Study shows zoos and aquariums dramatically increase information needed to help save species



The Species Knowledge Index maps what we know for 32,411 known species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians - in this case, with an eightfold gain after adding data from the Zoological Information Management System curated by 1200 zoos and aquariums worldwide. Credit: Species360 Conservation Science Alliance

Despite volumes of data currently available on mankind, it is surprising how little we know about other species. A paper published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) confirms that critical information, such as fertility and survival rates, is missing from global data for more than 98 percent of known species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

It's a gap with far-reaching implications for conservationists seeking to blunt the impact of the Earth's sixth mass extinction event. Scientists working worldwide on behalf of IUCN Red List, IUCN Species Survival Commission, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES), TRAFFIC, Monitor, and others, require demographic data to assess species populations and intervene where needed.

"It seems inconceivable. Yet scientists tasked with saving species often have to power through with best-guess assumptions that we hope approximate reality," said lead researcher and Species360 Conservation Science Alliance director Dalia A. Conde.


Source: Kai Zheng, Staff Writer April 12, 2019 Filed under Columns, Opinion. 

One of my earliest memories as a kid was running through the gates of the San Francisco Zoo, right as the doors opened. The drizzling Bay Area weather wasn’t enough to stop me from spending the entire day there, parents willing.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by animals. A perfect ending to a day at the zoo was coming home and binging nature programs like “The Crocodile Hunter,” “Zoboomafoo” or “Walking with Dinosaurs.” 

I often get negative feedback when I tell people I volunteer at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

Many people are under the misapprehension that zoos are more in line with a circus— a place where animals are kept for the amusement of the general public instead of living life in their natural habitat.

But that simply isn’t the case.



Orca Morgan, a well-known name that has regularly appeared on the website of VTL Photography. In 2014, 2015, and 2016 we visited Morgan in Loro Parque to see how she was doing. In recent years there has been much commotion around the killer whale, and there still is. In the meantime a lot has changed for Morgan, she has grown a lot bigger and she is the mother of little Ula. Halfway through January, reports came out in which activists claimed that little Ula was possibly seriously ill. So it’s time for a new update!

At the end of February we traveled specifically to Tenerife to visit Loro Parque. After all the reporting about Morgan and Ula we wanted to see how the animals were doing. To know exactly how mother and calf are doing, we had a conversation with Dr. Javier Almunia, director of the Loro Parque Foundation. In this blog we will talk extensively about Morgan and Ula and we will share some details we discussed with Dr. Javier Almunia! For all our international followers we have translated the blog into English.