Join our zoo community

San Diego Zoo Safari Park Platypus...

Discussion in 'United States' started by Chlidonias, 17 Aug 2017.

  1. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    20,292
    Location:
    everywhere
    Just throwing this out there for the Americans....

    Paperwork holds up platypus exchange

    23 May 2017

    A deal to send two platypus from Taronga Zoo to San Diego is yet to receive the tick of approval from federal environment department officials.

    The transfer of a pair of platypus to the United States is being held up by bureaucratic red tape or at least lack of it.


    Sydney's Taronga Zoo reached an agreement with San Diego Zoo to exchange some platypus and African Okapi in February.


    But federal environment department officials have revealed there are no rules governing the export of the unique Australian egg-laying mammal.


    "As far as I know, platypus have not been exported for many, many decades so there's no records of platypus being exported under our current regulatory regime," wildlife trade official Paul Murphy told a Senate committee in Canberra on Tuesday.


    "There is an indication on the internet of an export to a New York zoo, I think, but that as I said was many decades ago."


    Taronga was drafting conditions for overseas transfer which it would submit to the department for approval.


    Mr Murphy doesn't know yet if it would require the platypus to return to Australia at some point in the future.


    It was unlikely the animals would be sent to San Diego on a lease arrangement - as is the case with all pandas exhibited outside of China - meaning the American zoo would keep the money it made from exhibiting the platypus.


    Mr Murphy said the panda leases were an unusual arrangement, with most zoo exchanges done on a kind of barter system.


    The San Diego Zoo had promised to invest in a platypus conservation project in Australia, he said.



    I only came across it accidentally - I'm surprised it hadn't been picked up on Zoochat earlier.
     
  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    20,292
    Location:
    everywhere
    Platypus export plan denounced by Humane Society International

    5 June 2017

    Humane Society International has written to Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg urging him to reject a controversial plan to export platypus from Taronga Zoo to San Diego Zoo in exchange for an African Okapi due to the risk to the Australian creature’s survival.


    Humane Society International is calling on the Minister to instead prioritise the conservation of the species in the wild at home in Australia, where it is clear the species faces a multitude of threats including habitat loss, drought, and drowning in fishing nets in the waterways they inhabit.


    “There has in effect been an unwritten policy in operation for decades which has ensured that no platypus exports have occurred in Australia. This has been based on the premise that it is far too risky for the individual animals’ survival to send them to overseas zoos, and that there is absolutely no conservation benefit from stocking overseas zoos with the animal,” said Evan Quartermain, Senior Program Manager at Humane Society International.


    A platypus hasn’t been exported from Australia since 1958, when three were shipped to Bronx Zoo, New York. All died within 9 months. Minister Frydenberg has to accept or reject the export plan through a formal process under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 but has already spoken in favour of the export publicly.


    It was revealed in Senate Estimates in February this year that San Diego Zoo had announced it would be investing half a million dollars into a platypus conservation project under the auspices of Australia’s Threatened Species Strategy.


    “Such a ‘species export for cash deal’ is both a dangerous precedent and totally unacceptable to Humane Society International, and the Australian public. Past attempts to export platypus have failed due to the strong public backlash against shipping one of our beloved Australian icons overseas.


    “The conservation status of the platypus in Australia is deteriorating rapidly. Instead of shipping platypus overseas, Humane Society International recommends the Minister prioritise an urgent review of the species’ legal protection and whether it should be protected as a nationally threatened species,” continued Mr Quartermain.


    1994 was the last time that Taronga Zoo, then in partnership with Uneo Zoo, proposed exporting live platypus to Tokyo Expo in Japan for a short-term loan. This issue caused such a public furore and intense media interest that the New South Wales and Commonwealth Governments backed down from the proposed transaction.
     
    d1am0ndback likes this.
  3. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    20,292
    Location:
    everywhere
    http://fairfieldcanoeclub.org.au/kayak/sites/default/files/E PNV 68.pdf

    Australia is currently the only country where one can see a platypus, either in the wild or in a zoo. However, that situation could soon change if a permit is provided that allows a male and female to be sent from Taronga Zoo in Sydney to San Diego Zoo in California. As of 22 May, this matter was still being debated by a Senate committee. Is it time for platypus exports from Australia to commence?

    There is very little historical precedent for platypus to be successfully transported and displayed overseas, though all three of the platypus taken to an American zoo by David Fleay in 1947 survived the trip and two of these animals remained on display for 10 years. However, Fleay’s subsequent attempt to replace this pair was less successful when a male and two females died soon after being flown from Queensland to New York in 1958. No one has since tried to transfer a platypus legally to an overseas zoo.

    Transport capabilities have of course improved dramatically since platypus were last taken overseas by plane in 1958, requiring a five day trip from Queensland to New York City with intervening stops at Sydney, Canton Island, Fiji, Honolulu and Los Angeles. While recognising that unforeseen problems can always occur, there is every reason to believe that a captive-bred pair of platypus should be able to be moved successfully from Sydney to San Diego.

    In addition, platypus husbandry in Australian zoos has improved substantially in recent
    decades. Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria has been generating captive-bred juveniles with considerable reliability since 1998 and Taronga Zoo has also had some breeding success in the last 20 years. Some second-generation captive breeding (i.e. from parents that were themselves bred in captivity) has also occurred. As a result, the collective physical capacity of Australian zoos to maintain platypus in captive enclosures now appears to be more or less saturated. There is also no clear conservation imperative for releasing zoo-bred platypus to the wild; at best, this would entail a considerable degree of increased stress and risk for animals that have grown up in a captive setting.

    In the mid-1990s, the Australian government declared that no platypus exports to foreign zoos would be allowed until a self-sustaining captive population had been established. Given the facts outlined above, there’s no compelling reason why a permit should not now be granted to allow surplus captive-bred (second-generation) animals to be exported to San Diego Zoo and potentially other institutions. As part of the deal, any facility receiving animals should obviously be required to make a genuine commitment both to breed the species in its own right, and to contribute in some capacity to addressing broader platypus conservation issues.
     
  4. Nisha

    Nisha Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    24 Jun 2009
    Posts:
    6,234
    Location:
    UK
    Did nobody else pick up on the words "Taronga" and "Okapi"? :D
     
  5. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Nov 2015
    Posts:
    2,533
    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    Very interesting, and odd (as you mention) that it slipped under the radar here. I once found a document that implied the San Diego Zoo was attempting to acquire quokka as well, back in 2014, but no mention here. It would be very interesting if this succeeds.
     
  6. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    20,292
    Location:
    everywhere
    already being discussed here: Taronga Zoo - African Savannah and Congo Forest development plans

    Basically (as I said in the Taronga thread), it seems like Taronga and San Diego hatched out an exchange plan involving two species for which neither species has any current Australian legislations for exporting/importing.

    For platypus and San Diego, I'd suggest Americans have their fingers crossed but definitely don't start saving for plane tickets to San Diego yet.
     
    Last edited: 17 Aug 2017
    Kifaru Bwana likes this.
  7. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    4,180
    Location:
    California, USA
    San Diego has no exhibit remotely suitable for a platypus. This whole thing seems odd. It may be that they intend to keep them behind the scenes and never put them on exhibit as they have with their tuataras and dholes. If that is the case one has to wonder what the whole point of this is.
     
  8. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    20,292
    Location:
    everywhere
    an exhibit would have to be purpose-built, so the zoo not having an existing exhibit isn't a relevant factor.
     
  9. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    4,180
    Location:
    California, USA
    From the paperwork that you found it sounds like their plans to bring in platypus are imminent. Certainly having an adequate physical facility would be a prerequisite for bringing in the species.
    Maybe this is all long-term planning. Or maybe it is a legalistic pipe-dream. In any case, it is surprising news.
     
  10. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Nov 2015
    Posts:
    2,533
    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    They could go in the Safari Park's upcoming Australian exhibit.
     
  11. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    20,292
    Location:
    everywhere
    yes, what I meant was that there being no exhibit now doesn't mean much. They will need an appropriate enclosure before they import them - but as it is only a plan between the two zoos at this stage they would be silly to go ahead and build a platypus exhibit based on simply hoping that permission will be granted for an export from Australia. The likelihood is that they would then be left with a purpose-built platypus enclosure and nothing to put in it.
     
    Arizona Docent and d1am0ndback like this.
  12. pachyderm pro

    pachyderm pro Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Aug 2016
    Posts:
    1,730
    Location:
    The City of Big Shoulders
    Well do to the recent success of the Tasmanian devil import a few years back, this doesn't seem too crazy. If they actually pull this off though, I will be amazed and will be on the next flight to California... Oh who am I kidding, I'm still going even if they don't pull it off ;).
     
  13. reduakari

    reduakari Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 Mar 2008
    Posts:
    974
    Location:
    berkeley california USA
    As has already happened in the "Kingdoms of the Night" complex at Omaha--which settled for water rats and small freshies instead.
     
    Wyman and Chlidonias like this.
  14. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    20,292
    Location:
    everywhere
    I've been digging around on the internet, and I think I worked out the way this story came about (because I don't think either Taronga or San Diego would ever have released it, given that it is little more than a decision between them to try and get permission). So, as I sort of alluded to earlier, it is definitely not a done-deal.

    The initial comments came from Australia's Minister of the Environment Josh Frydenberg who mentioned it, almost in passing, on his website in February while promoting the launch of a Threatened Species Prospectus in Sydney. All he said was "It was also terrific to learn of the special proposal between two of the world’s great zoos – our very own Taronga Zoo and San Diego Zoo to exchange two remarkable animals – the Australian platypus and the African Okapi. The proposal will, of course, be subject to Australia’s strict regulatory processes that protect our biosecurity and our native animals’ welfare." (Welcome to Josh Frydenberg's Website)

    This was picked up and questioned in the Senate Estimates. And then that is from where the Humane Society picked it up (the second post in this thread).
    Estimates: Environment and Communications Legislation Committee: Environment and Energy Portfolio: Director of National Parks

    CHAIR: Senator Rhiannon, you had a quick question.


    Senator RHIANNON: Yes. It is about platypuses possibly being exported. Are there plans to export platypus from Taronga Zoo to San Diego Zoo?


    Mr Andrews : I can answer that question. I should be very clear that the Australian government does not have plans to export platypus, however, Taronga Zoo and San Diego Zoo, which are two of the best zoos in the world, do have a species exchange proposal. Minister Frydenberg mentioned that when he was launching a threatened species strategy prospectus. I can give you his exact words. He said, 'I'm proud to have two of the world's great zoos—our very own Taronga Zoo and the San Diego Zoo—here as partners in the prospectus, and I'm delighted to learn of their proposal to exchange two remarkable animals: the Australian platypus and the African okapi. He then said, 'Of course'—and he was actually quite emphatic about this too in his speech at the launch—'this exchange will be subject to assessment against Australia's strict regulatory processes that protect our biosecurity and our animals' wellbeing.'


    If I could give you some background on the proposal: San Diego Zoo and Taronga Zoo both turn 100 this year. San Diego Zoo was the first zoo in the world to get koalas—they have had koalas since the 1920s, I believe. They have four Tasmanian devils at the moment. In return for displaying those devils and educating seven times Tasmania's population every year in San Diego about the Tasmanian devil and the plight of the facial tumour disease, San Diego Zoo is investing half a million dollars in Tasmanian devil science back here in Australia. The US zoos invest $200 million a year in threatened species conservation. Zoos play an integral role not only for critically endangered species but also in educating the public about the loss of biodiversity and the importance of saving species and fighting extinction.


    Under the Threatened Species Strategy prospectus, I have been working with San Diego Zoo and Taronga Zoo. Two platypuses are proposed to go from Taronga Zoo to San Diego Zoo.


    CHAIR: Mr Andrews, I am sorry to interrupt, but we are starting to run out of time a little bit. Would you mind tabling some of that information, because it is fantastic information. But we might need to just bring it down because, in this program, Senator Rhiannon and also Senator Urquhart have some more questions.


    Mr Andrews : Sorry, Senator.


    CHAIR: No, please do not apologise.


    Senator RHIANNON: It would help me with further questions, which I can probably put on notice, to understand if Taronga Zoo can just do this on its own. What do they have to do to get this approval? You are probably aware that it is quite a controversial area, and it is often called 'native animal diplomacy'. There was a platypus called Winston that actually died when it was about to be given to Winston Churchill. It was about diplomacy; it was not about protecting the animals.


    Mr Andrews : I can definitely help you with that. Exchanging animals, I should say, is BAU. For examples, China has all of the giant pandas that are overseas on novated leases. The zoos that have them, like Adelaide Zoo, have to pay a lease fee, have to send the panda back with the utmost of care at the end of the lease and have to look after the panda. All the money from the novated leases goes into conservation back in the wild in situ. That is one of the reasons the giant panda recently has been down listed and is not as threatened as it used to be. As long as our animals' welfare is put at the highest level, which zoos like Taronga Zoo and San Diego Zoo do, Australia's regulations and the regulatory requirements of our department and also the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources are met and that the regulations in the EPBC Act oblige our department to advise the minister before he makes a decision to ensure that the transport of the animals is done with the utmost care and also that the animal's care at their new home is equally good then exchanging animals can be about protecting the animals.


    Senator RHIANNON: So it is the minister who gives the final decision?


    Mr Andrews : Correct. The people at San Diego Zoo love the Tasmanian devils so much that they actually gave one of them, Bradley, a pacemaker, so I can assure you that it is one of the best zoos in the world and no zoo would take platypuses from the wild. These are platypuses that are bred in captivity and—


    Senator RHIANNON: Is it true, also, that they do not go back—


    CHAIR: Sorry, Senator Rhiannon. Can I just remind you, Mr Andrews, that we are coming up against the tea break, so could you just keep it a little bit shorter so Senator Rhiannon can get her questions in.


    Mr Knudson : If I can just add to that, what we can do is provide on notice what the regulatory requirements are for the approval and what the process is for that.
     
    Kifaru Bwana likes this.
  15. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18 Jun 2011
    Posts:
    1,972
    Location:
    London, UK
    I suppose one of the problems is that an exchange plan can be hatched out for a platypus, but not for an okapi.
     
    zooboy28 and MRJ like this.
  16. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    6,474
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    If San Diego can (potentially) import two platypus, why can't they import one or two marbled cats? :eek: :p
     
    grandelover1 and Wyman like this.
  17. grandelover1

    grandelover1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    22 May 2017
    Posts:
    220
    Location:
    United States
    Or even Rusty Spotted Cat
     
    Arizona Docent likes this.
  18. The_UltimateBea

    The_UltimateBea Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    16 Oct 2016
    Posts:
    278
    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    A koala keeper just told me that if the zoo does decide to go forth with the platypus move, it will go to the safari park.
     
  19. pachyderm pro

    pachyderm pro Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Aug 2016
    Posts:
    1,730
    Location:
    The City of Big Shoulders
    That makes sense with the new Australian exhibit opening next year.
     
    Arizona Docent likes this.
  20. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    6,474
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    This would make a really nice addition to the Australia project and would give some people reason to visit the Safari Park, which receives a lot less visitors than the zoo.