Specialists
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Focus Area
  • People
  • Places
  • Populations
Locations
  • South East Asia
Partners and collaborators

RAISING THE PROFILE FOR CATTLE SPECIES

Not many people have heard of an anoa, banteng or babirusa, but they are some of the world’s most threatened large mammals! These incredible Indonesian animals are threatened with extinction as a result of habitat loss and the illegal hunting for consumption and trade.

Our passionate conservationists at Chester Zoo, together with other international zoos, governments, conservationists and academics from all over the world, have joined forces to help reverse the effects of these threats, working collaboratively to achieve greater conservation impact through ‘Action Indonesia Global Species Management Plans’ (GSMP).

Each Action Indonesia species, is assigned their own GSMP, which is coordinated by the IUCN SSC AWCSG (Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group) and the Indonesian Zoo and Aquarium Association (PKBSI). With Chester Zoo as a core supporter, these particular GSMPs use a ‘One Plan Approach to combine skills, resources and expertise of the zoo community and in-situ conservationists.

OUR AMBITIONS

The goals of the Action Indonesia GSMPs are:

  • To reach a demographically and genetically healthy global ex-situ (in the wild) population.
  • To raise awareness among zoo visitors.
  • To use zoo expertise to help in-situ conservation.
  • To prioritise and support in-situ projects.

Chester Zoo visitors can discover these threatened species in our Islands habitat. These animals are part of an ex-situ breeding programme which helps to ensure a healthy and genetically diverse population in zoos, with the aim of preventing the extinction of this species in the wild.

Our work with the Action Indonesia GSMPs includes funding the AWCSG Chair and Programme Officer, as well as leading the Education Working Group – which is led by Chester Zoo’s Head of Conservation Education and Engagement, Charlotte Smith. We are also involved in the Husbandry Training Working Group, led by our Curatorial Assistant, Amy Humphreys, on top of which we support with training and capacity building with Indonesian zoos, coordinating the Banteng EEP (European Endangered Species Programme) and conservation breeding of all three focal species.

TRAINING AND CAPACITY BUILDING

Our staff are amongst a group of experts who work with the Indonesian Zoo and Aquarium Association to deliver husbandry training to Indonesian zoos. The aim of this training is to help build capacity for recommended transfers and for breeding to occur, helping to achieve the GSMPs goal of healthy ex-situ populations. Despite the challenges of a global pandemic in 2020/21, our husbandry work continues to evolve and progress:

  • Since the recommendations process began in 2016, there have now been at least 30 recommended births in Indonesian zoos and breeding centres, including four babirusa, eight anoa, and eighteen banteng, helping to grow the ex situ populations towards the Indonesian National cooperative breeding targets.
  • In 2020, in response to the global pandemic, the husbandry training group developed and implemented virtual husbandry training sessions for Indonesian zoos.
  • In March 2020, a joint team from Action Indonesia and PKBSI (Perhimpunan Kebun Binatang Seluruh Indonesia) visited 12 zoos in Java and Sumatra to update zoos on the progress with the second set of PKBSI-GSMP breeding and transfer recommendations. PKBSI-GSMP experts were also able to provide input and advice on animal husbandry and habitat design, and to re-engage with zoos about the importance of cooperative breeding.

In addition to the husbandry work, training has also been delivered to forestry office staff in Sulawesi, to improve the management of rescued and confiscated anoa and babirusa, transferring zoo-based skills, directly to in-situ practitioners. Where recommended by genetics – and with adequate monitoring and protection in place – these skills will be used to translocate animals between protected areas to increase genetic flow.

celebrating asian wild cattle

In August 2019, Chester Zoo was heavily involved in the first ever Action Indonesia Day. Led by Charlotte Smith, education and outreach activities were carried out, including a number of engaging activities with our zoo visitors! The aim was to raise awareness around the issues facing wild cattle species, and put a spotlight on these lesser known species that are threatened with extinction, and the ways people can get involved to help save them. As part of the celebrations of the day, we created a number of free learning resources.

Alongside the delivery of education and outreach workshops, our education professionals provide training at Indonesian zoos and institutions as part of ‘The Education Working Group’, maximising the spread of wild cattle conservation messages. They also work directly with the communities who share their homes and villages with these endangered species, to help educate them on the importance of conserving this species, and how they can best pass on their learnings.

Our future aim, is to continue to support the GSMP objectives using innovative, holistic methods.

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