Loro Parque’s statement on the new French law on animal welfare

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In relation to the law passed by the French National Assembly last Friday, 26th January, Loro Parque hereby states that unfortunately the line of this new legislation, which by its nature should defend the fundamental principles of animal welfare, in reality, has very little to do with them.

What is more, it is a purely political decision that does not even take into account the opinions of the subject-matter experts of the French Ministry. Thus, the Minister for Ecological Transition has been asked on several occasions by some MEPs to make public the report drawn up by her Ministry’s officials, which was intended to assess the state of cetaceans in French dolphinaria over the last two years. However, the minister refused to present it. For what reason, we ask? Simply because the report confirmed the optimal animal welfare and the perfect conditions, in which cetaceans are kept in French zoological institutions.

What we find truly disturbing is the fact that the minister’s arguments, like the proposed law, were simply false myths lacking any scientific basis or foundation. The clear anti-zoo agenda was also evidenced by the ignoring of all the scientifically backed arguments that were put forward by those parliamentarians who objected to the inclusion of cetaceans in the law.

The manifesto of the hundreds of scientists who signed the letter from the European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM) in support of research activities in marine mammal facilities was also ignored:

Declaración de científicos en apoyo a las actividades de investigación en las instalaciones de mamíferos marinos

The Minister’s statements can be “debunked” in a few minutes with all the argumentation concentrated in the following Encyclopedia that is based on hundreds of scientific publications and reports produced and available to the public for years.

For us, it is more than clear that neither the minister, nor any of the promoters of this law, have stopped to think carefully about the suffering that will now be caused to all the dolphins that will now have to be separated into groups according to their sex and most probably also subjected to contraceptive treatments that produce side effects that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Not to mention the fact that the animals will have to be divided into groups because no single zoo will be able to take on the responsibility of caring for so many dolphins on its own.

Anyone who imagines that any of these animals will ever live in a sanctuary is delusional. As we have stated on many occasions, marine mammal sanctuaries do not exist. Take for example the case of the beluga whale sanctuary project in Iceland, where within weeks of being released into the bay, the animals had to be moved back to their much-reduced indoor facilities; under the pretext, that they could be better cared for. So, the tale of sanctuaries is not so nice and perfect after all?

So, therefore, we appeal to the common sense of true animal and nature lovers and protectors to speak out against this authentic crime against cetaceans born and kept under human care in modern zoos and dolphinariums.

Pole Pole

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Today we are saddened to announce the passing of Pole Pole, a Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), who was a part of the Loro Parque family since 1995. Originally from the Zurich Zoo, Pole Pole was a true ambassador for his species and a true pillar within our group of single males, and we will miss him very much!

For the past 5 years, Pole Pole had been struggling with a degenerative disease that affected his spine in the lumbar region causing the decline of his physical condition. Recently, his health deteriorated further due to unexpected complications caused by a possible stroke and, after consultation with the experts of the international EEP (European Endangered Species Programme) to which Pole Pole belonged, it was concluded that humane euthanasia was the only alternative for the animal. Throughout his final years, we were able to guarantee him the highest possible quality of life, adapting the facility to his needs and providing him with all the care he required.

It is common for the zoological parks to take in wild animals that, due to specific conditions, could not survive in the wild, such as animals that reach a very advanced age and have natural processes associated with ageing that would cause their death. However, in zoos we have the possibility to offer an excellent quality of life for such animals for many years to come. Such is the case of Schorsch, a gorilla of almost 50 years with serious vision impairment, who lives in Loro Parque and counts with the enormous affection of all his keepers who, very lovingly, take care of him and provide him with everything he requires, at the same time also adapting his daily routines with the sole objective of ensuring his wellbeing.

The bachelor group represents a key part of the EEP programme, as it allows to ensure greater genetic exchange and helps to manage the family groups in other zoos. A very successful case within this programme is that of Leon, a gorilla who was sent to Brazil from Loro Parque to form his own family and who has already fathered 3 offspring with his two companions: Imbi and Lou Lou.

Scientist Statement Supporting Research in Marine Mammal Facilities

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source: https://eaam.org/eaam-email-to-french-deputies-distributing-2021-scientist-statement/

We, the undersigned members of the scientific community, wish to acknowledge the importance of marine mammals in zoos, aquariums, and marine mammal facilities, and express our support for research conducted at these facilities. We know that critical research findings have come from studies of dolphins and related species in managed care environments, which have provided the vast majority of what is known about their perception, physiology, and cognition. This includes both basic facts about these animals and applied information such as how they react to environmental stressors and how to diagnose and treat their diseases.

The benefits of such research extend well beyond the animals in zoological facilities. The interpretation of data from field studies is directly informed by what we have learned about the cognition and physiology of these animals in managed care settings. Moreover, because science is inherently a collaborative endeavor, research findings from these animals contribute to our collective understanding across the animal kingdom. Finally, research in managed care settings impacts conservation efforts by: (a) providing the baseline information necessary to inform conservation plans and practices (e.g., typical respiration rates, metabolic rates, gestation length, hearing range and thresholds, etc.), (b) documenting physiological and behavioral responses to environmental stressors such as sound and contaminants to inform population managers, and (c) developing and testing techniques and tools for assessing animals in the field.

The advances that have come from research in marine mammal facilities could not have come from studies of animals in the wild. Field studies are crucial, however, many research questions are unsuited to discovery at a distance. Studies of pregnancy, birth, and fine-scale calf development require the type of close and consistent observation that is only possible in zoological settings. The hypothesis testing required for questions about cognition, perception, and physiology requires the ability to present animals with specific situations and challenges utilizing the necessary controls, consistency, and repetition that are impossible to achieve in the wild. Indeed, as with research in any discipline, a comprehensive understanding of these animals requires a combination of both in-situ and ex-situ studies; studies based in the wild and in zoological settings. This idea is neither new nor specific to marine mammals, but is critical to the way scientific discovery works.

Sincerely,

Charles I. Abramson, PhD, Oklahoma State University (2021)
Michael Adkesson, DVM, Dipl ACZM, Chicago Zoological Society / Brookfield Zoo (2016)
Javier Almunia, PhD, Loro Parque Fundación (2016)
Audra Ames, PhD, Fundación Oceanografic (2021)
Mats Amundin, PhD, Kolmarden Wildlife Park (2021)
Kristin Anderson Hansen, PhD in behaviour and bioacoustics, University of Southern Denmark, Universi-
ty of Veterinary Medicine (2021)
Manuel Arbelo Hernández, DVM, PhD, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (2021)
Carlos Barros García, BVSc, BSc, Fundación Oceanogràfic (2021)
Richard Bates, PhD, University of St. Andrews (2016)
Gordon B. Bauer, PhD, New College of Florida (2016)
Don R. Bergfelt, PhD, Ross University, School of Veterinary Medicine (2016)
Simone Bertini, PhD, University of Parma (2021)
Alicia Borque Espinosa, PhD Student, University of Valencia & Fundació Oceanogràfic (2021)
Gregory D. Bossart, VMD, PhD, Georgia Aquarium (2016)
Ann E. Bowles, PhD, Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute (2016)
David Brammer, DVM, DACLAM, University of Houston (2016)
Micah Brodsky, VMD, Consulting (2016)
Jason N. Bruck, PhD, University of St. Andrews, School of Biology, Sea Mammal Research Unit (2016)
Josep Call, PhD, University of St Andrews (2016)
Susan Carey, PhD, Harvard University (2016)
Tonya Clauss, DVM, Georgia Aquarium (2016)
Fernando Colmenares, PhD, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (2016)
Richard C. Connor, PhD, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (2016)
José Luís Crespo Picazo, BVSc, Fundación Oceanogràfic (2021)
Boris Culik, PhD, F3 (2016)
Leslie M. Dalton, DVM, SeaWorld San Antonio (2016)
Robin Kelleher Davis, PhD, Harvard Medical School & Schepens Eye Research Institute (2016)
Randall Davis, Regents Professor, Texas A&M University (2021)
Renaud de Stephanis, PhD, CIRCE (2021)
Fabienne Delfour, PhD, L.E.E.C., Paris 13 University (2016)
Stacey N. DiRocco, DVM, SeaWorld of Florida (2021)
Manuel E. dos Santos, PhD, MARE-ISPA (2021)
Alistair D.M. Dove, PhD, Georgia Aquarium (2016)
Samuel Dover, DVM, Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute (2016)
Maureen Varina Driscoll, PhD, Sea Research Foundation Inc. dba Mystic Aquarium (2021)
Kathleen M. Dudzinski, PhD, Dolphin Communication Project; Editor, Aquatic Mammals Journal (2016)
Holli Eskelinen, PhD, Dolphins Plus (2016)
Andreas Fahlman, PhD, Fundación Oceanografic (2021)
Antonio J. Fernández Rodríguez, DVM, PhD, Veterinary School University, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
(2016)
Letizia Fiorucci, DVM, MRCVS, PhD, Jungle Park & Aqualand Costa Adeje (2021)
Frank E. Fish, PhD, West Chester University (2021)
Jen Flower, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACZM, Mystic Aquarium (2021)
Lars Folkow, Professor, PhD, University of Tromsø the Arctic University of Norway (2021)
Vanessa Fravel, DVM, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (2016)
Erin Frick, PhD., Eckerd College (2021)
María del Carmen Fuentes Albero, MSc, University of Murcia, Fundación Oceanografic (2021)
Steven J.M. Gans, MD, St. Jansdal Hospital (2016)
Lino García Morales, PhD, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (2021)
Daniel García Párraga, DVM, Dipl.ECZM(ZHM), Dipl.ECAAH(N-P), Fundación Oceanogràfic (2021)
Joseph Gaspard, PhD, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium (2016)
William G. Gilmartin, President, Hawai`i Wildlife Fund (2016)
Joan Giménez Verdugo, PhD, MaREI-University College Cork (2021)
Carrie Goertz, MS, DVM, Alaska SeaLife Center (2021)
Francesco Grande, DVM, MRCVS, Spec. in Animal Health, Loro Parque Fundación (2021)
Andrew Greenwood, MA VetMB DipECZM CBiol FRSB FRCVS, Wildlife Vets International (2021)
Federico Guillén Salazar, PhD, Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera (Valencia, Spain) (2021)
Heidi E. Harley, PhD, New College of Florida (2016)
Martin Haulena, DVM, MSc, DACZM, Ocean Wise Conservation Association (2021)
M. Victoria Hernández Lloreda, PhD, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (2021)
Susan Hespos, PhD, Northwestern University (2016)
Heather M. Hill, PhD, St. Mary s University (2016)
Matthias Hoffmann-Kuhnt, PhD, Tropical Marine Science Institute, National University of Singapore
(2016)
Bradley Scott Houser, DVM, Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium (2016)
Dorian Houser, PhD, National Marine Mammal Foundation (2021)
Marina Ivančić, DVM, DACVR, AquaVetRad (2016)
Kelly Jaakkola, PhD, Dolphin Research Center (2016)
Vincent Janik, Prof., University of St. Andrews (2021)
Frants H. Jensen, PhD, Aarhus University (2016)
Eve Jourdain, PhD, Norwegian Orca Survey (2021)
Allison B. Kaufman, PhD, University of Connecticut, Avery Point (2016)
Darlene Ketten, PhD, Boston University – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (2021)
Stephanie L. King, PhD, Centre for Evolutionary Biology, University of Western Australia (2016)
Sara Königson, Researcher at SLU Aqua, Swedish University of Agriculture Science (2021)
Anastasia Krasheninnikova, PhD, Max-Planck-Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen (2021)
Stan Kuczaj, PhD, University of Southern Mississippi (2016)
Peter H. Kvadsheim, PhD, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (2021)
Geraldine Lacave, DVM, Marine Mammal Veterinary Services (2021)
Robert C. Lacy, PhD, Chicago Zoological Society (2016)
Jef Lamoureux, PhD, Boston College (2016)
Jennifer Langan, BS, DVM, Dipl. ACZM, Dipl. ECZM (ZHM), University of Illinois, Chicago Zool. Soci-
ety / Brookfield Zoo (2021)
Gregg Levine, DVM, (2016)
Malin Liley, PhD, Texas A&M University- San Antonio (2021)
Christina Lockyer, B.Sc., M.Phil., Sc.D., Age Dynamics, Kongens Lyngby (2021)
Juliana López Marulanda, PhD, Universidad de Antioquia (2021)
Klaus Lucke, PhD, Centre for Marine Science & Technology, Curtin University (2016)
Heidi Lyn, PhD, University of Southern Mississippi (2016)
Radhika Makecha, PhD, Eastern Kentucky University (2016)
Xavier Manteca, BVSc, MSc, PhD, Diplomate European College of Animal Welfare, Autonomous Univer-
sity of Barcelona (2021)
Letizia Marsili, PhD, Università di Siena (2021)
José Matos, PhD, National Institute for Agrarian and Veterinary Research (2021)
James McBain, DVM, (retired) SeaWorld USA (2021)
Katherine McHugh, PhD, Chicago Zoological Society (2016)
Eduardo Mercado III, PhD, University at Buffalo, SUNY (2016)
Lance Miller, PhD, Chicago Zoological Society / Brookfield Zoo (2016)
Lee A. Miller, Associate Professor (Emeritus), University of Southern Denmark (2021)
Tania Monreal Pawlowsky, Lic. Vet., MRCVS, International Zoo Veterinary Group (2021)
Jason Mulsow, PhD, National Marine Mammal Foundation (2021)
Paul Nachtigall, PhD, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaii (2016)
Gen Nakamura, PhD, Tokyo University of Marine Sciences and Technology (2021)
Shawn R. Noren, PhD, Institute of Marine Science, University of California, Santa Cruz (2016)
Steven Pinker, PhD, Harvard University (2016)
Diana Reiss, PhD, Hunter College (2021)
Michael S. Renner, DVM, Marine Mammal Veterinary Consulting Practice (2016)
Jill Richardson, PhD, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (2016)
Sam Ridgway, DVM, PhD, National Marine Mammal Foundation (2021)
Tracy Romano, PhD, Vice President of Research, Mystic Aquarium (2021)
Fernando Rosa, PhD, Universidad de La Laguna (2016)
Consuelo Rubio Guerri, DVM, PhD, Universidad Cardenal Herrera CEU (2021)
James A. Russell, PhD, Boston College (2016)
Guillermo J. Sánchez Contreras, DVM, MSc, Marineland Limited – Mediterraneo Marine Park, Malta
(2021)
Todd Schmitt, DVM, SeaWorld of California (2021)
Yuske Sekiguchi, PhD, Chiba University of Commerce, Japan (2021)
Steve Shippee, PhD, Marine Wildlife Response (2016)
K. Alex Shorter, PhD, University of Michigan (2016)
Ursula Siebert, PhD, Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research (ITAW), University of Veteri-
nary Medicine Hannover, Foundation (2021)
Mark S. Sklansky, MD, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA (2016)
Christian Sonne, DVM, PhD, dr.med.vet., Dipl. ECZM-EBVS (Wildlife Health), Aarhus University (2021)
Mario Soriano Navarro, BD, Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe (2021)
Brandon Southall, PhD, University of California, Santa Cruz (2016)
Judy St. Leger, DVM, DACVP, SeaWorld (2016)
Grey Stafford, PhD, Aquatic Mammals Editorial Board (2016)
Jeffrey L. Stott, PhD, University of California, Davis (2016)
Francys Subiaul, PhD, The George Washington University (2016)
Miwa Suzuki, PhD, Nihon University (2021)
Oriol Talló Parra, DVM, MSc, PhD, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (2021)
Alex Taylor, PhD, University of Auckland (2016)
Roger K. R. Thompson, PhD, Franklin & Marshall College (2016)
Laura Thompson, PhD, Mystic Aquarium (2021)
Walter R. Threlfall, DVM, PhD, DACT, The Ohio State University (2016)
Michael Tift, PhD, University of North Carolina Wilmington (2021)
Dietmar Todt, PhD, Free University of Berlin (2016)
Michael Tomasello, PhD, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (2016)
Sara Torres Ortiz, MSc Biology, PhD student, Max Planck Institute (2021)
Jakob Tougaard, PhD, Aarhus University (2021)
Forrest Townsend Jr, DVM, Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park (2016)
Marie Trone, PhD, Valencia College (2016)
Pam Tuomi, DVM, Veterinarian Emeritus, Alaska SeaLife Center (2021)
Mark Turner, PhD, Dolphin Communication Analytics (2021)
Allison D. Tuttle, DVM, Diplomate ACZM, Mystic Aquarium/Sea Research Foundation, Inc. (2021)
Peter Tyack, PhD, University of St Andrews (2021)
Yulán Úbeda, PhD, University of Girona (2021)
Ebru Unal, MSc, PhD, Mystic Aquarium (2021)
Basilio Valladares Hernández, PhD, Universidad de La Laguna (2016)
William Van Bonn, DVM, A. Watson Armour III Center for Animal Health and Welfare, John G. Shedd
Aquarium (2021)
Lorenzo von Fersen, PhD, Zoo Nuremberg & YAQU PACHA e.V. (2021)
Jennifer Vonk, PhD, Oakland University (2016)
Magnus Wahlberg, PhD, University of Southern Denmark (2021)
Samantha Ward, PhD, Nottingham Trent University (2021)
David A. Washburn, PhD, Georgia State University (2016)
Rebecca Wells, DVM, Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park (2016)
Randall Wells, PhD, Chicago Zoological Society (2016)
Thomas Welsh, MRes, University Centre Askham Bryan (2021)
Nathan P. Wiederhold, Pharm.D, FCCP, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (2016)
Daniel Wilkes, PhD, Centre for Marine Science and Technology, Curtin University (2016)
Terrie Williams, University of California Santa Cruz (2021)
Clive D. L. Wynne, PhD, Arizona State University (2016)
Pamela K. Yochem, DVM, PhD, Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute (2016)
Annalisa Zaccaroni, PhD, European Registered Toxicologist, University of Bologna (2021)
José Fco. Zamorano Abramson, PhD, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (2016)

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.”)

EAAM Open Letter – Government decision on dolphins undermines critical education and conservation role of zoological parks

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source: EAAM Open Letter – Government decision on dolphins undermines critical education and conservation role of zoological parks

The European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM) warns against the decision announced by the French government to ban the import and reproduction of dolphins in French zoos. If it were to be implemented, this decision would have a negative impact on the welfare of the animals concerned due to the reduction of their social groups, or even the isolation of some animals, and would compromise the highly successful European dolphin management programme. The EAAM also considers that the proposal to place dolphins in sea pens is unrealistic, ill-considered and would also be detrimental to the welfare of the animals. Of the 29 dolphins that live in French zoos today, 24 were born in zoological institutions. All these animals have spent all or most of their lives in the protected environment of a zoological park. This project announced by France will therefore have an additional negative impact on the well-being of each of them.

Zoological parks are strictly regulated, government-licensed facilities that professionally house, exhibit and care for animals for public education, conservation and scientific research purposes. In France, these parks operate in accordance with standards and guidelines as well as international standards and best professional practices that go beyond the obligations imposed by French law.

The need for to educate and raise public awareness about the impact of human activity on the environment and wildlife has never been greater: we already may be in the midst of a “sixth extinction”. Numerous scientific publications have demonstrated that the actual interactions of the public with animals create positive emotional connections that encourage attitudes and behaviour in favour of the environment preservation. At a time when the oceans are increasingly threatened by anthropogenic pollution, and when the observation of cetaceans at sea is particularly rare and reserved for a minority, marine zoological parks are a place of discovery and learning about the preservation of an ecosystem that covers 70% of the surface of our planet.

Zoological parks are key places for scientific research. Most of what we know about dolphins today is the result of observations and research carried out in zoological parks. Research conducted in zoos benefits conservation studies in natural environment by providing solid reference bases and analysis of pollutants and other environment factors that endanger marine fauna and flora, by documenting the physiological and behavioural responses of dolphins, by helping scientists in hare of monitoring populations in natural environment, and finally by developing techniques and tools that can be used in the field. The scientific research undertaken at the parks also helps France to fulfil its legal obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity to establish and maintain facilities for ex situ conservation.

The EAAM welcomes the establishment of manmade facilities such as seapens to house sick and injured wildlife in need of rehabilitation before returning to the wild. However, despite many proposals, such facilities do not exist today, largely because of the many challenges they encountered. This includes both the exposure of the zoo animals to pollution, toxins and viruses and risks to the marine environment and wildlife created by the introduction of the animals without any mean to filter the water flowing freely through the net walls of the enclosure.

In any event, inland facilities and equipment (such as those existing in French zoological parks) would be required to provide medical care for sick animals and to house evacuated dolphins in the event of extreme weather conditions which could injure them.

The EAAM urges the French Government to carefully assess the consequences of its proposed measures on the welfare of the individual animals concerned. The Government should also consider the societal cost of losing the education, conservation and research services zoological parks are able to offer because of the high public interest in dolphins.

Loro Parque begins the year with the birth of twin jaguars

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Loro Parque has welcomed the birth of two jaguar cubs that were born in December during their 47th anniversary celebrations.  The Panthera onca specimens are with their mother, Naya, adapting to their new home where they can already be observed together.

This great event represents a conservation success because the Panthera onca is a species categorized as Near Threatened in the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  One of the greatest dangers faced by jaguar specimens is the high rates of deforestation in Latin America and the fragmentation of their habitats that isolates them and makes them more vulnerable to human persecution.

These births reinforce Loro Parque’s place in its commitment to the protection of nature and different species, which makes it a true embassy for wild animals.  The birth of new specimens is always an excellent indicator of animal welfare, because it means that their requirements are covered and, consequently, they manage to reproduce without difficulty.

To receive the cubs, the entire team of the Terrestrial Mammal Department and the expert vets ensured the correct evolution of Naya’s pregnancy.  And the team prepared the habitat especially so that the mother would be comfortable at all times.

For now, as is natural in the first few months, the jaguars are being fed by their mother, who is attentive to their care at all times.  In terms of physical appearance, the twins are similar to their father, Gulliver, who has more visible spots and a lighter-coloured coat. Conservation success Naya is part of a conservation programme within the European Endangered Species Programme (EPP), to which zoos linked to the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) are affiliated.  She arrived at Loro Parque in 2019 from a zoological institution in Martinique, in the Caribbean, with the aim of increasing the programme’s genetic diversity.   The jaguar is the largest cat in the Americas and the third largest in the world, after the tiger and the lion.  Within its range, it’s the animal at the top of the food chain, and can live in habitats as diverse as the Amazon rainforest or the dry steppes of southern South America. In the wild, it feeds on a variety of live prey, from fish to large mammals and even small alligators.  In addition, it’s known to have the strongest jaws within the big cat group.  In general, and with the exception of the breeding and reproduction periods, it’s a solitary animal. Although commercial hunting of jaguars for their skins has decreased dramatically since the 1970s, thanks to various anti-fur campaigns and the progressive control and closure of international markets, unfortunately there is still demand for their paws, teeth and other products. However, through these zoo-organised conservation programmes, the population of these animals is growing.  And at the same time, this particular family of jaguars will help to make visitors aware of the difficulties faced by their fellow creatures in the wild.

Condolence message with regard to the tragic fire at Krefeld Zoo on New Year’s Eve

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The start of the year 2020 was unfortunately an incredibly sad one for us as a modern zoo committed to nature, species and animal protection!

For it was with great dismay that we had to learn that on New Year’s Eve the tropical Great Ape House built in 1975 at Krefeld Zoo which had been a pioneering step in modern zoo biology for a long time and which housed numerous marmosets, agoutis, flying foxes and birds alongside West African chimpanzees, Borneo orangutans and the two senior gorillas Massa (48) and Boma (46) in the midst of lush tropical vegetation, completely burned down.

Except for two chimpanzees – which miraculously survived – more than 30 animals lost their lives in this dramatic fire tragedy.

This fire was obviously caused by Chinese “sky lanterns”, which are forbidden in Germany.

Just a few days before New Year’s Eve, Krefeld Zoo had appealed to the city’s inhabitants to donate money for the further improvement of ape keeping in the planned “Chimpanzee Forest” instead of spending it on the short-term pleasure of the – on top of that environmentally harmful and not very animal-friendly – fireworks! Actually, it should be a matter of course for every clear-thinking person that fireworks are not supposed to be placed near zoos and other animal facilities.

In addition, in view of the fire catastrophes in nature, which are occurring more and more frequently due to human activity and climate change, we should bear in mind that countless animals lose their lives in their habitats in a similarly tragic way. According to the University of Sydney, 480 million birds, reptiles and mammals, including almost 8,000 koalas, have lost their lives in the bush fires in Australia since September 2019.

The commitment of modern zoos to nature and species conservation and animal protection is all the more important. It is true that the zoo community has lost great animal personalities in the tragic fire disaster at Krefeld Zoo. But our joint commitment to the preservation of wildlife and nature will continue and we will move even closer together.

Our thoughts are with our colleagues at Krefeld Zoo, especially the animal caretakers of the Great Ape House, who loved the animals entrusted to them very much.

Dear Team of Krefeld Zoo: We wish you in the coming days and weeks a lot of strength, courage and confidence! If we can help in any way, please let us know!

Your team from Loro Parque

The Loro Parque Foundation celebrates its 25th anniversary with a record amount dedicated to conservation projects in 2020

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At the annual meeting of the advisory committee of The Loro Parque Foundation, held recently in Puerto de La Cruz, it was decided to allocate almost US$2 million to conservation projects to be carried out during next year 2020 across the five continents.  With this figure, the total amount that the Foundation has dedicated to the protection of nature will reach US$21.2 million.

Projects focusing on the Canary Islands and the rest of Macaronesia (Cape Verde, Madeira and the Azores) in particular will receive 37 per cent of the funds (over US$706,000), followed by the threatened species and ecosystems of the American continent, which will receive US$667,000 this year.  Other projects in Spain and the rest of Europe amount to US$233,000 and African projects will receive US$128,000 next year.  Asia, with over US$79,000, and Australia-Oceania, with more than US$45,000, close the financing that reaches the five continents, and which will be distributed amongst 50 conservation and research projects that will be implemented by 34 NGOs and universities around the world.

By country, Bolivia stands out with US$300,000, followed by Ecuador with over US$118,000 and Brazil with US$78,000.  Of particular relevance is the investment in Bolivia, which will include the purchase of a 650-hectare farm that will be converted into a Biological Reserve for the Blue-Throated Macaw and managed as a biological station for a local university.  But the list of countries 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, New Zealand and French Polynesia. In addition, some of these projects are trans-national, so their benefits will reach the ecosystems and threatened species of many other neighbouring countries.

From an environmental point of view, species and terrestrial ecosystems are the ones that will receive the most help from The Loro Parque Foundation (almost US$1,145,000). Of particular note is the Red-Vented Cockatoo (critically endangered on the red list of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature), whose project will receive almost US$80,000 to continue securing the populations on Rasa Island and to try to ensure that the reproductive success achieved in the area extends to other parts of the region.  Other outstanding terrestrial species and ecosystem projects are aimed at protecting the lions in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, the Great Green Macaw and the Lilacine Amazon in Ecuador, all of which will receive funding of over US$60,000 during 2020.

And we must not forget the effort in the conservation of marine species and ecosystems, to which The Loro Parque Foundation will dedicate more than US$711,000 next year.  Of these, almost three quarters will be dedicated to the CanBIO project, co-financed by the Canary Island Government, which began in 2019 with the installation of control and monitoring systems for climate change in the Macaronesia zone and the effects it will have on marine fauna.  Between 2020 and 2021, the project will install two control buoys, one off the island of Gran Canaria and the other off the island of El Hierro.  These stations will monitor the rate of ocean acidification, temperature increase and underwater noise.  Autonomous marine vehicles will also be deployed to carry out measurements throughout the archipelago and will be extended to the whole of Macaronesia by 2023.

The remaining marine project funding will be dedicated to the conservation of several critically endangered species such as Angelsharks and Spiny Butterfly Rays, as well as Turtles, Orcas, Dolphins, Humpback Whales and Pilot Whales.

An open letter from the Director of the Nuremberg Zoo to TripAdvisor

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17.12.2019 Dr. Dag Encke is a Managing Director of the Nuremberg Zoo.

www.tiergarten.nuernberg.de

Dear ladies and gentlemen of “TripAdvisor Animal Welfare” On 5 December we received the following e-mail from your company:

“Good afternoon Nuremberg Zoo,

Recently we announced that TripAdvisor Experiences and Viator from January 2020 on will stop selling tickets for all attractions that contribute to that future generations of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) will continue to live in captivity.

As a result, any commercial entity that breeds or imports whales as a public attraction for exhibition is prohibited from January 2020 on to sell tickets on TripAdvisor and Viator. Some facilities qualify possibly for an exception status and thus may continue to distribute tickets through our platform.

We have identified the Nuremberg Zoo as a facility where cetaceans are presented to the public. Therefore, we are making every effort to determine whether your institution qualifies for the exceptional status or not.

The exceptional status shall be granted to anybody which meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • Any cetacean protecting facility that provides a sustainable marine environment for all captive animals*
  • Any commercial or non-profit organization that is currently developing alternative sanctuaries for captive cetaceans in the sea and that is publicly committed to adequately relocate all the animals in captivity that it owns to these environments.
  • Any WAZA** accredited facility that has made an official and public commitment to implement all of the following practices:
  • the termination and prohibition of the breeding of cetaceans in their possession
  • the termination of the importation or transfer of captive cetaceans from other establishments for exhibition
  • Stop the capture and importation of wild cetaceans for exhibition purposes

If the Nuremberg Zoo meets any of the above-mentioned criteria, you can request the exception status by answering this e-mail or send a reply by 20 December 2019 at the latest to awpolicyreview@tripadvisor.com.

Your reply must include evidence of a request for exemption. If public commitments are cited as evidence by the institution, this must be in the form of either a press release or a report published by a reputable media company.

Please note that Nuremberg Zoo will continue to be listed as an attraction on TripAdvisor, regardless of whether it is eligible for the exceptional status or not. Travelers can continue to submit valuations, ratings and photos, and the facility will continue to be presented in the TripAdvisor rankings. Learn more about our animal welfare guidelines here.

If you have any questions about our policies or are unsure whether your institution is eligible for exemption status or not, please contact:

mailto:awpolicyreview@tripadvisor.com

Thanks,

TripAdvisor Animal Welfare

*A marine protected area is a natural stretch of coastal water, such as a bay, where cetaceans live as naturally as possible, while providing protection and supervision by qualified livestock and veterinary personnel. Marine protected areas must comply with a strict Non-breeders policy, must not train their animals for shows or performances for the public and must prohibit all forms of physical interaction between guests and animals, including human-animal encounters in water.

**Accreditation must be granted by a member association of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).”

Unfortunately, I can only answer your letter to my zoological garden impersonally, because you sent it to me without naming a concrete contact person. You had published the contents of this letter as a Global News Release in October 2019. Since your letter seems to be part of a public image campaign for your travel platform, I am answering you with the greatest possible transparency for your customers in the form of the Open Letter.

You have informed us that you will no longer be selling tickets for the Nuremberg Zoo because the Nuremberg Zoo keeps dolphins.

In your animal welfare guidelines, you refer to “scientific Evidence” that the keeping of dolphins is contrary to animal welfare. Animal welfare violations must be proven on the basis of concrete housing conditions and of specifically affected animals. The tool required for this purpose, “Animal Welfare Assessment”, is a scientific discipline. The assessment of the “Animal Welfare Status”, i.e. the individual well-being of dolphins, requires methodologically sound scientific methods that can be applied in each individual case. Your rejection of our animal husbandry lacks any reference to a concrete “Welfare Assessment”. You do not even mention which method of assessment you used for your evaluation.

I consider a blanket discrediting of the keeping of dolphins in my zoological institution to be dubious populism from a scientific point of view.

So, let me make this perfectly clear: We are not applying to you for “exceptional status”. We reject your demands for professional reasons for the welfare of our animals.

At an international conference organized by the Nuremberg Zoo for the protection of dolphins in coastal and inland waters (ESOCC Meeting – Ex situ Options for Cetacean Conservation) last year, an integrated approach to the rescue of seven acutely endangered dolphin species was formulated, in line with the “One Plan Approach” and that identifies the keeping and research of endangered species under human care as a fixed and indispensable component of current protection strategies.

We can debate at many levels about best practices in the ex situ management of marine mammals, but it is irresponsible to call for a boycott of institutions, without whose expertise and without whose structural infrastructure it becomes more and more difficult and unlikely to protect endangered species successfully.

Your letter comes at an inopportune moment and shows great ignorance regarding options for action and soon probably constraints for action regarding the international conservation of dolphins living in coastal and inland waters.

In view of the great responsibility that we humans – and in a particularly piquant way also and especially the tourism industry – have for the ecological integrity of coastal and inland waters, I am shocked by the sloppiness of your letter, which is supposed to have been addressed to the well-being of dolphins, but in fact no research on concrete options for action has been carried out.

Negative report 1: We are a nonprofit professional service of the city of Nuremberg, not a commercial institution.

TripAdvisor, on the other hand, is likely to be profit-oriented and more likely to be a commercial platform than a charitable one. Your approach suggests that your commitment to dolphins is primarily and very likely a marketing campaign for the image of your company.

Negative report 2: A “permanent living environment” at the sea for “captive animals” is a nonsensical criterion for determining the quality of a facility. To my knowledge, there is no successful keeping under the conditions you describe. If the two belugas transported to Iceland will survive in the “sanctuary” that has been rebuilt for them will be shown when they are put out of their covered enclosure into the netted bay in spring 2020.

Negative report 3: “Alternative sanctuaries” are currently being sought for seven highly endangered dolphin species. These ex situ options for endangered dolphin species are sensibly not being considered for the not yet threatened dolphins which already enjoy a very good and sheltered life under our care. If we want to invest in the future of dolphins, then we should support meaningful projects that benefit the survival of endangered species instead of demanding experiments with already well housed animals.

Negative report 4: In your animal welfare policy, you refer exclusively to the welfare of individuals kept in captivity, but propose a translocation of animals to open sea cages. You are thus subject to the criteria of the IUCN guidelines on the release and/or translocation of wild animals. I am aware that these guidelines are not of a legislative nature. However, they are internationally recognized conservation standards that should be adhered to, because the improper release of wild animals poses a great risk both to affected natural habitats and to the animals themselves. I consider your simple ideas of animal welfare and nature to be misguided.

Negative report 5: Stopping the breeding of cetaceans is a frivolous demand in terms of animal protection, which we do not want to comply with at all for the benefit of the animals and their social structure. Our institution serves the protection of species and the sustainable population management of the breeding groups kept by us and coordinated throughout Europe. Your demand is directed against the social needs of the animals. We reject this. Of course, we will continue exchange animals within the framework of the transboundary European Breeding Program.

Negative report 6: Unfortunately, we cannot stop capturing animals from the wild because we have not done so for decades. Taking from the wild and trading in plants and animals are also regulated by CITES and fortunately are not aligned with the interests of the tourism industry. The EAZA Bottlenose Dolphin ex situ Program coordinates the population of bottlenose dolphins in scientifically managed zoos in Europe. Since 2003, no bottlenose dolphins from the wild have been introduced into the population. The population is growing sustainably and is entering the third generation in human hands.

Conclusion: From my point of view, you are playing a bad game with the popularity of moralizing animal protection in your poorly researched and potentially animal harming letter of demands, with which you rather damage technically the protection of the species and in no way benefit the welfare of the animals we keep.

I would be pleased if you would approach us in the future in a serious and cooperative manner if you have open questions about the welfare of our animals. Perhaps you would have refrained from writing if you had known our institution beforehand.

With kind regards

Dr. Dag Encke

Managing Director of the Nuremberg Zoo.

Loro Parque Foundation saves 10 species of parrots from total extinction in the wild

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This year, as part of the celebration of its 25th anniversary, Loro Parque Foundation has managed to add to its list of species saved from extinction the Grey-Breasted Parakeet (Pyrrhura griseipectus), native to Brazil.  With this success, The Foundation celebrates that it has already prevented the disappearance of 10 species of parrots thanks to its longstanding involvement with in and ex situ protection and conservation projects.

The Grey-Breasted Parakeet, originally from the Baturité Mountains, was an endangered species because of the illegal captures designated for the pet trade and the lack of suitable nesting sites.  However, the alliance between the Loro Parque Foundation and the organisation AQUASIS has strengthened the work of renowned biologist Fabio Nunes and his team in the area, where they have managed to enumerate over 1,000 chicks born in artificial nests.

This incredible result has to do precisely with the placement of these artificial nests and their monitoring since 2010, despite the difficulties encountered during the process, such as protection against predators.

One of the ways of observing and understanding the habits of this species, little known in the past, has been an active presence in the field, which has allowed specialists to obtain a large amount of very important scientific information including for other projects of similar characteristics.

Furthermore, the tagging work has been fundamental, because it enables the gathering of data on the movement and distribution (through their banding) of the parakeets, which are able to hide very well amongst the vegetation.  In addition, key in this process has been the creation of protected areas, which are recognised by the local population.

From now on, a new stage for the species begins, in which an ex situ program will work for its reintroduction back into some of its historical locations from which it has disappeared.  In this respect, it is relevant that in the Loro Parque Foundation alone, more than 60 specimens have been born in recent years.

In total, since the Foundation began to collaborate with this project, it has allocated about US$400 000 to the protection of the Grey-Breasted Parakeet.  Thus, the number of birds has risen from around 100 to 1,000 in 2019, changing the category of the species on the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from “critically endangered” to “endangered”.

As of today, the Foundation has dedicated more than US$21,000,000 to supporting conservation projects, and the reclassification of many of these ten species is a global conservation success that makes this non-profit organisation the most effective in preservation of tropical ecosystems achieved through the labour of protecting the parrots.

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