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Is there was at least single okapi export from DR Congo in the last 10 years?

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Nikola Chavkosk, 17 Feb 2016.

  1. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    Anybody to know whether there was at least single okapi export from DR Congo in the last 10 years. That is very needed for increasing genetic diversity for captive okapis (especially in Europe, because picture for okapi genetics in American zoos is better)? I know that importation of artyodactyla and proboscidea is almost banned from countries from Africa, but still it can be make some exception as with okapi? Instead for they to be killed (like in the past when okapi conservation project was attacked and several okapis were slaughtered) it is better to be sent do zoos for ex city conservation purposes.
     
  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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  3. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    Thank you

    As I saw there were non okapi with unknown birthdate, so there were non imported from recent date. I am questioning when was the last import of okapi from DR Congo.

    On the list, there are 171 okapis world wide, a little bit decrease in number from 2014 year when there were at least 174 okapis.

    I would like to ask what do you think, is it possible for an Australian/New Zeland zoo to get okapis in near future?

    And finally, can be okapis imported via third country (with not so strict import veterinary procedures for Artyodactyla) and then after some period (eg. 30 days), they to be re-exported to zoos members of EAZA, AZA, Japan, Australia etc.
     
  4. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

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  5. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    Yes that was wise step to import new genetics. Nowadays, there are 96 okapis in USA (as of july 15th 2015), and just 67 in Europe, 6 in Asia (I think Japan and United Arab Emirates) and 2 in South Africa.
     
  6. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

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    Surely 6 in Japan alone?
     
  7. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    Im wondering can the US manage an import of additional okapis from DR Congo (eg. from Okapi conservation reserve in Epulu), because import in my country (R,Macedonia, wich is not EU member) is prohibited for Artyodactyla from Africa (except from South Africa) (I am veterinarian by the way) as it is case with the EU and much of Europe, and surely much political and financial efforts are needed.

    Or can be okapis to be imported in some periferial, third country like Turkey for example or even Israel or UAE & Qatar, and then from there, they to be re-exported in EAZA, AZA and other zoos.

    Is someone here from Turkey or Israel to inform us whether is permited to import Artyodactilids from DR Congo in their country, any veterinarian from there, please.
     
  8. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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  9. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    And after all, I think that the future for wild animals in wild habiatats it's not very bright, owning to expansion of human population and development of infrastructure and agriculture and deforestation. In future there will be less and less remaining places for wild animals, so it is very important to be established an insurance captive population of animals, plants of different species, at least for animals/plant that can be successfully handled in captivity/botanical gardens.

    And hence, the restrictons on imports must not be without some alternative (eg. carantine station on some isolated places, for imports that usually would not be permited, for veterinary reasons first). How to communicate this to the Governments? Reputable zoos?
     
    Last edited: 17 Feb 2016
  10. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    yes there are six in Japan. I think the four at Al Bustan must be included in the European demographic.
     
  11. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    okapi cannot be imported to either Australia or New Zealand, and I cannot see that changing at any time in the near (or probably even distant) future.
     
  12. gerenuk

    gerenuk Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, the greatest purpose that zoos are trying to fulfill is the creation of captive insurance populations of threatened species.

    As a veterinarian, I'm sure you understand the risks involved with importing exotic animals into a country, particularly involving ruminants. All of our societies are heavily dependent upon livestock agriculture - cows, goats, sheep. All it takes is one specimen to bring in a disease like Johne's, and a country's entire cattle industry could take a major hit. This is why many countries follow the precautionary principle when it comes to exotic animal importation.

    Regulations to allow importation is important if zoos are to successfully maintain insurance populations. And I agree that there should be some exceptions to allow this. The best way to do this talk to your local federal government representative to start the conversation. Then build a group of various people/organizations in your country to show there is a need and lobby other representatives.

    Okapi import into the US has only been done through a third country. The last imports arrived via Belgium or the Netherlands. South Africa could be considered as an option now that European countries cannot.

    An okapi import is out of the question for the near future. The last 2 wild-caught imports consisted of a group of 7 and a group of 3. Only 1 female from each group survived the import into the US.

    The last 2 okapi imported into the US from the DRC were both captive bred animals born at the okapi station in Epulu. This would be the most likely way for future imports to occur, unless artificial insemination has become successful.

    With that said, okapi imported from the DRC won't be necessary for many years. The genetic diversity is quite improved in the US and will remain healthy as long as more zoos house and breed them. Surplus of okapi with good genetic lines for Europe will become more available once the US population can finally sustain itself above 100 individuals.
     
  13. jwer

    jwer Well-Known Member

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    Not to bust anyone's bubble, but as far as I know there are no okapi left in captivity in the DRC. The okapi center was attacked by rebels and as well as a lot of staff, all okapi were killed in the attack. Any new imports would need to come directly from the wild, which sounds nearly impossible for anything that's most probably Cites I.
     
  14. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    Yes of corse. Agreed, and thank you for the great information and description, you gerenuk :)) I must say that tough artifitial insemination is an easy way for inclusion of new genes in captive population, it must not be forget that complete enrichment with new genes comes fwith genes from both sexes (not only with sperm from males), but also from female genes in oocyte (eg. mitohondrial DNA is only transmited from mothers to offsprings - male or female offspring, regardless).
     
  15. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    Actually it is great to ''invest'' in South Africa, as USA did with the export of two males okapi there. That can initiate a program for captive breeding there, and South Africa, owning to proximity to DR Congo, can eventually get some okapis, eg. females wich will be bred with the US males exported there. Then, the captive bred offspring, can be exported to oversea zoos, in wich the import of Artyodactilids from South Africa is not prohibited. So great strategy to ''invest'' in South Africa. So great plan-strategy from US.

    The regulations says that no Artyodactilid who originates (directly or trough re-export) from ''banned'' countries-regions'' can be imported, but their captive bred offspring, can be imported if they were born in country for wich there is not a import ban.
     
  16. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    Also, not only the okapis, but animals from other species, need a more intense representation in captive populations, and imports for such animals should be allowed.
    Eg. The black rhino population in Europe is quite small (about 70 specimens, all from Eastren subspecies).

    Also the captive populations of some animals, will benefit from new imports. Eg. sloth bears, spectacled bears, malayan tapirs, indian rhinoceros, masai giraffe (in USA), black howler monkey, some subspecies of leopards (eg. Sri lankan in Europe), koalas, but not shoebill for example (wich proved very difficult to breed and maintain in captivity) and a lot of more animals.
     
  17. gerenuk

    gerenuk Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the Epulu attack has already been mentioned.

    Previous experience has shown that direct-from-wild imports of okapi led to high mortality. Any future DRC imports will most likely be captive bred individuals, most likely from a restarted Epulu okapi station.
     
  18. gerenuk

    gerenuk Well-Known Member

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    In time, my friend. Genetic demographics are not the only limiting factor for zoo animal populations.

    Smaller zoos are now taking in more threatened species that was once limited just to the larger or richer zoos. Professionalism in husbandry is expanding. And the management of breeding programs are at the point where new holders are needed to expand captive populations. Insurance populations can only succeed if there are large numbers in captivity and experienced staff that can breed them well.
     
  19. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

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    Chester imported a spectacled bear from USA last year.
    Edinburgh had a wild caught howler monkey as a confiscation
    Vienna's pair of wild caught Indian rhino have still to make their contribution to the EEP, but Munich's wild caught female has produced her first calf.
    Pairi Daiza have announced they will be importing their koalas from Australia
     
  20. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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    With the advances of conservation reproduction research at institutions like the IZW or ACRES, importing sperm and ova collected from wild specimens will decrease the necessity to import WC live specimens for the sake of maintaining ex-situ breeding.

    "(...) and imports for such animals should be allowed." Given the intensification of international veterinary quarantine guidelines, also thanks to recent epidemics like the spreading of African Swine Fever within Eastern Europe, less likely to happen on a larger scale.