Posts Tagged With: Cincinnati Zoo

A tragedy larger than Harambe

harambe zinci zoo

Harambe, Cincinnati Zoo

A silverback gorilla, a toddler, and a decision to be made. The untimely demise of Harambe is stirring debate across the country.

Forced to act quickly, the zoo’s response team was in an unenviable position. Animal behavior is unpredictable, they’re wild. But so are people.

In 1996 at the Brookfield Zoo a toddler fell into the gorilla exhibit, in 1999 a man was found dead with a killer whale at Sea World, in 2009 a woman jumped into the polar bear enclosure at the Berlin Zoo, in 2012 a toddler fell into an African Wild Dog enclosure; the list goes on.

It makes you wonder, should enclosures be made to keep animals in? Or to keep people out?

Since 1990, animals died during escapes or attacks 42 times in U.S. zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, 15 zoo incidents resulted in the loss of human life, and 110 resulted in injury according to Born Free, USA.

gugu panda

Gugu the Panda @Beijing Zoo

People entering enclosures range from “accidental” like the toddler in the Brookfield Zoo and the current case with Harambe, to suicidal, and downright deranged. The Beijing Zoo has had multiple occasions of people entering  Gugu the Panda’s exhibit to “hug” him. He’s bitten them every time, but it hasn’t seemed to stop the incidents.

So what is the point in zoos? Do they contribute to conservation? Spark appreciation? Or are they outdated and unnecessary?

When bringing my son to the zoo, we would meander from one exhibit to another, observing the animals; discussing each one, explaining their habits, their likes and quirks. We bonded over our love for animals. He learned appreciation, respect, and the connections all of us as living beings have in the world.

In the age of cell phones, selfies, and convenience, are zoos an insignificant place where the awe and wonder of animals are taken for granted? Is conservation just a trend on twitter? What is more endangered, the animals or our empathy and connection with our world?

phily zoo 1874

The oldest zoo in America is the Philadelphia zoo, opened in 1874. The first animal was a raven.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Update on Harapan

Just a few photos of Harapan in his new home at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia. He’s happy and healthy and seems to have transitioned well!

For more on the epic voyage of the amazing Sumatran who was the last of his kind in the western hemisphere, see New Hope for Sumatrans and  The Journey of Hope.

Harapan Dec 2015

Harapan Dec 2015 2

Harapan Dec 2015 3

Categories: Good News, Rhino Ramblings, Rhino Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Journey of Hope

A few weeks ago we said farewell to Harapan, the only Sumatran rhino in North America, as he made his journey to Indonesia. Bittersweet, as he was a huge part of a highly successful conservation program here in the US; but inevitable if we are to do the species justice.

His move will both give him a richer life, and with the highest of hopes bring our world another baby Sumatran or two.

Here is the video of his epic journey.

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings, Rhino Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sumatrans Suffer a Terrible Loss

There are no more than 100 Sumatran Rhinos left in the wild. To say they are critically endangered is an understatement.

The Cincinnati Zoo has been the world leader in successful captive breeding of the species. In fact, Emi, the Sumatran was phenomenally successful, having given birth to three rhinos in her lifetime! Quite the accomplishment for her species. (see previous post: Emi-the world-famous sumatran)

Suci with Emi

Emi and daughter Suci

In 2003, she gave birth to her daughter, Suci. After her brother, Andalas, was moved to the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) in south Sumatra to breed, Suci and her brother Harapan were the only two of their species in all of North America.

In a desperate attempt to save the species from extinction, Cincinnati planned to breed Suci and Harapan. Unfortunately, at the age of 9, Suci has just passed away.

Suci with bday treat

Suci -last year with her birthday treat.

The cause of the rhino’s death has not been determined, but she was being treated for hemochromatosis, also known as iron storage disease. A necropsy was to be performed Monday. The results will not be known for several weeks.

Suci’s mother, Emi suffered from the same disease.

This is a horrible blow to conservation efforts for the species.

 

 

Categories: Rhino Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

How to Make a Baby Rhino

Breeding programs are essential for endangered species. But how does this happen with limited animals in a captive environment? Sometimes they can be matched with a suitable mate, but for rhinos who are aggressive with mating, often natural breeding is not an option, and artificial insemination is used.

STEP 1
First the rhinos are “matched”. Through the SSP (Species Survival Program), captive rhinos, as well as other endangered sspspecies,  across the country are kept in a main database. Through this program, rhinos are carefully paired for breeding, based on genetic diversity and zoo placements (i.e. space, demographics, etc).

STEP 2
Now the female is selected as a prospective mom, it’s time to figure out when the best time is to attempt insemination. The keepers bring dung samples to the lab; through the feces hormones can be analyzed. It can target whether the rhino is ready for breeding, if she has a regular cycle, and when her optimum time for ovulation is. This is done repeatedly  for many months.rhino AI 2

STEP 3
The male is anesthetized and the semen is collected. The sperm is analyzed under a microscope to be sure it is healthy.

STEP 4
The female is then anesthetized. Special 3D ultrasound system is used to monitor her reproductive system and using a probe, the semen is inserted. The procedure is complete and the rhinos are awakened.

For the next few weeks, the female’s hormone levels continue to be monitored to check for pregnancy. If successful, in 16 months there will be a baby rhino.

rhino cryobio bank

Cincinnati Zoo is home to one of the highly valued rhino sperm banks.

The process of artificial insemination with rhino is a fairly new process; it began in Hungary in 2006. Scientists and conservationists have come a long way. Sperm, and recently entire embryos, are able to be frozen and stored. Perhaps most exciting, is the production of  stem cells from the Northern White Rhino. Is cloning in the near future? With only four left in the entire world, is this the next step after their inevitable extinction?

baby rh sticking tongue out

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Happy Birthday Andatu

The Sumatran Rhino is critically endangered, with only 130-190 individuals surviving. Their final stronghold exists in three Sumatran National Parks, with help from the International Rhino Foundation.

The birth of a new Sumatran Rhino is a very big deal. It provides hope, and confidence in the survival of the species. One year ago, a calf named Andatu did just that. Shortly after midnight on June 23, he was welcomed into the world at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) in Indonesia.

andatu and mom

The story of Andatu starts with his grandmother Emi (see previous post https://fightforrhinos.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/emi-the-world-famous-sumatran/).  Emi was the beginning of the intensive conservation efforts made at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio. In 2001, she gave birth to Andalas, the father of Andatu . This was the first birth of a Sumatran in a zoo in 112 years!

In 2007 Andalas was shipped to the SRS in Indonesia where he was introduced to three potential mates. He chose Ratu, and the rest is history. Although one rhino won’t bring back the species, it’s a start. It shows that international collaboration, science, and diligence pay off.

Video of Andatu’s mud bath at a few days old:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2L-3Mv_jj

andatu

Categories: Rhino Ramblings, Rhino Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Emi the World-Famous Sumatran

Emi n son

Emi and Andalas

Emi the Sumatran rhino was the heart of the world’s only successful captive breeding program for the critically endangered species.

Living at the Cincinnati Zoo, she gave birth to a history-making three calves:
*Andalas (male) in 2001 *Suci (female) in 2004 *Harapan (male) in 2007

Andalas was released to the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) in Way Kambas National Park, south Sumatra. He successfully bred with another rhino (Ratu) and in 2012 they had a baby, making Emi a grandma!  The baby, Andatu was the first successful birth in captivity on the island of Sumatra.

Emi’s daughter Suci remains at the Cincinnati Zoo and Harapan is living at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Unfortunately in 2009, Emi passed away in her sleep at the age of 21 (the typical lifespan of a Sumatran rhino is 35 – 40 years.)  Known as a docile and amiable animal, she was one of the most beloved animals of the zoo. This amazing rhino unknowingly played a crucial role in saving her species and teaching conservationists how to help.

On a personal note, Emi is the reason I fell in love with rhinos. She’s an inspiration.

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings, Rhino Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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