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New technology for Virginia Aquarium will enhance care of exotic animals

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Posted at 1:47 PM, Apr 04, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-05 11:46:27-04

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center just became one of an 86-member early adopter consortium that will share information through a real-time global software program about care, behavior and health of wild animals in zoos and aquariums.

The latest version of the Zoo Information & Management System (ZIMS) is a web-based, global database that will give these institutions and almost 800 more International Species Information System (ISIS) members access to basic biologic, collection management, husbandry, and health and disease information on wild animals in human care.

This comprehensive knowledge base, built over the last 40 years, will be used to enhance care of the Virginia Aquarium’s exotic species, as well as international conservation efforts.

“The great thing about ZIMS is the ability to archive and share potentially valuable information with other zoos and aquariums, whether it’s capturing the breeding behavior of the elusive Tomistoma crocodile, which we have here at the Virginia Aquarium, or the successful treatment of a common ailment in another species,” said Dr. Jeffrey Mahon, the Aquarium’s Director of Exhibits.

Zoos and aquariums have become leaders in the effort to breed endangered animals, and to educate an estimated 700 million visitors each year about the magnificent and fragile interrelationships between humans, wildlife and environments.

Through zoos and aquariums, some species have already been rescued from extinction, including the European bison (Bison bonasus), Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx) and Przewalski’s wild horse (Equus przewalski).

ISIS is a technology-based, conservation-focused nonprofit organization that leverages available technology to help zoological organizations achieve sustainability and preservation goals. Today, 830 institutions in 83 countries, including Virginia Aquarium, are a part of ISIS.