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Nature conservation is one of the most important tasks of zoological and botanical gardens, that’s why the Zoological and Botanical Garden of Pilsen has been trying to support several rescue projects in the past few years. We help according to our capabilities. Abroad, the Zoological and BG Pilsen supports projects on the Philippines, in Africa, Madagascar and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Since 2018 also in Laos, Vietnam and in Borneo.
Talarak is an indigenous name for Walden´s hornbill (Rhabdotorrhinus waldeni), critically endangered in nature and an endemic species of west Visayas in the Philippines. An animal rescue center on the Negros island also called Talarak is attempting to save not only this hornbill species, but also other endangered species of animals. The main causes of endangerment of various Philippine species are heavy deforestation of the islands and illegal hunting for selling rare meat and other ingredients on the black market. Everything is also connected with the ever-growing human population. The Zoological and Botanical Garden Pilsen has been supporting the Talarak center since 2008. The creation and operation of the center and all other activities were all made possible by a Czech man, former keeper in the Pilsen Zoo, Pavel Hospodářský.
More on www.talarak.org
The Zoological and Botanical Garden Pilsen began working on a project, which aims to protect the unique area in the Lar river basin in the National Park of the same name (Lar Valley in the Central Alborz Mountains) located in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is where the endemic Latifi´s viper (Montivipera latifii) can be found. The project is being realized by an employee of the Zoo and BG Pilsen, Jan Dohnal, usually during a 4 month stay in the target location. The Iranian partner is Pars Herpetologist Institute in Tehran. The main existential threat for this viper is the loss of natural habitat caused by the creation of a dam in the valley, as well as hunting by locals for the Razi Institute, which is a site for creating medicines and serums in the city of Hessarak, Karaj region. This institute buys out all poisonous snakes from local catchers. Shepherds from the area also kill many of the snakes, mainly because of ignorance and fear of the effects and dangers of the snake´s venom. The Razi Institute started to create antivenin in 1958 and the first serum for medicinal use was used 2 years later. The poison of 9397 Latifi´s vipers was used for the making of the serum. More and more viper catching ensued in the following years.
Zoological and Botanical Garden Pilsen became a partner of the civil initiative Derbianus CSAW in 2010, working together on the project of protecting the Lord Derby eland (Taurotragus derbianus) in Senegal. By the means of member contribution and buying propagation materials the Pilsen Zoo contributes to this project. The Lord Derby eland, one of the largest and most beautiful antelopes in the world, is also one of the most endangered. Its western subspecies only survives out in the wild in the Niokolo Koba National Park in Senegal. This subspecies has been reduced to less than 200 individuals. Only a dew dozen Lord Derby elands live in the Natural Reserves Bandia and Fathala in Senegal. Since the year 2000, this rescue program has been led by a team of experts, volunteers and students of the Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences on the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague. Until now, the program has been financed from the funds of the Czech Development Agency, research grants, the university and various other institutions and people. The last big project was completed in 2009. In 2010 work was kept on schedule, however the road to preserving a species from extinction is an arduous one. The animals must be monitored regularly, optimal composition of their herds maintained, new preserves be built, and many other activities conducted vital to the rescue efforts. The civil initiative Derbianus CSAW created in 2010 and belonging to the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague is becoming the main instrument of ensuring the continual survival of the western subspecies of Lord Derby eland. Our goal is to spread word of this project as much as possible by conducting interactive events in the Pilsen Zoo.
In 2008, Zoological and Botanical Garden Pilsen became a member of the AEECL (Association Européenne pour l’Étude et la Conservation des Lémuriens) and by the means of membership fees annually contributes to the Sahamalaza project. The main goal of this project is to protect the critically endangered Blue-eyed Black Lemur (Eulemur flavifrons). They can be found on the Sahamalaza peninsula, northwestern Madagascar. The biggest success of the Association is the establishment of the biosphere reservation Sahamalaza – Iles Radama in 2001. 26.1. 2005 the government of Madagascar decreed immediate protection over key areas, totaling 260 km2 of forests, coral reefs and mangrove forests. These efforts have led to the establishment of a national park, which opened in June of 2007. This national park is the first protected area created as a part of the governmental nature preservation program.
Only recently in 1992, an even-toed undulate belonging to the bovidae family named saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) was discovered. Its name probably originated from the native name for the spinning wheel, whose legs look like the horns of the mysterious antelope. The discovery was made near the northern borders between Vietnam and Laos, when a joint team from the Ministry of Forestry of Vietnam and WWF (World Wildlife Fund) was surveyed the Vu Quang area in the Annamite Mountains. They immediately suspected that they’ve found something extraordinary. They categorized a new species of mammals after 50 years, when no new species were found. Even 20 years ago it was clear that its one of the most outstanding discoveries of the 20th century. Even though the animals inhabit a relatively limited area, no scientist has yet been able to spot one. They hide from humans and are therefore seen extremely rarely. The very few saolas caught by humans always died in captivity. That’s why the Zoological and Botanical Garden Pilsen decided in 2018 to provide its support for this project and through membership fees contributes to protecting the saolas.
The Pesisir Balikpapan project aims at protecting a part of Borneo in the Balikpapan bay. The bay is an extremely diverse mix of different biotopes, including the primary rainforest, coastal mangroves and coral reefs. It is home to the Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis larvatus), Irrawaddy Dolphin, the marine mammal called Dugong, the Estuarine Crocodile and various other species. Rainforests in the Balikpapan bay face destruction due to massive deforestation and many more illegal activities. A huge threat to the bay is the planned construction of a provincial road and expansion of local industry. The largest part of the deforestation is carried out to make room for African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) plantations. The long-term project was launched in 2007 by a Czech primatologist Stanislav Lhota, who receives support from Various zoological gardens and other institutions or people. Zoological and Botanical Garden Pilsen started to support this project in 2019.
This project links to a many years old tradition of successful breeding and study of reptiles in the Pilsen Zoo. In the new zoo history, it started to develop more intesively in the 90ties of the 20th century, when we managed to gain a pair of Comodo Dragons from the Indonesian government. We started to cooperate intensively with indonesian zoos, thanks to the former Indonesia ambassador Leonard Tobing. This resulted in a strong friendship and there were also a few exchanges of animals among our institutions. Another very successful activity was for example „the Latifi“ project between our zoo and the Pars Herpetology Institute of Iran. Our colleagues monitored, studies and iniciated world preservation programs for most endangered reptiles of Iran.
We would like to go on in this tradition in Indonesia again – with „Tanduk Satu“ project of our reptile keeper and breeder Mr. Ing. Ondřej Trávníček. We started to cooperate intensively with State Islamic University of Maulana Malik Ibrahim Malang and Repti Planet Compeny. The project aims to provide data, information, materials for other activities that will lead to the protection of the monitored herpetofauna. The main threatening factor is the loss of the original habitats caused by the felling, fires or the growth of large cities. The King cobra and the Dark python are also very often hunted by local hunters and other people due to their size and danger. The natives also kill them for meat, skin and trade. The numbers of individuals in the wild are declining significantly and encounters with them are becoming more and more rare. The Java Island is the most populous island not only in Indonesia but also in the whole world. With an area of 102,751 km2, it is one of the largest islands in Indonesia with a population of 137 million, which is 58 % of the total Indonesian population. The remaining parts of the forests on the island of Java occupy only 9,213 km2 (9%), while the forest-free landscape occupies an incredible 92,971 km2 (Yeager 2008).
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