Confiscated Corals from ZSL - London Zoo
Improvements in husbandry and welfare of confiscated hard corals and subsequent impacts on conservation
There are a number of important threats to reef survival in the wild, including overfishing, coastal development and un-natural sedimentation.
The extraction and international trade of live Scleractinian corals as ‘marine ornamentals’, although a less significant threat, accounted for over 1 million live colonies removed and traded in 2005, the most recent year for which data are available.
The Zoological Society of London has had a partnership with HM Customs since 2003 to identify and re-house colonies of hard coral brought into the UK illegally. Between 2003 and 2007 this partnership has seized and re-housed 1000 colonies of hard corals. Improvements in husbandry and welfare include a rapid triage system when corals first arrive, maintenance of a permanent marine quarantine facility, and maintenance of 10 tanks of varying size and depth with a variety of light conditions to allow for more flexible housing after rapid assessment of species’ requirements.
These husbandry improvements have led to increased confidence by the Heathrow Customs Unit that no further compromises to welfare will occur if a seizure is to be undertaken. Previously, if no suitable facilities were available, shipments may have been allowed to pass to prevent further suffering of individual animals.
Therefore a clear link is demonstrated by the improvement in the ability of the Aquarium Team at ZSL London Zoo to react to emergency situations and provide high standards of welfare for confiscated animals, and the level of seizures undertaken, thereby contributing to the enforcement of CITES regulations on the ground.
Developed by: ZSL - London Zoo