News, announcements and updates from the EAZA Executive Office and the wider EAZA community. You can have new stories delivered directly to you by subscribing to the RSS feed for this blog. For information on upcoming events please visit the calendar.
The Third SOS – Save Our Species Call for Proposals for Threatened Species Grants is now open and accepting applications until 17:30 Central European Time (CET) on 15 July 2013.
IUCN Members are welcome to apply for an SOS grant for one of the following Strategic Directions:
1. Threatened cycads and conifers
2. Threatened sharks and rays
3. Threatened Central and Western African vertebrates
SOS - Save Our Species is a joint initiative of IUCN, the Global Environment Facility and the World Bank supported by the Fonds français pour l'environnement mondial (FFEM) and Fondation Segré. Its objective is to ensure the long-term survival of threatened species and their habitats.
If you are interested in applying for an SOS grant, please visit the SOS – Save Our Species website, where you will find all of the necessary information and documentation.
For any necessary clarification, please contact: email@example.com
During the first days of June, Prague Zoo has faced another catastrophic flood, eleven years after the floods of 2002. Fortunately, the Zoo was very well prepared and did not hesitate to act. They managed to successfully evacuate animals as well as property. Only a few small animals have been lost. All valuable equipment has been removed, even the signs from the exhibits, from the lower part of the Zoo.
The flood threw Prague Zoo many years back in spite of the fact that the damage seems to be smaller than originally estimated, based on the experience from 2002. Luckily, the water did not reach the level of 2002 and the lower part of the Zoo was flooded for a shorter time. But most importantly, the water did not flow through the Zoo with such destructive force as it did eleven years ago, and 'only' flooded it.
The debris is now being removed by the zoo staff, firemen and also volunteers. More than ten thousands of them offered help while thousands of others and dozens of companies are sending financial contributions or tools and material.
A huge pump with the capacity to remove 1,500 litres per second has drained most of the water from the lower part of the Zoo. The reconstruction of the lower part of the area lies now ahead. Prague Zoo will have to make some adjustments of selected buildings and re-evaluate the usage of some elements, but the main conception is clear: small light-weighed constructions, buildings, which can be flooded without being severely damaged, or buildings designed in such a way, that they will be protected against rising water levels.
It will take several weeks to open the lower part of the Zoo. But the zoological garden itself is already open since Wednesday June 5. It offers dozens of exhibits in the upper part, including the new Elephant Valley and Indonesian Jungle.
It is extremely encouraging that, after the wave of water, Prague Zoo has been flooded with such a huge wave of solidarity. The zoo however also needs help and support after the water recedes. We will be happy if you attend charity events or contribute to the Flood Recovery Account.
A network of next generation cameras will be installed in Kenya to help stop hundreds of rhinos being slaughtered by gangs of armed poachers every year. One rhino is killed every 11 hours in Africa, as poachers cash in on soaring demand for horn products – fuelled by myths about their alleged medicinal properties. Today (Monday 3 June) conservationists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) won a £500,000 grant from Google's Global Impact Awards to deploy state-of-the-art camera traps in Tsavo National Park, Kenya and help stop the daily massacre of rhinos and elephants.
This crucial funding will see cameras with automated sensors installed in poaching hotspots within months – saving hundreds of animals over the next two years. As well as instantly transmitting images of intruders to park rangers, the cameras can detect vehicles from vibrations and triangulate the sound of gunshots, so that park rangers can pinpoint the location of poachers and intervene immediately.
A public surge of support for the project saw huge numbers of people vote online for ZSL to receive this critical funding ahead of nine other finalists. ZSL's campaign was backed by celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio, Edward Norton, Derren Brown, Ben Fogle, Dermot O'Leary and Edith Bowman.
ZSL's field conservation director, Professor Jonathan Baillie, says: "These life-saving cameras will help stop the slaughter of rhinos, which has seen more than 1,000 killed in Africa in just eighteen months. "Over the next two years we plan to cut poaching in Kenya's Tsavo National Park by 50 per cent and help park rangers protect endangered rhinos, elephants, and more, before it's too late."
Poachers have entered one of Africa's most unique elephant habitats on Monday, threatening to cause one of the biggest elephant massacres in the region since poachers killed at least 300 elephants for their ivory in Cameroon's Bouba N'Djida National Park in February 2012.
According to WWF sources, a group of 17 armed individuals on Monday entered the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park and headed for the Dzanga Bai, locally known as the "village of elephants", a large clearing where between 50 and 200 elephants congregate every day to drink mineral salts present in the sands.
Two WWF-supported local researchers said that three members of this group armed with Kalashnikov rifles approached them in the forest on Monday, asking for food and directions to the viewing tower at the Dzanga Bai, which is used by scientists and tourists to observe elephants. After giving a false lead, these sources immediately ran away and heard gunshots coming from the Bai on their way into hiding.
Also on Monday, two ecoguards said they saw they saw armed individuals on the Dzanga Bai observation platform shooting in the direction of elephants. While going into hiding, these sources said they saw the vehicle which had transported the 17 gunmen parked at the entrance of the park.
"Unless swift and decisive action is taken, it appears highly likely that poachers will take advantage of the chaos and instability of the country to slaughter the elephants living in this unique World Heritage Site' says Jim Leape, WWF International Director General.
WWF calls on the international community to help restore peace and order in the Central African Republic, which has been rocked by violence and chaos since the beginning of the year, and to help preserve this unique World Heritage Site.
Jim Leape: "We also urge Cameroon and Republic of Congo to provide support to the Central African Republic in preserving this World Heritage Site, which not only encompasses the Bai, but also includes large neighbouring areas of these two countries. Finally, ivory consumer country governments, and notably China and Thailand, must redouble their efforts to end demand – the root cause of the extermination of elephants across Africa."
More info here:
UN official alarmed over rising violence in Central African Republic nature reserve
17 poachers allegedly enter elephant stronghold in Congo, conservationists fear massacre
IUCN has produced a series of Fact Sheets showing which EU countries host the highest number of species threatened at the European level. The Fact Sheets present a detailed overview of species threatened at the European level in all 27 EU Member States. The analysis draws upon data from the European Red List which has assessed around 6,000 European species (mammals, reptiles, amphibians, freshwater fishes, butterflies, dragonflies, and selected groups of beetles, molluscs, and vascular plants) according to IUCN regional Red Listing guidelines. Assessments of pollinators, marine fishes, birds and medicinal plants are currently under development.
The analysis shows that the highest share of species threatened in the European Union can be found in the Mediterranean region which hosts most of Europe's biodiversity. Spain, Portugal and Greece host the highest proportion of species threatened with extinction at the European level. Of the 2,032 species assessed which occur in Spain, 21% are considered threatened at the European level. Fifteen percent of the 1,215 European species occurring in Portugal are threatened, and the same is true for 14% of the 1,684 European species found in Greece.
Of the species assessed so far, freshwater species – including fishes, molluscs and amphibians – are at the highest risk, with species such as the European Eel (Anguilla anguilla) and the Freshwater Pearl Mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) being particularly threatened. The status of terrestrial molluscs, dragonflies and mammals, such as the European Mink (Mustela lutreola) also raises significant concern. Species are mainly threatened by the loss, fragmentation and degradation of their habitat, due in large part to agricultural and urban expansion, construction of dams and water pollution. While effective conservation action in the Mediterranean is needed urgently, the study calls on all EU Member States to take adequate measures to reverse the current population declines and fully implement the EU Biodiversity Strategy.
Conservation works and species can be saved from extinction but a combination of sound research and greater coordinated efforts are needed. The IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM is an important tool for prioritising conservation action, guiding policy and preventing continued extinctions.
The Fact Sheets can be consulted here
On Wednesday 3 April the team at the EAZA Executive Office in Amsterdam received a surprise in the shape of a shipment of plants, all potted, labelled and destined for offices, meeting rooms and library.
The plants were a gift from Fachjan, one of Europe's largest suppliers of tropical and subtropical plants and trees and a Corporate Member of EAZA.
Each plant had been carefully selected by Fachjan's Quirinus van Trigt according to a plan taking into account light and situation - and the plant management abilities of the EEO team!
Drop in for a visit at the EEO to see the results, which have helped brighten the offices and usher in an overdue spring season!
For more information about Fachjan and EAZA's other Corporate Members, visit the Corporate Member pages of the EAZA website.
We are pleased to announce the opening of the next round of applications for the EAZA Ape Conservation Fund. The EAZA Ape Conservation Fund aims to make a significant and lasting contribution to the continued survival of apes and their habitats
So far the Fund has supported 13 projects working on the conservation of gorillas, chimpanzees, orang-utans and gibbons.
Funded projects will:
• Have the central goal of 'ape conservation'
• Be managed by, or are partnered with, an EAZA member zoo
• Address one of the following issues: habitat loss; hunting and illegal trade of apes; ape disease and health; and, conserving ape species and their habitats through rehabilitation or reintroduction.
All ape projects that meet these criteria are eligible, and we would particularly encourage applications in relation to orangutans and gibbons. Application information can be found on the EAZA Ape Conservation Fund webpage.
Please pay particular attention to the eligibility criteria and the assessment criteria.
The closing date for applications is Friday 31st of May 2013.
The fund covers all ape species; great apes and gibbons. It will focus on the key issues of habitat loss and trade, both within range states and internationally, and control of diseases affecting wild apes.
More information here
At the beginning of March over 100 educators from 60 different zoos and aquariums across 28 different countries met at Burgers' Zoo, Arnhem, the Netherlands for the EAZA European Zoo Educators (EZE) conference. It was excellent to see such a wide diversity of educators keen to update their knowledge, share information about successful projects and discuss current trends in zoo and aquarium education.
The conference included a wide variety of presentations and workshops on various themes from news ways to communicate to life-long learning opportunities. Speakers came from all over the world to share their experiences and inspire the audience about new ways to encourage emotion and engage visitors in caring for nature via the work of zoos. The theme of using emotion, as well as knowledge, to educate and inspire people to care for nature and take action to preserve it is one that is growing in the zoo and aquarium community. Many of the presentations demonstrated how this had been effectively integrated in a variety of projects; from linking with arts programmes or nature parks to encouraging people to 'put themselves in the place of animals'.
When asked what was the main piece of information from the conference that they would use back at work one of the participants commented "Hope! Ideas and activities to educate our visitors and the view that together we can!" Another said that they will "try to use a bit more emotions in their messages and evaluate the different activities carried out in the park."
The conference was also preceded by a very productive EAZA Academy seminar on the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning. Sarah Thomas from the Zoological Society of London led the interactive seminar, and participants were able to discover the variety of different ways these theories could be applied to educational activities in zoos and aquariums.
Overall the conference was a great success; providing an excellent forum for educators all across Europe and beyond to share ideas for the future development of their programmes.
Last year Bill Robichaud, coordinator of the IUCN SSC Saola Working Group (SWG), attended the EAZA Conservation Forum in Vienna (May, 2012) and the EAZA Annual Conference in Innsbruck (September, 2012). During these events contacts were made between SWG and EAZA members which in turn yielded promising and valuable arrangements for saola conservation.
One of those arrangements includes the sponsorship of a young, talented Lao conservationist. For long-term conservation of saola, one of the priorities of the IUCN SSC Saola Working Group (SWG) is to mentor and encourage young Lao and Vietnamese conservationists. In the short-term, one of the constraints to saola conservation is the paucity of people in Laos or Vietnam focusing on saola. Recently, with funding from EAZA member ZooParc de Beauval, the SWG addressed both issues, with the hiring of Anita Bousa.
Anita is a bright, promising graduate of the National University of Lao, who has work experience with (and high praise from) the Wildlife Conservation Society and IUCN. She recently returned to work at the WCS Lao Program office, and under an arrangement between WCS and the SWG, she will spend 50% time on wildlife monitoring for WCS, and 50% on saola, under the guidance of the SWG. She is the first Lao ever whose job is to focus on saola conservation. This is a major step forward, and hope, for conservation of the species.
In April this year the EAZA IUCN SSC Southeast Asia Campaign is promoting the 'Saola Awareness Month', with the aim of focusing attention on the campaign with the support of campaign flagship species such as the saola. Whilst the events are promoted as part of 'Saola Awareness Month' campaign participants are encouraged to select any species that helps to raise funds and awareness about the current biodiversity crisis in Southeast Asia.
Parts of more than 1400 Tigers have been seized across Asia in the past 13 years, according to TRAFFIC's latest analysis of confiscations, which includes new data for 2010-2012. The report 'Reduced to Skin and Bones Revisited' finds that parts of at least 1425 Tigers had been seized across all but one of the 13 Tiger range countries between 2000 and 2012. For Cambodia alone, no seizures were recorded at all during the period. The report, a joint effort by TRAFFIC and the WWF Tigers Alive Initiative, was launched at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting currently underway in Bangkok, Thailand.
Although it is not yet possible to show a definite trend, the analysis provides clear evidence that illegal trade in Tigers, their parts and products, persists as a major conservation concern, says TRAFFIC.
A total of 654 seizures of Tiger parts ranging from skin to bones, to teeth, claws and skulls took place during this period, an average of 110 Tigers killed for trade per year or just over two per week. 89% of seizures occur outside protected areas, emphasizing the importance of anti-trafficking actions to disrupt trade chains and prevent incursions into Tiger habitat. The benefits of such analysis to enhance law enforcement efforts to protect Tigers are obvious.
"If more robust information was routinely collected, analysed and shared between countries, real inroads could be made into targeting the smuggling syndicates behind Tiger trafficking," said Natalia Pervushina, Tiger Trade Programme Leader for TRAFFIC and WWF. Under agreements made at earlier CITES meetings, Tiger range countries have to state what action they have taken to protect Asian big cats. As of the start of the current CITES meeting, only China, India and Thailand had submitted appropriate reports in compliance with a CITES requirement to do so. WWF and TRAFFIC are urging countries engaged in the Global Tiger Recovery Program to develop a harmonized process for reporting to the GTRP that will also fulfil the requirements of CITES with respect to Tigers.