Join our zoo community

Wellington Zoo Sun Bear Breeding Success

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Zoo_Boy, 12 Oct 2006.

  1. Zoo_Boy

    Zoo_Boy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    26 Nov 2005
    Posts:
    1,462
    Location:
    Australia
    Rare Bear Breeding Success At Zoo
    10:45 am, 12 Oct 2006 Print this story

    The birth of a Malayan sun bear cub in Wellington is being hailed by zoo staff as a rare breeding success.

    The zoo's general manager, Mauritz Basson, says sun bear cubs are fragile and notoriously difficult to breed and he is cautiously optimistic this new cub will survive.

    Wellington is the only zoo in Australasia that has successfully bred sun bears.

    Mr Basson says the cub is in the den with its mother, Chomel, and won't be on display for another two to three months.

    Sun bears are endangered with their numbers in the wild declining due to forest destruction, poaching for meat and medicinal use of organs.

    © NewsRoom 2006
     
  2. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Aug 2005
    Posts:
    1,765
    Location:
    australia
    how good is that! now if only taronga's pair who are always rooting could produce a cub
     
  3. Zoo_Boy

    Zoo_Boy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    26 Nov 2005
    Posts:
    1,462
    Location:
    Australia
    yea, its all in place, the female goes to bars to get preg test and everything, blood samples u name it, but they aint producing

    but i bet glyn u are producing today, produceing prezzies, happy bday mate!!!! the big 21!!!!
     
  4. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 Nov 2004
    Posts:
    2,449
    Location:
    melbourne, victoria, australia
    from what i have read about sunbears, when it comes to breeding the females like a very secure, quiet and undisturbed place to den and raise the cubs. i believe the answer (like clouded leopards and so many other carnivore species) is to have a very spacious off display enclosure for the female. provide her with a variety of denning sites and styles, peace from zoo visitors and the male and zoos should have more success. the taronga exhibit from memory is the old lion/white tiger enclosure. its small and provides little of these prerequisites.

    wellingtons habitat looks very large and more suitable. of course, there could be all manner of reasons why the sydney pair are not reproducing. and if they mate constantly it may have more to do with infertility.
     
  5. jay

    jay Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8 Jan 2004
    Posts:
    1,910
    Location:
    brisbane, qld, australia
    Can sun bears prevent themselves from getting pregnant if the denning conditions aren't suitable?
     
  6. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 Nov 2004
    Posts:
    2,449
    Location:
    melbourne, victoria, australia
    thats what i was wondering jason.....

    i haven't seen the sunbear exhibit at adelaide (or perth or wellington or canberra for that matter) - but i have not been particuarly fond of eithr of the ones at taronga. even their eventual home in the kodiak bear exhibit isn't going to be 100% ideal in my opinion. sunbears are expert climbers and can be considered partially arboreal in the wild. in laos i saw captive blackbears that spend all day sleeping high up in the trees where they felt safe. in the attenborough doco "life of mammals" a sunbear confidently scales the branchless verticle trunk of one of the tallest rainforest trees i have ever seen - all for honey. its amazing footage and it makes you think that these bears would be better suited to a habitat reminiscent of an orangutan enclosure than a typical rocky bear "pit".
     
  7. ZYBen

    ZYBen Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    11 Jan 2006
    Posts:
    1,547
    Location:
    Darling Downs, QLD, Aust
    adelaides is great they share with Madarin Ducks (whoa) they have a moat with a wall infront, They also have lotsa trees and grasses, great privacy, the only prob is they have bad behavioral probs, from being almost served for dinner. they have huge B.t.S. facilities but they can see our langurs (i think) but the langurs bred fine
     
  8. Zoo_Boy

    Zoo_Boy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    26 Nov 2005
    Posts:
    1,462
    Location:
    Australia
    i beleive tarongas will be great, the exhibit is to be modified, with structures, and logs etc, as the current residents are amonst the oldest bears in the world, they dnt climb or anything, they jsut sleep, basically retirment
     
  9. jay

    jay Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8 Jan 2004
    Posts:
    1,910
    Location:
    brisbane, qld, australia
    I also like the sun bear enclosure at Alma Park Zoo in Brisbane. I think they only have one very old bear but the enclosure is excellent. I wonder what they will do with it when the bear passes on.
    Jay
     
  10. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Aug 2005
    Posts:
    1,765
    Location:
    australia
    sun bears

    i reckon that taronga's bear enclosure will be well-suited to the sun bears in the future, with landscape modifications such as the installation of climbing structures. the exhibit was designed to be quite flexible for both kodiak and sun bears, as in the master-plan the sunnies are going to end up there.
    given the way the exhibit slopes quite steeply, creating a terrace effect, vertical climbing structures towards the back of the exhibit would allow the sunnies to climb extremely high which would no doubt be incredibly stimulating for them.
    also, for a bit of background info on wellington's bear facilites check out the international zoo news from 1998;the feature article focuses on the zoo's sun-bear breeding program and also establishes some information regarding the origins of the bears in the australasian program which some people on the forum might like to know about.
    just think it would be great if more of the rescue bears could be bred, infusing their wild genes into the global gene pool. of course, theres still hope for mr hobbs and victoria who arrived at taronga in 1997. they arent as old as wellington's Chomel, who came from san diego in 1991 and just delivered the latest baby. so she is more than 15 years old!!!
     
  11. Zoo_Boy

    Zoo_Boy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    26 Nov 2005
    Posts:
    1,462
    Location:
    Australia
  12. Zooish

    Zooish Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Sep 2005
    Posts:
    1,163
    Location:
    Sunny Singapore
    Well it may be true, but enclosure size and design isn't everything. Singapore's sun bear enclosure is one of the oldest exhibits around. Pit design, not very large (maybe about 30m x 20m), no vegetation (except fresh browse), small pool, 3 caves for shelter, largely rock surface with small area of soil/leaf litter substrate and climbing logs. The den areas are really small and cramped. BUT, the bears have been breeding fairly well.

    Many of my zoology colleagues consider animal breeding as an art more than a science. Animal compatibility is probably a more important factor. You can give a pair the most fantastic enclosure in the world, but if they don't like each other, there won't be babies. Our clouded leopards aren't breeding probably because of incompatibility, as the enclosure considerations have been provided - large densely landscaped exhibit with tall climbing structures and a large off-exhibit den. Our 3 CLs spend 19 hours of each day off exhibit, which means plenty of privacy. But the female just doesn't allow the more timid male to approach her. Our other male on the other hand is too aggressive.
     
  13. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Aug 2005
    Posts:
    1,765
    Location:
    australia
    perth's sun bears

    hey guys
    when i was in perth they were finalising construction of the new asian sun bear forest. its been designed as an extension of the silvery gibbon, fishing cat, sulawesi macaque and red panda habitats and sprawls along a slope and backs onto the service roads unning around the zoos perimiter.
    the exhibit features two large enclosures, to keep the animals seperate. at the front of the exhibit is a raised 'asian style' viewing platform, beneath which are hidden holding areas. at the rear of the exhibit another holding facility and maternity dens.
    the enclosure is nicely landscaped with waterfalls and deadfall timber, but as i said some bits were unfinished, such as bits of the fence...
    that was back in july. i think at this stage the zoo will just be awaiting the bears from quarantine. the zoo withdrew the two animals originally earmarked for importation and instead opted for younger bears who are more likely to form a viable breeding pair and showed less behavioural issues.
    it will be great to see some new bears enter the australasian breeding program.
     
  14. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 Nov 2004
    Posts:
    2,449
    Location:
    melbourne, victoria, australia
    yeah i wish the sunbear breeding program (and keep in mind these are the only bear species reccomended to be held in australian zoo) the best of success. but its not an easy task. we are talking of a species that whilst being kept in zoos worldwide, has never bred well in captivity and is going to require alot of research and initiative to maintain. good luck to our zoos but let hope they don't try and half-arse it.

    we wont have any results without a real effort.
     
  15. Nigel

    Nigel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Jan 2004
    Posts:
    736
    Location:
    Wellington , New Zealand
    Wellington Zoo Sun bear exhibit

    ..... is one of the original enclosures ( 100 years old ) and while has a limited amount of toys , ropes , branches etc , it is very long and narrow
    Whether it is a sign of boredom or not , the bears are always pacing if they are not in their dens .
    I much prefer the sunbear exhibit at Alma Zoo ( possibly the only well designed enclosure there )
     
  16. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 Nov 2004
    Posts:
    2,449
    Location:
    melbourne, victoria, australia
    your very correct in bringing up the often overlooked issue of animal compatibility zooish. this is yet another reason why i am so for zoos to get over their "keeping-animals-in-pairs" complex and start holing small groups of all species social or not (obviously not all kept in the one enclosure).
     
  17. Jarkari

    Jarkari Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    24 Aug 2006
    Posts:
    1,525
    Location:
    Orange, NSW
    Sun Bears

    Hey guys, when I was at Taronga, nearly three years ago now I was working with the sun bears and the problem was definately not with the female, every morning at half six the first thing staff would do was go through the footage they record of the sun bears. while I was there the problem was with the male. I remember watching footage of the female becoming very... horny... climbing up the bars pacing very fast. they started to mate then the male lost inbterest and the female remained in place... hmm... and finished herself, she didi this for quite some time and it happened nearly every nioght... boy does sun bear #### stink. and they manage to get it absolutely everywhere...
    Chjeers