Zoos & Aquariums
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1994:
Ivan, the gorilla kept for 30 years in solitary con-
finement at a now defunct shopping mall in Tacoma,
Washington, was moved on October 10 to Zoo Atlanta, where
he will share a $4.5 million facility with 20 other gorillas
including Willie B., a gorilla who spent 27 years in isolation
but has adapted well to life with a family group. Ivan will
spend 90 days in a separate suite, viewing the other gorillas
through a window, before being introduced in person to any.
The onset of winter threatened to kill a manatee
who somehow meandered into Chesapeake Bay, 1,000 miles
north of his usual habitat, but a 15-member team from Sea
World in Orlando, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the
National Aquarium, the Maryland Department of Natural
Resources, and the Save the Manatee Club on October 1 cap-
tured him and took him to the National Aquarium, pending
transfer to Sea World and eventual release.
Expected to revitalize Camden, New Jersey, the
Camden Aquarium drew 1.1 million visitors and 19,000 mem-
bers when it debuted in 1992, but will draw barely 600,000
visitors this year, and now has only 10,500 members. The $53
million aquarium was lauded for a planning decision to stress
native New Jersey species and exclude marine mammals.
Experts believe that decision is why it’s now failing.
The New Orleans chapter of the American
Association of Zookeepers brought education director Eileen
Salguero of the Aurora Zoo in Guatemala City to the Audubon
Zoo in October for special training. Staffed largely by volun-
teers, the 14-acre Aurora Zoo receives 10,000 to 15,000 visi-
tors on a typical Sunday. Noteworthy animals there include a
wide range of parrots confiscated by customs officials.
A new $1 million Tuna Research and
Conservation Center being built by Stanford University and
the Monterey Bay Aquarium hopes to help the species recover
from overfishing––and to discover the secrets to keeping cap-
tive tuna alive. The Monterey Bay Aquarium celebrated its
10th anniversary on October 20. Other current projects
include adding facilities for barracuda, sea turtles, and
sharks, and identifying a dozen new species a year discovered
in the 12,000-foot-deep Monterey Bay chasm by scientists of
the parallel Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.
Founder David Packard, who made his fortune by cofounding
Hewlett-Packard, has donated more than $135 million to the
various Monterey Bay marine habitat projects.
Peter Reshetniak of the Raptor Education
F o u n d a t i o n is trying to raise $20 million to build a 10-acre
roofed raptor zoo at Eagle Valley, Colorado, which would be
focal point of a $50 million raptor theme park. REF already
has four staffers and 50 volunteers who do raptor education
programs in schools and nature centers.
The Philadelphia Zoo has dispatched former
Liberian director of wildlife back to the wartorn nation to see
what’s left, if anything, of Sapo National Park and the conser-
vation center he built there. Rumor has it the park has been
logged by one of the warring factions.
The London Zoo on September 29 returned its
last panda to China, 33 months after she came on loan,
because she refused to mate with a male from the Berlin Zoo.
Former prime minister Edward Heath said he would visit
China in April 1995 and try to get another panda––although
most panda authorities now believe “panda loans” harm the
species’ chances of survival.
The larger of a rare pair of panda twins born at
the Beijing Zoo on September 25 died just two days later
after being rejected by the mother. Panda mothers are only
able to nurse one cub at a time, and the zoo staff were unable
to mother the cub successfully with formula.
The only two Vu Quang oxen ever captured died a
week apart in early October of an unidentified intestinal disor-
der. A species first identified in 1992, the deer-like oxen were
confiscated from hunters near the Laotian border in May and
August, and kept at a Vietnamese government forestry insti-
ute near Hanoi.
The Bronx Zoo on October 5 belatedly
announced the August 8 birth of twin male gorillas, sired
by Timmy, the silverback brought from the Cleveland
Metropark Zoo in 1992 amid much controversy about separat-
ing him from his sterile former mate.
San Diego Wildlife Park head elephant keeper
Alan Roocroft, notorious for directing the prolonged beating
of an elephant named Dunda in 1988, told National Public
Radio on August 22 that, “I don’t think, personally, ele-
phants should be in zoos in the western world,” as he doesn’t
think they should be kept in small groups in small areas.
The Biodome in Montreal has prepared a $1.7 mil-
lion plan for capturing belugas, and will decide within two
years whether to go ahead with it. The budget includes
$284,000 for public relations before and during the capture.