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Ostrich breeding

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by elefante, 12 May 2016.

  1. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member

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    It seems that lately in zoos I've been to ostriches are either separated by gender or the zoo only has one gender on display. Are ostriches not bred much? If so, why not? I'm referring to the USA, not sure if other parts of the world are like this.
     
  2. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    Commercial ostrich farming went through a boom then a bust late last century, but I presume there are still a number of commercial farms around. Zoos often don't bother breeding animals they can get easily in other ways.
     
  3. temp

    temp Well-Known Member

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    The generics (no subspecies) are still kept in zoos around the world and many are now slowly but deliberately phasing them out to replace them with pure subspecies. South African (australis) are also so widespread (zoos, farms, private, etc) that breeding is of little importance. However, Masai (massaicus) and North African (camelus) are subject to breeding programs. The latter is highly threatened in the wild and it therefore makes sense for zoos to focus on it instead of the others.
     
  4. TZFan

    TZFan Well-Known Member

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    The AZA wanted to move towards breeding North African Ostriches if they could get eggs and import them. That was as of the last TAG I saw however it doesn't really seem like it has gone well. All other ostriches were to be managed as a generic group.
     
  5. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    There are a few North African ostriches around. Busch Gardens Tampa has some.
     
  6. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    I would love to know how many (M.F.U)!

    On a side note: Somali ostrich do deserve more conservation attention too.
    Masai not so … much!
     
  7. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member

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    North Africa ostriches are the largest aren't they?
     
  8. temp

    temp Well-Known Member

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    Somali and Masai are in comparable situations and both (actual Somali, assumed Masai) qualify for Vulnerable under IUCN3.1 A, which incidentally is similar to the argument for treating the lion as Vulnerable. Without going into the long explanations, it basically means that they've declined quite a bit in the last few generations and today they are mainly limited to protected areas such as national parks. Fortunately, there are well-maintained reserves in the ranges of both subspecies, although it appears the Somali is close to disappearing in.... Somalia!

    Regardless, both are much safer than the North Africa, which would qualify as Critically Endangered under IUCN3.1 A+C (and likely D+E). Fortunately, there are more in captivity in the Middle East+North Africa than in Europe+North America where numbers still are very low.

    That's the widely quoted claim.... the problem is that only in the Southern has a larger number of specimens been weighed/measured. Very few in the others. For example, 20 North African of both sexes weighed 63-104 kg (139-229 lb), but another specimen, the heaviest ostrich on record, weighed 156 kg (344 lb – not 154 kg/340 lb as some sources claim). In comparison, 13 Masai of both sexes weighed 86-145 kg (190-320 lb), and Southern generally weighs 90-130 kg (198-287 lb).
    So, do we base "largest" on the single North African record holder (which might be unusually large for the subspecies), or do we base it on the typical weights based on the larger sample of specimens, which still only included 20+13 specimens (a small sample size)? Were these specimens actually typical for the subspecies? Or do we base it on another measurements such as height? In summary, the most accurate answer to North African being largest: Perhaps, but more measurements are necessary to say for certain.