Category — CREW
Being around animals every day for most of my life, the days sometimes blend together. During conversations last week, I was reminded of the date and it occurred to me that a certain young, male Sumatran rhino is nearly a year old already! Throughout the last year I have thought of “Andatu” and his mother, “Ratu” often. Through keeping in touch with the folks who care for these rhinos it is always amazing to see how fast they grow. This morning the Cincinnati Zoo’s Director, Thane Maynard, sent a recent picture of Ratu and Andatu and again I was astounded. At first glance it’s difficult to tell who is who. Andatu is clearly thriving – he is a big boy!
Video from June, 2012…
It does not take much for my thoughts to drift back in time to a year ago and reminisce over how truly fortunate I was to be a part of this historic story. And it goes beyond just the Ratu and Andatu story. The fact that Andalas was born here at the Cincinnati Zoo nearly 12 years ago, and he has since sired a son who is now a year old, is a dream come true.
It really is a day dream/fantasy come true.
So the next year or two will float by and birthdays of the three offspring and one grand-offspring of Emi and Ipuh will come and go, and as the fantasy/dream continues there will be more, many more birthdays to celebrate.
To be continued…
Paul Reinhart Team Leader Ungulate Dept.
June 28, 2013 1 Comment
Jeta’s calf was given the name Ethan. I visited Ethan and his mom this past weekend, when we filmed a live segment for the Today show. I was joined by our Public Relations manager Tiffany Barnes who set up and organized the Today show filming in conjunction with the Montgomery Zoo. The day we arrived, Ethan turned 2 weeks old and the Montgomery Zoo staff had just gotten the first weight on him. Ethan weighed in at 181 lbs, confirming this little guy has not missed a single meal!
While special circumstances may have surrounded Ethan’s birth, he is acting like any other rhino calf. Mom Jeta is teaching him everything he needs to know about being and behaving like an Indian rhino- she is amazing! She uses her nose and head to guide him where she wants him to be. I love this picture taken of him during the Today show filming, here he is giving a look very typical of Indian rhinos, standing with his head held high and boldly looking on at what we were doing.
Ethan’s birth represents an important and new step in managing captive Indian rhinos. By producing offspring from non- or under-represented individuals, CREW is helping to ensure a genetically healthy captive population of Indian rhinos exists in the future. Most importantly, this calf signifies how collaboration among the zoo community can achieve great things for the animals in their care. We anticipate future AI attempts will build upon this novel approach to help not only our zoo, but other zoos produce baby Indian rhinos.
June 27, 2013 2 Comments
On June 8, 336 plants of the Autumn buttercup (Ranunculus aestivalis) propagated at the Carl H. Lindner Jr. Family Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) were planted in a restoration project at a preserve near Panguitch, Utah. This small region of Utah is the only place in the world these plants are known to exist. The species was first discovered in 1894, but by 1979, it was thought to be extinct. A population of 400 plants was found in 1982, but within 6 years the numbers had plummeted to less than 20 plants. At that point, The Nature Conservancy purchased the land to protect the buttercups, but the buttercup population did not rebound.
In the early 2000s, CREW’s Plant Division developed a protocol for propagating the plant through tissue culture, thanks to funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The process started with a few seeds, and each seed produced a genetically unique clone that was then multiplied through tissue culture—a technique in which the tissues are grown on an artificial, sterile medium. The shoot-producing cultures initiated in this way can be propagated indefinitely, but when plants are needed, the shoots are transferred to a root-inducing medium. Once roots are formed, the plants can be moved to soil.
Once these protocols were established, CREW’s Plant Division became part of unique team that formed to restore the buttercup population in its native habitat. The team includes The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, The Arboretum at Flagstaff, and Weber State University. June’s outplanting was the third and largest the team has attempted. A planting in 2007 produced some survival in areas with appropriate moisture, but a planting in 2010 was quickly eaten, it is assumed, by voles. The site was also being overgrown by other vegetation, so the restriction on grazing, which was done originally to reduce pressure on the plant, came into question.
Based on these previous experiences, the new planting has fourteen sites, seven each in the grazed and ungrazed areas, and half of the 24 plants at each site will be protected from herbivores both above and below ground. Water availability was recorded for each plant, as well as the initial plant size, and number of leaves and flowers. Traps were set for several nights at the time of the planting in order to provide information on the current small mammal population at the site. All of this data will be evaluated by faculty and students at Weber State University.
It definitely took a team effort between the collaborating partners’ staff and students, as well as volunteers, to accomplish digging the holes (through very tough sod), organizing the plants, taking the data, and carefully putting each plant in its place. It was wonderful to see the plants, which had been sent to Flagstaff from CREW in test tubes over the past several years, as robust, healthy plants in soil, ready to take on the dry winds and heat of their new Utah home. Later in the summer we should get the first reports on how they are doing.
June 13, 2013 1 Comment