Our work to secure the future for Tomistoma involves public talks, events, presentations, in order to fund the research and conservation projects.
The zoo world is heavily involved, with exhibits aimed at raising the profile of Tomistoma and educating visitors about the status of the species, and showing them these beautiful animals in the flesh.
Taking On A Tomistoma
In preparation for a major expansion scheduled to open in late 2007 or early 2008, the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center has become the first facility in the United States to house a Tomistoma as a temporary exhibit. The goals of this exhibit are intended to provide the staff of the aquarium’s Herpetology department wi
th an opportunity to gain husbandry experience with this species, to generate public awareness of the Tomistoma and to raise funds for conservation.
The exhibit features “Pip,” the captive born Tomistoma hatched at Florida Cypress Gardens in 1999. Now six years old, Pip has spent the summer in a specially built exhibit featuring a 700-gallon pool in the aquarium’s Bay & Ocean Pavilion Promenade Hallway. Originally scheduled for three months, the term of the exhibit has been extended until at least March 2006.
The exhibit also features photographs and information about the natural history of the
Tomistoma, threats to its survival in the wild and the conservation efforts being initiated by the CSG’s Tomistoma Task Force (TTF).
The Virginia Aquarium is providing financial support to the TTF at the Partner Donor Level. In addition, a donation station, located in front of the exhibit, has provided an opportunity for the
general public to make additional contributions to the TTF. So far, these public donations have reached a total of US $800.
Located in Virginia Beach, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is an accredited member of the American Zoological Association, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums.
During 2 weekends in October 2002, fund-raising events took place at Alligator Action Farm in Friedberg, Germany.
At these events, TTF member Ralf Sommerlad offered several products like Alligator T-shirts, TTF sweatshirts and TTF postcards.
He also explained the situation of endangered Tomistoma to the public and referred about Crocodilian conservation and Sustainable use, presenting some crocodile products and
crocodilian skulls. The local press reported about this.
The feedback by the public has been good, the result for TTF are donations of 320 Euro. A big part of these donations has been done by Alligator-Action-Farm’s owner Rene Renz.
There is a substantial interest in crocodilians in Germany, also as a result of some TV shows by Rob Bredl, Malcolm Douglas and Steve Irwin as well as many great shows by National Geographic etc, but the economical crisis in Europe made our work harder than we expected.
We will continue our fund-raising events at Frankfurt Zoo and other places here in Germany and we hope to get better results in the future.
We also received the assistance of the “Zoological Society for Conservation of Species and Populations (ZGAP)” for further tax-deductible fund-raising action.