Zoo & aquarium notes

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1994:

The Granby Zoo, in Granby, Quebec, will
begin building a new monkey house next spring, to
open in 1997. In 1989, as described in the April 1994
issue of ANIMAL PEOPLE, zoo director Pierre Cartier
demolished the old substandard monkey house and sent
all the monkeys to other institutions––even though they
were the zoo’s most popular exhibits––to oust the “old
zoo” atmosphere and clientele. The move worked;
while the peanut-tossers vanished, overall attendance
quadrupled. After three years with no primates on exhib-
it, the zoo brought back a family of macaques and
returned its aged silverback gorilla to display last year.

The Brookfield Zoo, in Chicago, recently
celebrated the 60th anniversary of its opening, with the
last surviving original animal resident––a pink cockatoo
named Cookie––as the honored guest.
The World Wildlife Fund and the Born Free
Foundation charged in a recent special report that zoos
are “using the theme of conservation to maintain their
income and to try to deflect the growing criticism of an
increasingly skeptical public.” The report claimed only
one in 20 of the world’s 10,000 zoos participates in
species registries, only 2% of the world’s 5,926 threat-
ened species are kept in zoo breeding programs, and
only 16 zoo-based projects have ever successfully
returned animals to the wild. Globally, zoos keep about
five million animals, the report said, lumping accredited
and unaccredited zoos together. Of the estimated 1,500
zoos in the U.S., only 162 are accredited by the
American Zoo and Aquarium Association––and most of
the accredited zoos are in fact active participants in
Species Survival Plans administered by the AZA.
Currently, 92% of the animals in U.S. zoos were born at
zoos as part of controlled breeding programs, according
to Linda Koebner, author of Zoo Book: The Evolution
of Wildlife Conservation Centers, published by Forge
Books a few weeks after the WWF/BFF report appeared.
Twenty-six U.S. and Canadian zoos h a v e
pledged to give $30 million to China in coming years to
help save the giant panda. Under 1,000 pandas remain in
the wild; captive breeding has had only limited success.
The first $100,000 was delivered during the summer.
While the AZA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now
bar U.S. zoos from “renting” pandas for exhibit, believ-
ing this inhibits rather than encourages successful captive
breeding, China meanwhile announced that a potential
breeding pair of giant pandas will be sent to Japan.
The British-based Universities Federation
for Animal Welfare recently presented its 1994 Zoo
Animal Welfare Award to the Knowsley Safari Park,
where elephants roam a 100-acre exhibit––larger than
many whole zoos––and presented its Zoo Animal
Welfare Innovation Award to the Drusillas Zoo Park, for
introducing the use of bungee cord in primate cages to
better simulate the feel of swinging through branches.
A fish-shaped freshwater aquarium o p e n e d
on August 19 in Jiangsu Province, China, is billed as
the world’s biggest. Featured are sturgeons and gharials
(Chinese river crocodiles).
The 1995 “Animal Buns” calendar, a bur-
lesque of pinup calendars, features rump shots of exotic
wildlife––both male and female––taken at the San Diego
Zoo. The proceeds are to be split between conservation
projects and the American Association of Zookeepers,
whose San Diego chapter produced the calendar.
The San Diego Zoo made headlines for a dif-
ferent reason on August 29, hosting the first known
open heart operation on an orangutan in an attempt to
insure the longevity of a two-year-old female who was
born with a hole in her heart.
Appealing to potential New England
Aquarium members’ altruism or interest in conserva-
t i o n doesn’t work as well as “an educational, family
entertainment theme,” membership programs supervisor
Beth Lyons recently told the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Zoos in Texas and Indiana have begun a
captive breeding program for the Jamaican iguana,
believed to have been extinct since 1950 until a hunter’s
dog killed one in 1990. Among them, the zoos have 12
specimens.
The Toledo Zoo is trying to get 14 tadpoles
recently taken from the Laramie Basin in Wyoming to
hatch into Wyoming toads––of which under 100 are
known to survive.
A 13-year-old girl either fell or was dragged
into a makeshift bears’ lair on September 15 at a for-
mer army barracks in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. She was
fatally mauled. Police killed seven of the nine bears to
retrieve her body. Local media reported that both the
zoo watchman and the nearest attendant were drunk at
the time of the accident.
The Philadelphia Zoo has reportedly erased a
debt of $1.5 million by promoting the birth of three white
lion cubs on March 24––the only ones born in the U.S.
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