International Zoo News Vol. 51/1 (No. 330) January/February 2004

 

                                   CONTENTS

 

OBITUARY – Roger Conant

 

GUEST EDITORIAL

Georgia Mason and Ros Clubb

 

FEATURE ARTICLES

 

Changes in Behaviour and Enclosure Use    Thomas Grittinger

by Polar Bears over Time

 

Animal Management at Auckland Zoo.        Amy Dixon

1: Clicker Training Llamas

 

Animal Management at Auckland Zoo.        Asha Rodger-Barbato

2: The Springbok Conditioning Programme

 

Carl Hagenbeck's Plans for Rome Zoo –                 Spartaco Gippoliti

and What Became of Them

 

Letter to the Editor

 

Book Reviews

 

Conservation

 

Miscellany

 

Annual Report

 

International Zoo News

 

Recent Articles

 

                                   *   *   *

 

OBITUARY

 

Roger Conant, 1909–2003

 

Roger Conant, former director of Philadelphia Zoo, died on 19 December 2003 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the age of 94. He was an internationally respected herpetologist who was still writing and producing excellent manuscripts almost until he died.

 

Dr Conant was an inspiration for me and countless other young men who aspired to become involved with animals. When I was just getting interested in exotic animals, it was a side benefit of his weekly radio program, on station KYW in my home town of Philadelphia, that after telling about some animal or group of animals at Philadelphia Zoo, where he was at that time curator of reptiles and public relations, there would be a quiz, to see if you had been paying attention to what he was saying. If the penny postcard you sent back to him had the right answers, it would be returned marked for free admission. It was the means that I used to enter the zoo for many years.

 

I do not recall when we first met, but it would have been sometime between 1941 and 1945, when at age 16 I became a keeper at the zoo. I do not remember ever working in the reptile house – that took some skills I did not have. However, in my walks about the zoo I always went there, if for no other reason than to chat with the keeper of reptiles, Pete, who on crowded days would stand on the upper step to the building. I did know all the species in the reptile house, but did not keep as close a record on them as I did on mammals and birds. When I left the job after a few months, Roger remained friendly, although senior staff had been told not to talk to me – I was a `troublemaker', or so thought the director. We remained friends for the rest of his life.

 

Dr Conant began his zoo career at Toledo Zoo, Ohio, but spent most of it at Philadelphia, and he was just as good at being a public relations person as he was as a herpetologist. He could always be found doing something on `May Day', the first Sunday in May, when events were held to attract the public; on many occasions it was the release of the rhesus macaques on Monkey Island, but often it might be Roger milking some rattlesnakes for their venom. Philadelphia was the first zoo to have such a special event day that I know of, though now almost every zoo has a series of such days to bring in the much-needed paying visitors.

 

Dr Conant became better known to the reading public when he compiled his field guide to the reptiles and amphibians of the United States in 1958; it is still in print today. One of his favorite areas of field exploration was Mexico, and he published countless papers on the herpetology of that area. Many species from the region were kept alive in his office at the zoo, where they might be photographed by his second wife Isabelle, who was the love of his life – they did so many things together. She, like Roger, almost always had a smile on her face, and like him spoke softly; it was a rare day when either of them raised their voices.

 

After serving for many years in his dual curatorial role, he became the director of Philadelphia Zoo. For many years, despite a full plate of zoo and herpetology work, he also edited the zoological portion of the journal Parks and Recreation, which told you what other zoos in North America were doing, often in great detail. This was how I learned what was going on in other zoos – too bad that so few of the current crop of zoo professionals have never heard of it or read it.

 

Roger retired in 1973 and moved to Albuquerque, where he continued to produce many good papers. I last saw him there in 2001 when I came to the city for a memorial service for a former Albuquerque Zoo director. We had a nice lunch, and some good conversation.

 

His autobiography A Field Guide to the Life and Times of Roger Conant, published in 1997, gives all the details of his wonderful life. He will be missed by his many friends.

 

Marvin L. Jones

 

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GUEST EDITORIAL

 

Last October, our paper in the leading scientific journal Nature showed that in Carnivora, captive infant mortality and individual stereotypy performance is predicted by a species' natural ranging behaviour. Our finding showed objectively, for the first time, that specific aspects of wild behaviour make species resistant – or vulnerable – to captive welfare problems. It also showed that hunting does not underlie the pacing of carnivores, despite what is usually assumed. This has two practical implications for zoos. First, mimicking aspects of a wide-ranging lifestyle should be the key to effective environmental enrichment; providing larger enclosures, with more dens, and perhaps most importantly, more day-to-day variety, is likely to be most effective. Second, if improving an enclosure proves too hard or expensive, wide-ranging carnivores could instead be replaced by naturally more stay-at-home species, e.g. polar bears by grizzly bears, brown hyaenas by spotted hyaenas, fishers by pine martens, and so on. Such recommendations should not be controversial; after all, the World Zoo Conservation Strategy itself calls for zoos to focus on those species for which they can provide the best husbandry.

 

In his editorial in the November issue of IZN, Nicholas Gould attempted to critique what he perceived our methods and conclusions to be. It is a pleasure to use this Guest Editorial to correct his errors of fact and interpretation. Here, we explain in more detail how and why we did this research (as the word limit of the Nature Brief Communication – half that of this editorial! – did not permit this); identify and deal with Gould's various errors; and discuss how zoos should react to animal welfare research.

 

Our work first arose from a desire to understand carnivore stereotypy. Many had suggested that carnivores pace because they are motivated to hunt, yet this idea had never been scientifically tested. Furthermore, other hypotheses also existed – again, all untested; for example, that omnivorous, or territorial, or wide-ranging, animals are most stereotypic. Properly testing these ideas seemed important, and several UK zoos, along with UFAW and the International Zoo Veterinary Group, helped fund our project. Our approach was to use species differences to identify the correct hypothesis. If the hunting hypothesis was correct, species that naturally hunt for 100% of their prey, or pursue them over great distances, should be more stereotypic than species that are naturally omnivorous, carrion-eating, or have `sit and wait' hunting strategies. But if the ranging hypothesis was correct, then in contrast, species with naturally large home ranges should be most stereotypic.

 

The research involved well over two years' intense data acquisition, sorting and analysis. First, we compiled all the good-quality reports of carnivore stereotypy that we could. This totalled c. 100 studies, representing over 300 stereotyping individuals and 35 species, across 40 sites. The studies were largely recent (85% from 1990 onwards), and all from the developed world. From this, we calculated the mean proportion of time spent stereotyping by the pacing individuals at each site (the only variable we could calculate accurately; non-stereotyping animals are generally not studied, and so prevalence or mean levels across all animals cannot be assessed reliably); and calculated the median value across sites for each species. Next, we quantified typical activities in the wild. An exhaustive trawl through specialist books, and the last four decades' field research journals, generated over 500 good-quality data sources for our 35 target species. From this, we could calculate each species' typical (i.e. median) natural home range size, time spent hunting, time spent active, distances covered while hunting and per day, and several other variables. Because home range size and daily distance travelled vary enormously with food availability, we also calculated the typical minimal values for these variables, to represent behaviour when conditions are good. Finally, we collated further data relevant to welfare. Stereotypies generally signify poor environments, but indications also exist that they help animals to cope. We therefore needed extra information to assess whether species differences in stereotypy have real welfare significance. Many aspects of functioning can be affected by stress, but the one variable we could assess similarly for all our target species was infant mortality. We collated figures from the International Zoo Yearbook; from 1988 onwards, these volumes provided data from over 500 zoos worldwide, 80% in the developed world, on over 26,000 births and c. 9,000 deaths in our target carnivores. We calculated period mortality figures for each zoo, and then a median value for each species. Regressing wild data against captive variables gave two main results: (1) to our surprise, no aspect of hunting or foraging behaviour predicted captive stereotypy or infant mortality; and instead (2), daily distance travelled in the wild, and both median and minimum home range sizes, predicted median stereotypy and infant mortality levels. The infant mortality effect was particularly striking: highly statistically significant, and a true home range effect quite independent of body size.

 

With these details in mind, let us turn to Gould's attempted criticisms of our work. His first gripe, a `suspicion that the authors had decided beforehand what it was they wanted to prove', is as ridiculous as it is insulting. Our aim was to objectively test competing hypotheses, and that is what we did. If we had had any prior expectations, they were that hunting would be the key – an idea that proved to be wrong! Next, he raises issues about just one of our 35 species: lions. First, in captivity, aren't they largely inactive, and breed well? Who knows for sure, without good data on stereotypy prevalence and birth rates, but our data show that when lions develop pacing, they spend a lot of time in the behaviour (a median of 48%); and that when they breed, 40% of cubs die before one month of age. Second, isn't cub mortality very high in the wild? Gould cites Schaller's account of 66% of wild cubs dying in their first year, but omits to note that only 30% die before the age of six months, at least a third of which succumb for reasons that are absent in zoos (e.g. predation). Thus from Schaller's work, we would actually expect lion cub mortality in the safe zoo environment to be under 20% in the first month. Next, Gould compares information he has looked up on animal density for lions and snow leopards. These data are, however, irrelevant as they are not about home range size (which is the area an animal ranges over – if there are 55 lions in an 100-km2 area, but they each use all of that area, their range size is 100 km2, not 100/55 km2!). Our thorough literature survey shows that, in fact, the median home range for lions is over twice that for snow leopards. Gould next tries to say that we have ignored the effects of food availability, apparently not noticing that we looked at minimum range sizes for this very reason. (And it is perhaps worth pointing out here that Craighead and colleagues have shown that well-fed grizzly bears exploiting rubbish dumps still range over areas of 20 km2 or more!) Gould ends by giving an idealistic view of zoos and animal welfare, and it is this that we would like to end with.

 

We agree with Gould that the best zoos care about welfare, and strive to optimise it. We also agree that some enclosures are very successful; and that measures like infant mortality have generally improved over time (our own data, for example, show this in Carnivora over the last 10–15 years). But his implication that zoo welfare problems are all things of the past, and that zoos do not need any outside input thank you very much, is absurd. Everyone knows that stereotypies, infanticide, self-mutilation (e.g. fur-chewing), failures to mate, failures to conceive or bear young to term, and even short lifespans are not unusual in zoos. Everyone in their right mind also wants to solve these problems – but zoos often do not have the resources or expertise to do this themselves; their research budgets are small (or non-existent), and their staff usually unfamiliar with the huge recent literatures on assessing and reducing animal stress. So if animal welfare researchers like ourselves – and there are a lot of us, and we are not going to go away! – become interested in zoo issues, how should zoos react? Some have responded with the knee-jerk hostility and denial typified by Gould's editorial, but others, especially some of the large, wealthy North American zoos, have simply welcomed the work, and found it helpful and unthreatening. Surely this is a more appropriate response (and far more effective in PR terms, too)?

 

Dr Georgia Mason and Dr Ros Clubb

Animal Behaviour Research Group, Zoology Department, Oxford University

 

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CHANGES IN BEHAVIOUR AND ENCLOSURE USE BY POLAR BEARS OVER TIME

 

BY THOMAS GRITTINGER

 

Many polar bears (Ursus maritimus Phipps) spend their entire lives in zoos, which spend a large amount of money to provide stimulating enclosures and activities. Yet it is unclear what effect these factors have on the bears' behaviour over long periods of time. To the author's knowledge, no investigations of this question have been conducted. Other papers on captive polar bears have focused on behavioural changes on a daily or seasonal time frame (Ames, 1993, 1994; Grittinger, 1997). The present paper focuses on observations of two individuals taken six years apart at the Milwaukee County Zoo (Wisconsin, U.S.A.).

 

Polar bears are ideal subjects for such studies for several reasons. These engaging animals are relatively easy to observe on account of their size and the pace of most of their activities, and, with the exception of a female with newborns, are active throughout the year. Captive polar bears are more active than their wild counterparts (Ames, 1993).

 

The animals and their histories

 

The subjects of this study are Aurora (0.1) and Zero (1.0). Both were born in captivity. Aurora (2702) was born at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on 13 November 1982, and Zero (3407) was born at Milwaukee County Zoo on 14 December 1989. They were introduced to each other for the first time on 4 May 1993. The first set of observations was made between 3 December 1993 and 17 July 1995. The activity patterns during this period were reported earlier (Grittinger, 1997). At that time, Aurora was maintained on contraceptive injections of Depo-Provera® (medroxyprogesterone acetate). The second set of observations extended from 17 May 1999 to 19 January 2001. Aurora was not on contraceptives during this period, and oestrous signs and attempted copulations were observed by the keepers from time to time. She was even separated from Zero on various occasions with the hope of pregnancy, but this did not occur. Aurora was finally donated to Cleveland Zoo on 5 February 2001, ending the observations.

 

The facilities

 

The exhibit remained the same throughout both time periods. The bears occupied a 28.4 m ´ 14.0 m outdoor gunite exhibit. For data taking, the enclosure was divided into five areas (Fig. 1). The Back/Doors area is located behind the Pool and includes three doorways that lead into the indoor, off-exhibit cages. The back/doors area is contiguous with the West End, which is a large terraced area that leads upwards to a narrow shelf-like Ledge that lies just above the doors. The west end also joins the Front, which lies between the moat and the pool. The pool, which separates the front from the back/doors area, is 3.7 m deep and has underwater viewing windows at the east end for the public.

 

0

Figure 1. This illustrates the five areas utilized by the polar bears at Milwaukee County Zoo. The three doors along the back lead into the indoor dens which are not indicated here.

 

Management

 

Feeding time remained the same throughout the study. The bears were fed early (09.00–10.00 hours) in the morning in the outdoor enclosure. Two of the keepers retired or left between 1995 and 1999, but two others were there for the entire time. It is unclear what effect, if any, this personnel change may have had on the bears' behaviour. Likewise, no information is available on possible changes in the zoo visitors that might have affected the behaviour of the animals. However, no major changes were made that might have affected the interactions between the bears and the public. Throughout the time, there was a no-feeding policy directed towards the public, which would reduce interactions between the bears and humans.

 

Methods

 

Aurora and Zero were observed over two time periods, 1993–1995 and 1999–2001. In the first period, 5,921 observations were made, and in the second 3,302 were made before the final separation of the two. For the sake of comparison, the two were observed between 09.00 and 16.00 hours. The earlier data were collected between 08.00 and 16.00, but the first hour's data were not used here due to the small sample size of the 1999–2001 data. Data were collected using the instantaneous sampling technique (Altmann, 1974) at one-minute intervals. For each recording, the animal, its location in the enclosure and its activity was documented. Observations and recordings were made during twenty-minute sessions. Usually three sessions took place on each visit to the zoo, though sometimes there were two or four, depending on the availability of time. In comparing the 1993–95 data to that from 1999–2001, large-sample tests concerning the equality of two population proportions, namely, the large-sample tests of the null hypothesis, were used (Freund, 1973). A level of significance α = 0.05 was applied.

 

Results and discussion

 

Behaviour

 

The major activities and their behaviours:

 

1. Inactive

sleeping/lying

sitting

standing only

 

2. Stereotyping

pacing

head-swinging and pawing

 

3. Move/explore on land

walking, climbing

checking out the door

sniffing the environment

licking the environment

clawing the environment

 

4. Swimming

on the surface

diving

 

5. Maintenance

auto-grooming

rubbing self

scratching self

feeding/drinking

urinating/defecating

 

6. Autoplay

playing with object

locomotor play

 

7. Social

sniffing cage-mate

touching/rubbing cage-mate

licking cage-mate

pawing, scratching cage-mate

chasing cage-mate

mouthing/biting cage-mate

wrestling

 

In comparing the observations in 1993-95 to those of 1999-01, the overriding change seemed to be the decrease in active behaviours (Table 1). Aurora had a decrease in activity from 49.8% to 34.3% and Zero from 56.7% to 38.6% during the study. This might be attributed to the changes seen as they matured. It should not be too surprising that activity in polar bears would decrease in time: as Prosser (1973) pointed out, `In general, old animals have lower metabolism than young ones.' Best et al. (1981) reported that basal cardiac frequency recorded at rest decreased with increasing body size and age in polar bears, and this frequency is related to metabolism or activity coefficients. At the start of the first observations in 1993, Aurora was an adult of 11 years and Zero was only four years old. As a comparison, female polar bears in most areas of the Arctic breed for the first time at four years age, while males reach sexual maturity around the age of six years (Stirling, 1988), and polar bears in zoos breed between the ages of eight and 15 (Van Keulen-Kromhout, 1978). This suggests that we had an adult female and an adolescent male at the start of the observations. By time the last observations were made (2001), they were 19 and 12 years old respectively. The decrease in activity occurred in spite of an increase in sexual activity, as Aurora was on contraceptives only during the first period of observations. In order to better examine only the active forms of behaviour, the differences between behaviours as a percentage of only active behaviours were compared (Table 2). The differences were statistically significant for most behaviours, though not for Aurora's stereotyping, swimming or autoplaying, or for Zero's maintenance activities.

 

Stereotypic behaviour was the most frequently seen active behaviour in both animals in both periods, though it decreased in both animals with time (Table 2). Aurora exhibited this behaviour 46.3% and 44.1% of the time; Zero went from 37.2% to 31.2% of the time. Zero's change was statistically significant. In this study, the most common type of stereotyping seen at both time periods was that of pacing to-and-fro, also most frequently seen by Ames (1993). Aurora also engaged in head bobbing and swaying (called `weaving' by Meyer-Holzapfel, 1968) whilst standing in front of one of the doors, usually the west door.

 

Table 1. Changes in captive polar bear behaviour over time. Percent time spent in all activities (both active and inactive).

 

Behaviour        Aurora              Zero

                                 1993–1995  1999–2001          1993–1995  1999–2001

Inactive

Lying, sitting,           50.1    65.8         43.1    61.4

or just standing

 

Active

Stereotyping              23.1    15.1         21.1    12.0

Moving/exploring          12.0     5.0          8.6     5.0

Maintenance                8.3     6.9         10.6     8.0

Social    2.5              4.4     4.2          5.1*

Swimming  2.1              1.7*    2.3          4.3

Autoplaying                1.8     1.2          9.9     4.2

Total     49.8            34.3    56.7         38.6

 

* The difference between the early and the late samples is not statistically significant at α = 0.05.

 

Table 2. Changes in captive polar bear behaviour over time. Percent time spent in active behaviours only.

 

Active behaviours                    Aurora                                 Zero

                                 1993–1995  1999–2001           1993–1995  1999–2001

Stereotyping              46.3    44.1*        37.2    31.2

Moving/exploring          24.2    14.5         15.2    12.9

Maintenance               16.6    20.2         18.7    20.8*

Social    5.1             12.8     7.4         13.1

Swimming  4.2              4.9*    4.1         11.1

Autoplaying                3.6     3.5*        17.4    10.9

 

* The difference between the early and the late samples is not statistically significant at α = 0.05.

 

There is a great deal of literature devoted to responses of animals in restricted environments and in stereotypic behaviour in zoo animals in general (Boorer, 1972; Hediger, 1964; Morris, 1964, 1966). Hediger (1964) described stereotyped movements as peculiar partial hypertrophies of the space-time pattern. Polar bears are especially noted for this behaviour. Meyer-Holzapfel (1968) described both the to-and-fro walking and `weaving' in polar bears. She described the latter as the rhythmic head swinging and alternate pawing, which was derived from walking back and forth in a straight path. Wechsler (1991) discussed the relationship of stereotypies in polar bears to frustrated appetitive behaviour. Ames (1993, 1994) found that each individual had a unique stereotypic pattern. Van Keulen-Kromhout (1978) examined the influence of activity levels, begging, and enclosure size on stereotypic behaviour. But only in Ames's papers was a reference made to age, stating that this behaviour was not exhibited by young animals (1993) and, more specifically, is not seen in cubs of two years or younger (1994).

 

In this study, play came under two categories – `autoplay' or `solo play', which usually utilized objects such as boomer balls or other behavioural enrichment toys, and, infrequently, `locomotor play'. Another category, social play, was classified as `social behaviour' in this study. There was a tendency to intermingle this with other behaviours that may not be considered as play, or to give way to or proceed from touching, grooming, or even somewhat aggressive play- fighting. Autoplay was far more frequent in Zero, with 17.4% and 10.9% of active behaviours, than for Aurora with 3.6% and 3.5% of active behaviours (Table 2). There was a significant drop-off in autoplay for Zero as he entered adulthood. Play behaviour is one of the few areas where comments in the literature mention the effect of age on a specific behaviour, with the anticipated inverse relationship between age and play. Loizos (1966) considered play as being most characteristic of young animals, whose needs are taken care of by their parents, and of animals in captivity for whom the same functions are served by their human guardians. Fagen (1981) pointed out that young animals tend to play more than do adults. It is interesting that Ames (1993, 1994) mentioned that manipulative ability in polar bears (which might include much of autoplay) was independent of age.

 

Overall, social behaviour occupied little of their time – 2.5% and 4.4% for Aurora's total activities and 4.2% and 5.1% for Zero (Table 1). In this study, social behaviour may include play elements, ranging from only touching and other such behaviours that may be one-sided to very interactive wrestling. Among active behaviours, it increased from 5.1% to 12.8% for Aurora and 7.4% to 13.1% for Zero over the study period (Table 2).

 

Social behaviour is not frequently seen in wild polar bears. Stirling (1974) found that meetings between unrelated polar bears were not common, with an average of only one encounter per 50.2 bear hours in midsummer observations. The family group made up of a female with one or more cubs is the only extended social unit (Latour, 1981a). In the wild, Latour (1981a and b) found that social behavior constituted 3–8% of total time depending on age–sex class. He reported that adult males spent a greater proportion of their total of social encounters in contact behaviour than did sub-adults. Captive polar bears `rarely engaged in social interactions and in most instances these were aggressive' (Ames, 1994).

 

Enclosure use

 

Throughout the study, the terraced or multi-leveled `west end' was seldom used in spite of its large size. The influence of topography in captive polar bears was mentioned by Van Keulen-Kromhout (1978). She suggested that they dislike a terraced and uneven floor. Stereotyped behaviour was less evident, and begging more so, in enclosures where the surface is level.

 

As in the behaviours, there was a change in site utilization within the exhibit over time (Table 3). One of the major changes was seen in the use of the ledge above the three doors (Fig. 1), with both animals spending more time there in the second period. However, Zero showed no significant change in use of the west end or the pool in the two time periods. Each animal seemed to have maintained its favorite areas. Zero spent far more time in the pool than did Aurora throughout the study – 11.8% and 12.6% of the time as compared with 3.1% and 4.3%. The high values for Zero in the pool might be related to his high values in autoplay. This is where he usually manipulated or played with balls and floats. Aurora spent 78.3% and 64.8% and Zero spent 47.5% and 41.9% of the time in the back/door area. Zero continued to spend a great deal (29.5% and 27.3%) of time in front. The dynamics between the animals, in the form of avoidance, may partly explain what areas of the exhibit were utilized at a given time. For example, often Aurora would leave the water once Zero dived in.

 

Table 3. Changes in enclosure use over time. Percent time spent in each area.

 

Enclosure area                      Aurora                 Zero

                                 1993–1995  1999–2001          1993–1995  1999–2001

 

Back/Doors                78.3    64.8         47.5    41.9

Front     11.9            15.7    29.5         27.3

West End  4.4              6.2    10.0          9.6*

Ledge     2.3              9.0     1.2          8.6

Pool    3.1   4.3   11.8  12.6*

 

* The difference between the early and the late samples is not statistically significant at α = 0.05.

 

Conclusions

 

This study suggests that the zoo visitors might expect to see many of the same behaviours in the same polar bears through the years, at least on the time frame examined here. Though there was an overall reduction in activity with the passage of time, there was an increase in social behaviour. As far as exhibit use is concerned, they each still had their favorite areas, but both started using the ledge more as the study progressed. This paper is but a glimpse into an area not well investigated, which could, in the future, be examined by the use of more animals, the use of a longer time span, and an assessment of possible human influences on the polar bears. It would be interesting to study the possible changes in activity and enclosure use in other species as well.

 

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Elizabeth Frank, Curator of Large Mammals at the Milwaukee County Zoo, Ann Grittinger, Greta Grittinger-Odders, and Barrett Scherff, Biology Department, University of Wisconsin Sheboygan, for suggestions on the manuscript, and Thomas Peneski, Mathematics Department, and Paul Soik, Information Processes Consultant, for their assistance with the statistics.

 

References

Altmann, J. (1974): Observational study of behaviour: sampling methods. Behaviour 49: 227–267.

Ames, A. (1993): The Behaviour of Captive Polar Bears. UFAW Animal Welfare Research Report No. 5. Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, Herts., U.K.

Ames. A. (1994): The Welfare and Management of Bears in Zoological Gardens. UFAW Animal Welfare Research Report No. 7. Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, Herts., U.K.

Best, R.C., Ronald, K., and Oritsland, N.A. (1981): Physiological indices of activity and metabolism in the polar bear. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 69A: 177–185.

Boorer, M. (1972): Some aspects of stereotyped patterns of movement exhibited by zoo animals. International Zoo Yearbook 12: 164–168.

Fagen, R. (1981): Animal Play Behavior. Oxford University Press, New York.

Freund, J. (1973): Modern Elementary Statistics (4th ed.). Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Grittinger, T.F. (1997): Activity patterns in polar bears at the Milwaukee County Zoo. International Zoo News 44 (2): 68–78.

Hediger, H. (1964): Wild Animals in Captivity. Dover Publications, New York.

Latour, P. (1981a): Spatial relationships and behavior of polar bears (Ursus maritimus Phipps) concentrated on land during the ice-free season of Hudson Bay. Canadian Journal of Zoology 59: 1763–1774.

Latour, P. (1981b): Interactions between free-ranging, adult male polar bears (Ursus maritimus Phipps): a case of adult social play. Canadian Journal of Zoology 59: 1775–1783.

Loizos, C. (1966): Play in mammals. In Play, Exploration and Territory in Mammals (Symposia of the Zoological Society of London, No. 18), 1–9.

Meyer-Holzapfel, M. (1968): Abnormal behavior in zoo animals. In Abnormal Behavior in Animals (ed. M.W. Fox), pp. 476–503. W.B. Saunders, Philadelphia.

Morris, D. (1964): The response of animals to a restricted environment. Symposia of the Zoological Society of London, No. 13, 99–118.

Morris, D. (1966): Abnormal rituals in stress situations. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 251: 327–330.

Prosser, C.L. (ed.) (1973): Comparative Animal Physiology (3rd ed.). W.B. Saunders, Philadelphia.

Stirling, I. (1974): Midsummer observations on the behavior of wild polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Canadian Journal of Zoology 52: 1191–1198.

Stirling, I. (1988): Polar Bears. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor.

Wechsler, B. (1991): Stereotypies in polar bears. Zoo Biology 10: 177–188.

Van Keulen-Kromhout, G. (1978): Zoo enclosures for bears Ursidae: their influence on captive behaviour and reproduction. International Zoo Yearbook 18: 177–186.

 

Thomas F. Grittinger, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin Sheboygan, One University Drive, Sheboygan, Wisconsin 53081, U.S.A. (E-mail: tgrittin@uwc.edu ).

 

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ANIMAL MANAGEMENT AT AUCKLAND ZOO. 1: CLICKER TRAINING LLAMAS

 

BY AMY DIXON

 

The `clicker' – a small plastic box with a metal strip that makes a sharp clicking sound when pressed – is a training tool which has become widely used with a great variety of animal species. Clicker training is a science-based system for teaching animals behaviours using positive reinforcement, with the sound of the clicker being a signal to communicate to the animal that it has performed a desired behaviour. It is a positive method of training that requires no physical force, correction or punishment as compared with traditional training. With clicker training, the trainer marks the instant a particular behaviour happens with a click (the `conditioned reinforcer') and pays it off with something the animal wants, or the `primary reinforcer' (in the present case, with llamas, high-preference food like pellets and lower-preference food such as carrot and apple were used). If the animal makes a mistake, the trainer only has to wait for it to try again. Clicker training focuses on building positive behaviours, not stopping negative ones. For instance, instead of yelling at the llama for kicking or dragging on the lead, the trainer clicks the llama for being still or walking calmly. Click by click the behaviour is shaped for longer periods of being still (i.e. not kicking) or walking sensibly on the lead. The animal quickly learns that the sound of the clicker brings reinforcement, and gradually an unwanted behaviour is eliminated, simply by building another, wanted behaviour. This article aims to show how this method of positive reinforcement was able to develop consistency and reliability of different behaviours in llamas at Auckland Zoo (New Zealand) to enable more efficient daily management.

 

Training began by teaching the `bridge' association. This involved bringing the llamas into a concrete yard and clicking the clicker before offering a favoured piece of food. Sessions were kept short, five to ten minutes, and finished before the llama became uninterested or unfocused. When the animals were actively looking for food at the sound of the click they were considered ready for training.

 

One particular llama stood out and progressed the quickest with the training programme. Three-year-old Genevieve (Gen) has responded better than the older animals and has shown the most enthusiasm. Because of this I concentrated most of the effort on her, while maintaining targeting and general handling for the two older animals. All the llamas were haltered for every session.

 

Simple targeting

 

Targeting is the simplest way to open up a channel of communication with your animal. It provides opportunities to teach new behaviours and asks little of the animal in return for something positive. It can be used to teach new behaviours and manipulate the animal into particular positions or areas.

 

A tennis ball on a wand was used as a target stick. Initial investigations of the target were rewarded, gradually asking the llamas to follow the stick and hold it for longer periods. After a short time we were able to weigh the llamas regularly simply by getting them to follow the target onto the scales. We were also able to get them to utilise different aspects of their enclosure, such as hillocks and other areas where they wouldn't normally go. The youngest llama, Gen, followed the target at speed around the enclosure, jumping over obstacles and running up and down a rocky mound and over logs. Not only was it great exercise, she appeared to thoroughly enjoy it, which is often reinforcing in itself.

 

If the situation were to arise, we could utilise targeting to assist with medical or husbandry procedures, such as clipping or being held in a crush, getting the llamas to hold onto the target while the procedure is performed. Not only does it keep the animal relatively still, it is something familiar and positive during a time of discomfort. This has been employed with other animals at Auckland Zoo, such as giraffe in electro-ejaculation procedures and sea lion in biopsy treatments. Six months into the training programme, all three llamas were transferred out of the zoo to a llama farm. This involved transporting them on a float for the first time, with only a very short time for conditioning. Targeting was used to get the animals onto the float both individually and as a group and worked extremely well, particularly with the older animals. Targeting was also used to start the teaching of new behaviours such as `kushing' (lying down, a submissive posture in llamas), which will be discussed below.

 

Husbandry applications

 

Examining feet is a husbandry priority with many captive animals. Llamas have a leathery pad (not a hoof) similar to a dog's and are therefore potentially susceptible to foot injury or foreign objects becoming embedded. Training for this behaviour began with a touch stick (a soft-ended dressage whip) being used to get the llama comfortable with being touched around the legs. As is typical of many horses, the llamas had a `good' side and a `bad' side to work on. More work was done with the bad side, to get the animal as comfortable being touched there as on the good side. The touch stick was used to touch the legs prior to using the trainer's hands in order to prevent injury to the trainer. Gradually a hook was introduced – a modified cane with soft padding on the hook – to attempt to lift the foot, but this was abandoned when it was found that it did not pick up the foot as hoped. Prior to this, the llama was made comfortable having the front legs touched by hand down to the knee. Work was then put into handling the legs all the way to the foot, gradually applying pressure until the foot was able to be lifted and examined. At first the llama was not comfortable with having her foot lifted and would often kick the foot away or attempt to move away or kush. This put the training back a few steps. When the llamas left the zoo, picking up the left foot had been achieved and touching to the toe of the right foot.

 

Mouth and teeth inspection

 

Examination of the teeth is another important husbandry routine that was simple to teach and did not require the llama to step too far out of the comfort zone. First, reinforcement was given for allowing the trainer to touch the bottom lip, gradually progressing to applying pressure and pulling the lip down to examine the bottom teeth. The trainer's other hand was slowly introduced towards the top lip for a more complete examination, gradually enabling the trainer to open the top and bottom lips simultaneously. The length of the behaviour was increased, allowing the trainer a good look at the teeth and palate.

 

Kushing

 

Kushing is a natural behaviour of llamas at rest. It can be used for a variety of reasons, for example during travelling and for various medical treatments and procedures. Initially the trainer got the llama to target to the ground, then the animals's head was gently guided to the ground by stages, using the clicker at each stage until she was putting her head to the ground at the touch of the lead. The next step involved using the touch stick to gently touch a front foot, which encouraged the leg to be lifted and bent – the first step llamas take when kushing. This was reinforced until she kushed; then gradually the trainer reduced the use of the touch stick and lead until kushing happened on cue with just a hand signal. While the animal was down, another simple behaviour – `head down' – was taught, again using the target and gradually moving to a hand signal. Gen became comfortable with being handled and targeting while down.

 

Other behaviours

 

`Rubbish behaviour' was something we played around with to maintain interest and variety. There was no pressure to accomplish it as with the husbandry behaviours. A piece of rubbish was shown to the animal, gradually getting the llama to take it in the mouth and let go. The idea behind this behaviour was to be able to eventually point to a piece of rubbish on the ground (in a classroom setting) and cue the llama to pick it up and place it in the bin or the trainer's hand. The focus of this behaviour was on the educational value of the message. Once the rubbish was in the llama's mouth, duration was encouraged. Initially the piece of rubbish used was a screwed-up piece of paper – until it was eaten! It was then replaced with a plastic lid.

 

Overall the training was extremely beneficial and fun for both animal and trainer. All aspects of the training made life easier – and at times safer – for all concerned, as well as enriching the lives of the llamas. Many of the behaviours taught were to eliminate or discourage `bad' behaviours that had inadvertently been `taught' to the llamas throughout their lives prior to training. This made daily management of all three animals much easier and more enjoyable. The llamas are very much missed at Auckland Zoo, but to know that the training enhanced their lives while at the zoo and will be continued at their new home makes it all worthwhile.

 

Amy Dixon, Keeper, Elephants/Carnivores, Auckland Zoo, Motions Road, Western Springs, Auckland 1, New Zealand (E-mail: AmyDixon@aucklandcity.govt.nz ).

 

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ANIMAL MANAGEMENT AT AUCKLAND ZOO. 2: THE SPRINGBOK CONDITIONING PROGRAMME

 

BY ASHA RODGER-BARBATO

 

Traditionally the capture of small antelope has involved predator/prey-like scenarios, either through pursuit with nets or into funnel traps, or by darting – all of which are extremely stressful to any animal. All antelopes are prey species, so they are highly adapted to flight. They can sustain great speeds for long periods. Pursuit of an antelope is never an easy task, and there are many risks involved:

 

   The animals may injure themselves, sometimes fatally;

   The pursuer may also be injured;

–With hoofstock there is a high risk of the captured animal developing capture myopathy, an often fatal syndrome that occurs from one day to four weeks post-capture (Basson and Hofmeyer, 1973);

–With adrenaline pumping long before any medical attention, the effect of any drugs used is likely to be decreased.

 

Generally, when we need to capture an animal it is either to transport it or to implement a number of husbandry or medical procedures. So we can safely assume that what occurs after capture will add more stress to an already stressful situation. Why not reduce some of that stress by making the capture of the animal almost voluntary? This is possible with conditioning. Auckland Zoo currently holds six springbok (Antidorcas marsupialus). Our springbok are conditioned to come in each day from their paddock into their house, where they are closed in. Once closed in the house they are encouraged to move freely between the two sides through a transport crate which is permanently set up. Passing through this crate has become a familiar route for them to take. When an individual animal requires attention, the group is brought into the house, then the other animals are gradually let out until only the subject is left.

 

Conditioning is most successful when done frequently and regularly. Our springbok are locked in their house for at least 30 seconds every day. Our conditioning aims are as follows:

 

–The animals come when called and follow a keeper who is shaking a bucket of food;

   The animals are comfortable in their house;

   The animals are comfortable going through the crate;

–Ultimately we are reducing stress to only the absolutely necessary minimum, i.e. that involved in the actual medical treatment.

 

The method of conditioning

 

Step One: A comfortable place to go. The place into which they are locked (their house) is a place where they go regularly to feed. When they first came to the zoo they were given access only to the house and yard for a few weeks. This was so that they had a familiar base, a safe place to go back to once they were given access to a larger area. Fresh hay is always available to them here.

 

Step Two: A reason to move. Food is used to move them from one place to the other. It has to be a food that they really enjoy and don't get a lot of. We condition our springbok using multi-nut pellets. Between six animals they are given half a kilo a day. With pellets in a bucket we go into the paddock to find the springbok and call out to them, shaking the bucket. This signals to them that they will be getting pellets soon and they begin walking to the house.

 

Step Three: Entering the house. The springbok house has two entrances, one to each stall. In order to give us more time to shut them in, one door is already closed before they enter the house. Generally we scatter their pellets on the side with the closed door. This means that to reach their pellets they must go through the crate, conditioning them to be familiar with it. When the springbok are inside, the open door can be gently closed. Now the animals are locked in their house.

 

Once they are inside we can manoeuvre the doors, letting the animals out until we are left with only the desired individual in the house. For mechanical restraint the crate is shut on one side. A keeper can now slowly enter the house with the springbok. The animal naturally wants to avoid us and sees the crate as an escape route, so will walk into it freely. Once it is in the crate, a keeper must quickly put a hand on the springbok so that it does not back out. The animal is now restrained and hands-on care can be performed.

 

It should be mentioned that once restrained in the crate our springbok tend to sit down. This must reduce stress even more, and it also reduces the chance of injury to the animal. Another benefit of using this method is that the horns are facing away from the keeper, preventing any possible injuries to humans. On some occasions we have given medical attention whilst the animal was not under anaesthetic. If we need to check their heads we can do so quite safely with a person holding the horns at the base.

 

For reasons of stress avoidance we do not restrain an animal while others are in the house. When more than one animal needs to be seen to, we merely repeat the process of bringing the group into the house and allowing others to leave until the subject animal is left. Our springbok are so strongly conditioned that we can bring them into the house repeatedly as we require.

 

Using this method of conditioning and restraint, we can easily administer drugs, give body checks, and crate for transport. The darting of animals merely for immobilisation is completely eliminated, so we do not need to put unnecessary drugs in their system.

 

Springbok are highly alert animals and quick to spot changes to routine. As this is a daily process, it is important that we vary the time of day at which they are conditioned inside. Something as simple as the time of day can affect the success of locking the animals in.

 

There are many elements that can hinder the whole process or put more stress on the animals than is necessary. Here are a few hints to avoid such situations:

 

   When trapped most antelopes will head towards the light.

For this reason the windows in the springbok house are darkened. Any gaps in the crate are also blocked to avoid light getting through. Whilst restrained, it is a good idea to throw a dark cloth over the animal's eyes to lower stress levels.

   Springbok are inclined to jump as part of their flight response.

To avoid them injuring themselves, remove any objects in the house that could cause more harm.

   Ensure that all staff involved are aware of the plan before commencing.

Make sure that everyone is ready and sure of their part in the process. Strange noises, new faces, objects or movement can all affect how the animals will react to the conditioning process on the day. Once an animal becomes suspicious, it is much harder to deal with.

   Don't leave them in the house for too long prior to catching up.

They will become uptight if left in a confined space for too long, and will be quite stressed before you have even entered the house.

Don't separate the animals too soon.

Being herd animals, they feel much safer when with their companions. From the moment an individual is alone it will become suspicious and uptight.

Timing is very important to the smooth running of the whole process.

 

Over the last two months we have had to give medical attention to springbok on four different occasions. On each occasion we used this method to restrain them. Our springbok are so strongly conditioned to coming inside their house that we can bring them in as many times as we need to during one day. It is a good idea to repeat the conditioning process soon after a procedure, just quietly, so they remain comfortable with it and don't associate the house with a bad experience.

 

Conditioning animals is pretty simple – quite often we condition them without knowing it, and at other times they are conditioning us. By conditioning our springbok to co-operate in their own capture we have greatly improved our management of them. By not subjecting them to predator/prey-type pursuits, I believe we have also developed an element of trust. Conditioning is a powerful animal management tool. As long as we are consistent in our method and the animals are given a reason to co-operate, we can improve their quality of life.

 

Reference

Basson, P.A., and Hofmeyer, J.M. (1973): The Capture and Care of Wild Animals. Human and Rousseau, Cape Town, South Africa.

 

Asha Rodger-Barbato, Auckland Zoo, Motions Road, Western Springs, Auckland 1, New Zealand (E-mail: Asha.Rodger-Barbato@aucklandcity.govt.nz  ).

 

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CARL HAGENBECK'S PLANS FOR ROME ZOO – AND WHAT BECAME OF THEM

 

BY SPARTACO GIPPOLITI

 

References to the philosophy of Carl Hagenbeck are largely limited to his own biography (Hagenbeck, 1909) and to the Stellingen Tierpark in Hamburg, the zoo that is still a family business of the Hagenbecks. At the Stellingen inauguration on 7 May 1907, only part of the Tierpark had been developed, including two of Hagenbeck's famous `panoramas', now usually referred to as the Africa and Arctic panoramas (Reichenbach, 1998). Furthermore, much of the park was destroyed during allied bombing in 1943. Despite this, there is no doubt that Hagenbeck played a key role in the development of modern exhibition criteria for zoos, a statement confirmed by all recent zoo planners and historians (Coe, 1995; Ehrlinger, 1990; Hancocks, 2001). A number of zoos have been referred to as `Hagenbeckian', but mostly they developed through the work of other members of the Hagenbeck family and team. As I have written previously (Gippoliti, 1997), Rome Zoo appears to be an exception, as it developed from the direct involvement of Carl Hagenbeck and his Stellingen team, particularly Heinrich Hagenbeck, Moritz Lehmann and Urs Eggenschwyller. Furthermore, the almost complete fulfilment of the master plan and the good climatic conditions of Rome may help to elucidate Carl Hagenbeck's own philosophy concerning zoo exhibition and planning, as Hagenbeck himself recognised: `I have promised to make you a garden which will be even more interesting than my own garden at Stellingen, because, thanks to the excellent climate, I can make it more beautiful by combining zoology and botany in a way which is impossible for me here in the North' (Anon., 1908a). These words emphasize the importance Hagenbeck gave to planting and gardening in creating the illusions of the earth's major biomes. In fact, he planted vegetation even inside an exhibit, as photos of the lion grotto show.

 

For several reasons, most of the original Rome Zoo as Hagenbeck conceived it had a short life. Nevertheless, it seems quite interesting to illustrate what is left of this little-known project led by a major figure of zoo history. The main sources of information are the 1911 map of the zoo and the Hagenbeck master plan map published for the 25th anniversary of the zoo (Anon., 1935), plus other documents of the early years.

 

After securing the advice of Carl Hagenbeck, a Society for the Zoological Garden was founded in Rome at the beginning of 1909. It received from the municipality an area of about ten hectares at the Villa Borghese park. A conference, presided over by the Queen Mother, was held on 12 November 1908 to introduce Carl Hagenbeck and his project to the Romans. Work began in May 1909 and was almost completed by October 1910, in time for the Universal Exposition of Rome in 1911. The original Hagenbeck master plan is shown in Fig. 1. At the inauguration, on 5 January 1911, the area for animal shows had not been completed (and it never was, which was – according to some fellows of the Society – one of the primary causes of the zoo's later financial problems), and there were several deviations from the original plan. However, the core of Hagenbeck's panoramas follows the original plan (Fig. 2). As in Stellingen, most of the exhibits had their common focal point toward the restaurant – where the Museum of Zoology now stands. An area for temperate species such as ibexes, bears and (not realized) wolves on one side of the park was the most important addition compared to the Stellingen Tierpark. Two large aviaries for birds of prey were also created – vultures were kept chained on the top of rockwork at Stellingen. Also notable is the construction of four moated grottos for tropical carnivores – there was only one in Stellingen for both lions and tigers. The two largest were for lions and tigers, and the two smaller ones for leopards and hyenas. This appears to have been the first successful attempt to build an open-air enclosure for leopards. I was unable to find a picture of the leopards in their grotto, but a group of them, plus a puma, were said to be living there in 1911 (Knottnerus-Meyer, 1911). A cage for two leopards first appeared only in 1913, and later their moated enclosure was occupied by lions – why is not recorded. The artificial rockwork enclosing the original leopard exhibit still today extends particularly far forward, a measure not adopted at all for the lion grotto and only moderately for the tiger one. Just below the great artificial rocks, the enclosures for giraffes, antelope and zebras were visible. Possibly, these animals were considered by Hagenbeck too precious and delicate to be held in multi-species exhibits. A detailed study of vistas and sight lines around the zoo was put into effect as part of the project. Obtrusive buildings and cages, such as those for pachyderms and reptiles, were situated along the edges of the panoramas and, in the case of the reptile house, `covered in bamboo' (Knottnerus-Meyer, 1911).

 

It is evident that Hagenbeck made no attempt to create zoogeographically coherent exhibits, as is sometimes stated (Coe, 1995). As in Stellingen, the great enclosure for hoofed stock in front of the carnivores' grottos, known as `the Paradise', contained both domestic and wild species from various biomes (nilgai, llama, Bactrian and Arabian camels, domestic goat, yak). Ironically, it took on a more African appearance only years later when, subdivided into several enclosures, it held zebras and African wild ass. Even in the master plan, no attempt was made to separate African from Asian animals; in fact a single exhibit was destined for lions and tigers and, more importantly, all major African savanna animals have separate enclosures around the carnivores' grottos, not in the large front enclosure! Possibly, confusion concerning this matter originated from later innovations introduced in Stellingen by Carl's son Heinrich.

 

The more conventional buildings really were `conventional', the elephant and reptile houses in essence resembling nothing more than industrial buildings of the time. Possibly for economic reasons, outdoor enclosures for elephants were really small compared to the areas reserved for, say, kangaroos and zebras; but, at least, all stalls had an outdoor enclosure. It should be remembered, however, that Hagenbeck's philosophy relied so greatly on animal training that no elephant enclosures existed in Stellingen at the time (Anon., 1908b). Interestingly, small outdoor cages were available even for some reptiles. From the beginning, the reptile house presented many problems, especially concerning the ability to maintain a high indoor temperature (Knottnerus-Meyer, 1914). As in Stellingen, its interior design and the terrariums resembled those of a natural grotto. All buildings, except the ape house, were without a heating system, which caused severe problems when several were installed in 1913 and 1914 in different buildings (Knottnerus-Meyer, 1914). Another major problem of the first years was the almost total absence of shade for both animals and visitors, a problem perhaps overlooked by Carl Hagenbeck but a serious one in sunny Italy. Incidentally, Hagenbeck's overlooking of microclimatic conditions is also demonstrated by the choice to expose the polar bear exhibit in a fully south-facing position. Tree planting began immediately with the first director, Theodor Knottnerus-Meyer, but with time their growth contributed to obscuring the overview of the zoo from the Zoological Museum.

 

Both the master plan and its effective realization highlight the informal design of the whole park – the only straight road, `viale dei pappagalli', being part of the ancient Villa Borghese layout. A great equilibrium seems to exist between the enclosures and the areas in between. Plants are extensively used to conceal some major buildings, such as the giraffe, ape and reptile houses. Major visible buildings were designed in the exotic styles then fashionable: the elephant house was `Egyptian' and the reptile and ostrich house `Turkish'.

 

Even if the moats were well camouflaged, a little-known detail of Hagenbeck planning was to offer the public more than one view of an exhibit. In Stellingen, the Arctic panorama could be viewed both from the main path and from above (Reichenbach, 1996), while it was also possible to come close to the moat of the lion grottos by paying an extra fee (Reichenbach, 1998). In Rome too a small path led to the edge of the lion moat, while the map of 1911 suggests that the brown bear exhibit could also be viewed from above at the back..

 

Severe criticism of progress in construction had already led to the resignation of the Society's president, Senator Giorgio Sonnino, in April 1910. The ornithologist Prince Francesco Chigi replaced him. By the late 1920s, the poor condition of the original rockwork had already led to its removal – as in the case of the `Cervino Mountain' for goats – or restoration with some modifications. The loss of many animals, such as the ibexes of the Cervino from parasitic infestation, was directly linked to design faults, which did not allow the regular checking and separation of the animals. Some of the large grottos – for bears, tigers and hyenas – were greatly reduced in size. Of the few original exhibits that survived, some, like those for lions or brown bears, have been greatly modified during recent years, being evidently not considered worthy of special protection. The old pachyderm house now needs urgent renovation. But even if shortage of money and time made Hagenbeck's Rome Zoo a somewhat ephemeral creation, this does not detract from the ingenious nature of the general plan originally proposed and realized there by Carl Hagenbeck's team.

 

Acknowledgements

I wish to thank A. D'Alessandro, H. Reichenbach, K. Gille and N. Gould for their valuable help.

 

References

Anonymous (1908a): Istituzione di Giardino Zoologico in Roma. Rome.

Anonymous (1908b): Führer durch Carl Hagenbecks Tierpark in Stellingen. Hamburg.

Anonymous (1935): Il Giardino Zoologico di Roma nel suo venticinquesimo anniversario. Palombi, Rome.

Coe, J.C. (1995): The evolution of zoo animal exhibits. In The Ark Evolving: Zoos and Aquariums in Transition (ed. C.M. Wemmer), pp. 95–128. Smithsonian Institution Conservation and Research Center, Fort Royal, Virginia.

Ehrlinger, D. (1990): The Hagenbeck legacy. International Zoo Yearbook 29: 6–10.

Gippoliti, S. (1997): A contribution to the history of zoos in Italy up to the Second World War. International Zoo News 44 (8): 458–465.

Hagenbeck, C. (1909): Io e le belve. Quintieri Editore, Milan.

Hancocks, D. (2001): A Different Nature: The Paradoxical World of Zoos and their Uncertain Future. University of California Press, Berkeley.

Knottnerus-Meyer, T. (1911): Guida ufficiale del Giardino Zoologico di Roma. Armanino, Genoa.

Knottnerus-Meyer, T. (1914): Relazione tecnica sul Giardino Zoologico di Roma per l'esercizio 1913. Rome.

Reichenbach, H. (1996): A tale of two zoos: the Hamburg Zoological Garden and Carl Hagenbeck's Tierpark. In New Worlds, New Animals: from Menagerie to Zoological Park in the Nineteenth Century (eds. R.J. Hoage and W.A. Deiss), pp. 51–62. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Reichenbach, H. (1998): Hagenbeck at 150. International Zoo News 45 (8): 468–475.

 

Spartaco Gippoliti, Viale Liegi 48A, 00198 Rome, Italy. (E-mail: spartacolobus@hotmail.com )

 

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

Dear Sir,

 

You hit the nail firmly and squarely on the head in your riposte to the assertion that `animals that roam over large territories do not take kindly to being confined' (Editorial, Vol. 50, No. 7), as you bring up several good points that, in my view, should be more frequently fielded against the `antis'.

 

Yes, certainly some species do instinctively travel long distances, such as the southern right whale which moves northwards into warmer waters at the time of parturition, and the wildebeests who make their famous migrations for reasons still not fully understood, while some birds – the raven immediately springs to mind here – perform aerial acrobatics that, not being nuptial rituals, are apparently for joie de vivre, but these examples are relatively rare.

 

A favourite cliché, regularly trotted out by the `antis', is that the African elephant travels on average fifteen miles per day, but obviously this isn't done for fun or exercise, but rather through the ever-present need to procure food on the part of one of the most wasteful of all feeders (which, indeed, is nearly a biological failure on account of the relatively small percentage of its food it's able to digest). Similarly, no carnivore will voluntarily move about after it has killed and eaten. I could go on ad infinitum, but your editorial has already done a good job here: it merely seems strange to me that more is not usefully made of this most elementary fact.

 

For completely different reasons, I was also most interested in the article `The Itinerant Ark. . .', as I pioneered work of this nature, in this country at least, back in the early 1950s – see my book One Man and his Animals (Clam Publications, 1999). The author made much of the `stress' potentially suffered by animals used in work of this kind. Now, like most of my generation, I do not quite know what this relatively new term implies, but as far as I can gather it means fear/upset/uncertainty/discomfort – correct?

 

A species quoted in some detail was the chinchilla – one I used to use a great deal, for the simple reasons that (a) it's so steady and (b) there's so much to say and explain about it. (Conversely, there were some animals I never used – for example, most species of mongoose, as their unremarkable behaviour means there's not much to say about them!) I often handled a chinchilla two or three times a day, for three, four or even five consecutive days – and never, ever, did I observe, or the animal suffer from, the potential symptoms listed in this article. Had they been manifest, obviously I'd have `retired' the creature forthwith. Of what might be termed `handleable' reptiles, I encountered this sort of problem only with certain lizards, such as mastigures, iguanas and lacertids (so no apparent common denominator here), and among birds I found owls and the larger parrots eminently suitable, although, interestingly, amazon parrots and cockatoos took to it more stoically than African greys, so these were discontinued. Parakeets, lovebirds and the like were useless for the purpose, as I had an unbreakable rule that nothing was ever shown in a cage, which was part of a deliberate policy to indicate that one could be on good terms with the animals one worked with.

 

It perhaps isn't out of context here to remark on an anomaly that has intrigued me ever since I employed keeping-staff back in 1955. Basically, very basically, animals that are devotedly cared for, diligently and selflessly, by intelligent, sensitive, well-educated people are inclined to give far more trouble `psychologically' – suffer stress, if you like – than those cared for by the more traditional type of keeper. Yes, an unread, unshaven individual, with a `fag' in his mouth, who tossed food at his charges while good-naturedly swearing at them – in other words, the very sort of person you didn't want – never experienced any neurosis, faddiness or jealousy among them – which is just the opposite of what one would expect. Or is it?

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Clinton Keeling,

13 Pound Place,

Shalford,

Guildford,

Surrey GU4 8HH, U.K.

 

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BOOK REVIEWS

 

BIOLOGICAL INFORMATION ON SELECTED MAMMAL SPECIES (4th edition) edited by Jan Reed-Smith. American Association of Zoo Keepers, 2003. 1,396 pp., CD-ROM. ISBN 1–929672–10–1. $25.00 (AAZK members) or $40.00 (non-members), plus $5.00 airmail postage (outside U.S. and Canada). Send orders to AAZK, Inc., 3601 SW 29th St., Suite 133, Topeka, Kansas 66614–2054, U.S.A., or use the on-line order form at www.aazk.org.

 

When I reviewed the third edition of this work, then entitled Biological Values for Selected Mammals, back in 1993 [IZN 40 (8), 33–35], I subjected it to what I hoped was some fairly constructive criticism, expressed a wish that its improvement and updating should be a continuing process, and concluded, `I shall look forward to seeing the fourth edition.' A decade later, here is the fourth edition, and it's certainly better than its predecessor, though I feel it still fails to realize its full potential.

 

The most obvious difference, of course, is that the 1993 version was a fat ringbound book, whereas the present one is a CD. Despite my lifelong addiction to `real' books, I can see that this change brings many benefits for a reference source like Biological Information on Selected Mammal Species. With the user-friendly Adobe software (included on the CD, if you don't have it already), the book-quality text is easy to view on screen or to print out as required. The cost saving is enormous – try buying a new 1,400-page book for $40! And with the efficient search facility, a few keystrokes take you straight to the topic you want.

 

A further advantage ought to be the ease with which a text of this sort can be altered or added to. Indeed, I rather hope that the description `4th edition' is misleading – with CD books, the concept of successive editions, each consisting of a finite number of identical copies, should become obsolete. The publishers can hold a master file, update it whenever they wish, and produce individual CDs to order, each incorporating the latest version of the text. From a historical perspective, it looks as if the Gutenberg revolution has at last run its course, and we may be on the way back to a one-off method of book production in the medieval manner.

 

Ideally, then, the issuing of this CD could initiate a collaboration between publishers and readers. On an elementary level, the readers might repair any deficiencies in the original proof-reading. Mistakes in scientific names are a minor obsession of mine, so spellings like Ailurius fulgens, Hippopotamus amphibious and Camelus dromedaries tend to hit me in the eye. But whereas in a printed text such blemishes would be there for keeps, here it would be an easy matter to eliminate most of them. And – much more importantly – additional material could be inserted wherever needed.

 

The main body of Biological Information on Selected Mammal Species consists of two-page accounts of 590 species, each set out on a similar plan. Headings for order, family and names (scientific, U.S. common and `other') are followed by status in the wild, major threats, historic and current distribution, habitat and circadian cycle. Then follow sections, similarly subdivided under headings, on Size (head to rump length, tail length, weight etc.), Reproduction (mating and birthing seasons, courtship, gestation period etc.), Rearing and young (what the young are called, number in a litter, condition at birth, age at weaning. . .), and General (life expectancy, social structure, dental formula, diet. . .). Some categories are omitted or added for groups with radically untypical body shapes, like bats, but in general the standard layout is fairly rigidly adhered to, even though not every category is appropriate to every species – how long is a gorilla's tail? This means there are many inevitable blank spaces, which unfortunately cannot be distinguished from those blanks which could in theory be filled in, but aren't. (A trivial example of the latter is the omission of the name applied to the young of platypus and echidna – `puggle', as any assiduous reader of IZN would know.)

 

 At first sight, I was surprised to find two separate, near-identical entries for Sumatran and Bornean orang-utans (now generally accepted as two full species, but with few if any significant differences for practical purposes). But on consideration I decided this makes perfectly good sense – it would be uneconomic in a book, but shortage of space is a problem that doesn't arise in a CD publication. Two million words cost no more to publish than one million. (Compiling them is still labour-intensive, of course!) There are many other respects in which rules established for printed texts don't have to be applied to computerized ones. Indexes, for example, are largely superseded by the search facility – just as well in the case of the alphabetical common-name index here, which irritatingly lists animals only by their full English name, so that e.g. you find nothing under `colobus', but instead separate entries for `Angolan black-and-white', `eastern black-and-white', `western black-and-white', and `western red' colobuses.

 

It would be interesting to be told on what criteria the mammals included were `selected'. Common, or important, zoo species would seem the obvious candidates. But in just a quick scan through I found several animals which are currently in no zoo anywhere – mountain gorilla, bay cat, Javan rhino. On the other hand, at least one group of mammals familiar in zoos – the gibbons – are inexplicably absent.

 

This raises the general point of what the volume is actually for; the answer supplied in the introduction is, `To give the user a thumbnail sketch of the natural history of a species.' But the user, presumably, will in most cases be a zoo professional, and the rationale of the publication is to provide him or her with a series of handy check-sheets of practical use in the day-to-day management of mammals in zoos. `Natural history' or `biological information' should, then, be used in the widest possible sense. What is needed, in fact, is what Heini Hediger described as `zoo biology', which he understood as extending into every aspect of an animal's management in human care. Biological Information on Selected Mammal Species is excellent on the basic biology of wild mammals: if you want to know the length of gestation in the pangolin, or the average size of a wart hog litter, or the age at which a young aardvark is weaned, this is a good place to look – and obviously, these are questions of a type continually encountered in zoos. But the art of keeping captive mammals healthy, happy and breeding involves much more than that; and it is on the specifically zoo-oriented data that this CD seems to me to fall short. The pages on the cheetah, for example, have no suggestions to offer on the management techniques most likely to result in successful breeding. (Incidentally, they also contain the astonishing statement that the king cheetah is `now believed to be a subspecies'. It is in fact as certain as anything in zoology that this coat pattern is controlled by a single recessive gene; and the authority quoted on the CD, the latest edition of Walker's Mammals of the World, says nothing to justify any other view.)

 

The cheetah is, of course, the subject of an AZA Species Survival Plan. But you wouldn't learn this from Biological Information on Selected Mammal Species – indeed, SSPs are only mentioned in the references section right at the end of the work. A list of these programmes, contact details of their coordinators, and any management guidelines and other publications would be a fairly obvious addition to the volume's appendices. The existing appendices, however, are a useful feature of Biological Information. Brief explanations of CITES and IUCN status categories are followed by a chart of common visual displays of bovids, helpful in understanding the courtship behaviour of most artiodactyls, and a number of taxonomic lists – of canid species and subspecies (the addition of common names and approximate ranges would be an improvement here), pictures and notes on the 25 most endangered primate taxa (contributed by the Primate Specialist Group, Conservation International et al.), and taxa lists of lemurs and of Neotropical and African primates. Primate taxonomy has undergone some big changes in recent years, so the African data in particular, incorporating the very latest consensus on the subject from P. Grubb et al.'s 2002 book An Assessment of the Diversity of African Primates, are especially valuable. If the AAZK took the opportunity to incorporate equally up-to-date information on animal husbandry, Biological Information on Selected Mammal Species would become an asset no zoo could afford to be without.

 

Nicholas Gould

 

THE AUSTRALASIAN HUSBANDRY MANUAL FOR THE MALAYAN SUN BEAR (Helarctos m. malayanus) compiled by John Pickard. Available as a printed document or a CD: for order details, contact ARAZPA, P.O. Box 20, Mosman, NSW 2088, Australia (admin@arazpa.org.au).

 

This comprehensive, 200-page manual is divided into six chapters covering everything from Housing requirements, Husbandry and Behaviour training to Reproduction and Veterinary care. The EEP Ursid Husbandry Manual, produced by Cologne Zoo in 1998, has provided a number of the chapters that contain general bear data. In addition to each of the EEP chapters, a number of useful articles and papers dedicated specifically to the needs of sun bears are appended. As the EEP chapters are already very much in the public arena, I have confined my comments to the additional data specific to the sun bear manual.

 

The English version of the EEP Ursid Manual is, apparently no longer available, so for those who did not procure a copy first time around, this could be a good opportunity to access some useful information. The Australasian manual is enhanced by the inclusion of some excellent colour pictures of this smallest, and most fascinating, member of the bear family.

 

The main chapter on housing has been provided by the EEP. However, additional articles on sun bear housing by Trent Russell of the National Zoo and Aquarium, Canberra, and John Pickard of Wellington Zoo provide more species-specific information on the housing preferences of captive sun bears. The comments section at the end of this chapter contains some interesting observations, such as the sun bear's preference for a view higher than the observing public. This idea fits in well with the Malay name for the species, basindo nan tenggil, which means `he who likes to sit high'. Comments also highlight the fact that these bears are particularly sensitive to intrusive sounds around their dens and holding areas.

 

Chapter 2 on feeding consists mainly of the EEP chapter by Dr Kolter covering general bear diets. In addition to this, details of the diets used at Wellington Zoo, including the quantities of food offered, are provided.

 

Chapter 3 is on the ubiquitous subject of environmental enrichment, and is headed by the EEP Manual chapter, written by Jeremy Usher-Smith and Lydia Kolter. An article follows on the enrichment programme at Taronga Zoo by Caroline Shemwell, who offers a way of assessing enrichment using a points system. Useful and worthwhile tips on what foodstuffs are used for enrichment are provided. Interestingly, sun bears are not fond of the fish varieties of Whiskas tinned cat food – which shows that they have similar tastes to myself. Ideas of stimulating play behaviour, including the use of cotton bags stuffed with pot-pourri and fragrant oils sprinkled around the exhibit, offer forms of olfactory stimulation for the bears (and presumably counteract the fishy breath of those who did partake of a tasty Whiskas snack). Gale Akerman, the Sun Bear Studbook Keeper for Australasia, provides additional enrichment details from Adelaide Zoo. Enrichment ideas for bears are very necessary in captivity and the additional details in this section are worthwhile and imaginative. The compiler's comments at the end of this chapter suggest that a good source of enrichment ideas for sun bears can come from methods put forward for use with great apes – it's a good point, and one that is worth further investigation. Hammocks for primates are mentioned, and bears certainly do like to use these as nests in captivity. I also wonder what level of complex manipulations bears are capable of. They can certainly perform tasks with their paws that involve great levels of dexterity, and it would be interesting to see what the limits are. I once observed a tame sun bear in Thailand removing a key from a lock. The key had a small loop of string hanging from it, and the bear deftly hooked the string with one claw, plucking it straight from the lock. I was never able to find out whether this animal's dexterity extended to replacing the key, and opening the lock – in any case, not a trait to be encouraged in the captive bear population!

 

The fourth chapter covers husbandry and behavioural training. The introduction, by myself and Allan Reid, now of Chester Zoo, is from the EEP Manual. Four articles follow. The first, covering sun bear training at Perth Zoo, by Karen Brougham and Michelle Rouffignac, is particularly instructive, with details of what can be achieved and, importantly, highlighting problems that can arise during training sessions. This case study would be of value to any keeper involved in bear husbandry and is written in a step-by-step manner that is easy to follow. The second article is in two sections by Sharon Holden (animal behaviourist) and Kerry Norris (keeper) respectively, and is an update on the progress of bear training at Perth Zoo. Both these sections are instructive and well worth a read. The third article, by Jeff Grennan, Curator of Alma Park Zoo, Brisbane, covers the training of an older pair of bears (around 20 years of age) for veterinary inspection and treatment. Older bears in zoos can be problematic to examine and treat, so it is heartening to know that animals of this age can be persuaded to co-operate. An intriguing note at the end of this article informs on the improvement in the condition of the Alma Park bears' feet and coat condition, in response to the inclusion of `Sensi-care dog chow' in the diet. The final article in this section, by Caroline Shemwell, is titled `Sun bears, from the wild to captivity'. It covers in horrific detail the terrible practice of preparing bear paw stew, involving cooking the live animal's paw on a hot plate. Not for the faint-hearted. Caroline also mentions behavioural problems such as paw sucking, humming and pacing, and suggests training techniques that can be used to alleviate these undesirable traits. The compiler's comments at the end of this section highlight the fact that captive bears are sensitive creatures who need sympathetic handling. These comments are so true, and yet so often ignored. Most of us in the zoo world accept that the needs of bears have not been well catered for in captivity, and it is good that enlightened husbandry routines are now available for people to put in place.

 

Chapter 5 covers reproduction and is fronted by the EEP manual article on this subject by Karin Linke of Rostock Zoo. An account of the successful breeding and rearing of twin sun bears by John Pickard of Wellington Zoo follows this [see IZN 47 (5), pp. 284–296 – Ed.]. John covers in detail the pre- and post-partum behaviour of the bears. When the female was separated from the male before the birth, her appetite declined, slowly building up again after the birth of the cubs. The diet offered to the female at this time is given, and with the possible exception of the mealworms and locusts, sounds pretty appetising to me. Observations on the female's methods of moving the cubs around are excellent. I tried to imagine a sun bear striding through the forest on her hind legs, cubs gathered up in her paws. Details of the introduction of the mother and cubs to the adult male, the cubs' father, are also given. A useful critique of problems that occurred with the use of the den area is given, with a view to making effective change in the future. The importance of nesting materials for bears is also covered, further emphasising how important it is to supply materials for complex nesting-related manipulation. The author highlights the fact that nesting behaviour increased prior to parturition. It's an interesting point that not so many years ago it was thought to be a waste of resources to supply bears with nesting materials. It would be nice to think that this opinion was now confined to the past. This article ends with interesting comments by the manual's compiler on the pros and cons of hand-rearing sun bears. His final conclusions are, I think, quite correct – `While some zoos have succeeded in physically rearing sun bear cubs. . . no one has managed to rear a psychologically properly adjusted cub that knows it is a sun bear and behaves like one. . .' That said, should such a scenario arise and a decision be made to hand-rear a neglected cub, the next article by Caroline Shemwell gives the details. She provides an exhaustive list of the materials and equipment required, from stuffed toys, teats and rectal thermometers, to a ticking clock wrapped in a towel, to soothe the cub off into a peaceful slumber. Details of milk formulas and temperatures to feed it at are also supplied.

 

Chapter 6 is on veterinary care. Julie Barnes discusses the fascinating and potentially lethal problem of tick toxicity in sun bears, which causes progressive paralysis in its victims. Prophylactic measures, diagnosis and the potential side effects of the treatment are covered in detail. The next article, by Cree Monaghan and Simone Vitali of Perth Zoo, presents a case study of a sun bear with intestinal problems. Bacterial dermatitis, its causes and treatments, is covered next in an article by Steve Mirams. Gale Akerman provides the Medarks report on a sun bear's alopecia problems.

 

John Lewis provides the details for the next paper on `The measurement of faecal progesterone metabolites to detect and monitor pregnancy in sun bears'. John discusses the `attractive option' of faecal samples to detect pregnancy in species where blood or urine samples are difficult to obtain. Immobilising sun bears and the common ailments of bears are the subjects of the next article by Pat Morris. This gives very useful information on knockout drugs, including dosages. The paragraph on root canal treatment for bears and the equipment used is excellent, but not for those humans with a fear of the dentist's chair. And for escaping bears (perhaps those trying to avoid root canal treatment), apparently nothing acts better than a dose of Zolatil which, we are informed, can be administered in a one-shot, low-volume dose.

 

Further comprehensive and practical information from Patrick Morris on the `Chemical immobilisation of felids, ursids and small ungulates' is contained in the next paper in this section. It is heartening to see Pat mentioning the importance of physical restraint techniques being retained by animal staff. It is all too easy nowadays to reach for the knock-out drugs whenever contact with an animal is required. However, many manual restraint techniques can be used safely to control and treat animals in captivity – it would be a mistake to let these skills become extinct.

 

The manual contains two appendices. The first covers the IATA regulations for the transport of non-domesticated animals. Many zoo staff involved in shipping livestock will be familiar with this section. However, the compiler's comments are interesting and thoughtful, regarding the psychological welfare of animals undergoing the 30-day quarantine period required when shipping animals from New Zealand to Australia. Appendix 2 reprints the Sun Bear Conservation Action Plan by Christopher Servheen, a chapter of the IUCN/SSC Bear Specialist Group's Action Plan. This includes notes by Richard Salter on the status and management of the sun bear in Laos; happily, the population here is thought to be relatively large, with sun bears occurring in all of the main protected areas surveyed.

 

The Australasian Sun Bear Manual is a good, worthwhile compilation of sun bear information. A number of sources have been used to provide the data, creating a diverse range of styles throughout. It is a must for all collections holding this beautiful and most endearing member of the bear family. Information on sun bears is thin on the ground, but this manual offers a good range of the pertinent data available.

 

Some years ago, while preparing a lecture on the bear family, I stumbled upon snippets of information concerning the sun bear. In Sir Stamford Raffles's Descriptive Catalogue of a Zoological Collection made in Sumatra (1820), Raffles mentions that he kept a sun bear as a pet in the nursery with his children. Raffles notes that the bear was naturally playful and affectionate and would not drink any wine – other than champagne. The only time the bear was `out of humour' was on an occasion when his regular drink of champagne was unavailable. This seems like a reasonable response from a refined and demanding creature, that knows how to extract the most from life – if only given the opportunity.

 

Graham Law

University of Glasgow

 

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CONSERVATION

 

New protection for seahorses

 

After a decade of work in the field, in the laboratory and at the negotiating table, the Project Seahorse/Shedd Aquarium Partnership for Marine Conservation has helped the world to recognize seahorses – and, for that matter, all marine fishes – as wildlife, not just commodities. In a landmark decision, all 32 known species of seahorses were added to Appendix II of CITES.

 

At least 24 million dried seahorses are traded as traditional medicines and souvenirs among some 77 nations each year. Hundreds of thousands more end up in hobbyists' aquariums. Two-thirds of seahorse species are now threatened due to poor fishing practices and habitat damage. By the listing with CITES, the only authority governing international wildlife trade, the 161 member nations agreed to regulate all cross-border commercial trade in seahorses and ensure that wild populations are not threatened. `This will probably be the single biggest wildlife trade issue under international management,' says Dr Amanda Vincent of Project Seahorse.

 

Seahorses were among the first marine fishes of commercial value to come under international management – a precedent that should lead to improved respect for other fish species, many of which face extreme pressures from over-exploitation. Dr Vincent served as the lead scientific advisor and chaired the working group on seahorses for CITES. The partnership of Project Seahorse and the John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, are working with fishing communities, engaging consumers and sharing their knowledge to minimize the social and economic disruption of the new trade rules. For more information, visit www.projectseahorse.org .

 

James Hrynyshyn in WaterShedd Vol. 24, No. 4 (Autumn 2003)

 

Breeding feral birds from Hawaii

 

Many non-native species have been established in Hawaii following deliberate or accidental releases, including several bird species that are actually desirable zoological exhibits: Japanese white-eye, red-billed leiothrix, red-crested cardinal and shama thrush are now abundant in parts of Hawaii. These particular species are also recommended for zoological exhibit by the Regional Collection Plan of the AZA's Passerine TAG.

 

In October 2002, aviculturists from Audubon, Brookfield, Louisville, North Carolina and Toledo Zoos traveled to Hawaii to collect feral passerines for exhibit. Over a period of four weeks, a total of 162 specimens were collected from the wild in and around Honolulu. Considerable logistical support was provided by Honolulu Zoo, including facilities where the birds were acclimated to a zoo environment prior to shipment. Nearly 100 of the birds were DNA-sexed (gratis, through a partnership between St Louis Zoo and the Department of Biology at the University of Missouri) before being shipped en masse to 14 AZA zoos. A great deal of field experience was gained, as well as vital information that will be used in any future collecting efforts. The knowledge gained from this type of work may possibly take us one step closer to creating functional `extractive reserves' in parts of the world where common animal and plant species can be found.

 

A year after this collecting effort, it is gratifying to report that some of the birds have started to breed. The first breeding occurred in June, when two red-crested cardinals successfully fledged at Audubon Zoo, New Orleans. Also in June, Houston Zoo fledged two red-billed leiothrix (pekin robins) in a mixed-species exhibit. Two of three leiothrix chicks also successfully fledged at North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro, in August; and in the same month, two red-crested cardinals fledged in the free-flight aviary at Detroit Zoo. Other institutions have also experienced breeding activity but have not yet experienced successful fledges.

 

Communiqué (American Zoo and Aquarium Association), December 2003

 

Reintroducing black rhinos to Zambia

 

Five (2.3) black rhinos were reintroduced into Zambia's North Luangwa National Park (NLNP) on 28 May 2003. The status of black rhino in Zambia prior to this reintroduction was `Presumed Extinct', with the last confirmed sighting of an animal in the early 1990s. In historical times Zambia was one of the species' most important range states, and the Luangwa Valley, with an estimated population of up to 12,000 animals in the early 1970s, was one of its strongholds in the country. The Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) has been supporting the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) in the management and conservation of NLNP since 1986, and this long-term partnership has resulted in effective security and management systems being in place; so the reintroduction was a logical next step in conservation activities in the park. A positive evaluation of the habitat and security of NLNP by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Program for Rhino Conservation (RPRC) in 2001 set the stage, and a formal proposal by ZAWA and NLNP was presented at the IUCN/SSC Rhino Specialist Group meeting in May 2002.

 

An area in the central part of the park, straddling the Lubonga River, was chosen as the site for the sanctuary in which the reintroduced rhinos would be released. The site's location was based on historical distribution data for black rhino in NLNP, as well as security considerations. A low-impact, four-strand electrified fence was erected to contain the rhino in this 55-km2 area, while allowing for relative freedom of movement for other animals. Additional ZAWA wildlife police officers were seconded to the area, and received extra training to deal with rhino security.

 

In an agreement mediated by FZS, South African National Parks donated five animals to the Zambia Wildlife Authority in exchange for two zoo-born black rhino calves from Frankfurt Zoo. The animals destined for Zambia were captured in Marakele National Park and Kruger National Park in March 2003, and flown to the park just over two months later. During their time in the bomas in NLNP, they were outfitted with radio transmitters in their horns, and received a trypanosomiasis inoculation, active for three months, to ease their introduction into a tsetse fly area. Tsetse targets and traps were also deployed at a low density throughout the sanctuary area, and at a high density around the boma site, to initially reduce the tsetse population and allow the rhinos time to develop resistance to the Trypanosoma parasite.

 

The animals were released into the wider sanctuary area from their bomas after a period ranging from two and a half to four weeks, and have settled down well: none have broken through the perimeter fence. Their movements were predominantly monitored by plane for the first six weeks after release to keep disturbance to a minimum, although monitoring by foot patrol will become more important in the coming months. Data on the animals and their movements are being entered into the WildB database, developed by the SADC RPRC program. This reintroduction of five animals is just the first phase of the project, which aims to achieve a minimum of 20 founder animals within NLNP within three years. The project has been a big step forward for conservation in Zambia, as well as being a success for regional cooperation in black rhino conservation.

 

Elsabe van der Westhuizen in Re-introduction News No. 23 (November 2003)

 

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MISCELLANY

 

A brief guide to the EC Zoos Directive

 

Member states of the European Union have an obligation to adopt measures for the ex situ conservation of biodiversity under Article 9 of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity 1992. It was expected that, in relation to animals, this obligation would largely be fulfilled by existing zoos and aquaria. The EU's response was to produce the EC Zoos Directive in 1999. The aim of the Directive is to strengthen the conservation role of zoos by requiring member states to adopt measures for the licensing and inspection of zoos. States were required to comply by 9 April 2002 by adopting or modifying their own national laws.

 

The Directive currently applies to the existing 15 member states (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom), but enlargement of the Union will potentially increase this number to 28. (Current applicants for EU membership are Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Turkey.) ISIS lists 206 European member institutions (as at October 2003), and almost all of these will be affected by the Directive, along with many other collections since the Directive applies to `all permanent establishments where animals of wild species are kept for exhibition to the public for seven or more days a year'. (Circuses and pet shops are not covered by the Directive, and member states may also exempt other establishments if the numbers of animals exhibited are small, provided that such exemptions do not jeopardise the objectives of the Directive.)

 

Under Article 3 of the Directive, zoos are required to implement the following conservation measures:

(i) participation in research from which conservation benefits accrue to the species, and/or

(ii) training in relevant conservation skills, and/or

(iii) exchange of information relating to species conservation, and/or

(iv) where appropriate, captive breeding, repopulation or reintroduction of species into the wild.

 

Zoos are also required, under Article 3, to:

(i) promote public education and awareness in relation to the conservation of biodiversity;

(ii) accommodate their animals under conditions which satisfy the biological and conservation needs of the species (by providing species-specific enrichment, maintaining high husbandry standards, veterinary care and appropriate nutrition);

(iii) prevent the escape of animals and the intrusion of outside pests and vermin; and

(iv) keep up-to-date records of the collection.

 

In order to ensure that zoos comply with Article 3, member states are required to adopt measures for the licensing and inspection of zoos (Art. 4). All zoos must be licensed within a period of four years after entry into force of the Directive, or in the case of new zoos, before they are open to the public. Each licence must contain conditions to enforce the requirements of Article 3, and compliance must be monitored by means of regular inspections. If a zoo is not licensed or the licensing conditions are not met, the zoo, or part thereof, may be closed to the public by the competent authority.

 

Zoos may be given up to two years to comply with any conditions imposed by the competent authority as a condition of remaining open. In the event of a zoo closure, under Article 6 of the Directive, the competent authority of the member state is responsible for ensuring the appropriate disposal of the animals. Individual member states must designate the competent authority for the purposes of the Directive (Art. 7), and must determine appropriate penalties applicable to breaches of the national laws adopted in order to comply with the Directive (Art. 8).

 

The Zoos Directive has the potential to have a significant effect on the activities of European zoos, especially if EU enlargement progresses as expected. However, most professionally run zoos will have little difficulty in complying with the conservation provisions of the Directive because many are not mandatory, but are merely offered as alternative means of compliance. In theory a zoo with good accommodation and husbandry standards could meet the requirements of the Directive by displaying interpretive signs, keeping (and exchanging with others) records of its collection, and occasionally breeding a few animals. The extent to which the Zoos Directive will have any impact on conservation will ultimately depend upon the rigour with which the competent authorities of the individual member states inspect and enforce the relevant national legislation, and the guidance such authorities are given by their own governments. By April 2003 eight of the 15 member states (Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the U.K.) had failed properly to implement the Directive.

 

Dr Paul A. Rees, School of Environment & Life Sciences and Telford Institute of Environmental Systems, University of Salford, Salford, Greater Manchester, M5 4WT, U.K. (E-mail: p.a.rees@salford.ac.uk )

 

Second-generation elephant births

 

On 5 December 2003 a male Asian elephant calf, Riccardo, was born at Ringling's elephant breeding compound in Florida, the first second-generation calf to be born to circus elephants in the U.S.A.; both parents were also born at Ringling's, in 1993 and 1995. Richard J. Reynolds reports that according to information in the valuable European Elephant Group publications [see IZN 47 (4), 242] there have previously been six second-generation Asian elephant calves born in North American zoos. These were as follows:

 

10 May 1975 – unnamed male calf, Los Angeles Zoo. Sire, Packy, was born at Portland Zoo (now Oregon Zoo) on 14/04/1962 (the first elephant bred and born in the U.S.A. since 1918); dam, Me Tu, was born at Portland Zoo on 3/10/1962. The calf died after falling into a moat, 2/12/1975.

 

17 February 1976 – unnamed female calf, Portland Zoo. Sire, Packy, see above; dam, Hanako, was born at Portland Zoo on 24/09/1963. The calf lived only a month, dying at Portland in March 1976.

 

15 March 1978 – female calf Sumek, Portland Zoo, same parents as preceding. This calf also lived only a month, dying at Portland in April 1978.

 

19 May 1978 – male calf Kun Chorn, Portland Zoo. Sire, Packy, and dam, Me Tu, see above. Kun Chorn went to Dickerson Park Zoo, Springfield, Missouri, in 1980, where he is still living.

 

29 November 1998 – male calf Albert, African Lion Safari, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. Sire, Calvin, was born at Calgary Zoo, Alberta, Canada, on 11/08/1986; dam, Lilly (original name Israela), was born on 31/01/1985 at Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv, Israel. Albert is still living at African Lion Safari.

 

21 October 1999 – male calf George, African Lion Safari, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. Sire, Calvin, see above; dam, Phoebe (original name Vashti), was born on 15/05/1987, also at Ramat Gan. George is still living at African Lion Safari. (In March 2000 breeding bull Calvin was sent to Hannover Zoo, Germany, where he has sired two more calves.)

 

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ANNUAL REPORT

 

BURGERS' ZOO, ARNHEM, THE

NETHERLANDS

Annual Report 2003

 

In 2003 Burgers' Zoo celebrated its 90th anniversary. This marked a starting point for the next phase in the development of the zoo, which should be completed by the time it celebrates a hundred years of existence. This year the reconstruction of Burgers' Safari (the first safari park on the European continent) into a Tanzanian savannah started. The first phase of the new indoor facilities comprises about 80 stalls which are being built immediately adjacent to Burgers' Bush, the four-acre indoor tropical rainforest hall. Visitors will be allowed to visit a part of this accommodation. Before winter 2004 it is planned to complete the first phase, which will house large herds of Grant's zebras, blue wildebeest (Connochaetes t. taurinus) and Thomson's gazelles. The latter were acquired from Tel Aviv Ramat Gan Safari during 2003. The first part of the facilities will also house smaller groups of other species of antelopes. Along the walking trail visitors will encounter other species. During 2003 an enclosure for Kirk's dik-diks (Madoqua kirkii) was completed and four animals arrived from Hanover Zoo.

 

The most spectacular breeding occurred in the bird department. For the first time a European black vulture was successfully raised by its parents. Two years ago the parents produced their first offspring, but this fell out of the nest at the age of six weeks and did not survive. This year the offspring fledged and was sent to Planckendael, Belgium. Also the wrinkled hornbills (Aceros corrugatus) managed to hatch a chick, after several attempts in the previous year had failed, though the chick died shortly before fledging.

 

Other noteworthy births included an aardvark, a king vulture, a Eurasian griffon vulture, two European sea eagles, seven green-necked pheasant pigeons (Otidiphaps n. nobilis), 14 hooded pittas (Pitta sordida), four Baringo giraffes and five black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas). All these animals were raised by their parents. Unfortunately a gorilla and a Sri Lanka leopard were stillborn.

 

The animal collection did not change only in the former safari park; a lot of new species arrived in the other parts of Burgers' Zoo. Apart from the dik-diks and the Thomson's gazelles, other new species include European forest reindeer (Rangifer tarandus fennicus) from four Scandinavian zoos, swamp wallabies (Wallabia bicolor) from Asson Zoo, France, and Zürich Zoo, little bitterns (Ixobrychus minutus) from Warsaw Zoo, chukar partridges from Heidelberg Zoo, crested tinamous from Wuppertal Zoo, greater prairie chickens (Tympanuchus cupido) from a Belgian breeder and guira cuckoos from Zürich Zoo. The latter species have already produced several offspring. Other notable transfers were: a post-reproductive female Asian elephant from Riga Zoo to join two other old Asian elephant cows, a young female white rhino from Whipsnade Wild Animal Park and a male Angolan lion (P. l. bleyenberghi) from Lisbon Zoo. Apart from all these acquisitions, no fewer than 340 mammals, birds and reptiles were sent to 59 other collections in 14 countries.

 

Finally it should be mentioned that Burgers' Zoo was officially appointed as coordinator for the Baringo giraffe EEP (which includes Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi, G. c. peralta, G. c. antiquorum, G. c. giraffa, G. c. angolensis and all hybrid giraffes and those of unknown subspecies). For the EAZA Tiger Campaign during 2003 a total amount of about Euros 10,000 was collected.

 

Marc Damen, curator

 

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INTERNATIONAL ZOO NEWS

 

Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.

 

On 6 August 2003, the world's first cloned African wildcat was born to a common domestic housecat at the Audubon Center. This monumental birth is a result of research conducted by scientists from the Center and Louisiana State University Agricultural Center. The kitten, named Ditteaux, is the first cloned wild carnivore and was created using frozen/thawed genetic material from the African wildcat Jazz, was also born to a domestic cat. Jazz's birth resulted from a different kind of procedure – the first successful in vitro fertilized frozen/thawed embryo transfer which was then transferred to another species. The birth of Jazz in November 1999 at the Research Center made headlines around the world.

 

To create Ditteaux, scientists took tissue samples from Jazz. These cells were grown in tissue culture to provide a supply of thousands of cells, each with the wildcat's DNA, which were frozen in the Frozen Zoo. Then, DNA was removed from an egg of a domestic cat. Frozen/thawed cells from Jazz were inserted into the domestic cat egg cells. The egg was exposed to an electric current, causing the new DNA to fuse with the egg, which divided to become an embryo. The embryo was then implanted into the uterus of a domestic cat surrogate named Brooke, who went on to have a normal pregnancy before giving birth to the cloned kitten. The newborn is an exact genetic duplicate of Jazz, and is being properly cared for and nursed by his surrogate mother. Jazz continues to live at the Audubon Center, while his surrogate mother, domestic cat Cayenne, was adopted by Dr C. Earle Pope, Senior Scientist at Audubon Nature Institute. The two wildcats who donated the sperm and egg to create Jazz are also living at the Research Center. An in-depth explanation of the procedure, as well as pictures and video, can be viewed on Audubon Nature Institute's website, www.auduboninstitute.org .

 

In addition, researchers at the Center are announcing the birth of the world's first caracal created from a frozen/thawed embryo. The kitten, created from an IVF procedure where the frozen/thawed embryo was transferred to a surrogate mother caracal, was born on 6 September. She has been named Azalea, as she is a full sibling to the world's first test-tube caracals, Camellia and Magnolia, also born at the Center in May 2000. In a third research breakthrough, Audubon Nature Institute is also announcing the birth of a serval on 1 October as the result of in vitro fertilization followed by embryo transfer. This new arrival is named Kruger.

 

Abridged from Communiqué (American Zoo and Aquarium Association), December 2003

 

Banham Zoo, U.K.

 

The zoo has solved a long-standing problem with the water quality in its South African fur seal pool by adopting the latest technology – ordinarily used in commercial swimming pools. The pool holds approximately 64,000 gallons [290,000 litres] of water, but due to the size of the seals and the amount of fresh fish they eat daily, organic matter in the pool was notoriously difficult to control. The entire volume of the pool was filtered every 1.7 hours and the water totally replaced once a week. This was largely because the staff were unable to add as much chlorine as they would have liked, as the high doses needed would have been a health hazard to the animals. Algal growth was also a real problem – especially in summer – as enough chemicals could not be added to control the bloom.

 

The pool's sand filters were also requiring back-washing two or three times a week. This, combined with the time required to drain the pool and clean it, was becoming a real chore for the staff. The pool took three hours to drain, up to five hours to clean and a further 15 hours to refill. The seals lost a day in the pool, and it was also a disappointment for visitors who came on the `change' day.

 

The assistant zoo animal manager, Mike Woolham, consulted a pool consultant, who told him about a new water treatment system called AquaKLEAR, and put him in touch with the suppliers, Hydropath International (see www.hydroflow.force9.co.uk ). This system subjects water passing the unit to an electric charge which causes particles to flocculate; bacteria are attacked and fixed chlorine is broken down. The result is that the chlorine is free to kill bacteria and algae but there are fewer potentially hazardous by-products such as chloramines. Additionally, pools need to be backwashed less, as the larger particles sit on top of the sand bed, rather than filtering down through the drainage channels; this saves on energy, chemicals and staff time.

 

In April 2003, Mike agreed to trial the unit for three months. This was a low-risk option, as the AquaKLEAR system is simply attached to a relevant section of pipework in the plant room, with no pipes needing to be cut. Within weeks Mike and his team noticed a big impact. Previously the staff had only been able to switch on the automatic chemical dosing system for a maximum of 1.5 hours, for fear of too much chlorine being added to the water. Now the automatic unit is kept switched on constantly; water quality has improved and much less chlorine needs to be added as free chlorine is available in the water. Chloramine levels have also dropped, and pH levels are now consistently around 7.5, whereas previously they were erratic as staff tried to equalise levels after the addition of sodium hypochlorite.

 

`We now only need to backwash the pool once a week,' comments Mike, `and have only had to drain the pool once every three weeks over the summer and far less during the winter months. I was very happy to keep the AquaKLEAR unit in use after the evaluation period. The cost benefits have been considerable – not to mention the positive effects for the fur seals.'

 

Bristol Zoo, U.K.

 

Nine Savu python eggs hatched at the zoo in November, and the young snakes have now reached 30 cm in length, almost a third of their adult size. The subspecies is a recent discovery, having first been identified by researchers in 1993. On the one 100-km2 Indonesian island where it is found – the smallest geographical range of any python – the snake is losing ground to agricultural development and pressure from the exotic pet trade.

 

Orange when they first left their eggs, the pythons will become progressively darker as they mature over the next two or three years and will develop the white eyes which characterise the Savu snakes.

Some experts regard them as a sub-species (savuensis) of the Macklot's python (Liasis macklotti), but Tim Skelton, head of reptiles at the zoo, believes their smaller size and distinctive eyes mark them out as a separate species. `Once mature,' he says, `the snakes will be transferred to other zoos across Europe to expand the conservation breeding programme. Restrictions on the export of this python from Indonesia are now in place. However, the need to establish captive populations is becoming more important to ensure its long-term survival.'

 

Bristol believes its achievement is the first successful breeding of Savu pythons in any European zoo. Mr Skelton thinks he knows the reason for the zoo's success. `On my honeymoon I got talking to the head reptile keeper at Singapore Zoo, and he told me that Savu is not a humid place, as you might expect, but hot and dry, especially in the summer. So I returned to Bristol ready to give the pythons similar conditions, only to find the eggs had hatched the day before we got back. It had been a hot, dry summer in the U.K., and if we get others like it we may have the same sort of success. Otherwise we'll be turning up the thermostat a couple of notches in 2004, from 30°C to 32° or 33° for three or four weeks. We don't know whether the pythons are physiologically adapted to breeding annually, but we have three males and four females, so we should be able to find out whether we can repeat our achievement.'

 

Abridged from the on-line herpetological newspaper HerpDigest, 11 January 2004 (www.herpdigest.org )

 

Cerza Zoological Park (Centre d'Études et de Recherches Zoologiques Augeron), France

(a visitor's report by Ray Cimino)

 

Occupying 52 hectares of pasture, woodland and gently rolling hills, Cerza is typical of the landscape of Normandy. It is situated about 8 km from the small city of Lisieux (famous for St Thérèse's Basilica), and is open daily from February to October. Its owners, Patrick and Thierry Jardin, opened the zoo in 1986, and today it attracts 240,000 visitors annually. In the attractive French-language guidebook (a smaller photocopied booklet is available to English-speaking visitors free, but beware, it doesn't contain a map!), the serious intentions of this park are made clear, with pages devoted to explaining EEPs, CITES, the IUCN and EAZA. And the animal collection backs this approach up, with relatively fewer common species than would be found in most other zoos. For British `species-spotters' in particular, there are numerous species either not found or only rarely seen in British collections.

 

Three things sum up the Cerza experience: the number of rare species, the many interesting mixed-species exhibits and the, by any standards, very large enclosures, some of which are the largest in Europe for the species they contain. You enter the zoo at the African Plains, and while there are no unusual species here, the sheer size of it is impressive. The visitor will notice that there are two colour-coded walks, red and yellow. The red route takes you around the various other African species, and then taking the yellow route you will come to the South American and Asian zones, as well as a deer valley with barasingha, hog deer and Indochinese sika deer. By and large species are seen in their geographical areas, but there are a few exceptions.

 

In the rest of the African zone there are large naturalistic enclosures for gorgeous striped hyenas, lion, African wild dog, pygmy hippo and bongo, hamadryas and gelada baboons (separately), and a superb wooded enclosure for a family of black panthers (not strictly African, but who cares when mum, dad and May-born offspring are running around and obviously having a great time?). My favourite, though, was the electric-fenced woodland for African monkeys. Groups of patas, colobus and de Brazza's monkeys living together, with interesting interactions between the younger colobus and patas in particular. Because you are in the forest as well, you are almost deceived into thinking you are in Africa.

 

The South American zone has three large enclosures. Perhaps most interestingly, one is home to Brazilian tapirs and maned wolf, and is also the main area used by a free-ranging group of brown capuchin monkeys (sadly locked in on the day of my visit). Another huge (400-m-long) enclosure contains more tapirs, as well as rheas, alpacas, capybara and mara.

 

A large part of the park is given over to Asian species. There are no fewer than three tiger exhibits (Sumatran, Bengal and another pair one of which is white – a notice admits this is an attraction rather then a conservation decision). A pair of very rare Sri Lankan leopards completes the carnivore section. There are two species of gibbon, and other interesting Asian species displayed either in this area or elsewhere include Indian rhinoceros, banteng, brow-antlered deer and Persian fallow deer.

 

I would imagine that when first laid out the zoo respected these geographical areas, but as any good zoo evolves it has obviously been prepared to interfere with these zonings in order to accommodate new species of higher conservation importance. What appears to be a more recently developed area (I believe that the zoo owns some additional adjacent farmland) demonstrates this well. It contains spectacled bears, lion-tailed macaques, Alaskan wolves and – most interesting to my eyes – a pair of Iberian wolves. These were only recently acquired from Madrid Zoo, and were the first I had ever seen `in the flesh'. Their enclosure is strangely barren compared to the rest of the zoo, but hopefully this will change. There are also several brown bears in the zoo, rescued former circus and dancing bears. They are severely stereotyped, but one can only hope they will learn to enjoy their huge two-hectare retirement home.

 

As you can gather from the species mentioned so far, this is a zoo dominated by medium-sized and large species. There are a few smaller animals, though, including several marmoset and tamarin species and some South American parrots in the only indoor area in the whole park. For this reason be sure that you pick a dry day to visit! This is a large and impressive animal collection. The only real flaw is the rather small and poorly furnished indoor accommodation for most animals. But if you visit in good weather and the animals are outdoors you will hardly notice this. There are a number of good zoos in France, but this one is the most easily accessed by ferry from Britain.

 

Cincinnati Zoo, Ohio, U.S.A.

 

Blue-and-gold macaws were once plentiful in Trinidad, but were nearly wiped out in the 1960s, because of the pet trade and habitat destruction. Today, however, the species is making a comeback, in part because of work done by Cincinnati Zoo. A program to reintroduce the bird to Trinidad's protected Nariva Swamp was spearheaded by the zoo in 1999. Zoo workers trained local residents to document the birds' flight patterns in the 15,000-acre [6,000-ha] wetland, inspect nesting sites and monitor food sources. Nine wild adults have produced 12 chicks so far from the program. In December, zoo officials helped in the release of an additional 20 macaws. Terri Roth, vice-president of animal sciences at the zoo, says the reintroduction of macaws to Trinidad is important, even though the birds are not considered an endangered species. `This is a species Trinidad once had but lost,' she says. `The program is a flagship for conservation in Trinidad. It's a project the locals have embraced, so the idea of just getting the community excited about conserving their wildlife is important, because there is an abundance of wildlife there that needs to be protected.' Also, this reintroduction program is being used as a model for other species of parrots around the world.

 

Delhi Zoo, India

 

The zoo is planning to start a long-term breeding programme for the red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus), in a bid to reintroduce the species to areas from which it has disappeared. Though the birds are still widespread in the forests of northern India, they have been completely wiped out in many areas due to extensive hunting and trapping for their meat.

 

The zoo plans to keep its birds in an off-exhibit breeding area, where special attention is being given to recreating their natural environment. One of the biggest problems, however, is contamination of the gene pool by interbreeding with domestic fowls, which has already occurred. The zoo management must ensure that the birds being bred are of the pure strain, which is still found deep in the forests where there are no villages. So they are being extremely rigid about the origin of their birds, and have started a ringing process with the help of the World Pheasant Association.

 

Franklin Park Zoo, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

 

Peracute mortality syndrome is a wasting disease, not uncommon in giraffes, but still poorly understood. It is not thought to be genetic in origin or contagious. Experts don't know why some giraffes come down with it, but consider it uniformly fatal – no giraffe has ever survived the syndrome.

 

So Beau, a six-year-old male giraffe at the zoo, is beating the odds just by surviving. When he first showed signs of the problem, zoo veterinarian Hayley Murphy decided to challenge everything about the illness. `Everyone thought it was sudden – acute – because before anyone knew anything was wrong, these giraffes would be down and dying or dead when keepers came in in the morning.' Murphy believes the wasting actually takes place over months; the first sign is usually when the giraffe stops eating. But, in a herd that is fed communally, one giraffe not eating wouldn't be obvious. And gradual weight loss on such a large, angular frame might go unnoticed by the keepers who see the animal every day. (At the worst point for Beau, who should weigh about 2,400 pounds [1,090 kg], he was down to 1,700 [770 kg].)

 

Yet for these sick giraffes, what is happening is drastic: they don't keep much body fat in reserve, so once the illness takes hold, the animal's health spirals downward. What's going on inside is that the papillae, the finger-like projections inside the animal's gut that absorb nutrients, begin to degrade and shrink. All kinds of important internal chemical balances then start to go haywire – the pH of the rumen is off, calcium is down, and the animals become hypoglycemic. The less the giraffe eats, the sicker he gets, and the sicker he gets, the less likely he is to eat. Perhaps over the course of several months, the animal becomes the `walking dead', and then one day he goes down, usually for good, since getting one of these huge creatures back up on his feet is nearly impossible.

 

As things worked out in Beau's case, though, it appears the syndrome was caught in the early stages. Last March, Murphy was walking by Beau's exhibit and thought he looked thinner. Sure enough, on closer inspection, it turned out that Beau was off his feed. During the warm summer he rallied, but he regressed by the time the chilly fall came around. Veterinarian Ray Ball, an expert on the condition, was summoned from Florida, and he confirmed Murphy's worst fear: that Beau was in the throes of the syndrome.

 

As soon as they knew what they were dealing with, Murphy and her colleagues went into action. Murphy e-mailed every expert in the field, and gathered as much information as she could. The staff tried everything to get the giraffe to eat, tempting him with a variety of foods in addition to the usual vegetables, hay, and grain. Shelves of banana crunch cereal were cleared from local grocery stores when there was a glimmer that he liked it. Bales of leaves and branches were shipped from warmer states. Murphy and another staffer even experimented at home with recipes that would be high in fiber and nutrients and still taste like Beau's favorite food – bananas. Murphy baked pizza dough rolled with grains, bran, and banana, and coated with egg. (Beau didn't like it, but Murphy ate it, saying it wasn't so bad.) It was touch-and-go for a long time; but with constant care (a keeper is with Beau at all times to encourage his eating) he is now on the rebound. All that food and Beau's remarkable resilience have brought him up to about 2,000 pounds [900 kg]. He seems to actually enjoy eating again, and the 40 pounds [18 kg] of food he's averaging each day is close to the 45 pounds a healthy bull of his age and size would be expected to eat. If Beau continues to improve, he'll change scientific thought on the wasting syndrome, and Murphy will have pulled off a remarkable feat.

 

Abridged and adapted from Boston Globe (10 January 2004)

 

Loro Parque, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

 

We recently got three pairs of purple-bellied lories (Lorius hypoinochrous) from a Danish breeder. This species originates from south-eastern New Guinea and neighbouring islands, and occurs in three subspecies. Although found in large numbers in the wild, these birds are very rare in captivity; Loro Parque is currently the only zoo in Europe which keeps them. After the quarantine period, two pairs will be transferred to our breeding centre, and the third pair will be placed on exhibit to give visitors the opportunity to observe this attractive species.

 

From a German breeder, we received three young Ouvean parakeets (Eunymphicus cornutus uvaeensis). These parrots, which are very rare even in their home range in New Caledonia, are known to breed regularly in small numbers at only one breeding centre in Europe, where our birds hatched this year; so, again, Loro Parque is the only European zoo holding this species at present. After quarantine, they will be transferred to the breeding centre where we hope to build up a healthy, viable population of this species in captivity. With these new birds, the number of parrot species and subspecies held at Loro Parque has increased to 348.

 

In `Planet Penguin', the first king penguin has hatched and is being raised by his parents. The special thing about this hatching is that the chick descends from a pair who, in 1998, were hand-reared at Loro Parque.

 

Preparations for the next breeding season include the bringing together of big flocks of parrots, to facilitate new pair formations or to change existing pairs. So at present all our non-breeding African grey parrots are held in a big flock. The 20-metre-long aviary has separate aviaries at the sides equipped with nest-boxes. Once a particular pair has chosen a nest-box and occupied it, the separate aviary can be closed by means of a trapdoor and the new breeding pair is separated from the rest. By forming pairs in this way we hope for better breeding results. A group of 3.2 galahs (Eolophus roseicapillus) are also flocked in a group in the same way, and a pair of white-tailed cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus funereus baudini) have been put in with them. The mixed flocking of different species does not result in any aggressive interactions, and should illustrate that it is absolutely possible to hold different parrots together so long as the aviary is large enough. Birds held in groups manifest extremely active behaviour – they fly more often, and the interactions between individuals facilitate a more varied behaviour spectrum than is shown by pairs in breeding aviaries.

 

At the end of November, the director of the Loro Parque clinic, Dr Lorenzo Crosta, travelled to São Paulo Zoo, Brazil, to bring back a new male Spix's macaw in exchange for our `old male', who has turned out not to be fertile at the present time. São Paulo holds seven Spix's macaws at present, and Dr Crosta endoscopied the three possible males and brought back the bird whose testes are most developed. After quarantine, he should join the existing 11-year-female, bred at Loro Parque, hopefully for the production of young.

 

Abridged from the reports for October, November and December 2003 compiled by Matthias Reinschmidt, Curator, Loro Parque

 

Louisville Zoo, Kentucky, U.S.A.

 

The zoo successfully hatched four Cuban crocodiles (Crocodylus rhombifer) in July 2003. The sire is owned by the Bronx Zoo and the dam, imported from Czechoslovakia in 1970, is owned by Zoo Atlanta. This critically endangered species is threatened by hybridization both in the wild and in captivity. The genus Crocodylus readily hybridizes with congeners: Cuban crocodiles have successfully hybridized with American crocodiles in nature, and with American, Nile, Siamese and Indian mugger crocodiles in crocodile farms and in zoos. These hybrids are fertile, and can wreak genetic havoc on attempts to maintain the biological integrity of individual species in captive breeding programs. Managers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the morphological characters that distinguish this species in order to prevent potential mishaps.

 

Communiqué (American Zoo and Aquarium Association), December 2003

 

Monarto Zoo, South Australia

 

The female blackbuck seemed doomed. Her right hind leg was completely lame, after a momentary but fierce entanglement with a fence in our Asian grasslands habitat. What to do? If the leg was fractured, the orthodox outcome would involve putting the animal down.

 

The incident had happened as we were returning our blackbuck and nilgai to the grasslands habitat, which had been rested and repastured over winter. Both species are naturally shy, and their first steps into the newly re-opened habitat were cautious, especially with the increased vehicular traffic. Unfortunately the female spooked and ran off into the fence, hence our problem.

 

Rather than seek authority to euthanase the animal, our new veterinary officer, Dr Ian Smith, came up with another idea. The blackbuck was caught by a keeper and anaesthetised ready for transportation to the animal treatment and wildlife centre at Kalibar. But on examination, an anteriorly dislocated hip was diagnosed, and Ian decided to attempt the manipulation then and there, on the back of the truck, out in the middle of the zoo. She was tied down with ropes, and Ian, who has no chiropractic training, used traction and rotation to put the dislocated hip back in place. The animal's hind legs were hobbled together to minimise the risk of relapse, and she was kept tranquillised in the small hospital yard to decrease stress. Although she spent most of her time lying down, when standing she was using the leg fully. After a week the hobbles on her legs were removed, and a further week saw her return to the herd on exhibit. She now shows no ill-effects from either her injury or the two-week absence from her herd-mates.

 

Chris Hannocks, Director, and Ian Smith, Veterinary Officer, in South Australia's Zoo Times (November 2003 to January 2004)

 

Oregon Zoo, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.

 

Elephants at the zoo are stepping more easily these days with the recent installation of new rubber flooring. The floor was made possible by a $50,960 Conservation Project Support grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). `The new rubber floor will not only improve their lives, it may save them,' says zoo director Tony Vecchio. `Foot diseases in elephants can be fatal. This grant pays for floor improvements that may relieve some foot care issues.' The elephants are already showing preference for the new floor – playing, exercising and sleeping more easily on the soft surface compared to the old concrete floor.

 

A graduate student, Camie Meichsner, is observing and analyzing the elephants' reaction to the new floor. While elephant keepers have reported an obvious preference for the rubber floor, Oregon is the first zoo in the world to do scientific research on foot-friendly flooring and its prevention of potentially deadly foot problems. Over the course of the installation of the rubber floors, closed-circuit cameras monitored the behavior of the elephants. The video was then viewed by a team of researchers, headed up by Meichsner, who are looking for behavior changes and reactions to the rubber floor. They are also checking for preference between the foot-friendly floor and the standard concrete.

 

In addition to supporting the flooring installation, the IMLS grant will fund updates to an existing educational display, incorporating data from this project and adding part-time interpretive staff in the elephant viewing room to discuss the flooring project and elephant foot care with visitors. The research on the flooring will include a medical history for each elephant. Their feet are inspected for visible foot sores or injuries, which are documented. Their feet are also X-rayed on an annual basis. All of these records will be used to detect any change after extended exposure and use of the rubber floor.

 

Communiqué (American Zoo and Aquarium Association), December 2003

 

Reptile World, South Africa

 

Whilst travelling in South Africa last year I was very happy to find a most impressive reptile display in Cape Town. This display was situated entirely within a 13-metre trailer and parked at the waterfront – Cape Town's  prestigious tourist area. The trailer was labelled as `Reptile World mobile snake park', and that was exactly what it was. The trailer was purpose-built with two air-conditioning units that kept its internal temperature between 25° and 30°C. Purely for the comfort of the animals exhibited, and at great expense, an air-suspension system operates on the back axle. This means that most movement of the trailer is damped out as it drives along. Practically it means that water pots need not be emptied before driving off – and they are still full at the end of the journey! This mobile display has been running for eight years, having first started in 1995 when the owner, Neil van Heyningen, was forced to close his static Reptile World at Worcester. Reptile World had been run successfully for a number of years and was expanding when the local authority, who opposed the operation, granted planning permission for a pub next door. Subsequently there was damage through vandalism that led to the deaths of some animals, and Neil felt that he couldn't continue there.

 

The collection being mobile enables him to travel around the country and provide education about reptiles, reptile husbandry and snake bites. The welfare of the animals is paramount, hence the two air-conditioning units and a series of alarms in case the temperature goes outside the set limits. The actual snakes exhibited are selected for their calm dispositions, and are rotated regularly with animals kept at a static facility. All snakes exhibited are captive-bred, and not necessarily African. The American rattlesnakes are quite well represented, there are also king snakes and milk snakes. The African snakes include the African rock python, boomslang, puff adder and black and green mambas. The snakes are only ever removed from the cases for cleaning and husbandry, and never in the presence of the public, or for photographic opportunities. Admission is 5 Rand (about £0.45 or Euros 0.7) for adults and children.

 

On the two occasions that my partner and I were present, Neil dealt with questions about keeping snakes as pets, deterring them from gardens and avoiding snake bite on the farm. All were dealt with courteously, at a level appropriate to the person asking the question. A person with snake phobia who was being encouraged by friends to enter was also dealt with sensitively and at a speed that they were happy with, despite blocking the entrance for a few minutes whilst `preparing themselves' to enter.

 

Earlier in 2003 there had been a letter published in Africa Geographic, the major photographic/conservation magazine that is sold throughout southern Africa, criticising the operation. The letter was pretty much the standard anti-zoo tirade, questioning the educational advantage of such exhibitions and suggesting that the animals must be suffering inside the mobile snake park. It was obvious that the lady who wrote it had not been inside the trailer and was very much reiterating the `party line'. The magazine, to its credit, had given a copy of the letter (which interestingly was e-mailed from a London (U.K.) firm of estate agents) to Neil to respond to. His response was published together with her letter, and reading both together put Reptile World in a very good light. It was also refreshing to see a conservation magazine being so fair in its dealings with a small enterprise that is exhibiting animals.

 

Reptile World receives no state aid whatsoever and is regularly inspected as it travels around because of the requirements of the different provincial nature conservation services. It is perhaps a lesson to all those who maintain that the travelling menageries were the epitome of cruelty to animals, that, with twenty-first century technology, a limited exhibition of animals can be taken over large distances, achieve educational objectives, and supply entertainment without causing any obvious discomfort to the exhibits.

 

Chris M. Moiser

 

Sado Crested Ibis Conservation Centre, Japan

 

Kin, the last crested ibis (Nipponia nippon) survivor from the wild indigenous Japanese population of this critically endangered species, died at the Centre on 10 October 2003. She was about one year old when caught in 1968 and spent the rest of her life in captivity. Although protected in Japan since 1934, numbers of the species plummeted throughout its range during the 20th century, due to a combination of habitat deterioration (mainly heavy use of agricultural chemicals) and overhunting. Today, the only remaining wild population is in Shaanxi Province, China, where numbers continue to increase slowly from an all-time low of seven birds discovered in 1981, to 66 birds by 1998.

 

World Birdwatch (BirdLife International) Vol. 25, No. 4 (December 2003)

 

San Diego Zoo, California, U.S.A.

 

Following a natural mating with new male Gao Gao, giant panda Bai Yun delivered a healthy male infant on 19 August 2003. This pregnancy promised to be different from the one in 1999, however, when ultrasound images confirmed the presence of twin fetuses. The possibility of twins would present a new challenge for management and, as events were soon to reveal, alter the scientific team's perspective on panda reproductive biology.

 

The new cub, being only the second born in the U.S.A. to survive beyond a few days, gave us the opportunity to further document the interaction between panda dams and their offspring, including comparisons with the fascinating details obtained from Hua Mei's birth in August 1999. Because it is not our policy to intervene in a normal mothering process, we lack a birth weight. But, once again, `it' appeared to be about average for a term fetus, with 112 g as the presumed birth weight. Although giant pandas are considered to have a slow rate of development in biological terms, the postpartum growth spurt is so remarkable that observers swore they could see 24-hour changes. As of this writing (at 12 weeks), our cub weighs in at 4.7 kg. This is a faster growth rate than for Hua Mei, but not by much.

 

On the third day (we count the day of birth as Day 0), Bai Yun left the birth den for the first time, to obtain water; this compares to Day 5 for Hua Mei. Her first meal was on Day 5, four days earlier than in 1999. In general, we can summarize Bai Yun's pattern of den leavings as starting a bit earlier than with Hua Mei, and also occurring at a higher frequency but for shorter periods of time. We do not know if the contrast is because of the different sex of the infant or because Bai Yun is now an experienced mother.

 

Not surprisingly, there are differences in the behavior of the two cubs. For example, this cub has proven to be more vocal, giving voice at a rate about twice that of Hua Mei at an equivalent age and suggesting a greater need for maternal attention. Even so, Bai Yun has adjusted her response rate to about 60 percent for both cubs. On the other hand, if the new cub is responding to the higher frequency of den departures, then the difference is in Bai Yun's mothering this time around. She has left the cub on the den floor much more frequently, adding to the perception that in some ways she is more relaxed, perhaps even less attentive. The new cub seems a bit more precocial in activities, such as rising up on his forelimbs and rolling over – possibly a sex difference or just inter-individual variation from one cub to the next. Having only two cubs for comparison simply indicates the need for a much larger sample before we can speak definitively of differences arising from maternal experience or from the sex of the infant.

 

To return to the twin issue, there are two interesting and rather unusual facts about giant pandas that underscore the problem to be met when twins are born. The first is that twin litters are fairly common, having occurred in about 48 percent of about 150 captive births so far. The second is that only one twin is nurtured by the mother. All who have observed panda mothers are struck by their rather `uncarnivorelike' behavior in positioning their cubs on the ventrum (chest) virtually continuously for the first two weeks of life. This demanding form of mothering is undoubtedly required because panda cubs are so small at birth (another fascinating story), but in any event, only one twin is suckled. So, why have twins if one is destined to die shortly after birth? The best answer so far is because giant pandas are bears, and in bears litter size is typically two or more cubs.

 

These facts, coupled with the ultrasound proof of a twin that failed to be born, leads us to re-evaluate and indeed to hypothesize on what might be happening here. Suppose, because they are bears, pregnancies may start out with two or more potential fetuses, but the heavy burden of mothering requires that at some point she reduce the litter to one. Not being a rigidly determined process, litter reduction in some cases occurs before the end of pregnancy, but in all others it occurs immediately after delivery of a second cub. This hypothesis can only be confirmed (or rejected) as ultrasound imagery is more widely applied as a tool in monitoring panda pregnancies. A next step for our team will be to spread the use of this remarkable technology to other zoos around the world and to the very robust breeding program at the Wolong Center in China.

 

Donald G. Lindburg and Megan Owen in CRES Report (Winter 2003)

 

[As reported in Animals and Zoos 55 (11), p. 28, twin (2.0) giant pandas born at Adventure World, Shirahama, Japan, on 8 September 2003, are both being reared by the mother. – Ed.]

 

Tama Zoo, Tokyo, Japan

 

A baby African elephant was born at the zoo in April 1998, and another in June 2002. The father, Tamao, was estimated to be 36 years old, and the mother, Ai, 21 years. At her second birth, Ai was very calm, and took good care of her baby. The female calf was given the name Mao, and was kept outdoors in the daytime after her second week. She has been living with her mother and another female called Cheeky since the age of five months. Cheeky has never had a baby of her own, but she looks after Mao very well, and this gives Ai a little breathing time. At the end of her first year Mao weighed 513 kg, a bit more than her older brother, who weighed 482 kg at one year. For about six months after Mao reached the age of one month, the keepers played with her in a space that Ai could not enter, wrestling with her and riding on her back, so that she would get used to people. The keepers started giving her obedience training at ten months, and she has learned the commands `go', `stop', `stay' and `back'.

 

English summary of article in Japanese by Risa Nakao, published in Animals and Zoos Vol. 55, No. 1 (November 2003)

 

Toronto Zoo, Canada

 

On 27 August 2003, a 47-cm-long Komodo dragon baby hatched after 240 days in an incubator in the zoo's Animal Health Centre. While a total of 95 Komodo dragons representing seven zoos have been successfully hatched in the United States, this is Canada's first. Since neither the 14-year-old dam nor the 16-year-old sire – on breeding loan from Minnesota Zoo – were genetically represented in the captive population, this particular pairing was considered to be the highest ranked for the species in North America. A third dragon at the zoo, 17-year-old Loca, has also produced eggs that are expected to hatch in a few weeks.

 

Communiqué (American Zoo and Aquarium Association), December 2003

 

Zürich Zoo, Switzerland

 

Between November 2002 and the opening in June 2003, over 17,000 plants of several hundred species – including trees, palms, bushes, ferns, lianas, aquatic plants and orchids – were planted in the zoo's new Masoala Rain Forest building. From tree nurseries in Madagascar, Florida, Thailand and Malaysia they went by ship container to Holland and Belgium and, after an acclimatisation period of six to twelve months and regular checks on their growth and pests, were delivered to Zürich, where they were finally planted. So that an ecosystem which is as authentic as possible can develop, these first plants will be gradually removed and replaced by plants from the zoo's own nursery in Masoala in Madagascar. An eco-system is being built up which will largely regulate itself. Because animals move around freely in the building, no conventional sprays for protecting plants can be used; instead, ladybirds, wasps and ticks will keep harmful invertebrates under control. Dead plants will lie and decay where they fall.

 

In the last few months the original plants have developed better than expected. With the help of careful pruning, the zoo is attempting to achieve a balance in the exhibit that largely corresponds with the range of species on the Masoala peninsula itself. Because there is still a lot of light reaching the ground in the young rain forest, creepers have grown particularly fast. With as little interference as possible, staff are ensuring that they do not choke everything else and that the young plants can grow freely. However, it is not only at ground level that plants are developing so well; some, such as bamboo, are reaching for the sky and have to be cut back to stop them damaging the roof of the 30-metre-high building. Numerous plants have flowered, including the typical white Madagascan orchids and the travellers' palm (Ravenala madagascariensis), the national tree of Madagascar. In the section where vegetables and fruit are grown, the papayas and pepper are fruiting. The first ripe bananas have already been discovered and consumed by the fruit bats.

 

At present, 45 species of vertebrates (more than 300 animals in all) can be observed in the exhibit. Almost all are zoo-bred, including the red ruffed lemurs which we have been keeping and breeding successfully for 15 years. Initially the lemurs needed to become accustomed to having their freedom, but now they are starting to explore their new environment. While the older animals are still reluctant to leave the vicinity of the familiarisation enclosures, the young lemurs born last spring are already venturing on long journeys of exploration throughout the whole building.

 

A great attraction for visitors are the Rodrigues fruit bats who are around all day and easy to see climbing or hanging in the trees. They love eating and so are the greatest `users' of the forest – they soon found out which plants they like best! The first birds have raised families. A pair of Madagascan partridges are currently to be seen walking through the forest with their four babies in tow. The numerous offspring of the white-faced ducks (three pairs with more than 20 young) and Bernier's teals (two pairs, eight young, breeding place unknown) are already as large as their parents and are now being sent to other zoos. Day geckos and giant tortoises have been seen mating but no young have been discovered yet. The fruit bats will not breed, since they are all female – because of high reproduction rates in zoos, the population in Zürich is only a reserve for the EEP.

 

Everyone was surprised to find out how well and fast chameleons can swim – they were released on the island in front of the restaurant so that they could be observed better, but amazingly they departed across the water some days later. A number of additional species have been integrated since the exhibit opened. These include African jacanas, African pygmy geese, Madagascan day geckos and tomato frogs. All the animals are identified, the small ones with chips and the birds with rings. The day geckos are registered with a photograph of their markings, unique to each animal.

 

The Masoala Rain Forest exhibit is the largest building of its kind in Europe, measuring 90 m by 120 m, with a ground area of 11,000 m2 and a volume of 200,000 m3. The construction of such a building only became possible less than two decades ago, with the invention of a highly durable but 95% translucent and extremely light plastic membrane, ETFE (ethylene-tetrafluoroethylene). The spaces between the box steel girders of the roof are filled with four-layer cushions of ETFE to achieve the high insulation value needed for the survival of the sensitive rain forest plants. In order for the plants to succeed, the building must show similar climatic conditions to those in Masoala itself – air temperatures of 20°–30°C, humidity values of over 80% and a rainfall of 6 mm per day. The building is heated by a circulating air system. If necessary, heat is taken from the zoo's central, carbon dioxide-neutral woodchip system; but in order to minimize the requirement for energy from wood, a heat recovery system is used. In sunshine the building warms up very quickly. If the air temperature rises above a limit value, the hot air is sucked out, cooled and conveyed back into the building. The excess heat is stored in a 250-m3 tank, from which it can be recovered in the evening. In this way, even in winter 20–30% of heating requirements can be covered, and in summer the energy system is fed exclusively with excess heat from the building.

 

A central element of the building is the sprinkling system. In order not to have to take the enormous quantity of water out of the public water main and decalcify it, the rain water from the roof of the building is collected in a cistern with a capacity of 1,000 m3. The water is treated as far as necessary, kept in intermediate storage in several day tanks and warmed to 20°C. In this way, every day up to 80,000 litres of water are available for sprinkling.

 

With the Masoala Rain Forest building, Zürich Zoo is creating a direct link to its nature conservation project in Madagascar. Masoala, a peninsula in the north-east of Madagascar, is covered by the island's last large area of rain forest. It is a hotspot within a hotspot, the place where Madagascar's biodiversity is at its greatest. Yet ten hectares of this forest are cleared every day for the timber trade and for agriculture. The government of Madagascar has appointed the development aid organisation CARE International to plan and implement an integrated development and nature conservation project for the area. The aim of this project, begun in 1993, is the preservation of the biologically most important part of the Masoala peninsula as a national park. This will be surrounded by a buffer zone, to protect the forest but allow local people to make permanent use of it. In addition to this, projects will be set up which provide new sources of income to the residents of the surrounding villages. This will make deforestation unnecessary and give the rain forest a new value.

 

For the compilation of the biological data CARE involved further organisations. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), based at the Bronx Zoo in New York, made an inventory of the animals, with the exception of the birds, which were listed by the Peregrine Fund. The plants were inventoried by the Missouri Botanical Garden. Based on the joint suggestions as to the most important habitats, the boundaries of the National Park and the buffer zones were drawn. Since the year 2000 the National Park has been run jointly by the Madagascan nature conservation authority ANGAP (Association National de la Gestion des Aires Protégées) and the WCS.

 

The contribution of Zürich Zoo to conservation in Masoala is part of a contract with the Madagascan authorities. For the planting of the zoo's Rain Forest building, we needed 2,300 seedlings from plant nurseries in Madagascar. The authorities consented to the export of these native plants, and in return the zoo is financing specific targeted projects in the National Park for ten years, which will allow the population to cultivate their land permanently and protect the rain forest. In the building, zoo visitors can explore an almost authentic section of the Masoala rain forest, and the adjoining information centre is intended to motivate the public to contribute to the area's long-term upkeep. During the first 100 days after opening, more than 400,000 visitors came to the exhibit and donated over 40,000 Swiss francs to the Masoala National Park.

 

Abridged and adapted from Zürich Zoo media releases

 

[A 142-page, lavishly illustrated hardback book, Masoala – the Eye of the Forest, describing both the Madagascan and Swiss aspects of this project, has been published in German, English and French editions. The German edition is available from Zürich Zoo (e-mail zoo@zoo.ch ) and the English and French editions from Natural History Book Services (www.nhbs.com ).]

 

News in brief

 

The news that a recreation park in Indonesia was exhibiting a 15-metre reticulated python was greeted with justifiable scepticism in zoological circles. Sure enough, a few days later the snake's true length was proved to be around 6.5 metres – big, but no record-breaker. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the longest discovered snake was also a reticulated python found in Sulawesi in 1912; it was ten metres long. The longest snake in a zoo was probably the Bronx's Samantha, a 7.5-metre python from Borneo, who died in 2002.

 

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In November 2003, the Steinhart Aquarium, San Francisco, California, celebrated the 65th anniversary of the arrival of Methuselah, an Australian lungfish. He has lived at the aquarium since 1938, when he arrived as a full-grown adult; his tank-mate Herb has been with him since 1952. But the aquarium's claim that Methuselah was the oldest captive fish in the U.S.A. prompted a quick response from the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago – they have a lungfish who arrived as an adult in 1933.

 

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Following on from the previous item, another incorrect claim to a longevity record has been made by Fukuoka Zoo, Japan, for their male Malayan tapir, `still hale and hearty at 33'. According to Richard Weigl of Frankfurt Zoo, who is compiling a comprehensive work on mammalian longevities, the world record for this species is held by an animal who died at Wilhelma Zoo, Stuttgart, in 2002, aged 36 years and 6 months. A 35-year-old Malayan tapir is still living at Milwaukee County Zoo, Wisconsin.

 

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A male okapi, Jamar, was born at Marwell Zoo, U.K., on 29 December 2003. His father is three-year-old Isiro, who came from Rotterdam Zoo; his five-year-old mother, Zukisa, was born at Marwell. Although Zukisa was hand-reared, she is feeding the baby herself. Another hand-reared okapi from Marwell, Elila, earlier went to London Zoo, where she has had two calves which she has also reared herself.

 

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Triplet red panda cubs, all females, made their public debut at Rosamond Gifford Zoo (formerly Burnet Park Zoo), Syracuse, New York, on 10 October 2003. Such births are very rare in this species, and Knoxville Zoo, Tennessee, is the only other U.S. zoo that has successfully raised red panda triplets.

 

Communiqué (American Zoo and Aquarium Association), December 2003

 

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A superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae) chick hatched at Healesville Sanctuary, Victoria, Australia, on 24 September 2003, and left the nest on 9 November. This is only the sixth lyrebird bred in captivity in almost 40 years, and is the offspring of first-time parents; the others were all from one pair, also at Healesville, who have since died. The chicks remain delicate until they are about a year old, so staff will not know the sex of the bird until it is about 12 months old and its feather colours reveal its gender; surgical sexing would be too risky.

 

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Decades of priceless zoological research were destroyed last November when offices at Crocodylus Park, Northern Territory, Australia, burnt down. Most of the documents and computer files were the only copies in existence. Research at the park dates back to 1973, and includes work on crocodiles, sea turtles and sea birds in Australia and overseas.

 

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Tama Zoo, Tokyo, Japan, has a plan to recycle the 1,000 tons of dung its animals produce annually in the form of biomass energy to cut disposal costs and save on the use of fossil fuels. The metropolitan government and a private company will research how to use the waste, then start producing biogas in an experimental processing plant in 2005. The technology for producing methane from organic waste has reached the practical stage, though one problem is what to do with the liquid left over; in the zoo's case, farms have already been contracted to use it as fertilizer.

 

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Allan Paul of the Highland Wildlife Park and Andrew Kitchener of the National Museums of Scotland are collaborating to prepare a new U.K. studbook for the Scottish wildcat. Hybridisation with domestic cats is a major threat in the wild, and it may be that the only way of safeguarding the Scottish form is through captive breeding. At present, most collections have little idea how pure their wildcats are; so the plan is to include some form of hybridisation index for individual cats in the studbook, as an aid to determining the best animals to breed from. The cats will be graded mainly through the analysis of photographic images.

 

Abridged from Allan Paul in Arkfile (Royal Zoological Society of Scotland) Vol. 14 (Winter 2003)

 

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Twin Caribbean manatees were born in November at Beauval Zoo, Saint-Aignan, France. The director, Rodolphe Delord, says this is thought to be the first twin manatee birth in any zoo. The 1.1 babies each weighed about 20 kg and were around a metre long. The zoo already has experience of rearing this species, as a previous baby was born there in 2001.

 

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Japan's first dolphin birth by artificial insemination took place at Kamogawa Sea World on 16 July 2003, following a 20-year study. The female bottle-nosed dolphin calf is the tenth offspring of the mother, Slim, who is estimated to be 37 years old. Three females were inseminated, two became pregnant, but only Slim went to full term.

 

Translated by Ken Kawata from Animals and Zoos 55 (10), p. 16

 

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Two geladas were born at Colchester Zoo, U.K., in November and December 2003. The babies, the first ever to be bred in Britain, bring numbers in the zoo's group to nine. In September three males from Colchester went to form a bachelor group at Edinburgh Zoo.

 

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Kaiser, M.: Erfolgreiche Handaufzucht einer Sonnenralle (Eurypyga helias) im Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde. (Successful hand-rearing of a sunbittern at Tierpark Berlin.) Milu Vol. 11, No. 2 (2003), pp. 143–155. [German, no English summary.]

Kormann, J.: Zur Bekämpfung von Hakensaugwürmern (Monogenea, Pectobothrii) auf der Haut von Meeresfischen mittels Süsswasser-Kurzbad. (Control of parasitic flatworms on the skin of marine fishes by use of a freshwater tank.) Milu Vol. 11, No. 2 (2003), pp. 170–172. [German, no English summary.]

Kuhar, C.W., Bettinger, T.L., Sironen, A.L., Shaw, J.H., and Lasley, B.L.: Factors affecting reproduction in zoo-housed Geoffroy's tamarins (Saguinus geoffroyi). Zoo Biology Vol. 22, No. 6 (2003), pp. 545–559. [The captive population of Geoffroy's tamarin has suffered a severe decline over the past ten years. This decline is attributed not to a failure to produce offspring, but rather to a failure to successfully rear them. To date, no studies have quantitatively examined the behaviors and hormones of this species in captivity. This study was conducted to determine whether there were any discernible factors that could be correlated with failure to rear offspring. Fifteen adult Geoffroy's tamarins at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo were observed by means of instantaneous sampling on a focal animal. In addition, all instances of social behaviors were recorded. A factorial arrangement of treatments was used, as animals were divided between a colony-housing situation (in which they could see, hear, and smell other groups) and a non-colony situation (where they could not see, hear, and smell other groups), with hand-reared and mother-reared animals in both treatments. Repeated-measures analysis of variance showed no interactions between the treatments, and no significant differences in behavior were found between mother-reared and hand-reared adults. However, animals housed in sensory contact with other groups were less active and exhibited more aggressive behaviors compared to animals that were not. They also tended to engage in more sexual behaviors, and scent-mark and huddle more often. First-morning-void urine samples were collected once a week, and assays indicated that the females were not undergoing suppressed reproduction; all the females exhibited significant circulating levels of E1C and PdG, and were pregnant at some time during the study. Samples assayed for excreted cortisol showed no differences in mean cortisol concentration by rearing histories or housing conditions, but there was a trend for successful mothers to show higher levels of cortisol than unsuccessful mothers. While these physiological indicators reveal no signs of stress, high levels of aggressive and territorial behaviors indicate social unrest in the colony-housed condition, which may be contributing to the poor reproductive success of those individuals.]

Leimgruber, P., Gagnon, J.B., Wemmer, C., Kelly, D.S., Songer, M.A., and Selig, E.R.: Fragmentation of Asia's remaining wildlands: implications for Asian elephant conservation. Animal Conservation Vol. 6, No. 4 (2003), pp. 347–359. [Habitat loss and fragmentation are main causes for Asian elephant population declines. The authors mapped wildlands – large, unfragmented and undeveloped areas – asking: (1) Where are the largest wildlands that constitute elephant habitats? (2) What proportion of these wildlands is protected? (3) What is their potential for elephant conservation? Their study demonstrates that wildlands constitute only 51% of the Asian elephant range. Burma has the largest wildland (c. 170,000 km2), followed by Thailand and India. Ranges were allocated to fragmentation clusters of three types. Cluster A contains large ranges with unfragmented wildlands; cluster B includes ranges with well-developed transportation networks and large human populations; and cluster C contains ranges with severely fragmented wildlands. In cluster A, four ranges (two in Burma, one in India and one spanning the Thai–Burma border) were identified with elephant populations greater than 1,000 animals: together with ranges that support over 1,000 elephants in cluster B, these A ranges have great potential for long-term elephant conservation. The authors propose that fragmentation clusters and population size can be used to identify different elephant monitoring and management zones.]

Lewis, C.: Your imagination is your limitation. Thylacinus Vol. 27, No. 4 (2003), pp. 12–13. [Auckland Zoo; training Galápagos tortoise and chacma baboon.]

Lücker, H.: Haltung von schwach-elektrischen Fischen in Schauaquarien – eine `spannungsvolle' Sache. (Husbandry of weakly-electric fish in public aquariums – a stressful [`high-voltage'] affair.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 5 (2003), pp. 284–295. [German, with English summary. Weakly-electric fish from tropical America (Gymnotidae) and Africa (Mormyridae and Gymnarchidae) possess extremely sensitive electroreceptors. They can locate weakly electric fields in water and detect changes in the field caused by distortions by objects. They additionally have weakly electric organs, which produce their own electric field by mean of a series of single electric organ discharges (EODs). Weakly electric fish detect species-specific signalling in the form of an EOD and in the rhythm of the discharge. With the help of silver electrodes, an amplifier, an oscillograph and loudspeakers plus graphic signboards, the peculiar and fantastic world of the weakly electric fishes can be made accessible to aquarium visitors.]

McKay, S.: Examining cheetah personalities – do they affect breeding success? Ratel Vol. 30, No. 6 (2003), pp. 159–168.

Male, S.: Successful breeding of rainbow bee-eater at Taronga Zoo. Thylacinus Vol. 27, No. 4 (2003), pp. 2–3. [Merops ornatus.]

Manna, S.: Enteritis and its treatment in an Asian elephant. Zoos' Print Journal Vol. 18, No. 6 (2003), p. 1130.

Manning, B.: The captive management of the black-eared miner Manorina melanotis. Thylacinus Vol. 27, No. 3 (2003), pp. 10–13. [Healesville Sanctuary.]

Margulis, S.W., Hoyos, C., and Anderson, M.: Effect of felid activity on zoo visitor interest. Zoo Biology Vol. 22, No. 6 (2003), pp. 587–599. [The extent to which the presence of visitors influences zoo animal behavior, and the ways in which animal activity influences visitor interest and perception, are of great interest to zoos. Visitors have been variously characterized as being enriching for zoo animals, as being stressors, and generally as influencing behavior in measurable ways. Most studies have focused on primates, and have assumed a `visitor effect' paradigm (i.e. visitors influence animal behavior). The authors present findings from a study of six felid species at Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, and examine the `visitor attraction' model, which assumes that visitors are attracted to active animals. The results indicate that visitor presence per se did not influence cat activity, and that visitor interest was generally greater when cats were active. Various species differences may be explained by visitor familiarity with the species, variations in exhibit design, and species-specific activity budgets. The authors conclude that the visitor attraction model may be more appropriate for taxa, such as large cats, that tend naturally to be largely inactive and to respond little (if at all) to visitor disturbances or efforts to engage. The relationship must be viewed as bidirectional: visitors influence animal behavior, and animal behavior influences visitor interest. However, the strength and primary direction of this relationship is likely to be taxon-specific. They suggest that a visitor attraction model may be more appropriate not only for felids, but for other taxa with similar behavioral patterns and responses as well.]

Matschei, C.: Haltungs- und Zuchtergebnisse von Schneeziegen, Oreamnos americanus, in Tiergärten. (Husbandry and breeding of Rocky Mountain goat in zoos.) Milu Vol. 11, No. 2 (2003), pp. 130–142. [German, with very brief English summary. All German, Austrian and Swiss zoos which have held the species are included. The founder population of the 1980s and 1990s consisted of 19 (9.10) goats; 34 (16.18) animals were alive in October 2003 (26 in Germany, 7 in Austria and 1 in Switzerland).]

Nadler, T.: Verbreitung und Bestand des Weisskopflangur (Trachypithecus poliocephalus leucocephalus). (Distribution and status of the white-headed langur.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 5 (2003), pp. 324–335. [German, with English summary. Endemic to the southern Chinese province of Guangxi, the white-headed langur is one of the world's 25 most endangered primate taxa. The systematic position of this species has been debated for a long time. New DNA evidence shows a close relationship on the subspecies level to the Vietnamese Cat Ba or golden-headed langur, contrary to the often-supposed relationship to the François's langur. The current population of white-headed langurs is estimated to be only 700 to 800 individuals in four isolated sub-populations. Historically, hunting for use in traditional Chinese medicine was the greatest threat to the langurs, dramatically decreasing the population and eradicating some sub-populations. Currently, the greatest threat is fragmentation and destruction of habitat by conversion into agricultural land. The refuges of the last populations have been declared as protected areas, but the local communes retain the right to use the land. In Chongzuo County, Guangxi province, a protected area has been established as an `Ecopark' at considerable expense. The area should serve as an example for the conservation of highly endangered species, offering possibilities for both scientific research and tourism. Extensive education and support for the surrounding communes, e.g. with the introduction and installation of biogas systems, has reduced pressure on the nature reserve.]

Nederlof, L.-J.: Onverwachte kweek azuurvlinders. (Unexpected breeding of a blue Morpho butterfly.) De Harpij Vol. 22, No. 3 (2003), pp. 12–15. [Dutch, with English summary. Approximately 70 species of Morpho butterflies are found throughout Central and South America. The subspecies Morpho peleides limpida, the only subspecies of M. peleides with white `pupils' on the eyespots on the underside of the wings, is found in the lowlands of Costa Rica, where it feeds on fungi and the sap of rotting fruit. The beautiful iridescent blue on the upper surface of the wings and the impressive 10-cm wing span make this butterfly particularly popular in butterfly gardens, including the one at Rotterdam Zoo. Nonetheless it is not often bred, primarily because of the difficulties in acquiring and maintaining suitable plants for the caterpillars to feed on. In hopes of successfully breeding this butterfly, Rotterdam's botanical staff acquired and propagated different plants that had been mentioned in the literature as proven species for reproducing these butterflies. None of these was successful, and the search for an appropriate plant continued. It appeared that a suitable plant, the coral tree (Erythrina caffra), was already present, as six M. p. limpida caterpillars in the fifth instar were discovered consuming its leaves in October 2002! This insect spends seven days in the egg, 53 days as the caterpillar instars and 14 days as a pupa before emerging for five to ten weeks of life as a glorious butterfly. The first home-grown adults were flying around the zoo's butterfly garden in December. While the preferred E. caffra tree had been placed in the garden in hopes that it would be used by the butterflies, there had been no documentation of this in the literature. This underscores the following: it is important to remain up to date on the latest literature regarding butterfly culture, to have a botanical collection that is large enough to allow some experimentation with plants, and to ensure that information regarding potential food plants is shared throughout the zoo.]

Ngugi, L.N.: A bizarre monkey born. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 30, No. 10 (2003), p. 410. [A monkey born at Mount Kenya Animal Orphanage is apparently the hybrid offspring of an olive baboon (Papio anubis) mother and a golden-bellied crested mangabey (Cercocebus galeritus chrysogaster) father.]

Nyhus, P.J., Tilson, R.L., and Tomlinson, J.L.: Dangerous animals in captivity: ex situ tiger conflict and implications for private ownership of exotic animals. Zoo Biology Vol. 22, No. 6 (2003), pp. 573–586. [There may currently be more tigers in captivity than in the wild. In addition to the population in professionally managed zoos, an unknown number are kept as exotic pets by individuals, and in non-accredited zoos, circuses, and safari parks. The population of tigers held in such conditions may actually exceed the number in the wild and in populations actively managed by the world zoo community combined. In the U.S.A., unsubstantiated reports suggest that from 7,000 to 10,000 tigers may be in private hands; but the number could be as high as 12,000, given the large number of animals that are kept illegally or are not recorded. Most of these tigers are of mixed origin and unknown lineage, and thus contribute little if anything to existing conservation programs. Relatively little is known about the risks of injury or death associated with owning and managing captive tigers and other large carnivores. The purpose of this study was to conduct a global assessment of attacks by captive tigers on people, with particular emphasis on cases in the U.S.A. Analysis of 30 international media sources and additional documents uncovered 59 incidents in 1998–2001 in which people were reportedly injured or killed by captive tigers. In the U.S., seven people were reportedly killed and at least 27 injured – a rate of 1.75 fatal attacks and at least nine non-fatal attacks per year. All but one fatal attack in the U.S. occurred in situations where tigers were privately owned or held in private facilities. Forty-two percent of the victims were classified as visitors, and almost one-quarter were under the age of 20. These results suggest that the victims underestimated the dangers posed by direct contact with these animals. The authors review current legislation regarding captive ownership of tigers and other large exotic animals, and contradict claims by those who support private ownership of tigers and other large felids that the risks associated with owning and viewing these animals are insignificant. They conclude that the growing number of people who own tigers and other large exotic animals is cause for concern because of the danger to the animals, the handlers, and the public. The problem of private ownership of dangerous exotic animals has broad implications for tiger and large-carnivore conservation, public health, and animal welfare. The authors support the regulation of private ownership of dangerous exotic animals, and encourage scientific analysis of this contentious issue.]

Olson, M.A., Huang, Y., Li, D., Spindler, R., Howard, J., Zhang, H., and Durrant, B.: Assessment of motility, acrosomal integrity, and viability of giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) sperm following short-term storage at 4°C. Zoo Biology Vol. 22, No. 6 (2003), pp. 529–544.

Owen, A.: The capture of eight Montserrat orioles and their subsequent establishment and breeding at Jersey Zoo. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 109, No. 3 (2003), pp. 116–124. [Icterus oberi.]

Pfeiffer, J.S.: Notes on poison dart frog breeding at the Little Rock Zoo. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 30, No. 10 (2003), pp. 415–418.

Phillips, B.T., and Jackson, S.M.: Growth and development of the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) at Healesville Sanctuary, Victoria, Australia. Zoo Biology Vol. 22, No. 5 (2003), pp. 497–505. [In a litter of 0.4 young, measurements of crown–rump length, head length, and head width were recorded every week from birth. Body weight was recorded weekly once the joeys were detached from the teat at 142 days of age, until 218 days of age. The growth curves revealed an initial linear increase in crown–rump lengths until approximately 60 days of age, when the gradient increased, while head length and head width showed a largely linear increase with age. The appearances of various morphological characteristics were also recorded.]

Pohle, C.: Gayale seit 40 Jahren im Tierpark Berlin. (40 years of gayals at Tierpark Berlin.) Milu Vol. 11, No. 2 (2003), pp. 121–129. [German, no English summary; Bos frontalis.]

Poley, D.: Bemerkungen zur Sprache der Tiergärtnerei. (Notes on the language of zoos.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 5 (2003), pp. 252–265. [German, with very brief English summary. The author reviews some German words which are used in the context of zoos, biological sciences, nature and species conservation and legislation. The different meanings of the German words for, e.g., captivity and imprisonment, extinction and endangered species are discussed. ]

Poorterman, A.: Het Grote Roofdieren Project in Oeganda. (The Large Carnivore Project in Uganda.) De Harpij Vol. 22, No. 3 (2003), pp. 20–22. [Dutch, with English summary. The project is an initiative of Wildlife and Animal Resources Management (WARM), a department of Makarere University in Kampala, undertaken in cooperation with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). Currently research on viruses is being carried out and large carnivores are being censused in three national parks. The research team consists of four people: a leader (also zoologist), two veterinarians and a field assistant. The team has the expertise, but not the funds, to carry out the research, so Amersfoort Zoo is committed to raising Euros 75,000 to support the project each year for the next three years. The first fund- raising event took place on 29 June 2002, when the zoo held an `Africa at the Zoo' event. The research team came from Uganda to tell about their work, and in the evening a host of activities, including dancing, workshops and a concert were held. African items were sold at market stalls. The research team not only received a check for 75,000, but was also the first recipient of the zoo's annual nature conservation trophy, which includes a gift of Euros 70,000.]

Rajendran, S., Saseendran, P.C., and Chitra, R.: Ethology of teasing by visitors in the Zoological Gardens, Thrissur. Zoos' Print Vol. 18, No. 6 (2003), pp. 15–16. [`It was concluded that predominant teasers were adults, males and educated' (!).]

Rajendran, S., Saseendran, P.C., and Chitra, R.: Visitors' behaviour at primate cages in the Zoological Gardens, Thrissur. Zoos' Print Vol. 18, No. 6 (2003), p. 14. [`Most of the teasers when asked not to tease accepted it and moved away.']

Raphael, B.L., Kalk, P., Thomas, P., Calle, P.P., Doherty, J.G., and Cook, R.A.: Use of melengestrol acetate in feed for contraception in herds of captive ungulates. Zoo Biology Vol. 22, No. 5 (2003), pp. 455–463. [Herds of blackbuck antelope and barasingha, axis, sambar and Formosan sika deer at the Bronx Zoo were fed melengestrol acetate (MGA) at a concentration of 0.000154% in pelleted feed for various periods during 1991–2001. The target dose per animal was 1–2 mg per day. Contraceptive rates during treatment were 100% for blackbuck, barasingha, sambar, and sika, and approximately 93% for axis. There were no observed adverse effects from MGA treatment on gestation. Post-treatment reproductive rates were lower than pre-treatment rates.]

Rudloff, K.: Hausschweine im Tierpark Berlin. (Domestic pigs in Tierpark Berlin.) Milu Vol. 11, No. 2 (2003), pp. 109–120. [German, no English summary.]

Scheib, M.-H., and Schratter, D.: Die Wüste lebt! Vom historischen Pflanzenüberwinterungshaus zum ersten Wüstenhaus in Wien. (The living desert! From a historic overwintering house for plants to the first desert house in Vienna.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 5 (2003), pp. 336–348. [German, with English summary. The newly-opened desert house in Vienna is a joint venture of Schönbrunn Zoo and the Austrian Federal Gardens. In an area of 2000 m2, the house represents arid habitats of Africa, America, the Middle East and Madagascar. After an extensive four-year renovation, the historic Sun Dial House now displays 22 animal and 400 plant species. The plants belong to the valuable succulent collection of the Austrian Federal Gardens. The theme-specific choice of plants and animals combined with a multisensory education section allows visitors to experience the complex ecosystem of a desert. The experience of nature inside the house is in charming contrast with the historic stylishness of the exterior.]

Squires, P.: Hand-rearing a central Australian short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus). Thylacinus Vol. 27, No. 2 (2003), pp. 2–5. [Wildcare Inc., Alice Springs; the animal was wild-born and about 50 days old when rescued.]

Strauss, G.: `Kumari' – Die Krankengeschichte eines Panzernashorns (Rhinoceros unicornis). (Kumari – medical history of an Indian rhino.) Milu Vol. 11, No. 2 (2003), pp. 103–108. [German, no English summary.]

Swanson, W.F, Johnson, W.E., Cambre, R.C., Citino, S.B., Quigley, K.B., Brousset, D.M., Morais, R.N., Moreira, N., O'Brien, S.J., and Wildt, D.E.: Reproductive status of endemic felid species in Latin American zoos and implications for ex situ conservation. Zoo Biology Vol. 22, No. 5 (2003), pp. 421–441. [Reproductive evaluations were conducted on 185 male cats representing eight endemic Latin American species that were maintained in 44 zoos and private facilities in 12 Latin American countries. Reproductive assessments (testicular measures, ejaculate quality, and blood testosterone/cortisol concentration) were used to establish normative values for large- and small-sized cats in Latin American collections. Data were also analyzed using multiple regression to study the impact of proven breeder status, diet, and various animal housing combinations. Most felids (>95%) in the survey were of wild-born origin, and <20% had produced offspring in captivity. Larger felids had bigger testes and produced more semen, but tended to produce low-sperm-density ejaculates. The ejaculates of small felids were more sperm-concentrated, but contained fewer total spermatozoa. Sperm motility was unrelated to species size, and certain species (puma, margay, tigrina, and jaguarundi) consistently produced few (<40%) normal sperm forms. Across species, >50% of males had low sperm counts (< 1 million total sperm per ejaculate). Among large cats (jaguars and pumas), proven breeders had larger testes, greater semen volume, and more normal sperm than non-breeders. Males on adequate diets had higher circulating cortisol. Among small-sized felids, proven breeders had higher testosterone, and males housed alone or paired with a conspecific female had more total sperm per ejaculate and greater seminal and testicular volumes. Fifty-nine ejaculates (potentially representing c. 100 artificial insemination or 26,000 in vitro fertilization procedures) were cryopreserved for a felid genome resource bank. In conclusion, breeding success and reproductive traits for many endemic felids in Latin American zoos appear to be sub-optimal, and likely would benefit from improvements in diet and exhibitry. Technology transfer and continued training of zoo staff and scientists in Latin American countries are essential if these zoos are to achieve their tremendous conservation potential for felids and other threatened endemic species.]

Tarou, L.R., Bashaw, M.J., and Maple, T.L.: Failure of a chemical spray to significantly reduce stereotypic licking in a captive giraffe. Zoo Biology Vol. 22, No. 6 (2003), pp. 601–607. [The repetitive licking of non-food substrates is a common stereotypic behavior in captive giraffes. The authors attempted to reduce stereotypic licking in a Masai giraffe at Zoo Atlanta, Georgia, by applying a bitter chemical (marketed as a taste deterrent to prevent the unwanted licking and chewing of substrates) to the areas of the fence licked most frequently by the giraffe. However, there were no significant overall changes in stereotypic licking following treatment with the chemical spray. Although licking of the treated area was observed to decrease, the behavior increased in non-treated areas. This result suggests that the underlying motivation driving the behavior was not affected by the aversive stimulus. Because stereotypic licking in giraffes may be based on a motivation to use their tongues in foraging, more effective techniques for reducing stereotypic fence-licking in giraffes may include increasing feeding duration by increasing the quantity, processing time, or distribution range of food.]

Thévenon, S., Bonnet, A., Claro, F., and Maillard, J.-C.: Genetic diversity analysis of captive populations: the Vietnamese sika deer (Cervus nippon pseudaxis) in zoological parks. Zoo Biology Vol. 22, No. 5 (2003), pp. 465–475. [This endangered subspecies has disappeared in the wild, but is being bred in zoos. The authors studied the genetic diversity and population structure of herds kept in European zoos, using nine microsatellite loci. The goal was to evaluate the consequences of founding effects and breeding practices on the level and structure of genetic variability. Contrary to expectation, the present level of genetic diversity in European zoos is as large as that of the populations kept on Vietnamese farms. This is explained by the recent introduction of deer from Cuc Phuong, and to important differences among the populations of different zoos which increase the total genetic variability; the rate of exchange of animals between zoos is too low to prevent strong genetic drift which has resulted in high genetic differentiation between zoo herds. The differentiation between the European and Vietnamese populations is high because of founding effects, genetic drift, and possible hybridization in both populations. Although the current level of genetic variability is not particularly low, future levels are probably threatened by current herd sizes and structure. The authors recommend that the current breeding system in Europe should be modified to avoid loss of genetic variability in the long term; herd sizes should be increased, and high and symmetrical gene flows between the European herds should be promoted. They also suggest that potential hybridization should be assessed by genetic studies of various sika deer subspecies.]

Thoney, D.A., Warmolts, D.I., and Andrews, C.: Acquisition of fishes and aquatic invertebrates for zoological collections. Is there a future? Zoo Biology Vol. 22, No. 6 (2003), pp. 519–527. [The majority of the freshwater fishes in the ornamental trade now originate from captive-bred sources, as do a large proportion of the freshwater species exhibited in public aquariums. In contrast, commercial operators who also supply marine specimens to the ornamental trade remove directly from the wild approximately 98% of the marine fishes and invertebrates exhibited in public aquariums. The common perception prevails that captive propagation is inherently a better alternative to obtaining animals from the wild. Although captive propagation has been shown to have many benefits for terrestrial species, there are a number of features unique to marine species that challenge the idea that every species should be bred in captivity. Some of the key issues relating to the development of widespread conservation-oriented captive propagation programs include: (1) the high taxonomic diversity in marine animals; (2) the resultant variety in their reproductive methods; (3) their ecological, behavioral, physiological, and nutritional needs; and (4) our general lack of knowledge on their husbandry and medical care. There are several characteristics of marine fish and invertebrate populations that make them suitable candidates for sustainable harvest. For instance, marine teleosts are `r-selected', meaning that they have an extremely high fecundity, and most marine teleosts have a wide distribution and the ability to disperse over long distances. In locations considered for fish collection, appropriate management techniques should be employed to ensure that fishes and invertebrates are collected with as little impact on the ecosystem as possible. The collection of marine fishes and invertebrates for public aquariums and the hobby trade should be managed like a fishery to ensure long-term sustainability. The public aquarium community should support marine organism certification initiatives, such as the Marine Aquarium Council. Marine organism certification will create market incentives that encourage and support quality and sustainable practices by creating consumer demand and confidence for certified organisms, practices, and industry participants. The creation of refuges that supply propagules to harvested areas, the rotation of areas fished, species-specific size limits and seasons, and standardization of collecting, handling, and transportation techniques should be used to manage these fisheries and harvest areas.]

Umrigar, K.D., and Belsare, A.V.: Contraception in a blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) using melengesterol acetate. Zoos' Print Journal Vol. 18, No. 6 (2003), p. 1129.

Valandikar, S.C., Murthy, S., and Giriraj, N.: A successful caesarian section in civet (Viverricula indica) in Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, Mysore: a case report on dystokia. Zoos' Print Vol. 18, No. 10 (2003), p. 7.

van der Elst, W.: Verrijking . . . less is more. (Enrichment – less is more.) De Harpij Vol. 22, No. 3 (2003), pp. 24–27. [Dutch, with English summary. Animal enrichment should allow the animal to carry out natural activities, and it should be cost-effective, i.e. the amount of time that the keeper spends setting up the enrichment opportunity should be considerably less than the amount of time for which the animal is `enriched'. Enrichment is not just for apes and elephants, it is just as important and useful for aquarium creatures. Fish become stressed too, and may also show stereotyped behaviours. The author describes several examples of enrichment activities for aquarium animals, as well as an amusing account of the evolution of a (possibly!) perfect cricket feeder for archerfish (Toxotes jaculator). The author suggests that even if some ideas are impractical to carry out. musing about them may spawn other ideas that can be developed.]

van der Heul, S.: Geluidsonderzoek bij de gewone zeehond. (Acoustic research on common seals.) De Harpij Vol. 22, No. 4 (2003), pp. 25–27. [Dutch, with English summary. The Dutch government is striving to make relevant information, e.g. water depth and current speed, available to ships sailing in heavily travelled waters leading to several harbours. The `Acoustic Communication network for Monitoring of underwater Environment in coastal areas' (ACME) system is being tested for its suitability for this function. Because harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) and porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) are common in the area, the effect of the ACME system on their behaviour needs to be tested. The parameters that can influence effects include frequency (the four sounds used in this system have a frequency of 72 kHz), amplitude at the source, amplitude received by the animals, the time of day that the sounds are transmitted, and the hearing sensitivity of the animal in question. A project to assess the impact of the ACME system on harbour seals was carried out in Ouwehands Zoo, Rhenen, in May and June 2003. The project was undertaken by the research bureau Sea Mammal Research Company (Seamarco) and biologist R.A. Kastelein, and the results will be published in the journal Marine Environmental Research. While the project is not completed, it appears that all four sounds proposed for use in the ACME system do influence the behaviour of the seals. The same was found during an assessment of the effects of ACME on two common porpoises held at Neeltje Jans Waterland. A series of four follow-up projects will be carried out to definitively establish how the sounds influence the behaviour of the two species.]

van der Zanden, R.: Murugan: de mislukte kansen voor het EEP. (Murugan: missed chances for the EEP.) De Harpij Vol. 22, No. 4 (2003), pp. 10–13. [Dutch, with English summary. The Asian elephant bull Murugan arrived at Amsterdam Zoo in 1954, when he was less than two years old. He had close contact with the public in his younger years: children were allowed to ride on his back, and he was sometimes taken on strolls through the city to serve as a live advertisement for the zoo. While it was highly desirable for Murugan to sire offspring, as he was unrelated to any other elephants in the Asian Elephant EEP, this did not come to pass. Murugan learned how to sexually relieve himself using a water barrel and made little attempt to mount the two cows, Suseela and Jumbo, with whom he shared an enclosure. Because of Murugan's genetic value, the elephant care consultant Alan Roocroft came to Amsterdam to target train Murugan to enter his specially-built crush so that semen could be collected via anal massage. While the target training was useful in enabling the keepers to carry out some treatments such as frequently-needed toenail trimmings, Murugan refused to be enclosed in the crush and semen collection was not possible.

      Murugan was euthanized just a couple of months after his fiftieth birthday because of various physical disabilities that were presumably quite painful. Throughout his life he remained a placid and approachable animal; he submitted to apparently painful medical treatments and did not require special bull facilities. A final attempt to collect Murugan's semen at his death was made, but the sperm was immotile. His death is much mourned, but it is hoped that the elephant herd at the zoo, now including the adolescent bull Nicolai and the two aging females Suseela and Jumbo, will continue to grow and change, so that an elephant birth may eventually take place.]

van Wees, M.: Het EEP voor de Aziatische olifanten: dikhuiden op de goede weg. (The Asian Elephant EEP: pachyderms make progress.) De Harpij Vol. 22, No. 4 (2003), pp. 2–6. [Dutch, with English summary. The EEP has been in existence for ten years, and while it is still early to evaluate its long-term success, breeding results are clearly improving. Between 1983 and 1993, 30 elephants were born in Europe and 34 died. A total of 72 elephants have been born since 1993, but 103 have died. This is in part due to the number of older animals in the population. A total of 75 elephants were imported between 1983 and 1993, and 50 have been imported since 1993. The importation of Asian elephants to Europe, except those given as royal gifts, has now completely stopped.

      The EEP population in 1993 consisted of 298 (50.248) animals, and in 2003 numbers 60.240. There are many older animals in the studbook, and experience has shown that cows breeding for the first time at more than 20 years of age usually encounter serious complications, and should not be considered part of the breeding population. Therefore the potential breeding population actually consists of 43.104 elephants, most of which have been imported since 1983. A target population of 30 breeding bulls and 150 cycling cows has been set. While this goal is still far away, success is being achieved more quickly than anticipated. It was expected that there would be ten breeding facilities in 2003, but instead there were 16, with one holding two breeding bulls. With the number of elephant facilities currently being built or planned, it is expected that there will be 30 breeding facilities in another ten years. Given how expensive good facilities are to build in the colder European climate, this is quite a commitment. Zoos in Flemish Belgium and the Netherlands are important in providing needed spaces.

      Some policies on transfers and breeding practice have been set. Cows sent from one zoo to another should be sent in family groups. Bulls should be replaced in a zoo after eight to ten years of breeding to ensure genetic variability. Whenever possible a zoo should hold two bulls. The EEP coordinator, Ton Dorresteyn, director of Rotterdam Zoo, decides which elephants should be sent where. Zoos that do not follow recommended transfers are liable for sanctions from EAZA. Zoos that cannot hold more than two or three elephants are not considered breeding units, but can support the EEP by holding animals surplus to the breeding programme. While transfers of bulls rather than cows for breeding purposes more closely mimics the natural Asian elephant breeding structure, transfer of bulls remains the more logistically difficult option. Nevertheless, it is being striven for, with artificial insemination being a possibility when natural breeding is not possible. Research is being carried out on herpes, pox and tuberculosis, as these diseases threaten the captive population.

      While reintroduction or restocking of Asian elephant populations is not viewed at this time as a conservation option (the emphasis should be on habitat protection), elephants in zoos can serve as impressive ambassadors for their wild counterparts that do need the habitat protection.]

Vialpando, P.S., and Kulkosky, P.J.: Effects of an environmental enrichment on the behavior of captive pygmy goats (Capra hircus). Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 30, No. 11 (2003), pp. 459–465.

Volf, J.: Przewalskipferd – ein Wild- oder ein Haustier? (The Przewalski horse – a wild or domestic animal?) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 5 (2003), pp. 312–323. [German, with English summary. The Przewalski horse was described as early as 1881, but disputes whether it is a really valid new species or not stretched over several decades. The doubts were provoked first of all by the extraordinarily high variability of imported individuals, and by the fact that a certain proportion of domestic blood could not be excluded – in some cases it was even confirmed. Reports of mating of escaped domestic mares with the stallions came directly from hunters during the whole existence of the original wild population, and they were also confirmed by Mongolian and Russian zoologists. Hybridization of wild and domestic horses also took place during their breeding in captivity. This was done deliberately at Askania Nova before and after World War II. Though these hybrids were not officially used in the breeding programme, DNA analysis proved that mares of `tarpan' type had been purposely included. Moreover, this analysis also cast doubt upon the pure-bloodedness of the last wild-caught mare, Orlica III. Because of the absence of a pure-blooded stallion, the Agricultural Institute of the University of Halle included a half-blooded individual their breeding group. A pair of young animals purchased at the beginning of the 1920s for Prague Zoo had 25% of domestic blood. After 80 years (i.e. 12–15 generations), this ratio has been reduced to a minimum and from the viewpoint of breeding is insignificant.

      Today, no Przewalski horse's real origin can be defined with certainty, so it is impossible to guarantee any individual's absolute pure-bloodedness. Besides, incorrect identification of animals at some breeding stations, loss of documentation, and more recently unregistered transfers and the dispersal of breeding groups, must be taken into consideration. Despite all this, however, the influence of domestic horses on the current captive-bred Przewalski population should not be overestimated. A more important negative factor is the domestication process, intensified by the very narrow genetic base and by the long-term absence of individuals from the wild. The domestication process manifests itself not only in the exterior of individual animals, but also from a morphological, ethological and physiological viewpoint.]

Webster, S.J.G.: Can primates receive adequate primary diet from an enrichment unit? Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 30, No. 10 (2003), pp. 420–422. [White-throated capuchin (Cebus capucinus).]

Williams, T.: Blackpool Zoo helps with ground-breaking elephant conservation project in India. Zoos' Print Vol. 18, No. 11 (2003), pp. 20–21. [The Indian government has made the microchipping of captive Asian elephants mandatory.]

Winkler, A.: Neueste Erkenntnisse zur Biologie, Haltung und Zucht der Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox). (Latest findings on the biology, husbandry and breeding of the fossa.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 5 (2003), pp. 296–311. [German, with English summary. Over the past 28 years detailed knowledge on the biology, general husbandry and breeding of the fossa has been gathered at Duisburg Zoo, with additional information obtained from other zoos. Fossas can be kept either singly or in pairs. It is important to provide a large and well-structured exhibit to meet the natural requirements of these very agile animals, who are largely diurnal in habit, and live both on the ground and in the trees. Fossas show a clearly defined breeding season, during which the pairs regularly mate on a daily basis. The actual mating can last for well over one hour. Usually one to four youngsters are born after a gestation of 53 to 60 days. The young are cared for solely by the mother. The development of young fossas is very slow – sexual maturity is reached after three years. Their longevity is believed to be more than 20 years.]

Winton, C.: Hand-rearing brolga at Auckland Zoo. Thylacinus Vol. 27, No. 4 (2003), pp. 4–7. [Grus rubicundus.]

Zoer, R.: De jacht is zo gek nog niet. (Hunting is not so crazy.) De Harpij Vol. 22, No. 4 (2003), pp. 20–24. [Dutch, with English summary. The author, a student in wildlife management in Pretoria, went to South Africa with a feeling (probably shared by most Dutch people) that hunting animals is bad, but since living there he has come to view hunting differently. Because of the amounts of money that people are willing to pay to hunt some animals and the relatively low value of the land for agriculture, the animals are now viewed as a valuable asset. This use of private land actually functions to protect wildlife habitat: 13% of private land in South Africa is oriented towards wildlife, so wildlife ranches form an important part of the 10% quota of `protected area' required by international law. Because of its consequently healthy wildlife populations, South Africa serves as an important reservoir for restocking efforts for animal populations in many other African countries. The revenues made by hunting can far exceed other uses of wildlife such as ecotourism, and hunting can serve a double function in culling problem animals or reducing too large populations. Hunting and wildlife conservation are intertwined, but a balance must be found.]

 

Publishers of the periodicals listed:

Animal Conservation, Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park, London NW1 4RY, U.K.

Animal Keepers' Forum, American Association of Zoo Keepers, 3601 S.W. 29th Street, Suite 133, Topeka, Kansas 66614, U.S.A.

Avicultural Magazine, Membership Secretary, Stewart Pyper, 21 Primrose Hill, Nunney, Frome, Somerset BA11 4NP, U.K.

De Harpij, Stichting De Harpij, Van Aerssenlaan 49, 3039 KE Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Milu, Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, Am Tierpark 125, D-1136 Berlin, Germany.

Parrot Society Magazine, Parrot Society, 108b Fenlake Road, Bedford MK42 0EU, U.K.

Ratel, Association of British Wild Animal Keepers, c/o Michelle Pywell, Welsh Mountain Zoo, Colwyn Bay, Conwy LL28 5UY, U.K.

Thylacinus, Australasian Society of Zoo Keeping, P.O. Box 248, Healesville, Victoria 3777, Australia.

Tyto, International Owl Society, 5 Sorrel Close, Braiswick, Colchester, Essex CO4 5UL, U.K.

Zeitschrift des Kölner Zoo, Zoologischer Garten, Riehler Strasse 173, D-50735 Köln, Germany.

Zoo Biology, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158, U.S.A.

Der Zoologische Garten, Urban & Fischer Verlag GmbH, P.O. Box 100537, D-07705 Jena, Germany.

Zoos' Print, Zoo Outreach Organisation, Box 1683, Peelamedu, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 641 004, India.