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Species Managment in Aust.

Discussion in 'Australia' started by ZYBen, 17 Nov 2009.

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  1. ZYBen

    ZYBen Well-Known Member

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    I have thrown around a few problems here and offline that I have about the way Species Management Programs (SMP) are run in Aust (and NZ because it is ARAZPA)

    So essentially this is how I see an SMP functions

    - Animals are held in a Display Establishments and paired with genetically suitable partners, this is managed by a Studbook keeper who co-ordinates the movements and pairings. When a suitable number of offspring are produced the pair are either separated or not bred again. Offspring are sent to different facilities interested in keeping the species.

    Sounds like a great idea! and I am sure it works to a degree, but due to my involvement with the private sector I see a few problems.

    The people running the show don't seem to believe animals have any 'value' ($$$) , the market for Lions, Tigers Monkeys and just about everything is very small, but I firmly believe they do and have seen documented evidence of this, most species dont have a high dollar value but you can put a price on anything. Part and parcel of all this is ownership.

    I have always believed that any animal you have is yours, unless organised otherwise (such as breeding loans). When trading species with Zoological establishments I have organised something for down the track, or sent Animals back immediatley.

    (and now for a little whinge)

    I have been burnt however in these transactions, but never with a Non-ARAZPA member zoo. One facility I provided native fish to agreed to trade me 2 female Squirrel Gliders for the fishes. 2 years down the track I still did not have any Gliders....So I sent an e-mail to the correct person...no reply....so then to their boss....no reply... then to the director...no reply....and then to the CEO! And then I get a reply from the first one. Then after jumping through hoops I was supposed to get some Hosmers Skinks....Still no hosmers...

    (now back to ownership)

    So say a Zoo, lets call it Zoo A, purchased 2.3 Fat Tailed Dunnarts from Private Individual B :)P) for the sum of $500. Money comes in, Dunnarts go, they are provided with the info they want re:lineage, all is well in both facilities. A year down the track Zoo A decide they want to join ARAZPA, they jump through hoops and get in (don't laugh Steve) they have had sucess breeding the Dunnarts and would love to be involved with the program (I am unsure if Fat Tailed Dunnarts are a program species, its just an example) so they do, and start moving Dunnarts around the Country readily. Zoo A have spurplus Dunnarts and Private Individual B wouldn't mind buying some back, but wait, no, they are now program species and can't go. Studbook keeper decides that Zoo A have bred too many Dunnarts from their pairings so moves all the Males to another facilty, Zoo C, but those males were bred at Zoo A or purchased from Private Individual B, is the recieving zoo or ARAZPA going to reimburse Zoo A for the costs of the dunnarts, unlikley!

    Now thats a very simplified example but you get my point. ARAZPA and Gov Zoo's seem to have no concept of ownership

    Now my next point.

    Now back to Zoo A, they are asked to stop breeding the remaining pairs of Dunnarts, so they oblige. Unfortunatley Zoo C kept the Dunnarts outside, and after being raised inside, they did not cope with a harsh winter and unfortunatley they lose all the Young Males that were bred at Zoo A. Zoo A waits and waits for aproval to breed the Dunnarts again...but it never comes, they get on in age and are no longer suitable for breeding.
    No more breedings from that lineage
    Now that brings the question, Why should Zoo A stop breeding the Dunnarts, Private Individual B would still like some, as would Non-ARAZPA Zoo D, but alas, even if they did breed them, there are procedures to be followed sending program animals to Non Program Facilities, and is it really worth the trouble for Zoo A, they may not get the Animals, that they have flagged an interest for in the Regional Census for a few years, they dont want to cross ARAZPA they need Giraffe for their new Exhibit!

    So simply :
    A Member Zoo breeds a pair of animals, they breed a few and are asked to stop so they do, the facility where the young went shuts down, they die during mishaps in the liquidation (maybe through a hired consultant) and the Member Zoo's animals are no longer breeding age (breedable age). So we loose that blood line all together.

    So heres my simple fix!
    Zoo A breeds that pairing to member requirements and they are dispersed accordingly. Zoo A should then be allowed to continue to breed if they can place them, Private Individual B gets some as does Private Zoo D, and even E F and G! When Zoo's A and C lose the species atleast they can still get some! even if it is at a cost!

    I think that for a program to be run effectivley it needs to be run by people who actually make money out of it (or their respective establishments). Working in a Privatley Owned Zoo I have seen the dedication that Zoo Owners put in, and quite frankly I can't see many of our Zoo 'Big Wigs' doing it. "Thats what employees are for, my desk and Air Conditioned office is way to comfortable". If the people running it were actually getting a monetery gain from their efforts the whole program, I believe, would run better, and we may of had one extra Pygmy Hippo Cow in the program!!!

    Edit: I apologise for any spelling and gramatical errors or if i have the whole concept of an SMP wrong
     
  2. phoenix

    phoenix Well-Known Member

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    well i can understand why ARAZPA zoos would want to limit dealings with non-members. as the idea is eventually that ARAZPA member zoos have accreditation and that accreditation comes with policy to ensure animal welfare.

    of course some of australias biggest most powerful zoos are yet to receive accreditation and they also dispose or acquire animals to/from non-members when it suits.

    but the issue for me ben, is that the zoos are actually quite poor at managing many of their species safely. there is no safety net against problems. lack of space, and a reluctance to invest in more or utilise some creativity means that zoos more often than not don't have a backup surplus of animals. see if you are going to be smart about it, then you continue to breed a given pair of animals until you have multiple offspring of both sexes. that way any offspring born to an unrelated pair regardless of the sex, will be suitable as a mate and you have a backup sibling of the same sex in case any one offspring dies.

    but thats a lot of pygmy hippo and dunnarts. and right now they are more concerned with elephants and tigers.
     
  3. ZYBen

    ZYBen Well-Known Member

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    You got to my point alot quicker. :D
     
  4. Jarkari

    Jarkari Well-Known Member

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    Good reading Ben. It could be quite profitable for zoos if they were permitted to sell to non member zoos, there is nothing stopping them swapping animals freely among members. Zoos could still charge non members. The zoo could still set rules, like enclosures needing to be built and inspected before animals are bred. If a fee was charged for an animal it still limits who will be them. not all zoos can afford the $10,000 for a tiger plus whatever the enclosure and facilities cost to build. Sold animals do not need to be included in breeding programs.
     
  5. jay

    jay Well-Known Member

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    And this in fact did happen with tigers at Auckland zoo.
     
  6. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    OK well I might as well have a go at this one as well...

    First thing to say is that only a small number of species are in programs. The rest are kept, bred and disposed of at the discretions of the holding zoos. More should be but there are a lack of spaces, money and other resources to support more programs.

    That's right, and thank goodness. It is known as "free exchange" and originated in Europe in the 1960's. No market value on zoo animals means that they can be transferred where and when needed without concern that Zoo A can afford to pay Zoo B for them, or exchange something of "equal" value.

    Shocker!:) Is Zoo A going to reimburse anybody for the quolls, or devils, or spider monkeys, or whatever they received FOC? Not likely. And all they have been asked to do in return is provide a few dunnarts to other zoos. Major beneficiaries of this scheme are newer, smaller zoos who can build up significant collections without having to pay for the bulk of their animals.

    A tale of woe. And indeed you have a point - some species have been lost because they have been too closely managed. It is a balancing act. And the more spaces in a program, the more robust the program.

    Sorry it doesn't happen like that! However the point about breeding to recommendations is that the studbook keeper has somewhere to send your animals. Breed surplus and you have to house them! In most cases though, nobody would raise an objection to breeding a surplus for the private market (if such existed for that species). Actually zoos have dropped programs for most species that are commonly kept in private hands. It is much easier to source your requirements from a private breeder for, say, an Indian Ringneck Parrot, than expect another zoo to breed it for you. So the situation you describe in fact rarely occurs.

    I am sorry to hear that. I can only suggest that such deals be documented in writing, it makes it all a lot easier down the track.

    By the way, you now have to complain about the Zoo Aquarium Association - ARAZPA has just now changed it's name!
     
    Last edited: 25 Nov 2009
  7. ZYBen

    ZYBen Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your reply, and any clarification. I hope that I am wrong in many of my points so we dont lose any more species.

    A change of name, interesting, that will cost a bit in redoing evrything that has already been arazpa branded and printed. Will they be increasing fee's by $100's again to cover that ;)
     
  8. ZooPro

    ZooPro Well-Known Member

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    MRJ, THANK YOU for replying to this thread. The original post was so far off the mark, made by someone with very little knowledge of ASMP programs, and it didn't warrant the effort required to set it right. Your reply MRJ, is pretty much spot on.

    Can I suggest that if members of this forum in Australia would like to know the FACTS about species management in the region, that instead of making up what they THINK is correct, and posting it here as if it is fact, thereby completely misleading anyone else who reads it, that they contact the appropriate people, in an official capacity, and seek a factual reply. Or perhaps, do a little homework, and read up on the subject - there's volumes out there if you bother to just search a little, and read it.

    I notice that Lou has done just that with the white rhino thread - it's a pity more people don't check their facts before they open their computers! (I think I've said that before, but it just never seems to sink in).

    Oh and re-branding? The artwork and logos were done incredibly cheaply, and apart from updating ARAZPA's web site, there will be no cost to anyone to have a better brand, that will sit better with members and the general public. Just where are you suggesting that all this extra money will be spent? I do wish people would check their facts - even the moderators of this site can't get their facts straight.
     
  9. ZYBen

    ZYBen Well-Known Member

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    I stated very clearly at the start
    I am more than happy to corrected.

    A personal attack like that is not required. I never said what I have said is Fact, its an opinion and we are all welcome to have one!
     
  10. ZooPro

    ZooPro Well-Known Member

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    Did you, or did you not state that "a change of name will cost a bit in redoing everything that has already been arazpa branded and printed"? I stand by my earlier statement.
     
  11. ZYBen

    ZYBen Well-Known Member

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    I said that yes. All depends on your perception of 'a bit' could be any amount.

    For us all to add disclaimers at the end of every post saying "This is my opinion, not a fact" is pointless, most people on here seems to be able to understand that, something you do not seem to be able to comprehend, in my opinion.
     
  12. ZYBen

    ZYBen Well-Known Member

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    And FFS if I'm wrong correct me!
     
  13. Steve Robinson

    Steve Robinson Well-Known Member

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    Welcome back to the fray ZooPro!

    Is it correct that ARAZPA has changed it's name to ZAA?

    It was only a year or so ago that the membership decided against a name change.

    And why Zoo Aquarium Association - a name that doesn't identify the region in which we operate?

    PS: Now that you are back would you mind popping over to the Animals from Tipperary thread and giving us the official position on the Pygmy Hippo at large situation? Thanks.
     
    Last edited: 25 Nov 2009
  14. ZooPro

    ZooPro Well-Known Member

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    ARAZPA has not changed it's business name - it is still ARAZPA. However, it now has a new brand (Zoo Aquarium Association) and logo, which will be used to collectively market and raise the profile of member zoos and aquariums in the public arena and with government. There is no new acronym, so ZAA will not be used.

    If you need to know more than that, I'd suggest that you read the latest Zoo Aquarium Newsletter, and/or contact they Zoo Aquarium Association (ARAZPA) office for more information.
     
  15. whynot

    whynot Member

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    Hi ZYBen. From your profile it looks like you might work at Darling Downs??? I'm still surprised that you obviously think so little of ARAZPA, yet the institution you work at really wants to join? There seems to be a bit of a conflict there?
     
  16. Steve Robinson

    Steve Robinson Well-Known Member

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    Thank you ZooPro.
     
  17. Steve Robinson

    Steve Robinson Well-Known Member

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    To answer from the DDZ viewpoint.

    ZYBen works here at the Darling Downs Zoo. That doesn't mean that we own him. We encourage him to think outside the square and that will mean that we won't always see things in the same light that he does. That's fine with us.

    Ben has a very robust inquiring mind, a terrific work ethic and natural born animal savvy. He has quickly proved to be invaluable to our zoo.

    But - Ben is still a young bloke and is eager to learn everything about our industry. Like a lot of young blokes he is in a hurry!

    Shooting off like he has done here is part of his learning process I guess.

    He will now assimilate what ZooPro has said, what MJR has said and what we tell him here and will form his own opinions.


    However, from the conversations that we have had on the subject, I would not say that he was anti-ARAZPA. He is very capable of seeing through some of the spin, though.
     
    Last edited: 25 Nov 2009
  18. ZYBen

    ZYBen Well-Known Member

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    As Steve has said, yes I do work at the Darling Downs Zoo.

    And Steve has answered your post exactly how I would.

    I'm not anti ARAZPA, I just wanted the clarify my views, which have turned out be be incorrect, and I'm a little glad they were. But also people who saw things the same was as me on this topic,can see the same clarification that I have now.
     
  19. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    Without appearing to be an apologist for ARAZPA (ooops!), the reasoning given is that 95% of the usage of the name is within the region, to there is no need to identify the region. There is apparently a longer version identifying the region for use outside the region.

    As in "when commenting on the shooting of the pygmy hippo, a representative of the Zoos Aquarium Association said..."

    Anyway that is the reasoni given in the notice I received, which popped into my mailbox just as I was typing my previous email.

    I will say as an name ARAZPA is far from ideal, as unless you are in the know, you would not know what it stood for. And no-body uses the full name in day to day usage.
     
    Last edited: 25 Nov 2009
  20. Jarkari

    Jarkari Well-Known Member

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    ARAZPA Is easy to say. :)

    Steve sounds like the kind of employer most of us would love to have (not only because that would mean working in a zoo) but he understands that his staff have their own opinions. Staff are always going to have opinions that differ to management especially within this industry.

    Members of this forum, even if in the industry, can't be expected to know everything about it. This industry is always changing and ben should be congratulated on having the balls to speak up about his opinions, as should steve for supporting his staff in such a way.

    Some members of this forum are quick to attack, especially the younger members, and this is incredibly wrong. Doing that can seriously impact on people. I had a careers advisor that said elephant keeping was a ridiculous career and that I should go to uni and do zoology and study animal in africa and get a real job, this was devastating, but 12 months later I sent that careers advisor a postcard from the elephant sanctuary I was working at.

    My point is this is an industry that is already incredibly hard to get into, especially in our region. Young people should be encouraged to express their opinions (usually they are also the first to admit they are wrong and accept new information, I have done this a number of times).

    Posts on this site should be taken with a grain of salt! and to our older members allow us youngens to learn, even if we make mistakes.