News Article | April 27, 2017
In this Nov. 19, 2012, file photo, polar bear Aurora, right, a female, gets acquainted with Nanuq, a male, during their first 24 hours together at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, Ohio. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium said it has euthanized Nanuq on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, after veterinarians determined he had liver cancer with limited treatment options. (Tom Dodge/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, File) The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio says it has euthanized a 29-year-old male polar bear after veterinarians determined he had liver cancer with limited treatment options. The bear euthanized Wednesday, Nanuq (NAN'-nook), fathered five surviving offspring in a species with a low reproductive rate. Three are cubs born to the zoo's two female polar bears last November. Nanuq also fathered Nora, who moved from Columbus to the Oregon Zoo, and Luna, who remains at the Buffalo Zoo. Officials say Nanuq was rescued as an orphaned cub in Alaska in 1988 and lived at the Henry Vilas Zoo in Wisconsin. He was moved to Buffalo in 2009 and to Columbus in 2012. The zoo says Nanuq surpassed the median life expectancy for such a bear by eight years. Explore further: Ohio zoo's polar bear moves to Chicago to find romance
Boose K.J.,University of Oregon |
White F.J.,University of Oregon |
Meinelt A.,Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
American Journal of Primatology | Year: 2013
All the great ape species are known tool users in both the wild and captivity, although there is great variation in ability and behavioral repertoire. Differences in tool use acquisition between chimpanzees and gorillas have been attributed to differing levels of social tolerance as a result of differences in social structure. Chimpanzees also show sex differences in acquisition and both chimpanzees and bonobos demonstrate a female bias in tool use behaviors. Studies of acquisition are limited in the wild and between species comparisons are complicated in captivity by contexts that often do not reflect natural conditions. Here we investigated tool use acquisition in a captive group of naïve bonobos by simulating naturalistic conditions. We constructed an artificial termite mound fashioned after those that occur in the wild and tested individuals within a social group context. We found sex differences in latencies to attempt and to succeed where females attempted to fish, were successful more quickly, and fished more frequently than males. We compared our results to those reported for chimpanzees and gorillas. Males across all three species did not differ in latency to attempt or to succeed. In contrast, bonobo and chimpanzee females succeeded more quickly than did female gorillas. Female bonobos and female chimpanzees did not differ in either latency to attempt or to succeed. We tested the social tolerance hypothesis by investigating the relationship between tool behaviors and number of neighbors present. We also compared these results to those reported for chimpanzees and gorillas and found that bonobos had the fewest numbers of neighbors present. The results of this study do not support the association between number of neighbors and tool behavior reported for chimpanzees. However, bonobos demonstrated a similar sex difference in tool use acquisition, supporting the hypothesis of a female bias in tool use in Pan. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
PubMed | University of Oregon, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and Miami University Ohio
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Zoo biology | Year: 2016
Hair plucking has been observed in many captive primate species, including the great apes; however, the etiology of this behavioral pattern is poorly understood. While this behavior has not been reported in wild apes, an ethologically identical behavior in humans, known as trichotillomania, is linked to chronic psychosocial stress and is a predominantly female disorder. This study examines hair plucking (defined here as a rapid jerking away of the hair shaft and follicle by the hand or mouth, often accompanied by inspection and consumption of the hair shaft and follicle) in a captive group of bonobos (N=13) at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio. Plucking data were collected using behavior and all-occurrence sampling; 1,450 social and self-directed grooming bouts were recorded during 128hr of observation. Twenty-one percent of all grooming bouts involved at least one instance of plucking. Urine samples (N=55) were collected and analyzed for the stress hormone cortisol. Analyses of urinary cortisol levels showed a significant positive correlation between mean cortisol and self-directed plucking for females (r=0.88, P<0.05) but not for males (r=-0.73, P=0.09). These results demonstrate an association between relative self-directed hair plucking and cortisol among female bonobos. This is the first study to investigate the relationship between hair plucking and cortisol among apes. Overall, these data add to our knowledge of a contemporary issue in captive ape management. Zoo Biol. 35:415-422, 2016. Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
News Article | December 22, 2016
She's Colo, the nation's oldest living gorilla, and she turned 60 on Thursday at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Colo was the first gorilla in the world born in a zoo and has surpassed the usual life expectancy of captive gorillas by two decades. Her longevity is putting a spotlight on the medical care, nutrition and up-to-date therapeutic techniques that are helping lengthen zoo animals' lives. "Colo just epitomizes the advances that zoos have made, going all the way back to her birth at Columbus," said Dr. Tom Meehan, vice president for veterinary services at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo and veterinary adviser to a national gorilla species survival plan. The changes also mean more animals living with the normal aches and pains of growing older. Today, zoo veterinarians regularly treat animals for heart and kidney disease, arthritis, dental problems and cancer. Hundreds of people gathered at the zoo Thursday to see Colo, singing "Happy Birthday" moments before the gorilla ambled into an enclosure decorated with multicolored construction paper chains and filled with cakes such as squash and beet and cornbread with mashed potato parsley frosting. Among the first in line was Pam Schlereth of Columbus, who at 63 was just a little girl when her father brought her to see the newborn Colo in a gorilla incubator in 1956. "It's a tribute to the zoo that she's alive at 60 years old," Schlereth said. Colo represents so much to the zoo, Tom Stalf, president of the zoo, told the crowd. "It's all about connecting people and wildlife," he said. Colo is one of several elderly gorillas around the country. The oldest known living male gorilla, Ozzie, is 55 years old and lives at the Atlanta Zoo, which has a geriatric gorilla specialty. At Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo, staff members use acupuncture, massage, laser therapy, and heat and joint supplements to help Emma, a 13-year-old rabbit. At the National Zoo in Washington, Shanthi, a 42-year-old Asian elephant with arthritis, receives osteoarthritis therapy and was recently fitted with specially crafted front foot boots to help her feet heal as medications are applied. In Oakland, California, Tiki, a 27-year-old giraffe and one of the oldest in the nation, gets foot care, massage therapy, acupuncture and chiropractic care, along with traditional veterinary medicine. Gao Gao, a 26-year-old male panda at the San Diego Zoo with a heart condition, periodically undergoes cardiac ultrasounds. "Geriatrics is probably one of our most common medical challenges that we face in a zoo situation," said Dr. Keith Hinshaw, director of animal health at the Philadelphia Zoo. "So pretty much anything that you could imagine would happen with an older person is going to happen eventually with any animal." That's up to and including medication: JJ, a 45-year-old orangutan at the Toledo Zoo, is on the human heart medicines carvedilol and Lisinopril, along with pain and orthopedic medications. He also takes Metamucil. Colo, a western lowland gorilla, holds several other records. On her 56th birthday in 2012, she exceeded the record for longest-lived gorilla. On Thursday, she surpasses the median life expectancy for female gorillas in human care (37.5 years) by more than two decades. Coldilocks, a 36-year-old polar bear at the Philadelphia Zoo and considered the oldest polar bear in the U.S. The bears' typical lifespan in captivity is 23 years. The zoo says treating her early for kidney disease appears to have helped prolong her life. Elly, an eastern black rhino at the San Francisco Zoo estimated to be 46 years old, is the oldest of her species in North America. She has had 14 calves, and her offspring have produced 15 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great-grandchild. Packy, an Asian elephant at the Oregon Zoo, and at 54, the oldest male of his species in North America. The zoo says Packy, born in 1962, became the first elephant to be born in the Western Hemisphere in 44 years. Nikko, a 33-year-old snow monkey at the Minnesota Zoo, the oldest male snow monkey in North America. Little Mama, a chimpanzee living at Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, Florida, with an estimated age in her late 70s. She takes allergy medicine, iron supplements and omega 3 multivitamins, and has been trained to accept a nebulizer treatment for coughing. Emerson, a Galapagos tortoise at the Toledo Zoo in Ohio, whose age is estimated at about 100. Michele Frymen, from left, Christy Anderson and Jacob Anderson, all from Columbus, hold up a birthday cake and wave as they get their picture taken during some festivities in the food court as part of the 60th birthday celebration for Colo, the nation's oldest living gorilla, at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016 in Columbus, Ohio. Colo was the first gorilla in the world born in a zoo and has surpassed the usual life expectancy of captive gorillas by two decades. Her longevity is putting a spotlight on the medical care, nutrition and up-to-date therapeutic techniques that are helping lengthen zoo animals' lives. (AP Photo/Ty Wright) In this Dec. 16, 2016 file photo, Coldilocks the polar bear looks up from a nap at the Philadelphia Zoo in Philadelphia. Coldilocks, who celebrated her 36th birthday last week, is considered the oldest polar bear in the U.S. The bears' typical lifespan in captivity is 23 years. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) In this March 27, 2012 file photo, Packy, an Asian elephant, is sprayed with water at the Oregon Zoo, in Portland. Packy at 54 is the oldest male of his species in North America. The zoo says Packy, born in 1962, became the first elephant to be born in the Western Hemisphere in 44 years. (Randy L. Rasmussen/The Oregonian via AP, File) Explore further: Oldest zoo gorilla doing well after biopsy before birthday
News Article | December 22, 2016
The first gorilla born in human care turned 60 today (Dec. 22) at her home in the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio. Colo, whose name is a combination of "Columbus" and "Ohio," is a western lowland gorilla, and is the oldest gorilla in the world. Born in 1956, she first broke this record in 2012 when she turned 56, already decades beyond a gorilla's typical life expectancy, which is about 30 to 40 years old. Now entering her seventh decade, Colo's birth and subsequent reproductive success represent years of progress in the care and breeding of captive gorillas, the Columbus Zoo said in a statement. But she also draws attention to the plight of gorillas in the wild, which are increasingly under threat from poachers and from habitat destruction. [Colo, World's Oldest Gorilla, Turns 60 (Photos)] When Colo was born at the Columbus Zoo, scientists knew little about gorilla pregnancy, and she arrived several weeks sooner than expected, according to a 2009 video about her life by Columbus Zoo Media. In the video, a narrator describes a zookeeper discovering a newborn Colo, still in her amniotic sac, on the gorilla enclosure floor in the early morning hours of Dec. 22, 1956, abandoned by her mother. Zoo staff provided 24-hour care for the infant, and she grew and thrived under their attention. In 1958, she was introduced to a male gorilla, Bongo, who became her companion and mate for the next 25 years, and with whom she produced three young gorillas, two females and a male. Over the years, Colo's offspring brought her 16 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. "JJ," the most recent gorilla arrival at the zoo, was born Sept. 28 and is Colo's great-grandson. Colo currently lives in close proximity to other gorillas, but her keepers have made special arrangements to accommodate her dietary and social needs as she ages. She has her own enclosure, as she appeared to be more comfortable spending her days apart from the larger groups, said Audra Meinelt, the assistant curator of the Congo Expedition at the Columbus Zoo. In recent years, Colo has also been particularly challenged by arthritis, just as aging humans can be, Meinelt told Live Science. Dietary supplements help to counteract stiffness, while zoo staff have modified structures in Colo's living space to make it easier for her to get around; they also created enrichment devices to encourage Colo to use her digits. "Her arthritis is very specific to her hands and feet, so we came up with ways to get her to use her fingers more often," Meinelt said. "We also changed the way that we present her diet, so that also causes her to exercise her fingers." Colo's diet has changed as she's gotten older, partly because she's become choosier about what she eats, Dana Hatcher, manager of animal nutrition at the Columbus Zoo, told Live Science. "She doesn't like zucchini, or green beans, or grapes, or honeydew, or cantaloupe, or oranges or strawberries," Hatcher said. But Colo still gets plenty of variety in her diet, along with probiotics, brewer's yeast for additional B vitamins and lots of iceberg lettuce, which helps keep her hydrated. As Colo has grown and changed over decades, so too has the Columbus Zoo. The center established a gorilla surrogacy program to ensure that newborn gorillas are raised and socialized by other females if their own mothers are unable to care for them. As a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, developed in 1981, the zoo collaborates with other zoos to maintain healthy populations of captive animals and to ensure genetic diversity. But preserving gorillas in the wild is also part of the Columbus Zoo's mission. Colo's longevity has kept her in the public eye for a long time; for many visitors, she is one of a handful of gorillas that they will ever see firsthand. As such, she provides an important connection to wild populations that are in dire need of conservation, Meinelt said. "She's an excellent ambassador for her species," Meinelt told Live Science. "People know who she is. They look forward to celebrating her birthday each year, and that gives us the chance to educate them about what gorillas are facing in the wild and how critical their situation really is."
News Article | April 1, 2016
A gorilla named Susie eats a pumpkin in her enclosure at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, Ohio in this October 25, 2014 handout photo provided by the Columbus Zoo on March 31, 2016. REUTERS/Columbus Zoo and Aquarium/Amanda Carberry/Handout via Reuters More WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A gorilla named Susie is helping provide fresh insight into the genetic similarities and differences between people and these endangered apes that are among our closest living relatives. Scientists on Thursday unveiled an upgraded version of the gorilla genome based on DNA from Susie, an 11-year-old Western lowland gorilla at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio, that fills in many gaps present in the first gorilla genetic map published in 2012. The new research revealed that gorillas and humans are slightly more closely related genetically than previously recognized, with the genomes diverging by just 1.6 percent. Only chimpanzees and bonobos are more closely related to humans. The new genome shows that some areas of genetic differences include: the immune and reproductive systems; sensory perception; the production of keratin, a key protein in the structure of hair, fingernails and skin; and the regulation of insulin, the hormone that governs blood sugar levels. "The differences between species may aid researchers in identifying regions of the human genome that are associated with higher cognition, complex language, behaviour and neurological diseases," said University of Washington genetic researcher Christopher Hill, one of the lead authors of the study published in the journal Science. "Having complete and accurate reference genomes to compare allows researchers to uncover these differences," Hill added. The University of Washington lab that spearheaded the study is working to create a comprehensive catalogue of genetic differences between humans and the great apes: gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos. Recent studies have estimated that the gorilla and human evolutionary lineages split about 12 million to 8.5 million years ago, Hill said. Gorillas, typically found in lowland and mountain tropical rainforests in central Africa, are the world's largest primates, the mammalian group that includes lemurs, monkeys, apes and humans. Adult males reach up to about 440 pounds (200 kg). Gorillas spend about half their time munching on stems, bamboo shoots and a number of fruits. Their populations are threatened by human activities such as habitat destruction and poaching for bushmeat. A blood sample from Susie while the gorilla previously lived at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo provided the basis for the genome sequencing.
PubMed | Milwaukee County Zoo, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Reproductive Management Center and Busch Gardens Tampa
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Zoo biology | Year: 2016
Contraception is an essential tool in reproductive management of captive species. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Reproductive Management Center (RMC) gathers data on contraception use and provides recommendations. Although apes have been given oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) for at least 30 years, there have been no published reports with basic information on why the pill is administered, formulations and brands used, and effects on physiology and behavior. Here, we report survey results characterizing OCP use in bonobos (Pan paniscus) housed in North American zoos, as well as information accumulated in the RMCs Contraception Database. Of 26 females treated, there have been no failures and nine reversals. The most commonly administered OCP formulation in bonobos contained ethinyl estradiol (EE) 35g/norethindrone 1mg. Few females on combined oral contraceptives (COCs) were given a continuous active pill regimen; a hormone-free interval of at least 5 days was allowed in most. Crushing the pill and mixing with juice or food was common. Females on COCs seldom experienced breakthrough estrus or bleeding, while these conditions were sometimes observed for females on continuous COCs. All females on COCs exhibited some degree of perineal swelling, with a mean score of 3 or 3+ most commonly reported. Behavioral changes included less sexual behavior, dominant females becoming subordinate, and a negative effect on mood. No appreciable change in weight was noted. Taken together, these results indicate that OCPs are an effective and reversible contraceptive option for bonobos that can be used by zoos and sanctuaries to limit reproduction. Zoo Biol. 35:444-453, 2016. Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
PubMed | Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and Ohio State University
Type: Case Reports | Journal: Veterinary pathology | Year: 2014
An adult male domestic pigeon (Columba livia) was presented for necropsy following natural death after a period of chronic weight loss and severe intestinal ascariasis. Histopathologic examination of the liver found moderate to marked, multifocal necrotizing hepatitis with large, basophilic intranuclear inclusion bodies. Transmission electron microscopy of affected hepatocytes demonstrated numerous intra- and perinuclear icosahedral virions arranged in a lattice structure, consistent with adenoviral infection.
News Article | June 17, 2016
Recent tragic events involving children and animals — namely the death of gorilla Harambe at a Cincinnati zoo and the alligator attack of a 2-year-old child at a Disney resort in Orlando — likely alter the perception and understanding of animals among kids and adults alike. Who wouldn’t be shaken to the core? This early, parents need to gear up and teach their children what they should do in the face of scary, potentially deadly animal encounters. How To Approach Animals And Risky Situations National Geographic lists two important tips on how to talk to the little ones about animal attacks: Emphasize respect. Jack Hanna, director emeritus of Ohio’s Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, urges parents to talk to the tiny tots about expectations when they enter a zoo or a wildlife center. “This is the animal’s home. You don’t yell. You don’t throw peanuts. You respect its home,” he said, adding this also applies whenever kids pet a dog or deal with non-zoo creatures. Be honest about animals’ nature. Aside from reassuring a child that these unfortunate events are very rare and that dangers can be avoided, helping them better understand an animal’s biology will be key. Alligators, for instance, naturally hunt by instinct and will catch as well as consume anything that they can. This isn’t to say that these animals shouldn’t be portrayed as mindless killers; instead teach them that predation, animal defense and similar behaviors are part of nature’s design. The chances of a horrible death due to animal encounters remain very low. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) noted (PDF), for example, that of 383 unprovoked alligator attacks in the state since 1948, only 23 were deadly and 126 were considered minor. In the U.S., too, bees as well as other insects — and surprisingly, even cows — kill way more humans than alligators do. It should never be forgotten, however, that children still do fall prey to animals sometimes. A famous case is that of 2-month-old Azaria Chamberlain, who was snatched and killed by a dingo while on a family camping trip in Australia. The recent horrible events can be transformed into teaching moments, according to Melina Gerosa Bellows, who helms NatGeo’s media for children. Parents should reassure their kids that at the end of the day, mom and dad are looking out for them and ensuring their safety. © 2016 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
News Article | December 10, 2016
(Reuters) - The first gorilla born in captivity has returned to her enclosure at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio after recovering from successful surgery last week to remove a malignant tumor, the zoo said.