Projects

 

SCIENTIFIC PROJECTS

In order to preserve genetic diversity of the animals found in Northern Eurasia, regional zoos, in cooperation with other conservation institutions and organizations, participate in the implementation of the International comprehensive scientific projects, with the Moscow Zoo being actively involved in most of the projects.
 

Conservation of bustards in Eurasia
The project targets three species of the family Otididae, which occur within the territory of Russia and adjacent countries:

- the Great Bustard (Otis tarda tarda, O. t. dybowskii).  Both subspecies are globally endangered and are included in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation (2001), with the western subspecies under Category 3 and the eastern subspecies, under Category 2.  They are also included in the IUCN Red List, in the Appendix II of CITES, Appendix II of the Bern Convention and Appendix I of the Bonn Convention.

- the Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax) is a globally endangered species, which is included in the Red data Book of the Russian Federation (2001) under Category 3, in the IUCN Red List, in the Appendix II to CITES and Appendix II of the Bern Convention.

- the Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii) is a globally endangered species which is included in the Red data Book of the Russian Federation (2001) under Category 1, in the IUCN Red List, in the Red Data Books of several Central Asian countries, in the Appendix I to CITES and Appendix II of the Bonn Convention.

The main goals of the project are the development of standards for the captive husbandry of Eurasian Bustards, as part of the conservation strategy for these species, and the consolidation of efforts and experience of the zoos and breeding stations that participate in the project in order to achieve the best breeding results.
 
Conservation of mountain ungulates of Eurasia
The following rare species were chosen to be included in this project: the Markhor (CITES Appendix I, IUCN Red List), the West Caucasian Tur (IUCN EN) and the East Caucasian Tur (IUCN VU), the Bezoar Wild Goat (IUCN VU), the Altai Argali (SITES II, IUCN - VU) and other Argali subspecies, as well as some other species that are rarely represented in zoological collections, including Ovis orientalis bocharensis, Ovis orientalis severtzovi, Ovis aries gmelini, Ovis vignei arkal.

The main goal of the project is establishing stable and genetically diverse captive breeding populations of mountain ungulates of Eurasia, where a special attention will be paid to the rare species of Markhor and the West and East Caucasian Turs, as well as the Argali subspecies, with the purpose of accumulating reserves of these species in order to ensure the preservation of their gene pool and to allow experiments with their reintroduction into the wild.

Conservation of the Stellers Sea Eagle
The Stellers Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus Pallas, 1811) is an endemic species of the Russian fauna, which is included in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation (2001), CITES (Appendix II), Annex A of the European Union and the Bonn Convention (Appendix 1).  It is also the subject of multilateral agreements between Russia, the United States, Korea and Japan within the framework of the Convention for the Protection of Migratory Birds.  Among the limiting factors are the various aspects of anthropogenic influence, as disturbance, environmental pollution, and lead poisoning that the birds are subject to during the hunting season.

The main goals of the project are:
- establishing a reserve population of the Stellers Sea Eagle within the network of EARAZA zoos and breeding stations in order to preserve the maximum long-term genetic diversity; and
- developing the conditions required for the conservation of this species in the wild.

Crane conservation in Eurasia
All crane species found in Palearctic ecological zone are represented nesting migrating populations of low densities.  Low population sizes could be explained by biological characteristics of cranes, as well as by the destruction of the species habitats caused by many anthropogenic factors, including poaching.  Cranes are associated with wetlands, which they use in all seasons.  Economic development of wetlands became the crucial factor of the decline of the populations of cranes.

The species proposed as the main subjects of the project are those that are categorized as rare and endangered:

The Siberian Crane (Grus leucogeranus Pallas, 1773) is an endangered species that is included in the Red data Book of the Russian Federation (Category I), The IUCN Red List, and CITES Appendix I.  In 1995 Russia was among the ten countries that signed the Memorandum of Understanding concerning Conservation Measures for the Siberian Crane, under the Convention on Migratory Species, otherwise known as the Bonn Convention.  The Memorandum calls for obtaining eggs and raising chicks for reintroduction into the wild, both using the parent birds and the isolation method.  (Conservation Measures for the Siberian Crane UNEP/CMS, ed. 2004 - Third Edition (in prep.)  Thus, this project will ensure Russias contribution to the cause of crane conservation in accordance with its international obligations.

The Red-crowned Crane (Grus japonensis (P.L.S. Muller, 1776) is an endangered species which is included in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation (Category I), the IUCN Red List and CITES Appendix I.  It is also listed under the Russian-Japanese and the Russian-Chinese Conventions for the Conservation of Migratory Birds and their Environment.  Of all the crane species that are found in Russia, the Red-crowned crane has the lowest numbers, and only the Whooping crane has still lower numbers of all the crane species in the world.

The Hooded Crane (Grus monacha Temminck, 1835) is a rare species that is included in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation (Category III), the IUCN Red List and CITES Appendix I.  It is also listed under the Russian-Japanese and the Russian-Chinese Conventions for the Conservation of Migratory Birds and their Environment.

The White-naped Crane (Grus vipio Pallas, 1811) is an endangered species that is included in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation (Category I), the IUCN Red List and CITES Appendix I.  It is also listed under the Russian-Japanese and the Russian-Chinese Conventions for the Conservation of Migratory Birds and their Environment.

The goal of this project is the establishment of stable and genetically viable captive populations of cranes in Eurasia, especially of the rare and endangered species, in order to preserve their gene pools for replenishing zoological collections and the recovery of the vanishing wild populations.

Conservation of rare and endangered geese of Eurasia
The primary objects of the project are the following species, which were included in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation in 2001, including the Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides), the Lesser White-fronted (Goose Anser erythropus), the Bewicks Swan (Cygnus columbianus), the Baers Pochard (Aythya baeri), and some other rare species, as the Red-breasted Goose, the Brent Goose, Aleutian Goose, the Emperor Goose, the Bar-headed Goose, the Baikal Teal, the Marbled Teal, the White-eyed Pochard, the Mandarin Duck and the White-headed Duck.  Some of those species breed well at West European zoos and breeding stations, and some others also breed at EARAZA zoos, but all of them require constant attention and further research in the field of their husbandry and reintroduction.

The goals of the project are the development and implementation of the conservation strategy and the recovery of rare species of Anseriformes with the help of intensive captive breeding and further reintroduction into the wild, and establishing the required number of stable and genetically viable breeding populations of rare Anseriformes in zoos and breeding stations.
All crane species found in Palearctic ecological zone are represented nesting migrating populations of low densities.  Low population sizes could be explained by biological characteristics of cranes, as well as by the destruction of the species habitats caused by many anthropogenic factors, including poaching.  Cranes are associated with wetlands, which they use in all seasons.  Economic development of wetlands became the crucial factor of the decline of the populations of cranes.

Comprehensive Research project on establishing reserve populations of the Siberian Spruce Grouse
The Siberian Spruce Grouse Falcipennis falcipennis (Hartlaub, 1855) is an endemic Russian species, which is included in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation (Category II, a sporadically distributed species with declining numbers).  Its present range consists of three isolated areas that spread from Yakutia in the west, to Sakhalin in the east and the Primorsky Region in the south. The numbers are low and the rate of decrease is catastrophic.
The goals of the project are:
- developing and perfecting the guidelines for the all-year captive husbandry of the Siberian Spruce Grouse in an artificial environment.
- establishing a stable and genetically diverse breeding population of the Siberian Spruce Grouse in captivity.
- reintroduction of the captive bred founder stock in geographically isolated areas of dark coniferous taiga in the Novosibirsk Region and in the Altai Republic.
- studying the process of acclimatization of the Siberian Spruce Grouse    while establishing reserve populations.
Long-term Project for the Reintroduction of the Przewalskis Horse in the Orenburg Region
This project is managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Russian Academy of Sciences, constitutes part of the Conservation Strategy for  the Przewalskis Horse in Russia.  Institutions that participate in this project are the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia, Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Steppe Institute of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, EARAZA member zoos and other institutions.  The restoration of the wild population of the Przewalskis Horse in the remaining areas of the Orenburg Steppe that have been granted the protected status of nature reserves will not only guarantee the survival of this species, but will also contribute to the preservation of biodiversity in steppe ecosystems and to their stability and rehabilitation.  At this time, the foundations are being laid for a reintroduction station for Przewalskis Horses in the Orenburg Region.  It is planned to use the animals kept in the collections of regional and foreign zoos, for future reintroduction.
 


Conseervation of the wild populations of Amur tiger and Far Eastern leopard
The Moscow Zoo is engaged in the international conservation project for the conservation of Amur tigers and Far Eastern leopards.  Primorye and the southern part of Khabarovski Krai are the main home for the 400 remaining Amur tigers with a few living across the border in China.  Both Amur tigers and Far Easter (Amur) leopards are critically endangered but the Amur leopard is now the most endangered big cat in the world with only 30 adults left in the wild.  .  Both cats are unique to Russia now and should be considered as our most treasured wild creature.  The main threats to the survival of the remaining 400 Amur tigers and 40 Amur leopards are poaching and habitat loss. Leopards and tigers are killed by poachers for their beautiful skins and for their body parts, which are used as ingredients in traditional medicines in China and other Asian countries.  Poachers also deplete ungulate and other prey populations and as result leopards and tigers face starvation if poaching is not sufficiently controlled.  Large tracts of valuable leopard and tiger forest habitat are destroyed every year by human-induced forest fires.  In addition the forests are threatened by small-scale illegal logging and large-scale semi-legal logging operations.

Many international and national NGOs, state agencies and institutions joined forces to strengthen their ability to develop, finance and implement conservation activities for the Far Eastern leopards and Amur tigers in the Russian Far East.  European and North-American zoos are implementing international breeding programs for these two endangered cats, and the Moscow Zoo is an active member of the EEPs (European Conservation Breeding Programs) for Amur tiger and Amur leopard, and is managing regional conservation breeding program for Amur tiger (this regional program is a part of the EEP for Amur tiger). 

International zoo conservation programs are focused on the management of genetically and physically healthy captive populations of the animals that may serve as genetic safe boats in case of catastrophic events in the wild.  In case the re-introduction/supplementation project for Amur leopards has been considered to be feasible and necessary and a relevant decision has been made, the EEP for Amur leopard will be responsible for providing appropriate stock for re-introduction/supplementation, using captive specimens which will be found most appropriate for this purpose. 

Project for the recovery of the Eastern spadefoot in Georgia
Wild populations of the Eastern spadefoot are declining.  The species is included in the category of endangered species of the Red Book of Georgia.

Staff members of the Moscow Zoo together with their Georgian colleagues, are working on the project of the recovery of the populations of the Eastern spadefoot through captive breeding and release of the tadpoles in the natural water reservoirs in the habitat of the species. 

  1/8