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EAZA NewsBlog

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 RSSRSS feed for this blog. For information on upcoming events please visit the calendar.

Catastrophic flooding in Tbilisi, Georgia
The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) is shocked to hear of the flooding of the city of Tbilisi and its zoo, which resulted in the death of three members of zoo staff, and the escape and shooting of many of its animals. Tbilisi Zoo is a Candidate for Membership of EAZA, and has been developing its facilities and working practices to meet the standards of the Association under the supervision of an experienced mentor. EAZA members Prague Zoo (which has had experience of reacting to catastrophic floods) Jerusalem Zoo and Ramat Gan Safari Park, will be sending teams of keepers and veterinarians to Tbilisi to assist with efforts to recapture and contain escaped animals, and make the facility safe for the staff and animals as the water recedes. EAZA is obliged to repeat the call from the Director of Tbilisi Zoo, Zura Gurielidze, for citizens to remain calm and contact authorities if they encounter any wild animal in the city or the surrounding area. On no account should private citizens attempt to recapture or shoot the animals, which should be considered dangerous. EAZA is gathering information from sources in Tbilisi and elsewhere to build a complete picture of the situation and will be in contact with our members to ascertain how we as a community can most effectively assist. At this stage, we do not know if and when the zoo site will become safe enough for the return of staff and animals; nonetheless, EAZA and its members will do everything possible to assist the local authorities and the management of the zoo ensure the security of the facility and the welfare of the animals. The EAZA community offers its sincere condolences to the families of the staff who lost their lives. The Association also offers its condolences to the staff of the zoo who have lost not only their friends and colleagues, but also many of the animals they cared for.
Threatened Asian Songbird Alliance (TASA) fighting against bird trapping in Indonesia

The recent incident of brutal smuggling in which Indonesian cockatoos, destined for the local pet market, were found stuffed alive into plastic bottles has sent shockwaves of revulsion around the world. Yet for some conservationists, sadly, this is hardly a big story, because they know this kind of thing goes on all the time in Indonesia and other parts of eastern Asia.

Bird-keeping is a huge cultural pastime in Indonesia, which is rich in bird species with beautiful songs and beautiful plumages. But so strong is the demand and so ruthless the catchers that many birds in the country simply have no chance. 'Bird trapping is like a giant vacuum cleaner, sucking the forests of Indonesia empty of songbirds, parrots and various other bird species', says David Jeggo, Chairman of EAZA's Threatened Asian Songbird Alliance (TASA). 'On Java in particular we are losing species without anybody noticing.'

The worst aspects of this overlooked conservation crisis are being addressed by TASA. A group of committed experts from zoos in Jersey, London, Chester, Waddesdon, Cologne, Heidelberg, Prague, Pilsen and Liberec, with support from ZGAP, BirdLife International, IUCN, TRAFFIC, Cikananga Conservation Breeding Centre and Indonesian Species Conservation Program have joined efforts as 'TASA' and has been working since eight years to prevent the complete extinction of some of the species most threatened by trade in Asia. 'The tiny managed population of the Javan Green Magpie—maybe even the last of these birds on earth—could now be the last hope for this species', says Roland Wirth, former head of ZGAP. 'The wild birds have simply all been trapped right out of their forests on the island.'

A conservation breeding centre in Indonesia, supported by TASA has key populations of Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush (endemic to Java), Black-winged Starling (endemic to Java and Bali) and Black-and-white Laughingthrush (endemic to Sumatra). These are vital reserves in case these species are totally eliminated in the wild by uncontrolled trapping. As an indication of how highly these birds are valued and how serious the threat to them from trade is, in June 2014 thieves broke into this breeding centre and stole some 150 Black-winged Starlings and several pairs of the other two species. In response to this, good conservation money had to be spent on a 300-m long 3-m high fence around the centre to prevent such a thing happening again.

TASA is now expanding its endeavours to other trade-threatened species and developing strong relations with other institutions such as Jurong Bird Park in Singapore. But as the story of the cockatoos stuffed into plastic bottles indicates, the demand in and around Indonesia for attractive cage birds is insatiable. 'Slogans often claim that if you save the forests you save all the animals in them,' says Tomas Pes of Pilsen Zoo, 'but it isn't true. The trappers have proved that saving habitat is not enough.'

Wildlife trade is a huge problem in South-East Asia which can only be addressed by commitment at the highest political level. EAZA is playing its part in pushing for greater recognition of the issue and the shouldering of responsibility by governments throughout the region. Until this happens, there will only be more species facing extinction and more cases of birds being trafficked in bottles.

These species are only found on certain islands and nowhere else in the world. They are rapidly disappearing, and many still do not have populations in zoos as an insurance. If we allow them to go extinct now they will be lost forever.

For further questions please contact David Jeggo (, Simon Bruslund ( or Andrew Owen (

WAZA welcomes JAZA decision on dolphin drives
WAZA press release regarding JAZA decision on dolphin drives: "The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) was pleased to be informed today by the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) that the organization formally announced their decision to officially ban all members from acquiring dolphins from the Taiji dolphin drive fisheries. The decision was made one day before the end of the 30-day grace period after the suspension in accordance with WAZA bylaws. WAZA Council voted unanimously to impose the suspension in Gland Switzerland on 22nd April "2015, based on a determination that JAZA was in violation of WAZA's code of ethics and animal welfare. JAZA board members then discussed the recent WAZA suspension of JAZA in Tokyo at an emergency session. "The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums praises JAZA's decision to prohibit members from acquiring dolphins from Taiji," said Gerald Dick, WAZA Executive Director. "Today's actions reaffirm WAZA's well-considered approach of working collaboratively with international partners to improve the wellbeing and conservation of global wildlife." WAZA has been engaged in dialogue with JAZA to stop the collection of animals from the Taiji drive fisheries for more than ten years. The drives have drawn international attention and criticism for the killing and capture of dolphins and WAZA has previously joined other organizations in speaking out against the practice. As part of the WAZA decision last month, Council also re-affirmed its position that members of WAZA must confirm that they will not acquire dolphins from the Taiji fishery. WAZA considers JAZA's decision to be a welcome break-through and looks forward to receiving further details from JAZA in order to fully appreciate the implications of today's decision."
Theft of Callitrichids from Zooparc de Beauval, France
We have been informed by Beauval Zoo in France of the theft of 4.5.2 Silvery marmoset and 5.2 Golden lion tamarin. The animals were stolen from the facility on May 10 and authorities have been notified. Please notify us if you are approached regarding the possible purchase of these animals, or if you have any information that may assist the police with their inquiries. To be clear: Golden lion tamarins and Silvery marmosets are endangered species, and it is highly unlikely that any such animals would be available by legal means to members of the public. With thanks European Association of Zoos and Aquaria
New JZAR issue (Vol 3, No 2) out now

The latest issue (Vol 3, No 2, 2015) of the Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research is now available, including the following articles:

  • Structure and mechanical properties of normal and anomalous teeth in the sand tiger shark Carcharias taurus (Ludwig Jansen van Vuuren, Carolina Loch, Jules A Kieser, Keith C Gordon, Sara J Fraser)
  • The effects of olfactory stimulation on the behaviour of captive meerkats (Suricata suricatta) (Sophie Myles, Victoria Tamara Montrose)
  • Spectacular manifestations of systemic diseases of the snake: a histopathological description of four cases (Mari-Ann Da Silva, Mads F. Bertelsen, Steffen Heegaard, Michael M. Garner)
  • Retrospective study of mortality of captive African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) in a French zoo (1974-2013) (Benjamin Lamglait, Elodie Trunet, Antoine Leclerc)
  • Aggression and self-directed behaviour of captive lemurs (Lemur catta, Varecia variegata, V. rubra and Eulemur coronatus) is reduced by feeding fruit-free diets (Stephanie Britt, Katherine Cowlard, Kathy Baker, Amy Plowman)
  • Faecal Glucocorticoid Concentrations during ACTH Challenge Tests in Captive Grizzly Bears (Ursus arctos horribilus) and Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus) (Brent C. White, Steven R. Taylor, Jane Anne Franklin, Roy Burns, Corinne Kozlowski)
  • Comparative Evaluation of Wheat-roti or Rice-lentil Mixture as Supplements for Growing Asiatic Elephants (Elephas maximus) (Shrikant B. Katole, A. Das, M. Saini, A.K. Sharma)
  • Coupling salinity reduction to aquatic animal well-being and ecosystem representativeness at the Biodôme de Montréal (Nathalie Rose Le François, S. Picq, A. Savoie, J.C. Boussin, S. Plante, E. Wong, L. Misserey, S. Rojas, J.P. Genet)

Read the journal here or visit the JZAR website.

Front cover image: African wild dog (Lycaon pictus pictus), Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa (Photo by Charlesjsharp)



WAZA announces suspension of JAZA
Press release from WAZA regarding the suspension of the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquaria: WAZA Council votes to suspend Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums following years of negotiations over animal acquisition policies The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) Council voted unanimously this week to suspend the membership of the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA). The decision comes after WAZA and JAZA could not reach agreement on issues involving JAZA member zoos and aquariums taking dolphins from the Japanese drive fishery. WAZA requires all members to adhere to policies that prohibit participating in cruel and non-selective methods of taking animals from the wild. For a number of years, WAZA has attempted to work collaboratively with JAZA and its members to stop the collection of animals from the Taiji drives fisheries. Annually the drives draw international attention and criticism for the killing of dolphins and WAZA has previously joined other organizations in speaking out against the practice. WAZA made ongoing attempts to negotiate the issues including during a meeting in Tokyo last year when WAZA proposed that JAZA enforce a two-year moratorium on taking animals from the drive by its members. The moratorium was rejected by JAZA. The issue was discussed again at WAZA's international conference in November with a goal to influence change in JAZA's position on members accepting animals from the drive fisheries. JAZA responded by proposing some guideline changes that would put restrictions on the method of capturing dolphins and improving animal care, but because it did not restrict taking animals from the drive, WAZA Council concluded that a satisfactory agreement could not be reached and voted to suspend the Japanese association’s membership. The basis for the suspension is a determination that JAZA has violated the WAZA Code of Ethics and Animal Welfare. Moreover, WAZA Council re-affirmed its position that members of WAZA must confirm that they will not acquire dolphins from the Taiji fishery. WAZA’s mission is to serve as the voice of a worldwide community of zoos and aquariums and a catalyst for their joint conservation action. One of the ways WAZA accomplishes this mission is through promoting cooperation between national and regional associations. It is important to note that WAZA still remains committed to continuing discussions with JAZA and its members in an effort to end the loss of animal life through the drive fisheries. WAZA Executive Office IUCN Conservation Centre | Rue Mauverney 28 | CH-1196 Gland | Switzerland Phone: +41 (0)22 999 07 90 | Fax: +41 (0)22 999 07 91
EAZA Annual Conference 2015 website now online!

The EAZA Annual Conference 2015 (15-19 September) website is now available and can be visited at the following address:

Even though the registration is not open yet, you can already find information about the conference accommodation and how to get to Wroclaw.

The conference programme is currently under revision and will be added to the website in due course.

Once the registration opens up all EAZA members will be notified about it.










Capture of wild dolphins in Japan: Position of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria

The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) is a recognized conservation organisation with a commitment to the welfare of animals in our care and beyond. EAZA cannot support the commercial hunting of dolphins for any purpose or in any region and urges any and all authorities engaged in the licensing of such practices to withdraw their support and work diligently towards a ban.

\In the case of the capture of wild dolphins in Taiji Cove, Japan, EAZA has received reassurances from the World Association of Zoos and Aquaria (WAZA) that they are working to the limits of their authority to reduce and eventually end the practice. WAZA has no legal authority in Japan, and can only work through positive engagement with WAZA Associate Member the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquaria (JAZA) to encourage them to influence their members and the Japanese authorities to end drive hunting of dolphins.



International Polar Bear today: Kick-off Pole to Pole Campaign petition drive!!

We need your help with collecting as many signatures as possible to present at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Paris in December this year.

By signing the '2 degrees is the limit' petition we demand the commitment of our national governments and the European Union TO SUPPORT ALL MEASURES WHICH HELP KEEP GLOBAL WARMING UNDER THE 2⁰C LIMIT, and to work towards a binding global agreement at the intergovernmental meeting on climate change in Paris in December 2015.

The petition drive kicks off on International Polar Bear day today and will close on 27 August. During this period of six months we ask you to collect as many signatures as possible! You can either sign the petition directly on the Pole to Pole Campaign website or download the petition sheet, collect signatures and send a scanned copy to

Also available in German, Spanish, French and Dutch.

On World Penguin Day (25 April) and World Environment Day (5 June) intermediates on collected signatures per campaign participant will be communicated via the campaign website and social media. Participating institutions that are most successful at collecting signatures will be awarded in one of the following categories:

  • Platinum: at least 25.000 signatures
  • Gold: at least 20.000 signatures
  • Silver: at least 15.000 signatures
  • Bronze: at least 10.000 signatures

Zoos that collect most signatures in each category will be announced during the Conservation plenary at the upcoming EAZA Annual conference in Wroclaw, Poland.

In due time a webpage on the Pole to Pole Campaign website will be opened up where you can follow petition drive scores and rankings per institution.

How to participate?

  1. Download petition sheets and let them sign (both sides!) by your visitors, friends and colleagues
  2. Scan the sheets and return it to
  • The first batch of signed sheets should be in not later than 25 April
  • The second batch of signed sheets should be in not later than 5 June
  • The third batch of signed sheets should be in not later than 27 August

Participating institutions are urged to host/organize activities surrounding the dates of World Penguin Day (25 April) and World Environment Day (5 June). The campaign website offers participating institutions lots of free resource material that can be used for educational outreach. If you need inspiration on innovative and fun Pole to Pole campaign activities please take a look at previous issues of The Polar Times!

Animal Behavior Management Alliance Conference 2015

The ABMA are delighted to share with you a 5-day international conference on animal behavior, training and enrichment – hosted by Copenhagen Zoo and Odense Zoo, Denmark.


APRIL 13th- 18th 2015

5 full days program with presentations, workshops and site visits

Registration IS OPEN – includes ALL coffee breaks and lunches; ALL dinners, except April 17th

Pre-registration – until the 27th of February: members/non-members: only $ 500/$ 560

Keynote Speakers: Ken Ramirez & Rudi van Aarde

Other speakers: Steve Martin, Susan Friedman, Sabrina Brando, Barbara Heidenreich & Jenifer Zeligs.


For more information please visit

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