Sun Bear, White Rino, Meerkats Photos: Bryan Thompson
The Marianas Avifauna Conservation (MAC) Program
MAC was initiated in 2004 to provide the avifauna of the Mariana archipelago with chances for long-term survival by securing populations from the threat of the brown treesnake. The MAC project collaborators are the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and Pacific Bird Conservation, Honolulu Zoo, St. Louis Zoo, Louisville Zoo, the USFWS and the USGS. To protect CNMI’s 11 native species, techniques are being developed to capture, hold and breed these species, and to establish captive populations of selected species that can be reintroduced back to islands in the CNMI when brown tree-snakes have been controlled or eradicated. Birds are also being translocated to islands that are free of the brown tree-snake to establish self-sustaining, satellite populations. Since 2008, Honolulu Zoo’s bird staff has participated in capturing and transporting the bridled white-eye, golden white eye, and Marianas fruit dove from Saipan to the uninhabited island of Sarigan, and this year, Tinian monarchs to the island of Guguan. These translocations appear to be successful so far, as translocated birds are breeding in their new homes. www.pacificbirdconservation.org
Manoa Cliff Native Reforestation Project
The Manoa Cliff restoration site is a 6-acre area of forest along the Manoa Cliff trail above Honolulu which the Department of Land and Natural Resources fenced in to keep out feral pigs. The all-volunteer restoration project was initiated by UH graduate student Mashuri Waite in 2005 with a permit from Na Ala Hele (responsible for the State trail system). This area was chosen because it still has many interesting native species and is easily accessible to the average hiker on O'ahu. Honolulu Zoo has provided funds to purchase plant seedlings for native lobeliads which are then out-planted along the trail. We also provide volunteers, and funds for miscellaneous small tools and supplies for weeding and removing trees. There are public volunteer workdays each and every Sunday. www.manoacliff.org
The Mabula Ground Hornbill Project
Aims to bolster the number of wild Southern Ground Hornbills, a flagship species for the savannah biome. There are only 1500 birds remaining in South Africa where they are endangered, and their numbers are declining throughout all their range in Africa. School education programs are one component of this project. www.ground-hornbill.org.za
Turtle Conservancy, Madagascar Ploughshare Tortoise Project
This tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora) is known as the most endangered in the world because of its very limited range in Madagascar. The Turtle Conservancy develops and implements strategies to conserve the species in Madagascar using all possible conservation tools. www.turtleconservancy.org
The Tiger Conservation Campaign
Provides a connection between North American zoos and the conservation of wild tigers across Asia. It works to reduce Sumatran tiger-human conﬂict by constructing tiger-proof livestock pens in villages, and increasing outreach, awareness and veterinary assistance. www.mnzoo.org/tigercampaign
Komodo Survival Program (KSP)
This Indonesian-based non-profit organization works to provide sound information on the biology, ecology, and conservation status of the Komodo dragon to help devise management and conservation plans for the species and its natural habitat. www.kspindonesia.org (website under construction.)
Chinese Giant Salamander Conservation
To save this species from extinction, a Conservation Program has been initiated in China by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in collaboration with Chinese institutions and the government of China. The goal is to build a strategic conservation plan for the CGS within its native range in China. The Chinese giant salamander is a "flagship" species for China's freshwater river systems. www.chinesegiantsalamanders.org
The ecology of the Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicas) is being studied in order to develop a long range conservation plan for this near-threatened species, an icon in Japanese culture. Current population surveys are being compared to 40 years of data during which the species faced increasing habitat loss, pollution, and hybridization with its introduced cousin, the Chinese Giant Salamander.
White Rhino protection
Kruger National Park is home to around 65% of the world’s rhinos. Devastatingly, it is also home to around 60% of the rhino poaching victims in South Africa. In 2013, SANparks launched their Ring-Fenced Rhino Account, meaning that all donations made in aid of rhinos will go directly to anti-poaching efforts.
Using Science to Understand Zoo Elephant Welfare
This is the largest and most comprehensive, multi-institutional study ever conducted to collect and assess data on the welfare of any species in North American zoos. The study was funded by an $800,000 leadership grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded to the Honolulu Zoo Society and was led by Kathy Carlstead, Ph.D. The 27-member study team, which includes independent consultants, zoo professionals and faculty from three universities developed quantitative welfare indicators for Asian and African elephants. Analyzing the factors in the daily lives of zoo elephants that affect these indicators - ranging from when and how they are fed to how they spend their time both at night and during the day – provides new, scientifically-based information that zoos can use to improve the welfare of their elephants.
Seventy AZA-accredited zoos, zoo directors, zoo elephant care staff and veterinarians, and 255 elephants, participated in the research by providing videos, serum and fecal samples, health information, photographs of body condition and other details about their elephants. The outcomes of data collection and analyses are currently in preparation for publication in peer-reviewed, scientific journals in 2015. The study also provides a successful research model that can potentially be applied to the assessment of zoo animal welfare in other species.