Zoo News Digest
Injured elephant keeper released from hospital
A woman who was crushed by an elephant while working at Sydney's Taronga Zoo has been released from hospital.
Lucy Melo, 40, was critically injured by a calf during a training session almost two weeks ago.
Taronga Zoo says the animal keeper has made excellent progress in her recovery and is in good spirits and is starting rehabilitation.
"Taronga Zoo staff and managers would have supported Lucy and the elephant through this time and were very grateful for the ongoing expressions of support from the public," a statement said.
The Zoo says an internal investigation to understand better how the accident happened is underway but will not be complete for some weeks.
Ms Melo's parter Gary Miller has expressed his gratitude of support.
"I would like to thank everybody for their messages of love and their prayers, which have absolutely contributed
The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust’s international training centre has now been renamed the Durrell Conservation Academy. The name change represents the culmination of a year-long process to determine how best to represent the training that we provide to conservationists worldwide. Since we first opened our doors in 1984 we have trained more than 3300 conservationists from 135 countries in the principles and practice of endangered species recovery.
The Durrell Conservation Academy now runs a wide suite of courses, from practical training in invasive species management and GIS through to conservation leadership and project management. We run courses in-country as well as at our headquarters in Jersey, ranging in length from 3 days to a one year Master’s course. In 2013 we will be launching our five month Post-Graduate Diploma in Endangered Species Recovery which will be run in Mauritius, providing participants first-hand experience of working in field teams to recover some of the most threatened species in the world. To find out more please visit our website at www.durrell.org/academy
Toronto Zoo legal threat over elephants
An animal sanctuary in the US is threatening to sue the Toronto Zoo over delays in the transfer of three of the zoo’s aging elephants.
The Toronto Zoo has received a letter from lawyers representing the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), threatening legal action following an elephant-transfer report issued by senior zoo staff in late September detailing what they see as outstanding concerns with sending the elephants, Toka, Thika and Iringa, to the PAWS facility in northern California.
The letter is the latest development in what has turned out to be a year-long drama over the fate of the three elephants.
City council’s original decision last October to send them to PAWS proved to be controversial one, with some zoo staff voicing concerns over health conditions at the sanctuary. Zoo staff have reportedly voted to send the transfer report to Rob Ford’s executive committee for review, which could mean the animals enduring another winter in Canada.
In late September, Toronto Zoo senior veterinarian Graham Crawshaw told the media he continues to be concerned about cases of tuberculosis at PAWS, and that the zoo would continue its duty to inspect the sanctuary. Officials with Zoocheck Canada, an animal rights group working with PAWS, countered by claiming that staff at the zoo have a bias toward PAWS.
It is believed that zoo staff would rather send the animals to an Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited site.
The Toronto Zoo have claimed in the past that three of the eight elephants at the PAWS facility have tested positive for TB, and that since 2003, two elephants that have died at PAWS had tested positive for the disease. "The Toronto Zoo has been and remains committed to following ... directives for the safe and humane transfer of Toka, Thika and Iringa to the PAWS sanctuary in northern California,” zoo officials said in the wake of the transfer report, adding that zoo staff are continuing to carry out obligations under the elephant-transfer agreement it has with PAWS.
There are also other areas of concern on the part of zoo staff, including permits, a transportation plan and crates and training.
The delay in sending the elephants to the PAWS site has attracted much-publicized attention form former game show host and animal lover Bob Barker, who put up $1
Stop delaying and move the elephants
It’s mystifying why there’s a delay in sending Toronto Zoo’s three elephants to a refuge in California, when there will be no costs – thanks to games show host Bob Barker who’s offered to pick up the tab of close to $1 million.
City council has approved the move, but the zoo people have balked.
They pretend it’s concern for the elephants — Iringa, Toka and Thika — possibly contracting tuberculosis at the California PAWS sanctuary.
One suspects the real reason is the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) doesn’t approve of PAWS — and stripped the Toronto zoo of its AZA accreditation. Big deal.
Now all we need is for one of Toronto’s aging elephants to die over winter, as seven have died since 1984, including four since 2006. If that happens, all hell will break loose in criticism for the zoo people who are defying city council’s vote.
From all accounts, the California PAWS sanctuary is heavenly compared to the winter concrete confinement of the Toronto elephants, and their puny space in summer which must bore the bejeezus out of them.
The PAWS sanctuary has something like 30 hectares of warm, free land, compared to Toronto zoo’s half hectare of land for elephants, and being confined all winter. Apparently council intends to have another vote on moving the elephants to a more suitable environment. Delay, delay, delay.
All this concern for the elephants has a phony ring. The zoo people would love it if Barker reneged on his offer and told Toronto to stuff it. Barker’s tempted to do exactly this, but he’s made of sterner stuff and realizes that this is exactly what these petty bureaucrats want.
Barker’s got a thing about elephants
Animal rights and wrongs
Three ladies entering their golden years in a compound in Toronto’s northeastern suburbs have become the focus of a sometimes-vicious tug-of-war that has lasted more than a year. Iringa and Toka are both 42 years old. Thika is 31. All three are African elephants, the last of 10 pachyderms that have been kept at the Toronto Zoo since 1983. They suffer from infections and digestive ailments commonly found in aging, captive elephants.
The zoo’s board of management concluded some time ago that it could no longer afford the $618,500-a-year cost of keeping the trio in Toronto. So in a move that mirrored decisions taken by a growing number of zoos elsewhere, it voted to get out of the elephant business for the time being and relocate the trio to an accredited zoo in a warmer location in the United States, where there is a better chance their health will improve.
That’s when the tussle began. Animal welfare advocates, citing the deaths of four other elephants at the Toronto Zoo in the past four years, balked at the plan and began a campaign to send the trio to a sanctuary for rescued animals in California where there is lots of room to roam. They gained an ally in a city councillor who garnered enough support to win a council vote that overturned the zoo’s decision.
The zoo struck back, questioning the sanctuary’s credentials and later raising concerns about infectious diseases reported in some of the elephants currently living there. Rumours and insults flew around the Internet, and letters to the editor in local newspapers seethed with recriminations. The controversy eventually caught the attention of Bob Barker, host of the long-running television game show The Price Is Right. Barker, a well-known animal welfare advocate, first offered to pick up the $200,000 tab of shipping the elephants to the California sanctuary, and then upped the ante to nearly a million dollars when it turned out the elephants would have to travel by chartered aircraft due to a foot problem one of the animals suffers from. "To think that one of them might not survive the trip in a truck touched my heart and purse strings,” Barker said. He’s also been part of a campaign to relocate Lucy, a 36-year-old Asian elephant living alone at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. That fight became a lawsuit that stopped short of the Supreme Court of Canada, which in April refused to hear the case.
Romania rescues two brown bears from decrepit zoo
Two brown bears in Romania have been rescued from a zoo where conditions did not meet European Union animal safety standards and have been transferred to a sanctuary where they were released on Saturday, wildlife experts said.
The two male bears were removed from the decrepit Onesti zoo in eastern Romania and driven to Zarnesti, 150 kilometres (93 miles) away, which houses the country's first bear sanctuary in a forest.
"These bears used to live in small concrete enclosures ... They will be released soon in this beautiful forest area (after quarantine). That's a huge difference," said Victor Watkins, a wildlife advisor at the World Society for the Protection of Animals.
Sixty seven bears are now housed in the sanctuary. Many of them were rescued from ramshackle zoos or from cages at roadside inns and restaurants where they were used to entertain guests.
Up to 7,000 bears live in Romania's largely unspoilt mountains. Several people, including foreign tourists, have
New dolphin capture angers Makili
SEVEN bottle nose dolphins were last week captured outside the Lunga river mouth by fishermen and then reportedly sold to a local businessman in Honiara.
The latest capture has infuriated dolphin safe campaigner Lawrence Makili, who has just returned from a mission to free dolphins captured by villagers in the Western Province.
An official from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources said the dolphins were caught in the fishermen’s net outside the Lunga River mouth.
He said two eventually died while the other five were bought by local business man and Kokonut Cafe owner Francis Chow.
The officer who wanted to remain anonymous said since the ban on dolphin capture and export was imposed this year, no licences were issued to any local and foreign buyers and or exporters.
"According to our licensing division, no permits or license have been issued out to any local or foreign dolphin dealer in the country this year,” he said.
The source however said that any investigations into the matter would have to wait until the Director of Fisheries, the Permanent Secretary and the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources return from overseas.
When contacted Mr Chow admitted purchasing the dolphins, but added that he did it to save the dolphins.
"Had I not bought them from the fishermen, the dolphins would end up either at the fish market or on someone’s dinner plate, and mind you, I only bought four, not five.
"I think it’s good to keep them safe in the pen or they would have already been killed.”
Mr Chow refused to reveal how much he paid for the dolphins, but sources close to the businessman said that each of the dolphins were believed to have cost up to more than $2,500.
The reports of this recent capture of dolphins have again moved Mr Makili from his comfort zone, firing at both the Ministry of Fisheries and Mr Chow.
"What kind of a ban on dolphins has the government of the day imposed, which has not at all been observed here in Honiara.
"Dolphins are being captured everywhere in the country.
"I wonder what the responsible authorities in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources will do about this?”
The Earth Islands Institute director warned that this
Save Australia’s ‘Frozen Zoo’
You may have heard of Australia’s "Frozen Zoo” – the only facility of its kind on the continent – and that it’s facing funding difficulties. Why should you care about this? Let me explain.
An increasing number of Australian native species are on the brink of extinction, and the Frozen Zoo has a part to play in preventing this.
When it was established in 1995, the zoo – or Animal Gene Storage and Resource Center of Australia (AGSRCA) to give it its full name – was the world’s first national wildlife gene bank.
And yes, I have a vested interest. I instigated its foundation, along with Professor Alan Trounson and Dr. John Kelly.
Since the AGSRCA began, similar new gene banks have been established across the globe – such as The Frozen Ark, which commenced in the UK in 2004, and now leads a global consortium of such biobanks.
Such facilities offer the development of unique technical services to assist in the preservation of endangered and threatened wildlife s
Indian state loses nearly 300 elephants
India's Odisha state lost at least 296 elephants in the past five years, several victims of electrocution, officials said.
State authorities and wildlife activists said the elephants died after coming in contact with hanging, live electricity wires, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.
Wildlife activist Biswajit Mohanty said the casualty rate has been about 10 per year.
Hindus consider elephants sacred and worship them during religious festivals. However, increasingly the majestic animals are losing their habitats with rising human population and encroachment.
India currently has about 26,000 elephants in the wild, the BBC reported.
The PTI report said other causes of elephant deaths in Odisha in the past five years have included poaching, accidents such as the animals being hit by speeding trains and diseases.
To prevent electrocution of elephants, a joint committee of experts from forest, environment and energy departments has been set up, Odisha's environment
New York Aquarium Was Totally Underwater, Baby Walrus Mitik Continues To Be Monitored
Yesterday, the Wildlife Conservation Society announced that the New York Aquarium, which is in Coney Island, "experienced severe flooding from the storm surge associated with Hurricane Sandy. The entire 14-acre facility was under water. As the water recedes, we will need time to assess the full extent of the damage." Uh-oh—what does that mean for the various animals, like Mitik the baby walrus?
Jim Breheny, WCS Bronx Zoo Director and EVP of WCS Zoos and Aquarium, issued an updated statement, "As reported, the NY Aquarium experienced extensive flooding and we are still in the process of assessing damage as a result of this storm. We will provide further reports about the condition of the facility and the animals in the days to come. Many are asking about Mitik, the walrus calf who recently came to the aquarium. As an orphaned calf, he was experiencing some health issues
Animals in Islamabad zoo suffer due to neglect: Report
Tales of neglect continue to pour out of the Pakistani capital Islamabad’s only zoo.
The zoo first saw the death of a lion in 2008 and most recently of Saheli, a female elephant, which was one of the main attractions for visitors to the zoo.
The latest to die at Marghazar Zoo is a Neelgai. Besides, an Urial, a wild sheep with winding antlers, suffered injuries during the Eid holidays. There was also a disclosure from an inside source that the male elephant at the zoo might end up like Saheli.
The Urial was injured in the F-8 enclosure of the zoo, which is a residential area and is in full glare of the public. According to a police source posted in the area, there have been plenty of stories of theft and negligence emanating from the enclosure.
Sometimes animals die for no reason at all and there have been reports of theft as well, he said.
But so far no legal proceedings have been undertaken.
The Capital Development Authority (CDA) seems to be already towing the official line and has sent Neelgai’s body for postmortem to the National Veterinary Laboratory (NVL).
Director-General (DG), NVL, Dr Qurban confirmed that Dr Rehana Anjum had done the postmortem of the animal but he said that the reason of the death could be confirmed only after the report was issued.
Rare tiger dies after Indonesia flight switch
A rare Sumatran tiger has died after his transferral to an Indonesia park was aborted and he was put on a second flight because passengers complained about the smell, an official said.
The eight-year-old big cat was being sent with other animals on a commercial flight Tuesday from Banda Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra island to a conservation centre on Java island.
But during a scheduled stopover in Medan, Sumatra, the national carrier Garuda Indonesia decided to unload the animals and fly them back to Banda Aceh, citing passengers' complaints about unpleasant odors, said provincial conservation agency chief Afan Absory on Thursday.
"When the tiger arrived in Banda Aceh on the same day, we found out that it was already dead," he told AFP. The tiger was flying alongwith a gibbon and two bearcats, which have a distinctive smell.
"We are seeking clarification from the airline as they returned the tiger to Banda Aceh without informing our official who was flying with them," added Absory, who said he found blood coming out of the animal's nose.
The airline's spokesman Pudjobroto, who goes by one name, said Garuda was waiting for results of their investigation into the tiger's death.
Garuda had "implemented standard procedures" for transporting animals, he said in a text message.
The male tiger had been rescued in 2010 from a forest in Aceh province
Australia Zoo bound for Vegas
AUSTRALIA Zoo is forging ahead with plans to replicate the conservation park in the United States' glitzy gambling capital.
The $300 million project to build a version of the famed Beerwah zoo in Las Vegas has been in the making for almost a decade.
The late Steve Irwin first spruiked the idea in 2004. It will become part of his 10-year dream to bring conservation to the world stage.
While Australia Zoo staff remained tight-lipped this week about the progress of the project, a spokeswoman confirmed negotiations were continuing.
A Sunshine Coast Destination Limited spokeswoman said the prospect of an Australia Zoo in Vegas could strengthen our connection with the US.
"It will raise the profile of Queensland and the Sunshine Coast, not only for our unique wildlife, but will also highlight what we have here," she said.
Australia Zoo director Wes Mannion previously said the project would be of huge benefit to Australian tourism.
"It would be like establishing a window of opportunity for America to experience a taste of Australia with the hope of enticing them to visit our beautiful country," he said.
"This will enable Australia Zoo to educate millions of people on the importance of conservation and wildlife protection.
"The benefits from this project will go toward
Mysore Zoo on guard in the wake of bird flu
Chicken is off the menu at the Bannerghatta Biological Park near Bangalore following bird flu scare while the Mysore Zoo is vigilant but still is offering the raw chicken to its inmates.
As the state government confirmed death of chicken and ducks at the Central Poultry Development Organization (CPDO) at Hesaraghatta, some 20 km from Bangalore on Monday, the Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) reviewed the food chart for the carnivorous housed at the Bangalore and Mysore facilities and stopped
Veasey: It’s best if the zoo’s elephant breeds again
Re: "Nature is the best birthing place for elephants,” Letter, Oct. 29, and "Stop breeding Rani,” Letter, Oct. 26.
As the Calgary Zoo’s director of animal care, an animal welfare scientist and a captive elephant specialist, I’d like to respond to Jennifer O’Connor’s letter by respectfully encouraging her to consider the evidence relating to the psychological and physical impacts of denying elephants the opportunity to reproduce, before claiming it is "indefensible” and "self-serving” to allow Rani to breed again.
The psychological importance for elephants of breeding and being part of a herd of related individuals cannot be overestimated. Because the matriarchal herd is essential to survival in the wild, it is deeply rooted in elephant psychology, and as such, it is crucial to their captive welfare. Because all elephants interact with or participate in the care of young relatives, all elephants benefit from new arrivals, satisfying powerful reproductive and nurturing drives and providing positive opportunities for interaction and learning; crucial to the development of well-rounded elephants.
South Korean zoo elephant can mimic human speech, has a 5-word vocabulary that convinces humans listeners
Koshik the elephant, who lives in South Korea’s Everland Zoo, is able to ‘speak’ five words understandable to fellow Koreans: hello, sit, no, lie down and good.
Meet Koshik, the elephant who can "speak.”
Researchers say they have found a talking pachyderm at the Everland Zoo in South Korea, according to a study published in the scientific journal, Current Biology.
Koshik can speak five different words in Korean: "annyong” ("hello”), "anja” ("sit down”), "aniya” ("no"), "nuo" ("lie down"), and "choah
Three zoo keepers held for beating elephant
THREE zoo keepers were sacked and then arrested by cops after a female elephant was allegedly beaten.
The men are said to have been caught on CCTV whipping kiddies’ favourite Tonzi, 28, with bamboo canes in her pen.
World-famous Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire confirmed the keepers were sacked for "a gross breach of the zoo’s policies” after an investigation.
A source at the zoo said last night: "Bosses became concerned after spooling through security cameras. It appeared Tonzi was beaten by the keepers.
"Apparently the keepers were taking it in turns to hit her with bamboo canes.
"There were no marks left on the animal so it wasn’t
London Zoo should close because it is 'sign of our failure as a species', says campaigner
London Zoo should be shut down because it is not looking after animals properly or releasing enough back into the wild, campaigner Damian Aspinall has claimed.
In an interview with the Evening Standard, Mr Aspinall launched an outspoken attack on city centre zoos, saying they are "outdated 18th century concepts” that have no place in the modern world.
Mr Aspinall runs the Port Lympne Wildlife Park in Kent, set up by his father John, and heads the Aspinall Foundation, a conservation charity dedicated to breeding endangered species in captivity and releasing them back into the wild.
He yesterday announced plans to transport an entire family of 11 western lowland gorillas from the 600-acre Port Lympne park to the Foundation’s Back To The Wild projects in Congo and Gabon.
The release, planned for early next year, is the first time a whole family of animals has been released into the wild together,
Mr Aspinall said: "The
Central African PM stopped at Paris airport carrying bush meat
French customs officials fined former Central African prime minister Martin Ziguele after he was found carrying 11.8 kilograms (26 pounds) of bushmeat, mainly monkey, on his arrival at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport.
Investigators said the meat "mainly of a protected species", was in his luggage when he arrived on an Air France flight from Bangui.
Customs inspectors found a total 600 kilograms of meat in passengers' luggage on the Bangui flight, judicial officials said.
Ziguele, who was prime minister between 2001 and 2003 and who was defeated by Francois Bozize in presidential elections in 2005 and 2011, said the meat was
FIRST AQUARIUM IN THE UK TO JOIN WAZA
The Deep, in Hull is the first aquarium in the UK to be invited to join the prestigious World Association for Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).
Now in its 77
th year, WAZA is the unifying organisation for the world zoo and aquarium community. There are over 300 members across the world from leading zoos, aquariums, associations and corporate partners.
Katy Duke, Curator at The Deep said: "WAZA are committed to the highest standards of animal welfare and husbandry and we are delighted to be the first aquarium in the UK to work with them.
"WAZA operates on a global level, allowing us to share knowledge and information and have greater impact in our contributions to conservation alongside other like-minded organisations. It is fantastic to be part of so many zoos and aquariums who are working together to ensure the best possible animal welfare but actively participate in projects to help conserve animals and their habitats.
"Aquariums and Zoos are so much more than fun and educational days out. By supporting organisations such as ourselves you help to support the additional work going on behind the scenes and in the field.
Gerald Dick, WAZA Executive Director said: "WAZA is proud to welcome The Deep as a new member. Now part of the only professionally recognised global zoo and aquarium organisation in the world, The Deep will benefit from the WAZA network by sharing information and best practices, getting inspiration and learning from international peers, as well as benefiting from existing or prospective international partnerships. To sum up; being part of a global community.
"We are very happy that The Deep is now part of our family and wish all the best to the World’s only submarium."
It is estimated that over 700 million visitors, visit zoos and aquariums in the WAZA network every year, making them one of the biggest leisure activities for families.
The Deep operates as an environmental and conservation charity and is involved in numerous projects around the globe. These include a five year research programme alongside the world renowned Equipe Cousteau, to study the manta ray population off the coast of Sudan, coral reproduction fieldwork in Puerto Rico, native species studies with the Zoological Society of London and Natural England, fen raft spider rearing for reintroduction and facilitating the marine protected area project for the North East of England for Net Gain.
Thai man nabbed with 16 tiger cubs in truck
A Thai man has been arrested with 16 tiger cubs in his pick-up truck while driving near the kingdom's border with Laos, police said Saturday.
The 52-year-old was arrested Friday afternoon in Khon Kaen province in northeastern Thailand during a routine check by authorities, who found the cats, aged between six weeks and two months, in cages in the back of the vehicle.
Police said the man was paid 15,000 baht (500 dollars) to transport the tigers from Bangkok, but he denied knowing the identity of the animals' owners.
"He said he only talked to them on the telephone not in person," Lieutenant Colonel Kusol Pongbunchan, chief investigator of the local district police told AFP.
He said the driver faced charges of illegal possession and trafficking of endangered species.
The tigers, which are not thought to have been taken from the wild, were entrusted to officials of the National Park, Wildlife
Cats new suspect in dolphin deaths
A new suspect has emerged in the decline of the critically endangered Maui's dolphin - cats.
A parasite traced to cats has been identified as the primary cause of death in seven of 28 Hector's-type dolphins analysed by Massey University scientist Dr Wendi Roe.
Two of three Maui's, autopsied after they washed up dead on beaches, were found to have died primarily from toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by the toxoplasma parasite.
The Maui's are a sub-species of Hector's dolphins and their adult population was this year estimated at 55. The world's smallest dolphins, they are found only in New Zealand, and are thought to be confined to the west coast of Auckland and Waikato.
Dr Roe, a marine mammal pathologist, says the parasite multiplies in cats and ocysts (eggs) are excreted in the animals' faeces.
The risk of toxoplasmosis is the reason pregnant women are told to avoid cats but the parasite rarely causes serious infection.
It was likely to be getting into waterways
Jambi zoo to welcome new lions
Taman Rimbo zoo in Jambi will welcome new family members this Christmas: a pair of lions.
Taman Rimbo zoo head Adrianis said that the lions, which are coming from Taman Safari zoo in Bogor, West Java, would be exchanged for Taman Rimbo’s Sumatran tigers.
"The lions will be exchanged with Siemat, a tiger that was recently saved froma trap, and Lala, a Sumatran tiger cub which was found by local residents in Muaro Jambi regency,” he said, adding that the zoo already had eight tigers.
An unused orangutan enclosure in the zoo will be the new home for the lions, he added.
"The enclosure has never been used since it was completed because we have not yet brought in orangutans.
Can A Gorgeous Reptile Pavilion Save This New Zealand Zoo?
Rammed earth and industrial materials make for an elegant adaptive reuse project at Wellington Zoo.
Between a long, slow decline in ticket sales and increasing public outrage over animal cruelty, many zoos are in a tough spot these days. Plenty of once-popular zoos have shut down, and those that remain are scrambling to improve cage conditions and find new ways to attract visitors. Typically, that means giving visitors "an experience” of wildlife, in lieu of the up-close encounters that smaller closures used to ensure.
So the only people more in a bind than zoo directors are the architects they hire, who are tasked with conveying the excitement of the animal kingdom without, well, animals. Architects have responded to the challenge with varying degrees of success and middling failure. We’d put the Kamala Pavilion, a new reptile house and event space at the Wellington Zoo, in the former category.
The commission grew directly out of the conundrum facing modern zoos. Kamala, the zoo’s last elephant, died in 1983, leaving the Elephant House in disuse for the past two decades. Hoping to turn the area into a hub for visitors, the zoo’s director hired Designed by Justin and Louise Wright (who go by Assembly Architects Limited) to renovate the old elephant enclosure and add new spaces for reptile exhibits.
The resulting pavilion reconciles several discrete programmatic elements, like a reptile habitat called the Scaly Nursery, the existing elephant house, and a dining room for events and picnics. It’s understated and elegant, balancing
A Peek Inside The Sad And Artificial World Of Zoo Habitats
Daniel Kukla’s Captive Landscapes captures animal enclosures in a dozen cities worldwide.
Zoos are inherently bizarre. The sheer thrill of seeing strange and exotic beasts is often tempered by the reality of the strange and artificial environments they’re kept in, raising the question: Can they really be happy hanging out in those habitats? Photographer Daniel Kukla makes a point of visiting zoos as often as possible on his travels, documenting his findings in Captive Landscapes.
"I believe that zoos have the ability to function as incredible research and educational institutions, but more often than not, the animals are put on as a spectacle and the educational aspect seems to be lacking. I always leave feeling a mix of awe and depression from these places,” he tells Co.Design. His series spans these "theatrical environments” in 12 locales across America and Europe, most of which he shot through a window or door from the same vantage point viewers would get when they visit.
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the images are the floor-to-ceiling scenic murals that adorn the walls, depicting everything from rocky coasts to lush tropics in an unexpectedly consistent style. And there’s one thing that’s conspicuously, surprisingly absent from the majority of these pictures: life. "Sometimes I planned my visit when the animals would be out of the enclosure, or as a new exhibit was being installed,” he says. "Generally
Aquarium should set sights on captive whales, not wild
In the United States, aquariums and marine theme parks have responded to changing public sentiment about keeping marine mammals in captivity by emphasizing that they have not captured whales and dolphins from the wild in a long time. Indeed, it has been 20 years since a U.S. facility captured wild whales or dolphins for display. Now, the Georgia Aquarium and five partners are about to undo all of that.
Public opinion is turning against keeping whales and dolphins in captivity in the wake of exposés like the Academy Award-winning documentary "The Cove" and David Kirby's book "Death at Sea World: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity," as well as the work of animal-protection organizations.
Consequently, the request by the aquarium and its partners for a federal permit to import 18 beluga whales taken from Russia's Sea of Okhotsk seems out of step with evolving values on the appropriate treatment of these animals.
Knut the polar bear gets Berlin Zoo memorial
Berlin Zoo on Wednesday unveiled a bronze memorial to Knut, an uber-cute cuddly polar bear that captured hearts worldwide and devastated fans when he died from a suspected brain seizure last year.
The small sculpture, entitled "Knut The Dreamer", shows the snowy-white bear reclining lazily on rocks in his pen at the zoo.
"Knut will stay in the hearts of many visitors, therefore this memorial will create something for future generations so that the unique nature of this animal celebrity will live on," said the Friends of the Capital Zoos association.
Knut, who died suddenly aged four, shot to fame after being abandoned by his mother and reared by hand by a zookeeper.
When he eventually passed away, fans left flower bouquets, written tributes and photos of Knut at his former den at the zoo, while an online condolence book drew thousands of messages.
The first public appearance of "Cute Knut" attracted 100 camera crews from around the world and the cub generated millions of euros (dollars) for Berlin Zoo in lucrative merchandising and extra entrance fees.
At the height of his fame, he even appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine and on German postage stamps.
But once Knut grew into a strapping adolescent and then
Panda parade: conservation centre celebrates births
Conservationists are celebrating the birth of seven panda cubs within three months at a Chinese research centre.
Chengdu Panda Base has released its first photographs of all seven cubs together. They range in age from Oreo, born on July 28, to Cheng Shuang and Cheng Dui, both born on September 12.
Oreo weighed a mere 162 grams (6oz) at birth but is already tipping the scales at 6 kilos (
Conservation group honours province for polar bear protection
Premier Greg Selinger received an award from an international polar bear conservation group today for the province’s efforts to protect the threatened animal.
Polar Bears International presented its Champion of Polar Bears award to the premier and Manitoba Conservation at a ceremony this morning in Selinger’s office.
"Several of your programs have been so successful that the world now looks to you to provide the vision on the best way to care for North America’s most iconic species," said Bob Williams, a Canadian representative for the international group.
Manitoba was recognized for its polar bear alert program, which protects bears while ensuring the safety of residents in Churchill, the development of the Polar Bear Protection Act and other efforts.
The province is the primary funder of the Journey to Churchill exhibit under construction at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. The exhibit includes a nearly $6-million International Polar Bear Conservation Centre for academic research programs, and a polar bear rescue
Panthers escape pen with help of superstorm Sandy
Conservation officers in Florida are searching for two panthers freed after a tree knocked over by superstorm Sandy broke their pen.
First Coast News reported fish and wildlife officers are tracking the two-year-old male and female panthers with the help of their radio collars.
Spokeswoman Karen Parker told the news station the animals haven't travelled far from their pen at White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee.
The panthers had been housed at the centre since they were five months old after their mother died, and
Zoo operators fail to understand animal welfare
After reading the response by P4PHM in ‘Give reasonable time frame’ (The Star, Sept 29) and ‘Zoo popular tourist attraction’ (The Star, Oct 16), my belief on how zoos value the precious lives of animals have been confirmed.
P4PHM claims none of the 45 zoos nationwide broke any animal welfare regulations under the previous Wildlife Act. Forget the law for a moment, most zoos don’t even understand the meaning of compassion towards animals, they are ‘guilty’ in humane terms, lacking ethics and morals in the way they use and abuse animals to make money.
P4PHM’s statement seem to defend horrific and disgusting zoos like the KL Tower Mini Zoo, Cave Villa Batu Caves, Perlis Snake & Reptile Farm, Penang Bird Park, among others. So, does Perhilitan really want to have dialogues with P4PHM, a group which clearly does not know the meaning of love for animals?
Bowing to the demands of this group, I’m afraid, will only make animals suffer more and nothing will change for the animals. It will also bring unwanted negative perception of Perhilitan for willing to work with the wrong groups.
It is a shame that the law has to force zoos to buck up, this clearly shows zoos do not care for their animals but only see them as a source for profit. Personally, I believe It is not the lack of resources which is a problem, it’s apathy towards animals.
So 3.4 million people visited Malaysian zoos last year. Whereas Singapore Zoo, which puts every zoo in Malaysia to shame, welcomes 1.6 million visitors every year, according to their website. So 3.4 million visitors in 45 zoos in Malaysia, 1.6 million visitors, one zoo in Singapore. It is hilarious to suggest Malaysian zoos are a popular tourist attraction. Instead, most Malaysian zoos have to be shutdown.
Penguins 'invade' Cape Town's Boulder's beach
Residents surrounding an African penguin viewing spot in South Africa complain of a specie "invasion" and destruction.
People leaving in Cape Town's Boulder's beach and surrounding areas are up in arms, after thousands of penguins "invaded" residential areas and are causing destruction.
The area is famous for being one of the best places to spot the African Penguin and a nature reserve in the area provides a safe haven for the endangered species, protecting the birds from the effects of human settlement, commercial activities and pollution.
Residents, however, are now blaming an increased invasion of penguins on poor infrastructure. A fence built to restrain the birds from wandering inland has not been maintained for many years and is not large enough to contain them.
They say the fence is also full of holes.
In Betty's Bay, 100km from Cape Town, 70-year-old Barbara Wallers pointing to her garden said, "Look what they have done to the bushes here; they have killed all the garden."
Wallers, who has lived in Betty Bay since 1947 said she was used to seeing the occasional penguin in her garden, but they have increased in the last two years, leaving droppings and making a lot of noise.
"The stench, which stinks like hell, which is a health hazard, I get terrible hay fever, sore eyes, ecetera,ecetera. Then we have got all the guano and the feathers and when the wind blows we get all this bloody black rubbish in our house, and the noise at night is unreal...they bellow and bellow
SPCA slams 'unhygienic' zoo
An elephant needs a new home because of unhygienic living standards in the Bloemfontein zoo, the National SPCA said on Wednesday.
"The lack of cleaning staff led to compromising of the hygiene standards and the living conditions of the animals," the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) said in a statement.
These staff shortages included animal keepers, which affected the animals' care and welfare.
Zoo manager Darryl Barnes said they had been struggling to find staff the past few years, but the situation had worsened in recent months.
"The last couple of years, the staff situation has... [become] worse and worse," Barnes said.
The NSPCA said the Mangaung municipal council, which owns and operates the zoo, had agreed to help by hiring casual
Eight Dead in Attack on Virunga National Park Rangers
Mai Mai rebels attacked a ranger patrol early this morning in Virunga National Park, killing two park rangers and one government soldier who was assisting the rangers. Three other government soldiers were seriously wounded – one critically.
The battle ended with five Mai Mai PARECO rebels dead. Two others were wounded and captured. The wounded rebels are in custody at the hospital in Vitshumbi.
The rangers are on duty to protect 200 Endangered mountain gorillas as well as a small population of Critically Endangered Grauer’s eastern lowland gorillas that inhabit the park along with chimpanzees, okapi, forest elephants and buffalo.
Attacks such as these have been on the rise since the most recent eruption of conflict in May, but none have been so deadly, says Virunga National Park Chief Warden Emmanuel de Merode.
"The civil war has brought an influx of militias into the park, intent on poaching and attacking the local population. This is bringing overwhelming pressures on our small team of rangers whose duty it is to protect the wildlife and the people living in and around the park,” said de Merode. "Once again, we are deeply shocked and saddened by the deaths of our colleagues.”
The attack took place at Mwiga Bay, an area just west of the fishing settlement of Vitshumbi on Lake Edward in the park’s central sector, where a recent increase in the presence of armed militias has resulted in a growing number of attacks on park staff.
The outbreak of civil war in May
Cairo - Egypt - Giza Zoo - The second Orangutan "Titi" was transferred to the new orangutans enclosure today, half an hour ago, - 9:00am , 24 October 2012. background: 20 October 2012 - at last the giza zoo management is in process of moving the remaining 2 Orangutans to the new enclosure. This process is taking place now, 8:00 am. 3 Orangutans have been given as present to Giza Zoo 19 May 2010, all were placed in the chimps enclosure as there was no space for the Orangutans. One of the 3 died March 2011, remained 2. After campaigning, the chairperson of GOVS agreed that it was necessary to build and enclosure to the Orangutans.http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151113151203549&set=o.41013815455&type=1&relevant_count=1&ref=nf
From Dina Zulfikar
Cairo – Egypt - October 26, 2012
A meeting has been set today with Undersecretary of States – Central Zoos Director Dr. Fatma Tamam and Dr. Fadia Abbas, Deputy of Central Zoos Director, and Dr. Maha Saber; Senior Vet with Hatem Moushir and Dina Zulfikar; representing a sector of Animal Protection Advocates concerned.
Many issues were discussed, and it was agreed that more regular steady meetings should take place regularly to achieve as much as possible accepted standards in terms of zoos and also welfare of animals.
This is considered a good step in towards achieving the best which can be done, accepted by zoo management and animal welfare people concerned.
We appreciate much the understanding of Central Zoos Director of the animal welfare point of view, and we would sure appreciate efforts done by Central Zoos Director, management and staff to enhance conditions of captive animals in Central Zoos.
We got to understand that efforts are already being done, and this needs to be announced, and we also got to understand that there are obstacles in other points, of which some are not in the hands of Central Zoos, either due to master budget plan by Ministry of Finance or current unrest in the country.
We would continue meetings on regular basis to achieve best possible results under the guidance ,supervision, and support of Undersecretary of States, Central Zoos Director Dr. Fatma Tamam who does want all the Central Zoos to be complying to the best possible standards of conservation and rescue center. The meetings would be about Giza Zoo and all governmental zoos
Elephants staying at Topeka Zoo
Relief tonight from Topeka Zoo director Brendan Wiley after the city council gives its unanimous support for the park's elephant program.
A world-renowned elephant expert gave Topeka's elephant program a stellar review last week, stating the two animals are in excellent health as they approach the end of their life expectancies. The elephants have been together in Topeka for 36 years.
The controversy began at the start of 2012 when animal-rights groups began lobbying city leaders to move Tembo and Sunda to an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee which, they claimed, could better care for the elephants.
Zoo director Brendan Wiley says the harsh criticism has been good for the park. "Has it been a little stressful, has it been a little tiring? Yes,” Wiley said. "Blessing in disguise? Oh, a blessing that is huge.”
The park now has plans to improve its elephant enclosure to create a healthier place for Tembo and Sunda. Wiley says the work can be done at no additional cost to the
USDA Surprises Zoo With Another Elephant Inspection
A complaint from an animal advocacy group triggered a surprise inspection Thursday at the Topeka Zoo.
Zoo director Brendan Wiley said Friday that inspectors from the USDA met with zoo officials and staff, focusing on the elephant exhibit. He says the California-based group In Defense of Animals filed a complaint with the USDA Sept. 21, saying the zoo's two elephants, Tembo and Sunda, are not compatible and should not be housed together.
In Defense of Animals led recent efforts to have the elephants taken out of the zoo and moved to a sanctuary. The debate culminated in a vote from the Topeka City Council this week to support the decision of zoo officials, which is to keep the elephants and make improvements to the exhibit.
Wiley says the USDA issued no report at the end of the visit and did not indicate when they might make a response. He says about half of Thursday's inspection focused on the planned improvements for the zoo’s elephant program.
Wiley points out the USDA is obligated to follow up on every complaint it receives.
The city is currently appealing a citation stemming from a late-August inspection that the zoo
Rhino killed for illegal horn trade
A record number of African rhinos have been killed in South Africa this year, according to a recently published CNN report.
In 2012, it is estimated that 455 rhinos have been slaughtered in South Africa. A London based conservation group called Save the Rhino said 448 rhinos were killed during 2011.
A growing, unsubstantiated belief that their horns can cure cancer has resulted in a high demand for the horn in Southeast Asia.
"It is critical for the South African government to engage with consumer countries and to fight against international syndicates involved in illegal rhino horn trade,” World Wildlife Fund rhino coordinator Jo Shaw, Ph.D., told CNN.
Vietnam is one country which has been complacent in action against
Asiatic Cheetahs on Nat Geo Magazine
National Geographic magazine published extraordinary new images of wild Asiatic cheetahs in Iran in November 2012. Unlike to African cheetahs, Iranian cats are virtually invisible. Intensely shy, scattered like grains of sand over Iran’s vast central plateau, and hovering on the edge of extinction, they are essentially impossible to see. However, SLR camera traps deployed by Nat Geo photographer Frans Lanting in places where are monitored by Iranian biologists have resulted in high quality images of the species from remote and arid environments in the Iranian deserts. It was a partnership between Nat Geo, Iran DoE’ CACP, PWF and Panthera.
Nat Geo article is an important event to raise awareness about the cheetahs in Iran as well as abroad. Formerly, the animals were not enough known among local people, so they were regularly killed because of unawareness and fear among people who supposed the animal as an enemy to themselves and/or their ownership. Presently, word of the cheetah has been spread among people in majority of the country, resulting less human-caused mortality due to above-mentioned reason. However, the cheetahs roam across large
Rarest dog: Ethiopian wolves are genetically vulnerable
Fewer than 500 of Africa's only wolf species are thought to survive.
Now a 12-year study of Ethiopian wolves living in the Ethiopian highlands has found there is little gene flow between the small remaining populations.
That places the wolves at greater risk of extinction from disease, or habitat degradation.
In a study published in the journal Animal Conservation, Dada Gottelli of the Zoological Society of London and colleagues in Oxford, UK and Berlin, Germany, quantified the genetic diversity, population structure and patterns of gene flow among 72 wild-living Ethiopian wolves.
The team sampled wolves living within six of the remaining seven remnant populations, as well as from one population at Mount Choke, that has since become extinct.
They found that genetic diversity was relatively high for a species that has declined to fewer than 500 individuals.
That may be because discrete populations of wolves survived in Africa after the last glaciation period, which ended 18,000 years ago, and a number of rare gene types became fixed and maintained in these separate groups.
However, this isolation is now working against the wolves.
Researchers studied gene types at 14 separate locations on the wolf genome. They found that there is now weak gene flow between the Ethiopian wolf groups.
That could be because, like
Ebola virus found in Kalimantan’s orangutan
Researchers from Airlangga University’s Avian Influenza-zoonosis Research Center in Surabaya, East Java, report that they have detected evidence of Ebola virus in several orangutans in Kalimantan.
Researcher Chairil Anwar Nidom told The Jakarta Post on Friday that 65 serum samples collected from 353 healthy orangutans between December 2005 and December 2006 tested positive for Ebola virus.
"The result should be an early warning for us,” he said.
"In 2006, we collected the samples and froze them because we didn’t have an appropriate laboratory to examine them. We examined them last year,” he added.
Chairil also said that six of 353 samples tested positive for Marburg virus, the similar virus to Ebola that causes Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever.
Further examination, Chairil said, showed that 60 of 65 Ebola-tested samples were similar to the virus found in Africa. "There were only five samples that had the similarity with Ebola virus found in Asia. The other 60 were similar to the Ebola virus found in Zaire, Sudan, Ivory Coast, and Bundibugyo district in Uganda,” he said.
According to Chairil, Ebola virus might still live in some of orangutans’ bodies.
"All I can say is that Ebola could be a threat to humans
Columbus Zoo Breaks Ground on PGAV Destinations’ Latest Master Plan
Safari Africa! slated to offer never-before-seen experiences to visitors
(St. Louis, MO) – Jungle Jack Hanna, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and Franklin County officials recently broke ground with golden shovels for the new PGAV Destinations-designed Safari Africa!
The $30.4 million project will develop 43 acres of the zoo’s current 586-acre expanse and is scheduled to open in May of 2014.
Tom Stalf, interim CEO and president of the Columbus Zoo, said the new exhibit will simulate the look, feel, tastes, smells, and sounds of the African savannah, in addition to a marketplace, new restaurant, and a creative, art-making hub for guests.
An innovative array of close-encounters and a grassland plain safari will offer visitors many opportunities to learn about and interact with some of their long-time favorite animals, as well as some new species, including gazelles, impalas, cheetahs, zebras, monkeys, ostriches, and a pride of lions. Guests will even be able to hand-feed giraffes, zip-line across the savannah, and truly get up-close and personal with the animals and their trainers. "It’s something that’s not been done before,” said Jack Hanna, director emeritus at the Columbus Zoo.
Safari Africa! is the zoo’s first expansion since the opening of the $20 million Polar Frontier in 2010 and is the first project of the comprehensive master plan developed by PGAV Destinations. "We’ve worked very closely with the Columbus Zoo to develop a thorough, strategic business plan for them,” says PGAV Destinations Vice President John Kemper. "Safari Africa! is the first realization of that strategy, bringing together cutting-edge environmental developments for the animals as well as immersive, fun, and exciting experiences for visitors that drive them to become more active and engaged in the mission of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.”
PGAV Destinations has also been involved with the Columbus Zoo’s Zoombezi Bay water park, and will continue to plan and develop the 110-acre space north of Polar Frontier in conjunction with the master plan.