Loro Parque Foundation renews its commitment to nature by allocating one million dollars to conservation projects

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The Loro Parque Foundation recently held the annual meeting of its Advisory Committee, which has decided how to distribute the $1,000,000 that the Foundation dedicates each year to nature conservation projects carried out in the five continents. The meeting took place in Puerto de La Cruz, the city where both the non-profit organisation and its main sponsor, Loro Parque, are based.

Threatened species and ecosystems on the American continent will receive almost 60 per cent of the funds ($577,000), followed by projects focusing on European nature, which will receive just over $203,000, and African projects, which total $126,000. Asia, with $73,000, and Australia-Oceania, with $21,000, close the funding, which reaches the five continents and will be distributed among 40 conservation and research projects to be implemented by 34 NGOs and universities around the world.

By country, Colombia stands out, as it will receive almost $145,000, followed by the Philippines, Brazil and Bolivia, which will receive approximately $60,000 each. However, the list of states is much longer, and this year the Foundation will also carry out projects in Mexico, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Cuba, Belize, Costa Rica, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Cape Verde, Madeira, New Zealand and Polynesia. In addition, some of these projects are trans-national, so their benefits will reach the ecosystems and endangered species of many other bordering countries.

From an ecological point of view, terrestrial species and ecosystems are the ones that will receive the most help from the Loro Parque Foundation ($800,000). Among them is the Philippine cockatoo – on the red list of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered – whose project will receive $68,000 to continue securing the populations on the island of Rasa and try to extend the reproductive success achieved in that area to other places in the region.

Other major projects on terrestrial species and ecosystems are aimed at protecting lions in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, the Great Green Macaw and the Lilacine Amazon in Ecuador, or the Blue-throated Macaw in Bolivia – all of which will receive funding of around $60,000 in 2019.

Also of great importance is the effort in the conservation of marine species and ecosystems, to which the Loro Parque Foundation will dedicate $200,000 next year. Of these, almost three quarters will be allocated to cetaceans (orcas, dolphins, humpback whales and pilot whales), through different research projects for their welfare, the monitoring and conservation of the orca population of the Straits of Gibraltar, or the development of systems to prevent the accidental stranding of pilot whales.

It’s also important to note the participation in a project on the island of Madeira for the conservation of the Mediterranean Monk Seal, a species listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List – making it Europe’s most endangered marine mammal. In addition to the marine mammal projects, the Foundation will also continue conservation work on other species, such as sea turtles and sharks, during 2019.

Loro Parque, recognised as the #1 Zoo in the World for the second consecutive year

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Loro Parque has once again been recognised as the BEST ZOO IN THE WORLD. This accomplishment has come for the second consecutive year, according to the highly reputable travel website TripAdvisor, as it was revealed in their annual Travellers’ Choice 2018 awards.  Once again, the independent evaluations of the major web platform’s users who have visited the facilities have confirmed that there is no better park than this one on the planet.

This recognition reinforces Loro Parque’s role as an authentic wildlife conservation centre, whose pillars are education, conservation and raising awareness among its visitors about the importance of protecting the animal world and its ecosystems.  Almost 50 million people have visited its facilities throughout its more than 45-year history, and all of them have recognised the top welfare of all the animals in the Parque.

Loro Parque picturesquely located on Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands, has an elaborate science, education and conservation programme implemented since 1994 through the Loro Parque Foundation. In this period of time and thanks to the principal sponsorship from Loro Parque, the Foundation was able to allocate more than 19 million dollars directly to the development of ‘in situ’ and ‘ex situ’ conservation programmes.  This recognition coincides, precisely, with the transfer of six specimens of Lear’s Macaws (one of the nine parrot species that the Foundation has managed to save from imminent extinction) to Brazil for their reinsertion into the wild, an event that is considered a conservation success.

With this and many other achievements in the protection of wildlife – many of which are marine species – Loro Parque is reaping the rewards of applying a corporate policy of reinvesting all its profits in the continuous development of the company and the constant improvement of animal welfare.  At present, the company reinforces its firm commitment to the expansion of our facilities and infrastructure, which in turn contributes to the constant generation of employment in the Canary Islands.

Loro Parque is celebrating without a doubt, and would like to take this opportunity to thank its customers who visit daily from many different parts of the world; the tour operators, for their important commitment to a wildlife conservation centre whose priority is animal welfare; and all the collaborators in the scientific field, for sharing with the Loro Parque team their mission: to protect and conserve animals and their natural habitats for future generations.

More about Travellers’ Choice 2018: https://www.tripadvisor.es/TravelersChoice-Attractions-cZoos

More information on Loro Parque: http://www.loroparque.com/

For the first time in history, a study financed by the Loro Parque Foundation has analysed the personality of orcas

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A recent study, funded by the Loro Parque Foundation and initiated with the orcas of Loro Parque, has made it possible to determine the personality structure of cetaceans.  Recently published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology, it’s a pioneering project, as it’s the first time in history that the personality of these animals has been studied.

Dr. Javier Almunia, Director of the Loro Parque Foundation, explained that “personality studies in animals help us to better understand their behaviour and, in the short term, can be related to measures to improve their welfare”.  In addition, he pointed out that “a detailed knowledge of an animal’s personality allows us to individualise, for example, an environmental enrichment or its social relations, so that they adapt much better to its needs and preferences”.

In order to obtain greater statistical validity of the results, the project analysed a total of 24 orcas (housed not only in Loro Parque, but also in SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Diego).  In order to determine their personalities, a questionnaire was applied consisting of 38 adjectives, based on another used in humans: the ‘Five Factor Model’.  An average of 20 evaluators per centre, mainly trainers with an median of eight years experience with the animals, evaluated all the adjectives for the study sample.

“The most relevant part of the research is that it’s the first time that the personality structure of a cetacean has been obtained.  In recent years, a large number of personality studies have been carried out on a wide range of animals – including invertebrates, insects and fish – but curiously in cetaceans, personality studies had only been carried out on bottlenose dolphins, focused on the search for correlations and not on obtaining the personality structure of the species”, said Yulán Úbeda, author of the study and a researcher at the University of Girona.

Unable to compare the results obtained for orcas with the personality structure of other cetaceans, Úbeda and his team compared the results with those of humans and chimpanzees, finding a high similarity in the personality structure between these species.  According to the study, the orca personality is composed of four factors: Extraversion, a combined factor of Responsibility and Kindness, Dominance and Prudence.  The first three coincide with those found in chimpanzees, published in a previous study by the author in Evolutionary Psychology, whilst similarity with humans is also reflected in the scores obtained for the adjectives.

The similarity of results found between these species could suggest an evolutionary convergence.  Thus, the scientist has concluded that “despite the high evolutionary distance between cetaceans and primates, the adaptation to very different environments and a very disparate neuroanatomical organisation, some primates and cetaceans show convergence in complex cognitive abilities – such as cooperation, cultural transmission or the presence of complex social structures, among others – and even very similar encephalization quotients, so that this type of personality structure found in cetaceans and complex primates could be associated with the cognitive and social complexity presented by these species”.

Loro Parque and Poema del Mar join other aquariums and the European Commission to fight against plastic

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As part of their commitment to the protection of wild species and their natural habitats, Loro Parque and Poema del Mar have decided to join forces with the European Commission and the United Nations Environment Programme, as well as other international partners, to launch a coalition of aquariums to fight plastic pollution.  Aquariums around the world will organise permanent activities at their facilities and change their policies to eliminate all single-use plastic items.

This new action is part of a strategy that the Loro Parque Company began at the beginning of this year (2018), by which it has been replacing numerous products by alternatives made with biodegradable and compostable materials, which are more environmentally responsible.  Thus, Loro Parque has recently announced the replacement of single-use plastic water bottles with biodegradable and compostable ones, becoming one of the pioneering European zoos in taking a decision of such magnitude and in ceasing the generation of single-use plastic bottles as waste.

This coalition, dubbed ‘World aquariums #ReadyToChange to #BeatPlasticPollution’, aims to be able to count on at least 200 aquariums by 2019 to increase public awareness of the pollution caused by plastics.  All participating entities will commit to promoting best practices in the use of plastics at local, regional, national and global levels.

The announcement of this campaign follows the overwhelming vote in the European Parliament this week on the Commission’s proposal for a ban on certain single-use plastic articles by 2021.  “Aquariums are a window to our ocean,” said Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.  “With their collections and educational programmes, they show us what we have to protect and inspire lovers of tomorrow’s oceans.  Millions of people visit aquariums around the world every year.  This will move them to rethink the way we use plastics.”

Serious threat to marine species

Enormous quantities of plastic waste pollute seas and coasts, and threaten most marine species.  Whilst cleaning beaches is an important and necessary measure, it’s urgent that society change its production and consumption habits, as well as its behaviour, to prevent plastics from entering the environment in the first place.

The Loro Parque Company promotes its new products at the World Travel Market

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Loro Parque, Siam Park, Poema del Mar, Hotel Botánico and Brunelli’s are taking part this week in the World Travel Market, the prestigious business-to-business travel fair held annually in London with the aim of publicising the most important novelties that the Company is making available to its customers.

Loro Parque, recognised as the best zoo in the world for the second year in a row by TripAdvisor users, is proving that it continues to be firmly committed to biodiversity conservation and innovation in its facilities.  On this occasion, it’s presenting two new recently inaugurated and impressive exhibits: the Zen Garden, a submerged aquarium unique in the world that perfectly maintains the balance between flora and fauna, and the as close to nature as possible installation for the Pygmy Hippos, specially designed to provide the greatest welfare for the new guests.  Loro Parque Foundation, for its part, and after winning in 2015 the World Travel Leaders Award given by World Travel Market, continues to play an important role in the educational and conservation work that identifies Loro Parque.

Siam Park is presented, for the fifth consecutive year, as the best water park in the world, and continues to reap international success.  In World Travel Market you can consult its latest prizes, among which the European Star Awards stands out for the best water park in Europe for the seventh consecutive year.  This year, two new attractions are captivating all the professionals who are attending the fair: Patong Rapids, a new ride that breaks with all the moulds surpassing the already incredible Mekong Rapids, and Coco Beach, a new children’s area that allows the younger children to enjoy great adventures in the company of their family.

For its part, Poema del Mar is taking advantage of the international meeting to take stock, now that it is about to celebrate the first anniversary since its opening in December of last year.  The new great aquarium of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has had unprecedented success, showing its visitors impressive aquatic species from all over the world.  Among its facilities, Deep Sea stands out, an exhibition with the world’s largest curved glass window, which reproduces the most profound of the ocean depths.

Brunelli’s is present at the fair for the fourth consecutive year to present its exquisite gastronomic offer, starring the most select cuts of meat.  The restaurant, located opposite Loro Parque in Puerto de La Cruz, offers a refined atmosphere and the best sea views in the Canary Islands, in addition to its exclusive Southbend oven, unique in the archipelago.  This year it has been distinguished with the award as the best meat restaurant in Tenerife according to TripAdvisor.

The Hotel Botánico*****GL, for its part, is taking the opportunity to publicise the quality and comfort offered by its facilities, ideal for living a dream vacation in this hotel which has been recognised this year with the TUI Holly award, placing it among the 100 best hotels in the world, among the 12,000 which work with the TUI Group.  Its new Ayurveda treatments, its magnificent spa complex, The Oriental Spa Garden, and its incredible and varied gastronomic offer are an incomparable presentation showcase.

The Loro Parque Foundation wants to extend the moratorium on medium frequency military sonar to the whole region of Macaronesia

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The Loro Parque Foundation announced today, Thursday October 25, during the press conference to present the XIV International Forum for Nature Conservation, its intention to push for the extension on the moratorium on medium frequency military sonar in the Canary Islands to cover the whole of Macaronesia.  This initiative, which has the unanimous support of the Government of the Canary Islands and MEPs from the European Outermost Regions, is an important step towards the protection of cetaceans in the region.

Present at the event were the Deputy Minister for the Environment of the Government of the Canary Islands Blanca Delia Pérez, the President of the Spanish Committee of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Juan Antonio López, and the President of Loro Parque Foundation Christoph Kiessling.  This year the forum, which discusses the effects of climate change and exotic and invasive species in the marine environment, is being hosted by the Foundation at the Hotel Botánico in Puerto de La Cruz.

The meeting was the perfect occasion for the announcement of a project that will protect cetaceans from the changes in behaviour generated by exposure to sonar and will consequently result in the reduction of injuries and strandings directly related to naval manoeuvres in Macaronesian waters.

Proven success in the Canary Islands.

After the link between cetacean strandings and various other injuries with naval manoeuvres and sonar noise became evident, and following the recommendation of a European Parliament resolution, the Spanish Government established a moratorium on the use of naval sonar in the Canary Islands in November 2004.  During the 14 years since this decision was taken, there have been no atypical mass strandings on the Islands, which proves its effectiveness as a mitigation measure.

The expansion of the moratorium to the rest of the countries in the region would mean the effective protection of more than 3.5 million square kilometres, which represents 85 per cent of this hot spot of biodiversity for cetaceans that is the Macaronesian region.

An update on the progress of Morgan’s calf

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We are pleased to report that Morgan’s calf is continuing to gain weight and is growing stronger every day. Morgan’s milk production has been lower than what is required to meet the young calf’s nutritional needs, so it has been necessary to introduce regular bottle feeding. That decision is already showing positive results and the team of experts who are monitoring the calf around the clock are encouraged by its physical and mental progress as the young orca swims and plays.

While we would rather see Morgan able to breastfeed, the health and wellbeing of the calf are the top priority. In the wild, orca calves do not survive if their mothers are unable to produce enough milk.

Fortunately – thanks to our world-leading facilities, vets, and consultants – we can provide the calf with a specialized and nutritious formula consisting of milk, blended fish, and other essential vitamins and ingredients that are combined with the milk Morgan is able to produce. The formula has been developed by marine mammal veterinarians and animal nutritionists and it is clear that the calf is feeling the benefits.

In the interests of safety for mother, calf, and the experts assisting them, while bottle feeding takes place the pair are currently in different pools immediately adjacent to one another. Both mother and calf show signs they are relaxed and comfortable while this period of bottle feeding takes place.

We offer our heartfelt thanks once again for the continued messages of support. The team will continue to provide updates as and when we have new information.

Loro Parque welcomes the American Humane Association Board of Directors

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Loro Parque has received, this morning, Thursday October 11, the Board of Directors and some collaborators of the American Humane Association, who have come to the Islands directly from the U.S. to get to know the facilities of the zoo recognised as the best in the world according to TripAdvisor.

The delegation, headed by its CEO and president, Dr. Robin Ganzert, toured the different exhibitions and were able to enjoy the presentations of the orcas and dolphins offered by the Parque, in addition to learning first hand the work of the Loro Parque Foundation in conservation matters thanks to a relaxed talk with its director Dr. Javier Almunia.

Dr. Ganzert was accompanied by the famous actress and producer Barbara Niven, as well as by the well-known Mrs. Candy Spelling, author and widow of the famous Hollywood producer Aaron Spelling. Their marriage gave birth to two children, actor Randy Gene Spelling and Victoria Davey (Tori) Spelling, known for appearing in several Aaron Spelling productions, the most notable being Beverly Hills 90210.

Also with them were John Payne, president of the Board of Directors – with over 33 years of experience in the animal care industry and founder of Compassion-First Pet Hospitals, a group of highly reputable veterinary hospitals – and Dawn Assenzio, secretary of the Board and organiser of the famous K-9 Battle Buddies, an event that honours the bravery and courage of military dogs and their handlers.

Wellbeing certificate

In 2017, this prestigious entity certified the positive welfare status of all the animals in Loro Parque, which became the first zoo in Europe to achieve this standard. Amongst the many aspects taken into consideration, the excellent state of health and housing; positive social interactions within animal groups, and between animals and carers; safe environments, with appropriate lighting and sound levels, good air quality and thermoregulation; and evidence of preparedness and protocols in place to prevent and manage medical emergencies were highlighted.

American Humane, an association with more than 140 years of experience, focuses its efforts on ensuring the welfare of animals through the evaluation of various parameters of the life of the specimens that inhabit zoos, aquariums and centres of conservation around the world. It’s also responsible for the famous phrase “No animal has been harmed during the filming of this film”, which appears in Hollywood feature films thanks to its ‘Humane Hollywood’ programme, which ensures the welfare of all animals in productions.

The IX Loro Parque Foundation Parrot Congress, a resounding success

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A resounding success: that is the summary of the IX Parrot Congress organised by the Loro Parque Foundation and held last week in Tenerife, where 850 congress participants of 47 different nationalities met.  The experience, unique in the world, counted on the participation of the most recognised experts in the field worldwide.

This record number of nationalities present has allowed the interaction of the congress participants with various professionals and experts in different scientific areas, native to each continent where the Loro Parque Foundation develops multiple conservation projects among which are those that have managed to save nine parrot species from extinction.  Up to now the Loro Parque Foundation has donated over 18 million dollars to support conservation projects for endangered species around the world.

During the Congress some of the most successful results obtained so far by the projects carried out by the Foundation were detailed, which show that the protection of parrot species also favours the protection of other species.  Thus, thanks to these projects it has even been possible to identify new species of fauna -especially reptiles- as well as flora.

A total of 22 international speakers, whose conferences were simultaneously translated into four languages, have contributed their experiences and knowledge throughout this week in which, in addition to talks, many other actions were carried out.  This year, in response to an unprecedented demand, intensive workshops were given in the days following the Congress, in which different experts have offered direct training in different fields linked to the world of conservation.

This Congress, unique in the world due to its nature and extraordinary convocation capacity, has moved some 1,000 people around the Island, congress attendees and their companions, who have been able to enjoy the excellence of the climate of Puerto de la Cruz as well as the biodiversity of the Canary Islands.  The social programme of the convention also included an impressive typical Canarian dinner in the Plaza del Palacio Municipal in La Orotava; another, no less important, in the Auditorium of Santa Cruz de Tenerife; a visit to the Island of Gran Canaria to enjoy the Poema del Mar Aquarium, and, finally, a memorable Gala Dinner in the gardens of the Botánico Hotel.

Big week in Loro Parque

 As part of the celebration of the IX Parrot Congress, Loro Parque has also inaugurated its new installation of Pygmy Hippos.  The event was enjoyed by a large number of congress attendees, as well as numerous local authorities and representatives of the private sector, who were able to observe up-close an unparalleled naturalised space designed especially by the Park’s team for the new arrivals.

In addition, also as part of the Congress programme, the Loro Parque Foundation has awarded the prestigious Gorilla Prize to Rosemary Low, a passionate defender of parrots who has dedicated her life to these birds through breeding and conservation.  This year saw the fifteenth edition of this award, which emphasises environmental responsibility, taking into account strategies and actions to conserve biodiversity and promote the sustainable use of resources.

Loro Parque Foundation awards the best End-of-Graduate Studies in Science at the University of La Laguna

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The Loro Parque Foundation, a non-profit organisation whose objectives include the conservation of endangered species and their habitats, the promotion of scientific research aimed at the conservation of biodiversity and education and awareness of threats affecting the planet, sponsors the Awards of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of La Laguna to the best End of Grade Work (TFG) presented during the academic year 2017-18, with the aim of stimulating educational excellence and encouraging efforts related to the conservation of both terrestrial and marine biodiversity, as well as protection and environmental sustainability.

Applications must be submitted to the Secretary of the Faculty of Sciences in writing or by e-mail addressed to the Secretary of the Faculty of Sciences (secretci@ull.edu.es), expressing interest in participating in this competition, indicating the name of the author of the TFG, as well its title. The deadline for submission will be Monday 29 October, 2018 at 2pm.

Two groups of four prizes will be awarded.  On the one hand, the best TFGs presented in Biology  will be awarded, and on the other in the degrees of Environmental Sciences, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics.  In all cases, the prize amounts will be as follows: a first prize of €1,200, a second prize of €800, a third prize of €600 and a fourth prize of €400. The awards will be presented at a public event as part of the activities organised at the Faculty of Science to celebrate the feast of its patron.

In the case of the Biology awards, any of those registered in the academic year 2017-2018 will be eligible. In the case of the Environmental Sciences, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics, to be eligible for the competition the papers presented should deal with the following themes: conservation and biodiversity of the terrestrial and marine environment; evaluation and management of the natural environment; environmental sustainability, environmental protection and environmental education; and water and waste management.

  Regulations: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vqYUQyai7p-MmTtkPAEBC01yR5gw2HYy/view