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Ex-situ Zoo conservation of Japanese native species

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Onychorhynchus coronatus, 22 Nov 2020.

  1. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I've created this thread specifically about ex-situ conservation programes of native species (and in-situ programes and actions supported) in Japanese zoos due to there not being very much information on this site about these.

    Hopefully, here we can share any historic or contemporary information we find and discover more about some of these programes in Japan and what zoos in the country are doing to conserve the endemic biodiversity of the Japanese islands.

    Feel free to contribute anything you know about these programes in zoos in the country in the comment section below.
     
  2. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I've found an interesting recent paper (2019) on the Tsushima leopard cat which has information regarding the ex-situ conservation programe for the species in Japanese zoos.

    Here is a quote from the article regarding the current status of the Tsushima leopard cat in captivity in Japanese zoos.

    "The captive population of Tsushima leopard cat has 21 founders that introduced to captive population from wild in 1996–2015. However, only eight individuals have made a genetic contribution to the current population. This study indicates that the wild population of Tsushima leopard cats has a very low genetic diversity; hence, the founders of the captive population were highly likely to be genetically closely related and to have low genetic diversity. This fact indicates that the breeding program for Tsushima leopard cats should be carefully managed."

    The paper can be read in more detail for free in the link posted below.

    The Tsushima leopard cat exhibits extremely low genetic diversity compared with the Korean Amur leopard cat: Implications for conservation
     
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  3. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    *I neglected to mention in this post that the article mentioned that as of 2019 the Tsushima leopard cat was apparently being kept at nine zoos / captive facilities in Japan.
     
  4. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    According to this paper the Amami rabbit has apparently been successfully bred in captivity and one adult pair of these animals managed to produce 11 offspring (no idea on survivorship to maturity though) over a period of 5 years (1984-1989) at Kagoshima Hirakawa Zoo, in Japan.

    Also, some information on the hubandry of the species while it was held at Kagoshima Hirakawa Zoo (quotes from the paper below):

    "In the Kagoshima Hirakawa Zoo, the primary enclosure is 159 m", with a wall of 2.2 m height composed of 1.2 m of concrete and the other 1 m of wire netting. A secondary enclosure is 120 m", The primary enclosure has several oaks and pine. Captivity facilities have feeding and drinking posts. In the Central Institute for Experimental Animals, rabbits were reared in a laboratory (Matsuzaki et al. 1989). The animal room was kept at a temperature of 22 :t 2°C and a humidity of 55% :t 5%. Air was changed 10-15 times per hour with fresh air. Lights were on 0600- 2000 h. Ten rabbits (5 males and 5 females) were in reproduction cages (CLEA Japan, Inc., Model CR-II), 75 cm wide, 50 ern deep, and 35 cm high. Each cage was divided into 2 parts by a partition with an opening to pass through. One part of the cage was covered by an aluminum plate to keep it dark and was laid with dry grass for a nest; the other part was for food, water, and toileting. Insect nets were used to capture Amami rabbits in the enclosures of the Kagoshima Hirakawa Zoo when the animals were out of their burrows. To restrain an animal, the flabby skin from neck to back of the rabbit was held by the right hand, and the hind limbs held by the left hand. Juveniles were moved to a secondary enclosure to prevent parents from attacking them at the age of independence of the juvenile."

    "In the Kagoshima Hirakawa Zoo, the diet was sweet potatoes, apples, and commercial pellets for rabbits; leaves of the fig Ficus erecta, akebi Akebia quinata, and other species, were seasonally supplemented (Sako et al. 1991). In feeding trials, 70 kinds of wild plants were eaten by P.funessi. Some Amami rabbits died due to infection by a tapeworm, Cysticercus pisiformis, carried by wild plants. At the Central Institute for Experimental Animals, grasses and weed were supplied just after introduction from the field, after which commercial pellets for rabbits (CR-3, CLEA Japan Inc.) and for pikas (CIEA-117) were the main diet, supplemented with sweet potato and apple (Matsuzaki et al. 1989)."


    *Source : "Present status and Conservation of the Amami Rabbit (Pentalagus furnessi)", Yamada et al, 2000.
     
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  5. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    This is something a bit different, I still haven't been able to access the paper but it is about invert ex-situ conservation and reintroduction.

    In this case an ex-situ programe of Tama Zoo to pioneer the husbandry of and breed the Genji firefly and to reintroduce it to the wild (it apparently took over a decade so the long-term approach is really quite admirable).

    "Techniques to breed the Genji firefly, Luciola cruciata, a lampyrid (firefly) native to Japan, we developed at Tama Zoo, Tokyo. In order to determine captive husbandry procedures, the staff made close observations on the life cycle of this species in nature. It took more than a decade to establish the breathing program in an outdoor water channel at the Tama Zoo. Patterned after a freshwater ecosystem, the channel system enables the insect to undergo the simulated “food-chains” cycle for completing the metamorphic process. Captive-reared larvae, also known as “glowworms”, and knowledge on husbandry have been utilized to reintroduce the species in its former natural ranges."

    Source: "Breeding fireflies at Tama Zoo : An ecological approach", Minoru Yajima, 2007 (Journal: Der Zoologische Garten).


     
    Last edited: 23 Nov 2020
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  6. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    This is a quote from a paper on the Amami Jay (Garrulus lidthi) and in-situ and ex-situ work to conserve it with the Ueno Zoo.

    Apparently one nestling of this species is collected from the nests of wild birds during each breeding season and raised at Ueno to form a captive breeding insurance population.

    "The invasive mongoose and invasive snake (Boiga irregularis) controls for the recovery of the Okinawa Rail (Gallirallus okinawae) and the restoration of the Guam Rail (G. owstoni, Arcilla et al., current issue) indicate that in situ and ex situ conservation activity requires substantial (Haig et al. 1990), sustained effort and we have some experience with Amami Jay to achieve our goals. A model species study and trials of both in situ and ex situ with a native population are indispensable for the future island biodiversity conservation, and Amami Jay is one of the candidates for this kind of study (Table 4). We collect only one smallest nestling for the zoo stock from each nest, considering genetic biodiversity, for which information on genetic structure in the species will also contribute significantly (Tracy et al. 2011). Ex situ conservation activities assume the possibility of future restoration from the captive population to the native wild. Reserving the original genetic diversity is one of the important issues. Armstrong and Seddon (2008) also noted on this concern. Much is left to investigate and evaluate; it should be useful to study it in Amami Jay, as it is endemic only to Amami Islands and the whole gene pool can be within the scope of our work."

    Source: "Endemic Amami Jay, invasive Small Indian Mongoose, and other alien organisms: a new century investigation of island aliens towards improved ecosystem management", Ishida et al, 2015 (Journal: Springer).
     
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  7. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    As of January of this year Hirakawa apparently have three Amami rabbits in their care (hardly enough to form an ex-situ insurance population).

    All of these animals seem to have been injured in some form or other (judging by the blog this has mostly been caused by attacks by feral cats) and seemingly have returned several past specimens back to the wild.

    They are given what seems to be excellent care in captivity and the husbandry seems superb.

    This is quoted from a zoo staff blog by a zoo keeper named Ochiai and describes the dairly / weekly / monthly care given to these animals.

    "In our zoo garden, we carry out protection of rare species in the prefecture and conservation activities outside the region. As part of this, we are also protecting and containing the Amami rabbit, a national special natural monument that inhabits Amami Oshima and Tokunoshima. Currently, three Amami rabbits are kept at our veterinary hospital, and we carry out regular examinations to check their health and provide necessary treatment. Although it is not open to the public, I would like to introduce a little about the situation."

    "First of all, regarding daily management, I first check in the morning whether they have been eating well and there has been defecation. Since it is nocturnal, it eats and defecates at night, but it can be confirmed that it is moving during the day, probably because it has become accustomed to life at the zoo. However, I can't grasp everything, so I'm imagine the night scene by making use of the keeper's feelings and experience of the animals."

    "We carry out regular examinations once a month. Since the rabbit was injured and housed, all individuals have the necessary treatment on a regular basis. For individuals with misaligned jaws, X-rays are essential to understand the continuous trimming of teeth and bone deformities. In addition to that, we also collect blood to understand the health condition."

    "We measure the weight. It is not possible to weigh wild individuals daily. It is very meaningful data as basic information of Amami rabbits. We were also able to obtain the first knowledge such as weight transition from cubs to adults and seasonal changes."

    "The Amami rabbits, which have not been clarified yet, are managed by breeders and veterinarians in an attempt to collect as much knowledge as possible from daily breeding. Although it is not open to the public, it is also open to the public once or twice a year, so I hope that you will be able to observe this species up close, which is difficult to observe. It is very valuable to be able to record the breeding of this species, which is rare in the world on behalf of the local Kagoshima, and I hope to continue to disseminate the information obtained in the future."

    "Our zoo has bred Amami rabbits in the past and has a track record of successful breeding in captivity for the first time as a zoo. However, due to the aging of individuals and the difficulty of introducing new individuals, breeding has ceased. Nevertheless, with the aim of protecting this precious species that inhabits only Amami Oshima and Tokunoshima, we continued to collect information and established a system to cooperate with related organizations in the protection of rare species in the Nansei Islands."


    Webpage to blog posts : 平川動物公園スタッフブログ — 世界でここだけ アマミノクロウサギの保護収容をしています


    平川動物公園スタッフブログ — アマミノクロウサギを収容しています


    Thanks and credit to @aardvark250 for sharing the blog page !
     
    Last edited: 24 Nov 2020
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  8. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    This is more quotes from another blog post from Ochiai (would be great for him to join zoochat) but this time discussing the ex-situ breeding of the copper pheasant endemic to Kagoshima.

    The zoo seems to be involved in a reintroduction programe with this bird within Kagoshima and have recently bred the species.

    Here Ochiai discusses an individual pheasant born at the zoo that has been named "Koshijiro Yamadori", the situation of the subspecies in the wild, techniques of artificial insemination and difficulties with breeding and the zoos wider conservation goals with this subspecies of copper pheasant :

    "Hello everyone! This is Ochiai, a member of Hirakawa Animal Watching. In this zoo blog, I would like to introduce the Koshijiro Yamadori that hatched in May 2017.

    Koshijiro Yamadori is a subspecies of Yamadori that inhabits only in Kumamoto, Miyazaki, and southern Kyushu in Kagoshima. The body color of the copper pheasant differs depending on its habitat, and it is divided into 5 subspecies in Japan. Although the name is famous, it is a bird that cannot be easily encountered because it lives in the forest and is vigilant. In the past, it was a hunting target species like pheasants, but it is now banned from being caught due to the decrease in population. Possible factors for the decrease include an increase in capture pressure and a decrease in habitat forests due to development. It is designated as a near-threatened species in Kagoshima prefecture, and Miyazaki prefecture is aiming to recover its population through a bird release project."

    "In order to conserve the Syrmaticus soemalis in such a situation, we are also engaged in a breeding business at Hirakawa Zoological Park. We are particularly focusing on establishing artificial insemination technology. This is a technique in which semen is collected from a male and injected into the cloaca of a female for insemination. For the past few years, I have been trying to improve my knowledge and skills by learning chicken semen collection techniques and giving lectures from copper pheasant researchers, but last season, only a small amount of semen was collected and artificial insemination was achieved. did not. However, we received fertilized eggs from the copper pheasant researchers Date and Endo, and were able to work on artificial chicks. The three hatched birds grew steadily in May, and in January, nine months later, they looked exactly like adults. It has grown to the point where it can be collected in spring, so I would like to expect future breeding."

    "By the way, the copper pheasant has a strong territorial consciousness and a rough temper, so it is basically bred alone. This is the reason why it is difficult to increase the number by natural breeding.

    We will strive for successful artificial insemination during the breeding season next season! Please take a look at the male figure of Koshijiro Yamadori, which is reminiscent of the mountain god."

    Webpage to blog : 平川動物公園スタッフブログ — コシジロヤマドリが順調に成育しています!
     
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  9. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Regarding the dasymallus subspecies of the Ryuku flying fox kept at Hirakagawa I found this on the above blog by the keeper Ochiai :

    "In 1993, Hirakawa Zoo succeeded in breeding this species for the first time at a zoo in Japan, and currently keeps two males. Please come and see the mysterious bats that live in the remote islands of Kagoshima!"

    Webpages to blog posts : 平川動物公園スタッフブログ — 鹿児島フィールドレポート ~オオコウモリの棲む島 口永良部島~ ,

     
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  10. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Regarding the near threatened Ryuku scops owl I found this information on the same blog by the keeper Ochiai :

    "The two protected birds seem to have become quite accustomed to the exhibition facility. And recently, I had the opportunity to do a DNA test and found out the gender of the birds. It turned out that there was one male and one female, and somehow the prediction was correct. (Ryukyu scops owl is very difficult to distinguish between male and female by appearance ...)"

    "Currently, we are the only zoo in Japan that breeds and exhibits Ryukyu scops owl. The "species conservation" of this species, which inhabits only a limited area south of the Nansei Islands, is very significant. Even if it is an injured individual, there is a good chance that it will succeed in breeding, so I would like to firmly back up the pair in the future."

    Webpage to blog : 平川動物公園スタッフブログ — リュウキュウコノハズク ~巣箱が気になる時期到来か?~
     
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  11. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Footage of endangered and endemic Japanese mammals at zoos in Japan.

    Tsushima leopard cat at Toyama, Fukoka, Higashiyama and Inokashira zoos.











    Oriis fruit bat at Ueno and Inokashira zoos.















    Amami rabbit at zoo

     
    Last edited: 25 Nov 2020
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  12. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Footage of endemic and endangered birds at Japanese zoos.

    Amami Jay at Ueno Zoo








     
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  13. PossumRoach

    PossumRoach Well-Known Member

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    I di know that efforts to protect ptarmigans has been brought up in English
     
  14. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I don't follow, what do you mean ?
     
  15. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    The JAZA (The Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums) looks like a really good resource for learning about the ex-situ / in-situ conservation initiatives of Japanese zoos but sadly in spite of online translation much of it is only accessible if you speak and read Japanese.

    I'll put the site here anyway in case anyone is interested.

    動物園と水族館
     
  16. PossumRoach

    PossumRoach Well-Known Member

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  17. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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  18. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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  19. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    More on the Tsushima leopard cat captive breeding programe

    This is quoted from a blog post from 2006 by a member of staff called Yomiuri who works at the Fukoka city zoo regarding the history and husbandry of the Tsushima cats held and bred there :

    "Fukuoka City Zoo has been breeding since 1996 as part of the Ministry of the Environment's "Tsushima leopard cat conservation and breeding project". I started to work on the breeding below. At that time, the breeding staff did not fully understand the ecology, and were completely groping about the type of food and breeding method, but the ecologically close Bengal wildcat breeding method and training data of wild cats in Tsushima We started breeding based on.

    The long-awaited kitten was born for the first time in captivity in 2000, and has been successfully bred every year since then. This year too, three kittens were born from one mother cat. I haven't seen any of the three animals grow up in the past, and I hope they will grow together this year. Unfortunately, I can't show you the kittens because Tsushima leopard cats are so nervous, but I have released two of them that are too old to be returned to the wild."

    The same year (2006) there were births of kittens from a female Tsushima cat that was originally wild caught, here the news is quoted from a blog post:

    "At Fukuoka City Zoo, we have been working on captive breeding of Tsushima leopard cats since 1996 as part of the "Tsushima leopard cat conservation and breeding project" with the Ministry of the Environment.We are pleased to inform you that we have confirmed the birth of three kittens for the first time this year after 5 am on Saturday, April 1st. Mother No. 8 was captured in Tsushima in 1999 and succeeded in captive breeding for the first time in 2000. Since then, she has given birth every year, and this is her seventh birth.With this, the total number of Tsushima leopard cats raised at Fukuoka City Zoo has reached 17 including the three born this time."

    A bit more on the process of captive breeding of these animals :

    "Tsushima leopard cat is a natural monument of an endangered country, and we are working on it while raising it at Fukuoka City Zoological Garden.

     Pairing is done according to the winter season. Currently, 4 males and 4 females live in private rooms one by one, but first of all, we will meet each other over Kim Ami in the next room and let them live together while checking the compatibility. Suddenly putting a male and a female in the same room can cause fights, and a bite with a sharp tooth can be fatal.

     Each of the eight Tsushima leopard cats has its own personality, and can be strong or laid-back. It is a very difficult task to select a pair that is compatible with it.

     After pairing, the zookeeper can only watch over, but successful mating will give birth to one to three babies in about two months. Please note that the Tsushima leopard cat exhibit is not open to the public at this time because we will concentrate on the situation."



    Sources: 「ツシマヤマネコ」

    ツシマヤマネコ出産
    2月は恋の季節です
     
    Last edited: 26 Nov 2020