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The endangered ground cuckoos ex-situ / in zoos

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Onychorhynchus coronatus, 6 Jan 2021.

  1. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    There are a couple of ground cuckoos from the families Carpococcyx and Neomorphus which are either critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable yet these do not appear to be kept ex-situ.

    These would include the Sumatran ground cuckoo, the banded ground cuckoo and the scaled ground cuckoo all of which are greatly threatened by deforestation / land conversion to agriculture.

    Some of these birds are EDGE species (Carpococcyx viridis and Neomorphus radiolosus).


    Does anyone know any more about why these species have never made it into the collections of zoos or whether there are plans to establish insurance populations ex-situ ?
     
  2. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    It seems like this species, the coral billed ground cuckoo is held by a number of European zoos

    I personally think that this is great as it is a vulnerable species in its native range throughout Indo-China.

    [​IMG]

    That said, I do think that the other ground cuckoo species that I've mentioned in the post above are also deserving of ex-situ populations given the enormity of the threats they face in the wild.

    Photo credit to @Tomek.
     
  3. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    They are low density, secretive and unattractive compared to pheasants and curassows. Even seeing them in the wild is challenge.
     
  4. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Yes I know and I agree.

    Perhaps this cryptic behaviour and dull colouration could well be a reason why zoos have not kept them.

    However, many bird species have similar behavioural characteristics and low aesthetic appeal and that has not stopped them being kept and bred by zoos.

    Moreover, these are very endangered species and in dire need of ex-situ insurance populations.
     
    Last edited: 6 Jan 2021
  5. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    So there was a paper published last year in "Zoo Biology" called "Guiding the prioritization of the most endangered and evolutionary distinct birds for new zoo conservation programs" (will put in link below).

    In this article both the Sumatran ground cuckoo and the banded ground cuckoo are listed as being among the species recommended by the authors for ex-situ conservation within zoos.

    Some interesting quotes from the paper are:

    (on the rarity or husbandry challenges not being a valid excuse not to keep species)

    "We caution ex situ planners, however, not to reject all species which are very rare or possess highly specialized ecologies, given that highly specialized species have been kept and bred in the past (e.g. Maleo Macrocephalon maleo and Shoebill Balaeniceps rex, albeit in low numbers (Cornejo, Iorizzo, & Clum, 2014; Tomita, Killmar, Ball, Rottman, & Kowitz, 2013)), as have species with very small founder populations (e.g. the Mauritius kestrel Falco punctatus (Jones et al., 1995))"

    (On the need to assess avian EDGE species for inclusion within zoo collections)

    "In summary, (a) we find that highly evolutionary distinct species are more likely to be found in zoos while imperiled species remain underrepresented, (b) we recommend that metrics of evolutionary distinctness be used explicitly to prioritize among species of otherwise equal conservation need, and (c) we provide a global list of highly distinct and imperiled species not currently found in zoos and encourage the ex situ community (including the respective Avian TAGs) to assess their suitability for both captive breeding and field‐ based initiatives. The inclusion within zoos of just the top 10 species in our global prioritization list would add an additional 331 million years of evolutionary history to ex situ collections. If active conservation of evolutionary history is a desired societal goal (Redding & Mooers, 2010), then the addition of even one of these species might be considered a success."

    (Need for improvements in prioritization criteria for threatened birds in ex-situ)

    "Our other finding indicates that threatened birds remain underrepresented in zoo collections—a result that corroborates findings reported elsewhere (Martin, Lurbiecki, et al., 2014). However, we focus here not on current zoo holdings but on the prioritization of species for future acquisition. While in situ methods are preferable where possible for most species, the unfolding biodiversity crisis (Barnosky et al., 2011) may intensify the political will to bring imperiled species into breeding."


    Link to paper (Use scihub to read it ;)) : https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/zoo.21482
     
    Last edited: 7 Jan 2021