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How to get hold of these rare/very rare species and keep them successfully?

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Norwegian moose, 15 Jul 2015.

  1. Norwegian moose

    Norwegian moose Well-Known Member

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    I am making a zoo design on my computer, and some of the species I have incorporated are rare, very rare, difficult to keep, and above all difficult to acquire. So I am wondering, how can a zoo in Europe (in real life) get hold off, and then keep successfully the following mammal species, some of which I have included, and some of which I am considering whether to still include in my zoo design?

    -Golden snub-nosed monkey
    -Coquerel's sifaka
    -Indri
    -Proboscis monkey
    -Red-shanked douc langur
    -Platypus
    -Sea otter
    -American badger
    -Pronghorn
    -Commerson's dolphin
    -False killer whale
    -African golden cat
    -Zebra duiker

    I know this is a kind of animal list that causes some zoo nerds to salivate:) However, even though I am a dreamer, I would like to know how to get hold of these treasured species, because I want to follow my dreams. I want to realize, manage and own a zoo (or several zoos) some time in the future, and then information about this would be very helpfull:)
     
  2. Mr. Zootycoon

    Mr. Zootycoon Well-Known Member

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    First of all, I don't think you should WANT to keep some of these species in Europe.
    For example, the indri can't be kept in captivity as far as we know.
    To my knowlegde, all indri's kept in captivity died days after capturing, even
    indri's temporarily kept in sanctuaries didn't survive.

    For some species you can't get hold of them without importing wild animals.
    I don't think the public would like it if you catch wild commersons dolphins or false killer Wales.

    For some other species I think there is no place in European zoos.
    Like the zebra duiker: we already have difficulties keeping and conserving duiker species currently kept in European zoos. Same for most monkey species in your list.

    I also don't see a reason to keep American badgers. We have our native species for educative purposes, most visitors find them boring and they are not endangered.
    For me: no reason to introduce this species in our zoos

    I don't know about pronghorn, platypus and sea otter.
    Both can be usefull for educative purposes, since they have no look-alikes in European zoos.
    This is just my opinion based on my knowlegde.
     
  3. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    There was talk of Pronghorn and American Badgers being imported by Berlin from America so I don't think it would be impossible if you had the right contacts.

    In terms of the Platypus: I'd say pretty much impossible. I doubt the Australians will let anyone export any, at least in the near future.
     
  4. bongorob

    bongorob Well-Known Member

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    Chester used to keep Amaerican Badgers at one time, 1957-1974, the Canadian subspecies, T.t.jacksoni
     
  5. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    -Golden snub-nosed monkey
    Easy - just pay China and they'll give you some on loan, like Giant Pandas but cheaper.

    -Coquerel's sifaka
    See Coquerel’s Sifaka | Duke Lemur Center

    -Indri
    Forget these, they have never survived long outside of Madagascar.

    -Proboscis monkey
    Apenheul got some males for trial purposes. That would probably be your best angle, arranging a partnership with Singapore Zoo. It would be feasible, especially in a fantasy zoo situation. Alternatively there are a number of Indonesian and Malaysian zoos who would probably gladly send you proboscis monkeys for a price or swap. Whether you should get them is another matter - they haven't exactly proved successful in zoos outside of Asia.

    -Red-shanked douc langur
    As above. It would probably be perfectly feasible to obtain specimens from southeast Asia (either somewhere in Vietnam, or Singapore Zoo, or Thailand's Dusit Zoo) but they haven't been particularly successful long-term outside Asia.

    -Platypus
    No chance. Maaaaybe if you threw a tonne of money at the Australian government, but still highly doubtful. They would likely also need to be captive-bred animals being sent to your zoo, and that isn't going to be happening.

    -Sea otter
    Available (in theory) as unreleasable rehab animals in the USA, or alternatively from Russia. The latter is probably easier.

    -American badger
    I can't see any reason why not.

    -Pronghorn
    Pronghorns haven't shown themselves to adapt well to zoos outside North America for some reason. I can't really see any being exported.

    -Commerson's dolphin
    See http://ceta-base.com/library/cetabasedocs/2010 Captive Commerson - Worldwide.pdf

    -False killer whale
    There are very few of these in captivity. I think they would either have to be wild-caught or obtained via stranded animals. For a fantasy zoo situation, the latter would be the better option to use.

    -African golden cat
    -Zebra duiker
    I can't see any major problem obtaining these two species if you really wanted them.
     
  6. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    In the end it comes to having the right network and how much resources do you want to spend on the particular species. Of course there is an ethical side where some species do not thrive outside of their native range and do you really want to import them?

    In the case of pronghorn I am wondering how they would do in a Mediterranean zoo. I think they would thrive there more or else in one of the continental zoos where the climate is dryer than in the zoos that kept them in Europe till now. I think the only place in Europe suitable for them that actually kept them is Askaniya. Surprisingly Hannover has been relatively successful with them by keeping their herd going for 12 years from a founding population of 3-2, I exclude here a 4th imported male that was castrated.
     
  7. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    I can. Both species are rare. African golden cats seem to be remarkably elusive too. Zebra duikers come from the region which has been devastated by Ebola, although we can hope that the outbreak is almost over now.

    Alan
     
  8. Norwegian moose

    Norwegian moose Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much @Childonias, this was interesting and helpfull. It looks like I will not incorporate indri and platypus in my dream zoo design, because the indri is unfortunately so damn hard to keep, and the platypus is so damn hard to get hold off. Although I believe everything is possible, this is maybe too hard. And I agree that in the end it comes down to having the right network and how much resources you want to spend. I will still incorporate pronghorn though. Since it should not be too hard to get hold of those. And I am thinking and considering whether to have my zoo in a country with a mediterranean climate (in Spain or France), so I think it is worth it to at least try to get pronghorn to Europe once more. Zebra duikers and African golden cats would have to be captured from the wild. I would also capture Commerson's dolphins from the wild, or preferebly if the possibility arose get stranded animals. You could get these from captivtity also, but only three facilities in the world (as far as I know) keep them, and that captive population needs new blood from the wild anyhow, or else it is going to die out. By the way your link is interesting, but I have seen it before. The same applies to the false killer whales. American badgers would obviously be the most straightforward species of these to get, but can anybody provide me with a list of zoos that keep them? I know you would probably have to get Coquerel's sifakas from Duke. But does Duke only send animals on loans, or can you get them from them like a permanent ownership? I suppose Proboscis monkeys and Red-shanked douc langurs would be much more difficult to keep alive and feed than to actually get them. Sea otters would be hard to get I think. But I also think it would be easier to get them from Russia, than from the USA. Question, if you got them from Russia, would that have to be wild caught animals then? Because only two facilites are shown to hold sea otters in Europe on Zootierliste, neither of which is located in Russia. Sea otters, giant pandas, platypuses and golden snub-nosed monkeys are like geopolitical trading animals:) The native countries of those animals are very reluctant to give them away, unless you nag a lot:), or give the country in question a lot of money, or political relations, and if you in adition can provide a great exhibit for the species. But is it really as easy to just pay China an awful lot of money to get Golden snub-nosed monkeys sent on loan? Regardless it is unfortunate that they only would send them away on loans. I also wonder, how to get Amazon river dolphins and Sumatran rhinos to Europe? I guess I could just capture Amazon river dolphins from the wild in Venezuela or Colombia and send them to Europe. But that is easier said than done, amongst other obstacles, anti-cetaceans in captivity folks could try to stop me. Sumatran rhinos would be even more difficult I presume, because they are so endangered, and because of earlier experiences there is perhaps little willingness to send more Sumatran rhinos to Europe and North-America?
     
    Last edited: 17 Jul 2015
  9. Hyak_II

    Hyak_II Well-Known Member

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    Actually there are 4-5 facilities keeping commersons currently.

    2 facilities in the states with a combined 5 animals, 4 of which can still breed (3 males 1 female), however the US population is non breeding.

    In Japan, there are 3 (possibly 4) facilities holding them, and there is regular breeding. There are ~12 animals in the known managed population, with the majority of them (aside from perhaps the two oldest females), all able to breed. Additionally, the 4th possible aquarium (sunshine) imported a number of them back in the '80's, however no one really knows if they still hold the species or not.
     
  10. Mr. Zootycoon

    Mr. Zootycoon Well-Known Member

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    There is one Amazon river dolphin in Europe, a female at Duisburg.
    In my opinion it is more realistic to get some Irrawaddy-dolphins if you want freshwater dolphin species. They do well in captivity, several south east asian dolphinariums keep and breed them succesfully.
     
  11. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    Firstly you would need very good reasons to explain why you want to bring in wild-caught cetaceans into the EU (taking it that your zoo will be in France or Spain) as the EU considers all cetaceans as CITES I.

    And secondly why do you want to own your animals. The ownership of animals in zoos is very complicated. Many zoos have animals they don't own in their zoo on loan, while the animals that they do own are on loan to other zoos. This is part of population management and animals are managed as they are owned by the collective. This is being challenged of course especially with high profile individuals, but I think the idea that you want to own your animals would narrow your options a lot.
     
  12. Norwegian moose

    Norwegian moose Well-Known Member

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    Well that is nice. If possible I would get commersons from captivity then.
     
  13. Norwegian moose

    Norwegian moose Well-Known Member

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    Well that is a problem, that I was not aware of. Perhaps one could catch amazon river dolphins in a country where it lives, and open up an amazon river dolphin breeding facility in that country. Then one could transport the offspring to Europe. The same could be done with other dolphin species. Alternatively I could open my zoo in Russia (not in the EU) and I could transport all kinds of wild caught animals there legaly, couldnt I?
     
  14. Norwegian moose

    Norwegian moose Well-Known Member

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    Well maybe I drew up this a little wrongly. What I meant, is that with panda loans and similar agreements you are only allowed to keep the animals for a limited period of time. I understand that some breedingloans are functional, if the purpose is to breed. But the point with panda loans is more about sending pandas around the world, than to breed pandas. I would rather prefer zoos to send out animals one a more permanent basis, than to send them on loans for example eight years, and after that it is their predetermined destiny to go back to the zoo they were sent from.

    Anyway I am maybe not that well informed (even though I know alot) on these issues as you are. However to learn more was a reason to why I set up this thread. You can always learn, and that is good.
     
  15. Pacarana

    Pacarana Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you on the cats. Even if you were allowed to export, the problem would be finding a healthy specimen.

    Though the zebra duiker are from Sierra Leone as well as other countries that had Ebola outbreaks, Togo is a perfectly viable option. I have seen a "stock list" from Togo from wildlife exporters and zebra duiker, buffalo and tree pangolins were some of the rare species listed. Now, the question is if they can actually deliver, and if they can, would it be healthy? Again, like others have mentioned, duikers have a very sensitive gut and zebra duiker are difficult to care for.
     
  16. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member

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    Like others have said, you may have significant problems acquiring any of these animals, especially if you were thinking of trying to get them right off the bat. Even fully established and prestigious zoo collections cannot keep some of these, the indri and platypus coming into mind specifically. Realistically, whatever collection you may start is probably going to have very basic species that are not hard to acquire; by caring for these species successfully and proving to other zoos that you meet animal care and financial success standards, you can establish yourself as part of the zoo community and gain access to rarer species.

    However, treating this as either hypothetical or as a long-term plan, I thought I could make some suggestions on species you could hold instead:

    In place of golden snub-nosed monkey, you could have Francois' langur. This is also a endangered tree-dwelling monkey native to China, and there is a captive breeding program already in place for this species. The program has few participating European institutions, so I believe the program is based in the US, but that could change as availability for the species goes up!

    Instead of Coquerel's sifaka, try diademed sifaka. This is the species being kept in European institutions right now. Availability will be very low until breeding is more successful and the population grows, but hopefully they will be easier to obtain in the future.

    In place of proboscis monkey and red-shanked douc langur, you could hold Francois' langur, silvery lutung, lion-tailed macaque, or Sulawesi crested macaque. Not quite the same, but proboscis monkeys will be pretty much impossible for the near future and there are few douc langurs left for you to claim outside of wild-capture.

    Instead of sea otter, look into the possibility of obtaining giant otter, an entertaining, fascinating, and endangered species of otter that we are desperately trying to grow a captive population for.

    Replace American badger with European badger. Gotta be honest here... is there really much of a difference? European badgers will be easier to obtain in Europe. If it matters to you, it's probably not hard to acquire a badger in the States; they aren't rare and easily become pests to farmers.

    I wouldn't have said pronghorn would be an issue, but I wasn't aware of any problems breeding them in Europe until Chlidonias mentioned it. If that's the case, perhaps saiga? Can't really help you there.

    Instead of Commerson's dolphin, use bottlenose dolphin. Instead of false killer whale, try beluga. I am neither supporting nor condemning the keeping of cetaceans in captivity; I am simply making a suggestion based on species availability and husbandry experience.

    Use caracal in place of African golden cat. They fill a similar niche, especially in the eyes of the public, and caracals are far more available in captivity.

    Use red-flanked duiker, black duiker, or yellow-backed duiker in place of zebra duiker. Not quite as striking in appearance and duikers don't seem to be as common in Europe as in the States, but an import should be possible. If you're looking for a more exotic ungulate from the Congo, red river hog is widely available, and there are breeding programs for bongo and okapi.

    Again, your collection when you start out will probably be more low-key: lemurs, turtles, parrots, hoofstock. A lot of native animals or common exotics. But starting with these easier-to-care-for species would probably be a good start to building a fully-fledged animal care institution.
     
  17. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    You could or you could start your zoo in a country where the regulations are even more lax and the officials even more corrupt. Then you could deal with international wildlife smugglers who could get you anything you want for a price. Beware though that these guys are the same people who smuggle drugs and arms, so don't rely on their generosity.

    So in the end as far as conservation goes you become part of the problem, not part of the solution.
     
  18. temp

    temp Well-Known Member

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    The sifakas in Europe are crowned. Coquerel's is the species kept by North American zoos. The last diademed kept anywhere outside Madagascar in recent decades was a trio at Duke (USA); two died quite some time ago and the last in 2012.

    If looking at the diet, indris aren't much more specialized than the crowned sifakas. Both crowned sifaka and indri mainly feed on leaves supplemented by other plant material. The indris reputation as being impossible to keep is essentially based on the very few (a small handful in total) that were kept 50 or more years ago in European and North American zoos. This was a time when zoo keeping was at an entirely different stage, and many species that are considered reasonably easy to keep today were considered very difficult or impossible. This was true for the sifakas too. So, definitely not easy, but I can't see a reason why it should be much harder than the sifakas. Regardless, sourcing indris would be exceptionally difficult. There are a few in "semi-captivity" in Madagascar, but I seriously doubt a zoo from another country could convince them to forward any. Unless a bunch of zoos came together to try and establish a serious breeding program it would also be a waste.

    It is difficult to source sea otters from North America to Europe. They require a lot of preparations and paper work, but based on what I've heard it might become a bit easier in the future.

    Pronghorns should be doable. The bad European results were decades ago in a period where the North America results were pretty poor too. It's only in recent decades (after the last had disappeared from Europe) that North American zoos have had decent success. The future plan for Berlin Tierpark includes a North American zone with pronghorn. There are a few comments about it on pages 4-5 in http://www.zoochat.com/109/tierpark-2020-a-226469/. There are quite large numbers of pronghorn at North American ranches and they are legally hunted too, so sourcing them shouldn't be a major problem.

    Not that it really is necessary, but you requested confirmation on Chlidonias info on Golden snub-nosed monkey and he is spot on. Money and politics, and a zoo could get them. Similar to giant pandas.

    That's not really how most modern zoos work together. When part of a breeding program (like the sifakas), there is still an owner, but the species coordinator has much to say about the location of each specimen. This is done to optimize breeding and alike. Specimens may be on loan from one zoo to another, but it is often a permanent loan. It isn't expected that it has to return to the owner zoo after a specific period. The Chinese "rent-a-giant-panda" system is the only major exception to this rule.

    The only species in your list that are not on CITES are the American badger, pronghorn and platypus. The platypus is already fully protected in Australia and is essentially unobtainable. Most countries in the world, including Russia, have signed CITES. Importing wild caught animals that are CITES listed is not easy. Of course people can get almost anything illegally via smuggling or corruption, but that's another discussion. However, randomly importing a bunch of threatened wild-caught animals (regardless of legality) just because some zoo would like to keep them would be strongly against the guidelines by modern zoos.

    Strictly speaking I suspect this thread would be more fitting in the fantasy zoo forum section.
     
    Last edited: 17 Jul 2015
  19. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    The zebra duiker is not native to Togo, which is in the Dahomey Gap where there is little or no true forest as the Guinea savanna extends as far south as the coast. I think that West African animal stocklists may be more reliable than those fascinating e-mails from Nigeria, but I wouldn't bet on it.

    Alan
     
  20. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member

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    The worldwide record of keeping an indri alive in captivity (not semi-captivity) is a staggering 1 year plus a little bit... in Ivoloina zoo in eastern Madagascar, which was in relatively recent times. I would think that they are more difficult to keep alive than sifaka and I doubt whether it would even theoretically be possible to get permits to capture indri and export them....

    btw. where in Madagascar are there indri in semi-captivity, I am only aware of diademed sifaka and a few other sifaka species in captivity in that family...