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Pros and Cons of AZA

Discussion in 'North America - General' started by Neil chace, 5 Feb 2021.

  1. Neil chace

    Neil chace Well-Known Member

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    While reading various threads on this forum, I have seen zoochatters both criticize and compliment the AZA and its role in the zoo community. I want to know what zoochatters think of the AZA. Do you think it helps zoos? Or hurts them? If you don't like the AZA, what changes would need to be made for you to think otherwise?
     
  2. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I don't know enough about it to be critical, but from what I gather it seems to lack the unity , planning and long-term vision of EAZA.

    I feel that there is a necessity for accrediting organization for US zoos which ensures that they are pulling their weight in terms of meeting standards of decent husbandry, ex-situ conservation, support for in-situ conservation and education of visitors.

    So I feel that even with its imperfections and flaws US zoos are certainly better with AZA then they would be without this association.
     
  3. Neil chace

    Neil chace Well-Known Member

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    I'm not very familiar with the EAZA, as I've never been to Europe and haven't researched European zoos, but I tend to agree that the AZA, or some accrediting body is a necessity for American zoos.
     
  4. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    What is your own opinion on AZA Neil ?
     
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  5. Neil chace

    Neil chace Well-Known Member

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    I'm generally supportive of it, however have lately been feeling more frustrating with some of its policies- particularly what species it chooses to phase in/out that don't necessarily match conservation priorities. I also feel that the AZA standards have in recent years become too restrictive on small zoos, and wish they were more accommodating to smaller institutions.
     
  6. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    I see, interesting perspective.

    What phase out species in particular ?
     
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  7. Neil chace

    Neil chace Well-Known Member

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    A lot of Hoofstock species, lion-tailed macaques, some of the small cat species, etc.
     
  8. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Curious about the lion tailed macaque, this is an endangered species, there are many primate species in US zoos that strike me as being good candidates for being phased out and replaced but the lion tailed macaque is not one of these.
     
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  9. Neil chace

    Neil chace Well-Known Member

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    This specific species was phased out for two reasons-
    1. Europe had a better program.
    2. The Herpes virus has been a major problem in the US population.
     
  10. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Interesting, and do you know what species the AZA intend to replace the macaque with ?
     
  11. Neil chace

    Neil chace Well-Known Member

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    I don't think there's a specific species they plan to replace them with, more so up to the zoos to decide what to do with the Exhibits. Its not like many AZA zoos keep them anyways.
     
  12. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    The AZA is phasing out all other macaque species in favor of Japanese.
     
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  13. The Cassowary

    The Cassowary Well-Known Member

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    Why? The Japanese macaque is considered Least Concern. Wouldn’t it make more sense to focus on a more threatened species?
     
  14. Neil chace

    Neil chace Well-Known Member

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    This definitely shows why I question some of the AZA phase out decisions. Keeping Japanese Macaques makes sense for places like Central Park Zoo or Lincoln Park Zoo that couldn't accommodate other macaques due to weather, but zoos in the Southern parts of the US should be keeping an endangered Macaque species, not japanese. Unfortunately, this is not the only case of the less endangered species being the more commonly kept one in captivity.
     
  15. Neil chace

    Neil chace Well-Known Member

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    For instance, the oncilla is vulnerable- why isn't this species chosen over the least concern ocelot?
     
  16. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Lion-tailed macaques are not being phased out on purpose, they are dying out because the population is post-reproductive. The herpesvirus that lion-tailed macaques carry is not "a major problem", it is endemic and generally benign in several species of Old World macaques. It is very dangerous to humans if contracted, but the few instances of this occurring have been in research labs; zoos can and do mitigate the risk through proper barriers and sanitation protocols. However, a combination of fear about the herpesvirus and changes to exhibit planning in previous decades led to a slowdown in breeding that caused a total collapse in the population's reproductive capacity; that is why they are post-reproductive now, not because of a conscious top-down decision.

    The vast majority of species that are phased out were not viable to begin with. Very few species are phased in because there is limited space for them and because it requires individual zoos to expend resources acquiring them and gaining husbandry experience. In any case - as is stated often on this site - you can prioritize conservation in ways that doesn't involve replacing common species with endangered ones.

    Not when the Japanese Macaque is the only macaque species that is widespread on the continent, has a healthy breeding population, and is uniquely suited to cold-weather zoos.

    Very few (if any) AZA zoos in the southern half of the US keep Japanese Macaque; most of them don't keep any species of macaque nowadays.

    Because there are aren't any oncillas to replace the ocelots with :p

    As a general rule, the answer to "Why do American zoos keep the more common _ instead of the rarer _?" is "because that's what they already have." Generally speaking, species that are already well-established in American zoos are prioritized for management, species that aren't viable or aren't in American zoos are not. This is all on a case-by-case basis; a lot of factors go into choosing what species to work with, it is not just a matter of which one is more threatened (although that is one factor taken into account).

    This is an area where I too wonder if there is something for them to re-evaluate. The membership dues can be a burden on smaller facilities, and some of the newer standards - such as being required to have a full-time veterinarian - are not financially feasible for some facilities and may not be necessary to maintain proper animal care. I've also noticed that in recent years smaller zoos have been denied re-accreditation based on "outdated enclosures", despite larger zoos with very similar types of enclosures being re-accredited without issue. I'm not sure if this is bias or genuine differences I don't know about, but I find it a concerning trend.
     
  17. Neil chace

    Neil chace Well-Known Member

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    One of the other things hurting small zoos is that the AZA has been streamlining their husbandry standards. In the past, smaller zoos could get away with keeping non-breeding, geriatric animals in smaller enclosures than would be necessary to breed, but this is no longer the case. If a small zoo wanted to keep a non-breeding pair of lions, for instance, they would now need to have a 10,000 square foot exhibit- as opposed to a 3,000 square foot Exhibit that would have been acceptable just a few years ago. I do know that lions, tigers, and bears isn't everything for a zoo, but it does make a significant attendance difference if these animals are present.
     
  18. PossumRoach

    PossumRoach Well-Known Member

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    A great portion of my respect towards the AZA was when they had the head of the HSUS in their conference. Being for excelling animal welfare is something, but working with what is basically a smarter PETA in suits which did display its opposition to zoos (before they removed their statement from its website) is concerning.
     
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  19. Neil chace

    Neil chace Well-Known Member

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    That's terrible! I do think the AZA has been too animal rights friendly since Dan Ashe took over- such as working with PETA on the Big Cat Public Safety Act. Here's a good article I found on the issue. HSUS—AZA: Golden Bridge to Zoo Obsolescence
     
    Last edited: 6 Feb 2021
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  20. PossumRoach

    PossumRoach Well-Known Member

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    Like I am not surprised about AZA being anti exotic pet. But working with PETA, an organization which has been attacking its members, over this is self destructive in the long term.

    Speaking of exotic pets, I also lost some respect considering how they still have use "animal ambassadors" in harnesses while lecturing the public that exotic mammals are not pets or the like.