News from Zoos

Oregon Silverspot Population Supplementation

Habitat loss and degradation has greatly affected the Oregon silverspot (Speyria zerene hyppolyta) and the six different

locations where this butterfly lives in the Pacific Northwest. The greatest affect has been on the silverspot's

larval host plant, which now has to compete with non-native grasses. In 1980, the US Fish and Wildlife Service

(USFWS) listed the Oregon silverspot as a threatened species. In 1998, the silverspot population at The Nature

Conservancy's Cascade Head Preserve dropped to 57 individuals. This prompted the Oregon Zoo, The Nature

Conservancy, Lewis & Clark University and USFWS to join forces and begin working on a captive rearing and

release program to supplement the current populations.

The rapidly declining population at the Cascade Head Preserve made it the perfect location for the first supplementation.

In September 1999, Nature Conservancy volunteers captured 10 adult butterflies. These 10 adults

produced enough eggs that volunteers rereleased 107 adult butterflies into the wild. A survey of Cascade Head's

silverspot population in 2000 showed a 21% increase over the 1999 population. Based on the success of the first

release, the four organizations are planning additional releases at Cascade Head and possibly another site in 2002.

[Source: Blair Csuti and David Shepherdson, Oregon Zoo]


Saint Louis Zoo Receives Leadership Gift for New Exhibit

The Saint Louis Zoo received a commitment of $1.5 million from the David B. Lichtenstein Foundation for the

construction of its new Penguin & Puffin Coast exhibit. The Lichtenstein Penguin Cove will feature the first

walk-through Antarctic penguin exhibit in North America. The exhibit will also offer two large indoor habitats,

one for Antarctic penguins and one for puffins. Both will give visitors underwater viewing in a rugged,

naturalistic coastline exhibit. Penguin & Puffin Coast will also feature puffins and Humboldt penguins. The completion

of Puffin Bay will bring the colorful birds to the zoo for the first time. The exhibit is slated to open in 2002.

[Source: Communique]


Asian Otter Survey and Awareness Program

Throughout most of Asia, the otter is the top freshwater and wetland carnivore, but conservation efforts in this region

have placed more emphasis on larger mammals. Increased industrialization and population have altered the otter's

habitat as well as reduced the otter population. In more industrialized countries, the otter has almost disappeared and

in other countries, there is no reliable information on the status of their populations.

AZA's Small Carnivore Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) and Asian Small-clawed Otter Species Survival Plan

(SSP) are working closely with Asian officials, such as the IUCN Asian Otter Secretariat in Sri Lanka, on a series of

projects. One project is to survey Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia for

hairynosed otters. Another project is to conduct a general survey in western Asia and create awareness programs

about otters and their importance in countries like Pakistan, Nepal and India. The results of the surveys are now coming

back to the Secretariat, the TAG and the SSP. Once the size and locations of the populations are determined, these

groups will determine a course of action.

[Source: AZA in Action]