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|Zoo News Digest Sept-Oct 2017|
Zoo News Digest
Guest Speaker: Ken Ramirez – The Butterfly Project
I’ve met Ken several times through IMATA. I first met him back in 2008 when I joined the first IMATA conference in my career. It has been quite a ride for me since. To mention that this year I will be serving as Vice President of IMATA. This gives me the honer to work right next to Ken Ramirez. As we al know he has done a lot for many of us if it has been the first steps in training or if it was the step what made you get there. As Ken mentioned to me in a conversation last year, one of his passions is conservation. He works with great people and conservationists to make projects happen but this doesn’t always come with flowers. See one of his stories about his latest project:
Navy dolphins arrive for vaquita capture
What might be the last stand in the fight to save the vaquita marina porpoise has begun with the arrival in the upper Gulf of California of four trained dolphins.
Andrea, Fathom, Katrina and Splash arrived yesterday in San Felipe, Baja California, where they’ll spend the next month helping a team of specialists locate vaquitas so they can be captured.
A team of scientists and veterinarians plans to transport the captured porpoises to a 46-square-meter pen at the new Vaquita Care Center, located in San Felipe, with the hope that they will breed and reverse the decline in numbers. It was estimated in November that only 30 re
Learning About Ourselves: A Conversation with Tim Morrow, CEO and Executive Director of the San Antonio Zoo
The San Antonio Zoo is undergoing a renaissance as several improvements and capital projects have taken place over the past few years. Also, the zoo has dramatically improved its marketing to put a larger focus on saving species and inspiring visitors to be involved with conservation. The leader of this resurgence is Tim Morrow, the zoo’s CEO and Executive Director. He has led the San Antonio Zoo since late 2014 and has ambitious plans to make the zoo even better. Here is his story.
Dolphin killings rise in Peru due to Asia shark fin sales
Peru has dramatically increased its sales of shark fins to Asia, triggering the slaughter of about 15,000 dolphins a year used as bait, officials said Friday.
Shark fin is viewed by many Asians as a delicacy and is often served as a soup at expensive Chinese banquets.
Most of Peru’s shark fin exports, which jumped 10 percent in recent years, go to Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and other Asian Nations, the Production Ministry said.
Lemurpalooza: Duke center aims to raise awareness for lemur care and conservation
The Duke Lemur Center hosted its semiannual event, Lemurpalooza, on Saturday.
The event allowed attendees to view the center's lemur habitats at their own pace and also featured activities for families to learn more about lemurs and the center's conservation projects.
Megan McGrath, education programs manager at the center, said the importance of the event cannot be overstated, because it gets people interested on a personal level.
“There’s a very different connection people get going on our Walking With Lemurs tours out here where they get to go into a forest with lemurs all around them, see them in their natural setting,” she said.
Dade City's Wild Things uses "hundreds of thousands" in zoo donations for personal business, state alleges
The owners of Dade City's Wild Things have funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the nonprofit zoo into their personal business account, paying for their son's wedding and other private expenses with donations raised in the name of saving animals, according to a lawsuit filed by Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The civil suit alleges proceeds from ticket sales and animal encounters were collected under the guise of caring for animals and assisting conservation efforts but at least $212,000 was transferred to Kathy and Kenneth Stearns' turf business since March 2016.
The zoo money was then used to pay $10,000 in wedding expenses for son Randall Stearns and $24,143 in delinquent payments to Kathy Stearns' 2013 personal bankruptcy case, according to Chase Bank statements the state obtained through a subpoena.
In addition to transferring funds from the zoo to her for-profit business, the lawsuit alleges Kathy Stearns paid $8,000 in 2015 and $7,350 in 2016 to her personal bankruptcy case directly from zoo accounts.
The state is asking the court to fine the Stearns and bar them perm
Tiger cub attacks its keeper as it escapes its enclosure at a Chinese zoo before worker is forced to catch it by clinging on to its TAIL
A tiger cub reportedly escaped its enclosure yesterday at a Chinese zoo after attacking its keepers.
The cub broke out of its cage because it had missed its mother and was looking for its mother, according to Chinese media.
Workers at the zoo managed to catch the cub by grabbing its tail.
Establishing a conservation breeding programme to save the last saola
The saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), a primitive wild cattle endemic to the Annamite mountain range in Vietnam and Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR), is in immediate danger of extinction. The primary threat to its survival is intensive commercial snaring to supply the thriving wild meat trade in Indochina. In order to save the saola, it is essential to establish a conservation breeding programme. In a letter published in Science, a group of conservationists and conservation scientists, including members of the IUCN Saola Working Group and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research Berlin, have voiced their concern about the future of the species and stressed the importance of urgent ex situ management.
A Santa Rosa wildlife preserve is trying to evacuate its animals
Santa Rosa wildlife preserve Safari West posted on its Facebook page Monday morning that "for the moment, it looks like our preserve and our animals are ok."
“While the situation remains dynamic and very dangerous, we have received word that the Safari West Wildlife Preserve appears to have weathered the worst of this firestorm."
Two white tigers kill Bengaluru zoo keeper...
Two white tigers in Bannerghatta National Park here on Saturday mauled a keeper to death when he en...
White Tiger Cubs Kill Caretaker At Bengaluru's Bannerghatta Biological Park
A few days into his new job at the Bannerghatta Biological Park near Bengaluru, an animal keeper was killed by two white tiger cubs. Anji, 41, was recruited about a week ago. He had gone to place meat inside the enclosure for the animals without noticing it was open on the other side where the cubs were resting, sources said.
He tried to escape, but the cubs of tigress Sowbhagya chased and killed him, they said. The police have registered a case of unnatural death based on a complaint by the park authorities. The park's executive director Santosh Kumar confirmed Anji's death, but said, "Since a police investigation is on, it is not fair on my part to give any reason behind Anji's death."
Two years ago, another animal keeper
Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund benefits 1,677 projects to conserve endangered species
The total value of grants provided by the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, MBZ Fund, has reached AED58,852,000, benefitting 1,677 projects in efforts to protect 1,133 endangered species, according to its published statistics.
Over 150 countries from around the world have benefitted from the grants provided by the MBZ Fund since its establishment in October 2008, reflecting the UAE's role in protecting the environment and wildlife and in conserving rare species.
The grants have also supported research and individual projects to rescue many endangered species in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas, including amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds, fungi, fish, plants and other living organisms.
The largest portion of these grants, totallin
One dead in shooting at Wynnewood zoo
The husband of Oklahoma gubernatorial candidate Joseph "Joe Exotic" Maldonado is dead after a shooting at Greater Wynnewood Animal Park.
Joseph Maldonado said in a Facebook post that his husband, Travis Maldonado, died after accidentally shooting himself at the zoo on Friday.
In the Facebook post, Joseph Maldonado said the shooting was a "terrible accident."
Calls to the zoo were unanswered Friday.
The Garvin County Sheriff's Office and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner were on the scene Friday investigating the incident.
The sheriff's office responded to a report of a gun discharge at
Cotswold Wildlife Park keeper needed hospital treatment after lemur incident
A keeper at Cotswold Wildlife Park had to get hospital treatment for a broken nose after a 'head-on' collision with a lemur.
The animal specialist said they were left with splintered bones after the tiny animal 'came flying out of the hatch' of its enclosure.
The encounter was one of ten accidents at the West Oxfordshire park reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the 2016/17 financial year.
The other nine injuries affected members of
10 things a penguin can do better than a human
African penguins are amazing animals with unique adaptations that make them true masters of their environment. Here are 10 ways that African penguins are better at doing things than humans - we hope that after reading this you will appreciate these awesome endangered, endemic birds a bit more on this African Penguin Awareness Day.
'Leasing' rare animals flagged as a way to fund wildlife conservation programs
Australia should consider 'leasing' its rare and endangered wildlife as 'ambassadors for conservation' to raise cash for conservation programs, similar to what China already does with the giant panda.
That is the parting advice from Australia's Threatened Species commissioner, Gregory Andrews, who is leaving after three years in the job.
"Each panda bear that's overseas from China brings in at least $1 million a year on a novated lease," Mr Andrews told Radio National Breakfast.
"That's something that I've been encouraging … the same principle here in Australia, sharing some of our wildlife, of course with the utmost care and only with the most reputable zoos, but using that money to fund th
Joburg City Parks confirms outbreak of bird flu
Avian influenza has hit Johannesburg with 598 carcasses of birds having been recovered from the City of Joburg facilities at Westdene Dam, Emmarentia Dam, Zoo Lake and and Joburg Zoo.
Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) has confirmed that some of its facilities have been affected by the outbreak that was first detected in Limpopo and which has been spread by the seasonal migration of birds.
JCPZ spokesperson Jenny Moodley said that from September 1 to date, the facility has recovered over 548 carcasses and “most have tested positive for the strain of Avian Influenza that is not contagious to humans.”
All the dead birds are being incinerated and ar
Jealous chimp named Romeo BEATS UP zookeeper because he thought he was flirting with a female chimp named Juliet
A JEALOUS chimp called Romeo beat up a zookeeper and chewed off his ear because he thought the man was flirting with his partner Juliet.
Romeo flew into a rage when his female mate tried to kiss zookeeper Sergey through a glass window in their cage at the Feldman Eco Park zoo in Lisne, Ukraine.
Port Lympne gorilla brothers heading to Congo in Back to the Wild initiative
A family of gorillas will be swapping Kent for the Congo as they embark on an epic journey into the wild.
The four western lowland gorillas are park favourites at Port Lympne but the brothers are heading to Africa later this month.
The reserve near Hythe has now set up a campaign - Congo Calling, which is backed by the Congolese government - asking for the public to support the primates returning to the wild.
In La., a modern-day ark for vulnerable species
Audubon Nature Institute curator Michelle Hatwood stepped off the back of a flatbed trailer, rattling a bright red bucket of carrots and yams as three bongos watched skeptically from beyond the edge of the nearby tree line.
The African antelopes weren’t wary of Hatwood or her Audubon colleagues. They’ve grown quite accustomed to them since arriving in Algiers this spring. It was more likely the gaggle of news reporters and photographers Hatwood had in tow, there to get a first look at the newest initiative at the Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center.
“Hey, honey!” Hatwood beckoned as Betty Jean, a 7-year-old female, finally approached, her head bobbing slightly from side to side.
Kiba, a 3-year-old male, opted to remain at a comfortable distance.
“Usually he’s all up in our faces and won’t leave us alone,” Hatwood said. “It’s nice he’s kind of relaxed.”
Betty Jean and Kiba are just two of 28 hoofed animals -- including giraffes, sable antelopes, common elands, okapis and yellow-backed duikers -- that arrived about two weeks ago from the San Diego Zoo at their new 425-acre home at Audubon’s West Bank campus in Lower Coast Algiers. Some arrived solo, w
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A ZOOLOGICAL FACILITY AND A SANCTUARY
Zoological facilities and sanctuaries in the United States tend to appear to the general public to be fairly similar enterprises, separated in their minds mainly by semantics and the origin of the animals in their collections; in reality, they're very distinct business types that appear to be superficially similar. As no standardized definition of the two types of businesses appears to be extant within the animal management field, WADTT offers these lists of defining characteristics as as starting point for discussion.
Why do we have such a close relationship with animals?
THE interaction between human and non-human animals fascinates everyone from anthropologists to the average pet owner. It even has a name – anthrozoology – as biologist John Bradshaw reminds us in the subtitle of his new book, The Animals Among Us.
As Bradshaw points out, for humans to consistently live with and nurture animals is a most unusual trait in nature. So a strong, fact-based discussion of how and why we do this and its effects should be eye-opening, engaging and thought-provoking.
Animals ticks some of those boxes, but by no means all. Bradshaw knows how to produce a well-written and accessible tome. A veteran of popular books about the lives and habits of cats and dogs, he focuses most on the ubiquity of people keeping animals, today and over the past few hundred years, and specifically on pets.
All zoos should be closed – other species have rights
hat does it take to close down a zoo? The death of nearly 500 of its captives in less than four years? The tragedy of South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria is measured out in those losses – inconsequential or unlucky as they may be seen in the eyes of some, pathetic and terrible in the eyes of others. It is a tragedy that is both human and animal, one in which our emotional investment in, or disconnection from, the natural world plays out. It is the paradox with which we have to live, if we live with animals. And it is one in which there will, it seems, always be one set of losers – those who do not possess our language or our culture with which to protest at their treatment.
For the vast majority of us, a zoo is our first and perhaps only introduction to a living “wild” animal. The power of that communion is not to be understated. I asked a friend if he felt visits to a city zoo with his five-year-old daughter and four-year-old son were valuable – or even valid – as educational experiences, beyond the obvious moral questions that underlie them. “Yes,” he replied, without equivocation. “But we don’t have the right to see all animals. [They] not should expect to be able to see a tiger.”
We want our children to know that the world is full of beautiful animals, beyond the cartoons of Paw Patrol and social media clip
What a Zoo: Hellbenders
It's a conservation project that the Toledo Zoo has been part of for six years.
Newly-plucked hellbenders will spend the next three years here before they'll return home to the creeks of southern Ohio.
They've only been at the Toledo Zoo for a few months.
John Chastain, associate curator of herpetology with the Zoo explains, "Hellbender numbers in general have been greatly decreasing over the years. All of this is mainly due to habitat destruction, siltation of streams. So with a lot of land restoration and management techniques, the habitat's coming back."
Hellbenders are a type of salamander found in southern Ohio.
And for the past 6 years, the Toledo Zoo has been collecting eggs from the wild, and raising them for three years before sending them back to their habitats.
The hardest part, john says, has been getting them to hatch.
He says, "Unlike most amphibian eggs, which we usually just leave alone and they kind of do their thing, there are different issues with the hellbender eggs. In the wild, the males actually d
Czech zoo to lead campaign to save southeast Asian songbirds
The Czech Republic will head a European campaign for the protection of endangered songbirds in southeast Asia starting in October, Barbara Tesarova, spokeswoman for the Liberec Zoo in which the campaign's main office will be, has told CTK.
"We expect at least 200 European zoological gardens to join the campaign and 500,000 euros to be raised," she said.
"Trading in songbirds has become a very profitable business, which leads to an unchecked depletion of bird species," she said about the Silent Forest - Asian Songbird Crisis campaign organised by the The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).
Unless action is taken quickly, these species will die out, Tesarova said.
The campaign is to last two years and approximately 280 million people are to visit the European zoos participating in it during this time. The campaign aims
How did the dingo get to Australia?
Dogs and people have been traveling the world together for possibly 30,000 years, with one exception: Australia. Archaeological evidence, from bones to rock art paintings, suggests that Australia’s native dog, the dingo, didn’t arrive down under until at least 4000 years ago. So who brought them? Two archaeologists think they’ve now identified the likely suspects in the long-running mystery.
The question is not just a matter of curiosity about dingoes. “For some reason, we know relatively little about this time compared with other regions of the world,” says psychologist Bradley Smith, who specializes in canine behavior and cognition at Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, in Australia and who did not contribute to the study. That means that “understanding the origins of the dingo will shed light on human history in Southeast Asia, the process of dog domestication, and the prehistory of Australia,” adds Mathew Crowther, a wildlife biologist at the University of Sydney also not involved in the study.
There are several groups of people who could have brought the dingo to Australia. Among the front-runners are Indian mariners who may
Evolving Techniques with Birds of Prey
In our everyday life we grow in what we do, our thoughts become different and our actions are being considered more as we get older. When I was younger I used to do a lot more reckless things what I wouldn’t do today. Opinions have changed due to experiences and so does your character. Your acceptance and maybe your curiosity goes to another point in your life where you wonder about different subjects as you used to wonder about. I’m nonstop asking the “Why” questions to myself and I can’t get tired of it. Some answers are easy made but some answers reflect to me with but “why can’t it be different?”. With the Job I have today I try to put this in practice on a daily base. Quite a while ago I had a talk with somebody from another Zoo who asked me, Does Kolmården Zoo have the highest animal training standard in Sweden? My answer was that we all do the same but we come from a different corner and that’s the difference. So, No we are not the highest standard. We just make ourselves different with the actions and techniques we take for the best care of our animals. This could maybe be an outcome of the thought “Why can’t it be different?”
Care, Connect, Conserve, Coastal: A Conversation with Joe Fitting, Deputy Director of the San Francisco zoo
Sitting on 100 acres and home to over 1,000 animals, the San Francisco Zoo is a large zoo and features a great diversity of wildlife. Joe Fitting is the deputy director of the Zoo and has been there since 1979. “I’m kind of like the sheriff,” he said. “I constantly ask why we are doing things the way we do them. I help our director Tanya Peterson with specialized projects. I’ve been here a long time so I have institutional knowledge.” Here is his story.
Wellington Zoo contributes nearly $390K towards conservation
Conservation is the heart of Wellington Zoo and in the financial year ending 30 June, the Zoo is proud to have contributed staff time and commitment and nearly $390K towards local and global field conservation efforts. Recently appointed Conservation Manager Peter Fraser will help drive the Zoo’s ongoing mission to save animals in the wild.
“I’m really excited to be joining Wellington Zoo as part of a fantastic team of like-minded individuals who are all so passionate about animal conservation,” says Peter, who has previously worked as Auckland Zoo’s Conservation Fund Programme Coordinator, Zoo Keeper, and a founding Trustee for the Kea Conservation Trust, one of Wellington Zoo’s long standing conservation partners.
“Seeing this significant field conservation contribution just confirms that I’ve chosen to work for the right organisation, on
Leopards And Monkeys Burn To Death As Massive Fire Engulfs Maltese Zoo
Two leopards and several monkeys have reportedly burned to death after a massive fire broke out at the Mtahleb Wildlife Park this morning.
However, firefighters managed to rescue some tigers, lions, bears and a puma after they ran into a pool. These animals will be treated wth opium and transported to a secure location.
The fire has been completely extinguished now, but the damage to the zoo is said to be extensive - the entire park is destroyed, as is the nearby home of the family who owns it.
According to the Times of Malta, police investigators suspect the fire broke out after a gas cylinder expl
Merlin floated possible deal with SeaWorld
Merlin Entertainments, the operator of Legoland theme parks, has approached SeaWorld about a possible deal.
US-based SeaWorld, which operates marine theme parks, saw its shares jump as high as 8 per cent in after-hours trading on Wednesday before clawing back some of those gains to trade up more than 4 per cent. The approach was first reported by Bloomberg and confirmed to the FT by a source familiar with the matter.
The sources told the FT that Merlin had approached with an interest in parts of SeaWorld, but that SeaWorld had been reluctant to break itself into pieces instead of selling itself as a whole.
Merlin and SeaWorld both declined to comment.
SeaWorld, which has a market cap of $1.22bn, recently replaced the longtime chairman of its board of directors amid falling attendance and revenues in the wake of criticism over its treatme
Captured in 1974, Shimoda aquarium dolphin Nana sets record breeding duration of nearly 43 years
An aquarium in the city of Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture, said Wednesday that it marked Japan’s longest breeding record of bottlenose dolphin, with 15,666 days, or 42 years and 10 months.
Shimoda Aquarium said the dolphin Nana, whose age is estimated 45 to 47, has been bred there since it was captured in the sea off the city of Ito in Shizuoka in November 1974.
By 1994, she had given birth to eight dolphins. Nana still has a big appetite and likes to eat mackerel.
Bottlenose dolphins normally live for 10 to 15 years.
The aquarium held a ceremony for Nana Wednesday, where Shimoda Mayor Yusuke Fukui handed a special residence certificate to the dolphin.
Nana swam and jumped with other dolphins that are as young as her great-grandchildren on Wednesday.
“Because we breed her in a natural bay, she may not have a lot of stress. I hope she will stay healthy and live a l
New animal director threatened to quit post over 'misunderstandings and disagreements' with zoo boss
SOUTH Lakes Safari Zoo is complying with the conditions of its licence - despite the man tasked with changing its fortunes threatening to resign.
Andreas Kaufmann was officially appointed animal director in August as part of the conditions of Cumbria Zoo Company Limited's licence awarded by Barrow Borough Council.
Yet he handed in his resignation amid a series of "misunderstandings and disagreements" with zoo boss Karen Brewer, including the animals’ diets.
Mr Kaufmann said: "Everything worked really well for about a month until I felt there were issues. I did resign because I couldn't work at the pace I was used to.
"It wasn't a spontaneous decision. There was a few different things and a few of them were just misunderstandings and disagreements and different approaches.
"English isn't my first language and there are also differences in culture. I'm quite straightforward and that's sometimes too much for some.
"Many things came together and we've sorted things and we're now back to a good process."
Under the terms of the licence, awarded to CZCL on May 11, an animal director must be employed on a permanent and full-time basis before July 31.
Councillors expressed concerns about Mr Kaufmann's dedication to the zoo and its operations in his absence.
Solving the Jigsaw Puzzles of the Natural World: A Conversation with Dr. David Jones, Retired Director of the North Carolina Zoo
With over 500 developed acres, the North Carolina Zoo is the largest walkthrough zoo in the United States of America. Focused exclusively on recreating the habitats of Africa and North America, it is known for its enormous animal spaces, beautiful landscape and abundance of artwork. It is truly one of the best zoos in the world. From 1993 to 2015, the zoo was lead by Dr. David Jones, who formerly directed the Zoological Society of London. He oversaw much progress and growth at the zoo including significant expansions and renovations of habitats for African elephants, polar bears and chimpanzees. Here is his story.
Giant stick insects found on Lord Howe Island a genetic match for 'extinct' phasmids
Scientists have confirmed that giant insects found on a rocky outcrop off Lord Howe Island are a genetic match for the island’s stick insects that were believed to have gone extinct almost 100 years earlier.
The species were assumed to be one and the same. However significant morphological differences between the Lord Howe Island stick insects collected in the early 1900s and stored in museum collections, and the phasmids discovered in 2001 on Ball’s Pyramid (a remnant volcano about 23km off the main island), created a suspicion the latter could be a related species – rather than the original back from the dead.
That suspicion prompted scientists to map the genome from descendants of the Ball’s Pyramid phasmids, which were bred in captivity at Melbourne zoo. They compared it to DNA extracted from museum specimens held by the CSIRO.
Flying Foxes Play Important Role in Pollination of Durian
Large fruit bats of the genus Pteropus are severely threatened by hunting and deforestation.
They are often sold and eaten as exotic meat due to an unsubstantiated belief that consuming them can help cure asthma and other respiratory problems.
They are also persecuted and killed as agricultural pests, as some people claim that the bats cause damage and economic loss by feeding on cultivated fruits.
A new study published in the Journal of Ecology and Evolution shows that these bats play important roles as seed dispersers and pollinators in rainforests, especially on islands.
“Previously it was known that the smaller, nectar-feeding bats are pollinators for durian — but many people believed that flying foxes were too large and destructive to play such a role,
Devon zoo is world's first in keeping three breeding pairs of slow loris
Slow loris are the only venomous primate in the world and Shaldon Zoo staff are among a determined group of conservationists trying to preserve this unusual nocturnal primate from becoming extinct.
There are nine species of slow loris and two slender loris. Shaldon work with three of these species; the most in any zoological centre in the world.
Lahore zoo ignores WAZA guidelines in a bid to procure single elephant
At a time when Islamabad administration is thinking about shifting Kaavan, the depressed lone male elephant in Islamabad Margazhar zoo, to an elephant sanctuary abroad for rehabilitation, the Lahore zoo authorities are once again all set to procure one female elephant against the recommendation of World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).
On the international level, animal experts have been extremely vocal about banning elephants in zoos since the large creature requires expansive space to exercise its muscles, while it is also a social animal that likes to move long distances with a herd. The unavailability of potential mates
Malta SPCA says islands’ zoos cannot give good quality of life to wild animals
The MSPCA said it is concerned with the growing reports of wild animals in so called private collections. “MSPCA urges the authorities to monitor this and other operations to prevent further deterioration in Malta as wild animals, even in private collections, have made the news before for all the wrong reasons.”
Wildlife Park Malta, a licensed zoo, was hit by a fire on Tuesday early morning, which claimed the lives of many of their animals.
The MSPCA said it was saddened by the unnecessary death of the animals killed in the blaze, while animal lovers all over social media are expressing their anger that this happened.
“Several animals have had to be displaced as their enclosures are no longer safe or secure, while two leopards, three parrots, two lemurs, two monkeys and a squirrel monkey were less fortunate and died in the fire. While this nightmare unfolds MSPCA hopes that these animals are not further stressed by being kept in
Hurricane mauled PR's renowned Monkey Island research center
As thousands of troops and government workers struggle to restore normal life to Puerto Rico, a small group of scientists is racing to save more than 1,000 monkeys whose brains may contain clues to mysteries of the human mind.
One of the first places Hurricane Maria hit in the U.S. territory Sept. 20 was Cayo Santiago, known as Monkey Island, a 40-acre outcropping off the east coast that is one of the world's most important sites for research into how primates think, socialize and evolve.
The storm destroyed virtually everything on the island, stripping it of vegetation, wrecking the monkeys' metal drinking troughs and crushing the piers that University of Puerto Rico workers use to bring in bags of monkey chow—brown pellets of processed food that complete the primates' natural vegetation diet.
"All of our tools were destroyed," said Angelina Ruiz Lambides, the director of the Cayo Santiago facility. "Does FEMA cover this? Does the university's insurance cover this? I don't kno
HSUS, top zoos can together be a force for good
As if there isn’t enough misunderstanding in the world nowadays, a few voices in the zoo community have scolded the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) for inviting me to give a keynote presentation at the opening session at the group’s annual conference that kicked off today in Indianapolis – a gathering that attracted about 2,500 people in the zoological profession. This effort to divide animal advocates into warring camps comes at a time when there is a greater need than ever for pro-animal organizations such as The HSUS and the AZA to unite to fight cruelty and promote conservation.
Indeed, we have common purposes and we need to listen to each other, learn from each other, and work with each other. For the animals’ sake, we need more cooperation, not less. We should seek more understanding, not more quarreling.
The AZA and The HSUS can justly be described as the most important nonprofits in their respective fields. One is the national face of America’s leading zoos and aquariums, and the source of the nation’s most rigorous standards for accreditation of member institutions. The other is the foremost voice for animal welfare in the United States.
Why would anyone give much credence to the few critics in the ranks of the zoo world who recycle false narratives about The HSUS from a Washington D.C. public relations company hired to defend such cruelties as the extreme confinement of farm animals, the misery of puppy mills, and the mistreatment of animals in many other settings? I was glad to see those voices muted or marginalized at the AZA conference today.
What ought to be clear to anyone is that when our two organizations are in alignment – and that is the preponderance of the time — we are stronger standing together than apart. It’s much more constructive to celebrate areas of agreement than to hunt and try to find areas of division. The issues are too urgent for us to fall prey to grievance collectors.
CONFLICT AND ISOLATIONISM: HSUS’S PRESCRIPTION FOR BETTER ZOO ANIMAL WELFARE.
Over the past summer, I wrote the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ media contact multiple times about a concerning statement about AZA that I had noticed in a blog post written by HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle. I never got a straight answer about if his characterization of the relationship between the two organizations was correct - the one response I did get completely avoided actually answering my question. I searched every AZA statement and publication put out since then for any information that could help me contextualize Pacelle’s words - and found nothing to allay my concerns. AZA, to this day, has made no public statements about the degree of association between the two organizations. So, Monday morning, I walked into his speech at the opening of the national conference with these words echoing in my head:
It’s Still Not Happening At the Zoo, Take 2: Does the AZA Really Have “Love and Concern for All Animals”?
We were surprised to read Wayne Pacelle’s recent blog about the warm collaboration between the HSUS and the AZA. He mentions his attendance at a meeting held last May at the Detroit Zoo called Zoos and Aquariums as Welfare Centres: Ethical Dimensions and Global Commitment on zoo animal welfare. We also were at this meeting, and had a very different impression of what transpired.
Mr. Pacelle notes “there was nearly unanimous agreement among participants about the value of AZA-accredited zoos and mainstream animal welfare advocates standing together on common-ground issues.” In fact, there wasn’t unanimity, with people from different points of view standing shoulder-to-shoulder. There were serious disagreements about a lot of issues (please see: It’s Still Not Happening at the Zoo: Sharp Divisions Remain). The “animal people” (those trying to represent the voices of animals held captive in zoos) and the “zoo people” came from very different moral paradigms and while there was some collegiality at the meeting, at times there was a distinctly uncomfortable atmosphere. This is not to say the meeting wasn’t valuable, but there were some very sharp and unresolved divisions among the participants.
Mr. Pacelle also writes, “The basic, elemental matter that unites The HSUS and the AZA is a love and concern for all animals.” He suggests that under AZA guidance, zoos are ethical and humane institutions. They are not. According to Jenny Gray, CEO of Zoos Victoria (Australia) and author of a recent book called Zoo Ethics: The Challenges of Compassionate Conservation, “[T]he bulk of zoos in existence today still fall short of meeting the requirements of ethical operations. At best, 3% of zoos are striving to meet ethical standards, with perhaps only a handful meeting all
HSUS’s Zoo Deception Takes Center Stage
Any good con relies on wooing the conned. It also relies on the sin of omission.
Wayne Pacelle gave a speech yesterday at the annual meeting of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The “we can work together” fluff he said was not of note, nor was the introductory 20-minute rambling defense of HSUS against criticism. What was noteworthy was what Pacelle didn’t say.
Pacelle did not at any point endorse captivity or captive breeding—two things fundamental to zoological operations. Pacelle did not say anything that would limit his work to restrict how zoos and aquariums, including AZA members, operate. He merely spoke in broad strokes to sound like an ally, because he wants to enlist AZA in his attacks on the Zoological Association of America (ZAA), another accreditation group, and American Humane, an animal welfare group that certifies zoos and aquariums.
Pacelle’s goal is to reduce the number of zoos, and reduce the species of animals zoos are allowed to have. He has said, “Certain animals should just not be kept in zoos.” Marine mammals, bears, elephants, apes—the list of targets is long.
Additionally, Pacelle wants to influence the standards by which zoos operate. He attacks farmers and ranchers the same way—by passing laws making it more costly to raise animals, and by trying to monopolize the “certification” standards of what’s “humane.”
His definition of what is “humane” is ideological, much like PETA’s—it is not a value he shares with AZA. Pacelle has admitted, “If I had my personal view perhaps” a future without pets “might take hold.” He is far outside of mainstream animal welfare.
Nothing Pacelle said yesterday is a reversal of his and other HSUS past statements against zoos, breeding, and captivity. He may focus on ZAA when speaking to AZA members, but his designs are to restrict all zoos and aquariums.
It was strange seeing AZA allowing Pacelle to address a group he would like to put out of business. As Winston Churchill warned, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
Big Cats and Zoo Politics
On March 30, 2017 the Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 1818) was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the primary proponent of the measure, characterized the bill as a bi-partisan effort to “prohibit private ownership of captive lions, tigers, and other big cats in the US.” — ostensibly a bill to ban big cats as pets. However, most states already prohibit the ownership of big cats as pets. South Carolina passed a law banning big cats as pets in the 2017 legislative session. The primary impact of H.R. 1818 would not be on pet owners, but on zoos and sanctuaries that are not ideologically aligned with the HSUS.
Recently, a dark tide of suspicion and uncertainty washed over the zoo community, when news of an alliance between an anti-zoo-animal-rights behemoth, HSUS, and the largest zoological trade association in the country, AZA, was announced. The new partnership was unveiled when Dan Ashe announced that his old friend Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the HSUS, would be the keynote speaker at the AZA Annual Conference 2017. Facebook blazed with opposition posts, and an online petition to disinvite Pacelle from the conference garnered more than 700 signatures.
AZA GRANTS CERTIFICATION TO THE ELEPHANT SANCTUARY IN TENNESSEE
The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) today announced that The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee was granted certification by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission.
“The Association of Zoos and Aquariums certifies only aquariums and zoos that meet our demanding accreditation standards, which are universally recognized as the ‘gold-standard’ in our profession,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “By achieving AZA-certification, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee demonstrates that it is committed to exemplary animal care and welfare, educational and inspiring guest experiences, and AZA’s mission to conserve our world’s wild animals and wild places.”
To be certified, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee submitted a detailed application and underwent a thorough investigation and on-site inspection by a team of AZA officials to make certain it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards, which include animal care and welfare, veterinary programs, conservation, and safety. The inspecting team observed all aspects of the institution’s operation and animal care. Final approval of accreditation/certification was granted
Welfare of zoo animals set to improve
Researchers from Marwell Zoo, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey, trialled a series of monitoring strategies on primates and birds to help zookeepers ensure the health and safety of animals in their care. The introduction of the practice over a period of 13 weeks at two zoological collections in the South of England, clearly demonstrated the level of physical and psychological wellbeing of the animals, and the effect of certain interventions.
The welfare assessment grid requires daily monitoring of a range of factors, such as the animals' physical condition, their psychological wellbeing and the quality of the environment, as well as the daily procedures they experience. These factors were not all previously part of the regular health checks that zookeepers were required to assess when they were undertaking animal welfare audits. In each area the primates and birds were scored, helping to monitor their progress and highlight any potential problems.
Although welfare protection of zoo animals is enshrined in both European and domestic legislation, monitoring it comprehensively in zoos has proven difficult due to the absence of clear and consistent guidance.
Sarah Wolfensohn, Professor of Animal Welfare at the University of Surrey, said: "Ensuring a high standard of animal welfare is paramount for any zoo, but it has not alwa
Marine “Conservation”: You Keep Using That Word but I Don't Think It Means What You Think It Means
What exactly does “doing conservation” or “incorporating conservation” into ocean science mean? Although today it is often coupled with the sustainable use of natural resources, by definition, conservation traditionally involves the preservation, protection, or restoration of the natural environment or natural ecosystems (Soulé and Wilcox, 1980). In other words, if the conservation intervention is successful then the ecosystem should reflect a better (or perhaps, more commonly, a “less worse”) state as a result. In this context, is simply conducting science conservation? Are outreach and advocacy conservation—whether through old school print and TV/radio broadcasts or through social media such as blogs or building a Twitter following? The field of modern marine conservation is an interdisciplinary one (e.g., van Dyke, 2008; Parsons and MacPherson, 2016) with a landscape that is populated with individuals engaged in science, education, social marketing, economics, resource management, and policy.
But how are we measuring our impact considering this diverse field? How do we know that the ecosystems toward which we direct our conservation efforts are “better” or at least “less worse” than they would be without them? Conservation needs to be more than just “being busy” or “feeling” that we are having an impact. And shouldn't we strive to ensure that conservation is not just conversation? How do we connect our action
From feral camels to ‘cocaine hippos’, large animals are rewilding the world
Throughout history, humans have taken plants and animals with them as they travelled the world. Those that survived the journey to establish populations in the diaspora have found new opportunities as they integrate into new ecosystems.
These immigrant populations have come to be regarded as “invaders” and “aliens” that threaten pristine nature. But for many species, migration may just be a way to survive the global extinction crisis.
In our recently published study, we found that one of the Earth’s most imperilled group of species is hanging on in part thanks to introduced populations.
Megafauna - plant-eating terrestrial mammals weighing more than 100kg - have established in new and unexpected places. These “feral” populations are rewilding the world with unique and fascinating ecological functions that had been lost for thousands of years.
Today’s world of giants is only a shadow of its former glory. Around 50,000 years ago, giant kangaroos, rhino-like diprotodons, and other unimaginable animals were lost from Australia.
Samoa's national bird under serious threat
The Samoa Conservation Society has pooled its resources with Auckland Zoo, Samoa's Ministry of Natural Resources, and a team from the UK to work together to save the bird.
Endemic to Samoa, the manumea is a unique tooth-billed pigeon whose population is threatened by deforestation, introduced predators like rats and cats, and human development on its island home.
President of the Samoa Conservation Society James Atherton said the international exposure had helped by providing some funding towards its campaign.
"Because we don't have a huge amount of money to use for our work here in Samoa, conservation is a poor cousin of many other thematic areas, we have to fight for every dollar we get."
The Big Conservation Lie exposes colonial dynamic at the heart of conservation policy
Dr Mordecai Ogada, a professional conservationist, and John Mbaria, his fellow Kenyan and journalist, present a powerful challenge to the prevailing conservation narrative, argues LEWIS EVANS
Mordecai Ogada was sitting in a luxury safari lodge, admiring the view of Kilimanjaro. He could see many of Africa’s most iconic species -giraffe, water buffalo, even a few elephants far in the distance.
As a professional conservationist, with a PhD in carnivore ecology, the sight was both familiar and pleasing. He was being treated like a tourist. Someone came in and offered him a cocktail. Then, one of his white hosts and sponsors, the people whose largesse he was enjoying, said: “We’re going to have to move that Maasai village. It’s spoiling the view for tourists.”
For Dr. Ogada, this was a decisive moment. “I was a qualified black face, put in place to smooth over fifty years of exploitation.”
The Big Conservation Lie is written by people who are actually from one of big conservation’s key target countries. It dismantles many of the environmental movement’s most troubling myths: the pristine wilderness “untouched by human hands” until European arrival; the supposed lack of interest or expertise in wildlife among native conservationists and co
Activists vs. people who get eaten
Bhivji Harle is a name that won’t be remembered. A poor, 55-year-old farmer and a resident of Vadala Vardhpur village in Maharashtra’s Wardha district, Harle will become another statistic, a collateral in the man-animal conflict, a forgotten footnote in the grand narrative of tiger conservation.
On the evening of September 19, a tigress known as T27C1 attacked and killed Harle on a field in his village. He was the third person she had killed in five months. Harle’s real killer, however, was not the tigress but the astonishing apathy of self-proclaimed wildlife activists and conservationists, forest officers and politicians, who should have known better than to release a conflict tiger into Bor Tiger Reserve, around which are scattered dozens of villages.
T27C1, more commonly known as the ‘Bramhapuri problem tigress’ began life in the Bramhapuri forest division of Chandrapur district — home to the Tadoba Tiger Reserve and the ‘tiger capital’ of Maharashtra. Densely populated, humans and big cats live cheek-by-jowl
World's oldest Bornean orangutan dies at 62 at Tokyo zoo
Gypsy, the world's oldest Bornean orangutan in captivity, has died at the age of 62 at a Tokyo zoo due to acute heart failure, the zoo operator said Thursday.
The female orangutan, which was brought to the Tama Zoological Park in western Tokyo from Borneo in 1958, has been treated since she was found bleeding from the mouth in early August but died on Wednesday, according to the zoo operator.
Hippos Underwater: A Conversation with Bill Dennler, Retired Director of the Toledo Zoo
During Bill Dennler’s twenty five years as Director of the Toledo Zoo, it evolved from a rundown, dysfunctional city zoo to a great zoo. It became the smallest market in the United States to have a zoo with over one million visitors a year. Dennler and his staff built transformational exhibits such a the Hippoquarium (the first filtrated hippo habitat with underwater viewing), Arctic Encounter and Africa while maintaining and upgrading the Zoo’s historic WPA buildings. He was very well-respected in the zoo field and considered a leader at an important crossroads for zoos. Here is his story.
145 environmental defenders have been killed so far in 2017
Produced by Monica Ulmanu, Alan Evans and Georgia Brown
This year, in collaboration with Global Witness, the Guardian will attempt to record the deaths of all these people, whether they be wildlife rangers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or indigenous land rights activists in Brazil. At this current rate, chances are that four environmental defenders will be killed this week somewhere on the planet.
Chimpanzees can learn how to use tools without observing others
New observations have lead researchers to believe that chimpanzees can use tools spontaneously to solve a task, without needing to watch others first.
The evidence of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) spontaneously using sticks to scoop food from water surfaces is published in the open-access journal PeerJ.
Researchers from the University of Birmingham, UK, and University of Tübingen, Germany, looked for the spontaneous re-occurrence of a tool-use behaviour practiced in wild chimpanzees where sticks are used to 'scoop' algae from the top of water surfaces.
Chimpanzees at Twycross Zoo, UK, were provided with a container of water with pieces of floating food. The tested chimpanzees successfully used the sticks, and moreover, spontaneously showed the same underlying action pattern (a scooping action of the stick) as their wild cousins do.
The results challenge the accepted belief that chimpanzees need to learn from each other how to use tools, and instead suggest that some (if not all) forms of tool-use are instead within their pre-existing behavioural repertoire (what the authors call "latent solutions").
Conservationists should harness 'Hollywood effect' to help wildlife
How did Finding Nemo affect clownfish? Was Jaws bad for sharks? Did the remake of the Jungle Book help pangolins?
Researchers from the University of Exeter say conservation scientists could work with filmmakers to harness the "Hollywood effect" to boost conservation.
Scientific advisors and product placement are already commonplace in films, and the researchers say similar methods could be used to raise awareness of endangered species and other environmental issues.
The research - inspired by a viewing of the Jungle Book (2016) - also warns of unintended dangers such as mass tourism to the Thai island made famous by The Beach (2000), and the so-called "Nemo effect" which has reportedly led to a boom in clownfish captivity.
"Movies could be used by conservationists to highlight issues of concern, much as product placement is currently used for advertising," said Dr Matthew Silk, of the Environment and Sustainability Institute on the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall.
"Scientific advisors are also common and - given the effect films can have on public perceptions - conservation advisors could be used.
"More research is needed to understand how the 'Hollywood effect' impacts on wildlife, conservation and the environment.
"Films might inspire people to learn more about conservation and take action, but they might also misinform people and portray a simplified, romantic version of nature."
No detailed study has been done on Hollywood's impact on co
Spring strike cost Toronto Zoo $4M
The strike that closed Toronto Zoo for five weeks last spring cost the city-owned attraction $4 million and 280,000 visitors.
The startling figures are in a routine report on attendance and revenue going to the zoo’s board of management Thursday.
“There is no doubt the labour disruption had a significant impact on both revenues and attendance,” Jennifer Tracey, the zoo’s senior marketing director, said in an email to the Star on Wednesday. “The general attendance and school group numbers were particularly impacted.”
Zoo workers walked off the job May 11 saying they could not agree to weakened job security demanded by management in a contract proposal.
The breeding, research and display facility, with 5,000 animals including two giant pandas and their Toronto-born offspring, remained off-limits to the public until June 14 after workers signed a new four-year contract.
The report states the zoo had
San Diego Zoo animals moved as part of modern-day ark project
The Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center in New Orleans on Thursday welcomed the first group of animals from San Diego Zoo as part of a partnership between the two animal conservation leaders to bolster populations of threatened and endangered species.
The collaboration - the Alliance for Sustainable Wildlife - is designed as a modern-day ark to preserve species that are vulnerable in the wild and sustain populations in human care.
The first arrivals include reticulated giraffe, sable, bongo, okapi, common eland, and yellow-backed duiker.
The Alliance focuses on animals that live in large herds or flocks, and these species by their very nature need space for large populations, to be viable, sustainable breeding groups.
The project echoes the original purpose of the Species Survival Center, which opened in 1993 as an off-site breeding and research facility.
"The Alliance is a one-of-a-kind resource for zoos and aquariums to rebuild animal collections that are in danger of disappearing," said Ron Forman, Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO.
This collaborative effort, comes in part, from the ongoing efforts of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to create and manage species through
Farewell to Blackpool Zookeeper after 40 years
A Blackpool Zookeeper is finally retiring after four decades caring for animals.
Animal Manager, Peter Dillingham, embarked on his dream career on his 16th birthday starting in the bird section of Chessington Zoo on 14th May 1973. He joined Blackpool at the age of 32 and will retire on on Friday 29th September 2017.
Peter’s job has seen him work with an amazing array of species from polar bears to giant pandas and gorillas to giraffes!
Opinion: Feeding ‘wild’ wolves
I received the Mexican wolf update, as I do monthly, for August 2017. As is often the case, there were disturbing items recorded therein. This is ill-foreboding for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which recently offered its draft Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan calling for a large population expansion.
Out of 22 current Mexican wolf packs in Arizona and New Mexico, nine were the beneficiaries of a “diversionary food cache” intended to keep wolves from killing cattle or to help increase “survival of genetically valuable pups.” This open-air zoo behavior by the interagency field team has been going on since individual wolves were first released in 1998. No matter how careful interagency field team biologists or their constantly changing team of volunteers might be, this still results in re-introduced wolves associating humans with food, a self-defeating exercise.
It also means that humans will continue to be directly involved with trying to train or prop up wolf packs from now until eternity (apparently the date w
Dear Jane Goodall, sorry but you are full of crap and you jumped the shark
Ok well then lets hear what you have to say about Gypsy, Thika and Toka being kept isolated and alone at The Performing Animal Welfare Society. Why have you not spoken up about this? Remember the Toronto Zoo elephants? You supported the inhumane 85hr road transport of the three pachyderms to California. Within two months Thika was segregated and then lived alone for 18 months. By all accounts she is still living alone. Iringa died just 20 months after arriving at PAWS. Is an elephant living isolated and alone at a sanctuary aware of some kind of difference between its life at a zoo vs its life at a sanctuary? No, actually it is not. Elephants don’t cry and they don’t make comparisons of that sort. “Oh Im alone but I am at a sanctuary so its ok”, there are actually people who believe this nonsense and you, a renowned scientist promote and perpetuate this kind of ignorance and lack of logical and scientific thinking with your constant back and forth on your support of good zoos and your flip flopping and increasingly unimportant opinions.
None of the Toronto elephants have begun integration with PAWS existing African herd, and if you don’t remember the reaso
Maryland Zoo artificially impregnates female polar bear
After the loss of their male polar bear, The Maryland Zoo was looking for new ways to get their female polar bear pregnant.
The zoo announced on Wednesday they have teamed up with the Cincinnati Zoo's Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) to participate in reproductive research.
In an effort by both zoo's, 21-year-old Anoki from the Maryland Zoo has been artificially inseminated.
“Anoki and Magnet were paired for many years before he died, but with no success. Last year, the research group at CREW reached out to us about performing artificial insemination (AI) with Anoki,” said Erin Cantwell, mammal collection and conservation manager for the Zoo. “Since poor reproduction is one of the biggest factors aff
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute Releases Birds to the Wild
Two female Guam rails born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Va., were released to the wild in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Sept. 18. The two birds were repatriated to Guam from SCBI in March 2017, along with a third bird that will join the breeding program at the Guam Department of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources (DAWR). In total, 49 of the ground-dwelling birds were released on the island of Rota by DAWR, including the two birds born at SCBI. This month’s release marks the first time since 1985 that there are more individuals in the wild than there are in human care. There are 115 Guam rails in human care and approximately 200 in the wild.
Twenty-four middle school children from a local school in Rota were present at the release and participated in releasing some of the birds. The local people refer to the Guam rail by their Chamorro name which is ko’ko.’
In 1984, 21 Guam rails were captured in Guam to start a breeding and recovery program in human care. The invasive brown tree snake has since extirpated them from the island along with eight other native bird species. The snake remains a challenging predator in Guam. Rota is free of brown tree snakes. Guam rails have been officially classified as “extinct in the wild” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature since 1994, but small populations have been released on Rota and on Cocos Island since 1989.
SCBI received the first Guam rails to be transferr
Houston's Downtown Aquarium mistreats white tigers, lawsuit says
On the heels of a defamation suit and year-old legal spat, a national animal rights group has joined forces with a Montgomery County grandmother Tuesday formally charging the owners of Houston's Downtown Aquarium with animal cruelty and claiming their treatment of four white tigers on display for visitors violates the Endangered Species Act.
The federal lawsuit brought by Cheryl Conley, who runs Backyard Radio, a radio station in Magnolia and has served on local wildlife group boards, and backed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund in California's Sonoma Valley, blasts the aquarium and Landry's Inc. for confining four tigers, named Nero, Marina, Coral and Reef, to a concrete indoor exhibit area with metal cages, a practice they say the zoo comm
Climate, not dingoes, killed the thylacine on mainland Australia
The study, published in the Journal of Biogeography, could have implications for the fight to save the endangered Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), says geneticist and research team leader Jeremy Austin of the University of Adelaide.
“Devils have relatively low genetic diversity that potentially has placed them at greater risk of extinction due to genetic effects,” he says.
”On top of that, devil facial tumour disease has had a major impact on population size across most of Tasmania.”
His message to conservation biologists is “don’t give up”.
Ex-SeaWorld president helping feds in ‘Blackfish’ investigation
The former president of SeaWorld Orlando in Florida, Terry Prather, is helping the feds by giving evidence in their probe into the company for matters related to CNN’s “Blackfish” film.
The company has said it’s the subject of probes by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Investigations are looking into “disclosures and public statements” made by company execs in 2014 or earlier “regarding the impact of the ‘Blackfish’ documentary” on SeaWorld’s stock, according to a filing.
A source says the feds are investigating whether there was a coverup at SeaWorld about the negative effect of the documentary as Blackstone took the company public in April 2013.
In the months before the IPO, “Blackfish” debuted at Sundance, was acqui
Do animals have personalities?
Our personality has a lot to say about how we think and perceive the world around us, and thus how we live our lives.
Just think of your nosy next-door neighbour or an impulsive colleague who’s always busting into your office to tell you about The Next Big Thing.
But what about a shy dog? Or an aloof cat? Many pet owners think they recognize personality traits in their animals. Are they right?
Animals do have personality
The answer is, well…yes, according to Anne Gabriela Hertel, a PhD candidate at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
"We definitely see stable differences between individuals," she says.
Hertel tells us that researchers in recent years have become more interested in an animal's specific personality. Some biologists have developed a system to describe an animal’s personality based on five main characteristics: courage, aggression, curiosity, sociability, and activity.
For example, Trond Amundsen, a biology professo
TO ZOO OR NOT TO ZOO
In the light of various interviews and documentaries about the validity of zoos, I thought it an opportune time to put a penny in the pouch and hopefully help you to make a heartfelt and head led decision on the question.
So here goes…
Maybe you have walked through a zoo and saw a beautiful Green Tree Iguana lying on a heated floor instead of somewhere in Brazil in a tropical forest and you thought… “This is not right. The poor guy is on exhibition thousands of miles from home. He should be roaming free in some tropical forest!” And I would agree with you. The Iguana should be in Brazil in a tropical forest, eating fresh leaves in soft sunlight. But, here is the reality of its life:
At some point, someone wanted an Iguana as a pet. Let’s call him JD. So JD went to the local pet shop to make inquiries. The pet shop owner would have told him that Iguanas need a high level of care otherwise they don’t do very well as pets and recommended a dog. But JD persisted and found someone on the internet who can find an Iguana if he’d like. So he contacts this nice lady who promptly gets back to him with pictures of various Iguanas to choose from. He picks a small one, makes a payment and is now the proud owner of an exotic Green Tre
Dubai Safari is all but confirmed to open its gates before National Day
It looks like things are on track for a late-November soft opening…
After numerous setbacks and missing its initial opening date back in January, it appears that the hugely anticipated opening of Dubai Safari may finally be upon us in a few short months.
Speaking to Gulf News, Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality, confirmed that work is in full swing for
Penguin-mounted video captures gastronomic close encounters of the gelatinous kind
Footage from penguin-mounted mini video recorders shows four species of penguin eating jellyfish and other gelatinous animals of the open ocean, a food source penguins were not previously believed to partake of, scientists report this month in the Ecological Society of America's peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. The article, part of the October issue of the journal, is available online ahead of print.
Soon, all of Hong Kong's dolphins will be dead
Mundy -- who would go on to help introduce tea to the UK, forever changing British drinking habits and imperial priorities -- wrote in his diary, "the Porpoises here are as white as Milke, some of them Ruddy withall."
It was one of the first recorded mentions of the Chinese white dolphin, but would go largely unnoticed until another European, Swedish missionary and naturalist Pehr Osbeck wrote of "snow-white dolphins (which) tumbled about the ship" and suggested a scientific name for them: "delphinus chinensis."
Now officially the Sousa chinensis (to reflect their relation to the wider Sousa, or humpback dolphin, genus), the animals are more commonly known as pink dolphins due to their pink bubblegum-like coloring in adulthood.
Why Tearing Down Dams Could Help Save Endangered Killer Whales
WRITING IN 1916, conservationist John Muir noted that “there is not a ‘fragment’ in all nature, for every relative fragment of one thing is a full harmonious unit in itself.” A century later, in the Pacific Northwest, land managers, tribal leaders, environmental stewards, lawmakers and business interests are locked in a fight over which harmonious units and relative fragments can be rearranged to satisfy all parties.
But while they grapple over the details of regulations and policy changes, and the various perceived and demonstrated economic effects any such legislation may have, whales continue to miscarry at an unprecedented rate.
In the salty waters off the coast of Se
Longtime employee to lead troubled Honolulu Zoo
Longtime Honolulu Zoo curator Linda Santos was named the troubled facility’s new director by the city today.
Santos has been assistant zoo director since July 2015, according to her LinkedIn page. Before becoming assistant director, Santos had been the zoo’s general curator since August 2012, the page said.
Santos has been an employee of the zoo since 1986, according to city officials.
Dream a Little Dream, Revisited
I think it's safe to say that zookeepers probably have among the most colorful dreams of any profession. And the anxiety dreams are even weirder. Just when you think you're safe at home, decompressing from your job and drifting into a delicious, deep sleep....BOOM. Your brain suddenly creates an elaborate story involving elements such as: flying animals (who do not fly), bizarre accidents, and gates that just will not lock no matter what you do.
You guys, I STILL have dreams about my dolphin trainer days. Not just like, tra la la la, here I am swimming with dolphins like I used to, but full-blown "OH MY GOD I AM GOING TO GET FIRED AND I WILL THINK THAT WAY UNTIL I WAKE UP" or "WHERE AM I EXACTLY" kind of dreams.
I'm sure many of you have your own list of cycling zoo nightmares, but here are some of my usuals that still happen to this day:
Venezuelan vet's fight for the harpy eagle
"The pain was intense, but during the fall, I was only thinking about the chick," says Venezuelan vet Alexander Blanco of the time he plummeted from a treetop in the Venezuelan rainforest with a harpy eagle chick in tow.
Mr Blanco runs the national harpy monitoring programme Fundación Esfera in Venezuela.
He was tagging the chick when his ropes loosened and he fell 35m (115ft) to the ground. Mr Blanco ended up in hospital with a broken wrist and leg but the chick was unhurt.
It was not the first time the vet had risked his life for harpy eagles.
An irate female bird left him with a seven-centimetre-long (2.7in) laceration and a perforated thorax when he tried to tag another chick high up in the canopy.
Ever since, he has been wearing a stab-proof vest to carry out the task.
Stuff of legends
One of the world's largest eagles, the harpy is surrounded by legends. It is known by indigenous people in South America as the "god of the wind".
Early European explorers named the huge birds after the harpies of Greek mythology, predatory "frightful flying creatures with hooked beaks and claws".
Mr Blanco first came across them over 20 ye
Peacocks with chlamydia and lemurs climbing into a pram - findings of latest unannounced zoo inspection
BARROW Borough Council is set to agree progress is being made at Dalton zoo despite a number of worrying welfare findings and seven incidents involving animal contact with the public during a 14-day period after a shock inspection.
The council's licensing regulatory committee will meet next Thursday to consider whether South Lakes Safari Zoo operating under new bosses is complying with its licence conditions.
Next week's meeting follows an unannounced inspection on August 3 which also looked at the management structure and finances of the new Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd.
Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd, headed by Karen Brewer, was g
Fresh concerns over Cumbrian zoo where 500 animals died
Inspectors have identified a number of welfare concerns at a Cumbrian zoo where nearly 500 animals died in less than four years.
The latest findings on South Lakes Safari zoo, which include a lemur climbing into a baby’s pram, squirrel monkeys jumping on to members of the public and prairie dogs digging holes next to the fence, come as a council committee is due to meet to decide whether it is complying with its licensing conditions.
‘You’d come in and think, what’s dead or escaped?’: inside Britain's most controversial zoo
Additionally, the animal director, Andreas Kaufmann, earlier this week told the council there had been a diagnosis of chlamydia among the zoo’s peacock population.
The attraction is in the hands of new owners – Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd – after the zoo’s founder David Gill was refused a licence to run the facility, in March.
The previous month, a damning report said 486 animals died of causes including emaciation and hypothermia between Decembe
New South Lakes Safari Zoo management slammed over involvement in former failings
BARROW and Furness MP John Woodcock has slammed bosses at South Lakes Safari Zoo and urged the government to review its process following the latest inspection.
The unannounced inspection last month recorded seven incidents of animals coming into contact with seven members of the public.
Mr Woodcock criticised Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd and highlighted the tragic death of a 24-year-old zookeeper in May 2013.
He said: "The fact that this inspection can take place at all shows the zoo licensing regime in England is broken and must be urgently reviewed by the government and a fit and proper person test created.
Tree-dwelling, coconut-cracking giant rat discovered in Solomon Islands
Remember the movie The Princess Bride, when the characters debate the existence of R.O.U.S.es (Rodents of Unusual Size), only to be beset by enormous rats? That's kind of what happened here.
Mammalogist Tyrone Lavery heard rumors of a giant, possum-like rat that lived in trees and cracked open coconuts with its teeth on his first trip to the Solomon Islands in 2010. After years of searching and a race against deforestation destroying the rat's would-be home, Lavery, along with John Vendi and Hikuna Judge, finally found it.
"The new species, Uromys vika, is pretty spectacular -- it's a big, giant rat," said Lavery, a post-doctoral researc
Zoo ends sun bear and orangutan performances after viral video
AN INDONESIAN zoo has announced it will no longer force sun bears and orangutans to perform for food after an international outcry.
The Lembah Hijau Zoo in Lampung on the Indonesian island of Sumatra was shamed in a video posted by local activist group the Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group of a sun bear – clearly malnourished and slipping around on a tiled floor – being made to perform tricks for pieces of food.
After the group posted the video in August, Lembah Hijau reportedly found itself inundated with complaints via email and social media, and moved to end performances by the zoo’s sun bear and orangutan.
Eclosia Group to build Odysséo aquarium, Mauritius
The Eclosia group will build the Indian Ocean’s largest aquarium in Caudan, Mauritius – Odysséo – on a seafront site which hosts Port Louis’ Marina.
The project will be managed jointly with Clear Reef. It will develop the flora and fauna of the Indian Ocean and create new jobs for local scientists.
Construction will begin in January 2018 at a cost of 500 million Mauritian rupees ($15 million USD). It is expected to be completed at the beginning of 2020.
The aquarium will be called Odysséo. The main structure will occupy a 5,000m² area and the whole aquarium will cover 1.5ha.
There will be around 50 tanks containing two million litres of water, and about 10,000 species of sea animals.
These include sharks, rays and groupers
$54m Cairns aquarium officially opens
Over 15,000 aquatic animals, fish, plants, and other organisms are housed within 71 live exhibits in the two-level facility, providing visitors with an immersive, two-and-a-half-hour journey through 10 life-like and recreated habitats.
“When we visited the Reef six years ago we were amazed by the colours and variety of fish and coral but couldn’t help noticing the vast number of people who had made the journey, but for one reason or another, did not go into the water or venture off the islands while others were left wanting to see more,” said co-founder and co-director Daniel Leipnik.
The hectic around-the-clock effort to save an endangered, orphaned bat
Early one Wednesday morning in January, in an exhibit at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, a fruit bat named Patty went into labor.
This should have been good news. Patty belongs to a colony of critically endangered Rodrigues bats, a species that almost went extinct in the 1970s. The bats exist in the wild in only place — a small island in the Western Indian Ocean — and the colonies at the Safari Park and more than a dozen other zoos around the world form a kind of Noah’s Ark for the future.
Bats are creepy to a lot of people, but they play important roles in ecosystems across the globe as pollinators, seed-dispersers and mosquito-eaters. Take away bats and the world would be a lot less lush and a lot more itchy.
So Patty’s pregnancy represented another brick in the bridge of survival at a time when scientists say the planet is experiencing a “sixth wave” of extinction, with dozens of plant and animal species disappearing every day. Except Patty was in trouble.
A keeper found her on the ground of the exhibit, writhing
From the jungle: Fauquier’s connection to the National Zoo’s first gorillas
Kara Arundel has worked as a journalist for two decades in Florida, Virginia and Washington, D.C. And it just so happens that she is the daughter-in-law of the late Arthur W. “Nick” Arundel, the former publisher of the Fauquier Times and numerous other newspapers in the Virginia countryside.
It also happens that in 1955, as young Marine, Arundel ventured into the Belgian Congo on a month-long adventure safari to view Africa’s diverse wildlife. He boarded a commercial airliner carrying a pair of baby gorillas in each arm. Their destination was the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. It was the beginning of dramatic changes for the gorillas and for the zoo that would be their forever home.
To research her book, “Raising America’s Zoo” about the National Zoo and her father-in-law, Kara reviewed thousands of pages of documents at the Smithsonia
Why do some people still trophy hunt?
Traditional hunting is one thing, but Justin Thomas questions the motives of those who kill animals simply for fun
Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition is the region’s go-to event for all things hunting and more. This annual event, which ran last week, prominently features archery, equestrianism and falconry and, in this regard, plays a role in promoting the UAE’s heritage. Falconry has a long tradition among the Bedouin of Arabia, where hunting small prey with falcons was a means of supplementing a sometimes meagre diet. Archery and equestrianism too, have a rich regional heritage. Falconry is majestic, equestrianism is elegant, and archery is graceful. Some aspects of modern-day hunting, however, are just plain ugly, perhaps even pathological.
Trophy hunting (the recreational killing of wild animals) for example, widely elicits a societal gag reflex. In 2015, photographs of a dentist, who allegedly paid $50,000 for the pleasure of killing a lion named Cecil, went viral. The backlash was huge: social media pulled its collective “shame on you” face and vigorously wagged the global finger of public outrage for a few days.
Holy Hurricanes, Batman
Whoa, you guys. Mother Nature has been real active. So much so, that I feel like a giant blobby blob. She's out there twirling around at 83598mph, pulling up trees from their roots, flattening houses, and I'm sitting here slumped in my chair wondering where my next cheese fix is going to come from.
I don't mean to make light of the really scary hurricanes we've seen hit so many places over the past few weeks. They destroyed lives and livelihoods. They caused a tremendous amount of damage, especially in places like Houston, Puerto Rico, Haiti and Barbuda.
There are literally ten zillion (plus or minus) things we could focus on when it comes to penning a blog on hurricanes. But I want to focus on zoos. And I want to focus on the positives. You know why? Because I think we have to sort through some of the dark stuff in order to feel like what we (or rather, those of you who weathered the storms) are doing is important and recognized.
Here are some of the amazing things that I thought came out of the last two hurricane hits from a zoo perspective:
Off to the wild for 50 animals bred in captivity
The Wildlife Conservation Bureau will on Wednesday release 50 animals of four species from a wildlife breeding station into Mae Wong National Park in Nakhon Sawan.
The bureau said on its Facebook page (facebook.com/DNP.Wildlife/) that the “Songsat Kheunwana Peuapasomboon” project (Returning wildlife to the fertile forest) will see 30 brow-antlered deer (Eld’s deer), 10 slow lorises, three white-handed gibbons and seven small-clawed otters released. It said an artificial salt lick would be set up in the park the same day for the deer and other animals to use.
Zoo Saves 1,500 Sea Turtles Displaced by Hurricanes Irma and Jose
A batch of freshly hatched sea turtles displaced by hurricanes Irma and Jose have been given a new lease on life as a Florida zoo ensured their safe release back into the wild.
Officials from Brevard Zoo, Barrier Island Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Sea Turtle Preservation Society delivered nearly 1,500 hatchlings and washbacks — young turtles literally washed back after swimming offshore — to the zoo’s Sea Turtle Center on Monday.
Staff and volunteers tirelessly cared for and watched over the green and loggerhead sea turtles as they recovered from the ordeal.
“Fortunately the turtles that we've received the last three days have been healthy, fairly new off the beach, a week, maybe two weeks old,” said Melanie Stadler, the Brevard Zoo's sea
Sea lion dies after being tied to a tree in someone's garden
A sea lion has died after being tied to a tree in someone's garden. Police in Ecuador have launched an investigation into the shocking display of animal cruelty.
Officials in Daule region, near the Pacific coast, rescued the adult male on Wednesday (13 September) after members of the public alerted them to it.
Images of the tortured creature showed it tied very tightly across the upper body to a tree in a private garden.
Vets from Pantanal Zoo took him to to safety but tragically he died on 15 September, according to Ecuadorian news site El Universo.
Police are now investigating how the animal came to be tied up to the tree. The offence could be punishable with up to three years in prison.
The Ministry of Environment had hoped to return the abused water mammal to his natural habitat. Sadly, that day wil
Zoo Miami may be closed up to 2 months after Irma
SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Florida - Hurricane Irma did not devastate Zoo Miami as Andrew did back in 1992, but the park may still be closed for up to two months to clear debris left behind.
Zoo spokesperson Ron Magill said all the park's mammals survived the storm, although a few birds died of stress.
The exact length of time the zoo will remain closed depends on being able to contract help to clear debris and repair fences.
"There are tons of debris that needs to be cleared and lots of trees that need to be up righted," said Magill.
Overall, the zoo feels lucky that it made it through Irma relatively intact, unlike 25 years ago when Andrew decimated the park, forcing it to be almost completely rebuilt.
The plan to reintroduce a big cat that might never have existed
“THIS is another animal from the distant wilds of the interior, whose skins the savages bring to the borders to barter with the Chinese.” With these words, published in 1862, Robert Swinhoe introduced the Formosan clouded leopard to the Western world. Europe’s consular representative to Taiwan, he had seen only a few flattened skins on the island, but this was enough for him to distinguish it as a species new to science. Unlike its relatives elsewhere in Asia, wrote Swinhoe, the Formosan clouded leopard had a short tail.
It was declared extinct in 2013, but this is no ordinary story about a large cat being wiped off the planet. There’s a catch. Plans are afoot to bring the svelte feline’s closest relative back to Taiwan – despite lingering questions over whether the clouded leopard ever existed at all.
Today, Asia is home to two species of clouded leopard. Neofelis nebulosa is found across the mainland from the Malay peninsula to the Himalayan foothills of Nepal. The Sunda clouded leopard, Neofelis diardi, is only found on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Both are at risk of extinction and rarely glimpsed in the wild even by those who study them.
Their broad paws and flexible ankle joints make the
Kenya uses wildlife as barter for UN seat
For a country to negotiate a place on the United Nations Security Council by using gnus and zebras as negotiating chips is a bold and unusual idea.
But that is exactly what the Kenyan government has seen fit to do.
In the next few weeks, 175 wild animals including hippopotami, giraffes and warthogs will be sent on the 7 000km journey to Southeast Asia.
"We would be very grateful if Thailand supported our efforts to obtain a seat on the UN Security Council, Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki told the group of delegates from Thailand who had arrived here to close the deal.
Rare camel arrives at Woburn Safari Park
A critically endangered camel has arrived at Woburn Safari Park.
Six-year-old Khan, a male Bactrian camel, arrived from Blackpool Zoo.
Khan is the first male camel to move to Woburn in 15 years and his arrival marks an important step for the conservation of the species.
Chris Smart, Head of Section for Reserves, said: “The arrival of Khan is very exciting for everyone at the Park, and we hope that we will see a new baby in the future.
"Bactrian camels are critically endangere
Endangered species of mouse deer released into wild
For the first time in the State, animal conservationists and forest department officials have re-introduced the endangered species of mouse deer into the wild. On Tuesday, forest officials released eight mouse deer, two male and six females, in the forests of Nallamalla, Amrabad.
For the next two months, field biologists and forest staff will closely monitor the adaptability and behaviour of the mouse deer, which are also known as Spotted Chevrotain, in their natural setting.
Once the mouse deer are found to be feeding on wild vegetation and have managed to adapt, those remaining in Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad will also be released into the wild.
The forest officials have created a protected enclosure of 2.14 hectares of natural forest area in the Mannanur range of Amrabad Tiger Reserve (ATR).
“The enclosure is completely protected by providing solar fence, watering facility through solar powered bore and CCTV cameras. Biologists and field staff will monitor mouse deer and their adaptability to wild vegetation,” officials said.
Mouse deer (Jarini Pandi in Telugu) are nocturnal and because of their small size they are smallest ungulates (large mammals) in the world. Though they are found throughout India, but due to destruction o
It's Like An 'Electric-Fence Sensation,' Says Scientist Who Let An Eel Shock His Arm
Electric eels sometimes leap out of the water to increase the power of their jolt — and one scientist has been trying to understand this behavior more fully by letting a small eel repeatedly shock his arm.
Ken Catania, a Vanderbilt University neurobiologist who has been studying electric eels in his lab, recently noticed something strange whenever he tried to fish them out with a net that had a metal rim and handle. The eels would leap out of the water to attack it.
"Electric eels, in my experience, had never done something like that where they come out of the water, and they did it in a very directed way," he recalls.
What's more, he had electrodes in the water so he could listen to their electrical output through a speaker. "So I knew that when they were attacking the net in this way, they were simultaneously giving off a high voltage discharge," Catania says. "That clue led me to think, 'Well, maybe this is sort of a defensive behavior.' "
He knew that these eels tend to interpre
This one is a keeper
Every morning, as some of us switch on their computers or open their shops. Ko San Win Naing feeds the Rhinos.
He goes inside the enclosure and calls for Pon Pon, the female rhino of the Yangon zoo. Her ears rotate, she moves her head, slowly. Confidently, she walks towards him. The two seem visibly happy to be reunited. They have their routine. He pats her on the back, she snorts out of pleasure. You’ve sent your first email or greeted your first customer, Ko San Win Naing has checked on his Rhino. The day can start.
Ko San Win Naing’s job is not a sinecure. Zoo keepers are always at the mercy of all sorts of dangers – these animals aren’t called wild for nothing. A distracted keeper can be bitten by a poisonous snake, a hidden tiger can pounce on a keeper cleaning his cage. Less heroic, but equally admirable, keepers have to cope with the pungent smells of the animals.
Ko San Win Naing has been working as a keeper for 20 years at Yangon Zoological Garden. He first looked after the monkeys, then tigers and then the bears – perhaps the usual career trajectory for a keeper . Seven years ago, he wasn assigned to look after the rhinoceroses and hippopotamuses.
“My father worked as a keeper at the zoo for thirty years. His devotion to the animals was touching. He inspired me,” says Ko San Win Naing. Many keepers have worked in the
Declared extinct decades ago, a Javan tiger may have just been photographed in Java’s Ujung Kulon National Park
The species panthera tigris sondaica, better known as the Javan tiger, has been considered extinct for decades as there have been no confirmed sightings of the big cat that once stalked the jungles of Indonesia’s biggest island since the 1980s. But based on photographic evidence from Java’s Ujung Kulon National Park in West Java, the Javan tiger may be making a comeback.
This new photographic evidence of the Javan tiger’s continued existence was captured late last month but was only revealed to the media recently. It was taken by a park ranger while doing an inventory of banteng (a species of wild Javan cattle) on August 25. At the time, he saw a dead banteng being eaten by a big cat unlike any species known to reside in the park.
“My fellow ranger saw a large cat, but with stripes a bit different from the leopards usually found in Ujung Kulon. Finally, he photographed it, and we suspect it is either a type of
Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund Wins Conservation Award from Zoo Association
In recognition of its work in the protection and study of gorillas in Africa, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund has been awarded the prestigious International Conservation Award from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Announced at the annual AZA convention in Indianapolis on Sept. 12, the award recognizes exceptional efforts in habitat preservation, species restoration and support of biodiversity in the wild.
The Fossey Fund is now in its 50th year of gorilla protection, with more than 150 staff in Rwanda and eastern Congo, working to save the critically endangered mountain gorilla and Grauer’s gorilla. The organization’s approach to conservation focuses on daily gorilla protection, scientific research, training future conservation leaders in Africa along with local children and adults through extensive education programs, and helping impoverished communities that live near the gorillas.
“We are so proud to have reached this milestone of 50 years—it is a significant achievement for any organization. However, this is not a role that we could have played without numerous partnerships, supporters from around the world, and the help of other organizations,” says Dr. Tara Stoinski, Fossey Fund President and CEO/Chief Scientific Officer. “The Fossey Fund works in close conjunction with the national park authorities of Rwanda and Congo, with scientists and other experts from around the world, and with an incredible team of support
Edinburgh Zoo to review panda breeding programme
Edinburgh Zoo is reviewing the last five years of its giant panda breeding programme following another failed pregnancy.
Earlier this week zoo officials announced its female Tian Tian would not give birth to cubs this year.
It is the sixth time Tian Tian has failed to produce a cub after moving to Edinburgh Zoo in 2011.
Zoo officials said they would now "be working closely with our Chinese partners" to review all the data.
'Life in captivity'
An Edinburgh Zoo spokeswoman said: "We always base our decision of whether or not and how to breed our giant pandas on the independently verified evidence of the breeding review.
"Over the next few weeks, we will be working closely with our Chinese partners to review not only this year's breeding season but all the scientific data from the past five years, to help us better understand the complex breeding process.
"The review process is currently being undertaken and we can't comment on future breeding activity until it is completed."
Sarah Moyes, campaigner of animal rights group OneKind, said: "We hope that Edinburgh Zoo's review into its giant panda breeding programme will conclude that Tian Tian should not be subjected to another round of artificial insemination, which is an invasive procedure for both animals.
"After years of unsuccessful breed
Danang park zoo closure proposed
According to the company, the 20-hectare zoo has been located at the park in Thanh Khe District for over the past 30 years.
Currently, it is home to 24 animals of five species, comprising 13 deer, eight monkeys, one crocodile, 1 python and one civet.
Nguyen Thi Quynh Diem, deputy director of the company, said the zoo area is too small for the animals to live well. For many years, no new animals have been added; while most of the current ones are now old.
Meanwhile, the zoo also sees the shortage of operating
Beaver Water World owner gives update on when its hundreds of animals will be moved – and where the new site is
The owners of Beaver Water World have revealed that they are in the “final stages” of securing a new permanent site – and confirmed that it will be staying in the Tandridge district.
Hundreds of animals have faced an uncertain future for months after the zoo was served an eviction notice last September.
Landlord Beaver Branch Enterprises initially told the charity it needed to leave the site on Waylands Farm, in Tatsfield, by mid-December 2016 before extending the agreement until the end of March 2017, putting all the creatures in danger of being put down if they could not be re-homed.
The attraction is due to stay open at the site it has been at for 36 years until November 5, with the managing director revealing she is in the “final stages” of securing a lease for a new location in the same district.
Stella Quayle, managing director at the zoo, said: “We are still in limbo for now, but we are in the process of finalising the terms for the new site sub
How Animals Think! Vol. 1
All the achievements humans have reached is done with Teamwork. From discoveries to inventions, you name it somewhere there was a team involved. We know that most of the time problem solving is easier when we are with a team. Beside the Teamwork that we need we have a particular satisfaction when there are more people in the room than just ourselves. If this is an intrinsic cause yes or no people need the social behavior to survive on this planet. At the end of the line Teamwork is the way to go. People cooperate with each other by helping each other succeed. We are social beings and need this for our survival.
Miami Seaquarium abandoned captive orca and dolphins before fierce hurricane
LOLITA, a captive orca at the Miami Seaquarium, has called the park home since the 1970s.
Despite this, the six-metre killer whale was abandoned in her uncovered tank, alongside several dolphins, as Hurricane Irma bore down on the Florida coastline.
The category four hurricane tore through America’s Sunshine State, ripping roofs of homes, flooding the streets, cutting power and inciting an evacuation of 5.6 million people. The death toll in the US currently stands at 22, and is expected to rise.
The aquarium was deemed particularly vulnerable due to it’s location on Virginia Key, a barrier island off the coast of Miami.
The Silent Forest: Pangolins
It’s a small, weird, solitary, nocturnal, armour-plated, ant- eating mammal.
It’s the most trafficked animal on earth.
It’s highly prized for it’s poor-quality meat, which will cost you $350US a kilo in a Hanoi restaurant, and the powdered residue of it’s roasted scales (that armour plating.) Why?
Cage-free zoo set to open at Blacktown in Sydney's west
Lions, elephants and marsupials will roam free at a new zoo at Blacktown in Sydney's west after it was approved by the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission.
The Bungarribee zoo won't cage its animals with the aim to attract Sydney families to the zoo which will have large open spaces.
Sydney Zoo will build the $36 million park featuring over 30 exhibits including elevated board walks and glassed observation areas.
Indianapolis Zoo announces 32 nominees for prestigious Indianapolis Prize
Thirty-two animal conservationists from across the globe have been nominated for the prestigious Indianapolis Prize.
Regarded as the world’s leading honor for animal conservation, the Indianapolis Prize is awarded biennially by the Indianapolis Zoo. The winner will receive an unrestricted $250,000 cash award while five finalists will receive $10,000 each. The winner will also receive the Lilly Medal to commemorate the occasion.
Michael Crowther, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Zoo, said the nominees represent many of the “most significant and accomplished wildlife conservationists in the field today.”
“They are protecting species and creating successful conservation methods that ensure future generations will live in a flourishing and su
Terengganu resort in trouble over viral video of endangered sea turtle devouring hatchling
A video of a turtle devouring hatchlings in a pool has gone viral and will likely land the operator of a resort near Pulau Kapas in hot water.
This is because the resort does not have a permit to keep sea turtles, much less declare the containment area as a sanctuary pool.
In the video, the turtle, believed to be of the green turtle species, is seen swimming in a pool with hundreds of hatchlings. In one scene, the turtle is seen crushing a hatchling’s head and devouring it.
The netizen who uploaded the video and picture on his Facebook account said the scene was captured at a 'Turtle Conservation Sanctuary Pool' at a resort near Pulau Kapas.
Jihia Koh, the netizen who posted the video on Facbook, claimed that he witnessed the turtle eating a hatchling until its eyes popped out. The carcass also drew other hatchlings to eat the remains.
He said he had informed the staff there but was told that this was “normal”. When asked why, the staff allegedly replied that there was "not enough food".
“I think this is seriously crazy. Hatchlings have a very low chance of survival in the wild, but it has no chance to survive here and this place is called
Lament of the apes: Chimpanzee sparks panic at Taiwanese zoo after escaping… only to look inside its enclosure through the window and head back in to get away from humans
A chimpanzee sparked panic at a Taiwanese zoo after escaping only to look inside its enclosure and head back in to get away from the human visitors.
Sally, aged 35, escaped her display area and stunned tourists in the African Animal Area of the Taipei Zoo.
Visitors who tried to keep their distance from the chimp said the drama reminded them of the popular sci-fi series 'Planet of the Apes' - in which primates revolt and ultimately overthrow mankind.
MSU biologist learned what Przewalski's horse ate more than a century ago
A scientist from the Lomonosov Moscow State University's Faculty of Biology together with her colleagues has explained the changes in modern Przewalski's horses' food reserve (diet) that have occurred since the end of the 19th century. The results were published in the Scientific Reports journal.
Przewalski's horse is a species of wild horses, which had inhabited the Dzungarian part of the Gobi Desert until the middle of the 20th century, but went extinct by human's fault. Several individuals survived in zoos and became the ancestors of every Przewalski's horse living nowadays. Until the 90s they only were kept in zoos and breeding-grounds, but with their number growing, it was decided to try and reintroduce the species to nature. Now free Przewalski's horses can be seen in Mongolia and China. It is a rare example of man rectifying his mistakes.
Since the end of the 20th century in different countries which Przewalski's horses had historically inhabited (Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan and, since 2015, Russia) several projects of reintroduction (resettlement) of the horses to nature have been implemented. Dzungarian Gobi was the last region where they lived, and the wild horses had been exterminated too fast by humans, so there was no clear understanding of whether they prefer desert or steppe communities. Thus, different natural zones were chosen for the reintroduction. However, more than 20-year existence of the horses in the nature of Mongolia has shown that in Dzungarian Gobi (with desert and near-desert conditions) the reproduction of animals was significantly slower, than in the steppe part of the cou
'Significant' expansion to Yorkshire Wildlife Park could be a 'game changer' for town
A "SIGNIFICANT" expansion of one of Yorkshire's biggest tourist attractions could be a "game changer" for Doncaster, it has been claimed. A 150-acre expansion of Yorkshire Wildlife Park would create more than 300 jobs and give a £50m boost to the local economy, the Park has said, as it submitted plans for the ambitious project to Don
Experts to help streamline safety set-up at Bannerghatta
Authorities at the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) plan to consult experts on better management of its safari.
This follows a ferocious fight between Royal Bengal tigers and white tigers at the park recently.
Following a security breach during safari on September 16, two white tigers sneaked through the gates separating the enclosures of Royal Bengal tigers and white tigers.
The BBP management will discuss the matter with officials from Zoo Authority of Karnataka during their two-day visit to BBP this week. It is the only zoo in the state which has a safari.
Santosh Kumar, BBP Executive Director, admitted that the incident occurred because of callousness of the staffers.
The condition of the injured white tiger Amar is improving. He had injured his jaw and paw. He also suffered injuries near his spine.
“Though the staff has been directed not to entertain tourists, there have been instances where accidents have happened when animal-keepers try to please tourists for tips. We serve notices to such staffers, but it has little impact. There have been insta
SHOULD WE KILL ANIMALS TO SAVE THEM?
The elephants left snapped branches and warm scat in their wake. When they caught our scent, our sweat mixing with the sun-scorched grasses, they broke into a trumpeting jog and were gone.
Later, more materialized on the horizon, in the shade of the camel thorn trees, shades themselves. For such enormous creatures, they were nearly invisible but to the sharpest eyes. And those eyes belonged now to Dam, a short, compact man, a tracker from the local San people who stood in the back of the Land Cruiser.
“Oliphant!” he cried, leaning hard over the right side of the vehicle, picking out tracks in the sand. He tapped on the door, and we came to a whiplashing halt. Dam jumped down, checking a footprint, its edges corrugated and etched inside with smaller bubbles. He motioned, and Felix Marnewecke, the professional hunter and guide on this expedition, popped out of the driver’s side door. Strapping, ruddy, and blond, in his 40s, he seemed straight from central casting, wearing a
Zoo forced to cull antelope after bovine TB outbreak
Ten antelope at Paignton Zoo have been put down after contracting bovine TB – possibly from infected badgers.
The 10 Kafue Flats lechwe – two males and eight females – were put down after zoo staff took advice from the Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA), the government agency working alongside DEFRA.
Auckland Zoo buries dead animals at undisclosed location
Even in death Auckland Zoo's high profile animals continue to help animal conservation.
In August the Zoo put down Sumatran tiger Jaka after vets found a large inoperable tumour in his intestine. In April elderly giraffe Zabulu, father to 15 giraffe calves, died after falling ill and last year mother and son hippos Faith and Fudge passed away.
While the lives of zoo animals are open to the public, what happens after death isn't common knowledge. Stuff.co.nz requested behind the scenes information.
Female elephant arrives in Harbin from Africa for date with mate
A new member from far afield Africa was welcomed by Harbin Northern Forest Zoo on Wednesday.
Bella, an 8-year-old female African elephant, was selected to have a blind date with a male elephant Doudou in the zoo.
About one month ago, the zoo took out ad for Doudou, a 9-year-old single African male.
However, the zoo found it difficult to find any perfect match in domestic zoos, especially an age-appropriate and healthy female one.
After failing to get a suitable candidate at home, the zoo expanded the target range to the elephant's hometown.
Thanks to zoo's efforts, Bella was finally discovered in Zimbabwe.
After she arrived at Shanghai, Bella was taken to Harb
Nicki Boyd – Behavior husbandry manager at San Diego Zoo “I have the best job in the zoo”
Nicki Boyd and is the Behavior Husbandry Manager at the San Diego Zoo. Her educational background includes graduating from Moorpark College’s Exotic Animal Training and Management Program, Masa College’s Animal Health Technician Program, with an Associate in Science Degree, and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.
Nicki has worked at the San Diego Zoo for 25 years in various departments such as zookeeper at the Children’s Zoo and Veterinary Hospital, animal handler in the Behavior Department, senior keeper, Team Area Lead, Animal Care Supervisor, Animal Care Manager, Personnel Manager, and now currently as the Behavior Husbandry Manager. Nicki is currently the president of the Red Panda Network which is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving habitat for wild red pandas. And she is also the Past President of the Animal Behavior Management Alliance (ABM
Emergency preparedness in zoos and aquariums
You need only look at the papers or television news to see the reports. Infectious disease outbreaks, weather emergencies and disasters both natural and man-made. They're all not just threats to human populations – they have the potential to disrupt the daily operations of zoos and aquariums and the lives of their animal inhabitants.
In 2004 an outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza among tigers and leopards at zoos in Thailand resulted in the deaths of 45 animals. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita damaged the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans in 2005, though the only animals lost were two otters and a raccoon. The New Orleans Aquarium of the Americas did not fare as well after that storm; most of the fish in their collection died when they lost power. The 2007 California wildfires threatened the San Diego Wild Animal Park causing the facility to close and relocate some of the endangered species within its collection. These events can be devastating for the involved facilities.
There are more than 2,800 USDA licensed animal exhibitors in the US, ranging from very large facilities to private individuals with f
Flu at the zoo and other disasters: Experts help animal exhibitors prepare for the worst
Here are three disaster scenarios for zoo or aquarium managers: One, a wildfire lunges towards your facility, threatening your staff and hundreds of zoo animals. Two, hurricane floodwaters pour into your basement, where thousands of exotic fish and marine mammals live in giant tanks. Three, local poultry farmers report avian influenza (bird flu) in their chickens, a primary source of protein for your big cats.
What do you do?
These are among the many potential disasters the managers of zoos and aquariums ponder in their emergency preparedness drills and plans. But these stories are not just worst-case scenarios: The events described above actually happened, and the aftermath – often heroic, and sometimes tragic – depended in large part on the institutions' preparedness training, planning and forethought in calmer times.
When bad weather strikes or illness invades, zoos and aquariums are among the most vulnerable facilities affected, said University of Illinois veterinarian Yvette Johnson-Walker, a clinical epidemiologist who contributes to emergency response training efforts at animal exhibitor institutions. She is a clinical instructor in the department of veterinary clinical medicine at Illinois, and lead author of a new paper on emergency preparedness at zoos and aquariums in the journal Homeland Security & Emergency Management.
Some animals are likely to suffer if the electricity goes out for long, she said. Others are large, skittish and dangerous under normal conditions.
Training caretakers and keepers to minimize their own risks while attending to their animals in an emergency is a challenge, but leads to the best outcomes, she said.
In 2012, Johnson-Walker joined forces with Yvonne Nadler, a project manager with the Zoo and Aquarium All Hazards Preparedness Response and Recovery Center, to bring vital emergency training to accredited animal exhibitor institutions in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri. This effort, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and supported by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, has since expanded, providing training to staff from zoos and aquariums in 23 states.
The trainings, dubbed "Flu at the Zoo," focus on avian influenza, a viral disease that spread in the 2000s among wild and captive birds and also infected hundreds of people, primarily in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Bird flu serves as a useful model scenario to help train participants in b
Zoological Best Practices Working Group - Planning Roadmap
A Basic Guide for Emergency Planners for Managed Wildlife
Model Disaster Management Plan for Zoological Parks of India
Crisis Management Planning in Zoological Institutions
Indonesia ready for arrival of pandas from China
The Indonesian government has issued a permit for the importation of pandas, an animal considered vulnerable to extinction, from China. Only 15 countries, including Indonesia, have been approved to raise the protected species.
The Environment and Forestry Ministry’s biodiversity conservation director Bambang Dahono Adji said the issuance of the permit for the importation of pandas was monitored by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) secretariat.
“We issued the import permit last month and the pandas will be brought to Indonesia as soon as possible. We are waiting for approval from [national flag carrier] Garuda, which will transport the pandas from China. We have specially requested Garuda to carry the species because it is part of an international conservation program,” said Bambang on Friday.
He said China agreed to give pandas to several countries including Indonesia with tight prerequisites. As one of
Another North Korea Crime: Pushing African Rhinos Toward Extinction
In 2014, a report by the Washington-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (PDF) accused North Korean diplomats of earning hard currency for its nuclear and missile programs through illicit trading of wildlife.
Another finding on the illicit trade (PDF), published a year ago by the Geneva-based Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, showed that North Korean diplomats have been implicated in more than half of the cases of illegal trading of rhinoceros horns and elephant tusks involving embassy officials stationed in Africa since 1989. Of the 29 seizures of contraband horns and tusks in the period, 16 have involved North Koreans. The highest profile cases happened after Kim took office.
Edinburgh Zoo confirms panda Tian Tian WON'T be giving birth this year
The UK's only giant panda Tian Tian will not give birth this year, Edinburgh Zoo has confirmed.
Tian Tian, who has been a leading attraction at the zoo since arriving in 2011, was tipped to give birth in August after zoo bosses confirmed she was pregnant again.
Barbara Smith, chief executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), said: "There was great excitement when early tests indicated that Tian Tian was pregnant.
"Like everyone, we are sad that the pregnancy did not result in cubs this time around."
EAZA Annual Report 2016
Bilbies and bettongs to return to NSW
UNSW scientists will reintroduce bilbies, burrowing bettongs, and five other native mammals that are extinct in NSW into large, predator-free exclosures in the north west of the state, as part of a major NSW Government initiative to protect threatened species.
NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton launched the Wild Deserts project this week on National Threatened Species Day.
Ms Upton announced that Dubbo’s Taronga Western Plains Zoo has commenced development of a 110-hectare breeding sanctuary for the Greater Bilby, which has not been seen for more than a century in the wild in NSW.
Battle to stop PNG's unique and beautiful wildlife from being caught and sold off
Papua New Guinea has the world's third-largest rainforest, but increasing numbers of its unique and beautiful species of wildlife are being caught and sold.
The animals are often sold for traditional reasons, for personal consumption or for use in ceremonial costumes.
Most Papua New Guineans do not see any problems with this, but conservation groups said it was starting to put many of the country's iconic species at risk.
The highlands city of Goroka is buzzing with people from all over the region who have come to show off their traditional dances and costumes at the annual Goroka Show.
The famous event attracts so-called "sing-sing" groups who compete to have the best performances and best traditional dress.
It also attracts people like Saifa Kaupa, who is selling a dead bird of paradise for about $40.
"I shot seven down. I had enough of my children getting them so I will sell three, and four I cooked,
In the Bellies of the Beasts
Bandar the tiger gorges on his blood popsicle in private. Animal keepers at Smithsonian’s National Zoo attach an oxtail to the frozen treat so he can clamp down on it and drag it into the bushes. Commissary manager Bill Clements sources the blood from a butcher at Eastern Market.
“We’ll freeze it up and mix some gelatin in to make it more viscous and more fun to lick,” Clements says. His team molds ground beef into stars and affixes them to the sides making it look at once glorious and grotesque.
A bloodsicle is a lavish snack for the lions and tigers. Their usual diet consists of ground beef from Nebraska, rabbits, and beef femur bones. Occasionally they’re treated to a carcass feed, as gnawing on large portions of a whole animal best emulates how they eat in the wild. The meat is harder to break down, so it keeps their facial musculature well conditioned and their digestion systems revved up.
Though not as gory as the goat scene in Jurassic Park, carcass
This is the TAG Annual report 2016 online version of EAZA
Irma: Cuba airlifts dolphins to safety from deadly hurricane
Teams of rescue workers in Cuba airlifted a group of dolphins to safety from Hurricane Irma, hours before winds of up to 160mph struck the area.
The mammals were housed in an aquarium on the island of Cayo Guillermo, off the north central coast of the country, where the Category 5 storm swept across the archipelago.
Officials removed the six sea creatures from the water and placed them on mats, then wrapped them in giant blue sheets to prepare them for the evacuation.
Anteater’s Surprise Pregnancy: Virgin Birth Explained
Who's your daddy? Archie the giant anteater may have a hard time answering that question. Born to mom Armani at the LEO Zoological Center in Greenwich, Connecticut, Archie seems perfectly normal except for one small detail: Zookeepers have no idea how he came into being.
Armani had previously given birth to a baby named Alice after a romantic rendezvous with Alf, a male anteater also at LEO. But this wasn’t an episode of Leave it to Beaver. Male anteaters are known to kill and eat their offspring, so the zoo’s staff kept Alf separate from Ar
Two White Giraffes Seen in Kenyan Conservation Area
The Hirola Conservation Programme (HCP), a Rainforest Trust partner in Kenya, just captured footage of two white Reticulated giraffes. The giraffes, an adult female and calf, were in the region where Rainforest Trust and HCP are protecting vital habitat for the Hirola, the world’s most threatened antelope. According to the HCP blog, sightings of white giraffes have increased in the past few years and people have recently been seeing these two giraffe
Zoos Group Bans Anti-Animal Rights Org from Conference Keynoted by Animal Rights Activist
The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) blocked a group critical of animal-rights extremists from its annual conference this weekend despite such radicals targeting zoos and aquariums for extinction.
The rejection of Protect the Harvest’s sponsorship of the massive gathering in Indianapolis came on the heels of the AZA inviting Wayne Pacelle, the head of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) who boasts a long record of opposing keeping animals in captivity, to deliver the group’s keynote. Protect the Harvest questions why Pacelle, a man they characterize as an abolitionist when it comes to zoos, received the privileged speaking slot.
“I think we offered $20,000,” explains Protect the Harvest’s Dave Duquette, who tells Breitbart News that his group had already picked out its booth space. “It was a platinum sponsorship. They were pretty excited about it. We were going to pay for an extra booth space.”
But after that initial excitement in early July, an AZA representative informed Duquette mid-month that the group could not allow Protect
Zoo Conditions Improve Nationwide
T he conditions of zoos, bird gardens and animal care centers across the country have improved over the past few years, as a result of a more efficient stick-and-carrot approach.
Currently, Iran has 71 zoos, bird gardens and other animal centers, only five of which do not yet have a DOE license. This is while by the end of July 2016, there were 24 unlicensed centers out of a total of 77 centers, ISNA reported.
"Overall, there has been improvement in the conditions of these centers and we are satisfied with the progress," said Ali Teymouri, director of Hunting and Fishing Office at the Department of Environment.
Following inspections, centers that failed to meet DOE's standards were notified and issued ultimatums to improve their conditions. Consequently, seven of the unlicensed centers were forced to close due to lack of improvement in their conditions.
"Drastic improvements were made by several zoos regarding the hygiene and space provided for animals while we had no option but to close a few others that were reluctant [in implementing improvements]," he said.
The official stressed that zoos do not have much revenue and should not be expected to meet all DOE's requirements overnight.
"We should encourage and facilitate the gradual improvements in the conditions of these zoos," he said. Teymouri also said the DOE would fully cooperate with those centers that show willingness to improve.
"It is not all stick and no carrot. The best zoos
World's first as endangered Bermudian Skink hatch at Chester Zoo
Two clutches of critically endangered Bermudian Skink have hatched at Chester Zoo, the first time conservationists have succeeded in breeding the species outside of its homeland.
The tiny rock lizards, which grow to around three inches long, are a much-loved symbol of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda and an important part of the ecosystem.
Yet the species is on the brink of extinction in the wild, as habitat destruction and introduced p
Kazakhstan to reintroduce wild tigers after 70-year absence
Wild tigers are to be reintroduced to Kazakhstan 70 years after they became extinct in the country.
The animals will be reintroduced in the Ili-Balkhash region in a project that involves the creation of a nature reserve and the restoration of a forest that is part of the animal’s historical range.
If successful, Kazakhstan will be the first country in the world to bring wild tigers back to an entire region where they have been extinct for nearly half a century. Previous relocation projects have only been considered in existing tiger habitats, such as in reserves in India.
Poaching and habitat loss has decimated the wildlife on which wild tigers once fed, including the kulkan, or wild donkey, and bactrian deer, both native to central Asia. The animals will be reintroduced to the nature reserve to provide enough food for the tigers when they are relocated from elsewhere in Asia.
The project, which is being supported by WWF, is likely to take many years. The landscape has to be prepared and the wildlife they feed on reintroduced before the first tigers are brought in in 2025 at the earliest.
Igor Chestin, the director of WWF-Russia said: “Thanks to years of close collaboration between Kazakhstan and Russian co
Key Largo crew stays behind during Irma to care for dolphins
Haichang looks to develop Ocean Parks in India, Asia and Africa
China’s largest marine park operator, Haichang Ocean Parks Holdings, has plans to build overseas amusement parks along China’s new silk road.
Chief executive of Haichang, Wang Xuguang, told the South China Morning Post that his company was in discussion with mainland state-owned infrastructure builders. The company wishes to develop three to four ocean parks along China’s new silk road trade initiative. The new parks will be built in countries like Bangladesh and Madagascar.
Wang said: “As the state-owned infrastructure builders construct ports and roads along the ‘One Belt, One Road’, they also need our help to add amusement facilities to go with the megaprojects. This model fits us perfectly since we already had plans to tap the emerging markets.”
Zoo staff go on flash strike
Employees of all sections of the zoo, went on strike against the suspension of one watch and ward staff member and another head Mali. The fauna of the Nehru Zoological Park were deprived of daily meal by over two hours on Friday, as the zoo staff went on a flash strike, protesting against suspension of two of their colleagues. The zoo authorities had to place requisition to the outsourcing contractor for more hands, and the lunch for animals was delayed till they arrived, said an official on condition of anonymity. The striking employees were back to work later.
Florida judge orders Oklahoma roadside zoo not to move tigers
A federal judge in Florida has ordered an Oklahoma roadside zoo not to move 19 tigers at the center of a court battle with animal welfare activists.
The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals also is asking the judge to find Oklahoma zookeeper Joseph "Joe Exotic" Maldonado and Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park owner Jeff Lowe in contempt of court for allegedly interfering in a lawsuit over the tigers.
In court documents, PETA claims Maldonado and Lowe have said they would rather kill the tigers than hand the animals over to a Peta-backed animal sanctuary.
A Florida zoo, Dade City's Wild Things, sent the tigers to Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in July, allegedly to avoid a court-ordered inspection of the tiger petting zoo by animal welfare activists.
PETA filed a lawsuit against the Dade City's Wild Thi
Bahamas zoo rushes to save 150 animals by storing them in a makeshift Noah's Ark - the manager's office - as islands brace for Hurricane Irma
A zoo in the Bahamas rushed to save 150 animals as the tropical destination prepares for Hurricane Irma to hit on Saturday.
The tiny zoo of Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Center in Nassau seemed like a chaotic Noah's Ark as a handful of employees moved dozens of the park's 200 animals indoors on Friday.
Workers were relocating the creatures to a manager's office while Hurricane Irma's first bands of high winds and rain started pounded the Caribbean country.
Nassau, a city of 250,000 people and 184 miles east of Miami, was scheduled to be rocked by winds more 100mph and heavy flooding early Saturday.
WWF-Myanmar sounds alarm about illegal wildlife trade
Trafficking of wild animals continues to haunt Myanmar despite attempts to curb the crimes, and experts warn that the trend could damage animal populations if it goes unchecked.
WWF-Myanmar raised the alert over the intensified illegal wildlife trade in the country, which targets pangolins, bears and elephant skin.
Cases are on the rise – 28 cases led to arrests in 2013 and 34 last year. So far this year, 24 cases have been reported through August, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.
Dr Sapai Min, project manager for illegal wildlife trade for WWF-Myanmar, warned about widespread illegal wildlife trading in the border towns of Tachileik and Mong La that mostly thrive on wildlife species found in the country.
“I had been to Tachileik and Mong La three or four times. I went to Mong La early this year. When I went there in 2015, there were 15 places selling wildlife products. This year, there are already 42 markets for the illegal wildlife trade. This could greatly damage wildlife
Joburg Zoo reinstated as African Association of Zoos and Aquaria member
The Johannesburg Zoo has been reinstated as a member of the African Association of Zoos and Aquaria (Paazab), the City of Johannesburg said on Thursday.
Spokesperson Jenny Moodley said the zoo's regional Paazab membership would allow it to continue being an international member of good standing of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (Waza).
Moodley said the reinstatement reaffirmed the City's commitment to regulate and improve its professional standards and commitment to the code of ethics.
Some commitments included the trade and movement of animals and plants, which must conform to international conventions and best practices, and abide by national and local regulations.
Animal husbandry would ensure the highest standard of veterinary care and housing, and ensure that all animals had adequate space and proper facilities.
It would also make sur
Guangzhou Zoo closes controversial circus show
Guangzhou Zoo said it had closed the circus show since Sept. 1, and the area would be used to build a scientific exhibition center.
The venue was contracted to a circus operator from eastern China's Anhui Province in 1993, which has performed there ever since, said Huang Yingzhi, head of the circus.
"We still have about 70 animals, monkeys, bears, tigers, gorillas and parrots. We received notice for the shutdown on Aug. 14, but we have been negotiating with the zoo to stay," he said.
Huang and his employees refused to leave, insisting there was no reason to close the circus.
Over the weekend, the circus was still selling tickets and there were a few dozen people watching the show, where monkeys rode bikes, gorillas played drums and bears did headstands on high-rise bars.
"Audience numbers have not declined, and our place is popular. More than 13 million people have watched the shows over the past 24 years,
Abu Dhabi SeaWorld to be indoor theme park
Abu Dhabi’s upcoming SeaWorld theme park on Yas Island will be an indoor attraction so that it can attract visitors all year round.
Local developer Miral is developing the SeaWorld project. It also owns and operates the Ferrari World theme park and the water park, and is developing the Warner Bros theme park. “… They are all indoor theme parks, obviously excluding the water park, which is naturally outdoors,” says Mohamed Khalifa al-Mubarak, chairman of Miral. “SeaWorld will also be a fully indoor and immersive experience. It will allow us to work 12 months a year instead of just focusing on the winter months.”
Miral and the US’ SeaWorld Entertainment announced they had formed a partnership to develop the project in December last year. Consultants have tendered for roles such as project management this year.
The marine life-themed park will include the UAE’s first dedicated marine life research, rescue, rehabilitation and return centre as well as resources for the care and conservation of local marine life.
Dr. Jenifer Zeligs – “Make a connection before you give direction”
‘We Are Never Going To Evacuate Animals’: How Zoos And Aquariums Prepare For A Hurricane
When you work with ferocious jungle cats, massive sea creatures, and countless insects, it’s easy to see how mapping out a hurricane disaster plan for all of them will become a problem.
The one-two punch of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on the southern states is not the first major weather event to force animal care facilities to get creative with their storm prep. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew devastated much of the Miami area.
Infographic: What your ticket to the Two Oceans Aquarium makes possible
While most of our visitors usually only get to see the goings on in front of our acrylic windows – not-at-all selfish cleaner shrimps, under-appreciated fish that are actually awesome, the world’s favourite African penguin, and so on – there is a whole lot happening behind the scenes at the Two Oceans Aquarium, too.
A quick glance at the past four months shows how every arm of our organisation endeavours to make a real difference, big or small, for the people of South Africa and their oceans and coasts. That is why an entrance ticket or an annual membership, or even a small online donation, to the Aquarium counts for so mu
Tokyo Zoo Offers Itself up as Refuge for Anyone Suffering From Depression or Anxiety
As summer slowly begins to fade into fall and then later winter, it can affect some people differently. Some succumb to terrible depression as the seasons change, some become anxious about school, work, and other difficulties of everyday life. Some are just unhappy and anxious in general, which is completely normal. With proper treatment and support, these feelings can be overcome, and it does get better, but unfortunately, some individuals end up taking their own lives because they don’t feel strong enough to cope anymore. Youth suicide, tragically, has been on the rise in Japan, which is an even sadder prospect.
That’s why one zoo in Tokyo is working to make anyone who feels upset or depressed or anxious or anyone who feels like they can’t escape the situation they’re in now that the zoo can be their sanctuary. The zoo sent out a
Defiant Animal Circus Refuses to Close at Guangzhou Zoo
Despite having their lease terminated, the animal circus at the Guangzhou Zoo has continued operating as usual, earning the ire of zoo officials.
The Guangzhou Zoo announced on August 30 that they would not be renewing the Anhui Guangde Animal Circus’ contract, which expired the following day. Despite pleas from the zoo to pack up and call it a day – and an offer to help move the animals – the circus has kept selling tickets and staging shows.
A staffer at the zoo told That’s this afternoon that circus shows are being held today despite organizers being asked to cease and desist.
Search on for owner of tiger shot dead in metro Atlanta neighborhood
Henry County police and state authorities are working to determine how a tiger ended up in a residential area early Wednesday morning.
The tiger was shot dead after it attacked a dog and was spotted roaming a Henry County neighborhood
“No idea where she (the tiger) belonged,” said Gerri Yoder, Henry County’s animal control director. “There are a lot of theories, but who knows?”
The state’s Department of Natural Resources is also investigating, but hasn’t yet determined the tiger’s owner, officials said.
The tiger could have been “a victim of the exotic pet trade” and could have been “born and bred for the purpose of resale,” Yoder said. Tigers “are not illegal to own with the proper permitting,” she said.
Around 6 a.m., authorities received at least two 911 calls from people who spotted the big cat near the ramp from I-75 North to Jodeco Road and near a home in the area, Henry poli
Animal-Rights Activist Keynoting Zoos Convention Dumbfounds Critics
“I don’t want to see another cat or dog born.”
Wayne Pacelle, the author of those few, strange words, does not officiate over a pitbull-fighting ring or binge-watch cartoons of Jerry torturing Tom. Pacelle delivers the keynote at the annual conference of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) later this week in Indianapolis.
“We invited Wayne because AZA’s reputation and the reputation of our 230 members is dependent upon the public confidence that they provide exceptional care to the animals in aquariums and zoos,” Dan Ashe, president and chief executive officer of the AZA, tells Breitbart News. “Animal welfare and care is a foundational issue. We believe it’s important that they hear from the leading voices in the animal-welfare community.”
For critics, a Twilight Zone quality colors Pacelle delivering the keynote address at the AZA convention, like Huck Finn’s anti-book learnin’ father winning the Nobel Prize for literature or naming Charlie Brown the kicker at the Pro Bowl. Pacelle serves as the president of the Humane Society of the United States, and regularly inveighs against institutions that keep animals in captivity for educational purposes.
“Several of the zoos that are members of the AZA are not happy with Dan Ashe’s decision to have Wayne Pacelle be the keynote speaker because he is the enemy of all zoos,” Dave Duquette of Protect the Harvest tells Breitbart News. “They’re afraid to say anything because they’re afraid of the Humane Society. Look what they did with the circus or with Sea World—the orcas are no longer allowed to breed in captivity.
The Renegade Scientist Who Taught Us to Love Gorillas
Before she was known around the world for living with mountain gorillas, Dian Fossey struggled to bring attention to their dwindling numbers.
Certain that gorillas were on the verge of extinction, she adopted a brash approach to communication and conservation that ruffled many—and likely contributed to her still-unsolved murder in 1985. But this fierce dedication also helped revive the beleaguered primates. Today, thousands of tourists visit Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to see them.
In 1969, the 35-year-old scientist had received three National Geographic Society grants to research the elusive gorillas, and the magazine’s editors decided to feature her findings. They quickly learned that Fossey was not afraid to offend in the gorillas’ defense.
London Zoo uses cycling air pollution sensors to track penguins and rhinos
London Zoo is tracking penguins and rhinos in farflung corners of the world using the same sensors that help cyclists avoid pollution hotspots in the city.
The small, flat devices, which cost a few pence and are slightly bigger than a bank card, can detect vibration, sound and air quality. They send radio signals to base station boxes, which broadcast the data to satellites.
Digital Catapult, a non-profit tech organisation, has installed the sensors across London and programmed them to gather data to map pollution, allowing cyclists to plot cleaner commutes to and from work.
However, it is has now worked with game reserve rangers and London Zoo to set up networks of the low-powered devices in locations such as Kenya, Nepal, Australia, the Chagos Islands and Antarctica.
In elephant and rhino poaching hotspots, the s
Something to sneeze about: Democratic voting in African wild dog packs
Scientists studying African wild dogs in Botswana have found members of this endangered species use sneezes to vote on when the pack will move off and start hunting.
The research, by an international team working at the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, is published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Study senior author Dr Neil Jordan, a research fellow at UNSW Sydney and Taronga Conservation Society Australia, says African wild dogs exhibit highly energetic greeting ceremonies called social rallies after rests periods, before they move off together again.
"I wanted to better understand this collective behaviour, and noticed the dogs were sneezing while preparing to go," says Dr Jordan, of the UNSW Centre for Ecosystem Science.
"We recorded details of 68 social rallies from 5 African wild dog packs living in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, and couldn't quite believe it when our analyses confirmed our suspicions.
"The more sneezes that occurred, the more likely it was that the
Campaigners warn against restoration of London Zoo's iconic aviary
Campaigners have warned the “special significance” of London Zoo’s Snowdon Aviary could be damaged by a planned restoration.
The Grade II* listed structure, inspired by the movement of flying birds, opened in 1965 and is visible from Regent’s Canal and Primrose Hill but has fallen into disrepair.
It was put on Historic England’s At Risk Register last year. It will be converted into an enclosure for colobus monkeys, with the mesh covering replaced and an education centre built.
The birds currently there will move to other aviaries on site and to other zoos, with new bird specie
Editorial: Elephant death is tragic, but zoo does more good than harm
With Labor Day signalling the end of the summer season for many Pittsburghers, a number chose to take the day off to visit the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium.
Most came to see the animals. But after the deaths of a three-month-old elephant calf and the zoo’s oldest male tiger in rapid succession last week, some residents are coming to sound off, not to spectate.
A protest planned for later this month the zoo includes the two recent deaths in a list of accusations of animal mishandling. According to the event page, protesters will demand an end to the zoo’s breeding program that the elephant calf was part of as well as a general release of the park’s animals into wildlife sanctuaries.
The events of the past week were unquestionably tragic, and the zoo should give serious consideration to the future of its elephant breeding program. But demands to essentially shutter the zoo are counterproductive and would likely do more harm than good to the animals and anyone involved.
The elephant calf that died last week was conceived through through the process of artificial insemination of one of the zoo’s female elephants. When the calf’s mother rejected it after its premature, underweight birth, it received care exclusively from zoo employees, who fed it a mixture of formula and milk from another elephant mother.
After teething began, keepers were forced to insert a feeding tube. Zoo officials only made the decision to euthanize the baby elephant after tube feedings became ineffective and the calf stopped gaining weight consistently.
In a statement given after the death, Pittsburgh Zoo Pre
Smart phone app launched for nature reserve protection
The Biodiversity Conservation Centre of GreenViet, an NGO in Đà Nẵng, will launch a warning application for smart phone users to alert of violations against animals and vegetation in the Sơn Trà Nature Reserve.
Director of GreenViet, Trần Hữu Vỹ, told Việt Nam News the Sơn Trà SOS application will be used from November. Smart phone users can report or send photos of illegal logging or hunting in the reserve to GreenViet for rapid response.
Vỹ said the Sơn Trà SOS, funded by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), would create quick supervision of any dangerous situations and infringements in the reserve, which is just 10km from the city centre.
GreenViet has been developing a website for the red-shanked douc langurs (Pygathrix nemaeus) – an endangered primate species.
The NGO is also co-operating with the Frankfurt Zoological Society of Germany, San Diego Z
Why poison dart frogs don't poison themselves
A pair of researchers with the State University of New York has found the source of poison dart frogs' immunity from their own poison. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Sho-Ya Wang and Ging Kuo Wang describe testing frog muscle-derived amino acids in rat muscles to determine if one of them might be responsible for preventing muscle from seizing.
Poison dart frogs, native to Columbia, are known throughout the world for the application of their poison to blow darts as a weapon. The toxin is produced in the skin gland and one frog holds enough to kill 10 human beings at any one time—the toxin kills by reversing the openings of sodium channels in nerves, which prevents muscles from relaxing. The heart clenches to push blood through the body, but then cannot unclench, preventing it from working.
Prior research has shown that the active ingredient in the toxin is batrachotoxin. To figure out why the dart frogs do not give themselves heart attacks when they produce the chemical, the researchers gathered samples of all five amino acids that exist in the frog's muscles and used them to replace those in rat muscles. Doing so, the researchers report, made the rat muscle immune to the effects of batrachotoxin. The researchers then tested the amino acids individually until they fou
American woman promises $22 million donation to German zoo
A German zoo says a 93-year-old American widow of a Holocaust survivor is leaving it $22 million (18.5 million euros) in her will.
German-born Elizabeth Reichert told the local Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper it was her late husband Arnulf's wish to donate the money to the Cologne zoo.
Reichert and Arnulf were both natives of Cologne, and met during the war while he was in hiding. They moved to Israel after the war and then later to the U.S., settling in New Jersey.
The couple had no children and the newspaper reported Friday that Reichert has already started transferring $6,000 per month to the zoo. The entire sum is to be donated upon her death.
What IS A Dolphin? The Idealist vs Pragmatist
I just started my second (and final) year of my master’s program in forensic science. One of the classes I’m taking is called Foundations of Criminal Justice, which is deliciously philosophical. And believe it or not friends, I have found some interesting parallels in the marine mammal world with some of the stuff I have been reading in my textbook.
In the second chapter, the author writes about idealists versus pragmatists, and how they would develop and implement aspects of the criminal justice system. But the thing is guys, the author used an animal to illustrate the difference between the two perspectives. And I realized HOLY CRAP THIS IS IT. THIS EXPLAINS THE MAIN DISSONANCE BETWEEN THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND THE REST OF US.
Zoos might just be the difference between life and death for these species
With many animals facing extinction we often see zoos as gene pools to be used in a worst case scenario. Here are three species were the existence of populations in zoos could be the difference between life and death.
In 'My Life with Cranes,' George Archibald Recounts an Incredible Career in Conservation
There are 15 extant species of crane in the world, and most of them, with the exception of the Sandhill Crane and three others, are threatened or endangered. But without the work of George Archibald, all of these species would assuredly be even worse off than they are today. That’s because Archibald has dedicated his life to saving the world’s cranes, and in his new book My Life with Cranes, the renowned ornithologist recounts his illustrious and pioneering conservation career spanning more than 40 years.
The book is a short one, a little over 150 pages, but it is a delightful and informative read, packed with anecdotes from Archibald’s travels around the world and crammed with facts about cranes and their habitats. Interspersed are colorful photographs documenting Archibald’s extensive travels, his family and colleagues over the years, and most of all, the elegant cranes he’s worked so hard to save. Whether t
Something is changing the sex of Costa Rican crocodiles
If you want to know whether a crocodile is a male or a female, you have to catch it. Don't bring your good shoes. "It's a muddy, wet mess," says Chris Murray, who spent three dry seasons in and near Palo Verde National Park in Costa Rica, capturing American crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus) and determining their sex with a revolving team of helpers.
Even at night the heat is smothering, and a halo of bugs swirls around headlamps as the team motorboats down waterways or stalks the animals from shore. When Murray and his colleagues spot a croc, often half-submerged, they wade in after it or pursue it in the boat. In a typical catch, his friend Mike Easter uses a noose on a pole to snare the animal, which can be 2 meters long or more. As the croc thrashes and spins, Murray says, "everyone yells a bunch of stuff." Once it calms down a bit, they cover its eyes with a towel to reduce stress, close its jaw with tape, and lug it to the bank, stumbling through shoe-stealing mud.
With the animal restrained, telling its sex is straightforward, says Murray, who is a physiological ecologist at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville. "You have to put a finger in its cloaca," the cavity at the base of the tail. "If there's a struct
The bustard and the windmill
On the afternoon of July 17, a large buff-and-white ostrich-like bird crashed into a 33 KV transmission line connected to wind turbines in Naliya, on the edge of the Lala Bustard Sanctuary in Kutch, Gujarat. This was no ordinary birdkill. The young female bird’s death was nothing short of an ecological catastrophe: it meant one less individual of a critically endangered species — the Great Indian Bustard — of which an estimated 150 remain worldwide today.
This particular bird was satellite-tagged. Information yielded by GPS transmitters showed that it regularly moved between Naliya and the coastal grassland of Dadamapar village 30 km away. But death was perhaps inevitable: the distance between the two habitats is densely packed with wind turbines.
At possibly around 15 individual bustards, this area supports the world’s second largest population of these birds. Today, they are threatened by a seemingly benign activity: wind and solar energy projects. Power line networks — many of them for renewable energy projects — have killed at least seven bustards in India over the last decade.
Bustards, which are one of the world’s heaviest flying birds, worldwide easily fall victim to power lines because of their relatively low flight paths and poor frontal vision, explains Sutirtha Dutta, Bustard Conservation Project Scientist, Wildlife Institute of India. “The situation is no differ
Apes' abilities misunderstood by decades of poor science
Apes' intelligence may be entirely misunderstood, because research has so far failed to measure it fairly and accurately, according to scientists.
Hundreds of scientific studies over two decades have told us that apes are clever - just not as clever as us.
A new analysis argues that what we think we know about apes' social intelligence is based on wishful thinking and flawed science.
Dr David Leavens, of the University of Sussex, with Professor Kim Bard, University of Portsmouth, and Professor Bill Hopkins, Georgia State University, published their analysis in the journal Animal Cognition.
Dr Leavens said: "The fault underlying decades of research and our understanding of apes' abilities is due to such a strongly-held belief in our own superiority, that scientists have come to believe that human babies are more socially capable than ape adults. As humans, we see ourselves as top of the evolutionary tree. This had led to a systematic exaltation of the reasoning abilities of human infants, on the one hand, and biased research designs that discriminate against apes, on the other hand.
"Even when apes clearly outperform young human children, researchers tend to interpret the apes' superior performance to be a consequence of inferior cognitive abilities.
"There is not one scientifically sound report of an essential species difference between apes and humans in their abilities to use and understand clues from gestures, for example. Not one.
"This is not to say such a difference won't be found in future, but much of the existing scientific research is deeply flawed."
Enrichment at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
One of the ways SCBI keepers add variety to the cheetahs’ day is by providing them the opportunity to interact with a pool of water, which is not something that exists in their enclosures but something that they would encounter in the wild. To give juveniles Asante, Scotty and Rosalie an outlet to express their curiosity, keepers tossed in some floating toys as well. As predators, cheetahs are naturally inclined to investigate things that move (and that could potentially be prey). The jolly balls bob along the surface of water, making them an irresistible object of pursuit.
Museum admits fault in Snooty’s death
Snooty the manatee drowned due to human error, including poor communication, deficient record keeping and lack of staff and volunteer training, South Florida Museum officials announced on Thursday.
“It is with the heaviest of hearts that the board confirms that the findings show Snooty died as the result of a preventable accident,” John Quinlan, vice president of the museum’s board of trustees, told reporters Thursday.
Snooty drowned the night of July 22 or the morning of July 23 after his gala 69th birthday party, when he swam through a broken access panel leading to an underwater tunnel and became trapped, he said.
After a museum-initiated investigation, “We came to understand that mistakes were made, specifically the aquarium staff were aware of the panel being askew or loose, or that it was missing screws as early as Sunday, July 16, a week prior to Snooty’s death,” said a tearful Brynne Anne Besio, museum CEO. “Due to br
Endangered California Frog Gets Inoculation To Avoid Extinction
Scientists say they’re inoculating an endangered California frog to give it a fighting chance at avoiding extinction.
National Park Service biologist Danny Boiano says it’s part of an experiment to save the mountain yellow-legged frog from ravaging disease.
Former USFWS Director Dan Ashe Discusses Wildlife Conservation & Animal Welfare Programs as the New CEO of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA)
The 2016 selection of former Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Dan Ashe as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) was exciting for many executives at the helm of accredited zoological parks in North America and worldwide for several reasons.
The appointment of perhaps the highest ranking wildlife biologist in the United States to the post in charge of wildlife in human care was an obvious choice to many zoo and aquarium professionals and a poignant reminder of AZA’s commitment to wildlife conservation. But the significance of the selection may not have resonated as widely or strongly within the public sector. Connections between zoos and field-based programs, including restoration efforts, which are often largely administered under the auspices of zoos and aquariums themselves, are frequently under-recognized and under-appreciated, even among avid zoogoers.
To stop poaching, ivory ban must be permanent
Elephants in the wild are under serious threat: Save the Elephants estimates that 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory in Africa between 2010 and 2012. Elephants are part of our global heritage that should be stewarded for future generations, but they are not to be fenced off in “fortress conservation” efforts; we must find ways of co-existing with elephants in a way that serves communities in Africa – and the elephants themselves.
One way to mitigate the risk elephants are facing due to demand for their ivory is to reduce that demand – such campaigns are crucial in the fight against poaching, and domestic ivory trade bans can complement these campaigns.
Indonesian authorities uncover online orangutan trade
Wildlife traffickers in Indonesia are taking their illicit business to social media such as Facebook and Instagram, with the latest case coming to light this week.
On Monday (Aug 21), West Kalimantan forest rangers and police arrested a suspect, identified only as Tar, on suspicion of selling two baby orang utans on Instagram.
The 19-year-old suspect was arrested at his house in a neighbourhood in West Kalimantan, where two orang utans were found in a basket in the garage.
Otters learn by copying each other
Otters can learn how to solve puzzles by watching and copying each other, new research shows.
Scientists created a series of puzzles baited with food, and found smooth-coated otters watched and copied each other's problem-solving techniques - with young otters more likely to copy than their parents.
But another species - Asian short-clawed otters - showed no sign of copying each other.
Many otter species are classified as threatened, vulnerable or endangered, and the researchers say their study may help improve efforts to reintroduce otters into the wild.
"Social learning has been studied in many species, but never in otters," said Dr Neeltje Boogert, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall.
"Our results suggest smooth-coated otters adopt a 'copy when young' strategy.
"The offspring in our study learned how to solve these puzzles much quicker than their parents - more than six times faster.
Sense of smell is key factor in bird navigation
How do birds navigate over long distances? This complex question has been the subject of debate and controversy among scientists for decades, with Earth's magnetic field and the bird's own sense of smell among the factors said to play a part.
Now, researchers from the universities of Oxford, Barcelona and Pisa have shown in a new experiment that olfaction – or sense of smell – is almost certainly a key factor in long-distance oceanic navigation, eliminating previous misgivings about this hypothesis.
The research is published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Study leader Oliver Padget, a doctoral candidate in Oxford University's Department of Zoology, said: 'Navigation over the ocean is probably the extreme challenge for birds, given the long distances covered, the changing environment, and the lack of stable landmarks. Previous experiments have focused on the physical displa
'Our hearts are broken:' Pittsburgh Zoo's baby elephant, 'Little Bit,' has died
The Pittsburgh Zoo says it made a humane decision to end the young life of an elephant calf after her health took a turn for the worse and she wasn't gaining enough weight from feedings through a tube.
Top 10 Zoos — World
As Gujarat herds its big cats, MP looks for zoo lions
Gujarat’s refusal to part with its Gir lions despite court orders has forced Madhya Pradesh to propose an alternative: source cubs and lions from zoos across the country for translocation to Kuno Palpur in Sheopur district. For more than two decades, the Gujarat government has scuttled the translocation conceived in the 1990s by the Central government, at the instance of the Wildlife Institute of India, to create a second home for Asiatic lions outside Gir.
In 2014, the Supreme Court threw out a curative petition by the Gujarat government, the last legal recourse available before it to stall the translocation, but the state has managed to avoid shifting, citing absence of one study or the other. The BJP government in Madhya Pradesh too hasn’t shown much keenness in pushing for execution of the project.
Calling the new idea ‘Plan B’, Madhya Pradesh Chief Wi
Buenos Aires Is Home To The Cruellest Zoo In The World
This is one of the only places in the world where wild animals appear to accept being handled by strangers all day long, 365 days a year (the establishment is open every day of the year and only closes at night).
But if you take a closer look, the animals don't really have a choice. They're stuffed into minuscule enclosures, languishing away while they are chained up on tables so visitors can take photographs with them.
The animals appear to be drugged and depressed – they barely move, as if in a constant daze, and their eyes are glassy and lifeless.
Sabah on fast-track to make pangolin a totally protected species
Sabah is speeding up the process of making pangolins a totally protected species amid the increasing number of cases of trafficking and hunting.
“There is a real urgency to give it full protection,” state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said after unveiling the Negaraku Livery on a MASwings ATR 72-500 aircraft here on Tuesday.
He said the Wildlife Department was preparing the necessary documents to upgrade the protection status of pangolins to be submitted to the Sabah Cabinet.
Sunda pangolins are the only species found in Sabah and are protected under Part 1 Schedule 2 of the Sabah Wildlife Con
Counting India’s Elusive Fishing Cats
When Subrata Maity, a tutor in the Howrah district of West Bengal, India, was checking the camera traps he’d installed throughout his village, he discovered that one had gone missing. For the past 10 days, Maity had put his trap in the same spot, hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive fishing cats that prowl through the area.
Fishing cats are a distinct and curious species—and not just because they’re comfortable getting wet. Of India’s 15 species of wild cats, they’re the only one that thrives in the country’s brackish wetlands. The feline predator is twice the size of a domestic cat and smaller than a tiger—they look almost like an overgrown ocelot. True to their name, fishing cats are exceptional swimmers, and chase down fish, rodents, and reptiles in the riverine floodplains of the Ganges, Yamuna, and Brahmaputra Rivers; the Sundarbans delta; and throughout small coastal wetlands on the Bay of Bengal.
But research on these cats is sparse. To date, there have been no extensive studies on the animal’s ecology and distribution. It’s a situation that Maity is helping rectify.
Maity is working with Shreya Bhattacharya, a graduate student at Bharati Vidyapeeth University, and Tiasa Adhya, a wildlife biologist with the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Adhya is spearheading the proje
SeaWorld under criminal investigation
US Dept. of Justice reviewing company statements about 'Blackfish'
SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. is under criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for statements made by company executives about the documentary "Blackfish," court records obtained by News 6 reveal.
In June, SeaWorld officials disclosed that the DOJ was investigating trades of SeaWorld securities made by company executives following the film's release in 2013, as well as statements about how the documentary was impacting the company.
Sandra Moser, acting chief of the DOJ's Fraud Section, confirmed in court filings that her division is conducting a criminal probe into SeaWorld.
The DOJ's Fraud Section investigates and prosecutes sophisticated economic crime.
Moser filed a motion in federal court Friday seeking to intervene in a 2014 civil lawsuit filed by a group of SeaWorld shareholders.
The investors claim SeaWorld executives misled them about the impact "Blackfish" was having on theme park attendance and revenue.
The DOJ is asking a judge to delay depositions in the civil litigation until Nov. 30, suggesting that the process of attorneys questioning witnesses as part of the lawsuit "may implicate and negatively affect the ongoing criminal investigation," the motion states.
A SeaWorld spokesperson declined to comment on the new court filing. The company has previously stated it is cooperating with federal investigators.
Last week, former SeaWorld Chief Executive Officer Jim Atchison obtained his own attorney, court records show.
Atchison, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, had previously been represented by SeaWorld's legal team.
Gil Soffer, Atchison's new atto
How to Eat Like a Chimpanzee
In conversation we say someone is haunted by the past. Evolutionarily we are all haunted by many pasts, pasts buried in each of our cells, organs or actions. Each bit of you has antecedents, half-dry clay into which natural selection’s ruthless cleaver has carved. Your mitochondria—those whirring motors of energy in your cells—are the descendants of ancient bacteria and bear their marks. Your lungs are the descendants of fish lungs; your arms are modified fins. Your diet, of course, has antecedents too. But while we can consider the evolution of our arms by looking at the fossils of ancient fins, nearly everything we know about what we once ate, we know indirectly.
The elements left in in ancient teeth and bones can reveal crude measures of the diets of our ancestors or their kin. We can also look to the diets of our living relatives for more detailed insight. Living apes are not our ancestors. They have changed since the time our two kinds were one. Yet, the common ancestor from which both modern apes and modern humans descend was probably less like us and more like them. So what do the modern apes—and in particular our closest relatives the chimpanzees and bonobos—eat? Plants. Yes, plants. But what kind or how many or how? Recently, a new study by David Watts at Yale University and colleagues reconsiders the answer for chimpanzees in Kibale National Park in Uganda. From the perspective of our mod
Warning after balloons land in baboon enclosure
Animal keepers at a Devon wildlife park are asking the public not to release balloons freely after a number of them landed in a baboon enclosure.
Balloons can be a serious problem for wildlife who often mistake them for food.
The warning comes less than a month after the discovery of a family of lesser horseshoe bats living in the belly of one of the park's dinosaur models.
Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park issued a statement yesterday asking for members of the public to “make sure they stay with you on the ground where they can't harm any wildlife”.
Here is the statement in full: “Unfortunately, when balloons ar
It's Time To Turn Our Backs On Elephant Rides As Entertainment
With a wave of the mahout's hand, the heavily-saddled elephant lifts its front leg and allows the handler to climb on top of him. Tourists wait nearby, lining up to go on an exotic ride of a lifetime on the back of an elephant. Outwardly, the elephants seem to be healthy and happy. Behind the scenes, however, a much crueler state of affairs exists.
When the elephants aren't working, they're likely to be kept inside concrete pens and shackled by short chains in separate areas, preventing these highly social creatures from having contact with one another. Eventually, they start to sway and bob their heads in a state of boredom, loneliness, and frustration. Come daylight,
The Animals Rate of Success
While being at home for a bit after each day of work I started to think about a more successful way of living. I mean how can I make myself feel better. It’s a question many of us ask about themselves but to get there you have to know yourself pretty well. The success rate of your life is an important matter just because it gives you the satisfaction and confidence you need in your daily life. Some people don’t need much and succeed easily while others look for ideals that are harder to reach. They get their motivation for successes somewhere else maybe because it’s harder to get
Jellyfish and other gelata as food for four penguin species – insights from predator-borne videos
Jellyfish and other pelagic gelatinous organisms (“gelata”) are increasingly perceived as an important component of marine food webs but remain poorly understood. Their importance as prey in the oceans is extremely difficult to quantify due in part to methodological challenges in verifying predation on gelatinous structures. Miniaturized animal-borne video data loggers now enable feeding events to be monitored from a predator's perspective. We gathered a substantial video dataset (over 350 hours of exploitable footage) from 106 individuals spanning four species of non-gelatinous-specialist predators (penguins), across regions of the southern oceans (areas south of 30°S). We documented nearly 200 cases of targeted attacks on carnivorous gelata by all four species, at all seven studied localities. Our findings emphasize that gelatinous organisms actually represent a widespread but currently under-represented trophic link across the southern oceans, even for endothermic predators, which have high energetic demands. The use of modern technological tools, such as animal-borne video data loggers, will help to correctly identify the ecological niche of gelata.
Leigh Clayton, Director of Animal Health at the National Aquarium, speaks about being an aquarium veterinarian. Listen to the PODCAST.