• Assessing potential impacts of solar power facilities on wildlife utilizing animal behavior research

      Chock, Rachel Y.; Clucas, B.; Peterson, E.K.; Blackwell, B.F.; Blumstein, D.T.; Church, K.; Fernández-Juricic, E.; Francescoli, G.; Greggor, A.L.; Kemp, P.; et al. (Virtual, 2021)
      Utility-scale solar power is a rapidly expanding renewable energy source with great potential to help meet increasing global energy demands. Solar facilities have large footprints across previously undeveloped habitat, particularly the American Southwest. Despite the scale of this industry, research is scarce on how construction and operation of facilities affect wildlife. We conducted a research-prioritization process to identify key questions to better understand how wildlife is affected by solar facilities and how behavioral data can be used to mitigate negative impacts. Behavioral responses are often the most visible signs of detrimental effects, as behavioral shifts are usually an animal’s first response to environmental change. We asked professionals in the fields of ecology, conservation, and energy to identify important research questions, then held a workshop to reduce and clarify these questions. The priority research areas that emerged included animal perception of solar facilities, movement, habitat use, and interspecific interactions.
    • Building a new burrowing owl subpopulation through collaboration and translocation

      Wisinski, Colleen L.; Hennessy, Sarah M.; Marczak, Susanne A.; Mayer, D.; Nelson, T.; Nordstrom, Lisa A.; Rice, K.; Sin, H.; Stevens, Michael T.; Swaisgood, Ronald R. (Virtual, 2021)
      The western burrowing owl (BUOW, Athene cunicularia hypugaea)–a California species of special concern–has experienced range-wide declines, including in San Diego County where only one breeding population remained by the 2010s. As such, local conservation goals include increasing the number of breeding sub-populations to guard against extirpation of BUOW from the county. A working group including government agencies, non-profit organizations, and biological consultants was created to carry out adaptive management and conservation planning in support of these goals. Through a systematic and collaborative effort, we identified Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve (RJER) as the first site for expanding the BUOW population. Site preparation techniques included vegetation management, targeted enhancement of the California ground squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi) population, and retrofitting/installation of artificial burrows. Population viability analysis utilizing 3 years of local demographic data predicted positive population growth from a small initial translocation population, and in 2018, we began translocating BUOW to RJER using a soft-release technique. Over three successive breeding seasons, we documented reproduction and retention of translocated owls, recruitment of their offspring, and recruitment of non-translocated owls. Here, we detail our methodologies and success metrics, and discuss leveraging our collaborative efforts to achieve conservation goals with limited resources.
    • California condor recovery: a work in progress

      Wallace, Michael P.; Lamont, Miles M. (Hancock House PublishersToronto, Ontario, Canada. Surrey, BC, Canada., 2014)
    • Efficient 3D movement-based kernel density estimator and application to wildlife ecology

      Tracey, J.A.; Sheppard, James; Lockwood, G.K.; Chourasia, A.; Tatineni, M.; Fisher, R.N.; Sinkovits, R.S. (Association for Computing MachineryAtlanta (GA), 2014)
    • Epidemiology of ulcerative shell disease in Colombian slider turtles (Trachemys callirostris) in a wildlife facility in Colombia between 2005 and 2009

      Castro, Andrés Alejandro; Vivas, Zoila A.; Brieva, Claudia I.; Witte, Carmel L. (2014)
      ...This is the first epidemiological study of this disease in turtles in a wildlife rehabilitation facility anywhere in the world.
    • Fostering “Little Green Guards ” through a collaborative partnership to create an effective conservation education program for rural children in Guizhou, China

      Tan, Chia L.; Yang, Y.; Niu, Kefeng; Lei, Shi; Weiyong, Zhang; Riondato, Isidoro; Giacoma, Cristina; Balletto, Emilio; Gamba, Marco; John, A. Phillips (2013)
      San Diego Zoo Global (USA), Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve Administration (China), and the University of Torino (Italy) have partnered in a collaborative effort to promote environmental sustainability and biodiversity conservation in Guizhou, China. The objectives of the partnership are twofold: (i) train researchers and wildlife professionals using a multidisciplinary program that employs the latest methods and tools in order to deepen their understanding of wildlife and the environment, and (ii) foster positive attitudes and behaviour toward wildlife in rural children through a creative education program called the Little Green Guards. A recent development of the education program is the Little Green Guards Club for children whose houses border nature reserves. During club meetings, staff of the three cooperating institutions and volunteers participated in teaching English and natural history lessons. Club activities included animal themed art projects, games, movies, and field trips designed to cultivate empathy for animals and appreciation for nature in these children. Evaluations conducted before and after implementation of the education program showed a significant increase in children’s knowledge of and affection for wildlife, and sometimes coincided with positive behavioural changes toward native species. Here we feature our collaborative effort in China as a model which can be adopted in other geographic regions where species and habitat conservation must become a top priority. We will discuss the role of Universities in critical assessment of previous experiences in order to enhance the effectiveness of cooperation with other development stakeholders (e.g. governmental and local authorities, civil society and NGOs, foundations and private companies, and local associations).
    • Testicular seminomas in two giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)

      Molter, Christine M. (Disney’s Animals, Science, and EnvironmentOrlando, Florida, 2014)
    • The one curator - one species challenge

      Wiese, Robert J.; Gray, J.; Dick, G. (2010)
      The One Curator-One Species Challenge is a plan that each zoo and aquarium commits long-term that they will lead the efforts to secure the survival of a number of species equal to the number of animal curators on staff. With this strategy the world’s zoos and aquariums could ensure survival of well over 1,000 species.
    • The plight of the northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni): is there still hope to prevent extinction?

      Ryder, Oliver A.; Hermes, R.; Goeritz, F.; Durrant, Barbara S.; Stejskal, J.; Hrudy, J.; Vahala, L.; Loring, Jeanne F.; Hildebrandt, T.B.; Szentiks, C.A.; et al. (Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife ResearchBerlin, 2015)
    • Twenty-four hour activity levels and walking rates of African elephants in a zoological setting

      Miller, Lance J.; Andrews, Jeff; Anderson, Mathew J.; (Houston, TX, 2010)
      …While there are many questions that need to be addressed surrounding the management of elephants, a first step is to examine the daily activity levels and walking rates of elephants within these facilities. The current study examined these questions for African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park....