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Wellington Zoo wellington zoo annual report offers insight into regional collection planning

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Coquinguy, 31 Oct 2006.

  1. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    hey guys
    the annual report for wellington is now on the web. i read with great interest the life sciences section.
    wellingotn zoo is collaborating with the relevent government authroities to establish import protocol for some hoofed stock species. it also wants to import maned wolves, leopards, more porcupines and wombats.
    if wellington is able to import some hoofed stock species then this could increase the viability of some tag species here in australia down the track if current leglislation was overhauled. but i do have to question why would they import leopards and maned wolves when both species are in regional collapse???
     
  2. ZooPro

    ZooPro Well-Known Member

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    No Zuki Pah, it's not a matter of the species being in collapse, but a matter of there not being enough forseeable room in the region for sufficient animals of a multiple canid species, and the Carnivore TAG has decided to phase out the South American maned wolf species in favour of concentrating on the more local dhole from South East Asia. Unfortunately, the regional population or maned wolves has increased lately, with a couple of litters being bred agains regional recommendations at Western Plains Zoo.

    For many years, the region has agreed to try to work with endangered South East Asian species rather than species from other regions.
     
  3. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    zoopro, in your opinion, how many species do you think can we viably keep?

    though i understand the prioritise SE asia rationale, and fully support the decision to do so, i would like to see our zoos remain a place where one can see and learn about the diversity of all life and the ecology of the earths major diverse habitat types. and generally when i whinge about the phase-out of a species its because they represent an important role in and ecosystem that other animals in our regions zoos, share.

    but i spose in the end an element of it may just be "whats your favorite animal" ...
     
  4. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    maned wolf to viable

    when the 'going going gone' report was released had wellington zoo indicated that they wanted to obtain maned wolves at that stage. in last years annual report wellington zoo indicated they were interested in wombats and leopards, and im wondering if they have shifted focus recently to the maned wolf because import permits for them, or other reasons, makes it more viable for them to be imported.
    obviously, this could impact upon their regional status. does anyone know if melbourne zoo wants to hold the species long term? between wellington, western plains and melbourne surely this species could be viable. it would be even better if one of new zealands open-range zoos got on board with the program.
    i actually like maned wolves. theyre always active when i go to western plains and the issues they face in their habitats have relevence to managing grassland eco-systems here in australia.
     
  5. ZooPro

    ZooPro Well-Known Member

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    The primary planning doucment for the region's zoos and aquariums is the Australasian Species Managemnt Program's (ASMP's) Annual Census and Plan. In 2003, Only Western Plains Zoo, National Zoo, and Melbourne Zoo expressed interest in holding the species, with a total planned population of 16 animals.

    In 2004, National Zoo dropped their plans for holding Maned Wolves, leaving a planned population of 14 animals at Dubbo and Melbourne. In 2005, the plans dropped to 11 animals in the two zoos, and this was the same in the 2006 plan. The Carnivore TAG recommended decreasing the management of this species in 2004, if additional spaces couldn't be found, and in 2006, the species was downgraded to annual census only, with no regional management.

    Wellington Zoo hasn't shown interest in Maned Wolves in the Census and Plan in the last ten years. They've expressed interest in a single male leopard and a pair of common wombats in this year's plan, but my guess is their collection plan will be reviewed since they have had a recent change in CEO.
     
  6. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    do you know what i find odd about this. if melbourne and dubbo want other zoos to hold maned wolves why don't they just ask taronga and werribee - after all, they are run by the same boards?!!!
     
  7. ZooPro

    ZooPro Well-Known Member

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    Maybe Taronga and Werribee don't want to hold Maned Wolves. Following this logic implies that Werribee should hold everything that Melbourne holds, and Dubbo should hold everything the Taronga holds, so they can support their sister organisations?

    And all four institutions have representatives on the TAGs (as do all other ARAZPA member institutions), and the TAG members jointly have decided not to focus on maned wolves as a priority. There's nothing STOPPING Melbourne and Dubbo from holding them, but they do so in low numbers, that are not sustainable long-term. And I think we know what the end result of that will be - another species down the gurgler in this region.
     
  8. ZooPro

    ZooPro Well-Known Member

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    Hey Patrick,

    "how many species do you think can we viably keep?" - How long is a piece of string? :confused:

    Seriously though, this is not a question that can be easily answered - thousands of species, if we stick to smaller, native species, especially invertebrates, fish, reptiles, amphibians and birds (Sydney Wildlife World claims to have over 6,000 animals, of over 1,000 species, in a 7,000 square metre facility). If we opt for larger mega fauna, then probably only hundreds of species.

    But of course every zoo is different, some specialise in smaller species, some concentrate on the larger taxa, and most have a cross section of species, attempting to represent some level of biodiversity.

    There are currently over 2,700 species represented in Australian zoos and aquariums (this includes both aquatic and terrestrial vertebrates). Is this number sustainable? Probably not, especially if we break this down a little. If we look at these species, and exclude the natives (we can relatively easily acquire additional individuals of native species), and then look at the number of species that have fewer than 20 individuals in the region (the regional species management program has set a minimum of 20 regional spaces in order to maintain a managed program), we are left with probably less than a hundred species that are exotic, predominantly birds and mammals, and in dire need of "review" by the region's zoos. The "Going, Going, Gone." paper discusses this in much more depth.

    Zoos in this region really do need to take a serious look at this list of species, and rationalise their collection plans. If they fail, they are simply cutting off their noses to spite their faces, and the longevity of the zoos themselves will suffer. This not only involves looking at their collection plans, but of course working together to lobby Canberra into reviewing Australia's importation regulations. This is currently underway, and the recent staff changes in the DEH department that the zoos deal with look like they might be resulting in much closer cooperation with the zoos. We can only hope so.

    I'm sure there will always be an element of favouritism in their decisions, and they are also constatly under pressure from naive visitors to see the classic zoo animals (lions, tigers, elephants, giraffe, zebra etc.). Let's face it, we've all read more than a few wish lists of species on this forum! But unless the zoos take notice of what's happening with their collections, and start to manage their animals with a far more scientific and regionally-focussed plan, I think it will be very much a case of Going, Going, Gone. :(
     
  9. jay

    jay Well-Known Member

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    while I understand the zoos decision to concentrate on SE Asian animals and replace the maned wolf with the dhole, in a way I think this is a shame for diversity. Dholes generally look similar to dingos and some domestic breeds. Maned woldves are VERY different to look at. I can easily imagine the regular, non knowledgable zoo goer saying "Oh look - dingos - boring"
    But they can't mistake a maned wolf for something else.
     
  10. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    agree whole-heartedly jay. i was watching melbournes today and whilst i love all animals i just can't can' get my head around why dholes where chosen for import. its all great to chose animals form SE asia as a priority but its a little silly when the zoos are struggling to keep "anything" a priority. there seems quite a lot of disagreement on what our regional collection will ultimately be made up of, especially in light of a regional extinction crisis of just about everything!!!!

    i think we should look at ways of overturning or getting around the current legislation, but be very select about what species it is that we will try to maintain. bongo are arguably the best looking of the antelope, and the kenyan species found in zoos is not entirely restricted to only forest habitats like most books imply. they would be quite comfortable in a scenario typical of australias open range zoos as well as the jungled setting of our city zoos. hippo are a big drawcard with zoovisitors because of the underwater viewing oppertunities in particular. the system of the larger species at our open range zoos and the pygmies in the city zoos is one i believe we should hold onto if possible. but i don't think we should get caught up in importing nuemerous random antelopes liek we have in the past only for us to then have inbreeding and lack of participation issues. we should pick a very select handful of artiodactyl species and then then push all efforts into those maintaining those species.

    i it happens i just hope the zoos pick well!!!
     
  11. jay

    jay Well-Known Member

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    I think if the zoos chose one gazelle ( dik dik are currently in NZ I think) and a couple of antelope that are different, eg bongo, oryx and maybe something like Kudu, all dramatic, graceful and different, they could then concentrate on just 4 or 5 species. Mix them with zebra, giraffe, ostrich and rhino, lions, cheetah, servals and a primate (eg baboons and vervet), and hippo. Just a dozen species and you would have a good representation of an African savannah and it should be possible to have sustaining poulation of these.
     
  12. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    i honestly think that with the way things are the zoos should just look to giraffe, oryx, spotted deer, fallow deer, blackbuck, bison, water buffalo, alpaca, llama, oryx and addax.
    if they could import hippo the go for it, but a graph i looked at the other day puts it all in perspective. to maintain 90% of genetic diversity in an antelope poulation with a generation time of 8 years you would need 115 animals. this category includes bongo and does not exclude the risk of accidental death.
    oryx have a generation time of 10 years and recquire only 95! a realistic target; not only spacewise but given the number of animals already in the region...
    rhinos on the other hand, with a generation tme of 18 years recquire an effective population of 53. this might seem like alot of indian rhinos, but as we can still import these animals freely then our invovement with an international breeding program is feasible, particularly in terms of cost.
     
  13. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    feral animals aside (deer, buffalo, banteng, blackbuck and camels) that will all be viable and are enough for a diverse and interesting asian display, we need a few african antelope to make our african savannah's (the biggest drawcard to open-range zoos) look authentic. addax and oryx and a good mixer, ignoring the fact that they come from more arid sections of the continent (beggars can't be choosers!) - but seriously glyn, WHO WANTS TO GO TO THE ZOO TO SEE ALPACAS AND LLAMAS?!!!!!! ;)

    why not throw in a couple of sheep as well?
     
  14. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    i know!!!
    it sucks. i spent half an hour admiring the bongo yesterday at taronga lamenting the fact that he is one of a handful left. but if you look at the genetic theory i included above and consider our quarantine laws then the situation really is, well, as it is...
    alpacca and llama would only be good in a frienship farm/discovery zone type thingy. western plains displays llama with tapir, which is interesting, and ive seen a good mixed species exhibit in amsterdam with said tapir and llama plus capybarra, maned wolves, rhea, mara and guanaco, modelled on the theme of some inca village ruins. it looked great but obviously where do we get the other animals from???
    poor bongo. and pygmy hippo. and collared peccary. i love those guys. and once again it is so sad that we could lose our only representative of the wild pig family here in the region.
     
  15. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    yes i checked out the peccaries at melb yesterday and noticed that there were only 3 left. a sudden drop from about twice that amount just a year or so ago. i tok a photo of the exhibit, its really well done. and i still am somewhat bemused as to why melbourne woould bother developing such a nice enclosure for a species being phased out! (i'll upload the pics if ya like and show ya what i mean).

    the two animals i am most worried about are bongo and the pygmy hippos at this stage. both african rainforest animals that were planned as highlights to future (or current in melbournes case) african rainforest developments...

    i would have really bloody liked to have seen some okapi and mouse deer come into the region too - but whatever....
     
  16. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    yeh ive seen the peccary exhibit. i liked it. in september there were only 3 and two were screwing which is why i had hoped that in the future there would be 'peccarylets'
     
  17. patrick

    patrick Well-Known Member

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    wow! you lucky man. was it the good looking ones?
     
  18. Coquinguy

    Coquinguy Well-Known Member

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    they all looked kinda 'piggy' to me. ;)
     
  19. jay

    jay Well-Known Member

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    Seeing as how Llama, Alpacas, bison and the deer are all 'familiar' animals I wouldn't go to a zoo to see them. It's interesting what Glyn has to say about the genereation needs.
    I know my knowledge is scant here but couldn't the open range have larger herds of them? If Dubbo, Werribee, Monarto, Australia and Orana all had large herds( greater than 30) and then small groups at some of the city zoos you wuld soon see the numbers needed. I would be interested to see what individuals would be needed, how many excess males for instance? I still think that private individuals would enjoy having a small bachelor herd.

    Finally didn't some peccaries go to Taronga?
     
  20. Zoo_Boy

    Zoo_Boy Well-Known Member

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    yea they did, back to the south american thing , taronga just got the peccaries, now a tapir, and i heard manned wovles soon, and dubbo is breeding tapir for taronga, does this sound like the next exhibit for taronga is maybe south american, it is on the plan!