Displaying items by tag: AZA

Talkin' Pets News

April 20, 2019

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Jillyn Sidlo - Celestrial Custom Dog Services

Producer - Lexi Lapp

Network Producer - Quin McCarthy

Social Media - Bob Page

Special Guest - Carol Novella author of "Mutual Rescue" How adopting a homeless Animal Can Save You, Too will join Jon and Talkin' Pets to discuss and give away her new book

 

Michelle Uhlig, Dr. Ari Fustukjian and Alex De Mola holding a radiated tortoise from The Florida Aquarium with a box of medical supplies that is on its way to Madagascar to help treat the confiscated tortoises.Credit: The Florida Aquarium.
 

Today, critical medical supplies from The Florida Aquarium are on their way to Madagascar to treat thousands of tortoises that were confiscated from a single residence in the city of Toliara in Madagascar.
 
On April 10, the Turtle Survival Alliance, a global partnership of individuals, zoos, aquariums, biologists and researchers who have joined together to help conserve threatened and endangered tortoise and turtle species, confiscated 10,976 critically endangered radiated tortoises from a personal residence.
 
The tortoises have been temporarily transferred to Villages de Tortues, a secure facility in Madagascar where the animals are receiving initial health evaluations, hydration and triage, but even within the first few days, hundreds of tortoises died from dehydration, malnutrition and illness. As of April 12, 9,760 tortoises are alive, but need immediate help. 
 
More than 20 institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums are sending medical supplies, team members or funds to care for the sick or injured tortoises. The first wave of responders arrived in Madagascar April 23. Many of the animals are in relatively good health and are only in need of water and food. However, responders are currently treating more than 1,000 animals for various conditions from severe to mild and they are still working through the initial assessments to determine if more tortoises have similar conditions. Numerous deceased animals have been sent to onsite veterinarians for necropsy (animal autopsy). 
 
“Illegal wildlife trade is a major problem and can have devastating impacts on sensitive animals like these that are already suffering from other major problems, like habitat loss. This case hits particularly close to home since Day, Night, and Dusk, our three radiated tortoises in the Journey to Madagascar gallery, are here to help educate the public about these very threats,” said Dr. Ari Fustukjian, Associate Veterinarian at The Florida Aquarium. “We are always saddened to hear about cases of illegal animal trafficking, but to see something of this magnitude is truly disheartening. What’s encouraging is to see how people and organizations like ours can pull together to help provide relief.”
 
Madagascar’s radiated tortoise population is threatened with extinction due to rampant hunting for its meat and the illegal pet trade. Radiated tortoises have a unique high dome-shaped shell, covered with a beautiful star-like pattern, which is why they are often collected illegally from the wild in southern Madagascar and shipped to other countries to be sold as pets. The species has been protected by international law since 1975, and was upgraded to “Critically Endangered” in 2008, meaning that they are at risk of extinction.
 
According to the Turtle Survival Alliance, this is the largest confiscation of tortoises or freshwater turtles in the history of the organization, and president and CEO Rick Hudson, believes these animals were destined to be part of the illegal pet trade.
 
Want to help? You can visit the Turtle Survival Alliance here.

 

Left: A species of branching stony coral colonies releasing egg bundles into the water in Horniman's lab. Credit: Horniman Museum & Gardens. Right: Keri O'Neil at The Florida Aquarium's Center for Conservation with coral that has grown in the lab from wild spawning. Credit: the Florida Aquarium.
 
The Florida Aquarium, based in Tampa, Florida, and the Horniman Museum and Gardens, based in London, have joined forces to save coral reefs by spawning (reproducing) corals in a lab – a major technique to aid coral restoration that has only been accomplished at the Horniman.
 
Corals in the wild reproduce by releasing their eggs and sperm into the water at the same time, which is an event that is increasingly more uncertain given the changing climate. This wild spawning event only happens once per year, which has meant opportunities for research have been limited – until now.
 
From Dec. 11 - 17, Keri O’Neil, The Florida Aquarium’s Coral Nursery Manager, will be visiting the Horniman to learn their techniques of growing corals in a lab setting and brainstorm ideas of how to transport future coral fragments to Florida for restoration purposes.
 
The Horniman Aquarium started Project Coral and in 2013 became the first organization globally to predictably induce coral spawning in a fully closed aquarium lab setting.  Now The Florida Aquarium is providing even more expertise to enhance this project with plans to plant the lab-grown coral fragments to coral reefs along the Florida Reef Tract.
 
The new partnership with The Florida Aquarium takes the research protocols developed in the Horniman’s lab in Forest Hill, south London, and applies them in The Florida Aquarium’s state-of-the-art coral conservation nursery in Apollo Beach, Florida.
 
“Project Coral is ‘game-changing,’ allowing us to spawn corals on site, create multiple spawning events across the year and drastically speed up restoration work to ensure the survival of Florida’s reef,” said Scott Graves, Director of The Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation.
 
Project Coral is an innovative coral reproductive research project led by the Horniman Aquarium with international partners, working to predictably spawn corals in a lab setting in order to investigate, counter and repair the impact of climate change on coral reef health and reproduction. Since 2012, researchers at the Horniman Museum and Gardens Aquarium have been researching broadcast coral reproduction, developing protocols that replicate natural reef conditions – and the triggers for mass spawning events – in the lab, to predict and induce land-based spawning.
 
Corals bred at The Florida Aquarium using Project Coral techniques – all from species listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act – will be transplanted into the ocean to restore the Florida Reef off the state’s south eastern coast.
 
Coral reefs are one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world and support about 25 percent of all marine life. In addition, they are important to the Florida economy as fisheries and a tourist attraction.
 
The reef has suffered dramatically from bleaching events that occur when ocean temperatures rise, as well as pollution and other human-related environmental causes. Some scientists believe staghorn coral can no longer successfully sexually reproduce in the wild at all with these environmental challenges emerging. Thus, scientific groups like the ones formed by the Horniman and The Florida Aquarium are changing the game by spawning corals in a lab setting, allowing the corals to spawn more than just once a year. The increase in spawning occurrences will give the team a better chance to make a substantial impact on the restoration of corals.
 
“Project Coral has made huge strides in creating the protocols to induce coral spawning in lab conditions, and the Horniman’s research will continue to refine the techniques and understand the effects of climate change on coral reproduction. But we need partners to be able to put our research into practice in the field. This partnership with The Florida Aquarium is Project Coral’s first opportunity to make a ‘real world’ change, and we look forward to seeing the positive effects our work together will have on Florida’s reefs” said Jamie Craggs, Aquarium Curator at the Horniman Museum and Gardens.
 
About The Horniman Museum and Gardens
The Horniman Museum and Gardens opened in 1901 as a gift to the people in perpetuity from tea trader and philanthropist Frederick John Horniman, to ‘bring the world to Forest Hill’. Today the Horniman has a collection of 350,000 objects, specimens and artefacts from around the world. Its galleries include natural history, anthropology, music and an acclaimed aquarium. Indoor exhibits link to the award-winning display gardens – from food and dye gardens to an interactive sound garden – set among 16 acres of beautiful, green space offering spectacular views across London. horniman.ac.uk
 
About The Florida Aquarium
The Florida Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to entertain, educate and inspire stewardship about our natural environment. The Florida Aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).

The Florida Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to entertain, educate and inspire stewardship about our natural environment. The Florida Aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).

 

Tristin Ware, Katie Fortescue, Sabrina DiNella and Debbi Stone of The Florida Aquarium accept their Gulf Guardian Award at an awards ceremony held at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort in Point Clear, Alabama on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. Credit: The Florida Aquarium.
 
On Thursday, November 30, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Program recognized The Florida Aquarium with a first place 2017 Gulf Guardian Award in the Youth Environmental Education category. The award was presented at a ceremony held at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort in Point Clear, Alabama.
 
“Whether for individual recreational use or as an economic engine supporting a wide variety of jobs and industry, the Gulf of Mexico is a vibrant yet vulnerable ecosystem,” said Ben Scaggs, Gulf of Mexico Program Director. “Protecting this national resource requires innovative approaches and proactive measures. The Gulf Guardian award winners are paving the way for ‘out of the box’ thinking and replicable practices.” 
 
The Gulf of Mexico Program recognizes and honors those who are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. First, second and third place awards are given in seven categories: individual, business/industry, youth environmental education, civic/nonprofit organizations, cultural diversity/environmental justice, partnership and bi-national efforts.
 
“I am proud of The Florida Aquarium’s education team for being awarded the 2017 Gulf Guardian Award in the Youth Environmental Education category. It is a true testament of how this team continues to reach the community’s youth and teach them in unique and engaging ways, encouraging them to get involved to keep our waters healthy for generations to come,” said Roger Germann, president and CEO of The Florida Aquarium.
 
The Florida Aquarium takes part in educational programming for children and some programing that is geared specifically for local Title 1 schools, including the Watershed Investigations (WI) program.
 
WI enables underserved students to experience their watershed while conducting scientific investigations. Components include exploring issues, learning and practicing field techniques, collecting data, and analyzing results with teachers and peers. The classroom introduction and classroom synthesis provide important bookends to field experiences, and field visits reinforce students’ data collection skills while empowering them to become skilled in collecting data and analyzing results. The final project encourages students to relate data and observations to the larger watershed, climate change issues and their own lives.
 
“Watershed Investigations serves Title 1 schools to ensure that we are engaging underserved youth who might otherwise not experience hands-on field investigations that spark wonder and curiosity about our natural world. The Florida Aquarium is committed to reaching diverse audiences in our community, and this is one of the programs that brings science to life for future problem-solvers who will help us protect and restore our blue planet, all while having fun,” said Debbi Stone, vice president of education at The Florida Aquarium.
 
During the first two years of WI, the program impacted at least 1,747 students and 80 teachers (some of whom participated in both years). In the current year, The Florida Aquarium is tracking 42 teachers and 893 students, which will result in about 2,640 students cumulatively reached by the conclusion of this year.
 
Through WI, students build critical thinking skills by: demonstrating understanding of watershed concepts, identifying their local and regional watershed, observing how ecosystems change seasonally, collecting water quality data, identifying flora and fauna in the field, assessing scientifically credible information about climate, making projections about future changes, understanding how humans impact climate, and identifying personal actions to reduce one’s environmental impact.

The Florida Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to entertain, educate and inspire stewardship about our natural environment. The Florida Aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).
Copyright © 2017. The Florida Aquarium. All rights reserved.

The Florida Aquarium to assist in recovery effort of Florida’s coral reef following hurricane damage

 
Top: A team during one of the first assessment trips to assess the damage of Florida's coral reefs after hurricane damage. From left to right: Laurie MacLaughlin (NOAA Florida Keys Sanctuary); Jessica Levy (Coral Restoration Foundation); Mark Riss; Deb Riss; Dave Grenda (The Florida Aquarium volunteers); Brenda Altmeier (NOAA Florida Keys Sanctuary); and Dave Rintoul (The Florida Aquarium Dive Safety Officer) Left: The Florida Aquarium's Dave Safety Officer, Dave Rintoul, attaches coral fragments to an existing coral tree in the Coral Restoration Foundation's nursery. These activities were conducted under permit FKNMS-2015-133-A1. Right: Coral Restoration Foundation staff member Jessica Levy surveying health of corals at Sombrero Key.
 
What: After assessing the damage caused by Hurricane Irma on Florida’s coral reefs, The Florida Aquarium is helping the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other organizations repair the damage and help the reef recover. The Aquarium will be providing triage support including repositioning overturned, centuries old boulder corals; reattaching broken and fragmented pieces of coral; and removing debris.

When: The team will be traveling to the Florida Keys from Nov. 12-18,

Where: The Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa, Florida.

For more information on the assessment and recovery initiative:

After assessing the damage caused by Hurricane Irma on Florida’s coral reefs, The Florida Aquarium is helping the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other organizations repair the damage and help the reef recover. The Aquarium will be by providing triage support including repositioning overturned, centuries old boulder corals; reattaching broken and fragmented pieces of coral; and removing debris.

Coral reefs cover two percent of the ocean floor but are home to 25 percent of marine life in the ocean. They provide critical habitat for other species such as sea turtles, dolphins and sharks, as well as help protect coastlines from storms.

“Healthy coral reefs are adapted to withstand hurricanes. In fact, they protect shorelines by dissipating wave energy, but the reef ecosystem in the Florida Keys has been heavily compromised and is found in small patches compared to what once existed. So when a huge hurricane like Irma hits, damage to corals can be devastating. They now need our help to recover. A healthy, living and thriving reef means a healthy, living and thriving ocean,” said Margo McKnight Senior VP of Conservation, Research and Husbandry at The Florida Aquarium.

Last month, assessments of the Florida coral reef tract following hurricane Irma showed significant impact on natural coral reefs and manmade ocean-based coral nurseries throughout the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas, as well as the broader Caribbean.

Large hurricanes can cause extensive damage on land, as well as under the sea, especially for corals that cannot leave their home to flee for safety.

Initial assessments of more than 50 sites revealed extensive shifting of sand and heavy sediment accumulation on the corals and sponges, which can smother and prevent them from getting enough sunlight, as well as some structural damage to individual corals and the reef itself. A full report is expected later this fall.

To help assist in the recovery of corals on the continental United States’ only barrier coral reef, The Florida Aquarium is helping NOAA, federal and state governmental agencies, academic institutions and other nonprofit organizations perform emergency recovery/restoration and assist with the stabilization and recovery of corals that sustained damage following the hurricane.

“During the assessment trips, it was very eye-opening to see these hundred-year-old corals snapped in two, with broken pieces sprawled all throughout the ocean floor. The assessment process identified damaged areas of the coral reef tract that could benefit from triage and restoration, so this next trip is to visit some of those sites and help stabilize them,” said Keri O’Neil, Coral Nursery Manager at The Florida Aquarium.

The Florida reef tract, much of which lies within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Biscayne Bay National Park, contains seven coral species designated as threatened.

The Florida Aquarium staff will leave to travel to the Keys to help repair certain coral sites on Sunday, Nov. 12. Dive and repair days are Nov. 13 – 17, and the team will return home on Nov. 18. The Florida Aquarium will send updates with photos and videos during the assessment days, as possible.

This massive initiative involves several branches of NOAA, National Park Service, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Nova Southeastern University, Coral Restoration Foundation, The Nature Conservancy-Florida and The Florida Aquarium, with funding provided through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and administered through the Coral Restoration Foundation.

The Florida Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to entertain, educate and inspire stewardship about our natural environment. The Florida Aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).
Copyright © 2017. The Florida Aquarium. All rights reserved.

Ventura County, CA – Oct. 15, 2017 – Staff at the Turtle Conservancy are celebrating the hatching of three Critically Endangered Pan’s Box Turtles (Cuora pani) this week at their conservation center in California.  It is the first time the Turtle Conservancy has hatched this species and the first second generation breeding of this species in the United States. Pan's Box Turtles are understood to be effectively extinct in its native China due to over-collection for the medicinal and pet trade.

“This is a critical step forward for Pan’s Box Turtle, a unique and little-known species that really needs more attention,” said Dr. Peter Paul van Dijk, Field Conservation Programs Director at the Turtle Conservancy. “Our efforts, along with those of our global partners, will contribute to ensuring their future on this planet.

This hatching success was years in the making. The parents hatched at the Fort Worth Zoo and Zoo Atlanta as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Program (SSP). They came to the Turtle Conservancy in 2010 where they grew to adulthood and bred for the first time this spring. The Turtle Conservancy is home to one male and four female adult Pan’s Box Turtles, along with dozens of other species of threatened turtles and tortoises.

These animals represent a part of the North American “assurance colony” that is a last line of defense against extinction, with the ultimate goal of restoring wild populations. The Turtle Conservancy was the first organization in the world to return captive-born turtles to their native country for conservation when they sent young Golden Coin Turtles back to Hong Kong in 2012.

“We’ve been successful returning animals back to their native country in the past,” said Turtle Conservancy co-founder and president Eric Goode. “With this species that will be a much more daunting task, but my dream is to let all wild animals be exactly that, wild.”

The species is endemic to a small area of Central China, and may have been relatively common locally until the 1990s, when turtles increasingly became the focus of the traditional Chinese medicine markets. Now, China has grown into the largest market for turtles and tortoises in the world. Turtles and many other animals are collected and sold into the traditional medicine and food trade in massive quantities, while the exotic pet hobby is growing rapidly. The Pan’s Box Turtle can fetch prices upwards of $10,000 in the animal trade.

The Conservancy protects more than 45,000 acres world-wide of wild land for endangered turtles and tortoises, along with other threatened species including jaguars, macaws and antelope, and native flora. It is their hope they can continue to protect viable habitat for other species, including the Pan’s Box Turtle

Additional Info:

  • Pan’s Box Turtle is classified as Critically Endangered in the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species [http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/5956/0].
  • Turtles and tortoises are the most endangered group of vertebrates on the planet. Over half of the 365 species of turtles and tortoises are threatened with, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • The Turtle Conservancy works to alleviate threats to highly threatened turtles around the world by protecting land and captive breeding endangered species
  • Asia is the world’s largest consumer of turtles – for the food, traditional medicine and pet trade
  • The Chinese turtle industry has surpassed $1 billion annually in gross revenue
  • The Turtle Conservancy is the only AZA-certified facility dedicated solely to the conservation of turtles and tortoises. 
  • Zoos in North America and elsewhere maintain Studbooks of captive animals to ensure long-term genetic diversity and maintain records of endangered species reproductive success

###

Photo: A Critically Endangered Pan’s Box Turtle breaks through its egg and takes its first breath at the Turtle Conservancy in California. (Photo by Max Maurer/Turtle Conservancy)

The Turtle Conservancy is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to protecting threatened turtles and tortoises and their habitats worldwide. The Conservancy's Conservation Center in Southern California is a premier facility for breeding Critically Endangered turtles and tortoises in the world. Since 2005 the Conservancy has combined this highly successful breeding program with protecting land in Africa, Asia, and North America.

Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a Web link where they can learn more about turtle conservation and perhaps make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to www.turtleconservancy.org

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

 

 

https://us.vocuspr.com/Publish/525556/vcsPRAsset_525556_87274_e5fc39f7-452a-4636-a102-7b4d2928dcaa_0.jpghttps://us.vocuspr.com/Publish/525556/vcsPRAsset_525556_87275_5138a199-5f48-4ef6-930f-61d2a00accd9_0.jpghttps://us.vocuspr.com/Publish/525556/vcsPRAsset_525556_87276_4d15b71b-8459-4114-ae4d-5bb4d7e243fe_0.jpghttps://us.vocuspr.com/Publish/525556/vcsPRAsset_525556_87277_dbe497eb-2e3a-4ae3-991d-3ebf7e43959c_0.jpg

Oakland, CA …October 19, 2016 – Oakland Zoo has bred almost three thousand Puerto Rican Crested Toad tadpoles which today zookeepers are packaging for the cargo hold of a Delta airlines flight to Puerto Rico tonight to be released into the wild. The species was thought to be extinct from 1931 to 1966 – and is now  listed as Critically Endangered by the International Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

The Puerto Rican Crested Toad (PRCT) was once common throughout Puerto Rico and Virgin Gorda. Unfortunately, habitat loss and the introduction of the non-native animals have almost decimated the species.

In 1984, in an effort to save them from extinction, PRCT were the first amphibians to receive Species Survival Plan (SSP) status through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). In coordination with US Fish & Wildlife and the University of Puerto Rico, captive PRCTs are bred each year at Zoos and tadpoles are sent to Puerto Rico for release into closely monitored ponds in Guanica National Forest.

“The tadpoles that have been bred at Oakland Zoo this year will have a significant impact on this critically endangered species.  It’s been a fantastic effort and pleasure to work together with other AZA Zoos on this program to help protect this species - the only toad species native to Puerto Rico,” said Adam Fink, Zoological Manager at Oakland Zoo.

Joining the program in 2014, Oakland Zoo, along with three other AZA (Association of Zoo and Aquariums) accredited Zoos, have bred PRCTs in unison this season and their offspring is being flown tonight via commercial airline to Puerto Rico where they will be released into man-made, closely-monitored ponds in the Guanica National Forest of Puerto Rico in hopes of restoring their population in the region.

Last year Oakland Zoo bred and shipped 732 tadpoles for the program. This year, in today’s shipment, close to three thousand have been bred. Other Zoos participating in the program are Disney’s Animal Kingdom, North Carolina Zoo and Sedgwick County Zoo.

For high-res photos and video click here: https://www.dropbox.com/PRCT

For more information, please go to: http://www.oaklandzoo.org/Puerto_Rican_Crested_Toad.php

ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO

The Bay Area's award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid's activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and wildlife conservation onsite and worldwide; with 25¢ from each ticket donated to support conservation partners and programs around the world. The California Trail, a transformational project that more than doubles our size, opens in 2018, and will further our commitment to animal care, education, and conservation with a focus on this state’s remarkable native wildlife. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks. For more information, go to: www.oaklandzoo.org

###

If you would rather not receive future communications from Oakland Zoo, let us know by clicking here.
Oakland Zoo, PO Box 5238 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland, CA 9460 United States

Oakland, CA...July 14, 2016 – Oakland Zoo’s elephant program contributed to a special collection of peer-reviewed scientific research articles resulting from a comprehensive study on North American zoo elephant welfare. The collections is available today in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. It includes nine research papers, an overview and formal commentary explaining the significance of the work and its importance to better understand and enhance zoo elephant welfare.

“Oakland Zoo applauds AZA for taking on such a massive institutional study to work on improving the livelihood of elephants in captivity. Being involved in elephant research and data collection in and out of the field for twenty years, Oakland Zoo is committed to continuously improving the lives of elephants, a sensitive, highly intelligent, sentient, and complex being. We understand that the more we learn about this species in the wild and in captivity, we can manage them appropriately to encourage species typical behaviors. This study is one step toward that goal,” said Gina Kinzley, Co-Lead Elephant Manager at Oakland Zoo. 

This is the first and only multi-institution study to comprehensively identify and measure variables that significantly contribute to North American zoo elephant welfare, thus allowing science to inform management practices, according to Anne Baker, Ph.D., one of several principal investigators of the project. “Many AZA-accredited zoos are already using knowledge we’ve learned from the research to improve the welfare of their elephants.”

The collection, titled Epidemiological Investigations of North American Zoo Elephant Welfare, is available online and is accessible to the public. (See journals.plos.org)

The research is the outcome of work by a 27-member study team, which includes independent consultants, zoo professionals, and faculty from three universities. The study was funded by an $800,000 leadership grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded to the Honolulu Zoo Society and administered by Kathy Carlstead, Ph.D. Team members and dozens of research assistants from widely varied disciplines developed quantitative measures to assess multiple elephant-welfare indicators as well as a large variety of housing and management practices.

 “Zoo elephant welfare is a topic of public interest, but the lack of available data on this specific population made it difficult to differentiate fact from opinion, ” said Cheryl Meehan, Ph.D., the study’s consulting project manager and director of AWARE Institute, in Portland, OR. “The collection provides a scientific perspective on a number of issues that are important to the conversation about elephants in zoos, and it is forward-looking as a resource that can help shape and inform the future of elephant care.”

The collection resulted from a comprehensive study analyzing the daily lives of 255 Asian and African elephants in 68 North American zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Data were collected in 2012 and preliminary results presented at AZA conferences in 2013 and 2014. Research focused on factors related to the wellbeing of elephants that can be scientifically observed, measured, and analyzed, including: behavior, body condition, foot and joint health, female reproductive function, and walking distance -  Oakland Zoo's elephants were also part of the behavior studies which measured stereotypic behavior performance, walking distances and recumbence behavior. Nearly 96 percent of North American AZA-accredited zoos with elephants participated in the study.

Results showed that the elephants’ social lives play the biggest role in supporting behavioral health. For example, primary importance is for elephants to spend time in groups, and not be socially isolated.  Human care takers also can play an important role in an elephant’s social life through husbandry, training and interactive sessions.

 Although space is often linked to welfare in public discussions about elephants in zoos, researchers did not find evidence that the amount of enclosure space supports greater amounts of walking, decreased stereotypic behavior, improved body condition, or better foot and joint health.

The study did find that the quality of the space and management practices is important to elephant welfare. For example, the research demonstrated that decreased time spent on hard flooring significantly reduced the risk of foot and joint problems, which were found to be important health concerns for the population.

And the research team discovered a previously unknown link between the quality of enrichment and feeding programs and female reproductive health. This result indicates that day-to-day management practices could be an important tool in addressing the reproductive issues that are particularly common among female African elephants. 

“This groundbreaking approach provides a model for measuring welfare in managed animal populations with the potential to conduct similar studies to benefit many different species cared for in zoos and aquariums,” said Meehan. “And this research can be extended to inform elephant conservation efforts given that only a minority of free-ranging elephants exists in large undisturbed protected areas, while many “wild” elephants are managed in small reserves.”

ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO

The Bay Area's award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid's activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and wildlife conservation onsite and worldwide; with 25¢ from each ticket donated to support conservation partners and programs around the world. The California Trail, a transformational project that more than doubles our size, opens in 2018, and will further our commitment to animal care, education, and conservation with a focus on this state’s remarkable native wildlife. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks. For more information, go to: www.oaklandzoo.org

# # #

https://us.vocuspr.com/Publish/525556/vcsPRAsset_525556_86975_f4b93e54-9027-4734-91bc-b4ae0a01cc13_0.jpeg

(Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo)

Oakland, CA …July 8, 2016 – Three adolescent Southeast African lions are adjusting well to their new home at

Oakland Zoo after a mandatory 30-day quarantine at Oakland Zoo’s vet hospital and transition from holding areas.  The eighteen month-old lions are brothers, making up a ‘coalition’, meaning an all-male social group, that are rarely seen in AZA accredited U.S. Zoos.

 

The move was based on a recommendation made by the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a conservation-breeding program across accredited zoos to increase the genetic diversity and enhance the health of species populations. Named Tandie, Mandla and Gandia, the trio is now the juvenile neighbor to Oakland Zoo’s resident lion, Leonard, a senior at 16 years old. There are no plans to integrate Leonard and the coalition, as coalitions are known to fight fiercely with male lions unknown to them. Young male lions commonly form bachelor groups in the wild while developing skills to form their own prides later in life.

The lion brothers were transported by plane from Seattle on May 25th with the generous support of the employees at the local Merrill Lynch Wealth Management offices in Oakland and Walnut Creek. Hearing about the Zoo’s efforts to bring the lions over, they raised $7,500 through bake sales and other donation efforts  that was matched by Bank of America for a total of $15,000 to cover flight costs.

 

“Lion coalitions are often seen in the wild, but rarely in zoos; so most people find this normal aspect of lion sociality peculiar! We are excited for guests to see the three brothers lounging and interacting with each other, and to learn about the threats facing African lions. We are one of a few zoos chosen to work with Southeast African lions, and though there are no future plans for females or a breeding program, we have a very important story to tell!,” Darren Minier, Zoological Manager at Oakland Zoo.

With Oakland and Woodland Park Zoo’s strong dedication to animal welfare, the three lions were successfully crated at Woodland Park, transported to Oakland Zoo, quarantined, then re-crated and transferred to the Simba Pori exhibit using only voluntary, positive reinforcement training – no anesthesia, tranquilizers, or force was used at any time in the 12 week process. This aided in the least amount of stress possible for the lions at all points in the process, and was only possible through the skill of dedicated, knowledgeable, and caring keeper staff.

Southeast African lions are one on the remaining eight species of lion. It’s estimated that only 30,000 to 35,000 lions remain in the wild – a decrease of 30% in the past twenty years. Threats include hunting, human-wildlife conflict, human encroachment resulting in habitat loss, and prey-base depletion. Oakland Zoo supports lions in the wild through our conservation partner, the Uganda Carnivore Program. Visit Oakland Zoo on World Lion Day, August 6, to celebrate lions, learn more about the conservation challenges they face and the wild, and what you can do to help.

ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO

The Bay Area's award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid's activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and wildlife conservation onsite and worldwide; with 25¢ from each ticket donated to support conservation partners and programs around the world. The California Trail, a transformational project that more than doubles our size, opens in 2018, and will further our commitment to animal care, education, and conservation with a focus on this state’s remarkable native wildlife. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks. For more information, go to: www.oaklandzoo.org

###