Category Archives: wildlife

Riveting Piece About NGS Photographer & Vanishing Species

CNN

http://cnn.org/2010/US/04/24/mears.sartore.qanda/index.html?hpt=C1

Both the New York Times & CNN seem to be reading the Zoo Peeps blog. I’m so flattered. I won’t distract you with my thoughts, but read my article on the re-branding of African wild dogs and other endangered species. The new field of conservation marketing and brand development is taking off.

-JCS, ZKE

What do you mean their dorsal spots ain’t right?

http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0414-hance_matrix.html

When I first embarked on doctoral research study it was clear that climate change had a great impact on amphibian decline as did disease along with pollutants (toxicants). Although I eventually transferred from a program that would allow me to investigate such issues, the topic will continue to warrants a lot of attention. I wanted to do work on a project that had interested me as a zoo keeper and one that I thought, at least at the time would be very applicable to carnivore preventive medicine.  I still found the topic of examining synergistic effects of pathogens, global warming, and toxicants on herpetile health to be really interesting, but creating a model to study these factors seemed a lot more difficult when I set out to mimic nature and modify it in a lab. In fact, this post may dissuade or encourage you to pursue an advanced degree.  In graduate school they don’t spoon feed you information and many advisors work with students on projects that are beyond their scope of expertise. This is not at all uncommon. I came in with some background studying helminth parasites in plethodontid salamanders (don’t get too excited now) and was hoping to develop a related project with ambystomatid salamanders (e.g., tiger salamanders, spotted salamanders, etc.).   The one thing about mole salamanders is that your field season is abbreviated as in a couple of days long and if you miss the mass migration to vernal pools where mole salamanders breed, you have to wait another season. Migration is triggered by several factors (i.e., ground and ambient temperatures, humidity, barometric pressure, and light/darkness).  Hence, the movement of  these explosive breeders is somewhat predictable to the seasoned herpetologist, but expect the unexpected.   The second objective was to find a model pathogen that I could use to infect a laboratory population of wild caught spotted salamanders and then introduce variations in the photoperiod through the use of artificial light. Finally, I was planning to find some pollutant that was a known toxicant. Not too long ago an interesting study had been published on the effects of toxicants on salamander spot patterns.  If you didn’t know spotted salamanders normally have two symmetrical rows of dorsal yellow spots on a dark dorsum (back), you do now.  Stress  from toxins or  lack of water due to warming temperatures are considered potential etiologies for these aberrant dorsal spot patterns. This may be a subtle anomaly compared to additional limbs or something more bizarre, but it’s a great indicator of ecosystem health.  Anyway, I established that I would select malaria, a vector-borne disease which effects non-human animals including species of mammals, and birds as well as amphibians.  I was just ready to go out and collect specimens when the opportunity to work on a zoo project was made available. As much as it sounds “insensitive” that scientists continue to conduct laboratory studies that require sacrificing wild caught specimens, it’s occasionally imperative to conduct these investigations for the benefit of the species. I must say that I certainly prefer working on projects that do not involve terminal procedures and fortunately I have had other opportunities.

Dr. Jordan Schaul, Zoo Keeper Emeritus

New Hampshire Fish & Game

“Rarest of the Rare”

WSC REPORT

Please read my post on the State of the Wild (WCS 2010). The white-headed langur like the Indo-Chinese tiger and other tiger subspecies has been driven to near extinction in-part because of wildlife trafficking. Traditional Chinese Medicine continues to promote the practice of zootherapy.  Zootherapeutic agents include parts and derivatives of whole carcasses, tissues and byproducts of wildlife. There are approximately 100 white-headed langurs left in the wild. One subspecies occurs in Cat Ba Island, Vietnam and the other in Guangxi, China.  This partially albinistic langur was considered a subspecies of Francois’ langurs as recently as 1995.  One day I may share my experience with captive Francois’ langurs. If I had to pick a favorite Old World monkey, I might just pick Francois’ langurs.

Dr. Jordan Schaul, Zoo Keeper Emeritus

WCS

“The Dirty Dozen”

http://www.carnivorecampaign.eu/

EAZA

Last year I got an opportunity to work with my colleague, Dr. Angela Glatston, on PR initiatives for the (European Association of Zoos & Aquarium’s (EAZA)) Carnivore Conservation Campaign. Angela is the Curator of Mammals at the Rotterdam Zoo and an authority on red pandas among other small carnivore taxa.  She is a member of the IUCN SSC Small Carnivore Specialist Group. She recently shared this petition to help save the “Dirty Dozen.”

IUCN Red Panda Publication