Taipei Zoo hopes to work with schools and government agencies to increase public awareness of wildlife protection, spokesman Eric Tsao (曹先紹) said.
One of the nation’s most popular attractions, the zoo, established in 1914, draws about 3 million visitors every year, Tsao said.
Tsao recalled a statement made by former Wildlife Conservation Society president William Conway, who told the annual meeting of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums in New York in 2005 that it is crucial for zoos around the world to transition from being “living museums” to being conservationist institutions.
Photo provided by Taipei Zoo
Tsao said he has long been hoping to promote such an idea, “because conservation is a value that zoos can provide.”
Tsao said he was initially unsure how zoos could promote conservation, although 15 percent of critically endangered animals worldwide could be found in zoos.
The value of zoos became apparent in Taiwan when the sika deer was facing extinction in the nation, he said.
Photo provided by the Taipei Zoo
Former zoo director Chen Pao-chung (陳寶忠) sent the zoo’s deer to Tunghai University and breeders in Kenting’s Sheding Nature Park (社頂自然公園) to boost the population.
Tsao said many animals that are either injured or facing danger are brought to the zoo.
Animals like the Eurasian otter and the leopard cat, both endangered species, can benefit from the zoo’s extensive experience, he said.
“We must not let these animals become extinct because of human activity,” he said.
Tsao said conditions for wild animals are improving as the public becomes better informed, citing the Malayan night heron, which has been building its nests in the zoo for many years now, and the crested goshawk, which can be seen in Taipei’s Daan District (大安) every year.
This shows the birds are not afraid of people, which is a step forward, he said.
The zoo’s conservation efforts span cities, counties and even international borders, but seeing its plans through will take several years, he said.
One of the challenges facing conservationists is the need to find new bloodlines to prevent inbreeding when trying to save endangered animals, he said.
There is also a lack of experts in endangered animals, he said.
“Add this to the fact that these animals may have special characteristics that make it harder to transport them, especially across international borders,” he said.
African onagers brought to the country from France and the Czech Republic in 2015, as well as an orangutan from Poland in 2016, all required lengthy application processes lasting three to four years, he said.
“So far, we have had success breeding the onagers. It is a new page in history,” he said.
In 2000, former zoo director Jason Chin (金仕謙) rescued a black-faced spoonbill and sent it to Japan’s Tama Zoo, where a mate was found for it and it laid two eggs.
The zoo planned to send the bird back two years ago, but shelved the plan due to an avian flu outbreak at the time, he said.
Problems can also arise in transporting animals domestically, he said, citing a giraffe that died in transit in 2016 while on its way to Leofoo Village Theme Park in Hsinchu for breeding.
“Giraffes are really sensitive. They get nervous easily, and their height, age and demeanor must be considered when transporting them,” he said.
The failure with the first giraffe was a learning experience, he said, adding that a second attempt at transporting a giraffe from the zoo to the theme park last year was successful.
The zoo’s two pandas, Tuan Tuan (團團) and Yuan Yuan (圓圓), as well as pangolins, leopard cats and Eurasian otters rescued by the zoo are rising stars, he said.
Animals that are hairy, long-lived or “storybook-like” in nature tend to be the most popular with the public, he said.
“When we rescued the Eurasian otter siblings, Ta Chin (大金) and Hsiao Chin (小金), from Kinmen, images of them holding each other after birth with their eyes still closed were incredibly adorable. They became an instant hit,” he said.
Early stars at the zoo were the famous elephant Lin Wang (林旺), who was originally employed by Japanese troops invading Burma during World War II, the koala Patrick and the king penguin Hei Ma Shu (黑麻糬).
Conservationists at the zoo will continue to educate the public through the media and the Internet, sharing their experiences of caring for the animals and drawing the public’s attention to important conservation-related issues, he said.
The coast guard on Friday took a Chinese fishing boat and the 17 people on board into custody, after it rammed into a patrol boat while attempting to flee. A 100-tonne coast guard vessel at about 8am discovered a Chinese fishing boat illegally operating in waters about 11 nautical miles (20.4km) northwest of Hsinchu, the Hsinchu offshore flotilla of the Coast Guard Administration said. The crew refused to allow law enforcement to board the ship and attempted to flee, it added. The coast guard vessel and another ship chased the fishing boat for about a half hour, during which time the Chinese boat
Vice President William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said that Beijing was trying to “annex” Taiwan, while China said its recent series of drills near Taiwan are aimed at combating the “arrogance” of separatist forces. The Ministry of National Defense earlier this month said that it had observed dozens of Chinese fighters, drones, bombers and other aircraft, as well as warships and the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong, operating nearby. The increased frequency of China’s military activities has raised the risk of events “getting out of hand” and sparking an accidental clash, Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said last week. Asked about the spurt
China’s Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong has asked foreign consulates in Hong Kong to submit details of their local staff, which is more proof that the “one country, two systems” model no longer exists, a Taiwanese academic said. The office sent letters dated Monday last week to consulates in the territory, giving them one month to submit the information it requires. The move followed Beijing’s attempt to obtain floor plans for all properties used by foreign missions in Hong Kong last year, which raised concerns among diplomats that the information could be used for
‘ABNORMITY’: News of the military exercises on the coast of the Chinese province facing Taiwan were made public by the Ministry of National Defense on Thursday Taiwan’s military yesterday said it has detected the Chinese military initiating a round of exercises at a bay area in coastal Fujian Province, which faces Taiwan, since early yesterday morning and it has been closely monitoring the drills. The exercises being conducted at Fujian’s Dacheng Bay featured an undisclosed number of People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) warplanes, warships and ground troops, the Ministry of National Defense said in a press statement. The ministry did not disclose what kind of military exercises are being conducted there and for how long they would be happening, but it did say that it has been closely watching