Public Relations

Public Relations

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Mitigation-driven Animal Translocations Are Problematic – Study Indicates Importance of Science-based Animal Moves to Conservation

Turtles Fitted with Transmitters Released into WildThe use of animal translocations as a means to mitigate construction projects and other human developments is a widespread animal-management tool. A paper published today, produced through collaboration of conservationists from San Diego Zoo Global, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Kent UK, University of Newcastle and Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, reviews the success rates associated with these moves from a species-conservation standpoint.

“Mitigation-driven translocations outnumber and receive more funding than science-based conservation translocations,” said Ron Swaisgood Ph.D., conservation biologist for San Diego Zoo Global. “Yet the conservation benefit of the former is often unclear, since outcomes are often poor and rarely monitored. There are other, more strategic, priorities where our limited conservation resources should be allocated.”

The study, available online ahead of print and scheduled for the March issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment the study estimates that millions of dollars are spent annually on moving animals out of the way of human interference, and may not be meeting the goal of preserving the populations as intended by legislation.

“Because mitigation releases are economically motivated, outcomes may be less successful than those of releases designed to serve the biological needs of species,” said Jen Germano, lead author of the paper. “Evidence suggests that many mitigation-driven translocations fail, although the application of scientific principles and best practices would probably improve the success rate.”

An additional challenge, pointed out by the paper, is the lack of information accompanying many of these translocations.

“Just determining how many animals have been moved and to what effect is challenging, since records are not kept or are difficult to obtain,” said Simon Clulow of the University of Newcastle, Australia. “This documentation is essential if we are to learn lessons and improve our methods.”

Researchers point to successful science-based animal relocations and releases as forming good models for the future.

“We’ve learned a great deal from carefully designed, conservation-driven translocation research over recent years, and this needs to be better applied to mitigation translocations,” said Richard Griffiths of the University of Kent, UK. “Unfortunately, mitigation translocations often do not meet the legislative intent of preventing the decline of protected species. This can be changed in the future to give these species a better chance at long-term survival.”

ARC
Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) is the UK’s leading charity working to help frogs, toads, newts, lizards, snakes and turtles. ARC owns and manages nature reserves, runs dedicated conservation projects across Britain, leads monitoring and science programmes, and presses for stronger policies to help amphibians and reptiles. For more information, see www.arc-trust.org.

The Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) is a Research Centre based in the School of Anthropology and Conservation at the University of Kent, UK. DICE focuses on interdisciplinary training, research and conservation implementation around the world. See http://www.kent.ac.uk/dice/

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s mission is, working with others, to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

The conservation biology group at the University of Newcastle provides biotechnological solutions for global biodiversity and conservation management in collaboration with government agencies, local councils and animal welfare groups.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

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San Diego Zoo Global Conservationist Flies to China to Examine Rare Turtle Egg

Although the female giant softshell turtle has laid numerous eggs, non have been fertile.

Although the female giant softshell turtle has laid numerous eggs, non have been fertile.

Recognized as the world’s most endangered turtle, the Yangtze giant softshell turtle is dangerously close to extinction, being represented by only four known individuals left in existence.  Two males are in Vietnam and there is one breeding pair protected under human care at the Suzhou Zoo in China - both are estimated to be between 80 and 100 years old.  Although the female  – owned by the Changsha Zoo -  has produced thousands of eggs since she was paired with the male in 2008, none have hatched.  The expertise of San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research was requested and, with the support of the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) and the Wildlife Conservation Society, a reproductive expert was sent this last summer to evaluate a recently laid clutch of eggs.

“Within days of the female Rafetus nesting, I was on my way to Shanghai,” said Kaitlin Croyle, student researcher with the San Diego Zoo  Institute for Conservation Research.  “After almost 36 hours of planes, trains, and automobiles, I arrived in Suzhou and went straight to work, as I only had one full day in China before I needed to take a flight back to San Diego.”

After an extensive examination of eggs using a newly developed technique for assessing the presences of sperm, Kaitlin reported that no sperm were present in the eggs. The new technique, called oocyte membrane-bound sperm detection (OMSD), is being developed for turtle and tortoise species by Kaitlin at the Institute with the hope of assisting in endangered species conservation.  OMSD tests for the presence of sperm in eggs that fail to develop an embryo.  This information, in combination with behavioral observations, reproductive history, and veterinary examination, can be used to make educated decisions about breeding pairs to increase the chance for future offspring.
Although disappointing, the result of the whirlwind trip allows conservationists working with the Suzhou Zoo to make an informed decision with regards to future breeding of the rare turtle.
“With only four giant soft-shelled turtles left in the world it is important to do whatever we can to help this female to reproduce,” said TSA President Rick Hudson.  “Kaitlin’s work has helped confirm the male’s probable infertility and we will work to identify other mechanisms for securing fertile eggs in the future. Our hopes likely hinge on finding another male.”
Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents.  The work of these entities is made accessible to children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide.  The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

 

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Gorilla Mother Shows Off New Hold on Baby at San Diego Zoo

Gorilla Mother Shows Off New Hold on Baby at San Diego ZooA three-week-old Western lowland gorilla observed his surroundings as he was held by his mother this morning at the San Diego Zoo. The infant is quickly growing and already reaching milestones at his young age. Animal care staff noted that experienced mother Jessica has now begun holding her infant in different positions. Jessica can be seen holding her baby facing him outward instead of always keeping him pressed into her chest.

Jessica also occasionally will let go of her grip on the baby as she forages, and keepers say the baby can already support his own body weight. The baby, who weighs just a few pounds, will grasp tightly to his mother’s hair and hold on by himself when Jessica lets go to look for food. Keepers at the San Diego Zoo place food items in different areas throughout the exhibit to encourage the animals to search for food (or forage) in a way that mimics what they’d do in the wild, providing them with an opportunity to express species-specific behavior.

This infant, born on Dec. 26, is part of a troop that includes silverback leader Paul Donn, 26, mother Jessica, 34, and another female, Ndjia, who is 20 years old. Since the new baby has been born, Paul Donn has been showing extra affection with Jessica and will sleep next to her and the baby. The troop is expected to have access to the outdoor exhibit as long as weather permits.

Photo taken on Jan. 14, 2015, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291
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Rhino Wet Willy: Rhino Calf Introduced to Ankole Calf at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

RHINO WET WILLY: RHINO CALF INTRODUCED TO ANKOLE CALF AT SAN DIEGO ZOO SAFARI PARK A 6-week-old greater one-horned rhino calf appears to stick his tongue in the ear of his new playmate, an 8-month-old Ankole calf, at the Ione and Paul Harter Animal CareA 6-week-old greater one-horned rhino calf appears to stick his tongue in the ear of his new playmate, an 8-month-old Ankole calf, at the Ione and Paul Harter Animal Care Center at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park earlier today. The pair, introduced three days ago, is still getting to know each other but animal care staff at the Safari Park hope they will become longtime companions.

The male rhino calf, named Chutti, was born on Nov. 27, to a first-time mother in the Safari Park’s Asian Plains exhibit. The mother nursed and cared for her newborn for almost two weeks, but keepers realized he wasn’t gaining weight as he should. To provide the calf with the optimal care to thrive, he was brought to the Safari Park’s animal care center where he is being hand-raised.

 Since the rhino is being raised in a nursery setting, it is important for him to get daily exercise and have companionship. The female Ankole calf, affectionately named Moo Moo Kitty by keepers, was born on May 23 and also was born to a first-time mother that couldn’t properly care for her calf. Keepers hand-raised and recently weaned the Ankole, and they felt she would make the perfect companion for the little rhino since both are social animals. If Chutti and Moo Moo Kitty bond, they could be companions until the little rhino is weaned in 14 to 15 months.
 Visitors to the Safari Park may see these unlikely playmates at the animal care center nursery corral between 1 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. daily, weather permitting, and possibly other times throughout the day.

Photo taken on Jan. 9, by Dustin Trayer, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291

 

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Critically Endangered Northern White Rhino at San Diego Zoo Safari Park Returns to the Field

NolaNola, a critically endangered 40-year-old female northern white rhino, who has been under close medical watch for the past 11 days in a boma at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, is showing signs of improved health and returned to her 65-acre field enclosure today where she was greeted by Cape buffalo that also share her habitat.

The elderly Nola was placed under veterinary care on Saturday, Dec. 27, after her keepers noticed she had reduced appetite and activity levels and had a thick nasal discharge. To provide the opportunity for optimal health, Nola was moved to a heated enclosure inside the South African Plains field exhibit to provide her comfort from the recent chilly weather and allow the animal care team to keep close watch over her. Veterinarians determined that, in addition to Nola’s age-related issues, she has a sinus infection and they are treating her with antibiotics.

Keepers report Nola was pleased to be back in the field where she has ample space to exercise and can enjoy time with her companion, a 45-year-old male southern white rhino named Chuck.

Nola is one of just five northern white rhinos left in the world. Three other northern white rhinos are at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya and one is in the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic. The five remaining rhinos have not been able to breed. Poaching for its horn has brought the northern white rhino to such critically low numbers.

Photo taken on Jan. 8, 2015, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291
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Mother and Baby Gorilla Soak Up Sun at San Diego Zoo

Gorilla Jessica and babyA week-old baby gorilla held onto his mother as she sat in the grassy area of the gorilla habitat at the San Diego Zoo on Friday afternoon. The male baby, who has yet to be named, was born in the early morning on Dec. 26 to mother, Jessica, 34 years old, and father, Paul Donn, 25 years old. This is Jessica’s first offspring with Paul Donn, who has previously sired three offspring. Jessica, an experienced mother, has had five previous offspring, all of whom were male as well.

Guests visiting the Zoo can see Jessica carrying her infant, who weighs just a few pounds, and holding him closely to her chest. The experienced mother has been bringing her baby to a glass viewing area where guests can observe as she spends time sleeping and nursing the youngster.

Photo taken Jan. 2, 2015, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291

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San Diego Zoo Announces Name of White Monocled Cobra

White Monocled Cobra A venomous white monocled cobra that made headlines in 2014 for being loose in Thousand Oaks, Calif., now has a name: Adhira (pronounced A-dhi-ra). The Hindi-derived named means “lightning.”

An online poll on the San Diego Zoo’s website received over 4,600 votes and the winning name received more than 11 percent of those votes. The other five names were Sapheda (white), Krima (cream), Cini (Sugar), Moti (pearl) and Sundara (beautiful). The cobra’s keepers came up with the list of names for the public to vote on from words and names native to Southeast Asia.

The female snake has been visible in her new habitat at the Zoo since Dec. 23, 2014. Adhira has been given mulch, live plants and rock ledges that provide her with places to hide. The cobra is leucistic, meaning she is mostly white rather than the species’ usual brown and beige coloration.

Leucism is characterized by reduced pigmentation, unlike albinism, which features no pigmentation. Measuring just over four feet long and estimated to be around 2 years old, the snake arrived at the San Diego Zoo on Sept. 5 and underwent a 90-day mandatory quarantine. Believed to be a pet that got loose or was released, the animal eluded Los Angeles County Animal Control officers for four days before being caught and sent to the Los Angeles Zoo. The San Diego Zoo was asked to take the animal, as it is one of only two zoological facilities in the United States with the proper anti-venom for the species. While not a threatened species, cobras are illegal to own in California without a permit.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

Photo taken on Dec. 23, 2014, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291
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Oh, Boy! Gorilla Born at San Diego Zoo

PrintA four-day old gorilla is attracting crowds at the San Diego Zoo, where guests are eager to get a peek at the newborn. The male infant was born early in the morning on Dec. 26 to mother Jessica, 34, and father Paul Donn, 25. This is Jessica’s first offspring with Paul Donn, who has previously sired three offspring. Jessica, an experienced mother, has had five previous offspring, all of whom were male.

Guests visiting the Zoo can see Jessica carrying her infant, who weighs just a few pounds, and holding him closely to her chest. The experienced mother has been bringing her baby to a glass viewing area, which is lined with outdoor heaters, where guests can observe the pair as she spends time cradling and nursing the youngster.

“Mom has been doing really great. She’s holding her baby and pats the baby all the time,” said Nerissa Foland, senior keeper at the Zoo. “The other troop members have been curious. They come over and inspect the baby, but he’s pretty much staying with Mom at this point, since he’s so new.”

Jessica forages for food items with the rest of the troop, tightly hanging onto her infant while searching for scattered food items. Keepers at the San Diego Zoo place food items in different areas throughout the exhibit to encourage the animals to search for food in a way that mimics what they’d do in the wild, providing them with an opportunity to thrive.

This infant is part of a troop that includes silverback leader Paul Donn, mother Jessica, and another female, Ndjia, who is 20 years old. The troop is expected to have access to the outdoor exhibit in the afternoons as long as weather permits.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts representing both plants and animals at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The important conservation and science work of these entities is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291
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Rhino with a Runny Nose: Rare Rhino Undergoes Veterinary Exam at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Rhino ExamNola, a 40-year-old northern white rhino, underwent a veterinary exam earlier this morning at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, allowing associate veterinarian Meredith Clancy to swab her nostrils to collect mucus samples as keepers Kim Millspaugh and Mike Veale assisted.

The elderly Nola was placed under veterinary care on Saturday after her keepers noticed she had reduced appetite and activity levels and had a thick nasal discharge. The Safari Park’s veterinary team is providing Nola with the optimal care to thrive by giving her an injection of antibiotics to ward off any possible infection and is awaiting results from blood work and today’s nasal samples to determine if further medical treatment is needed.

Nola, who is already being treated for age-related arthritis, has been moved to a heated enclosure inside her Asian Plains field exhibit to provide her comfort from the chilly weather and allow the animal care team to keep close watch over her.

Nola is one of just five northern white rhinos left in the world. Recently, Angalifu, a 44-year-old male northern white rhino who also lived at the Safari Park, died of age-related causes. Three other northern white rhinos are in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya and one is in the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic. The five remaining rhinos are all of an advanced age and have not been able to reproduce. Poaching for its horn has brought the northern white rhino to the brink of extinction.

Photo taken on Dec. 29, 2014, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291
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White Monocled Cobra Settles into New Home at San Diego Zoo

Monocled CobraA venomous white monocled cobra that made headline news in early September, when it was reported loose in a semi-rural neighborhood in Thousand Oaks, settled into her new home earlier today at the San Diego Zoo’s Klauber-Shaw Reptile House. While the snake appeared a bit shy initially, it didn’t take her long to explore the habitat filled with mulch, live plants and rock ledges where she can hide, providing her the optimal opportunity to thrive and exhibit species-specific behaviors.

The leucistic cobra (leucism is characterized by reduced pigmentation, unlike albinism, which has no pigmentation) is estimated to be around 2 years of age and measures just over four feet long. The San Diego Zoo was asked to provide a home for the animal, as it was one of only two zoological facilities in the United States with the proper anti-venom for the cobra species.

Since the news first broke of the cobra being loose in Thousand Oaks, it has had a following on social media. Due to interest in this cobra, the San Diego Zoo is asking the public to help name the snake. Keepers at the Zoo came up with a list of names indicative to the snake’s native region of Southeast Asia. The names are: Adhira (lightning), Sapheda (white), Krima (cream), Cini (sugar), Moti (pearl) and Sundara (beautiful.) People may go online at www.bit.ly/whitecobra to vote. The voting will end at 4 p.m. on Dec. 31; the name will be announced shortly after on the San Diego Zoo’s Facebook page.

Monocled cobras are not a threatened species, but they are illegal to own in California without a permit.

Photo taken on Dec. 23, 2014, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo.

CONTACT: SAN DIEGO ZOO GLOBAL PUBLIC RELATIONS, 619-685-3291