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Status of Exotic Bears in U.S. Zoos

Discussion in 'United States' started by Coelacanth18, 20 Jul 2018.

  1. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I have created this thread to gather some updates on where different species of non-native bear are being held in the United States.

    Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)

    Held at San Diego Zoo (CA), Zoo Atlanta (GA), Memphis Zoo (TN), and Smithsonian National Zoo (Washington, DC). Don't know the demographics. All of these animals are on loan from China. I don't know any zoos currently that plan to phase giant pandas in or out.

    Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus)

    Akron Zoo, OH: no longer holding?
    Capron Park Zoo, Attleboro, MA: still holding?
    Zoo Boise, ID: should still be holding
    Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, IL: should still be holding
    Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, OH: should still be holding
    Creation Kingdom Zoo, Gate City, VA: still holding?
    Fresno Chaffee Zoo, CA: should still be holding
    Lee Richardson Zoo, Garden City, KS: still holding?
    Little Rock Zoo, AR: should still be holding
    Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa, FL: should still be holding
    Sunset Zoo, Manhattan, KS: still holding?
    Zoo Miami, FL: no longer holding?
    Montgomery Zoo, AL: should still be holding
    Smithsonian Zoo, DC: still holding
    Philadelphia Zoo, PA: still holding
    Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, WA: still holding
    Tautphaus Park Zoo, Idaho Falls, ID: should still be holding
    Toledo Zoo, OH: still holding?

    Total Individuals: ?
    Total Holders: ?

    The last breeding I am aware of was 2.0 born at Woodland Park Zoo at the end of December 2017. I am not aware of any zoos that have added them recently.

    Andean Bear (Tremarctos ornatus)

    Alexandria Zoo, LA: still holding?
    Baton Rouge Zoo, LA: still holding?
    Gladys Porter Zoo, Brownsville, TX: still holding?
    Cincinnati Zoo, OH: still holding?
    Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, OH: still holding?
    Queens Zoo, Queens, NY: should still be holding
    Houston Zoo, TX: no longer holding?
    Nashville Zoo, TN: should still be holding
    Smithsonian Zoo, DC: still holding
    Phoenix Zoo, AZ: still holding?
    Racine Zoo, WI: still holding
    Rolling Hills Zoo, Salina, KS: should still be holding
    Salisbury Zoo, MD: should still be holding
    San Antonio Zoo, TX: still holding?
    San Diego Zoo, CA: still holding
    Saint Louis Zoo, MO: should still be holding
    Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Syracuse, NY: still holding?
    Reid Park Zoo, Tucson, AZ: still holding?
    Good Zoo, Wheeling, WV: still holding?

    Total Individuals: ?
    Total Holders: ?

    The last breeding I am aware of was 1.0 born at Queens Zoo in early 2017. An article that talked about the cub also stated that there are only six potential breeding pairs in the country. The population is largely geriatric, which is partially why I'm unsure if a lot of these zoos are still holding their elderly individuals. I am not aware of any zoos that have added them recently.

    Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus)

    This species is being phased out of zoos on the continent, and as a result the population is now mostly geriatric. I may also be missing zoos from this list.

    Oakland Zoo, CA: still holding... 0.3?
    San Diego Zoo, CA: still holding... 1.1?
    Honolulu Zoo, HI: still holding?
    Pueblo Zoo, CO: 1.0?
    El Paso Zoo, TX: still holding?
    Gladys Porter Zoo, Brownsville, TX: still holding?
    Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, LA: still holding
    Zoo Atlanta, GA: still holding
    Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley, MN: still holding?
    Saint Louis Zoo, MO: still holding
    Virginia Zoo, Norfolk, VA: still holding?
    Zoo Miami, FL: still holding?
    Little Rock Zoo, AR: still holding?
    San Antonio Zoo, TX: still holding
    Catoctin Zoo, Thurmont, MD: should still be holding

    Total Individuals: ?
    Total Holders: ?

    I believe the last cubs were twins born at the San Diego Zoo in 2008, which would make the youngest animals ~10 years old.

    Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus)

    This species is being phased out of zoos on the continent, and as a result the population is now mostly geriatric. I may also be missing zoos from this list.

    Cohanzick Zoo, Bridgeton, NJ: still holding?
    San Antonio Zoo, TX: still holding?
    Lincoln Park Zoo, Manitowoc, WI: still holding?
    Jackson Zoo, MS: still holding?
    Denver Zoo, CO: no longer holding?
    Roger Williams Park Zoo, RI: no longer holding?
    Natural Bridge Zoo, Natural Bridge, VA: still holding?

    Total Individuals?
    Total Holders?

    This species has been in the phase-out process for quite a long time, and the population in AZA zoos is almost extinct. A few elderly bears still seem to be kicking around, but I'm ignorant of where many of them might be. I read in an old thread here that they are regularly bred in the private sector, but I don't know to what extent that is true.
     
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  2. TigerValley98

    TigerValley98 Well-Known Member

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    Toledo and Akron no longer have sloth bears. Akron now has an ancient female sun bear. Toledo now has an older Andean female that was from the Good Zoo. Good Zoo no longer has Andean.
     
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  3. nczoofan

    nczoofan Well-Known Member

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    AZA does not have a moratorium on breeding. So the only reason the population is aging is unsuccessful reproduction, with only 1 pair of the original import ever having cubs live to adulthood (San Diego). Currently AZA is allowing zoos to attempt to breed them Sun Bears, yet the program is being phased out due to the realities of the breeding program never being successful. Plus from what I have seen AZA anticipates Sloth bears and Andean bears having a better chance, yet both species need more spaces.
     
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  4. nczoofan

    nczoofan Well-Known Member

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    Nashville just opened their exhibit this year and brought in bears in the past few years. Also 2 bears were imported from Europe in recent years (such as the father of the Queens Zoo cub). The population is aging though with only 1 cub in the last 3 years.
     
  5. Birdlover

    Birdlover Well-Known Member

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    Roger Williams still has their Asiatic Black Bears and Capron should still has their Sloth Bears. I was at Capron in May the sign is still there but I didn't see them.
     
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  6. Daktari JG

    Daktari JG Well-Known Member

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  7. nczoofan

    nczoofan Well-Known Member

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    What would that do though? It would simply be a move to exhibit bears to the public, yet would do nothing to help wild bears. Whats needed is more research into wild polar bear populations, to study their adaptability to climate change and reproduction. Very few captive bears ever breed, even when put with a male each year. Yet in the wild, bears seem able to have cubs at a much more regular and frequent interval. Also carnivores are never the best species for reintroductions, yet if this were to happen, isolation from the public would be almost certainly necessary. It would need to be run more like say the red wolf reintroduction program in NC.
     
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  8. Daktari JG

    Daktari JG Well-Known Member

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    If certain populations are starving, then removing some "may" very well help
    the population overall- not saying its a great option. Certainly better than shooting more and more nuisance bears. I suspect that management of bears is the problem of lack of breeding. For instance males and females kept together all the time, or maybe a need for more than one male to compete- but something.
     
  9. ZooBinh

    ZooBinh Well-Known Member

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    Columbus has Sloth and Sun Bear.
     
  10. nczoofan

    nczoofan Well-Known Member

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    Well no matter what, Polar bear importations to the US are currently not allowed by the USFWS under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Every once in a while a polar bear cub is orphaned in Alaska, and those are often added to the SSP population. No one knows the reason polar bears have been breeding so badly in zoos, but it could be a lot of things, especially management and stress.

    I hate to say this, but no matter what polar bears are going to be wandering farther inland and having more human conflict. We are going to see more hungry bears starving. Unlike species who have local causes for endangerment, polar bears issues are largely global. Removing some bears will not do anything to stop this longterm trend. The best thing we can do right now for polar bears is protect as much lands as possible for them to adapt and protect their food sources, or potential future food sources. Such as stopping drilling in the ANWR. We also need to focus on connectivity of populations, that will increasingly be isolated with climate change. But holding a population in zoos, means nothing if we cannot protect habitat for the species in the longterm. Just look at the Red wolf program, yes they are alive in zoos, yet the habitat does not exist anymore for a large wild population to be supported.
     
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  11. Daktari JG

    Daktari JG Well-Known Member

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    I'm not suggesting captive breeding will ever be a polar bear solution.
    I'm just saying they are a long lived charismatic species that people want to see and taking a few into captivity is not going to harm the species (and may actually do a little good).
    Therefore I agree with all your other points.
     
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  12. nczoofan

    nczoofan Well-Known Member

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    Ok now I understand what you are saying. The USFWS will likely not change its policy on import/export of polar bears. Yet we can expect more polar bear mothers coming into conflict with people in Alaska as bears begin to wander closes to native villages. So I expect the polar bear tag to becomes more like the brown/black bear tag long term, if the breeding/sustainability issue cannot be solved. A place for orphaned polar bears to live.
     
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  13. Echobeast

    Echobeast Well-Known Member

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    Cheyenne Mountain Zoo currently has 0.2 Asiatic black bears on exhibit
     
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  14. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    The situation with polar bears in American zoos currently is definitely interesting and worthy of debate, but since they are a native species and not relevant to this particular thread I'd appreciate it if we could stay on topic :)

    I thought Columbus Zoo's sun bears were no longer on display and were presumed deceased or transferred? Also how long have they had sloth bears?
     
  15. Lexlanson

    Lexlanson Member

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    The El Paso Zoo currently has 0.1 Sun Bear.
     
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  16. loxodonta

    loxodonta Well-Known Member

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    Most your Asiatic black bears in this country still come out of VA. Natural Bridge, Metro Richmond and VA zoo all had them no less than a year ago. Lupa zoo in MA also had them as well as RWP zoo. Henson Robinson zoo also had them not long ago but Im not sure if they still do.

    I saw Sun bears at Audubon and Catoctin in last few month but, as stated before, this species is rapidly dwindling in this country.

    Polar bears in captivity have a better chance :p
     
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  17. BossMayhem250

    BossMayhem250 Well-Known Member

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    San Antonio no longer has Sun or Asiatic Black Bears, they do still have Spectacled.​
     
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  18. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    Yes. One female.
     
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  19. MidwestFan

    MidwestFan Well-Known Member

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    Omaha sent two sun bears to Topeka, Cupcake and Hoho. Geriatric bears, Omaha phased out species.
     
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  20. nczoofan

    nczoofan Well-Known Member

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    Omaha will be bringing in sloth bears next year. The old bear grottoes are to be replaced by sea lions in coming years.
     
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