Loro Parque’s President receives Global Humanitarian Award from American Humane

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Mr. Wolfgang Kiessling, president and founder of Loro Parque and Loro Parque Fundación, received the Global Humanitarian Award from American Humane, the United State’s first national humane organization, in recognition of his lifetime efforts to protect Nature and preserve its biodiversity. The award was given during the nationally televised 2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, California (United States).

Mr. Kiessling is the first person to receive this recognition, which came after Loro Parque became the first European zoo to be Humane Certified™ by American Humane in May this year. The 13.5-hectare zoo passed a rigorous third-party audit that confirms Loro Parque is in compliance with American Humane Conservation standards, ensuring that the animals in the park enjoy the best conditions in areas such as health, housing, social interactions, adequate environments and proper preparation and protocols to manage medical or operational emergencies.

In this sense, Loro Parque has also been recently acknowledged as the “Best Zoo in the World” by TripAdvisor, an award given based upon thousands of independent reviews from the visitors that want to share their experiences in Loro Parque with other users of this worldwide platform. Furthermore, Loro Parque confirmed its full compliance with the Global Welfare Standards of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) after being inspected by the auditors of Global Spirit and obtaining the highest possible rating of 100%. Among the members of ABTA are leaders in the tourism industry, such as Thomas Cook and TUI UK.

The protection, conservation and educational efforts of Loro Parque cannot be fully grasped without knowing about its research and conservation programs, which have been carried out since 1994 through the Loro Parque Fundación. Thanks to the support of Loro Parque, its partners, visitors, friends and collaborators, more than 17 million dollars have been directly invested for the development of conservation programs both in situ and ex situ.

Loro Parque, Best Zoo in the World According to TripAdvisor

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A prestigious travel portal TripAdvisor has recognized Loro Parque through their annual Travellers’ Choice 2017 as the BEST ZOOLOGICAL PARK IN THE WORLD, an award that is based on the independent evaluations of the users of this worldwide platform.

This award is yet another acknowledgement of Loro Parque’s efforts in the matters of conservation of biodiversity and raising awareness about the protection of the natural habitats of the wildlife on the planet. Having been chosen as the Number 1 Zoo in the World, it is a true recognition to Loro Parque for its commitment to animal welfare and joins the series of several other recent certifications received by the park. Thus, earlier this year Loro Parque received a HumaneCertified certificate from the renowned animal welfare organization American Humane that was conceded to Loro Parque for its humane treatment of the animals, converting it into the first zoo in Europe to have obtained this standard, with the highest rating. Furthermore, Loro Parque confirmed its full compliance with the Global Welfare Standards of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) after being inspected by the auditors of Global Spirit and obtaining the highest possible rating of 100%. Among the members of ABTA are present the leaders of the tourism industry, such as Thomas Cook or TUI UK.

Loro Parque’s recognition by the users of Trip Advisor as the best in the world in animal welfare, considering the role of a modern zoo in the society, could not be fully grasped without the knowledge about its research and conservation program carried out since 1994 through the Loro Parque Fundación. Thanks to the support of Loro Parque, its partners, visitors, friends and collaborators, more than 17 million dollars have been directly invested for the development of conservation programs both in situ and ex situ, following the commitment ‘100% for Nature’.

Among many significant successes, including important achievements in the marine environment, Loro Parque Fundación’s work has made possible the salvation of nine species of parrots from their imminent extinction. This is the case, to give some examples, of the Blue-throated macaw, original of Beni, Bolivia, whose population has increased from 50 to 350 individuals with the project. Another good example that occurred in the same timeline is the evolution of Lear’s Macaw, whose population has increased from 22 to over 1.200 individuals, as well as the Yellow-eared parrot from Colombia, whose numbers have increased to over 4.000 individuals in present days, thanks to the efforts of the project to save the palm tree habituated by these parrots. In 1999, before Loro Parque Fundación started this project, there were only 82 individuals of this species left in the wild.

The results of the coordinated efforts between Loro Parque and Loro Parque Fundación, in their continuous commitment to innovation, are very clearly represented in the newest project KAZA, which is aimed at protecting the cross-border areas of five African countries. The goal is to ensure the conservation of the African lion, a highly endangered species whose numbers have decreased in the last 50 years from 100.000 to less than 25.000 (over 75%). Most recent arrival of three Angola lions to Loro Parque’s Lion’s Kingdom allows them to perform an important role as the ambassadors of their species and help raising awareness about the urgent need to protect the natural habitats, as well as to give the scientists an opportunity to learn and gather more information about their features and needs.

Almost 45 years after Loro Parque first opened its doors, with just 13.000 square metres and 30 employees; the company now obtains the successful results of its entrepreneurial policy that consists in reinvesting all profits into the continuous development and improvement of the park and ensuring the best animal welfare. More than 47 million visitors have visited Loro Parque in all these years, as it stays true to its firm commitment to demonstrate the beauty of the biodiversity in all its installations, paying attention to every detail, nowadays over the area of 135.000 square metres.

Taking into consideration that every year more than 700 millon people visit zoological parks worldwide, Trip Advisor’s recognition demonstrates, once again, that Loro Parque offers an unforgettable experience to its visitors who come from different parts of the world to discover for themselves this authentic Animal Embassy. This Award comes as a reinforcement to the most recent recognition of Siam Park, which was created following the same entrepreneurial policy for continual development, innovation and excellence, as the Best Water Park in the world for the fourth consecutive year.

More information: https://www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-Attractions-cZoos

Paz Vega pasa el día en Loro Parque junto a su familia

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Paz Vega, an internationally known Spanish actress, has dedicated a whole day to Loro Parque while on holiday in Tenerife. Accompanied by her husband and her three children, she has toured the world’s best zoo according to TripAdvisor, and she has got to know its activities on protecting the natural habitats and raising awareness about the need for conservation of the biodiversity.

She took advantage of her visit to thank Loro Parque’s team by signing the VIP guest book, where she praised their work and assured Loro Parque is an international reference when it comes too modern and innovative zoos that put animal welfare, biodiversity conservation and environment protection first on their agenda.

Paz Vega, who raised to stardom thanks to her role as Laura on Spanish television show ‘Siete Vidas’, has won a Goya award as best stand-out actress, and has played the main role on many films and TV series, not only in Spain but also abroad.

After 14 years living in the United States, she has come back to Spain to release ‘Perdóname Señor’, a new TV series that has rapidly grown to be very popular. She is working on ‘Fugitivos’, soon to be released on Televisión Española (TVE), and on season 2 of ‘The OA’, internationally successful Brad Pitt’s production.

Paz Vega’s family finalized their visit by having lunch at Brunelli’s, considered to be one of Tenerife´s best steakhouses. It is conveniently located right in front of the Park, and they had a chance to try deliciously juicy meat cooked in an oven unique in the Canary Islands as it heats up to 800 degrees. On top of that, Brunelli’s wonderful views of the Atlantic Ocean guaranteed them an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

Activists Want Zoos to be an Endangered Species

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Source: http://www.highlandnews.net/news/political/activists-want-zoos-to-be-an-endangered-species/article_56e37f48-8436-11e7-8ef9-cb2e92b23414.html

A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences asserts that a sixth mass extinction is underway. Primarily pointing to the extinction of several species, as well as the deterioration of animal habitats, the paper warns that habitats and animal populations are decreasing at an alarming rate. The conservation of endangered and threatened species is a critical issue. Ironically, animal activist organizations who claim the moral high ground are seeking to destroy two of the primary tools for supporting animal conservation: zoos and aquariums.

These institutions support conservation while conducting research across the globe on species ranging from primates to insects and everything in-between. The aptly named Phoenix Zoo has spent 50 years bringing back the Arabian Oryx (think, desert deer) from the brink of extinction and has reintroduced the animal to its native habitat. The National Zoo in Washington, DC did the same with the golden lion tamarin. Countless other zoos have helped with these and the survival of other endangered species. Using the best science, zoos also have an international database of their animals to assist in breeding efforts and ensure the genetic diversity of future generations of animals.

Despite these benefits, PETA and similarly positioned animal groups are threatening lawsuits under the Endangered Species Act that would spell the end of zoos and aquariums in America. Their legal claim? Keeping animals in enclosures is a form of illegal “abuse” of endangered species. They call zoos “prisons.” Nonsense. Zoos are great for the animals that live in them. A recent study from the University of Zurich shows that more than 80% of mammalian species studied have longer lives in zoos than in the wild.

Groups like PETA love to point to elephants as a case study because they have shorter lives in captivity, but animals that are generally “long-lived” take much longer to study. New strategies implemented in the last 10 years won’t show up in data until after this generation of animals has died. So as scientists have learned more about elephants and improved their lives in zoos, the results of that labor haven’t been realized yet. It also ignores the fact that the public’s exposure to elephants in zoos and circuses likely help in efforts to end the ivory trade. The research done by veterinarians and zoologists help all animals in a given species, directly refuting claims by PETA that “while confining animals to zoos keeps them alive, it does nothing to protect wild populations and their habitats.” Probably the most famous example is the decades of research on Giant Pandas. Scientists around the world brought the beloved animal from the brink of extinction on the endangered species list to the much better “vulnerable species” list.

Not only will anti-zoo efforts harm the animals themselves, which are not fit to be in the wild, but they will also destroy valuable educational experiences and local communities. Children’s physical exposure to animals—not just from books or tablets—is a key learning experience. Moreover, zoos and aquariums added nearly $20 billion to the U.S. economy from nearly 170 million visitors in 2012.

It’s important to understand that ultimately groups like PETA (or its cousin, the Humane Society of the United States) don’t want to make better zoos. They want to phase out the use of animals—whether at a zoo, on a farm, or at a circus. Some activists go so far as to question the ethics of pet ownership. Serious issues are facing animals of all stripes and in all corners of the globe. If organizations like PETA and HSUS have their way, it will be more than zoos and aquariums that go extinct. Will Coggin is the research director for the Center for Consumer Freedom in Washington, D.C.

Top 6 myths about zoos

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Source: https://zoospensefull.com/2017/06/20/top-5-myths-zoos/

We all meet these myths almost every day. Lets just bust them once and for all, ok? Feel free to share and use, as you please.

Six rays are born in the aquarium of Loro Parque

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Once again the Aquarium of Loro Parque has been successful with its breeding program. This time six young, strong and healthy, rays (Dasyatis Americana), in the Canaries known as “chucho”, were born.

After an uncomplicated birth, the team of professionals in the aquarium decided to keep the youngsters in a floating tank within the big exhibition tank. This way they guaranteed that the newborns don’t suffer any brusque water changes but are protected from all other fish that lives in the big exhibition.

These rays are Elasmobranchii of the Dasyatis family, whose area of ​​expansion is confined to the tropical and subtropical seas of the southern Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. They have a flat, diamond-shaped body, which is mud brown on top and white on the belly.

It is a species that tolerates wide ranges of temperature and salinity and feeds on large invertebrates. Its reproduction is viviparous and can produce between 4 to 7 offspring. The gestation period is quite short compared to other species of rays; it only lasts four months allowing females to reproduce twice a year. The average size of these specimens is 40 cm wide, although the maximum records are 60 cm for females and 57 cm for males.

Loro Parque once again shows its commitment to the protection and conservation of animals, demonstrating the success of its breeding system within a philosophy that has turned the zoo into the embassy of exotic animals.

Loro Parque Fundación: the only zoological center in Europe that manages to reproduce the Lear’s Macaw.

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Loro Parque continues to obtain magnificent results with its breeding programs, and on this occasion, Loro Parque Fundación (LPF), as the only zoological center in Europe, has managed to reproduce the Lear’s Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari), an endangered species that lives in the north of Brazil and that currently is exhibited in the Park.

Since 2006, when the Brazilian government first sent a pair of Lear Macaws for reproduction to Loro Parque, LPF has obtained 30 individuals born in Tenerife; nine individuals have been returned to Brazil already.

The acclimatization of the parrots has been fundamental in order to achieve such a successful breeding. The imitation of their natural habitat, the good climate and the food from the licuri palm tree – the same they feed on in Brazil – have been the keys for such good results.

Lear macaws suffer illegal trade with the capture of its young, and when grown up, farmers chase after them to protect their corn. Their habitat is increasingly degraded by the use of land for cattle, and also by the indiscriminate collection of leaves and fruits of the licuri palm.

The scientific director of LPF, Rafael Zamora, explains the process of adaptation and the creation of a habitat most similar to its natural environment: “When the first pair was going to arrive, we took a photo of the cliff where they lived in the area of ​​Brazil so that our team of craft workers could recreate an imitation as close as possible to these rocks; We have managed to recreate their natural habitat here at Loro Parque.”

Loro Parque Foundation has managed the recovery of the species and change the category of protection from ‘critically endangered’ to ‘threatened animal’; a very important step in conservation. Up to this date, nearly €500,000 have been invested in the protection of Lear’s free-ranging macaw, contributing to the definition of priority actions, previously studying its geographic movements and food resources, and sensitization of local populations on the importance of maintaining the licuri palm.

The objective remains to situate Lear’s macaw as an unmanaged species, reducing its threats and recovering the wild population, in addition to protect this palm tree, essential for the long-term recovery of the species.

The four sandbar sharks celebrate their first birthday in Loro Parque

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The best zoo in Europe and #2 in the world, according to TripAdvisor, is once again celebrating. The sandbar shark babies born in the Aquarium of Loro Parque are now turning exactly one year of age and are full of health and strength. Abel, Airam, Liam and Juan, the first specimens of this species to be born under human care in the entire region of the Canary Islands, will be eventually heading to the soon-to-be-open gran aquarium Poema del Mar in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. This innovative project of Loro Parque promises to convert into one of the most impressive aquariums in the world and has already been recognized by the regional authorities to be of strategic interest for the Canary Islands.

Their diet is based on white and oily fish, unpeeled prawn and cephalopods and the feeding occurs 5 times a week. Currently, the young sharks consume an equivalent of 3% of their weight, a diet that allows them to maintain steady levels of growth and health. Despite being so young they are already forming part of the Aquarium’s most advanced and innovative programs – the shark training program. These voluntary exercises under the supervision of the aquarium’s personnel allow for the stress-free procedures with the animals, for example weighing, measuring or medical check-ups.

Sandbar sharks can live up to 45 years and they only breed once every two years. They are viviparous animals, so the pups are born completely developed. Each time, a female can bring to life 7 to 10 specimens.

Here in Loro Parque, these sharks are perfect ambassadors to raise awareness about the hazards and problems that the marine species encounter in the wild. Already today, 11 shark species appear on the list of endangered species, and 100 million die each year as a result of human consumption.

Having inhabited this planet for over 400 million years, these amazing animals are now facing extinction and mainly due to the human actions. Therefore, these young sharks will serve an important role to make us, humans, think about the way we consume natural resources and thus, not let these animals disappear from our planet.

James Borrell: Eight reasons why zoos are good for conservation

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Original article: James Borrell: Eight reasons why zoos are good for conservation

The shooting of a gorilla earlier this year reignited the debate about whether animals should be kept in captivity, but we must remember the essential work that good zoos do.

The Biologist 63(5) p9

This summer, a child fell into an enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo with a western lowland gorilla named Harambe, and to protect the child the gorilla was shot. This tragic and much-discussed event rekindled the debate over the role of zoos and aquaria – and much of the coverage was negative.

One would hope that zoos themselves would be proudly showcasing their work, but as I discovered while contributing to an Al Jazeera report on the incident, many are reluctant to speak up due to the barrage of attacks that Cincinnati experienced.

Zoos are not perfect. Should they continue to keep large predators or intelligent primates? Over the next few decades, probably not. Should large new animals be collected from the wild? No, unless there is a compelling case to develop a captive breeding programme.

But are zoos changing and developing? Yes. More than ever, good zoos are aware of their evolving role in conservation and responding to it.

Would I rather have a species in captivity, than not at all? One hundred times, yes.

Here are my eight reasons why zoos are critical to conservation:

  1. There are 39 animal species currently listed by the IUCN as Extinct in the Wild. These are species that would have vanished totally were it not for captive populations around the world, many of which reside in zoos (or, for plants, botanic gardens).
  2. For species whose survival in the wild looks in doubt, zoos often set up ‘insurance’ populations, captive groups of animals that could in a worst-case scenario assist in reintroduction to the wild should the original population become extinct. The Zoological Society of London, as an example, participates in more than 160 of these programmes.
  3. Reintroductions. It is often argued that zoos are bad because so few reintroductions actually happen. I would argue that it’s not the zoos that are at fault – a reintroduction can’t occur if the reason a species was driven to extinction in the first place hasn’t been resolved.
  4. In 2014, 700 million people visited zoos worldwide. Not all zoos are good at engagement, and indeed not all zoos are good full stop. However, surely that number of visits created some sort of connection with the natural world that might not have occurred otherwise.
  5. Zoos are a living museum. What we learn about wild animals in captivity can help us manage and conserve them in the wild – from animal behaviour, to reproductive rates, to dietary requirements.
  6. Zoos raise money for conservation efforts. It’s difficult to engage people with conservation taking place half a world away. But by enabling people to experience wildlife first hand, we can increase participation in international conservation activities.
  7. Helping respond to emergencies. Chytrid fungus has emerged as a deadly threat to amphibian populations worldwide, and 168 species have become extinct in 20 years. Responding to threats such as this is surely one of the greatest uses of zoos around the world. Many have set up specialist amphibian centres and are pioneering treatment and breeding programmes.
  8. They remind us that we can succeed. Conservation is full of bad news stories, yet on many occasions I have peered through glass or mesh at a species that shouldn’t exist. For me at least, zoos remind us that conservation does work – we just need more of it.

Loro Parque releases a turtle found injured in Gran Canaria to the sea after recovering in the Aquarium

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Loro Parque Fundación recently returned a loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) to the sea that had been recovering at the zoo’s Aquarium for the last two months after being rescued on a beach in Gran Canaria with a fishhook inside its throat. Once the animal was transferred to the Wildlife Recovery Centre of Tafira, experts concluded that the most adequate place for its rehabilitation was Loro Parque, which has ensured a successful recovery and later reinsertion to the sea.

During the release, which took place at a Punta Brava’s beach, educators from Loro Parque Fundación and Pascual Calabuig, the director of the Wildlife Recovery Centre of Tafira, explained the importance of conservation and the endangerment of the animals by pollution, for example by plastic waste to more than 100 primary school pupils from the Punta Brava’s School. The most awaited moment arrived when students formed a central aisle, letting the turtle slide until its yearned destination: the ocean.

Ethical commitment of modern zoos to wild animals in need is an essential matter for the Foundation. Thus, it demonstrates its responsibility and readiness to foster and accommodate animals that need a temporary home – collaboration with other institutions is thus crucial.

Each year, more than 200 marine turtles arrive to wildlife recovery centres in the Canary Islands, most of them due to problems related to the impact of human activities in the sea; a great part of them can be recovered and returned to the sea. Loro Parque Fundación strengthens its commitment to raising awareness within the Canarian society on the need of acknowledging, protecting and conserving the environment and animal species.