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Pandas for Brazil!?

Discussion in 'Brazil' started by eduardo_Brazil, 19 Sep 2014.

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  1. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    The breeding of marmosets and tamarins in captivity has indeed been improved through advancements in husbandry and scientific management , however, the reintroduction of species (with the exception of the famous golden lion tamarin) is still far from being improved.

    For example, in Sao Paulo state the black lion tamarin is reduced to tiny fragmented meta populations in small tracts of Atlantic rainforest and the largest population in Morro do diabo national park. Projections with modelling strongly suggest that climate change will wipe out all but the population in Morro do diabo which will necessitate either taking these genetically valuable animals into captivity or translocation. Where can a species such as the black lion tamarin feasibly be reintroduced if there is no longer any wild habitat for it to go to or if the last tiny piece of natural habitat that does remain has passed well over carrying capacity ?

    Similarly another species of primate endemic to South-East Brazil , the buffy tufted marmoset is disapearing from the wild due to habitat loss and hybridization with the invasive common marmoset.Then consider a larger primate species , the Southern muriqui , also endemic to Sao Paulo state and only found in three collections in Brazil , with breeding only having occured in the superb Sorocaba zoo.

    It isn't just rampant habitat loss or risk of hybridization which is severely impacting these species either , its disease , particularly yellow fever which is massively on the rise in Brazil. Imagine if wild populations of these species are entirely wiped out by yellow fever , what will be left ? The answer is , only those that are kept in ex-situ captive conditions in zoos and private centres which will be the total extent of the species.

    In the case of these three species , which are all endemic to Sao Paulo state and Southern Brazil not to mention critically endangered (and vulnerable in the case of the buffy tufted marmoset) , how can space that could be available for ex-situ colonies of these species be justifiably dedicated instead to African, Asian or Madagascan primate species (even if they are endangered or in need of conservation attention) such as ring tailed lemur , chimpanzees , macaques or mandrill ?

    To my mind it simply can't , ideally we should be dedicating all our funding and space, energy and effort to conserving ex-situ native species. If zoos are arks , then our zoos must be arks for native species that in Sao Paulo state are disappearing in our immediate environment , anything else is a luxury ill afforded. European or North American zoological collections which are in better straits financially and that have no native primate species of their own can focus on exotic primates.
     
    Last edited: 4 Oct 2019
  2. zoomaniac

    zoomaniac Well-Known Member

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    That's why I wrote SOME tamarin species (doesn't the golden HEADED lion tamarin also belong to that succesfull story?) AND that it depends on each case, whether or not a native species should be priorized.

    Another point came up: Diseases. Spreading an ex-situ-species to many zoos in the world as possible reduces also the risk that a disease can eliminate captive population or at least bloodlines.

    With a GENERAL stop of keeping exotic species in latin american zoos, we not only give away valuable space that could be used for them but also act like the old colonialists ("Herrenmenschen") by saying that people there are not allowed to see living elephants or rhinos while we in Europe or North America are. Look at the reactions from many Brazilians, when European and North American politicians and environmentalist told them not to burn the amazonian rainforest ("Even when you're right, you don't have to tell us what we can do in our country").

    PS: Is it proven that the barbary monkey/magot isn't an European native species too?
     
  3. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Interesting reply indeed , and you raised some interesting points.

    In the case of the golden headed lion , yes, it could also be considered that there have been some successful developments in its conservation. However, it would be very premature to conclude (I'm not saying you did , just in general) that it is out of trouble as only 2% of the Atlantic rainforest remains in the Bahia region. As for the other two Leontopithecus species , the superagui lion tamarin and the black lion tamarin that I already mentioned , there have been some moderate successes but they are still in dire straits.

    Yes , that is true about diseases and zoonoses but I'm not sure how that relates to what we are discussing. Do you mean in the sense that more Brazilian species should be held ex situ in Europe and North America ?

    If that was what you were suggesting then theoretically , yes , but with species like the muriqui it would be very risky as they are highly stressed and could die in transit and have very specialized diets that would likely be exceedingly hard to replicate in zoos. Furthermore, little is known about the captive requirements of some of the lesser known species so Brazilian zoos have to lay groundwork in terms of research into this first. Then of course there are mountains of bureaucratic hurdles to jump through in order to achieve that which would conceivably (considering the bureaucratic organizational cultures of Latin America) take decades.

    I'm not sure what "space" you are referring to but I'm sure there is more than enough space in Europe and North America and that it ultimately would be no real loss of precious space if zoos across Latin America began to phase out keeping elephants , rhinos , lions , tigers or giraffes and other such megafauna. Also , consider the point that many collections in Europe and North America themselves are now phasing out these animals due to them not being suitable species for captivity or current zoo conditions in regards to welfare.

    I'm not sure about the colonialism thing , as I am suggesting that this trend is coming from within the Latin American zoo world itself rather than being imposed from outside and it is a conversation that is happening in Brazil , Argentina, Mexico, Colombia , Costa Rica to name but a few. No one is saying that these animals should not be kept but questioning rather whether it is necessary to keep them given the economic, spatial and conservation costs involved , the welfare issues, and the lack of any obvious benefit other than people in the region being able to see exotics.

    Another point I would like to make is that to many Brazilian people species found within the borders of the country are in themselves considered to be "exotic". Brazil is a huge country and the fauna varied so animals are considerably different from Pernambuco to Rio Grande du sol or Rio to Sao Paulo , from the Amazon to the caatinga, from the Cerrado to the Atlantic rainforest or the Pantanal.

    Kind of a bit off topic but yes , well , the irony is that Bolsonaro invoked colonialism when it came to being criticised by environmentalists but that is more a shrewd and cunning political manoevre rather than a statement with any credibility. Consider his actions, he is usually rather vocal about his admiration of the history of European colonialism and North American neo-colonialism so he really shouldn't be considered a credible voice at all and especially considering a great many Brazilians themselves hate and condemn what is being done in the Amazon.

    I have absolutely no idea about the Barbary macaque , whether it is truly to be considered a Eurasian species, or why you mentioned it.
     
    Last edited: 4 Oct 2019
  4. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Also as a philosophical aside (I'm not saying I believe this , but just to follow this tangent and to explore this idea philosophically) with regards to the topic of zoos and colonialism , might it not be said that the concept of a zoo itself is a result of colonialism ?

    For example , the only thing resembling a zoo in the Americas prior to the arrival of European colonizers was the menajerie of Moctezuma , the Emperor of the Aztecs , and that consisted of a collection of native species from Mexico and Central America. In Pre-Colombian Brazil the only thing that would resemble a zoo (and very tenuously) would be the many tame wild animal pets that were (and are still in some cases) kept within indigenous villages like tapir, peccary , monkeys , parrots and guan / currosaw. Another example would be in Tupi-Guarani indigenous settlements in Amazonia where it is a cultural tradition for some tribes to keep for decades a caged (Inside enclosures that are made out of logs) harpy eagle for religious and spiritual reasons.

    The arrival of the menajerie as a collection of exotic species for display to the public really only (for obvious reasons) occured during the colonial periods of the Viceroyalty of Spain in hispanic Latin America and the Portuguese monarchy in Brazil when a few creatures obtained as diplomatic gifts or through trade like lions , tigers and elephants were put on display in some capital cities.
     
    Last edited: 4 Oct 2019
  5. zoomaniac

    zoomaniac Well-Known Member

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    Okay, a lot of reply. Hope I can keep the answers short with my limited English skills.

    - Ref. tamarins:
    Of course, breeding is only one issue to protect a species. So yes, the problem with the shrinking habitat is still there and so they're not out of trouble. However, this problem must be solved wheter or not latin zoos concentrate on native species only (Personally, I think it is very doubtful, that the money they safe because phasing out exotics will be used for reafforestation).

    - Ref. diseases:
    What I meant what that latin american zoos COULD be a part of the "assurance-system" that in case of a disease (and possible elimination of an ex-situ-population of a species) on other continents, latin american zoos can help to avoid the extinction of an exotic species (or a bloodline) by keeping and breeding them. However - thanks for the idea - it is valid for the other way too: Maybe Brazilian zoos should also send breeding groups of those endangered monkeys you mentioned to establish another ex-situ population in zoos at other continents - as soon as it is possible. Also, phasing out South American primate species that are NOT endangered COULD (also) be a solution then (if necessary) - for European as well as for latin american zoos.

    - Ref. space:
    The space that IS and COULD BE used for exotic megafauna in latin american zoos. Look how many European zoos desperatly looking for a good "accommodation" for individuals or even groups of species that are endangered in the wild, because lack of space on their own grounds. A circumstance that often leads in a breeding stop because some countries do not allow killing surplus animals only because they are no longer valuable for a breeding programm.

    - Ref. colonialism thing:
    Agree that it is different when the intension to phase out exotics comes from the latin american zoos itself. However, I'm not agree with some other points. First, concentrate on native animals doesn't automatically mean that there will be less costs! No, looking at the animal welfare issue, exhibits in latin american zoos must be modernized/upgraded anyway - no matter what the origin of the kept animal species is.
    And considering the costs I would say that it is cheaper to built an at least decent exhibit mostly for an exotic megafauna species IN GENERAL because a. the land is cheaper, b. salaries are lower, c. material is cheaper and d. expensive indoor buildings like in temperate areas of Europe or North America are not necessary in the majority of latin american zoos.

    -Ref. Bolsonaro:
    Of course that is/was a political manoevre, but he so reached many Brazilians that feel patronized now.

    -Ref Barbary macaque:
    I asked because you wrote that Europe has "no native primate species".
     
    Last edited: 4 Oct 2019
  6. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    On the topic of tamarins , I agree it is very doubtful that money from zoos could be used for reforestation / planting of habitat corridors etc. as municipal zoos struggle meeting their own costs of maintenance already given the cuts to public spending by the Bolsonaro administration. Out of necessity it is Conservation NGO's whether national or international that are the ones who must focus and fund in-situ programes like the ones you mentioned. However, Brazilian zoos can and do play a vital supporting role in both in-situ and ex-situ research for endangered primate species such as tamarins and marmosets.

    I see what you mean , but do you really think that this could be achieved in Latin America better than say a zoo in Europe , North America or Australia ? Personally , I think European and North American zoos have a far greater expertise in this matter of keeping and maintaining bloodlines of African and Asian species like white rhino , gorillas , African elephants etc. I am also highly doubtful if Latin American institutions could play anything other than a very marginal and unimportant supporting role in this kind of thing.

    I have mixed feelings about the phasing out of South American primates in Latin American zoos (I dont really have an opinion about the same within zoos located outside the region) which are not endangered. Yes, it makes sense that for a example an enclosure of squirrel monkeys be considered of less importance than one holding a group of muriqui , perfect sense in fact. But don't the squirrel monkeys also have an educational value for visitors to see the primate biodiversity of their region ? Many common Amazonian primates are never seen by members of the public in Southern Brazil who very rarely travel further North than Rio da Janiero or Brasilia. Moreover, many of these native primate species have been brought to zoos injured by members of the public or rescued from the illegal pet trade. This is for example the circumstances in which pretty much all the howler and capuchin monkeys kept at Sorocaba zoo in Sao Paulo state (except the crested capuchins) came from. So I would argue that there is both a duty of care towards these animals and an educational value for visitors to see and learn about them.

    Similarly (and this is roughly speaking related and relevant to what we are discussing) I think there is a place and stronger argument for mammals and birds of other South American countries outside of Brazil to be kept on display within Brazilian zoological institutions and prioritized over more exotic species of Africa, Asia and Australasia. There are several reasons why I can see that this is a good idea , the first being the educational value that say a spectacled bear ,vicuña , guanaco, pudu, Andean condor, cock of the rock or cotton top tamarin has for visitors to learn about the wider fauna of their continent. As I've already mentioned knowledge of Brazilian species let alone those from other countries in the South American continent is typically very low among the visiting general public.

    The second would follow lines similar to what you said about maintaining blood lines and genetic stock ex-situ because particularly in the case of species such as the spectacled bear it is likely that South American zoos will have to play an even greater role in their ex situ conservation as the impacts of climate change and habitat loss create an ever certain extinction vortex for the species.

    Totally agree that Latin American zoos must be modernized and upgraded , although as I have mentioned before, the problem and fault often doesn't lie with the zoo administration itself (A great many zoos in LA are managed by federal or municipal governments) but with wider political administrations that cut public spending and lack the political and economic will to invest in these kind of changes.

    Also I would differ in my approach in the sense that part of the upgrading / modernization process would be to phase out (gradually , not through culling or euthanasia) exotics.

    Yes, that is very true that costs are lower for things such as shelters and heating due to the warmer climates for the housing of exotic species, however, with climate change I believe that this will very likely change even in colder areas of Europe :(.
     
    Last edited: 5 Oct 2019
  7. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I know that there are Barbary macaque monkeys present on the island of Gibraltar but these were brought over by British sailors were they not ? So I would assume that this species would be no more part of the native local faunal assemblage/ biota than muntjac deer , wallabies or ring necked parakeets are in the United Kingdom or racoons and coypyu are in Germany.
     
  8. zoomaniac

    zoomaniac Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure about that point either. In literature, I found quotes/messages of scientists, saying that the Barbary macaques at the PENINSULA of Gibraltar are ALL introduced and other saying that there was at least a (small) stock ever. So I just wonder if the former is proven/valid now.