Polar bear twins need named


Staff Reports



ZOO HONORS TAPIR CONSERVATIONIST WITH $50K GRANT

Powell, OH— On April 28, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium will honor Dr. Patrícia Medici, the founder of the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative (LTCI; IPÊ – Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas, Institute for Ecological Research) in Brazil, with its biennial Commitment to Conservation Award. The honor includes a $50,000 grant, made possible through funds raised at the Zoo’s annual Wine for Wildlife event.

Medici, who also serves as Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)/Species Survival Commission (SSC) Tapir Specialist Group (TSG), has helped conserve and raise awareness for “the coolest animal you know nothing about,” as she referred to the tapir in her popular TED talk. Lowland tapirs, native to South America, are elusive animals, and little was known about them when Medici began her work in 1996. Since establishing the LTCI, Medici and her team have helped discover the vital role tapirs play in the ecosystems they inhabit. Her research also suggests that this keystone species is at risk for extinction in several parts of its geographic distribution.

Medici’s work is one of more than 70 projects in nearly 40 countries that are supported by funds raised through the Columbus Zoo. Since 2001, the Zoo has contributed $109,549 to Medici’s work. She was selected to receive the Commitment to Conservation Award by exemplifying how collaborations between field researchers and zoos can help save wildlife.

“Dr. Medici, from the beginning of her 17-year partnership with the Columbus Zoo, recognized the importance of forming long-term relationships and providing consistent communication with zoos,” said Lewis Greene, Senior Vice President Animal Care and Conservation. “Instead of viewing zoos as merely a revenue source, she has demonstrated how much more can be accomplished when field researchers and zoos work together as partners for effective conservation.”

Medici has worked on ground-breaking research that has been critically important to the survival of tapirs. The LTCI’s work involves tapir research in the four Brazilian biomes where tapirs are found (Atlantic Forest, 1996-2007; Pantanal, 2008-ongoing; Cerrado, 2015-ongoing; Amazon, selecting study area), conservation programs, education and training opportunities, scientific tourism, and outreach campaigns to apply the findings. Through the LTCI, tapirs have become ambassadors for habitat protection, environmental education, and scientific tourism initiatives.

And Medici’s impact goes beyond her work with tapirs. The IUCN’s SSC has encouraged other Specialist Groups to model themselves after the Tapir Specialist Group.

“I have seen Dr. Medici’s passion and desire to make a difference,” said Tom Stalf, president and CEO of the Columbus Zoo. “While her tireless passion to protect tapirs has made a difference to this species, I believe her greatest legacy will be related to the mentorship she provides to the rising biologists she inspires every year.”

She has also raised awareness among the general public, through mediums such as the TED talks. In this talk, she points out that tapirs are living fossils (having survived several waves of extinction), are pregnant for more than a year (making conservation efforts particularly difficult), and are called “gardeners of the forest” (because they eat fruit and travel long distances before “dispersing” the seeds). As adults, tapirs look like a cross between a wild boar and an anteater; as babies, their striped bodies resemble watermelons.

Medici will be the third recipient of the Zoo’s Commitment to Conservation Award. The Columbus Zoo established this award in 2011 to publicly recognize and reward the unsung heroes of global wildlife conservation and to honor the lifetime achievements and dedication of our field conservation partners. The previous recipients are: Claudine Andre, Lola Ya Bonobo Founder, who established a sanctuary for bonobos in Kinshasa Province, Democratic Republic of Congo; and Marc Ancrenaz, co-founder of the Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Program (KOCP) based in Borneo, who works to raise awareness about the orangutan and the importance of protecting the species’ habitat.

ONE OF ANANA’S CUBS DID NOT SURVIVE

Powell, OH – Last November, polar bear Anana gave birth to twins at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Recently her sister, Aurora, also gave birth to twin cubs. This great news was met with the unfortunate passing of one of Anana’s cubs.

This is Aurora’s third time producing twin cubs; the first litter did not survive and Nora was born in the second litter on Nov. 6, 2015. Nora was hand reared by the Zoo team after Aurora left her alone in the den when she was six days old.

Activity in the dens is being monitored using remote cameras and the reason for the loss of Anana’s cub will likely never be known. Animal care staff members, who have been observing Anana and Aurora 24 hours a day, noted the cub stopped moving on Sunday but Anana continued to groom the cub and held it in position to nurse. Yesterday morning the team grappled with the loss of Anana’s cub and then, just a few hours later, they celebrated the arrival of Aurora’s cubs at 11:20 a.m. and 3:22 p.m.

“At this time both Anana and Aurora are attentively caring for their tiny cubs but the sudden loss of one of Anana’s cubs is a sad reminder of how fragile their lives are both in our care and in their native Arctic environment,” said Carrie Pratt, Curator of North America and Polar Frontier. “We remain hopeful for the survival of these cubs as well as for the future of polar bears.”

The sire to all the cubs is 28-year-old Nanuq who came to the Columbus Zoo in 2012. As long as Aurora and Anana continue to care for cubs in their dens, Nanuq is the only polar bear visible to guests.

Nanuq is the oldest male polar bear to reproduce in a North American zoo. Nine-year-old twins Aurora and Anana arrived at the Columbus Zoo in 2010 when the Polar Frontier region opened. All three bears came from other zoos on breeding loans as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the threatened species.

Female polar bears generally have their first set of cubs between the ages of four and eight years. Due to delayed implantation, the gestation period can range from about 195 to 265 days. Pregnant polar bears den in the fall and give birth, generally to two cubs, in the winter. The cubs grow quickly on their mother’s fat-rich milk before emerging from the den in the spring.

Polar bears are native to the circumpolar north including the United States (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark (Greenland). They are at the top of the Arctic food chain and primarily eat seals. Polar bear populations are declining due to the disappearance of sea ice, and experts estimate that only 20,000-25,000 polar bears are left in the wild. Some scientists believe if the warming trend continues two-thirds of the polar bear population could disappear by the year 2050.

COLUMBUS ZOO POLAR BEAR DELIVERS TWINS

NORA IS A HALF-SISTER AND COUSIN TO THE NEW ARRIVALS

Powell, OH – Two polar bear cubs were born Tuesday, Nov. 8 at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. At this time the cubs appear to be strong and they are being cared for by Anana, a first-time mother.

Animal care staff observed the births, which occurred about 3:53 and 6:52 p.m., while monitoring the mother’s activity from a camera mounted in the den. The team is utilizing the remote camera to continue around-the-clock observations of Anana and her cubs.

Polar bears have one of the lowest reproductive rates of any mammal. The survival rate for a polar bear cub during the first few weeks of life is only about 50 percent.

“Polar bear cubs are only about a pound at birth – imagine a baby about the size of a stick of butter – and we are cautiously optimistic about their survival,” said Tom Stalf, President and CEO of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. “Our hope is Anana will raise her cubs but our team, who now have experience with the difficult process of rearing a tiny cub, are prepared to step in if necessary.”

If Anana continues to care for her cubs they will remain in a private denning area off public view until spring.

While this is Anana’s first litter her twin sister, Aurora, has had two litters that produced one surviving cub. That cub, Nora, was born Nov. 6, 2015. There is no pregnancy test for polar bears but Aurora’s desire to stay in her remote den is an indication she may give birth again this year.

The sire to all the cubs is 28-year-old Nanuq who came to the Columbus Zoo in 2012. He is the oldest male polar bear to reproduce in a North American zoo. Nine-year-old Aurora and Anana arrived at the Columbus Zoo in 2010 when the Polar Frontier region opened. All three polar bears came from other zoos on breeding loans as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the threatened species.

The Species Survival Plan also recommended moving cub Nora to the Oregon Zoo in September 2016. Nora’s move was necessary to provide the quiet atmosphere that is critical for denning females and to provide her an opportunity to socialize with other bears. Eventually the SSP will likely pair her with a male with the hope they, too, will produce cubs to increase the polar bear population.

Female polar bears generally have their first set of cubs between the ages of four and eight years. Due to delayed implantation, the gestation period can range from about 195 to 265 days. Pregnant polar bears den in the fall and give birth, generally to two cubs, in the winter. The cubs grow quickly on their mother’s fat-rich milk before emerging from the den in the spring.

Polar bears are native to the circumpolar north including the United States (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark (Greenland). They are at the top of the Arctic food chain and primarily eat seals. Polar bear populations are declining due to the disappearance of sea ice, and experts estimate that only 20,000-25,000 polar bears are left in the wild. Some scientists believe if the warming trend continues two-thirds of the polar bear population could disappear by the year 2050.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in partnership with Polar Bears International (PBI) has provided support to 14 polar bear conservation projects in three countries since 1998. In recognition of the Zoo’s conservation and education programs, PBI has designated the Columbus Zoo an Arctic Ambassador Center.

http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2017/04/web1_Polar-Bear-Twins-4-Grahm-S.-Jones-Columbus-Zoo-and-Aquarium.jpg

Staff Reports

ZOO HONORS TAPIR CONSERVATIONIST WITH $50K GRANT

Powell, OH— On April 28, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium will honor Dr. Patrícia Medici, the founder of the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative (LTCI; IPÊ – Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas, Institute for Ecological Research) in Brazil, with its biennial Commitment to Conservation Award. The honor includes a $50,000 grant, made possible through funds raised at the Zoo’s annual Wine for Wildlife event.

Medici, who also serves as Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)/Species Survival Commission (SSC) Tapir Specialist Group (TSG), has helped conserve and raise awareness for “the coolest animal you know nothing about,” as she referred to the tapir in her popular TED talk. Lowland tapirs, native to South America, are elusive animals, and little was known about them when Medici began her work in 1996. Since establishing the LTCI, Medici and her team have helped discover the vital role tapirs play in the ecosystems they inhabit. Her research also suggests that this keystone species is at risk for extinction in several parts of its geographic distribution.

Medici’s work is one of more than 70 projects in nearly 40 countries that are supported by funds raised through the Columbus Zoo. Since 2001, the Zoo has contributed $109,549 to Medici’s work. She was selected to receive the Commitment to Conservation Award by exemplifying how collaborations between field researchers and zoos can help save wildlife.

“Dr. Medici, from the beginning of her 17-year partnership with the Columbus Zoo, recognized the importance of forming long-term relationships and providing consistent communication with zoos,” said Lewis Greene, Senior Vice President Animal Care and Conservation. “Instead of viewing zoos as merely a revenue source, she has demonstrated how much more can be accomplished when field researchers and zoos work together as partners for effective conservation.”

Medici has worked on ground-breaking research that has been critically important to the survival of tapirs. The LTCI’s work involves tapir research in the four Brazilian biomes where tapirs are found (Atlantic Forest, 1996-2007; Pantanal, 2008-ongoing; Cerrado, 2015-ongoing; Amazon, selecting study area), conservation programs, education and training opportunities, scientific tourism, and outreach campaigns to apply the findings. Through the LTCI, tapirs have become ambassadors for habitat protection, environmental education, and scientific tourism initiatives.

And Medici’s impact goes beyond her work with tapirs. The IUCN’s SSC has encouraged other Specialist Groups to model themselves after the Tapir Specialist Group.

“I have seen Dr. Medici’s passion and desire to make a difference,” said Tom Stalf, president and CEO of the Columbus Zoo. “While her tireless passion to protect tapirs has made a difference to this species, I believe her greatest legacy will be related to the mentorship she provides to the rising biologists she inspires every year.”

She has also raised awareness among the general public, through mediums such as the TED talks. In this talk, she points out that tapirs are living fossils (having survived several waves of extinction), are pregnant for more than a year (making conservation efforts particularly difficult), and are called “gardeners of the forest” (because they eat fruit and travel long distances before “dispersing” the seeds). As adults, tapirs look like a cross between a wild boar and an anteater; as babies, their striped bodies resemble watermelons.

Medici will be the third recipient of the Zoo’s Commitment to Conservation Award. The Columbus Zoo established this award in 2011 to publicly recognize and reward the unsung heroes of global wildlife conservation and to honor the lifetime achievements and dedication of our field conservation partners. The previous recipients are: Claudine Andre, Lola Ya Bonobo Founder, who established a sanctuary for bonobos in Kinshasa Province, Democratic Republic of Congo; and Marc Ancrenaz, co-founder of the Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Program (KOCP) based in Borneo, who works to raise awareness about the orangutan and the importance of protecting the species’ habitat.

Home to more than 10,000 animals representing over 600 species from around the globe, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium leads and inspires by connecting people and wildlife. The Zoo complex is a recreational and education destination that includes the 22-acre Zoombezi Bay water park and 18-hole Safari Golf Course. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium also operates the Wilds, a 10,000-acre conservation center and safari park located in southeastern Ohio. The Zoo is a regional attraction with global impact; annually contributing more than $4 million of privately raised funds to support conservation projects worldwide. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Columbus Zoo has earned Charity Navigator’s prestigious 4-star rating.

Home to more than 10,000 animals representing over 600 species from around the globe, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium leads and inspires by connecting people and wildlife. The Zoo complex is a recreational and education destination that includes the 22-acre Zoombezi Bay water park and 18-hole Safari Golf Course. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium also operates the Wilds, a 10,000-acre conservation center and safari park located in southeastern Ohio. The Zoo is a regional attraction with global impact; annually contributing more than $4 million of privately raised funds to support conservation projects worldwide. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Columbus Zoo has earned Charity Navigator’s prestigious 4-star rating.