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Following the instructions of the coordinator of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for the Dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas osiris), last year in May a young male of this species arrived at the zoo from Africa, with the mission of renewing the genetic line of the population living in European zoos. The ‘Asturian’ as the caretakers call this new breeding male—because he was born at a breeding centre in Asturias—has done a great job and has already become a father to four males and two females. The new babies live with the rest of the group, made up of their father and another 17 females, who will bear the names of their caretakers.
These new births take place 10 years after the first transfer of these gazelles to Senegal as part of the project to recover this species, carried out by the Almeria Arid Areas Experimental Station, part of the Higher Council of Scientific Research (CSIC per its Spanish acronym) with the support of several European zoos and the close collaboration of the Barcelona Zoo, which has provided specimens, funding and veterinary and educational advisory services. The future of the Dorcas gazelle, which has a vulnerable status in its original habitats in the deserts and steppes of North Africa, is now more promising. There are plans that the new specimens born in European zoos, including the Barcelona Zoo, will soon be used to repopulate more of the original lands of this species in Senegal.
Exploring new projects on the ground
The group known as the ‘Spanish team’, made up of the Almeria Arid Areas Experimental Station (EEZA), of the Higher Council of Scientific Research (CSIC) and the Barcelona Zoo, which worked jointly and successfully on the project mentioned above for reintroducing the Dorcas gazelle to Ferlo National Park (Senegal), was recently contacted by the FAO with the aim of replicating the same management system on the Koily-Alpha Reserve, in the Mbula region in the northern part of the country. The project is managed as a community reserve by the local population itself. Its objective is to restore local flora and fauna, including the reintroduction of animal species that already disappeared, such as the Mhor gazelle (Nanger dama mhorr), the Dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas), the white oryx (Oryx dammah) and the African spurred tortoise (Geochelone sulcata), and trees including the baobab and the koily (Mitragyna inermis), for which the reserve is named. The project’s purpose is to stop the advance of desertification, and is part of the pan-African programme entitled the ‘Grande Muraille Verte’ (Big Green Wall), which covers the entire Sahel, from Senegal to Eritrea.
In February, the Spanish work team—made up of Conrad Enseñat and Hugo Fernández, respectively mammal conservator and veterinarian at our zoo, and team manager Teresa Abáigar from EEAZ/CSIC—were invited by the FAO to participate in a workshop in Senegal, along with all other project partners, including representatives from the local community, the Fulani ethnic group. The visit let them speak of the actions to undertake, as well as to study the characteristics of the small existing enclosure and the possibilities of permanently fencing the reserve, with a potential area of 2500 ha, in an area highly exploited by livestock, which has led to heavy disintegration of the land and the disappearance of species.
The exploration of the reserve, with participation from local eco-guards, consisted of a study of local flora (bushes, trees, herbs) and the identification of fauna by using tracking and the placement of camera traps. Areas of particular importance for the project were also studied, such as temporary flood lands and of scenic interest. Determining the precise current situation of the area is essential for moving forward with the project.
The signing of the agreement with the FAO for this ambitious project is expected to take place this year. As mentioned, it is not limited to the reintroduction of some animals, but also involves restoring animal and plant biodiversity with the involvement of the local population, which will be both financially and culturally benefited with the revival of these traits of their identity. For now, the installation and maintenance of the face is already generating work and the country’s flora and fauna are starting to be protected: a first step!
The Barcelona Zoo and SOS Primates are sending clothing and work equipment from our facilities to the Primate Recovery Center (CRPL) in Lwiro, a city in the province of South Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Zoo’s collaboration with CRPL started on 2010, through the grants awarded by the Barcelona Zoo Foundation, aimed at the conservation, research and reintroduction of endangered species.
In this occasion, the collaboration consists of providing CRPL caretakers with proper clothing and equipment to carry out all the tasks that are performed daily at the centre: cleaning and disinfection of facilities, food preparation, recollection of branches so primates can play and make their nests. The initiative has emerged from the Zoo caretakers linked to SOS Primates, and the work equipment collected among zoo workers consists of trousers, shirts, polo shirts, raincoats and boots. The shipped material is duly inventoried, after having undergoing a rigorous inspection, cleaning and packaging process, and it constitutes a great aid, since the maintenance costs of the centre have increased much lately, with the arrival of new seized pups.
Some of the material has already reached its destination, but the CRPL and SOS Primates are currently calling on airlines and NGOs, to help them complete the transportation.
ENDANGERED PRIMATES: RESCUE AND CONSERVATION
The CRPL shelters more than 71 chimpanzees and 90 monkeys from eleven different species, which have been rescued from poaching, illegal trade and consumption of jungle meat. The only chance for the survival of these primates is this centre, which provides them with decent living conditions. The facility is located in a wooded area and they live in semi-freedom, to increase their level of socialization and the development of the appropriate behaviours of each species.
In the future, CRPL wants to reintroduce these animals into their natural habitat, following the International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN) procedures.
The task accomplished by CRPL and SOS Primates goes beyond seeking the well-being and care of primates in the area. CRPL buys fruits and vegetables from local farmers, to encourage local economy and employment. The centre has already created more than 44 local jobs and is currently carrying out an awareness program that takes more than 3,000 people every year, including military personnel, scholars and leaders of local communities in the area. Thus, CRPL and SOS Primates provide a transversal support to the local population.
SOS Primates is a non-profit organization that aims to raise awareness about the fragile situation of primates and the areas where they inhabit, in order to be able to contribute to their welfare and protection. This organization is formed by a multidisciplinary team of people with a primatology, animal welfare and conservation background. SOS Primates, and is closely related to the Lwiro Primate Recovery Center (CRPL).
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is located in central Africa, with more than 70 million inhabitants and is greatly rich in natural resources. It is also considered one of the most biodiverse countries in the world: among the many species (some endemic) that inhabit this territory are the chimpanzee, the bonobo, the mountain gorilla and the okapi. Five of its national parks are listed as a World Heritage Site. The area is considered to be one of the most dangerous in Africa, due to its great political and military instability.
You can also contribute by making a small donation to the SOS Primates' Campaign More than a race ... for primates and for the Congo's inhabitants
Since a few days ago, in the Aquarama lobby you can see a new aquarium with a replica of the Reef Park of the eastern coast of Barcelona. As in the sea, the structure will be gradually colonized by native species. For now, thanks to the collaboration of The Aquarium of Barcelona, they already live a bank of cardinalfish (Apogon imberbis) and some Mediterranean rainbow wrasses (Coris julis).
The Barcelona Reef Park was built in 2003, aiming to increase the biodiversity of our coast and to protect the area. It is located between the new port entry and the submerged breakwaters of Bac de Roda, where a total of 371 submerged structures have been installed.
These structures form artificial reefs and are placed on a sedimentary bottom in which there has never been rock bottoms. They are important to increase the complexity of this marine ecosystem and protect it. The project is based on the fact that every new substrate on the seabed is quickly colonized by diverse organisms and communities.
The Barcelona Zoo Foundation has been coordinating for some years the technical monitoring of the Reef Park project, with the goal of obtaining characteristic data on the state of the submerged structures, their colonization by living creatures, their eventual incidence on beaches and nearby coasts, and the evolution of fishing and marine communities. This project is monitored with the collaboration and advice of the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC).
The white-naped sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus Lunulatus) of the Zoo have a new facility! It is located next to the facility of orangutans and it is twice as large as the previous one. In this new 160 m2 area, the moat has been removed and the environment has been enriched with different structures, substrate and nets. Indoor areas have been extended up to 70m2, and they consist of 4 bedrooms with heating and a large lobby that can be seen by visitors, which enables to observe them even when there is bad weather and they decide to shelter from the cold. These facility makes management easier to integrate a new individual into the group.
These primates are named after their grey fur, which is darker on the back and whiter on the underpart. Of diurnal habits, they live in the rainforests of Ghana, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. This species is endangered and, due to poaching and the exploitation of its natural habitat, the distribution of its population is very fragmented and not abundant, in any of the areas where it still can be found. It was considered one of the 25 most endangered species of primates at the end of the 20th century and its wild population has been reduced by 50% during the last 30 years, due to deforestation for exotic wood market and fires to create crop areas, in addition to poaching, for the consumption of their meat.
The group of white-naped mangabeys in the Zoo of Barcelona consists of the male Racky, born in the Zoo of Accra in 2004 and transferred to Barcelona in 2014, who adapted very well to its new home, where he lives with two adult females, Kasi, born in Barcelona in 1997 and Monika, also born in Barcelona in 2009. Both gave birth a few months ago. In addition to these 3 adults, there is a young female, Kara, born in 2011, who had her first infant last year, and Phoebe and Nika, born in 2013 and 2014 respectively. The offspring born in 2016 are Ragnar, Eku and Priscilla.
The population of sooty Mangabeys is monitored in zoos of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) since 1994. In 2001, a European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) was created for this species, which is coordinated from the Zoo of Barcelona, and is aimed to promote its ex situ breeding and to reduce the rate of inbreeding, which was quite high.
One of the pioneering initiatives within this program was to incorporate the Zoo of Accra (Ghana), located in the original geographic area of the species. This was possible thanks to the management and supervision of the Coordinator of WAPCA (West African Primates Conservation Action), a NGO made of some European zoos, including the Zoo of Barcelona, aimed to promote the in situ conservation of primate species in West Africa.
While initially the focus was set on the strengthening the population groups of Mangabeys in Accra, later this cooperation has also allowed for some specimens born in this city to be transferred to European zoos (such is the case of our male, Racky), thus improving the genetic variability of the ex situ population. The next goal of the program is to establish a group of mangabeys in the Zoo of Kumasi (Ghana), in a semi-liberty facility, to be able to observe their adaptation to a more natural territory. This is a pilot test that can help guide a possible reintroduction program of animals to natural parks, if the necessary conditions were met.
The Zoo of Barcelona provides technical and financial support to the conservation of this species in Ghana and every year funds the travel and stay in Accra of a researcher and some students of the University of Barcelona, under the direction of Dr. Montserrat Colell, who carry out several studies and tasks. This monitoring in the area is very important to help the Zoo of Accra improve its primate management techniques and enable a proper management of the mangabey populations.
The Zoo will continue to contribute to the conservation of white-naped Mangabe and raising awareness among visitors about the difficult situation of this and other species in the wild.
The Barcelona Zoo Foundation has opened the application process for the 2017 grants for research and conservation projects. These grants are meant to support those projects that share the Zoo’s values of conservation, education and awareness towards biodiversity. This year’s grants are:
- 13th Edition of the Floquet de Neu Grant, for research projects on primates, focusing on any of these disciplines: conservation, ecology, genetics, ethology, cognitive abilities, reproduction, communication, animal well-being, etc. both in captivity and in the wild.
- 9th Edition of the Grants of the Research and Conservation Programme of the Barcelona Zoo Foundation, for specific projects proposed by external researchers, in accordance with the general goals of the Programme.
- 5th Edition of the Antoni Jonch Grant, for projects focused on the research on the native fauna of Catalonia and its conservation
- 125th Anniversary Special Award to the best research and conservation project of the Barcelona Zoo Foundation of the last five years.
Since 2009, the Zoo has granted a total of 742,844€ in scholarships, which, along with our research and conservation programs, constitute a proof of our commitment to the protection of endangered fauna.
The deadline for the submission of applications and projects for all the calls of 2017 is May 3, 2017 at 02:00 pm. You can learn more about the guidelines of the calls by clicking on the links or on the website www.fundaciobarcelonazoo.cat.
The Conservation project of the Montseny brook newt (Calotriton arnoldi), coordinated by the Provincial Government of Barcelona, with the support of the Zoo, the Regional Government of Catalonia, the Provincial Government of Girona and Forestal Catalana, has been selected as LIFE Project by the European Union. The LIFE Programme is the financial instrument of the European Union that is focused on the environment. This project will enable to improve, during the next years, the conservation situation of this critically endangered species and its riverside habitat.
Some of the following actions, among others, will be aimed on reducing the currently identified threats for the Montseny brook newt: to improve the condition of water in the streams of the Montseny Natural Park; to expand its distribution area by reintroducing of specimens bred in captivity; to preserve the genetic variability of the species and to raise awareness on the importance of the species.
This project offers the Zoo an important economic fund of more than 400,000 euros, from European funds, which will be assigned to improve the breeding facilities of this species and to create an educational room, aimed to raise awareness on the importance of brook newts and the fauna in Montseny’s mountain streams.
The implementation of this programme represents a boost to the work started 4 years ago, with the newt’s breeding facility, which has proven to be so positive for the conservation of this native species.
Status of the species
On 2005 a new amphibian species was discovered in the Montseny mountains, the Montseny brook newt (Calotriton arnoldi), which is endemic to the Park, as well as the most endangered amphibian of western Europe. A conservation programme was started at once by the Provincial Government of Barcelona and the Regional Government of Catalonia, to contribute to the survival of the species. On 2007 a test programme on reproduction in captivity was started in the Wild Fauna Recovery Centre of Torreferrusa, which the Zoo of Barcelona joined four years ago, to attempt to improve the future status and conditions of the species in case of a critical situation.
During the last years, the population of endemic newts has decreased 15% and the species is currently listed as critically endangered on the IUCN’s red list. The species is also protected by both Spanish and Catalan laws. The survival of this species is closely linked to the preservation of aquatic environments, but also to the vast forests surrounding them.
Encantador per visitar amb la familia. Hi ha una gran quantitat d'animals i es fantàstic
"Molt be!"El Zoo de Barcelona està bé per passar el dia entre amics o familia. Hi ha una gran quantitat d'espècies i animals.
Encantador per visitar amb la familia. Hi ha gran quantitat d'animals i es fantàstic