Loro Parque Fundación to devote almost 1.3 million to conservation in 2021

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At the annual meeting of the advisory committee of the Loro Parque Fundación held in Puerto de la Cruz, it was decided to dedicate almost 1.3 million dollars to 53 nature conservation projects to be carried out over the next year on the five continents. With this commitment, the total amount that Loro Parque Fundación has dedicated to nature conservation will amount to 22.8 million dollars.

This year, the projects in Europe, especially in the Canary Islands and the rest of Macaronesia (Cape Verde, Madeira and the Azores) are the main focus, they will receive almost half of the funding (more than 585,000 dollars). Next are the projects focusing on the threatened species and ecosystems of the Americas, they will receive 34% of the funding this year (more than 440,000 dollars). Also, noteworthy this year is funding for nature conservation in Africa, which amounts to almost $170,000. Asia, with almost $60,000, and Australia and Oceania, with $33,000, will receive the remaining part of the funding, which will be distributed among the five continents and among 53 conservation and research projects to be implemented by 32 NGOs and universities around the world.

By country, Spain stands out with $527,000, followed by Brazil with over $130,000 and Ecuador with $93,000. But the list of countries is much longer, and this year the Foundation will also carry out projects in Australia, Belize, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Cuba, Ethiopia, Germany, Guatemala, Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines, French Polynesia, Senegal, Thailand, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Some of these projects are transnational, so their benefits will reach the ecosystems and threatened species of many other neighbouring countries.

From an ecological point of view, terrestrial species and ecosystems are the ones that will receive most of the aid from the Loro Parque Foundation (over $827,000), including the protection of one of the best-preserved lion populations in all of Africa in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, which will receive $53,000. Another very prominent species is the Philippine cockatoo (critically endangered on the IUCN red list). The project will receive more than $39,000 to continue securing the populations

on Rasa Island and try to extend the reproductive success achieved in that area to other places in the region. Other notable species and terrestrial ecosystem projects are aimed at protecting the blue-throated macaw in Bolivia, the yellow eared parrot in Colombia and Ecuador, or the hyacinth macaw in Brazil or Bolivia.

But we must not forget the effort in the conservation of marine species and ecosystems, to which the Loro Parque Fundación will dedicate more than $460,000 next year. Of these, more than two thirds will be dedicated to the CanBIO project, co-financed by the Canary Islands Government, which began in 2019 and which in a few weeks will complete its network for controlling climate change at sea, with the installation of a scientific buoy in El Hierro. From 2021, autonomous marine vehicles will be deployed to carry out measures throughout the archipelago, and in 2022 they will be extended to the whole of Macaronesia. CanBIO’s actions also include the conservation of critically endangered species, such as the angel shark and the butterfly ray.

The remaining funding for marine projects will be devoted to the conservation of several cetacean species, including the Atlantic humpback dolphin in the Saloum delta (Senegal). IUCN experts consider this species to be critically endangered, and it could disappear in a few years if urgent action is not taken to protect it.

Loro Parque bids farewell to 2020 by celebrating its 48th anniversary

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Almost on the eve of Christmas and about to close a turbulent 2020, Loro Parque is celebrating its 48th anniversary today, Thursday 17 December, in a year in which, despite the serious global crisis caused by the COVID-19, it has continued to strengthen its love and commitment to nature and animals.

Thus, after closing on 15 March, the Park has witnessed numerous births, as is customary in its facilities, and has obtained important results in its research and conservation projects, which have not been halted despite the circumstances.

Loro Parque started in 1972 with only 25 people, 150 parrots and an area of 13,000 square meters. Since then, and after a history of many challenges, the Park has become one of the most respected zoological institutions in the world, both for its beauty, the excellence of its facilities and the absolute respect for nature.

A historic closing of the doors

In all its history, since it first opened on a rainy December 17th 48 years ago, Loro Parque had never closed its doors and operated 365 days a year. On 15th March 2020, after an unprecedented global crisis, it had to close down. What were expected to be 15 days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, without a clear date of reopening.

From #AtHomeWithLoroParque to Loro Parque LIVE

Faced with this unprecedented situation, Loro Parque started a campaign on its social networks with the hashtag #AtHomeWithLoroParque, through which it was sharing daily content about the activity taking place behind closed doors at its facilities. There, the animals have continued to receive all the care to ensure their maximum well-being and the staff have continued to work with all the prevention measures recommended by the authorities to keep them in good health.

Thus, the official accounts of the Park increased its programming so that, from home, all its followers could continue to learn about the important work that this wildlife conservation centre does in the areas of animal welfare, protection of endangered species, education and creating awareness.

In the last few weeks, a new initiative has delighted its fans: Loro Parque LIVE, live videos in which Rafael Zamora, scientific director of Loro Parque Fundación, tours the facilities and discovers curiosities and interesting data about life in the Park. This innovative format is being very well received and is expected to continue, seasonally, in 2021.

Exclusive Day Tour, an unprecedented guided tour of the Park

This year, Loro Parque has launched the Exclusive Day Tour, an initiative with which you can get to know the Park behind closed doors in small groups accompanied by a guide, as well as enjoy a delicious lunch at Brunelli’s Steakhouse restaurant. This option is still available from Thursday to Monday from 10:00 to 17:15.

Loro Parque, an authentic Animal Embassy

Loro Parque closes another year in which it has continued to consolidate its position as a true animal embassy, in which the specimens that live in its installations act as representatives of their fellow creatures in nature, most of them under some degree of threat according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Their followers thus have first-hand knowledge of these animals and are aware of the dangers they face in the wild, which results in greater protection for wild populations.

A history of successes

Throughout its 48 years of history, the Loro Parque Company has won numerous awards, including the Plaque and Gold Medal for Tourism Merit awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism; the Gold Medal of the Canary Islands Government; the Gold Medal of the city of Puerto de la Cruz and the Gold Medal of the Tenerife Island Council, among others. Loro Parque is also the only company in the Canary Islands to have won the Prince of Asturias Award for Business Excellence and has been voted the best zoo in the world by TripAdvisor users in 2017 and 2018.

Energy Self-Sufficiency

Also, in 2020, Loro Parque has become the first zoological institution in the world to be self-sufficient in green energy. Thanks to a photovoltaic plant located in Arico, which generates 4.75 MW of energy; to the solar panels installed on the roof of the large Poema del Mar aquarium, with 160 KW,

and to a large wind turbine of 4 MW recently inaugurated in Gran Canaria, the Park generates more energy than it consumes.

Loro Parque Fundación maintains its wildlife conservation commitment

The Loro Parque Fundación wanted to maintain its support for the conservation projects with which it collaborates around the world. The non-profit organisation, created by Loro Parque in 1994, has allocated 22.8 million dollars to more than 200 conservation projects in the five continents and has contributed to saving 10 species of parrots from extinction.

This work is now more important than ever, in a world where animals are facing serious threats and dangers in the wild, now compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, and need the support and work of animal embassies like Loro Parque.

Joint EAAM Coalition letter to French Minister of Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili

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Source: https://eaam.org/join-letter-to-french-minister/

Dear Madame Minister,

The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), the European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM), the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), the Association of Zoos Aquariums (AZA), and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA) represent some of the world’s best zoological institutions and are active in conservation, research and education both locally and globally.

We write to urge you to re‐consider the decision announced on 29 September 2020 to ban the breeding of cetaceans in French zoos and aquariums. If implemented, the consequences for in situ and ex situ conservation of cetaceans in France and by French conservationists globally could be negatively impacted, and the welfare of animals compromised.

Under the Convention on Biological Diversity, all Contracting Parties, including France, are obligated to adopt measures for ex situ conservation as a complement to in situ measures (i). The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defines ex situ conservation as that where animals are maintained in artificial conditions under different selection pressures than those in natural conditions in a natural habitat (ii). Ex situ conservation is a key element of wider holistic approaches to conservation and is at the core of most activities undertaken by professional zoos and aquariums.

Zoos and aquariums are recognised as leaders in ex situ conservation by bodies including the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (iii) the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (iv), the IUCN2, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (v), the European Union (vi) and many other leading agencies and institutions dedicated to the preservation of biodiversity.

Specialist knowledge about ex situ management of cetaceans, typified by the expertise in zoos and aquariums, is essential to secure the future of endangered dolphin and porpoise species. Indeed, a recent IUCN report points to the urgent need for early intervention from ex situ conservationists to save species (vii). It notes that a lack of such involvement at key moments has directly led to the extinction of the Yangtse river dolphin (Lipotes vexillifer) and the likely extinction of the vaquita (Phocoena sinus). We therefore believe that removing any ex situ conservation capacity for these species, as for others, would be a serious mistake. This capacity necessarily includes the breeding of cetaceans, an essential part of any nurturing animal’s life experience.

By phasing out cetaceans from French institutions through a breeding ban, the French government makes it impossible for the country to be involved in such conservation efforts to save the dolphin species that are most endangered today or those that may be tomorrow. While there is currently no immediate extinction threat for bottlenose dolphins, other species have seen unexpected and very large wild population decreases over very short periods (for example, the roughly 60% decline in giraffe populations over the last two decades).

The population of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) in the European region is managed by EAZA as an EEP (EAZA Ex situ Programme). The Bottlenose dolphin EEP is among the most successful programmes of its kind and has led to a long‐term, demographically and genetically self‐sustaining population in Europe. While the programme is performing very well, losing the 29 dolphins in the care of French institutions from the breeding pool (11% of the EEP population) would make the overall situation precarious. Our Associations strongly oppose the elimination of populations through breeding bans, because it often compromises the welfare of animals left alone as their social group gradually dies out.

Our networks are not large enough to accommodate these animals, and our Associations would vigorously oppose any attempt to move animals to institutions with a lower standard of welfare.

Furthermore, no animal currently in the care of French institutions is releasable into the ocean and there is no mandate or ground for such action, and such a release would pose serious risks for individual animals and wild cetacean populations. If the announced decision is implemented, we believe that the lifetime options for these animals would be severely restricted and contrary to the French public’s view on the need to ensure the positive welfare of the animals concerned.

The appeal of cetaceans, as evidenced by visitor numbers, creates significant opportunities for zoological institutions to educate the public about biodiversity conservation and to motivate more conservation‐minded behaviour.

While these charismatic species are highly popular, there’s no sound basis to regulate holding and breeding of cetaceans differently from other species. As the European Commission has repeatedly confirmed, cetaceans are not excluded from and are subject to the same requirements as any other species under the Zoos Directive (viii).

Cetacean conservation, like all nature conservation, is at a critical phase, and we urge the government to allow French zoos and aquariums to continue to play their part. If we can provide you with further information regarding cetacean conservation, welfare, and research, please do not hesitate to contact us. Like you, we believe that the welfare of cetaceans in human care is a matter of the highest ethical and scientific concern. We would value the opportunity to work with you to ensure this outcome.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Thomas Kauffels (EAZA Chair), Dr Renato Lenzi, (EAAM President), Prof Dr Theo Pagel (WAZA President), Dan Ashe (AZA President and CEO) and Kathleen Dezio, (AMMPA President and CEO).


The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) is the membership organisation of the most progressive zoos and aquariums in Europe and Western Asia. The Association comprises over 400 Members in 48 countries, including zoological institutions and their partners in conservation, education, animal welfare and research. EAZA administers the EEP (EAZA Ex situ Programmes), a state‐of‐the‐art population management structure that provides scientifically‐led ex situ support to holistic efforts to save and protect animal species worldwide.

www.eaza.net

The European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM) was established in 1972. The EAAM’s mission is the welfare and conservation of marine mammals through research, medical care, training, education, conservation, management and related activities. The EAAM’s membership includes veterinarians, biologists, zoo and marine park directors and managers, trainers and caretakers, researchers, students and other persons who devote a significant amount of time to the in situ and ex situ welfare and conservation of marine mammals.

www.eaam.org

Since 1935, the goal of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) has been to guide, encourage and support the zoos, aquariums and like‐minded organisations of the world in animal care and welfare, environmental education and global conservation. WAZA is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world. The membership consists of nearly 400 leading institutions and organisations around the world, and this number continues to grow.

www.waza.org

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is a 501(c)3 non‐profit organization dedicated to the advancement of accredited zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. AZA represents more than 240 facilities in the United States and overseas, which collectively draw more than 200 million visitors every year. AZA‐accredited zoos and aquariums meet the highest standards in animal care and welfare and provide a fun, safe, and educational family experience. In addition, they dedicate millions of dollars annually to support scientific research, conservation, and education programs.

www.aza.org

The Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (Alliance) is an international association and the accrediting body for marine parks, aquariums, zoos and research facilities. Alliance‐accredited institutions are the gold standard in marine mammal care. With an extensive body of marine mammal knowledge and experience, animal experts at Alliance‐accredited facilities dedicate their lives to the well‐being of the animals in their care and to the rescue and rehabilitation of marine animals such as sea lions, dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles in need of help. Our member institutions reach millions of guests each year and create extraordinary experiences and connections to the natural world that inspire people to take action for marine mammals and our oceans.

www.ammpa.org

i Convention on Biological Diversity, Article 9.

ii IUCN Species Survival Commission Guidelines on the Use of Ex Situ Management for Species Conservation.

iii https://www.cbd.int/doc/speech/2020/sp‐2020‐10‐14‐unga‐en.pdf

iv https://cites.org/eng/CITES_S‐G_KeynotePresentation_WAZA2020_15102020

v Concluding Statement of a conference by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences with international partners from Natural History Museums, Zoological Gardens, Botanical Gardens and Specialists in Biodiversity Protection, 13‐14 May 2019. Casina Pio IV, Vatican City – May 15, 2019.

vi EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030; Press release, “European Commission announces global biodiversity coalition” 3 March 2020; EU Zoos Directive (Council Directive 1999/22/EC of 29 March 1999 on the keeping of wild animals in zoos).

vii https://iucn‐csg.org/integrated‐conservation‐planning‐for‐cetaceans‐icpc/

viii See e.g., Parliamentary Question reference: E‐000682/2015, Answer given by Mr. Vella on behalf of the Commission 27 February 2015 (“Cetaceans are not excluded from the scope of application of the directive and it is for the Member States to ensure that the measures, set out in Article 3, including in relation to accommodation of the animals, are applied in line with the requirements of the directive.”)

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