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
News Article | March 22, 2016
Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and Joel Manby, CEO of SeaWorld, promoted their new partnership in interviews. After a long history of mutual recrimination, the two organizations say they'll work together to provide needed support for wild marine creatures in distress and to improve the circumstances of currently captive orcas in the U.S. As SeaWorld's Manby put it: It's clear to me that society is shifting. People's view to have these beautiful, majestic animals under human care – people are more and more uncomfortable with that. And no matter what side you are on this issue, it's clear that that's shifting, and we need to shift with that. If there is indeed a shift going on, it seems to be more in the rhetoric of the animal exhibition industries than in public comfort (or discomfort) with seeing large animals in captivity. For anyone interested in the history of exhibiting exotic animals, the news that people's expectations have changed and that zoological gardens, aquariums and circuses are responsive to those changes can't help but illicit a little cynicism. The SeaWorld/HSUS announcement echoes news from last year that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus decided to phase out elephant performances and retire the animals to a state-of-the-art sanctuary. In both cases, the companies were clearly facing growing public criticism damaging their bottom lines. They appear to have made business decisions to protect their brands and refocus the public's attention on what they describe as more critical core missions. At the same time, both announcements were framed as having resulted from the recognition that the times have changed – "that society is shifting" – and that change is making circumstances better for animals in captivity. This claim reaches far beyond charismatic whales and elephants and is deployed for all kinds of new policies and exhibits. Later this month, for example, the London Zoo will open its "breath-taking" newest exhibit, "Land of the Lions," featuring "thrilling, immersive Indian-themed areas to explore – including a train station, crumbling temple clearing, high street and guard hut." The exhibit is described as an "interactive adventure," through which visitors will "get closer than ever before to mighty Asiatic lions." As remarkable as this exhibit sounds, a video of the queen officially opening the exhibit shows a fairly unsurprising couple of female lions "activated" by having food dispersed in a relatively small exhibit with wire fencing. But the times have been changing for a while I'm not sure whether the queen felt transported to India in visiting this exhibit. What is clear, though, is that the zoo wants us to believe that this exhibit is something entirely novel. This sort of claim is very old, indeed. Even in 1869, for example, almost 150 years ago, an editorial appeared in the Daily News of London describing a proposed new lion house for this same zoo. Pointing to a history of "dismal menagerie cages," the article heralded a new vision of "displaying lions and tigers, in what may be called by comparison a state of nature" and the public can look forward to seeing "lions at play, free as their own jungle home; tigers crouching, springing, gamboling, with as little restraint as the low plains of their native India." Ever since public zoos began to be built in the 19th century, there's been a consistent rhetorical pattern behind any proposed new zoo or aquarium or exhibit. The argument typically runs something like this: whereas in the past our exhibits have been disappointing, uninspiring and small, our new exhibit will finally make it seem like the animals are not in captivity. As importantly, the animals themselves will also finally be happy. Unfortunately, almost all of these new exhibits turn out to be somehow less than was envisioned, less than was hoped…simply less. This is not to say that exhibits haven't in fact gotten better. Exhibited animals are in general better cared for and healthier in all ways than they used to be. Each generation of exhibits does tend to improve on what came before; elephant exhibits being built at the more ambitious zoos of today, like the Oregon Zoo's "Elephant Lands," for example, have typically radically improved the conditions for the animals, keepers and the visiting public. And these changes have been pushed by public concerns along with the ambitions of designers and directors to provide better circumstances for the animals. But all that doesn't alter the fact of captivity. And that fact will, as best as I can tell, continue to undermine whatever rhetorical gestures may be made declaring a new day for animals and people.
News Article | December 9, 2016
A fact widely unknown: giraffe populations in Africa have declined 40 percent since 1985. But it is a silent extinction no longer. Last of the Longnecks — a documentary by Iniosante Studios — is the first feature film to bring light to the threats affecting giraffe conservation, and the revelations of the researchers featured in the new movie have instigated the reclassification of giraffes from “Least Concern” to “Vulnerable” on the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Red List - an index on the likelihood of extinction. Suffering a 40% decline in less than 30 years, all nine subspecies of giraffes are now officially in trouble. The authority on animal conservation designation — the IUCN— announced today that Giraffa camelopardalis is threatened with extinction. Over the past three years, Iniosante Studios made documenting the factors leading to this decline of giraffes its mission; to bring global awareness to this issue. The culmination of their work is the newly completed documentary, Last of the Longnecks. “We’ve been working alongside the researchers in our film for the past three years to sound the alarm,” said Ashley Scott Davison, the film’s Director, “Until recently, few people were even aware of the situation facing giraffes. This reclassification by the IUCN is pivotal to get the public to take action for our planet’s tallest animal.” The recently finished film is represented by Cargo Film & Releasing. A broadcaster has yet to be named. “The IUCN is one of the primary sources zoos use when determining which species to support with conservation programs and dollars. This status change for giraffes will help them receive the increased attention and protection they so badly need,” added Sheri Horiszny, Deputy Director of Living Collections at Oregon Zoo, & Giraffe Species Survival Plan Coordinator for AZA. The film spans three continents and seven countries showcasing giraffes in the wild as well as in captivity. Oakland Zoo was featured based on their long-standing commitment to understanding giraffes and supporting conservation efforts through the Reticulated Giraffe Program in Kenya. "The increasing rate of decline in Africa’s giraffe populations is of great concern to Oakland Zoo,” said Dr. Joel Parrot, President & CEO at Oakland Zoo, “Getting the word out through our conservation partner, the Reticulated Giraffe Project in Kenya, and through the ground-breaking documentary, Last of the Longnecks, will hopefully inspire people to act now and save this species from eventual extinction." “This tragedy has unfolded during my lifetime,” says Dr Fred Bercovitch of the University of Kyoto — one of several scientists featured in the film and one of the leading authors of the IUCN Red List Assessment Report — “The only silver lining is the recognition that giraffes as an endangered species might put the brakes on the decline before it’s too late.” Dr Francois Deacon, a pioneer in the use of GPS technology to study giraffes and their natural habitat, had this to say, “We can forget about saving giraffes from extinction if we can not even save the habitat they roam. This is a sad time for giraffes in Africa if people continue to sit on the sidelines; we are quickly losing grip on the last few natural populations”. Francois and his team of researchers collared the first wild giraffe, and have since tracked more than 30. He is a professor at the University of the Free State in his native South Africa. Globally, the scientists featured in Last of the Longnecks are recognized as the leading authorities on giraffe research & conservation. To obtain accurate figures for the IUCN, more than a dozen researchers combed the savannas in trucks, wandered trails on foot, flown in aircraft, and studied remote cameras. Sadly, the concerns were justified. The number of giraffes has plummeted from 163,000 to fewer than 98,000 — with numbers of some giraffes, such as the reticulated giraffe, declining by nearly 80%. “Being recognized as vulnerable to extinction was paramount. But this reclassification isn’t the final chapter in the story to protect giraffes. If we don’t change something, and soon, we may lose many of Africa’s giraffes from our planet forever,” said Ashley Scott Davison. About Last of the Longnecks Documentary trailer Documentary Sponsors Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, The Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Flying W Ranch, Oakland Zoo, CompareStructuredProducts.com, The Nature Conservancy, Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, and The Giraffe Alliance
News Article | January 9, 2016
The staff members at the Oregon Zoo in Portland were infected with a latent form of the respiratory illness and therefore displayed no symptoms and were not contagious, a report published by the CDC said. The report was issued two days after a U.S. judge ordered the CDC to release documents on tuberculosis in elephants to animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Oregon health officials said the timing of the report was unrelated to the lawsuit. PETA sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, parent of the CDC, last year. It sought release of data because of what it said was a serious risk that elephants could spread the potentially deadly disease to other elephants or to humans. The CDC report on the outbreak pointed to a lack of research about tuberculosis in elephants. It also called for improved screening to detect the disease because the present method of detection - taking cultures - may miss some cases or result in false positives. Jennifer Vines, deputy health officer for Multnomah County, whose office worked with the CDC on its report, said the investigation did not conclude that tuberculosis is highly transmissible between elephants and people. About 5 percent of captive Asian elephants in North America, like the ones in Portland, are believed to have tuberculosis, the CDC said. Human-to-elephant transmission was first identified in 1996 and there have been a handful of cases in recent years in Tennessee and elsewhere. The outbreak prompted the Portland zoo to say it would conduct more frequent tuberculosis tests of both animals and staff through at least June 2016. The outbreak was identified in May 2013 when a routine annual check of elephants found that a 20-year-old bull named Rama was infected. Rama's father, 51-year-old Packy, also tested positive as did Tusko, a 44-year-old former circus performer. Public health officials do not know the cause of the outbreak. The CDC said it was possible that a zoo volunteer diagnosed with tuberculosis in 2012 may have spread the disease to the elephants. The zoo's other elephants were not infected, nor were another roughly 100 people who were near the three sickened bull elephants.
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 | February 18, 2017
Look out below! Seems like the winter weather’s just right for Nora to take a dip. Read: The Ice Is Right: Baby Polar Bear Overjoyed as She Plays in Frozen Kiddie Pool In a video taken by an Oregon Zoo volunteer last week, the polar bear could be seen practicing her dives, working on her handstands, and splashing through the pond in her enclosure.a She even has her pool toys to keep her busy. Little Nora, who is now more than a year old, performed a similar routine in her pool last April, when she made her first appearance at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio. Read: Migrants Come Face-to-Face with Polar Bear When they Pile In Truck Nora was rejected by her mother shortly after birth and failed to thrive among her family. She was then transported to the Oregon Zoo in October. But, Nora’s latest performance at the pool proves she’s fitting in swimmingly at her new home. Watch: Polar Bear Cub Captures Hearts of Zoo Goers During First Public Appearance
News Article | April 22, 2016
Climate change is taking its toll on a majority of Earth's species — from habitat and to even their diet. Scientists from U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) studied the effects of climate change on polar bear's diet to assess the extent of adaptation and its effects on the overall health of bears. Zoo curator Amy Cutting acknowledged that climate change is indeed happening at an alarming rate. Understanding the bear's response to environmental changes will help them in making decisions that would protect the animals in the wild. Researchers from USGS used Oregon Zoo polar bears, Conrad and Tasul, to collect baseline information before studying bears in the Arctic regions. "Scientists and wildlife managers need to understand how polar bears are responding as sea ice retreats," said Cutting. "But polar bears are notoriously difficult to study in the wild. Direct behavioral observations are nearly impossible." The shift in the Arctic ice has significantly altered the diets of polar bears. Instead of consuming ringed seals, polar bears in East Greenland are now eating hooded seals. Does diet have health implications on polar bears? To understand how polar bears process their food, the USGS researchers used stable isotopes that are present in the animal's tissues and serves as their dietary signature. These chemical markers can reveal what and where the food was eaten. USGS wildlife biologist and study lead Dr. Karyn Rode said that the use of stable isotopes has allowed them to use blood and hair samples to see whether the polar bears changed its diet since the 1980s and the effect of the meal diversity in their health. To assist in data collection, Conrad and Tasul switched their diet between terrestrial and marine foods, dubbed by zoo staff the "surf-and-turf experiment." The researchers then compared new samples from their USGS archived samples from 25 years ago. Rode said the comparison includes how the bears processed the food. "It's not just that a 50 percent salmon diet shows up as 50 percent salmon in the body," Rode explained. "Some gets routed toward body fat, some gets stored and some is transformed directly to energy. I need to understand how the bear body processes food before I can understand how different diets may affect them." The study is not only helpful in understanding the diet of polar bears but also invaluable in terms of preserving their population. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) stressed the gravity of threat to the polar bears existence. With only about 26,000 left, the IUCN included it in the 2015 Red List of Threatened Species. Since they depend on sea ice when they eat, IUCN said that melting ice forces the polar bears to starve longer as they hunt for food and starvation significantly affects the animal's reproductive abilities. The study was published in Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. © 2016 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
News Article | March 30, 2016
An endangered Amur leopard, which was euthanized on Tuesday due to kidney disease and old age, is seen at the Oregon Zoo in an undated handout photo provided by the zoo. "Given that there are fewer than 300 of these animals left in the world, every passing feels particularly poignant," zoo curator Amy Cutting said in a statement. Before her death on Tuesday, Kia may have been the oldest of her subspecies on the planet, the zoo said. She gave birth to nine cubs, or 3 percent of the world population of Amur leopards, over her lifetime. "She had a good life, raised a bunch of cubs and was an excellent mother," said Cynthia Kreider, who leads the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' efforts to boost and preserve Amur leopards in the wild. Populations of the giant cat, which are only found in northern China and Russia's far east, have been decimated by poaching, inbreeding and fires, with fewer than 70 of the animals believed to live in the wild. Kia's cubs are now part of an effort to breed and preserve new generations of the animals, the zoo said.
Whitham J.C.,Chicago Zoological Society |
Wielebnowski N.,Oregon Zoo
Applied Animal Behaviour Science | Year: 2013
In recent years, zoos and aquaria have intensified efforts to develop approaches and tools for assessing the welfare of populations and individual animals in their care. Advances made by welfare scientists conducting studies on exotic, farm, laboratory, and companion animals have led to the emergence of a new perspective on welfare assessment in zoos. This perspective: (1) emphasizes the importance of supplementing resource-based assessments with animal-based approaches that require measures of the behavioral and/or physical state of individual animals, (2) focuses on the subjective experiences of individual animals, and (3) considers positive affective states. We propose that the zoo community also should increase efforts to integrate measures of positive affect into both population-level studies and tools for monitoring individual well-being. For years, zoo welfare researchers have conducted trans-disciplinary, multi-institutional studies to identify risk factors associated with poor welfare. In the future, large-scale research projects, as well as epidemiological studies specifically designed to examine the patterns of welfare issues within populations, should integrate behavioral, physiological, and biological measures of good well-being (e.g. play, exploratory behaviors, measures of immunological function). While the results of population-level studies can be used to refine animal care guidelines, individual animals should be monitored to ensure that their needs are being met. Furthermore, after determining how to elicit positive affective states in individual animals, the zoo community should attempt to promote these states by offering positive experiences. We describe two strategies that zoos can currently pursue to facilitate the occurrence of positive affective states: (1) provide animals with stimulating opportunities to overcome challenges, make choices, and have some level of control over their environments, and (2) promote appropriate and beneficial keeper-animal relationships. Ultimately, we hope that as welfare researchers gain a better understanding of how to assess and promote good well-being, zoos and aquaria can apply these findings to actively strive toward achieving the best possible welfare for all animals in their care. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
Fanson K.V.,Deakin University |
Wielebnowski N.C.,Oregon Zoo
Animal Welfare | Year: 2013
In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on the study and assessment of animal welfare in captive settings, such as zoological gardens and aquaria. Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) are a relatively common species in zoos, yet are known to exhibit frequent reproductive problems in captive environments. We provide an exploratory analysis of housing and husbandry factors that are associated with patterns of adrenocortical activity in lynx. Adrenocortical activity was assessed using the non-invasive technique of monitoring faecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGM). First, we calculated baseline FGM values for each individual and controlled for sex, age class, and reproductive status. The residual values were used to determine how levels of adrenocortical activity correlated with institutional husbandry practices. Second, we compared the occurrence of FGM peaks to events and disturbances recorded by keepers. Our results highlighted that adrenocortical activity is strongly correlated with: (i) the size of the enclosure; (ii) the number of hiding locations available; and (iii) the social environment. Based on our findings, we recommend that lynx should generally be housed alone (unless with dependant offspring or temporarily paired up for mating purposes), in larger enclosures and with the provision of several species-appropriate hiding locations. © 2013 Universities Federation for Animal Welfare.