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Field Conservation

African Lion Safari provides Barn Owl for Release Programme

Between 2009 and 2010, African Lion Safari's Endangered Barn Owl Programme successfully hatched 13 Barn owls that were released into the wild in Illinois. These Barn owls were equipped with satellite transmitters for tracking. The data collected provides valuable insight into the needs and struggles that face these endangered owls in the wild.

In October, 2010 Canada's Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) presented African Lion Safari with the “Col. G.D. Dailley Innovation in Breeding Programs Award” for the above mentioned Barn Owl Breeding Programme. This award is presented to institutions for their success in breeding programmes dealing with rare or endangered species.

Elephant Specialist Travels to Sumatra to attend Second Sumatran Mahout Workshop

In December, 2007 African Lion Safari’s Elephant Handler Mark Matassa was invited to travel to Indonesia to take part and help facilitate the second Sumatran Mahout Workshop hosted at the Saree Elephant Conservation Center (ECC) in Aceh Province.

All Elephant Conservation Centers in Sumatra were represented as well as Taman Safari Indonesia from the island of Java. The intent of the workshop was to discuss the various issues faced by the facilities and their conditions, the technical and management challenges faced by mahouts in their work with elephants and habitat conservation efforts.

The workshop provided participants with an opportunity to make a presentation on their facility including the number of elephants, staff, specific use of elephants and any problems they have encountered.

Mark Matassa was invited to speak on African Lion Safari’s award winning elephant breeding programme. His presentation focused on African Lion Safari’s world-renowned success in husbandry and reproduction of the Asian elephant. This was followed by discussions on techniques and demonstrations by Mark of elephant care and management.

The visit to Sumatra provided Mark with an opportunity to visit the Tangkahan Conservation Response Unit (CRU) located on the Kualsa Buluh River which borders the 8,600 square kilometre Gunung Leuser National Park. This national park is home to Sumatran elephants, tigers, rhinoceros and orang utan.

The CRU project involves using camp elephants, their mahouts and Forest Rangers to patrol protected areas of the park. Mark went on patrol with the CRU and was able to exchange information with them on the care and management of their elephants.

With the establishment of the Tangkahan CRU, illegal logging and poaching has virtually been stopped within the CRU patrol area.

African Lion Safari Hosts International Workshops on Ultrasound and Assisted Reproduction in Elephants, Rhinoceroses and Giraffe

African Lion Safari has hosted five international workshops at the park providing animal handlers from around the world with a unique opportunity to learn first hand about reproductive biology, pathology and assisted reproduction technologies in the 3 mega vertebrae species; elephant, rhinoceros and giraffe. The workshops are hosted in cooperation with the Leibniz Institute of Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), Germany.The department of reproductive management at the IZW is known internationally for their success in artificial insemination in rhino and elephants and as specialists in imaging techniques in wildlife.

“The park is home to a herd of 12 Rothschild giraffe, 5 white rhino, 12 cheetah and many other birds and animals from around the world. African Lion Safari maintains a philosophy of activity in captivity and animals are accustom to being managed in close proximity to people.

As all animals are well trained to routine ultrasound examination, hands-on workshops are able to be offered. Handlers from around the world participate in the workshops that provide them an opportunity to practise ultrasound skills on elephants, rhinos and giraffe.

African Lion Safari hopes that by exchanging information with other handlers and zoological facilities, valuable knowledge can be shared that ultimately benefits breeding and conservation initiatives for many endangered and threatened species.