Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on August 24, 1975 · Page 136
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August 24, 1975

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 136

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Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 24, 1975
Page:
Page 136
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Page 136 article text (OCR)

mkZN by John G.Rogers ST. PAUL, MINN. R "marriage bureau" for animals living in zoos in the United States? This unique concept is now a fact. It's called ISIS with headquarters here in St. Paul and it already has achieved its first mating, bringing together a lonely male pygmy marmoset based in Washington and an amorous female in Kansas City,. "These marmosets," says W.J. Armstrong, Kansas City Zoo director, "are tiny little Warning: The Surgeon General Has Determined That Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous to Your Health. Dr. U.S.Seal jaguar Samantha: A computer keeps track of animals in US. zoos, helps breed endangered species, like jaguars. Brazilian monkeys and they yearn to live in pairs, not groups or alone. So we were very lucky that through ISIS we found out about this lonesome male in the Washington Zoo and were able to arrange that he set up a household with our female here in Kansas City. They seem to be very happy together and we hope they're planning to have a family. At birth their babies will be the size of a peanut." ISIS stands for International Species In-, ventory System. It collects information on zoo populations--so far 19,000 animals in 176 zoos--and pours the data into an IBM computer. Periodically, the computer spews forth its lists and these are sent to the zoos. Or, an individual zoo director will ask ISIS if a specific animal is available somewhere, and Linda Murtfeldt, the ISIS manager, asks the computer. "Recently," she reports, "the St. Paul Como Zoo had a female spiny anteater-that's a primitive little egg-laying mammal. She obviously was longing for a husband. Through an ISIS report it was found that a -lone male was pining away-in the zoo in Topeka, Kan. Now, a 'marriage' has been arranged." Not just numbers Says Dr. U.S. Seal, University of Minnesota professor and a founder of ISIS: "In the case of some animals, the supply is drying up in the wild and the only way to keep some species going is to breed them in captivity. Our computer does more than just keep track of numbers and whereabouts of animals. We can also ask it which are the healthiest ones for breeding purposes, how old they are and other information." ISIS expects requests soon to come in on a number of scarce and endangered ani-' mals, including Mongolian wild horses, Siberian tigers, jaguars, timber wolves and Arabian oryxes, which are long-horned antelopes. Dr. Seal, who thinks of ISIS as a modern- day Noah's Ark, says gorillas also are in short supply. Armstrong of Kansas City, confirms this: "We just sent two gorillas to the San Diego Zoo to be bred. But in this case 1SIS won't get credit for 'marriages.' We want them back as soon as they're pregnant." Eventually ISIS will be expanded to include birds and reptiles and the hope is to go international until the system ultimately has a complete record on every creature in the world living in a zoo.

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