banneresupdate.jpg (18636 bytes)


Buttonshorizontal.jpg (10825 bytes)

News from the Zoos

Zoo Gets Funds to Study Effects of Captivity on Threatened Hawaiian Birds

The Honolulu Zoological Society received a $7,241 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences for research examining the role of stress as a compromixsing factor in the captive propagation of Hawaiian honeycreepers. The 41 existing endemic honeycreeper species are all endangered, scarce or declining, and the results of this research will provide vital information on conservation strategies for Hawaii's native forest birds. Captive management is one of the conservation strategies identified by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, but is not a viable option at this time. Six U.S. zoos hold at least one species (apapane, amakihi or i'iwi), but only five pairs have produced chicks, most of which did not survive beyond fledging. In addition, the captive population has been susceptible to Aspergillis, a stress-related infection.

Domestic House Cat is Surrogate Mother to Endangered Wildcat

In what is being hailed as a breakthrough in the effort to save endangered species, a domestic house cat gave birth to an endangered African wildcat after being implanted with a frozen embryo. It marked the first time that two major techniques of reproductive science were combined to produce an animal: the freezing, then thawing, of an embryo, and the transfer of the embryo to a surrogate mother of a different species. The key breakthrough is the ability to use animals that are commonly available, such as house cats, as surrogate moth-ers for endangered animals that have been preserved through the freezing of embryos. The kitten, named Jazz, was born at the Audubon Institute Center for Research of Endangered Species in New Orleans. The institute houses a "frozen zoo" of embryos from about 100 species of animals which are stored in cylinders of liquid nitrogen that are chilled to minus 373 degrees Fahrenheit. The wildcat’s birth was the result of work by Dr. Betsy Dresser, the senior vice president for research at the institute, and Dr. C. Earle Pope, the institute's senior scientist.

Aquarium Comes to the Rescue Of Stranded Turtles

An unprecedented number of endangered sea turtles washed ashore on Cape Cod beaches this winter, requir-ing emergency treatment from veterinarians and biologists from the New England Aquarium and Wellfleet Bay Sanctuary. Due to space limitations at those facilities, some turtles were flown to Florida by a Coast Guard jet, and distributed to other rehabilitation sites there. The turtles were mainly Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, the rarest of all sea turtles, but a few green sea turtles and loggerhead sea turtles were recovered as well. Every year, a number of sea turtles strand on the Cape Cod beaches. This occurs when the turtles get swept north with the warm Gulf Stream and then become trapped when the water quickly turns cold in early winter. Frigid water temperatures reduce the turtles’ body temperatures below normal, and they wash ashore in a condition called "cold-stunned". During the 1998-99 season, a total of 25 sea turtles were found stranded on Cape Cod, but at only one week into the 1999-00 season, more than 100 cold-stunned turtles had already been found.

Information for News from Zoos is provided by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.

Do you want to know more about the status of endangered species? buttonsubscription.jpg (2070 bytes)