International Zoo News Vol. 51/2 (No. 331)        March 2004

 

                                   CONTENTS

 

GUEST EDITORIAL

Miranda Stevenson

 

FEATURE ARTICLES

 

Reptiles in Japanese Collections. Part 2:             Ken Kawata

Squamates and Crocodilians, 1999

 

Breeding Titi Monkeys                     Jan Vermeer

at La Vallée des Singes

 

The Serengeti National Park Visitor Centre            Paul A. Rees

– a Model of Cooperation Between

a Zoological Society and a National Park

 

Letter to the Editor

 

Book Reviews

 

Conservation

 

International Zoo News

 

Recent Articles

 

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GUEST EDITORIAL

 

Tangled webs and what we weave

 

Nicholas Gould asked me to enter the debate on wide-ranging carnivores and their welfare in zoos. Or, as the reputable scientific journal Nature put it, `animals that roam over large distances in the wild do not take kindly to being confined.' This sub-title, added by the journal and not the authors, pin-points a real problem. This is that in this media-driven age, where stories have the potential to break not only locally but globally, information is `sexed-up' to gain greater coverage. Nature is in competition to get the best science, but it also wants papers that make the newspapers. The more dramatic the conclusions appear, the more likely that the information will hit the global news network. Scientists get much kudos from having work published in Nature, therefore it is possible that they may focus on findings that make their work more newsworthy – conclusions like `zoos could stop housing wide-ranging carnivores and concentrate instead on species that respond better to being kept in captivity' may just give that paper the edge in today's competitive world of science.

 

For some reason the media still find the zoo debate good value. In the past year I and my colleagues have taken part in many debates – the latest in the February Ecologist between myself and Daniel Turner of the Born Free Foundation (Zoo Check). Although these are good fun and give us all ample opportunity to put forward our cases, they are also doing much damage, and the harm is being done to the one thing that we all claim to be working for – the future of the planet and the species that make it a living planet. The media forces us to a level of defensiveness and dividedness, so instead of putting forward the many areas in which we all agree and in which action is required, we end up appearing more and more polarised. The public become confused, and the real message, that of the urgency for us all to unite to try and save the planet, is lost.

 

Of course Ros Clubb and Georgia Mason's data are useful to the zoo world (after all, zoos were the major funders of the work, they wanted it carried out), but the results require discussion, much of that on what additional work is required to further investigate this area. We need to be clear about what the paper actually shows. It demonstrates that for the species considered there is a relationship between home-range size in nature and infant mortality rates in captivity. There is also a relationship between home-range size and body weight and frequency of pacing. It is important to note that this does not mean that large-ranging carnivores are more likely to pace in captivity, but that when they do pace they do so more frequently. As in all research, the results are only as good as the data used and leave many questions unanswered. The data on stereotypy came only from animals that paced, therefore we do not have information on the proportion of individuals of each species that show stereotypic pacing. It would have been interesting to look at sex differences, as male carnivores tend to pace more than females, but it is the females who rear young and are therefore usually responsible for poor parental care and resulting infant mortality. Are females that pace more poorer mothers? The research cannot answer this question because of the nature of the data used. Polar bears have emerged as the flagship species from this work – much was made in the press of the paper's emotive statement `a polar bear's typical enclosure size, for example, is about one-millionth of its minimum home-range size'. The EAZA Bear TAG has been collecting and collating information on captive polar bears for some years, and much research has been done which has resulted in designs for enclosures which better reflect the needs of the animals (which is not a sterile ice flow – the chosen back-drop for so many old enclosures). The TAG's work shows that group size may have greatest effect on breeding success, i.e. bears housed in pairs were most likely to rear young; yet another aspect which requires further investigation. In the Nature paper infant mortality was taken from the International Zoo Yearbook data, which does not differentiated between animals in managed programmes and others. We know that species in managed programmes, where breeding is planned, do better and have higher survival rates than species not in managed programmes; it would be interesting to examine studbook data from large carnivores and relate this back to enclosure design and other variables. We also know, from studies on the same animals in different conditions, that changes in feeding regimes and increasing the complexity and size of enclosures do reduce stereotypic behaviour (and it is important to remember that complexity may be more important than size). Research like this helps zoo biologists design good carnivore environments.

 

Basically the Nature paper raises interesting hypotheses which require further testing, using direct observations on known animals and analyses of the many large carnivore studbooks that are available. The data presented in the paper cannot, and do not, justify the suggestion that zoos should stop housing wide-ranging large carnivores.

 

We are having this debate at a time when African lion numbers have fallen by 90% in the past 20 years, and there are fewer than 8,000 tigers left in the wild. There are about 15,000 cheetah left (most of these in Africa), and in Europe the Iberian lynx is down to its last 600 animals. These are the really important facts. Zoos are doing a lot – they are becoming powerful conservation organisations. If the Amur leopard is saved (the remnant population in the Russian Far East is down to 33 individuals and the captive European population is around 100 animals) it will mainly be through the support of field conservation work by zoos.

 

So let's untangle the web, and stop weaving confusion. In their editorial Ros and Georgia agree that the best zoos care about welfare, that there are some good and successful enclosures and that, in fact, measures like infant mortality are improving. We don't want researchers to go away – we want more of them carrying out zoo work. At the Catalysts for Conservation meeting in ZSL in February some things came across very clearly. Zoos have tremendous potential as conservation organisations, but they need to collect, present, analyse and publish more data on their work, and they need to work more closely with universities and other partners in order to do this to maximum effectiveness. So my call to arms is for more cooperation and more sensible research on the welfare of zoo animals, and less sensationalisation of results that only serve to feed a press greedy for conflict.

 

Miranda F. Stevenson

Director

Federation of Zoological Gardens of Great Britain and Ireland

 

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REPTILES IN JAPANESE  COLLECTIONS. PART 2: SQUAMATES AND CROCODILIANS, 1999

 

BY KEN KAWATA

 

This article is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Roger Conant, America's senior herpetologist, a former Philadelphia Zoo Director and a dear friend who passed away in December 2003.

 

There are 98 member zoos and 65 member aquariums listed in the 1999 Annual Report of the Japanese Association of Zoological Gardens and Aquariums (JAZGA). Obviously, some collections in Japan are not JAZGA members: however, it is a fair assumption that the above 163 institutions represent most animal collections open to the Japanese public. The soft-bound Annual Report includes business statistics and animal data such as breeding and longevity, collected as of 31 March of the following year, the end of Japan's fiscal year. JAZGA publishes the animal inventory as a separate issue. The inventory, thankfully with scientific names, lists the animals, from invertebrates to mammals, maintained as of 31 December of the calendar year by the member institutions. The Japanese zoo and aquarium series by your writer began with primates in 1993; after the reviews on mammals and birds, he chose chelonians for the last article (Kawata, 2003). Squamates and crocodilians in this issue conclude reptiles. Zoos, related facilities and aquariums are arbitrarily described as `collections'; possible errors in data compilation are his.

 

Table 1. Sauria, Serpentes and Crocodilia in Japanese collections.

 

      Families          Species           Specimens

Sauria    11               72         836

Serpentes 6                65         880

Crocodilia                  2          19         545

Total     19              156        2261

 

Overview

 

Table 1 represents the number of squamates and crocodilians held by JAZGA member institutions, while Table 2 depicts the entire inventory. Taxonomic arrangement and scientific names have been adopted from the inventory. In general, common English names for Japanese taxa have been taken from Goris (2003), native North American taxa from Collins et al. (2002), and other commonly used names from ISIS (1988). To simplify the statistics, taxa have been lumped into full species, although subspecies were given in some of the species by the holders.

 

Thirteen institutions had more than 30 species of reptiles. The largest holders of species, with 97 each, are Izu Andyland (702 specimens) in Shizuoka Prefecture and Kusatsu Tropicana (331 specimens) in Gunma Prefecture. Both are privately owned and operated small facilities with 22 and 17 employees, and are relatively new in the field, opened in 1986 and 1970, respectively. Although Izu Andyland is categorized as an aquarium it is in reality a reptile facility. Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, Japan's oldest (opened 1882), comes next (90 species and 370 specimens), followed by Okinawa-Kodomonokuni Zoo and Aquarium (86 species and 599 specimens) in Okinawa Prefecture and Higashiyama Zoological and Botanical Gardens (74 species and 325 specimens) in Nagoya. Atagawa Tropical and Alligator Gardens in Shizuoka Prefecture should be recognized as a specialist institution, even though its collection is small (29 species and 349 specimens).

Table 2. Squamates and crocodilians in Japanese collections.

Species                                   No. of            No. of

                                          specimens         institutions

Sauria

Iguanidae

Blue ameiva (Ameiva ameiva)               3                 1

Green anole (Anolis carolinensis)         13                3

Knight anole (A. equestris)               17                4

Cuban green anole (A. porcatus)           2                 1

Brown anole (A. sagrei)                   5                 1

Brown basilisk (Basiliscus basiliscus)    2                 1

Green crested basilisk (B. plumifrons)    9                 3

Brown basilisk (B. vittatus)              2                 1

Casque-headed iguana (Corytophanes cristatus)               2     1

Eastern collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris)              1     1

Black iguana (Ctenosaura similis)         3                 1

Rhinoceros iguana (Cyclura cornuta)       3                 1

Green iguana (Iguana iguana)              157               44

Northern curly-tailed lizard (Leiocephalus carinatus)       6     1

Cuban curly-tailed lizard (L. cubensis)   6                 1

Baja blue rock lizard (Petrosaurus thalassinus)             2     1

Blue spiny lizard (Sceloporus cyanogenys) 38                2

Agamidae

Common agama (Agama agama)                2                 1

Frilled lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingii)    6                 2

Malayan sail-finned lizard (Hydrosaurus amboinensis)        2     1

Weber’s sail-finned lizard (H. weberi)    1                 1

Philippine sail-finned lizard (H. pustulatus)               1     1

Okinawan tree lizard (Japalura polygonata)                  125   5

Asian water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus)                31    5

Inland bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps)  7                 2

Spiny-tailed agama (Uromastyx acanthinurus)                 2     1

Egyptian spiny-tailed lizard (U. aegyptius)                 2     1

Chamaeleonidae

Panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis)     4                 1

Veiled chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus)  3                 2

Gekkonidae

Leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius)    104               12

Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko)                 37                7

Japanese gecko (G. japonicus)             6                 2

Emerald gecko (G. smaragdinus)            2                 1

White-striped gecko (G. vittatus)         4                 1

Lichtenfelder’s gecko (Goniurosaurus lichtenfelderi)        1     1

House gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus)       2                 1

African fat-tailed gecko (Hemitheconyx caudicinctus)        7     3

Madagascar giant day gecko (Phelsuma grandis)               5     1

Flat-tailed day gecko (P. laticauda)      1                 1

Madagascar day gecko (P. madagascarensis) 22                4

Moorish gecko (Tarentola mauritanica)     1                 1

Teiidae

Black tegu (Tupinambis teguixin)          5                 3

Lacertidae

Sakishima grass lizard (Apeltonotus dorsalis)               1     1

Japanese grass lizard (Takydromus tachydromoides)           21    3

Scincidae

Ryukyu short-legged skink (Ateuchosaurus pellopleurus)      3     1

Prehensile-tailed skink (Corucia zebrata) 22                7

Okada’s five-lined skink (Eumeces latiscutatus)             8     2

Ryukyu five-lined skink (E. marginatus)   6                 1

Miyake-jima skink (E. okadae)             5                 1

Yaeyama seven-lined skink (E. stimpsonii) 2                 1

Sand skink (Scincus scincus)              2                 1

Indonesian blue-tongued skink (Tiliqua gigas)               5     3

Shingleback skink (T. rugosus)            9                 2

Blue-tongued skink (T. scincoides)        14                5

Cordylidae

Sungazer (Cordylus giganteus)             2                 1

Shingleback skink (C. warreni)            23                1

Tawny plated lizard (Gerrhosaurus major)  5                 1

Giant plated lizard (G. validus)          1                 1

Anguidae

Scheltopusik (Ophisaurus apodus)          5                 3

Eastern glass lizard (O. ventralis)       1                 1

Helodermatidae                                             

Mexican beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum)                  2     1

Gila monster (H. suspectum)               6                 3

Varanidae                                                  

Bengal monitor (Varanus bengalensis)      2                 1

Dumeril’s monitor (V. dumerili)           1                 1

Savanna monitor (V. exanthematicus)       7                 5

Timor monitor (V. timorensis)             1                 1

Mangrove monitor (V. indicus)             4                 3

Komodo dragon (V. komodoensis)            1                 1

Nile monitor (V. niloticus)               1                 1

Rough-necked monitor (V. rudicollis)      2                 1

Malayan water monitor (V. salvator)       19                9

Desert monitor (V. griseus)               1                 1

Serpentes

Typhlopidae                                                

Brahminy blind snake (Ramphotyphlops braminus)              3     1

Xenopeltidae

Sunbeam snake (Xenopeltis unicolor)       1                 1

Boidae

Papuan olive python (Apodura papuana)     1                 1

Boa constrictor (Boa constrictor)         43                15

Fiji Island boa (Candoia bibroni)         2                 1

Pacific tree boa (C. carinata)            12                1

Emerald tree boa (Corallus caninus)       3                 3

Rainbow boa (Epicrates cenchria)          84                9

Hispaniolan boa (E. striatus)             2                 1

Smooth sand boa (Eryx johnii)             1                 1

East African sand boa (E. colubrinus)     86                6

Green anaconda (Eunectus murinus)         5                 3

Yellow anaconda (E. notaeus)              12                4

Water python (Liasis fuscus)              2                 1

Macklot’s python (L. mackloti)            1                 1

Olive python (L. olivaceus)               1                 1

Scrub python (Morelia amethistina)        1                 1

Green tree python (M. viridis)            19                8

Carpet python (M. spilota)                8                 4

Blood python (Python curtus)              17                8

Indian python (P. molurus)                60                23

Ball python (P. regius)                   71                18

Reticulated python (P. reticulatus)       20                14

African rock python (P. sebae)            19                8

Colubridae

Ryukyu keelback (Amphiesma pryeri)        1                 1

Mangrove snake (Boiga dendrophila)        2                 1

Ryukyu green snake (Cyclophiops semicarinatus)              1     1

Oriental big-tooth snake (Dinodon orientalis)               5     2

Chinese red banded snake (D. rufozonatus) 2                 2

Ryukyu banded snake (D. semicarinatus)    13                3

Japanese green ratsnake (Elaphe climacophora)               63    20

Japanese forest ratsnake (E. conspicillata)                 9     4

Japanese four-lined ratsnake (E. quadrivirgata)             31    13

Taiwan beauty snake (E. taeniura)         21                2

King ratsnake (E. carinata)               3                 1

Cornsnake (E. guttata)                    47                8

Mandarin ratsnake (E. mandarina)          1                 1

Black ratsnake (E. obsoleta)              17                5

Eastern kingsnake (Lampropeltis getulus)  35                11

Prairie kingsnake (L. calligaster)        4                 1

Milksnake (L. triangulum)                 6                 4

Pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus)       1                 1

Yamakagashi (Asian tiger snake) (Rhabdophis tigrinus)       4     3

Western ribbon snake (Thamnophis proximus)                  14    1

Elapidae                                                   

Hyan coral snake (Calliophis japonicus)   1                 1

Black-headed sea snake (Hydrophis melanocephalus)           4     1

Erabu sea snake (Laticauda semifasciata)  30                9

Monocled cobra (Naja kaouthia)            3                 1

Asian cobra (N. naja)                     3                 1

Yellow-bellied sea snake (Pelamis platurus)                 1     1

Viperidae                                                  

Japanese mamushi (Agkistrodon [Gloydius] blomhoffii)        14    6

Cottonmouth (A. piscivorus)               1                 1

Copperhead (A. contortrix)                1                 1

Eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)       1     1

Uracoan rattlesnake (C. vegrandis)        8                 2

Chinese pit viper (Deinagkistrodon acutus)                  5     1

Hime habu (Ovophis okinavensis)           15                4

Sakishima habu (Trimeresurus elegans)     7                 1

Red-tailed bamboo viper (T. erythrurus)   5                 1

Habu (T. flavoviridis)                    14                2

Taiwan habu (T. mucrosquamatus)           1                 1

Mangrove viper (T. purpureomaculatus)     1                 1

Bamboo viper (T. stejnegeri)              3                 2

Tokara habu (T. tokarensis)               7                 2

Loricata

Crocodylidae                                               

Johnston’s crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni)                 9     1

Philippine crocodile (C. mindorensis)     1                 1

Morelet’s crocodile (C. moreletii)        3                 1

Nile crocodile (C. niloticus)             29                3

New Guinea crocodile (C. novaeguineae)    1                 1

Marsh crocodile (C. palustris)            8                 1

Salt-water crocodile (C. porosus)         15                6

Cuban crocodile (C. rhombifer)            7                 2

Siamese crocodile (C. siamensis)          70                3

African slender-snouted crocodile (C. cataphractus)         2     1

Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus)             10                3

Dwarf crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis)   33                8

False gavial (Tomistoma schlegelii)       20                7

Alligatoridae                                              

American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)             60    11

Chinese alligator (A. sinensis)           22                5

Spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus)     97                28

Broad-nosed caiman (C. latirostris)       134               3

Dwarf caiman (Paleosuchus palpebrosus)    17                2

Smooth-fronted caiman (P. trigonatus)     7                 1

 

Curiously the mainstream Japanese zoos, which are municipally owned and operated old establishments located near the center of cities, are not necessarily the champions in terms of the size of reptile collections (obvious exceptions, as noted above, are Ueno and Higashiyama). They seem to focus more on the `basic stock' of crowd-pleasing mammals. By comparison, privately owned smaller institutions, as shown above by three examples, and medium-sized municipal zoos are often the holders of a diversity of reptile species. It is also interesting to note that 37 of the 163 member institutions, or more than 20 per cent, reported no reptiles in their collections. This should not come as a surprise, since reptiles have yet to be given a full-fledged membership status in many Japanese zoos. Probably this has little to do with the cultural aspect of Japanese people. They do possess irrational fear of reptiles, particularly snakes, but their level of fear does not seem more intense than that of other ethnic groups. More likely, it is rooted in the history of zoo development in Japan.

 

Historical aspect

 

Because of geographical proximity large reptiles, such as pythons and crocodiles, were brought into the country from Southeast Asia since early days. Many, however, did not survive the winter. Without a permanent housing facility, reptiles and amphibians could not make an inroad into the mainstay of Japanese animal collections. Zoos in other countries in the temperate climate zone apparently faced the same challenge. In the old Rotterdam Zoo, in 1902 `the decision was made to demolish and rebuild the ``winter building'' which housed not only reptiles and amphibians during the winter but also those mammals and birds requiring heated houses or stables.' (Visser, 2003)

 

A parallel history is found half-way across the world in Kyoto Zoo, opened in 1903 as Japan's second zoo. Animals that required a heated facility in winter, such as primates and reptiles, were housed in the `heated quarters' which were completed in 1923; a python was placed in this new facility on 9 December of that year (Takizawa, 1986). In Tokyo, early in 1932, a ten-foot-long [3 m] salt-water crocodile arrived at Ueno Zoo. Due to the lack of a proper facility, the animal was temporarily kept in the hippopotamus house, a heated building large enough for it. Later that year a permanent reptile facility, independent of other animal buildings, was constructed, enabling the staff to maintain the room temperature above 80°F [27°C], and to regulate water temperature as well. Equipped with a skylight, the new facility allowed comfortable housing of giant snakes and large crocodilians (Ueno Zoo, 1982).

 

After World War II, Japan saw an unprecedented zoo construction boom. According to Yamamoto (1968) `the years 1950 to 1960 may be regarded as the most important period of zoo building, because more than 30 zoos were opened between them.' Yet the importance of reptiles and amphibians was largely forgotten. Just as in the pre-war years, pythons, monitor lizards and crocodilians represented the short list. By contrast the Bronx Zoo, in Tokyo's sister city, had a 10,000 square foot [930 m2] building for reptiles and amphibians when it opened the gate in 1899. The legendary Raymond L. Ditmars, then assistant curator of reptiles, `helped greet the first visitors when both the zoo and the Reptile House opened.' (Behler, 1995) It was in 1964 that the turning point finally came for Tokyo (and for Japan).

 

In October of that year Ueno Zoo opened a large, four-storied aquarium, designed to exhibit a wide range of animal life including marine invertebrates, fish, amphibians and reptiles. In fact, during the planning stage, the new complex was tentatively named `the aquatic and reptile building', patterned after a European model as seen in such institutions as Berlin Zoo (in former West Berlin) and Frankfurt Zoo (Ueno Zoo, 1982). Aquatic amphibians were located on the third floor of this complex, and the entire fourth floor was devoted to the rest of the amphibians and reptiles. (However, this floor was only partially open; due to construction delays, the reptile and amphibian section was not completed until June 1973.)

 

In many aspects, Ueno sets the standard for the rest of the zoos in the country. Gradually, other zoos began to follow suit. In 1971 a reptile house made a debut in Nogeyama Zoo in Yokohama; the new building was five times larger than a 1965 facility which exhibited only nine species of reptiles. Late in 1973 another reptile house was opened in Nihondaira Zoo in Shizuoka. In 1974, a two-storied building was unveiled in Asa Zoo in Hiroshima; nocturnal exhibits, mainly for mammals, occupied the first floor, while the second floor was devoted to reptiles. Both Nihondaira and Asa were young and medium-sized zoos. Another young and medium-sized zoo, Yagiyama Zoo in Sendai, opened a reptile house in 1978.

 

In terms of more modern exhibit concepts, in March 1995 Osaka's Tennoji Zoo introduced a large-scale indoor application of the `immersion landscape'. Although reptiles were the featured theme, a variety of animal life was on exhibit to depict the world's diverse habitats, including the southern swamps of North America and Japanese wetlands (Miyashita, 1995). This exhibit complex was later named IFAR, representing invertebrates, fishes, amphibians and reptiles. Ueno Zoo also upgraded its facility. The 1964 building was demolished in 1992, and a new facility for reptiles and amphibians, named Vivarium, opened its doors in July 1999.

A view of the Vivarium, Ueno Zoo's facility for reptiles and amphibians. (Photo: Akiyoshi Nawa)

 

The above episodes depict the evolution of reptile exhibits in more traditional, municipal zoos with `generalized' animal collections. Outside of the mainstream lie smaller municipal zoos and privately-owned institutions which feature specialized collections. In more recent decades, those smaller institutions have developed reptile exhibits and husbandry programs, rapidly catching up with – and, in many cases, surpassing – their larger municipal cousins blessed with far more resources. This is certainly welcome news. The aforementioned Atagawa Tropical and Alligator Gardens and Izu Andyland typify the new breed of specialized collections.

 

As the result of this development, and traditional zoos expanding reptile programs, more diverse reptile collections have been made available for public viewing in Japan. Also, with increased holding institutions, the number of specimens and holders has multiplied for each prominent species. According to the 1962 JAZGA Directory, as of 31 August 1961 there were six Indian rock pythons in four institutions; in 1999 the figure increased to 60 specimens in 23 institutions. Similarly, American alligators increased from 22 specimens in nine institutions to 60 specimens in 11 institutions.

 

Group-by-group accounts

 

There are approximately 7,150 extant reptile species; most are squamates with 6,850, followed by turtles (260), crocodilians (22) and tuatara (2), according to Pough et al. (1998). The chelonian collection held by JAZGA member institutions is quite representative, including nearly all families and some 45% of the world's species (Kawata, 2003). As shown in Table 1, the Japanese collections cover nearly all crocodilian species. The squamate collection, by comparison, is not as extensive due to the huge number of species in this order. Nevertheless, the collections still include a fair cross-section of the world's lizard and snake species.

 

Squamata. As might be expected, universally common zoo (and pet trade) species such as green iguana, leopard gecko and boa constrictor make a prominent presence in this inventory. Behind such standard specimens lie regional specialities. Notable on this list are lizards and snakes from remote and small islands that are little known to the public. Examples include skinks in Eumeces, Ryukyu keelback, Ryukyu green snake and some vipers in Trimeresurus. Found in limited geographical distributions, they are not commonly seen in zoos in other regions of the world. Another regional characteristic is the presence of sea snakes, which are rarer in North American collections. Conversely, rattlesnakes are uncommon in Japanese collections in comparison to their New World counterparts.

 

Crocodilia. Atagawa Tropical and Alligator Gardens has all the 19 species on the list and a total of 371 specimens, or 68% of all JAZGA member-held crocodilians. Located in a resort area, this facility occupies only 33,000 square meters, has 60 employees only four of whom are charged with animal care, yet when it comes to crocodilian programs in Japan, it has become a prominent voice. Looking at the rest of the institutions, old-fashioned `postage stamp' collections begin to emerge with a large number of single animal holders. Ten out of 28 spectacled caiman holders had single animals; five out of 11 American alligator holders had singles. This is probably due to crocodilians' requirements for a relatively large space and a heated pool during winter. However, the postage stamp collection is no longer the rule where less common species such as gharial, Siamese crocodile and broad-nosed caiman are concerned; no single animal holders were found with these species.

 

Breeding

 

Births and hatchings of squamates and crocodilians during the 1999 fiscal year (1 April 1999 to 31 March 2000) are depicted in Table 3. There exists a risk of making a judgment about the collective potential of a country's (or a region's) zoos based on a figure from only one year. To make a comparison, data from the previous year were tabulated, as follows. During the fiscal year 1998 two Sauria and nine Serpentes species and three crocodilian species, or a total of 14 species, reproduced, resulting in 128 offspring, 28 of which did not survive. To take a broader view, let us look at the data from the following year and examine the breeding results of all reptiles and amphibians.

 

Table 3. Sauria, Serpentes and Crocodilia bred in Japanese collections.

(Figures in brackets represent the number of animals which failed to survive.)

 

Species                          No. born  No. collections

Madagascar day gecko (Phelsuma spp.)       13 (11)       1

Tegu                             9 (3)     1

Rainbow boa                      10 (10)   1

Sand boa                         10 (9)    1

Blood python*                    11 (0)    1

Ball python                      5 (0)     1

Chinese alligator                3 (0)     1

*First breeding in Japan                 

 

During the 2000 fiscal year a total of 20 species in reptiles and two species in amphibians reproduced (offspring from four of them did not survive) in 11 zoos and eight aquariums. Considering that there were 99 zoos and 70 aquariums, or a total of 169 JAZGA member institutions, in the country during that year, the figures may appear surprisingly low in the eyes of European and American zoo officials. However, in the historical context, even such a modest `report card' represents an improvement (Kawata, 2003).

 

There may be hidden factors behind rather low figures. Some institutions may be regulating reptilian reproductions based on marketability; more common species can saturate the country's carrying capacity rather quickly. This is particularly true with crocodilians. Hideo Shimizu (2001) of the Atagawa Tropical and Alligator Gardens points up the difficulty in managing larger crocodilian species (see discussions below). He indicates that once these animals have been raised together to a certain size, transportation presents a challenge. Introducing an adult male to an adult female creates another problem which, in the worst case, may result in the death of a future mate. When considering breeding it would be easier to start with a group of young crocodilians, which requires a larger space and careful planning.

 

Conservation programs

 

Varanidae, Boidae and Crocodilia include a large number of species in the CITES Appendices. Reflecting this status, JAZGA's squamate and crocodilian inventory includes 13 CITES Appendix I species and 53 CITES Appendix II species. However, Japan's management program remains at an infantile stage and has yet to cooperate with an effort to benefit in situ populations of endangered reptiles of the world.

 

As far as reptiles and amphibians are concerned, Japan's collective management program developed very slowly. In 1988 the JAZGA board created the Species Survival Committee of Japan, or SSCJ, starting a program similar to EEP in Europe, JMSG in the British Isles and SSP in North America. An initial list of 32 taxa was dominated by mammals, as seen in other regional zoo-related programs, and not one amphibian or reptile was included (Kawata, 1991). Over the years, interest in herpetology gradually emerged. By 1998 a dozen species of amphibians and reptiles had been added to the program. Reptiles are represented by four species each of chelonians and crocodilians, but no squamate was included. What follows is a quick glance at the status of four crocodilian programs as discussed at the twelfth conference of the SSCJ in October 2001.

 

A total of 23 Chinese alligators are held in five institutions. Thus far, Maruyama Zoo in Sapporo has successfully bred the species. Most specimens are expected to have reproductive potential, and all but one holder have both sexes in their collections. However the number of holders is still small, and there is a need to increase the number of both holders and animals. In terms of numbers the dwarf crocodile is in a similar situation with 28 specimens in eight institutions, but there is a difference. Five out of eight holders have repeatedly bred the dwarf crocodile, resulting in the establishment of husbandry techniques for the species. In terms of genetics, 15 out of 28 are related to two animals in Asa Zoo, Hiroshima, and an increase in heterozygosity has been recommended. Also, sexing of a large number of animals (13 out of 28) remains one of the goals for the program.

 

Compared to the above two species the other two are larger, which adds more challenges to managers. There are nine gharials (three of them unsexed) in three institutions, and 17 false gavials (nine of them unsexed) in five institutions. More than half of the false gavials are long-term captives believed to be around 30 years of age, indicating the difficulty in importing wild-caught specimens, and the urgent need for captive breeding. The aforementioned H. Shimizu of the Atagawa Tropical and Alligator Gardens brought up various aspects concerning captive breeding of larger crocodilians (2001). His point is that we cannot deal with larger species, such as gharial and false gavial, in the same mindset as their smaller cousins such as Chinese alligator and dwarf crocodile.

    `Taking a global view on crocodilians in captivity, one cannot help but notice a poverty of even the basic data on the numbers in each country, indicating a lack of awareness on conservation and breeding. Statistical data in IZY and ISIS alone do not shed insight into the reality of captive situations. Husbandry protocol itself seems to have unresolved questions. We sent gharials, one to Atlanta in 1985 and four to the Bronx in 1992, on breeding loan. However, they have not yet reproduced even in the United States which possesses all the resources. Back in Atagawa the space is limited, and we have so many unresolved issues. Still, survival of the species in captivity is possible if we can prepare a favorable environment which, at the least, enables crocodilians to lay eggs. We have proven this by the third generation captive breeding of the Nile crocodile and the broad-nosed caiman.

      `There seems to exist a mentality, according to which just one crocodilian is sufficient for a zoo; such exhibit-centered thinking reflects the fact that a satisfactory facility for crocodilian breeding is extremely costly. It is unrealistic for a nation in the temperate zone, such as Japan, to consider breeding of large crocodilians from tropical wetlands. It would be more acceptable for us to consider participating in conservation programs in their range countries. There seems to exist an air of arrogance in insisting that zoos ``should breed crocodilians at all cost''. These hindrances appear to be the root cause of lack of international networking and interest in crocodilian breeding. As for the gharial, in Japan it would take a rare luck of the draw to achieve successful captive breeding. It would be more realistic to collect eggs in situ, raise hatchlings efficiently and utilize them efficiently, as we have done. Such an international approach with the above division-of-labor agreement can be more meaningful for us in a country with limited resources, such as Japan.'

 

As in any similar programs, those who are given the charge of managing amphibian and reptile programs are experiencing growing pains. It is, however, encouraging that this oft-forgotten animal group is making an inroad into the management programs of Japan's zoos, even at a snail's pace.

 

Table 4. Longevity of squamates and crocodilians in Japanese collections.

(In nearly all cases the years indicate duration of captivity, not ages, of animals living as of 31 March 2000.)

 

Species                       >36 yrs  31–35 yrs 26–30 yrs       21–25 yrs

Boa constrictor                               0.1    

Ball python                                          1.0

Erabu sea snake                       0.1            

Salt-water crocodile                  0.0.1    1.0.1  

Cuban crocodile                               0.1    

Dwarf crocodile                       1.0      2.1    

False gavial                                  1.0.1  

American alligator            1.0      1.2            

Chinese alligator                     0.0.1          

Broad-nosed caiman                            1.1    

(Spectacled) caiman                           1.1     1.0

 

Longevity

 

Data in Table 4 represent squamates and crocodilians that had been living in Japanese collections for at least 21 years as of 31 March 2000. Certainly these do not represent all-time records in the country. Of these, there are two animals whose exact ages are known; a dwarf crocodile at Ueno Zoo hatched on 22 September 1972, and a male spectacled caiman at Oga Aquarium in Akita Prefecture (known for a dog breed with that name) hatched on 5 June 1974. In proportion to the large number held in the collections, the figures on the table may not appear impressive. However, there are many reasons why so few of them seem to be on the longevity list, as reviewed in the last year's account (Kawata, 2003).

 

Considering their biological faculty for long life spans, the number of crocodilians on the list is not surprising, particularly American alligators, which were an established fixture on public display in Japan, even in pre-WWII years. The longest record holder is a male American alligator which arrived at Toyohashi Zoo in Aichi Prefecture in 1954, or 46 years in the zoo; no exact arrival date is given. In the 31 to 35 year category, it is a pleasant surprise to find a female Erabu sea snake in Himeji Aquarium in Hyogo Prefecture, whose arrival is listed as 1967 with no exact date.

 

Addendum to chelonians: In the 1999 Annual Report, previously unreported data in chelonian longevities were presented by Ueno Zoo, Tokyo, to be added to Table 4, IZN 50 (5): 274. As of 31 March 2000 Ueno Zoo had held the following four chelonians for 33 years: alligator snapping turtle, spiny turtle, common box turtle (male) and gibba turtle.

 

Acknowledgements

The author would like to express sincere appreciations to the following friends: Frank Indiviglio, Herpetology Department of the Bronx Zoo, for his critical review of the manuscript and resourceful suggestions; Dr Richard Goris for a master list of reptiles and amphibians of Japan; and Mr Akiyoshi Nawa for his generous offer of photos. Tokyo Zoological Park Society kindly provided a choice of photographs for this account.

 

References

Behler, J.L. (1995): Reptile rendezvous. Wildlife Conservation 98 (2): 40–41.

Collins, J.T., and Taggert, T.W. (2002): Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles and Crocodilians, Fifth Edition. The Center for North American Herpetology, Lawrence, Kansas.

Goris, R.C. (2003): A Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Japan: Master List. Unpublished manuscript.

International Species Information System (1988): ISIS Reptile Taxonomic Directory. ISIS, Apple Valley, Minnesota.

Japanese Association of Zoological Gardens and Aquariums (1962): The JAZGA Directory. (In Japanese.)

Japanese Association of Zoological Gardens and Aquariums (1999): The 1998 Annual Report. (In Japanese.)

Japanese Association of Zoological Gardens and Aquariums (2000): The 1999 Annual Report. (In Japanese.)

Japanese Association of Zoological Gardens and Aquariums (2001): The 2000 Annual Report. (In Japanese.)

Kawata, K, (1991): Japan's Species Survival Programme gets off the ground. IZN 38 (1): 6–8.

Kawata, K. (2003): Reptiles in Japanese collections. Part 1: chelonians, 1998. IZN 50 (5): 265–275.

Miyashita, M. (1995): News from Japan. Animals and Zoos 47 (5): 174. (In Japanese.)

Pough, F.H, Andrews, R.M., Cadle, J.E., Crump, M.L., Savitzy, A.H. and Wells, K.D. (1998): Herpetology. Prentice Hills, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

Shimizu, H. (2001): In Species Survival Committee of Japan 12th Conference Proceedings, JAZGA. (In Japanese.)

Takizawa, A. (1986): The Record of Okazaki Zoo. Akio Takizawa, Kyoto. (In Japanese.)

Ueno Zoo (1982): Ueno Zoo: The 100 Year History. Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo. (In Japanese.)

Visser, G. (2003): Herpetology at the Rotterdam Zoo. Herpetological Review 34 (1): 11–16.

Yamamoto, S. (1968): Zoos in Japan. In The World of Zoos (ed. R. Kirchshofer). Viking Press, New York. (Translation from German by Hilda Morris.)

 

Ken Kawata, General Curator, Staten Island Zoo, 614 Broadway, Staten Island, New York 10310, U.S.A. (E-mail: KawataSIZ@aol.com )

 

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BREEDING TITI MONKEYS AT LA VALLÉE DES SINGES

 

BY JAN VERMEER

 

Titi monkeys (Callicebus spp.) have always been rare in European zoos. Only the primate station of Kassel University has successfully kept a population over an extended period in Europe (Jantschke 1992; Jantschke et al., 1995). This situation changed when a number of animals became available from the large breeding colony of the California Regional Primate Center, University of California, Davis. A breeding pair with two infants arrived in 2000 at La Vallée des Singes, Romagne, France, and our experiences during the past three years will be discussed in this paper.

 

Taxonomy

 

The taxonomy of the genus Callicebus is disputed (Hershkovitz, 1990; Groves, 2001; van Roosmalen, 2002), as is the identification of the animals from Davis and Kassel. The original animals from the Davis colony were captured in the late 1960s (Lorenz and Mason, 1971). The animals were of several species, and the first offspring born in this colony was probably a hybrid of C. cupreus and C. ornatus. Later more hybrids were born (Lorenz and Mason, 1971). New animals were collected in 1990 in Peru from a locality that falls into the known distribution of C. cupreus (Darren Webster, pers. comm.). The original animals from Kassel originated from the Davis colony and arrived in Europe in the 1970s. There were some clear phenotypes of both cupreus and ornatus in the colony (Jantschke et al., 1995; personal observation). The adult female from our breeding group and the old female born in Kassel have light orange undersides, while the wild-caught male is dark chestnut red. The full sister of our breeding female is as dark as the wild-caught male (Darren Webster, pers. comm.). More research will be needed to determine the taxonomic status of our animals.

 

Housing

 

Our breeding group has one inside enclosure with an area of about 12 m2. Outside they have access to a wooded area of about 3,000 m2. They share this area with a family of white-faced saki monkeys, a pair of golden lion tamarins and a family of common marmosets. Despite the fact that the animals were kept in cages at Davis, without access to an outside enclosure, they adjusted quickly to their new `freedom'. From day one they ran through the trees as if they had done this all their lives. Contacts with the other species are very positive. The young titi monkeys have been observed playing with the young sakis and the marmosets.

 

The non-breeding couple with the old female have two inside enclosures of about 2.5 m2. They share a wooded area of over 6,000 m2 with a group of 60 squirrel monkeys (Saimiri boliviensis peruviensis) and a family of golden-headed lion tamarins. Contacts with these species are also positive. Although they are sometimes somewhat dominated by the boisterous young squirrel monkeys, there are rarely aggressive interactions. Play and grooming between the titi monkeys and the lion tamarins occurs often.

 

We are planning to mix our third couple with a variety of callitrichids and saki monkeys on a new territory in 2004.

 

Rain and cold rarely stop the animals from going outside. The temperature of the inside enclosure is kept between 17° and 19°C, and humidity at 70%.

 

Diet

 

The feeding behavior of C. cupreus and the closely related C. brunneus has been studied on different sites in Peru (Kinzey, 1978; Crandlemire-Sacco, 1988; Tirado Herrera and Heymann, 2000). C. brunneus is mainly frugivorous. During one study C. brunneus was found to spend 70% of the feeding time feeding on fruit, 26% feeding on leaves and less than 1% of the time eating insects. Only six fruits comprised 80% of their diet (Kinzey, 1978). In another study the diet of C. brunneus consisted of 50% fruits, 39% leaves and 11% insects. The fruits consumed belonged to only six families (Crandlemire-Sacco, 1988). (Differences in the findings of these two studies may be caused by seasonal variations in food availability.) Females of wild C. cupreus were observed to include a significantly higher proportion of invertebrates in their diet during lactation, showing that protein requirements, but not energy requirements, were increased during this period (Tirado Herrera and Heymann, 2000).

 

Table 1. Diet of titi monkeys at La Vallée des Singes (for five adults)

 

08.3075 grams of Mazuri tamarin cake improved with casein, vitamins, minerals and sunflower oil.

12.00     65 g apple

    40 g carrot

    80 g fruit (kiwi, peach, orange, pear, etc.)

    35 g cucumber or zucchini

    80 g vegetables (chicory, fennel, turnip, lettuce)

16.15     100 g apple

    35 g carrot

    35 g paprika

    50 g cucumber or zucchini

    6 grapes or 60 g other fruit

    a small amount of vegetables (celery, fennel, radish, lettuce, cabbage)

    50 g banana

    20 g peanuts

Once a week one egg (white only)

During the day, several small feedings with biscuits, Cruesli (a breakfast cereal, a mixture of oats, wheat, raisins, nuts and honey), sultanas, nuts and 20 g mealworms.

 

Our diet (Table 1) was based on these studies, discussions with Dr Welker of Kassel University and experiences with other South American species such as saki monkeys. In the first year that we gave our animals access to their outside enclosure, we noticed that they were often feeding on leave buds and young leaves. For this reason, and because titi monkeys – especially the males – seem to be prone to obesity, we decided to decrease the amount of fruit in the diet and replace this with vegetables. Our titi monkeys have been observed predating on insects. We do not change the diet during pregnancy or lactation, but the female can choose to eat more protein-rich items of the diet. There is a report of spontaneous hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis in a young titi monkey at Davis, which led to the animal's death; he had a lame left leg in the period before his death (Roberts et al., 1986). When our breeding female was also showing problems with her leg, we decided to stop feeding the animals egg yolk and added garlic/hawthorn/mistletoe powder to the food. The symptoms disappeared in a few weeks and until now they have never recurred.

 

Health

 

A large variety of health problems with titi monkeys have been reported by the veterinary department at Davis (Roberts et al., 1984; Valverde et al., 1993). Our animals have had very few disease problems. A slight case of enteritis of unknown origin was treated successfully with doxycycline. This drug had proven effective for several bacterial infections in titi monkeys at Davis (Roberts et al., 1984). We once found diarrhoea with blood, but again the cause could not be determined. As we suspected an Entamoeba histolytica infection, we treated the animals with Metronidazole. Our choice was probably good, as the symptoms disappeared after a few days and never came back. Our old female twice picked up a severe cold, probably from a keeper. The animals are being vaccinated once a year for Yersinia pseudotuberculosis.

 

Breeding

 

The reproductive biology of C. cupreus has been studied extensively at Davis (Valeggia et al., 1999). Titi monkeys have an ovarian cycle of about 18 days. The gestation is, in comparison with related genera of New World primates, very short, only 122–135 days. The mean interbirth interval between two surviving offspring at Davis was 363 days (range 248–687) (Valeggia et al., 1999).

 

Until now, six offspring have been born at La Vallée des Singes (Table 2). Before our breeding female came to us she had reared several offspring at Davis (Phillip C. Allen, pers. comm.). The interbirth intervals were about 12 months. Her first infant at La Vallée des Singes was indeed born 12 months after the birth of her earlier infant. However, the interbirth interval between the four subsequent births in Group 1 decreased to only eight months and one week. This high reproductive rate does not seem to have had any negative effect on her condition. Matings have also been observed during pregnancy. Our old female had reared several offspring in Kassel, but unfortunately no breeding has taken place since her arrival with us. She might be too old to breed, but at times we observe regular cycles of about 17 days, which are indicated by menstruation and matings. A female in Berlin gave birth and reared her offspring at the age of 23 years (Webster, 2003).

 

Table 2. Titi monkeys at La Vallée des Singes.

Name        Sex         Date of     Place of    Arrival

                        birth       birth

Group 1

Iquitos     male        1989        Peru (wild) 05.10.00 from Davis

Loretta     female      03.02.92    Davis       05.10.00 from Davis

Muqui       male        11.03.01    Romagne    

Maranon     female      30.12.01    Romagne    

Tapajo      female      04.09.02    Romagne    

Anya        female      28.05.03    Romagne    

           male        06.02.04    Romagne    

Group 2

Pasco       male        04.04.99    Davis       05.10.00 from Davis

Lucia       female      13.03.81    Kassel      30.12.01 from Apeldoorn

Group 3

Napo        female      01.04.00    Davis       05.10.00 from Davis

Piquiri     male        10.10.99    Davis       08.08.03 from Blackpool

           unknown     23.02.04    Romagne    

 

Social behavior

 

Titi monkeys live in monogamous pairs that do not accept the presence of other adults in their neighbourhood. Keeping titi monkeys in captivity close to conspecifics may cause stress, which results in serious health problems (Jantschke, 1992). However, temporary contacts between a sexually receptive female and a male from a neighbouring group has been observed in the wild (Kinzey, 1997). The bonds between both adults are very strong and there is rarely any aggression. They defend their territory by impressive calling bouts. While at rest, all individuals of the family group entwine their tails. Especially when the group is getting larger, it may take a lot of time for everyone to find a good sleeping position in the evening.

 

Group size ranges from two to six animals. Although the peripheralization of a sub-adult is often reported to happen without much aggression from the adults (Kinzey, 1981; Welker, pers. comm.), this happened differently in our group. After the birth of the fourth baby in 2003, our group had grown to seven individuals. Three weeks after the birth, the breeding female started to attack her oldest daughter, who was at that time about 38 months old. Both animals were wounded, and we had to separate the daughter to prevent anything worse happening.

 

As with the callitrichids, the adult male titi monkey is the principal carrier of the newborn offspring – the female only takes it for nursing (Kinzey, 1997). This is also the case in our group, but there was some variation between the babies. The breeding female did all the carrying in the first week with one baby, while with the others the carrying was shared between the father and the older offspring during the first week. After the first week the father does almost all the carrying of the offspring.

 

Conclusion

 

In the three years that we have now kept titi monkeys in our park, there have been very few husbandry problems. However, they have to be observed closely as short periods of diarrhoea can quickly cause serious loss of condition. Our original breeding pair has reared several offspring, and our second pair has also started breeding. Offspring should probably be removed from the breeding group before they reach the age of three years. Titi monkeys are active and attractive animals, and a welcome addition for European zoos.

 

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the keepers of the titi monkeys for taking good care of the animals and observing them closely.

 

References

Crandlemire-Sacco, J. (1988): An ecological comparison of two sympatric primates: Saguinus fuscicollis and Callicebus moloch of Amazonia Peru. Primates 29 (4): 465–475.

Groves, C. (2001): Primate Taxonomy. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington and London.

Hershkovitz, P. (1990): Titis, New World monkeys of the genus Callicebus (Cebidae, Platyrrhini): a preliminary taxonomic review. Fieldiana 55: 1–109.

Jantschke, B. (1992): Der Springaffe. Zeitschrift des Kölner Zoo 35: 155–160.

Jantschke, B., Welker, C., and Klaiber-Schuh, A. (1995): Notes on the breeding of the titi monkey Callicebus cupreus. Folia Primatologica 64 (4): 210–213.

Kinzey, W.G. (1978): Feeding behavior and molar features in two species of titi monkeys. In Recent Advances in Primatology. Vol. 1: Behaviour (eds. D.J. Chivers and J. Herbert), pp. 373–385. Academic Press, London.

Kinzey, W.G. (1981): The titi monkeys, genus Callicebus. In Ecology and Behavior of Neotropical Primates, Vol. 1 (eds. R.A. Mittermeier and A.F. Coimbra-Filho), pp. 241–276. Academia Brasileira de Ciências, Rio de Janeiro.

Kinzey, W.G. (1997): New World Primates: Ecology, Evolution and Behavior. Aldine de Gruyter, New York.

Lorenz, R., and Mason, W.A. (1971): Establishment of a colony of titi monkeys. International Zoo Yearbook 11: 168–175.

Roberts, J., Murphy, B., Prahalada, S., and Anderson, J. (1984): Diseases of captive titi monkeys at the California Primate Research Center. Proceedings of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, 1984: 92–93.

Roberts, J., Line, S., and Blanchard, P. (1986): Spontaneous hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis in a titi monkey. Journal of Medical Primatology 15: 131–138.

Tirado Herrera, E.R., and Heymann, E.W. (2000): Mom needs more protein – sex differences in the diet composition of red titi monkeys, Callicebus cupreus. Folia Primatologica 71: 189–248.

Valeggia, C.R., Mendoza, S.P., Fernandez-Duque, E., Mason, W.A., and Lasley, B. (1999): Reproductive biology of female titi monkeys (Callicebus moloch) in captivity. American Journal of Primatology 47: 183–195.

Valverde, C.R., Pettan-Brewer, K.C.B., Lerche, N., and Lowenstine, L.J. (1993): A 20 year retrospective study of causes of mortality in a colony of titi monkeys (Callicebus spp.). Proceedings of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians 1993: 208–213.

Van Roosmalen, M.G.M, van Roosmalen, T., and Mittermeier, R.A. (2002): A taxonomic review of the titi monkeys, genus Callicebus Thomas 1903, with the description of two new species, Callicebus bernhardi and Callicebus stephennashi from Brazilian Amazonia. Neotropical Primates 10 (suppl.): 1–52.

Webster, D. (2003): European Studbook for Red Titi Monkeys (Callicebus cupreus). Blackpool Zoo, U.K.

 

Jan Vermeer, La Vallée des Singes, Le Gureau, 86700 Romagne, France. (E-mail: j.vermeer@la-vallee-des-singes.fr )

 

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THE SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK VISITOR CENTRE – A MODEL OF COOPERATION BETWEEN A ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY AND A NATIONAL PARK

 

BY PAUL A. REES

Deep in the heart of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, in the area known as Seronera, is a remarkable new visitor centre. The project is one of many in Africa funded by the Frankfurt Zoological Society – a legacy of the pioneering work done by Dr Bernhard Grzimek and his son Michael in the Serengeti in the 1950s.

 

The centre has been constructed around a kopje: a small rocky outcrop that is characteristic of the Serengeti landscape. One of its main themes is the famous wildebeest migration which links the grasslands of the Serengeti to those of the Masai Mara in Kenya. Visitors are guided along a path through the kopje by a line of metal silhouettes of wildebeest and footprints in the path which lead to a series of information boards explaining the migration. Along the way they encounter impressive metal sculptures of large mammals and strategically placed benches set amongst lush vegetation. Real rock hyraxes look down from their rock fortress providing ample photo opportunities for visitors.

The path eventually leads across a high-level walkway to a two-storey open-air building containing more display boards. As the visitor approaches, the sound of lions and hyenas can be heard from hidden loudspeakers, although it only becomes apparent that they are not the real thing when the source is discovered. The walkway joins the building at the top floor, where near life-size photographs of Dr Bernhard Grzimek and Tanzania's first president, Julius Nyerere, stand side-by-side `watching' visitors as they peruse the exhibits.

 

A series of bilingual (English and Swahili) information boards describes the work of Dr Grzimek and his son, including photographs of the black-and-white striped Piper Cub they used to conduct aerial wildlife censuses of the area. Other exhibits illustrate the history of Tanzanian wildlife legislation, and include historical maps of the development of the system of protected areas. The collection of early photographs includes one of the German governor responsible for the introduction of the first wildlife laws, Hermann von Wissmann, and his protection troop, taken in 1889 (above). The Tanganyika Territory became a British Protectorate in 1919, but the Serengeti did not become a national park until 1951 and was the only national park in existence when Tanzania achieved independence from Britain in 1961.

The ground floor exhibits explain the work of TANAPA (Tanzania National Parks Authority), the management problems faced by the park authorities, and the place of the Masai and other tribes in the local culture and ecology. TANAPA was created in 1959 to oversee the management of the growing number of national parks in Tanzania.

 

The last port of call is a small shop and a refreshment area where the local avifauna is attracted to a small pool. I hoped to find all manner of useful publications about the Serengeti on sale at the centre but, alas, the shop was filled with the usual African souvenirs with hardly a book in sight. Anyone wishing to take away more information about the park and its spectacular wildlife will be disappointed.

 

In spite of this criticism, the Serengeti visitor centre is a remarkable addition to an extraordinary place, made possible by the work of a single zoological society and support from the European Union. East African national parks are sadly lacking in interpretation centres, or indeed interpretation of any kind. This one should serve as a model for how zoos and national parks can co-operate to truly engage in conservation education.

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 )

 

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

Dear Sir,

 

I was fascinated by Dr van Bruggen's interesting and valuable paper on the Amsterdam Aquarium, and particularly by his references to early problems in keeping certain fish species.

 

Certainly the herring is still a notoriously difficult-to-keep species, largely on account of the strong migratory instinct that makes it almost the piscatorial equivalent of the wildebeest – in fact its habit of rapidly moving in large numbers gives it its name, from the Saxon here, meaning `army'. This is the time when captive shoals, restlessly moving about, lose large areas of scales by brushing against rocks and other `furnishings'. The British collection which has done best with the species is Edinburgh, in its Carnegie Aquarium: back in the 1970s its then curator, F. Fraser-Brunner, told me their `record' with it was `just over four years', but there were always problems at the migratory period.

 

Earlier in the paper it was noted that it was rare for anything to live more than a year or so in early aquaria. I, for one, would not dispute this, but there's always the odd exception that contrives to prove the rule, and a very notable, and coincidental, one here is the first living fish to be photographed, c. 1853, in Regent's Park's `Fish House', as its first aquarium was called. It died on 19 April 1870 – an astonishing record when it's born in mind that this was a pike (Esox lucius), a species still difficult to keep for long in good health owing to its susceptibility to infestations of ectoparasites, particularly the dreaded `ichth' or `white-spot' (Ichthyophthirius).

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Clinton Keeling,

13 Pound Place,

Shalford,

Guildford,

Surrey GU4 8HH,

U.K.

 

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BOOK REVIEWS

 

HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD: Volume 8 – BROADBILLS TO TAPACULOS edited by Josep del Hoyo, Andrew Elliott and David Christie. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, 2003. 845 pp., 81 colour plates, over 400 colour photos, hardback. ISBN 84–87334–50–4. £110.00 from specialist bookshops or directly from the publishers, Lynx Edicions, Montseny, 8, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain (Tel: +34–93–594–7710; Fax: +34–93–592–0969; E‑mail: lynx@hbw.com ; Internet: www.hbw.com ). (For prices in other currencies, and special offers for purchasers of all eight volumes, please check with the publishers.)

 

With Volume 8, the Handbook of the Birds of the World has crossed a major ornithological watershed, that separating the non-passerines from the passerines. For many readers, myself included, this means a move into relatively unknown territory. Non-passerines, much more often than not, can be identified at a glance, at least to family level. Even we amateurs know an auk, an owl, a wader, a pigeon, a hornbill, a humming bird, a woodpecker when we see one. We may not often be able to go any further, but at least we know roughly where it fits into the pattern of the class Aves as a whole. But passerines are another matter: here we feel lost in a formless blur of species, many of them the sort even birders tend to lump together as `little brown jobs', the Lumpenproletariat of the bird world.

 

From now on, though, as the Passeriformes start getting the HBW treatment, we'll begin to see them finding their places in the pattern. This first volume on them covers nine families – Broadbills, Asities, Pittas, Ovenbirds, Woodcreepers, Typical Antbirds, Ground-antbirds, Gnateaters and Tapaculos. All these birds are small or medium-sized, and yes, many are brown – though some, especially among the pittas, are astonishingly gaudy. Only the broadbills and pittas, I think, have any significant presence in zoos, and only a few species of them – the hooded pitta (by no means the most spectacular of the group, and not threatened, so its frequency in captivity must be a historical accident), and the green and long-tailed broadbills – seem to have self-sustaining ex situ populations. [A recent breakthrough at Walsrode which may be the start of more successful pitta management and breeding was reported in IZN 50 (4), 244.] At the other end of the spectrum, none of the 55 species of tapaculo `has been reported to have been successfully held in captivity,' though the Bronx Zoo succeeded in keeping a single Acropternis orthonyx alive for a few months. Since many tapaculos (though not this one) have dull plumage, and all feed by foraging in undergrowth and avoid flying whenever possible, they aren't often seen in the wild either.

 

With many zoos' current enthusiasm for all things Madagascan, it may be only a matter of time before asities start appearing in our collections. (ISIS currently records none at all.) These, I confess, were new to me. The family contains just four species in two genera (Philepitta and Neodrepanis) of vastly different appearance; they are attractive, taxonomically problematical and behaviourally entertaining. Though none is yet at serious risk (N. hypoxantha is listed as Endangered, but is more numerous than was earlier thought), no Madagascan forest species can be considered totally free from risk, so they could be worthwhile species to establish in zoos.

 

In general, of course, Volume 8 follows the now tried and trusted HBW formula, so it has all the features readers have come to expect. Little improvements continue to be made here and there – for example, the distribution maps now include major rivers, making it easier to pinpoint species' ranges, especially in inland areas. The photos have always been one of the series' supreme triumphs: am I imagining it, or are the present lot even more stunning than usual? Actually, I think that tends to be my reaction to every new volume! They are different in one respect, though; many more of them than previously were taken specifically for HBW. This, a policy to be continued in future volumes, is in part a response to the fact that many passerine families are relatively poorly known. For the same reason, this volume contains much more previously unpublished information than any previous one.

 

The foreword on a general ornithological topic is a regular bonus in HBW. This time it's `A brief history of classifying birds' by Murray Bruce, who takes the story through from ancient Greece to today's DNA studies. Numerous famous names appear here in the context of the quest for a `natural system' of classification – Aristotle, Gesner, Linnaeus, Buffon, Illiger, Temminck and many more. The last two decades have seen far-reaching changes suggested on the basis of DNA evidence, but there is as yet no general consensus. It is worth mentioning that the Handbook's editors, while of necessity making their choice of a system to build their work around, have always given full coverage of alternative views. In this, as in other matters, the Handbook of the Birds of the World comes near to presenting an entire professional-level course in ornithology.

 

Nicholas Gould

 

AUSTRALIAN MAMMALS: BIOLOGY AND CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT by Stephen Jackson. CSIRO Publishing, 2003. xxii + 524 pp., hardback. ISBN 0–643–06635–7. AU$240.00. [For prices and purchase details outside Australia, contact the publishers at: PO Box 1139, Collingwood, Vic 3066, Australia (Phone: +61 3 9662 7666; Fax: +61 3 9662 7555; E-mail: publishing.sales@csiro.au ), or in U.K. and Europe: Eurospan, 3 Henrietta Street, London WC2E 8LU (E-mail: orders@eurospan.co.uk ).]

THE NATURAL HISTORY OF MADAGASCAR edited by Stephen M. Goodman and Jonathan P. Benstead. University of Chicago Press, 2004. xxi + 1709 pp., 144 colour plates, 59 halftones, 163 line drawings, 254 tables, hardback. ISBN 0–226–30306–3. $85.00 or £59.50.

 

When new books as impressive as these two can land on my desk within a few weeks of each other, I feel inclined to proclaim that the golden age of natural history publishing is here right now. Each of them, it seems safe to say, is by far and away the best book on its subject ever to appear; and neither is likely to be superseded in the foreseeable future. Each of them, too, is an essential purchase for any zoo holding animals from the region it is devoted to.

 

That said, they don't have much else in common. Australian Mammals: Biology and Captive Management is a practical husbandry guide to all the country's native mammals, with separate chapters on platypus, echidnas, carnivorous marsupials, numbats, bandicoots and bilbies, koalas, wombats, possums and gliders, macropods, bats, rodents and the dingo. Stephen Jackson, who compiled most of the book (there are additional contributors for a few of the chapters), was the author of an article in International Zoo Yearbook 38 entitled `Standardizing captive-management manuals: guidelines for terrestrial vertebrates', in which he outlined the principles he here puts into practice. Australian Mammals might indeed serve as a model for others to follow, not merely in fat volumes like this one, but also in more modest management guideline notes for single taxa. Each of the book's twelve chapters follows the same outline, with an introduction followed by sections on Taxonomy, Natural history, Housing requirements, General husbandry, Feeding requirements, Handling and transport, Health requirements, Behaviour, Breeding and Artificial rearing. Each section is further subdivided into numbered sub-sections, which in turn may be subdivided. So if you want to know the main health problems of kangaroos, or whether wombats are suitable for a mixed exhibit (they aren't), or how to hand-rear a fruit bat, or how to train a dingo or catch a wallaby, it's easy to go straight to the appropriate heading. Numerous tables, charts and line drawings are included for information best presented in such ways – nest types and locations for different possum species, oestrous cycle and gestation data for macropods, koalas' daily activity cycle, methods of handling microchiropterans, typical weight growth in echidnas, nest-box designs for numbats. . . Speaking as someone whose zoo knowledge is overwhelmingly theoretical, I cannot remember ever seeing a book which made the practical side of zoo work seem more intelligible and accessible. It goes without saying that every zoo with any Australian mammals should buy a copy. But so should any zoo with bats or rodents, for there's nothing peculiar to Australia in the chapters on those taxa. And the advice on dingos would mostly be relevant to other canids, or often to carnivores in general. In fact, every zoo should buy this book. With it, management guidelines enter on a new era.

 

In its very different way, The Natural History of Madagascar is equally ground-breaking. There seems no reason to doubt the publishers' claim that it is `the most extensive collection of research ever assembled on the vast diversity of life found on this spectacular island.' Indeed, there may never have been a comparable book published on the natural history of any country or region. Its sheer physical dimensions command respect: almost 1,800 pages, a weight of about four kilos – this isn't a book ecotourists will want to take with them to Madagascar. They will, though, if they are serious, want to buy it before they go or when they get back.

 

As the editors point out in their preface, there has been an exponential growth of biological research in Madagascar in recent decades, so that `the associated expansion of scientific reports and publications on the fauna and flora of the island . . . is now beyond the scope of a single researcher or research group to synthesize.' To produce a synthesis in the present volume, consequently, they have enlisted no fewer than 281 contributors from 15 countries (including an encouraging number from Madagascar itself). The book begins with a chapter on the history of zoological exploration of Madagascar; since this takes the story right up to the present, it is useful in setting the context for what follows, giving full credit to the central role of one of the editors, Stephen Goodman of Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, and the multidisciplinary research programme he initiated following his arrival on the island in 1989. The next chapter, on geology and soils, includes some interesting notes on Madagascan palaeontology. The island drifted off on its own well before the end of the Mesozoic, and I had always assumed that the ancestors of its unique fauna had gone with it. Not so, apparently: at present the evidence – admittedly, mainly negative – suggests that they arrived by swimming or rafting across the Mozambique Channel some time in the Cenozoic. Remarkable though Madagascar's surviving animals are, it is hard to forget how much has been lost since the arrival of man little more than a thousand years ago – giant tortoises, elephant birds, dwarf hippos, gorilla-sized lemurs. . .

 

Chapters follow on climate, forest ecology, human ecology, and marine and coastal ecosystems, and then on plants, invertebrates, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. A lengthy chapter on conservation concludes the book. Each chapter except that on climate consists of a series of essays on different topics; thus every significant vertebrate taxon, for example, has its own expert monograph. So many Madagascan species are currently of major interest to zoos – not just lemurs, but freshwater fishes, frogs, chameleons, day geckos, tortoises, numerous birds, tenrecs, fossas, giant jumping rats. . . – that it is hardly possible to single out particular topics to mention. Here, anyway, are up-to-date monographs on all of them.

 

The closing 170-page chapter on conservation includes reports on general policy and on particular reserves, taxa and projects. The in and ex situ work of zoos is given good coverage, with sections on, for example, the Madagascar Fauna Group, the work of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, and the efforts to establish ex situ breeding populations of endemic fish species (an extraordinarily diverse assemblage, as yet largely intact but almost all under some degree of threat). The Natural History of Madagascar is not a book many people will read from cover to cover: but I am sure I and many others will come to rely on it as an all-embracing, authoritative work of reference. It sets a new standard which future natural histories of biodiversity hotspots will find hard to match.

 

Nicholas Gould

 

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CONSERVATION

 

Bongos return to Africa

 

On 29 January 2004 a jet touched down at Nairobi International Airport carrying 18 (4.14) mountain (eastern) bongos (Tragelaphus euryceros isaaci) donated by U.S. zoos. From there the animals were taken by truck to the Mount Kenya Game Ranch, where they were released into two 50-acre [20-ha] semi-wilderness enclosures prepared specially for them, separate from a small herd maintained at the ranch since the 1970s. The event is the culmination of a conservation saga that began almost four decades ago.

 

At that time, bongos were found in three separate forests in central Kenya. Today, though, they are gone from the Mau Forest. A tiny population may survive in the forests around Mount Kenya, but no sightings have been reported for at least six years. In the Aberdare Conservation Area the population is estimated at fewer than 100.

 

Meanwhile, fortunately, several organizations in Africa and North America had forged a plan to save the species from extinction. It took nearly ten years (1966–1975) to implement the first stage of the plan, but when it was completed, 36 young mountain bongos (including 20 from the Mount Kenya Game Ranch) had been captured and sent to North American zoos. They thrived in captivity, breeding well until eventually their American population grew to more than 400.

 

Before their repatriation, the animals were assembled at White Oak Conservation Center in Florida from the participating institutions: African Safari Wildlife Park in Ohio, Busch Gardens and Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida, Cape May County Zoo in New Jersey, Houston, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Sacramento, St Louis and Virginia Zoos, Peace River Refuge and Rare Species Conservancy Foundation in Florida, and White Oak itself. This group of bongos is the first of several that will be making the trip to Kenya. It is hoped that once the animals settle in and get acclimated at the ranch, they will begin to produce calves. Those animals will be introduced to a 3,000-acre [1,200-ha] natural habitat enclosure, and it is their offspring who will be returning to the wild on Mount Kenya, bringing the story of the mountain bongo full circle.

 

Abridged and adapted from Zooscape (Los Angeles Zoo) Vol. 27, No. 7 (February 2004), with additional material from Marc Lacey in the New York Times (10 February 2004)

 

Siamese crocodiles survive in Cambodia

 

The Siamese or mountain crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis), one of the world's most endangered animals, is a handsome freshwater crocodile with a distinctive bony crest at the back of its head. It is reputed to be rather timid and not a `man-eater'. Siamese crocodiles originally inhabited all countries in south-east Asia except the Philippines. These large (up to four metres) predators kept watercourses clear and helped to maintain healthy freshwater fisheries. By the 1990s, however, it was widely feared that this important animal was extinct in the wild. Intensive field surveys failed to find any in most of its former strongholds.

 

The crocodile's decline began with competition With rice farmers for wetlands, but the deathblow came in the 1950s, with the rise of organized crocodile farming and the international skin trade. These crocodiles produce fine, soft leather and are easy to breed in captivity. To speed up production, they were hybridized with salt-water crocodiles (C. porosus – native to coastal areas) and Cuban crocodiles (C. rhombifer). The thousands of `Siamese' crocodiles in captivity today contain a bewildering array of mongrels which only genetic testing can distinguish.

 

Today, two wild individuals are confirmed in Thailand (one was famously discovered by the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society using a camera trap) and up to ten are known in Laos. The news from Cambodia is more encouraging, with the recent discovery of breeding colonies in the Cardamom Mountains. Scientists from Fauna and Flora International (FFI) and the Cambodian Department of Forestry and Wildlife (DFW) have identified 18 sites here to date, containing over 150 wild Siamese crocodiles.

 

The ecology of this species is still poorly understood, but research on the wild colonies in Cambodia could help inform and support reintroduction programmes in Vietnam, Thailand and elsewhere. DFW and FFI have learned that the crocodiles require deep, slow-moving rivers and swamps between ten and 600 m altitude. They prey on small animals, especially snakes and fish, and only rarely attack animals as large as a dog or wild boar. Breeding begins during the dry season and the young hatch after 70–80 days. There is evidence that the young remain with their mother for at least two years (it is at least a further ten years before they themselves are mature). The adults construct burrows, but the purpose of these is still unknown.

 

Decades of hunting have taught Siamese crocodiles to be shy, but in some parts of the Cardamom Mountains, local people regularly bathe and fish among the crocodiles and consider them sacred. They believe that to kill the crocodiles would bring sickness or death on their families. DFW and FFI are now engaging the hill tribes' help to preserve habitats and protect the crocodiles from poachers.

 

The Cambodian government must be praised for strengthening protection for the crocodiles, notably by gazetting the new 400,000-ha Central Cardamoms Protection Forest. Preserving habitats will not be enough to save this species, however, without stronger efforts by all countries in this region to combat illegal poaching and trade. This is a CITES Appendix I species, and only those proven to be captive-bred should be permitted to be bought or sold.

 

Jenny Daltry, Boyd Simpson and Chheang Dany in Fauna and Flora No. 5 (October 2003)

 

An unusual translocation success story

 

In the early 1990s the Brehm Fund for International Bird Conservation sponsored studies by Dieter Rinke [now scientific director of Walsrode Bird ParkEd.] in the South Pacific. The critically endangered Polynesian megapode (Megapodius pritchardii) was central to Rinke's work. The population of this tiny megapode, restricted to the single small volcanic island of Niuafo'ou in the Kingdom of Tonga, was estimated to be around 200 pairs. The species is a burrow-nester, using geothermal sites. All nesting sites on the island were harvested and at least 50% of all eggs were collected or destroyed. Dogs and cats were a threat to the chicks, while adult birds were hunted on a small scale by the human population on Niuafo'ou. Dieter Rinke, as well as his students at that time, Ann Göth and Uwe Vogel, who spent several years on the island studying the ecology and behaviour of the species, decided to translocate some birds to uninhabited, predator-free, volcanically-active islands in the region. In 1993, Rinke brought six chicks to and buried 37 eggs on Fonualei, followed by another three chicks and 31 eggs the next year. Göth and Vogel transferred 60 eggs to Late during that same period. After that, Rinke, Göth and Vogel left the region, without being able to assess the success or failure of their work.

 

Despite rumours in the late 1990s that both transfers had been successful, no hard evidence was published. Finally, in March 2003 ornithologist Dick Watling, based in nearby Fiji, went to Fonualei and Late at the request of the Megapode Specialist Group and funded by the Netherlands Foundation for International Nature Protection. On Fonualei, Watling saw and heard 56 Polynesian megapodes and estimated the total population there at 300–500 birds. On Late, where he could not stay long enough to survey the island to his satisfaction, he did not encounter any megapodes. However, he plans to return there in 2004. Because the world population of the Polynesian megapode has now doubled in numbers and occurs on two islands instead of one, the species has been downlisted on the IUCN Red List from Critically Endangered to Endangered. Because megapode eggs, which are buried and incubated in warm soil, and megapode chicks, which lack parental care, do not need any human assistance after translocation, similar actions might be initiated for other threatened megapode species in the region.

 

René W.R.J. Dekker in Annual Review of the World Pheasant Association 2002/2003

 

Australia's Greater Stick-nest Rat Recovery Program

 

The greater stick-nest rat (Leporillus conditor) was abundant at the time of the European settlement of Australia, being known by early settlers as the `rabbit-rat'. Two species were extant at that time, the greater and the lesser (L. apicalis). The last mainland records for both species date from the 1930s, after which the only remaining population of greater stick-nest rats was an isolated population of approximately 1,000 individuals located on West and East Franklin Islands, South Australia. The lesser stick-nest rat is now considered extinct.

 

Stick-nest rats are native rodents with the unique habit (amongst Australian rodents) of constructing large stick and twig nests. They have compact fluffy-coated bodies with large rounded ears and blunt noses. The rats seem to prefer building their nests around, underneath or adjacent to some form of existing structure. Records exist of nests built in caves, under sandstone overhangs, around trees, against fences. The reproductive rate is low compared to Rattus rats, with a gestation period of 42 days, one to four offspring in a litter (average two) and a period of up to a month when the young are `attached' to the dam's teats. Endearingly, for those of us lucky enough to work with this species, they are extremely tolerant of handling and rarely, if ever, attempt to bite.

 

The Greater Stick-nest Rat Program received original funding in 1983 from the World Wildlife Fund to cover two major projects – a three-year population study of the Franklin Islands population and searches of areas of the former known ranges of both species. The recovery effort became part of the Commonwealth's Endangered Species Program in 1993. The initial recovery objectives were to:

– Maintain the Franklin Islands population;

– Establish an effective captive-breeding population;

– Increase the number of wild populations from one to at least three, with each population consisting of no fewer than 500 mature individuals;

– Increase the total number of mature individuals from about 1,000 to at least 5,000;

– Increase substantially the geographic spread of these populations within the species' former known range.

 

Captive breeding for release was identified as a key method for achieving these objectives. Breeding would be performed by National Parks and Wildlife Service staff at the Monarto Fauna Complex, which is located within Monarto Zoological Park. Adelaide Zoo managed the studbook, analysed the records and recommended animals for breeding and release. Initially (in 1985–6) three (1.2) rats were brought into captivity. However, in 1988 the first serious efforts to establish captive breeding were made when a founder population was established with 4.4 animals from West Franklin, and 3.1 from East Franklin. In subsequent years (1991–7), following requests from the Species Coordinator, a further 16 (9.7) founders were brought into the colony from the Franklin Islands.

 

A total of 420 captive-bred rats were released to six sites between 1990 and 1999. The release sites were Salutation Island in Western Australia and Reevesby Island, Yookamurra Sanctuary, St Peter's Island, Venus Bay, and Roxby Downs in South Australia. From 1996 onwards, translocation from the Reevesby Island population was used to supplement animals from the captive population to new release sites.

 

By 1999, the aims of the recovery plan had been met. Enough suitable release sites were supporting sustainable populations of 500 rats. At the same time it was noticed that the incidence of cataracts had been increasing in the rat population managed at Monarto. It was decided to use the remaining captive rats to investigate the reasons, and this research was completed in 2003 with results pending.

 

The captive breeding and release component of the recovery program has proven an enormous success, achieving all goals set out for it, and firmly establishing the species' recovery process. Now that this phase of the program is complete, South Australia's Department for Environment and Heritage, the agency responsible for the program, have moved to the use of translocation to supplement established populations, and captive breeding is no longer needed to provide animals for release. At the recent Bat and Rodent TAG meeting, therefore, the role of the captive program was reviewed, and it was decided that, from now on, the species will be managed less intensively, and solely to retain animals for display and advocacy purposes. There will be further discussions with the Department regarding obtaining further rats from Reevesby Island to supplement the captive display population to avoid using animals thought to be carrying a genetically-based susceptibility to cataracts.

 

Abridged from Suzy Barlow in ARAZPA Newsletter No. 60 (November 2003)

 

An ecological domino effect

 

The North Pacific's ecosystem remains in flux half a century after Japanese and Russian whaling ships conducted massive campaigns in its waters, a new study reveals. Slaughter of great whales, including bowhead, sperm and humpback, caused irreversible damage down the food chain that is currently affecting fragile kelp forests in Alaska's Aleutian Islands.

 

Puzzled by a 90 percent reduction of kelp forests in some areas, scientists concluded that a population explosion of kelp-grazing sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus spp.) was to blame. The sea urchins were proliferating because one of their main predators, sea otters, had become scarce in the 1990s. The scientists were able to trace the cause of the otters' disappearance up the food chain, through a string of events that began 50 years ago with the commercial whaling campaigns.

 

The whaling ships took half a million great whales, depriving orcas of their main prey. The orcas were forced to turn to alternative prey sources, beginning with harbor and fur seals. It takes a lot of seals to equal the calorific value of a single whale; consequently, the orcas soon depleted seal stocks, and moved on to sea lions, with similar results. When most of their larger prey populations were exhausted in the 1970s and 1980s, orcas began to hunt the relatively diminutive sea otter, causing a population crash for the otters that began in the 1990s and a subsequent sea urchin boom. This domino effect reinforces the need for ecosystem-scale conservation, rather than species-specific conservation.

 

Kit Sergeant in Zoogoer (Friends of the National Zoo) Vol. 33, No. 1 (January/February 2004)

 

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INTERNATIONAL ZOO NEWS

 

Apenheul Primate Park, the Netherlands

 

The adolescent male gorilla Makula, the third son of our troop leader Bongo, was causing some trouble in his birth group, indicating that he was ready to start a group of his own. He was eventually given the companionship of his younger half-brother M'Tongé while he waits to be transferred to another zoo. The two gorillas have been placed together on an island of their own. The white-throated capuchins live on two islands connected by a climbing frame. An electric fence now divides one of the islands into two parts. Approximately one-eighth is for the monkeys and the rest has been made gorilla-proof for Makula and M'Tongé. In this way, the capuchins can still use their climbing frame, while the gorillas have a considerable part of the island for themselves. The electric fence keeps the two groups from mingling. Once each species had been given the chance to acclimatize in the absence of the other, it should be possible for them all to be out at the same time without problems.

 

Translated by Gina Kornblith from De Harpij Vol. 22, No. 3 (2003)

 

Burgers' Zoo, Arnhem, the Netherlands

 

On July 1 2003 aardvark Pieta gave birth for the sixth time. Her previous baby was born on 29 June 2002, so that the two young arrived within 12 months of each other. No one had expected that it would happen so fast. Preparations for the nursery were still underway and her previous baby was still with her. Since then, the older youngster has been sent to Antwerp Zoo. Pieta was born at Burgers' Zoo in 1991. Her mother, Okahandja, did not live to see the birth of this latest grandchild, because she was euthanized at the age of 25. She had a foot infection that could not be cured. The post-mortem showed that the swelling was malignant, confirming that euthanasia was the right decision.

 

Translated by Gina Kornblith from De Harpij Vol. 22, No. 3 (2003)

 

Denver Zoo, Colorado, U.S.A.

 

Seahorses have always captivated the fish fancier. They come in all shapes and sizes – from the small pygmy seahorse, the size of your thumbnail, to the giant seahorses that are over a foot long, seahorses grab our attention with their unique life under the sea. The seahorses' graceful, fluid movements, distinctive form and the curious fact that the male carries the young drove Denver Zoo's interest in keeping these creatures.

 

Keeping seahorses has long been the bane of many aquarists' careers, as their natural diet was hard to replicate in captivity. For many years, institutions and hobbyists alike tried to sustain seahorses with brine shrimps (Artemia salina), but these were nutritionally deficient. The seahorses would slowly lose weight, show signs of stress, develop diseases and eventually perish. What the public may have perceived as a thriving seahorse exhibit was, in reality, an exhibit in which the seahorses were constantly replaced. Until recently, Denver Zoo was no exception. The zoo had attempted, in good faith, to keep seahorses in the past, but with little success. Adult seahorses arrived in good health, but over the next few months would meet the same, sad fate.

 

In the 1990s, a few aquariums around the world started perfecting seahorse husbandry. Food was one of the most critical pieces of the puzzle that needed to be solved. Institutions on the coasts started collecting small shrimps called mysids directly out of the ocean to nourish these hard-to-keep creatures. These very small shrimps turned out to be a great food for the seahorse. Adult seahorses increased their resistance to disease, began surviving for years, and finally reproduced in captivity. The newly discovered food source was a great find for institutions on the coasts, but for those of us in landlocked aquariums, mysid shrimps were very costly. Each little shrimp costs five cents on average, and each adult seahorse eats hundreds per day. This might not seem like a lot of money for one seahorse, but for 30 seahorses, food alone would cost $4,500 per month. Thus, the cost made mysids prohibitive for Denver Zoo.

 

Luckily, one species of mysid shrimp has now been commercially harvested and frozen for us to feed to our fish guests. This breakthrough paved the way for inland aquarists to keep and even reproduce the fascinating seahorse. Yet, in spite of this development, there was still one more hurdle to overcome in raising young seahorses.

 

Here at Denver, we decided to give seahorses one last try now that we had a food that would keep them happy and healthy. We received 20 juvenile seahorses from the Birch Aquarium at Scripps (La Jolla, California) in the summer of 2001. The creatures came to us in great shape, but a little small. Initially, we housed them in a 55-gallon [200-liter] tank behind the scenes at Tropical Discovery. The juvenile seahorses took to eating the mysid shrimps and were large enough to go on display in December 2001. After a wonderfully uneventful year of healthy adult seahorses on display to visitors, we were happy to discover early one morning that a male had released approximately 60 seahorse fry into the tank.

 

Unfortunately, we were not prepared for this surprise. Despite our efforts to raise the fry, we were unsuccessful. Even though we were able to provide an adequate diet for the fry from the beginning (the fry eat brine shrimps), we had other obstacles. The fry were getting air entrained in their bodies, which caused them to stay on the surface and prevented them from swimming and feeding, and ultimately led to their death. The solution was to keep the fry away from the water surface. Obviously, they cannot get air stuck in their systems if they do not come into contact with air. To address this issue and to prepare for the next batch of fry, we needed a round tank without corners and with a constant, circular water flow that keeps the seahorse fry from ever coming into contact with the surface. Very fancy and expensive Kreisel tanks that utilize this design have been used in other places for jellyfish exhibits, but an individual commercially purchased tank can cost $10,000 or more. Here in Denver, we built our own tank that utilizes a similar design for a fraction of the cost. The tank itself is square, but contains an open-topped cylindrical insert and directed water movement to keep the baby seahorses moving in a circle and away from the surface. I am pleased to report that this design was a success – over the past eight months, we have raised over 100 seahorses, and many of these have been sent to other aquariums around the country.

 

Kent M. Weissenfluh in The Zoo Review (Fall 2003)

 

Edinburgh Zoo, U.K.

 

Thanks to some pioneering work by vets and a specialist surgeon and the dedication of the keepers, a young giraffe at the zoo has overcome a potentially life-threatening condition to make a full recovery. Keepers first realised that something was wrong in late October when they noticed that Sapphire, a female born in July 2002, was refusing to eat. So they called in a team from the University of Edinburgh's Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. (This team, led by Anna Meredith, visit the zoo for weekly surgeries and are also on call 24 hours a day for emergencies.) An X-ray examination of Sapphire's head revealed a fracture of her lower right jaw bone. The cause of the fracture remains unknown.

 

Briefly, the vets and keepers considered euthanasia, as the break was very severe, and it was possible that Sapphire would be unable to eat and just waste away from malnutrition. However, they decided instead to call on the expert services of Professor Dixon, a veterinary surgeon also based at the Royal, who specialises in orthopaedic work with horses. He decided to use a procedure which he has developed for horses, and which we believe has never been used on a giraffe before.

 

Because of the great size and depth of giraffes' teeth, they are excellent at anchoring surgical wires to help treat jaw fractures without the use of any surgical plates and screws that could damage the long teeth lying within the mandible. As Prof. Dixon explains: `The fracture was repaired simply by wiring the incisor teeth (in the loose part of the jaw) to the stable cheek teeth further back in the giraffe's mouth on both sides, and tightening the two wires together in front, to compress the fracture together. Because giraffes are herbivores, they cannot open their mouths very far and so this teeth wiring was performed through small openings made in the cheeks – taking care to avoid the facial nerves and salivary ducts.'

 

Anaesthesia carries significant risks for giraffes, so the first relief was when Sapphire recovered from this, and was alert and lively within hours of the procedure. She was kept inside overnight, and monitored by a closed-circuit TV that the keepers fixed up to record her behaviour. The very next morning, she seemed to be interested in food. At first, the keepers gave her only loose hay, to prevent any pressure on the fracture site, but by the afternoon she was chomping on carrots and bananas, her usual favourites.

 

Weeks passed, and then, in January this year, the veterinary team came back to the zoo to remove the wires, again under general anaesthetic. Thanks to their continued skill and ability, this operation also went very smoothly, and Sapphire has made a complete recovery.

 

Abridged from an Edinburgh Zoo media release

 

John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

 

The huge face hovering at eye level is so riveting that you hardly notice the scar. But the hand-sized indentation on the broad forehead of Bubba, the 140-pound Queensland grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus) in the Wild Reef shark habitat, is a mark of how far veterinary medicine has come, and how far Shedd's dedicated animal-care staff will go, when the patient is a fish and the diagnosis is cancer. Shedd veterinarians believe that the use of chemotherapy to halt a connective tissue tumor on Bubba's head is the first such application in treatment of a fish.

 

Bubba arrived at Shedd in 1987 as a ten-inch [250-mm] female left at the receptionist's desk. Most likely his owner realized that this fast-growing fish would become more than a home aquarium could accommodate. Queensland groupers are the largest fish that live on Indo-Pacific coral reefs, typically reaching a length of six feet [1.8 m] and weighing 600 pounds [270 kg]. At some point in Bubba's life at Shedd, she became a `he', an adaptation of many groupers and other marine fish species to maximize reproduction.

 

In August 2001, aquarists noticed pimple-like pink growths on his forehead. Thinking that the fish had a bacterial infection, Shedd's veterinarians treated him with antibiotics. Initially, the bumps seemed to go away, but by the end of August he had a bunch of nodules on his head. A biopsy in January 2002 revealed nothing, but a second test six months later came back positive for a malignant tumor. `On 8 November we did the first surgery and chemotherapy,' says Dr Natalie Mylniczenko, Shedd's associate veterinarian. `I was able to get a good chunk of tissue out. The wound was only about a centimeter deep, so it healed beautifully.' Mylniczenko also injected a chemotherapy agent into the tissue surrounding the excised area. `We watched him very closely. He did so well and healed so quickly. Then we started seeing pink lumps and bumps around the edges of the surgical wound.' The cancer had come back.

 

The veterinary team did a second surgery in March 2003. `We went very deep and took very wide margins to get as much tumor as possible,' Mylniczenko says. `That's why he has such a big hole in the tissue now. We wanted to make sure the cancer cells were gone. Because it was such a big hole, we put pig epithelium on it to enhance healing and tissue growth.' She again injected a chemotherapy agent around the edges of the surgical wound, using human plastic-surgery collagen to keep the treatment in the tissue longer. `We also gave him aspirin for several days after the surgery for pain.'

 

Though his treatment isn't experimental, Mylniczenko notes, `The use of chemotherapy agents hasn't been reported in fish. In zoo and aquarium medicine, everything we do has to be creative and extrapolative of everything we've learned in veterinary medicine. This treatment was not used in a grouper before, but certainly chemotherapy is used in small animals. We're taking it to different levels with animals that live in water – it gives us a whole different set of limitations.' For one thing, the surgery had to take place in water. Divers steered the bulky fish into a specially designed sling, then lifted him into a water-filled tub at the pool's edge. A standard fish anesthetic added to the water kept Bubba still while the sling held him in position, with his forehead out of the water, during the one-hour surgery and chemotherapy treatment. Back in the reserve pool, divers guided the fish around in the water until the anesthetic was out of his system.

 

Healing was also underwater. `Obviously, we couldn't keep the wounds dry,' says the vet, `but fish have an incredible immune system on their skin. The mucus contains immunoglobulins, or antibodies.' In October, Bubba was given a clean bill of health and introduced to the 400,000-gallon [1,500,000-liter] central habitat in the Wild Reef exhibit. Like the marine mammals, Bubba has training sessions to accustom him to come to, or `target' on, a specific shape – in his case a large blue plastic triangle – at mealtimes. By having Bubba target, aquarists can make sure he gets the food intended only for him as well as get close enough to check his forehead as it heals.

 

`He's very comfortable around us now,' says Wild Reef collection manager Mark Schick. He's also comfortable in the company of the two dozen or so sharks with whom he shares the spacious habitat. Before the grouper left the reserve pool, aquarists wanted to make sure the sharks weren't curious about the healing wound on Bubba's head, so they carefully introduced several sharks. `He was fine with them,' Schick says, `and they were fine with him.' The story of Bubba's battle with cancer has generated many wishes for the big fish's continued good recovery. After several years off exhibit, he seems to find the parade of guests interesting. He is usually front and center in the shark habitat, affording Wild Reef visitors a chance to get eye-to-eye with one remarkable fish.

 

Abridged from Karen Furnweger in WaterShedd Vol. 25, No. 1 (Winter 2004)

 

London Zoo, U.K.

 

Occasionally fate contrives to provide a zoo with an incredible list of births that any curator would wish they could replicate annually, but they know this would be impossible. London Zoo is having one of those years. At the time of writing the most recent birth was that of a Malayan tapir, only the third in ZSL's history, the first being in 1921. Other hoofstock births included bearded pigs (two litters), a female okapi and three bongo calves. Hopefully the birth on 1 July of our second female okapi in recent years, coinciding with a birth on the same day in Antwerp, signifies encouraging developments for the EEP population.

 

For two of the three female bearded pigs this was their first successful rearing of litters, and the arrival of the five youngsters has proved incredibly rewarding, with the whole group proving, as pigs always do, to be favourites with the visitors.

 

Within a few weeks of each other the giant anteaters and a species new to London Zoo, a tamandua, gave birth. Although the baby was her first offspring, the mother proved to be absolutely perfect with it.

 

Births in Geoffroy's marmoset, common marmoset, Goeldi's monkey and golden-headed lion tamarin complemented significant births of a red-bellied lemur, a Lake Alaotran lemur and a female François's langur (all ZSL firsts). This year has also seen births in potto, pygmy slow loris, slender loris, large tree shrew, short-eared elephant shrew, Malagasy giant jumping rat, dwarf mongoose, red panda and Asian short-clawed otter.

 

Abridged from Nick Lindsay, senior curator, in LifeLines (Zoo Federation) No. 83 (December 2003)

 

Loro Parque, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

 

We ringed 1,375 chicks in 2003, an increase of 5% over the previous year. One hundred and seventy-one species and subspecies of parrots were bred. Not every species reproduces on a yearly basis: there are always species that have a break in breeding, or are unsuccessful in breeding or in the incubation period. Nevertheless, aside from the regular breeding parrots, 30 species and subspecies produced young for the first time after a breeding pause.

 

Taxa bred here for the first time were Salvin’s amazon (A. autumnalis salvini), orange-winged amazon (A. amazonica), Tres Marias amazon (A. oratrix tresmariae), Marajo yellow-headed amazon (A. ochrocephala xantholaema), purple-naped lory (Lorius domicellus) and pileated parrot (Pionopsitta pileata).

 

Traditionally, the first parrots regularly inaugurating the new breeding season, already in December, are the keas. Our reliable pair have already laid four eggs and are incubating well. But the highlight of January is the clutch of one of our palm cockatoo pairs, newly formed last year from an adult male and a younger, only five-and-a-half-year-old, female. Both of them have moved to a high wooden nesting box and built a nest with all sorts of branches, and they are incubating on a rotating basis the single egg of the clutch.

 

Another sensational announcement is of an egg from the Riedel's eclectus parrot (E. roratus riedeli). These birds exist in only two zoos in Europe. Since we only have one male, we placed him in a big communal aviary with four females, in order to give him a free choice. There he chose a female and they moved together to a nesting box, and a few days ago the female laid an egg. There has never before been an egg of this species at Loro Parque.

 

Abridged from the report for January 2004 compiled by Matthias Reinschmidt, Curator, Loro Parque

 

National Zoo Conservation and Research Center, Front Royal, Virginia, U.S.A.

 

The Conservation and Research Center (CRC) of the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park, about 75 miles from Washington, DC, is a unique facility, in that it houses collections of animals – clouded leopards, Micronesian kingfishers, and hoofstock such as Mongolian wild horses and Eld's deer – many of which are not easily housed in traditional zoo situations. But beyond that, the CRC is both a field site for long-term ecological monitoring studies and a home base for scientists from many disciplines who work around the world to study and protect species and ecosystems.

 

The land on which the CRC sits (3,200 acres [1,300 ha] which originally comprised about 75 small farms at the turn of the last century) was obtained by the U.S. Army during World War I to serve as a Quarter Master Remount Depot, where horses and mules were housed, bred and trained for use by the U.S. Cavalry. After World War II, the `cavalry' no longer consisted of four-legged animals, but was instead armored cars and tanks, and the old Remounts became obsolete. The land was obtained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in partnership with Virginia Tech University as a Beef Cattle Research Station. In the 1970s, the Smithsonian and the National Zoo were actively seeking a location with more space to establish a research and breeding facility. By good fortune, the closure of the research station in 1974 coincided with a visit to the area by the Smithsonian Institution's then-secretary Dillon Ripley, who saw the location as perfect for their vision. In 1975, the Conservation and Research Center was founded.

 

In late October 2003, a number of American Zoo and Aquarium Association staff were invited to visit the CRC. After our tour of the grounds, we went to the veterinary hospital to meet with the scientists and learn about some of their research projects and the work they do in areas such as gamete biology, genome banking, endocrinology and nutrition. Next was the bird house, where Bali mynahs and several other species of Pacific island birds reside, including the very sociable Clint, a Mariana crow who was about to head back to Guam for a breeding program. Before lunch, we headed up to the hoofstock area where we saw tufted deer, scimitar-horned oryx, Eld's deer, and Przewalski's horses, among others. We met with biotechnician Linwood Williamson and learned about some of CRC's husbandry breakthroughs with the hoof stock due to their unique situation and experience. The Eld's deer had been a highly problematic species to manage in captivity, as they were extremely skittish and prone to injuring themselves at the slightest disturbance. After trying several unsuccessful management techniques, Williamson decided that the best way to overcome the deer's skittishness was to acclimate them to noises and disturbances. This included wearing a noisy key ring, playing a radio where the deer were housed, and making sure the animals saw and heard lawn mowers, tractors and cars. This technique was successful, and once the deer became tractable, the researchers were able to work much more closely with them, including being able to study their reproductive biology. The information that they gleaned led to a highly successful assisted reproduction program with the deer, with the first trial producing the largest number of pregnancies of an endangered species by artificial insemination.

 

After taking a break for lunch, we divided into two groups to observe and take part in the CRC's long-term white-tailed deer study. For almost a decade, scientists at the CRC have studied how white-tailed deer affect the forest understory, and in turn, affect other species. Many of the deer are radio-collared and tracked to provide behavioral information on foraging, reproduction and dispersal. Part of our group had to head back to DC and just got a brief overview of the deer study using stationary triangular radiotelemetry sites. The rest of us were given the chance to participate in the `walk-up' deer tracking, and the interns who work on the study drove us out to the wooded project site and gave us a briefing on both the telemetry equipment and the global positioning system (GPS), and how they worked. Some people might not be too enthusiastic about spending a few hours tramping through the woods on a cold day, trying to listen for the subtle differences in the pinging sounds that the telemetry equipment made, while at the same time trying to avoid tripping over logs or getting smacked in the face with a tree branch. But on a normal weekday afternoon, AZA staff would be sitting in a meeting or sending faxes, so this was a welcome and exhilarating change! We headed into the woods, each taking turns using the equipment and leading the group. After everyone had the chance to use the equipment, and just as the day was winding down, we finally located one of our elusive quarry, plugged in its position using the GPS unit, and called it a day, with everyone feeling chilly but satisfied.

 

This trip wasn't just an opportunity to get out of the office for a day, it was a chance to go and be a part of what we spend our days working for. It allowed us to re-focus and become re-invigorated about what we do and to meet our members face-to-face. We were fortunate enough to see first-hand the different facets of the CRC, and the variety of ways – education, captive breeding, field research, partnerships, capacity building and more – in which they, and all AZA members, are contributing to conservation of species and habitat. Now we can get back to those faxes, phone calls and e-mails that help the membership do what it does best, but with a greater understanding of why.

 

Abridged and adapted from Michael Souza in Communiqué (American Zoo and Aquarium Association), January 2004

 

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

 

We currently house 2.4 Asian elephants. The bulls are 41 and 20 years old and are managed in protected contact. The cows range from eight to 48 and are managed in free contact. About 18 months ago, we started taking a closer look at our program and began expanding and improving on many things. As at many facilities, our animals were overweight and under-stimulated. One of the first steps was to work with the veterinarian and nutritionist to evaluate the diets and develop a better plan to monitor what each elephant is eating. Next, we focused on exercise (or the lack of it). This was a big concern, so we started looking at all the different options available. As a result, training has become a major focus for our program and all of the elephants have benefited. Besides the tremendous mental stimulation and better husbandry techniques that training provides, the elephants are in better physical shape as well.

 

We have greatly expanded the bull training programs and begun routinely walking them in the exhibit. For the cows, a whole new world has been opened up. They are learning to push and pull logs, brace, bow, paint and many other behaviors. A special donation has allowed us to purchase two work harnesses to pull logs and other large items. One elephant in particular has responded very well to the new training program. Rose is a very intelligent nine-year-old with a lot of energy to burn. She learns very quickly and has come a long way in the last year. Along with the behaviors the other elephants have learned, she is learning a tub sit, a ground sit, a routine for demonstrations, to pull in a harness and is now used for behind-the-scenes tours. Also, we are currently walking two of the cows in the zoo before operating hours. One of the cows, Shine, was born at this facility 20 years ago and had never been beyond the barn doors. She is now walking in the zoo and the health and enrichment benefits are quite remarkable. By closely monitoring her diet, increasing her training, and walking in the zoo, she has lost nearly 1,000 pounds [450 kg] in the last two years. Another huge benefit of being able to walk the elephants involves our youngest cow, Chendra. We discovered that Chendra's left jaw was swollen and we were concerned that she had an abscessed tooth. The vet staff took X-rays at the barn with a portable machine, but this was not powerful enough to produce very clear pictures of her tooth. So what do you do? You take the elephant to the bigger X-ray machine at the vet hospital! Luckily, she was still small enough to fit through the hospital doors, and after a few days of walking calmly into the X-ray room, we laid her down and took X-rays. She was fabulous and the pictures were much clearer. Thankfully, it appears that her tooth is normal.

 

Our oldest cow, Pet, is 48 years old and pigeon-toed. Over the years, her feet have continued to turn inward resulting in severe arthritis. We have confirmed arthritis in the joints of her wrists and feet (interdigital joints and metacarpophalangeal joints) by X-ray, and it is very likely that she also has arthritis in her hips and shoulders. For a while, we feared the end was near. Now we go into the yard several times a day to pick up her feet. She has a lot more flexibility now and appears to be in a lot less pain. We do not plan on taking Pet on long walks through the zoo, but our goal is to take her to a clearing and let her kick up her heels for a while. The entire training process for walking the elephants has been a valuable experience for the staff as well. In the near future we hope to have all three cows walking through the zoo together.

 

We believe that educating the public is an integral part of our job and by making it a memorable experience we can make a difference. We have expanded our traditional keeper talks to include demonstrations and discussions on training that involves the cows and the bulls. We also bring overnight groups into the exhibit to scatter food for the elephants and focus on talking with the guests as we go through our day. We are also currently working on a logging routine that demonstrates the history and culture between humans and Asian elephants.

 

We have a wonderful volunteer staff, who do everything from cutting up fruit and cleaning to making enrichment items, and any other project we may think of. One of the elephant handlers developed a special group of volunteers that make up the Elephant Enrichment Committee. They meet with the staff once a month to identify enrichment needs and develop a plan to meet their goals. They are so efficient that other areas of the zoo are trying to use members of the committee to help with their enrichment projects. Some of the ideas include a speaker system throughout the barn for audio enrichment, a hay feeder with enrichment items built in, and a scratching post. One of the interesting projects we are working on is in collaboration with a local university. Students from the Portland State University Engineering Department are developing a machine that will encourage the bulls to exercise when the handlers are not present. The device randomly sets off an audible cue from stations around the yard. The elephant has to walk to the stations to trigger the motion sensors. Once the sequence is complete a different audible cue will sound and a separate machine will dispense a flake of hay at the opposite end of the yard. Another project in the works is a computer program that will generate a random enrichment schedule. It includes the ability to add or subtract items to be included on the calendar. The goal of this program is to reduce the amount of time necessary to schedule enrichment, which is one of the many obstacles in having a successful enrichment program.

 

Oregon Zoo is well known for its amazing Asian elephant breeding history. Twenty-seven elephants have been born at this facility, including the first second-generation captive birth [see IZN 51 (1), 40 – Ed.]. However, with the loss of our breeding bull, the direction of our breeding program is undetermined at this time. We are committed to breeding at our facility and we are currently discussing our options. We will determine which option is best for the species and for our facility. Even though we are not breeding, we have done introductions with one of our bulls and the oldest cow to provide an opportunity for social interaction.

 

Many facilities battle with foot problems associated with captive elephants, and we are no exception. The wet winters in the north-west present even more challenges when it comes to maintaining healthy feet. Fortunately, we recently learned that we have received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to cover all of the concrete floors in the barn with mats made from recycled tires. The work will begin this summer, and hopefully it will reduce many foot and joint problems down the road.

 

Abridged from April Yoder in Journal of the Elephant Managers Association Vol. 14, No. 3 (Winter 2003)

 

Orsa Grönklitt, Orsa, Sweden

 

For the third year in a row a web camera will be placed in one of the bear dens at Orsa Grönklitt, one of Europe's largest bear parks. The camera will follow the mother bear Freja and her cubs until they leave the bear den in spring. The pictures, updated every other minute, are being published at www.orsa-gronklitt.se  from 10 February.

 

We first offered the unique opportunity to visit a bear den via the internet in January 2002. The camera project, which was the first of its kind, received an enormous response from all over the world. During the three months that the camera was placed in the den, more than 400,000 visitors were recorded from over 80 different countries. The female bear Saga and her three cubs were the bear park's largest attraction during the summer season. The 2003 project also generated worldwide attention. However, this time it was the female bear Ebba and her two cubs that were the centre of attention.

 

The opportunity to provide information globally is one of the major reasons why Orsa Grönklitt will once again start a new camera project. However, the decision was also based on demands from predator enthusiasts, all over the world, who would like to see a continuation of the project. `The two previous projects demonstrate that there is great interest in our predators and particularly in the brown bear,' says Torbjörn Wallin, the park's managing director. `Therefore it feels extra satisfactory that we are able to offer the opportunity to follow life in one of our bear dens this year as well.'

 

The keepers have confirmed that Freja has had her cubs and that there are at least three of them. However, as they are currently no bigger than a squirrel and are lying close to their mother embedded in her fur, it is quite possible that there is another one. Further information about this will be available on the website. As the cubs grow, the activity in the den will gradually increase.

 

The web project is a collaboration between Orsa Grönklitt, the Swedish Museum of Natural History and the Scandinavian Bear Project (Skandinaviska Björnprojektet). Sven Brunberg, field manager for the research project, emphasises that the web camera gives everybody with internet access a unique opportunity to follow the bears from the very beginning of their lives. `The first year's camera project opened the doors to a whole new world that not even we bear researchers had experienced previously,' he says. Visitors to the website can also read Brunberg's comments and descriptions of a brown bear's life cycle, ask the researchers of the Scandinavian Bear Project questions and find links to Swedish and international web sites with interesting information and facts about bears and other predators.

 

Abridged from the park's press release

 

Seattle Aquarium, Washington, U.S.A.

 

Information about the newly found sixgill shark (Hexanchus griseus) population in Puget Sound, including its biology, life history, population structure, home range, breeding pattern and phylogenetic relationships with other adjacent sixgill populations, remains elusive. This species is found all over the world, but usually at depths of 1,000 feet [300 m] or more. Currently, the presence of a population in the relatively shallow waters of Puget Sound and the Georgia Basin presents Seattle Aquarium with an opportunity to collect data on these animals. The aquarium has begun a research and conservation program and will now begin an interpretive program for visitors using this scientific information.

 

Aquarium researchers are able to attract sixgill sharks to a research station built at the end of the aquarium's pier in 60 feet [18 m] of water. This program is a long-term investigative effort with multiple partners to further the body of knowledge of this exciting apex predator, attempting to answer natural history questions through visual and acoustic tagging efforts, genetic analysis of tissue samples and hypervariable microsatellite nuclear markers. The new exhibit featuring the Sixgill Shark Research Station will give aquarium visitors an opportunity to view the sharks that swim under the pier through both live and recorded video footage. Interpreters will use this footage to explain the research program, demonstrate the research process, introduce the importance of sixgill sharks to the biodiversity of Puget Sound, and offer conservation tips. Visible marker tagging and biopsy sampling, underway since July 2003, will continue as a long-term investigative effort. Acoustic tagging will begin mid-2004 and will grow to take advantage of improvements in this technology. Studies begun at the aquarium's research site will be expanded geographically and merged with parallel investigations pursued by partner institutions such as Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and Vancouver Aquarium.

 

Communiqué (American Zoo and Aquarium Association), January 2004

 

San Diego Wild Animal Park, California, U.S.A.

 

The Storm's stork (Ciconia stormi) is considered one of the rarest storks in the world. Estimates say there are fewer than 400 remaining in the wild. These beautiful storks are found in remote areas of Borneo and Sumatra and into peninsular Malaysia and Thailand. Little is known about the natural history of this unique species, due in part to their secretive, solitary nature. The birds live in inaccessible peat swamp forests and undisturbed freshwater habitats. In fact, only two Storm's nests in the wild have been described by scientists, and the last one was only discovered in 1986. The early development of newly-hatched chicks has not been recorded because of concerns that nesting birds would be disturbed. Here at the Zoo and Wild Animal Park, we are fortunate to be able to provide some of the missing information, since we have now bred Storm's storks.

 

Four birds were received by the Zoological Society of San Diego from Malaysia's Zoo Negara in 1995, all thought to be two to three years of age. One pair was housed at the zoo and another pair at the park. For the first few years, the birds showed little interest in nest building. But then that changed with the pair housed off-exhibit at the park's bird breeding complex.

 

The keeper staff first noticed that the birds' facial colors were getting deeper, a sign that breeding could be imminent. The pair then began courtship behaviors, facing each other on the nest and extending their wings. The next step was courtship bowing, which was repeated several times and accompanied by vocalizations that can be best described as `wheezing'. These displays continued until some signal told the male it was time to approach the female for mating. The Bird Department staff were quite excited by the developments, hoping that eggs were on the way. To put these events in perspective, Storm's storks had never been successfully bred in captivity outside of Malaysia, and a successful hatching would be a significant accomplishment in the zoological community.

 

Fortunately, our hopes were realized, and the female laid one egg every other day until she had a clutch of four. In the wild, both parents participate in incubation. While one bird is sitting on the eggs, the other spends most of its time perched on the edge of the nest, perhaps serving as a sentinel. Because these birds are so rare, however, and because we wanted to increase the chances of hatching success, we removed the eggs from the parents either right after they were laid or after they had been incubated for a short time, taking the eggs to our off-exhibit facility to incubate them in safety. The oval, chalky-white eggs were placed in an artificial incubator, and the development of the embryos was carefully monitored.

 

Incubation took 29 days. On hatching, the chicks were sent to the Avian Propagation Center at the zoo, where another group of skilled keepers fed, monitored, and cared for them. A few months later, the chicks were transferred back to the Wild Animal Park to become a founding population of Storm's storks. From then on, the nesting pair were allowed to raise their own chicks. So far, seven Storm's storks have been added to the captive population through the park's program. We have learned a great deal in working with this important species. One advantage we have in zoos is working in a controlled environment, and our observations will help to fill in some of the missing pieces in the biology and behavior of these storks, enabling future studies to be even more complete.

 

As with many species, the most serious threat to Storm's stork in the wild is logging and deforestation in their home range. The exact status of the species in the wild is difficult to determine and will require more extensive scrutiny in the future. We are currently talking with officials at Zoo Negara about the possibility of a reintroduction project for this rare stork. We will also exchange offspring to increase genetic diversity, so we can make every effort to try to ensure that this species will be around for many generations to come.

Abridged from Michael Mace in Zoonooz Vol. 77, No. 1 (January 2004)

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

The 24 living species of softshell turtles belong to one family, Trionychidae, and have a distribution through North America, Africa, Asia, and the East Indies to New Guinea. They are superbly adapted for an aquatic existence, with a rounded, flattened carapace, and the entire shell is covered with tough, leathery skin. The bone elements of the shell are reduced, making it shell flexible, an asset for swimming. The neck is long and retractable, and the snout often has a long proboscis that can be used like a snorkel. The limbs are powerful and paddlelike, and the feet are strongly webbed. Overall, they have an excellent hydrodynamic design, and their streamlined bodies slip gracefully and speedily through the water.

 

Softshells also have an array of physiological tricks that allow a longer stay underwater. They can pump water in and out of their mouths and throats, where the rich vascular lining extracts oxygen directly from the water. These turtles often lie in shallow water and bury their entire bodies in sand or the mud bottom, so that only a small portion of the head is visible. When they need to breathe, they stretch their heads to the surface until just the nostrils touch, then quickly gulp a few breaths while the body remains buried.

 

Narrow-headed softshell turtles (Chitra indica) are one of the true giants among the softshells. They approach four feet [1.2 m] in length and weigh nearly 250 pounds [110 kg] – about the size of a card table and the weight of a mid-sized Galápagos tortoise. They feed on fish, mollusks, and crustaceans. The species is widespread in southern Asia, preferring sandy, clear sections of large rivers, and rarely leaves the water except to lay eggs. The genus name of this species, Chitra, is the Bengali word for `picture', which comes from the elaborate pattern that decorates the carapace skin, resembling a painting; this is especially prominent in young turtles.

 

In the wild, narrow-headed softshells live in some of the same rivers as gharials (Gavialis gangeticus). So in planning the new Indian gharial exhibit at the zoo, we decided to include softshells and display them with the crocodilians – a feat few zoos have tried. Along the exhibit's main beach, there are two submerged sand pits made especially to accommodate the turtles. They can often be seen buried in these pits, with just the eyes and a vague outline of the shell visible. In this position, the turtles periodically extend their elongated heads and necks to the surface to take a quick breath, causing visitors to wonder what peculiar creature shares the exhibit with the strange-looking `alligators'. I've even heard visitors say, `Ooohh, look at that eel!'

 

The narrow-headed softshell turtles are actually just the start of turtle-watching at the gharial exhibit – they share the habitat with six other species of turtle. One of the most distinctive is the painted terrapin (Callagur borneoensis). In the wild they are found in tidal flats, large freshwater and brackish streams, and rivers throughout the Malay Peninsula, Borneo, and Sumatra. During breeding season, the red color on the top of the males' heads becomes much brighter, leading to their other common name, the clown turtle. Adult females may reach lengths of almost two feet [0.6 m]. Years of collection of adults and eggs for the food markets have caused this species to become critically endangered in the wild – in fact, they are among the 25 most endangered turtle species in the world.

 

In the horsetail and reed beds of the exhibit, you may notice small turtles peering out of the vegetation. These are Roti Island snake-necked turtles (Chelodina mccordi). Occurring only on Roti Island, a 62-square-mile [160-km2] island in Indonesia, they inhabit streams, lakes, and rice paddies. Even though these turtles were only described by science in 1994, in less than ten years they have almost disappeared from the wild, the result of overcollection for the international pet trade. They are also among the 25 species on what the Turtle Conservation Fund calls `Death Row'.

 

Spotted pond turtles (Geoclemys hamiltonii) come from slow-moving waters of the Indus and Ganges rivers drainage areas in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Reaching an adult size of almost 14 inches [350 mm], these turtles get their name from the white or yellow spots on their black bodies. They eat fish, invertebrates, and amphibians. Because of overcollection for the food markets, spotted pond turtles have been on the Endangered Species List since 1976.

 

One of the easiest turtles to spot in their wild habitat is the Chinese stripe-necked turtle (Ocadia sinensis), usually found basking on logjams or along the shoreline. They are found in slow-moving rivers, lakes, and ponds in China, Vietnam, and Laos, and feed on aquatic plants, fish, and invertebrates. Females are larger than males, reaching a length of about 10 inches [25 mm]. These were the first turtles to reproduce in our gharial exhibit: two clutches of eggs resulted in nine hatchlings in 2003.

 

Other than the softshells, the largest turtle on exhibit is the Malaysian giant terrapin (Orlitia borneoensis), which will be almost 32 inches [0.8 m] when fully grown. This species inhabits larger bodies of water in Malaysia, Sumatra, and Borneo. A uniform gray in color, these turtles feed mainly on fish and invertebrates but will also eat some vegetation. The large male in our exhibit, known as The General, was actually on his way to a food market in 2001, when, luckily for him and the others, the shipment was confiscated by wildlife authorities and the turtles were distributed to authorized facilities.

 

The river terrapin (Batagur baska) is a critically endangered species that also grows to a large size, almost two feet [0.6 m]. Also on the 25 Most Endangered Turtle list, they were historically widespread in Southeast Asia, but have now been eliminated throughout most of their range because of overcollection of eggs and adults for food, as well as habitat destruction of their nesting beaches and the mangrove forests where they forage for food. Large, brownish gray turtles, these are usually spotted foraging on the bottom of the zoo's gharial exhibit.

 

Abridged from Donal M. Boyer and John Kinkaid in Zoonooz Vol. 76, No. 12 (December 2003)

 

Shimonoseki Marine Science Museum, Kaikyokan, Japan

 

Finless porpoises (Neophocaena phocaenoides) are one of the many endangered species whose survival is threatened as a result of bi-catch fatalities, coastal water development, pollution created from human activities and diminished fish stocks. The species is found only in shallow coastal waters ranging from the Persian Gulf through India, South-East Asia, China and Korea to Japan.

 

In May 2001, a male finless porpoise was rescued from a setnet, which had been left in shallow water and was light enough to allow him to surface and breathe. At the time of rescue, the porpoise was exhausted, suffering several deep cuts from the net and would have soon drowned had he not been removed. He was brought to the recently opened museum, and after several months of rehabilitation and treating infections of the wounds, he finally began to swim, eat and behave normally enough for us to feel confident that he had overcome the experience. He is now the rarest animal maintained in our aquarium.

 

The Shimonoseki Marine Science Museum is owned by the City of Shimonoseki, and was opened in April 2001 at a cost of US$100 million. The aquarium maintains over 400 species of marine life including penguins, seals, sea lions, dolphins and porpoises.

 

If they are to survive in their natural habitat, finless porpoises throughout Asia need public support. In Japan, concern about their plight is increasing, and we are among several aquariums working together on population studies and assisting stranded or injured porpoises.

 

Grant Abel in ARAZPA Newsletter No. 60 (November 2003)

 

Singapore Zoo

 

The zoo's new `Creatures of the Night' show is designed to showcase the incredible adaptations of animals that feed and hunt in the night. It features over 19 species of night animals from around the world, including puma, binturong, small-toothed civet, barn owl, eagle owl, great horned owl, reticulated python, small-clawed otter, leopard cat, fishing cat, crab-eating raccoon, raccoon, serval, rat, striped hyena, spotted hyena, flying fox, fruit bat, banded mongoose and timber wolf.

 

This varied cast of animals is the largest number of species featured in any zoo show in the world. The state of-the-art amphitheatre for the show seats 600 and the set depicts the ruins of an ancient coliseum that has been partially devoured by the jungle. A futuristic sound and lighting system enhances the unique sounds and sights of a rainforest. To house the extensive animal cast of 80 mammals, raptors and reptiles for the show, an extensive back-of-house facility was also incorporated into the theatre. This includes large yards and holding areas, landscaped with natural material to ensure the animals are comfortable and happy when not working in the show. A large training yard, one of the biggest available for a facility of this nature, allows trainers to develop new behaviors and routines in an area that will best mirror actual stage conditions.

 

Developing the animal action for the show was the biggest challenge we faced. The ground rules for the trainers were simple. Every behavior featured in the show had to highlight a unique adaptation for hunting, food gathering or survival in the night jungle, and everything had to happen within 30 minutes for the show. A crew of ten trainers was assigned various animals and routines to work on. From casual play sessions with the animals, and armed with special food rewards, the trainers spent hours coaxing the various animal cast members to display a wide range of hunting and food-gathering behaviors. Patience was the key, especially with the many small predators we were working with. An important part of the work also involved hand-raising different species, especially the large carnivores featured. This ensured that there was a special bond with the trainers and that these young animals were slowly acclimatized to get comfortable with the various different distractions that would be part of a live production.

 

All the animals were trained on the operant conditioning system, which basically meant that the animals were the operators during training – they were in control and could decide if they wanted to participate or not. The trainers had to be very creative and come up with various ideas to encourage the animals to display the required action. This also meant there were endless late-night meetings with the training and production crew, as animals decided to go a different way, which meant that the animal action plan had to be rewritten. In tandem, the script, lighting and sound effects had to change as well. This left a lot of frustrated humans scrambling to come up with last-minute creative changes to their areas. The crew, especially the specialists not used to working with wild animals, quickly learned that the animals were in charge.

 

To feature the many species in the 30 minutes available for the production, we had to have animals overlap each other as they entered and left the performing area during the show. Timing these entries and exits was crucial to ensure the flow of the show was effective and quick. More crucial was that animals had to perform with minimal or no cues from the human performers – this was to create the impression that the animals just appeared from the jungle, displayed a behaviour and disappeared back into the forest.

 

To develop an engaging, interactive script for this new show, the services of scriptwriters from Action Theatre, a professional theatre production company, were engaged. From a rough working script developed in house, the team from Action Theatre set out to create the words that would support the animal action. After numerous drafts and brainstorming sessions with the production crew, the final script incorporated three different endings and – unlike normal theatre productions – adequate additional material for the presenters in the event that the animals decided to `change gears' and do something different from the plan during a live show!

 

Abridged from a Singapore Zoo media release

 

Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, Germany

 

On 19 December 2003 a new enclosure for Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) was opened. The area is 902 m2, with a height of 4.5 m. The enclosure is surrounded with fences and covered over the top with wire netting. The substrate consists of natural soil. A granite rock 3.5 m high plus trunks and climbing trees are in the enclosure, and there is also a pool available. The perimeter fence is interrupted with panes of glass for visibility at three points. Behind a granite face is a little monkey house, to which visitors are not admitted. The facility is located between the Przewalski horse enclosure and the pheasantry, and thus adds to the Tierpark's area for Asian animals. The cost of Euros 300,000 was met entirely by donations from visitors.

 

Dr Bernhard Blaszkiewitz

 

Ueno Zoo, Tokyo, Japan

 

In October 2001 the zoo received a pair of aye-ayes from Madagascar's Tsimbazaza Zoo. The male was an estimated eight years old and the female an estimated three, and they were kept in connected cages. The connecting door is kept open or closed depending on the behavior of the animals. There is a screened window in the door, and the animals can touch each other through the screen when the door is closed.

 

The female came into oestrus for the first time in January 2002. Copulation was observed in April and June, but no pregnancy resulted. Her fourth oestrus occurred in July. No copulation was observed, but pregnancy was confirmed at the end of September by changes in the female's mammae. On 24 December 2002, a baby was found lying on the floor. It was immediately warmed up and returned to the female's nest box. But in the middle of the night the female dropped it out of the box and made no attempt to pick it up again. Attempts were made to hand-rear the baby, a male, but it died on 28 December of a fractured skull.

 

The female came into heat again in January 2003, and copulation was observed. Her genital region around the time of oestrus had now been photographed for a full year, so that it was possible to determine pregnancy from these observations. Pregnancy was confirmed at the beginning of March. In the evening of 8 July, she began carrying twigs into her nest box. She did not leave the box on 9 July, but a faint voice could be heard, and during the night there were sounds of suckling as well. On 10 July 10 the female came out of the box with the baby in her mouth. She kept trying to take it into her hands, but kept dropping it. However, a thick layer of wood chips had been spread on the floor and the baby was unharmed. By evening the baby was weakening, so the keepers picked it up, fed it milk, and returned it to the nest box.

 

After that, the mother gradually got used to handling the baby. But after about two weeks the baby began to lose weight, and the mother would walk around with it in her mouth as many as 30 times a day. It was surmised that she was not producing enough milk, and it was noted that she was not eating her mealworms and honey very well. When she was given mealworms without honey, her daily intake of five grams increased to 30 grams. Now she is given three species of insect larvae, of which she eats about 55 grams a day, and the baby is gaining weight steadily.

 

On 6 September the baby came out of the nest of its own accord, and began tapping branches and gnawing on them. After ten days it was climbing up and down, and at the end of September it was even jumping.

 

On 24 October it showed interest in the macadamia nuts its mother was eating. At the age of about four months it was frequently seen eating fruit with its middle finger. The normal nursing posture of the aye-aye has not been reported, but inside the nest box this female would lie on her back and the baby would suckle at the teats near the groin with its head between the legs of the mother.

 

English summary of article in Japanese by Takahisa Hosoda, published in Animals and Zoos Vol. 56, No. 1 (January 2004)

 

Underwater World, Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia

 

Over the last three years Underwater World has had some amazing success with the breeding of a variety of cartilaginous fish species. These include brown-banded bamboo sharks, blotched fantail rays, shovelnose rays, wobbegong sharks and sandbar whaler sharks. We were also the first aquarium in the world to successfully breed grey nurse sharks on several occasions in the 1990s.

 

Currently Underwater World breeds over 300 brown-banded bamboo sharks (Chiloscyllium punctatum) each year, with many being used for research and educational purposes. Some are transferred to other aquariums and many are released. This species has always done well in captivity and specimens never need to be obtained from the wild.

 

The blotched fantail ray (Taeniura meyeni) grows to over 1.8 m in diameter and is a pleasant, tame and docile species well-suited to captivity. There is very little published information available about this species.

According to S.W. Michael's Reef Sharks and Rays of the World (Sea Challengers, Monterey, 1993) this species only has a longevity record in an aquarium of 81 days; however, Underwater World has kept a pair of adults since 1989. For many years we had problems rearing our juveniles due to an unknown monogenean trematode (fluke), but we now have a better understanding of the life cycles and have implemented new procedures to manage these parasites. Although we have successfully produced pups on six separate occasions, it is only since 2000 that juveniles have successfully been reared. Litter sizes average seven pups, and due to this recent success we have sent juveniles successfully to Sydney Aquarium as well as to Busan Aquarium in South Korea. Our pups are all transponder-tagged so that we can identify them when we measure and weigh them on a regular basis. This research will allow us to publish more data on the species.

 

We constantly breed wobbegongs (Orectolobus ornatus) and shovelnose rays (Aptychotrema rostrata) in our main tank and ray pool. These juveniles are removed and placed into safer smaller exhibits and quarantine tanks for rearing before being put back into the main tank. We attribute this success to the professionalism of the staff, the excellent water quality and other environmental parameters that are being maintained.

 

The beautiful and majestic sandbar whaler shark (Carcharinus plumbeus) is listed by IUCN as lower risk (near threatened) globally. In February 2003 both our females produced pups. These were transponder-tagged and placed into our cave zone exhibit where they would not be eaten by our large grey nurse shark. The pups are growing well and thriving. Our female is again pregnant and possibly due to have pups again in February 2004. This success is a testament to the dedication of the keepers who maintain their environment. The research and success we have achieved in reproducing this species in captivity will hopefully lead to its better conservation.

 

The grey nurse shark (Carcharias taurus) is now listed as vulnerable worldwide, and the local population on the east coast of Australia is regarded as critically endangered, with numbers estimated to be less than 500. The species is kept by numerous aquariums around the world, and it adapts well to captivity, but is not generally known to reproduce successfully. That changed in 1992 when Underwater World produced two pups from a female named Big Mamma that had recently been caught. Although conception occurred in the wild in this case, the juveniles were reared to adulthood. Big Mamma again produced a pair of pups in 1997 [see IZN 45 (1), 58–59], and a pair in 1999, all of which were conceived in the aquarium. One of the females that was born in 1992 gave birth to stillborn pups in 2000 and 2003. The pups that were born in 2000 were premature but the pups from 2003 were full-term or nearly so.

 

Currently Underwater World, together with Melbourne Aquarium, the resources company BHP Billiton and Monash University, are researching techniques for captive breeding of grey nurse sharks. If the wild population continues to decline, the animals held in a few Australian aquariums may become the last genetic stock of east coast Australian grey nurse sharks. It is vital, therefore, that we learn from our experiences, and improve our reproductive success with this species in captivity as we have done with banded bamboo sharks, blotched fantail rays and many other species. We owe it to a species that has been an ambassador for all sharks in large public aquariums worldwide.

 

Andreas Fischer in ARAZPA Newsletter No. 61 (February 2004)

 

News in brief

 

Amsterdam Zoo's 50-year-old male Asian elephant Murugan died peacefully on 4 June 2003. During his last months, he had been bothered by many problems of old age, including foot and joint problems and fluid accumulation in his abdomen. The zoo was continually confronted with the question whether or not to treat the ailments – there was always hope that they would clear up, and Murugan did indeed recover each time. In May, however, the problems became visibly worse, and finally it was decided that euthanasia was the only reasonable solution.

 

Translated by Gina Kornblith from De Harpij Vol. 22, No. 3 (2003)

 

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A giant anteater was born at Montgomery Zoo, Alabama, on 21 September 2003. The first-time mother, Roxanne, is caring well for her baby. Roxanne arrived at the zoo in May 2002; the father is on breeding loan from the African Safari Wildlife Park in Port Clinton, Ohio. The birth adds significant genetic variance for the future breeding of the species. There are fewer than 80 giant anteaters in North American zoos, which limits the genetic diversity available for the population.

 

Communiqué (American Zoo and Aquarium Association), December 2003

 

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The koala breeding programme at Planckendael Zoo, Belgium, is very successful. The third baby born here was one year old on 10 July 2003, so it was high time for Caloundra, Coolongalook and Alkina's previous offspring, to make room for the newcomer, and he was sent to Madrid. In his place, we received a young female, Ditji-Toda, from Portugal. From now on, Coolongalook will have two wives, and we hope this will lead to more births in the koala house.

 

Translated by Gina Kornblith from De Harpij Vol. 22, No. 3 (2003)

 

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RECENT ARTICLES

 

Abegg, C.: Das Siberut-Schutzprojekt – ein Projekt zur Förderung des Primatenschutzes in Indonesien und der sozioökonomischen Entwicklung von Nord-Siberut. (A project to promote primate conservation in Indonesia and socio-economic development in north Siberut.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 19, No. 2 (2003), pp. 5–7. [German, with English summary. The Mentawai island group off Sumatra's west coast is unparalleled in terms of its biodiversity. Timber exploitation, however, now poses a major threat to this exceptional ecosystem. In order to contribute to long-term conservation, the Siberut Conservation Project was launched in 2002 to provide a field-based research and conservation centre for researchers from various biological departments, within the framework of a socio-economic programme aimed at helping local villagers by improving transportation facilities and the marketing of agricultural products. Cooperation with professionals in tourism will later also allow development of carefully controlled ecotourism in selected areas of northern Siberut. In close association with traditional land stakeholders, the central objective is to preserve a significantly large area of the strategically located Peleonan Forest and effectively protect substantial populations of the unique, but now endangered, animal and plant species of this area.]

Ahlmann, V.: Arbeitsgruppe Buschmannhase – eine neue Initiative des südafrikanischen Endangered Wildlife Trusts zum Schutz des Buschmannhasen. (A new conservation initiative for the riverine rabbit in South Africa.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 19, No. 2 (2003), pp. 10–12. [German, with English summary. The conservation of the riverine rabbit (Bunolagus monticularis), one of southern Africa's most endangered mammals and the flagship species of the central Karoo region, will in future be co-ordinated by the Riverine Rabbit Working Group (RRWG), a newly established group of the Endangered Wildlife Trust. The group's chairperson, veterinarian Dr Vicky Ahlmann, started her work on the species in late 1998 on behalf of the ZGAP. Recent results of habitat evaluation and drive counts in the Victoria West, Carnarvon, Beaufort West and Fraserburg districts indicate an estimated decline of about 60% in the total rabbit population during the past 20 years. The present population size is estimated to be less than 500 animals. However, new subpopulations have been identified in three different areas in the Central Karoo.]

Baker, W.K.: Can fatigue or stress play a part in compromising safety in the workplace? Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 31, No. 2 (2004), pp. 58–59.

Baker, W.K.: Recommendations for preventing human encroachment into a zoological facility. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 30, No. 12 (2003), pp. 484–486.

Baker, W.K.: What types of reference materials are available for crisis management? Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 31, No. 1 (2004), pp. 27–28.

Bauer, H., and Van Der Merwe, S.: Inventory of free-ranging lions Panthera leo in Africa. Oryx Vol. 38, No. 1 (2004), pp. 26–31. [The number of free-ranging African lions has never been comprehensively assessed. The authors present an inventory of available information, covering most protected areas and ranging in quality from educated guesses to individually known populations. This gives a conservative estimate of 16,500–30,000 animals. The inventory shows that populations are small and fragmented in West and Central Africa, whereas the species still occurs widely in East and Southern Africa. The results concur with the current IUCN Red List categorization of the lion as Vulnerable.]

Bayrakci, R.: Starting an injection training program with lion-tailed macaques (Macaca silenus). Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 30, No. 12 (2003), pp. 503–512. [Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, Washington.]

Bertok, K.: Ideas for kinkajou enrichment. The Shape of Enrichment Vol. 12, No. 3 (2003), pp. 1–3. [Potos flavus; Carnivore Preservation Trust, Pittsboro, North Carolina.]

Bralsford, G.: Breeding the chestnut-backed thrush Zoothera dohertyi. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 109, No. 4 (2003), pp. 150–153.

Congdon, S.: Breeding the bearded barbet Lybius dubius at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 109, No. 4 (2003), pp. 154–162.

Davies, H.T., and du Toit, J.: Anthropogenic factors affecting wild dog Lycaon pictus reintroductions: a case study in Zimbabwe. Oryx Vol. 38, No. 1 (2004), pp. 32–39. [In 1997 a pack of African wild dogs was reintroduced to Matusadona National Park in north-western Zimbabwe. The authors use this case study to consider anthropogenic factors likely to affect the success of wild dog reintroductions in southern Africa. Potential wild dog–human conflict was investigated using a questionnaire, administered to communal farmers near the park, that recorded the incidence of livestock predation, snaring, traditional uses and attitudes of local people towards wild dogs. Predation on livestock was negligible, with wild dogs being responsible for <2% of goat losses to wild predators. Twenty-four different traditional uses for wild dogs and their body parts were described by 54% of survey respondents. Less than 25% of survey respondents were aware of the reintroduction, and only 20% felt positive about it. Recommendations for future wild dog reintroductions include before-and-after public relations and education programmes in neighbouring communities, monitoring to determine actual causes and rates of post-release wild dog mortality, and vaccination against canid diseases.]

Dowell, S., and Bo, D.: Durchbruch in Sachen Naturschutz in Sichuan. (Breakthrough for conservation in Sichuan.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 19, No. 2 (2003), pp. 12–14. [German, with English summary. (This article was originally published in English in World Birdwatch 25.1, March 2003.) The huge dam that will result in the flooding of the Yangtze River gorges in China's Sichuan province has few supporters amongst conservationists. Further upstream, however, concern about dam siltation due to soil erosion in the catchment area has led the authorities to announce a complete ban on deforestation, and this has recently resulted in permanent protection for some important areas of broadleaf forest. Shortly after the logging ban in 1998, a 35-km2 area of broadleaf forest around Laojunshan was established as a nature reserve specifically for the Sichuan partridge (Arborophila rufipectus). The authors' research on this species using radio telemetry has confirmed that it is a true forest bird, preferring undisturbed areas of closed-canopy broadleaf forest where it forages for invertebrates in damp leaf litter. The partridge will also survive in areas that have been replanted with native broadleaf trees once they have grown beyond the sapling stage and can provide a closed-canopy cover. Following the logging ban, there is a greater willingness to set aside remaining areas for conservation, and there has been a massive replanting campaign in clear-felled areas. Strategically planned, these plantations serve as valuable habitat corridors between protected patches of primary forest and thus secure the future for the partridge and other native wildlife.]

Encke, W.: Von der Bienenfresser- zur Eisvogelbrutwand: Erfahrungen aus dem Zoo in die freie Natur übertragen. (From a bee-eater breeding-wall to one for kingfishers: transfer of zoo experience to the wild.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 6 (2003), pp. 402–408. [German, with English summary. The author describes the construction of a breeding-wall for kingfishers (Alcedo atthis) at the riverside of an old branch of the Rhine near Krefeld. The construction was based on the experience of constructing a breeding-wall for bee-eaters in Krefeld Zoo. The article also describes the breeding preparations and raising of the kingfishers, who accepted the wall immediately and used it for a second and third brood while the first and second ones were still in the nest.]

Engelmann, W.-E., and Horn, H.-G.: Erstmalige Nachzucht von Karl-Schmidt's Waran, Varanus jobiensis, im Zoo Leipzig. (First breeding of peach-throated monitor at Leipzig Zoo.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 6 (2003), pp. 353–358. [German, with very brief English summary. One 27.2-cm lizard hatched on 15/02/2001 from a clutch of four eggs. By the end of August 2003 the animal had reached a length of 56.5 cm.]

Fa, J.E., Burn, R.W., Stanley Price, M.R., and Underwood, F.M.: Identifying important endemic areas using ecoregions: birds and mammals in the Indo-Pacific. Oryx Vol. 38, No. 1 (2004), pp. 91–101. [Concentrations of large numbers of endemic species have been singled out in prioritization exercises as significant areas for global biodiversity conservation. This paper describes bird and mammal endemicity in Indo-Pacific ecoregions. An ecoregion is a relatively large unit of land or water that contains a distinct assemblage of natural communities. The authors prioritize 133 ecoregions according to their levels of endemicity, and explain how variables such as biome type, whether the ecoregion is on an island or continental mass, montane or non-montane, correlate with the proportion of the total species assemblage that are endemic. Following an exploratory principal components analysis, they classify all ecoregions according to the relationship between numbers of endemics and overall species richness. Endemicity is negatively correlated with species richness. They show that plotting the logit transformation of the endemicity of birds and mammals against log of species richness is a more effective and useful way of identifying important ecoregions than simply ordering ecoregions by the proportion of endemic species, or any other single measure. The plot, divided into 16 regions corresponding to the quartiles of the two variables, was used to identify ecoregions of high conservation value. These are the ecoregions with the highest endemicity and lowest species richness. Further analysis shows that island and montane ecoregions, regardless of their biome type, are by far the most important for endemic species.]

Furmanski, W.: Studying scent enrichment for sika deer and Indian muntjacs. The Shape of Enrichment Vol. 12, No. 3 (2003), pp. 4–7. [Cervus nippon and Muntiacus muntjak; Oakland Zoo, California.]

Gottschalk, C., Thielebein, J., and Spretke, T.: Anmerkungen zum Flohbefall bei einem Korsak, Vulpes corsac (Linnaeus, 1768) im Zoologischen Garten Halle. (Notes on a flea infestation in a corsac fox at Halle Zoo.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 6 (2003), pp. 416–421. [German, with very brief English summary. The wild-caught animal was infested with Pulex irritans; microscopic measurements suggest possible differences between these and `normal' human fleas.]

Guerrero, D.: Integration of Zalophus californianus and Phoca vitulina. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 30, No. 12 (2003), pp. 487–488.

Guerrero, D.: Wolf training. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 31, No. 1 (2004), pp. 23–24.

Hegetschweiler, K.T., Jermann, T., and Baur, B.: Einfluss der pflanzlichen Strukturvielfalt im Terrarium auf die Aktivität und das Verhalten junger Jemenchamäleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus). (Influence of different terrarium plant structures on activity and behaviour of young veiled chameleons.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 6 (2003), pp. 359–367. [German, with English summary; Basel Zoo. The plant structure of the terraria of six individually housed young chameleons was alternately changed to form a moderately structured or a highly structured habitat. A moderately structured terrarium contained two to three branches of Prunus spinosa. To obtain a highly structured terrarium, four 40-cm-high Dracaena plants were added. The chameleons showed higher locomotory activity in moderately structured terraria than in highly structured terraria. In moderately structured terraria they also showed more stress signals such as scratching on the walls. These effects were more pronounced as the chameleons grew older (six months). This finding indicates that young veiled chameleons require abundant cover and hiding places and that these needs increase with age.]

Hennessey, A.B.: Schutzprojekt für den Rotohrara in Bolivien. (A conservation project for the red-fronted macaw in Bolivia.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 19, No. 2 (2003), p. 19. [German, no English summary: Ara rubrogenys.]

Hu, G., Dong, X., Wei, Y., Zhu, Y., and Duan, X.: Evidence for a decline of François' langur Trachypithecus francoisi in Fusui Nature Reserve, south-west Guangxi, China. Oryx Vol. 38, No. 1 (2004), pp. 48–54. [Between July 2000 and June 2001 the authors undertook a survey of François' langur and its habitat in the Fusui Nature Reserve, where 86 individual langurs were recorded in 1995. In their first survey period they located 45 individuals in ten groups, but c. 12 months later, despite expending more effort, they were only able to locate three of the ten groups, totalling 23 individuals. In all, in three separate surveys, they recorded densities that were 26–52% of the 1995 figures. Within the reserve almost all of the valley bottoms and most flat areas in the hills have been cultivated and there is steady encroachment into the hills and forests. The majority of local families depend on the forest for firewood. It appears that habitat loss and illegal hunting are responsible for the decline of François' langur. They recommend that alternative income generating activities and energy sources should be explored to reduce human pressure on these langurs and their habitat. More funding should also be made available to the reserve to enable staff to adequately tackle issues of hunting and habitat destruction.]

Hübner, S.M., Prinzinger, R., and Wink, M.: Neue Erkenntnisse zur Taxonomie der Hornvögel (Aves: Bucerotiformes) und ihre Bedeutung für die Zucht in Menschenobhut. (New findings on hornbill taxonomy and their significance for captive breeding.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 6 (2003), pp. 396–401. [German, with English summary. Within the scope of developing a molecular phylogeny of hornbills, some results with relevance to captive breeding have arisen. Partly they are of purely formal importance – that Tockus apparently consists of two genera, that Ceratogymna and Bycanistes should be united into only one genus Ceratogymna, that there are obviously two genera behind Tockus and that Aceros comatus should be relocated into Berenicornis. But other results are of immediate interest for captive breeding: Tockus d. deckeni, T. d. jacksoni, Anthracoceros a. albirostris and A. a. convexus are corroborated as subspecies. In the case of Bucorvus leadbeateri the results imply the existence of genetically distinctive populations. Tockus n. nasutus, T. n. epirhinus and some subspecies of T. erythrorhynchus differ to such an extent that they should be treated as full species. Further, the existence of more than one Penelopides species is confirmed; there are also Penelopides-hybrids in European zoos.]

Hyatt, C.W., Metzler, T., French, B., and Fahrenbruck, D.: Mirrors as enrichment for Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Journal of the Elephant Managers Association Vol. 14, No. 3 (2003), pp. 12–16. [Mirrors were placed in the activity yards of 15 Asian elephants and responses noted. Although no explicit behaviors indicating self-recognition were observed, there were no aggressive acts demonstrated. Significant effects were found showing increased activity levels when examining time spent looking at the mirror and frequencies of reaching for the mirror when compared to baseline. The active interest toward the mirrors displayed by several of the animals supports the use of supervised mirror interaction as novel behavioral enrichment for elephants.]

Jacobs, B., Yantz, A., and Lacasse, C.: Recovery from spinal trauma in a juvenile Allen's swamp monkey (Allenopithecus nigroviridis). Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 31, No. 2 (2004), pp. 69–71. [Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, Illinois.]

Jones, M.L.: A history of the genus Picathartes in captivity, 1948–2002. (Continued from Vol. 109, No. 3.) Avicultural Magazine Vol. 109, No. 4 (2003), pp. 167–173.

Kobold, S.: Die Primaten von Mentawai und das Siberut Conservation Project. (The primates of Mentawai and the S.C.P.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 19, No. 2 (2003), pp. 7–9. [German, no English summary. See above, s.v. Abegg.]

Lantermann, W.: Beiträge zur Embryogenese des Mohrenkopfpapageien (Poicephalus senegalus L., 1766): Erstes Dunenkleid, Zehenstellung und Schnabelform beim Schlupf. (Notes on the embryology of the Senegal parrot: neonatal down, toe position and beak shape in hatchlings.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 6 (2003), pp. 409–415. [German, with very brief English summary. The embryogenesis of most parrot species has not been the subject of detailed investigations. The author describes the neonatal down, the rounded `nodes' of the lower mandible and the development of the zygodactyl toe position of three newly-hatched Senegal parrot chicks.]

Lernould, J.-M.: Das internationale Erhaltungszuchtprogramm für den Gelbbrustkapuziner: eine Zusammenfassung. (A summary of the international breeding programme for the yellow-breasted capuchin monkey.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 19, No. 2 (2003), pp. 26–27. [German, with English summary. The yellow-breasted capuchin is a subspecies (xanthosternos) of Cebus apella, nowadays being often considered to be a distinct species. Its original range included a very large area of tropical rain forest along the coast of Brazil. This forest has undergone intense destruction and only two percent still exists. In the early 1980s, capuchins kept as pets were acquired for a breeding programme by the Rio de Janeiro Primate Center. At that time, it was estimated that there were a few hundred yellow-breasted capuchins left in the wild. In 1986, the author joined the breeding programme. The decision to send four capuchins on loan from the Brazilian government to Mulhouse Zoo, France, was taken in 1988. Several European zoos subsequently joined the breeding programme. On 1 January 2003 there were 53 (35.15.3) animals in participating European zoos, and several in situ conservation measures have already been supported to clarify the species' status and define an appropriate plan of action.]

Lozano-Ortega, I.: On the ground or in the trees? Coatimundi feeding preferences. The Shape of Enrichment Vol. 12, No. 4 (2003), pp. 1–3. [Nasua nasua; Jersey Zoo.]

Lusli, S., and Wood, P.: Das Orangehaubenkakadu-Projekt auf der Insel Sumba. (The Sumba Cockatoo Project.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 19, No. 2 (2003), pp. 22–23. [German, with English summary. The Sumba cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata), one of four subspecies of the critically endangered yellow-crested cockatoo, is only found on Sumba Island. Decline. of population due to loss of nesting habitat and catching of birds for trade gives cause for concern that the critically endangered subspecies will not survive. In 2002, 600 birds were counted. BirdLife Indonesia (with help from ZGAP) undertook work to analyse the actual situation of the subspecies, and found that trapping is the main threat to the birds. In 2003/04, efforts are to be made to reduce pressure on the species and to strengthen measures for its conservation through increasing active involvement of the Sumba community, including villagers, government and the public, monitoring the trend in the population as well as levels of trapping and trading of this and other parrots in Sumba, and finally addressing trading and trapping directly through promoting and supporting law enforcement.]

Lutzmann, N.: Erhaltungsprojekt für Chamaeleo africanus: erste Daten aus Ägypten und Neues aus Griechenland. (A conservation project for the African chameleon: first data from Egypt and news from Greece.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 19, No. 2 (2003), pp. 15–17. [German, with English summary. A population of chameleons in the south-east Peloponnese in Greece has been identified as C. africanus. It seems to have been introduced by man. Surveys in Egypt (Nile valley and delta) in 2001/02 showed that only two further populations of the species exist. Due to political and other problems in Egypt, conservation measures are to be focused on the Greek population. At first financed by the European Union, the project is now carried out and financed by the Zoological Research Institute and Museum Alexander Koenig in Bonn (ZFMK), Landau Zoo and ZGAP. Conservation efforts for the habitat alone are not enough to ensure the survival of the population. Local bird hunters regard chameleon conservation as responsible for a hunting ban on birds, so they kill the animals and even attack associates of the project. In 2001, about 450 adult animals were counted, but one year later, only 59 were seen. The ZFMK and Landau Zoo have started a breeding programme for the species. In 2003, one viable chameleon hatched. A larger number of eggs is expected to hatch in Belgium. Discussions with local people and the authorities in Greece are urgently needed to discuss possibilities of eco-tourism and to make them realise that they can earn money from the special features of their natural environment, even outside of the tourism season.]

Mickelson, L.: Raising captive whooping cranes for the recovery program: an analysis of egg management and chick rearing at the Devonian Wildlife Conservation Centre. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 31, No. 2 (2004), pp. 76–79. [Grus americana; the DWCC is in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.]

Miller, A.: Malayan tapir enrichment at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 31, No. 2 (2004), pp. 63–68.

Nijman, V., and Smeets, M.: Zum Status des Bawean-Pustelschweins und des Bawean-Hirsches. (Status of the Bawean warty pig and Bawean deer.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 19, No. 2 (2003), p. 25. [German, with English summary. A brief field study on the status of the Bawean warty pig (Sus verrucosus blouchi) and the Bawean deer (Axis kuhli) took place in 2002 on the small island of Bawean north of Java, where both species are endemic. The main threat is habitat destruction. Additionally, the Bawean warty pig is considered a pest to crop fields, and thus hunted. In contrast to this, the local people are aware of the protected status of the Bawean deer. During the field study, no warty pig or deer was seen, but clear evidence of their continuing survival was obtained. To safeguard the survival of the pig and deer on Bawean, it is urgently necessary to reorganize, equip and educate the responsible local institutions, to implement stricter law enforcement and to start appropriate conservation awareness campaigns on the island.]

Nyhus, P.J., and Tilson, R.: Characterizing human–tiger conflict in Sumatra, Indonesia: implications for conservation. Oryx Vol. 38, No. 1 (2004), pp. 68–74. [Human–tiger conflict occurs in Indonesia but there is little recent information about the scope of the problem, and adequate policies are not in place to address the conflict. Published and unpublished reports of conflict between Sumatran tigers, people and their livestock were collected and analysed to characterize the extent, distribution and impact of human–tiger conflict on the island. Reportedly, between 1978 and 1997, tigers killed 146 people and injured 30, and killed at least 870 livestock. Conflict was less common in protected areas and more common in intermediate disturbance areas such as multiple-use forests where tigers and people coexist. In Indonesia there is a need to develop a definition of problem tigers, a database to track conflicts, and a process to respond immediately to conflicts when they occur. Without a better understanding of human–tiger conflict and a concerted effort to proactively address the problem, future landscape-level tiger conservation and management efforts may be jeopardized.]

Owen, N.: Breeding the grey treepie Dendrocitta formosae. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 109, No. 4 (2003), pp. 145–149.

Pagel, T.: Biologie, Haltung und Zucht von Spinten am Beispiel des Weissstirnspintes (Merops bullockoides) im Zoo Köln. (Biology, husbandry and breeding of bee-eaters, with special reference to white-fronted bee-eaters at Cologne Zoo.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 6 (2003), pp. 374–395. [German, with very brief English summary. Cologne Zoo has kept white-fronted bee-eaters for the last 11 years. The article describes their diet and the construction of an artificial riverbank.]

Port, M., and Rothe, H.: Eine nichtinvasive Methode der Gewichtserfassung an einer Gruppe semifreilebender Weissbüschelaffen (Callithrix jacchus). (A non-invasive method of taking weights in a semi-free-living group of common marmosets.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 6 (2003), pp. 422–425. [German, no English summary.]

Pratte, J.: Sleeping cats: it's what they do. . . The Shape of Enrichment Vol. 12, No. 4 (2003), pp. 6–7. [Sleeping platforms for big cats.]

Prouse, E.: Breeding the blue-crowned motmot at Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 109, No. 4 (2003), pp. 163–166. [Momotus momota.]

Quinlan, C.: An intern's enrichment. Animal Keepers' Forum Vol. 30, No. 12 (2003), pp. 498–499. [Houston Zoo, Texas; big cats.]

Raboy, B.E., Christman, M.C., and Dietz, J.M.: The use of degraded and shade cocoa forests by Endangered golden-headed lion tamarins Leontopithecus chrysomelas. Oryx Vol. 38, No. 1 (2004), pp. 75–83. [Determining habitat requirements for threatened primates is critical to implementing conservation strategies, and plans incorporating metapopulation structure require understanding the potential of available habitats to serve as corridors. The authors examined how three groups of golden-headed lion tamarins in Southern Bahia, Brazil, used mature, swamp, secondary and shade cocoa (cabruca) forests. Unlike callitrichids that show affinities for degraded forest, Leontopithecus species are presumed to depend on primary or mature forests for sleeping sites in tree holes and epiphytic bromeliads for animal prey. In this study the authors quantified resource availability within each habitat, compared the proportion of time spent in each habitat to that based on availability, investigated preferences for sleeping site selection, and determined how golden-headed lion tamarins allocated time to foraging behaviour in different habitats. Each group preferred to range in certain habitats during the day, yet patterns were not consistent across groups. In contrast, all groups preferred to sleep in mature or cabruca forest. The tamarins spent a greater proportion of time foraging and eating fruits, flowers and nectar in cabruca than in mature or secondary forests. Although the extent to which secondary and cabruca forests can completely sustain breeding groups is unresolved, we conclude that both habitats would make suitable corridors for the movement of tamarins between forest fragments, and that the large trees remaining in cabruca are important sources of food and sleeping sites. It is suggested that management plans for this species should focus on protecting areas that include access to tall forest, either mature or cabruca, for the long-term conservation of the species.]

Reichenbach, H.: Marvin L. Jones 75 Jahre. (Marvin Jones – a 75th birthday tribute.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 6 (2003), pp. 426–429. [German, no English summary.]

Restall, R.: Breeding the black-faced grassquit Tiaris bicolor omissa, with some notes on behaviour. Avicultural Magazine Vol. 109, No. 4 (2003), pp. 174–179.

Savastano, G., Barone, A., Hessel, D., Jones, V., and Vibal, D.: New World primate enrichment that is quick, easy, and low budget. The Shape of Enrichment Vol. 12, No. 3 (2003), pp. 7–9. [Bronx Zoo, New York.]

Schmidt, V., and Schaefer, H.M.: Erste Erfolge im Schutz des Orces-Sittichs in Ecuador. (First success for conservation of the El Oro conure in Ecuador.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 19, No. 2 (2003), p. 24. [German, with English summary. Less than 4% of the home range of Pyrrhura orcesi in south-east Ecuador now consists of natural forest. The only protected area is the Buenaventura reserve. Since 2002, the Strunden Parrot Foundation (Strunden-Papageien-Stiftung) and the Loro Parque Foundation have undertaken measures for the protection of 120 birds in several groups consisting of four to 22 animals. Mostly, the birds are outside of the reserve. There, illegal logging and forest clearance were observed. Three major habitats could be identified and one of them, with an area of 250 ha, was added to the reserve. Further activities include studies on the reforestation of pastures and education of the local people, especially children.]

Schneider, H., and Reul-Schneider, M.: Einige Erfahrungen zur Haltung und Zucht des Chinesischen Gelbkehlhäherlings. (Notes on the husbandry and breeding of the yellow-throated laughing thrush.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 19, No. 2 (2003), pp. 28–29. [German, with English summary. The European Studbook for the Chinese subspecies of the yellow-throated laughing thrush (Garrulax galbanus courtoisi), kept by Laura Gardner, Leeds, was established in 2002. Only a few observations have been made from field studies and aviary husbandry of these highly social birds. When 2.1 birds were kept together, the authors found that the breeding male changed in the course of a single breeding season. In a larger group, a pair who had lost their own clutch were observed helping with the rearing and feeding of another pair's young birds. In another case, a six-week-old bird from a first clutch helped to brood the eggs of the second clutch.]

Schwammer, H.M., and Stoeger-Horwath, A.S.: The history of the African elephant in Europe. Journal of the Elephant Managers Association Vol. 14, No. 3 (2003), pp. 35–37.

Serra, G., Abdallah, M., Assaed, A., Abdallah, A., Al Qaim, G., Fayad, T., and Williamson, D.: Discovery of a relict breeding colony of northern bald ibis Geronticus eremita in Syria. Oryx Vol. 38, No. 1 (2004), pp. 106–108. [The eastern population of the northern bald ibis had been presumed extinct following the loss of the colony in Birecik, Turkey, in 1989. However, occasional sightings of birds in Yemen, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia and Israel during the 1980s and 1990s suggested that there was still a colony somewhere in the Middle East. Intensive field surveys in spring 2002, based on the knowledge of Bedouin nomads and local hunters, revealed that the species has never become completely extinct on the Syrian desertic steppe. Following systematic searches 15 old nesting sites were found, one of them still hosting an active breeding colony of seven individuals. The species appears to have been relatively common in the area until 20 years ago, when a combination of over-exploitation of rangelands and increasing hunting pressure initiated a dramatic decline.]

Steele, T., and Steele, R.: Motivating travel by alternating feeding locations. The Shape of Enrichment Vol. 12, No. 4 (2003), p. 5. [Canis lupus; Menominee Park Zoo, Oshkosh, Wisconsin.]

Stenke, R.: Projekt Goldkopflangur auf Cat Ba Island, Nordvietnam. (Golden-headed langur project in Cat Ba.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 19, No. 2 (2003), pp. 3–5. [German, with English summary. For the first time in decades the world population of the critically endangered golden-headed langur (Trachypithecus poliocephalus) has increased. A total of nine births (seven in 2003) but only three animal losses have been recorded since October 2000, when the Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations, in partnership with Münster Zoo, initiated the Langur Conservation Project on Cat Ba Island, Vietnam. Increasing conservation awareness among the local indigenous people and improving habitat and wildlife protection constituted the main objectives of the conservation project during the past two and a half years. Poaching was brought under control through ranger work, a strictly protected langur sanctuary in Cat Ba National Park was established, and active involvement of local people in protection work is taking place. Resulting from a major governmental development plan for Cat Ba Island, however, habitat destruction and fragmentation have increased, and so has the pressure on Cat Ba National Park, which is currently in danger of losing up to 30% of its area. The langur project is working to alleviate threats to the park by contributing to mapping the future park boundaries and by assisting to apply for UNESCO Biosphere Reserve nomination for the Cat Ba Archipelago. With about 60 individuals, scattered over several isolated sub-populations, the langur population is still extremely small and fragile, and with new threats such as proposed military roads, the species will still need all the help it can possibly get. Even translocation of langurs seems to be unavoidable.]

Streicher, U.: Saisonale Veränderungen in Fellfärbung und Fellzeichnung beim Zwergplumplori (Nycticebus pygmaeus) und ihre taxonomische Bedeutung. (Seasonal changes in fur colour and pattern in pygmy loris and their taxonomic significance.) Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 73, No. 6 (2003), pp. 368–373. [German, with English summary. Fur coloration and pattern of the pygmy loris are frequently used to distinguish it from another species, the intermediate loris (N. intermedius). This study aimed to clarify the taxonomic questions concerning these species, to aid identification of individuals at the Endangered Primate Rescue Center, Cuc Phuong, Vietnam. Based on photographic material, 27 individuals were classified according to their fur coloration and pattern and their changes were monitored. Pygmy lorises change coloration and pattern throughout the year. The summer pelage is bright orange-brown and shows no distinct dark stripe on the back. The winter pelage shows extensive frosting (silvery hair tips) and a distinct dark-brown to blackish stripe along the back. The changes are not related to the age or sex of the animals. Local variations seem possible, but the available material does not allow for an evaluation of this aspect. Due to their seasonal fur change, a distinction between the pygmy loris and intermediate loris, based solely on fur characteristics, is not possible.]

Theuerkauf, J., and Rouys, S.: Ökologie, Gefährdung und Schutz des Hornsittichs und des Ziegensittichs in Neukaledonien. (Status and conservation of horned parakeet and red-crowned parakeet in New Caledonia.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 19, No. 2 (2003), pp. 20–22. [German, with English summary. The endangered horned parakeet (Eunymphicus cornutus) and the near-threatened New Caledonian red-crowned parakeet (Cyanoramphus saisetti) are species endemic to mainland New Caledonia. Habitat loss and predation by introduced mammals may be important threats to these two parakeet species. However, no scientific research has been done so far on their ecology and threats to them. The authors' project aims to find out why the parakeets' populations are declining and to develop efficient methods for their protection. To obtain the necessary information, they are determining the diet, group structure, behaviour, habitat use, and nest predators of the birds. They are also censusing parakeets and introduced mammals on different sites in New Caledonia to assess the impact of habitat and introduced mammals on the population density of the parakeets. During the first year of the study, from September 2002 to August 2003, they could not document any predation by introduced mammals on the parakeets. However, preliminary data indicate that parakeet density may be lower in regions with higher densities of black rats (Rattus rattus).]

Tilson, R., Hu, D., Muntifering, J., and Nyhus, P.J.: Dramatic decline of wild South China tigers Panthera tigris amoyensis: field survey of priority tiger reserves. Oryx Vol. 38, No. 1 (2004), pp. 40–47. [The authors describe results of a Sino-American field survey seeking evidence of South China tigers in the wild. In 2001 and 2002 field surveys were conducted in eight reserves in five provinces identified by government authorities as habitat most likely to contain tigers. The surveys evaluated and documented evidence for the presence of tigers, tiger prey and habitat disturbance. Approximately 290 km of mountain trails were evaluated. Infrared remote cameras set up in two reserves captured 400 trap days of data. Thirty formal and numerous informal interviews were conducted with villagers to document wildlife knowledge, livestock management practices, and local land and resource use. The authors found no evidence of wild tigers, few prey species, and no livestock depredation by tigers reported in the last ten years. Forest areas designated as tiger reserves, averaging about 100 km2 in size, are too small to support even a few tigers because commercial tree farms and other habitat conversion are common, and people and their livestock dominate these fragments. While the survey may not have been exhaustive, and there may be a single tiger or a few isolated tigers still remaining at sites that were missed, the results strongly indicate that no remaining viable populations of South China tiger occur within its historical range. The authors conclude that continued field efforts are needed to ascertain whether any wild tigers may yet persist, concurrent with the need to consider options for the eventual recovery and restoration of wild tiger populations from existing captive animals.]

Williams, J.L., and Friend, T.H.: Behavior of circus elephants during transport. Journal of the Elephant Managers Association Vol. 14, No. 3 (2003), pp. 8–11. [Circuses, zoos, sanctuaries, and private owners transport elephants for trips lasting from a few hours to several days. This study used time-lapse video to record the activities of elephants hauled in semi-trailers and in rail cars. Bouts of lying down, weaving, and standing were recorded. Video observations of elephants in semi-trailers lasted from 1.7 to 3.8 hours, while observations of elephants in rail cars lasted from 40 minutes to 26.3 hours, with the shorter observation periods the result of video equipment failure. The percentage of observed time spent weaving by elephants hauled in semi-trailers ranged from 4.2% to 93.2%/ while elephants hauled in rail cars spent zero to 68.5% of observed time weaving. While weaving, elephants engaged in activities such as eating, throwing feed over their back, and looking out the windows. Only two elephants, both of which were transported in rail cars, were observed lying down (2.8 and 4.6% of the observed time). Occurrence of weaving was highly variable between elephants. Because the elephants observed in this study engaged in a range of activities while weaving and were not in a trance-like state, weaving during transport did not appear to be indicative of poor welfare.]

Wilson, M.L., Bloomsmith, M.A., and Maple, T.L.: Stereotypic swaying and serum cortisol concentrations in three captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Animal Welfare Vol. 13, No. 1 (2004), pp. 39–43. [The behaviour and serum cortisol concentrations of three elephants (at Zoo Atlanta, Georgia) were studied to determine whether their stereotypic swaying was more prevalent before regularly scheduled events in the elephants' routine, and whether the elephants that exhibited more stereotyped swaying had lower mean serum cortisol concentrations. Behavioural data were collected during hour-long observations balanced across three periods, and during 15-minute observations prior to the elephants being moved to different portions of their enclosure. Observational data were collected using instantaneous focal sampling of behaviours every 30 seconds. Serum cortisol measures were obtained through weekly blood withdrawal from the elephants' ears. Of the three elephants, two exhibited stereotyped swaying, which accounted for a mean of 0.4 % of the scans during the hour-long observations and a mean of 18% of the scans prior to the elephants being moved between different parts of the enclosure. Swaying was highly variable among the individual elephants during both categories of observations. Additionally, both elephants swayed more prior to moving in the afternoon than prior to moving in the morning. Analyses of serum cortisol concentrations indicated that each elephant had a different mean cortisol level, which did not clearly correspond with the expression of swaying. The findings indicate that a rigidly scheduled management event may elicit stereotyped swaying in the studied elephants. Future research should document the behavioural and physiological effects of an altered management routine to improve captive elephant welfare.]

Wünschmann, A.: Gefährdung und Schutz des Hainangibbons. (Status, threats and conservation of the Hainan black gibbon.) ZGAP Mitteilungen Vol. 19, No. 2 (2003), pp. 17–18. [German, with English summary. In 2001/2002, three surveys on the population status of the Hainan gibbon (Hylobates concolor hainanus?), on the factors threatening its survival, and on necessary conservation measures have been carried out executed in the Bawangling National Nature Reserve on Hainan Island, China. Using transects, the scientists recorded the songs of the gibbons, their direction, time and estimated distance. There were four gibbon groups, each with an adult male, one or two females, and juveniles/infants, altogether about 14–15 animals. Compared with about 2,000 gibbons in the 1950s on the island and with only 23 reported in 2000 in the reserve, an alarming population decline is going on. Poaching and illegal lumbering by poor local villagers are out of control because of limited staff and funds. Power dam and road construction fragment the reserve. The Hainan Forestry Department has applied to extend the reserve to at least 400 km2. Staff and funds for the reserve police station have to be increased. Genetic parentage studies are required to evaluate inbreeding. Surveys on feeding resources, habitat capacity and fragmentation should supply data for reducing further damaging human activities. Public awareness among the residents has to be increased, and fundamental steps need to be taken against the poverty of the rural population, who so far do not care about fauna and flora.]

Publishers of the periodicals listed:

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

Animal Welfare, Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, The Old School, Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead, Herts. AL4 8AN, U.K.

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

Journal of the Elephant Managers Association, 1 Conservation Place, Syracuse, NY 13204, U.S.A.

Oryx, Cambridge University Press (for Fauna and Flora International), The Edinburgh Building, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 2RU, U.K.

The Shape of Enrichment, 1650 Minden Drive, San Diego, California 92111–7124, U.S.A.

ZGAP Mitteilungen, Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz e.V. (Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations), Franz-Senn-Strasse 14, D-81377 München, Germany.

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