SEOUL, July 5 (Korea Bizwire) – Seoul Zoo, located in Seoul Grand Park, recently revealed that 286 of its animals have died since May 2015. That’s also 5.4 percent of all the animals managed by the zoo.
The zoo also revealed that 132, or 46 percent, of the dead animals were globally endangered species, 30 of which were classed CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Appendix I (threatened with extinction) including a jaguar, snow leopard, and lemur. The other 102 were CITES Appendix II (not necessarily threatened but may become so).
The trade of endangered plant and animal species is regulated according to CITES. Trade of CITES Appendix I fauna and flora is only permitted under exceptional circumstances, while trade of CITES Appendix II animals and plants is strictly controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival. CITES Appendix III refers to species that are protected in at least one country and can be traded by obtaining clearance documents from the importing country.
Among the 132 endangered animals that died at the Seoul Zoo, only 12 (9 percent) resulted from ‘old age’, whereas the causes of death for the rest of the animals were injuries or diseases, including ‘injuries from assault (animal)’, ‘bacterial infection’, and ‘cerebral hemorrhage’.
“Although the direct cause of death was categorized as disease, the majority of these animals were of old age,” said a zoo official. “And these animals eventually got sick and died.”
For instance, the direct cause of death for its jaguar was ‘pleura cancer’. But according to the zoo, the animal had ‘completed its average life span (of 11 to 23 years)’.
The same applied for the zoo’s leopard, which was 15 years old, and the zoo said that it was relatively old compared to the animal’s average life expectancy of 20 to 25 years. The official cause of death for the leopard was ‘suppressed respiration from drug side effects’.
The zoo also pointed to the fact the death rate for its animals in 2015 was 5.4 percent, which was lower than similar facilities overseas. The rate for Japan’s Ueno Zoo was 18.8 percent, while Yokohama Zoological Gardens had a 10.5 percent death rate, and Taiwan’s Taipei Zoo came in at 6.2 percent.
“We’re continuing with our best efforts to improve the zoo environment,” he added. “In fact, we reorganized our businesses to strengthen the zoo’s maintenance system last November. We also recruited more veterinarians.”
By Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)