might find that they will have to become even more involved with these sorts of projects than they currently are.

    the EPRC for example is about the only place in the world where a zoo could source a fresh bloodline for this species.

    if i owned a zoo, almost every display would be tied in directily with a specific conservation project and it would fund-raise for that project. i wouldn't bother with the sorts of broad "aimals are endangered" message many zoo's give out today, thinking they are changing things. for example;

    white-cheeked gibbons, slow loris and francois' langurs would all be displayed alongide eachother with keeper talks about the species and the EPRC (which breed all 3 species) in a exhibit called "vietnam's endangered monkeys" or something like that. there would be a donation box for the centre and a plthora of information about it.

    the indian rhino exhibit would have an information center for "asia's rhino crisis" and would support sumatran rhino conservation through one of the practical projects for that species.

    many zoo's do support such projects, but i feel they could do a much better job at educating, and gathering support than they actually do.
     
  13. jay

    jay Well-Known Member

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    Patrick
    that sounds very similar to an idea that you and I discused a year or so ago. It is what is needed, more information on how zoos are helping species in the wild. If you have a range of exhibits and people can choose which one they would most like to help (gold coin donation). Ideas could include - sumatran tigers funding projects that will help people and tigers live together.
    Asian elephants - money for elephant retirement homes in Thailand
    Indian rhinos - Nepal has/had an excellent conservaion program for these (the unrest there is causing havoc) one of there major national parks is/was overpoluated with GOAR and they were relocating individuals to other parks - successful but expensive.
    Silvery gibbons - land buyback and revegetation schemes to connect isolated populations, as well as rescue of ''pet' gibbons
    Any program to do with Vietnamese primates
    and there would be plenty of ideas.
    People could sign up for an email newsletter that will give them information about the different projects
    and so on
    Jai
     
  14. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    zoos for conservation

    hey guys
    ive just got back from a two week trip around europe where i visited many zoos in france, spain, italy and the netherlands. here in europe a wide variety of species, much greater than that in australia, can be seen. this reflects the large number of zoos in the region and the european zoo association, just like arazpa, maintains endangered species programs for threatened species.
    there are two categories; eep which stands for european endangered species programs and the lower priority esp or european species programs.
    just as in australia, these programs have made reccomendations as to what species will be kept. it is good to see the high level of participation in the programs across all zoos and the level of success many of these programs are having, from an elephant calf in artis zoo, amsterdam to the establishment of white crowned mangabey colonies in rome's biopark and barcelona zoo. not all species are doing quite so well (often because of a lack of unrelated founders)-goodfellows tree kangaroo for one is held by only 5 institutions now and with little breeding activity in the region sadly looks like dying out. with the majority of managed species the programs are working quite successfully and in all institutions, more than 25% of the species are threatened with extinction.

    whilst ive been away a number of interesting points were raised, particularly by patrick. your comments about the old world monkeys in the u.s were poignant. to concede that some species will probablly die out in the future is ineveitible although coordinated ssp have really only been around for a little more than two decades now, so if you consider the lifespan of a primate and the extended maturity/generation time, the true value of these programs may be yet to emerge. oner species to consider is the south american squirrel monkey, whicjh in europe has been the subject of major husbandary reforms and these are beginning to be reflected in its improved captive status.
    the level of genetic variability in these programs may also increase in the future through partnerships with in-situ programs.
    secondly, whilst i agree with your views on in-situ conservation programs like the endangered primate rescue centre, i dont believe they represent the only way to save wildlife. captive propogation, wherever it is located, is pointless unless there is somewhere to reintroduce the animals. so even when these programs are located in the animals range state, many of these counties are termed developing. if you were to look at an atlas of the world you would quickly find that most biodiversity hot-spots are located in non-western nations, and the resources that are avilable there for wildlife preservation are secondary to the needs of the countries economic growth, as brazils pending decision on whether to convert the remaining half of the amazon to agriculture demonstrates.
    political turmoils also affect species status. i have cited before mountain gorilla programs, as well as sumatran orangutans and indian rhinos as prime examples of species whose ongoing future is directly concerned with political oucomes (civil war, legalised logging and anti-poaching/wildlife protection measures). the survivial of the latter two could depend on zoos in the future, particularly orang-utans which were recently assessed as the great ape species most likely to become extinct, even beating mountain gorillas. however, locating breeding centres in the animals natural range is great for raising local awareness and keeping costs down. the zoological society of london acknowledges this and is helping to rebuild kabul zoo in afghanistan, baghdad zoo and is also assisting the development of a vulture breeding centre in india and is coordinating the desert gazelle and ibex breeding centre in the middle east. the intention is to safeguard the local threatened species in those areas, and in some cases to establish secondary populations of these species in western zoos by sourcing them from these zos.
    but sometimes it could be viewed as keeping all the eggs in one basket. that is why african wildlife authorities have recently relocated endangered black-faced impalas to san diego wap, barcelona zoo and pretoria zoo.
    kiwi and native bird breeding programs in nz are great. they have resources available to commit, international standard zoos with amazing staff, experience and facilites and there is little chance of a political coup??? china and saudi arabia are also protecting their wildife with valuable outcomes (panda, crested ibis and chinese alligator pop's have all jumped recently)
    on the other hand, decades of hard work in rwanda and nepal, and even india (though i am not calling it a third world country) are being compromised by poltical instabity or corruption.
    i concede that although not all cbp are working, i would never state that these programs hold little value for species conservation though. off the top of my head i can think of dozens of species of mammals, birds and invertebrates that survive only in zoos or have done so at some stage in the past. and sadly, in the future this list is only going to get bigger. mountain bongo, scimitar horned oryx, arabian oryx, mhorr gazelle and przewalki's horse are just some of the ungulates who have been 'saved' by captive breeding programs. in the future, the amur leopard with its perilously low wild population could survive only in zoos.
    a review of the valuable work done by the jersey wildlife presevation trust should also serve as a model of the potential of zoo cbps. whole island eco-systems have been saved by jersey zoo, and techniques developed on analogue captive animal groups can be used on wild animals.
    as for wider conservation values, your suggestion that cbp should be teamed with insitu programs is already a reality-just look at the swag of money taronga has commited to asian conservation projects along with its rainforest development. money has been dedicated to almost every major species group in the exhibit-elephants, primates, birds, tapirs, turtles. and were talking about rehab centres, building fences to protect reserves and habitat restoration. an excellent example of the wide scope of todays zoos conservation efforts.
    following the boxing day tsunami, london zoo raised enough mony to regenerate 100 hectares of devestated mangroves. what about wellington zoos commitment to asian rhinos, despite the fact they dont have a rhino. adelaide zoo has done this before too, generating funds with behind-the-scenes tours of its asian rainforest.
    in the u.s a number of zoos sponsor whole reserves in western african nations, protecting countless hectares of wilderness and extending expertise.
    back in south australia, monarto zoo is seeking funds to develop areas for african lions, hunting dogs, hippo and black rhino as well as to develop an endangered species propogation centre for its local fauna. thumbs up to monarto. and thats more room for our zoos to hold these species, thereby more effectively contributing to the global program.
    and here in europe, zoos are have similar programs for their local wildlife, ranging from rescue and rehabilitation to breeding and reintroduction. in the future, rome's biopark will hold only species that continue to or historically ranged in italy. an amazing zoo, amazing attendance and amazing potential to influence public attitude about conservation. barcelona zoo has an extensive range of exhibits focussing on the wildlife of the iberian region. a winding trail climbs through a simulated mountain wilderness past deer and chamois, eagles, vultures, owls, reptiles and critically endangered iberian wolves.
    in england, whipsnade zoo is actually a recognised site of special scientific interest because of the high level of biodiversity it protects. london zoo is the same.
    so i guess, what im trying to say is that when you consider zoos were never set up for conservation, that they are suported by governments who increasingy expect economic rationalisation (that even hospitals and public schools are not immune to) and frequently lack adequate infrastructure than we really should be praising them for what is probablly the most radical and dynamic evolutions of any public institiion in the world.
    zoos are in an arms race for wildlife. and their slogan that captive breeding programs save wildlife is just that. whilst it might seem like a comercial justification, its really a slogan meant to reinforce a point that is extremely important but frequently lost on a western society of over consumers who so often dont comprehend how much we are screwing our planet over.
     
    Last edited: 25 Oct 2005
  15. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    glyn, the reason i mentioned the EPRC and drill centre in nigeria as examples of great CBP's is for many reasons. one is that these places place breeding and rescuing of the animals as the utmost priority, not education or public display. where possible they also house colonies one species rather than pairs or individuals as many zoo's often do. they are located within the animals natural habitat and therefore are a perfect climate and they both breed up the animals with the intention of eventually releasing family groups back into the wild. both centers have fenced in areas of rainforest where they are teaching the primates how to survive alone.

    both drills and douc langurs are close to extinction in zoos. neither of these centers have any problems breeding them.

    many endangered animals (tigers for example) breed very well in zoo's. but many others do not. my belief is that if one was srious about a CBP being a real insurance for a species, then an (often cold) city environment surrounded by other animals and noisy schoolchildren is a less than ideal a place to do it.
     
  16. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    in-situ vs ex-situ

    hey patrick
    thanks for your response. firstly, id like to say that do agree with your points about ins-situ conservation.
    the first thing i believe is that it is the most cost effective way of having a real conservation impact on a species, ecspecially its population. other local measures like public education, anti-poaching leglislation and habitat restoration are other grass rots actions that can help a species.
    i have mentioned before that a uk based welfare agency did a financial evaluation on a rhino conservation program in africa and found that it was 16 times cheaper to maintain a rhino in the wild than it is in a zoo.
    that is a valid point but african conservation programs are often a case of one-step forward, two-steps back...for example, when wpz got its black rhinos out of zimbabwe over ten years ago, the country was seen to be one of the most politically stable. now its a completely different story and the region where wpz got its rhinos from is devoid of these magnificent animals.
    in one west african nation, a chimpanzee rescue and rehab centre featured in a documentary by lindal davies has been ravaged by civil war and many of the apes have contracted tb and aids.
    so whilst i agree with your points about local climate and so forth i still believe these centres ongoing future can be fragile, depending on where in the world they are located. secondly, many mammal species and alot of birds are able to adapt to northern hemisphere climatic conditions; i think it has alot to do with the fact that u until recently many species range was much broader than todays and often included european/middle eastern areas where there are temperature extremes.
    the way i envisage in-situ and ex-situ working is through a sort of partnership, similar to what currently exists, and just like what you and mark said earlier.
    of the many examples available an australian based program for the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot from tasmania which involves npws operated breeding centres, adelaide zoo and healesville sanctuary has led to the release of over a hundred captive-bred birds back into the wild and a significant recovery in numbers. thats an example of shared facilites. shared skills and support has seen australian zoo keepers from taronga and adelaide zoo travel to the setchelles island groups and mauritian islands to assist in recovery programs for magpie robins and echo parakeets.
    financially, zoos continue to provide monies for conservation activities. in one night, taronga raised $35, 000 for asian turtles and now collects money through a 'gold coin for a golden coin' (turtle) collection box.
    as far as privacy for animals goes like you said alot of species dont breed well under the gaze of the public. auckland zoo's success with golden cats, as well as that of melbournes, all occurred in behind-the-scenes facilities. zoos do recognise the limitations of many species to adapt to public display, a purpose built conservation breeding facility at taronga lies beyond backyard to bush and can be seen only from the road below the zoo. this centre's design is actually extremely adaptable, to reflect changing conservation priorities.
    finally to wrap things up i eccomend you visit singapore zoos website or browse some of the old, online copies of international zoo news for a good history on the status of douc langurs. on drills, a london zoo primate keeper has confirmed to me that program is advancing 'slowly but surely'. with a bit of luck, there might be drills in zoos for alot longer...
     
  17. MARK

    MARK Well-Known Member

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    Black Rhinos

    Hi all,

    Thats great news with Monarto zoo also getting Black rhino the climate there should be perfect for them hot and dry. Maybe in the future they could swap breeding bulls with Western plains zoo and work togeather on this species, it's a pity that werribee zoo is not keeping Black rhino as well, the more we have in this country the better from a breeding point of view.

    There is talk about Australia zoo getting rhino as well, the way they are growing I would not be surprised what they got. Over the next five to ten years they are going to be huge, I guess with the money they have to spend they could have just about anything they wanted. :)
     
  18. boof

    boof Well-Known Member

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    Elephants for Taronga and Melbourne zoo's

    Does anyone have any information about the elephants arrival date? I haven't seen or heard anything about them for awhile. Has the court case ended or is it still on going? Last time I was at Taronga zoo there were signs saying they were due to arrive in December I think.
     
  19. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Administrator Staff Member

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    It was on the news tonight that approval has finally been given to import the elephants ... looks like they are definitely coming now.

    There were some conditions placed on the approval - but I didn't catch what they were.
     
  20. jay

    jay Well-Known Member

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    I also saw the news. The conditions revolved around changes to the exhibit - making it better, though they didn't say what exactly. Where are the elephants at the moment? I think that they have been in quarantine all this time but am not sureI must admit I'm hoping that they'll be at taronga (and able to be viewed) by mid january as I will be in Sydney then. Really would like to be able to see them then.
    Jason