Zoos & sanctuaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1995:

The sale of the city-owned
Bridgeport Zoo to the nonprofit Connecticut
Zoological Society, backed by $5.5 million in
state aid, has been delayed and perhaps halted
after three years of planning. The zoo occu-
pies park land donated by the James Walker
Beardsley family, who have the right to
reclaim the site if it is turned over to any entity
other than the city or the state. Beardsley’s
heirs say they would not exercise such a claim,
but public officials aren’t willing to take the
chance. The financially troubled city seeks to
sell the zoo, still undergoing extensive renova-
tion, because it costs about $1 million a year to
run, only $600,000 of which comes from
admissions, concession sales, and donations.

A Southwest Foundation for
Biomedical Research baboon, apparently
impregnated through a fence, gave birth on
April 23 to the first known surviving triplets
born to any Old World primate, a group
including gorillas, chimpanzees, and
macaques. The baboon actually delivered
quadruplets, but the fourth infant died from
congenital defects. The SFBR colony of 3,000
baboons is the largest in the world.
In a symbolic advance for zoologi-
cal conservation in Africa, the Abidjan Zoo
in Ivory Coast announced on April 25 that it
will send a rare female Mona monkey to the
Mitchell Park Zoo in Durban, South Africa,
in trade for a pair of blue duikers, a variety of
miniature antelope. Historically, African zoos
have sold animals for cash rather than partici-
pating in breeding exchanges.
The JES Exotics sanctuary, of
Sharon, Wisconsin, is preparing for proba-
ble relocation a few miles south to McHenry
County, Illinois, due to zoning conflicts. The
present JES site is zoned for agricultural uses
including operating game farms, but not for
shelter operations. A local court recently ruled
that although keeping pumas and bears quali-
fies as legitimate “wildlife management,”
under a state permit that recognizes JES
Exotics as a game farm even though it does not
sell, slaughter, adopt out, or otherwise make
commercial use of any animals, housing
species not native to North America is a shel-
tering activity and therefore illegal. JES opera-
tors Jill and E.J. Shumak expect the relocation
to cost at least $150,000, and expect to have to
raise the funds and make the move by the end
of the summer. The situation has obliged them
to stop taking in additional animals.
The Milwaukee County Zoo is to
open a revamped Aquarium and Reptile Center
on May 27, after $3.3 million worth of work.
The star attractions are to be a breeding pair of
Chinese alligators brought from the Bronx Zoo
on April 10. Only a few hundred of the
species survive in the wild.
The conservation group English
N a t u r e plans to reintroduce extinct Large
Copper and Chequered Skipper butterflies to
Britain within two to three years by matching
DNA samples drawn from museum exhibits
with the DNA of related species. If they suc-
ceed, it will mark the first example of the
Jurassic Park scenario: the laboratory recre-
ation of a lost species. However, the butter-
flies died out due to the loss of since restored
hedgerow habitat just 75 years ago; dinosaurs
vanished 65 million years ago, and though
fragmentary DNA has been recovered from a
tyrannosaurus rex hip bone and the eggs of an
unidentified Chinese species, they have only
remote avian relatives still living.
Kumari, age 16 months, the first
elephant ever born at the National Zoo in
Washington D.C., survived having her moth-
er step on her head shortly after birth, but col-
lapsed and died on April 25 after a brief gas-
trointestinal illness.
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