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|Zoo News Digest Mar-Apr 2017|
Zoo News Digest
Chester Zoo unites with University of Oxford to deliver world class conservation science
CHESTER Zoo and the University of Oxford’s famous Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) have joined forces to deliver high-impact conservation research.
The new partnership is designed to investigate major challenges in conservation by combining some of the international projects that Chester Zoo coordinate with cutting-edge scientific research.
Over the next seven years this new partnership will see up to 10 doctoral and postdoctoral researchers placed into Chester’s conservation projects around the world.
Jane Goodall on the mysteries of primate behaviour
Ever since 1971, when she published In the Shadow of Man, her groundbreaking field study of chimpanzees in Gombe, Tanzania, Jane Goodall has been the best known primatologist on the planet. In the decades since, she has remained an indomitable campaigner and conservationist, and now at the age of 83 she sits atop a naturalists’ Olympus that she shares perhaps only with David Attenborough.
In 1999, after almost 40 years visiting the chimps of Gombe, she co-authored a letter to Nature, in which she sought to calibrate the use of the world “culture” in relation to wild chimpanzees.
Multiple long-term studies, she and her colleagues wrote, showed “significant cultural variation” between colonies.
“The combined repertoire of these behaviour patterns in each chimpanzee community is itself highly distinctive,” the letter concluded, “a phenomenon characteristic of human cultures but previously unrecognised in non-human species.”
Our understanding of what chimpanzee “culture” might mean took a further turn last year, thanks to another paper published in Nature.
The study, led by Christophe Boesch of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (one of Goodall’s co-authors on the 1999 letter), reported that in several chimp colonie
A concrete prison for animals without hope
Monkeys sightlessly gaze into the distance, listlessly hanging from the bars of their cages. Their lethargic behaviour depicts the untold story of their suffering at one of the city’s most famous zoos. The usually hyperactive animals seem depressed to be confined in this concrete jail.
This seems to be the story of every animal at the Landhi-Korangi Zoo, which needs the urgent attention of the authorities. Even visitors have also expressed dissatisfaction over the maintenance of the zoo. The concrete animal enclosures look mo
RSPCA officers obtain search warrant to investigate animal cruelty allegations at Dalton zoo
ANIMAL charity the RSPCA has confirmed they have executed a search warrant at South Lakes Zoo in Dalton amid allegations of animal cruelty.
The RSPCA said its officers, in assistance with Barrow Borough Council, is investigating historic offences of animal cruelty and neglect relating to the Dalton animal park.
A search warrant was executed at the zoo on Thursday, April 6.
It is not yet known if the investigation relates to the death of animals as detailed in an inspection report published after a visit in January which revealed almost 500 exhibits had died at the zoo in less than four years.
The causes of their deaths included emaciation, exposure and
Professor Lee White: Will elephants survive this generation?
Called a "real-life Tarzan" by National Geographic, Prof. Lee White is a British-born zoologist who has lived and worked in Gabon since 1989 and since 2009 has served as the Director of Gabon’s National Parks Agency. In this dramatic video interview with the World Bank-led Global Wildlife Program, White discusses the devastating decline of forest elephants to poaching in the last decade and how the international demand for ivory has led to the elephants becoming refugees to avoid being massacred. “I don’t want to be the generation that killed the African elephant, and if we’re n
Fatal cheetah attack spotlights big cat breeding industry
A captive cheetah on March 18, 2017 fatally mauled the three-year-old son of Jacob Pieterse, an employee at tiger breeder and filmmaker John Varty’s Tiger Canyon wildlife farm and tourist attraction.
Police spokesperson Motantsi Makhele told media that the victim died while being flown to a hospital in Bloemfontein.
Cane toad poison used against amphibian pest in Queensland-designed bait trap
Poison taken from Queensland's most notorious pest, the cane toad, is being turned against them through world-first specialised traps developed by Brisbane researchers.
Cane toad toxin is being applied to food, targeting toad tadpoles
Bait traps using this food are being tested across Queensland
Researchers are relying on volunteer toad catchers to help make the bait
The traps use baits that replicate the smell of food, made from the poison of adult cane toads, to capture and eradicate up to 10,000 juvenile toads in one hit.
University of Queensland (UQ) researchers have developed and are currently trialling the traps around the state.
If successful, researchers hope to have the product on supermarket shelves in a cou
Brazil’s response to a huge yellow fever outbreak: Kill the monkeys
A yellow fever outbreak is tearing through Brazil leaving thousands dead in its wake — thousands of monkeys, that is.
The epidemic, the worst Brazil has seen in decades, has killed more than 200 people so far. But it's also threatening to wipe out some of the country’s most endangered primates. Not only are monkeys susceptible to yellow fever, but local residents have begun pre-emptively killing monkeys, incorrectly assuming that they help spread the disease.
As the epidemic advances, rural towns are littered with monkey corpses falling from trees, terrifying villagers. One town in the southern state of Minas had to close down a park after 38 dead monkeys were found in its premises.
But, contrary to local lore, these primates don’t transmit the disease. In fact, they play a crucial role in preventing its spread. A dead monkey is often the first sign yellow fever has reached a new town, which can serve as an alarm bell for authorities directing vaccination campaigns. It’s a warning sign that allows hea
Wild Hearts: Conserving the Brazilian Jaguar with Assisted Reproduction
The jaguar (Panthera onca) is the largest wild cat native to the Americas and a focal species for in situ conservation efforts. Its name is derived from the South American Tupi-Guarani word jaguaretê, which means “he who kills with one leap,” highlighting the jaguar’s phenomenally strong bite and preference to hunt by stalk and ambush rather than engaging in a lengthy chase.
Due to poaching and habitat loss and fragmentation, jaguars have declined substantially throughout their natural range. The species has been classified as ‘near threatened’ with a declining population trend in Latin America, and as ‘vulnerable’ in Brazil. The most robust wild populations are found in the Amazon and the Pantanal. However, even jaguars in these areas are subject to restricted gene flow, increasing their risk of inbreeding, reduced genetic variation, and extinction.
Assisted reproductive technologies, such as semen banking and artificial insemination, represent one way to link fragmented jaguar populations and maintain genetic diversity. Semen cryopreservation permits long-term storage of genetic resources within liquid nitrogen tanks, allows transport of frozen semen as an alternative to translocating live animals, and—when paired with artificial
Security tightened at public zoos, aquariums
Security forces were deployed in various areas around the Giza Zoo which attracts a large number of visitors during official holidays, said Ragaei.
It was decided during the meeting that controls would be put in place to ensure that no one could enter the park with explosive materials or other weapons that might threaten the public, he added.
Why some species are kept in zoos?
Many questions arise concerning keeping animals in the zoos around the world. Richard Primack B. Primack in the book of “A primer of conservation biology” page 200 of chapter 6 wrote: “Zoos, along with affiliated universities, government wildlife departments, and conservation organizations, presently maintain 500,000 terrestrial vertebrate individuals, representing almost 8000 species and subspecies of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians." But there are some protests here in Iran against the presence of species such as Persian squirrel, brown bear and also birds such as flamingos in the zoos. What is the reason for this?
Apes in Asian Circus-Style Shows on Rise — So is Trafficking
Asian zoos, circuses and safari parks are mounting large-scale productions with costumed, dancing, roller-skating great apes. Investigations show that nearly all of these trained primates were not bred in captivity, but illegally traded out of Africa and Indonesia, with destinations in China, Thailand and other Asian countries.
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) estimates that the illegal trade may have removed as many as 22,218 great apes from the wild between 2005-2011. An estimated 64 percent were chimpanzees, whereas 56 percent of great apes seized by authorities were thought to be orangutans.
Wild young apes are traumatized by their capture, and many die along the supply chain, or with their final owners by whom they are frequently poorly treated. Young great apes trained in captivity become increasingly unmanageable as they age, and many are retired to tiny, solitary cages, or simply disappear.
Trafficking arrests are rare. UNEP recorded just 27 arrests in Africa and Asia between 2005-2011, over which time more than 1,800 cases of illegally trafficked great apes were documented, with many more undetected. Solutions are i
Frog snot gives hope for flu cure
The mucus of a rare frog that lurks in the South Indian jungle could provide the basis of a powerful new class of drugs to combat influenza, scientists have said.
The bright orange tennis ball-sized Hydrophylax bahuvistara was found to contain “host defence peptides” that proved able to destroy numerous strains of human flu, whilst protecting normal cells.
Researchers are excited because the peptide showed it could bind to a protein that is identical across “dozens” of strains of the disease, increasing its potential potency as a
Group size and visitor numbers predict faecal glucocorticoid concentrations in zoo meerkats
Measures of physiological stress in zoo animals can give important insights into how they are affected by aspects of their captive environment. We analysed the factors influencing variation in glucocorticoid metabolites in faeces (fGCs) from zoo meerkats as a proxy for blood cortisol concentration, high levels of which are associated with a stress response. Levels of fGCs in captive meerkats declined with increasing group size. In the wild, very small groups of meerkats are at a higher risk of predation, while in larger groups, there is increased competition for resources. Indeed, group sizes in captivity resemble those seen in unstable coalitions in the wild, which may represent a stressful condition and predispose meerkats to chronic stress, even in the absence of natural predators. Individuals in large enclosures showed lower levels of stress, but meerkat density had no effect on the stress measures. In contrast with data from wild meerkats, neither sex, age nor dominance status predicted stress levels, which may reflect less food stress owing to more equal access to resources in captivity versus wild. The median number of visitors at the enclosure was positively correlated with fGC concentrations on the following day, with variation in the visitor numbers having the opposite effect. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that there is an optimum group size which minimizes physiological stress in meerkats, and that zoo meerkats at most risk of physiological stress are those kept in small groups and small enclosures and are exposed to consistently high numbers of visitors.
Giraffes must be listed as endangered, conservationists formally tell US
Conservationists have lodged a formal request for the US government to list giraffes as endangered in a bid to prevent what they call the “silent extinction” of the world’s tallest land animal.
A legal petition filed by five environmental groups has demanded that the US Fish and Wildlife Service provide endangered species protections to the giraffe, which has suffered a precipitous decline in numbers in recent years.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which listed giraffes as a threatened species in December, just 97,500 of the animals exist in sub-Saharan Africa today, a drop of almost 40% since 1985. There are now fewer giraffes than elephants in Africa.
Giraffes have suffered from loss of habitat, disease and illegal hunting for bushmeat. They also face the risk of collisions with vehicles and power lines. But the petitioners argue that the species is facing added pressure from “trophy” hunters who travel to Africa to shoot their big
Mali the Elephant May Not Be as Lonely as You Think
The Unpopular Opinion is Esquire’s space to provide additional insight and introduce new perspectives to issues that we may think have foregone conclusions. These articles don't always reflect our editorial stance, but we publish them here to continue the discourse.
Dear friends here in Manila and abroad,
In the last couple of days, the same old PETA campaign has again been making the rounds on Facebook. It shows Manila Zoo's 43-year-old elephant as the loneliest elephant, so sad that she is comforting herself by holding her tail. Sad, right? Then you click on the link and it talks about Mali's poor life at the zoo.
First, the facts. The elephant holding its tail is not Mali (alternatively spelled Maali). It's a photo of an elephant at a Russian zoo from forever ago. PETA knows this, of course, but it's a photo with a story that's designed to tug at your heartstrings! So you, the animal lover that you are click the link, sign the petition, and show your support for the idea of transferring Mali to another country.
Let me tell you my personal Mali story.
Tammie and I moved to Manila in March 2012 after spending 12 years in the U.S. and Canada training animals. We both have degrees in Exotic Animal Training and Management from Moorpark Co
The science of saving endangered species
The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.” — Charles Darwin
Personally, I agree wholeheartedly. But love alone will not be enough to save the thousands of plant and animal species hovering on the brink of extinction. Only science can do that. At San Diego Zoo Global, we have seen first hand that it is only through careful observation and experimentation that we approach the level of understanding needed to safeguard endangered species at the zoo, as well as successfully conserve them in the wild. Science plays a critical role in guiding our decision-making, and inevitably leads us to better and more sustainable long-term outcomes.
Vancouver Aquarium says unknown toxin killed belugas last year
The Vancouver Aquarium says an unknown toxin was the cause of death for two belugas last year.
Aurora, aged 30, and her calf, Qila, 21, died within nine days of each other in November 2016.
The aquarium says the determination followed a five-month investigation involving "dozens" of aquarium and external specialists.
Critically-ill Sumatran rhino Puntung on road to recovery following surgery
Puntung, one of three remaining Sumatran rhinos in Malaysia which was reported to be critically-ill last month, is recovering following surgery this morning.
Sabah Wildlife department director Augustine Tuuga said the female rhino underwent a two-and-a-half hour operation to extract two molars and a premolar from the upper left side of her jaw, which had been causing a severe abscess.
The surgery was performed by veterinary dentist Dr Tum Chinkangsadarn from Thailand, who found that the source of the abscess was a formation caused by an accumulation of bacteria on the severely-calcified molars.
The calcification also loosened two adjacent teeth.
For the past two weeks, Puntung had not shown any signs of recovery, despite being administered antibiotics.
"This was a remarkable and successful operation that came about as a result of global discussion and multi-national collaboration over the past two weeks.
"Sabah thanks Dr Tum and the team who did a fantastic job, as well as Dr Abraham Mathew, senior veterinarian at the Singapore Zoo, who had helped with anaesthesia," Augustine said in a statement, adding that the department was also assisted and supported by South Africa's ‘Saving the Survivors’, the Wildlife and National Parks department in Peninsular Malaysia and the Borneo Rhino Alliance (Bora).
He added that the procedure began at 7am, with X-rays taken under sedation for 110 minutes.
"She started feeding two hours after the operation.
"But we are not done yet, as there will be a
Researchers Find Yet Another Reason Why Naked Mole-Rats Are Just Weird
Animals, especially mammals, need oxygen to keep their bodies and brains humming along.
But leave it to the African naked mole-rat to buck that trend. The rodents are bizarre in just about every way. They're hairless, ground-dwelling and cold-blooded despite being mammals. Now, scientists report in the journal Science that the animals are capable of surviving oxygen deprivation.
"They have evolved under such a different environment that it's like studying an animal from another planet," says Thomas Park, a neuroscientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
He and his colleagues knew that naked mole-rat bodies work differently than those of other mammals.
For example, instead of generating their own heat, they regulate body temperature by moving to warmer or cooler tunnels, which lowers the amount of energy they need to survive. They're also known to have what Park calls "sticky hemoglobin," which allows them to draw oxygen out of very thin air. And because
Science is core to saving wildlife
The following statement was issued today by Wildlife Conservation Society President and CEO Cristian Samper on the importance of science to wildlife conservation:
"Science is at the core of wildlife conservation. It allows us to understand how to conserve wildlife and wild places and measure the impact of our work to save them. At WCS, we march for science every day through our field work in nearly 60 nations and in our zoos aquarium in New York City.
"We could not do our work without science. Our WCS scientists produce more than 400 research papers a year. Science has informed our work throughout our 122-year history -- helping to discover new species, to prevent the extinction of species, to achieve recovery of species, to establish protected areas, and to inform policies that help wildlife and communities thrive together.
"In our early years, science helped us prevent the extinction of the American Bison; it helped us inform the creation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and it helped us inform a ban on commercial whaling, among many other conservation successes during our first century.
"More recently, science has given us important data that will help with the recovery of forest elephants that have been decimated by poaching. In a paper published last year in the Journal of Applied Ecology, researchers found that forest elephants begin breeding later and have much longer calving intervals than other elephants, which means the population takes much longer to increase. Low birth rates mean that it will take forest elephant populations at least 90 years to recover from their losses. WCS scientist Andrea Turkalo, lead author of the study who collected data over several decades, said this research provides critical understanding regarding the dire conservation status of forest elephants.
"In another paper published last year in Nature Communications, a team of scientists revealed a complex story of how humans are altering natural habitats at the
SUKAU BRIDGE OFF; DISCLOSURE ON CANCELLED PROJECT MADE IN LONDON
The highly controversial Sukau road-bridge is a no go.
This was announced in London on Wednesday night by Sam Mannan, Chief Conservator of Forests, in a speech at the South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP) dinner held at the Royal Society.
In a statement issued to the media and sighted by BorneoToday, Sam said the Chief Minister of Sabah had taken into consideration all the concerns and opinions expressed relat
Optimism: Why the Future of Wildlife Depends on it
There’s plenty of negative information out there about the (lack of) future for wildlife in today’s world. With climate change and its ill-effects already happening, the loss of more wild places caused by the explosion of human populations across continents, and a host of other factors…let’s face it, it’s easy to think, why bother?
Is it a fool’s errand then, to ask people to believe that endangered wildlife might survive if given a chance? Is it unrealistic of us—who work in wildlife conservation–to hope that our efforts to protect endangered species will actually work?
No. Absolutely not.
While threats like poaching and habitat loss are indeed despairing, we need to remember that every single day, there are positive changes happening and victories where things once seemed impossible. The fuel behind these changes is hope. Hope brings people together and gives them courage to believe and fight for an outcome that may (in that moment) seem like an
Rediscovering the African wolf
The Egyptian wolf was first described almost 200 years ago, yet for almost as long taxonomists have debated whether it is truly a unique species. Nils Christian Stenseth and Suvi Viranta describe how recent research has clarified the debate and how their new study, published today in BMC Zoology, confirms that the African wolf is a true species - "clarifying two centuries of wonder and confusion".
Scientists Launch Global Quest To Track Down Long-Lost Species
The race is on to rediscover a list of 25 species that collectively have not been seen in more than 1,500 years.
There’s the Wondiwoi tree kangaroo, last spotted in 1928 in Indonesia; the pink-headed duck, missing since 1949; and the bullneck seahorse, a species native to Australia never before seen in the wild.
This week, Texas-based Global Wildlife Conservation launched “The Search for Lost Species,” described as the “largest-ever global quest to find and protect” animals and plants missing for decades.
Don Church, GWC’s president and director of conservation, said the organization’s “most wanted” list includes “cute and cuddly” species, the kind people are drawn to and that provide an opportunity to raise awareness about today’s biodiversity crisis.
“It’s about raising the profile both of the species that we’re looking for, but more so the places where they occur,” he told The Huffington Post. “The reason those places are important is because they have extreme biodiversity value, but very few people have heard about them. People hear about the Ama
Why Volunteering With Animals Does Nothing For Conservation
Lots of people want to give up their free time to help support conservation. By ‘lots’ I mean relatively – google shows 2,900 searches* for ‘conservation volunteering’ last month – but still, that’s pretty good. This is brilliant news of course, and should be wholeheartedly applauded.
Overall, this must add up to tens of thousands of hours of effort from volunteers every year, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations/fundraising to make it possible. With all this money and effort, conservation could really go places. I should leave it there and chalk it up as a success story. There are lots of ways to support conservation, but truth be told every time someone comes up to me after a talk and says they want to help conservation so are heading off to A) An elephant orphanage, B) A primate sanctuary or C) To work with big cats, my heart sinks.
Tension at SF Zoo exposed in conflict over cancer-stricken monkey
A dispute about the euthanization of a cancer-stricken monkey at the San Francisco Zoo has highlighted growing tension between employees and management over animal care at the facility, which in the past decade has come under scrutiny following a tiger’s killing of a guest and the accidental crushing death of a baby gorilla.
Zookeepers and other animal care workers at the facility have accused Executive Director Tanya Peterson of unnecessarily allowing a 15-month-old patas monkey to suffer for almost a week before it was put to sleep. Peterson said the assertion has no merit.
The monkey, named Bernardo, was diagnosed late last month with a rare, fast-growing cancer on its nose that hampered its breathing and eating. Animal care workers and the veterinarian at the zoo agreed to euthanize the animal on April 7, but zookeepers said Peterson ordered them to halt the procedure until the animal showed more signs of slowing down.
An employee eventually called the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and
Why Man-Eating Lions Prey on People—New Evidence
"I have a very vivid recollection of one particular night when the brutes seized a man from the railway station and brought him close to my camp to devour. I could plainly hear them crunching the bones, and the sound of their dreadful purring filled the air and rang in my ears for days afterwards.” —Lieutenant-Colonel John Henry Patterson, The Man-Eaters of Tsavo: And Other East African Adventures
These chilling words recount how African lions terrorized a railroad-construction project in Tsavo, Kenya, more than a century ago, killing and eating 35 workers. But how and why the big cats became “man-eaters” is still a matter of scientific debate.
For instance, some experts have suggested a lack of prey, brought about by a drought and disease epidemic in the late 1800s, forced the lions to feed on people out of desperation. But there's a problem with that theory—starving lions would have likely made the most out of every meal, eating the humans bones and all.
The Galápagos Tortoise Next Door
The sun is blazing down when I meet endangered Galápagos tortoises for the first time. They look like modern-day dinosaurs, lazily ambling around on scaly, dusty bowlegs. I proffer a carrot to the largest of the three—a 300-pound female—who grabs it with strong, beaklike jaws, neatly splitting it in two. After consuming it she extends her long neck forward, inviting me to gently rub her under the chin.
This intimate encounter takes place nowhere near the wild deserts of the Galápagos Islands—I’m more than 3,000 miles away, in a white-fenced suburban backyard in Long Island, N.Y. The three tortoises crawling around me—“Peewee,” “Maxine” and “Tony”—belong to Michael Soupios, a smiling, bespectacled 67-year-old graduate adviser and professor of political science at Long Island University Post.
Soupios has spent years studying Galápagos tortoises, and easily rattles off facts about their history i
Arabian Oryx breeding programme victim of its own success
A breeding programme for Arabian oryx and wild gazelle has been so successful that their populations are fast outgrowing the capacity of their nature reserve.
In 2009, eight Arabian oryx, eight mountain gazelle and eight sand gazelle were introduced to the 100-hectare Al Wadi nature reserve.
The reserve has since been expanded to five times its original size and is now home to 43 oryx, 52 sand gazelle and 10 mountain gazelle. Eight more oryx arrived in 2012
"For the oryx and sand gazelle that’s very good growth," said Ryan Ingram, director of the nature reserve. "It’s a success story in terms of breeding."
The decision of Ras Al Khaimah’s royal family to donate extra land to the reserve and build a boundary fence in 2012 was "a big show of faith in the direction of conservation", Mr Ingram said.
The success of breeding schemes such as the reserve’s, which is now part of Al Wadi Ritz-Carlton resort, has enabled the Arabian oryx to be taken off the list of vulnerable species. The major problem now is the lack of space.
"We are now at the point where we require more space for the herd to keep growing, otherwise we must relocate some of the population, as we are putting too much strain on the ecosystem," Mr Ingram said.
Relocation is expensive, complicated and delicate. The best option is to expand.
"Relocation can only take place at certa
Saved: the endangered species back from the brink of extinction
The saiga antelope makes a strange pin-up for the conservation world. With its odd bulbous nose and spindly legs, it is an unlovely looking creature – particularly when compared with wildlife favourites such as the polar bear or panda.
But the survival of Saiga tatarica tatarica is important, for it gives hope to biologists and activists who are trying to protect Earth’s other endangered species from the impact of rising populations, climate change and increasing pollution. Once widespread on the steppe lands of the former Soviet Union, the saiga has suffered two major population crashes in recent years and survived both – thanks to the endeavours of conservationists. It is a story that will be highlighted at a specially arranged wildlife meeting, the Conservation Optimism Summit, to be held at Dulwich College, London, this month and at sister events in cities around the world, including Cambridge, Washington and Hong Kong. The meetings have been organised to highlight recent successes in saving threatened creatures and to use these examples to encourage future efforts to halt extinctions of other species.
According to the summit’s organisers, there still are reasons to be cheerful when it comes to conservation, although they also acknowledge that the world’s wildlife remains in a desperate state thanks to swelling numbers of humans, climate change and spreading agriculture, which
PDKV neglects zoo, staffers warn of strike from Thursday
The Maharajbagh zoo staff has threatened to strike work from April 13 to protest the indifference of Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV) towards providing facilities for visitors and zoo animals.
The 120-year-old zoo houses 300 animals and birds. For years together, it is grappling with issues like improper cages, meagre staff, poor upkeep of animals, no full-time veterinary doctor and medical facilities.
According to sources, 40 people have been engaged for handling the zoo affairs but barring three employees all are working on temporary basis
Zoo workers on strike, animals & avians suffer
Animals at Maharjbagh Zoo, managed by Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV), remained confined to their cages and were not released for display as temporary workers managing the zoo went on indefinite strike from Thursday.
The temporary workers are on strike as they are not getting minimum wage. "We are paid Rs90 per day only for risking our lives by managing leopard and tiger cages," said a section of them.
On Thursday, zoo in-charge Dr SS Bawaskar and livestock supervisor MR Pande were the only two permanent employees present at the zoo scrambling to manage the affairs.
Zoo workers call off strike
The Maharajbagh zoo workers called of their strike on Friday after the Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV) enhanced their wages to Rs112 from present Rs90 per day.
32 workers were on strike for the last two days forcing the animals to suffer. The zoo cages were not cleaned and on Thursday even the staff was forced to close the zoo.
Talking to TOI, acting PDKV vice-chancellor VM Bhale said, "The issue has been resolved after wage hike. We have also posted a veterinarian to replace the one who was transferred."
However, the steps taken by PDKV, which manages the zoo affairs, are not only meagre but also temporary in nature. The vet Bhavna Wankhede posted in zoo already works in PKV dairy farm in the city.
Secondly, the wage hike of Rs22 per hour is still not at par with minimum wage of Rs300 per day. Workers are paid by Rs6,500 per month with certain adjustments.
Meanwhile, in a letter written to zoo controller & associate dean of College of Agriculture, Nagpur, Sanjay Thakre, member-secretary the Maharashtra State Zoo Authority (MSZA), has asked to follow guidelines of Central Zoo Authority (CZA). The recognition of the zoo ends on December 31, 2017.
THE BLOOD OF THE CRAB
Meghan Owings plucks a horseshoe crab out of a tank and bends its helmet-shaped shell in half to reveal a soft white membrane. Owings inserts a needle and draws a bit of blood. "See how blue it is," she says, holding the syringe up to the light. It really is. The liquid shines cerulean in the tube.
Zoo intruder loses TESTICLE after ‘skewering scrotum’ on fence
The painful incident happened at the historic Artis Zoo in Amsterdam – the oldest zoo in the Netherlands.
It is not known when exactly the incident happened, with zoo director Haig Balian only saying it happened recently.
Are zoo animals happy? There’s a simple empathy test we can apply
The plight of animals in entertainment has gained unprecedented public attention over the past several years, and much of the consciousness-raising has occurred by way of a particular orca whale named Tilikum, known by his nickname, Tilly. Tilly was captured near Iceland in November 1983. When he was only two years old, he was torn away from his family and his ocean home. After a number of years of being transferred from one aquarium to another, Tilly was finally acquired by SeaWorld San Diego, and became one of the star attractions and moneymakers for the theme park. But the years of captivity and maltreatment took a toll on Tilly, and he started behaving erratically. He eventually killed one of his trainers, in front of a horrified audience. The details of Tilly’s tragic life and fateful end were beautifully captured in a documentary called “Blackfish” (2013). By weaving together ethological details about the cognitive, emotional, and social lives of orcas in the wild with a catalog of the abuses and deprivations experienced by Tilly, the film leaves the viewer in no doubt that SeaWorld is a living hell for these
Bile farmers decimate wild bears
The country’s wild bear population has declined sharply over the past 20 years, according to recent surveys carried out in 22 protected areas.
The surveys were part of a three-year collaborative project by the Centre for Environment and Rural Development at Vinh University with the support of the conservation and animal welfare organisation Free the Bears and Animals Asia.
Interviews with over 1,400 residents living next to the protected areas indicate that the bear population declined between 1990 and 2005, mainly due to hunting. Although 77 per cent of respondents believed bears were still present in their local forest area, the majority agreed their numbers had declined.
This period coincided with the expansion of bear bile farming, with the number of bears kept on bile farms increasing tenfold, from 400 to over 4,000 between 1999 and 2005. Bears in bile farms, mostly Asiatic black bears, a
Thoughts for Behaviour: Combinations, Chains and Intelligence… What About the Others?
I Like to talk about motivation, it has a very broad spectrum what I like very much. Sky is the limit I always say. As you guys probably all have seen the blog from Kayce Cover about training various animals the same way she has a strategy what I actually really like. Telling the animal what you want in a very simple way of communication. See her blog:
Training multiple species; Always the Same, Except When it is Different… But we can go even further from there.
1,5 weeks ago I was in ZooMarine Portugal for a visit to organize a conference in 2018. Great people and just a great park with endless possibilities in training the animals. We know with marine mammals we can achieve a lot and that’s what they do up there. The bird show was a surprise for me too especially now Im looking more into ways of developing training programs with animals where we can add some extra challenges. I mean it was not particularly a big surprise but from a training perspective it was. The head trainer has a great perspective to train animals the way we do with marine mammals and apply this with his birds and he achieves some amazing goals with some amazing exotic animals. I ask
New trade ruling spells end for rhinos say conservationists
With the Sumatran rhino officially extinct in the wild, are South Africa’s rhino doomed to the same fate? Earlier this month the country’s 2009 moratorium on the domestic trade in rhino horn was lifted by the Constitutional Court. This ruling went in favour of private rhino owners and makes it legal to buy and sell rhino horn within South Africa. But with what consequences?
While pro-trader Pelham Jones, chairman of the Private Owners Association, rejoices, saying they, “are absolutely delighted at the ruling,” Minister Molewa says, “It should be noted that the court’s decision should not be construed to mean that the domestic trade in rhino horn may take place in an unregulated fashion.” But conservationists believe trade could mean disaster for rhinos. They question if the government has, “the funding, capacity or expertise to regulate a legal domestic trade and continue to police an illegal one?”
Dr Jo Shaw, WWF’s rhino programme manager says she is, “concerned by the court’s decision… Law enforcement officials simply do not have the capacity to manage parallel legal domestic trade on top of current levels of illegal poaching and trafficking.” Susie Watts of WildAid’s Africa Program agrees, “There is no domestic demand for rhino horn products and, as the pro-trade lobby very well knows, the reason why the moratorium was implemented
The Rise of Whale and Dolphin Captivity in China
In August of 1970, 80 killer whales from L-25 pod were encircled by a net at Penn Cove in Puget Sound, Washington.
Herded together by a sophisticated operation involving speed boats, planes and explosives, the young whales were then lassoed and literally dragged out of the water and away from their families.
All told, seven killer whales, also known as orcas, were captured in the Penn Cove operation and five died, according to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
In an effort to limit bad press – and because dead animals counted towards the team’s capture quota – the deceased animals were subsequently hidden at the bottom of the ocean.
“They had us cut the animals that were already dead open and put rocks inside their cavity and anchors around their tails and sink them,” recounts John Crowe, a participant in the hunt, in the documentary film The Killer Whale People. “It was because of publicity and the money.”
Unfortunately for the whale hunters, t
April the giraffe gives birth in New York zoo, watched by an audience of at least 1 million
And baby makes glee.
Before an online audience of more than a million viewers, April the giraffe gave birth to a calf Saturday at a New York zoo, ending weeks of proverbial pacing by animal lovers in a virtual worldwide waiting room.
Congress finds bipartisanship on animal protection issues
Congress has found something cute and cuddly to agree on.
Plagued by bitter division and fierce infighting, Republican and Democratic lawmakers have found rare consensus on legislation to protect dogs, cats, horses, tigers and bunnies from abuse.
In the first few months of the new 115th Congress, House members and senators have introduced more than a dozen bipartisan bills on animal welfare, including a measure to bar people from keeping tigers, lions, and other big cats as pets and legislation to outlaw the sale of shark fins in the U.S.
About half of those stand a strong chance of passage this session, said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States.
EAZA Strategic Plan 2017-2020
What happens when all the animals are gone?
We live in a time where we are heading towards a world without wildlife. We have a voice and a vote, yet we elect people who support the destruction of what makes our planet livable. But perhaps our gravest sin continues to be our treatment of wildlife. How is it that, given an earth so rich in life, humanity has chosen to kill — to destroy — the oasis we have been granted?
We live in a time of great knowledge about animals, and many people have become advocates for all species. Yet prejudice, war and social unrest make even our relationships with our fellow humans complex. Governments are already slow to act to protect the natural world. Now, consider how hard we find it to deal with species that look nothing like us, that live underwater or fly through the sky, that compete with us for food or could even make us their next meal.
Add into the mix poverty, hunger, p
Curiouser and Curiouser--Octopus's Evolution Is Even Stranger Than Thought
As if octopuses, squids and other cephalopods were not already strange enough, they may have found a way to evolve that is foreign to practically all other multicellular organisms on the planet.
For most animals, changes that might prove beneficial to the organism primarily occur at the beginning of their molecular production process. Mutations occur in DNA that are then transcribed into RNA; the RNA is then translated into an altered protein.
Not so for cephalopods—at least not entirely. A new study published in Cell reports these aquarium oddities can modify the proteins found in their bodies without having to change the basic sequence of their DNA blueprint. As a result, it looks as if cephalopods have changed very slowly over the eons of their existence. The findings also suggest that octopuses and their tentacled cousins may be a lot older than previously thought.
The new paper reports on a process called “RNA editing,” which involves enzymes swapping out one RNA base (or nitrogen-based “letter” in the RNA/DNA alphabet) for another, presumably in the interest of an organism adapting to its environment. RNA e
How to move an elephant to Europe post-Brexit
n the latest warnings about the effects of a post-Brexit future, it isn’t just humans who could be affected. The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums has said that leaving the EU without a deal could threaten already endangered species, whose survival depends on easy access to Europe-wide breeding programmes.
At the moment, breeding progammes in Europe are overseen by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), and work efficiently thanks to shared resources and free movement. “I think the lack of clarity [over post-Brexit legislation] is the largest concern for us,” says Zak Showell, animal records registrar at Twycross zoo. “There are more than 400 breeding programmes operated by EAZA. These breeding programmes are there to ensure the genetic and population survival of those species we have in captivity.”
Computer software does the matching. Each breeding programme has a coordinator who monitors the
Israel's Safari Animals Are Keeping Kosher for Passover, and Loving It
It's that time of year and Israelis are frantically cleaning their homes and eradicating any signs of chametz, as well as shopping for rabbinically approved Passover products. They are also spending small fortunes on special products for Passover, from the mandatory chocolate-covered matza for the kiddies to kosher cigarettes. And pet food.
Even the Safari Park in Ramat Gan acknowledges the week-long holiday. The animal cages, night quarters and pedestrian walkways of the gigantic zoo were cleaned as thoroughly as sanely possible, and the animals were shifted to special-for-Passover chow, where relevant.
Animals that normally get bread as a treat with their diet – including apes and elephants, for instance, and the aromatic goats and so on of the petting zoo – were m
WHAT'S IN A WORD? WHY IT'S TIME TO RETIRE "ROADSIDE ZOO"
The term "roadside zoo" has become over-used recently as a way to denote a "bad” zoological facility. Since there is no consensus among the groups that use the term regarding what it actually indicates about a facility, “roadside zoo” itself has by now lost any pre-existing operant definition and its continued use serves mainly to provoke an emotional reaction. Let’s look at exactly how confusing the term has gotten, and then delve into the relevance of the concepts the regular public associates with the term.
The question, "what do you think makes a facility a roadside zoo?" was originally posed to the Why Animals Do The Thing blog audience because of the the frequency with which the term was occurring in zoo-related discourse. During the summer of 2016, “roadside zoo” was heavily used in messaging surrounding zoos, but rather than being a well-defined term used for public education, it seemed be an amorphous label that could be slapped on pretty much any facility in order to condemn it. This was especially confusing as the term “roadside zoo” was present in messaging from both the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) (a highly influential regulatory body in the animal management world) and organizations that heavily influence the creation of animal-related legislation (which must by nature be accurate and precise in wording) such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Curiosity arose - it seemed important to find out if the general public understood “roadside zoo” to mean the same thing as the organizations that were using the term frequently in their messaging. However, in orde
"MENAGERIE": A PROPOSAL FOR REPLACING THE TERM "ROADSIDE ZOO"
In order to provide an accurate picture of which zoological facilities are "good" facilities, and labels that help the public understand which good facilities to support, it’s important to move beyond the confusing terminology of "roadside zoos." As explored in a previous article, “roadside zoo” is not a useful label, because it communicates no tangible information to the zoo-going public and it’s usage is often loaded with political connotation.
The current movement towards critical consumption of zoos and the array of animal experiences available is going to continue to gain momentum, and so it is crucial to the survival of reputable facilities that the field shift to providing clear and less-politicized language to help guide potential guests in their decision-making process. Terminology promoted to the public should have consistent operant definitions that designate a comprehensible set of characteristics simple enough that laypeople will be able to use them to assess a facility. What is needed is a word that intuitively summarizes the problems the public associates with a “bad” zoological facility: low quality of animal welfare, a high density of animals in close proximity, animals living in cages rather than exhibits, pay-t
America’s shockingly huge tiger population is finally getting more oversight
Here’s a weird and pretty shocking animal fact: More captive tigers live in the United States — in backyards, basements, traveling zoos and roadside menageries — than in the wild worldwide.
The word “probably” is key, because there’s such a patchwork of laws regulating tiger ownership that no one actually knows how many tigers call America home. But the U.S. government and conservation and animal welfare groups estimate that between 5,000 and 10,000 do; as few as 3,200 endangered wild tigers remain.
Now two new federal rules are strengthening government oversight of the domestic tiger population, and animal welfare groups say it’s about time. One does away with a legal loophole that animal welfare organizations have long argued led to rampant breeding and trade of the big cats in the United States, and drove the illegal market for tiger parts around the world. A second new regulation aims to help America’s youngest captive tigers.
All tigers are technically protected under the Endangered Species Act, but the U.S. government has long only monitored and regulat
Bristol penguins donated to zoo in Georgia devastated by flooding
A group of penguins from Bristol Zoo has been donated to Bristol’s twinned city of Tbilisi in Georgia, which lost many of its zoo animals in a flash flood in 2015.
19 young South African penguins are now settling into a newly refurbished penguin pool at Tbilisi Zoo after making the journey by charter plane.
A Trip to the Zoo Can Get People Talking About Climate Change
Climate change is a subject most of us don’t really want to think about, let alone discuss over dinner. While our fears of a decimated environment are clearly reflected in apocalyptic fiction, frank talk about our warming world is relatively rare.
If this reflects deep-seated denial, we’re all in trouble. But what if the issue is simpler? What if we avoid the subject because we don’t really understand it — and don’t want to sound like an idiot?
Day at the zoo: Durrell lists hits and misses
A child-like emotion grips her as she walks by the storks, herons and ibises in the Alipore zoo aviary. As a black ibis picks its catch from a pond, she recalls her fight to save one of its cousins, the Waldrapp Ibis, a critically endangered bird that suffered severely from human actions in Europe from where it disappeared more than 300 years ago. Welcome to the world of Lee Durrell. And, the backdrop couldn't have been better.
On her maiden visit to Kolkata on Wednesday, the American naturalist, author and zookeeper took a stroll inside Alipore Zoological Gardens, taking a look at the enclosures, the waterbody, the birds and animals, and of course ta
Seoul Zoo tigers to be relocated to more natural environment
A group of Siberian tigers currently exhibited at a local zoo in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, will be transferred to a government-owned arboretum this summer, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs on Wednesday.
Selected tigers at the Seoul Zoo will be relocated to a 48,000-square-meter forest designed to simulate a wild tiger habitat. The area, called “Tiger Forest,” is part of the ministry’s 220.1 billion won ($192.4 million) project to build Asia’s largest arboretum in North Gyeongsang Province, set to officially open to the public this year.
Breeders from Dutch zoo learn giant panda breeding techniques(1/6)
Breeders from China and the Netherlands prepare food for Xing Ya and Wu Wen to eat on their journey. (Photo/Courtesy of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda)
Xing Ya, a 3-year-old male, and Wu Wen, a 3-year-old female, will soon be the first Chinese pandas to call the Netherlands home.
New elephant intelligence tests reveal body awareness, self-understanding
Humans have been handing mirrors to animals since at least the early 1800s, when a young Charles Darwin proffered a polished glass to a pair of orangutans at the London Zoo. “Both were astonished beyond measure at looking glass, looked at it every way, sideways, & with most steady surprise,” Darwin wrote in his notebook.
More than a century later, psychologist Gordon G. Gallup codified what became known as the mirror test, when in 1970 he demonstrated that chimpanzees could recognize their own reflections. Only a handful of other animals have passed the mirror test: apes, dolphins, orcas, Eurasian magpies and an Asian elephant named Happy.
“There are many camps that argue about what this all means,” Joshua Plotnik, a visiting psychology professor at the City University of New York’s Hunter College and founder of the non-profit Think Elephants International, told The Washington Post.
Some scientists view a successful mirror test as a sign that animals have self-awareness, linked to complex concepts like empathy. And if an animal can’t pass the test, well, then it simply can’t be self-aware.
Plotnik, who worked on Happy’s mirror test, took a more diplomatic approach. It is more likely, he said, that self-awareness exists on a continuum,
Dutch Panda Mania As Giant Bears Arrive From China
Two giant pandas arrived by plane at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport Wednesday after a marathon 8,000 kilometre journey from China, the first breeding pair on Dutch soil in three decades.
Female panda Wu Wen (Beautiful Powerful Cloud) and her male companion Xing Ya (Elegant Star) touched down at Schiphol at around 1730 GMT after leaving Chengdu in central China more than 10 hours earlier.
A giant television screen showed the pandas being lowered onto the tarmac from a passenger jet operated by Dutch national carrier KLM, surrounded by Dutch border police.
Later they were put on display for more than 100 journalists and guests straining to catch a glimpse of the two animals in their specialised cages which included see-through plexiglass.
"I'm so happy so many friends have come to welcome my two new colleagues," China's ambassador to The Netherlands Wu Ken told the cro
EAZA response to reports on elephant management techniques at Hannover Zoo
Amsterdam, 5 April, 2017: The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) has been made
aware of a report on elephant training techniques at Hannover Zoo. The film shows staff at the zoo using an elephant training tool known as ankus, and appears to show excessive physical discipline of the animals.
EAZA recognizes two forms of elephant management: protected contact management, and free
contact management. Protected contact management involves the construction of specialised
facilities where the elephant and keeper never share the same unrestricted space and all contact is undertaken through a protective barrier.
Free contact places animals and keepers in the same space and requires direct physical contact
between them. EAZA’s Elephant Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) recognises that there are benefits to each of these systems, and as a result accepts the necessity of
Chinese tourists scale wall with ladders to sneak into zoo
Chinese tourists in northern China are still scaling walls to enter a wildlife attraction even after a man was mauled to death by a tiger earlier this year after climbing into another zoo, Chinese media reported.
Visitors to the Qinling Wildlife Park in Xian in Shaanxi province save 40 yuan (S$8.10) in entrance fees by paying local residents for access to a ladder to climb over a wall into the wildlife park, the Huashang
Concern over skinny lions at Joburg Zoo
A Johannesburg Zoo visitor, Adele Arnott and her four-year-old daughter recently expressed their great concern for the lions at Johannesburg Zoo. Arnott explained that her little daughter was shocked when she saw how thin two of the lions were. The main question which Arnott asked was whether the lions were being underfed or whether it’s something else.
Johannesburg Zoo and City Parks spokesperson, Jenny Moodley explained that one of the lions, Letaba, a young male white lion was donated to the zoo about two-and-a-half years ago.
Another Ocean Adventure standoff ends, says SBMA
A standoff that started in the afternoon of Monday ended around 1:30 a.m. yesterday after the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) stepped in to diffuse the tension between rival claimants to the Ocean Adventure Marine Park, here.
Eyewitnesses said there was an attempt from Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium Inc. former President Arthur Tai to take over the facility with the help of former employees and some armed men.
In a text message, one of the eyewitnesses stated that Tai’s “thugs were trying to take over the park violently. They have broken down doors, put the animals in danger because they turned off the electricity, and threatened other workers.”
The witnesses recounted that guests were fleeing as the group tried to shut down the operations of Ocean Adventure and the Camayan Beach Resort as both facilities were full of police officers from the Morong Municipal Police Station and the Special Action Force (SAF).
“We are dismayed that Arthur will put the welfare of the guests and workers in danger for selfish reasons,” a company official who refused to be n
Blood for bats
Blood-sucking bats, mythical or real-life?
The Philadelphia Zoo is home to 35 such creatures, which can drink up to half their weight in blood a day. Known as common vampire bats, the Desmodus rotundus species weigh only, on average, 42 grams, or roughly 1.5 ounces, but can live up to 30 years.
Twelve Cheetah Cubs Born at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
The start of spring brought a cheetah cub boom to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia, where two large litters were born over the course of a single week. Three-year-old Happy gave birth to five healthy cubs on March 23. Seven-year-old Miti gave birth to seven cubs March 28 — two were visibly smaller and less active at the time of birth and died, which is common in litters this large. Both mothers are reportedly doing well and proving to be attentive to the 10 surviving healthy cubs, which have all been successfully nursing. Each litter includes two male and three female cubs.
“The average litter size is three, so this time we’ve got an incredible pile of cubs,” said Adrienne Crosier, SCBI cheetah biologist and manager of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Cheetah Species Survival Plan (SSP), which matches cheetahs across the population for breeding. “In just one week, we increased the numbe
Finland to receive two giant pandas from China
Finland to receive two giant pandas from China
Finland will receive two giant pandas from China as a gesture of friendship during the Nordic country’s 100th anniversary of independence this year.
The two countries today signed a cooperation agreement over giant panda research and protection as part of the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s official state visit to Finland.
The agreement means that a giant panda couple will be send from China to Ähtäri Zoo, which is located in the western part of Finland.
At the signing ceremony in Helsinki, Finnish President Niinistö thanked Xi for trusting pandas to Finnish care. Niinistö said Finland was aware that the Chinese considered giant pandas a national tre
Czech zoo helps return eagles, cranes into Far East wild
The zoo in the Moravian capital Brno will assist in returning Steller's sea eagles and red-crowned cranes into the wild in the Far East where their populations have critically shrunk, daily Pravo wrote on Tuesday.
Without people's support, the rare species are threatened with extinction due to intensive raw material exploitation in their habitats and also due to global warming unfriendly to wetland.
"A solution rests in their artificial breeding and the release into the wild," the zoo director Martin Hovorka is quoted as saying.
A few days ago, Hovorka was elected vice-president of the Eurasian association of zoos and aquariums (EARAZA) comprised of dozens of zoological gardens from central and eastern Europe and Asia.
He discussed the project of the eagle and crane return to the Far East wild in Moscow on Monday, Pravo writes.
In cooperation with the Brno zoo, a centre for the Steller's eagle salvation is to be established in the Amur River area to breed young eagles and release them into the wild.
The red-crowned-crane salvation project has already been
Cetacean scientists say aquarium decision 'banning research' crucial to endangered animals
Scientists say the Park Board's decision to ban cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium has far-reaching implications for research on endangered marine mammals in B.C.
Andrew Trites, the director of the Marine Mammal Research Unit at UBC's Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, called the decision "short-sighted."
A lot of research can be done in the wild, he said, but certain research necessary to cetacean conservation can only be conducted with animals under controlled conditions
"We wouldn't be doing it if there was nothing to be learned. It's so critical," he said.
Trites noted, for instance, that questions remain regarding the declining population of southern resident whales in B.C.
"Are the animals getting enough to eat? Maybe that's what the trouble is. Well, how do you know how much food an animal needs to eat? You can only do that if you can determine their metabolic rates and look at their ability to assimilate and digest different types of food. You can only do that with a captive animal — there's absolutely no way to get that in the wild," he said.
"The banning of keeping cetaceans in
Caring for elephants at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
At ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, we’re home to a herd of Asian elephants. These iconic creatures need little by way of introduction. People around the world are enthralled by the gentle giants, and visitors to Whipsnade are no exception.
I myself have always been in awe of elephants; their unique appearance, deep social bonds and gentle nature, which at times can seem at odds with their huge size, absolutely fascinates me.
Our elephants, a breeding herd comprising of one bull male, and a mix of adult females and their offspring, will move into a brand new home next week. We’ve called it the ‘Centre for Elephant Care’ to highlight to our visitors just how we look after these mammals. Nestled within 30 acres of land, made up of seven individual paddocks, the Centre has been designed to meet the complex needs of our herd.
Secret footage obtained of the wild elephants sold into captivity in Chinese zoos
Last year more than 30 young elephants were captured from the wild in Zimbabwe and flown by plane to China. The elephants – some reported to be as young as three – were dispersed to a number of zoos throughout the country, including the Shanghai Exhibition Park, the Beijing Wildlife Park and the Hangzhou Safari Park, according to conservationists.
But what are their lives like now?
This week, 12 of the calves went on show at the Shanghai park. The Weibo page for the zoo says their average age is four. The photos there were reviewed by Yolanda Pretorius, vice-chair of the Elephant Specialist Advisory Group of South Africa, who commented: “Overall their body condition seems to be slightly below average but it does not look as if they are starving. One of the elephants has temporal gland secretions and I am not sure whether this is a good or bad sign. In the wild, elephants mostly secrete from their temporal glands when they get excited.”
Meanwhile, recent photos and video said to show some of the elephants currently in Hangzhou reveal the animals behind bars and walking on concrete floors. The images were obtained by the animal welfar
PINK PELICAN KILLED, EGGS STOLEN IN ARTIS ZOO ROBBERY
Someone broke into Artis Zoo in Amsterdam on Sunday night and stole 10 of 14 pelican eggs. They also broke one pelican's leg, which resulted in the animal dying, and seriously disrupted the group of birds during breeding season. The Amsterdam zoo filed charges of animal cruelty, theft and vandalism, the zoo announced on Wednesday, ANP reports.
So far no suspects were arrested. The incident was also not caught on camera.
Artis director Haig Balian does not know what the burglars did to the pelican eggs. "You get strange people who have the strangest animals in house, but we have no evidence that the intruders were deliberately looking for the eggs. It might just be vandalism. But the ten eggs are real
The Whens And Wheres Of Saiga Antelope Re-Population
A study evaluating past saiga antelope re-introduction efforts has helped to rule out a planned re-introduction site, sparking the search for more ideal candidates. These findings, by researchers from the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in cooperation with scientists from the Oxford University, has been published in Scientific Reports. Millions of saiga antelope once roamed between their winter and summer ranges on the vast Eurasia steppe. However, saiga populations declined rapidly in the 1950s due to overhunting, habitat reduction and blockage of migratory routes. Saiga populations in Kazakhstan and Russia also decreased 90 percent in 20 years, causing them to be been listed as an endangered species. To restore the species, the Wuwei Endangered Wildlife Breeding Centre (WEWBC, now called Gansu Endangered Animal Protection Centre) was established in Gansu Province, China in 1987. Eleven adult saiga from the San Diego Zoo and the Berlin Taie Zoo were introduced to form the founder herd during 1988–1991, and o
The World's Rarest and Most Ancient Dog Has Just Been Re-Discovered in the Wild
The first sighting in more than half a century.
After decades of fearing that the New Guinea highland wild dog had gone extinct in its native habitat, researchers have finally confirmed the existence of a healthy, viable population, hidden in one of the most remote and inhospitable regions on Earth.
According to DNA analysis, these are the most ancient and primitive canids in existence, and a recent expedition to New Guinea's remote central mountain spine has resulted in more than 100 photographs of at least 15 wild individuals, including males, females, and pups, thriving in isolation and far from human contact.
Elmwood Park Zoo’s animal curator David Wood dies at 61
Elmwood Park Zoo is devastated to announce the passing of their beloved colleague and friend, David Wood. David Wood was Elmwood Park Zoo’s animal curator for 12 years. He died March 22 at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia due to complications from dermatomyositis. He was 61.
David Wood’s zoological career spanned over 40 years. He began as a keeper at the Philadelphia Zoo in 1973. He later became the zoo’s large mammals curator.
While at Philadelphia Zoo, David was the first person to breed naked mole rats on exhibit; he credited some of the success to playing radio station WMMR 24/7 to desensitize the mole rats to noise and vibrations.
Emaciated Venezuelan elephant becomes latest symbol of food crisis
An apparently malnourished African elephant in a Venezuelan zoo — her ribs showing through her sagging skin — has become the latest symbol the deep economic crisis in what was once one of Latin America’s most prosperous nations.
As pictures of an emaciated 46-year-old elephant named Ruperta in the Caricuao Zoo began circulating in newspapers and social media, Venezuelans have launched a food drive to save the pachyderm.
Seoul Zoo reopens this week
The Seoul Grand Park Zoo and Seoul Children’s Grand Park Zoo in Gwangjin-gu are reopened this week after 100 days when they were temporarily closed as some birds at the zoos tested positive for avian influenza (AI) last December.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government said on Monday that the two zoos will be reopened on March 30 as no further issues were detected during the in-depth inspection that lasted for three months. According to the city government, the Seoul Grand Park Zoo has taken tests and other thorough inspections by the National Institute of Environmental Research under the Environment Ministry immediately after the AI outbreak and all have been negative in final.
The Seoul city decided to temporarily shut down the zoo after two storks at a breeding site were found dead in succession on December 17, 2016. One week later, a black-faced spoonbill that was recognized as a natural monument was also found dead on December 24, 2016. They were all found to be infected with AI.
The Seoul city closed the zoo and began
Bearizona wildlife park in Arizona on lockdown due to armed suspect
An animal wildlife park in northern Arizona was forced to go into lockdown Monday after reports of an armed suspect nearby following a police chase.
Bearizona, located in Williams, posted a statement on its Facebook page that it was on lockdown due to a "possible armed and dangerous suspect" nearby.
‘Conservation is what we do’: Two recent hires put spotlight on Omaha zoo’s behind-the-scenes mission
This winter, the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium made two impact hires that could shape a new vision for conservation and create a better future for threatened cats.
One position, the chief conservation officer, is new. The other, a reproductive biologist, filled a crucial role left vacant for more than a year. The additions mean the zoo might focus on fewer projects and concentrate on making a greater impact.
Promise No. 1: Spread the word about conservation.
“Conservation is what we do, it’s what we’ve always done,” said Dr. Cheryl Morris, the zoo’s new chief conservation officer. “We just haven’t been good at telling people that we do it.”
The zoo spent $1.7 million on conservation in 2016, devoting the majority to Madagascar, where the zoo studies lemurs and has created a habitat restoration program that has seen more than 1 million trees planted.
There are dozens of other conservation projects, including the propagation of endangered plants, the reintroduction of toads into the wild a
Breitbart's James Delingpole says reef bleaching is 'fake news', hits peak denial
It takes a very special person to label the photographed, documented, filmed and studied phenomenon of mass coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef “fake news”.
You need lashings of chutzpah, blinkers the size of Donald Trump’s hairspray bill and more hubris than you can shake a branch of dead coral at.
It also helps if you can hide inside the bubble of the hyper-partisan Breitbart media outlet, whose former boss is the US president’s chief strategist.
Churaumi Aquarium hosts world-first tiger shark birth from captive breeding
Roughly between noon and 4 p.m. on March 23, a tiger shark gave birth in a shark display tank at Churaumi Aquarium in Motobu Town. Tiger sharks live in ranges from the tropics to temperate zones, and this is the first time a tiger shark has given birth from breeding in captivity. The mother gave birth to about 30 baby sharks, ranging from 60 to 80 centimeters in length.
The female tiger shark was caught in a stationary net off the coast in Yomitan Village, and afterward her breeding at Churaumi Aquarium began. She conceived at the time, as was detectable by the swelling of her abd
Brookfield Zoo Addresses Ethics of Animal Captivity
The ethical debate over zoos – and whether animals belong in them – has resurfaced over the past year, and now Brookfield Zoo is joining the discussion.
Lance Miller, the head of Brookfield Zoo’s animal welfare division, recently addressed concerns expressed by visitors to the zoo over exhibit sizes and whether they are big enough for the animals they house.
The comments were submitted via surveys the zoo asks guests to complete.
“We have noticed from your feedback that you have some concerns about ‘zoo exhibits being large enough’ for certain animals both here at Brookfield Zoo and other zoos and aquariums,” Miller wrote in a blog post dated March 13 on the website of the Chicago Zoological Society, which operates Brookfield Zoo. “The staff at Brookfield Zoo share your concern about wildlife and we have the science to help answer that question.”
The debate over animal captivity was revitalized last May when a 17-year-old gorilla, Harambe, was shot to death at the Cincinnati Zoo after a 3-month old boy
South Lakes Safari Zoo: Owner in appeal against licence refusal
The owner of a Cumbrian zoo, where a keeper was mauled by a tiger and hundreds of animals have died, has appealed against its impending closure.
David Gill was refused a licence to run South Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton-in-Furness by Barrow Council earlier this month amid animal welfare concerns.
His decision means the zoo can remain open until a new company, formed by staff, can apply for its own licence.
Had Mr Gill not appealed, the zoo would have been forced to close next month.
Mr Gill has already handed management of the site
Aquarium succeeds in successive breeding of whale-bone eating zombie worm
An aquarium here has succeeded in successive breeding of a rare deep sea tube worm, often called the "zombie worm," which survives on the bones of dead whales fallen to the sea floor.
The particular zombie worms that are on display at Enoshima Aquarium were originally discovered in the sea at a depth of 225 meters -- off the coast of Cape Noma in Kagoshima Prefecture by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology in 2012. Enoshima Aquarium has been breeding the organism with help from the agency on site since 2016 and has found ways to successfully carry out successive breeding of the zombie worm
Inspection finds the reasons dolphins die early deaths in South Korean aquariums
Some dolphins living in too small spaces without proper water temperature or medical attention
Dolphins in South Korea’s aquariums are living in poor conditions, a recent examination showed. The full-scale examination of dolphin welfare was the first conducted since dolphin shows were introduced at Seoul Grand Park in 1984.
“The eight dolphin raising facilities nationwide are poorly managed, an issue that the government has been neglecting for decades,” said Justice Party lawmaker and National Assembly Environment and Labor Committee member Lee Jung-mi on Mar. 29.
Between Feb. 22 and Mar. 3, a joint private-government inspection team consisting of Lee and representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, and animal rights and environment groups such as the Korean Animal Welfare Association, Care, and Hot Pink Dolphins conducted an examination of health management and facilities for dolphins at South Korea’s eight dolphin aquariums, including those at Seoul Grand Park and Ulsan’s Whale Ecology Experience Hall.
One major problem was the size of tanks at the aquariums, which were uniformly cramped. While total tank area did meet the legal standards of 84 square-meters in water area per animal and depth of 3.5 meters, many failed to meet the standard because tanks were partitioned into various sections, the report showed. The Ulsan Whale Ecology Experience Hall tank, where a dolphin was kept segregated, measured just 38 square-meters, while supplementary tanks at
Plans Approved for $500m Saigon Safari Park Including Hotel and Golf Course
Saigon Safari has been given the go ahead.
TTR Weekly reports that Ho Chi Minh City’s People’s Committee have approved the project.
According to Vietnam Net, Saigon Safari was originally to be developed by Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens Company, work started on clearing the 460ha site in Cu Chi Districtin 2004.
Following years of delays the project was handed over to Vingroup in 2015. New plans were put forward in 2015 to develop Saigon Safari with
St. Louis Zoo Is Officially the Best Zoo in the Country
The Saint Louis Zoo was officially named the best zoo in the country today. The zoo took first place in USA Today's "10 Best" contest, which asked readers to vote for the best zoo out of twenty contestants. For about a month, people were welcome to vote once per day for their favorite zoo.
St. Louis was in the running with top-notch zoos from around the country, including Disney's Animal Kingdom and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Those vacation hot spots didn't make the top ten, however — Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum took second and third place, while zoos in San Diego, Chicago, New Orleans, Cleveland, Fort Worth and Columbia, South Carolina filled out the top rankings.
This win has been a long time coming. USA Today held the same 10 Best contest in 2014, and St. Louis took second pla
Chimps pull off cage-break at Indira Gandhi Zoo in Visakhapatnam
It was a short-lived prison break for two chimpanzees who brought Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP) to a halt for two hours, after they fled their day enclosure, sending the visitors into a tizzy. Zoo keepers and authorities struggled for almost 90 minutes to tranquilise and return the free chimps to their enclosures.
According to authorities of IGZP, three chimpanzees - Chiko (male), Chipa and Chikitha (both female), live in the chimpanzee enclosure. Chiko (18 years) and Chikitha (30 years) were found missing from their enclosure at around 9.50 am by the animal keeper G Chinna Rao, who alerted the officials and the emergency response team. The team rushed with the required tranquilisers, nets and other equipment.
Sources said that with the failure of the solar fence
Modern zoo practices vital to keep animals healthy
Minister for Schools Education and Archeology Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan has stressed the need of learning modern zoo practices to keep animals healthy and safe in Pakistan.
Addressing the concluding ceremony of a two-week International Technical Training and Skill Development in Animal Keeping program at a local hotel on Friday, the minister said that local zoo keepers and wildlife officers would benefit from the experience and knowledge of British trainers.
Punjab University Vice Chancellor Dr Zafar Mueen Nasir, Dean Faculty of Life Sciences Dr Naeem Khan, Director British Council Lahore Kevin McLaven, Chairman Department of Zoology Dr Javed Iqbal Qazi, Dr Zulfiqar Ali, trainers from various universities from the United Kingdom, wildlife officers, zoo keepers, researchers and a large number of students were also present on the occasion. Mashhood said the British Council and private sector are collaborating in different projects which are valuable for the government. Dr Zafar Mueen Nasir said the PU would play its role in preservation of wildlife. “The Punjab University will not only work for improvement of life standard of the people but for bright future of the country,” he added. Kevin McLaven said the British Council is working for improvement in standard of education and provision of academic leadership in Pakistan.
The British Council would enhance its relations with PU further in future, he added.
Dr Naeem Khan said the training programme is hi
‘Know a wolf by its howl:’ Inside the tactics of Busch Gardens’ trainers
A young bald eagle surveyed his surroundings, acutely aware of a light March breeze, before seizing small chunks of fish in his beak.
Just six pounds, the eagle nervously rustled his wings as a golf carts whizzed by his perch, snatching up new pieces of fish after each cart turned the corner.
Trainer Jennifer Lafountain held the eagle, named Lincoln, awarding him small pieces of fish when he stayed calm. Lincoln, who was found with an eye injury and is blind in that eye, is training to become comfortable near golf carts, Lafountain said.
Lincoln is one of at least five dozen domestic and wild animals that live in Busch Gardens Williamsburg, a SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment company.
In the wake of several years of bad press and dropping stock values for their parent company SeaWorld – revolving around a documentary called “Blackfish,” which criticized SeaWorld’s treatment of captive orca whales – Busch Gardens officials assert they provide above and beyond care for their animals in captivity.
“I don’t think anybody is perfect, but I certainly feel, through the 20 years, I’ve had to experience the people I’ve worked with and the animals I’ve been fortunate to take care of, that at the end of the day, we’ve done the best we can,” Zoo
Flying foxes are facing extinction on islands across the world
Flying foxes are in deep trouble. Almost half the species of this type of fruit bat are now threatened with extinction.
The bats face a variety of threats, including deforestation and invasive species, but the main one is hunting by humans, says Christian Vincenot, an ecological modeller at Kyoto University in Japan, who highlights their plight in a perspective article in Science this week.
The bats are hunted for food, for their supposed medicinal properties and for sport. They are also killed by farmers to protect fruit crops. Around half of the 90,000 bats on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius have been killed in a government-sponsored cull in the past two years alone.
The threats are particularly severe for those species that live on islands scattered across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, which is most of them – 53 of the 65 species of flying fox are island-dwellers. “Islands exacerbate all these issues, because there are fewer places for the animals to hide,” says Vincenot.
But it is also islands that have the most to lose if the bats ar
The Fascinating and Complicated Sex Lives of White-throated Sparrows
Could this be the world’s most interesting bird? Sure, it doesn’t look that interesting. In fact, at a glance, it seems like a run-of-the-mill sparrow.
It doesn’t live in far-off exotic places, either: It may be outside your window right now. The White-throated Sparrow is common and familiar, hopping on the ground under bird feeders all over the eastern states in winter. It appears by the hundreds during migration in places like New York City’s Central Park and Chicago’s lakefront parks. But this seemingly ordinary backyard bird has a secret identity—or, actually, four secret identities. And it's these multiple personalites that place the White-throat at the center of mysteries scientists are still working out.
Watch a flock of White-throats in spring and you’ll notice they have two kinds of head patterns. Some wear snappy stripes of black and white across the top of the head. Others have more modest head stripes of dark brown and tan. That superficial difference might not seem like a big deal, but it reflects a remarkable divergence in the lifestyles of these individuals.
For years it was assumed that tan stripes indicated a young White-throat. As late as 1947, in his classic Field Guide to the Birds, Roger Peterson described the adult’s “striped black and white crown” and said the immature was “duller, but with the same essential recognition-marks.” By that time, there’d been hints already that the colors might not be just a function of age. For example, in The Birds of Massachusetts in 1929, ornithologist Edward Howe Forbush mentioned a two-year-old banded White-throat that “had not attaine
Protest stops Sri Lankan elephant bound for Auckland Zoo from flying
A baby elephant destined for Auckland Zoo has been stopped from leaving Sri Lanka following protests from animal rights activists.
Nandi, a six-year-old female elephant from Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, was gifted to New Zealand by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena in Colombo in February 2016.
A zoo spokeswoman said at the time that it was the "next step in a long-standing and carefully planned programme of co-operation between Auckland Zoo and Sri Lankan authorities".
Nandi, who was born in captivity, was the right age and had the right temper
Australia's numbat population boosted after successful breeding in WA
Australia's numbat population has been boosted after a colony recorded its first successful breeding inside the largest feral predator-proof zone in Western Australia.
Kanagawa, Yamaguchi aquariums cut ties with body that banned dolphins caught in Taiji drive hunts
Two aquariums in Japan said Sunday they canceled their membership of the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums due to the organization’s decision to no longer allow the acquisition of dolphins caught in controversial drive hunts off the town of Taiji in Wakayama Prefecture.
Enoshima Aquarium in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, and Shimonoseki Marine Science Museum Kaikyokan, in Yamaguchi Prefecture, said they withdrew from JAZA on Friday because of opposition to the decision made in May 2015.
JAZA banned its members from acquiring Taiji dolphins after the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums urged the Japanese association not to take animals caught in the drive hunts amid international outcry that the practice is cruel. JAZA was threatened with expulsion from the global body.
The decision left the 89 zoos and 63 aquariums that belong to JAZA with no choice but to stop taking dolphins fro
Zoo Science for Keepers and Aquarists
New study finds rhino horn openly for sale in notorious Myanmar wildlife markets
Researchers from TRAFFIC, WWF and Oxford Brookes University have found evidence that rhinoceros horns are being openly offered for sale in Mong La, the notorious wildlife market situated in Myanmar on the border with China.
Surveys of Mong La’s markets in 2014 found a single rhino horn. In 2015, a second rhino horn, a single horn tip, small discs from the core of a horn, horn powder and horn bangles were observed, all openly for sale in high-end shops. The whole horns and horn tip were all believed to be from African White Rhinoceroses.
The shops selling horn also stocked a range of other protected wildlife, including whole elephant tusks, carved elephant ivory, carved hippopotamus teeth, and Tiger skins.
“The species on offer, including high-value species not native to Myanmar and several African species, suggest that organized criminal syndicates are involved in the wildlife trade between Myanmar and Africa, sometimes via China,” write the authors of the paper Rhinoceros horns in trade on the Myanmar–China border, published today in Oryx.
Mong La is known to cater mainly for Chinese tourists, with prices quoted in Chinese RMB and many transactions carried out in Chinese.
According to the paper, “Rhinoceros poaching in Africa is a direct result of increasing demand in Southeast and East Asian countries where cultural, historical, medicinal and more modern beliefs render rhinoceros horn a luxury good, an investment opportunity and a status symbol.”
Earlier surveys by the same researchers in 2006 and 2009 did not find horn for s
Cleveland insider: curator's love of animals proves timeless
As a young animal keeper at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Tad Schoffner knew when he had gained acceptance from the approximately 120 rhesus monkeys on Monkey Island. It was when they started ignoring him, but only because they trusted him.
That allowed Schoffner, after he had fed the monkeys and cleaned the exhibit, to sit among them and observe. He noticed that a dominant male held sway. The male wasn’t the biggest in the group but he had established himself as one tough monkey.
“I found it funny that he would be on one side of the island, and a squabble would break out on the other side, and he would just stand up and look at them, and that would stop everything,” Schoffner says. “It wa
SEAWORLD AS A CONSERVATION DONOR?
The first SeaWorld park opened in 1964 but it was another 15 years before they introduced the concept of education, when they were legally mandated to do so - the park's founder even admits that the park was created "strictly as entertainment". A further 15 years passed before SeaWorld made the decision to put something back into conservation and so the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund (SWBGCF) was born. Although technically (and legally), the fund is a separate entity from SeaWorld itself, it's hard not to see the connection between the two!
Penguins: Court asks CZA to be present at next hearing
Bombay high court while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) opposing the exhibition of Humboldt penguins at Byculla zoo, on Friday directed the central zoo authority (CZA) to remain present in court on the next date of hearing. The court issued this direction when the petitioner informed that CZA had issued show cause notice to Byculla zoo for not complying with certain necessary conditions for renewing recognition of the zoo.
Petitioners Advocate Advait Sethna along with Ruju Thakkar argued before the division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G.S. Kulkarni that as per seven-year-old data, these penguins were a threatened species and now, even more so, which is why the degree of care they required was much greater as compared to other animals and birds. The petitioners alleged the pool had developed cracks. They pointed out that CZA, an autonomous statutory body regulating all zoos, had issued show cause notice to Byculla zoo in September last year. Mr Sethna said recognition of the zoo needed to be renewed every year and CZA issued notice to the zoo because it did not comply with certain conditions stipulated by CZA.
Chief Justice Chellur asked the petitioner if anybody was
BORN FREE LAUNCHES PRIORITY PLAN FOR REFORMING THE KEEPING OF CAPTIVE WILD ANIMALS IN THE UK
The urgent priorities identified by Born Free include Government intervention to:
Act swiftly to bring in a ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses across the UK (a Manifesto commitment)
Establish a full-time and centralised independent zoo inspectorate to ensure consistency in licensing and inspection of zoos
Introduce a ban on the trade in, and private keeping of, all species of non-human primate across the UK
End the import, sale and keeping of wild-caught mammals, reptiles and amphibians as pets.*
Will Travers, who will launch the plan, said: “The Prime Minister recently claimed that the UK was number two in the world when it came to animal welfare. However, the lack of attention and effort that has been paid to the keeping of wild animals in captivity seriously undermines that claim. Without resolute action, not only will our reputation suffer, but, more importantly, wild animals in our care will suffer unnecessarily.”
China embraces killer whale shows, even as SeaWorld ends them
Forget the oohs and aahs. The recent debut of killer whales at China’s largest aquarium here has sparked concerns worldwide that the country is repeating similar mistakes that plagued some U.S. marine parks.
China is experiencing a boom in marine parks as an increasing number of Chinese flock to watch the sea creatures perform. That also has resulted in overcrowded tanks, poor water quality and ignorance about marine mammal illnesses at the attractions.
Park operators are ignoring animal welfare and worker safety, according to animal rights activists.
“They are going through a learning curve that is not necessary and completely outdated — and they’re taking an enormous risk,” said Naomi Rose, marine mammal scientist with the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington, D.C., who recently visited some of China's largest marine parks. “A trainer will be inj
Belfast Zoo confident of accreditation after work to tackle concerns
The new manager of Belfast Zoo has said past problems that dogged the facility and saw its membership of an international standards body suspended have been addressed.
3 NEW SNAKES FOUND, ONE NAMED FOR UNDERWORLD MONSTER
The quest to build a family tree for Earth’s most diverse snake genus has uncovered three new species—one of which is named after Cerberus, the monster guarding the Greek underworld’s gates.
At first glance, Atractus cerberus doesn’t look especially imposing. The brown and yellow snake doesn’t get much longer than 12 inches, and it lives an unassuming life along the borders of forests within Ecuador’s Pacoche Wildlife Refuge, hiding under rocks and logs.
But just a few miles down the road from the snake’s habitat, more than 1,200 acres of forest have been stripped bare—the footprint for the Refinery of the Pacific, a massive oil refinery that’s been under construction since 2008. The denuded landscape reminded the researchers who discovered the snake of the underworld. And like Cerberus, the newfound snake “guarded”
Zoo Knoxville investigating mysterious deaths of 33 reptiles
Zoo Knoxville is investigating the mysterious deaths of 33 reptiles.
According to a news release from the zoo, when staffers entered the building Wednesday morning they found 30 snakes and one lizard unresponsive.
Zoo clinic staffers and veterinarians from the UT College of Veterinary Medicine responded. Surviving animals were evacuated and given oxygen, while others were checked for heartbeats using ultrasound.
Of the 52 animals housed in the building, 33 died, including three critically endangered species.
"It's devastating. It's a lot bigger than just the individual snake in our collection," Zoo Knoxville director of animal care, conservation and education Phil Colclough said. "All these are pieces to a larger conservation puzzle and in some cases with these animals,
Lanthier: Sadly, zoos and aquariums are becoming some animals' last refuge
Lost in the passionate debate in Vancouver about beluga whales is the sobering question all Canadians should be asking as we celebrate our nation’s 150th birthday. Which of Canada’s magnificent wildlife species do we want to save for the next 150 years?
We proudly cite our spectacular wilderness and abundant wildlife as symbols of our national identity, but the reality would shock most Canadians. With 248 species listed as endangered, our nation is part of the global mass extinction that has seen 60 per cent of vertebrates disappear over the past 40 years. In that same period, 80 per cent of our
Elephant handler takes case to court
A Surin-based elephant handler is preparing to go to court to prove his ownership of an elephant that was found in a Phuket safari, claiming the pachyderm is one he lost 14 years ago in Krabi. Somsak...
Staff layoffs at Calgary Zoo amid animal health division restructuring
Some veteran keepers at the Calgary Zoo will be losing their jobs as the facility is looking to make changes to the staff members in charge of animal health care.
Zoo administrators are looking at a new contract with the Animal Care Centre in Strathmore and that means that at least three staff members would lose their jobs.
Officials have already let the personnel who would be affected know but they haven’t said much more.
The changes, the zoo says, are expected to increase flexibility and make operations more cost-effective.
Now, officials are working to determine if the centre in Strathmore will meet their needs and, if it does, they will go ah
African painted dog: Perth zoologist devotes his life to saving endangered, misunderstood animal
A century ago there were 500,000 African painted dogs in 39 countries across Africa.
Now just 5,000 to 6,000 remain in the wild.
Perth Zoo's John Lemon has devoted his life to saving the dog.
"When I'm not here at the zoo, I'm in Africa, that's my life," the founder of Painted Dog Conservation Incorporated told ABC Radio Perth.
"I'm a self-confessed workaholic but I really do want to try and save a single species in my short lifetime."
Humboldt Penguins with ‘Western names’ unveiled in Mumbai Zoo
Now a new controversy has erupted over their names on the inaugural day.
“The BMC has named the Penguins as ‘Donald, Daisy, Olive, Popeye, Bubble, Flipper and Mr Molt’ — We strongly protest these Western names and demand that they should be renamed with good Indian names,” Pravin Chheda, Congress’s ex-BMC Leader of Opposition told IANS.
These Humboldt Penguins belong to the South American species found in the icy cold coasts of Chile and Peru.
ARTIS SUCCESSFUL IN WORLD'S FIRST ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION OF CROCODILES
Artis zoo managed to successful artificially inseminate false gharial this week. As far as is known, this is the first time in the world that artificial insemination was successfully done on this species of crocodile, Artis announced in a press release
The zoo has had this endangered species of crocodile in residence since 1887. There are only an estimated 2,500 false gharials in the wild. They can be found in Malaysia, southern Myanmar and on the Indonesian islands of Borneo, Java and Sumatra.
World' rarest dolphin heading towards extinction
New Zealand's Maui dolphin, the world's smallest, is headed to extinction after a half-century of lethal encounters with fishermen's nets. Even as government-funded scientists detail its decline and opposition Labour and Greens call for net bans - which opinion polls show most Kiwis support - the ruling National Party, headed by a fishing magnate, denies there is any problem. CHRISTOPHER PALA reports …
10 amazing birds that have gone extinct
In addition, this comprehensive set also features portraits of every bird species to have gone extinct since the year 1500, that we have reliable visual records of. Below are just some of the hundreds of species of bird that have been wiped out by human activity in the modern era.
Lebanese NGO rescues maggot-infested Siberian tiger cubs destined for a zoo in war-torn Syria
An animal rights group in Lebanon is caring for three dehydrated, maggot-infested Siberian tiger cubs that were rescued on their way to a zoo in neighboring war-ravaged Syria.
Animals Lebanon said Saturday that its members rescued the cubs earlier this week after they had spent more than a week cooped up inside a cramped crate in "unacceptable" conditions at the Beirut airport.
The cubs flew into Lebanon from Ukraine on March 7 and were supposed to travel on to a zoo in Syria.
Instead, due to apparent confusion about their travel arrangements, they spent a week inside the wooden crate at the Beirut airport, said Animals Lebanon's Vice President Maggie Shaarawi.
"Everything was wrong. There was no tray in the crate for when they urinate. They were swimming in their faeces and urine. There was no bowl for water," Shaarawi told AFP.
Images published by Animals Lebanon show the weak cubs, covered in maggots and faeces, squirming in the small crate as volunteers from the group work to c
Flock of Spanish Immigrants Arrive in Israel to Help Boost Vulture Population
There are now 200 vultures in Israel, about half their number two decades ago. Their nests in recent years have not exceeded 50, as opposed to between 90 and 120 at the beginning of the previous decade, according to figures presented at a conference last week. Over the past two years the Israel Nature and Parks Authority has begun releasing the wild birds brought from Spain. However, experts say this will only delay the extinction of the population, and other means will be necessary if vultures are to continue soaring over Israel’s cliffs and canyons.
The figures were presented to the annual conference by the chief avian ecologist, Ohad Hatzofeh. From the conference he went on to Ben-Gurion airport to help receive 10 vultures arriving from Spain.
The decline in the vulture population has accelerated over the past two decades, mainly due to pesticides the birds ingest when they prey on the carcasses of wild anim
Experts work to improve ‘alala’s chances
Thursday evening’s community talk at Mokupapapa Discovery Center was more difficult than usual for ‘Alala Project outreach and education specialist Lea Ka‘aha‘aina.
Last year, talks focused on plans for the long-awaited release of ‘alala (Hawaiian crow) back into the wild, where they have been extinct since 2002.
This talk had to address the reality of reintroduction efforts: Nature is an unforgiving habitat.
The first five ‘alala, all juvenile males, were released in December into Pu‘u Maka‘ala Natural Area Reserve. But within a week, three were found dead. Necropsies performed found that two birds were killed by a natural predator, the ‘io (Hawaiian hawk), and one died of starvation.
The remaining two birds were brought back to the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center, home base for several ongoing bird reintroduction and population restoration efforts, including the ‘alala project. Plans to release a second cohort of female birds were put on hold.
The community’s response in December was a largely an outpouring of support and encouragement, Ka‘aha‘aina said.
“The public really does have a good understanding and good continued support (of the releases),” she said.
That understanding is in part thanks to ongoing outreach efforts. From frequent social media updates on Facebook and Instagram to special events (a pre-release celebration last year drew more than 600 people), word of mouth has been key in keeping people aware of all that goes into ‘alala reintroduction.
More than 40 people attended Thursday’s talk to learn more about what would happen next.
“This was not the outcome that we had hoped for, but it was also not unexpected,” Ka‘aha‘aina told the group. “It was a good reminder for all of us who work on the project, as well as all of you out in the public, that the nature of reintroductions is that they’re inherently chall
Leif Cocks says multi-nationals don't care about fate of orang-utans or Indonesian rainforest
AFTER more than 30 years fighting to save our close cousins the orang-utans from extinction, conservationist Leif Cocks has a dire warning.
“We are really on the edge now,” Mr Cocks said. “We have to turn it around in the next few years otherwise you can say we’ve got orang-utans in zoos or small patches of forest, but they are doomed.”
In his new book, Orangutans: My Cousins, My Friends, Mr Cocks makes an impassioned plea to save the orang-utan, an animal that shares 97 per cent of its DNA with hum
Indonesia ‘Death Zoo’: President Widodo Petitioned to Save Starving Sun Bears at Bandung Zoo
A petition imploring Indonesia President Joko Widodo and Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, to shut down the Bandung Zoo on Change.com has so far garnered more than 704,900 signatures. The petition was started after video of what appear to be emaciated Sun Bears (also known as honey bears) was posted on social media sites, including that of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta).
In the video above posted by Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group, Sun Bears in a dirty moated pen can be seen scurrying for food thrown from visitors. One faces in the direction of the camera and swings its head from side to side; a clear sign, according to Peta, of ‘zoochosis‘, a captivity-induced mental illness.
The latest video shows little difference in the condition of the Sun Bears when compared with the video below, said to have been shot at the same zoo last year, with the exception that the most emaciated looking Sun Bear in the first video can not be seen i
Penguins bring in 20,000 visitors to zoo on Sunday
Fearing that the entry fee for Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and zoo in Byculla could be increased, thousands of Mumbaikars tried to visit it on Sunday. It was also the first Sunday since the inauguration of the enclosure on March 17.
The zoo authorities said approximately 20,000 people had visited it on March 19. Zoo director Dr Sanjay Tripathi said they had informed local police about the large crowd. "We have been continuously monitoring the situation since Sunday morning. In the recent past, there has never been such a huge crowd to visit the g
Decades before Vancouver Aquarium debate, zoo faced similar controversies
Tuk was a sad old beast by time he died in 1997.
Slowly roaming hang-jawed around his pen, the 37-year-old polar bear had been the only impediment to the official closure of the Vancouver Zoo in Stanley Park.
The Vancouver Park Board had voted four years earlier to close the zoo; then, as now with the cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium, people hotly debated keeping mammals in captivity.
The bear had arrived at the relatively new zoo in the 1950s as a playful cub from the Northwest Territories, his mother shot by a Inuit hunter.
Tuk joined the other animals at the zoo, most of them kept in small enclosures for display — as was the practice at the time.
"That's the standards of keeping animals back then," said former zoo curator and researcher Vernon Kisling.
"They didn't have the advanced knowledge we have today."
But as Tuk got older, the Vancouver zoo, like zoos around the world at the time, was looking to shift its focus from a menagerie of exotic animals to a wildlife conservation centre. For som
Saving endangered species at world's only cassowary rehabilitation centre in FNQ
Nestled in a pocket of rainforest near the far north Queensland coast is the world's only rehabilitation centre for critically endangered southern cassowaries.
Current estimates suggest there are fewer than 4,500 cassowaries remaining in the wild, and while much of their rainforest habitat is now protected, what little remains is fragmented by roads and development.
Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre veterinarian, Dr Graham Lauridsen, said most birds housed in the facility were either victims of car strikes, or were chicks orphaned as a result of car strikes.
Great bustards 'establishing' in the UK
Great bustards are "on the point" of becoming self sustainable in the UK for the first time in 185 years.
The world's heaviest flying bird was hunted to extinction in the country, with the last bustard shot in 1832.
Since 2004, the Great Bustard Group (GBG) has released hundreds of chicks on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.
David Waters, from the GBG, said if it was a "reasonable year" it would be the first "new great bustard population" to be established "anywhere in
Reconstruction of Yakutia’s zoo estimated at $12 million
The head of the Russian region of Yakutia, Egor Borisov, stated the need for upgrading the infrastructure of the Republican zoo “Orto-Doydu” located in the Khangalassky district.
“Yakutia needs a modern zoo. The project is estimated approximately at 700 million rubles (that is $12 million — editor’s note). The substantial part is how to build modern enclosures, that is why the costs will be very large,” — Yegor Borisov told Interfax news agency.
According to the republican Ministry of Nature Pr
As attitudes change, Chinese lawmakers seek better protection for rhinos and other endangered animals
Slowly but surely, Chinese attitudes toward wildlife conservation are changing.
At China’s annual parliamentary session, lawmakers from Hong Kong have submitted a formal proposal to ban the commercial farming of bears for the extraction of their bile and urged stronger efforts to combat the illegal trade in rhino horn, officials said Tuesday.
Separately, there were also calls at China’s annual legislative and consultative assemblies for an end to tiger farming in China and for a ban on the use of pangolin scales in traditional Chinese medicine.
Conservationists welcomed the moves, which reflect a gradual change in Chinese attitudes toward endangered wildlife and the use of wildlife products in medicine, as ornaments or in food.
“This great result for rhinos and bears just goes to show how a bottom-up approach can work, from grass roots all the way up to the Politburo,”
Rhino Horn: Cure or Curse?
Today we're heading into South Africa, where grim-faced game rangers ride in their Land Cruisers clutching Vektor R4 assault rifles. They're on the hunt for poachers, who are, somewhere in the brush, illegally killing rhinos at the rate of more than three a day. Poaching is, by far, the most profitable industry in the nation by each of several metrics. What could drive people to want rhino horns so badly they'll kill for them? It's a subject that's rife with misinformation — including, most likely, a lot of what you think you know about it.
This global demand for rhino horn was brought into stark focus in March of 2017 when a crime was committed that shocked everyone, as it was as horrible as it was unexpected. Poachers broke into a wildlife preserve called Thoiry Zoo just outside of Paris sometime during the night and killed Vince, a 4-year-old white rhino. Vince was shot three times in the head and his front horn was chainsawed off. The much smaller second horn was only partially cut through.
At the time, rhino horn on the black market — often bought and sold using untraceable Bitcoin cryptocurrency — was running about $25,000/lb (€51,000/kg). That's about 40% more than gold. We don't know the weight of what was taken from Vince, but the white rhino's front horn is the largest of the rhino family. Its weight averages 4 kg (8.8 lbs). This means it's likely the poachers netted over $225,000 (€215,000) from that one horn alone. Bold poaching in the suburbs of a major European city like Paris becomes a lot more believable when you consider that nearly a quarter million dollars of gold was just sitting there, virtually unguarded. Who
The Jakarta Aquarium, a ‘new generation’ boutique aquarium is the Indonesian capital’s only aquarium.
Developed by Taman Safari Indonesia (TSI), the country’s leading aquarium and zoo operator, and sited in a mall in the Podomoro City integrated development resort it seeks to showcase the rich marine life of Indonesia’s waters.
China-backed Dam Project May Threaten Myanmar Wildlife Sanctuary
Environmental activists say plans for a large dam threaten wildlife sanctuaries in Myanmar’s northern Karen state.
China would finance the proposed Hatgyi dam on Southeast Asia’s Salween River. The Sinohydro company of China and Thailand’s Electricity Generating Authority are building the dam.
The Salween is the longest river in Southeast Asia that does not have a major dam. Now, developers want to build seven dams on the main part of the river.
Saw Paul Sein Twa is the executive director of the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network, or KESAN. He says the proposed dam project should be stopped. He says his group needs to study the wildlife in the area.
“The dam will flood the area where we have f
Australia's last African elephant dies at Dubbo zoo
The death of an African elephant at Dubbo's Taronga Western Plains Zoo has marked the end of an era for the species in Australia.
Cuddles was the zoo's oldest inhabitant and, according to the zoo, the last African elephant in captivity in Australia.
She arrived in 1977 from the United Kingdom with two other females and was estimated to be 46 years old.
Zoo staff had been monitoring Cuddles closely over the past week as her health had slowly declined due to digestive issues.
The Dubbo facility's director Matt Fuller said the elephant was very special to many people, including staff and visitors.
"She was a much loved member of the zoo community," Mr Fuller said.
"She's got a lot of history,
No room at the zoo for dangerous crocodiles
Crocodile farms and zoos are refusing to house dangerous crocodiles removed from the wild because it is too expensive or they are running out of room.
The Queensland government’s crocodile management plan has ruled out a cull and relies on shifting problem crocs to zoos and farms. But several of the institutions warned the solution might not be sustainable.
John Lever, who owns the Koorana Crocodile Farm near Rockhampton in central Queensland, said he refused to take a 1.2m male saltwater crocodile from near Cairns last week because of the expense.
“Females are in very high demand as breeders, they are an asset,” Mr Lever said. “But nearly all crocodiles removed from the wild are males … when you take a large male croc, it’s not an asset, it’s a liability.”
Mr Lever said it was expensive to house the m
Doha Zoo animals attract Agriteq visitors
A number of wild animals, including chimpanzees, and a bird of prey are attracting many visitors at the fifth Qatar International Agricultural Exhibition (Agriteq), which opened at the Doha Exhibition and Conventions Centre (DECC).
The four-day event, under the patronage of HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, hosts a large number of local and international companies from the agricultural industry across a 12,000sq m area.
Among the Doha Zoo animals at Agriteq, a pair of chimpanzees seemed to be getting the most attention from passersby while a ‘golden eagle,’ known as one of the largest and fastest raptors in North America, charms visitors with its elegant feathers and stunning look.
Doha Zoo also showcases a large python from India, some small poisonous snakes, a wild frog, a parrot, and some young goats. The zoo houses more than 1,000 animals at a facility in northern part of Qatar, it is learnt. “We have been taking very good care of these animals at their sanctuary, a well ventilated and air-conditioned facility,” an employee told Gulf Times.
There are suitable enclosures for various types of animals, including a carnivorous section and a clinic with a quarantine section, which treats sick animals and provides them with proper healthcare. “We vaccinate and feed animals with nutritious food such as alfalfa, green leaves and pellets for disease prevention, apart from vitamins,” h
Rare Frog Discovery Has Researchers Hopping for Joy
A discovery involving a rare California frog has researchers hopping for joy.
Nine egg masses from the California red-legged frog were discovered on March 14 in a creek in the Santa Monica Mountains, which stretch from Los Angeles westward along the Malibu coast into Ventura County.
The threatened species hasn't been seen naturally in the mountains since the 1970s and the National Park Service has been trying to rebuild the population by transplanting eggs from a population in the nearby Simi Hills.
The discovery of new egg masses indicates that after four years of effort, the population is showing signs of sustaining itself without human help, although transplants will continue, the park service indicated.
"I was literally crying when the stream team showed me the photos of egg masses," Katy Delaney, a National Park Service ecologist with Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, said in a statement. "The years of work we've put in is showing amazing progress. There's still plenty of work to be done, but th
Zoos across country on alert over possible outbreak of fatal protozoan disease
The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has alerted all zoos across India to take preventive measures to avert a possible outbreak of Trypanosomiasis – a protozoan disease that have, in the past, killed more than a dozen tigers and leopards in Indian zoos.
The alert, in the form of a circular marked as ‘urgent’, was issued on March 6 following the death of a wild dog at the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park in Vishakhapatnam recently.
“We have sent the alert to all large, medium, small and mini zoos across India, chief wildlife wardens of all the states, around 13 civic bodies and four steel plants. These civic bodies and steel plants also maintain small zoos with the permission of the CZA” said Brij Kishor Gupta evaluating and monitoring officer of CZA.
Experts said that Trypanosomiasis is usually spread by flies which thrive in unhygienic conditions. It is mostly the big cats that get infected resulting in death in many cases. The infected animals may or may not show symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, anaemia among others.
“This time, however, it has infected a wild dog. It died o
A Chinese investment giant just took a big stake in SeaWorld
China-based Zhonghong Zhuoye Group will buy Blackstone Group's 21% stake in SeaWorld Entertainment, the embattled US-based marine park operator said on Friday.
SeaWorld said Zhonghong will buy the stake for $23 per share, a premium of nearly 33 percent to the stock's close on Thursday.
Zhonghong – a diversified holding company for investments in real estate, leisure and tourism – will pay about $429 million for the stake, according to Reuters calculations.
SeaWorld faced critic
Unique Sơn Trà Reserve under threat
The Sơn Trà Nature Reserve – the green lung of Đà Nẵng - will turn into a desert, and the world’s biggest population of red-shanked douc langurs (Pygathrix nemaeus) will become extinct unless rapid development of hotels and resorts there is not stopped.
The warning was issued by the head of the representative office of the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) in Việt Nam, Dr Hà Thăng Long, who spoke to Việt Nam News about the poor management and planning of the Sơn Trà Peninsula that has shrunk wildlife and primate habitats. Red-shanked douc langurs have been declared endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
“Stop construction. Do not build any hotels in the reserve. The Sơn Trà Nature Reserve, which was partly hurt by unaware human activities, should be conserved in a special regime,” Long said in an interview.
“Sơn Trà Mountain, included in the Nature Reserve, is vulnerable to human activities that cannot be tolerated as it was in past decades,” Long explained.
He said the 4,300ha Nature Reserve occupies a precious and rare biodiversity of mountain, fo
Thorough investigations needed following major rhino horn seizures in SE Asia
Viet Nam continues to take centre stage in the global illicit rhino horn trade in 2017 with two large, back-to-back seizures totalling 67 horns in Southeast Asia that reaffirm the country’s links to rhino horn consumption and trafficking.
In the first seizure on 10th March, Thai Customs discovered 21 rhino horns in luggage that arrived in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on a flight from Namibia. One of two female suspects who had travelled to Bangkok to collect the bag, had come from Viet Nam.
Both women fled while the luggage was being searched. Warrants have been issued for their arrest. The two police officers and a senior official from the Ministry of Justice, who were reported to have escorted the women with the rhino horn-laden luggage, are all under investigation.
Days later a seizure of 46—more than 100 kg—of rhino horns took place in Viet Nam at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport. Authorities discovered two suitcases on a flight from Kenya containing 57 kg and 61 kg of rhino horns. Customs officials who discovered the two bags were unable to trace the contraband back to any traveller.
The forensic testing of rhino horn is a requirement under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to which Viet Nam and Thailand are both signatories. While Thai authorities have announced plans to sample DNA from horns seized in Bangkok to determine their origin, it remains uncertain if Vietnamese authorities are intending to do the same for the Hanoi seizure, despite the CITES requirement. Their reluctance may be linked to an incident last year when rhino horns sent for sampling by Viet Nam were reportedly stolen en route to South Africa from the luggage of a Vietnamese official.
Investigations following enforcement actions like these often come to a dead end when officials are unable to trace the origin of the contraband, or when concealed shipments of high-valued commod
Cheetah attacks cause uproar over 'petting'
South Africa has been rocked by several incidences of cheetah attacks over the past week, leading to an outcry for an end to wild animal petting.
According to Algoa FM, a 3-year-old boy was attacked by a cheetah on a farm in the Free State on Sunday.
Sadly, the boy succumbed to his injuries en-route to a Bloemfontein hospital via helicopter.
The owner of the farm, wildlife filmmaker Joh Varty, says on Facebook that while he takes full responsibility for the child's death, the attack was the result of his workers' carelessness.
“On the Friday night a large amou
Pigs' teeth and hippo poo: behind the scenes at London zoo
London zoo was established in 1828 and is the world’s oldest scientific zoo. Created as a collection for the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the animals from the Tower of London’s menagerie were transferred there in 1832 and it opened to the public in 1847. Today it houses more than 20,000 animals and almost 700 species.
ZSL is not funded by the state – it relies on memberships and fellowships, entrance fees and sponsorship to generate income.
Gareth Chamberlain is one of the senior keepers at the zoo’s Into Africa section. He says: “I specialise in the giraffe and the okapi. The okapi is a forest relative of the giraffe – it’s probably one of the most beautiful animals on the planet, without a shadow of a doubt my favourite species in the world. It has a bit of a history to ZSL, which was the first zoo to discover the okapi, and it has a history for me as well because I used to come to London zoo with my parents as a child and I had a book called Ganda the Okapi – I still have it at home, actually. I used to bring the book and sit in the okapi house, which was part of the giraffe house back then, and just sit and stare at the okapi for the entire day. So I feel like I’ve grown up with them.
Leprosy revealed in red squirrels across British Isles
Leprosy has been found in red squirrels across the British Isles and scientists believe they have been infected with the disfiguring disease for centuries.
The endangered animals carry the same bacteria that cause the human disease, research has revealed. This results in lesions on their muzzles, ears and paws, adding to the sharp decline in their numbers caused by invading grey squirrels, which appear immune to the disease.
It is possible that humans have caught leprosy from red squirrels in the past, as their fur and meat was once prized. But the last case of leprosy contracted in the UK was in 1798, indicating the risk is now extremely low.
“We should be even more concerned about the squirrels now and not frightened of them,” said Prof Anna Meredith, at the University of Edinburgh and one of the leaders of the new study. “We have found it is widespread all over the UK and Ireland, but we don’t want people to be alarmed. It has been around a long time and there have been no human cases for hundreds of years.”
Nonetheless, Meredith said: “You need to be s
Bristol Zoo defends the size of its lions' enclosure after critics call it too small
Bristol Zoo has defended the size of its lions’ enclosure after critics claimed it is too small.
The zoo says the animals are not stressed and able to display their full range of natural behaviours.
The response comes after a petition was launched which calls “to get Bristol Zoo to agree to get a bigger, better, more suitable outside enclosure for their lions”.
Alison Holloway, who organised the petition on the 38 degrees' website, said: “These poor animals are in a tiny enclosure, with no real outside space to roam like lions naturally should.
“They pace up and down, staring at their spectators with blank expressions.
“There is no need for them to be in such a sm
Mumbai: Elephant hurt, but bureaucrats deny caretaker is to blame
A 54-year-old female elephant named Anarkali, housed at Byculla’s Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan, allegedly sustained injuries on her head and tail after her caretaker used a hooked whip (ankush) to control her. The use of ankush on animals is banned by the court. However the zoo authorities rebutted the allegation saying that the elephant sustained the injuries while sleeping.
However, the ankush, the sharp-edged weapon made of iron is used on sensitive parts of elephants to compel them to obey to the commands of elephant trainer (mahout). Its semi-circle hook-like portion, which can cause serious harm, is usually applied on the elephants. Jamal Khan, one of the mahouts looking after elephants at the zoo, said, “To control an elephant you need the ankush. They (elephants) obey you when they’re shown the ankush, oth
What does gestural communication of great apes tell us about human language?
Our language is one of the features that define us as human beings and distance us from all other animals. Though no other species has developed language like us, animals communicate with each other through a vast set of signals.
In the case of great apes, they communicate by vocalizations, facial expressions, body displays or gestures. Due to the phylogenetic proximity between humans and great apes, the study of gestural communication is particularly attractive since it allows to hypothesize how language evolved in our species. And the evolution of human language is one of the hardest scientific topics to do research. The reason is simple: language does not fossilize. That is why we are forced to look for other clues to enlight us about how our language evolved and great ape gestures can lead us much further in the search for answers than we previously thought.
First of all, great apes employ gestures in an intentional, flexible and goal-oriented ways and display them in various contexts like grooming, playing or feeding. For example, to request food, great apes usually use begging gestures in which they stretch their arms and open their hands towards
Yellow fever killing thousands of monkeys in Brazil
In a vulnerable forest in southeastern Brazil, where the air was once thick with the guttural chatter of brown howler monkeys, there now exists silence.
Yellow fever, a virus carried by mosquitoes and endemic to Africa and South America, has robbed the private, federally-protected reserve of its brown howlers in an unprecedented wave of death that has swept through the region since late 2016, killing thousands of monkeys.
Karen Strier, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of anthropology, has studied the monkeys of this forest since 1983. She visited the reserve—her long-term study site near the city of Caratinga—in the state of Minas Gerais, in January of 2017. "It was just silence, a sense of emptiness," she says. "It was like the energy was sucked out of the universe."
Using what in some cases are decades of historical data, Strier and a team of Brazilian scientists focused on studying primates in Brazil's patchwork Atlantic Forest are poised to help understand and manage what happens
China's First Orca Breeding Center Sparks Controversy
SeaWorld announced a year ago that it would end orca breeding at its parks in the U.S. One year later and nearly 8,000 miles away in China, another such program is just getting started.
The Chimelong Group, one of the country’s biggest amusement park operators, revealed that it opened a breeding center for orcas on February 24 at Chimelong Ocean Kingdom—the first program of its kind in China. Located in Zhukai, a city in the southeast, the park has five males and four females ranging in age from five to 13. The orcas, also known as killer whales, were plucked from Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk, according to the China Cetacean Alliance, a coalition of inter
Twycross Transformed: the Making of a Modern Zoo
Twycross Zoo already enjoys a worldwide reputation for its specialist care of primates. Now, the registered charity has unveiled the blueprints of an ambitious 20-year Master Plan. This will transform the attraction in rural Leicestershire into one of the most impressive in the UK.
The £55 million capital investment programme aims to turn Twycross Zoo into a landmark tourist venue providing an immersive, entertaining and engaging visitor experience as well as consolidating its status as an internationally respected hub of animal conservation, research and education.
The Secret Life Of The Zoo Keeper
Asian elephants are under threat. It is likely that there will be more people attending your nearest Premier League football match this weekend than there are Asian elephants left in the wild. Less than 40,000 of the species remain. They are threatened by habitat loss, poaching, disease and direct conflict with humans. Experts from Chester Zoo are working in India to protect the species from human-wildlife conflict, while closer to home they are part of a breeding programme focused on sustaining the population in Europe.
As viewers of Channel 4’s The Secret Life of the Zoo TV series will know, Chester’s elephant herd are a close knit family. Scientific research has shown that social bonds between individual elephants has a big influence on cohesion in the whole group and consequently the health and wellbeing of the herd.
As elephant assistant team manager at C
Careless caretakers: over dozen animals, birds died in 2016 at Islamabad zoo
Over dozens of animals and birds worth millions of rupees have died in capital’s oldest MarghazarZoo in last one year due to the negligence of the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI).
Well-placed sources in the MCI revealed that the dead bodies, skins, skulls, bones and other precious parts of some animals and birds were allegedly sold out in the black market in the cover of their burial, Pakistan Today has learnt.
A zebra, hog deer, ostrich male, zebra foal, ostrich female, wolf, lion cub male, lion cub female, flamingo male, crane male, two common peafowl male, ring-necked pheasant female, and demoiselle crane have died in 2016. However, two Nilgai’s have died so far in 2017.
“We had many deer at the zoo and in green belt near Faisal Mosque numbering around 42, if someone paid 85-95 thousand rupees then the authority allowed him to take a pair of uncommon deer for any purpose t
Panic after two leopards escape Himachal zoo
Two leopards escaped the Gopalpur Zoo, about 20 km from here on Tuesday night, triggering panic among residents in the area.
The administration had sounded an alert in surrounding areas and parents have been asked not to sent their children alone to school. A control room had been set up at Gopalpur, officials said. The leo
‘Give the management of Karachi zoo to experts’
Increasing concerns over the rights of captive animals have led to major changes at zoos around the world in the last few decades. While this process of transformation is continuing with more scientific data emerging on the complexity of animal life and the negative effects of captivity, there exists a strong opinion against the very concept of zoos.
This debate on whether to have or not to have a zoo is very much relevant to Pakistan, a country where animal abuse is rampant, laws on captive animals hardly exist, and living conditions in facilities like the Karachi Zoological Garden are extremely deplorable, to say the least.
Faiza Ilyas recently discussed this subject with Rab Nawaz, senior director programmes at the World Wi
Pictures Show the Strange Lives of Captive Polar Bears
During a particularly brutal Chicago winter in 2014, photographer Sheng Wen Lo remembers reading that it was too cold for polar bears housed in the city’s Lincoln Park Zoo to go outside. It sounded like the lead-up to a bad joke, but it was true. Captive polar bears aren’t as tough as wild ones. Their skin is thinner and they can’t withstand extreme cold.
The news was particularly striking to Lo. For three years, he has been photographing captive polar bears in 25 zoos and other enclosures in Europe and China. The series, called White Bear, exposes the welfare of animals within artificial habitats by observing their behavior.
It’s tempting to look at Lo’s images as a pointed argument against keeping polar bears in zoos. And in many ways, polar bears are unique: They’re charismatic zoo animals well-known to tourists, they represent a unique and remote ecosystem, and they are highly sensitive to environmental change. Yet Lo intends the series—and the bears—to provoke larger questions about which animals are suited for captivity, and which might not be.
Lo approaches animal captivity the same way he approaches computer science, in which he has a master’s degree. Before even taking the first picture, Lo consulted a veterinarian about how to read the actions of polar bears (i.e. is pacing always a sign of distress?) Then, while developing the series, he invited zoology experts to view th
Flamingo kicked to death in Czech zoo by three children after they stoned it
A trio of schoolboys aged between five and eight-years-old reportedly kicked a flamingo to death after pelting it with stones at a zoo in the Czech Republic.
The youngsters reportedly climbed over the fence of the Jihlava Zoo before launching their attack on the flock of American flamingos.
“First, they pelted them with stones," zoologist Jan Vašák told the Prague Morning news site, adding that one of them started to kick one of the birds.
Zoo death statistics can be misleading - we care deeply for all of our animals
There is absolutely no room in this world for zoos with substandard practices and poor consideration for animal wellness. Poorly managed zoos do not contribute to the genuine conservation effort and tarnish the reputation of all zoos. Nobody criticises or condemns them more strongly than those of us who are part of the zoo community.
Tiger cub used as photo prop attacks and injures kindergartener in East Java zoo
A tiger cub used as a photo prop at Jatim Park zoo in the city of Batu, East Java attacked a 4-year-old kindergartener just before a photo session, severely injuring her.
The incident reportedly occurred on Tuesday afternoon. The victim, identified by her initials TAP, was on a school field trip at the popular East Java zoo when the 6-month-old tiger cub attacked her.
“At the time the area was crowded. There were many screaming kids around. The tiger cub got startled and suddenly lunged at the victim, hugging her. During that hug, the tiger cub also clawed at the kid,” an unnamed witness told Tribun on Tuesday evening.
TAP was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. Reports say that she suffered a deep wound on her chest, as well as injuries on her neck and back. The hospital’s staff said TAP received surgery yesterday.
The zoo management confirmed that the attack on TAP happened but have put it down as an accident. According to them, a zoo staff member brought the cub out of its enclosure to a public area for a photo session with visitors. Just like the witness testimony above, they believe that the cub was startled by the presence of noisy children before it attacked TAP.
The zoo pledged to cover all of TAP’s medical costs.
The Batu City Police said they are conducting an investigation into the incident.
Predatory animals being used as photo props are
Russian zoo sues advertising firm for 'traumatising' rented raccoon in erotic photo shoot
A Moscow zoo is suing an advertising firm that used one of its animals in an erotic photo shoot.
Tomas the racoon was left “traumatised” and came back with an unhealthy attraction to women’s breasts after the shoot with Moscow studio Art-Msk last year, his owners have said.
Animals Aren’t Toys, a privately run “contact zoo” that allows visitors to handle its animals, is now suing the company not only for Tomas’ ordeal, but damage to the reputation of an entire species.
Bear shot dead at German zoo after escaping from cage
A bear that broke out of its cage at a zoo in northern Germany was shot dead by a zookeeper while visitors were evacuated, police have said.
After the bear escaped through a hole in its cage, the staff at the zoo in Osnabrueck took visitors into the monkey house to shelter, German media reported.
The zookeeper shot the bear dead before the police arrived at the scene, the head of the zoo Andrea
100-hectare Safari to open by 4th quarter
THE long wait is over. Cebuano pawnshop tycoon Michel Lhuillier on Thursday announced he is set to open the 100-hectare safari in Carmen in the last quarter of this year. Lhuillier disclosed the safari’s opening schedule to correct reports circulating online that it is due to open this summer. “I never said (we will open by) April. I’d like to correct that. We are aiming to open by October or November this year. Please be patient, as we are doing our best to make this attraction the best,” he said. Lhuillier, who holds several other businesses in Cebu, said the safari is one of his biggest investments. It will feature entertainment, animal interactions, shows, eight adventure rides, and an accommodation facility, among others. “I tell you this will be a different world. You will really be entertained,” he said. Seventy percent of the animals will arrive in Cebu this month; these were bought by Lhuillier from Texas, (south of) France, and Dubai. The safari will also house 60 species of birds and feature the family’s collection of orchids and other flower varieties. “You will get to interact with the animals. We will have shows where you can feed them,” said Lhuillier, adding that they hired
Cebu’s own safari to open before the year ends
A FEW more months of waiting and Cebuano pawnshop tycoon Michel J. Lhuillier will be opening the country’s biggest zoo in the upland area of
Carmen town, 41.7 kilometers north of Cebu City.
With everyone’s excitement building up as photos of the 100-hectare development of the Lhuillier have been posted on social media sites, Michel asked everyone to be patient and wait for October or November this year for the opening of Cebu’s own safari.
“I’m hoping to open by October or November. Let’s be patient. I will do my best to make it the best in the world. You no longer have to travel around the world or go to Safari because I’m bringing the world here,” said Michel.
172,200 people to make way for pandas
SOUTHWEST China’s Sichuan Province, home to most of China’s giant pandas, is planning to relocate 172,200 people to build a panda national park, the provincial forestry department said yesterday.
The 27,134-square-kilometer park that covers parts of Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces, was approved by central government this year.
The area in Sichuan will cover around 20,000 square kilometers, 74 percent of the park. Seven cities and prefectures, and 19 counties are involved.
About 32,300 workers and retired people in more than 1,900 mines and forests in the area would be affec
Elephant kills trainer with trunk at Wakayama zoo
An elephant whacked a trainer with its trunk and killed him at a Japanese zoo on Sunday, police said.
Wichai Madee from Thailand was washing an 3.5-ton Indian elephant with a colleague at Adventure World in the western prefecture of Wakayama when the giant animal swung its trunk and hit him.
“The animal might have somehow become angry. It swung its trunk and the trunk hit the person who was working in front of the elephant,” a police spokesman told AFP.
“The person apparently was pushed hard and hit either the cage or the ground and hit his head.”
Other zoo staff called the police saying “an employee was attacked by an elephant”, according to private broadcaster TBS.
The 37-year-old trainer was taken to hospital but later
Over 100 animals die in Dublin Zoo in two years (including some critically endangered ones)
MORE THAN 100 animals died at Dublin Zoo during a two-year period between 2014 and 2016, it has been revealed.
The dead animals include a significant number of critically endangered species that are extinct or nearly extinct in the wild.
Among the 109 animals to die at the Zoo during the 24-month period were a southern white rhinoceros, two Rothschild giraffes, three grey wolves, and a red panda.
The 68 that died in 2015 included seven that were temporarily on loan from other zoos.
Details of the animal deaths at one of the State’s most popular visitor attractions are contained in inventory records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
Documents submitted by Dublin Zoo to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) as part of its licence application show
Zoo deaths: 'In the wild, gorillas don't eat their own vomit and pull out their hair in frustration'
ZOOS BEGAN AS menageries where the rich could see the living exotic “spoils” of wars in foreign lands. Now they’re simply animal prisons.
The justification many zoos give for their existence in the 21st century is that they protect animals and conserve endangered species.
But the recent reports that more than 100 animals have died at Dublin Zoo in a two-year period should serve as an urgent wake-up call and prompt us to re-evaluate the role these institutions play in today’s society.
Among the 109 animals to die at the zoo during the 24-month period were three scimitar-horned oryxes, three Humboldt penguins, a pair of red-tipped mangabeys, two Rothschild’s giraffes, two wild African hunting dogs, an African spurred tortoise, a southern white rhinoceros, and a red panda, all of whom were
How do animals perceive their world in zoos and aquariums?
Time and Memory Processing in Animals
According to critics of marine parks, zoos and aquariums, captive animals (particularly dolphins, whales, elephants and primates) are utterly miserable creatures. The primary misery described by activists is that the animals are acutely self-aware, they miss the wild and their families, hate performing, feel like they are enslaved by humans, and hate being in cages and pools. They dream of freedom.
The various anti-zoo/aquarium groups make statements such as:
On captivity “…It is animal slavery…” 1
On animals performing: “…As you work, you are watched by hundreds of spectators. You are provided food as a reward for positive behavior, but if you behave against the guards’ wishes, you could possibly suffer the consequences of missing a meal. Your survival depends on care given by your prison guards. You don’t speak the same language as these guards, so you can’t tell them you don’t belong there…” 2
On living in an aquarium “…In nature, dolphins swim vast distances every day with their extended families, exploring new places and seeking out adventures and pursuits…” 3
Dolphins, whales, elephants and great apes in particular are targeted by critics and activists as being uniquely special in the animal world. Projects on intelligence, self-awareness and emotions in these animals receive extensive popular press and has led to the public opinion that they are unusually smart. So smart that they shouldn’t be kept in zoos and aquariums.
It is true that dolphins, killer
Zoo boss speaks out to allay fears over escaped wolves in Dalton
THE new boss of the South Lakes Safari Zoo has moved to reassure residents of Dalton amid rumours two wolves have escaped from the attraction.
Karen Brewer, chief executive of the newly formed Cumbria zoo management company said there was no truth on the rumours which are being heavily circulated on social media.
Mrs Brewer said: "I was at t
Armed officers in Dalton 'for incident' - not escaped animals
Police in Dalton have responded to rumours on social media that armed officers were called out to deal with two escaped wolves.
Barrow Police say no animals have escaped from South Lakes Safari Zoo, instead telling a local newspaper they'd responded to a call reporting a sighting of someone with a gun.
After several hours of searching
Twycross Zoo CEO reflects on 'a difficult few weeks' for zoos
It has been a difficult few weeks for anyone who works in zoos as they have made headlines in the UK and Europe and not for the right reasons.
Questions are inevitably being asked about whether there is still a need to keep animals in captivity for the public's entertainment.
Capital zoo seeks to raise awareness and role of sea lions
Prior to welcoming back the sea lions at the private zoo in Abu Dhabi, Emirates Park Zoo and Resort is inviting guests to the property for an educational presentation about sea mammals starting March, Emirates Park Zoo announced Saturday.
The presentation aims to inform audiences for a better understanding on the ecology of sea lions, and the role humans play in conserving the species whose existence has recently come under threat.
The audience will learn all about sea lions, its method of adaptation
Belgian zoo shortens rhinos' horns after French killing
A Belgian zoo said Saturday it will shorten its rhinos' horns as an anti-poaching measure following the grisly killing of a white rhino in France this week.
A four-year-old southern white male was shot three times in the head at a French zoo in Thoiry outside Paris on Monday and had its horns cut off probably "with a chainsaw" police said.
The perpetrators, who have still not been found, stole only the main horn, which is estimated to be worth 30,000-40,000 euros ($32,000-$42,690).
The Pairi Daiza zoo, about 60 kilometres (40 miles) southwest of Brussels, has three adult rhinos and a baby white rhino born in March 2016 as part of its 5,000-animal complex.
Director Eric Domb wrote on the zoo's Facebook page that the French killing had prompted him to ask "our veterinarian to proceed on a temporary basis and as an additional measure to security procedures already in place at Pairi Daiza" to shorten their rhinos' horns.
"This heinous act is the first in Europe but it is part of a long line of rhino horn thefts from many European museums," Domb wrote.
With this measure, he said, he also wanted to not only protect the zoo's animals but its security personnel as well.
In the Thoiry incident, intruders forced the main gate of the
Animal deaths may be linked to transportation
Two wild dolphins between the ages of four and five were captured at Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture in Japan and imported to Korea on Feb. 9. But within five days at the Jangsaengpo Special Whale Culture Zone at Jaengsaengpo, Ulsan, one dolphin died. An autopsy revealed the cause of death was an accumulation of blood outside the lungs. Specialists hypothesized the dolphin suffered from an external impact resulting in chest trauma.
On Feb. 3, a Mt. Baekdu area Siberian tiger named Geumgangi collapsed and died at the Baekdu Mountain Range National Arboretum at Bonghwa, North Gyeongsang, nine days after being relocated from the O-World Zoo at Daejeon to Bonghwa County, North Gyeongsang. Vets confirmed the tiger died from poor blood flow to the liver resulting from severe fluid loss. The average lifespan of a captive tiger is 20 years, while wild dolphins generally live for 25 years. Considering this, why would an otherwise healthy wild dolphin and Siberian tiger suddenly expire?
The vibration isolating truck used for transporting the tiger traveled 60 to 80 kilometers (37 miles to 50 miles) per hour, and the trip lasted five hours. The dolphin was transported by boat and truck for 32 hours. The Nam D
The tortoise who saved his species
Of all the giant tortoises on these islands, where the theory of evolution was born, only a few have received names that stuck.
There was Popeye, adopted by sailors at an Ecuadorean naval base. There was Lonesome George, last of his line, who spent years shunning the females with whom he shared a pen.
And there is Diego, an ancient male who is quite the opposite of George.
Diego has fathered hundreds of progeny — 350 by conservative counts, some 800 by more imaginative estimates. Whatever the figure, it is welcome news for his species, Chelonoidis hoodensis, which was stumbling toward the brink of extinction in the 1970s. Barely more than a dozen of his kin were left then, most of them female.
Then came Diego, returned to the Galápagos in 1977 from the San Diego Zoo.
“He’ll keep reproducing until death,” said Freddy Villalva, who watches over Diego and many of his descendants at a breeding center at this research facility, situated on a rocky volcanic shoreline. The tortoises typically live more than 100 years.
The tales of Diego and George demonstrate just how much the Galápagos, a province of Ecuador, have served as the world’s laboratory of evolution. So often here, the fate of an entire species, evolved over millions of years, can hinge on whether just one or two individual animals survive from one day to the next.
Diego, and his offspring, are part of one of the most high-profile efforts to keep Galápagos tortoise populations thriving. The tortoise, estimated to be perhaps a century old, is one of the main drivers of a remarkabl
Twycross Zoo elephant departure; 14 questions answered
Bosses at Twycross Zoo have responded to questions posed by visitors over the departure of the attraction's Asian elephant herd.
Announced at the beginning of this month , the decision shocked fans of the all-female herd.
A further statement by the zoo said: "Thank you for your feedback regarding our decision to find a new home for our all-female herd of Asian elephants.
"Please be assured that this decision was only taken after a comprehensive assessment of the issue over a lengthy period of time.
"We will be sad to see the elephants leave, but we believe that what we are planning is in the best interests of the elephants and ultimately that must guide our decision-making.
"Below we have provided further information
Zoos are prisons for animals – no one needs to see a depressed penguin in the flesh
That a zoo in Cumbria is having its licence revoked as a result of nearly 500 animals dying there over a two-year period comes as no shock – but it still slightly surprises me that anybody thinks that we should have zoos at all. The animals always look miserable in captivity. If you don’t believe me, visit a farm park. It’s as likely as not that you will see a goat, pleading with its eyes to be euthanised, while a sign on the enclosure says: “Gerry the goat is quite the character – he often plays a game in which he looks like he has been crying for many, many hours!”
A lot of zoos play the conservation angle, which is a rationale that has been reverse engineered. That’s not really why zoos exist. Zoos exist so that we can wander round with our children and say: “No, don’t bang the glass, Timothy, he’s getting agitated,” before going home to post on Facebook about the educational day that we have had.
The argument that zoos have educational merit might have once seemed convincing, but there is less reason to see animals in captivity than ever before. David Attenborough’s Planet Earth shows you all the animals you could ask for in their natural habitat, with added drama and narrative arcs. We are surely only a few series away from filming inside the animals, with Attenborough using his dulcet tones to give the origin stor
Terrified families are forced to hide in the toilets after a CHEETAH escapes its enclosure and prowls a Kent wildlife park
Families hid in toilets yesterday after a cheetah escaped from its enclosure at a British zoo and prowled the park for nearly half an hour.
Visitors to Port Lympne wildlife park in Kent were told to head for safety after the big cat was separated from its mother and managed to break free.
Children were ushered indoors while keepers coaxed the animal back into its cage with extra food. They have since increased the strength of its fence.
The World Wildlife Fund, Trophy Hunters and Donald Trump Jr.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) presents itself as the savior of animals. At the same time, though infinitely more quietly, it actually thinks hunting them is vital for conservation. In its fight against “poaching,” WWF funds park guards who beat and sometimes kill people, including innocent victims. How can it reconcile these aspects of its work?
A recent brawl between its South African office and one of its trustees, Peter Flack, illuminates the close link between conservation and big game hunting. This may shock those who support the organization through its “adoption” program for elephants, lions, and so on, fundraising aimed at those who believe in animal rights. It’s very hard to believe these WWF don
What Does The Zoo Mean To You?
‘Well-run zoos are an aid to animals and are not detrimental to their well-being’, ‘indeed, in many cases, zoos will turn out to be the last refuge of numerous species in a human-being-infested world’. For many, Gerald Durrell’s (1976) pioneering vision of zoos as a ‘stationary ark’ remains the most persuasive for the continuation of zoos. Who can really argue with the primary purpose of protecting critically endangered species, captive breeding programmes to increase declining populations, and the reintroduction of once captive animals to natural habitats. Few, however, appear to put this vision into practice.
With each news report, it becomes abundantly clear that however ‘well-run’ a zoo may appear to the public, the ‘well-being’ of the captive animals has become a secondary consideration for some. Within these institutions of nature, zoo animals have become lively commodities, a colle
Zoo-keeper facing police charges after deaths of almost 500 animals
A ZOO-keeper who left Australia after his animal park in Queensland was raided by authorities has lost his zoo licence in England and could face charges, after nearly 500 of his animals died in four years.
David Gill, 55, was this week refused a new council licence to run his safari park at Cumbria, in northern England, after a report found exotic animals had been eaten alive, electrocuted, frozen and starved to death.
Mr Gill retreated to the Cumbria zoo, which he has owned since 1994, after leaving Queensland in 2004 when his private zoo, the Mareeba Wild Animal Park, was raided by the Natural Resources Department and the police.
It later emerged that 300 of the animals from the Mareeba park, inland from Cairns, had been sold off to a hunting safari company in the Northern Territory – a fact that only came to light after a pig-hunter accidentally shot and killed a pygmy hippopotamus.
Poached: why international conservation efforts are failing to protect wildlife
Photographer and wildlife guide Paul Goldstein condemns inadequate international efforts to protect tigers, rhinos and other wildlife, and calls for tougher measures
Last week it was International Wildlife Day. Few people would have noticed. Even if the press had tried to paint this self-appointed occasion with a thinly optimistic brush, they would have failed. These recent weeks have been dreadful for wildlife, much of it close to home.
Just outside Paris a white rhino was butchered for its horn from a zoo’s enclosure. There was a shocking disclosure from another zoo, in Cumbria this time, about the death of a priceless Sumatran tiger cub, one of many fatalities there, via an insidious combination of neglect and hypothermia. In Kenya, one of only 30 massive tusker elephants, Satao ll, was killed by a poacher’s arrow. Every one of these harrowing exam
Precious wildlife heritage in Tehran
Koushki and Delbar considered are as the only two Asiatic Cheetahs in captivity all around the world. After facility outfit, Kushki had been transferred from Touran National Park, Semnan Province, and Delbar from Miandasht Wildlife Refuge, North Khorasan Province, to Asiatic Cheetah Research and Husbandry Headquarter in late 2014.
Asiatic Cheetah Research and Husbandry Headquarter (ACRHH) is located in Pardisan Park, Tehran Province, and it is the utmost importance site for proper cheetah management and health care. Having too many consults leads to electing Pardisan Park over other options such as Kavir National Park, Khojir National Park or even other existing sites. The basic facility design of this site includes 6 separated spaces for maintenance of these two cheetahs and also any other Asiatic Cheetahs that perhaps lost the chance of living in its natural habitat. Threats such as habitat destruction considered as the main problem in which natural habitat is rendered unable to su
Thoughts for Behaviour: Training a Group for Individual Reach, How?
Over the years in my career I had the privilege to learn many new ways of training. My killer whale path took me to different views while going back to pinnipeds gave me completely new thoughts about training those animals. I also learned working animals in groups what is not new the marine mammal world. Sea lions have been trained for stations so we can manage them in a group scenario a lot easier when we are only with 1 trainer present and so are dolphins.
When I worked In Ouwehands Zoo the Netherlands we had a system where we could separate 8 individuals with just 2 trainers. We would give a signal what made 5 females go to one exhibit sitting on their station, the big male would sit on stage and 2 older females would go outside to wait for us. The only thing we had to do is close gates and reinforce the animals. This was done very quickly what helped us in the
Some good news.....Now lets have all of the others stop exploiting Orangutans as photo props.
Hurrah!!! Photo Prop with Orangutan in Kandi Zoo Finally Ended (March 13, 2017)
With prior intensive communication with the Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group, the management of Kandi Zoo in West Sumatra has finally decided to cease photo prop with orangutan in the zoo. The zoo management confirmed to Scorpion on Monday (13 March 2017) that decision of ending the photo prop was made by the zoo management.
South West charities launch global zoo science project
Two local zoological organisations have joined forces with one of the most prestigious names in academia to work on a huge conservation project evaluating the scientific evidence for zoo animal management.
The Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust - the charity that runs Paignton Zoo, Living Coasts in Torquay and Newquay Zoo in Cornwall – worked with Dartmoor Zoological Park and the Conservation Evidence project at the University of Cambridge.
Evidence-based practice has become a hot topic in many fields, as practitioners see the benefits of basing their decisions on good strong science. This new work represents a global first for zoo husbandry practices. Conservation Evidence has already compiled evidence for many aspects of conservation work, including birds, bats and amphibians and habitats such as forests (www.conservationevidence.com ). It’s hoped that extending the remit to captive animal management will benefit everyone from fieldworkers studying and conserving animals in the wild to keepers, vets and researchers working in zoos, aquariums and captive breeding centres.
Much of the early work of analysing scientific papers relating to the first zoo subject - primate feeding in captivity - has been completed by Coral Jonas. Coral studied for a Masters degree in Zoo Conservation Biology at the University of Plymouth in conjunction with the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, and now works as Education Manager at Dartmoor Zoo.
Dr Andrew Bowkett, Field Conservation & Research Programmes Manager at the WWCT, supervised Coral’s Masters project and has a long-standing interest in evidence-based conservation. The work has been co-authored with Rebecca Smith, a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge, who manages Conservation Evidence.
Andrew: “The aim is to help anyone who has to make decisions about how best to manage wild animals in zoological collections for the purposes of conservation. Zoo keepers make dozens of husbandry interventions every day whenever they decide to change any aspect of their animals’ care. Zoos and aquariums have a long tradition of record keeping and information sharing. However, many pra
The contribution of zoos and aquaria to Aichi Biodiversity Target 12: A case study of Canadian zoos
The purpose of Aichi Biodiversity Target 12 is to prevent extinction of known threaten species, and improve the decline of the world’s most imperiled species. Governments and NGOs around the world are actively working toward this goal. This article examines the role of zoos and aquaria in the conservation of species at risk through an in-depth examination of four accredited Canadian zoos and aquaria. Through site visits, interviews with staff, and research into the programs at each institution, this paper demonstrates that captive breeding, reintroductions, and headstarting projects are each a large component of conservation efforts. Interviews with zoo staff reveal strong consensus that zoo offer two critical components for species at risk conservation: space and expertise. Overall, this article calls for greater attention to the types of conservation actives occurring and the ways in which zoos are working together to protect and recover global biodiversity.
Rhino horns worth $5m seized in Thailand off flight from Ethiopia
Twenty-one rhino horns worth an estimated $5m have been seized in Thailand after being found in luggage sent from Ethiopia in the biggest such haul in years.
The seizure comes days after 300kg of elephant ivory was also impounded in the country.
Thailand is seen as a transit point for the illegal trafficking of wildlife.
Several species of rhino are at critical risk of extinction, conservationists say.
The horns arrived at Bangkok's international airport where two Thai women who had travelled from Vietnam and Cambodia came to collect them.
Wolf cubs arrive in Devon from Sweden as part of rewilding plan
Six wolf cubs have arrived in East Devon from Sweden, heralding the beginning of a campaign and research project that could eventually lead to the species being reintroduced to the wild in the UK. The pack is settling into its new surroundings at Wildwood Escot in Ottery St Mary and is currently in quarantine.
The Wildwood Trust said the arrival of the wolves has been highly anticipated by visitors and marks a significant moment for the Trust in its newly acquired Devon location. The Trust is working to protect and conserve Britain's most endangered wildlife and reintroduce animals to where they once lived. If wolves are reintroduced to the wild in the UK, it is likely to be in Northern Scotland and it may not happen for several years.
For many centuries, the European grey wolf has been a much maligned animal, persecuted due to fear, hate and misunderstanding. It is thought that
Beloved circus elephant Jumbo dies at San Diego Zoo
Jumbo the beloved African elephant who toured New Zealand with the travelling circus has died at San Diego Zoo.
Former keeper and retired owner of the Whirling Bros circus Tony Ratcliffe said he received a call this morning from the zoo to tell him the news.
"They contacted me this morning and told me she passed away in the early hours of the morning," he said.
It's not yet clear why Jumbo, also known as Mila, died, and there will be an autopsy.
"It was quite a shock to me because last I heard they had had a big veterinary inspection . . . Jumbo had passed with flying colours."
Jumbo is the same elephant that killed a vet at Franklin Zoo in Tuakau in 2012.
Dr Helen Schofield died in April 2012 w
Royal elephant at Swedish zoo has deadly herpes virus
A Swedish elephant calf with a royal background has been struck down by herpes and is in critical condition.
Namsai, a three-year-old Asian elephant calf at the Kolmården zoo in central Sweden has contracted the EEHV elephant herpes virus and is seriously ill, the park announced on Tuesday.
"There is no cure for EEHV, however treatment can suppress an outbreak and the elephant can survive if the disease is caught early and treatment begins quickly. Among the elephants that have been treated a few have survived," the park said on its website.
Most elephants carry the herpes virus latently in their body without it breaking out.
Namsai's mother, Bua, came to Kolmår
Decoding an Elephant’s History to Save Its Future
With a FONZ Conservation Grant, Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute scientists are able to understand the family trees of elephants at zoos around the country, as well as answer questions about animal health.
Sometimes the best way to manage an animal’s health in the present is to look into the past. With the help of a FONZ Conservation Grant — funded by the Round Up for Conservation Program — that’s what Natalia Prado and her team of Smithsonian scientists are planning to do with Asian and African elephants at zoos across the country, including those at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.
The family history of every animal is unique and leads to its distinct genomic makeup. With the funds from the FONZ Conservation Grant, Prado and her team will work to generate the genomic tools needed to decode elephants’ genetic histories across the United States, to address fundamental questions about individual and population health. With the information they receive, the team will develop the tools necessary to learn about each elephant’s family tree. This information could lead to a better understanding of numerous conditions that elephants exhibit in human care, including infertility, foot and joint problems, and susceptibility to diseases such as elephant endothelial herpes virus (EEHV) and tuberculosis.
Over the next year, the scientists will map the entire g
Why the world needs zoos
I have written before about the importance of zoos and the role they have to play in the world for conservation and education. They are in particularly important for endangered species – many animals are critically endangered in the wild and may go extinct there soon but are going strong in zoos. Many others are already extinct in the wild and only survive because of populations kept going in captivity. Even those critical of zoos often recognise this role and that it is better to have species preserved somewhere than be lost for all time. However, even species that are common can come under severe threat very quickly or without people realising.
Take the ring-tailed lemur of Madagascar for example. This animal is almost ubiquitous in zoos and few do not keep groups of these pretty primates as they breed well in captivity and the public are fond of them. However, despite their high numbers in collections around the world, they are under severe threat in the wild. A recent survey suggested that a huge 95% of the wild populations have been lost since 2000. This is clearly catastrophic and also means that the remaining individuals are greatly at risk. One bad year or a new disease could wipe out those that are left, and small and fragmented populations will be vulnerable to inbreeding so even a single loss can be keenly felt.
Such trends are not isolated. Giraffe are another species that are very common in zoos and unlike the lemurs are very widespread being found in numerous countries across much of sub-Sahar
Snake bit? Chemists figure out how to easily and cheaply halt venom's spread
In the U.S., human snakebite deaths are rare—about five a year—but the treatment could prove useful for dog owners, mountain bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts brushing up against nature at ankle level. Worldwide, an estimated 4.5 million people are bitten annually, 2.7 million suffer crippling injuries and more than 100,000 die, most of them farmworkers and children in poor, rural parts of India and sub-Saharan Africa with little healthcare.
The existing treatment requires slow intravenous infusion at a hospital and costs up to $100,000. And the antidote only halts the damage inflicted by a small number of species.
"Current anti-venom is very specific to certain snake types. Ours seems to show broad-spectrum ability to stop cell destruction across species on many continents, and that is quite a big deal," said doctoral student Jeffrey O'Brien, lead author of a recent study published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Zeroing in on protein families common to many serpents, the UCI researchers demonstrated that they could halt the worst effects of cobras and kraits in Asia and Africa, as well as pit vipers in North America. The team synthesized a polymer nanogel material that binds to several key protein toxins, keeping them from bursting cell membranes and causing widespread destruction. O'Brien knew he was onto something when the human serum in his test tubes stayed clear, rather than turning scarlet from venom's typical deadly rupture of red blood cells.
Chemistry professor Ken Shea, senior author of the paper, explained that the venom—a "complex toxic cocktail" evolved over millennia to stay ahead of prey's own adaptive strategies—is absorbed onto the surface of nanoparticles in the new material and is permanently sequestered there,
Cumbrian zoo boss refused new licence after hundreds of animal deaths
The founder of a zoo in Cumbria, where nearly 500 animals died in less than four years, has been refused a new licence.
The chair of Barrow council’s licensing committee, Tony Callister, said the unanimous decision was made because councillors were not satisfied conservation matters referred to in the Zoo Licensing Act would be implemented.
Last week, a damning report on conditions at South Lakes Safari zoo in Dalton-in-Furness, which is home to more than 1,500 animals, found 486 died of causes including emaciation and hypothermia between December 2013 and September 2016.
Inspectors recommended the local authority refuse to renew the zoo’s licence and that David Gill, who founded the zoo in 1994, be prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act for allowing animals to suffer.
The inspectors, who are appointed by the government, found “overcrowding, poor hygiene, poor nutrition, lack of suitable animal husbandry and a lack of any sort of developed veterinary care” when they
Cumbria Zoo Deaths Spark Bizarre Row Between Kay Burley And MP John Woodcock
Details of the neglect and cruelty inflicted upon animals at the South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria were today reported widely after councillors rejected an application for a new licence for the zoo where almost 500 animals died within four years.
David Gill, who founded the zoo in 1994, had his claim rejected unanimously by Barrow Borough Council’s licensing regulatory committee. The deaths at the Dalton-in-Furness between 2013 and 2016 were revealed in a report submitted to the panel.
The story was picked up by Sky News as presenter Kay Burley interviewed the local MP, John Woodcock.
Britain's cruellest couple? The appalling story of hundreds of animals dying at a zoo, its millionaire owner (who seduced a 17-year-old kangaroo keeper) and his beauty queen wife
Even by the flamboyant standards of the fashion industry, it was an audacious entrance.
The model — resplendent in a strapless wedding gown and floor-sweeping chiffon train — emerged onto the catwalk not with customary high-heeled swagger, but astride a beautiful white horse.
The stunt drew gasps of awe at the prestigious bridal fashion show, until the horse's hoof tripped on the model's train and any traces of admiration turned to horror.
Animal Traffickers Have German Zoos On High Alert
Investigators in Mannheim, in southwestern Germany, have a real whodunnit on their hands, a brutal kidnapping-murder case — but with a twist. The victim is a five-kilogram Humboldt penguin whose lifeless and decapitated body was found last month in a local parking lot.
The gruesome discovery came five days after the animal, of South American origin, was snatched from its enclosure in the Mannheim city zoo. The bird was just 10 months old.
"The case of our missing penguin could not have taken a worse turn," zoo director Joachim Költzsch was quoted as saying by t
8 Secrets Of London Zoo
ZSL London Zoo was the country's first scientific zoo, established in Regent's Park in 1826. Still on the same (albeit expanded) site today, it now functions as a conservation charity, and welcomes millions of visitors every year. Here are some things you probably didn't know about it.
Zoos Focus on Conservation Efforts in Face of Global "Conservation Crisis"
The zoos of the 1970s would be barely recognizable when compared to the zoos of today, and some believe the zoos of the future will be radically different again - with their focus geared mostly towards conservation efforts.
Mark Vukovich, the president and CEO at Blank Park Zoo, calls the condition of the world’s wild species a “staggering disaster.” He says, "In 20 years for sure,
Why I’m so conflicted by zoos
The elephant stared balefully down, its eye as big as my head.
“Well, this is terrifying!” I said.
“It’s fine,” said the zookeeper. “Why are you frightened?”
“I thought it would be smaller,” I said.
“It’s an elephant,” he replied.
“Are you sure?” I said. “It’s the size of a stegosaurus.”
“These are the most docile elephants in the world,” said the keeper. “This is London Zoo. They see crowds of people every day. They’ve had their photo taken with the Queen. There is nothing to be worried about.”
“Fine,” I said, picking up the shovel. That dung wasn’t going to clear itself. We swept the enclosure as the elephant loo
Poachers break into Paris zoo, shoot rhino dead and steal its horn
A rhinoceros at a zoo near Paris was shot three times in the head last night by poachers who then cut off its horn with a chainsaw.
The four-year-old rhinoceros named Vince was found dead this morning by keepers at Thoiry Zoo, to the west of the French capital.
One or more poachers are believed to have broken in to the zoo and forced their way into an enclosure where three rhinos lived, reported Le Parisien.
Thriving populations of endangered mammals offer conservationists hope in Myanmar
The forests of Karen state are a conservationist's dream.
Ranging from teak trees to bamboo, they contain some of the most iconic species of endangered mammals in the world.
"This includes things like tigers, leopards, elephants, bears — all of these species of huge global significance," said Clare Campbell, executive director of Karen Wildlife Conservation Initiative (KWCI).
"I think it's probably one of the most signi
What happens when the research underpinning conservation is wrong?
Effective conservation management is something that every biologist wants to see. This is especially true for shark biologists like me, because one in four cartilaginous species are currently estimated to be threatened with extinction (Dulvy et al 2014). But while it’s easy to cheer conservation efforts, what happens when the research underpinning the strategy is wrong?
I’ve been thinking about this since listening to a talk by Dr Dean Grubbs at the European Elasmobranch Association Conference last year. Grubbs provided a timely reminder of the disastrous consequences that can happen when the research which informs and underpins the conservation strategies executed is not objective and, crucially, isn’t subjected to rigorous peer review.
Since the late 1990s declines in shark populations have led to a surge in research seeking to understand cascading effects of predator removals on lower trophic levels. For example, a highly cited paper (Myers et al 2007) published in the journal Science, claimed dramatic increases in Atlantic Cownose Ray (Rhinoptera bonasus) populations in the north-w
National review planned after Audubon Zoo gorilla throws object, injures pregnant woman
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums will review how a gorilla at the Audubon Zoo managed to chuck a piece of wood out of its habitat that hit a pregnant woman in the head over the weekend. The woman was treated at hospitals for her injury after the gorilla, named Praline, hurled the piece of wood into a crowd gathered for the zoo's Soul Festival on Sunday afternoon, WWL-TV reported.
Katie Smith, a spokeswoman for the zoo, said Tuesday (March 7) that the zoo has reported the incident to the associations's Accreditation Commission.
"We are examining how this happened and will address necessary concerns," Smith wrote in an emailed statement.
Rob Vernon, a spokesman for the accreditation association, confirmed the zoo had been in touch about the incident.
Per the association's accreditation standards, Vernon said the zoo will have 30 days to provide a written report on the incident once a request is made by the association's Accreditation Commission.
Police to visit UK zoos and wildlife parks after rhino killing in France
Police are visiting every zoo and wildlife park in the UK that houses rhinos to offer security advice after poachers shot dead a white rhinoceros and sawed off its horn at a zoo in France.
The head of Britain’s National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) said the French attack, the first of its kind in Europe, was a wake-up call, and urgent security checks needed to be made to protect the 111 rhinos in captivity in the UK.
The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) said it has a herd of greater one-horned rhinos and white rhinos at Whipsnade zoo in Bedfordshire and was increasing security patrols following the French attack.
“These animals are kept in secure enclosures guarded by full-time security teams, who also conduct regular patrols across the zoo,” a spokesman said. Double-layered barriers and electric fences were already in place.
“Our security teams at ZSL London zoo and ZSL Whipsnade zoo are aware of this tragic incident and will be increasing their on-site patrols.”
The chief executive of Chester zoo, Dr Mark Pilgrim, said the killing was a “devastating new development in the rhino poaching crisis”. He said the zoo had “sadly been aware of this threat for some time
330kg of Malawi ivory seized at Suvarnabhumi
Officials on Tuesday confiscated more than 300kg of elephant tusks from Malawi at Suvarnabhumi airport and arrested a Gambian national on charges of ivory smuggling and violating customs laws. The seizure...
Neocolonial Conservation: Is Moving Rhinos to Australia Conservation or Intellectual Property Loss
The Australian Rhino Project (http://www.theaustralianrhinoproject.org) proposes importing 80 rhinos from South Africa to Australia by 2019 at a cost of over $US4 million, with the first six due to have been moved in 2016. This project has high-profile supporters in the private sector, zoos, and both governments, and is gaining major publicity through association with sporting teams and TedEx talks (http://www.theaustralianrhinoproject.org/index.php/news/blogs/11-news-and-blogs/242-ray-tedx). However, establishing extralimital populations of African rhinos is a very low-priority conservation action, particularly given over 800 are already in captivity, and we argue this project diverts funds and expertise away from more important conservation activities; the proposed captive conditions will lead to selection for domestic traits; the most likely species involved is the white rhino, which is the lowest priority rhino species for conservation; it removes a driver of in situ conservation; it does not focus on the critically endangered Asian rhino species; and it extends the historical exploitation of Africa’s resources by colonial powers. There are also insufficient details in the public domain about the project for objective decision-making. We believe this is misdirected neocolonial conservation and the policy support from both governments for this project should be reconsidered.
Dalton zoo hearing today
A meeting will be held today to see if the new owners of South Lakes Safari Zoo will be granted a licence to keep the park open.
The business has courted controversy in the last week after documents filed to Barrow Borough Council showed that almost 500 animals had died at the zoo in less than three years.
The situation was branded the worst seen in 60 years by national campaigning charity the Captive Animal Protection Society.
Maddie Taylor, Caps campaigns officer, said: "The findings at South Lakes Safari Zoo are some of the worst we have ever come across in 60 years.
"Our visit to the zoo combined with the zoo inspectors' reports shows high death rates of animals, animals in ill health and a lack of understanding about how to meet even the most basic needs of the animals under their care.
"We urge the local authority to take action by closing this appalling zoo down."
Former FNQ zoo owner in trouble again
AN Englishman who opened the ill-fated Mareeba Wild Animal Park has again found himself in strife, this time over the treatment of animals at a zoo in his home country.
British media have reported David Gill, who started the debt-ridden Far North wildlife attraction in 2003, could face prosecution over his South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Cumbria following a damning report.
The report found nearly 500 animals at the zoo had d
Eight zoos identified as causes for concern over animal welfare after tip-offs
Eight British zoos are on the radar of a watchdog over animal welfare fears after tip-offs, it has emerged.
It comes as councillors are due to decide on Monday whether or not to issue a new licence for a zoo where almost 500 animals have died within four years.
The deaths at South Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, were revealed in a report to members of Barrow Borough Council's licensing regulatory committee.
THE FULL STORY: Harrowing animal death list revealed ahead of crunch meeting over zoo licence application
A HARROWING death list reveals for the first time how almost 500 animals - including tigers, lion cubs and giraffes - have died at a popular zoo in less than four years, the Evening Mail can exclusively reveal in a special investigation.
Poor management , emaciation and hypothermia are among the reasons for the above-average
mortality rate at South Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton, while trauma and infighting caused by overstocked pens also account for the demise of scores of exhibits.
The shocking log, which provides a distressing catalogue of injuries and illnesses endured by a wide range of species at the site between December 2013 and September last year, has been branded the worst seen in 60 years by national campaigning charity the Captive Animal Protection Society.
It forms part of a huge bundle of documents disclosed to Barrow Borough Council which will be assessed by council bosses ahead of their decision on whether to approve either of two separate applications for a zoo licence at a crunch meeting for the business on March 6.
Maddie Taylor, Caps campaigns officer
Calls for Cumbrian zoo to be shut after 486 animals die in four years
Inspectors have called for the owner of a zoo to face prosecution after the revelation that nearly 500 animals in its care had died in less than four years.
A damning report into conditions at South Lakes Safari zoo in Cumbria, which is home to more than 1,500 animals, found that 486 inhabitants had died of causes including emaciation and hypothermia between December 2013 and September 2016.
One African spurred tortoise named Goliath died after being electrocuted by electric fencing, while the decomposing body of a squirrel monkey was discovered behind a radiator. The zoo had a death rate of about 12% of its animals a year.
Zoo inspectors said they had found “significant problems caused by overcrowding, poor hygiene, poor nutrition, lack of suitable animal husbandry and a lack of any sort of developed veterinary care”.
They said the local authority should consider prosecuting the zoo’s founder, David Gill, under the Animal Welfare Act for allowing animals to suffer, adding that the entire blame for the attraction’s problems could be laid at his door.
Last June, the zoo was fined £255,000 for
Millionaire zoo boss slammed over animal deaths had fling with 16-year-old zookeeper and was stabbed by jealous husband when caught in bed with his wife
The owner of a zoo where 500 animals have died in just five years boasted on Facebook claiming to be a 'huge success' even though a keeper was mauled to death by a tiger in 2013.
David Gill, 55, owner of the South Lakes Zoo in Dalton-on-Furness, Cumbria, declared he had good fortune because he 'always pursued a different style of management to the norm'.
Zoo inspectors to face questions from MPs over 500 animal deaths
Zoo inspectors have been called to give evidence to MPs after it was revealed that nearly 500 animals died at a zoo in Cumbria in less than four years.
This week a damning report on conditions at South Lakes Safari zoo in Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, which is home to more than 1,500 animals, found that 486 inhabitants had died of causes including emaciation and hypothermia between December 2013 and September 2016.
Zoo inspectors recommended that the local authority refuse to renew the zoo’s licence and that the zoo’s founder, David Gill, be prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act for allowing animals to suffer. The council will decide whether or not to renew the zoo’s licence on Monday.
The inspectors, who are appointed by the government, found “overcrowding, poor hygiene, poor nutrition, lack of suitable animal husbandry and a lack of any sort of developed veterinary care” when they visited in January.
Andrew Rosindell, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on zoos and aquariums, called on the government to launch an inquiry into how conditions at the zoo had been allowed to get so bad.
“I’d like to know what’s gone wrong here,” he said. “We in this country have a very proud record of conservation and animal welfare in zoos and what we are seeing in this zoo goes against what happens generally across the country.”
He said licensing bodies should attend his parliamentary group to “explain why this has been allowed to happen and explain
If we really love animals, we should close all zoos now
For a lifelong animal lover, zoo owner David Gill appears to have developed an unfortunate habit of loving creatures to extinction. Even before he came to national notice, after fresh reports of negligence, and 12% mortality, at his private zoo, South Lakes, his autobiography suggests his charges have long been unusually prone to escaping and/or dying. It is more than 10 years, for instance, since Australian authorities fined him $10,000 in absentia – he having “fled” the country – for breaches of permit conditions at his Queensland zoo, including the unreported death of a lemur and a cheetah on the loose. “Five witnesses,” said one newspaper report, “described the situation as one of panic and stated Gill was chasing the animal on a motorbike.”
The blurb for his self-published, Nine Lives: One Man’s Insatiable Journey Through Love, Life and Near Death, only hints at the suffering this has caused Gill. “He risked his own life attempting to save a drowning kangaroo and again when he walked into a raging inferno to save his own lemurs. Tragedy struck when he had to shoot his own rhino in a mercy killing.” In fact, it was the misfortune of the escaped white rhino, Zimba, to have been inadequately enclosed, for which Gill was fined £10,000.
Gill’s book was written before a 24-year-old employee, Sarah McClay, was killed, in 2013, by a tiger, after which the zoo was fined £297,500, plus £150,000 costs, the judge saying the accident was “as tragic a
If we really love animals, we should SUPPORT zoos now.
Recently, and really for a long time, there has been a group of very vocal anti-zoo people.
They aren’t just anti-bad zoos, but rather are anti-ALL zoos.
We believe they mean well but are just going about it the wrong way.
To give a bit of background, these people are what we typically call “Animal Rights Activists”.
When most people hear that term, they think it refers to anyone who loves animals and want animals to live happy, healthy lives… but it does not.
There is a big difference between Animal Rights and Animal Welfare.
Disgruntled employee tried to blackmail Twycross Zoo boss out of £25,000
A disgruntled employee tried to blackmail Twycross Zoo's Chief Executive out of £25,000 with threats to "ruin" her reputation, a court heard.
Dillon Archibald (21), who was jailed for eight months, sent a menacing letter threatening to expose information about the death of three primates at the zoo.
Leicester Crown Court was told that two incidents resulting in the demise of two chimpanzees and a bonobo were already public knowledge and the zoo was exonerated from blame following official inquiries.
Twycross Zoo CEO, Sharon Redrobe, alerted the police and the defendant, an assistant ranger, was later arrested.
In Zoos We Trust (In A Post-Truth World)
Conspiracy theories and beliefs based on outsider information and emotion over evidence-based research has become the norm – so much so that Oxford Dictionaries chose “post-truth” as its International Word of the Year in 2016.
What Steps can we take to Rebuild this Trust?
What does this mean for large, science-based organizations such as zoos and aquariums? We’ve seen growing concern about animal welfare in a society that also devalues the messages of these traditionally-trusted organizations. America’s Association of Zoos and Aquariums‘ own research, as presented at the 2016 Annual Conference, has indicated a slight downturn in the American confidence of its member institutions.
To sustain our missions and continue to provide q
THE GREAT ESC-APE Apes, penguins and monkeys among the animals that escaped from Cork’s Fota Wildlife Park
Some of the escapes were witnessed by large crowds of visitors, who came into close contact with the animals, according to documented reports from staff.
On January 11, 2015, Stevie Wonder escaped from an island enclosure at least three times.
A member of staff reported in a written record of the escape: “Crowds of visitors were watching. He’s getting very bold and obviously not frightened of people and is getting very close to them.”
The report also stated that the animal had run ov
Komodo National Park: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Komodo National Park is being celebrated on its 37th anniversary with a Google Doodle.
“Komodo National Park in Indonesia sits at the center of an archipelago and consists mainly of 3 volcanic islands. The landscape is unlike any other, ranging from dry savanna conditions to lush forests, all surrounded by white-sand beaches and bright blue water,” Google says. “Despite the plethora of native wildlife, Komodo dragons are still what the park is best known for. Thanks to National Parks like Komodo, wildlife can continue to thrive largely uninterrupted by human interference.”
Here’s what you need to know about Komodo National Park and Komodo dragons:
WHAT DO YOU CALL THE LAST OF A SPECIES?
When Robert Webster, a physician in Jasper, Georgia, died, in 2004, he was survived by his wife of more than half a century, two daughters, four grandchildren, and a single word, which he had coined himself: “endling,” defined as the last person, animal, or other individual in a lineage. According to Bruce Erickson, a former colleague of Webster’s, the story of “endling” began at a convalescent center in suburban Atlanta in the mid-nineteen-nineties, when a patient told Webster that she was the only surviving member of her family. Unaware of any word that could describe her situation, Webster saw an opportunity for neologism. In conversation with Erickson and others, he considered candidates including “ender,” “lastoline” (a contraction of “last of the line”), and “yatim” (Arabic for “orphan”), but eventually settled on “endling,” which he liked because its suffix recalled both “line” and “lineage.” But when the doctor submitted his invention to Merriam-Webster—“It cracked me up that someone would just call up the dictionary and propose a new word,” Erickson told me—he was informed that to meri
10 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Zoos
Zoos are a constantly evolving workplace. Over the past 50 years, exhibits have gotten increasingly naturalistic, diets for certain species have become more standardized, and captive breeding programs have turned into nationwide campaigns. Yet if one thing’s remained constant, it’s the fact that keeping the animals in our zoos both happy and healthy requires a great deal of time, coordination, expense, and old-fashioned willpower. It’s not an easy job, but most zookeepers say they wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Crocodile stoned to death at Tunisia zoo
A group of visitors at a Tunisia zoo has stoned a crocodile to death, authorities in the capital said on Wednesday, denouncing the “savage” act.
The municipality of Tunis posted gory pictures on Facebook of the dead animal’s head next to what appeared to be a bloodied paving slab and another large rock.
“A group of visitors to the zoo threw stones at the head of a crocodile, causing internal haemorrhage that killed it,” it said.
The municipality said the act at the Belvedere Zoo in central Tunis was “savage behaviour”.
Beloved hippopotamus 'Gustavito' beaten to death at El Salvador zoo
The animal died after being hit on the head by two large rocks late on Tuesday afternoon, Amor Ennaifer, a vet at the zoo, told AFP.
“It’s terrible. You cannot imagine what animals endure from some visitors,” he said.
“Citizens leave waste and plastic bags … They throw stones at lions and hippos.”
Ennaifer said the zoo had signs and guards but this was not enough, especially during school holidays.
“There are more than 150 species in the zoo. We
Thanks to TCM, large numbers of pangolins are smuggled to China from Southeast Asia
In the past couple of weeks, two people became infamous online for posting photos of themselves eating pangolin meat. The public flooded their accounts with insults and the pair were soon detained by the police
○ In China, pangolins are extremely endangered. They are a second-class protected animal in the country, but are still being killed on a huge scale for food and medicine, because of traditional beliefs
○ A vast black market for pangolins exists between China and neighboring countries, and fighting the trade requires more cooperative efforts from multiple departments
Claws out over South Africa's export of lion bones
In a statement issued on Wednesday‚ Panthera‚ the global wild cat conservation organisation‚ called the quota “arbitrary and potentially devastating for wild lion and critically endangered tiger populations” and have called on the department to institute an immediate moratorium on lion bone exports.
The bones are a response to the growing demand from an Asian market that has grown exponentially since 2007‚ when lion bones took the place of increasingly rare tiger bones.
Panthera claimed that the department has agreed to institute a quota of 800 skeleton export permits per year - but‚ early in February‚ the department said that the export quota "was not yet finalised". A text message sent to spokesman Albi Modise to check if the situation had changed in the last month
RHINO RESOURCE CENTER – NEWSLETTER 46 – MARCH 2016
Edited by Dr Kees Rookmaaker
Dolphin activists stand against new aquarium in Busan Posted
In the wake of the death of a bottlenose dolphin in Ulsan, Busan's brand-new aquarium project is drawing criticism from animal rights activists.
A mega-sized ocean park, called Osiria, scheduled to open in 2019, will house an ocean hotel and an aquarium for dolphins, according to the city's website.
According to News1, an online news outlet, Goldsea Korea Investment which owns Geoje Sea World on Geoje Island, is one of the project partners, worrying activists further. Since it opened, six dolphins have died at Geoje Sea World, according to News1.
"Approving a new aquarium without measures ensuring quality of life for dolphins is inhumane," said Cho Yak-gol, a member of animal rights activist group Hot Pink Dolphins. "The government should act soon."
Bottlenose dolphins are on the list of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which allows countries to trade dolphins but under strict regulations. In Korea, bottlenose dolphins mostly come from Japan, and the importer only needs permission from the Ministry of Env
Providence Zoo’s Conservation Director is a Rare Breed
Lou Perrotti spends much of his time working to protect threatened and endangered species. It’s surprising then when one discovers the lifelong Rhode Islander could be the last of his kind.
The 52-year-old West Greenwich resident is Roger Williams Park Zoo’s director of conservation programs. Every zoo in the country has a similar position, but most, if not all, are filled by people with at least a master’s degree. On Perrotti’s office wall, if he chose to display it, would hang a diploma from North Kingstown High School.
“I’m just a high-school graduate with no formal education,” Perrotti said during a recent interview with ecoRI News. “Most people in my position have a Ph.D. I’m lucky. I went from washing dishes to saving species.”
His journey didn’t follow such a direct path, but the trip has been interesting, and it’s far from over.
Perrotti began his employment at the Providence zoo two decades ago, working as a zookeeper for the first nine years. But his interest in animals, especially snakes, began has a young child. He grew up watching Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom” and reading National Geographic. His parents allowed him to keep and study “crazy things,” like snakes.
Today he describes his responsibilities at the Roger Williams Park Zoo as such: “My job is to utilize the zoo’s resources, staffing, space and means to protect wildlife habitat.”
Perrotti is good at his job. For instance, he is a leading expert on the plight of the American burying beetle. The insect once populated 35 states, the District of Columbia and large parts of Canada. Today, the burying beetle can only be found in five states, including Rhode Island, and in one Canadian province. In fact, Block Island is the species’s only natural home on the East Coast.
American burying b
Perth Zoo denies 'elephant yoga class' abuse claims
A zoo in Australia has denied claims that it mistreats its elephants by involving them in a yoga class with paying visitors.
For $125 (£78) people can do Perth Zoo's Exercise for Elephants programme - a 45-minute workout with a personal trainer that includes 15 minutes of interacting with the elephants.
The zoo has released footage of the daily activities of the elephants to try to refute allegations that the exercise programme is abusive.
Zookeepers said the elephants were not asked to do "tricks" for visitors or "to do anything that they weren't capable of doing and that they don't enjoy".
One zookeeper, Jody, said the claims were "extremely upsetting to those of us who dedicate our lives to love and care for these animals" and "completely untrue".
"We are a conservation organisation and
Zoo Science for Keepers and Aquarists
Smartwatch implants help track elephant sleep patterns
Humans are obsessed with sleep. We've not getting enough of it, and the tech world is flooded with wearables that confirm this fact. Now, scientists hope using activity monitors to study how and why animals sleep will help us get a better night's rest.
Professor Paul Manger from Wits University and his colleagues are using a tracker called an Actiwatch to study elephant sleep patterns in Botswana. They removed the watches' bands, insulated them with electrical tape and biologically inert wax, then attached them to the elephants' trunks. The trunk is the most mobile appendage, Manger said, and if it's still for more than five minutes it's reasonable to assume the animal is asleep.
Using the loggers and GPS collars, researchers found the elephants slept for two hours per day on average. They slept standing up most of the time, only lying down for about an hour every three or four days. This is likely the only time they were able to go into REM sleep, which means elephants possibly don't dream on a daily basis.
WOW! REALLY? IN THE LAST 25 YEARS, THE BUDAPEST ZOO IS THE ONLY PLACE WHERE WOMBATS REPRODUCE IN EUROPE
In the latest installment of our new (semi)regular segment, Wow! Really?, we examine little-known or unexpected facts about Hungary and Hungarian culture. Today, we will look for wombats in the 150 year-old Zoo and Botanical Garden of Hungary.
First of all, let’s have a look at the iconic and historical Zoo of Hungary. The Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden is one of the oldest zoological gardens not only in Hungary but in the world: it was opened to the general public on 9 August 1866. Plans for the zoo’s foundation date back to 1820-30s, but the 1848-49 Revolution and War of Independence and the era of absolutism that followed did not favour the idea of founding a zoo in Hungary. Finally, a group took the initiative, and in 1866 the first Hungarian Zoo opened its gates to the sound of the midday bell on August 9th. In the last 150 years it has had to close periodically for reconstruction, but the Zoo of Budapest has n
In pics: elephant-related entertainments in Thailand
Elephant Wars: A Story of 'Animal Arms Race' Between Berlin's Zoos
When the city of Berlin was divided during the Cold War, the two city zoos, located in the western and eastern parts of the metropolis, faced off in an "animal arms race."
Three-Month Old Polar Bear Cub Living in Berlin Zoo Finally Gets a Name (VIDEO)
As a result of its division during the Cold War, the German capital now has two zoos — Tierpark Berlin and the Berlin Zoological Garden. According to a book titled The Zoo of the Others, penned by German journalist Jan Mohnhaupt, just as the Western and Eastern blocs were locked in a global standoff during the second half of the 20th century, these two establishments were engaged in an 'arms race' of their ow
Dolphin show changes are coming to SeaWorld Orlando
SeaWorld Orlando announced today that it will close its long-running Blue Horizons dolphin show at the end of the month, replacing it with a new production that will debut the next day.
In Dolphin Days, "the audience will learn more about the individual personalities of each Atlantic bottlenose dolphin while witnessing the special bond they share with their trainers," according to SeaWorld's press release. That sounds a lot more like a straight-forward educational experience than the current Blue Horizons show, which used a mythical theme, Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics, and a musical narrative to complement the dolphins' behaviors.
Blue Horizons opened in 2005 at SeaWorld Orlando. The show ran for five years in San Diego, before b
'First Ranieri and now this' - Mercury readers blast decision to move elephants from Twycross
Mercury readers have criticised Twycross Zoo's decision to move their all-female herd of elephants to another zoo.
Zoo bosses announced the controversial decision yesterday, and said that currently there were no plans to replace them.
The move is intended to allow the animals to breed and help ensure the long-term survival of this
VENOM’S HEALING TOUCH
Snakes. Spiders. Centipedes; the list of venomous animals is long and diverse. Indeed, thousands of deaths and hospitalizations can be attributed to venomous wildlife. But the tides may be turning—research is showing that venom can heal as well. Venom works in highly desirable ways. Venoms affect the body in extremely precise ways, work almost instantly, and tend to be stable. But before you stick your hand in a box of funnel-web spiders, understand that the path from venom to cure is complicated.
Interest in the healing properties of venom dates to antiquity. Eating viper flesh was seen as a cure for a wide variety of ills. In the nineteenth century venom cures fell out of fashion, but in the 1920s and 1930s, venom studies re-emerged. The venom of snakes, including Russell’s Viper and Indian cobras, was analyzed for use in treating diverse conditions including hemophilia and chronic pain. An early class of hypertension medications known a
MUMBAI ZOO: SNEAK PEEK INTO BYCULLA’S HUMBOLDT PENGUINS ENCLOSURE
Notwithstanding all the controversies, Mumbai's Byculla Zoo is ready to throw open its gates for the new enclosure for the Humboldt Penguins. The swanky new house of the birds will be inaugurated by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.
The exact date of the public opening is currently shrouded under the uncertainty over the mayoral polls. The original date for the opening of the exhibit was scheduled for March 6. The outgoing mayor Snehal Ambekar has written to BMC chief Ajoy Mehta, asking him to make necessary arrangements for inauguration. Mirror brings you a sneak peek into the new world of penguins.
Tunis zoo to close temporarily after visitors stone crocodile
A zoo in the Tunisian capital is to close temporarily after visitors stoned a crocodile to death.
The Belvedere Zoo posted pictures of the bloodied reptile, with a paving stone and rock next to its head, on its Facebook page on Wednesday.
It died from an internal haemorrhage, the Tunis municipality said.
More guards and environmental police will be employed at the site after "emergency cleaning and maintenance works", the environment ministry said.
Measures would be introduced to manage visitors entering and exiting, it said.
The zoo has long faced problems
Zoo slammed for 'lying' about hippo stabbing death
El Salvador's main zoo is in trouble for claiming a hippo died of a brutal stabbing attack by unidentified people, when an autopsy finally revealed the animal in fact died of possible poor care.
Gustavito, a 15-year-old hippopotamus who had been in the National Zoological Park in eastern San Salvador almost all his life, died February 26 after suffering for days.
The government, giving information from the zoo, said the hippo had been stabbed and beaten by unidentified assailants four days earlier, resulting in internal bleeding.
That account triggered shock and revulsion in the Central American nation and was relayed in international media reports.
But the autopsy revealed no puncture marks in the animal's 2.5-centimeter (1-inch) thick skin, state prosecutor Mario Salazar revealed on Thursday.
Instead a detailed forensic examination showed Gustavito had apparently died from pulmonary hemorrhaging -- acute bl
Wildlife’s Unsung Heroes
While the numbers of extinct, endangered, vulnerable and threatened species of animals and birds are on a steady rise, people across the globe are only prattling about the muddle associated with wildlife. At a time when the loss of wildlife and wildlife-rich grasslands is rapidly growing, the problem often goes unnoticed. But, there are individuals who are making a difference by contributing in their own little ways to challenge the wildlife problems.
We are all aware of the famous PETA endorsers like Amy Jackson, Imran Khan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Sunny Leone, John Abraham, Shilpa Shetty and Lara Dutta, among others, who have shelled out a great deal towards wildlife while keeping themselves away from the media glare and helping raise awareness about the plight of the wild as well as the street animals. However, there are other unknown faces who are no celebrities and have been working for years now to help the wil
Next Group of ‘Alalā Preparing for Release
Reintroduction efforts for the ʻalalā, the native Hawaiian crow, began in December of last year with the release of five ʻAlalā into a Hawai‘i Island State Natural Area Reserve.
Sadly, three birds did not survive, and the remaining two were brought back into captivity.
Members of The ‘Alalā Project said that the reintroduction of captive-raised birds without the benefit of experienced ‘alalā already in the wild is very challenging.
Biologists around the world said releases like this are usually marked with fits and starts, and that reintroduction success is not usually seen before multiple releases.
Nēnē, the native Hawaiian goose, once had a population of only
Proposed bill to limit aquarium fish collecting advances
Lawmakers have advanced a bill that would limit aquarium fish collecting.
"Some folks are saying it's going to shut down the industry, it's not, but what it will do is make sure that these reefs have these beautiful fish," State Representative Kaniela Ing said.
Rep. Ing introduced House Bill 1457. He says the measure was prompted by tourism officials and environmental protection agencies after they noticed less colorful fish when snorkeling.
"This bill will limit entry, so the folks that are currently doing it could still do it. They won't lose their jobs, but they just cannot have more people coming in and taking fish," Rep. Ing said.
According to Rep. Ing, the measure is based off input gathered from three-years of work on the aquarium trade issue.
He says studies show aquarium reef fish populations are sustainable at current levels, but would decline if more businesses enter the industry.
"The fish that are missing are the ones that are taken by the aquarium trade," For the Fishes, executive director Rene Umberger said. "We need to increase the most beautiful and important fish that the trade targets, that's why these bills are so specific."
Umberger says she supports bills that aim to protect
SCIENTIST STATEMENT SUPPORTING RESEARCH IN MARINE MAMMAL FACILITIES
Some of you may be aware the Vancouver Park Board is looking to ban the continued study of whales and dolphins at our marine science centre due to pressure from animal rights critics. They cite that there is no value in having whales and dolphins at a marine science facility. Below is a signed statement by preeminent research scientists from around the world who disagree.
April 8, 2016
We, the undersigned members of the scientific community, wish to acknowledge the importance of marine mammals in zoos, aquariums, and marine mammal facilities, and express our support for research conducted at these facilities. We know that critical research findings have come from studies of dolphins and related species in managed care environments, which have provided the vast majority of what is known about their perception, physiology, and cognition. This includes both basic facts about these animals (e.g., echolocation and how it works[i], diving physiology[ii], energetics[iii], gestation period[iv], hearing range[v], signature whistles[vi], and so forth) and applied information such as how they react to environmental stressors[vii] and how to diagnose and treat their diseases.[viii]
The benefits of such research extend well beyond the animals in zoological facilities. The interpretation of data from field studies is directly informed by what we have learned about the cognition and physiology of these animals in managed care settings. Moreover, because science is inherently a collaborative endeavor, research findings from these animals contribute to our collective unde
What drives the demand for rhino horns?
Reports in February that the South African government was considering lifting the 2009 domestic moratorium on trade in rhino horns brought into focus something that is not necessarily obvious to those outside of that country: there currently exist in South Africa numerous large stockpiles of rhino horns, nearly all legal, all potentially extremely valuable.
Legal rhino horn and ivory trade should benefit Africa, says Swaziland government
Some stockpiles come from rhinos who have died of natural causes, others are contraband seized at customs or confiscated from poachers, and many arise from dehorning programmes undertaken by both government and individuals. Rhino farmers in South Africa dehorn their rhinos to discourage poaching and therefore protect the endangered species, but breeding and dehorning rhinos also creates a potential cash crop. Conserved, inventoried, often micro-chipped and secured in strong rooms and safes, rhino horns are stockpiled largely because of their future market value. That future value rests on an assumption that the current high demand for rhino horn, predominantly for use in Vietnamese medicine, will continue indefinitely, and cannot be overcome or countered. That assumption itself rests in part on characterising the demand for rhino horns as “traditional”.
No one disputes that medicinal and recreational use of rhino horn, mostly in Vietnam, is directly responsible for high levels of poaching in southern African countries, which continues to threaten the species with extinction. But while it is true that rhino products are mentioned in a variety of traditional Vietnamese medicine texts, the scale of the Vietnamese market has risen hugely over the past 15 years: this demand is a modern phenomenon. Influenced in part by rumours of a prominent senior government official being cured, sick and dying cancer sufferers and their families are directly targeted by unscrupulous vendors. In addition over the past decade and a h
Ark of endangered species on the brink in Yemen
In the besieged city of Taiz, zookeeper and sub-manager Showky al-Haj is desperately trying to save 281 animals, which are on the brink of starvation.
Many of the zoo's species are endangered, including 28 Arabian leopards, which could number as few as 45 in the wild.
Additionally, the zoo hosts 20 Barbary lions thought to be descended from the ones gifted to Yemen by Ethiopian Emperor Emperor Haile Selassie in 1953. Today the species is considered extinct in the wild.
For nearly two years the Taiz Zoo has deteriorated under the pressure of Yemen's civil war. An international coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, has imposed a sea blockade on the country targeting Houthi forces. It has resulted in a widespread humanitarian and environmental catastrophe.
"Before the war the animals used to eat and we used to receive the money and the salaries and we got to breed many animals like the Arabian leopard that is endangered… everything was great until the war came in the beginning of 2015," says al-Hajj.
"It couldn't get any worse, [the government] they couldn't provide anything so they stopped supplying, which led to the death of many of the animals. 11 lions, six leopards, most of the Arabian Oryx that are endangered, and most of the birds and other animals too."
To the rescue
The Taiz Zoo is being sustained thanks to the initiative of Kim-Michelle Broderick, a British theatre director, and actress, who has volunteered tirelessly to save the zoo's population.
She has lead the rescue effort since becoming aware of
Risky roundup: Navy dolphins to help capture Mexican porpoises
U.S. Navy dolphins trained in San Diego may soon be flown to Mexico to round up and capture endangered vaquita porpoises.
The plan is described as a rescue operation in the Sea of Cortez but animal advocates are calling it a risky roundup.
Vaquita porpoises are the most endangered marine mammal on the plant, according to a recent survey in the northern Sea of Cortez, the only place where vaquita can be found.
“Based on the data we think there are only about 30 vaquita remaining,” said Barbara Taylor, a NOAA marine biologist based in La Jolla.
Illegal gillnet fishing in the Sea of Cortez is killing off vaquitas at an alarming rate.
“We have had a two year ban on all gillnets in the area with the fisherman being paid not to fish and we are still seeing this decline going on,” said Taylor, who participated in the most recent vaquita survey in the summer of 2016.
Poachers use gillnets to catch totoaba, an endangered fish sold for its swim bladder on the Chinese black market.
“The draw of the swim bladder is that it is used to make your skin look more youthful in soups. So, it's actually cut up and used in soups,” Taylor said.
Marine biologists at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla and an international team of scientists are working on a plan to save the vaquita from extinction.
“We have to find them. We have to get a net around an animal that avoids boats. So, it’s going to be a very tall order to be able to capture them,” according to Taylor.
The plan involves using lightweight nets to capture up to 10 of the 30 remaining vaquita and hopefully establish a captive-breeding program near San Felip
Thai Officials Deny the Re-opening of Tiger Temple
Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation has dismissed a claim by the World Animal Protection Thailand (WAPT) that it has granted permission for the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi to reopen it’s zoo.
In its official complaint to the department, WAPT alleged that Tiger Temple or Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Yanasampanno was permitted to open a public zoo in April last year and to operate under the name of Tiger Temple Co Ltd.
It then asked the department to revise the zoo permit, voicing concern over the attempt to reopen Tiger Temple for tourism.
However the department director-general Mr Thanya Netithammakul denied the claim saying that Tiger Temple was permitted to build structures that will be used in zoo.
He said under the existing laws any juristic person which is qualified can apply for permit to build a public zoo if it has exact location.
The department will then appoint a committee to look through the application if it has required qualifications.
The zoo permit is valid for five years, he said.
In the case of Tiger Temple Co Ltd, he said the company has nothing in connection with the Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Yanasampanno or Tiger Temple and the land which it planned as zoo is not in the temple area.
Instead it is a land which the company legally acquired.
But he said if the company wanted to bring in wild animals to the public zoo, it still needs to apply fo
Caught between custom and conservation
Tirumala temple wants to breed Small Indian Civet for perfume, but A.P. Forest Department seeks control
The custom at Sri Venkateswara temple at Tirumala, of using a fragrance derived from the Small Indian Civet in the deity’s worship, faces a challenge as the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) and the A.P. Forest Department remain at loggerheads on captive breeding of the animal.
The civet is caught in a decade-long row over supply of its glandular ‘punugu’ secretion that weighs less than a gram.
The yellow substance from its perineal gland gets encrusted when dry and is ejected when the animal rubs against a hard surface.
The fragrance is used for ‘abhishekam’ of Lord Venkateswara. The temple has a ‘Punugu Ginne Seva’ (offering in a vessel), where select devotees can touch the civet pooja vessel. The secretion is mixed with gi
Gazipur safari park staffer hospitalised after attack by deer
Officials said Keeper Rokon Uz Zaman was attacked by a male Sambar as soon as he opened the cage.
"The deer attacked Rokon soon after he opened the cage to feed him. Both his hands have sustained fractures," the park's Acting Coordinator Md Shahabuddin told bdnews24.com.
Rokon is now being treated at Dhaka's National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopedic Rehabilitation, commonly known as the 'Pongu Hospital'.
Quoting doctors, Shahabuddin said he has gone through multiple surgeries and needs more time to recover.
The senior park official said that Sam
China builds first 'bird airport' to attract feathered friends
At first glance, birds and airports do not seem like a particularly harmonious combination. Our feathered friends generally don't feel too comfortable living between runways and the wings of their (very) distant giant relatives. But in China, this is about to change with the creation of the "Lingang Bird Sanctuary."
This "airport" will not have any of the usual aircraft noise, and it will not have barren tarmac runways. It will be solely for the use of migrating birds in the peace and quiet of nature.
McGregor Coxall, designers and landscape architects based in Australia, China, and England, came up with the plans. They won an international design competition that was initiated and co-financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Area (TEDA), which is located close to Tianjin, China. This port city is home to the project.
The idea behind the catchy "airport" project is actually to create a giant nature reserve. But since this pilot project is happening right on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF), a key migration route for birds, the term "Bird Airport" seems appropriate. Fifty million migratory birds make use of this flyway every year - and they are very likely to use the planned oasis in Tianjin for a stopover, before they continue their journey. These birds cover huge distances. The EAAF crosses 22 countries, among them China, Japan, New Zealand, Indonesia, Thailand, Russia, and the USA (Alaska). Some birds fly more than 11,000 kilometers, and go ten days without nourishment just to make it to Tianjin.
"Birds' migration routes are a wonder of the natural world," says Adrian McGregor, director and founder of McGregor
China's first killer whale breeding base put into operation in Guandong
Frogs have unique ability to see colour in the dark
The night vision of frogs and toads appears to be superior to that of all other animals. They have the ability to see colour even when it is so dark that humans are not able to see anything at all. This has been shown in a new study by researchers from Lund University in Sweden.
Most vertebrates, including humans, have two types of visual cells located in the retina, namely cones and rods. The cones enable us to see colour, but they usually require a lot of light and therefore stop working when it gets dark, in which case the rods take over so that we can at least find our way home, albeit in black and white.
In toads and frogs the rods are a bit special, however. It was previously known that toads and frogs are unique in having rods with two different sensitivities. This has not been found in other vertebrates, and it is also the reason why researchers have long suspected that frogs and toads might be able to see colour also in low-light conditions. The new study was first in proving this to be true, and the results exceeded all expectations.
“It’s amazing that these animals can actually see colour in extreme darkness, down to the absolute threshold of the visual system. These results were unexpected”, says Professor of Sensory Biology Almut Kelber at the Faculty of Science, Lund University.
It was during the third of three experiments that the researchers discovered that frogs are able to use their rods to distinguish colour in extreme darkness. The researchers studied the frogs in a situation that is as serious as it is common, namely, when frogs need to find their way out in case they are trapped in conditions of complete darkness. This is potentially an everyday occurrence, taking place in dark dens and passageways on the ground. In such instances, finding the exit becomes crucial, which also means that the frog is inclined to make use of any sensory information that is available.
In the other experiments the researchers studied to what extent frogs and toads use their colour vision when searching for a mate or hunting for food. The results showed that the animals stop using their c
Thought for Behaviour: Negative Reinforcement… A Go or a No Go?
I grew in a household together with my brother. We are actually only 1,5 year difference. We lived in a village where we could play outside. It was that time when you jumped in mudpools etc. Best time of our lives. But.. you probably know how it goes when 2 brothers grow up. Yes we fought quite often but surprisingly that completely changed around the age of 12-13. We started to develop similar interest what helped our relationship what has been an amazing journey after.. While that problem was solved I was dealing with something completely personal. I had this insane fear of needles. I don’t know exactly why but the reason might have been because the doctor didn’t give us stickers or candy back then.
This actually went to a point where I didn’t want to go to a doctor anymore. I was frightened about needles. For me not going was the highest reinforcement I could potentially provide myself. Over the years I started to discover that sometimes for my own health it is necessary to get samples or help with potential higher levels of pain. But o my was I happy when that needle left again. Happy when that needle was gone so my body would be a bit more relax for what would come after.
If we take this in perspective, I would connect this bad experience with the doctor. What means I wouldn’t go to him anymore what would reinforce
The world's coldest elephant? Campaigners call for Edmonton's Lucy to head south
Lucy hesitated in the doorway as she debated whether to leave the warmth of home and venture out into the sub-zero cold.
Then she plodded forward, scooping up freshly fallen snow with her trunk and shoving it in her mouth. Every minute or so, a deep rumbling punctuated the air – a symptom of a decades-old respiratory problem that forces her to breathe through her mouth. Zookeepers hovered around her, monitoring her body temperature with an infrared scanner to ensure she wasn’t getting cold.
For 40 years Lucy’s life has played out in the 110 acres of the Edmonton Valley Zoo. But beyond the steel gates and electric fencing of her 2,600 square foot barn, Lucy has become one of the most controversial elephants in the world.
Some argue Lucy is a well-adjusted Asian elephant who shares a deep bond with her keepers and trainers. Others say that – as the only elephant living in a Canadian city where the mercury at times drops to 20 below zero – she is the prisoner of a practice whose time has long passed.
“Honestly, there is no elephant in as bad a situation in the entire world as Lucy is,” said Julie Woodyer of Zoocheck Canada. Woodyer claims that Lucy is the world’s “the most northerly elephant” and has been fi
Shortage of qualified staff hampers animal upkeep
The shortage of qualified animal keepers in zoos across the country continues to hinder the proper upkeep of animals.
DN Singh, member secretary of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), who was in Dehradun today to attend the annual conference of Indian Zoos, said most of the animal keepers were just matriculate and lack of education affected their day-to-day working.
He said, “I believe that animal keepers should be a zoology graduate. In western countries, animal keepers are even PhDs. But animal keepers here are just matriculate or senior secondary at the farthest. In our country, animal keeping is considered a menial job which is not an opinion for this job in Europe.”
He said the key posts of director at the zoos continue to be unstable. “Due to routine postings, directors at the zoos are reshuffled that
What Makes a Dolphin a Dolphin?
In movies and TV shows, dolphins are often portrayed as heroes who save humans through remarkable feats of strength and tenacity. Now dolphins could save the day for humans in real life, too – with the help of emerging technology that can measure thousands of proteins and an improved database full of genetic data.
“Dolphins and humans are very, very similar creatures,” said NIST’s Ben Neely, a member of the Marine Biochemical Sciences Group and the lead on a new project at the Hollings Marine Laboratory, a research facility in Charleston, South Carolina that includes the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as one of its partner institutions. “As mammals, we share a number of proteins and our bodies function in many similar ways, even though we are terrestrial and dolphins live in the water all their lives.”
Neely and his colleagues have just finished creating a detailed, searchable index of all the proteins found in the bottlenose dolphin genome. A genome is the complete set of genetic material present in an organism. Neely’s project is built on years of marine mammal research and aims to provide a new level of bioanalytical measurements. The results of this work will aid wildlife biologists, veterinary professionals and biomedical researchers.
Protein Maps Could Help Dolphins and Humans
Although a detailed map of the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) genome was first compiled in 2008, recent technological breakthroughs ena
Rhino sale bombshell hidden in new draft regulations
It turns out the two-per-person discussion was a red herring which effectively diverted attention of the few attending MPs from the fact that this only applied to “a person from a foreign state”. South Africans wanting to buy or sell rhino horn, on obtaining a permit, would have no such restriction and could trade and export as much horn as they pleased. Foreigners owning rhinos could also do so.
Because the paragraph concerning the two-horn restriction referred to
“a person contemplated” in another part of the regulations, it was easy to miss the key point that the “person” referred to was only a foreign national not domiciled in South Africa or not owning a rhino. No such restriction was placed on locals.
South Africa has the greatest number of rhinos in the world and a huge poaching problem. Legalising trade and export is likely to collapse international attempts to protect rhinos. If the trade regulations become law, the decline and possible extinction in the wild of rhinos will be in the interest of rhino breeders, who will then control the world market.
The back story to the announcement is that last year the moratorium on sale was challenged by private sector rhino breeders who won on a technicality. Molewa took the result on appeal to the Constitutional Court. Then, on February 8 – possibly anticipating losing the Constitutional Court appeal – she announced new draft regulations, giving the public a mere 30 days to make representations or objections.
The effect, if the regulations become law, is that South Africa will be an almost open market for trading and even exporting rhino horn. This is a slap in the face for the overwhelming majority of countries that voted against the trade in horn at the CITES CoP17 meeting in Gauteng last year and a huge victory for the very few, extremely wealthy, rhino farmers and potential traders who have been lobbying Molewa for years.
ANALYSIS: Lies, damned lies and rhino statistics
A 10% fall in poaching last year is not the good news it appears to be — especially considering SA plans to resume its horn trade, writes Tony Carnie
The latest 10% drop in the national rhino poaching statistics may sound like good news, but it masks the fact that the decade-long bloodbath has thinned out animal numbers so deeply that rhinos are no longer such easy meat for poachers.
Poachers now have to work that much harder to fill the order books for international crime cartels because the Kruger National Park rhino population has been hammered since 2008.
Also, the target has shifted away from the Kruger to KwaZulu-Natal, where there has been a staggering 38% increase in horn poaching over the past year.
Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa announced on February 27 that 1,054 rhinos were killed for their horns nationwide during 2016 — compared with 1,175 in 2015.
That adds up to 121 fewer rhinos killed during 2016, or 161 fewer than the record tally of 1,215 rhinos poached in 2014.
But it still adds up to roughly three rhinos gunned down every 24 hours.
Compare this daily killing rate with the decade preceding 2008, when annual poaching figures barely exceeded double-digit figures.
Leigh Clayton, Director of Animal Health at the National Aquarium, speaks about being an aquarium veterinarian. Listen to the PODCAST.