The Zoo takes part in some breeding and conservation programmes for endangered species (the EEP) and has been collaborating for years with the State Forestry Corps CITES, giving technical support and hosting confiscated animals. For about ten years the Park has been actively involved in EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquarium) campaigns, of which it is a member. These campaigns are aimed at sensitising the conservation of animal species, supported by fundraising, that each Zoo adhering to the campaign carries out with the help of its visitors.
Falconara zoo sustains ‘’in-situ’’ projects, which take place in the native areas of the given species. At the moment, the zoo promotes and sustains the okapi, the giraffe and the cheetah conservation projects.
The Okapi Conservation Project (OCP) operates in the heart of the Democratic Republic of Congo to protect the natural habitat of the okapi and the aboriginals who live in the Natural Okapi Reserves. Proclaimed as a UNESCO heritage, the reserve is one of the areas with the biggest biological diversities in the whole of Africa. The Okapi Project carries out multiple operations, from the promotion of scientific research to the controlling of the territory. This strange mammal is ‘threatened’ with extinction by the IUCN Red List of threatened species. In effect, the okapi specimens present in nature have decreased by 50% in 15 years.
The 18th October is World Okapi Day.
The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GFC) was born only a few years ago with the aim of giving knowledge about giraffes. Since the end of the 90s to today the population of giraffes in nature has gone from 140.000 to 80.000 and is inferior to that of elephants. A decrease of about 40% in just over ten years. This is due to degradation of the habitat, human activity and poaching.
The 21st June is World Giraffe Day.
The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) was started in 1990 when Dr Laurie Marker, an American Zoologist decided to start a non-profit organization in Zambia for the wellbeing and the reintroduction of this splendid feline to its natural habitat. The CCF is the most prestigious organ regarding research, conservation, wellbeing and the reintroduction of the cheetah to is natural habitat. During its active years, the CCF has developed numerous projects aimed at the wellbeing of felines and other species.
The 4th December is World Cheetah Day.
Volohasy: Bambù, men and lemurs. The Volohasy project was born through the department of Scienze of Life and Biology of Systems (university of Turin) thanks to the support of UIZA and Italian Zoo partners. The intention of this initiative is to beat the loss of forest habitats, that represent the prime cause of the extinction of species in Madagascar. The area in which the project is localized is the protected area of Maromizaha, also called the Rain forest of the dragon trees of Madagascar.
In this area there are 13 species of lemurs, 77 of birds, 60 amphibia and 20 of reptiles to be protected and the local population is taking part in the project, promoting the sustainable development of the inhabitants of the forest. The aim is to replant an hectare of bamboo forest in the protected area. The work on site will be monitored by a monthly census of the fauna and the formation of local people specialized in dealing with natural resources of high value.
Research is one of the objectives that modern zoos are pursuing.
Parco Zoo Falconara has for some time been partnered with several Italian universities, providing opportunities for students to pursue their thesis at the Park in order to deepen and improve their techniques ex situ bringing benefits to programmes for the conservation of threatened species and environments.
For universities, zoos represent a huge potential for behavioral studies and verification methods used in the field, in particular with regard to species that are extremely elusive. In fact we have the ability to validate and to experiment with new methods under controlled conditions.
University of Pisa
Parco Zoo Falconara works by offering its own structure for use and by contributing economically, with the University of Pisa Natural History Museum of the Territory for the implementation of projects like SMELL and L.E.A.V.E.S. Research on olfactory communication of the Lemur Catta.
This project is divided into two parts, ex situ population research (carried out at the Zoo) and application of the results for the in situ research (carried out in Madagascar).
Save the Caissara
From 2011 to 2015, Parco Zoo Falconara together with Parco Zoo Punta Verde in Lignano Sabbiadoro, have promoted and sustained the SAVE THE CAISSARA project. This project started in 2004 thanks to the collaboration between Parco Zoo Punta Verde and IPE ( Insituto de Pesquisas Ecològicas) a Brazilian organization operating in the environmental field. During these years, this encounter has permitted research to be carried out between the Islands of Superagui and Ariri ( between the states of Parana and Sau Paolo in Brazil) in favour of the Leontopithecus caissara, a small monkey belonging to the callitrichid family, which up to today lives exclusively in that part of Brazil and is not present in captivity.
In the last 10 years:
- A census on the population of the Leontopiteco caissara has been carried out.
- Some groups have been monitored with the use of radio collars in order to understand their behaviour and use of space.
- The local population has been able to confront themselves, rediscovering traditions to create a satisfactory legal income.
- A project of eco-tourism has been launched in order to make nature in all its full respect and balance known.
The IUCN is valuating, based on the work done in the last few years and comparing data, whether to improve the grade of endangerment of the Caissara, from seriously endangered to endangered, which would be a great success and the demonstration that the work carried out in the last ten years has been of great value.
Parco Zoo Falconara has participated in the following campaigns:
POLE TO POLE
EAZAFor more information: www.eaza.net