Loro Parque fulfils the dream of German paratriathlete Markus

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This week, Loro Parque welcomed the German paratriathlete Markus Häusling, a renowned sportsman in his country who has a professional sporting career full of successes. Some recognitions stand out among his award, as the Silver Medal in Middle Distance d<uring the European Championship 2014 and the ninth position in the World Championship 2013.

One of his dreams –attending Rio 2016 Olympic Games– crumbled due to the worsening of his amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Loro Parque decided to make his dream of visiting the zoo come true by bearing all the travelling expenses. Hotel Maritim also made possible the arrival of Häusling by taking charge of the accommodation during the sojourn in Puerto de la Cruz – the hotel, one of city’s landmarks, is located a few metres from the park and offers spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Throughout the route with his family in the park, he was able to discover first-hand some of the most amazing exhibitions: the incredible habitat of the Red Pandas, the impressive Aquarium or the recently renovated Planet Penguin penguinarium – one of the most innovative and modern worldwide, where these animals live in company of other species such as puffins.

The sportsman also enjoyed the interesting presentation of the orcas that live in OrcaOcean, not to mention the dolphins, which delight visitors for their intelligence, and sea lions, which always surprise the whole family. Häusling’s visit was a memorable encounter in Loro Parque with some of the most striking species on Earth.

First personality test on orcas

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Once again, Loro Parque –the best zoo in Europe and the second on the planet according to TripAdvisor– has become a world leader in research after receiving the first personality test performed to orcas.

This pioneering project was developed by biologist and primatologist Yulán Úbeda, who recently presented the study at Loro Parque facilities. The document features a qualitative study of personality, welfare and happiness of the orcas through a series of questionnaires given to the trainers, researchers and audiovisual managers of OrcaOcean. The questionnaires intended that the professionals who are in contact with the animal evaluate several variables that are essential to configure the data.

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The results from the study highlights that comparative psychology has led to the discovery that the personality profile of orcas is very similar to primates. Úbeda explains that “the similarity with chimpanzees is due to convergence, meaning that the personality of orcas could add a series of adaptive advantages to this species”.

Other conclusion drawn from this project, which will be extended to orcas in Marineland and SeaWorld, is that more extroverted cetaceans are happier, being this the first time that happiness is measured in this species. Furthermore, welfare is one cornerstone of this research supported by the Foundation of Loro Parque: the use of a tool without precedent able to evaluate the welfare of animals in human care, an unknown factor until now.

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Yulán Úbeda affirms that “the results are amazing, and the process would have been longer if a different methodology was applied. However, we had the questionnaires to make the assessment in a few weeks – which is currently is in pilot phase for the welfare item”.

Environmental education is a key factor to the Foundation, an organisation that seeks that current and coming generations defend and understand the true meaning of preserving the most important heritage of our planet: nature.

Pedro Rodríguez Ledesma

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Loro Parque received the visit from Pedro Rodríguez Ledesma, footballer in Chelsea FC and the Spanish National Football Team, who is on holidays in his native land to enjoy a very special family day in the best zoo in Europe and the second in the world, according to TripAdvisor.

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During his visit, he could enjoy the majestic orcas in OrcaOcean, learn about the exhibitions with our Discovery Tour and enjoy the experience of Planet Penguin, recently renovated. He also had time to meet the lovely Red Panda couple and reunite with dolphins and sea lions, one of which is a “god-son” of Pedro.

The famous forward, who was born in Abades –also in Tenerife– toured the park under the watchful eye of his fans, whom he greeted very warmly. Pedro has taken many pictures with all of those who wanted to capture this very special moment with their idol.

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At the end of the tour, he could enjoy a lunch at Brunelli’s Restaurant, with his family, an authentic steakhouse where they have tasted the select meats while enjoying the fascinating views of the Atlantic Ocean.

International Save the Vaquita Day

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Loro Parque Fundación celebrates the International Save the Vaquita Day with the launch of a set of activities to raise awareness of these small porpoises that live in the northern waters of the Gulf of California (Mexico), where there are only 60 individual of this species left.

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On the occasion of this day (July 9), the Foundation did its bit by screening a series of videos about the problems that these endangered animals confront in the wild. An explanatory roll-up was also placed at facilities of Animal Embassy, as well as a fishing net in which children hung colored vaquitas, simulating the gill used to catch the totoaba fish – the primary vaquita’s cause of death.

The illegal trafficking of totoaba –mainly used for the preparation of a soup with alleged healing properties– is done with nets that are lethal to vaquitas; they entangle themselves to death and their bodies lie abandoned on the beaches.

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According to the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA, from its acronym in Spanish), there were only 60 vaquitas left in December 2015, while there were 97 surviving individuals of this porpoise species in 2014. The result confirms the worse data: 40% of its population is gone during the last year – a precious time that has been lost to avoid the current bleak situation.

Hovewer, the recovery project is evaluating the possibility of establishing a captive breeding program until the problem with nets is resolved. Several zoo associations and dolphinariums have offered their full collaboration and knowledge, hoping that the decision is taken on time and not as happened with the Baiji dolphin, which became extinct without having decided to start a breeding programme in captivity.

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Environmental education is a key factor to the Foundation, an organisation that seeks that current and future generation defend and understand the true meaning of preserving the most important heritage of our planet: nature.

Marine conservation projects in the Canary Islands

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Last weekend, Loro Parque Fundación (LPF) organised a boat trip from Puerto Colón to show and evaluate the different conservation projects of marine resources that the Foundation develops in the Canary Islands.

The commitment of LPF and the insular Administrative authorities to protecting the marine environment and creating synergies amongst entities was highlighted by the President of Loro Parque Fundación, Christoph Kiessling, as well as the Director of Environmental Affairs of LPF, Javier Almunia; the President of Tenerife’s Council, Carlos Alonso; the councillor of Tourism of Tenerife’s Council, Alberto Bernabé; Fernando Rosa, lecturer at University of La Laguna (ULL); and the owner of the boat, Ibrahim Albani.

During the trip on board Blumaines, the lecturer and researcher of ULL showed the operation of an automatic sound detection system with a group of short-finned pilot whales, developed in collaboration with the Foundation. In addition, an ocean water test was performed with a surface fishing phytoplankton net to determine the presence of micro plastics in the water amongst zooplankton organisms – which form the basis of trophic chain that short-finned pilot whales, dolphins and large migratory species such as fin whales feed on.

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The Foundation promotes and funds projects for the marine environment in the Canary Islands that are related to the impact of halogenated pollutants and heavy metals in cetacean populations of the archipelago, but also to the conservation of the angelshark, the assessment of the status of the hammerheads; the analysis of acoustic communication in cetaceans and the conservation of the loggerhead turtle.

Overall, the projects of marine conservation of Loro Parque Fundación represent an annual investment of 200,000 euros.

Miss Norte 2016

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Once again, Loro Parque becomes the stage chosen for the presentation of the 24 candidates for Miss Norte 2016, an event to be held on Saturday July 23 in the municipality of El Tanque.

The presentation, which was held at the spectacular OrcaOcean stadium, was attended by El Tanque’s mayor, Román Martín; the organiser of Miss Norte, Sandro Pérgola; and the singer and godfather of the Red Pandas couple, Luis Deseda, who thanked the commitment of Loro Parque to “an event that has established itself as leader in beauty contests held in the Canary Islands”.

The hopefuls enjoyed a different day in the #1 Zoo in Europe and the second in the world according to TripAdvisor, with its fascinating exhibition of orcas and the lovely couple of Red Pandas, that delighted the candidates during the route through the park. They also had the time to enjoy a cocktail at Brunelli’s restaurant, as well as to see firsthand the fantastic views to the Atlantic Ocean provided by this steakhouse located in Punta Brava.

Miss Norte is an event that has now been held for more than 16 years in different locations of Tenerife. Its hallmark is to foster the beauty of the hopefuls while promoting the culture, landscapes and history of the northern towns that have hosted this contest.

Another example of the importance and good reception of this contest is the ever-growing number of candidates in the 2016’s edition, reaching up to 24 hopefuls this year.