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ZSL London Zoo Southern Tamandua Nowhere to Sleep

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by socialjustice, 17 Jul 2010.

  1. socialjustice

    socialjustice Active Member

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    The Southern Tamandua in ZSL London Zoo Clore Rainforest enjoyed sleeping most part of the daytime in a nice dark box. Keepers later installed a plastic perspex window in the box which became dirty and scratched resulting in the Tamandua hardly being seen by everyone except any of the curious Golden-Headed Lion Tamarins or the Emperor Tamarins.

    It was a rare and felt like a great privilege to see the Tamandua out and about during the day.

    Orders came from on high that the Tamandua should start earning her keep and start performing for the paying general public. A few days ago, they replaced her old sleeping/home box with an open plan (open to viewing public) box. She did not like being made homeless, so she made her way to one of the old blocked up boxes and used her powerful claws to pull away the branches blocking the hole entrance and more. Thus she was able to gain entry head first with her tail showing last. Then turning her body around, she popped her nose through the entrance, saying .....

    “Southern Tamandua 1 Zoo Management 0”

    before going back to sleep.

    A little side story: in the two old blocked up boxes the sloths used to go to sleep in these and again hardly be seen. Sometimes, the Southern Tamandua would go into the box and not be able to get out as one of the sloths would sleep above her. Thus trapping her!

    Today, Zoo Management has taken drastic action by cutting the front entrance of remaining two old boxes so they are as open planned as her new box.
    I saw her trying to hide her head at the bottom of the box (a bit like a nightshift worker, trying to hide their heads under their pillow to get some sleep away from the daytime brightness but to no available.

    She looked very frustrated in that she could not find a dark hole to sleep in and this resulted in her leaving the enclosure and walking the surrounding pathway and climbing up above the pathway in search of an elusive dark hole.

    “Southern Tamandua 1 Zoo Management 2”

    What I know about them is only from the internet so I shall quote from the internet:
    “The tamandua is mainly nocturnal but is occasionally active during the day. They are Nocturnal, crepuscular, or diurnal. It is thought to nest during the day in hollow tree trunks or in the burrows of other animals. These animals are solitary.”
    From this I get the sense they like a bit of piece and quiet during the day. I could be wrong so please correct me if I am wrong.

    I wonder whether she will dig her own hole in the ground although I understand they prefer to go inside ready made holes and go to sleep.

    My cat likes to sleep during the day and go out clubbing at night (who knows what he gets up to when he goes out). I would never dream of restricting where and what time he sleeps and how late he stays out. I could do but I don’t think he would be a happy cat.

    I do not like what they have done. I think they are putting the viewing public needs above that of this creature needs and putting her under too much undue stress.
    :confused:
    I have no qualification in Zoology or related subjects.
    What do you think? I’m I wrong? Maybe I am.
     
  2. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    This is such a great thread. Observing the tamandua at my local zoo, I know what it's like. Part of me is torn. If it's advertised with signs that there is a Tamandua, then people will probably want to see it. It's one of those rare animals that not every zoo has. Of course there's always the understanding there's no guarantee you'll see all the animals due to circumstances. I'm always a little sad when I don't see the tamandua at my zoo, but knowing he's a nocturnal animal, I understand the situation. Most of the time they leave his door open to off exhibit so he can go back and forth. Once I saw him out with his door shut so he was forced to stay on exhibit. I felt bad because he looked like he was panting -- not surprised if there was air conditioning in his off exhibit room and he grew accustomed to it.

    I may be lucky because my local tamandua doesn't always sleep during the day. I've never really been able to pinpoint his most active time of day, but there are times where he's climbing all over the place and it's a real treat! And people love to see him as most don't know what he is and they all try to figure it out. I think it's difficult for zoos to have nocturnal animals. They are either hiding or sleeping during the day (though I'm not sure if they're more active in dark lit nocturnal exhibits). Above all, I don't think it's right to cause the animals stress to please people. I almost wish they tried this out when she first came so she was accustomed to not having hiding places. But most likely she found them on her own and you can't stop that.

    I wonder if they could find a compromise. Find her most active time, if at all, during the day where she's already out and about and have that box out then. But during times where she's sleeping, they can put out her old box so she can not be so stressed out. Or maybe have a corner of the exhibit dimly lit. I know we have bushes for our tamandua to hid in, and sometimes you're able to spot him. And during the winter time it's not so much foliage so it's easier to spot him. By summer it's hard, but they might as well give him a break if he likes to hide.

    So to sum it up -- I think for some part of the day it would be nice to have the tamandua visible for guests. But they need to come up with a better solution to cause her less stress. Sounds like they are trying to find some alternatives, but they aren't working yet. I too would be interested to hear other thoughts!
     
  3. socialjustice

    socialjustice Active Member

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    Further Observations

    Reading back on what I wrote, in saying "she looked very frustrated" well to be honest how can I tell as a non-expert whether an animal is frustrated especially when the Tamandua has an expressionless face.

    Instead, I shall add further observations. Since, visiting the enclousure and the few times, over 6 times, I have seen the Southern Tamandua. I have never seen her outside the enclosure and on or above the pathway. Neither have any of the volunteers or staff mentioned seeing her in this location either during visiting hours (who knows where she goes at night).

    When she was above the pathway, it is the first time in all my sightings, that she just stared/looked at me. I have only ever seen her stare/look at keepers whilst feeding her.

    I did notice that on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species that the Southern Tamandua has the lowest classification of "Least Concern".

    I would like to know, what the sleeping conditions of other Tamandua/s in other zoos are like?
     
  4. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    I may have to look at some pictures, but could someone else tell me the set up of London Zoo's rainforest? Do visitors actually walk in the exhibit with animals above them? I'm just used to a walk way and series of exhibits on your sides. Free flighted birds are the only ones who have contact with visitor areas.

    As for sleeping conditions of tamanduas. When I went to Cleveland Zoo that tamandua was sleeping in a corner when I was there mid afternoon. As for Buffalo Zoo, their tamandua mostly sleeps throughout the day or is sleeping/hiding in his off exhibit room. But he seems to have an active 20-30 minutes. Like I said, I can't pinpoint when he's active. I usually try to go there first when the zoo opens, especially during the weekends, because he's out and about. But other times I've seen his active periods in the afternoon. Although I'm glad that the Buffalo Zoo allows his privacy from guests, I did love the afternoon where he was walking and climbing all over. He was crawling upside down on branches, the top of the exhibit, etc. Many adults thought he was a sloth because of it.
     
  5. socialjustice

    socialjustice Active Member

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    Here are two videos which shows the Clore Rainforest. The videos shows the keepers working within the bio. Members of the public are not allowed within the area you see the keepers in. The public are one floor above, all around on 3 sides on a walkway with a glass/wooden/metal barrier to prevent them from falling in. The barrier have gaps.

    The whole exhibit, including the walkway is their home especially after hours. With animals coming out during hours, it just creates more policing action by staff/volunteers.

    The Southern Tamandua was only introduced during Easter 2010, therefore the videos do not show her as they were taken much earlier.



     
    Last edited by a moderator: 6 Jul 2017
  6. Jabiru96

    Jabiru96 Well-Known Member

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    Just watched it......I thought they would have more species but anyway
     
  7. Deviant*Strain

    Deviant*Strain Well-Known Member

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    This angers me to a insane degree. They might as well have put her in a clear plastic box in broad daylight and poked her until she danced. I'm sorry but this is creulty and I don't understand why the keepers allowed it to happen. A place to hide/sleep should ALWAYS be available. They're forcing a mostly nocturnal animal out during the day. It's horrible. You wouldn't make a pet animal do anything they didn't want to do, why with a zoo animal do we see this as okay? I have other issues with London Zoo, but this just makes me even more determined to never visit again.
     
  8. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide...

     
  9. Deviant*Strain

    Deviant*Strain Well-Known Member

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    Shouldn't matter. Those higher ups shouldn't be in charge of a zoo if they don't understand the basic principles of Animal Care. Surely this goes against the 5 Freedoms. The Keepers are responsible for the animals and they should make their voices heard in any form if they're against somethign a higher-up has ordered. I feel really sorry for this poor Tamandua. I hope something gets done about this.
     
  10. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    While I would be the first to criticise the ZSL management for all manner of things - wallabies on the Clore, camels in the elephant house, the absurd chasing after a new Docklands aquarium and so on and so on - I think it might be somewhat premature to be reaching for the pitchforks and sending a lynch-mob to nab them for their torture of a tamandua. Is there any empirical evidence to support the claim that the animal is being metaphorically poked in order to make it more visible? Given that London has been a zoo which has been very happy to hide its animals, it does sound rather unlikely. I would want better evidence than the word of a poster on a forum such as this before condemning the powers-that-be in Regents Park.
     
  11. socialjustice

    socialjustice Active Member

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    Latest Observations.

    These are my latest observations today, Sunday.
    The Southern Tamandua was sleeping in one of the two boxes that was cut in half and open. It was sleeping curled up with it's head tucked away towards the back of the box. The only visible part of the Tamandua's body was the fur on it's back.

    I observed that people didn't really take any notice of the sleeping Tamandua. I guess to the untrained eye the back fur of this creature doesn't really catch the eye and there is nothing interesting to see. The majority of the public were more interested in the activities of the Red Titi and the Emperor and Golden-Headed Lion Tamarins.

    So, I guess the score is ....

    Southern Tamandua 2 Zoo Management 2

    They do not poke awake any of the animals.

    I do not, and would not, advocate boycotting ZSL. They do a lot of work on Conservation via the Institute of Zoology (IoZ). ZSL Science which admittedly I know very little above.

    I do not know whether this Tamandua is under undue stress as I am not a keeper/scientist/veterinarian. I can only go on information I have found on the internet and I have not read any of the books mentioned by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Tamandua tetradactyla (Southern Tamandua, Collared Anteater, Lesser Anteater, Northern Tamandua, Tamandua)

    I could be wrong or right in my previous assumptions.
    I just hope she is not stressed out.
     
  12. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    Thinking more about it, to most people who probably don't even know what a tamandua is, not to see it is probably not a big thing. I was just thinking before how there are typical zoo guests who are like, "Well I paid good money to get in, I expect to see every animal at the zoo!" So probably the only people who might be sad not to see the tamandua would be people who knew there was one at the zoo, but hopefully they'd also understand the animal is nocturnal and needs a dark place to sleep. I hope the tamandua gets more adjusted, not that she should have to, and the zoo doesn't press anymore to make her more noticeable.
     
  13. Deviant*Strain

    Deviant*Strain Well-Known Member

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    I'm not suggesting lighting torches and finding pitchforks. I just hope the keepers do something, or at least point out the issue here. I do not believe this is very fair nor kind to this animal. She is nocturnal, wants to hide and they are forcing her out into the open. She's probably very stressed out about it all and I hope they change it soon.

    I'll avoid London for all it's worth. But Whipsnade (Which is still ZSL) I will visit. They have much larger enclosures for their animals and I've never seen any signs of stress or stereotypical behaviour at Whipsnade. I have my own issues with London (EG small enclosures, no privacy for animals etc etc) and I will not visit no matter how much good ZSL do. I'll stick to Whipsnade.
     
  14. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    I agree.
    It is astounding how much heat was generated in this thread based on partial information and speculation. If anyone was actually concerned, why haven't they made an effort to contact the zoo and ask questions?
    Keepers and docents often only have part of the story. We really know very little about what is going on here.

    @socialjustice - I am not blaming you for anything you posted. You have been very clear both about your observations and limited knowledge. It is the replies that were so willing to believe the worst without any concrete evidence or understanding of the animal management decisions being made that dishearten me.