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Exotic Birds in Australia

Discussion in 'Australia' started by zooboy28, 21 Apr 2014.

  1. Jabiru96

    Jabiru96 Well-Known Member

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  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    that is actually the first species lost since this thread began. I have removed it from the list but the text I removed is below, for interest's sake (I had their ages around the wrong way though):


    Based simply on numbers and age, the next species to be lost from Australian zoos will be the Razor-billed Curassow, Chilean Flamingo, Greater Rhea, and Fiordland Crested Penguin.
     
  3. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    I saw the curassow a couple of weeks ago and it looked great, so hopefully it will stick around a while longer. Does anyone have any idea of her age?
     
  4. Astrobird

    Astrobird Well-Known Member

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    what about the Rheas? How many are we down to and at what zoos? Do they tend to live as long as Ostriches? Is there none in breeding situations? I would hope they could be brought back into the country as eggs like ostrich were..... I would love to see some white ones here ;)
     
  5. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    there were three rheas left, all female and all pretty old: at Gorge (two) and Darling Downs (one). I don't know if they are all still alive now.

    Ostriches were imported as both eggs and adult birds in the mid-1990s but that is no longer allowed.
     
  6. Steve Robinson

    Steve Robinson Well-Known Member

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    All were still alive earlier this year when I saw the Gorge birds.

    All are siblings and all are nudging 20 years of age.
     
  7. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    thanks for that. A quick Google says that wild longevity is 10 to 15 years, and in captivity 30 to 40 years. So they may be around a while yet, but with only three females left their demise is inevitable.
     
  8. Osprey71

    Osprey71 Well-Known Member

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    Found this information while reading a book called Postcards from the zoo. Written by a Darill Clements who used to work at the zoo.

    ANDEAN CONDOR

    Taronga has displayed Andean Condors since 1935.

    The first Andean Condor was the very first hatch at Taronga and was Diablo. The keepers changed his name and renamed him BRUCE.

    For the passed 36 years has been a well know Taronga Identity. He was the inaugural star of the Free Flight Bird Show.

    Bruce's partner CONNIE the Condor, hatched a few years after Bruce.

    Bruce and Connie first egg was successfully hatched in 2002 in the zoo's incubator.
     
    Last edited: 11 Aug 2016
  9. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    hatched at Adelaide on 20 January 1998, so eighteen and a half years old. Apparently captive lifespan is up to 23 years.
     
  10. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks, definitely a decent age so far, hopefully the captive lifespan record will be exceeded in this case!
     
  11. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    It's a great book. There's good information about the apes, elephants and big cats in this book too.

    Bruce and Connie have had at least six offspring, including

    - Inti M (November 2006)

    - Lesley F (Approx 2007)

    - Kondira F (November 2011)

    - Zuleta F (December 2013)

    Does anyone know the names/DOBs of the other offspring, and the DOB of Lesley?

    I was just reading in a thread on birds in Australian Zoos by Chiladonias, that for many decades, it has been prohibited to import birds into Australia, including from New Zealand for biosecurity reasons. The only exception was a brief 5 year interval in which the law was relaxed (during the 1990s), which infuriatingly the zoos didn't take advantage of.

    This of course means, Bruce, Connie and their offspring are the only Andean Condors in Australasia. To my knoweldge, the only other zoo to hold them is Australia Zoo. They curate a male called Chief (originally name Inti - see above).

    I'm usually opposed to inbreeding when their are viable alternatives, but since there are none, shouldn't Taronga Zoo send all offspring from Bruce and Connie to other zoos in Australia, instead of sending them overseas like they did with Zuleta recently. Lesley or Kondira could be sent to Australia Zoo to form a pair with Inti. Otherwise this species will become extinct in Australia, like the crowned pigeon and the flamingo.
     
  12. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    some points on condors below. I'll see if I can get the proper hatch dates of the living individuals later.

    For Zoofan15's post above: Leslie (not Lesley) was hatched around 2004 (she is in the 2006 annual report as a two year old). [Also regarding spelling of names: Konira, not Kondira].

    It also turns out that the condors aren't as inbred as one might have thought. The parent pair were imported in 1935. The import date is rather moot as the only offspring bred from them were Bruce and Connie - the current breeding pair. They are brother and sister from different clutches, but their parents were probably wild-caught and unrelated (they were imported from Hamburg or maybe Rotterdam - I found two versions - in exchange for kangaroos, and the pair was valued at £60). I'll find out the years they hatched at Taronga when I can.

    The third condor to be bred in the country was a female named Megan hatched at Taronga (from Bruce and Connie) in January 2002 (egg laid in November 2001). I'm not sure this female survived to adulthood. There may have been another female after this which didn't survive either (I have a vague feeling that Inti - see below - was the first male bred from the pair and there had been three females before him, but that may not be correct). Next would have been female Leslie - so either the second or the third female from the pair - and then male Inti.

    When I get the hatching years for the birds some of that above info might change a little.

    Anyway, on another note - Adelaide Zoo also had a pair of condors. The male must have died early 2000s. The female went to Monarto and died there in 2007. I have no other info on these birds, so I don't know if they were the original Taronga pair or if Adelaide had imported their own pair at some stage. Either way, both birds would have to have been in their 60s or 70s - at least - when they died, and Adelaide never bred from them.
     
    Last edited: 13 Aug 2016
  13. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Can only add that Condors were never held at Adelaide prior to 1978. I think an import after then would be unlikely, so perhaps they were the original Taronga pair - although that would make the female who died at Monarto over 72 years old, which is very impressive, but not implausible given the record is 79 years. Would wild collection back then have been of chicks?
     
  14. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    excellent, I was hoping you would look that up for me!

    Given that they can't have been imported birds in that case, I have two thoughts:
    1) the Adelaide birds were the original Taronga pair (this does seem unlikely on face value).
    2) perhaps more plausibly, the Adelaide birds were actually the first two female chicks bred at Taronga (the ones who no longer survive for some reason). However I'm not sure why Taronga would have sent their first chicks to Adelaide but then kept all the rest except the male at Australia Zoo.
     
  15. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    looking through old newspapers online, I found a brief 1999 article which mentions Andean Condors at Adelaide Zoo (23 Sep 1999 - New activities at the zoo - Trove).

    I also found this photo labelled as having been taken at the Adelaide Zoo in 1989: An Andean Condor Preens Its Striking Jet Black Feathers With Its Stock Photo, Royalty Free Image: 24910518 - Alamy

    So basically the Adelaide condors can't have been birds bred at Taronga and therefore were most likely the original 1935 Taronga pair (unless some other Australian zoo had condors and they came from there...).
     
  16. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Interesting, but rather odd that Taronga would ditch their original pair, although perhaps it was a trade, or they wanted to give the offspring pair more space or privacy for breeding. Alternatively, I guess the Adelaide condors could be totally unrelated and have been imported by Perth or Melbourne (doubt anyone else would have?).
     
  17. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    Unlikely. They certainly have not been at Melbourne Zoo in the period of my "reliable" memory which dates back to the late '60's, although I do have a very unreliable memory of vultures in the eagle aviary (the domed section of the Great Flight Aviary) prior to that. A few years ago I wrote a short history of Perth Zoo for a zoo encyclopedia, and never saw any mention of condors there in my research.
     
  18. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    the only references I have seen for Andean Condor at Melbourne was a pair in 1898. At the same time there was one in a zoo at Albany.

    Several zoos had King Vultures into the mid-1900s including Adelaide and Taronga, and I think Melbourne. They even laid eggs unsuccessfully at Taronga in 1932. In newspapers of the time they were always called King Condors.
     
  19. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure how much influence Taronga Zoo had on the decision to move the original pair to Adelaide (ie whether they coordinated the regional studbook), but it if they were clearly post reproductive and any chance of breeding laid with Bruce and Connie, then this was clearly advantageous to Taronga Zoo to retain the young breeding pair. They had previous success with breeding the species so were no doubt considered more likely to achieve success in breeding Bruce and Connie than a zoo with no/little experience in curating the species. To me, it sounds similar to Auckland Zoo's decision (they hold the studbook for Siamang) to retire their elderly post reproductive breeding pair of siamang to Hamilton, and attempt breeding with a new pair.

    Exporting the first offspring of Bruce and Connie seems like a natural decision. Bruce and Connie were young at the time, and the zoo obviously had optimism in them producing more offspring, which they did. Taronga have historically exported the first few offspring, then retained the last for breeding when the parents are post reproductive (Tigers - Nico/Meta, Chimpanzee - Lulu, Susie, Bessie etc.). Ideally Taronga Zoo would now be sourcing a mate for Konira (2011), but unless they breed her with Inti (2006), they will have to rely on the relaxation of import restrictions which are highly unlikely.

    The hatching of Konira in 2011 was thought to be the zoo's last chance at breeding condors due to Bruce and Connie's age. They were fortunate to get one more chick out of the pair in 2013, but given their age and the fact no more chicks have followed, I doubt they are reproductively viable now. Apparently the main issue is the quality of the egg. Konira was the first of two clutches laid in 2011, but the second egg had an air bubble and was not viable.
     
  20. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    to be clear:

    There is no evidence here that the Adelaide birds were the original Taronga birds - it just seems the most likely of the possibilities.

    There is nothing in this thread or any info I have found yet to say what happened to the first chicks hatched at Taronga.