The Shou Shan Zoo in Greater Kaohsiung has been seeking mates for its Formosan black bears, rhinos and spotted deer to help them reproduce.
A Formosan black bear named Pei-er (貝兒) was recently sent to the Endemic Species Research Institute in Nantou County for mating, the zoo said.
The institute conducts breeding programs for endemic species.
The five-year-old Pei-er is now in its childbearing years, said Chang Po-yu (張博宇), director of the zoo’s management center, adding that the zoo is expecting to learn news of its pregnancy in half a year.
Pei-er is the cub of a female black bear raised in the zoo and a male black bear in Taipei Zoo, the Shou Shan Zoo said.
A zoo is duty-bound to help animals having reproduction issues by seeking exchanges of animals or making arrangements for mating, it said.
Chang said the zoo is also working with Leofoo Zoo in Hsinchu County and National Pingtung University of Science and Technology in Pingtung County to find mates for its rhinoceros and spotted deer.
The implementation of the Washington Convention, a multilateral treaty that regulates international trade in wild animal and plant species, has made sending animals abroad to find a mate increasingly infeasible, Chang said.
The Shou Shan Zoo has received donations of Przewalskii horse, Barbary sheep, stripy horse and Formosan serow, endemic species of Taiwan, from Taipei Zoo, but it was unable to return the favor because it has fewer species.
What children have found to be most disappointing about Shou Shan Zoo is it does not keep giraffes, Chang said.
The zoo has funds to purchase giraffes, but has not been able to implement the plan because the zoo does not meet the requirements under the Washington Convention, he said.