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Where do the Deer & Antelope Play?: A Look at America's Ungulate Populations

Discussion in 'North America - General' started by ThylacineAlive, 22 Aug 2020.

  1. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    In the spirit of all the other threads looking to catalog animal populations in US zoos, I figured I'd start one for ungulates as they are of particular interest to me. I know there are already some threads existing looking at Antelope and Gazelles in North American Zoos and Duikers & Dwarf Antelopes in North America, but I wanted to look at ungulates as a whole. While perusing the Ungulate TAGs 2019 midyear meeting updates (again, since COVID-19 stopped a 2020 version from coming out) I noticed that I could look back to the distant past of 2014 and see population statistics from there as well.

    This spawned another interesting idea for me: creating a comparison of AZA ungulate populations from over the last 5-6 years. Which populations grew? Which plummeted? Which are viable for long-term management? Let's find out!

    Below is a list of all ungulate species which were either an SSP or candidate program in either 2014 or 2019 with corresponding population figures for each year where attainable. Enjoy:

    Common Eland
    2014: 73.134.6 in 25 institutions
    2019: 66.116.3 in 23 institutions

    Eastern Bongo
    2014: 49.85 in 38 institutions
    2019: 58.104 in 38 institutions

    Eastern Giant Eland
    2014: 18.20 in 5 institutions
    2019: 29.41 in 3 institutions

    Southern Gerenuk
    2014: 30.57 in 20 institutions
    2019: 23.32 in 11 institutions

    Greater Kudu
    2014: 88.166.5 in 39 institutions
    2019: 80.179.3 in 36 institutions

    Lowland Nyala
    2014: 58.91 in 20 institutions
    2019: 56.128 in 21 institutions

    Impala
    2014: Not Listed
    2019: 0.0.207 in 16 institutions

    Roan Antelope
    2014: 48.55.6 in 10 institutions
    2019: 115.107.1 in 10 institutions

    Sable Antelope
    2014: 31.82.1 in 11 institutions
    2019: 38.90.1 in 14 institutions

    Sitatunga
    2014: 19.34 in 10 institutions
    2019: 34.58 in 10 institutions

    Lesser Kudu
    2014: 58.54 in 19 institutions
    2018: 60.66.2 in 19 institutions
    There was an error in the 2019 listing, which gave the same exact number of animals as in 2014

    Springbok
    2014: 31.31 in 8 institutions
    2019: 31.53 in 11 institutions

    Black Duiker
    2014: 9.7 in 17 institutions
    2019: 11.6 in 5 institutions
    I have no idea how 16 animals were somehow split between 17 zoos in 2014, I suspect that was supposed to read '7 institutions'.

    Blue Duiker
    2014: 22.28.1 in 16 institutions
    2019: 23.16 in 11 institutions

    Smith's (Gunther's) Dik-Dik
    2014: 9.4 in 7 institutions
    2019: 0.0 in 0 institutions

    Cavendish's (Kirk's) Dik-Dik
    2014: 23.26.1 in 18 institutions
    2019: 18.11 in 17 institutions

    Klipspringer
    2014: 26.28 in 19 institutions
    2019: 21.20.1 in 10+ institutions (10 AZA, unlisted number of non-AZA)

    Red-Flanked Duiker
    2014: 21.12 in 12 institutions
    2019: 12.19 in 12 institutions

    Steenbok
    2014: 22.16 in 7 institutions
    2019: 11.16.2 in 6 institutions

    Yellow-Backed Duiker
    2014: 48.42.1 in 31 institutions
    2019: 46.47 in 35 institutions

    Ellipsen Waterbuck
    2014: 103.151.9 in 20 institutions
    2019: 71.89.10 in 14 institutions

    Nile Lechwe
    2014: 55.114.46 in 10 institutions
    2019: 97.113.22 in 10 institutions

    Red Lechwe
    2014: ?.? (studbook in progress)
    2019: 8.23 in 2 institutions

    Ugandan Kob
    2014: 24.29.2 in 5 institutions
    2019: Not Listed; Phase-Out

    Bontebok
    2014: 27.41.7 in 16 institutions
    2019: 30.38.12 in 19 institutions

    Jackson's Hartebeest
    2014: 13.7 in 5 institutions
    2019: 1.0.?
    This one is a little confusing. We all know of the single male still held at Lion County Safari in Florida, however the AZA studbook for this species has always included animals kept in the private trade (such as at Micanopy, also in Florida). The 2019 stats list 13.7 animals between 5 collections just as the 2014 stats do, however the 2018 update notes only 3.4 animals between 2 institutions while the 2017 update notes only 2.3 animals between 3 institutions. The 2017 report also makes a note that it is suspected that none of the females left in the population are fertile.

    Common Wildebeest
    2014: 53.98.44 in 19 institutions
    2019: 71.117.26 in 23 institutions

    Addax
    2014: 71.125 in 18 institutions
    2019: 87.164 in 22 institutions

    Addra Gazelle
    2014: 55.80 in 20 institutions
    2019: 78.99 in 22 institutions

    Arabian Oryx
    2014: 40.47 in 7 institutions
    2019: 19.60 in 7 institutions

    Cuvier's Gazelle
    2014: 14.20 in 3 institutions
    2019: 10.26 in 3+ instituions (2 AZA, unlisted number of non-AZA)
    Only 2.2 are left in the AZA, split between San Diego Zoo and Living Desert Zoo, all others are kept in private collections.

    Fringe-Eared Oryx
    2014: 10.25 in 4 institutions
    2019: 11.32 in 4 institutions

    Gemsbok
    2014: 34.44.5 in 11 institutions
    2019: 38.68 in 8 institutions

    Grant's Gazelle
    2014: 18.39 in 11 institutions
    2019: 18.39 in 12 institutions

    Peninsular Pronghorn
    2014: 12.10 in 5 institutions
    2019: 25.26 in 7 institutions

    Red-Fronted Gazelle
    2014: 12.20 in 1 institution
    2019: 17.34 in 2 institutions

    Scimitar-Horned Oryx
    2014: 71.115. 1 in 20 institutions
    2019: 83.159 in 18 institutions

    Soemmerring's Gazelle
    2014: 20.24 in 8 institutions
    2019: 12.26 in 6 institutions

    Speke's Gazelle
    2014: 28.43 in 10 institutions
    2019: 24.37 in 8 institutions

    Slender-Horned Gazelle
    2014: 21.36 in 6 institutions
    2019: 45.54 in 11 institutions

    Thomson's Gazlle
    2014: 53.111.2 in 16 institutions
    2019: 69.133 in 17 institutions

    Masai Giraffe
    2014: 44.58 in 27 institutions
    2019: 52.75.1 in 35 institutions

    Generic Giraffa
    2014: 147.251.24 in 84 institutions
    2019: 189.265 in 86 institutions

    Okapi
    2014: 54.53 in 28 institutions (worldwide)
    2019: 0.0.111 in 36 institutions (worldwide)
    International program, the TAG did not list how many animals are specifically in the US population.

    Lowland Anoa
    2014: 8.7.70 in 11 institutions
    2019: 78.99.4 in 11 institutions

    Javan Banteng
    2014: Not Listed
    2019: 13.28 in 7 institutions

    Cape Buffalo
    2014: Not Listed
    2019: 33.47 in 6 institutions

    Central Chinese Goral
    2014: 17.16 in 10 institutions
    2019: 10.14 in 8 institutions

    Desert Bighorn Sheep
    2014: 21.27.3 in 6 institutions
    2019: 24.40 in 7 institutions

    Kordofan Sheep
    2014: 13.25 in 3 institutions
    2019: 24.28 in 7 institutions

    Nubian Ibex
    2014: 22.40 in 9 institutions
    2019: 28.21 in 7 institutions
    The update notes that there will be changes due a new Breeding & Transfer Plan, but I don't know if this is a good or bad thing. It should also be noted that the large loss in breeding females will largely be due to the LA Zoo having to euthanize their entire breeding herd after becoming infected with a form of herpesvirus.

    Sichuan Takin
    2014: 54.50 in 21 institutions
    2019: 80.86 in 29 institutions

    Markhor
    2014: 29.52 in 8 institutions
    2019: 50.72 in 13 institutions

    Armenian Mouflon
    2014: Not Listed
    2019: 5.14 in 3 institutions

    Transcaspian Urial
    2014: Not Listed
    2019: 11.26 in 6 institutions

    Barasingha
    2014: 16.35 in 4 institutions
    2019: 26.28 in 5 institutions

    Bactrian Deer
    2014: 14.30 in 3 institutions
    2019: 18.36.9 in 2 institutions

    Barbary Deer
    2014: 3.43 in 1 institution
    2018: 0.34 in 1 institution
    This taxa is listed for phase-out in the AZA for obvious reason

    Calamian Deer
    2014: 6.4 in 3 institutions
    2019: Not Listed; Phase-Out

    Chilean Pudu
    2014: 15.26 in 13 institutions
    2019: 18.23 in 14 institutions

    Brow-Antlered Deer
    2014: 21.45 in 6 institutions
    2019: 23.40 in 5 institutions
    Sedgwick County Zoo is in the process of phasing out their 1.1 deer, having been rehomed at a yet to be named collection.

    Greater Malay Chevrotain
    2014: 10.11 in 8 institutions
    2019: 14.22.3 in 10 institutions

    American Moose
    2014: 17.25 in 11 institutions
    2019: 15.33 in 11 institutions

    Pere David's Deer
    2014: 41.70.1 in 12 institutions
    2019: 50.80 in 15 institutions

    Mexican Red Brocket
    2014: 12.8 in 5 institutions
    2019: 6.5 in 4 institutions

    Siberian Musk-Deer
    2014: 17.20 in 3 institutions
    2019: 9.6 in 4-5 institutions

    Tufted Deer
    2014: 38.30 in 19 institutions
    2019: 32.22 in 16 institutions

    White-Lipped Deer
    2014: 15.20 in 5 institutions
    2019: 9.16 in 2 institutions

    Reeves's Muntjac
    2014: Not Listed
    2019: 50.54.1 in 40 institutions

    Przewalski's Wild Horse
    2014: 63.76 in 23 institutions
    2019: 55.63 in 21 institutions

    Grevy's Zebra
    2014: 68.115 in 41 institutions
    2019: 55.100 in 35 institutions

    Hartmann's Mountain Zebra
    2014: 16.38 in 9 institutions
    2019: 24.49 in 18 institutions

    Persian Onager
    2014: 13.22 in 4 institutions
    2019: 9.21 in 3 institutions

    Plains Zebra
    2014: 141.260.4 in 96 institutions
    2019: 78.191. 1 in 67 institutions

    Somali Wild Ass
    2014: 18.36 in 7 institutions
    2019: 28.40 in 10 institutions

    North Sulawesi Babirusa
    2014: 0.0.61 in 15 institutions
    2019: 30.31 in 20 institutions
    While the 2019 population within the AZA program is the same as in 2014, it should be noted that American zoos have sent a handful of animals to Europe to participate in the EAZA EEP, so the population has been growing ever so slightly.

    Chacoan Peccary
    2014: 22.34.1 in 12 institutions
    2019: 38.37.15. in 19 institutions

    Collared Peccary
    2014: 27.30 in 17 institutions
    2019: Not Listed; Phase-Out

    Common Warthog
    2014: 42.60 in 42 institutions
    2019: 53.68 in 34 institutions

    Red River Hog
    2014: 91.92 in 56 institutions
    2019: 76.79.138 in 55 institutions

    Common Hippopotamus
    2014: 26.51 in 31 institutions
    2019: 27.50 in 31 institutions

    Pygmy Hippopotamus
    2014: 21.38.10 in 16 institutions
    2019: 37.62.9 in 17 institutions

    Visayan Warty Pig
    2014: 37.37 in 14 institutions
    2019: 33.38 in 19 institutions

    Malayan Tapir
    2014: Not Listed
    2019: 14.20 in 17 institutions

    Baird's Tapir
    2014: Not Listed
    2019: 24.21 in 18 institutions

    Eastern Black Rhinoceros
    2014: Not Listed
    2019: 29.34 in 26 institutions

    Indian Rhinoceros
    2014: Not Listed
    2019: 39.42 in 30 institutions (includes a few international holdings for some reason)

    Southern White Rhinoceros
    2014: Not Listed
    2019: 0.0.278 in 62 institutions

    Now obviously the above only lists stats for current AZA program species so there will be several more species not managed by the AZA still present in zoos around the country. Additionally, there will be species noted above that have further animals kept outside of the AZA population whose figures are not represented here. The additional species I can provide further numbers for follows:

    West African Bushbuck
    2019: 6.3 at 1 institution

    Western Bay Duiker
    2020: 5.11.1 in 3 institutions

    Persian Goitered Gazelle
    2019: 0.3 in 1 institution

    Gaur
    2020: 26.23 in 6 institutions

    American Elk
    2018: 74.158.36 in 11 institutions

    Rocky Mountain Elk
    2018: 4.8 in 3 institutions

    Roosevelt Elk
    2018: 28.18.21 in 5 institutions

    Mandarin Sika
    2018: 2.4 in 2 institutions

    Manchurian Sika
    2018: 5.5.6 in 2 institutions

    Vietnamese Sika
    2018: 10.13 in 3 institutions

    Formosan Sika
    2018: 0.3 in 1 institution

    Generic Cervus nippon (sensu lato)
    2018: 102.141.61 in 14 institutions

    There are many species left unlisted still; Beisa Oryx, Black Wildebeest, Ugandan Kob, Blackbuck, Nilgai, Indian Sambar, Malayan Sambar, Chital, Indian Muntjac, Indian Hog Deer, Calamian Deer, Caribou, American Bison*, Rocky Mountain Goat, Stone Sheep, Japanese Serow, Bornean Bearded Pig, Brazilian Tapir, etc.

    It's my hope that, over time, we can add more population figures to this thread and maybe even get lists of institutions for each taxa as with the other population threads.

    *The TAG is currently working on a studbook for genetically pure Plains Bison. I'm not sure if the 2020 update was going to include these figures or if it is still in progress.

    ~Thylo
     
  2. Dactyloa

    Dactyloa Member

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    Interesting to see that the number of holders of Plains zebras has significantly decreased between 2014 and 2019 considering how every new African Savanna seems to be choosing them over Grevy's or mountain zebras. Perhaps zoos are just choosing to no longer hold zebras at all?
     
  3. nczoofan

    nczoofan Well-Known Member

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    The TAG has been recommending zoos phase out plains zebra when possible, especially in mixed-species exhibits. Instead they want zoos to use the space for mountain zebra. Grevys zebra don’t mix well often, and have a green studbook, so have been less of a focus, although institutions with single species plains zebra exhibits have are encouraged to bring in Grevy’s instead.
     
  4. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    I believe that some of the private collections within the US are quite large numbers!
     
  5. Dactyloa

    Dactyloa Member

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    That’s good to hear. I have always thought it was somewhat problematic that zoos prioritized the more common species just to have better geographic theming or because they didn’t have space for single species zebra exhibitions.
     
  6. tschandler71

    tschandler71 Well-Known Member

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    I know from second hand experience Bongo, Scimitar, and the various Goat species are breeding like rabbits in private collections. I've seen recently that generic Wildebeest numbers (I assume Blue based on phenotype) are increasing in the South as well. But that was from almost none five years ago.
     
  7. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    Would you know which collections are breeding lots of Bongos atm?
     
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  8. twilighter

    twilighter Well-Known Member

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    Excelent thread !
    I am curious about the institutions, hold Mexican Red Brocket. Gladys Porter , Huston and ?
     
  9. Brum

    Brum Well-Known Member

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    Great work Thylo, really interesting. Two things leapt out at me from the list though -
    That's a lot of Anoas across not many zoos. Are some of those also held privately?

    That's one hell of a drop in numbers.

    Also, no Southern Black Rhino figures? Thought they were a tad more common over there than in Europe?
     
  10. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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    Why is the endangered Calamian deer being phased out?
     
  11. Gavialis

    Gavialis Well-Known Member

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  12. Julio C Castro

    Julio C Castro Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @ThylacineAlive I want to thank you for posting this thread, I’ve been getting more and more into ungulates in the past year due to being able to visit zoos here in California. It’s awesome to seem massive mixed species exhibit in the likes of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park mingling like it’s just a group of people out at brunch :D I hope to see the Calamian Deer at the LA Zoo next week, they almost always are ignored by average zoo goers but find it sad as well as @Gavialis mentioned. I’ll want to ask the hoofstock keepers if I manage to see one about their situation.
     
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  13. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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  14. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    This is an extremely interesting thread; thanks for starting it.

    I note that royal antelope doesn't feature on your list. I saw one at Lowry Park in 2009; when was this species last kept in the USA?

    (The royal antelope I saw at Lowry Park was the first I'd seen since the species was kept at London Zoo when I was a child.)
     
  15. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Given that the number of zoos holding mountain zebra doubled in 5 years and the population increased by over a third, it seems like that has indeed been happening. The drop in plains zebra has been more precipitous than can probably be explained by that, though.

    This does happen and it's indeed a shame, but it's worth noting that the situation is more nuanced than that for ungulates, and for deer in particular. Biosecurity protocols related to ungulates and livestock in the US have led to very restrictive import laws. For deer, the presence of chronic wasting disease in our wild populations has led to a complete ban on import of deer from virtually every other country as well as severe restrictions on moving them across state borders. Frankly, the fact that a few exotic deer programs are still hanging on is already remarkable.
     
  16. Dactyloa

    Dactyloa Member

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    How much has the homogenization of zoos via the adoption of zoogeographic theming affected the presence of ungulates in US zoos? It seems as though they've been more adversely affected by that than other taxa.
     
  17. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Not sure of how much that phenomenon has contributed to declines in ungulate taxa, although my suspicion is that it has had a sizable impact. Popular flagship species (like giraffes, zebras, and rhinos) and African ungulates who do well in mixed-species savanna habitats seem to have fared pretty well in recent years, while most Asian hoofstock, deer, caprids, and some wild pigs have suffered. However, there are also zoos with designated ungulate areas that have not reduced or replaced those exhibit areas, but have noticeably reduced their number of ungulate taxa - so I suspect other factors like development of formal population management and increase in the use of flex space have contributed to these declines as well.
     
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  18. Dactyloa

    Dactyloa Member

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    I suppose that declines of certain species in favor of others isn’t inherently a bad thing, as long as the species that continue to be held can be aided by large-scale captive breeding efforts, which I think has mostly been the case. Omaha stands out to me as an exception to that idea due to their phasing out of more endangered species like addax and Grevy’s zebra in favor of plains zebra and impala when they opened their African Grasslands exhibit, although they did appear to do a better job than most at exhibiting ungulates in their Asian themed exhibit
     
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  19. Dactyloa

    Dactyloa Member

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    The geographic theming really appears to hurt species from North Africa and Central/Western Asia and islands lacking charismatic megafauna
     
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  20. Xenarthra

    Xenarthra Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all this effort! It's encouraging to see some of the increases here, like addax and pygmy hippopotamus.

    Ungulates really do get passed over by the average zoo visitor, with the exception of flagship species, and it's a shame. To be honest, you can find similar sentiments when working with wild animals too, a lot of critters just sort of.. blur together in the public's eye as part of the background, they're assumed food for charismatic predators and that's about it. Species like Calamian deer have it particularly rough, as they're fairly typical looking deer to the non-zoo nerd and I feel like you'd need a lot of extra effort in presenting them to generate public interest, which may not be feasible.

    An interesting thing to note: many of the species recently being pushed as "priority" by the AZA's Ungulate TAG are from these geographic areas.

    Ungulate Profiles — AZA Ungulates

    I don't know how much sway the TAG's recommendation to hold species has, but it's nice to see these little profiles espousing the merits of some of these animals + in-situ conversation opportunities :)