Supporting the needs and goals of ex situ conservation efforts
In order to be able to achieve the population biological goals that would lead to healthy and genetically diverse ex situ populations of anoa, babirusa and banteng the right environment has to be created in all participating regions, particularly in terms of husbandry and the cooperative management of populations and participation in breeding programmes.
In general all of the zoo regions housing anoa, babirusa and banteng have good husbandry knowledge and are fairly successful in keeping, breeding and rearing them. However, in some Indonesian zoos there is still room for improvement in terms of breeding success, which is important to address given that the most genetically important individuals are held in this region.
Due to the importance of the individuals in this population it was deemed a priority to ensure that the current management practices, husbandry knowledge and skills of the keepers caring for these animas is of a standard to facilitate successful captive breeding and transfers. It was thus deemed important to conduct a zoo survey among a representative sample of Indonesian zoos to get a better understanding of the current management practices followed in Indonesian zoos (for issues such as reproduction and breeding management, design of facilities with regard to both welfare and breeding management, nutrition, transport of animals, medical aspects etc.), of the spectrum that exists in experience and skills and of the opportunities for learning across regions.
On the basis of the needs, problems and opportunities identified by this survey – as well as knowledge and experiences from AZA and EAZA - an Indonesian husbandry manual for Anoa is being produced and two training workshops have so far taken place in 2017. These workshops occurred in July and October 2017, with the first being held at Taman Safari II Prigen and the second in Ragunan Zoo.
The training workshop in Taman Safari II Prigen was led by Steve Metzler (San Diego Zoo Global), James Burton (AWCSG), Ivan Chandra (TSI Prigen and Global Banteng Studbook Keeper), Nanang Tejo (TSI Prigen) and Gono Semiadi (LIPI), it was focused on training for banteng husbandry and transport. Whilst the training at Ragunan Zoo focused on anoa and babirusa husbandry and transport, it was led by a training team comprised of James Burton (AWCSG), Ligaya Tumbelaka (PKBSI and IBP), Joe Forys (Audubon Zoo), Liz Wilson (Santa Barbara Zoo), Sarah Roffe (Chester Zoo), Yohana Tri Hastuti (TSI Bogor) Sri Pentatawi (Surabaya Zoo) and Adven Simamora (Anoa Breeding Centre). Both workshops followed similar structures utilising a mix of presentations and practical sessions. Presentations included basic husbandry, health, enclosure design and how to transport an animal safely. At the anoa and babirusa training the participants also took part in practical sessions.
where they learnt how to safely move an adult anoa. The banteng workshop had 41 participants from 18 different zoos and organisations whilst the anoa and babirusa workshop had 12 participants from 9 different zoos. The participants were made up of keepers, curators, vets and Nature Conservation Regional Offices (KSDA) staff.
Cooperative Management of, and Participation in, Breeding Programmes
In 2011 PKBSI appointed the first official studbook keepers for anoa, banteng and babirusa in Indonesia. The following step was to use the studbook data for proactive and cooperative management of the populations of these species across institutions in the zoo association, which was a new concept to all partners involved: the institutions, PKBSI and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Therefore there was need for capacity building in the awareness raising of, changing attitudes towards and support of conservation-focussed breeding programmes based on sound population biology science.
To achieve the adoption of cooperative management for breeding programmes the GSMP’s have taken part in a number of activities to achieve this. The first was the compiling of the first ever set of breeding and transfer recommendations for anoa, banteng and babirusa in Indonesia. Having written them, the challenge has been to have the recommendations approved by PKBSI, LIPI and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, to have the recommendations approved the GSMP has held a number of meetings with PKBSI, LIPI and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. This culminated in a meeting in October 2017 with the Director General of the Directorate for Conservation of Biodiversity.
Having the backing of these partners was only the first step; the most important is to get the Indonesian zoos on board and working together for the benefit of the populations. The GSMP has been working to achieve this by trying to change the mindset of zoos to work together for these goals by:
- Adding population management sessions and topics into planned training events within PKBSI.
- Organising and running series of international workshops to show the value of joint population management.
- While conducting zoo surveys as fact finding missions to guide the development of guidelines, training, and building in informal discussions about breeding programmes and build relationships.
- Organising sessions during PKBSI director’s meetings to introduce directors to breeding programmes.
- Organising relevant sessions during the annual overall PKBSI conferences for a wider PKBSI audience.
Increasing population biologist expertise within the regions is also another priority and will be facilitated by:
- Holding a training course for Indonesian studbook keepers of species with GSMPs (and possibly others)
- Following the training with a session to create at least one species breeding and transfer plan for an Indonesian population so that participants can learn by seeing this in action
- Assessing the need and opportunity to start training a PKBSI population biologist.