News Article | December 26, 2016
New York - The world's fastest land animal, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), is sprinting towards the edge of extinction and could soon be lost forever unless urgent, landscape-wide conservation action is taken, according to a study published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Led by Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Panthera and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the study reveals that just 7,100 cheetahs remain globally, representing the best available estimate for the species to date. Furthermore, the cheetah has been driven out of 91% of its historic range. Asiatic cheetah populations have been hit hardest, with fewer than 50 individuals remaining in one isolated pocket of Iran. Due to the species' dramatic decline, the study's authors are calling for the cheetah to be up-listed from 'Vulnerable' to 'Endangered' on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Typically, greater international conservation support, prioritization and attention are granted to wildlife classified as 'Endangered', in efforts to stave off impending extinction. Dr. Sarah Durant, ZSL/WCS lead author and Project Leader for the Rangewide Conservation Program for Cheetah and African Wild Dog, said: "This study represents the most comprehensive analysis of cheetah status to date. Given the secretive nature of this elusive cat, it has been difficult to gather hard information on the species, leading to its plight being overlooked. Our findings show that the large space requirements for cheetah, coupled with the complex range of threats faced by the species in the wild, mean that it is likely to be much more vulnerable to extinction than was previously thought." Durant continued, "We have worked with range state governments and the cheetah conservation community to put in place comprehensive frameworks for action to save the species, but funds and resources are needed to implement them. The recent decisions made at the CITES CoP17 meeting in Johannesburg represent a significant breakthrough particularly in terms of stemming the illegal flow of live cats trafficked out of the Horn of Africa region. However, concerted action is needed to reverse ongoing declines in the face of accelerating land use changes across the continent." While renowned for its speed and spots, the degree of persecution cheetahs face both inside and outside of protected areas is largely unrecognized. Even within guarded parks and reserves, cheetahs rarely escape the pervasive threats of human-wildlife conflict, prey loss due to overhunting by people, habitat loss and the illegal trafficking of cheetah parts and trade as exotic pets. To make matters worse, as one of the world's most wide-ranging carnivores, 77% of the cheetah's habitat falls outside of protected areas. Unrestricted by boundaries, the species' wide-ranging movements weaken law enforcement protection and greatly amplify its vulnerability to human pressures. Indeed, largely due to pressures on wildlife and their habitat outside of protected areas, Zimbabwe's cheetah population has plummeted from 1,200 to a maximum of 170 animals in just 16 years - representing an astonishing loss of 85% of the country's cheetahs. Scientists are now calling for an urgent paradigm shift in cheetah conservation, towards landscape-level efforts that transcend national borders and are coordinated by existing regional conservation strategies for the species. A holistic conservation approach, which incentivises protection of cheetahs by local communities and trans-national governments, alongside sustainable human-wildlife coexistence is paramount to the survival of the species. Panthera's Cheetah Program Director, Dr. Kim Young-Overton, shared, "We've just hit the reset button in our understanding of how close cheetahs are to extinction. The take-away from this pinnacle study is that securing protected areas alone is not enough. We must think bigger, conserving across the mosaic of protected and unprotected landscapes that these far-ranging cats inhabit, if we are to avert the otherwise certain loss of the cheetah forever." The methodology used for this study will also be relevant to other species, such as African wild dogs, which also require large areas of land to prosper and are therefore similarly vulnerable to increasing threats outside designated protected areas. Learn more about the Rangewide Conservation Programme for Cheetah and African Wild Dogs @ http://cheetahandwilddog. Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity whose mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. Our mission is realised through our ground-breaking science, our active conservation projects in more than 50 countries and our two Zoos, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. For more information visit http://www. Panthera, founded in 2006, is devoted exclusively to preserving wild cats and their critical role in the world's ecosystems. Panthera's team of leading biologists, law enforcement experts and wild cat advocates develop innovative strategies based on the best available science to protect cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, lions, pumas, snow leopards and tigers and their vast landscapes. In 50 countries around the world, Panthera works with a wide variety of stakeholders to reduce or eliminate the most pressing threats to wild cats -- securing their future, and ours. Visit panthera.org WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world's oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit newsroom.wcs.org
News Article | November 1, 2016
London, November 1, 2016 -- The ZSL (Zoological Society of London) Awards Committee has presented the ZSL Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. John Robinson, Executive Vice President of Conservation and Science at the Wildlife Conservation Society. The ZSL Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual who has made exceptional, long-term contributions to the conservation of wildlife and habitats. Dr. Robinson, a primatologist, received the award today at the ZSL London Zoo. "You, above all, have demonstrated excellence and achievement in implementing significant conservation action for the benefit of the international conservation community over many years, " said Jonathan Baillie, ZSL Conservation Programmes Director, about Dr. Robinson. "Your input into initial discussions with Georgina Mace and Glyn Davies to draw up a memorandum of understanding between our two organisations provided the framework for the establishment of a permanent WCS presence in Europe and a close, on-going relationship between WCS and ZSL. Over the years since scientific symposia on several issues of critical conservation importance have been held, both our organisations have worked with The Royal Foundation on the ground-breaking United for Wildlife Initiative, and coordinated on issues of common interest including the World Heritage Convention." While accepting the award, Dr. Robinson said: "Like ZSL's programs, at WCS, we emphasize the importance of scientific knowledge to define conservation action, we rely on field-based conservation implementation, and we work closely in partnership with national governments and local institutions. Our two organizations have a very distinct niche within the conservation world. There is an emphasis on the conservation of species." Dr. Robinson, also WCS Chief Conservation Officer, oversees the WCS Global Conservation Program in the Americas, Africa and Asia and in all the world's oceans. Under his leadership, the WCS field program has developed into one of the most effective science-based conservation efforts around the globe. Throughout his career, Dr. Robinson has been influential in all aspects of wildlife conservation, including in the field, in scientific research, in academia, and at the top levels of policy and global strategy. He has been a pivotal figure in forming WCS's great history of wildlife conservation. Said Cristian Samper, WCS President and CEO: "John has been one of the founders and leaders of conservation biology, using science to inform conservation practice. He has built the WCS conservation program from a collection of field research projects to a portfolio of long-term conservation programs spanning 60 countries. We extend our congratulations to John and thank our ZSL colleagues for recognizing his great impact on helping to save wildlife and wild places." Dr. Robinson received his doctorate in zoology from the University of North Carolina in 1977, focusing on primate behavior and ecology. His postdoctoral studies were with the Smithsonian Institution. In 1980, Dr. Robinson established the University of Florida Program for Studies in Tropical Conservation, a graduate program providing training to students from tropical countries. He joined WCS in 1990 as Director of Wildlife Conservation International. He is Past President of the Society for Conservation Biology, and is a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. Dr. Robinson has served on boards of the Christensen Fund, the Tropical Rainforest Foundation, TRAFFIC, and Foundations of Success. Since 2012, he has served as Councilor for North America with the World Conservation Union (IUCN). He serves as a Council member for United for Wildlife, and a Board member of Science for Nature and People, two multi-organizational partnerships. In 2003, Dr. Robinson was inducted into the Royal Order of the Golden Ark by King Bernhard of the Netherlands, in recognition of lifetime achievement and service to conservation. Through the years, Dr. Robinson has written extensively on the impact of subsistence and commercial hunting in tropical forests and has a long interest in the sustainable use of natural resources. He is often turned to as a leader in the areas of the relationship between conservation research and practice, and the application of conservation theory to conservation policy and implementation. He has over 180 publications, including "Neotropical Wildlife Use and Conservation" (1991), co-edited with Kent Redford, "Hunting for sustainability in tropical forests" (2000), co-edited by Elizabeth Bennett, "The Cutting Edge. Conserving wildlife in tropical forests" (2001), co-edited with Robert Fimbel and Alejandro Grajal, and "Conservation of exploited species" (2001), co-edited with John Reynolds, Georgina Mace and Kent Redford, and "Protected Areas. Are they safeguarding biodiversity?"(2016), co-edited by Lucas Joppa and Jonathan Baillie. MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world's oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: newsroom.wcs.org Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.
News Article | January 4, 2016
LONDON - Zookeepers at ZSL London Zoo began carrying out the annual stocktake of animals on Monday, with newborn baby gorilla Gernot a new addition to the 2016 census. Gernot was born at the end of November, bringing to six the number of Western lowland gorillas at the zoo in the British capital. "It's really important that we do the stocktake, it gives us an opportunity to evaluate what successes we've had throughout the year, particularly in breeding critically endangered species, like the Western lowland gorilla," said Mark Habben, Zoological Manager at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). The information from the annual stocktake is shared with other zoos to manage international breeding programs.
Clark F.E.,ZSL London Zoo |
Clark F.E.,UK Institute of Zoology |
Clark F.E.,Royal Veterinary College University of London |
Fitzpatrick M.,ZSL London Zoo |
And 9 more authors.
Zoo Biology | Year: 2012
Monitoring adrenal activity through noninvasive fecal hormone sampling is rapidly gaining popularity as a tool to assess zoo animal welfare. However, few studies have sought to investigate the interrelationships between behavior, adrenal activity, and environment, and ask whether both behavioral and adrenal monitoring strategies are required to assess welfare sufficiently. We present the findings of a 9-month study of a small group (one male, two females) of Western lowland gorillas, Gorilla gorilla gorilla. First, we examined the effect of environmental variables on gorilla behavior. Second, we examined the effect of environmental variables on the concentration of fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGC) and the relationship between behavior and FGC. Environmental variables had similar effects on all three gorillas. Negative vigilance of visitors (NVV; staring, posturing, and charging at visitors) significantly increased in all subjects as environmental noise levels increased, and food-related behavior significantly decreased in all subjects as crowd size increased. Exhibit modifications had a number of positive effects on behavior. Notably, when privacy screens were used, NVV significantly decreased in two subjects. We found no significant effects of environmental variables on FGC. However, we did find significant relationships between behavior and FGC in one female. Specifically, her NVV was significantly higher one day before, and on the same day as, raised FGC. Also, hair plucking significantly increased in the two days following raised FGC. Overall, this study demonstrates how concurrent noninvasive fecal and behavioral monitoring can be used for gorilla welfare assessment. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.