Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by OrangePerson, 15 Oct 2014.
If zoos ignore recommendations e.g. not to breed a species, are there any real penalties?
If they are members of a zoo association and persistently ignore recommendations they could have their membership suspended or revoked.
Does this happen often?
In the AZA recommendations are just that recommendations for the most part.
If a zoo wants to keep an animal they are allowed to ignore the recommendation. The zoo might not want to give the animal for some reason. Though that might be trickier when the animal in question is on loan from another zoo. They can always go back to the SSP and say we would prefer to keep this animal. But many zoos follow through because they want the healthiest population.
If a zoo wants to breed animals they are told not to breed, they can. The zoo might just have to keep the resulting offspring indefinitely if the SSP cant find a home for them or they are genetically over represented. SSPs are to create genetically health populations. When zoos choose to ignore those kinds of recommendations they sometimes have to deal with the consequences... animals they cant get rid of which might put a damper on future breeding attempts. Most listen though.
If a zoo wants to keep a rare species on phase out or just not in other collections they can. The zoo just wont get help dispersing offspring. White lions aren't supposed to be kept any more but there are many zoos with them. And sometimes rare animals are adopted through seizures or exotic amnesties. Just because the AZA says don't keep them doesn't mean zoos wont. Its just suggestions.
The recommendations they are more sticky about are care and exhibit design. If the animals aren't being kept in the proper way or in poor conditions then there is risk of memberships being lost. But usually places are given a chance to clean up their act first unless something is really horrible.
I know that I'm late to the party for this one so please bear with me but is the new protected contact rule for elephants a hard and fast requirement or just a recommendation they can ignore? Does the AZA have hard and fast rules that you can't ignore?
EAZA can take measures if a zoo is not following the recommendations for NO good reason. Discussion is always possible, but if there are no good arguments, zoos must follow the recommendations.
Officially EAZA can suspend membership.
The unofficial consequences of not following recommendations are more important. EEP coordinators will be less motivated to send specimens/species to a zoo, if they know (e.g. from colleagues) that a zoo is not following recommendations.
I have seen that happening many times, and it is a good way of forcing zoos to cooperate to breedign programs.
How often does it happen that a zoo is suspended?
And do you know how Eaza comes to its conclusions?
There is a Ethics Commitee, but how do they judge, do they visit the zoo concerned, or do they rely on a written report?
I've also seen examples where e.g. EEP withold a transfer of an animal to a Zoo until the Zoo in question has complied with another request e.g to move one of its own animals elsewhere. It can be used as a political bargaining tool in such instances.
It rarely happens that a zoo is suspended. It is a complicated matter. Two zoos were suspended partly because of this matter (not only following recommendations, but also selling EEP animals without permission of the EEP). But there are also some zoos that received a strong warning. There is the EEP committee and the Ethics committe that will be involved.
They will collect data from EEP coordinators, judge complaints, and if necessary send a screening team.
But the bargaining is mostly more effective as suspending (as that will possibly many EEP species). "So you want this new species? - first cooperate better with the EEPs of elephants, tigers, bears...... ". Then we talk (works bette rif the zoos wants a gorilla than for a cotton top tamarin).
There are hard and fast rules. I was speaking more so to the original questions about breeding, transfers and species. Those things are recommendations the AZA can be flexible with. There are regulations and rules that they aren't as lenient about. New exhibits cannot be undersized or lack mandatory safety features for example. The animals have to be kept in sanitary conditions, they have to be fed, they have to have vet care. There are tons of regulations regarding the zoos facilities, animal care, veterinary care, management of staff, and probably much more.
You are right the protected contact rule with elephants will be a rock solid rule in time. I don't know the timeline. But eventually they will have to all go to protected contact. The punishment for not doing it though wouldn't be a fine I don't think. Maybe the zoo would loose membership. It definitely wouldn't be given new elephants and if the zoo doesn't own the elephants I would suspect there may be a risk of losing the animals on loan. Since it's not mandatory yet, just moving towards it, I don't know if the AZA has decided on the punishment for non compliance yet. I don't remember when its to be fully implemented.
Someone said recently that a zoo has gone partly PC but still do some FC stuff. I've heard it claimed that the dynamic changes with PC animals because they don't have to be 'dominated'. I was just wondering if mixing the two could be dangerous, i.e. if the tight FC relationship was loosened.
I have to wonder if part of the switch to PC has to do with the personalities of the powers that be or those that they have too remain in the good graces of. For example the Oakland Zoo loves to brag about how they use PC, on how they don't dominate the animals, etc. Oakland is a very liberal area, and the idea of dominance doesn't really appeal to liberal moral taste buds. I wonder if in many cases it has less to do with keeper safety, concern for the animals, etc. and more to do with not angering the public.
Sad to say, it has more to do with dead keepers. There have been too many
From the Oakland Zoo's website you might think otherwise. If I remember correctly protected contact originated in San Diego after a keeper death(s).
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