Thursday, October 13, 2011

Proboscis Monkey Update

Proboscis Monkey Bronx Zoo 1984

In 1984, I made a special trip to the Bronx Zoo to see their incredible Jungle World facility and their recently acquired Proboscis monkey troop. I didn't realize the Bronx no longer kept the Proboscis monkey until yesterday when Jim Alexander pointed it out. Thank you for the insight, Jim. I learn something everyday.

The first pair was sent to the San Deigo Zoo in 1956 and there were many importations into Europe and the United States after that. No zoo's were able to keep a viable population, and by 1997 only the Bronx kept them, until 2003 when they sent the last pair to the Singapore Zoo.

International Primate Protection League
Vol 27 No 1 April 1999

In 1975 the Basil Zoo in Switzerland had 3 Proboscis monkeys, and in 1997 it reported none. In 1997 Twycross Zoo in England reported 4 Proboscis monkeys, and in 1997 it reported none.

Captivity - Proboscis Monkey Project

Proboscis Monkeys Caught - Many Die - International Primate ...

Proboscis monkeys on Borneo: who “nose” what the future holds?

Proboscis Monkey - Basel Zoo - 1980's » Basel Zoo Gallery

Steve Romo was the long time Hoof Stock Curator at the Cincinnati Zoo, and aided Dr. Betsy Dresser during her ground breaking embryo transfer successes at Cincinnati. A great guy, 100% dedicated to his work. I have lost touch with him over the year unfortunately. Does anyone know what Steve is up to these day's?

Proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) - Comparative Placentation

Can proboscis monkeys be successfully maintained in captivity? A ...

In 1975, zoos in Basel, Berlin, Cologne, Colorado Springs, Dallas, ... none of these zoos have proboscis monkeys today.


Jim A. said...

Steve is at the Los Angeles Zoo. I found him on Facebook. You're correct Wade, he's an outstanding animal man. To see him working with hoofed stock is like watching photos of good, old-fashioned animal keeping. Quite a guy.

Wade G. Burck said...

Thank you.

Katherine Gould, a freelance writer living in Glendale, worked at the Los Angeles Zoo for three years. Her first book, a collection of animal mating rituals offered as lessons for humans and called "A Tiger in the Bedroom," will be released this month by Andrews McMeel Publishing.

When Mayor James Hahn, in 2002, asked Mollinedo to take over the reins of the Department of Recreation and Parks, Maruska came to the L.A. Zoo as interim director. (He was recently replaced by John Lewis.) So although others, including the Indonesian government, wanted Andalas, Maruska made sure the rhino came to Los Angeles.

Andalas was 18 months old and 1,100 pounds when he was moved to the Los Angeles Zoo in June. Everyone from keepers to office staff was eager to see him. They had heard that he was as friendly as Emi. They heard that he squeaked like Emi. They heard he was as hairy as Emi.

"Actually, I think Andalas is friendlier than Emi," Romo says. Like his mother, Andalas is easy to handle, charismatic--and really cute. "He looks like a hairy red dinosaur," Stringfield says.

Stringfield doesn't normally monitor animals going through their mandatory 30-day quarantine, but she insisted on medically supervising Andalas. Once he was out of quarantine, Stringfield handed over care of Andalas to a keeper who was new to the L.A. Zoo--Steve Romo. After three years of setting up fruitless rhino dates in Malaysia, Romo had come to Los Angeles.

Romo opens the gate and calls out, "Andalas!" The rhino trots into the barn for a snack of sweet potatoes and bananas while Romo sets out dinner in the yard. Andalas soon wanders into the yard, chomping down on the green leaves, snapping the branches with his teeth and chewing loudly. This still-growing toddler will eat a pile of ficus three feet across and two feet high before Romo returns in the morning.

Before he leaves, though, Romo pets Andalas for a few minutes. Then he locks up the barn and calls it a day.

On the other side of the world, wild Sumatran rhinos face an uncertain future. Officials have decided to search areas designated for logging to see if there are other doomed rhinos that could be brought into the program. The International Rhino Foundation ( continues to raise funds to support anti-poaching patrols and captive-breeding efforts. Thomas Foose, program director of the foundation, is cautiously hopeful about the fate of Sumatran rhinos, but adds: "It is possible to save them. We're all very quixotic. We don't admit lost causes."

Besides, in a shady, grassy yard at the Los Angeles Zoo, there exists a clown-faced, shaggy-haired embodiment of hope.

SOS-Rhino Newletter

February and March 2005
Steve Romo a Sumatran rhino keeper from Los Angeles Zoo came to visit us in Sepilok. Steve can be called "the father" of the first Sumatran rhino born in captivity. He had been head rhino keeper at the Cincinnati Zoo when the successful breeding was achieved. He took care of Andalas, the first Sumatran rhino born in captivity in 112 years, and he moved with him to Los Angeles Zoo when he grew older. Steve was also involved in the breeding program in Sungai Dusun, West Malaysia for two years.

Ryan Easley said...

Steve has a fantastic collection of zoo photographs on his FaceBook page. I have begin sharing many of these on my elephant history blog looking for more information about the animals pictured.

Rob said...

"De Apenheul"in Apeldoorn in The
Netherlands ,received 3.0 last
July from Singapore.They are aged 9and 10 years.This zoo is dedicated to monkeys and is thinking about a future European breeding program
for the species.


Wade G. Burck said...

Thank you for the additional information. I wish them success in the Netherlands, but it is tough to maintain a breeding program with 3 males. :) Let's hope it is a start, and not just a dumping of surplus animals.


Rob said...

Yes Wade ,i am aware of the fact ,that it's hard breeding with 3 males :-).Think they are surplus animals and that they can get some experience in husbandry ,before one or more females are introduced.
I read a lot of leafes are frozen in already ,as food for winter.You see it a lot these days though,all
kind of animalgroups only consisting of males.


Wade G. Burck said...

Unfortunately people search for loopholes as a means of skirting rules and regulations. We see it often with USDA, and they in turn find a loophole to stop the "loopholers." :) When AZA(then AAZPA) years ago passed a ruling forbidding institutions accredited by them to sell animals at exotic animal auctions or member's to attend said auctions, or to sell/gift animals to an institution not accredited by AZA, it stopped a good means of getting rid of surplus animals. If you are going to be successful at breeding, you are going to have more animals then your institution can handle. Same fix National Parks are in when folks gag at culling or re locating. "Breeding loans" were a way to deal with this issue at the same time being a great public relations piece. The thought being, we put them in a different institution with the space, who utilizes them for breeding, we get them back at a later date, if our program need's a boost. Then they added what was called "permanent breeding loan" meaning you never wanted to see them back, and it got surplus stock off your hands. The loophole came when "breeding loans" were very often male groups(not my problem, they said they were going to get females some day.....) and more often then not aged males or female's no longer viable or productive.
Back in the late 70's I was interested in buy a small private zoo in Mass. I spent a few months there looking at the books and past years business and the zoo seemed to be doing a lucrative business, based on what it was taking in against expenses/overhead. When the owner and I sat down and he quoted me a price I thought it was quite high based on 17 acres and what real estate was worth in the area at the time. I had also noted that all the animals on exhibit at the zoo were exhibited in groups of three males. Three zebras, three Gibbon apes, three Spider monkey, three Eland, three Black buck, etc. etc. The only thing not kept in three's was a herd of 20 fallow deer, and dozens of pygmy goats in the petting zoo. I owner said his price may seem high, but that it included everything lock stock and barrel as well as the animals. I asked to see the paper work on the animals "he was selling" and he balked. When I told him I wasn't interested unless he could produce paperwork for the animals, he did a week later. That's when I found out that 80% of the animals were actually owned by a major zoo in Boston and were only at this smaller zoo on "breeding loan" in exchange for this gentleman providing housing for the director and his staff on their annual deer hunting trip to the Mass. woods. When I pointed out that if the Boston zoo director decided he didn't like me, or I didn't want to give him free lodging while he hunted he could take the animals back and deplete the zoo, I was assured that would never happen as he didn't want the animals back. Too big of a chance for me to take, as I sure couldn't afford to "restock" the zoo after just purchasing it, so I had to decline his offer and lose a dream of having my own zoo.


Rob said...

Positive thing in this case is,that we now have the chance to see a species ,people otherwise might never see in the flesh.
The more so ,because in this species(as in other animal species aswell) males are visually more interesting then females.


klsdad said...

Wade.. re proboscis monkeys at the Bronx Zoo.
Was quite sure I had seen them in their Jungleland habitat last year.
Just confirmed with the zoo this morning that they're still there.
Come see them again..!!

Wade G. Burck said...

That's sure odd, especially since the "official" reports list the Bronx as having none since the late 90's. Thank you for the information.


klsdad said...

Wade.. It's I.. with the red face and short nose!!
Well.. I dove back into my mind?.. and videos.. and noticed the video I took last year in the Bronx Zoo JungleLand exhibit.. I capture my long-time friends.. the probosci?? But.. I did notice there were a group of orange monkeys.. with offspring.
And.. I began to doubt the information I exchanged with the Bronx Zoo.. re their current display of probosci. (When I called last week..I asked the lady about the proboscis monkeys in JungleLand.. and she answered with the question to me. "the orange colored ones??".. and I.. relating to the orange hue in my "friends".. said yes.. BUT.. added "the ones with the large noses??"..and she replied.. "Yes. they're still there." Well. as you can see .. that's the rub!!!
Yes.. somewhat the right color.. but.. WRONG monkey!!
I called back to the zoo this morning...and a very nice lady asked how she could help. (How often do we hear this???) I gave my two questions.. 1) Does the Zoo sill have proboscis monkeys and 2) If not.. when did they last have them?
To my utter surprise.. she said.. "Hold on.. I'll call a keeper in JungleLand". In less than a minute she called back and said.. 1) The zoo no longer has proboscis monkeys.. and 2) The were last there in 2002. (How time flies at 77!)
So.. I STAND CORRECTED.. and I'm sending a shot I took of Mr. Proboscis in 1985 to your email.
(And very sorry all those years.. I looked and marveled.. but didn't realize what I was witnessing!!)
Best regards..

Wade G. Burck said...

Funny story. It just didn't seem right that they still had them, and I can see where the first nitwit that answered the phone was the one who started the ball rolling. :)
You don't think there aren't day's go by I regret never getting to Barcelona to see Snowflake. First and only, chances of another one happening,chance's of a "second coming", nil to none. You can still see his children, but unless someone point's it out to you, you would never know. They look nothing like their father. I dislike the "touring" animal exhibit, like they used to do with panda's, but a small selfish part of me almost wishes that they had subjected Snowflake to the hardship of a "World Tour" so I may have had that once in a lifetime chance to see him.