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History of Jersey Zoo & Durrell Trust ex-situ / in-situ conservation efforts.

Discussion in 'Zoo History' started by Onychorhynchus coronatus, 25 Nov 2020.

  1. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I thought it would be good to create a thread where zoochatters can share anything they know or find out about the history of either ex-situ captive breeding of endangered species at Jersey zoo or the in-situ conservation work assisted by the Durrell Trust around the world.

    So feel free to post anything related to these historic topics below in the comment section.
     
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  2. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    History of arrival of Livingstone's fruit bats at Jersey (1990 -1995)

    Here is a brief history of how the Livingston's fruit bats arrived in Jersey zoo through capture attempts that spanned the first half of the 90's.

    On the rationale for the capture of the bats from the wild:

    "In response to the perceived threat of extinction posed by the low number of P. livingstonii and its limited distribution, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) listed it as priority Grade 1 (Mickleburgh et at., 1992). Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust (JWPT) began efforts to bring a population into captivity for breeding, in collaboration with the Centre Nationale de Documentation et de Recherche Scientifique des Comores (CNDRS) and the Government of the RFIC, which retains official ownership of all animals involved in the captive breeding programme (Carroll and Thorpe, 1991). A goal of 20 wild-caught bats (ten males and ten females) was arrived at primarily as a balance between a minimum number set by theoretical genetic concerns (Lacy, 1994) and a maximum number set by the perceived small numbers of animals in the wild."

    Difficulties experienced in the field with the first capture attempts:

    "However, limited by dwindling habitat. practicality and expense emerged as decisive factors in capture efforts. The first expedition, in 1990 (Carroll and Thorpe, 1991), yielded no captures for two primary reasons: 1) the need for increased capture-site reconnaissance, and 2) the need for improved expertise and equipment. The next expedition, in 1992, successfully captured five males and one female at a site dubbed the "Pentagon."

    "Crucially, in this year a promising site for future attempts was identified ("Bistro 21 "), where P. Livingstonii are attracted to flowering kapok trees Ceiba pentandra in sufficient numbers to allow capture. Thus, one recommendation resulting from the 1992 attempt was the importance of timing capture attempts with kapok flowering. In 1993, a further expedition caught six males and one female at Bistro 21, known locally as Hunguni, although one male died shortly after capture. External examination revealed lesions around the mouth (possibly ulcers or net injuries), although no in-depth post mortem was attempted. Problems highlighted during this expedition included delays in assembling personnel, causing capture to commence after peak flowering, and a significant male bias in bats caught, caused either by a bias in the source population or in the catching technique (Young et aL., 1993). Further recommendations included the need for sufficient personpower, equipment and time to allow for inclement weather (Trewhella et aL., 1995)."

    "In the course of these expeditions, capture at known day roosting sites (as bats disperse at dusk and return at dawn) was ruled out for two primary reasons. The first was practicality; roosts are located at sites in which night mist-netting would be impossible -forested areas above 650 m altitude, on steep, wet mountain sides. The second and more serious concern was that disturbance at roosts may lead to abandonment, as has been observed in related species (Mickleburgh et aL., 1992). This could place a serious strain on the remaining wild population, if suitable roosts are However, limited by dwindling habitat."


    The first wild caught Livingstones fruit bat arrive at Jersey zoo in the early 90's, but with skewed sex ratios, females begin giving birth:

    "By the end of 1994, there were ten males, two females, one captive-bred female, and two wild-conceived but captive-born females held at JWPT (Courts and Wormell, 1996). The 1995 expedition was thus the fourth attempt in six years, and aimed to bring together previous years' experience and to augment the colony with eight additional female P; livingstonii."

    The Jersey Livingstone's fruit bat colony numbers are boosted in 1995 by the capture of more females to address the skewed sex ratio. Lessons learned in first capture attempts are applied and some success achieved.

    "The single most important factor in the success of the 1995 expedition was the ability to coordinate the capture to coincide with the most appropriate time of year at a previously identified catching site."

    "A second factor in the successes of 1995 was improved equipment, particularly the thicker aluminium net supports used, which past experience had indicated would be .helpful (Trewhella et al., 1995). The altered poles allowed a greater tension on top net lines and thus a greater net height (Saw, 1996). The majority of P. livingstonii captures were made in the middle bank of nets, with approximately equal and smaller numbers caught in the upper and lower banks, indicating that a middle net height of about 17 m was appropriate".

    "The expedition succeeded in capturing five of the eight females desired for the captive population, undertook the most extensive census of P. Livingstonii to date, and continued with environmental education work on the island of Anjouan. Considerable further effort will be needed to ensure that the species survives in the future."

    "The target founder population for the captive bat programme of 10 males and 10 females was established as a compromise between the need to meet genetic requirements (Ballou and Ralls, 1982; Templeton and Reed, 1984; Lacy, 1994) and the limitations posed by a small wild population. Pteropus livingstonii is still extremely vulnerable, although this study has shown that the wild population is considerably larger than previously thought."

    Future of the bats at Jersey zoo and the Rodrigues fruit bat as a model for the Livingstone's:

    "The long-term management of the bats now in captivity will follow that of the Rodrigues fruit bat Pteropus rodricensis (Mickleburgh et al., 1992), in order to minimise the loss of genetic diversity within the population (Carroll, 1988; Mace and Carroll, 1995). This management strategy takes into account the apparently promiscuous, harem-based social structure of P. Iivingstonii -(Pierson and Rainey, 1992; Herron, 1993) and the uncertainty of paternity within the population which results. Further studies both on P. rodricensis and P. Iivingstonii will enable this model to be refined."

    On the ex-situ value of the captured Livingstone's bats:

    "The captive population of P. livingstonii serves several purposes (WRI/IUCN/ UNEP, 1992). First, it serves to focus both attention and funding on this species, and thus provides a flagship for the conservation of Comorian wildlife. Second, it provides the opportunity to study a species which is extremely poorly known; the population has already yielded valuable studies of social behaviour, feeding habits, and reproductive biology (Herron, 1993; Courts, 1996a,b,c; Courts, 1997a,b; Courts and Wormell, 1996). Third, it provides potential for reintroduction of the species should this ever be desirable in the future. In the P. rodricensis programme, this has not proven necessary to date. Removal of the major threats to this species (hunting and habitat destruction) combined with a lack of major tropical storms during the 1980s has allowed the wild population to recover from a low of around 100 to approximately 3,000 in 1995 (K. Whitman, pers. comm.)."

    Source (use sci-hub to access paper ;)): CAPTURE AND SURVEY OF LIVINGSTONE'S FRUIT BATS Pteropus livingstonii IN THE COMOROS ISLANDS: THE 1995 EXPEDITION, Clark et al, 1997 (Journal: The Dodo).
     
    Last edited: 25 Nov 2020
  3. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    It has always stuck with me over the years how Jersey focused on species which others had given up on as to low in numbers to recover I really take my hat off to these guys they really have done some wonderful work!
     
  4. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Yes me too @Zorro, so many amazing things have been achieved by the Durrell Trust over the years it is truly incredible.

    Thats why I started this thread really I suppose as a way of just putting some of that history which is stuck in journals out there for people to read about and learn about.

    Its a shame there isn't a website that has been developed to put this history of the organization out there for people and its a bit weird that they haven't done this already as their current website is excellent.
     
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  5. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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    There's a chapter about Carl Jones in the book "Gerald Durrell's Army"
     
  6. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Haven't read that book, just have read the books by Durrell himself and his biography.

    I remember Carl Jones making an appearance in "Song of the dodo" by David Quammen though and also in Douglas Adams "Last chance to see".
     
  7. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Wrap up of Livingstone's fruitbat situation today

    The first successful captive breeding of the Livingstone's fruitbat occurred at Jersey in 1992.

    As of 2020 there are 67 Livingstone's fruitbats kept in zoos ex-situ and all of these are located within the UK (though Zurich had them once).

    Jersey keeps the majority of these animals, a total of 60, and one of the original wildcaught individuals is still alive and going strong :).

    The remaining Livingstone's bats in captivity are kept at either Bristol or Chester zoo.

    The Durrell Trust continues to monitor the situation facing the species in the wild and to support in-situ efforts to this day 30 years on from the arrival of the first Livingstone's fruitbat at the zoo.

    Source: "Social Experience of Captive Livingstone's Fruit Bats (Pteropus livingstonii)", Morgan J. Welch et al, 2020 (Journal: Animals).
     
    Last edited: 25 Nov 2020
  8. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Further up to date information on ex-situ conservation of Livingstone's fruit bats at Jersey

    [​IMG]

    The most recent births in the Jersey colony that I can find were of 5 individuals in 2019 and 2 individuals this year.

    "Five individuals in the population during the Summer 2019 period and two individuals in the Spring 2020 had not yet been microchipped because they were less than eight months old and were therefore excluded from data collection."

    Source: "Social experience of capture Livingstone's fruit bats (Pteropus livingstonii).", Morgan J. Welch et al, 2020.

    Photo credit to @toto98.



     
    Last edited: 29 Nov 2020
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  9. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    This was the historic enclosure where the Livingstone's fruitbats were first held when they arrived at Jersey zoo in the early 1990's and where the first captive breeding of the species took place.
    [​IMG]
    Interestingly, before the bats arrived this enclosure had once held Jersey's famous Sumatran orangutangs.

    It is now utilized for red billed choughs which are probably the most suitable of all the animals past and present that have occupied the enclosure.

    Todays bat enclosure is far better for the Livingstone's (and Rodrigues fruitbats) and has been designed and researched thoroughly so that it meets the husbandry needs of the animals.
    [​IMG]

    Photo credits to @molinea and @Gigit.
     
    Last edited: 29 Nov 2020
  10. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    History of arrival of the lesser Antillean iguana at Jersey (1992 -1995)

    In 1992 the first pair of lesser Antillean iguanas arrived at Jersey zoo. The pair were wild-caught hatchlings of approximately a year old that had been captured on their native island of Dominica in the Carribbean.

    [​IMG]

    The rationale behind their capture were the following concerns :

    "All populations are documented to be undergoing appreciable decline. Populations on Anguilla, St. Barthelemy, Antigua, Les Saintes, Martinique, St. Martin, and Guadeloupe are all in critical condition, with several supporting fewer than a hundred individuals. The population on Dominica should be considered vulnerable, and that on La Desirade endangered."

    "Threats include habitat loss, competition with introduced goats, predation by mongooses, cats, and dogs, hunting (especially on St. Eustatius, where iguanas are hunted and sold to restaurants on St. Martin), roadkills, and hybridization with I. iguana. Extinction through hybridization appears to have been extremely rapid in Les Isles des Saintes (surveys reveal no pure individuals), and therefore, any introduction of I. iguana to populations of I delicatissima are of extreme concern (e.g., Antigua, Guadeloupe, Martinique)."

    Breeding success of species at Jersey

    The iguanas were successfully bred in captivity at Jersey in 1997 with the eggs hatching and producing a single surviving individual.

    Breeding has since occurred a number of other times. In 2000 there were 8 surviving hatchlings, in 2012 2 surviving hatchlings and once again in 2016 with 11 surviving hatchlings.

    Wrap up of the future of species conservation at Jersey

    [​IMG]

    The original pair of iguanas that arrived in Jersey in 1992 were still alive as of 2010 (aged 18 years old). Jersey zoo continue to lead the ex-situ conservation with the species and the EAZA studbook for this iguana is held by Jersey's reptile curator Matt Goetz.

    [​IMG]

    The Durrell trust continue to support in-situ work with the conservation of the species in many Caribbean islands including Dominica.

    Sources: "CONSERVATION ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR IGUANIDAE AND VARANIDAE WORKING DOCUMENT", Rick Hudson et al, 1994. & "IUCN- Iguana delicatissima: Conservation Action Plan, 2014—2016"

    Photo credit to @JerseyLotte, @jerseygorilla and @Gigit .

     
    Last edited: 29 Nov 2020
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  11. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    And just as at Bristol, this enclosure housed the Gorillas before Orangutans...it was originally called the'Brian Parke Gorilla Complex'-though not very complex...Maybe, with some modifications, that huge aviary structure at Bristol would suit the bats too if they move.
     
  12. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    So there were originally gorillas kept within this enclosure at Jersey too ?

    Not sure what you mean about the Bristol enclosure though as they will be moving to Wild Place won't they ?

    Unless this aviary style enclosure can be can be disassembled and relocated to the new site of course.
     
  13. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    That is what I meant. Its a huge and quite recent structure. I am sure at least some enclosures like that one, and parts of others perhaps, could/will be re-assembled at the other site.
     
  14. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I certainly hope so, as I understand it Bristol have also been a player in the conservation of this species and it would be such a shame to lose them from their collection in my opinion.
     
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  15. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    By the way @Pertinax please feel free to share any memories, thoughts, photos or anything at all relating to the ex-situ conservation efforts of Jersey zoo in this thread.
     
  16. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Similarly @Tim May, @Dassie rat and @FBBird please also feel free to share any memories, thoughts, photos or anything at all relating to the ex-situ conservation efforts of Jersey zoo in this thread.
     
  17. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    History of arrival of Lac Alaotra gentle lemurs at Jersey (1990 -1998)

    In 1990 the first Lac Alaotra gentle lemurs arrived at Jersey zoo. These animals were wild-caught and had been captured from the lake region of North-East Madagascar to which they are endemic too.

    The founding group of lemurs consisted of 6.4 individuals of which only 1.2 were adults.
    [​IMG]
    The rationale for their capture in the wild had been the following:

    "In 1988 a captive breeding programme was considered to be of the highest priority (Wharton et ah, 1988) as part of the conservation strategy for the lemur. In 1990 the IUCN Lemur Red Data Book classified it as endangered (Harcourt and ©1995FF1 Thornback, 1990) and in 1992 the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group listed it as of highest conservation priority in the Lemur Action Plan (Mittermeier et ah, 1992). This last classification designated priority status using the following criteria: degree of threat - total population probably between 100 and 1000; taxonomic status - one of a small number of closely related forms that together are clearly distinct from other species; and level of protection - the bandro does not occur in any protected area (Mittermeier et ah, 1992)."

    Initially there were steep challenges to establishing this species as it had never been kept successfully in captivity before and so nothing was known about its husbandry requirements.

    This was especially the case in terms of finding the correct nutrition for the lemurs and the feeding of some foods that other lemur species thrived upon had tragic results:

    "In 1992 Russian vine Polygonum huldschnunicum was offered to the Alaotran gentle lemurs. All the animals became ill and three subsequently died. Post-mortem examination revealed elevated blood urea and creatinine levels (Fidgett, 1996), oxalate crystals and kidney damage (Robert & Allchurch, 1995). This plant is fed to other lemurs with no adverse effects and another Polygonum sp, smartweed Polygonum gluhrum, is eaten by Alaotran gentle lemurs in the wild (Mutschler et al., in press)."

    Lessons were learned from this tragedy and the correct nutrition for these animals was researched and the necessary improvements made :

    "Given the challenge of maintaining folivores in captivity, research on the dietary intake and composition of selected forage items has been analysed at Jersey (Fidgett, 1995; Fidgett et ul., 1996). A comparison of the nutrient composition of plant species grown on Jersey, but related to those consumed by the lemurs in Madagascar, has also been undertaken (Fidgett et ul., 1996). As a result of the study the forage component of the diet was increased, the fruit component was decreased and the pellet feed was changed to Mazuri leaf eater diet. These changes have resulted in a marked improvement in pelage and general condition."

    "New bamboo shoots and the pithy centre of elephant grass Cyperus erugrostis are the favourite forage foods of the Alaotran gentle lemurs. When bamboo is plentiful a stem measuring up to 3 m is offered for two animals. If possible the bamboo stems are placed in the enclosure at their full height, which provides new vertical perching as well as food. The species of bamboo most frequently fed are Semiurundinariu fastuosa, Phyllostachys viridigluucescens and Pseudosasa juponica. The lemurs also eat the bark and wood of willow, which is fed once or twice a week in late winter, when bamboo is old and is not eaten. Fresh grass is given once new growth appears in spring."


    Similarly, lessons were learned in the housing and social grouping of the lemurs:

    "Housing unrelated individuals in adjacent areas results in aggressive, stressful and sometimes self-injurious and stereotypic behaviour, such as pacing. On one occasion an animal managed to grab and bite 3 cm off the tail of a lemur housed in an adjacent enclosure. Until August 1997 the centre enclosure was occupied by a pair of Black-and-white ruffed lemurs which created a barrier between the Hupcilenwr ssp groups. The Ruffed lemurs have since been removed from this enclosure and bamboo screens have been installed to create a visual barrier. Ideally, gentle lemur groups should not have visual contact with each other."

    The first birth of the species in captivity happened in 1993 at Jersey but sadly the offspring did not survive and tragically neither did the mother:

    "The oldest, gave birth to a full-term infant, which unfortunately was found mutilated, and died before breeding again. "


    Seven years of trial and error brought better results which began to be seen in the reproduction of the species in captivity and vastly improved survivorship of young born :

    "In January 1997 the founder produced her fifth litter (2.0) and reared the infants without any of the problems experienced when she gave birth to twins in 1994. In January 1998 the founder - gave birth to a single and the family group, 1.1 founders, 3.0 offspring and 0.1 infant, are amicable and social. They all groom, play with, pick up and carry the infant."

    1997 proved to be an especially eventful year for this species at Jersey and three months later a further 6.4 individuals were captured and brought to the zoo under an accord with the government of Madagascar.

    A year later this prompted the building of a larger enclosure to house the growing lemur population:

    "In March 1998 a new enclosure, purpose-built for Alaotran gentle lemurs, was completed. The 800 m' enclosure comprises a large landscaped grassy area, planted with reeds Phragmites communis, willow Sulix sp and a variety of bamboo species, and a stream."

    [​IMG]

    Photo credits to @Tomek and @JamesB.


    Sources : "Husbandry and breeding of the Alaotran gentle lemur: Hapalemur griseus alaotrensis at Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust", J.C. Beattie and A.T.C. Feistner, 1998 (ZSL-International Zoo Yearbook).
     
    Last edited: 30 Nov 2020
  18. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    A very interesting story!
     
  19. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Thank you @Zorro, much appreciated!

    There is so much information out there but unfortunately a lot of it is in journals that are stuck behind paywalls.

    So I am just finding snippets of information and trying to fit it into the larger narrative of the story of this ex-situ conservation intervention.
     
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  20. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    I would be mighty interested to learn if there are genetic differences between populations of lesser iguanas from Dominica/Guadelope/Martinique/Anguilla and St. Eustatius/St. Maarten islands?

    BTW: the Rotterdam - Blijdorp animals are 1.0 ... (I believe a Jersey bred individual - Dominica origins) and 2.2 from St. Eustatius.

    Also, wonder the genetic make up of the rest of the European population?! And there should be a good few in private hands ...!