OMAHA — Aback the zoo wants to buy an animal, like its three afresh acquired giraffes, it uses a array of beastly matchmaker.
The abiding alliance — or conceivably it’s added of an abiding cast — begins with a buzz call. Addition from the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium talks with an intermediary, a accurate adulation doctor who matches animals with the appropriate ancestry partners.
That being keeps a account with abiogenetic ancestry and bios of every beastly of that brand active in American zoos.
“On the analysis side, it’s a big dating service,” said Dr. Don Moore, arch scientist with the Smithsonian Institution and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which accredits zoos like Omaha’s.
If it’s a match, again the two zoos can accomplish a deal.
It’s at that point that the chat can annex off in all sorts of directions. Because, as it turns out, there’s not aloof one way to admission a zoo animal.
Plenty of animals are bought and sold, and some appear from the wild. But added often, zoos allotment animals through loans, donations or added methods. Troublemakers, actionable or exceptionable pets and aimlessly abnormality creatures can acquisition themselves on exhibit.
Every beastly at the zoo has its own story.
When the Omaha zoo set out to buy its three newest giraffes, a babysitter at the zoo alleged Lanny Brown at the Nashville Zoo. Brown is in allegation of the AZA’s civic ancestry plan for giraffes. Each above brand has addition like Brown.
That person, accepted as the affairs baton or coordinator of the Brand Adaptation Plan, is the go-to for any zoo that’s attractive to buy or sell.
The AZA accustomed the Brand Adaptation Plan 20 years ago to assignment against conservation. There are now affairs in abode beyond the country for 590 species.
When a zoo has added animals or wants to get rid of some, it tells addition like Brown. Again Brown looks at the profiles of every beastly that zoo owns and finds a acquaintance at a zoo that is attractive to buy. Brown’s job is to try to bout giraffes that are genetically actual altered from one addition with an accent on alienated inbreeding.
Once the affairs baton finds a few -to-be mates, the zoo can booty that account and alpha negotiating with the owners of those animals.
Usually, the agreement doesn’t absorb money. Zoos are added acceptable to accommodation or accord animals. And aback there is a fee, usually for covering animals, that fee generally goes to attention efforts, not the added zoo’s pockets.
Giraffes are one of the exceptions.
They’re “usually a appealing acceptable money-maker,” said Dan Cassidy, the Omaha zoo’s accepted curator.
Mike Crocker, administrator of the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri, said he’s had offers as aerial as $50,000 from clandestine collectors.
Most zoos abatement offers from clandestine parks in adjustment to accumulate giraffes in accepted zoos. So zoos like Omaha get the good-guy discount.
Dickerson Park aloof awash a 1-year-old changeable giraffe, AnnaBelle, to Omaha’s zoo for amid $15,000 and $20,000. The zoo got a agnate accord on Zola, a 1-year-old from the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Layla, a 5-year-old from the Nashville Zoo.
Male giraffes, and males of best species, amount abundant less. One macho can brand with about a dozen females, Cassidy said, so zoos charge beneath males. Those commonly advertise for beneath than bisected the amount of their changeable counterparts.
When Cassidy started at the zoo in the 1970s, zoos acclimated to cold-call added zoos, attractive to buy or advertise animals. There was no average man.
Zoos aback again generally angry to the agrarian for new animals. Now, they do all they can to accumulate business amid zoos.
Reaching into the agrarian for animals is a array of aftermost resort for zoos.
Other times, it’s added of a accomplishment effort.
The Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is accomplishing aloof that with elephants.
In 2012, zoo CEO and controlling administrator Dennis Pate partnered with two added zoos, the Dallas Zoo and the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, to acquisition an albatross assemblage in the wild.
Domestically, zoos are disturbing to brand elephants. There aren’t abounding breeding-age elephants accessible for alteration from added zoos, so in adjustment to ample the gigantic new African Grasslands albatross assemblage room, Pate had to about-face elsewhere.
In February 2014, Pate catholic to Swaziland for the aboriginal time and, on aboriginal sight, he and the added zoos agreed to booty affairs of 18 elephants that the Big Game Parks Trust planned to contrarily kill.
The elephants were antibacterial the abode that atramentous rhinos relied on in the Mkhaya Game Reserve and Hlane National Park. As allotment of the transaction, the three zoos agreed to accord $450,000 to the Big Game Parks Trust for atramentous cornball conservation.
When aircraft endangered animals overseas, the red band is extensive. The Endangered Brand Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Brand of Agrarian Fauna and Flora accord of 1973 bind what zoos can do, and they accept to book for a admittance from the U.S. Angle and Wildlife Service. The three zoos did that aftermost November. A accommodation is accepted in the abutting month.
The case of the zoo’s new elephants is abnormally rare, Pate said. There hasn’t been an albatross acceptation of this admeasurement in decades.
Plenty of animals are freebies, with a catch.
When zoos accept additional animals that they don’t accept amplitude for — say, a apache — they go through the brand adaptation plan affairs baton and put the beastly on a list. For some species, usually less-threatened ones, zoos can admission that account of accessible animals online.
The action usually follows the aforementioned accomplish it would if the zoo were affairs an animal, except instead of exchanging banknote and absolute affairs the animal, the zoos accede to a loan.
That accommodation can go a brace of altered ways.
Sometimes, there’s banknote exchanged, but usually the accepting zoo gets to accumulate the beastly for the butt of its activity after advantageous a fee. The sending zoo can anamnesis the beastly whenever it wants, but it has to accommodated agreed-upon altitude to do so, and Cassidy said he can’t anamnesis a time area that has happened in Omaha.
In exchange, the sending zoo gets that animal’s aboriginal offspring. Sometimes the zoo specifies that it wants the aboriginal female.
That’s alleged a ancestry loan. It’s the best common blazon of accommodation Omaha’s zoo participates in.
On a abate scale, the zoo sometimes borrows animals from government entities, like the U.S. Angle and Wildlife Service. Salt Creek tiger beetles and black-footed ferrets are both currently on semi-permanent accommodation from the government on the action that the zoo brand the animals.
Fortunately for the zoo’s basal line, best of its beastly affairs are actually free.
Other zoos are usually blessed to accord their animals a acceptable home. And they’re blessed with the bond apprehension that some brand appear after a premium.
Like bongo. The horned beastly is one of the better brand of antelope in Africa. It will accept a home in the new African Grasslands in the adumbration of its arch predators, cheetahs and lions, and it didn’t amount the zoo a fee to buy the males for its herd. Aback the zoo acquired a macho bongo from the Milwaukee County Zoo in 2012, it alone amount aircraft and handling.
“Donation is the chat I consistently adopt aback things are advancing this way,” Cassidy said. “Sale is the chat I adopt aback they’re activity out.”
But the zoo doesn’t consistently adulation accepting handouts.
For years, Cassidy said, neighbors had a addiction to bead off pets, bold the zoo capital their orphans. Cassidy said the zoo has apparent affluence of fish, parrots and rabbits over the years, but the zoo tries to abash bodies from auctioning their exceptionable pets.
They don’t apperception chargeless bongo, but they’re abounding up on bunnies.
Some beastly agent belief are drifter than others.
Some of the zoo’s antagonistic snakes, for example, came from an out-of-control homeowner, whose snakes were confiscated by the Nebraska Humane Society a brace of years ago. The zoo captivated the snakes on accommodation until the cloister disqualified on the case. Some are still at the zoo today.
The zoo accepts added kinds of botheration animals. Aback a abundance bobcat roamed into boondocks about 20 years ago, the zoo took control on accommodation rather than acceptance the beastly to be euthanized, Cassidy said.
The State of Nebraska alleged the zoo afresh about addition captured cougar, allurement if there was allowance for it. Cassidy beneath the offer.
“You know,” he recalls cogent them, “we’ve still got the aftermost guy that you beatific us.”
Animals sometimes appear to the zoo on their own. If an opossum makes its home on zoo grounds, it can become the zoo’s property.
And some animals are accustomed altar at the zoo for rehabilitation purposes.
Several collared peccaries — baby pig-like creatures from the Sonoran Desert — are on affectation central the Desert Dome. They accustomed at the zoo from rehabbers in Arizona.
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