Loro Parque receives the Tenerife Ejectutivos’ Award for its ‘Tourism Excellence’

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Loro Parque has received this Tuesday, February 26, the Tenerife Ejecutivos’ Award for Tourism Excellence, bestowed by the magazine Ejecutivos, in an event held in La Laguna Gran Hotel.

 This first edition of the awards was presided over by the President of the Tenerife Cabildo Carlos Alonso.  During the ceremony, different companies were recognised for their trajectory, quality, external projects, technological development and customer service, amongst other categories.

Thus, once again, the work of Loro Parque has been differentiated by its excellence in tourism, because, according to the portal of the Ejecutivos Magazine “Loro Parque is one of the most beautiful zoos in the world” which “is located on the slopes of the volcano Teide World Heritage Site, and in its 45 years of existence continues to surprise its visitors by its constant work of innovation and research”.

This award acknowledges many years of hard work and continuous growth.  It comes in addition to the Parque’s recognition for the second consecutive year, as the best zoo in the world, through the award Travellers’ Choice, given thanks to the independent assessments of users of the TripAdvisor travel portal.

Thus, Loro Parque is recognised for a trajectory that has made it one of the most respected zoological institutions in the world, for its exceptional beauty, the excellence of its facilities and its respect for nature.  This is due to the fact that, with the almost 50 million visitors who have visited its facilities since it opened in 1972, the Parque continues in its firm commitment to the protection of different species, through a wide variety of projects in which the Loro Parque Foundation also participates.

The Loro Parque Foundation has achieved the reintroduction into the wild in Brazil of six Tenerife-born examples of a parrot that is in danger of extinction

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Photo: Joao Marcos Rosa

The six specimens of Lear’s Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari) born in the Loro Parque Foundation’s facilities and moved last August to Brazil for their reinsertion in nature have already managed to adapt to the harsh conditions of their habitat in the Caatinga and are now flying free in the wild.  The parrot is one of the most important projects of the Foundation, which has managed to move its category on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from ‘critically endangered’ to ‘endangered’.

The protection and progressive recovery of this species has been a long road and a lot of work, in which is highlighted the work performed ex-situ by the Loro Parque Foundation, to whom the Government of Brazil transferred two pairs 13 years ago, in 2006, with the aspiration that they could raise and save a species that was in a situation similar to that of the Spix’s Macaw, now extinct in nature.

In a matter of six months, they managed to help the birds start reproducing and, since then, more than 30 specimens have been bred in Tenerife.  However, the Foundation’s objective has always been to enable them to return to their natural environment and, once there, to ensure their sustainability.  During this time, a total of 15 specimens have been sent, nine of them to participate in the National Action Plan for the conservation of the species, achieving a notable increase in the population.

Photo: Joao Marcos Rosa

The last six individuals to arrive in Brazil have spent a period of adaptation in a large aviary based in a natural environment, with plants typical of the ecology of the species and where they have become familiar with the sounds of nature and with the conditions of the area where the Lear’s Macaw was previously found.

During this process, the project team had to face several challenges: that the birds could adapt to eating the fruit of the licuri palm – which the species feeds on – at the same speed as other wild birds, given that they were accustomed to a softer meal, or that they stopped drinking water directly from a drinking trough and began to consume that which they obtained from the fruit of the palm trees are just two of them.  However, all were gradually overcome and successfully, whilst they were also trained to increase their cardio-respiratory capacity and to react to sounds of possible predators.

It was the most determined specimen, the most curious of the six that was the first to leave the soft release aviary to inspect the area and serve as an advance guard for the rest of the group. In this situation, and for safety reasons, he made the first flights equipped with a locator to record his movements.  Once he established the distances and returned safely to the precinct, the gate was opened for the others.

Photo: Joao Marcos Rosa

The nearby palms were provided with large bunches of licuri fruits to avoid them having to make great efforts in the search for food during their first experiences in their natural habitat. Thus, they gradually left the enclosure and found very similar conditions without having to make long journeys.

With this huge breakthrough, the Lear’s Macaw has reached one of the most important phases in its recovery, and its integration into the natural environment will continue to be monitored by Brazilian scientists – led by biologist Erica Pacifico, General Coordinator of the release project – who, in direct connection with experts from the Loro Parque Foundation, will continue to monitor the evolution of the process.

Photo: Loro Parque Fundación

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This project has been possible thanks to the important support and collaboration of Brazilian and international institutions that were fundamental in different phases of the release project: expert researchers of the Research and Conservation Group of the Arara-Azul de Lear, through Qualis Consultoria Ambiental; actions executed within the National Action Plan for the Conservation of the Species; Enel Green Power Brazil, in charge of the integral financing of the project and the Community of Cercadinho, Campo Formoso / Bahia.

Also relevant for their support have been the Architecture Association of Cristina Dénes, for the creation of the project of construction of the nursery of adaptation of the araras in the Area of Freedom of Wild Animals, and the collaboration of Antonio Carlos Canto Porto Filho and Francisco Antonio de Oliveira, for the donation of materials.  Also: the National Centre for Research and Conservation of Wild Birds; the Fazenda Cachoeira Scientific Hatchery for conservation purposes; the Centre for Conservation and Management of Caatinga Fauna (CEMAFAUNA); the National Cente for Research and Conservation of Wild Birds (CEMAVE); the Scientific Hatchery for conservation purposes; the Bahia Institute of Environment and Water Resources (INEMA); the Max Planck Institute of Environment and Water Resources of Bahia (INEMA); the Institute of Biodiversity Development (ICMBio); the Institute of Wild Spaces (IES); the Institute of Ornithology (MPIO); the Zoology Museum of the University of São Paulo (MZUSP) and Nitro Imágenes, a multidisciplinary team that has made it possible for Tenerife macaws to fly in Brazil.

Loro Parque exhibits, for the first time in Spain, a pair of Bowmouth guitarfish (Rhina ancylostoma)

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After Loro Parque became a pioneer in being the first aquarium in Spain to receive a pair of Bowmouth guitarfish (Rhina ancylostoma), the species will be available to be viewed at its exhibition in the coming days that all visitors can get to know and learn them. With their incorporation, this zoological garden already recognised as the best in the world according to TripAdvisor, reinforces its commitment to conservation, as this species is catalogued as vulnerable according to the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The shark, also known as the Shark Ray, faces a variety of threats in the wild, including habitat degradation (particularly in South and Southeast Asia), pollution and fishing, as its meat is traded for human consumption on the Asian continent. Similarly, in northern Australia, for example, bycatch is also a threat to this species, although, fortunately, the introduction of turtle-excluder devices in shrimp trawlers has considerably reduced their mortality. These two specimens, which have been in quarantine for some time before being transferred to the aquarium exhibition, will act in Loro Parque as representatives of their peers in the wild.

This species lives near the coast and around coral reefs, at a maximum depth of 90 metres. It is mainly found on sandy or muddy bottoms, and is a large species that can grow up to 270 cm in total length. In general, very little is known about its characteristics and history, so more research is needed to provide data on its biology, origin and levels of exploitation.

An estimated 100 million sharks die each year as a result of fishing, and a quarter of the cartilaginous fish species – sharks, rays and chimaeras – that exist are threatened with extinction due to often harmful human actions. That is why Loro Parque acts as a real embassy for wild animals, helping to ensure, with its work, the continuity and protection of different species.

The work to be carried out on the Rhina ancylostoma sharks will be essential to provide more information to help conserve and ensure the well-being of other endangered species, such as the angel shark (Squatina squatina) – the most endangered shark in the world – and the hammerhead shark (Sphyrna sp.), both of which Loro Parque Foundation helps through projects for their protection and conservation.

Loro Parque Fundación and the Canarian universities kick-off the CanBio project

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This week, Loro Parque Fundación has signed several collaboration agreements and contracts with research teams from the two Canarian universities and the NGOs Elasmocan and AVANFUER, to start the CanBio project, a research programme financed jointly by Loro Parque and the Canary Islands Government.

Through this project, different research groups from the University of La Laguna (ULL) and the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) will study climate change in the sea and ocean acidification, as well as its effects on marine biodiversity in the Canary Islands and Macaronesia, especially on cetaceans, sea turtles, sharks and rays.

The project, which was presented last November and foresees an investment of two million euros over four years, has started this January with the placement of a measuring station in the Benchijigua Express ferry (of the Fred Olsen shipping company), which has already begun to collect data on coastal acidification in the region.  This data will be supplemented with another measuring station on the ship Renate P (of the shipping company NISA Maritima) which makes trips between Tenerife, Las Palmas, Lanzarote and Barcelona, and will provide information on the Macaronesia region.

These opportunistic platforms will be joined throughout 2019 by a coastal network for monitoring marine environmental parameters linked to climate change, ocean acidification and underwater noise pollution, as well as their effects on the marine biodiversity of the Canary Islands.  This network will initially consist of two buoys equipped with scientific instruments, one in Gran Canaria and the other in Tenerife.  In subsequent years, several scientific operations will be carried out with autonomous vehicles, which will travel around the archipelago and the Macaronesia obtaining information on the effects of climate change on the ocean and on the distribution of species such as cetaceans.

All these actions are linked to the previous activity of Loro Parque Fundación in the archipelago and will allow us to obtain essential information with which to interpret the effects that global change will produce in the marine organisms of the Canary Islands and Macaronesia.  In this way, the region will become a world reference, providing relevant data on climate change for the international community, whilst helping to diagnose the effects of global change in the area.