Greater Vancouver Zoo’s Oregon Spotted Frog Recovery Program receives the Colonel G.D. Dailley Award
CANADIAN ACCREDITED FACILITY AWARDED INDUSTRY AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
October 7, 2021
This award recognizes achievement in ex-situ propagation and management programs that contribute to the long-term survival of animal species or populations. The successful applicant will demonstrate a significant institutional commitment to propagation or management programs that produce multiple or single births that have a positive impact on the sustainability of the species or population.
We are very excited that our conservation efforts here at the Greater Vancouver Zoo is being recognized by such a prestigious award. This is the rearing program we have been working on the longest, and it has really tested us, we felt some years we weren’t making enough difference for this species. This past year we really cracked the code regarding mating behavior as well as stimulating the females to lay their eggs in a timely manner, because we had issues in the past with egg binding. I would also like to highlight Andrea Gielens our wildlife biologist who discovered this breakthrough. Hopefully, we can continue to replicate these behaviors, which can only mean we will be exponentially increasing our success for the survival of this local endangered species.
Menita Prasad Director of Animal Care / Deputy General Manager
It’s a great honour to receive this award from CAZA and our colleagues across the country. The years have been long with this project, working with our breeding window to try and crack the secret to reproduction with this species ex-situ. While it has been a long time coming this year has been a huge success and we look forward to continuing to learn the intricacies of this specific species breeding cues and supporting their recovery.
Andrea Gielens, MSc, RPBio Wildlife Biologist Wildlife Preservation Canada
To learn more about CAZA and the Outstanding Achievement Awards, visit: https://caza.ca/awards/
CAZA Recognizes Excellence in Animal Care and Conservation
CANADIAN ACCREDITED FACILITIES AWARDED INDUSTRY AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE
OTTAWA, October 6, 2021—At the Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) Annual Awards of Excellence ceremony, held virtually this year, winners of the 2021 Outstanding Achievement Awards were recognized for their commitment to animal welfare, conservation, science, and education. These facilities have made significant investments to ensure world-class care of animals and inspire global conservation.
CAZA also recognized volunteers who have contributed their valuable time and effort to wildlife conservation at a member institution.
“We are so incredibly proud of the dedication and accomplishments of our accredited facilities,” said CAZA Executive Director, Jim Facette. “Their commitment to excellence in animal care and leadership in the fields of education, conservation, science and animal welfare throughout COVID-19 is remarkable.”
• Seven different facilities this year were acknowledged for their excellence: Zoo de Granby, Saskatoon Forestry Farm, African Lion Safari, The Greater Vancouver Zoo, Assiniboine Park Zoo, the Toronto Zoo, and Little Ray Nature Centers, all were judged to have achieved industry excellence.
Each year, after all the award applications have been received, five professional fellow members, retired professional fellow members or Director Emeritus/Emerita from institutions not nominated for an award, are recruited by the National Office. The identities of panel members are held in confidence, including from each other. In other words, judges don’t know who else is judging and no one else does in fact.
Members of the review panel independently score the submissions and submit their assessments directly to the National Office. If there is only one application for a category, that application is scored by the panel and must achieve a score greater than 51% of the available points. If the applicant does not achieve that threshold the award is not presented.
CAZA is the voice of zoos and aquariums in Canada. We are the leading organization in Canadian animal welfare standards development, our accreditation process includes expert standards set by leading researchers, biologists, and academia who ensure we reflect the latest in animal welfare research, organizational management, and public safety protocols. Through a science-based approach, CAZA’s accreditation bridges the ethical concerns with conservation and the public interest.
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Overview of the program at GVZoo
The ex-situ program was initiated in conjunction with the Oregon Spotted Frog Recovery Team with two main objectives at its inception. Firstly, and most importantly, during the early years of the program and species assessment, the program provided an assurance population for eggs collected from the wild to ensure an entire years breeding efforts were not lost due to stochastic weather events. Secondly, as the program developed the value of rearing animals for head starting was more thoroughly understood and head-starting animals for release became the focus of efforts. This strategy was the key recovery action for the ex-situ program for many years. Modeling revealed that the most efficient effort, for both cost and results, would be to focus effort on captive breeding to produce significant animals at the tadpole stage for release to establish new populations. Captive breeding efforts which had previously been the focus on the Vancouver Aquarium with marginal success alongside ex-situ smaller scale colony breeding at GVZoo. Considering the shift to focus more resources on captive breeding, efforts were expanded with the formation of a captive breeding specialist group combining the efforts of all institutions breeding or rearing OSF and Northern Leopard frog in order to combine our knowledge. Effort began within the GVZoo ex-situ program to gradually shifting the focus to these captive breeding efforts and to spend significant effort in “cracking” the secret for breeding this species ex-situ. In 2021 changing husbandry practices helped the GVZoo head-starting program increase production of tadpoles from captive breeding tenfold.
The Oregon Spotted frog has been the target of significant conservation effort since 1999 when it was emergency red-listed as endangered under the Canadian Species at Risk Act. At this time, it had only 3 remaining breeding populations in the Fraser Valley with an estimated fewer than 400 individuals. Recovery of this species has involved many different conservation actions, surveys, population monitoring, landowner contact, public education, habitat restoration, and the focus of this writing ex-situ management. Within the umbrella of ex-situ management, the focus of the conservation efforts for this species have also changed over time. Facilities run by Wildlife Preservation Canada at Greater Vancouver Zoo (GVZ) began to build a program for captive breeding, having previously focused entirely on head-starting. While other partners focused on specific pairing of animals producing trackable genetics through offspring, the GVZ program would focus on larger-scale group breeding in naturalized enclosures. Overall, the timing, behaviour, egg-laying pattern and fertility success in 2021 was drastically improved and much more reminiscent of that which is observed in the wild. Total tadpole production went from an average of 1600 a year for the past three years to over 20,000.