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ZooChat Cup Biomes Practice Round: Cologne vs Miami

Discussion in 'ZooChat Cup' started by CGSwans, 2 Jan 2020.

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Cologne vs Miami: freshwater

Poll closed 4 Jan 2020.
  1. Cologne 3-0 Miami

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Cologne 2-1 Miami

    68.0%
  3. Miami 2-1 Cologne

    32.0%
  4. Miami 3-0 Cologne

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Practice round? Biomes? Eliminated zoos? What is this? See here: ZooChat Cup - rebooted

    The topic is... freshwater. This is going to be the trickiest biome to get right, so tag me if you want clarification. As a general rule, freshwater needs to be integral to a species' habitat and behaviour to qualify here.

    This thread doesn't count towards any qualification and is intended to help with grasping the new format for our final group stage. It's also a nice chance to return to two zoos that we lost all too soon from the game. Have fun!
     
  2. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Please no-one shout at me if I get this wrong, but here are extremely tentative lists. Most doubtful one on the Cologne list is Raccoons but several of my field guides and wildlife books claim it often swims in rivers and is adept in freshwater habitats. I also considered adding Asian elephants, since they also like a dip, especially in Sri Lanka, but eventually ruled them out.

    Koln
    • Asian small-clawed otter
    • Capybara
    • Eurasian otter
    • Hippopotamus
    • Nile lechwe
    • Northern raccoon
    • South American tapir
    • Western sitatunga
    Miami
    • North American river otter
    • Northern raccoon
    • Jaguar
    • Giant otter
    • Pygmy hippopotamus
    • Asian small-clawed otter
    • Greater one-horned rhinoceros
    • Malayan tapir
    So the two doubtful species are Northern raccoons (in both collections) and jaguars (in Miami's collection).

    Otherwise, it is a draw 8-8 in mammals. In birds, Koln cannot lose. It has 107 species of waterfowl (from memory) and an otherwise large collection of other freshwater birds.
    In reptiles, I would take a guess at Miami winning, and their crocodilian collection in particular is attractive (Cuban crocs, Orinoco crocs, American crocs and gators).
    Fish probably Miami and amphibians probably Cologne (Miami only has two species that are relevant).


    So on the one hand is one of the largest collections of freshwater birds on Earth, and on the other hand is Miami, with its relatively new Mission Everglades exhibit. 2-1 to Miami for now.
    I was also stuck whether to include Grizzly bears, Black bears (I assume they were Florida black bears), Florida panthers and Asian elephants.
     
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  3. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    I really like that you took the time to note which species you weren’t sure about and which way you went for each of them.

    All biome categories but particularly Freshwater will benefit from that approach, especially if others jump in to add any knowledge than they have.
     
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  4. Penshet

    Penshet Well-Known Member

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    I think Cologne should win here - one of the biggest waterfowl collections in the world, a fantastic indoor hippo enclosure, a significant aquarium (and terrarium with a few aquatic species, most notably Philippine crocodiles), and then some more species spread throughout the zoo.

    I don't think tapirs should count here. While they spend a significant amount of time in the water, I wouldn't associate them with water per se?
     
  5. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Tapirs are interesting because they are really borderline. However, I think they are some of the most aquatic ungulates (after hippopotamuses) and I would certainly think of them before lechwes etc. as a freshwater species.
    Having said that, I am not sure whether the species has to live in the freshwater, spend a significant amount of time in the freshwater or be often associated with freshwater. I would associate a heron with freshwater, but it doesn't often actually enter the water, which might not necessarily make it a freshwater species. I'm not sure and would have to ask members of this forum who have more experience/expertise.
     
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  6. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member

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    Some thoughts on what counts:

    I don't think any bears or elephants should count; they utilize freshwater habitats, but that doesn't seem like a high enough threshold. Florida panthers, however, are a unique subspecies found in the Florida Everglades; therefore, I think they should definitely count.

    Raccoons and jaguars are both iffy, as are tapirs. Tapirs typically live near water sources, but I don't know what their relationship is with wetlands per se. The Pantanal is a stronghold for jaguars, but they are a very adaptable species that is also found in jungles and deserts.

    Herons are generally tied to freshwater habitats for food, feeding on fish and other aquatic life. I don't think actually entering the water is a necessary prerequisite for being a freshwater biome species (although worth noting that many heron species regularly wade into the water, so I think it's a moot point here).
     
  7. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member

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    Mission Everglades appears to be a great freshwater-themed complex. It has some of the biggest enclosures and pools I have seen in an American zoo for crocodilians:

    American Alligator
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    American Crocodile
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    A very good enclosure for River Otters:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And a fantastic South Florida wading bird pond:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Other relevant exhibits include this one for Flamingo:
    [​IMG]

    Giant Otter
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And Pygmy Hippo, which is a bit of an odd one (props to them for keeping and trying to breed the species though):
    [​IMG]

    The zoo also keeps and breeds Orinoco crocodiles, with a big pool and sandy beach (not shown here):
    [​IMG]
     
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  8. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but humans wade into water :D
     
  9. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member

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    A list of Miami birds that I think definitely count:

    American Flamingo
    American White Pelican
    Brown Pelican
    Roseate Spoonbill
    Bald Eagle
    Sunbittern
    Black-bellied Whistling Duck
    Black-billed Whistling Duck
    Blue-winged Teal
    Brazilian Teal
    Chiloe Wigeon
    Cinnamon Teal
    Comb Duck
    Crested Screamer
    Red Shoveler
    Ringed Teal
    Rosybill Pochard
    Ruddy Duck
    Silver Teal
    White Cheek Pintail
    White-faced Whistling Duck
    Coscoroba Swan
    Boat-billed Heron
    Gray-necked Wood Rail
    Black-necked Swan
    African Open Billed Stork
    Spur-winged Lapwing
    White-backed Duck
    Abdim's Stork
    Northern Bald Ibis
    Black-necked Stork
    Australian Shoveler
    Bar-headed Goose
    Buff-banded Rail
    Collared Kingfisher
    Falcated Duck
    Indian Spot-billed Duck
    Javan Pond Heron
    Magpie Goose
    Mandarin Duck
    Masked Lapwing
    Painted Stork
    Red-breasted Goose
    Ruddy Shelduck
    Sarus Crane
    Scaly-sided Merganser
    Smew
    Spotted Whistling Duck
    Straw-necked Ibis
    Tufted Duck
    White Stork
    White-winged Duck

    With a total of 52 species, Miami has one of the best freshwater bird collections on the continent, including rarities like Collared Kingfisher, Javan Pond Heron, Painted Stork, African Openbill, Gray-necked Wood Rail and Buff-banded Rail, and countless native and non-native waterfowl.

    As for ectotherms:

    Reptiles (15)
    Common Box Turtle
    Hilaire's Side-necked Turtle
    Chiapas Giant Musk Turtle
    Central American Wood Turtle
    Painted Terrapin
    Fly River Turtle
    Everglades Ratsnake
    Florida Green Watersnake
    False Water Cobra
    Yellow Anaconda
    Caiman Lizard
    American Alligator
    American Crocodile
    Cuban Crocodile
    Orinoco Crocodile

    Amphibians (2)
    Squirrel Treefrog
    Surinam Toad

    Fish (13+)
    Freshwater Stingray
    Electric Eel
    Arapaima
    Pacu
    Red-tail Catfish
    Ripsaw Catfish
    Tiger Catfish
    Wolf Cichlid
    Bala Shark
    Giant Gourami
    Giant Thai Catfish
    Koi
    Four-eyed Fish

    Besides the good showings for freshwater South American and Southeast Asian fish, some interesting species are Chiapas Giant Musk Turtle, Squirrel Treefrog, Everglades Ratsnake, Painted Terrapin, and False Water Cobra. Miami also has three species of threatened crocodilian: American, Cuban, and Orinoco Crocodiles.
     
  10. TZDugong

    TZDugong Well-Known Member

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    Here's a photo of Miami's main freshwater tank:
    [​IMG]

    If it counts here are some pictures of the Jaguar enclosure:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

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    It is to much work to make a similar list for Cologne, as the waterfowl collection alone is probably twice of the total number of eligible birds of Miami and thus excludes the multiple species of heron, stork, ibis, tern etc.
     
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  12. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member

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    Definitely a wide runaway margin... but how does Cologne exhibit those species? Miami has an exhibit complex fully dedicated to a local freshwater habitat, along with Amazon River exhibits and large walk-through aviaries of freshwater birds. Meanwhile, Cologne is winning 41-31 despite almost no information posted to support it.
     
  13. Vision

    Vision Well-Known Member

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    A quick thought experiment. Perhaps instead of looking at the species objectively and deciding whether or not they belong in a specific "biome", we could instead (and I think this might be closer to how @CGSwans envisioned this round - correct me if I'm wrong) focus on how they're exhibited in the zoo. Does the zoo keep the tapirs in a habitat in which the freshwater ecosystem plays an important rule? Does the zoo give the tapirs a lot of space to swim, or even have an underwater viewing area? Does the zoo highlight the aquatic behaviour of tapirs? If the question to any of these questions is yes, then in my opinion there's no doubt that tapirs and their presence in the zoo should "count" for this challenge. On the other hand, if the zoo does nothing to highlight this behaviour and/or barely has any water in the exhibit at all, I think it's obvious that tapirs should not count.

    Some examples to illustrate what I mean: Tapirs in the Antwerp Zoo are kept in a "wetlands" area, next to exhibits for hippos, nutrias, pelicans, a large aviary for storks and ibises, and kept together with geese. They also have a nice and deep pool that they frequently use in summer and can completely submerge in, and as a visitor if you're lucky you can stand on a bridge with multiple tapirs in the water on one side, and multiple hippos in the water on the other. I think it's fairly obvious that Antwerp portrays Malayan tapirs as a relatively aquatic species, and in my opinion they should count there.
    On the other hand I'll use the Singapore Night Safari as an example - A fairly decent enclosure with a very nice backdrop and an amazing vibe, but with a pond that is off to the side of the enclosure and in a tram ride setting that focuses mainly on species of open grasslands and tropical rainforests. The freshwater aspect is (as far as I remember) not really mentioned extensively on the tram ride, and while I do believe it is a good tapir exhibit it doesn't really scream as if it belongs in a freshwater setting - So I'm less certain Malayan tapirs would count there.

    This is all, of course, very subjective and doesn't really work that well when compiling and comparing lists of the two different zoos - But that doesn't have to be a bad thing.
     
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  14. TZDugong

    TZDugong Well-Known Member

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    I definitely agree with this, and it’s the reason I’ve voted 2-1 Miami. Mission Everglades is based around freshwater and the Amazon section has a significant portion of the exhibit dedicated to species in and around fresh-water. Miami’s exhibits all range from good to excellent and they have a pretty large collection.

    This is perhaps unfair to Cologne but it seems as if Cologne is coasting off of their massive Waterfowl collection, but I’d be interested to see what the exhibits for Waterfowl look like. Miami has a smaller bird collection, but they still have 50 species, and their South Florida bird exhibit does an excellent job of representing a freshwater biome.

    As an aside, do any of the birds in Miami’s excellent Wings of Asia aviary count? That would be a big plus for me.
     
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  15. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Mmm, yes and no.

    I certainly agree that that’s an avenue I’d love to see people take. I don’t think we *quite* managed to change our dominant paradigm (ie, species lists) for the geographic categories and so I’m hopeful people will explore different options now. So yes, if an exhibit is explicitly themed around a given biome then it is up for discussion.

    At the same time, I think *only* focusing our attentions where zoos present species in what we would consider biome-appropriate exhibits would be unnecessarily limiting. What if there’s a species that *should* be in a biome-themed exhibit and isn’t? A good example is when a zoo plonks addax in their African savannah exhibit. That is relevant on two levels: the addax aren’t biome-appropriate, so it might detract from the quality of the exhibit for a ‘Grasslands’ round, and then you might also consider whether having the species - but in an inaccurate setting - is a net positive or negative in a Deserts round.

    As an aside, I’m not saying species lists *aren’t* valid points of discussion, by the way, but I’ll be upfront: I deliberately created categories that are blurry at the edges because I want to get away from raw numbers as the easy jumping off point they have been up until now.
     
  16. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Should I still post species lists then, because it's pretty clear that I'm the problem.
     
  17. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Not at all! You’re not *quite* influential enough to be setting the terms of the debate all by yourself. :p

    It isn’t a ‘problem’ if people want to vote based on species counts, as such. Your criteria remain yours to determine. My only concern is that it gets a bit repetitive after a while, and I think we have it within ourselves to identify and talk about more complex factors as well.

    So.... your species lists are fine, I just don’t think people should take much notice of them. :D
     
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  18. Dormitator

    Dormitator Well-Known Member

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    Although it's been highlighted, the freshwater fish section in the aquarium at Cologne is superb. Not just in numbers, but also the quality of the species. I believe they also do a lot of behind the scenes breeding of many of the endangered species.

    Some highlights in terms of general interest and rarity in collections:

    Australian lungfish, dwarf and scarlet chameleon fish, freshwater pipefish, crescent Betta, Gabon tilapia, La Parma pupfish, Mangarahara cichlid, Pale Usisya aulonocara.

    There are plenty more I could add

    Many oftheir species are kept in perfectly nice thanks, well planted with accurate biotopes. However because they don't have a huge number of big, showcase tanks with big species I think the sheer quality of the freshwater aquarium in Cologne is being understated a little. According to Lintworm's figure in the 50 European zoos to visit Cologne has 241 fish species, I'd estimate a good half of these are freshwater which is a seriously impressive figure.
     
  19. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    I probably won't post them anymore because they seem quite counterintuitive.