Oregon Zoo’s Polar Bear is Helping Researchers Test & Refine Technology for In Situ Research
January 27, 2023
The "Burr on Furr" device is a new prototype technology designed to help researchers tracking the difficult-to-observe polar bears in their natural environment. A polar bear at Oregon Zoo is playing an important role in the development of this technology, by helping researchers test and refine it prior to its use on in situ animals.
Zoo-Supported Research Project Aims to Understand Elephant Bull Movements in Botswana
December 19, 2022
An in situ research project led by Elephants for Africa, and supported by several zoos, aims to shed light on the movements of male elephants in Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Botswana. Ten bulls will be outfitted with satellite trackers, and their movement patterns studied, to understand where they are spending their time while travelling through. This information can help reducing poaching and human-wildlife conflicts.
Canadian Zoo Gives Home to Rescued Polar Bears & Conducts Research to Advance Ex Situ & In Situ Management of the Species
November 2, 2022
The Assiniboine Park & Zoo, in Manitoba (Canada), currently houses nine polar bears that were found orphaned in the wild with minimal chance of survival. These bears lost their mothers due to natural circumstances or human-wildlife conflicts, a common occurrence in the north of Manitoba . The zoo's "Leatherdale International Polar Bear Conservation Centre" provides a home to those bears while educating visitors, supporting conservation, and conducting research with applications to the management of polar bears in human care and in the wild.
Researchers Decode Complete Genome of the Aldabra Giant Tortoise Thanks to Decades-Old Animal at Zoo Zürich
October 14, 2022.
Researchers from the University of Zurich & partners have decoded the genome of the Aldabra giant tortoise, thanks to a decades-old tortoise housed at Zoo Zürich. This new information is vital to determine genetic diversity in the populations of this species, aiding breeding and reintroduction programmes, and further research on the lifespan and age of these animals.
Data from Species360 ZIMS Shows Slow to No Aging in Some Testudines
July 1, 2022
Groundbreaking new research by Species360 and the University of Southern Denmark found that some species, like turtles and tortoises, exhibit slow to negligible aging in favourable conditions. Using data from Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), they found that 75% of the 52 studied zoo-housed testudines showed extremely slow aging, with 80% of them exhibiting slower aging than modern humans.
US Rhinos Fitted With Activity Trackers
June 6, 2022
Some of the rhinos at Disney's Animal Kingdom have been fitted with activity trackers, part of a multi-institutional, US-wide, research project. The diurnal and nocturnal activities,, walking and running patterns, and enclosure use will all be monitored thanks to the GPS and accelerometers in the trackers. This research will have applications to rhino management and husbandry in human care.
Cryoperservation of Rare Species for Conservation
May 24, 2022
A team of scientists from Chester Zoo and experts on animal reproduction have founded Nature's SAFE: one of the largest living biobanks in Europe. Tissue samples are cryogenically frozen and stored, so they can be used to generate sperm and eggs in the future, aiding conservation efforts. They already have stored multiple cell types from over 100 threatened species, with dozens of contributions from Chester Zoo itself!
Sounds of Asian Elephants Revealed by Zoo Research
April 20, 2022
A ’trumpet’, a ‘rumble’, a ‘roar’ and a ‘chirp’: the four sounds of Asian elephants, detected in a research project at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Acoustic loggers were used alongside behavioural observations to learn more about Asian elephant communication, with potential applications to elephant research & conservation in the wild.
Numbat Genome Sequenced With Perth Zoo's Help
March 7, 2022
In a world's first, the genome of the endangered numbat has been sequenced by scientists from the The University of Western Australia. The numbat sample used for sequencing was provided by Perth Zoo, the only institution breeding this species under a successful ex situ programme that has seen the release of over 220 individuals into the wild.
Melbourne Zoo's Blood Bank is Great Tool for Animal Care & Research
March 5, 2022
Melbourne Zoo's blood serum bank keeps over 18,000 samples, some of them from the 1990s. As a collection of blood of zoo and wild animals from a wide range of taxonomic groups, it not only facilitates animal care and health management but it is also a great tool for scientific research.
World's First Pilot Study of EEHV Vaccine is Now Underway!
February 4, 2022
Now underway is the world's first pilot study of a new vaccine against the Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) - a major threat against captive and wild Asian elephants! Developed by Chester Zoo & University of Surrey, this new vaccine showed encouraging initial results in the trials. This study is also supported by other zoos, highlighting the importance of zoo research to the conservation of wild populations.
2022 Polar Bear Research Masterplan Released
January 27, 2022
The Polar Bears International and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums's Polar Bear Species Survival Plan have released the 2022 Polar Bear Research Masterplan. This document provides guidance for research on this species in zoos and aquariums, including priority topics and contributions to in situ research.
Zoo Snow Leopards Participating in Study To Facilitate Conservation Efforts for their Wild Counterparts
December 19, 2021
The technology and methodologies used in research & conservation efforts for wild animals are often developed, tested & optimised with the help of their zoo-housed counterparts...
The snow leopards at Korkeasaaren eläintarha are participating in a study led by Snow Leopard Trust, which aims to determine the accuracy of using camera images to survey the population of wild snow leopards.
Findings of Largest-Ever Cetacean Welfare Study Have Been Published!
September 15, 2021
The findings of the largest-ever cetacean welfare study have been published! This study, led by University of California Irvine, Chicago Zoological Society/ Brookfield Zoo and University of Florida , analysed data on bottlenose dolphins, beluga whales & white-sided dolphins from 43 institutions in seven countries.
This study provides new findings, information and tools to enhance cetacean welfare, including a new app "ZooPhysioTrak", a database of health and welfare biomarkers to assist institutions with their assessments.
Photo: Georgia Aquarium
"Library of DNA" Stored Underground at Antwerp Zoo
May 25, 2021
Safely kept underground at Antwerp Zoo is a Biobank, containing all sorts of samples from a variety of species. This "library of DNA", which can be preserved in "super freezers" for a very long time, is a very important research tool that can help conservation efforts for threatened species.
Rotterdam Zoo is "Field Lab" for Technological Innovations
May 10, 2021
The Diergaarde Blijdorp/Rotterdam Zoo is a "field lab" for Technische Universiteit Delft, providing the grounds for testing technological innovations in water management and green energy production. Some of the projects include energy production from polluted water ponds, wastewater purification using plants and rainwater storage and reusing.
Scientific Breakthrough with the Production of the First Female Bison Pregnancy Using Sex-Sorted Sperm
May 2, 2021
A team of researchers achieved a scientific breakthrough by producing the first ever female bison pregnancy via artificial insemination using sex-sorted sperm. This achievement is the result of a partnership between Toronto Zoo and University of Saskatchewan, which aims to facilitate conservation breeding efforts for the wood bison by increasing the number of females in herds.
Rotterdam Zoo & Wageningen University Collaborating on Research on Asian Elephant Genetic Health
April 16, 2021
The Rotterdam Zoo & Wageningen University are collaborating on a large-scale research study on the genetic health of captive and wild Asian elephants, a project that has just been awarded a grant by NWO (Dutch Research Council)..
Rotterdam Zoo manages the EAZA Ex-Situ Programme (EEP) for the Asian elephant and this research will help informing conservation efforts for this endangered species.
Brookfield Zoo's Wild Dolphin Research Program is the Longest-Running in the World
April 5, 2021
The Sarasota Dolphin Research Program has been running for 50 years - the world's longest-running study of wild dolphins. Both the research programme and the Sarasota dolphin population are used as models for other dolphin research & conservation programmes.
The programme has been operated by Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo since 1989.
Research at French Zoo Helping to Refine Robot for Penguin Research in the Wild
March 16, 2021
A research project at Parc zoologique de Paris, with CNRS & Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien - IPHC, is assessing the behavioural response of the zoo-housed Humboldt penguins to two remotely controlled robots. The aim is to refine the design of the robots, so they can be used to approach and study penguin populations in the natural habitat.
Research on Zoo Elephants Helping to Reduce Human-Wildlife Conflicts in the Wild
February 26, 2021
Zoo Research for In-Situ Conservation! The elephants at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are an integral part of a project that is developing technology to reduce human-wildlife conflicts in Africa & Asia.
A database of thermal images from the zoo-housed elephants is being used to set up cameras to recognise elephants based on their body heat. These cameras can detect nearby elephants, at day or night, and send an alert!
Perspective: "Unleashing the conservation potential of captive parrots by enabling wild behaviours"
January 27, 2021
Our own director Ricardo and his PhD supervisor, Dr. Jackie Chappell, wrote a perspective piece on the importance of enabling natural behaviours in captive parrots, not only for animal welfare in captivity but also for the conservation of their wild counterparts! This is part of Ricardo's PhD research at the University of Birmingham.
First Evidence of Biofluorescence in Tasmanian Devils Documented by Zoo Researchers
December 16, 2020
The researchers at The Toledo Zoo documented what is believed to be the first evidence of biofluorescence in Tasmanian devils. Despite the exciting findings, there is much we don't know about this phenomenon in this species and further research is required!
Loro Parque Supports Research for Threatened Ray Species
October 14, 2020
🌊Loro Parque supports in-situ research for the mantelina, a threatened ray species. The acoustic tagging of some wild individuals, which took place last week, will allow researchers to find out more about the species' habitat use in the Canary Islands.
Younger Singaporeans More Likely to Support Conservation - WRS Survey
October 2, 2020
A survey conducted by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) found that younger Singaporeans are more likely to support conservation efforts...
☑️Ages 16-24: 50% claimed to support conservation efforts;
☑️Ages 45-54: only 20% claimed to do so.
☑️61% claimed the biggest barrier to support conservation was not knowing where to begin.
☑️WRS suggests volunteering to start with!
☑️61% of visitors to WRS zoos learned new facts about animals during visits.
☑️31% of the visiting children showed increased interest in caring for biodiversity.
Zoo-Supported Project by Polar Bears International is Monitoring Polar Bear Movements & Sea Ice Extensions
July 24, 2020
Supported by several zoos, Polar Bears International is tracking the polar bear movements and sea ice extensions in Hudson Bay. This research is fundamental to further understand how polar bears are coping with the on-going melting of the sea ice, caused by climate change.
Zoo-Supported Research is Allowing to Track & Study Red Pandas in the Wild
June 08, 2020
As part of a long-term monitoring initiative by Red Panda Network, 10 red pandas were fitted with GPS collars and are being tracked in the forests of Ilam (in the border between Nepal and India). This research is a result of a collaboration between several institutions, including the government of Nepal, Rotterdam Zoo & others, and will allow to learn more about the ecology of this endangered species.
Zoo Attendance Increases with Number, Size and Rareness of Animals
February 05, 2020
A new published study showed that zoos that house more and larger animals have greater attendance, which then results in greater contributions to in-situ conservation! Unusual species and proximity to large populations also positively impacts attendance...
This study was the result of a collaboration between Trinity College Dublin, Species360 & National University of Ireland, Galway, and provides valuable information for zoos to manage (and potentially improve) their attendance.
Living Coasts' New Partnership and Project for the Protection of Torbay's Seagrass Meadows
January 28, 2020
Zoo Conservation, Research and Education in Action at Wild Planet Trust's Living Coasts! In partnership with Valeport, this project aims to protect Torbay's seagrass meadows, the wildlife-rich "underwater gardens" with an important function in fighting climate change, via scientific research and public education!
"Boom Boom Boom": Researchers Record New Crocodile Vocalisation at Australian Wildlife Park
December 08, 2019
What do crocodiles say? A team of researchers has recorded a new vocalisation while studying the saltwater crocodiles at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures. The "boom boom boom"-like sound seems to be associated with displays but its meaning is still unknown. Learning more about crocodile communication will help improving management in captivity and mitigating human-wildlife conflicts in the wild.
Data Provided By Zoos and Aquariums Vital for Species Conservation: Wildlife Experts Say
December 02, 2019
Zoos and aquariums are holders and contributors of extensive data and knowledge on the biology of many taxa - a vital tool in wildlife conservation. How are these data helping to save species? Wildlife experts explain it, in the following video, by Species360.
Mystic Aquarium's Research Programme Advancing Knowledge and Conservation on Beluga Whales
November 20, 2019
Once approved by the relevant authorities, five beluga whales will be transferred from Marineland (Canada) to the Mystic Aquarium (US), to join their three beluga whales in their conservation-focused research programme on this species.
"Beluga studies at Sea Research Foundation advance knowledge of immune responses (i.e., to infections, toxins, and other stressors), indicators of health (i.e., general and reproduction and behavior), hearing and sound issues, diving physiology, and non-invasive study techniques."
Enclosure Design Tool: Enabling Wildtype Behaviours in Captive Animals
November 08, 2019
Did you know the "Chimpanzee Eden" enclosure at Twycross Zoo, featured in the photo, was designed in collaboration with the University of Birmingham, under the “Enclosure Design Tool (EDT)” project? The structural complexity within was designed to encourage specific wildtype behaviours and research showed it was successful at doing so! Our director Ricardo’s PhD project also falls under the EDT project and it aims at developing an extension of it to Parrot species, in collaboration with other zoo partners!
Zoo Elephants Helping to Develop Warning Thermal Camera System to Reduce Human-Wildlife Conflicts
November 05, 2019
The elephants at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are helping Arribada conservation tech initiative to develop a warning thermal camera system, which will be used to warn communities of nearby elephants and reduce the risk of injuries and consequent human-wildlife conflicts. Another example of how zoo animals contribute to the conservation of their wild counterparts!
New Research Shows More Birds in Indonesian Households than in the Wild
September 20, 2019
New study, by Manchester Metropolitan University and Chester Zoo, showed there are potentially more birds in households in Indonesia than in the wild, which is threatening the future survival of wild song bird populations.
The EAZA's Silent Forest Campaign has been running since October 2017, fundraising for Asian song bird conservation and undertaking educational and awareness activities.
New Study Shows Major Role Zoos & Aquariums Play in Improving Our Knowledge of Species Demographics!
April 30, 2019
A new paper by Species360 shows a massive gap in our knowledge of species demographics, vital for effective conservation strategies, and highlights the major role zoos and aquariums have in filling this gap.
San Diego Zoo May Have Found Reason For White Rhino's Low Fertility!
April 11, 2019
Researchers from San Diego Zoo may have found the reason behind low fertility in southern white rhinos, which is related to the gut microbiome in females. These findings may not only help boosting captive population numbers in this subspecies (classified as "Vulnerable" to extinction) but also help saving the northern white rhino, another subspecies, which is facing the risk of immediate extinction as there are only two (old) females left in the world.
New Study Highlights Conservation Potential of World Aquariums!
March 04, 2019
A new study by Species360, in partnership with IUCN Species Survival Commission and other institutions, highlights the great conservation potential of world aquariums, which hold 21% of coral species vulnerable to climate change.
Study by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland Sheds New Light on the Scottish Wildcat's Plight and Offers Hope for its Future
December 20, 2018
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, or RZSS, conducted an invaluable study which ultimately concluded that there are few Scottish wildcats left in the wilds of Scotland that showcase the necessary physical and genetic standards that inarguably distinguish them from domestic feral cats. It concretely illustrated the extent of hybridization between Scottish wildcats and their domestic counterparts. The study also concluded, on a more positive note, that these desired characteristics are by far more prominent in captive populations. This gives the Scottish wildcat hope for the future. The survival of the Scottish wildcat and its already limited gene pool now arguably rests in the hands of institutions, such as the RZSS, that will increase the genetic diversity of this dwindling species through captive breeding programs.
Ground-Breaking Cognitive Enrichment Device Developed for Captive Gorillas!
November 25, 2018
A collaboration between Bristol Zoo Gardens and the University of Bristol has resulted in a ground-breaking new computer technology, integrated with cognitive animal enrichment. This device does not only allow researchers to further investigate the way great apes solve problems, but also has the potential to enhance the welfare of these animals in captivity.
Portuguese Aquarium Funds Two Research Projects on Threatened Marine Species!
November 21, 2018
The Oceanário de Lisboa and Oceano Azul Foundation (Portugal) have just contributed with €150K to two research projects: (1) the "Whale Tales Project", awarded with €50K, is focussed on the poorly studied habitat use of the threatened (i.e. "Vulnerable") sperm whale in Madeira Islands; (2) the "Eel Trek" project, which received €100K, studies the complex migratory behaviour of the critically endangered European eel.
Both these studies will be of great use to the conservation of these threatened species and therefore the financial contribution of these institutions is of great importance for scientific research and wildlife conservation.
Photo: Sperm Whale in Azores Islands, by Hiroya Minakuchi
Mating Seasonality of Zoo Carnivores Similar to their Wild Counterparts!
June 05, 2018
Researchers from the University of Zurich have studied 150.000 birth records for more than 100 zoo-housed (carnivore) species, helping to understand more about the biology of these species. It was found that, for most of the species, seasonality was very similar between zoo-housed animals and their wild counterparts.
Keeping and sharing data are key tasks of an effective zoo management, and they are made easier by Species360's ZIMS tool!
Measuring Dolphin Welfare in Captvitiy
May 28, 2018
A research project has tried to understand a little bit of the dolphins' perspective to their lives in captivity. The results showed that dolphins look forward to interact with their human caretakers, which suggests that better human-animal relationships result in better animal welfare.
Chester Zoo's Research: PhD student Studying Behaviour of African Dogs, Using their Poo!
May 27, 2018
"A lot of my time has been spent surrounded by dog poo in the lab"... These are the words of Chester Zoo's conservation scholar, Rhiannon Bolton, a PhD student from the University of Liverpool that has been studying the social behaviour of the African painted dogs at the zoo! Because all #ZooScience is amazing, even when it involves a lot of poo.
Zoo-Coordinated Project Helping to Save the Last Harbour Porpoises in the Baltic Sea
February 24, 2018
Sambah - Static Acoustic Monitoring of the Baltic Sea Harbour Porpoise, a project coordinated by Kolmården Wildlife Park and supported by other zoos and institutions, has been responsible for vital research on wild harbour porpoises. The Head of Research at this zoo had been researching the communication of the zoo's bottlenose dolphins for years, and that research was found to have important applications to track and survey harbour porpoises in the wild. Another example of zoos' vital contributions to in-situ research and conservation.
New Study Announced on Behaviour and Welfare of Captive Marine Mammals
January 15, 2018
A new study, announced by Chicago Zoological Society, will investigate the effects of habitat, enrichment and training on the behaviour and welfare of captive marine mammals. Using "Fitbit" devices to track and monitor the movement and behaviour of the animals, this study will include 300 dolphins and 20 beluga whales from 44 institutions.
New Lemur Species Found Thanks to Omaha Zoo's Genetics Lab
January 13, 2018
Did you know that 24 of the 113 lemur species were found by Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium? The Groves' dwarf lemur is the species that was recently identified, thanks to this zoo's Conservation Genetics lab. Another example of the contribution of zoos to research and conservation.
Sumatran Rhino's Past Revealed After Scientists Sequenced their Genome
December 15, 2017
The Sumatran rhino genome has been sequenced, with help from Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. This new evidence suggests that the population size and genetic diversity in this species declined drastically thousands of years ago, making them vulnerable to later human pressures.
Research Projects on Conservation of Sharks and Rays Funded By Portuguese Aquarium
December 07, 2017
Oceanário de Lisboa and Oceano Azul Foundation have funded three research projects on the conservation of sharks and rays. These three projects were awarded €100.000 after being selected out of 23 applications, and they include a variety of subjects, from habitats and ecosystems to technology and social sciences.
Brazilian Zoo Partners with Local Institutions to Research Noise Levels in Animal Enclosures
November 23, 2017
Zoológico de Brasília has partnered with a local university (UniCEUB) and Instituto Brasília Ambiental - IBRAM to investigate the noise produced by visitors within the zoo. The aims are to identify how much the animals are exposed to noise and develop structures in the enclosure to protect them from it. First results suggest that a glass barrier in the rhino enclosure reduced the noise intensity level by 21 decibels.
Photo: © Toninho Tavares/Agência Brasília
"Data Science and Zoos & Aquariums", by Species360
November 08, 2017
Modern zoos and aquariums play an important role in preserving the world's declining biodiversity! To succeed, the world's zoo and aquarium community must work together, keep good records/data and share information and expertise with each other.
Attempted Artificial Insemination of Southern White Rhino at San Diego Safari Park
August 04, 2017
Artificial insemination has been attempted on a southern white rhino, at San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This is part of a collaborative project to develop assisted reproductive techniques for the critically endangered northern white rhino. There are only three of these left in the world, and these news represent a big step for their conservation.
Activity of Cincinnati Zoo's Penguins is Being Monitored Using a Fit-Bit Like Device!
July 15, 2017
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is monitoring the time their penguins spend in water, by using an activity tracker device that is similar to a fit-bit. The idea is to identify what can be done to tackle the bumblefoot problem these animals are prone to develop.
British University and Zoo Working Together to Improve the Welfare of Captive Apes!
June 08, 2017
Partnerships between zoos and academic institutions are vital not only for animal welfare but also wildlife conservation. This video shows the collaboration between the University of Birmingham and Twycross Zoo, which have created a computer program that helps developing zoo enclosures that simulate the physical and mental environment apes face in the wild.
Dallas Zoo is Investigating the Sleeping Habits of Their Elephants
May 31, 2017
Fascinating research project going on at Dallas Zoo, on the behaviour and sleeping patterns of elephants.
Underwater Touchscreen Developed to Study Dolphin Inteligence
May 30, 2017
A team of researchers from Hunter College and The Rockefeller University, in partnership with the National Aquarium (US), has developed an underwater touchscreen to study the communication of dolphins. The researchers hope this technology will not only help them learning more about these highly social marine mammals, but will also work as enrichment in captivity.
Science Team at Cincinnati Zoo is Working to Understand Reproduction of Captive Polar Bears!
March 27, 2017
CREW, the science team at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is doing vital research on the reproduction of polar bears. This research is vital not only to improve breeding success of captive polar bears but also to ensure there is a future for these animals in the wild.
Copenhagen Zoo: The Importance of Zoo Research for Animal Management & Health
March 21, 2017
Copenhagen Zoo's scientific work is focussed on three main fields of study: animal behaviour, population biology and zoological medicine. Watch the video below for an explanation of why this research is so important for the management and health of the animals under their care.
WWCT and Dartmoor Zoo Join University of Cambridge in their "Conservation Evidence" Project
March 13, 2017
Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust and Dartmoor Zoological Park have joined the University of Cambridge in their "Conservation Evidence" project, which aims to support conservation and zoo-husbandry with strong, science-based, evidence!
Pangolin Day: WAZA Project Aims to Study Ecology of Pangolins!
February 18, 2017
Happy World Pangolin Day!
Pangolins are considered to be the most trafficked wild mammal, A World Association of Zoos and Aquariums project, implemented by National University of Singapore, aims to study the habitat preference and spatial ecology of pangolins in Singapore. This knowledge is vital to improve conservation efforts to save these animals in the wild.
Photo: © Wildlife Reserves Singapore
Productive 2015 for AZA
February 15, 2017
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) had a productive 2015, with lots of conservation and research work done, and plenty of achievements! $28 million spent on research, with 48% and 43% of this funding being towards conservation and animal welfare, respectively.
"Tinder for Orangutans": Modern Romance for Great Apes?
February 11, 2017
"Tinder for orangutans" is a project by Apenheul primate park, that aims to (digitally) find a suitable partner for an 11-year-old female orangutan. She is shown pictures (on a tablet) of several males in the international breeding programme for the species, and then the researchers look for cues that suggest she has a preference for some of the males. Modern romance for great apes?
Research on Captive Polar Bear Helps Protecting Species in the Wild
February 10, 2017
Research on the energetic demands of polar bears is being conducted at San Diego Zoo, which will help conservationists understand the impacts of climate change on wild polar bears.
A great example that shows how research on zoo animals can be vital to protect their wild counterparts.
Using Astrophysics Analysis Techniques to Monitor Threatened Species & Habitats
February 08, 2017
Conservation is a multidisciplinary science and astrophysics also plays its role! Researchers from Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), with support from Knowsley Safari Park, are studying the application of astrophysics analysis techniques in the monitoring of threatened species and habitats.
New Behaviour Seen In Flamingos Thanks To Research in Captivity
October 20, 2016
A research project at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre, on captive flamingos, has allowed to document a behaviour that has never been recorded in these birds: some individuals have been seen barging into other individuals while these weren't doing anything. The purpose of this behaviour is currently unknown.
"Edinburgh Zoo earns its stripes through tiger research" by Chris McCal
October 14, 2016
Edinburgh Zoo is on the news again! This article explains how this zoo (as part of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS)) is involved in highly important research and conservation work for several cat species - from exotic tigers to the UK native Scottish wildcat.
Photo: © Edinburgh Zoo
The fourth annual seal survey is underway!
August 10, 2016
The fourth annual survey of the Thames Estuary's seals is underway, and the conservationists running the project want to hear from interested local people to get involved with both hands-on assistance and reporting seal sightings. In previous years this study has measured the growing grey seal population as well monitoring the potential for conflict with harbour seals.
Cincinnati Zoo's Research on Pallas's Cat is Helping to Increase Their Breeding Success
August 11, 2016
William Swanson, Director of Research at Center for Research of Endangered Wildlife (by Cincinnati Zoo) explains their vital research to increase the breeding success of the Pallas's Cat (Otocolobus manul) in captivity.
Zoos Are Working to Better Understand the Behaviour of Red Pandas
August 01, 2016
The red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is an Endangered species (IUCN Red List), mostly threatened by habitat loss and trapping. A WAZA research project, implemented by Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, aims to investigate the behaviour, especially breeding biology, of red pandas in captivity and in the wild. This zoo has also been successful at releasing four animals back into the wild.
WAZA - Researching Monitor Lizards and Fighting Illegal Trade
July 22, 2016
This WAZA project, implemented by Kölner Zoo, aims to breed and research monitor lizards (Varanus spp.). Only few of these species successfully breed in captivity and only more research can increase their reproductive success. Also, this zoo works with TRAFFIC and WWF, and often houses individuals that have been confiscated from illegal wildlife trade.
Brookfield Zoo Studies Activity Levels of Captive Dolphins
June 02, 2016
Brookfield Zoo has partnered with a mechanical engineer from the University of Michigan, and with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, to investigate the activity levels of the captive dolphins under their care.
By attaching a D-tag (Digital Acoustic Recording Tag) to the body of the animals, using small suction cups, the researchers can collect data on the locomotion, behaviour & physiology of the animals.
The marine mammal care team at the zoo has to train the animals to use, and get used to, these devices. This information is very useful to monitor the daily activity of each individual and to understand better the life of these animals underwater.
ZSL: Developing Technology to Save Wildlife
May 25, 2016
The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is developing tools that can help them (and other conservationists) researching threatened species and their habitats.
Some of this new technology includes satellite-enabled camera traps, a multi-sensor alarm system against poaching, SMART technology (Spatial Monitoring And Reporting Tool) and MATAKI (tracking technology).
Stress in Captive VS Wild Cetaceans
May 02, 2016
Research by Proie (2013) suggests there are no significant differences in cortisol levels (measure of stress) between wild and captive Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and beluga whales (Delphinapterus Leucas), when captive husbandry methodology is not used during sampling.
When this methodology is used, then cortisol levels are higher in the wild counterparts. This research suggests animals of these two species are not more stressed when in captivity. However, an increase of cortisol levels in wild animals may have arised during sampling, which could have skewed the results. The use of non-invasive techniques to measure cortisol is recommended in the future, to further support these results.
© Photo by Chicago Zoological Society
Researchers at Brookfield Zoo Investigate Activity of Captive Giraffes
April 13, 2016
The Animal Welfare Research team at Brookfield Zoo is investigating the activity levels, and their seasonal changes, of captive giraffes.
As giraffes are from warmer climates, North american zoos usually provide them with indoor and outdoor enclosures. That way, the animals are kept safe from harsh winters. However, researchers now want to compare how much time they spend standing up and lying down, during the winter (indoors) and the summer (outdoors).
They are using the "Giraffe FitBit©" device - a data logger with an accelerometer, which gives information about the position of the giraffe (lying down or standing up). This technology is the same as the one seen in smartphones, used to change the screen view when the phone is tilted.
Black Bears at Oregon Zoo are Helping Scientists to Understand Locomotion of Plantigrades
March 31, 2016
Researchers are investigating the locomotion of plantigrades - animals that walk with their toes and metatarsals flat on the ground (e.g. bears). Little is known about this type of locomotion, and this new research will hopefully help understanding the evolution of flat-footed movement.
"Locomotion is a fundamental aspect of survival in all animals. It's required for finding food, catching prey, avoiding predators and finding mates. Determining the way animals move can help us to understand how they utilize their habitats to perform these required behaviors. In bears, there are only eight living species, but they occupy a wide range of ecological niches, and therefore by studying the way they have evolved to move in these different habitats, we can help to understand how their ecosystems need to be preserved to maintain their natural locomotor patterns." said Katie Shine, responsible for this research.
Shine has been studying grizzly bears, but she now wants to compare her findings with other bear species. Oregon Zoo is helping Shine in her study: keepers are leading the zoo's black bears on a runway equiped with sensors, providing Shine with valuable data.
Cincinnati Zoo: Helping Scientists Assessing the Body Condition of polar Bears in the Wild
March 09, 2016
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has partnered with Polar Bears International, universities and other zoos to carry on the Body Condition Project. This project aims to develop tools to non-invasively assess the body condition of polar bears.
By using a Body Condition Index, scientists can visually assess polar bears in the field. This data, if continuously collected, will allow scientists to monitor the condition of each individual and the response of the whole population to the loss of sea ice due to climate change.
Captive polar bears are a great source of information for researchers, who can then apply their findings to wild individuals.
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