Abstract # 77:

Scheduled for Monday, June 3, 2002 02:45 PM-05:00 PM: Session 10 (Room 18, Cox Convention Center) Workshop


LESSONS FROM THE WILD: IMPROVING THE CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT OF LEMURS THROUGH DIALOGUE WITH FIELD RESEARCHERS

I. Porton
Saint Louis Zoo, Forest Park, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA
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     Captive breeding of endangered species is one component of a larger conservation strategy. Maintaining species in natural social groupings is desirable for public educational purposes and ostensibly provides the most appropriate and enriching social environment for the individuals. However, captive housing conditions present significant challenges to duplicating a species’ natural social structure. The specific goal of this workshop is to foster increased communication between field research scientists and captive animal managers to improve the husbandry of endangered lemur species. Four captive animal managers will present details concerning specific problems confronting the management of five lemur taxa. The challenges include presentation of data on the following: (1) Difficulties encountered in housing multi-female ruffed lemur, Varecia variegata, groups despite field research that reports frequent positive female-female relationships in the wild. (2) Problems associated with male-male combat in black lemurs, Eulemur macaco, housed in multi-male, multi-female groups, although field data show this is a common social grouping in the wild; (3) Female reproductive failure in Coquerel’s mouse lemur, Mirza coquereli, and mongoose lemur, Eulemur mongoz that may be associated with captive breeding strategies that sometimes necessitate the delay of first reproduction or significant spacing of reproductive events in a female’s lifetime. (4) Duplicating the social system exhibited by wild ringtailed lemurs, Lemur catta, which includes multiple males competing for mating rights with the females; although male fighting is normal, the captive animal manager must make decisions regarding acceptable levels of aggression in a restricted captive environment. Discussions with field researchers and the audience will seek to identify hypotheses to account for the above described challenges, potential management strategies that may help alleviate the problem, and future research that could contribute to advancing solutions. Speakers include: Andy Baker, Ph.D., Philadelphia Zoo Tammie Bettinger, Ph.D., Zoo Atlanta Ingrid Porton, Saint Louis Zoo Lynne Villers, Indianapolis Zoo Field Research Participants Include: Elizabeth Balko, Ph.D. Adam Britt, Ph.D. Deborah Overdorff, Ph.D. Natalie Vasey, Ph.D. A brief presentation on each of the above described problems will be given. After each presentation the speakers will initiate a discussion with the field researchers and the audience. The goal of the workshop is to reach a better understanding of these species in the wild and in captivity.