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Zoo News Digest
Jan - Feb 2010


Orangutan survival and the shopping trolley



The challenge of saving the orangutan - man's closest relative - from extinction is trickling down to the weekly shop.

Many of the biscuits, margarines, breads, crisps and even bars of soap that consumers pick off supermarket shelves contain an ingredient that is feeding a growth industry that conservationists say is killing the orangutans.


The mystery ingredient in the mix is palm oil - the cheapest source of vegetable oil available - and one that rarely appears on the label of most products.


Palm oil is grown on land that was once home to the vast rainforests of Borneo, and the natural







Rescued orangutans find sanctuary (Some Video)


Chingo and Jojo are just two of the thousands of orangutans whose lives have been blighted by the destruction of the Indonesian rainforest. Panorama followed their journey from rescue to re-homing.

But what does the future hold for man's closest relative? Demand for palm oil found in many products sold in British supermarkets is feeding the industry that threatens to wipe out







Grizzly bears move into polar bear habitat in Manitoba, Canada


Competition from other bears may threaten a polar bear population


Biologists affiliated with the American Museum of Natural History and City College of the City University of New York have found that grizzly bears are roaming into what was traditionally thought of as polar bear habitat—and into the Canadian province of Manitoba, where they are officially listed as extirpated. The preliminary data was recently published in Canadian Field Naturalist and shows that sightings of Ursus arctos horribilis in Canada's Wapusk National Park are recent and appear to be increasing in frequency.

"Grizzly bears are a new guy on the scene, competition and a potential predator for the polar bears that live in this area," says Robert F. Rockwell, a research associate at the Museum and a professor of Biology at CUNY. "The first time we saw a grizzly we were flying over the middle of Wapusk, counting fox dens, when all of the sudden Linda Gormezano, a graduate student working with Rockwell and a co-author of the paper, shouted 'Over there, over there—a grizzly bear.' And it wasn't a dirty polar bear or a moose—we saw the hump."


That sighting in August 2008 spurred Rockwell and Gormezano to look through records to get a better picture of the bear population in the park. There was no evidence of grizzly bears before 1996, not even in the trapping data from centuries of Hudson Bay Company operation. But between 1996 and 2008 the team found nine confirmed sightings of grizzly bears, and in the summer of 2009 there were three additional observations.


"The opportunistic sightings seem to be increasing," says Gormezano. "This is worrying for the polar bears because grizzly bears would likely hibernate in polar bear maternity denning habitat. They would come out








Historic swan dies at Lincoln Park Zoo


A trumpeter swan who helped hatch a significant piece of Illinois conservation history was euthanized today at Lincoln Park Zoo, where the 14-year-old male had been a familiar sight gliding gracefully alongside his mate in a zoo pond.

Over the years, the pair, which mate for life, produced 37 chicks. So far, 34 of the chicks have been released in the wild, mostly through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, which has run a successful campaign reintroducing trumpeter swans into restored wetlands. It is the largest bird native to the Midwest.


A male chick hatched out by the Lincoln Park pair in 2004 became the male half of the first recorded trumpeter swan pair to nest in Illinois since 1847. In 2006, the younger pair built a nest and successfully raised a clutch of chicks in a 35-acre patch of wetland in Savanna, Illinois.


Trumpeters disappeared from Illinois more than a decade before the Civil War due to overhunting. Only a few dozen were left anywhere early in the 20th century.


The species was thought to be extinct early in the 20th century, until a tiny remnant flock was found in Yellowstone National Park. As state conservation departments










$57m zoo upgrade by Nov


Tourism Minister Joseph Ross said yesterday that the upgrade of the Emperor Valley Zoo is expected to be completed by November 2010 and will cost $56.8 million.


In response to a question in the Senate filed by United National Congress Senator Adesh Nanan, Ross said the Tourism Development Authority has been given the responsibility for the implementation of the master plan for the develop- ment and enhancement of the Emperor Valley Zoo at an estimated cost of $56.8 million.


He said the project comprises 14 construction phases, with phase one being the largest and










Syon Park zoo appeals for moving funds


ONE of Hounslow's most treasured animal charities is appealing for donations as they reveal the site of their possible new home.


Owners of the Tropical Zoo in Syon Park, home of rescued and abandoned exotic animals, feared they could end up homeless after the Duke of Northumberland last year announced they have to move to make way for the Hilton Hotel being built in the park.


However the Indoor zoo, which last week welcomed its 500th animal, a baby Kinkajoo, have announced Hounslow Council may have found them a new home on a










With much ado, main Paris zoo at last gets redo


Paris will soon have a zoo worthy of one of the world's most beautiful cities.


The city's main zoo, in the Vincennes woods on the capital's eastern edge, is getting a euro133 million ($180.57 million) overhaul, thanks to a public-private partnership to fund it.

The zoo has been badly run-down for decades and has not had any major renovations since it opened in 1934.


The animal park will reopen in 2014, putting an emphasis on endangered species, research and education. The French government and zoo officials unveiled the project Wednesday.


The site was closed down in 2008, with most of the animals sent to other zoos —except for giraffes, difficult to transport, and for a hippopotamus










Australian elephant blessed by Buddhist monks


Mali the baby elephant played with a red rubber ball as three Buddhist monks splashed her face with water Thursday in blessing ceremony for the Melbourne Zoo's newest star.

The calf, just under six weeks old, is the second elephant born in Australia and has become the main attraction at the zoo since her Feb. 10 debut.


The Thai Buddhist monks hummed and chanted as Mali played with the ball and ran circles around her mother, Dokkoon, who was brought over from Thailand in November 2006 as part of a program facilitated by the Thai government.


Mali's name was chosen last week by 23,000 Victoria state voters from a list of several suggested by the Thai consulate. Mali is Thai for jasmine.


Elephants are a hallowed national symbol in Thailand, having been long linked with good luck.


"It's a beautiful name for a beautiful calf," said zoo keeper Dan Maloney. "She's growing very quickly, getting more coordinated










Chinese dog becomes surrogate mother to a pair of tiger cubs


A dog has become 'mum' to two tiger cubs after they were rejected at birth.


When the two tiny cubs were born at Xinjiang Tianshan Zoo in China they were immediately abandoned by their birth mother.

"The possible reason may be the tiger is a new mother and she does not know how to deal with the







Thai customs seizes 2 tons of ivory


Thailand has seized two tons of elephant tusks from Africa hidden in pallets labeled as mobile phone parts in the country's largest ivory seizure.

Thai Customs officials valued Wednesday night's haul at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport at 120 million baht ($3.6 million). It is further sign that Thailand is emerging as a hub for the illicit trade.


Poaching of elephants in central and eastern Africa has intensified in recent years, with much of the illegal ivory exported to Asia.


Seree Thaijongrak, the direct of investigation and suppression bureau for the Customs Department, said that acting on a tip, officials seized










Jamshedpur home for tiger


Raghav, a four-year-old male Royal Bengal tiger in the Assam state zoo in Guwahati, will soon leave for a new home at the Tata Steel Zoological Park in Jamshedpur.

"It will be a very sad parting. Raghav was born here," said divisional forest officer Narayan Mahanta.


"Our only hope is that he is shifted before summer sets in otherwise he will find it very difficult to travel all the distance," he said.


The Central Zoo Authority has approved the exchange of Raghav for four jungle fowls and two emus.


Mahanta said things would be finalised within a couple of days.


"I am just waiting for the official communiqué from the Central Zoo Authority. I received a mail giving the go ahead," he said.


At present, the state zoo has nine Royal Bengal tigers, of which










Throw the book at poachers


I REFER to the report "Groups shocked over tiger video on British TV" (Feb 23). Shock is an understatement to explain the response to the behaviour of the poachers in the video. The fact that it has been shown on UK national news is very embarrassing for Malaysia. Now, the video has gone global and is on millions of social networking websites and blogs.


Now more than ever, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and National Parks and Wildlife Department must show that they are serious about taking action and throwing the book at poachers. In the absence of strong wildlife protection legislation, the priority is to prosecute the poachers with the maximum penalty available under the current law.


Under Section 64A of the Protection of Wildlife Act 1972, anyone who kills a tiger, rhino or clouded leopard will be accorded a higher penalty than other listed wildlife. The Act says "Every person who unlawfully shoots, kills or takes a Sumatran rhinoceros, tiger or a clouded leopard or part thereof is guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding RM15,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years".


Although the monetary fine is paltry compared to the








Park saves monkeys from illegal pet trade


Six monkeys have been saved from the Israeli illegal pet trade by Wingham Wildlife Park.


The primates were rescued by a charity which trained monkeys to help people who were paralysed from the neck down.


The charity, Helping Hands, trained tufted capuchin monkeys to give their owners a drink through a straw and operate televisions, fans and doors.


The six animals now in Wingham were part of the charity's breeding programme rather than being trained, but the project was abandoned and the monkeys were given to the Israeli Primate Sanctuary Foundation.


Having previously rescued a group of Barbary Macaques from a sanctuary in the Netherlands, when keepers at Wingham Wildlife Park heard about the animals they decided they had to help out.


The park's new arrivals flew in to Heathrow





Dubai Mall aquarium cracked and leaking (Watch the video)


The lower-ground and ground floor areas were cordoned off and cleaners were seen mopping the floor








Accounting for Tiger Transportation Costs


As someone who has followed tiger conservation and the Chinese tiger breeding program for a decade, I found Shai Oster's article presented both sides of the argument fairly, which is rarely the case on this emotive topic ("China's Tiger Farms Spark a Standoff," Feb. 12).


However, I would like to point out that the World Bank estimates of the cost of raising a tiger in captivity are inaccurate. It is true that it is much cheaper to kill a wild tiger than to raise a captive bred animal. But that wild tiger must be transported across numerous borders to be delivered to the end consumer, whereas the Chinese tiger is already on site. As an illicit good, bribes and payoffs would be required; the rule of thumb is a doubling of price each time the cargo is handed off from one dealer to another. China has imposed the death penalty for trafficking tiger parts, and this strong deterrent further jacks up the price. The World Bank has made an apples-to-oranges comparison. Frankly, it is astonishing







Leopard eats own cub in Orissa zoo


A leopard ate her own cub in an enclosure of the Nandankanan Zoo in Orissa, hampering the captive breeding efforts of the zoo authorities, an official said Saturday.


"We have recovered the severed head of the leopard cub from the enclosure. The mother leopard has eaten the young leopard," the official said.


Two cubs were born to zoo leopards Barsha and Suraj last Sunday. But one died










Zoo 'treats' turn chimp into alcohol, nicotine addict


Frequent "treats" by visitors made a zoo inmate, Zhora the chimp, an alcoholic and nicotine addict, a Russian daily said.


Zoo authorities in Rostov -- 200 km northeast of Moscow -- were quoted by Komsomolskaya Pravda as saying Zhora, who had been brought to the zoo from the Tatarstan republic five years ago, was to be taken back to the republic for treatment in early March.


They said visitors at the zoo frequently gave the chimp, a former circus artist, alcohol and cigarettes










Mauritius anger at British plan to set up protected area around Chagos


The Mauritian government has reacted angrily at the decision of certain well known environmental organisations to endorse the United Kingdom government's plan to set up a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the Chagos Archipelago, APA learns in the Mauritian capital Port Louis on Saturday.


Sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicate that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) together with the Marine Conservation Society, Kew Garden, London Zoo and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) have all backed the British government's project.


The sources declare that the decision of IUCN has created serious dissent within the organisation itself.


The sources indicate that members of the Ethics Group of IUCN, including legal advisers of the IUCN Commission of Environmental Law (CEL) have taken Julia Marton-Lefevre, the Executive Director of IUCN to task for having taken such an unethical decision.


The sources add that Professor Klaus Bosselmann, the President of the Ethics Group and Director of the New Zealand Centre for Environmental Law has, in a statement, declared that "IUCN support for the plan to set up an MPA violates IUCN's commitments towards sustainability








Urge for control puts animals, people at risk


The death of a SeaWorld trainer in Orlando should make us all pause and ponder the consequences of the human desire to subjugate powerful animals.


Forty-two-year-old trainer Dawn Brancheau died Wednesday shortly after an orca show at the park. Witnesses say the temperamental whale, Tilikum, plucked Brancheau off a platform, dragged her into the water and thrashed her about as an orca would when attacking a seal or a dolphin in the wild.


Horrified spectators were rushed out of the area and the park was shut down pending investigation.


The same orca had been involved in two other human deaths, one in Victoria's now-defunct Sealand in 1991 and another in Orlando in 1999.


The incident reminds us there are greater issues here than one rogue orca that killed its trainer. As tragic as that is, it speaks to bigger issues in the human psyche.


The twisted desire of humans to take control over wild animals amounts to little more than a power trip - and yet some of us still seem surprised when those animals behave in a completely natural and understandable way.


Orcas should not be kept in pens for the amusement and profit of people. No matter how caring the trainers or lavish the surroundings, a pen can never replicate the whale's true habitat - the vastness of the ocean where each individual is part of a sophisticated matriarchal society. Every facility that keeps whales, orcas or otherwise, for amusement, should be reconsidering today.


This is not about taking a pot shot at all zoo programs. I do not believe we have to shut down the Toronto Zoo and return all the animals to the wild. But there is a core difference between many zoos and a facility like SeaWorld, where animals are made to perform for our amusement. Many zoo programs preserve rare species, have breeding programs and, occasionally, reintroduce endangered animals to the wild.


But when we only keep exotic animals for our own amusement, and to their detriment, it's a barbaric thing that harkens back to bear baiting or having wild animals tear Christians apart at the Roman circuses.


And the exotic animals in captivity need not be the size of a whale to be in danger or to pose a threat to humans.


In January, police found a deadly Gaboon viper in an east Toronto home. Also last month, Norman Buwalda, 66, was fatally mauled by the 300-kilogram pet tiger he kept on his property in the township of Southwold.


Ontario is the only province that does not have laws forbidding ownership of exotic animals. This must change both for the protection of people, and for the dignity of animals.


There is no reason, other than distorted vanity and a ingrained desire to dominate










Animals Rights Group To Protest Outside A Bristol Zoo


Bristol Animal Rights Collective are planning to protest outside Noah's Ark Zoo Farm today.


The demonstration from 11am will be part of their continuing campaign against Noah's Ark Zoo Farm. They say the aim is to remind members of the public of the ongoing investigation being undertaken by North Somerset Council, in relation to allegations of animal cruelty.


BARC say they've received overwhelming public support from the public at past protests with passing motorists hooting in support of their cause.


Group spokesperson Jo Penny said: "Our position on zoos is that we don't agree with them, it's not any knid of a life inside a zoo for an animal. With the best will in the world you can't recreate an animals natural habitat or diet or the social structures of the groups within the species, any of that, it's impossible to do it."


She added: "Our ultimate aim is to close the zoo. Two ways we're doing that is by putting pressure on the council for them to revoke the zoo's licence and also by getting their visitor numbers down because if people don't go to the zoo they won't be able to operate."


We've also spoken to Noah's Ark Zoo Farm. A spokeman there said: " We expect business as usual tomorrow with little effect from the small number of BARC protestors who might turn up. We strongly defend our excellent record of animal welfare here at Noah's Ark and expect BARCs allegations be refuted by Council inspectors at our zoo inspection taking place shortly."


He added: "It's fair to say that most people in the zoo industry and those who know Noah's Ark have little time for the BARC, who have lied and mis-represented our business several times over










Zoos: cruel captivity or conservation?


Who do you agree with? Read both sides and then vote at the end of the page














Indonesia has been taking serious steps in tiger conservation recently, including the release of two Sumatran tigers, much to the dismay of local residents in the Pengekahan village in West Lampung.


Villagers say they are unable to carry out daily activities ever since the two tigers were released from Aceh earlier this month.


Two other tigers were released in the same area in 2008 and villagers claim the tigers eat their livestock.


"No one goes out at night," said community leader Khusairi












Sea Lion attacks Adelaide keeper


A SEA LION has attacked a keeper at Adelaide Zoo as the animals were being put away for the night.


A small number of visitors were watching the sealion enclosure from the boardwalk about 4.40pm, when male sealion Tasco attacked the keeper, aged in his 20s, inflicting bite wounds to his arm and leg.


The keeper was taken to Royal Adelaide Hospital by ambulance.


An Adelaide Zoo spokeswoman said the keeper was experienced and she did not think the zoo had experienced any similar problems with sealions





British park looks to lynx from past



THEY were some of the biggest animals to roam Britain before being pushed to extinction centuries ago. Now brown bears, wolves, lynx and elk may be reintroduced to the countryside.


A report compiled for Britain's largest national park has identified 23 species that once thrived in Britain and have the potential to live there again. Ecologists said in the draft report that large carnivores, such as wolves, brown bears and the Eurasian lynx, could benefit tourism and the environment.


Campaigners have been pushing for lynx and wolves to be reintroduced because they could control deer numbers, protecting woodland.


Researchers said that it would take at least 250 brown bears and a similar number of wolves to maintain viable populations. But they warned that such large species would be hard to sustain in relatively small areas of land and might threaten livestock.


The report will be presented to the Cairngorms National Park's board later this year, as it considers what species it will attempt to reintroduce into the Scottish Highlands. Dr David Hetherington, a park ecologist, said: ''Of the large carnivores we looked at, the










Meet a unique leopard


Meet Edgar, a handsome cat who has come all the way from Estonia to do nothing less than help save his species.


He plays it cool, of course, lounging around in the snow, lazily gazing at visitors. You'd never know that behind those spots and blue-gray eyes are million-dollar chromosomes.


"Genetically, he is one of the most important leopards in the country," said Scott Mitchell, Erie Zoo president.


Edgar is an Amur leopard -- one of the most endangered big cats in the world. Amur leopards are native to Korea, China and Russia.


"It's estimated that there are less than 240 Amur leopards left in the world -- 100 in European zoos, 80 in U.S. zoos, 10 in Canadian zoos and less than 30 in the wild," said Cindy Kreider, Erie Zoo director.


The reason Edgar is so important is that his genes are not represented in any of the Amur leopard populations in the U.S. He was imported from Europe about 10 weeks ago along with another male Amur leopard that went to the Minnesota Zoo.


"Edgar and the other male are what the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan calls a 'founder,'" said Kreider, who serves as vice chair of the Amur leopard SSP. "Their genes are unrepresented










Species Recovery Program for Snow Leopards etc. in JK


Jammu and Kashmir government has launched Species Recovery Programme (SRP) for the endangered snow leopards, Mrkhor and Kashmiri stags to prevent their extinction.


"Jammu and Kashmir Government's forest department has launched centre aided SRP for three species- snow leopard, Hangul (Kashmiri stags) and Mrkhor- for reversing the extinction process of such species in J-K," Forest Minister Mian Altaf Said here.


"In year 2009, the estimated population of Hungul has been recorded at 175 only," the Minister said.


He said that a breeding centre for Hangul is being established at Shikargah Tral in Kashmir.


"The project, being funded by Central Zoo Authority of India, Dehradun, has been approved by the Minisry of Environment and Forests, Government of India," Altaf said.


It is being funded under the species recovery Programme of centrally sponsored scheme 'Integrated Development of Wild life Habitats', he said.


Five National Parks and 13 Wildlife sanctuaries are presently being controlled and looked after by the State Wildlife Protection Department










Pictured: Lily, the rare three-week old white lion cub cuddles up to a new friend


In the glorious surroundings of Mystic Monkeys & Feathers Wildlife Park in Pretoria, South Africa, three-week old white lion cub Lily feels safe at last.


The rare creature was only born on February 8 to parents Alex and Saharav but had to be taken away for her own safety as her father had begun to show signs of aggression towards her.


Now, though, she has found someone much more tranquil










Zoo plans deep look into history



Photos sought for coffee-table book


Donna Bennett wishes she'd jotted down the contact information for a woman she met a year ago during a slide show about the early days of Mesker Park Zoo — before it had Botanic Garden attached to its name.


"She was in her 90s and grew up in a house that faced Garvin Park when the city got its first zoo animals," said Bennett, the zoo's administrative assistant. "Maybe












At Fort Worth Zoo, a world-class collection is given a world-class home


For years, Fort Worth Zoo Director Michael Fouraker and his top curator of coldblooded animals felt that many of nature's masterpieces weren't getting their due.


Creatures as artistically and evolutionally marvelous as the green mamba, Utila Island iguana and Chiricahua leopard frog lived in a plain-Jane box, a half-century-old building crumbling slowly from overuse by millions of energetic children and cramped keepers.


Fouraker and curator Diane Barber knew that a new "snake house" was needed for plumbing and electrical reasons alone. But they also imagined a place that elicited less screaming and more awe from children who have made the reptiles and amphibians some of the most popular animals at the park.


"If you take those same kids to a museum, they are quieter and more attentive," Fouraker said. "We kept thinking, 'How do we create that museum atmosphere where the kids look at the scales, the colors and the patterns of the animals, to where they stop and look and see what is really there in front of them?'"


Their answer was just to simply call it a museum, the Museum of Living Art.


What neither of them anticipated then, in the early 2000s, was that selecting that name would launch the zoo on a course no other zoo in North America had yet charted -- raising millions of dollars to build an architecturally significant and striking herpetarium for animals that have long lived in the shadows of the great apes, eleph










Columbus Zoo defends releasing manatee into the wild


One from here died, another became ill from unsually cold Florida weather


Winter cold recently killed one former Columbus Zoo and Aquarium manatee and hospitalized another, but zoo officials still believe in the federal program to rescue and release the gentle mammals.


"The objective is to get them back into the wild where they can reproduce," said Doug Warmolts, assistant director of living collections at the Columbus Zoo. "Once they're out there, they're subject to all the threats an everyday manatee has."

Gene, a Columbus Zoo manatee from 1999 to 2005, died last month from cold stress brought on by an unusually long spell of cold temperatures in Florida. He'd been released there three years ago after living in captivity for 30 years.


Another former Columbus manatee, Hurricane, was suffering from






Train hits five elephants, two dead


A goods train knocked down a herd of five elephants crossing the track on the outskirts of the city, killing two of them and injuring three others, including a calf, today.


Assam state zoo director Narayan Mahanta said the herd was crossing the track along the Deepor beel to drink water when they were hit by the train around 12.15 pm. Last year, one elephant had died at the same area.


Two female pachyderms died on the spot. Three others, including a calf, were seriously injured and they were brought to the state zoo for treatment.


The adjacent forest along the Deepor






Zoo partners with SWAT team for animal emergencies


Over its 135-year history, the Buffalo Zoo has never needed a sharpshooter to confront a predator on the loose.


And though it doesn't expect to confront that scenario anytime soon, the zoo is asking the Buffalo Police Department's Special Weapons and Tactics team to be ready to answer the call, just in case.


Members of the police unit have toured the Delaware Park zoological gardens to familiarize themselves with the layout — especially exhibits containing dangerous animals—and a memorandum of understanding between the zoo and the police is being readied, zoo President Donna M. Fernandes said.


The arrangement will include an emergency phone line to the SWAT team, she said.


Rifles always have been kept handy on zoo grounds, and the staff invariably included one or more marksmen capable of dealing with an animal escape or an attack on a keeper. Firing a sedative dart to immobilize the critter would










Fresh start for little kiwis


Auckland Zoo has reached a milestone with the 200th and 201st kiwi to be incubated and hatched at zoo being released on Motuora Island in the Hauraki Gulf.


The two kiwis are part of the BNZ Operation Nest Egg programme which has been running since 1996.

As part of the programme, kiwi eggs are pulled from the wild in Northland, incubated and released into a pest-free zone for a year or so while they get strong enough to protect themselves against predators.


Northland brown kiwi have been struggling against predators for years and Auckland Zoo's NZ Fauna curator Ian Fraser says the 200 birds they have released could produce







When Orcas Strike Back



How Orky and Kasatka Almost Sank Sea World


Sometimes a singular incident can trigger a wave of enormous and lasting proportions. In late 1987, one such wave washed over Sea World, San Diego and sent the entertainment park's owner, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, tumbling in the wake. The media was investigating park operations. Protesters picketed the front gates. Lawsuits drained the corporate coffers. Even the normally tame OSHA in on the act and issued a report censuring the park. In the end, Sea World had to sacrifice its own staff to survive. The park president, chief trainer, zoological director, and public relations chief were all fired. It was a little less than two years later when the wave finally receded and claimed its last victim. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich quit the aquarium business and sold its parks.




The incident, which began this whole process, happened during a weekend performance on November 21st. A trainer was riding on the back on a killer whale, when another leapt into air and landed squarely upon the individual. The man, who had been training orcas for two years, was crushed. His ribs, pelvis, and femur were all broken into pieces. He would survive, but only barely. "It was a timing problem," a spokesperson stated afterwards. "It was absolutely not an aggressive act on the part of the whale." Orky, the whale referred to, made a mistake. Yet others were not so sure.




As the pressure mounted on Sea World, new facts started to emerge. It was soon reported that three trainers had been injured in the past three months. According to the park, these were minor scraps. No big deal. Later, though, more numbers came out. There had been fourteen separate injuries in past the five months. Some were not overly serious, such as bites to the hands. But others were. Trainers had been rammed while in the water. In fact, among the fourteen injuries at the San Diego park, at least three had involved neck and back trauma. In June, an orca named Kandu jumped on top of a person during a rehearsal. In March, Orky actually grabbed a hold of a trainer during a performance and pulled the person down to bottom of the thirty-two foot deep tank. He then rushed to the surface and spat the trainer out. At which time, another whale slammed into the individual. With the person floundering about, Orky grasped onto the man once again and pulled him under. The attack lasted two and half minutes, and the trainer was taken to the hospital with broken ribs, a ruptured kidney, and a lacerated liver.




Subsequent lawsuits would release the next round of revelations about Sea World. We would, for example, find out that orcas have "dangerous propensities." As one trainer spoke candidly about the attacks: "it's not [a question of] if but a when." We would discover that Orky himself was partially blind and had additional, severe health problems. Yet Sea World forced him to perform anyway. So damning was the evidence given in the trial for the November 21st incident that Harcourt and Brace lawyers cleared the courtroom beforehand and had the majority of the records sealed from public view at the conclusion. But the trouble did not stop there, as OSHA was ready to issue its findings. The report, which was made public, concluded that Sea World's orcas were under a tremendous amount of stress and that this factor could have been a central cause in the attacks. This was not an unsubstantiated hypothesis.




Sea World orcas work as many as eight shows a day, 365 days a year. In the ocean, these whales can swim up to ninety miles a day. In captivity, the tanks are measured in feet. In the ocean, orcas have a highly evolved and cohesive matriarchal culture. Generations of family members, combining both females and males, spend their entire lives together—with each family, or pod, having its own unique form of dialect. In captivity, little to none of this exists. Their culture is effectively destroyed. Indeed, lawyers for Harcourt and Brace wasted little time in dealing with OSHA. The federal office withdrew its findings almost as quickly as it sent them out and made a public mea culpa. Nonetheless the damage had already been done.




Sea World was forced to admit that it had a problem. "A series of accidents [had occurred] that are more serious than we've had in a short period before," a high-ranking administrator stated for the record. The theme park would, he went on to promise, thoroughly review each of the incidents, so that "new safety measures" could be devised and implemented. In the meanwhile, the orca shows would continue, but no trainers would be allowed in the water. "I don't know," the individual continued, "how long it will be" before they are permitted back in. Behind the scenes, Sea World was grappling with a different issue. Namely, what it was going to do with Orky—for all of this trouble began in the spring when he first arrived to San Diego.




Orky and Corky had been the star attractions at Marineland since the early 1970s. Located in the Palos Verdes section of Los Angeles, the ocean-aquarium was California's first theme park. Orky and Corky themselves came to Marineland in 1968 after being captured off the coast of British Columbia. They were just a year or two old. This is, in fact, the best time to take orcas. For when they reach adolescence, controlling them becomes far more difficult. Orcas begin to resist. In the case of Orky, he became, in the words of one trainer, "gruff," "stubborn," and plain "exasperating." The most notable incident involving the whale took .....







Feed Pete Peterson to the Whales


Call him, just for now, Spartacus. He was two years old when the slavers captured him in 1982 and hauled him off to Oak Bay, near the town of Victoria, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, in the far Canadian west. And there he met his fellow slaves, Nootka and Haida. Day after day, in slave school they learned their tricks. Day after day, they did their act for the paying customers. And then, on February 20, 1991, in the tank operated by Sealand of the Pacific, the three struck back at their captors.


Okay, not Spartacus, but an orca whale – Tillikum, the one who drowned 40-year-old Dawn Brancheau last Wednesday in the Shamu tank, at SeaWorld, Orlando, after grabbing her by her ponytail. Tillikum was caught off Iceland. Nootka and Haida, both females, were seized in the Pacific. In fact, Nootka was the third orca by that name to be bought by Sealand. The first two died within a year of their capture. At that time, enslaved orcas had a life expectancy in captivity of anywhere from one to four years. These days they do a bit better. In wild waters, orcas live to be anywhere from 30 to 60.


By the time of the 1991 slave revolt, Nootka III already had a couple of priors back in 1989, when she'd attacked trainers twice. Then, on Feb. 20, 1991, Keltie Byrne, a 20-year-old marine biology student, champion swimmer and part-time trainer, slipped while she was riding on the head of one of the orcas. Tillikum, Nootka and Haida took turns in dragging her beyond reach of trainers trying to hook her out with long poles. As Jason Hribal, author of our forthcoming CounterPunch/AK Press book Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden Story of Animal Resistance, reconstructed the episode on our CounterPunch site,


"`The whale got her foot,' an audience member recalled, `and pulled her in.' We do not know which orca it was that started it, but all three, Nootka, Haida, and Tillikum, took their turns dunking the screaming woman underwater. `She went up and down three times,' another visitor continued. The Sealand employees `almost got her once with the hook pole, but they couldn't because the whales were moving so fast.' One trainer tossed out a floatation ring, but the whales would not let her grab it. In fact, the closer that such devices got to the young woman, the further out the whales pulled her into the pool. It took park officials two hours to recover her drowned body."


As is typical with theme parks in the business of exploiting animals, whether whales or elephants or some other captive breed, Sealand tried to pass off the disaster as a one-in-a-thousand mishap – sort of a bad-hair day for orcas. The citizens of Vancouver Island didn't see it that way. Many said the whales had understandably mutinied against their ghastly imprisonment and exploitation and should be freed. They started picketing Sealand. The company trotted out the usual story that captive orcas actually like being slaves, forced to work 365 days a year, several times a day and, if freed, would swiftly die. What is meant here is that slave orcas are worth a lot of money – up to a cool million each, which explains why Russia has now lifted its ban on orca trafficking.


There are actually quite detailed Canadian laws governing the export of wild creatures. Sealand, soon to go out of business, got the permits by saying the whales needed to be sent south to the U.S. for "medical reasons." Sold to the SeaWorld empire, Tillikum was shipped off under cover of darkness to Orlando, Florida. Nootka followed, and died there in 1994 at the age of 13. Haida and her calf Ky ended up in SeaWorld, San Antonio. Haida died in 2001 but imparted the spirit of rebellion to Ky, who nearly killed his trainer in 2004.


SeaWorld got its start in the mid-1960s, founded by four UCLA grads planning to run an underwater restaurant and marine life exhibit. After various ups and downs, in the late 1980s, the three SeaWorlds passed into the hands of the vast brewing conglomerate Annheuser-Busch, which pumped millions into upgrades, finally selling the theme parks to the Blackstone Group for $2.7 billion in 2009.


So, there's a lot riding on the slave orcas toiling away (according to a SeaWorld official, as many as 8 times per a day, 365 days a year) as the star attractions in each of the Shamu stadiums. The first Shamu was put to work in the San Diego SeaWorld, now on its fifty-first "Shamu" – one of 20 enslaved orcas presently owned by Blackstone. Tillikum's asset value is enhanced by his duties as a sperm donor. He's a breeding "stud" often kept in solitary, away from the other orcas. One of his








SeaWorld killer whale attacks trainer: latest in string of deaths


An animal trainer died after being attacked by a killer whale at the SeaWorld amusement park in Orlando, Florida, as horrified visitors looked on.


Dawn Brancheau, 40, was killed after the 30-year-old, 12,300-pound bull orca named Tilikum, jumped out of a tank, grabbed her around the waist and pulled her underwater.


Her death is the latest in a string of fatalities involving experienced animal trainers and wildlife experts.


December 2009: Alexis Martinez Hernandez, 29, a wildlife trainer, fell from a whale and crushed his rib cage at Loro Parque on the Spanish island of Tenerife. Park officials said the whale, a 14-year-old named Keto, made an unusual move as the pair rehearsed a stunt in which the whale lifts the trainer and leaps into the air.


October 2009: Anton Turner, a British safari guide, was killed when he was charged down by an elephant during filming of a BBC children's programme in Tanzania. The 38-year-old had been assisting a television crew in shooting an episode of the CBBC series Serious Explorers, which traces the footsteps of explorer David Livingstone in Africa. Friends described him as "one of the most experienced" people with elephants in the world.


April 2008: Stephan Miller, an American animal trainer and Hollywood stunt double, died after he was mauled by a five-year old grizzly bear named Rocky in San Bernardino, California. The 7ft6ins, 50 stone animal bit Miller once on the back of the neck. Miller, 39, the founder and owner of Predators in Action – a company that trains wild animals for film and television appearances – died almost instantly. Rocky has appeared in the Hollywood movie Semi-Pro starring Will Ferrell.


April 2007: A trainer was killed and more than 20 onlookers injured when an elephant went on the rampage at a ceremonial festival in the south Indian state of Kerala. The man was picked up by the elephant, called Vinayan, using its trunk, and trampled to death.


September 2006: Stephen Irwin, the Australian wildlife expert, died after being fatally pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming on the Great Barrier Reef. Nicknamed "The Crocodile Hunter", Irwin, 44, had become a television personality through a series of nature programmes in which he seemingly brazenly handled crocodiles, snakes and other deadly species.


March 1991: Pamela Orsi, 27, an animal trainer, was trampled to death as she tried to break up a fight between two elephants at San Diego Wild Animal Park, California. She










Orca attack that leaves SeaWorld Orlando trainer dead called an accident


A killer whale attacked and killed a trainer in front of a horrified audience at a SeaWorld show Wednesday, with witnesses saying the animal involved in two previous deaths dragged the trainer under and thrashed her around violently.


Distraught audience members were hustled out of the stadium, and the park was immediately closed.


Veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau, 40, was one of the park's most experienced. It wasn't clear if she drowned or died from the thrashing.


SeaWorld spokesman Fred Jacobs confirmed the whale was Tilikum, one of three orcas blamed for killing a trainer who lost her balance and fell in the pool with them in 1991 at Sealand of the Pacific in Victoria, British Columbia.


Tilikum was also involved in a 1999 death, when the body of a man who had sneaked by Orlando SeaWorld security was found draped over him. The man either jumped, fell or was pulled into the frigid water and died of hypothermia, though he was also bruised and scratched by Tilikum.


A retired couple from Michigan told The Associated Press that Wednesday's killing happened as a noontime show was winding down, with some in the audience staying to watch the animals and trainers.


Eldon Skaggs, 72, said Brancheau was on a platform with the whale and was massaging it. He said the interaction appeared leisurely and informal.


Then, Skaggs said, the whale "pulled her under and started swimming around with her."


Skaggs said an alarm sounded and staff rushed the audience out of the stadium as workers scrambled around with nets.


Skaggs said he heard that during an earlier show the whale was not responding to directions. Others who attended the earlier show said the whale was behaving like an ornery child.


The couple left and didn't find out until later that the trainer had died.


"We were just a little bit stunned," said Skaggs' wife, Sue Nichols, 67.


Another audience member, Victoria Biniak, told WKMG-TV the whale "took off really fast in the tank, and then he came back, shot up in the air, grabbed the trainer by the waist and started thrashing around, and one of her shoes flew off."


But Jim Solomons of the Orlando County Sheriff's Office said Brancheau slipped or fell into the whale's tank, which seemed to contradict Biniak's description.


Authorities provided few immediate details. SeaWorld in San Diego also suspended its killer whale show after Brancheau's death. It is not clear if the killer whale show has been suspended at SeaWorld's San Antonio location, which is closed until the weekend.


According to a profile of Brancheau in the Orlando Sentinel in 2006, she was one of SeaWorld Orlando's leading trainers. It was apparently a trip to SeaWorld at age 9 that made her want to follow that career path.


"I remember walking down the aisle (of Shamu Stadium) and telling my mom, 'This is what I want to do,"' she said in the article.


Brancheau worked her way into a leadership role at Shamu Stadium during her 12-year career with SeaWorld, starting at the Sea Lion & Otter Stadium before spending the past 10 years working with killer whales, the newspaper said.


She also addressed the dangers of the job.


"You can't put yourself in the water unless you trust them and they trust you," Brancheau said.


Steve McCulloch, founder and program manager at the Marine Mammal Research and Conservation Program at Harbor Branch/Florida Atlantic University, said the whale may have been playing, but it is too early to tell.


"I wouldn't jump to conclusions," he said. "These are very large powerful marine mammals. They exhibit this type of behavior in the wild.


"Nobody cares more about the animal than the trainer. It's just hard to fathom that this has happened."


Mike Wald, a spokesman for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration office in Atlanta, said his agency had dispatched an investigator from Tampa.


Wednesday's death was not the first attack on whale trainers at SeaWorld parks.


In November 2006, a trainer was bitten and held underwater several times by a killer whale during a show at SeaWorld's San Diego park.


The trainer, Kenneth Peters, escaped with a broken foot. The 17-foot orca that attacked him was the dominant female of SeaWorld San Diego's seven killer whales. She had attacked Peters two other times, in 1993 and 1999.


In 2004, another whale at the company's San Antonio park tried to hit one of the trainers and attempted to bite him. He also escaped.


In December, a whale drowned a trainer at a Spanish zoo.


Then there was the July 1999 incident at the Orlando SeaWorld, when the body of a naked,seaworld-orca-trainer-death-022410.article








Bob Barker Letter To SeaWorld Owners


Dear Mr. James:


I am writing on behalf my friends at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and their more than 2 million members and supporters around the world, as well as everyone who wants to see whales and dolphins living free in their ocean homes and human beings protected from needless attacks when those animals are kept in captivity.


The death of yet another trainer at SeaWorld did not have to happen, and I must appeal to you to take strong action now so that it never happens again. I know that the Blackstone Group was asked to close the SeaWorld theme parks when you acquired them last year. I urge you to make that humane move now and to start moving the captive orcas and other marine mammals to transitional coastal and wildlife sanctuaries and replace them with state-of-the-art virtual reality exhibits such as those used in the hugely popular "Walking With Dinosaurs" exhibits that wow youngsters and adults alike. The experience would be like watching free-living wild animals, whereas captive animals' unnatural and neurotic behavior patterns







SeaWorld Death Has Zoo Officials Talking Safety


Officials now say it may have been the ponytail of the trainer that caused an Orca Whale at SeaWorld to snap.


40-year-old Dawn Brancheau, who is from Indiana, most likely died of traumatic injuries according to doctors.


At a show at SeaWorld in Orlando Wednesday the veteran trainer was pulled from a platform and dragged under the water by a Killer Whale named 'Tilly'.


Here in Fort Wayne, zoo officials talk about safety measures they take with all wild animals.


Fort Wayne Children's Zoo Director Jim Anderson says, "We had a keeper severely injured by a tiger...oh, six, eight, ten years ago. Mistakes were made. All you can do...all we can do and we work with our keepers all the time is think safety. Think safety. Every employee in







Urge for control puts animals, people at risk


The death of a SeaWorld trainer in Orlando should make us all pause and ponder the consequences of the human desire to subjugate powerful animals.


Forty-two-year-old trainer Dawn Brancheau died Wednesday shortly after an orca show at the park. Witnesses say the temperamental whale, Tilikum, plucked Brancheau off a platform, dragged her into the water and thrashed her about as an orca would when attacking a seal or a dolphin in the wild.


Horrified spectators were rushed out of the area and the park was shut down pending investigation.


The same orca had been involved in two other human deaths, one in Victoria's now-defunct Sealand in 1991 and another in Orlando in 1999.


The incident reminds us there are greater issues here than one rogue orca that killed its trainer. As tragic as that is, it speaks to bigger issues in the human psyche.


The twisted desire of humans to take control over wild animals amounts to little more than a power trip - and yet some of us still seem surprised when those animals behave in a completely natural and understandable way.


Orcas should not be kept in pens for the amusement and profit of people. No matter how caring the trainers or lavish the surroundings, a pen can never replicate the whale's true habitat - the vastness of the ocean where each individual is part of a sophisticated matriarchal society. Every facility that keeps whales, orcas or otherwise, for amusement, should be reconsidering today.


This is not about taking a pot shot at all zoo programs. I do not believe we have to shut down the Toronto Zoo and return all the animals to the wild. But there is a core difference between many zoos and a facility like SeaWorld, where animals are made to perform for our amusement. Many zoo programs preserve rare species, have breeding programs and, occasionally, reintroduce endangered animals to the wild.


But when we only keep exotic animals for our own amusement, and to their detriment, it's a barbaric thing that harkens back to bear baiting or having wild animals tear Christians apart at the Roman circuses.


And the exotic animals in captivity need not be the size of a whale to be in danger or to pose a threat to humans.


In January, police found a deadly Gaboon viper in an east Toronto home. Also last month, Norman Buwalda, 66, was fatally mauled by the 300-kilogram pet tiger he kept on his property in the township of Southwold.


Ontario is the only province that does not have laws forbidding ownership of exotic animals. This must change both for the protection of people, and for the dignity of animals.


There is no reason, other than distorted vanity and a ingrained desire to dominate





Sea World death proves we should leave wild animals alone: Sa


The death of a SeaWorld trainer in Orlando should make us all pause and ponder the consequences of the human desire to subjugate powerful animals.


Forty-two-year-old trainer Dawn Brancheau died this past Wednesday shortly after an orca show at the park. Witnesses say the temperamental whale, Tilikum, plucked Brancheau off a platform, then dragged her into the water and thrashed her about as an orca would when attacking a seal or a dolphin in the wild.


Horrified spectators were rushed out of the area and the park was shut down pending investigation.


The same orca had been involved in two other human deaths, one in Victoria's now-defunct Sealand in 1991 and another in Orlando in 1999.


The incident reminds us there are greater issues here than one rogue orca who killed its trainer. As tragic as that is, it speaks to bigger issues in the human psyche.


The twisted desire of humans to take control over wild animals amounts to little more than a power trip — and yet some of us still seem surprised when those animals behave in a completely natural and understandable way.


Orcas should not be kept in pens for the amusement and profit of people. No matter how caring the trainers or lavish the surroundings, a pen can never replicate the whale's true habitat — the vastness







Experts calls for SeaWorld to free Tilikum (Tilly), aquarium refuses to part with whale


According to a whale expert, the 12,000-pound orca that killed a SeaWorld Orlando trainer this week should be given a chance to live out his days at sea. The expert, Naomi Rose, said the whale, Tilikum, should never be trusted around humans and deserves to be in the wild.


SeaWorld President Jim Atchison said SeaWorld will not part with its enormous whale, despite it having been involved in three human deaths. Tilikum is an important part of the team at SeaWorld and still has value to the aquarium.


"He is a very important part of our team," Atchison said. "This is one of the largest marine life facilities in the world. We have created an extraordinary opportunity for people to get up close. We can educate people. We make no apologies for that."


According to Rose, a scientist with Human Society International, using the whale for economic gain is the equivalent of turning the animal into novelty act.


"They are predators in the wild," Rose said, "and we make them into circus performers that can be touched and hugged and kissed. How is that education?"


Rose said the time has come to allow Tilikum the same freedom given to Keiko, the






Free Willy? Free Tilli


You can take an animal out of the wild, but you can't take the wild out of an animal.


Tillikum, a killer whale, was implicated in the death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau last Wednesday after he pulled her into his tank where she drowned.


Tillikum was blamed for the death of a trainer in 1991 and a man in 1999 as well. It should also be noted that all of the whales participating in SeaWorld's show last Wednesday were not cooperating with the trainers, which shows that Brancheau's death was not a freak accident, but rather a manifestation of the larger issue at hand: the keeping of animals, especially large, predatory animals, in captivity.


Other SeaWorld trainers are attempting to gloss over the underlying problem by chalking Brancheau's death up to her "swinging ponytail." It's possible that Brancheau's hairstyle was responsible for triggering a menacing sense of playfuln






Sea World death proves we should leave wild animals alone: Sa


The death of a SeaWorld trainer in Orlando should make us all pause and ponder the consequences of the human desire to subjugate powerful animals.


Forty-two-year-old trainer Dawn Brancheau died this past Wednesday shortly after an orca show at the park. Witnesses say the temperamental whale, Tilikum, plucked Brancheau off a platform, then dragged her into the water and thrashed her about as an orca would when attacking a seal or a dolphin in the wild.


Horrified spectators were rushed out of the area and the park was shut down pending investigation.


The same orca had been involved in two other human deaths, one in Victoria's now-defunct Sealand in 1991 and another in Orlando in 1999.


The incident reminds us there are greater issues here than one rogue orca who killed its trainer. As tragic as that is, it speaks to bigger issues in the human psyche.


The twisted desire of humans to take control over wild animals amounts to little more than a power trip — and yet some of us still seem surprised when those animals behave in a completely natural and understandable way.


Orcas should not be kept in pens for the amusement and profit of people. No matter how caring the trainers or lavish the surroundings, a pen can never replicate the whale's true habitat — the vastness







Killer whale shows to restart at SeaWorld (Watch Video Statement)


SeaWorld in Florida will restart some of its killer whale shows on Saturday, the president of the company has said, following the death of one of its trainers on Wednesday.



Jim Atchison said Tilikum, the whale involved in the incident in which Dawn Brancheau drowned, would not be punished.



He announced a review of "in-water interactions" with the park's killer whales, before reading out a statement from Mrs Brancheau's family.







SeaWorld killer whale attacks trainer: latest in string of deaths


An animal trainer died after being attacked by a killer whale at the SeaWorld amusement park in Orlando, Florida, as horrified visitors looked on.


Dawn Brancheau, 40, was killed after the 30-year-old, 12,300-pound bull orca named Tilikum, jumped out of a tank, grabbed her around the waist and pulled her underwater.


Her death is the latest in a string of fatalities involving experienced animal trainers and wildlife experts.


December 2009: Alexis Martinez Hernandez, 29, a wildlife trainer, fell from a whale and crushed his rib cage at Loro Parque on the Spanish island of Tenerife. Park officials said the whale, a 14-year-old named Keto, made an unusual move as the pair rehearsed a stunt in which the whale lifts the trainer and leaps into the air.


October 2009: Anton Turner, a British safari guide, was killed when he was charged down by an elephant during filming of a BBC children's programme in Tanzania. The 38-year-old had been assisting a television crew in shooting an episode of the CBBC series Serious Explorers, which traces the footsteps of explorer David Livingstone in Africa. Friends described him as "one of the most experienced" people with elephants in the world.


April 2008: Stephan Miller, an American animal trainer and Hollywood stunt double, died after he was mauled by a five-year old grizzly bear named Rocky in San Bernardino, California. The 7ft6ins, 50 stone animal bit Miller once on the back of the neck. Miller, 39, the founder and owner of Predators in Action – a company that trains wild animals for film and television appearances – died almost instantly. Rocky has appeared in the Hollywood movie Semi-Pro starring Will Ferrell.


April 2007: A trainer was killed and more than 20 onlookers injured when an elephant went on the rampage at a ceremonial festival in the south Indian state of Kerala. The man was picked up by the elephant, called Vinayan, using its trunk, and trampled to death.


September 2006: Stephen Irwin, the Australian wildlife expert, died after being fatally pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming on the Great Barrier Reef. Nicknamed "The Crocodile Hunter", Irwin, 44, had become a television personality through a series of nature programmes in which he seemingly brazenly handled crocodiles, snakes and other deadly species.



March 1991: Pamela Orsi, 27, an animal trainer, was trampled to death as she tried to break up a fight between two elephants at San Diego Wild Animal Park, California. She



90-year-old cockatoo eyes Guinness record


He used to have a mass of white feathers and on his head was a crest that unfolded like an umbrella. But at 90, this umbrella cockatoo swings silently in his cage, shivering even when the midday sun is up.

The cockatoo, named Arthur, may have exceeded the average lifespan of birds like him, but he has lost all his pearly white feathers and his gorgeous crest.

His custodians strive to take good care of him in the hopes that Arthur will beat the current Guinness title holder for the oldest umbrella cockatoo, which is 130 years old.

"Let us see if Arthur can beat the existing Guinness title holder," said Giovanni Stephen Romarate, officer-in-charge of the Cebu City Zoo.

Arthur was a pet of Romarate's grandfather who lived in the town of Dalaguete, Cebu province, but his grandfather, Guillermo Canaya died at the age of 84 years old. Arthur was left in the custody of his father.

Early this year, Romarate brought Arthur to the zoo to let him live among other animals.

"I just recently brought him to the zoo because my father first hesitated because Arthur is so old he came l from my grandfather," Romarate explained.

Arthur is the oldest of all 68 animals in the Cebu City Zoo in barangay Kalunasan, Cebu City.

Romarate said most umbrella cockatoos, also known as white-crested cockatoos, get cataracts past 40 years of age but Arthur was well taken care of by his family.

"They used to sing a duet 'My Way' and 'Matud Nila' with my lolo but his voice box


AZA both advocate and regulator

The organization deciding the fate of the Topeka Zoo's accreditation next month walks the line between being an advocate for its members and being their watchdog.

A panel for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums on March 3 will hear the Topeka Zoo's case for why it should retain accreditation, a status that provides the facility numerous privileges.

The AZA, founded in 1924, is "dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science and recreation," its Web site says.

While the U.S. Department of Agriculture enforces the Animal Welfare Act and has the legal teeth to close a zoo, the AZA is a nonprofit organization whose accreditation is seen as the gold standard in the zoo world.

But a national animal advocacy group and a former Topeka Zoo employee say the AZA is more interested in promoting zoos than in ensuring animals' welfare.

They point to the financial benefits the AZA receives from keeping the Topeka Zoo as a member. They also note the organization's reaccreditation report for the zoo in 2007 didn't mention any of the animal deaths that only later would come to light.

The AZA says it has dual roles. It acts as a trade organization promoting its membership — zoos in this case. But it also has an independent accrediting arm, and an AZA official points to the zoo accreditations it has revoked in recent years as proof it isn't pulling its punches.

Status symbol

Most at stake for the Topeka Zoo when it goes before the AZA accreditation commission next month is its reputation.

"Losing accreditation doesn't mean you can't operate, but you lose the status of being one of the best in the country," said AZA spokesman Steve Feldman.

Without that status, Feldman said it is difficult to attract top talent, which can exacerbate any problems at a zoo.

But the zoo also risks not being able to loan its animals to other AZA zoos or being able to accept loaned animals. Asked if any animals currently on loan to the Topeka Zoo from accredited zoos would have to be returned, Feldman said some zoos that own animals "only prefer to have those animals in accredited institutions, but not necessarily."

Dual roles

Catherine Doyle questions whether the AZA has a conflict of interest in reviewing the zoo's operations.

Doyle, campaign director for the advocacy group In Defense of Animals, said the AZA's nature was illustrated in what she termed knee-jerk support for the Topeka Zoo.

In a September letter to the editor in The Topeka Capital-Journal, AZA executive director Kristin Vehrs responded to a recent story about a hippopotamus dying hours after she was discovered in 108-degree water. Animals dying are a part of the "circle of life," Vehrs wrote.

"For the article to portray this most natural of occurrences as unusual does a disservice to readers," she wrote.

Doyle points to a Kansas State University veterinarian's subsequent report stating the unnatural water temperature significantly contributed to the hippo's death.

"Like any other trade group, the AZA promotes the interests of its members," she said. "That's not the same as the interests of the animals."

Doyle said the AZA gives no particular weight to animal welfare during its big-picture accreditation reviews, "no more than signage or concessions."

Feldman said the AZA serves in numerous capacities. Vehrs was writing in support for one of the AZA's members, Feldman said, but her role is separate from the accreditation program. He said that arm of the AZA is independent from its trade organization and has offered progressively tougher standards in its 35 years of existence.

"It's the toughest in the world, and that's why the zoo is relying on the AZA," Feldman said.

'Good old boys'

Terry Gingrich, a 17-year operations worker at the zoo who recently was laid off, said the AZA reminds him of a "good old boy's club."

"As long as you're paying your fee, everything is OK," he said in a recent interview.

Since 2000, the zoo has paid $62,000 to the AZA in the form of annual institutional dues, individual fees and educational services.

Feldman said approximately 60 percent of the AZA's budget is derived from member payments. But that doesn't affect the "very serious and meaningful" accreditation process.

"It's fairly common for organizations to charge fees for that membership service, but that doesn't compromise the integrity or the toughness of assessment," he said.

He pointed to hospitals as an example of facilities that are accredited by organizations that receive dues from the members it has to review.

Gingrich and Doyle questioned how thorough the AZA's 2007 accreditation inspection could be if it didn't turn up any of the animal care issues subsequently cited by the USDA.

On the West Coast, the AZA was criticized for its accreditation process in 2007 after a tiger killed three men at the San Francisco Zoo. The tiger's containment wall was under the standards of the AZA, though it had accredited the zoo three years earlier without noting a problem.

Feldman said at the time the wall heights were just guidelines and that a zoo could still be deemed safe as long as there was protection against tiger escapes.

Doyle said the AZA often grants variances for zoos not in compliance, something Gingrich said happened in Topeka.

"They have these guidelines that they're supposed to go by," Gingrich said. "Why have these guidelines if you're not going to follow them?

Feldman countered that the AZA has had no problem revoking the



Conger eel's last journey: Anglesey to the Caribbean

One resident of Anglesey Sea Zoo will be bidding farewell forever this month.

Their largest conger eel will be released into the Menai Strait and begin its epic journey back across the Atlantic to give birth to its young.

It's thought the giant eel will return to somewhere near the Sargasso Sea in the Caribbean, which is where all eels are born before heading for Northern Europe, including Anglesey.

"They're excellently adapted to live in conditions like the Strait," said Dylan Evans, owner of the Brynsiencyn zoo.

"They can swim backwards just as well as they swim forwards, so they know they won't have to turn around if they go into places like refuse pipes in search of food. That makes them very opportunistic.

"They're incredibly highly evolved. Like most fish, they have lateral lines which run down the body, giving information on the external temperature, water movement, how close they are to things; they can even pick up electric signals.

"They eat anything they can - fish, squid, whatever goes by."

The eel's size - over 2.5 metres long and 80 kilos in weight - plus its diminishing appetite, indicate it has probably reached its 15th year, and so is ready to return to its birthplace.

"We wouldn't encourage the release of anything into the environment if it had been treated with any form of medication, which we do if some species get sick," said Dylan.

"It might affect the wild population. But the eel tank isn't connected to any other; the water from the Strait comes in and the waste goes out. There's no difference to the natural system."

So Dylan is preparing to don his diving gear, place a net around the eel and help gently lift it up into a round transportation tank; which is important as such animals feel calmer in containers without corners.

The eel will then be taken at high tide down to the shore and released into the sea.

Final destination

Then on a one-way mission to pass on its genetic material, the eel will begin digesting its own body fat rather than waste time and energy hunting en-route.

"Every hunter is itself hunted," said Dylan. "The more time it spends hunting for food, the more time it's exposed to potentially disastrous consequences."

He's not sure how long it will take for the eel to cross the ocean. But on reaching i



Government to grab zoo land

Prime Minister Patrick Manning and his administration are refusing to ditch what is believed to be a plan hatched at Cabinet level to acquire the just over seven acres of prime Port-of-Spain land on which the 58-year-old Emperor Valley Zoo stands. As a result, the Zoological Society of T&T has filed for judicial review, seeking to restrain Manning, who is named as the prime defendant, from continuing to move to change the legal framework under which the society operates. The legal challenge was filed by the San Fernando law firm headed by Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, late last month, and a date for hearing is being awaited. The zoo has been in operation as a statutory body since November 8, 1952, and is home to more than 190 species of animals. It exists on state funding, earned income and donations. (See other story).

According to the statement of claim filed by the law firm, alarm bells rang in the society's boardroom when it received official word last July from the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, that Cabinet at its July 1 meeting had decided to repeal the ZSTT (Incorporation) Ordinance, No 12 of 1952, and replace it with "a more detailed legal and regulatory framework consistent with current legal design of statutory bodies." The society responded with a pre-action protocol letter, dated July 31, demanding the rescinding of this decision, without success. And by letter dated November 4, the society again objected to the legislative reshuffle, but was informed there was no turning back, the statement indicated. Maharaj told the Sunday Guardian that Manning was specifically named as the main defendant in the claim for judicial review, because he heads the Cabinet. He added: "The Government, apparently, wants to nationalise the zoo, but the Government does not own the land on which the zoo operates. It is owned by the trustees of the society."

"To operate, the zoo needs people with special skills who love animals. "If the Government takes over the zoo, it can put that prime property to other use." He said the judicial review application was the society's way of fighting for the promotion of animal rights and for the public to have the continuing right to view the animals in their St Ann's home, which is next to the Botanical Gardens, which in turn borders President's House. He said he intended to argue that the Cabinet decision was unlawful, on the grounds it would likely breach the society's right to the enjoyment of property, as guaranteed by the T&T Constitution. Maharaj is demanding that the Cabinet records, detailing all the discussions that took place leading to the decision to amend the ZSTT Ordinance, be produced in court.

Lutchmedial: Zoo in throes of expansion

Gupte Lutchmedial, the society's president, said the Government would be going against its established policy to interfere now with the running of the zoo by an NGO like his society. Lutchmedial said the society had a market plan approved by the Tourism Ministry, which involved an upgrade of the zoo that would lead within five years to there being no need for a subvention. Some 200,000 people visit the zoo each year, and the plan was to up the fee from the current $15 for adults and $7 for children to around $25. He groused to the Sunday Guardian that it seemed to him the Government was intent on roping in the zoo in its quest to control everything in T&T. However, Lutchmedial insisted that the society had no intention of backing down, and indeed was intent on partnering with the Manatee Trust to use 369 acres of land in Nariva to house larger animals in the zoo.

He agreed with attorney Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj that running a zoo




Dame Judi Dench joins campaign against World Cup fan zone

Dame Judi Dench has written to Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Culture Minister Ben Bradshaw urging them to abandon plans to make Regent's Park a "fan zone" during the World Cup, the West End Extra has learned.

Dame Judi fears the event, which is expected to draw 20,000 football fans to the park every day during the summer tournament, will severely disrupt performances at the historic Open Air Theatre, of which she is a trustee.

The theatre's director confirmed the distinguished actress had written the letter, saying she was "deeply worried" about the impact of the event that directly clashes with a 15-week summer season of performances.

It comes as London Zoo issued a statement warning that the fan zone would create a "serious animal welfare issue" and was "wholly inappropriate".

Experts predict noise levels will exceed 100 decibels, equivalent to Concorde on take-off, when the crowd cheers a goal.

William Village, executive director



The truth behind elephant brainpower

Are elephants so smart that they can spot the difference when they hear people speaking different languages?

Armed with a giant loudspeaker in the back of a land rover, it is a possibility that researchers have been exploring on the plains of Amboseli National Park in Kenya.

They have also been trying to see if elephants can count lions and figure out the age of other elephants.

Elephants do not have good eyesight but their sense of hearing is acute. It is much more sensitive than ours. The same is true for their sophisticated sense of smell.

The scientists on the research team have been playing sounds or laying down scents which elephants would encounter in nature, but doing so in clever ways that reveal elephant knowledge and thought processes.

Mental skills

Dick Byrne, Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at St Andrew's University has studied the cognitive abilities of primates and has been carrying out the experiments with elephants at Amboseli, using different scents to probe mental skills.

He said: "They've proved to have abilities which have only been found elsewhere in the great apes




Forensic Science Laboratory will now help conserve tigers

What if Gujarat had not accepted the offer to exchange its lions with tigers, the state will offer its expertise to conserve the National Animal. Forensic Science Laboratory and Forensic Science University jointly will train as many as 30 senior Indian forest services (IFS) officers responsible to conserve the endangered species especially tiger, in the forests of the country.

"This will be a five-day training programme to be started on Feb 22, and will be focused mainly on wildlife crime management," director, DFS, Gandhinagar, JM Vyas told DNA. Vyas said apart from senior officials from the country, officials from Gujarat will also take part in the training programme.

The training has been organised by Tiger Conservation Authority of India especially to focus on conservation of Tigers. "The focus of the training will be mainly on the aspects used to conserve the animals and on precautionary measures to eradicate wildlife crimes in the country," a source told DNA.Aspects related to wildlife crimes like DNA fingerprinting, toxicology




Saved? Syon Park's Tropical Forest finds new home

After months of uncertainty, the Tropical Forest at Syon Park may finally have found a new home.

The hundreds of rescue animals at the Brentford-based Tropical Forest have faced an uncertain future since the news the zoo would be closed down and moved to make room for a hotel development. In a bid to save the zoo, one councillor – Jon Hardy – even swam with piranhas.

But thankfully Hounslow Council has found a possible site for the zoo.

A plot of land adjacent to the Urban Farm in Bedfont is to be considered by councillors as a potential new area for the relocation of the 20-year-old zoo in the next couple of months.

If successful it will mean the Tropical Forest will not have to move away from its Hounslow home.

Zoo owner Tony Purdy said he was pleased at the news the Tropical Forest may soon have a new home – but said even if relocation to the new site was approved it would not be without its complications.

He said the attraction is struggling to raise enough money to be able to rebuild in a new location at all.

He said: "We're trying to raise funds pretty quickly within the next two months or so, as we have to be out of here by the end of September.

"It's going to cost £1.5m to £1.6m in total to move, and we still need another £500,000."

The zoo, which has been at its current premises for more than 20 years and has just welcomed its 500th rescue animal, was told it had to move from its original home to make room for the new Hilton hotel being built in Syon Park.

In a desperate plea to the owners of their current zoo, Mr Purdy said what the site really needed was a few more months to get everything ready



PETA seeks investigation into Palm Harbor primate sanctuary

An international animal rights group is chiming in on the Feb. 12 chimpanzee attack at a local primate sanctuary.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has written a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's animal care division urging an investigation of the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor.

The organization asked the agency to revoke the sanctuary's license if it finds violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

The sanctuary's outreach coordinator, Debbie Cobb, said she's not surprised that PETA complained to the USDA.

"Animal rights and PETA people just want to be in the news," Cobb said.

Last week, sanctuary volunteer Andrea Maturen, 22, was attacked by a chimpanzee named Shawn while Maturen was cleaning an adjacent cage. Two chimps got out of their cage and entered the one that Maturen was cleaning because workers failed to secure a lock between the cages and to move the chimps to a cage farther away, authorities said. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigated the incident and found that the sanctuary was not criminally liable.

PETA's letter recounts details of the attack and the concerns of a Pinellas County sheriff's deputy, who found sanctuary workers evasive, uncooperative and deceptive on the day of the attack.

"The recent attack and the facility's reportedly uncooperative response to local authorities indicate continued dangerous and unprofessional conduct at (the facility),"




With a mild break in the weather many made this Saturday a day at the zoo.

"This is the greatest zoo we've ever been too we enjoy it immensely," said visitor Tom Sabatine from Pennsauken, New Jersey.

At the Cape May County Zoo visitors had a chance to see their favorite animals up close and in person. Some onlookers couldn't help but notice that a few exhibits are in pretty bad shape.

"It's sad to see how much devastation just from the storm. We never even thought it would hurt the zoo," said Angela Sabatine.

The storm that crushed Cape May County earlier this month did not hold back on the county's zoo. The wind and weight from the storm damaged five exhibits, including the home of two bald eagles.

"There's a tremendous amount of damage to the zoo and park," said Zoo Director of Animal Health Dr. Hubert Paluch.

During the blizzard that left so much damaged zoo staff had to rush to bring many animals out of harms way. Like most of the county they had to work without electricity.

"It was incredible for us to try to track through the snow and try to just make pathways for ourselves to get to the animals," said Paluch.

Now zoo officials say all that damage is adding up. They say the storm could have caused as much as several hundred thousand dollars worth.

"We're still evaluating the all the damage that took place and are coming



A native Washingtonian ends up in Hawaii

About 300 bird species are on the Checklist of Birds for the Hawaiian Islands. They fall roughly into four groups. One of the largest consists of those that were introduced to the islands from all over the world. These are the birds most visitors encounter.

A second group includes the seabirds and shorebirds that nest on the islands and the migrants that winter on Hawaii's warm beaches and golf courses. The Pacific golden plover and the wandering tattler are winter migrants. Seabirds like the terns, boobies, tropic birds, shearwaters, frigate birds and albatrosses are among those that nest in the islands.

Accidentals are another bird group. Every winter, we hope to see a surprise or two. These are mostly water-related birds that lose their way. The lucky ones end up on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Accidental gulls often make the island's birding "hot line." We didn't see any gulls this winter but there was a surprise waiting.

Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historical Park on the Big Island's northwest coast is a favorite birding spot where we look for the gray francolin. They're fairly common there. These are grouse-like birds and not particularly shy. A family of four put in an appearance and made the day for visiting birder friends. They weren't




Longleat monkeys will be fenced-off after herpes scare

Visitors to Longleat safari park will be able to see monkeys again after they were shut away from the public earlier this week - but from a distance.

The drive-through monkey jungle at the safari park was closed after one of the creatures was found to have Simian B herpes, which can be fatal to humans.

Staff are building a new fenced-off enclosure in the existing jungle so visitors can see them from afar.

It is expected to reopen at the Wiltshire park later this year.

The creature was found to have the virus during routine tests of the rhesus monkey colony at the safari park in March last year.

The monkeys are regularly tested



FOTZ sticks snout into elephant issue

Friends of the Topeka Zoo opposes retiring retiring the zoo's elephants.

Not much of a surprise, but they hadn't voiced their opposition publicly until a recently added article on their Web site.

"The Topeka Zoo elephants future is at stake!" the headline states.

In Defense of Animals, a national animal advocacy group, and the more-local Animal Outreach of Kansas will talk to a city council work session Tuesday night about their desire to move the zoo's elephants - Tembo and Sundra - to an elephant sanctuary in



Insight on tiger breeding

A controversy involving a private zoo which bred tigers in captivity under questionable circumstances will be the focus of a Starprobe report in the coming days.

The zoo is doing a roaring business, including renting out tiger cubs for as high as RM5,000 a day. But it has come under intense scrutiny by nature groups to do right by these big cats in the Year of the Tiger.

The zoo caretaker, however, is unfazed by the growing criticisms, saying its successful breeding programme of tigers in captivity showed that the cats are not abused.

He claimed that the zoo had a special permit




Monkeys more sensitive to damage to their habitat than previously thought

A new research has determined that monkey populations in threatened forests are far more sensitive to damage to their habitat than previously thought.

The research was conducted by Dr Andrew Marshall, from the Environment Department at the University of York and Director of Conservation at Flamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo, in collaboration with colleagues.

As part of the research, an analysis of monkeys living in Tanzania's Udzungwa Mountains suggests that the impact of external factors, such as human activity, on species numbers is felt in forests as large as 40 square kilometres.

Researchers also found that the health of monkey populations is closely related to the type of habitat found between forest fragments, rather than the distance that separates them.

The findings have broader implications for conservationists as the number of monkeys and the variety of species



Man held over eating zoo warthog

A MAN has been arrested after he and nine others on the run ate a warthog that strayed from the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre in Entebbe.

Isaac Musisi, a resident of Nakiwogo landing site, was arrested last Thursday.

"Staff at the centre tried to lure the warthog back but they were unsuccessful," said the Entebbe crime investigations chief, Fredrick Wetaya.

As it wandered, it got to Nakiwogo, which is about two kilometres from its habitat.

It is reported that residents caught it and slaughtered it," Wetaya stated.

Musisi recorded a statement in connection with the incident, according to a Police officer.

He is to appear in court on charges of killing a protected animal and failure to hand over a carcass.

It is a crime to kill a wild animal, according to the wildlife Act.

The centre's chief, Dr. Andrew Seguya, said residents near the facility were sensitised on how to handle



The Red Wolf Man

From his home in East Asheville, Warren Parker can hear the red wolves howling at night. To him, their night-piercing cries are comforting.

Parker, 75, lives near the Western North Carolina Nature Center, home to a pair of endangered red wolves -- Rufus and Angel -- and their cub Mayo, plus some gray wolves and foxes.

"I absolutely love hearing the wolves," Parker says. "In the summer, I'll sit on the front porch and listen to them."

As he listens, the memories of his colorful career come flooding back.

Parker, the first national director of the federal government's Red Wolf Species Survival Program, could easily be called the Father of the Red Wolf. Thanks to his efforts, the red wolf is no longer doomed


Tale of the Cat

"Without the breath of the tiger there will be no wind, only clouds, and certainly no rain." —The I Ching

"I'll be quite honest with you," says Ron Tilson, director of conservation at Minnesota Zoo, co-author of a new edition of the encyclopedic Tigers of the World and, with decades of fieldwork in Asia's tiger habitats under his belt, an authority — maybe the authority — on our most endangered big cat. "I've never seen a wild tiger."

There's more. "I'm actually allergic to tigers," continues Tilson, 66. "If I touch them, I break out in hives." He chuckles. "Figure that. I'm the world expert. Never seen one. And I'm allergic to them." (See pictures of the 10 animals facing extinction.)

While the allergy is incurable, Tilson might yet see his first wild tiger, in a central Chinese wilderness he is playing an almost godlike role in creating. Thanks to a unique collaboration between Minnesota Zoo and China's State Forestry Administration (SFA), a plan is under way to reintroduce the South China tiger, the rarest of the world's five surviving subspecies, back into its natural habitat. In this Year of the Tiger, the project has secured $3 million to restore a 250,000-acre (100,000 hectare) nature reserve straddling the borders of Hubei and Hunan provinces. (Read "No Valentine? Celebrate the Year of Tiger Instead.")

Half of this grant has been provided by the Chinese government, whose high-level interest in the project is easy to understand. Panthera tigris amoyensis is the progenitor of all modern tigers and the only subspecies unique to China. "You have a culture that reveres the tiger," says Tilson. "It's part of their fabric." By pulling a Chinese subspecies from the brink of extinction, China seeks not only to overturn an appalling record on conservation and the environment but also to gain a powerful new icon of national resurgence — not a cuddly giant panda this time but a formidable predator that eats herbivores for breakfast.

Tigers have never before been reintroduced to the wild. This is partly because scarce conservation resources are usually devoted to what Tilson calls "a failed strategy": protecting what few tiger habitats remain. "There needs to be a new paradigm," says Tilson. His answer? "Let's create wildernesses, as opposed to trying to protect the little fragments that are left." Hopes for resurrecting the South China subspecies rest largely on a captive population of 67 tigers, held in zoos across China. It will be challenging. Derived from just six animals — two male, four female — caught between 1958 and 1970, they are so inbred that they are virtually brothers and sisters. But, Tilson adds, "China is an economic juggernaut, a military powerhouse. As part of that portfolio they need to bring back the icon of Asian wilderness. And that's the tiger." (See "Saving the World's Endangered Species.")

Back to the Future in half a century, the wild south China tiger population in China has been reduced from perhaps 4,000 to — Beijing disputes this — none. During Mao Zedong's time they were considered a pest and extermination campaigns were launched against them. Also taking a toll were loss of habitat, declining prey numbers and, as the economy took off, growing demand from traditional Chinese medicine for every part of the animal: whiskers, penis, bone, even feces.

Not one but four subspecies of tiger — Siberian, Indochinese, Bengal and South China — have been all but killed off within China's borders. In 1993, Beijing banned the nation's domestic trade in tigers and their parts and, today, China is one of 175 parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which outlawed tiger trafficking globally. But Chinese demand still drives a lucrative pan-Asian trade in poached tigers, which other countries blame for the accelerating decline in their own wild populations. In India, 88 tigers were killed in 2009 — double the previous year's figure. (See pictures of India's contraband wildlife.")

China, where tiger-hunting was legal until 1977, is not the only country with a poor record of conservation. Tigers are also found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam — but only just. A century ago, there were an estimated 100,000 tigers in the wild in Asia. Now their numbers are at an "all time low" of 3,200, estimates the WWF, which in January warned the animals could be extinct in the wild by 2022 — the next Year of the Tiger — unless new efforts are made to save them.

Today, penalties for harming tigers in China are harsh — a villager in Yunnan province was recently jailed for 12 years for killing and eating what might well have been the country's last wild Indochinese tiger. But the laws are patchily enforced. In December the SFA released a directive promising better protection of wild tigers and a sterner crackdown on the illegal trade. Many conservationists remain unconvinced. "We've heard these words before from China," says Mike Baltzer, leader of the World Bank – backed Global Tiger Initiative at the conservation group WWF. "We're waiting to see if they really have any teeth." Vivek Menon, executive director of the Wildlife Trust of India, says China's responsibilities are clear. "They've saved the panda," he says. "Now they must do the same for the tiger."

Tilson is used to skeptics. "Don't you read the newspapers?" he was asked by an outraged prospective donor in the U.S. "The goddamn Chinese eat their tigers and put them into medicine." But Tilson is convinced that China's economic and human resources make it uniquely placed to put tigers back in the wild. The South China project could help revolutionize Chinese attitudes to endangered species and kick-start other attempts to revitalize biodiversity. "China is at a tipping point in its conservation history," he says.

See pictures of species on the brink of extinction.

See TIME's covers about animals.

Reversing a Trend tilson's early relationship with chinese officialdom was almost scuppered by an inconvenient truth. In 2000, he and Minnesota Zoo teamed up with the SFA to make a census of wild South China tigers. They surveyed eight reserves in seven provinces over 18 months, set up hundreds of camera traps and investigated reports of any sighting — but found none. It was the first documented case of a tiger subspecies disappearing from the wild since the Javan tiger did so in the 1970s. Western colleagues cautioned Tilson that his gloomy conclusion would irritate the SFA. "They were right," he says, laughing. "It really irritated them. I was pretty much shunned for almost two years."

But one day Tilson got an out-of-the-blue call from the SFA inviting him to Beijing. China planned to reintroduce South China tigers to the wild and wanted Tilson to be the lead scientific adviser. In 2006, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the SFA and Tilson's South China Tiger Advisory Office based in Minnesota Zoo, and the long task of reintroducing tigers to the wild began. (See the top 10 invasive species.)

Tilson had to first work out which of the eight surveyed areas might support tigers once again. The winning candidate was the rugged Hupingshan-Houhe reserve, which lies within the tiger's historical range. Its terrain isn't too mountainous (contrary to popular belief, tigers prefer lowlands) and there is plenty of natural vegetation (other areas were blanketed with pine or bamboo trees). The human population, mainly elderly vegetable farmers banished there during Mao's political purges, is sparse and willing to relocate. Not that anyone is likely to stay put when the new neighbors arrive, jokes Tilson. "Once you get face to face with a tiger, you leave," he says. "They are formidable animals."

The next task is restoring the wilderness. Tigers need large habitats and abundant food; just one tiger will eat up to 12 pounds (5.4 kg) of meat a day, the equivalent of a large deer every week. Creating a tiger Eden virtually from scratch feels a bit like playing God, admits Tilson, but restoring the prey (mainly deer) will be "real easy," since all these species once lived in Hupingshan-Houhe in numbers that supported tigers. "We're not trying to reintroduce a bunch of animals and predators into a system that never had them before," he says. (See the top 10 animal stories of 2009.)

Once the wilderness is complete, the tricky part begins: breeding the tigers to inhabit it. The last remaining South China tigers could die out within a few generations unless their genes are supplemented with those from other subspecies. It is not an image China's propagandists will want to project: a captive population of "Chinese" tigers, enfeebled by decades of inbreeding and reliant on genes from, say, a Vietnamese subspecies before they can survive in the wild. But ultimately, says Tilson, the Chinese will have to accept this hybridization "because it's already been done and they have no other cards to play." It could be up to 10 years before the first pregnant tigers are taken to a remote, enclosed area within the reserve to deliver the cubs that will eventually populate it. Although captive-bred, the mothers will teach their young how to hunt and kill prey. "This ability is hardwired," says Tilson. "They don't lose it."

Into the Wild Tigers breed easily — they are cats, after all — and some 5,000 are kept on farms across China. The recent SFA directive pledged to better regulate these farms, but not to shut them down. This makes a mockery of China's avowed concern for tigers, say many conservationists. The farms ostensibly make their money from tourists, although some illegally sell tiger meat and parts. How can the same SFA officials who plan to save the South China tigers ignore the fate of thousands of their farm-raised cousins? The authorities argue that if public demand can be met by farms then wild tigers won't be poached. But conservationists believe these same facilities fuel demand and fatally undermine conservation efforts. Steven Galster, director of the Bangkok-based wildlife and human-rights group FREELAND, says the SFA is using the reintroduction scheme "to justify captive-tiger breeding operations in China, some of which are actually selling tiger bones. Those sales are sending very mixed signals to Chinese consumers, perpetuating demand for tiger parts, which in turn sends a signal to poachers across Asia that this lucrative business is still taking orders." (Watch TIME's video "Wild Wallaby Rescue in Tasmania.")

How lucrative? By China's own estimate, the traditional-medicine industry has lost an average of $266 million a year since the domestic ban was imposed in 1993. That landmark legislation remains "critical" to the future of wild tigers, says Li Zhang, associate professor of conservation biology at Beijing Normal University. "The Chinese government needs to strengthen its enforcement of the ban," says Zhang.

Ron Tilson opposes tiger-farming — "The day I see tigers on meat hooks is the,8816,1964894,00.html



After tigers, genome databank now for leopards, elephants:


Wildlife scientist

Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun will soon take up the task of developing genomic databank for leopards, elephants, bears and musk dear, said WII scientist S P Goyal.

Goyal, an expert in wildlife forensic techniques, was in Gandhinagar today to participate in the five-day wildlife crime management programme organised by the Gujarat Forensic Science University (GFSU) jointly with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Traffic-India.

This is the first time GFSU is organising a workshop for the conservation of tigers in the country. "WII under its `Tiger genome project' is developing a database which will help in developing policies to stop wildlife crime," he said. There are around 200 species across the country, which are categorised under



Baby Lemur Gets a Leg of Steel After Successful Surgery

A baby ring-tailed lemur, an endangered species, underwent surgery at Michigan Veterinary Specialists and is now on it's way to leading a normal life at a rescue sanctuary.

Peanut, a baby ring-tailed lemur, underwent surgery at Michigan Veterinary Specialists where her fractured femur was fixed with a steel plate and screws. After two hours in the operating room, Peanut was on her way back to leading a normal lemur life at the Summer Wind Farms Sanctuary.



Court orders seized birds to be sent to Kankaria zoo

The exotic birds that were seized by government railway police officials on Sunday, will now finally find a home at Kankaria zoo. The decision was taken after the court intervened in the matter late on Monday evening.

The government railway police station at Ahmedabad railway station seemed more like a makeshift birdhouse on Monday with 199 exotic birds there. After a harrowing 40-hour ride in the parcel van of Howrah Express, the birds were sent to the police station. Then came the dilemma as to who would take custody of the exotic birds which would die if freed. After a long tussle between police and city zoo authorities, the latter accepted the birds. The zoo authorities complied after court's intervention.

Government railway police station officials had seized a consignment of birds on Howrah Express at 1.30 pm on Sunday after a tip-off on illicit bird trade. Inside a large cage wrapped with a cloth were 200 birds of various types - white cockatiels, grey cockatiels, falcon cockatiels, fischer love birds, rosy love birds and lutin


Cracking of 2007 lion poaching case

The investigation into the sensational 2007 poaching case will be a model case for the wildlife conservators participating in the five-day long 'Wildlife Crime Management' course being held at Directorate of Forensic Science (DFS), Gandhinagar.

The programme was inaugurated by director general of police, Gujarat, SS Khadwawala on Monday.

The training programme for forest officers of the country has been

organised by Tiger Conservative Society of India, Wildlife Institute

of India- Dehradun, Traffic-India and DFS. Many forest conservators from Gujarat are participating in the programme.

Principal chief conservator of forest, Pradeep Khanna told DNA that the lion poaching case of Gujarat will become a model for investigation into wildlife crimes throughout the country. Talking about the investigation into the case, director Forensic Science Laboratory, JM Vyas said that a team of the FSL camped in Gir and ensured that all evidences were properly collected and analysed.

He said the measures that were taken to help solve the case could also prove helpful in solving other wildlife related cases in the country.The challenge



Shock over poaching clip

Conservation groups are shocked over a video clip showing poachers proudly posing for the camera with a tiger which they had allegedly killed.

The clip, which was captured using a mobile phone, was highlighted in a report by Britain's Channel 4 News and posted on its web site on Saturday.

It stated that the footage was recorded in northern Malaysia around the end of last year.

The clip showed several people standing around a tiger carcass and discussing how they had killed the animal.

Malaysian Nature Society president Tan Sri Salleh Mohd Nor said the killing was disrespectful to the Year of the Tiger, especially with the low tiger population in Malaysia.

"They should be hung for that. The law needs to be urgently


Trapping the monkey problem

Despite their "cute" image, which so enamours them to visitors, the monkey population in Nevis is now well above acceptable limits and this is having a severe negative impact on local agriculture. Cuban monkey expert, Dr. Santos Cubillas of the Cuban National Zoo, who has been conducting a study of the local monkey population, estimates that their numbers have grown to at least 7,000 and perhaps to as many as 10,000 – one monkey for every member of the human population.

On Thursday, 4th February, the Department of Agriculture unveiled a central part of their strategy in combating this increasing pest. They have constructed a prototype large trap; one theoretically capable of capturing a whole small troupe of monkeys, not just one individual animal at a time. The trap is currently situated at New River and a deputation travelled there to see the contraption first hand. The senior member of the group was Dr. Kelvin Daley, Permanent Secretary to the Departure of Agriculture, and upon seeing the trap, Dr. Daley immediately pointed out that, being out in open ground, it was not in the best possible location. "Monkeys are cautious and suspicious creatures and they stay in the cover of the brush as much as possible. They would need to be feeling very confident to venture this far from the cover of thick and tall vegetation. This positioning may be convenient for those placing the trap; but it is not convenient for its intended customers."

The trap is a low-tech device and therefore should not be subject to the risk of mechanical failure. It is sprung by a covert human observer, some distance away, yanking a cord which should slam shut the trap door, once a sufficient quantity of monkeys are inside it; the trap having been previously heavily baited



Thailand: Monk Arrested Selling Cats Dressed as Tigers

Thai police have confiscated approximately 200 animal skins from a temple in Thailand's North Eastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima. The abbot had been skinning the animals, believed to be mainly domestic cats and dogs, before dying them to resemble that of a tiger and selling them to the public as religious charms.

Nakhon Ratchasima, 23rd of February 2010 [PDN]: Acting on a tip off from locals who saw a suspicious number of animal skins being dried in Wat Simalai Songdhamma, officers from the Department of National Parks Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) seized 204 animal pelts from a temple in Pak Chong District.

Initially the skins appeared to be those of tigers and other big cats, but closer examination by experts revealed there to be only one leopard skin and five skins from other cat species along with one crocodile skin. The others were found to be dog and cattle skins painted with stripes to resemble tigers.

During questioning, the monks told authorities



Toronto Zoo elephant program draws criticism

The Toronto Zoo is facing heavy criticism for the December death of matriarch elephant Tara, the fourth elephant fatality in four years.

In Defense of Animals, a California-based watchdog, recently rated the Toronto Zoo number two among the Top Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants in North America.

The Toronto Zoo made the Top Ten list because of "deadly" conditions for these animals, including the lack of space and cold climate that has produced four death, the group said.

"This is the highest mortality rate for any zoo in North America in the last four years," said Catherine Doyle, elephant campaigner for the group.

Meanwhile, an elephant expert from Sweden, Dr. Joyce Poole, is urging city council to shut down the elephant program entirely.

In a letter sent on behalf of the group Elephant Voices, Poole pressed council to send the three remaining elephants to a sanctuary, arguing Toronto is no place for elephants.

But some say the hostility toward the zoo is unwarranted. Ward 38 councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, a zoo board member, said the Toronto Zoo is quickly becoming



Finch Fighting: A New Breed of Animal Cruelty

America's more-unsavory pastimes have long included underground cockfighting and dogfighting scenes, but now reports point toward a new animal-cruelty trend: finch fighting.

Last week, Massachusetts authorities seized more than 20 of the birds -- 6-inch "little bursts of yellow" as described by The Boston Globe -- after a home inspection in Ashland, a small town about a half-hour's drive from Boston. More than 20 Brazilian men were at the house, and some were detained by immigration authorities.

The raid recalled the arrests in Connecticut last summer of 19 Brazilians involved in a bird-fighting ring, and indeed, the similarities are no coincidence: Despite being banned 20 years ago in Brazil, canary fighting, as it's commonly called, remains popular in the



Tata Steel's Jayanti Sarovar: A bat sanctuary

THE SOUTH Asian Bat Monitoring Programme is one of the brilliant conservation efforts. It aims to create awareness about bat conservation issues by educating biologists and nature lovers about the biology of bats.

The focus of the organisation in India is the flying fox or the fruit bats. As per the United Kingdom-based Bat Conservation Trust and South Asian Bat Monitoring Programme, there are more than 1,100 species of bats across the world accounting for one-fifth of the global mammal species and 25 per cent of the mammalian diversity in South Asia. While the large fruit bats live in tropical South Asia, their small carnivorous counterparts live in Europe and the United States.

The little-known Jayanti Sarovar Bat Sanctuary- Jharkhand state's lone urban reserve of flying foxes or giant fruit bats - is spread across 0.69 hectare of a deeply wooded isle in the Tata Steel Zoological Park. Zoo authorities and local researchers claim that flying fox population here has logged a sharp rise from 500 in 2008 to 700 in 2009. A truly remarkable conservation indeed.

Tata Steel Zoo authorities and local environmentalists led by professor Sharma are conserving and thus saving the bats by giving them seclusion, protecting them from human contact and filling the island with more greenery. A passionate b



Asia's greed for ivory puts African elephant at risk
Slaughter by poachers intensifies as governments seek to increase legal sales

There has been a massive surge in illegal ivory trading, researchers warned last week. They have found that more than 14,000 products made from the tusks and other body parts of elephants were seized in 2009, an increase of more than 2,000 on their previous analysis in 2007.

Details of this disturbing rise have been revealed on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the world ivory trading ban. Implemented on 18 January 1990, it was at first credited with halting the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of elephants.

But the recent growth in the far east's appetite for ivory – a status symbol for the middle classes of the region's newly industrialised economies – has sent ivory prices soaring from £150 a kilogram in 2004 to more than £4,000.

At the same time, scientists estimate that between 8% and 10% of Africa's elephants are now being killed each year to meet the demand. The world's largest land animal is again threatened with widespread slaughter.

"It is a really worrying situation," said Richard Thomas, director of Traffic, the group that monitors trade in wildlife. "However, it is not absolutely clear what should be done." Indeed, the issue is so confused that a conflict over the ivory trade is expected at



Not M-P, Gir lions are going to China

Chief minister Narendra Modi may have refused to part with any of the Gir lions for a sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, but the Asiatic lions are still at risk of ending up in China — dead.

The success of the state government in nabbing the poachers who, in 2007, killed eight lions in Gir has lulled many into believing that Gujarat's Asiatic lions are now safe. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

The fact of the matter is that the existence of lions everywhere is constantly threatened by poachers. Wildlife experts say that the main reason why lions are prized by poachers is the high demand for lion bones in the international market.

"The purported medicinal value of lion bones fetches high prices for them in the international market," Samir Sinha, head of TRAFFIC India, told DNA on Monday, at the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Gandhinagar. TRAFFIC India, a division of WWF India, does research and analysis and provides support to efforts to curb wildlife trade in India. China is believed to be the main market for lion bones but Sinha categorically said that there are several other countries among the "consumers".

"Chain investigation of poacher gangs is not taking place," he said. "We should try to get to the people who control the whole market. But all that we have done is crack the network of gangs operating within the country." Sinha said that the exact value of the lion's body parts is not completely clear yet. "But there is certainly a perception that its bones have medicinal value," he said. "There does not seem to be much demand for the other body parts, except for the knuckles. But we are exploring further. The important thing is that there is value to lions, be



Tiger farms: A conservation idea red in tooth and claw?

Could "tiger farms" -- where the animals would be bred in captivity then culled for their body parts -- help save the critically endangered animal in the wild?

"Regulated tiger farms could provide enough tiger products to reduce the pressure on wild tigers from poaching," said Terry Anderson, executive director of the Property and Environment Research Center, a non-governmental organization that looks at market-based approaches to conservation.

The idea has been put forward by owners of China's tiger breeding centers that have remained open as entertainment parks since China banned the international trade in tiger parts in 1993.

Anderson says that the focus on the issue of killing the animals means many animal rights activists lose sight of the potential of what he calls a "conservation-commodity solution."

"Tiger farms will help reduce the demand for wild tigers if the market is well-regulated. It would be wrong to say that by eliminating the market we eliminate the demand for tigers," said Anderson in reference to the continuation of the illegal trade in tiger parts, which are are prized for having healing and aphrodisiac qualities and have been used in traditional Chinese medicine.

"Like elephants, there are ways to capitalize on the value of these animals and conserve them."

A controlled market for tiger parts, done in tandem with the creation of fenced tiger sanctuaries for the animals in the wild, could stimulate tiger tourism, Anderson



Zoo responds to AZA report

24-page document calls for new position of registrar to foster communication

In an effort to address its systemic problems, the Topeka Zoo on Monday released an extensive plan of action including the creation of a new position aimed at reducing staff intimidation and timelines for hiring a new director and veterinarian.

The 24-page document, accompanied by more than 50 attachments, was sent to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in response to a recent critical report by the group.

The documents represent a blueprint of the zoo's upcoming presentation to an AZA panel that will decide March 3 whether the zoo retains its accreditation.

The city has moved quickly in the past week to address concerns. Late last week, the city laid off four zoo employees, three of them top management positions. With those moves, the zoo now operates without five of its top six positions.

Shifting the management structure appeared to be a theme of the zoo's response.

"Personnel changes have established a solid foundation for a new leadership team at the Topeka Zoo to restore the trust and confidence of the citizens of the city of Topeka and of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums," wrote interim director Dennis Taylor.

Some of the biggest news coming from the response was the creation of a new position



Man arrested for lemur trading

A man has been arrested after trying to sell four lemurs from the boot of his car to an undercover journalist in Co Down.

Animal Welfare officers have hailed the operation a success but said it reveals the scale of the lucrative trade in exotic animals in Northern Ireland.

Lemurs are an endangered species native to Madagascar, an island off the coast of Africa.

They are protected under international law and under new legislation which was introduced in Northern Ireland two years ago called the Dangerous Wild Animals Act.

But a similar law is not in force in the Republic which allows criminals to continue their trade in exotic animals through the south.

Animal Welfare officers said they have been shocked at the scale of the illegal activity.

"During the investigation, we discovered there were large amounts of animals being traded," said the USPCA's Stephen Philpott.

"We were amazed at being offered Albino tigers, African tigers, zebras - you name it, there's no animal that couldn't be bought."

It was in the car park of the Outlet in Banbridge that four lemurs were seized from the boot of a car on Friday morning. It followed an undercover operation by a national newspaper reporter, the


Television show examines issue of bear poaching

The plight of California's wildlife will receive some exposure on the small screen starting Friday with the airing of a Planet Green television episode about bear poaching.

The hourlong episode of the "Crime Scene Wild" program was filmed nearly two years ago and has already aired in Europe. Its first showing in the United States is at 6 p.m. Friday on the Planet Green Channel, part of the Discovery Channel network, available on most cable and satellite providers in the Sacramento area.

The episode covers the international trade in bear parts for their


New Conservation Area Planned for Javan Rhino

Ujung Kulon National Park is planning to develop a 3000 hectare conservation area for the endangered Javan rhino next year in an effort to boost the population of the endangered species by 2015.

"The conservation area is also expected to become a world-class wildlife park that could also help to boost the number of domestic and foreign tourists," said Enjat Sudrajat, a spokesman for the national park, on Tuesday.

The plan was first made public in June when wildlife authorities announced they would divide the lone herd of Javan rhinos into two populations.

The new herd would be relocated only as far as the Gunung Honje area, which borders the current population's habitat in the Semenanjung Ujung Kulon area.

By starting a new herd, authorities believe the animals will be encouraged to breed faster.

Enjat said the conservation area will be developed in cooperation with the Indonesian Rhino Foundation (YABI) and a number of international non-governmental organizations such as the International Rhino Foundation.

YABI's secretary Agus Darmawan expressed his optimism that the effort would be successful since the project would involve scientists and conservationists who are very familiar with the species.

Indonesia is home to two out of the five rhino



Coventry Zoo hippo attack 'sparked global concern'

THE EXPLOITS of Harry the Hippo went international this week as the Telegraph learned his attacks at the former Coventry Zoo caused panic as far afield as Texas.

We reported the bad-tempered hippopotamus had been responsible for two attacks on young keepers back in the mid-60s.

Now it has emerged the first victim – Richard McCormick – had replaced a 15-year-old Spanish student who left just two days earlier.

Richard was mauled and dragged under water in September 1966, while fellow zookeeper Paul Blatch broke both arms, his collarbone, leg and ankle when crushed behind a metal door by two-tonne Harry a year later.

Ricard Domingo, a Spanish teenager, had also been working at the Whitley zoo part-time while carrying out work experience at city printing company WW Curtis.

His father was the owner of a Barcelona printing firm and news of the attack led to frantic transatlantic phone calls from company directors worried the youngster was the victim.

Ricard went on to become the head of public TV broadcasting in Barcelona and until last week believed Richard McCormick had been killed in the attack 44 years ago.

Former WW Curtis worker Mike Jennings-Bates, 69, from Wellesbourne, told how Harry's exploits caused concerns across the globe.



Johor Zoo aims to get giraffes and white tigers

The Johor Zoo is in negotiations to acquire a pair of giraffes and white tigers to attract more visitors and boost revenue this year.

Zoo manager Zakaria Zainuddin said it was negotiating with Zoo Negara for the pair of giraffes as part of a breeding-loan programme.

"We expect to conclude the negotiation by June this year," he said here yesterday.

Zakaria said the zoo had also applied to the Wildlife Department to acquire a pair of white tigers from Bangkok Zoo.

"We submitted the application for a special permit last year to enable an exchange of animals between the two zoos.

"The tigers are really special and quite rare in this part of the region," he said, adding that he expected to know the status of the application within this year.

Zakaria added that the new animals would be an attractive addition to the zoo's current batch of 15 species of animals, totalling about 240.

The zoo, he said, aimed to attract more than







Dalton zoo raises £10,000 for Haiti appeal



ZOO-GOERS have raised over £10,000 for the Haiti disaster fund.


South Lakes Wild Animal Park allowed free entry into the park for one weekend to all those who donated £2 to the Haiti Emergency Earthquake Appeal.


The public turned out in droves to support the event over the weekend of January 23 and 24.


Over 4,500 visitors passed through the gates, donating £10,399.78 to the cause.


The cheque for the money was sent to the Disaster Emergency Committee Haiti Earthquake










Porpoise captured in river running through Nagoya


A finless porpoise captured and taken to an aquarium on Thursday after a resident spotted it swimming 20 kilometers from the mouth of a river in Nagoya.


Police received an emergency call at about 7:55 a.m. on Thursday, reporting a black finless porpoise swimming in the Shinkawa River in Nagoya's Nishi Ward. Officials from Nagoya Port aquarium arrived at the scene after being contacted by police and captured the porpoise shortly after 12:15 p.m. The porpoise was taken to the aquarium. It had reportedly







CHINESE NEW YEAR: Wildlife Charity says tiger conservation has been hit by demand for the trade in animal parts


A TIGER charity launched 10 years ago at London's Chinese Embassy, is celebrating the animals' year in the spotlight by announcing an increase in numbers of the seriously endangered South China Tigers


Save China's Tigers, set up by Beijing-born Ms Li Quan, initially took five tigers from China to South Africa in an attempt to boost numbers.


Happily, they now not only have nine tigers in South Africa, but five of them can fend for themselves and are ready for "re-wilding", or releasing into the wild.


Save China's Tigers have launched an awareness campaign, The Last South China Tiger, for which New Orleans body artist Craig Tracy has created a wonderful bespoke piece. And taking to the streets of Hong Kong is a "Tiger Tram", a double-decker tram










Endangered frogs find a new home at San Diego Zoo


One of the world's biggest conservation zoos has turned its attention to a problem facing a highly endangered species, within a few miles of its back door.


San Diego Zoo taken in a group of 60 mountain yellow-legged frogs - nearly a third of the entire population - to protect them from wildfires, drought and the chytrid fungus that has been wiping out frogs all over the world.


The zoo's Herpetological Research Co-ordinator Jeff Lemm explains more, including why, sometimes, it's best to keep frogs










Paignton Zoo's Living Coasts is looking for older or retired volunteers


Age is no barrier to volunteering at one of Torbay's wildlife attractions - in fact, it's a positive advantage.


Living Coasts volunteer co-ordinator Stephanie Robey said: "Young people have lots to offer, but we know that mature people make great volunteers. Not only do they tend to have more time, but they often have a huge sense of commitment and a lifetime of skills to draw on. We are looking for people who are reliable, confident, out-going and who have an interest in conservation, the environment and animals."


The charity has a range of volunteer tasks available, from helping visitors and making badges to admin, answering










Baby elephant birth surprises San Diego Zoo


Zookeepers at the San Diego Zoo were awakened last Sunday morning by the sound of elephants trumpeting.


They knew it could only mean one thing: a baby elephant was being born.


The birth was one week earlier than expected, thus catching the zookeepers off guard.


The baby elephant is able to walk and was










Cartographic slip-ups are usually rare. So when one happens, it creates confusion and anger. This cartographic bungling seems to have occurred at the Mysore Zoo.


SOM reader Bharath Raj has e-mailed a note saying that the information board outside the tiger enclosure about the distribution of Panthera tigris tigris depicts that a portion of Kashmir occupied by Pakistan, that is Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK — Pakistan calls it Azad Kashmir), to be in Pakistan.


Bharath Raj says in his e-mail, "... it indicates PoK as being part of Pakistan. With ignorant admini-strators within our ranks, we don't need any Pakistanis in our midst."


Geopolitics is not the forte of Zoo authorities but the least they could have done is have the map checked for accuracy. Since these information boards that are found before the enclosures of all animals and birds had been contracted





Lawyer demands return of seized koalas


Law firm Slater & Gordon has weighed in to represent the owner of the Waterways Wildlife Park in Gunnedah, in north-west New South Wales, after the RSPCA seized eight koalas from the premises two weeks ago.


The RSPCA removed the koala on February 3, under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.


Solicitor Peter Long says if his client is charged over the alleged maltreatment of the koalas, his firm will seek detailed information about the RSPCA's communications with third parties before the animals' seizure.


He says, if charges are laid, it will be necessary to secure additional evidence from the RSPCA, especially in relation to a film crew who accompanied inspectors.


Mr Long says he is yet to be advised of the specific allegations against his client.


He says he wants the koalas returned to his client immediately










Harbour Seals at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo relocate to Indonesian zoological park


The Harbour Seals at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo in The Dubai Mall will now have a new home – in Indonesia.


The four Seals, one of the most popular visitor attractions at Underwater Zoo, have been relocated to Taman Safari Indonesia, one of the country's renowned zoological parks, as they have reached maturity, and as the part of a zoo relocation programme.


The two sets of captive bred brother Seals, named by Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo educators as Tag, Uno, Kali and Datu, arrived in Dubai as sub-adults from Europe. Now as mature two-and-a-half year olds, they have been transported to Taman Safari.


Mr Damian Prendergast, General Manager, Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, said the relocation of the four mature seals underscore the adherence of Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo to international standards and practices in animal care and management, including IATA for the movement of the animals to their new home.


"Arriving here as young Seals, they have delighted more than 1.5 million visitors in just over a year. Now, as adults, they have moved to larger outdoor facilities where they will live and interact with other adult Seals," he added.


Such relocation programmes are a normal practice encouraged globally in order to mix the genetics of captive animal populations. Taman Safari Indonesia was selected for their reputation in animal care and their special focus in the management of endangered species.


Taman Safari Indonesia is a South East Asian Zoos Association (SEAZA) and World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) approved facility and is home to Sumatran elephants and tigers. The ambient temperature of the high altitude park is conducive for Harbour Seals.


Members from the Indonesian facility had










Animals Asia Investigation - Shenzhen Safari Park












Wonderland for Communist Autocrats


...A new pavilion for the president was built. A private zoo was founded. Even a safari park and the private hunting grounds were created. Hunting was one of the favorite pass-times of both Marshal Tito personally and communist elite in general.


An apocryphal story claims that heating was installed in caves which served as winter shelters for exotic animals, even in early 1950s the time when luxury of central heating was still unknown even to the inhabitants of capital cities of Belgrade and Zagreb, and most of countryside was still struggling with hunger.


The zoo and safari park were populated with animals esp...










A New Strategy for Saving - The World's Wild Big Cats


Populations of many of the world's wild cats plummeting, with the number of tigers falling to roughly 3,200. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Alan Rabinowitz, a leading wild cat biologist, lays out a vision of how populations of these magnificent creatures can be brought back from the brink.


For more than three decades, Alan Rabinowitz has studied tigers, jaguars, and other wild cats in some of the world's most remote regions. But working for years at the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, Rabinowitz did far more than research these great animals — he helped create parks and preserves to protect wild cats, including the world's first jaguar sanctuary in Belize and a network of protected areas for tigers in the authoritarian nation of Myanmar.


For the past two years, Rabinowitz has been the CEO and president of the conservation group, Panthera, which has the lofty goal of saving wild cat species across all their ranges worldwide. Hiring some of the world's most respected wildlife biologists and wild cat specialists, Panthera is working with other conservation groups and with governments to develop and implement tiger-recovery strategies and to create a jaguar corridor across much of South and Central America, protected areas for snow leopards in the Himalayas, and a network of linked refuges and corridors for lions across parts of Africa.


Rabinowitz — in an interview with Yale Environment 360 senior editor












`Kidnap' a joey to save a species


They fly the tiny, helpless wallaby babies out of their remote mountainous homeland by light aircraft and transfer them into the pouches of surrogate mothers of another common species, held in captivity. Here the poached young are raised to adulthood in safety.


The dramatic technique has been developed by scientists working at Adelaide Zoo and the University of Adelaide, who say it can boost the reproduction rate of endangered marsupials by as much as nine times.


The method exploits unusual aspects of marsupial reproductive biology.


The researchers have begun to re-introduce highly threatened wallabies bred this way into the wild and are optimistic that they can bring the animals back from the brink of extinction.


According to lead researcher David Taggart, the state of Australia's fauna demands drastic measures. He says that 40% of the country's animal species are deemed to be endangered or vulnerable to extinction.


Australia's tally of extinctions over the last 200 years is the worst of all the world's developed countries. Habitat destruction and the impact of introduced foreign creatures










Riga zoo's tiger sculptures in ice (Nice Video)


Riga Zoo captures the plight of endangered tigers -- in ice.










China's Tiger Farms


One of the most intractable problems in species protection is the Chinese appetite for traditional medicines. That appetite has only grown as China has grown more prosperous. Despite bans — by China's government and international agreements — on the sales of some materials and the near extinction of many of the animals used in traditional medicine, prices for animal parts continue to rise, and so do the incentives for poachers and sellers.


As The Times reported recently, one particularly horrifying practice is Chinese tiger farms, which supply pelts, worth up to $20,000 apiece, and tiger bones used in medicines










Botanical garden, zoo bosses face contempt rule


The High Court on Thursday issued a contempt of court rule against the director of the National Botanical Garden and the curator of Dhaka Zoo on their refusal to receive an HC order.


The court had earlier directed botanical garden Director Zayed Hossain Bhuiyan and Dhaka Zoo Curator Mosaddek Hossain to maintain status quo on setting up a dredge pipe by a land developer.


Issuing the rule, the HC bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Borhan Uddin asked Zayed and Mosaddek to explain within two weeks why they would not be charged with contempt of court.


The court also directed them to appear before it on March 2.


The HC bench came up with the order following a contempt of court petition filed










Conservation body backs plan to bring in elephants


The Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) has approved of Bali tourism parks' plan to truck in more elephants as part of efforts to draw more visitors, following the provincial administration's rejection of the idea.


BKSDA Bali head Istanto said the request by the parks to bring over Sumatran elephants would need initial approval from the Forestry Ministry and the Indonesian Institute of the Sciences (LIPI).


He added the final approval would come from the local BKSDA.


Approval will depend heavily on the number of animals requested, as the move is subject to prevailing restrictions from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES.


The restrictions, reviewed regularly, are aimed at ensuring the trade










Animals take pride of place at park - VIDEO


FEEDING cows at the local farm and riding donkeys on the beach is officially last season.


This year it's all about the wild and wonderful animals at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.


It's been almost a year since Yorkshire Wildlife Park opened its doors to the public - and what a year it's been! The park made international headlines recently with the addition of its latest residents - a pride of lions from Romania. Star digital reporter Nik Brear paid a visit to the 45 acre park










Going Ape


HE might be a funky-looking monkey, but being cute is no protection for this little fella.


Only discovered in 2007, the Siau island tarsier this week joined a list of 25 of man's closest relatives facing EXTINCTION










A step forward in Laos


WWT's work in Laos has been a resounding success, with the threat of building development around the sensitive and vulnerable That Luang Marsh averted, at least for the time being.


Planting a wetland at a school in LaosWWT's chief executive was able to report on the latest work at the marsh at WWT's WATER project










Rare Indian wild cats are caught on film


India's Eastern Himalayan rainforest could have one of the world's largest number of wild cat species, after seven species were recorded in two years.


The wild cats, including the rare clouded leopard, were photographed by remote cameras with motion sensors.


Wildlife experts say the discovery is encouraging considering the ongoing threat to animal life in the area.


The study was conducted over two years in 500 sq km (5,380 sq ft) of forest by wildlife biologist Kashmira Kakati.


All the cats were photographed in the Jeypore-Dehing lowland forests in Assam state north-east










Wildwood's wild horses can save endangered species


Wild horses will help save endangered butterflies and birds after being released into one of Kent's most important nature reserves.


The three Konik-cross ponies - descendants of the Tarpan breed captured by Nazi geneticists in the 1930s - will graze at South Foreland Valley in Dover as part of a project organized by Wildwood based near Herne to help rare breeds prosper.


Staff at the White Cliffs Countryside Project hope the natural management of the site, coupled with other areas of grassland left to grow, will encourage as diverse a range of plant and animal life as possible.


Project officer Josie Newman said: _We_ve been grazing the site for some years now with cattle, but the advantage you get with horses is that they eat the wooden re-growth like brambles and shrubs. They're










WWF: Orang asli being used


Many middlemen are using orang asli to hunt for wildlife, including tigers, for their parts, said World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia.


Its chief executive Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said the authorities needed to step up their enforcement to protect the wildlife and to prevent orang asli from being exploited by these middlemen.


"The middlemen or syndicates find people to trap and kill for them because there is a demand for wildlife parts," he said in response to an incident where a tiger was shot and left to die in a snare in Perak last week.


"We need to invest in more equipment and people. Our forests and reserve areas are very large and they are easily accessible due to logging roads and porous borders.


"If we don't protect our tigers, who will?" he said.


In last week's incident, an orang asli, Yok Meneh had claimed that he was attacked by the tiger while on his way










Sea secrets - over 5,000 new marine species found


They were the sea's best kept secrets - until now. As work on the world's first ocean census inches closer to completion, scientists working on the decade-long project claim to have found over 5,000 new marine organisms that were not known to mankind all this while.


A network of 2,000 scientists from 82 nations have been working since the year 2000 to prepare an inventory of marine organisms in the world, which will be released in London in October this year. The










Maybank Contributes RM1 Million For Tiger Conservation


Maybank, which has the face of the Malayan Tiger as its iconic emblem, is to contribute RM1 million for the conservation of the tiger over the next two years.


The bank will donate the money to the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT) in an effort to highlight the plight of the Malayan tiger, said Maybank chairman Tan Sri Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor.


The continuous decline in the wild tiger population worldwide, which has an adverse impact on both the biodiversity system and national heritage, has led to governments, corporations, non-governmental organisations and individuals heightening tiger conservation efforts globally, he said.


The money would be used in three areas -- scientific and research studies, outreach programmes and enforcement support, he said at the launch of the Maybank-MYCAT partnership










Nawaz Sharif hunts protected deer in Sindh?


Rumours have spread throughout Sindh that former prime minister and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif killed a protected deer during his visit to the northern parts of the province on Wednesday. But Sindh wildlife officials have dispelled the rumours and said the media personnel of Ghotki district came up with this gossip after they were refused to conduct an interview of the PML-N chief.


Sharif visited Ghotki district on Wednesday on the invitation of Maher Sardars, the family of former chief minister Sardar Ali Mohammad Mahar.


Sharif held meetings with leaders of different political parties, powerful landlords and political figures of different districts of Sindh including Shirazis of Thatta district, Jatois of Dadu district, and Mahers










Great white shark outnumbered by the tiger, marine scientists warn


The great white shark has become so threatened that it is now outnumbered by the tiger, a leading marine scientist claimed yesterday.


New research has suggested that population numbers for the ocean's most feared predator have been overestimated because many great whites have been double-counted, according to Ronald O'Dor, of Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Canada, the senior scientist at the Census of Marine Life project.


He told the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in San Diego that electronic tagging of great white sharks had made researchers more pessimistic about its survival.


"I recently heard a report from the team that's been tagging great white sharks," he said. "The estimated total population of great white sharks in the world's oceans is actually less than the number










Kenya Unveils Plan to Save Lions, Cheetahs From Extinction


Kenya is scaling up conservation efforts to restore dwindling numbers of large carnivores lost to shrinking habitats and conflicts with humans, the country's wildlife agency said.


The National Large Carnivore Strategy unveiled today aims to protect depleted populations of lions, cheetahs spotted and striped hyenas, and wild dogs, Charles Musyoki, an officer with the Kenya Wildlife Service, said at a ceremony in the capital, Nairobi.


The number of lions in the East African country has dropped to 2,000, from 20,000 about 50 years ago, and studies show they may become extinct in Kenya within 20 years, Minister for Forestry and Wildlife Noah Wekesa said at the same event. The cheetah population has plunged










Tiger beer more than real tigers


We have entered the Year of the Tiger, the year of hope for wild Malayan tigers.


While news of heightened awareness for tigers floods the media, articles about a tiger brutally killed in the Bukit Tapah Forest Reserve in Perak, Malaysia, speaks of the harsh reality faced by our Malayan tigers.


Responding to reports that a tiger had attacked an Orang Asli, the Perak Department of Wildlife and National Parks made the gruesome find of a dead tiger with a wire snare still entwined around its severed left forelimb. The tiger was trapped in the snare for a few days, shot in the eyes and other parts of its body and attacked with spears fashioned out of hard palm stalks. It is also believed to have been poisoned.


Seven Orang Asli, including the man who was attacked by the tiger, are now under investigation in connection with this case.


So what will it be for these seven if they are found guilty under the due process of the law? Will they each receive the maximum sentence of a five-year jail term and RM15,000 fine for killing a tigeras provided by the Protection of










Save the Vampire Squid From Hell


I was appalled when I read this entry at Huffington Post, which seemed to say that the vampire squid might be endangered from human activity. Then I clicked on the original press release put out by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and found only that the science guys believe that there are changes going on in the depths of the ocean due to human activity (very plausible), but that they don't know what's being affected because there's so little data. So this animal might be in danger of disappearing, but might not be.


Still, it's nice to see the vampire squid (vampyroteuthis infernalis, which literally means "vampire squid from hell") get some press. This bizarre creature is one of my favorite reminders










Two little big cats


After two years of planning, and thirty days in quarantine, the two newest southern Queenslanders have made it to their new home. "They have a way of looking through you. They are just wonderful, you can't help but love them."


After two years of planning, and thirty days in quarantine, two new southern Queenslanders have made it to their new home.


Stephanie Robinson, co-director at the Darling Downs Zoo says two African white lions are "Queenslanders now!"


The cubs arrived home last night, and spent the day familiarising themselves at










Zoo welcomes star attractions


THEY'VE got sharp teeth, deadly claws, a killer instinct and they're snow white.


They're also undeniably adorable.


Darling Downs Zoo last night took delivery of its new star attractions — two white lion cubs.


The six-month-old cubs travelled from South Africa and have already settled in well to their new home on the Downs.


"So far they've been quite calm and curious about everything around them," zookeeper Stephanie Robinson said










Cold Weather Tough on Florida's Manatees


After Successful Rehabilitation, Seven Young Manatee Return to the Wild


Bulbous, gray masses floated in the clear water, skimmed the surface and snorted for fresh air as volunteers, doctors and researchers watched from the shore.


Two manatees, CC and Captain, were released back into the wild today, and yesterday five more were brought to the warm springs in Florida's Crystal River, about 70 miles north of Tampa. It's a second chance at life after their much-needed rehabilitation.


Tanya Ward was one of the team members who released the manatees into the wild yesterday. She and several others transported them from trucks to the water, one by one, carrying each in a bulging stretcher. After a few










NGO helps reveal illegal trade of endangered animals


The NGO ProFauna Indonesia is working with law enforcement authorities to uncover the illegal trade of rare animals, which has sent two perpetrators to prison in the past two months.


An unnamed rare animal trader was sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment for illegally selling six kukang, or Sunda Loris (Nycticebus coucang), in East Java, ProFauna announced in a press statement recently.


However, police have yet to arrest another trader, found in possession of 15 kukangs, 15 Javan langurs (Trachypithecus auratus), a white-bellied sea-eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) and a leopard cat (Felis bengalensis) seized during a raid recently.


On Jan. 11, Jambi District Court sentenced a man to 3 years and 10 months










Kenya lions may be wiped out by 2060


Kenya's carnivores—one of the east African country's big tourist attractions—could all be extinct in the next 50 years unless action is taken, a minister warned on Thursday. Fifty years ago Kenya had around 30,000 lions, 10,000 leopards, 10,000 cheetahs, 20,000 wild dogs and 50,000 hyenas, wildlife minister Noah Wekesa told reporters. Experts say the country now has just 2,000 lions, between 800 and 1,160 cheetahs and just over 800 wild dogs. "If we don't do anything ... looking at these figures in another 50 years' time we will not have any wildlife in Kenya," Wekesa warned as he unveiled










A home from home: saving species from climate change


How can we save some of our most charismatic animals from extinction due to climate change? One US biologist, Camille Parmesan, has a radical suggestion: just pick them up and move them


Picture an elephant in the wild, making its stately progress across the ­savannah, tall grass bending ­beneath its feet. Now ­transplant that image to the American prairie. In one of the most startling new ideas to emerge about ­climate change, a leading conservation biologist is calling for plants and wildlife facing extinction to be saved simply by picking them up and moving them.


Camille Parmesan, a butterfly ­biologist at the University of Texas at Austin, has been monitoring the effects of rapid climate change on ­species – particularly those threatened because they cannot adapt to or ­escape from rising temperatures – for more than a decade now. But her idea for a modern day's Noah's ark remains hugely controversial.


"The idea is that, for certain ­species at very high risk of extinction due to climate change, we should actively pick them up and move them to ­suitable locations that are outside their historic range," she tells me in her ­office at the university campus, near the biology laboratory in which she and her ­husband keep myriad caterpillar samples in the cold store.


Her proposals, once confined to a handful of scientists, are now getting a broader airing as governments begin to grapple with the enormous problem of how to insulate animal and plant life from a warming climate. Shortly after appearing in the Atlantic magazine's










At Sangam, WWF plans to come up with dolphin sanctuary


After its `Save Tiger' campaign for protecting the Big Cat in India, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is now channeling its resources to protect the Gangetic Dolphin — another endangered species in the country.


The Sangam in Allahabad would soon be declared as an international tourist spot as the WWF, the world's leading organisation for wild conservation, plans to assist the Indian government in developing a world-class Dolphin sanctuary at Sangam.


"A team of six WWF members headed by Sandeep Behna, in-charge of Indian Dolphin, surveyed the entire Ganga stretch in this region up to Mirzapur. The survey found an abundance of Indian dolphins in the region with their number being around 300," said District Forest Officer S N Mishra.


The WWF team stayed in Allahabad for five days and surveyed stretches across river Ganga, Yamuna and other tributaries in Fatehpur, Kaushambi, Allahabad, Pratapgarh and Mirzapur areas










Calgary Zoo review panel says it wants to 'do it right'


Animal deaths fuel inquiry


Canada's second-largest zoo -- home to more than 2,000 animals on more than 40 hectares of land -- will be scrutinized with a fine-toothed comb over the next two days, says a team of experts from all over North America.


After a series of controversial animal deaths and accidents, the Calgary Zoo has invited five representatives from institutions accredited by the Canadian and U.S. associations of zoos and aquariums to conduct a review and come back with a series of recommendations.


Experts confirmed Tuesday they will spend two and a half days on site this week, including a meeting Tuesday with staff, without management present, where they were invited to speak with experts confidentially.


The scope of the review will include the examination of all animal care policies and procedures, veterinary care, staff training and experience, animal transportation procedures and the inspection of all animal facilities, exhibits and holding areas.


"When we complete our work here, we will compile a report. But we can't say what the timeline will be for that, because we want to do it right," said review team chairwoman Nancy McToldridge, director and chief operating officer at the Santa Barbara Zoo










Strategy to save big cats teaches old dogs new tricks


In a vast wilderness of thorn trees and grasslands on the edge of the Kalahari desert, Peter Knipe farms a menagerie of thousands of animals, from goats and cattle to impalas and giraffes. His most exotic import, however, is a friendly looking dog named Neeake.


Raised with a herd of goats since he was a puppy, Neeake has bonded with the goats so loyally that he guards them with his life. He scans the horizon constantly, searching for predators, keeping the cheetahs and leopards at bay.


Neeake, a Turkish breed known as an Anatolian shepherd, is the latest experiment by Africa's conservationists as they search for new ways to halt the dramatic decline of African wildlife. Because of Neeake, and other dogs like him, the farmers of Molopo River don't need to shoot or trap the cheetahs. The dogs protect the










Cotswold Wildlife Park still going strong at 40


BULL the rhino found out the hard way who was boss when he tangled with one of the Cotswold Wildlife Park's zebras – and despite his horns and fearsome appearance, he was sent packing.


The dramatic image of one of the former stars of the Burford park's collection – Bull died aged 41, on January 5 this year – is just one that has been gathered in its archives since the attraction opened almost 40 years ago.


The anniversary of the opening is Good Friday and as part of the celebrations, curator Jamie Craig is appealing for help from visitors to gather old pictures and memories, to create a more detailed record of the park's










Dallas Zoo investigating second gorilla escape


It's beginning to sound like a joke: Did you hear that another gorilla got loose at the Dallas Zoo?


But nobody was laughing Monday as zoo officials began investigating how a 180-pound, 19-year-old female gorilla managed to escape her locked enclosure Saturday.










Dallas zookeeper suspended after gorilla escape


Officials have suspended a zookeeper who left open a door that allowed a 180-pound gorilla to briefly escape her locked living quarters at the Dallas Zoo over the weekend.


Dallas Zoo Executive Director Gregg Hudson said in a statement Tuesday that the zookeeper failed to verify the area was empty before stepping away to gather cleaning equipment for the enclosure.


Tufani, a 19-year-old gorilla, remained in the gorilla research center Saturday and never reached public areas










Dazzling images, with irony to match


That mesmerizing Olympic opening ceremony last Friday presented to the world the icons that mark British Columbia as a special place.


There was the illuminated spirit bear, evocative of a magical benevolent wilderness presence, important to first nations from the coast to the Interior.


But despite repeated public opinion polls showing citizens want the practice stopped, B.C. continues to slaughter grizzly bears for fun and profit.


An Ipsos Reid poll in 2009 reported 78 per cent of British Columbians oppose the trophy hunting of grizzlies. Bear biologists denounce it because B.C.'s grizzly population is listed as being "of special concern." First nations chiefs from Haida Gwaii to the Great Bear Rainforest of the mid-coast object to the trophy hunt as sacrilegious.


The hunt is hardly sporting. Hunters kill bears feeding at salmon rivers. It's like shooting steers in the feedlot. Last year, 87 per cent of the 430 grizzlies killed were shot by trophy "hunters."


Some estimate that close to 11,000 of












The future survival of Indonesian rainforest species, including the critically endangered tiger and orangutan, is threatened by a European Commission (EC) Directive that will increase the amount of palm oil used in cars and power stations.


A leaked report reveals that a loophole in the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), intended to reduce greenhouse gases, would allow the vast majority of palm oil currently produced to be used in vehicles on UK roads.


Although the aim of RED is to protect wildlife areas by banning the sourcing of fuel from greenhouse gas-sequestering grasslands, wetlands and forests, an exemption means the protection does not apply to habitats changed before January 2008.


Much palm oil comes from plantations that have replaced forests in the past 15 years.


"This leaked document shows the disgraceful attempts to push palm oil through European laws designed to prevent destruction of the world's forests," said Adrian Bebb, agrofuels campaign coordinator for Friends of the Earth Europe.


"Allowing the expansion of palm plantations to fuel cars and lorries in Europe










Government inspection at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm


Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, which is being investigated for animal cruelty, has been inspected by Government animal health officials.


A team of two animal health inspectors from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) visited the farm, at Wraxall, last week.


The inspectors were at the farm as part of a regular inspection to check documentation relating to endangered species at the zoo farm.


The documents must show where the animals have come from and whether the farm has permission to exhibit them. The visit was not related to any welfare issues regarding the animals.


DEFRA bosses said they could not reveal










Crouching tiger, hidden species? Siberian creatures welcome in the Year of the Tiger as China worries about their extinction


The sight of tigers in the wild in China is becoming increasingly rare, but there are hundreds in zoos around the country.


So as the country came to a standstill this weekend to celebrate Chinese New Year, and see in the Year of the Tiger, it seemed only natural to use several Siberian tigers to welcome visitors to a zoo in Fuzhou in southeast China's Fujian province.


However, the tigers' poses were far from natural, as they were cruelly forced into a series of poses as they made their greeting.


Sitting on their hind legs with their paws in the air, the tigers were made to hold the poses for a lengthy period of time as visitors entered the zoo.


The sight was made even more poignant by news that these majestic creatures are likely to soon be extinct in the country.


Many wildlife species are endangered, but it is now thought that the Wild Tiger is one of the most critically endangered of all.


In the 20th century three of the eight sub-species of tiger became extinct - the Balinese in 1937, the Caspian in the 1950s and most recently the Javan in the 1980s.


The five remaining sub-species, the Siberian, the Bengal, the Sumatran, the Indo-Chinese and the South China tiger, are all critically










Inbreeding threatens survival of 2010's namesake creature


AS Chinese people are embracing the arrival of the Year of the Tiger tonight, zoologists are worried about the survival of South China tigers.


They say the endangered species is facing a serious problem of inbreeding.


The number of captive South China tigers rose to 92 in 2009 from 60 in 2007, but all the tigers were the offspring of six wild South China tigers that were caught more than 40 years ago, said Deng Xuejian, a professor with the Department of Biology of Hunan Normal University in southern China.


"The inbreeding may lead to genetic freaks, low survival rates and poor physical makeup," Deng said.


All the genes have come from two male and four female tigers, which has led to highly identical genes in the offspring, Deng said.


"The situation may reduce the genetic diversity and cause degradation or even the extinction of the species," he said.


The tigers will lose genetic diversity if their genes are too similar, said Ma Zaiyu, president of the veterinary hospital of Changsha Zoo.


"The number of the members of a species should be at least 1,000 to maintain the stability of the species










Lion cubs entertain


THE three African lion cubs that moved into Noah's Ark Zoo Farm two weeks ago have been entertaining visitors with their playful antics.


The youngsters, called Zulu, Masai and Louisa, have been seen playing and climbing in their outdoor enclosure.


To keep them occupied and as part of a special Valentine's activity they were given meat treats hidden inside cardboard gift boxes, which were prepared by visitors.


They have also been given new toys to keep their busy brains occupied.


Big cat keeper Emma Godsell said: "Lion cubs are naturally active and need stimulation to help them develop into strong, happy, healthy adults.


"On hearing how keepers at Linton Zoo used different toys as enrichment for the cubs we decided to buy a selection of exciting balls and rope toys to go alongside their climbing










Three Owls birds being re-homed


A third of the birds at Three Owls bird sanctuary have now found new homes.


Manager Nigel Fowler has contacted all sanctuaries across the UK to try to ensure every one of its 156 birds are re-housed.


On Monday four hens and two cockerels were taken to Rainbow Valley Bird Rescue in Skipton.


Sixty pigeons have been moved to another sanctuary in Skipton and Mr Fowler is in negotiations with an owl sanctuary in the hope that it can take all 47 owls at Three Owls.


Born Free defends Three Owls action


Mr Fowler, who made the decision to close the sanctuary because legislation required it to have a zoo licence or to make costly changes to its operation, is preparing to drive as far as Surrey and Cornwall to rehouse the birds.


He said: "We have had pledges of support from sanctuaries as far away as Scotland.


"It turns out that there are more places for birds than we have got birds and it is expected that they will all be rehoused."


The charity Born Free has issued a statement to the Observer after the controversy - click on the 'Related link' on the right to read it


Mr Fowler is keeping 'social










Born Free defends Three Owls action


The charity whose intervention led to the closure of Three Owls bird sanctuary has defended its actions.


In a statement Born Free said it found it 'distressing' it was being held responsible for the closure after making an 'innocent' enquiry about the sanctuary's legal position.


The charity also insisted the onus was on the council to work with the sanctuary to allow it to stay open.


As the Observer reported Three Owls trustees closed the Norden sanctuary after council officials found it didn't meet zoo licensing requirements.


The charity's statement said: "Born Free strongly sympathises with the situation faced by Three Owls Bird Sanctuary following a routine enquiry regarding licensing made last summer to Rochdale Council. Born Free can confirm that the enquiry was not a complaint and did not mention closure or any other measures nor did it comment on the living conditions for the birds, nor any other aspect of the operation of the sanctuary. It simply enquired about the status of the sanctuary's license under the relevant legislation.


"Born Free recognises the important role that true sanctuaries play in providing rescue and respite for wild animals in need and, under certain circumstances, sanctuaries have been offered exemption or partial exemption from zoo licensing requirements. We would have hoped that the council which, after all, was responsible for not having regularised the situation previously, would have been able to come










Wild tigers on brink but show signs of creeping back


Stalked by extinction, wild tigers show hopeful signs of recovery worldwide, conservation biologists report.


In its new survey, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) looks at eight monitored tiger regions, from Russia to Indonesia. About 3,000 wild tigers roam free worldwide, threatened by hunting and deforestation, the society says. That's down from about 100,000 a century ago.


"There is no place where we don't have cause for concern," WCS CEO Steven Sanderson says. "I do see hope in certain places."


The report grades sites good, fair or poor for tigers, based on field reports. Among findings:


•India. Rated "good." The Western Ghats region holds 400 tigers. "Tigers are benefiting from increased support" by India to halt poaching, the report says.


•Siberia. Rated "fair." The Russia-China border is home to 450 Siberian tigers. "Numbers are declining and, in some places, potentially sharply" because of more poaching, the report says.


•Cambodia. Rated "poor." The Seima Protection Forest, in the Eastern Plains Landscape, holds about 10 tigers. "If breeding tigers still exist, a long-term recovery for the population may still be possible," the report says.


Of the eight sites where the conservation society










Can tigers be moved safely?


The Wisconsin Dells Council approved a permit for an enclosure for Siberian tigers at Chula Vista Resort but raised concerns about safety in transporting the tiger cubs for the magic show at the resort.


The cubs used in Jeremy Allen's show at the resort are transported daily from the Timbavati Wildlife Park in Lake Delton. Questions about the safety of transporting tigers through the city in the summer were referred to the council's public safety committee.


The enclosure will have two juvenile tigers in it, who will be there for months at a time, and their enclosure will be by the lobby of the resort.


Mayor Eric Helland referred the question of transporting the animals safety to the committee.


Alderperson Debbie Kinder, who raised the question about transporting the tigers, said they will be transported during the busiest time of the year and asked what would happen if the transport vehicle was in an accident.


Chula Vista CEO Mike Kaminski said he had received an e-mail from Kinder asking the questions before the meeting and had referred it to Mark Schoebel, president of Animal Entertainments Inc., of Neshkoro, who will provide and care for the animals. Kaminski said the cages are approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture which also regulates the care of wild and exotic animals. He also said the cages are approved for international flights.


Kaminski first played a voice mail message for the council from Schoebel answering the questions and then called him on his cell phone to answer the council's questions.


Schoebel said the crates are a heavy mesh and the same procedure used to transport animals to a zoo are followed in transporting the tigers to Chula Vista. Schoebel was asked if the vehicle had one driver and another person in it and he said one. He was also asked if the cages were crash proof, but did not specifically answer that.


In approving the permit for the enclosure, the city retained the authority to review and revoke it if regulations are not followed.


Kaminski asked what would happen if "uneducated" people complained about the tigers treatment and who the city would use as expert to determine










Zoo responds to AZA report


24-page document calls for new position of registrar to foster communication


In an effort to address its systemic problems, the Topeka Zoo on Monday released an extensive plan of action including the creation of a new position aimed at reducing staff intimidation and timelines for hiring a new director and veterinarian.


The 24-page document, accompanied by more than 50 attachments, was sent to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in response to a recent critical report by the group.


The documents represent a blueprint of the zoo's upcoming presentation to an AZA panel that will decide March 3 whether the zoo retains its accreditation.


The city has moved quickly in the past week to address concerns. Late last week, the city laid off four zoo employees, three of them top management positions. With those moves, the zoo now operates without five of its top six positions.


Shifting the management structure appeared to be a theme of the zoo's response.


"Personnel changes have established a solid foundation for a new leadership team at the Topeka Zoo to restore the trust and confidence










Zoo staff 'looking forward' to independent review


Expert scrutiny follows deaths of animals


A team of experts is expected to arrive at the Calgary Zoo today to launch the second phase of a review examining its animal care practices in the wake of a number of controversial deaths.


"They will be reviewing and looking and inspecting all areas of the zoo and talking to staff," zoo spokeswoman Laurie Herron said Monday.


She said staff generally aren't feeling anxious about the review, rather looking forward to the visit, expected to last at least several days.


"I have spoken with a lot of them and many said they are looking forward to it," said Herron. "It's always good to have an outside person look at things. Sometimes, when we look at things so much we might miss something. We are feeling positive about this."


The scrutiny is self-imposed -- the zoo invited experts from institutions accredited by the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which is



Second victim of Coventry Zoo's Harry the hippo tells of ordeal



A SECOND victim of Harry the hippo has told how Coventry Zoo's former head keeper saved him from being crushed to death by the angry beast.


Paul Blatch was a 15-year-old zoo-keeper when he was trapped by the hippo behind a metal door.


The attack left him with a broken collarbone, leg and ankle as well as broken arms and wrists.


His remarkable escape has come to light after the Telegraph's story last week about another ex-keeper at the former Whitley zoo, Richard McCormick, who was mauled and dragged under water by two-tonne Harry in September 1966.


He was also saved by head keeper John Vose, who came to his rescue armed with a metal bar.


Richard, who was thought to be the only known person to have survived a hippo attack, now wants to track down John to thank him for saving his life.


But Paul, now 59, has revealed that just a year later he too was nearly killed by the "bad-tempered" hippo before John Vose heard his screams and ordered Harry back into his enclosure.


The former Cardinal Wiseman School pupil described how Harry forced open a metal slide-door to his feeding quarters while Paul was still in his outdoor enclosure – pinning him behind the door.


"All of a sudden I heard a thud and he had slid the door back across," he said. "I was sandwiched between the wall and the door and he had his head on the door and kept hitting it.


"I couldn't do anything, I just kept screaming






Indonesia considers adopt-a-tiger scheme





SEE Video




A male Sumatran tiger up against the bars of his cage, roaring. Even in captivity these creatures still remind us of their awesome power.


If you've ever dreamt of owning one of these ferocious creatures, now it just might be possible.


The Indonesian government is considering a conservation initiative that could see the general public legally keeping tigers as pets.


For a $100,000 deposit ordinary citizens would be allowed to care for a pair of critically endangered Sumatran tigers in their own backyard. That is as long as it's at least one tenth the size of a baseball field.


The government says that it is basing this initiative on a similar one that they launched for the Balinese mynah bird -- about the size of a pigeon -- that was on the brink of extinction










USDA confiscates circus animals


Owner says he didn't have warning


Thursday morning the U. S. Department of Agriculture took an African elephant from a home in Miami County, Indiana . The USDA took tigers and lions from the same residence a few days ago. The USDA claims the animals' living conditions weren't following the law, but the animals' owner, Julius von Uhl, 72, said he wasn't given proper notice of the violations.


von Uhl grew up with the circus Hungary. When he was 12, von Uhl started learning how to work with circus animals, and by age 15, he was a trainer.


In 1956, von Uhl moved to the United States. After several years of working as a horse trainer and serving in the Vietnam War, he moved to Indiana.


"I bought my own animals and had my own circus. We went from town to town like a gypsy," von Uhl said.


von Uhl owned an African elephant named Twiggy, six tigers and four lions. Melisa Culbertson's been to one of von Uhl's circus performances.


"There were mostly Amish children there. They loved it. They smiled and clapped," she said.


After years of taking his circus on the road, von Uhl decided to retire this year. He made arrangements






Mysore zoo to breed sparrow in captivity


The century-old Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens of Mysore, which has the rare distinction of successfully breeding a number of birds and animals in captivity, is ready for the next challenge –– breeding the sparrow.


Rapid urbanisation and concretisation of the heritage city has resulted in the disappearance of sparrow.


The cute little birds were once found in abundance in houses and on trees. Today, sighting a sparrow is quite rare.


In the absence of trees and `suitable houses', the birds have migrated to rural areas. As a result most of the city-bred children have only seen pictures of a sparrow.


In-charge Executive Director of Mysore Zoo, Vijay Ranjan Singh told Deccan Herald that the zoo did not have any problems in reserving a portion in one of the enclosures exclusively for the sparrow.


Habitat improvement


The zoo has never lagged when it comes to habitat improvement of any bird or animal. Besides, the zoo has got expertise in breeding rare species of animals and birds.


The Mysore Zoo has the record of breeding the Asian elephant










Toledo Zoo takes in confiscated elephant


The Toledo Zoo taken possession of an elephant that was confiscated by federal agents from a former circus owner in Indiana.


Zoo director Anne Baker said the female elephant named "Twiggy" is very thin and has pitted feet, indicating she didn't have proper foot care. The elephant is in quarantine and not ready to be exhibited.


Nolan Lemon, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said agents were concerned about the elephant's health and issued warnings about violations of the Animal Welfare Act. He said the owner, Julius von Uhl of Peru, Ind., was given ample time to improve living conditions for the animal.


Von Uhl said he wasn't given proper notice of any law violations. He said the government robbed him of money he would have been paid for selling










70-year-old tortoise entertains zoo visitors with sexual behaviour


An amorous tortoise aged 70 has been entertaining visitors at a zoo thanks to his public displays of affection


'Dirty Dirk', the Galapagos tortoise, who weighs 31 stone, has been paying particular attention to Dolly, 14, and Dolores, 10.


Sebastian Grant, Giant Tortoise keeper at London Zoo, said: "He's called Dirk because he was so amorous from the moment he got here - literally minutes.


"We named him after Dirk Diggler of Boogie Nights. He's earned his name, and he's quite willing to go as long as the girls will let him."


Zookeepers were initially shocked by Dirk's carnal acts outside of the traditional breeding season.


Mr Grant added: "We thought it would be more seasonal, but Dirk was kept away from females in his last enclosure because there was another dominant male.


"Now he's here and he's the top male so he's making the most of it."


Dirk was caught from the wild Galapagos










Darjeeling zoo plans to exchange red pandas with foreign zoos


An exchange of red pandas between the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park at Darjeeling and zoos in Australia and New Zealand is on the cards, to improve the bloodline of the arboreal animals in the Darjeeling zoo's captive breeding


"The plans are still in the proposal stage, but we want to exchange two male red pandas with an animal each from the Auckland zoo in New Zealand and the Adelaide zoo in Australia," zoo director A.K. Jha told The Hindu over telephone from Darjeeling.


Started in 1990, the captive breeding programme for red pandas, described as vulnerable by the International Union for










Sydney Snipers P-P-Pick Off Penguin Killers


Snipers have been deployed to protect a colony of endangered penguins after nine of the birds were mauled to death on a beach in Australia


Marksmen hired by the National Parks and Wildlife Service are patrolling the North Head park in Sydney at night following the attacks by dogs or foxes.


Infrared cameras and traps have also been set up to catch the killer - or killers - of the nine little penguins.


A spokeswoman for the parks service said: "Our focus is on protecting the penguins.


"We're pulling out all the stops to keep them safe.


"They're very endangered and very much loved by Sydneysiders."


Four dead penguins, from the colony of just 60 pairs, were found last Friday and a further four were discovered










180-pound gorilla briefly escapes Dallas Zoo enclosure


A 180-pound gorilla the Dallas Zoo briefly escaped from her living quarters Saturday but was returned to her enclosure before she could venture far. The zoo was closed at the time.


Zoo officials said the 19-year-old female, named Tufani, somehow got out of her 40-foot-by-50-foot living area, described as an apartmentlike facility with living and sleeping areas, and was discovered when an employee saw her through a window. She was atop the enclosure and would have had to get through at least two additional spaces to reach a public area, zoo spokeswoman Susan Eckert said.A Dallas police SWAT team responded, although zoo personnel tranquilized Tufani and had her back in place within










Animals Cope With Climate Change at the Dinner Table: Birds, Foxes and Small Mammals Adapt Their Diets to Global Warming


Some animals, it seems, are going on a diet, while others have expanding waistlines.


It's likely these are reactions to rapidly rising temperatures due to global climate change, speculates Prof. Yoram Yom-Tov of Tel Aviv University's Department of Zoology, who has been measuring the evolving body sizes of birds and animals in areas where climate change is most extreme.


Changes are happening primarily in higher latitudes, where Prof. Yom-Tov has identified a pattern of birds getting smaller and mammals getting bigger, according to










Leave Your Elephant at Bali's Door


Bali's Governor and Law Makers Refuse Importation of 59 More Elephants to Bali


Requests from various groups for permission to import 59 elephants to Bali are being steadfastly resisted by Bali's governor who claims the island's current elephant population of 93 is more than sufficient to meet the needs of a small island.


Seeking permission to import 59 more elephants to Bali are the Bali Elephant Safari Park in Taro (10), Bali Zoo Park (14), Kasiana (15) and Bakas (20).


The current population of 93 elephants are distributed among the Bali Elephant Safari Park (32), Taman Safari Bali (33), Kasiana (18) and Bakas (10).


Joining the governor in his refusal to










Clint Eastwood ape sidekick rescues Great Ape Trust caretaker


An orangutan bit a caretaker's hand at Great Ape Saturday morning, leaving only bruises, before a second ape with ties to actor Clint Eastwood came to the rescue.


Stephanie Perkins was standing outside the orangutan enclosure about 10:30 a.m. and reached in to collect a urine sample from orangutan Popi as part of standard procedures for the apes' medical monitoring.


Another orangutan, Katy, grabbed the caretaker's right hand and bit the fleshy part of the palm.


Popi âˆ' who starred with Eastwood in "Any Which Way You Can" in the 1980s âˆ' then smacked Katy, who let go of Perkins' hand.


Ape trust spokesman Al Setka said Perkins' wound appeared










Indonesia: Possible B2B H5N1 outbreak in zoo


Birds in Cikembulan zoo, Kecamatan Kadungora, Kabupaten Garut possibly died of bird flu H5N1 infection. Climate factor and inappropriate vaccination schedule were suggested as contributing factors of bird deaths. First bird death was observed on Thursday (11/2), said Cikembulan zoo manager, Rudi Arifin.


Cikembulan zoo was opened on September 2009, in an area of 25 hectares. The zoo has animal collection over 216 consists of 74 species which are dominated with










Illicit Wildlife Trade Third Largest After Arms, Drugs


With an estimated value of up to 20 billion dollars a year, the booming illegal trade in wildlife, which is vital to the whole system of life including human life, is reported to be the world's third largest illicit business after arms and drugs.


This shocking data comes from international bodies such as Interpol, the Nairobi-based UN Environment Program (UNEP) and the Geneva-based Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).


Examples of this trade are that some 40,000 monkeys and other primates are shipped across international borders each year, as are 2 to 5 million live birds, 2 to 3 million live reptiles, and 10 to 25 million reptile skins, according to CITES.


The wildlife trade includes 500 to 600 million ornamental fish, 1,000 to 2,000 tonnes of corals, 7 to 8 million cacti and 9 to10 million orchids, and many other products.


What is all such a gigantic volume of wildlife sales for?


The answer comes from CITES, which reports that all the above species and others are bought for a great variety of uses from pets to medicine, from food to fashion, from ornaments to scientific research.


Much of this trade is from developing countries, which contain most of the world's biodiversity, to developed ones, which provide the demand. The United States is even the biggest market for traditional Chinese medicines made from wild










Leopard's root canal highlights spacious new Hogle hospital


A male Amur leopard among the first animals to receive surgery at a new veterinary hospital Saturday at Utah's Hogle Zoo. The rare feline, named Vladamere, received a root canal to treat a broken canine tooth.


The surgical room was busy with an exotic animal dentist, several Hogle vets, a team of medical assistants, the zoo's photo-snapping director and a shotgun-toting zookeeper -- the latter a just-in-case precaution against the dangerous cat. But in the spacious new operating room, there was plenty of room to spare.


"It's wonderful," said Hogle's chief veterinarian, Nancy Carpenter. "With that many people in there, we'd all be bumping into each other in the old room."


The operating room at the zoo's old hospital was so cramped that veterinarians sometimes had to crawl over and under bulky pieces of surgical equipment to get from one side of the operating table to the other. That made providing surgical care to larger animals very difficult. Now they expect to be able to perform surgery on beasts up to 2,000 pounds.


The new hospital -- part of a slew of improvements aimed at improving animal care at the state's largest animal park --was funded in part by the ALSAM Foundation, a charitable organization sponsored by the clinic's namesake, drugstore magnate L.S. Skaggs.


Zoo officials say the clinic has the space to










The Origins of Tigers Revealed


New genetic study clears the mystery


According to an investigation that surveyed the genetic information in the tiger genome, it would appear that his big cat began evolving more than 3.2 million years ago. The comprehensive analysis also reveals that the feline is more tightly related to lions, leopards and jaguars than all of these cats are to each other. The finding clears some of the mysteries associated with how these wonderful and powerful creatures appeared and developed over the millennia. According to the paper, the closest living relative that the tiger has is the snow leopard, which is also severely endangered, the BBC News reports.


Tigers have a very weird situation right now, in the sense that they are some of the most popular and widely known animals in the world, while at the same time being severely endangered. Although many researchers have devoted years of their lives to studying these magnificent creatures, a lot of data about them still remains obscured. These missing pieces of information also include more details as to how the animals evolved.


Up until now, experts investigating big cats that tigers, lions, leopards, jaguars, snow leopards and two species of clouded leopards were more closely linked to





Wildwood Trust animal park receives £18,500 cash boost



A Kent animal park is to receive £18,500 from a waste management company to create a conservation centre.


The Wildwood Trust, near Canterbury, said it would use the money to help protect endangered British species.


The funding comes from money Viridor Waste Management would have to pay as landfill tax to the government, on rubbish it disposes at landfill sites.


The Landfill Communities Fund allows it to use the money to benefit specially chosen projects in




Hope, the Harpy Eagle Spotted in Belmopan



The Harpy Eagle the most majestic bird of prey in the America's and since 2003 there has been an effort to repopulate the Central American isthmus with the spectacular bird. A number of the eagles have been introduced at the vast and expansive Rio Bravo – but these things have a mind of their own – and one of them has left Rio Bravo – and headed southeast to Belmopan. Sharon Matola of the Belize Zoo today sounded a warning not to harm this bird if it is seen in the valley of peace of Belmopan areas.


Jacqueline Godwin Reporting,


It was on December fourteenth that we last heard about Hope, the Harpy Eagle when it was set free in the Rio Bravo Reserve. The objective is to help in the restoration of a healthy population










Massive expansion for Al Ain wildlife park


From a simple zoo to a major reserve is the story of the Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort in the rich emirates of Abu Dhabi. Recently, the Al Ain wildlife park was in the news after two extremely rare white lions arrived at the park. The park is currently under massive expansion mode for which a master plan has been put in place.


According to Hoda Ayache, an official of Al Ain Wildlife park and resort, "The expansion will [be] done in two phases. Among the plans include [a] resort hotel, conservation and breeding center, Arabian safari encampment, Asian safari encampment, residential safari lodge, African residential components, besides Arabian, African, and asian wildlife safari."


She said, "Among the expansion is also the Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre, which will also serve to raise awareness of sustainable living in a desert environment. Aside from the natural habitats, the wildlife










Animal welfare officers probe Gunnedah park


Animal welfare have been sent to the Waterways Wildlife Park in Gunnedah, after last week's seizure of eight koalas by the RSPCA.


The New South Wales Government has asked for a report to be prepared on the conditions of animals at the park.


Orange-based inspectors for the Department of Industry and Investment - the enforcement agency that licenses, controls and sets standards for zoos and fauna parks - have been§ion=news










At Granby Zoo, the patients can be wild


A red-crowned crane is being gently wrangled out of a temporary holding cell and walked down a hallway toward the clinic at Granby Zoo two animal keepers.


One has a hand grasped around the bird's spear-like beak, guiding the crane along the hallway, while the other keeper holds the bird tight, trying to prevent the two-metre wings from flapping and possibly getting damaged against the corridor walls. All three seem to be part of a delicate dance as they shuffle down the corridor, heralded by the crane's trumpeting "kar-r-r-o-o-o-o" calls.


At the clinic the bird is anaesthetized, then laid out on a gurney. "It's OK, baby," says the 39-year-old veterinarian, as she gently feels the lump on the bird's neck.


When Marie-Josée Limoges was seven years old, bats were her favourite animal. "Little girls usually like ponies and dolls," but not Limoges: "I'm attracted to the unusual."


Now, as the head veterinarian at the zoo, she is living her dream, treating the resident menagerie of 200 species – over 1,000










Seahorse breeding success at Anglesey sea zoo


Native seahorses been successfully bred in captivity at a site better known as a tourist location on Anglesey.


The Anglesey Sea Zoo's latest owner, Dylan Evans, said he wanted to put more emphasis on conservation of native species at the Menai Strait attraction.


Mr Evans said the visitor side of the business was essential to fund this area of the zoo's work.


Seahorses are often sold as souvenirs or used as alternative medicines.


"Historically the zoo has bred some seahorses, and we thought we'd give the native










Bolstered zoo breeds due soon for view


SHANGHAI'S two zoos are preparing to introduce new animal breeds before the 2010 World Expo opens in May. Some of the new animals, including four alpacas, will meet the public this week at the Shanghai Zoo.


Zoo officials said the alpacas are expected to receive a warm welcome. The animal is the model for the popular "grass mud horse," an Internet meme widely used by Netizens in China to vent their anger. In Chinese, the pronunciation for "grass mud horse" is same as a vulgar curse but with different tones.


"Some newborn animals will also meet local visitors, along with the newly introduced ones," said Pan Xiuwen, an official with the zoo.


Twin South China Tiger, born on January 29, will meet the public on May 1 along with six tigers born in the second half of last year.


The twins, named "Shi Shi" and "Bo Bo," were the first tiger cubs born in the zoo this year. In Chinese, "Shibo" is the pronunciation for "World Expo." The cubs, both female, now










Challenge grant issued to help move tigers


Arthur Benjamin is founder and president of American Dog Rescue but has decided to help out a couple of cats.


Benjamin heard about the plight of two tigers that have been left at a closed zoo, Lookout Mountain Wild Animal Park in Mentone. Other animals from the zoo have been relocated to Tigers for Tomorrow at Untamed Mountain.


While the two tigers aren't canines, they fit the animal welfare mission of American Dog Rescue. Moved by their situation, ADR has issued a $10,000 challenge grant to raise $30,000 so the tigers can be relocated to a new home at Tigers for Tomorrow at Untamed Mountain.


To help Tigers for Tomorrow match the funds










Charges urged against zoo


Animal cruelty investigators have recommended that charges be laid against the Mountain View Conservation Centre following the death of an adult giraffe there.


Jerome, a nine-year-old male, died Feb. 5 after being sedated for a hoof-trimming procedure.


The SPCA is alleging the Fort Langley centre caused unnecessary pain and suffering to the animal, contrary to both the criminal code and provincial Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.


In particular, the SPCA said the facility failed to adequately care for the giraffe because it did not have a special hoof-trimming stall on the property.


Instead, staff was forced to sedate the animal -- a dangerous option for giraffes with a 35 per cent chance of death, according to a veterinarian who was called in to conduct the procedure.


"This is just unacceptable," said Marcie Moriarty, head of the B.C. SPCA's cruelty investigations department. "This type of










China's Tiger Farms Spark a Standoff


Economists Propose Legalizing Sale of Some Animal Parts, as Poachers and Shrinking Habitat Thin Ranks in the Wild


The Year of the Tiger starts Sunday. But China's dwindling population of wild tigers faces an uphill battle in making it through the next 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac.


With international attention focusing on the tigers' plight—including an international summit to be hosted in the fall by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin—a pair of economists are proposing a market-based preservation solution that has riled some conservationists.


To curtail demand for poached animals, the economists suggest legalizing the sale of bones from some farm-bred tigers. In China, the bones are in high demand for use in traditional medicines such as rheumatism cures. Richard Damania, the World Bank's lead environmental economist in South Asia, estimates that tiger parts, including claws, skin and bones, can fetch up to $70,000 on the black market.


Such sales have been illegal in China since 1993, when Beijing joined a ban on international trade in tiger products. Before then, many tiger farms fed a demand for bones; after the ban, poachers and habitat destruction thinned China's ranks of wild tigers down to a few dozen. China today has about 6,000 tigers bred in captivity; world-wide, there are around 3,500 tigers in the wild, down from 100,000 a century ago.


"No matter what you do, the economic models show this," said G. Cornelis van Kooten, a professor at the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, who studies conservation economics. "If you have these farmed tigers and you let them out into the marketplace, you could save the wild tigers."


In a paper last year , Mr. van Kooten and his co-author, Brant Abbott, proposed granting exclusive rights to a few of China's tiger farms to sell the animals' bones for medicine. The sales would help the farms fight poaching and smuggling,












Civil society groups, media rally behind tiger activist


Civil society groups and the media in Goa have rallied behind noted wildlife activist and journalist Rajendra Kerkar who was recently branded `abettor' by the Goa forest department in a tiger poaching incident in February last year.


A month after the tiger was poached, Kerkar had reported in a leading national English daily about the incident, along with a photograph of the snared-and-shot tiger in the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary of North Goa, 60 km from here.


In its investigation documents, the forest department has reasoned that Kerkar's failure to inform the authorities about the origin of the controversial photos made him an abettor to the crime.


Arvind Bhatikar, a former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer and the editor of a local cable news channel Prudent Media, said that the charge against Kerkar was "an attempt by the state government to bludgeon activists and journalists in Goa into submission".


"The harassment of Kerkar by the forest department should serve as a lesson to all of us. An attempt will be made to bludgeon activists and journalists in Goa who oppose the government into submission," Bhatikar told IANS Friday after attending a public meeting in Panaji held in Kerkar's support.


Claude Alvares, a nationally renowned green campaigner, said that the state government wanted to cover up the tiger killing at the behest of the highly influential mining industry in Goa.


"The implication of a tiger reserve in Goa is difficult to accept for everyone, especially to the mining lobby," Alvares said, adding that establishing the presence of a tiger in Goa had made a good case for a tiger reserve in the state.


This, Alvares said, would serve as a death knell for dozens of iron and manganese ore mines, which are located in the dense Sahyadri forests, that make up Goa's hinterland.


Alvares, the co-founder of Goa Foundation, an NGO dealing in environment and civic rights issues, charged that the state forest department, especially Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) Shashi Kumar, was acting on behalf of the state's Rs 4,000 crore mining industry.


"Dr Shashi Kumar is not interested in sustaining the forest. He is interested in sustaining mining," Alvares said, adding that Kerkar was being specifically targeted to cow down the campaign for a tiger reserve in Goa.


Ramesh Gauns, an anti mining activist and a part of Goa mining affected people (GOAMAP), said that there were nearly 81 mining leases in Sattari, the region where the tiger was trapped and shot dead.


"One of the reasons why the forest department is not interested in pursuing the tiger poaching case is because if the Sattari area is declared a tiger reserve, mining companies will have to bid good bye to the 81 mining leases there," Gauns said.


It is not just NGOs alone who have come out publicly in support of Kerkar. Several leading vernacular and English language newspaper have devoted above-the-fold front page spreads to the Tiger-Kerkar-abettor story this week.


In its editorial dated Feb 11, Herald, a local daily, has called it unfortunate that a whistleblower had










World Bank Faces Tiger Trap in Burma


As the World Bank embarks on its latest foray to protect Asian forests that are home to wild tigers, one of the continent's iconic predators, a visible trap looms in military-ruled Burma.


The challenge for the Bank stems from a need to find a balance between its new interest as a conservationist – through its Global Tiger Initiative (GTI) – and a policy that shackles the Washington DC-based international financial institution from being directly involved, including doling out financial aid, to the South-east Asian nation.


The GTI, which the Bank unveiled in June 2008, has identified a raft of measures to help the 13 Asian countries where the last of the estimated 3,200 wild tigers roam. This includes direct investments to preserve and expand the prevailing habitats of the endangered predator, which numbered about 100,000 a century ago.


The importance of Burma, or Myanmar, as it is also known, in this unique environmental drive is not lost on conservationists. The country is home to the world's largest tiger reserve among the 13 tiger range nations, which include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.


What is more, the Bank's efforts to tiptoe around the trap of being prevented from working in Burma will be in the spotlight this year due to the world's first tiger summit to be held in Vladivostok in September. Robert Zoellick, the Bank's president, is billed to co-chair the summit with the host nation's prime minister, Vladmir Putin.


"We in the World Bank do not have the mandate to fund projects in Myanmar," admitted Keshav Varma, leader of the GTI. "But we can provide technical assistance through United Nations










Fallow deer available to restock herd


If the Deer Park in Waterford is allowed to expire, it won't be because there are no female fallow deer available to serve as replacements.


Mike Maziarz of Rockwood, president of Ontario Venison, says there are breeders in the province who sell English fallow deer Fallow deer are also kept at the Toronto Zoo and Marineland in Niagara Falls. As well, leads for locating fallow deer are available through the diversified livestock branch of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture & Food.


Maziarz expressed sympathy Wednesday for the plight of the Deer Park. Since Christmas, wild dog or coyotes have breached the compound several times. By Feb. 1, all the females were dead. All that remain are a dozen males. The future of the herd, which was established in 1942, is now in doubt.


"I've lost a whole year's worth of elk calves to coyotes," Maziarz said. "That was in 2008. I lost 20 calves. And we aren't covered under the Livestock, Poultry and Honeybee Act, so there is no compensation for that."


The Waterford Public Utilities Commission brought in fallow deer in 1942 to control weeds and grass in the area of the Waterford well field. The deer are prolific and have been self-sustaining. They have long been a popular attraction with local families and tourists alike.


Tuesday, Norfolk council directed staff to prepare a report on what it will take to replenish the herd. Availability will be a key consideration because English fallow deer hail from Europe and










Group that shut down bird sanctuary revealed


Born Free has been revealed as the animal rights group whose complaint led to the closure of Three Owl Bird Sanctuary.


The council has refused to name the organisation which made the complaint, but a source has confirmed it came from the Born Free Foundation.


As a result council officers found that Three Owls was breaching zoo licensing legislation, giving the sanctuary 28 days to make changes to the way it is run.


Trustees then decided it wasn't possible to meet the requirements and pulled the plug on the charity, which has been operating for almost 50 years..


Sanctuary manager Nigel Fowler slammed the charity's actions.


He said: "The idea that a charity can shut another charity is shameful. This is a national charity and they are quite likely to lose a lot of support over this.


"They should have approached trustees first and found out more about us."


On its website the Born Free Foundation, whose celebrity supporters include rock star Bryan Adams and actress Joanna Lumley, says its aim is to stop animals enduring 'appalling lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care at spacious sanctuaries'.


Its Zoo Check programme aims to prevent captive animal suffering and phase out zoos that keep animals captive for entertainment.


An online petition has now been launched on the Three Owls website to call for changes to zoo licensing regulation, which classed the sanctuary as a zoo because it was open to visitors for guided tours and it displayed wild birds to the public.


Peter Rowlinson, head of planning and regulation for Rochdale Council, told Tuesday night's Norden Community Association meeting that more sanctuaries across the UK could be closed by the organisation, which he also refused to name.


He said St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in Buckinghamshire and another bird sanctuary in south Wales have been placed












Gujarat opposes shifting Gir lions to Madhya Pradesh


The Gujarat government Thursday came out against the central and Madhya Pradesh governments' plan to shift Asiatic lions Gir region to Kuno-Palpur sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh to save them extinction.


"The government of India's opinion that the protected area of Gir faces great threats is not based on adequate reason, rational and factual evidence," said a Gujarat government affidavit submitted to the bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice C.K. Prasad.


"In the case of wildlife conservation in Gir, the lion population has progressively grown as a result of the state government's commitment and its conservation efforts," the affidavit said, adding that "there is no rationale to propose translocation of lions from Gir to Kuno".


Opposing the plan for shifting lions, the Gujarat government warned that "any artificial tinkering with the complex natural eco-system and socio cultural traditions that support conservation of Asiatic lion in Gir region, that too against the will and the opinion of local people, can never be a remedy unless the entire phenomena is properly understood".


Filing the affidavit on behalf of the Gujarat government, the state's Principal Chief Conservator Forests (Wildlife) B.N. Srivastava also sought to dismiss the central government's fear that Gir region might be facing a threat










Honolulu Zoo Director Resigns


City Begins Search For Facility's New Leader


The Honolulu Zoo director resigned after about a year on the job, city officials announced on Wednesday.


Stephen Walker cited personal reasons, officials said. Walker came to Honolulu from the Oklahoma Zoo


"We thank him for helping to guide the zoo through an exciting time, and we wish him well," city Enterprise Services Director Sidney Quintal said.


The city will begin a search for a new zoo boss in Hawaii and around the country, officials said.


The zoo's assistant director Tommy Higashino










Kenya rounds up zebras for starving lions


Kenyan wildlife officials are ferrying thousands of zebras and wildebeest to a park in the country's south to feed starving lions and hyenas, and prevent a conflict with humans.


The animals will be hauled from four locations to restock Amboseli National Park's population, which lost 80 percent of its herbivores in a recent drought, said Kentice Tikolo, spokeswoman for the Kenya Wildlife Service.


"It was the worst drought in 26 years," Tikolo said. "The Amboseli ecosystem was severely affected. ... Lots of herbivores died, carnivores don't have anything to feed on, and have been attacking neighboring livestock."


The imbalance has sparked a row with villagers who lost animals in the drought and have threatened to kill lions and hyenas preying on remaining livestock.


Should the zebras be brought in to help the lions?


"There are only 2,000 lions left nationwide, and we are concerned because the numbers are dropping," the spokeswoman said.


"Maasais are getting angry and threatening to spear them -- the human versus wildlife conflict is getting out of hand -- and our carnivores are already greatly endangered."


About 4,000 zebras and 3,000 wildebeest will be transferred to Amboseli. The zebras will go first. The wildebeest will follow, after calving season, Tikolo said. Once at Amboseli, they're expected to breed and sustain the lions over the long term.


Shipping the animals from Soysambu Conservancy in the Rift Valley and three other nearby locations will cost about $ 1.4 million, according to Tikolo.


The animals are herded into a funnel-shape enclosure using helicopters and loaded into trucks to Amboseli










Zoo concerned elephants could fall in moat


The exhibit for the elephant at the Sedgwick County Zoo is about to get a new look — and some visitors may not like it.


It's a safety issue for the aging elephants, the zoo says.


Work began this week to replace the moat in the exhibit with an 8-foot-tall post and cable fence.


Stephanie and Cinda, the two South African bush elephants, are close to 40 years old. Zoo officials are concerned that the elephants, who like to stretch their trunks out for treats and grass on the other side, could lose their balance and fall into the moat.


"With each passing day and year this balancing act becomes more nerve-racking for our zookeepers," said Mark Reed, director of the Sedgwick County Zoo. "All it would take is one misstep and we could have a dangerous










Tokyo Zoo Safe from Escaped Tigers, Still at Risk of Irony










Inbreeding threatens survival of China tigers


As Chinese people are embracing the arrival of the Year of Tiger on Saturday, zoologists are worried about the survival of South China Tigers as the endangered species are facing a serious problem of inbreeding.


No traces of the tigers have been found in the last decade, they said.


The number of captive South China (Panthera tigris amoyenesis) rose to 92 in 2009 from 60 in 2007 but all the tigers were the offsprings of six wild South China tigers which were caught more than 40 years ago, said Deng Xuejian, a professor with the Department of Biology of Hunan Normal University, based in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province.


"The inbreeding may lead to genetic freaks, low survival rates and










London Zoo to open rainforest experience


A living rainforest containing tropical plants and exotic animals will open at ZSL London Zoo next month (27 March).


Rainforest Life will emulate the sights, smells and sounds of a real-life rainforest within the confines of the north London zoo's Clore Rainforest Lookout exhibit.


Visitors will be able to wander freely around the experience, which will have no glass or bars separating them from array of exotic species living amongst the










Los Angeles orders study on privatizing city's zoo


Last fall, the 121-year-old Dallas Zoo embarked on a bold plan to run more efficiently and save the city money: It went private.


Since then, Texas' largest zoo has saved the city millions in operating costs while generating a windfall of hefty donations.


"We think it's working quite well," said Susan Eckert, spokeswoman for the city-owned facility now operated by the nonprofit Dallas Zoological Society. "It's been seamless.


"Our goal is that people not notice the difference."


The Los Angeles Zoo is now poised to follow the lead of Dallas and other large U.S. cities that have turned their menageries over to private management.


This week, the Los Angeles City Council ordered a feasibility study on ways to transform the city zoo into a public-private partnership. The study may take a year.


If approved, the financially strapped city would sign over operations










Lowry Park Zoo assists in Key Largo wood rat repopulation


With some help from Lowry Park Zoo, a species of rat has returned to its native habitat after being pushed to the brink of extinction more than 25 years ago.


Seven Key Largo rats born in captivity were released at Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge last week, officials said. Seven more will be taken to the refuge on Feb. 22.


Some of the rats were raised in captivity at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo. The zoo started its breeding program in 2002 after researchers determined that fewer than 90 wood rats remained in the Key Largo area. Disney's Animal Kingdom started its own breeding program in 2005.


The rodents' natural habitat is the tropical hardwood hammock forests from Key Largo south to Tavernier. The










Melbourne Zoo Shows Off Its Newest Star!


And now after all the chaos and confusion over the Australian immigration changes, we thought you'd appreciate something a little lighter for the weekend!


Meet Baby, the latest addition to Melbourne Zoo The tiny baby Asian elephant, weighing a not so tiny 137 kilograms, was born on January 16 but has only just made her first public appearance. And then mum and `aunty' were right by her side as she tottered out to the meet the public.


Baby is making the headlines as she is the first female calf to be born in captivity in Australia and the first through artificial insemination, so she's already become the zoo's star attraction!


Baby is still being fed by her mother Dokkoon and probably won't go onto solids until she's around three months old. Keepers decided to keep her out of the limelight










More Tigers in Captivity Than in the Wild


Sunday will mark the Chinese New Year — the Year of the Tiger — but U.S. conservation officials say the world's tiger population is in crisis.


The World Wildlife Fund says more tigers are now kept in captivity in the United States than are alive in the wild. The conservation organization said as few as 3,200 tigers exist in the wild in Asia where they are threatened by poaching, habitat loss, illegal trafficking and the conversion of forests for infrastructure and plantations.


Three tiger sub-species have become extinct since the 1940s and a fourth one, the South China tiger, hasn't been seen in the wild in 25 years, the WWF said.


That situation has prompted the organization to start a campaign supporting the goal of doubling wild tiger numbers










Romanian zoo sends 13 lions to Britain


Thirteen lions living in squalid conditions at a Romanian zoo are being flown to a new life at Britain's Yorkshire Wildlife Park.


"This is the biggest lion rescue operation carried out in Europe to my knowledge," said Daiana Ghender, director of Oradea zoo in north-western Romania.


The lions, aged eight months to 27 years, underwent a check-up by a British veterinary team before being transfered to a lorry for Budapest, from where they will catch a plane to Yorkshire.


Oradea zoo is home to 800 animals and










Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium gives threatened sea turtles a second chance


Two North Carolina loggerhead moved into the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium where they are recovering from the cold snap that has gripped the south and taken a toll on the southern sea turtle population.


More turtles are expected by summertime.


In addition, three members of the zoo's team traveled to Orlando, FL, last month to help rescue workers in a massive effort to save 5,000 green sea turtles that had been paralyzed by the cold. Frigid temperatures in the south are threatening the lives of the turtle population that inhabit the waters from North Carolina to Florida.


Allen McDowell, assistant curator of aquatic life, joined the Pittsburgh staff in January from Disney's Sea Pavilion in Epcot where he had worked for 10 years. He had just arrived in Pittsburgh when he and two other staffers rushed to Florida to assist with the largest green sea turtle rescue effort in the history of the state.


Sea turtles are ectothermic, meaning their bodies adapt to the temperature










Prague zoo's vets accomplish unique surgery on flying-fox


Vets from the Prague zoo have accomplished a unique surgery on a small flying-fox that had suffered an arm fracture, the zoo spokeswoman has told CTK, adding that the winged animal patient seems to be successfully recovering.


The vets planted a needle inside the broken bone that will help it heal quickly. Afterwards they put the arm in splints, the spokeswoman, Jana Ptacinska Jiratova, told CTK.


She said similar operations on flying-foxes far from usual.


This case therefore offered a unique opportunity for the vets to try an osteosynthesis surgery on this tiny animal.


The period of convalescence is three weeks. In a fortnight the keepers will see how the recovery has progressed.


Small flying-foxes, a species of bat, live in tropical forests










Leo jet: 13 lions moved from run-down Romanian zoo to Yorkshire wildlife park in biggest-ever rescue


Their rusty metal cage was no bigger than 3m by 4m. Its concrete floor was filthy and, but for a makeshift wooden bed shoved into the corner of the enclosure, it was entirely bare.


For the five emaciated lions sharing a squalid pen in a Romanian zoo this was home.


There were three more pens close by, each one as










Pride of lions rescued from Eastern Europe zoo touch down in Britain


A pride of 13 lions rescued from a dilapidated Eastern European zoo have touched down at a British airport on its way to a new life in chilly South Yorkshire.


The organisers of the operations at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park near Doncaster said the attraction will be a welcome relief from the conditions the big cats have endured in Romania.


The converted Boeing 737 carrying the lions touched down at Robin Hood Airport, near Doncaster, at lunchtime and the 13 well packed animals were then carefully loaded on to a specialist £700,000 elephant-carrying lorry borrowed for the day from Woburn










Stranded panda lured to safety with bananas


A hungry, lost wild giant panda a long rescue operation in a village in southwest China after it trapped itself on a mountain cliff.


Villagers in China's Sichuan province discovered the panda stranded on the steep mountain face, too scared to climb down.


The Washington Post reports that villagers did not dare attempt to rescue the animal themselves but rather called animal conservationists and fed the panda bananas while they waited for help.


The panda, thought










The attack on the private zoo in Moscow region


In the village Sokolovo Solnechnogorsk district of Moscow region attacked a private zoo.


As a result of the death of three peacocks, four pheasants, pigeons, ornamental chickens, and ferrets, and six rabbits, the press office of Internal Affairs of Moscow region.


The crime was committed on the night of February 11. Mesh










The Year of the (threatened) Tiger


As we welcome the Year of the Tiger, the new year is not about roaring celebration. It instead calls for more conservation actions.


Among the 13 tiger range countries in the world, Bhutan, which is best known for its conservation policies, is launching postal stamps of tigers as a sign of commitment to the global effort in saving tigers from becoming extinct.


Denominations of Nu 30 and Nu 50 stamps will be launched on February 13, at the clock tower square, along with the unveiling of a tiger mount. The mount, said nature conservation division (NCD) officials, is a reproduction of an old tiger that was rescued from Haa in 2005.


The postal stamps with "Save the Tigers" slogan is a good way of advertising, said the chief forest officer of NCD, Dr Sonam Wangyel Wang. "People use on mail, which go through various offices, countries and reach every part of the country and globe," he said.


Tigers manage the ecosystem and keep it in perfect balance, which is why it is very important to save the tigers, said Dr Sonam Wangyel Wang. "It's at the top of the food chain and controls the composition of the forest ecosystem," he said. He added that tigers are a pride for Asia and an indicator of stress on the environment. "Saving tigers is saving the pride of Asia," he said.


The Year of the Tiger is taken as an opportunity around the globe to create awareness on saving the big cats. "Tigers may become extinct if we wait for the next tiger year," said the coordinator of carnivore conservation program, Lhendup Tharchen.


By Sonam Pelden


Although Bhutan's wildlife habitat is better as compared to other countries, NCD officials said that Bhutan's tiger conservation efforts took off quite late. "We're in the last leg of the conservation process and much is left to be done," said an NCD official. He said that other countries had pockets










Tiger Farms in China Feed Thirst for Parts


The crowd-pleasing Year of the Tiger, which begins Sunday, could be a lousy year for the estimated 3,200 tigers that still roam the world's diminishing forests.


With as few as 20 in the wild in China, the country's tigers are a few gun blasts away from extinction, and in India poachers are making quick work of the tiger population, the world's largest. The number there, around 1,400, is about half that of a decade ago and a fraction of the 100,000 that roamed the subcontinent in the early 20th century.


Shrinking habitat remains a daunting challenge, but conservationists say the biggest threat to Asia's largest predator is the Chinese appetite for tiger parts. Despite a government ban on the trade since 1993, there is a robust market for tiger bones, traditionally prized for their healing and aphrodisiac qualities, and tiger skins, which have become cherished trophies among China's nouveau riche.


With pelts selling for $20,000 and a single paw worth as much as $1,000, the value of a dead tiger has never been higher, say those who investigate the trade. Last month the Indian government announced a surge in killings of tigers by poachers, with 88 found dead in 2009, double the previous year. Because figures are based on carcasses found on reserves or tiger parts seized at border crossings, conservationists say the true number is far higher.


"All of the demand for tiger parts is coming from China," said Belinda Wright, executive director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India. "Unless the Chinese change their attitude, the tiger has no future on this earth."


Although conservationists say India must do a better job of policing its 37 tiger reserves, they insist that the Chinese government has not done all it can to quell the domestic market for illicit tiger parts. Anti-trafficking efforts are haphazard, experts say; China bans










Year of no concern for the tiger?


I am disheartened at how Singapore is celebrating the Year of the Tiger.


Instead of highlighting how threatened the tiger is as a species, there are actions and pictures showing a complete disregard for their well-being.


The Singapore Zoo is showing its training methods by placing the tiger in a small cage so that people can walk past and take pictures of them.


On the cover of a local magazine, a celebrity is draped in a tiger skin.


Why can't we celebrate this beautiful and threatened animal










What a zoo: a human resources seminar with animals


On the face of it, the invitation was pretty typical — an offer to spend an afternoon learning about new human resources regulations. But not many seminars promise to end with an interactive zoo experience.


At a time when it's harder than ever to pry busy clients away from their desks to attend a business-time get-together, one Houston consulting firm went beyond the typical doughnuts and coffee and gave its clients the chance to come nose to nose with a porcupine.


BenefitSpecialists hosted its clients at the offices of one of its own clients — the Houston Zoo.


"When I look for a venue for a seminar, I'm looking for three things: I want it to have great food, a comfortable venue and it has to be an experience people will remember," chief innovation officer Christopher Fisher said.


He knows people's time is valuable, and he's hoping that when they leave they say to themselves: "Wow, this was great. I'm glad we took time out of our day to do this."


Half of the session focused on new human resources regulations revolving around post-layoff health insurance continuation (COBRA), health care privacy (HIPAA) and family and medical leave (FMLA). Then attendees heard two hours on the new government noticing require-ments for that alphabet soup of employment laws.


After the last slide, a golf cart pulled up, and in came the animals and zookeepers. Cameras flashed as all the human resource managers, accountants and financial officers gathered around to ogle Luna the baby alligator, Lucky the chinchilla and Trixie the 18-pound Flemish giant rabbit.


"It was a draw," said Carole Cook, chief financial officer of Industrial Equipment Co., a wholesale distributor with 41 employees. "I wanted the information but I also wanted to see the animals."


So did Pat Ham, an accountant with Integrated Mortgage Solutions in Houston whose










Where is Norman Buwalda's tiger?


The "pet" tiger who killed its owner in Ontario last month has disappeared along with the other exotic cats believed to have been on the deceased's property.


Southwold Township's CAO, Donna Ethier, says they don't know what became of the animals as "the family has not been in communication with the Township with respect to this matter."


Inspectors for the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who discovered the animals were missing, have been unsuccessful in reaching those in charge of Buwalda's estate.


A rumour that the tiger and two lions were moved from Buwalda's property to a zoo in Seagrave, Ontario, has been denied by the facility's owner.


"I'm guessing they either were moved into a worse situation or euthanized," Zoocheck Canada's campaign director, Julie Woodyer, told the London Free Press, adding that "euthanasia is perhaps preferable to a lifetime in a small, substandard facility."


In Ontario, each municipality is responsible for enacting its own by-law to regulate the care and control of exotic animals. Although the Township of Southwold passed such a by-law










Zoo Installing Fences to Protect Elephants












Zoo puts on the ritz -- and thereby hangs a tail


Heading the guest list for last night's annual Society Ball put on by the Staten Island Zoological Society was an exotic Amur tiger.


And right on his tail were a record-breaking 455 two-legged attendees -- among them the borough's elite -- who turned out at the Excelsior Grand in New Dorp to pay homage to one of the borough's most beloved institutions.


"You are part of the history of the Staten Island Zoo because this is the largest function the Zoo has ever had," Event Chairman Ralph Lamberti crowed.




Baby tiger Noah pulled a crowd, with cooing admirers gathering round to snap photos.


And while handlers Marie Tilton and Lee Huntsman kept the 9-month-old on a tight leash, the only thing that separated the public from the 180-pound carnivore was a velvet










Zoologist urges council to end zoo's elephant program


Animal rights group enlists leading expert on elephant behaviour in attempt to remove pachyderms from Toronto Zoo


An animal rights group has brought in a leading expert on elephant behaviour in its attempt to remove the pachyderms from the Toronto Zoo.


Joyce Poole, who has studied these animals for three decades, urged city councillors to end the zoo's elephant program. In a letter sent on behalf of Zoocheck Canada, Dr. Poole said the health of these animals is at risk because of Toronto's cold climate and the fact that they remain confined indoors for long stretches.


Her plea comes as animal rights groups and supporters of the Toronto Zoo duke it out over the living conditions at the elephant exhibit following the death in November of matriarch










Aquarium for Times Square tower


As if Times Square wasn't enough of a zoo, just wait for its newest neighbour: a giant aquarium in a new office building.


Toronto-based Aquarium Development Corp has signed a preliminary agreement to lease the first seven floors of 11 Times Square on the corner of Eighth Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan, three people familiar with the matter said.


The aquarium would be the first tenant in the 40-story, 1.1 million square foot building.


Its neighbours would include the Port Authority Bus Terminal and The New York Times building.


If it makes a firm deal and signs the lease, the Aquarium company's lease would last 25 years, one of these people said.


A lease could be signed soon and the aquarium












Celebrate Chinese year of the tiger at Highland Wildlife Park


group of oriental animals focus for a range of events


AS CELEBRATIONS begin to mark the Chinese New Year, a group of oriental animals are getting on with life unaware of what all the fuss is about.


Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie is home to two rare Amur tigers, a species native to China, and since this is the Chinese year of the tiger, several themed events are planned this weekend.


The park's adult tigers and their three offspring, born in May last year, will be the focus for a range of events which will reflect traditional celebrations. There will also be interactive displays with information about China, its culture and its tigers.


Douglas Richardson, animal collection manager at the park, said: "Within the past 80 years, three subspecies of tiger became extinct and a further subspecies can only be seen in some zoos as it no longer exists










Marine experts on standby for potential shark birth at the Blue Planet Aquarium at Cheshire Oaks


MARINE experts at the Blue Planet Aquarium are on alert this Valentine's weekend for the potential birth of more than 20 tropical sharks.


A giant three-metre-long nurse shark, named Sundance, is nearing the end of her six-month pregnancy in the aquarium's giant 3.8 million-litre Caribbean Reef display.


The zoological team has been monitoring Sundance closely since she was observed mating last year.


Blue Planet's exhibits manager Tom Cornwell said: "Although we can't be 100% certain that she is pregnant the fact that she has definitely changed shape over recent months leads us to believe she may well be.


"Nurse sharks are ovoviviparous – which










Mouse deer breeding centre set up in zoo


As part of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) initiative towards conservation of endangered wild animal species, a Mouse Deer Breeding Centre has been set up at the Nehru Zoological Park here and the new building is scheduled to be inaugurated shortly.


According to the zoo officials, the project was taken up at a cost of around Rs. 24 lakh and work on the centre has been completed. "The structure is ready and we are looking at its inauguration next week or fortnight," said zoo director K. Bhoopal Reddy.


The zoo presently has two male and five female mouse deer, known as `Jarini Pandi' in Telugu and literally meaning a deer and a mouse. Figuring in the endangered species list, the species also referred to as `Spotted Indian Chevrotain' are small secretive ones with primitive features now found only in parts of Africa and South-East Asia










Tokyo zoo to receive pair of pandas from China


Tokyo's Ueno Zoo is expected to receive a pair of giant pandas from China early next year, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara said unveiling a plan that would mark return of the popular animals to the country's oldest zoo about three years after death of the zoo's last panda.


Ishihara yesterday said that the Chinese side has agreed in principle to lease two pandas for USD 950,000 a year, money that Tokyo expects to be used for the preservation of wild animals in China. The zoo










Colchester: New medical centre - for zoo animals


A STATE-of-the-art medical centre is set to be built - for the animals at Colchester Zoo.


Plans are in the pipeline for a new centre which would provide better health care and emergency facilities for the hundreds of animals at the award-winning zoo.


The current centre was introduced in the early 1980s and has expanded over the years to create a workable space.


But as the zoo has grown, more sophisticated medical facilities are needed.


Now it is hoped work will start on the new medical centre towards the end of the year.


It will be sited near the current










Task force set for elephant conservation


The Government has set up a Task Force for more effective conservation and management of elephants in India. The eleven-member task force to be headed by Prof. Mahesh Rangarajan of Delhi University will device an institutional framework for project elephant that was launched in 1992 with the objective to protect the elephants. The panel will recommend appropriate changes in the existing wild lifle protection act and examine the issues relating to elephant reserves and human-elephant conflict. The committee will also suggest steps for training and certification of Mahouts, the veterinarian care of the elephants, creation of rescue centres and monitoring of captive animals. AIR correspondent reports that



Group Tries to Save the Last Parrot Species Indigenous to Mainland US



The thick-billed parrot, a pine seed-loving, social bird with a call like human laughter, has been on the federal Endangered Species List for 36 years, but the government has never developed a recovery plan for the bird, environmentalists say in Federal Court. It is one of two parrot species indigenous to the United States in historic times. The other, the Carolina parakeet, was hunted to extinction to get feathers for hats.


WildEarth Guardians sued Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to force the government to implement a recovery plan for the last surviving parrot species in the United States.


Scientists estimate that only 2,000 to 2,800 adult thick-billed parrots (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha) remain in the wild, all of them in Mexico's Sierra Madre Occidental. "Naturally occurring flocks" of the birds were last seen in Arizona in 1938 at the Chiricahua National










Four Bali Parks Hope To Draw Tourists With Imported Elephants


After last year's failed attempt to ship in Komodo dragons, Bali now is looking at getting elephants from Sumatra to attract more tourists.


Four conservation institutions in Bali on Tuesday requested 59 elephants from Way Kambas National Park in Lampung: 10 for the Elephant Safari Park in Taro, Gianyar district; 14 for Bali Zoo Park, also in Gianyar; 15 for Kasian in Badung; and 20 for Bakas Zoo in Klungkung district.


The request was made at a meeting in Sanur, Bali, on elephants and other wild animals in conservation institutions.


"We hope that this could be a new breakthrough for Bali tourism," said Anak Agung Gede Putra, an official with Bali Zoo Park, explaining that the elephants would be used as ride attractions.


Nyoman Suweta, a representative from Bakas Zoo, said the elephants would not disrupt the environment as the province had about 402,000 hectares of idle land, some of which could be used to boost tourism.


"We don't think that there is going to be a conflict between elephants and humans, because the elephants have been domesticated," Nyoman said.


Hari Santosa, the director of forest protection and nature conservation at the Ministry of Forestry, said they would not disturb the balance










Ligers Normally Grow Much larger Than Both Lions and Tigers


Chinese tropical wildlife park authorities in Haikou, capital of China's southernmost province of Hainan, said that they have been able to keep alive two small liger cubs since they were born 162 days ago.


The liger cubs appear to be healthy and spend most of their time eating, playing and sleeping.


The Liger is a hybrid cross between a male lion and a female tiger (tigress). The two have similar genes but are of two different cat subspecies. Ligers normally grow










South Korea requests elephants


CAMBODIA is considering donating an elephant to a South Korean zoo that is short of fertile females, officials confirmed Monday. But conservationists are also alarmed at the prospect of sending a member of an already endangered species out of the country.


South Korean authorities have requested that Cambodia donate fertile females between the ages of 5 and 7 for breeding purposes, said Ty Sokhun, director of forestry and wildlife with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.


But Ty Sokhun said authorities are unsure whether they can afford to spare such young specimens. Instead, Cambodia is considering donating a single, 20-year-old female elephant.


"Currently, we are considering their offer and discussing it," Ty Sokhun said.


Though the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, prevents signatories from trading in endangered species, Cambodia views the potential transfer as a "donation", Ty Sokhun said.


"It is not an elephant trade, but a donation, as the Korean government has requested it for their national zoo," he said.


But Tuy Sariwathna, the Mondulkiri province director for the conservation NGO Fauna and Flora International, said he was concerned by the proposal.


"The government should not respond to the Korean request while elephants in Cambodia are endangered," he said.


Dwindling numbers


Tuy Sariwathna said a 2009 survey found only 98 domesticated elephants in the country, down from a previous count of 162. He said rough estimates have suggested that there are between 500 and 600 elephants in the wild.


Nhek Ratanapech, director of the Phnom Tamao Zoo and Wildlife










Zoo report response submitted


Interim Topeka Zoo director Dennis Taylor said Tuesday that, as scheduled, he provided city manager Norton Bonaparte on Monday with his written response to a report made last month by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.


The city Tuesday wasn't publicly releasing the response, which Taylor said was "not formalized" and was made in bits and pieces.


Bonaparte had asked Taylor last month to prepare the response to a report released by the AZA, which serves as an accrediting body for zoos and aquariums.


The AZA sent a three-person inspection team to Topeka in early December at Bonaparte's request. That team in late January provided the city with a copy of its report, which was critical of the zoo. The city also received notification that the AZA would re-evaluate the Topeka Zoo's accreditation during its midyear meeting March 3 at Virginia Beach, Va.


Bonaparte announced Jan. 25 that he had asked Taylor to review the inspection findings and provide him a response by Feb. 8, which was Monday.


The city has until Feb. 15 to provide the AZA with a written response and will then meet with officials of the AZA at its midyear meeting. The city plans to send Taylor to the meeting, Bonaparte said at a news conference last week.


Meanwhile, more than 500 responses had been received by 5 p.m. Tuesday to an












China says it has 6,000 captive tigers


China said Tuesday it had nearly 6,000 tigers in captivity and could breed 1,000 more every year, amid international controversy over the benefits of farming the endangered species.


The numbers were announced by Yin Hong, vice head of the State Forestry Administration, according to a spokesman at the agency who refused to be named.


"There are close to 6,000 tigers that have been artifically bred and raised in China," the official China News Service quoted Yin saying.


"These tigers can breed over 1,000 baby tigers every year."


Yin's comments came as China prepares to ring in the Year of the Tiger, which begins February 14, amid mounting worldwide concern over dwindling numbers of the great cats.


Yin said there were just 50 to 60 wild tigers left in China. Conservation groups have said recently fewer than 50 still roam the country.


There are four varieties of wild tigers in China, and one of them -- the South China tiger -- has not been spotted in the wild since the late 1970s. In the 1950s, there were around 4,000 of the subspecies.


Degradation of the animal's habitat and poaching of the tiger and its prey are blamed for its rapid disappearance.


In the 1980s, China set up tiger farms to try and preserve the big cats, intending to release some into the wild.


But experts warn it will be difficult for captive tigers to re-adapt to the wild, and the sheer number of the endangered animals kept in farms now poses a challenge.


"The government now realises it's a problem but they haven't figured out how to deal with the existing tigers yet," Xie Yan, director of the China programme for the Wildlife Conservation Society, told AFP.


The existence of tiger farms in China and other countries has sparked international controversy.


In July, Keshav Varma, leader of the World Bank's Global Tiger Initiative, called for tiger farming to be phased out, saying there was a danger this could hasten the extinction of the endangered species.


"Would it create new markets and an even higher demand for wild tiger products -- for those who want a luxury good -- the 'real thing?'" he asked.


Xie said farms in China make little money, apart from tourists, and some are pushing for a 1993 ban on the trade in tiger parts and related










Giraffe receives pedicure at Chester zoo in Chester, N England


Thorn, a male giraffe, takes a reward from keeper Lizzie Bowen (L) as he receives a pedicure from another keeper at Chester zoo in Chester, northern England February 9, 2010. Keepers at the zoo are using a pioneering training technique that avoids the use of anaesthetic to treat the animal's










Indonesia Sends Comodo Dragons to Hungary


Today, February 10, local zoo in Jakarta Ragunanhas sent a pair of Komodos to a zoo in Hungary Sosto. The rare animals from East Nusa Tenggara were flown from Soekarno-Hatta airport at 10am.


The Komodos are a male named Bagol (weighs 125 kg) and a female named Indri (weighs 80 kg). Both are 11 years old.


"The Komodos are being lent to the government of Hungaria as part of Indonesia's program," Ragunan Zoo Public Relation Officer Bambang Wahyudi told VIVAnews.


According to him, the term of loan has been agreed to be five years.


Based on the agreement, if anything happens to the Komodos, Indonesia has the










Clouded leopard: First film of new Asia big cat species


The Sundaland clouded leopard, a recently described new species of big cat, has been caught on camera.


The film, the first footage of the cat in the wild to be made public, has been released by scientists working in the Dermakot Forest Reserve in Malaysia.


The Sundaland clouded leopard, only discovered to be a distinct species three years ago, is one of the least known and elusive of all cat species.


Two more rare cats, the flat-headed cat and bay cat, were also photographed.










Alcala: Zoo should retire elephants


An animal advocacy group in Kansas and a city councilman are ramping up a push to retire the Topeka Zoo's elephants to a sanctuary in Tennessee.


Councilman John Alcala said conversations with Animal Outreach Kansas have convinced him the zoo doesn't have the physical space to humanely care for Sunda and Tembo. The indoor and outdoor elephant space is well within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums accreditation standards.


But Alcala said the space is minuscule compared to the Tennessee sanctuary where they would have hundreds of acres to roam.


"I'm not an expert in this, but I know when an animal is kept in the minimum space," he said.


Alcala said he will ask city manager Norton Bonaparte for a council work session to discuss the idea and is willing to author a resolution calling for the elephants' move to Tennessee.


Animal Outreach co-founder Judy Carman noted numerous zoos including the San Francisco Zoo, the Detroit Zoo and the Philadelphia Zoo have closed their elephant exhibits. The Topeka Zoo, she said, could help restore its recently damaged reputation by taking this "progressive step."


The AZA was quick to strike back at the claims of inadequate care. Spokesman Steve Feldman said the elephants share a strong bond, and disrupting their routine could be detrimental to their health.


"The notion that they need to be retired from the zoo is ridiculous," Feldman said. "They're living a comfortable life right now."


The zoo awaits a March 3 meeting in which an AZA panel will decide whether to pull Topeka's accreditation. Regulators from the U.S. Department of Agriculture criticized the zoo in August 2009 and September2009 inspection reports that cited noncompliance issues related to numerous animal deaths.


Zoo director Mike Coker retired in early December. Veterinarian Shirley Llizo's employment with the zoo also ended in the midst of the problems.


None of those issues raised last year related to the elephants. The USDA did cite the zoo in 2005 for deep cracks in several nails, flaps of pad overgrowth and a prominent bulge on the feet of the Asian and African elephants. Since










Aquarium 'can be one of the best in Europe'


THE new boss of the National Marine Aquarium aims to make it one of the 'foremost aquariums in Europe' after revealing the attraction is now on a sound financial footing.


Dr David Gibson said he wants to re-establish the NMA's core charitable objectives of education, research and conservation and intends to create new facilities and bring in new fish.


But he stressed the Coxside attraction would be less about 'pretty fish' and more about conservation.


Dr Gibson this month took over as managing director at the NMA following Andrew Robertson's two-and-a-half years in charge.


Dr Gibson said during that period the Aquarium's financial fortunes had been revived and he was brought in by trustees to enhance its reputation.


"My brief is about the reputation of the NMA," he said "To increase our standing within Europe with regard to education, research and conservation.


"I believe the NMA can, and will, be one of the foremost public aquariums in Europe."


Dr Gibson, who has a degree in zoology and a PhD in fish health, worked at Hull's renowned charitable aquarium The Deep for eight years and joins the NMA after working as executive director at Fota Wildlife Park, in Ireland.


He described the NMA as "a great facility, the location is superb and the potential great".


And he said: "Plymouth is a vibrant, dynamic city with the marine sciences at its core and an ideal location for an aquarium. It's a real pleasure to be here."


The NMA has had a chequered history over its 12 years, being criticised in the past for the










Coral seized at Manchester Airport sent to Blue Planet


Officials at Manchester Airport faced a "race against time" to save more than a tonne of live rock coral brought in illegally from Indonesia.


UK Border Agency officers made the discovery in a freight consignment after realising the coral had been wrongly described on the documentation.


The coral was transported to the Blue Planet Aquarium at Ellesmere Port to keep it alive.


The importation is under investigation, the UK Border Agency said.


Rock coral are protected under the Convention on International Trade In Endangered Species (CITES).


On display


A Border Agency spokeswoman said:










Galapagos fur seals head for Peru waters


A colony of fur seals has moved 1,500km away from the Galapagos Islands, a Peru-based organisation which monitors the aquatic mammals has said.


The Organisation for Research and Conservation of Aquatic Animals says the fur seals have swum to northern Peru because of rising temperatures.


It is the first time fur seals have set up a colony away from the islands, Orca says.


Average sea temperatures off northern Peru have risen, monitors say.


Measurements from the Peruvian Geophysics Institute indicate the sea surface temperature in the northern Peruvian provinces of Piura and Tumbes have consistently risen from an average of 17C to 23C over the last 10 years.


The temperature is much closer to the sea temperature around theGalapagos Islands, which averages about 25C.


Now that the conditions of the sea around northern Peru are so similar to the Galapagos, they say,










Iowa zoo gets 20 tons of chicken wings


Hold the hot sauce and blue cheese, the big cats at the Cricket Hollow Zoo in Manchester like their chicken wings raw.


The zoo has scored about 41,000 pounds of frozen wings from a distributor that almost threw them out.


The wings, originally from the former Agriprocessors plant in Postville, couldn't be sold but were still OK for animal consumption. Iowa Waste Exchange kept the chicken out of the landfill and offered them to the zoo.


Exchange spokesman Ben Kvigne says it's his job to find ways to save byproducts and scrap materials from going into the ground, but 20 tons of chicken wings is a,0,1174205.story










Loch Lomond Aquarium turtle is a Scotland first


LOCH Lomond Aquarium has a new resident – Scotland's first giant green sea turtle.


The adult female is settling in at the Balloch sealife centre following a 12 hour trip from an aquarium in Weymouth on Thursday night.


The seven-year-old adult female, who weights 70kg and has a shell span of almost three feet, has been rehomed in the centre's 350,000 litre tropical ocean tank.


She was hatched at a Caribbean turtle farm on the Cayman Isles before travelling 5000 miles to the English turtle sanctuary where she has helped to raise awareness of the threats facing her species in the wild.


She has come to Loch Lomond to make way for five turtles left unable to dive after being hit












Notorious penguin Harry survives infection


Fans of The City's most famous penguins can breathe easy: Harry, who was struck by a life-threatening respiratory infection late last year, has convalesced enough to return home.


In December, Harry became ill with aspergillosis, a serious fungal infection that can be fatal for penguins. He and his partner, Linda, were moved from their island home at the San Francisco Zoo's Magellanic penguin exhibit to the Avian Conservation Center, where Harry was tended to by veterinary staff and treated for the infection.


Harry gained international notoriety last summer when he left his longtime same-sex partner, Pepper, for recently widowed female Linda. Harry and Pepper had previously been one of the zoo's devoted and stable avian partnerships, but after Harry left Pepper, the drama erupted into violence










Rain proves curse for endangered Arava lizard


In addition to the human toll of the flash flooding which came in the wake of last month's heavy rains, the swollen waters of southern Israel's Nahal Arava claimed another casualty: the already-threatened spiny-tailed lizard.


Veterinarians at the Ramat Gan Safari park's wild animal medical clinic are treating a 70-centimeter-long lizard that was found with broken ribs, muscle damage, and vision problems after the flooding. Advertisement


"The lizard was found by a farmer from the moshav of Eidan near Nahal Arava and they transferred him to me," said Harel Ben Shahar, an inspector with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. "He was covered in










Singapore Zoo lets visitors get closer to white tigers


Remember the white tigers that made the headlines when a man went into their enclosure and got mauled to death at the zoo?


One year on, the Singapore Zoo is asking visitors to get to know these very same tigers.


For the first time to mark the Year of the Tiger, visitors will get the opportunity to go behind the scene to see how the white tigers are trained using operant conditioning to provide mental and behavioural stimulation for the animals.


Meet Omar — a 10—year—old Bengal tiger who resides at the Singapore Zoo. He is taught to respond correctly to stimulants and gets rewarded with a meaty treat.


Francis Lim, curator at Singapore Zoo, said: "In the past, we had to sedate the animal — that means we have to knock the animal down, let them sleep so we can do a close examination. But with this operant conditioning, we don't have to do that. It's safe for the animal, it doesn't compromise the animal's health."


For the zookeepers, it is part of a bond that has been built over seven years.


Mohamed Nasir, zookeeper at Singapore Zoo, said: "There was one time when Omar was really ill. He was really, really down because of his kidney. He was really sick, and you










Zoo set to lose jumbo trio


A central circular that says zoos are not for jumbos has triggered a heavy-duty debate between animal rights activists rejoicing at and forest officials resisting the imminent departure of the city's gentlest, and most-loved, trio of giants.


Elephants Mumtaz, Uttara and Phulwanti — the pride of Alipore Zoo — are soon to be shifted out of their enclosure and moved to a national park or a reserve forest far from "home" in accordance with the Central Zoo Authority's notice.


As wildlife activists chant more power to elephant freedom, officials at the city zoo have raised doubts over whether Mumtaz, Uttara and Phulwanti can be safely transported and released in an alien — and hostile — habitat. A possible impact on footfalls in a zoo without elephants is also not far from their minds.


"The Central Zoo Authority's circular is a major policy decision that will impact the future of elephants in the country. We are surprised that










Campaign continues against zoo


A CAMPAIGN group has vowed to hold regular protests outside Noah's Ark Zoo Farm throughout its open season.


On Saturday, when the Wraxall attraction opened its gates to visitors for the first time this year, members of Bristol Animal Rights Collective held a demonstration outside.


This follows an investigation carried out last year that led to allegations that Noah's Ark was breeding tigers for a circus and that a tiger had been incorrectly buried after she died at the site.


Despite Noah's Ark consistently refuting the claims, campaigners










Woman bites tiger! Amazing picture of maneater being nipped on the nose by animal trainer


Delivering a loving nip to the tip of a tiger's nose, this woman proves the big feline is just a pussy cat as she prepares him for his performance in the upcoming Chinese Lunar Year festivities.


The trainer nuzzled with the animal at Dalian Forest Zoo, in Dalian, Liaoning province, where the troupe are putting in practice ahead of the celebrations, which start on February 14.


China has an estimated 50 or fewer tigers










Wild survival: China's young spend 73 hours with tigers


Two young men and a woman were testing their courage at a safari park in northwest China's Shaanxi Province through a 73-hour survival test with wild tigers.


Li Hang, Que Xiaotian and Meng Zihui stood out among 667 applicants to win the privilege to test their courage and experience the wilderness, said Ren Feixiang, manager of the Qinling Safari Park which is located in the suburbs of the provincial capital Xi'an.


The survival test which runs from 10 a.m. Sunday to 11 a.m. Wednesday, is aimed at gathering more support for protection and closer study of the wild cats, as well as to celebration the Chinese year of the tiger, which starts on Feb. 14.


The trio, aged from 24 to 25, are staying in a 10-square-meter cabin made out of a cage which has been placed at the center of the "tiger mountain area", the habitat of 48 wild tigers.


The cabin has no electricity, heating or furniture and is covered only with straw to protect the three from the cold.


The participates are expected to record with their cameras, computers and pens how wild tigers fight for territory, food and spouses, as well as figuring out what the big cats do during their day and collecting different noises the cats make.


The participants have each brought food, water, a tent, and a moistureproof










Wildlife group, stars urge Indians to save the tiger


As China prepares to usher in the Year of the Tiger next week, a massive publicity drive has begun in neighbouring India, where the big cat is the national animal, to save it from extinction.


Conservation group WWF-India has enlisted the support of sports stars and celebrities to raise awareness of the threat, citing government estimates that there are just over 1,400 tigers left in the wild.


The campaign, fronted by India cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and top footballer Bhaichung Bhutia, was launched at the end of January and has so far seen more than 75,000 people pledge their support on


"Stripey", a cute tiger cub who features in the print, online and television advertisements, also has more than 70,000 fans on the Internet social networking site Facebook and over 2,500 followers





Ohio zoo providing aid for more than 1,000 parrots rescued from smugglers in Cameroon



A conservation group is caring for more than 1,000 African grey parrots with help from an Ohio zoo after the birds were rescued from smugglers who had stuffed them into crates bound for the Middle East.


At least 120 of the birds have died since they were saved last month. The remaining parrots have been transferred to a wildlife conservation centre in the West African nation, said Ofir Drori, director of a conservation group called the Last Great Ape Organization.


"The birds have been tied down for too long. They are very tired, many are sick," he said Tuesday.


The parrots are kept as pets, but they also are believed to possess special powers in countries such as India, China, Nigeria and Cameroon, where the birds are used by witch doctors for rituals.


Cameroonian officials found the parrots stuffed into poorly ventilated wooden crates at the airport. Drori said the crates were being ferried to a Kuwait-bound Ethiopian Airlines flight.


The birds will be released into their natural habitat in a few months after veterinarians complete treating them, Drori said.


The Columbus Zoo in the U.S. state of Ohio said it will provide



Jellyfish aquarium opens in Nanjing

This jellyfish lives in a newly-opened aquarium in Nanjing city, east China's Jiangsu province. Nanjing invested 8 million yuan in the aquarium, which showcases thousands of jellyfish belonging to dozens of categories. All photos taken on January 28, 2010








Ill. zoo seeks elephant despite opposition

Officials at a zoo in the Chicago suburb of Brookfield, Ill., say they are seeking an elephant to serve as a companion to their African elephant, Joyce.


The Chicago Tribune said Friday while animal rights groups have openly opposed keeping elephants on display, the Brookfield Zoo is attempting to add another of the large mammals to its collection.


Carol Sodaro, Brookfield Zoo's associate curator of mammals, said elephants "are very social animals that live in large herds, with strong bonds and long social relationships with other elephants in the herd. It is important for them to interact with other elephants."


In an attempt to locate a companion for










Giraffe at animal-conservation centre dies during hoof-trimming; charges likely


The B.C. SPCA is preparing animal cruelty charges after Jerome the giraffe died during a hoof trimming procedure at a Fort Langley animal-conservation centre on Friday afternoon.


The young male giraffe had lived at the Mountain View Conservation Centre, which the SPCA has been investigating for animal cruelty and neglect, for several months. A number of current and former employees first told The Province in December that animals are dying and suffering at Mountain View because of lack of veterinary care.


Jerome had overgrown hoofs and the SPCA made an order for them to be trimmed back in November, but the zoo did not have the proper equipment in place for the procedure, SPCA animal protection officer Eileen Drever said.


Jerome died Friday afternoon while sedated for










A $2.55 elephant encounter in Thailand


A Thai center plucks dozens of the animals from brutal labor camps and shelters them in a tranquil setting while offering interaction with visitors. You might get close enough to hear them purr.


Reporting from Lampang Province, Thailand - It was, unquestionably, the best $2.55 I've ever spent on vacation.


For less than the cost of a Double Whopper, I spent a day in the company of 55 whoppers -- domesticated Asian elephants being rehabbed after lives of labor. No chains, no enclosures, often no distance at all from behemoths within touching range.


For an animal lover like me, it was a pachyderm paradise for the price of peanuts.


As for the elephants, it was probably just another routine day at the 300-acre Elephant Conservation Center in northern Thailand. As part of their schedule, the elephants performed in 45-minute shows that displayed their former tasks, such as hauling logs, and newfound skills, which include painting abstract art that has sold for thousands,0,1024635.story










A giant-sized fascination with whales


English author Philip Hoare won the Samuel Johnson Prize last year for his book "Leviathan, or The Whale." His new book is "The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Deep" (Ecco Books, 2010, $27.99), and he will give a reading from it tonight at 7 at Cornerstone Books in Salem.


He spoke with The Salem News recently about his books and his fascination with whales.


How did you become interested in whales?


My whole awareness really boils down to the start of the first "love the whale" campaign, which included Roger Payne's recording of "The Song of the Humpback Whale." I heard that in the early '70s.


The first whale I ever saw was a killer whale in a tank in the Windsor Safari Park. It was really very thrilling for a young boy. But its dorsal fin had flopped over and become detumescent; that was a symbol of its state. I went home and painted it in my journal. I found that journal again recently.


So that's a very public and a very personal experience. It seems like your book is always reconciling, or steering between these two elements.


In the same way that (Herman) Melville tries to come to terms with his physical experience of the whale, trying to fill in the gaps. Through the whole of "Moby-Dick," he calls the whale a fish. He knows it's not a fish; he's playing with these ideas. And I'm playing with our conceptions of what whales are, what whales represent to us, the perceived notions. I'm demythologizing those. The whale as both a new age symbol and a source of ecological fret.


Are you critical of the way we attribute qualities to whales?


I take all these things on, and I give them credence. "Charismatic megafauna" —biologists use that term deploringly of Joe Public who gets carried away with big game and whales instead of, say, microbes, something more authentically "scientific," implying that we're imbeciles for falling for these whales.


I've been accused of anthropomorphizing whales. But that's the only way to talk about these things. We can't know what a sperm whale does with that large brain; we have to imagine it. Even the terms we have for them, "sperm" and "right" whales, we're trying










Bills aimed at wild animal sanctuaries


Proposed legislation allowing in-county inspectors to do checkups of sanctuaries holding dangerous animals has been introduced by two state lawmakers from Roane County.


While the bills have statewide application, state Sen. Ken Yager, R-Harriman, said they were filed with Roane County's Tiger Haven in mind.


Yager said residents of East Roane County and County Commissioner Ray Cantrell contacted him to express ongoing concerns about the big cat sanctuary.


Neighbors are worried about the possibility of big cats escaping and have gripes about loud growls and roars, Cantrell said.


"Residents continue to contact me quite often," he said. "They










Turtle meat price soars


The new managing director of the Turtle Farm has made his first major decision, which will see the cost of turtle meat triple in price. In a written statement issued on Friday evening, Timothy Adam, who has been in post less than two weeks, said the business now needs to raise the selling price on turtle meat to reflect the true cost of production and maintenance of the Cayman Turtle Farm facilities. From Monday, 8 February, turtle steak will cost CI$27.00 per pound, three times its current price. Recognizing the cultural significance of the meat, the new MD and the board said they were committed to doing what it takes to protect the future of the farm.


According to the statement, the price of the turtle stew will rise from CI$5.40 per pound to CI$16.00 per pound, turtle menavelin will rise from CI$4.00 per pound to CI$12.00 per pound, and the bone from CI$2.00 per pound to CI$6.00.


Calicia Burke, Marketing Manager at the farm, said that farmed turtle meat is one of the rarest forms of food as it is found only in the Cayman Islands and only from the Cayman Turtle Farm. "Our farm avoids the need for any green sea turtles to be taken from the wild by the general public. Our aim is to continue facilitating conservation and










British zoo official to visit NFEFI


Prof. Gordon McGregor-Reid, chief executive officer of the North of England Zoological Society, will visit the Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation Inc., in Bacolod City Feb. 13.


The Society also operates Chester Zoo, one of the largest in Europe, and one of the leading wildlife attractions in Britain with 1.3 million visitors a year, a press release from NFEFI trustee Robert Harland said yesterday.


The Society owns 150 hectares of land with about 50 ha developed to date. The collection currently includes about 7,000 animals of about different 500 species – half










Detroit Zoo welcomes hundreds of rescued animals


The Detroit Zoo welcomed hundreds of rescued animals Thursday night from among the nearly 27,000 animals seized Dec. 15 by federal authorities from an exotic-animal importing firm in Texas — in what animal experts have said was the largest exotic animal rescue effort in U.S. history.


Their arrival followed a judge's ruling that the animals were mistreated and will not be returned to U.S. Global Exotics, zoo spokesman Patricia Janeway said.


"We are providing sanctuary for many of the exotic mammals," including five wallabies, four sloths, three agoutis, two ring-tailed lemurs and two coatis, as well as hundreds of reptiles, spiders and amphibians, Janeway said today.


In addition, the Detroit Zoo is helping to place hundreds more animals in other accredited zoos and sanctuaries throughout the country, she said.


The zoo played a key role in the rescue, Janeway added.


Several curators and supervisors from










Gorilla's Return To Family Going Well, Zoo Keepers Say


Omaha zoo officials are in the process of reintroducing a nearly 7-month-old gorilla to his family group since recovering from a broken arm.


Hadari broke his arm three weeks after his birth. Since then, zoo keepers have worked for six months to rehabilitate him.


During that time, Hadari was cared for around the clock by keepers, who also made a special vest to stimulate the mother's hair and to teach Hadari how to grasp and hold onto the mother.


With a successful rehab under their belts, zoo keepers then had to focus on the reintroduction, which carries its own dangers. Zoo keepers










Dalton Zoo boss organises special day for dads


South Lakes Wild Animal Park is set to host a special day for all fathers who have been separated from their children, either with contact orders or forced separation.


The awareness day takes place on July 18 and park officials expect a guaranteed audience of around 4,000 people.


Signatures for a petition to help the campaign will be collected throughout the whole summer at the park, which will be presented to a senior government minister after the event.


There will be special offers for fathers who have difficulties seeing their children after a relationship breakdown. Zoo boss David Gill wants to encourage as many dads as possible to attend and highlight their cause.


Mr Gill said: "The fathers are very often the losers and children are often the losers when a relationship breaks down.


"It is a very serious and a very emotional










Skink rescue plan launched


A select group of grand skinks living in the Lindis Pass is at the centre of a Department of Conservation breeding programme to preserve the endangered New Zealand lizard species.


Six juvenileskinks were recently recovered from the Lindis area by a team of Doc rangers.


Doc captive breeding specialist Lesley Judd said the skinks would enable a breeding programme for the endangered grand and Otago skink populations to broaden their gene base.


"Grand skinks are on an extinction knife-edge.


In the Lindis area they are










Changing views: What's ahead for zoos?


Mix giraffes, wild horses, sanctuaries and American culture together in a big pot and you are likely to stir up quite a kettle of opinion. All have been in the news recently.


The latest ingredient in the stew was the demise of two giraffes at the Tulsa Zoo. One was delivered to the Tulsa Zoo with a badly bent neck. So much for travel accommodations for wild animals. Another died in a barn where it had been placed during extremely cold weather. So much for storage accommodations.


The idea of a sanctuary for wild animals has added to a growing debate on how our American culture will treat animals. In some quarters, the role of a zoo has become part of the debate.


Putting animals on display was an ancient custom. They symbolized the power of conquest. These displays evolved into zoos. It was not uncommon for the zoos and traveling shows of times past to include some human "freaks" displayed in cages. In time the idea of caging people fell into disfavor. Our culture retained the idea of caged animals.


There are some regulations that govern the caging of animals but they are rather loose and most of them protect the captors rather than the captives. There are some regulations that cover capture and transportation of wild animals. The main change has been the way the zoos and marine parks have positioned themselves to the public. They are now agents for "species preservation and public education." Some zoos refer to their exhibits as "living classrooms." The physical appearance of the zoo has been refined with components of nature such as boulders, trees and water.


A new study funded by the Science Foundation and conducted by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is being promoted as evidence that zoo and aquarium visits produce long-term effects on










Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo partners with Pensacola college to train future keepers


On a recent day a group of Pensacola Junior College students gathered around a table for the day's lesson: how to castrate and remove the antlers from a white-tailed deer.


As a pair of tigers tussled and growled in the background, participants in the school's zoo animal technology program watched as a local veterinarian performed the procedures on the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo's recently acquired buck.


The 15 students will spend two days a week at the Gulf Shores zoo during the spring and fall semesters as part of their studies toward two-year degrees. The lessons range from feeding and training animals at the nonprofit park to cleaning up cages and pens.


"We are all really flattered that they would do their hands-on at the zoo," said Zoo Director Patti Hall.


(Press-Register/Ryan Dezember)Pensacola Junior College zoo animal technology student Haley O'Donovan listens to the heart beat of a white-tailed deer that has just been given a vasectomy and had its antlers removed at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. The program began in 1996 and had long sent its students to a zoo in Gulf Breeze, Fla. But when that zoo closed last summer Pensacola Junior College approached










AVMA supports push to increase zoo and wildlife vets


New federal legislation aimed at increasing the number of zoo and wildlife veterinarians has gained the support of the American Veterinary Medical Association.


The Wildlife and Zoological Veterinary Medicine Enhancement Act, introduced Jan. 21, aims to create funded positions for zoo and wildlife veterinarians in both clinical and research settings. It also has implications for student loan and curriculum issues affecting students who specialize in zoo and wildlife studies.


"This is absolutely needed, says AVMA Chief Executive Officer W. Ron DeHaven. "If passed, this legislation will strengthen curriculum in our veterinary schools. It will create opportunities for our veterinary graduates










Internet site support for Durrell


About 4,000 people have joined an internet group that supports the work of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.


Membership to "Save Jersey Zoo" has grown rapidly since redundancies were announced at the trust.


The group, on the social networking website Facebook, says it is for people who want to help the trust in Jersey survive and grow.


It is also calling for government










How much to save a species?


4,000 toads kept in zoos as scientists hatch plan to return them to native river


This is a story about a waterfall, the World Bank and 4,000 homeless toads.


Maybe the story will have a happy ending, and the bright-golden spray toads, each so small it could sit easily on a dime, will return to the African gorge where they once lived, in the spray of a waterfall on the Kihansi River in Tanzania.


The river is dammed now, courtesy of the bank. The waterfall is 10 per cent of what it was. And the toads are now extinct in the wild.


But 4,000 of them live in the Bronx and Toledo, Ohio, where scientists at the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Toledo Zoo are keeping them alive in hopes, somehow, of returning them to the wild.


Meanwhile, though, the toads embody the larger conflicts between conservation and economic development and the complexity of trying to preserve and restore endangered species to the wild. Their story also raises questions about how much effort should go to save any one species.


These issues are particularly pressing for frogs, toads and other amphibians, whose populations are plunging worldwide in the face of factors like habitat loss, climate change and disease. Jennifer B. Pramuk, the curator of herpetology at the Bronx Zoo. said at least 120 species vanished in recent years.


"It's probably much higher than that," said Pramuk, a leader in the toad effort. "There are areas of South A










For sale: Gaza zoo where the zebras were not all they seemed


Israeli blockade leaves animals starving and owners with no choice but to sell up


An emaciated lion, a hyperactive camel, and the only "zebra" in Palestine – this unusual assortment of animals could soon be yours. Mahra Land, a ramshackle zoo in Gaza, is now on the market.


The zoo made headlines last year when its owners engineered, not with genetics, but black paint, a pair of "zebras" out of two donkeys. TV reports showed delighted local children patting, slapping and even riding the docile if exotic looking creatures. The donkeys replaced two real zebras that starved to death during Israel's three-week war on the Gaza Strip last year.


But six months after acquiring global stardom, one "zebra" has died, and the owners, no longer able to meet the costs of feeding their menagerie under Israel's illegal economic siege of Gaza, are being forced to sell up.


In their darkened office – electricity cuts are a daily occurrence because Gaza's power plant keeps running out of fuel – Mohammed










Roxbury's Schaller talks of the need for conservation


More than a half-century ago, George Schaller went to the northern regions of Alaska and discovered a space he still speaks of with awe.


"You can hike there for a week and never meet another person,'' he said of the 30,000-square-mile Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. "It's America's last great wilderness.''


He returned there in the past few years and found, to his delight, the landscape where he once camped and studied remains unchanged.


"The place is the same,'' he said, speaking at Roxbury Town Hall to a standing-room-only crowd of more than 100 people last Sunday. His talk was sponsored










Animals not being abused, says zoo caretaker


Do not blindly accuse people of mishandling tigers or taking advantage of them, said Saleng Zoo caretaker and animal trainer J. Siva Priyan.


Siva explained that this was the year thatzoos which had tigers could educate and acquire enough money to take care of the animals themselves.


It is very expensive to feed these tigers and the Year of the Tiger allows us to raise funds to take care of them, he said.


He explained that not all zoos or parks that have been promoting tigers were abusing them.


"We are animal lovers, too," he said, adding that each tiger consumes about six kilogrammes of meat a day.


Siva said that if complainants had proof of abuse or exploitation, they should report it to the relevant authorities.


In Malacca, keepers of the tigers at A'Famosa










EU raises biofuel threat to rainforests


Talk about having your oilcake and eating it. The European Commission wants to use a scandalous sleight of hand to justify felling tropical rainforests to make way for oil palm plantations that would produce biofuels.


A leaked document from the Commission to ministers and the European Parliament proposes getting round measures to limit the use of biofuels from deforested land by classifying dense plantations as "forests", thus pretending that no destruction has taken place. "This means," it says frankly, "that a change from forest to oil farm plantation would not per se constitute a breach of the










Ladakh: Chasing the snow leopard


She wasn't visible at first. Then she moved, rippling silently down a gully of rocks and padding straight up to us. This was Uncia uncia, the snow leopard, one of the most endangered species on Earth and one of the most beautiful. She was certainly the most captivating creature I have ever seen: fur like mist, pale jade eyes, the regal and remote air of a monarch whose realm is the roof of the










Quentin Bloxam retires after 44 years at Durrell


After over 44 years, Durrell's Director of Conservation Science, Quentin Bloxam, retires today. He'll miss the animals, staff and the banter but he hopes to be able to continue helping Durrell's work where he can.


An important part of Quentin's role at the Trust has always been to help develop its overseas work, and some of his favourite memories are of sitting quietly in the forests of Madagascar, watching animals. Now he's relieved of the pressure of gathering data, he hopes to have more moments like this as he travels more










'Year of the Tiger' will see drive to save rare mountain species


TAKING TURNS to act as human ploughs, Liang Jianmin and his tiger survey team forge through mile after mile of knee-deep snow in the mountain forests near China's frozen mountain border with Siberia.


From dawn to dusk they track, looking for droppings, paw prints, bark scratchings, scraps of fur caught on twigs and fences, any sign that the Amur tiger– the biggest cat species in the world – is still alive in the wilds of China.


Elsewhere in Hunchun, other teams scour the slopes and valleys near the North Korean border, while in Russia, zoologists and conservation groups trudge through the taiga forest with the same goal: measuring the scale of the challenge facing the most ambitious effort yet to save the endangered predator.


Next week, China will start the year of the tiger with fireworks, feasting and a new drive by the government, the World Bank and conservation groups to halt the decline of Asia's most powerful wildlife symbol.


Since the last tiger year, in 1998, the worldwide










Ringling Bros.' baby circus elephant, Barack, fighting deadly virus


Elephant calf named Barack pulled from circus lineup


The first Asian elephant born as a result of artificial insemination at a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus facility has been pulled from the circus lineup after he became infected with a potentially deadly herpes virus.


The 1-year-old calf, Barack, is being treated for elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV), a disease that has killed several Asian elephants in zoos across the continent in the past three decades. He and his mother were taken off the traveling unit two weeks ago and sent to Ringling's Center for Elephant Conservation in Polk City, about 40 miles southwest of Orlando. The duo had made a brief appearance at the Orlando Amway Arena last month during the circus' "Greatest Show on Earth."


Barack is expected to survive, said veterinarian Dennis Schmitt, chairman of veterinary services and director of research for Ringling. The calf, named for the president because he was born on the eve of Barack Obama's inau,0,3618431.story










Davao police rescue 330 wildlife species in raid


Authorities have rescued 330 endangered species of birds, reptiles and mammals following a raid in Bunawan district, some 21 kilometers from the city proper. Arrested during the raid were eight smugglers, including an Indonesian national.


Joint operatives of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) placed the total value of species, allegedly shipped from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, at around P3.2 million.


Among the rescued birds were Palm Cockatoos valued at P50,000 each; Birds of Paradise valued at P75,000 each; Black Lories selling for P18,000 each; Yellow-crested Cockatoos and Black-caped Lories at P15,000 each, among others.


On Friday, authorities formally sued suspected smugglers identified as Mike and Felina Artucilla, Catalino Gabrinto, Jose Marie Justan, Warren Aguilar, Roger Abria, Menira Maulana and the Indonesian Billy Kawekes before the City Prosecution Office for violation of Republic Act (RA) 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.


The rescued animals were turned over to the Davao Crocodile Park, owned by Dizon Agro Industrial, Inc., for custody and safekeeping because the regional environment office does not have an available wildlife center to house rescued animals. Davao Crocodile Park is a registered










HCM City displays white tigers


The two white tigers are two years old, around 100kg in weight, and were transported to HCM City from the Elmvale Zoo in Canada earlier this year. They have quickly become familiar to their new living environment in Vietnam.


Previously, Dai Nam Van Hien park in Binh Duong province also imported a pair of white tigers, an extremely rare species, to promote tourism.


White Bengal tigers (Panthera tigris tigris) mainly live in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Bhutan.





Cold took heavy toll on Florida wildlife



January's cold took a heavy toll on Everglades plants and animals. In the case of the pythons, that's a good thing.


Despite four decades of slogging through Everglades marshes and mangroves, wildlife ecologist Frank Mazzotti had never experienced anything like the aftermath of frigid January. The confirmed casualty count so far:


. At least 70 dead crocodiles.


• More than 60 manatee carcasses.


• A bright-side observance of multiple frozen-stiff Burmese pythons, the scourge of the Everglades.


And also, perhaps the biggest fish kill in modern Florida history.


``What we witnessed was a major ecological disturbance event equal to a fire or a hurricane,'' said Mazzotti, a University of Florida associate professor. ``A lot of things have happened that nobody has seen before in Florida.''


The cold was simply brutal on many tropical plants and animals. Toxic iguana-sicles dropping into the mouths of unfortunate pooches was only the tip of the iceberg that descended for two weeks on South Florida.


While scientists are still surveying losses, it's already clear that the record chill wiped out shallow corals in the Keys and devastated manatees. A preliminary assessment




ISIS Elects New Trustees to Board of Directors



The International Species Information System (ISIS), the world's largest zoological service organization, announces the election of the following new trustees to its 24-member Board of Trustees:


Dr. Bishan Singh Bonal (Central Zoo Authority – India)


Dr. Robert Cook (Wildlife Conservation Society – New York, NY)


Mr. Mauricio Fabre (Zoologico Nacional Parque Metro de Santiago – Chile)


Dr. Ken-ichi Kitamura (Japanese Associations of Zoos and Aquariums)


Dr. Michael Maunder (Al Ain Zoo – United Arab Emirates)


Mr. Jim Fleshman (Cameron Park Zoo – Waco, TX) has assumed the role of ISIS Board Secretary.


"The addition of these members strengthens our leadership capacity across the globe," said Roger Stonecipher, ISIS CEO. "Our board now represents 14 nations, which will be critical for the exciting and challenging tasks ahead of us in the coming year."


In addition to their regular duties, the ISIS trustees will oversee the rollout of the first unified global database system for endangered species and other animals living in the world's zoos and aquariums – the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS). ZIMS will allow the ISIS global network to instantly










Report unveils the cruel treatment of elephants at zoos


The zoo watchdog organization "In Defense of Animals" (IDA) today released an unprecedented survey showing that scores of elephants are warehoused throughout the long winter months in miserable confinement, many of them hidden from the public.


"Elephants living in cold climates will be confined indoors for the vast majority of each day during the winter, standing in small concrete cages where they lack the space they need for healthy movement," says IDA captive elephant specialist Catherine Doyle. "Cold weather dramatically increases the suffering that elephants already endure in zoos, where they are dying prematurely from conditions caused










Needed: pedicure for elephants


It's not just the fashion-conscious who need a pedicure regularly, captive Asian elephants are more in need of them, finds a pilot study.


The study, conducted between April 2008 and December 2009, says that more than 50% of these elephants suffer from one or more foot problems and require regular filing, polishing and application of specialised oil to maintain their feet.


Three doctors Dr K S Subramanian, Dr V Purushothaman and Dr M G Jayathangaraj from the department of wildlife science of the Madras Veterinary College (MVC) examined temple elephants in Tamil Nadu for foot ailments. "Fifty-five of 58 captive elephants kept at various temples in the state showed one or more foot ailments such as cracked and split nails, excess cuticular growth above and in between the nails, hardened footpad, excess footpad growth, abrasion










Sofia Zoo will receive reparations for carnage inflicted by strays


Sofia Zoo is poised to receive financial compensation from the security firm that failed to prevent the carnage resulting in the brutal death of 15 animals, dismembered by stray dogs, Bulgarian media reported on February 2 2010.


A pack of strays penetrated the grounds of Sofia Zoo and killed a total of 15 animals, including deer and fawn, Bulgaria's bTV reported on January 31 2010, in an incident that had occurred several days earlier.


Sofia municipal council asked zoo director Ivan Ivanov to make an assessment of the damages which will be paid by the security company Bodu.


At the time of the attack, five security personnel










Lone wolf put down after partner's death


A HEARTBROKEN wolf has been put down just days after his life-long companion died.


Odin and Ishka had lived together at Shepreth Wildlife Park since 1996.


But Ishka seccumbed to kidney problems a uterus infection and arthritis, and Odin spent the nights howling in distress.


He spent the last nine days struggling to move around his enclosure as he searched in vain for Ishka.


Vets and keepers concluded crippling arthritis and sorrow compromised his welfare and he was










After ordeal, Jhargram baby gets a home


A day after the elephant calf that wandered into a village in Jhargram, he was brought to Alipore zoo on Tuesday.


Since the arrival of the five-month-old calf, there have been constant queries from visitors, who are eager to get a first glimpse of the baby elephant.


"At present we have kept the calf away from visitors as we want him to recover from the ordeal. He is under strict supervision of three zoo veterinarians who are monitoring his health," said Raju Das, Joint Director, Alipore zoo.


The calf has been kept in an enclosure as he was too big to be kept in the zoo hospital. Since he is too young to eat solid food, he is being fed lactogen, ORS and vitamins.


"He was slightly dehydrated










Animal Help Continues


The Humane Society's international response unit continues to address the health needs of animals in Haiti.


Team leader and Billings resident, Dave Pauli, said their efforts are crucial to maintaining the health of the people there. Pauli is working with a group of veterinarians.


In the past few days they have treated street dogs for worms, rabies and injuries and tended to the needs of an area zoo












Answering to a scripted question from Jamaat-e-Islami lawmaker Hamidur Rahman Azad, the minister said there are 10 zoos in the country. Of them, he said, Dhaka Zoo and Rangpur Zoo are being run under the government management.


"There are 2,090 species of animal in Dhaka Zoo. But rearing, management and treatment of the wild animals is very difficult," he said.


The minister also said that rearing and providing treatment to animals and birds are being done through skilled manpower










Plymouth marine academy plans criticised


Proposals to turn a Devon school into a marine academy have been criticised.


At the moment, Tamarside Community College in Plymouth has among the poorest academic results in England.


The school plans to become an independent academy, supported by the University of Plymouth, Cornwall College and Plymouth City Council.


But the National Union of Teachers (NUT) has said it believes academies have a damaging impact on children, teachers and the whole community.


It claims academies can select 10% of pupils by aptitude, which could result in some local pupils being turned away.


Parental consultation


The marine academy - the first of its kind in England - would follow the national curriculum, but also have its own specialism in marine studies.


It would receive government funding of about £17m, but would no longer be under the local authority control, which the NUT claims means publicly funded










Close Toronto Zoo elephant exhibit, group says


A California-based animal rights watchdog group used Groundhog Day to cast a shadow over the Toronto Zoo's elephant herd.


"The zoo just can't provide the conditions that elephants need to thrive," Catherine Doyle, In Defence of Animal's captive animal specialist, said Tuesday.


Among those conditions, Doyle said, elephants need vast space to move and a suitable climate in which they can be outdoors for significant periods year-round.


"The question that has to be asked is how often are these elephants out for?" Doyle said. "If they're out for maybe a half-hour, an hour, even two hours out of a 24-hour day, the rest of the time they are spending that indoors, on concrete floors which are known to be damaging to their feet and joints."


The zoo's three remaining elephants should be sent to a sanctuary, Doyle said.


"The city and the zoo really need to close that elephant ex










Darwin's full humanity evolves in Creation


Randal Keynes is a great storyteller. You may not have heard of him but you've heard of his great-great-grandfather, Charles Darwin. I spoke with Keynes recently about the film Creation based on his book "Darwin, His Daughter and Human Evolution," the biography he wrote in 2002 about his famous ancestor.


Keynes wrote it after finding a writing box referred to as "Annie's box" in the dresser bequeathed to his father from Down House in Kent where Charles and Emma Darwin had lived. The English Heritage Organization had contacted Keynes about providing some stories about his ancestors for tours of the now historic home. He started putting together stories of the Darwins by tying them to the contents of Annie's box. Annie was their first daughter who died at the age of 10 from tuberculosis. Her parents had put mementos of her youth in the box along with the notes Darwin kept about her disease.


Creation focuses both on the torment of the scientist in his youth and on his relationship with his wife before and after the Annie's death. We see Charles Darwin as a conflicted man who sat on










Employee Admits Error In New Tulsa Zoo Audit


The death of a crooked neck giraffe continues to cast a dark cloud over what was once voted America's favorite zoo.


A new audit reveals the trailer that brought Amali to Tulsa had bloody marks on its ceiling. The 47-page audit chronicles what led up to the 5-year-old giraffe's death, and for the first time, a Tulsa Zoo curator admits a mistake was made.


Zoo officials say no one is more broken-hearted over the death of five-year-old Amali than they are.


Staunchly defending their actions and efforts to save Amali, the zoo has never really admitted any mistakes until now.


The mayor called on Tulsa's auditor to look into what happened to Amali. He produced a 47-page report, including more than 200 photographs and a dozen interviews with witnesses.


The report reviews the purchase of Amali from an Ohio Zoo and the hiring of the company that specialized in transporting giraffes.


According to the report, eight witnesses said they heard the transport driver say Amali "didn't settle down, ride well or travel well during the trip."


In these pictures obtained by the News on 6, you can










Escaped raccoon injures man at Bakersfield zoo


Ian Smith says the 22-pound male raccoon, unprovoked, charged at his 8-year-old daughter. He lifted her to safety and struggled with the raccoon for several minutes before subduing it.


A raccoon somehow slipped out of its cage at a Bakersfield zoo and attacked a man and his 8-year-old daughter, gnawing into the man's finger and clawing his legs in what he described as a bloody wrestling match that lasted several minutes.


Ian Smith, an unemployed 30-year-old medical supply salesman and competitive kick boxer, received about 20 rabies shots around his gashes and puncture wounds after Sunday's encounter. The raccoon, which was euthanized, proved not,0,1774178.story










Jumbo run for conservation

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo


Elephant keepers go the extra mile for animal conservation Elephant keepers from ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are embarking on a mammoth run to help raise money for animal conservation


Lee Sambrook, Andrew Durham and Gary Hampson will be swapping their wellies for running shoes when they take part in the Brighton Marathon on Sunday 18th April 2010.


In an effort to raise money for the worldwide conservation work of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the trio have been hard at work training for the run – with










Marmots breed easier


While Wiarton Willie grabs the spotlight every year, his endangered cousins, the Vancouver Island marmots, are quietly breeding easier.


Related to groundhogs, Vancouver Island's endangered marmots have been at risk of extinction. However, their population in the wild rose from 25 several years ago to its current 280, said Maria Franke, curator of mammals for the Toronto Zoo.


To focus attention on their plight, Franke was playing with two of the zoo's marmots, Radar and Dagwood, at a demonstration at the Toronto Zoo's Animal Health Unit on Tuesday.


Personnel at the zoo participate in a program to boost the numbers of he furry creatures, raising them in captivity before releasing mature marmots on Vancouver Island.


"Many (marmots) are eaten by eagles or die from clear cut logging," she said. "They are released in the wilds at one to two-years-old."


Franke said plant-eating marmots grow to weigh as much as seven kilograms and are only found on Vancouver










Safari park to be created in Azerbaijan


Turkish and German companies have won a tender to create an open zoo on 200 hectares of land in Azerbaijan.


The animals will live in a near-natural environment and visitors will not be aware of fences, Azerbaijan's minister of ecology and natural resources, Huseyn Bagirov, said in an interview published today on the ruling New Azerbaijan Party website.


"The Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia have no such specialized park. I believe this will attract tourists to the country. This park will also function as a scientific centre. Work on the project will start soon and I think we will have a modern complex in two to three years










Red deer family found after 'incredible journey'


The five deer were thought dead on Friday - but found after they made the trek to the place of their birth from a safari park in rural Perthshire.


A family of red deer thought to have been killed after they went missing from a Highland tourist attraction has been found - after they made an "incredible journey" back to the place where they were born, it was revealed on Wednesday.


Staff at Highland Safaris, near Aberfeldy, Perthshire, organised search parties for miles around after the five animals mysteriously disappeared.


After days with no sightings, they feared the deer had been stolen or killed by poachers.


But, like a plot from a Disney film, it emerged the animals, led by Imperial stag Turbo, had escaped










Sick Beluga at Mystic Aquarium


Animal care staff at the Mystic Aquarium are working around the clock to save


Inuk, a male beluga whale, who is suffering from kidney failure. Staff say the 28-year-old beluga became sick on Friday when he seemed to lose his appetite. A blood test revealed kidney failure and a possible serious infection.


Veterinarians at the aquarium have been giving the beluga whale supplemental fluids to clear his kidneys.


"We have been in frequent contact with other facilities that house belugas, as well as leading experts in nephrology, to share information and provide the best treatment possible," said Dr. Tracy Romano, senior vice president of










Thailand's Tiger Temple Sues Conservationists Over Abuse Allegations


Three advocates for wildlife conservation and welfare appeared in a Kanchanaburi court this morning to answer charges of defamation brought by the Tiger Temple, a tourist attraction in Kanchanaburi.


Edwin Wiek, founder and director of Wildlife Friends of Thailand, a wildlife rescue center near Hua Hin, has been charged along with two other conservationists over remarks in an April 2009 article published in the "Thai Post," a daily Thai-language newspaper. In the report, accusations were made concerning illegal possession of and










Topeka Zoo Director job posted


The City of Topeka has posted the qualifications it desires in its next zoo director. The city is also looking for a zoo veterinarian.


Both jobs are listed on the city's web site.


The director's job opened up in December with the retirement of Mike Coker. He stepped down as a two day review of zoo operations by a team from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums was wrapping up. City manager Norton Bonaparte had requested the review after a USDA inspection was critical of zoo procedures. Topping the list of concerns were the deaths of seven zoo animals from January 2007 to July of 2008.


Pay range for the job of director is $78,000-$92,000 annually, with










Woman Charged After Cobra-Biting Claim


Police Found Dangerous Rattlesnake Her Home


Police with the Department of Natural Resources have charged a woman with possession of a venomous snake after she recently claimed she was bitten by one.


Last month, 58-year-old Betsy Nighthorse claimed she was bitten by a cobra that she discovered in a White Marsh parking lot.


Police investigating her claim found another snake -- a Neo Tropical Rattlesnake -- at her





Adopted mystery rodent flies the coop



An orphaned animal that was fostered by a family of mice at an east coast Tasmanian wildlife park has escaped.


The creature known as Cuckoo was so tiny when it was handed in that keepers could not identify or feed it.


Luckily a mother mouse took the creature in and fed it for two weeks until it could be weened off milk.


Head keeper Andrew Pottage says the creature got so big it was able










Michael Jackson's dead giraffes cause a stink


Two dead giraffes formerly belonging to King of Pop Michael Jackson have had to be dug up and moved - after residents complained about the terrible smell.


The animals - Rambo and JJ - died last November and were buried at the Banjoko Wildlife Preserve in Page, Arizona.


But after several complaints about the stink, the carcasses were dug up and relocated elsewhere.


Michael Jackson's two other, living giraffes were also forced to move house. Princess and Sue have been found










Surprise rhino birth spotted on webcam (Great Video! - Peter)


Staff at a Scottish wildlife park were alerted that one of their rhinos had gone into labour by someone watching online in Cyprus


Staff at a Scottish wildlife park were alerted to one of their rhinos going into labour by a phone call from somebody in Cyprus.


Dot the Southern White Rhino being watched on a webcam at Blair Drummond's Safari Park, Stirling by someone watching thousands of miles away when










Durrell hopes to have guests stay at the Zoo this year


It's not been easy at Durrell in the last weeks with ten staff being laid off to save money and the remaining employees facing a greater workload.


One of the ways the Trust hopes to make money for their animal conservation is to open up student accommodation on site to islanders and tourists.


They want to make the student lodgings at its International Training Centre available when they're










Brookfield Zoo seeks a companion for its lone elephant, Joyce


Search offers a glimpse into zoo's commitment to keep elephants on display amid fierce opposition by animal-rights groups


Seeking single female roommate for high-spirited, inquisitive middle-age female. Must be African by birth or descent, age not important. Must be social and vegetarian. Trumpeting a plus, the louder the better. Large indoor space. Secure fenced yard, charming mudhole. All meals, clean daily bedding, electricity, heat provided free.




That tempting offer might be how Joyce, a 27-year-old African elephant, might word a want ad if she were in charge of finding a companion to share her space and keep her company at Brookfield Zoo.




Joyce lived with another female elephant, Christy, 28, until a week before Christmas, when Christy died from what the zoo said was a congenital kidney defect.




Finding a companion for Joyce is a top priority, but it is also a lengthy, nationwide, complex undertaking that offers a glimpse into evolving zoo philosophy and renewed commitment to keep elephants on display in the face of fierce opposition by animal-rights groups. To reinforce that commitment, Brookfield,0,1269218.story










Escaped buffalo cause multi-car crash near Chico


Six vehicles, including a California Highway Patrol cruiser, struck and killed several buffalo Tuesday night when the animals escaped from a private zoo and ended up on eastbound Highway 149.


Most of the drivers and passengers in the vehicles, including the CHP officer, suffered only minor injuries and were treated at the scene.


Several of the vehicles sustained major damage. Four of the buffalo, each weighing between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds, were confirmed killed. A calf may also have been hit, but searchers couldn't find its body.


CHP spokesman Doug Garret said as many as 21 buffalo escaped about 8:20 p.m. from fenced property bounded by Highways 149 and 99.


The property is owned by Irvin Schlaf, who may end up being held responsible for damages. The animals are reportedly part of a large private zoo and are not being raised for commercial purposes. Other animals, including ostriches, llamas and exotic birds, also are kept on the property.


Garret said an investigation is under way to determine if someone










Zoo in a life-or-death race


The last 14 Asian elephants born in Houston have died, but now there's hope for a vaccine


It's stork time at the Houston Zoo's elephant barn as the maternity countdown begins for Shanti and Tess, endangered Asian elephants whose pregnancies, officials hope, will bring success to a pachyderm breeding program thus far marked by failure.


Zoo officials Thursday staged a maternity "boot camp" in which they outlined efforts to ensure live births and the survival of the calves. In 25 years of zoo breeding efforts, all 14 calves died before or relatively soon after birth.


Six of the calves — most recently Max, who died at age 2 in November 2008 — succumbed to a disease caused by a herpes virus.


"We have lots of concerns," said Daryl Hoffman, the zoo's large mammal curator. "As we learn more, our success rates should improve. Every one that we lost was under different circumstances."


Last year, the Houston Zoo and Baylor College of Medicine joined forces to develop a vaccine to protect against the herpes illness, which causes blood vessels to leak and can lead to heart failure.


Dr. Paul Ling, associate professor of molecular virology and microbiology, said an effective vaccine still may be five years away. But researchers have created a successful test for the virus, thereby allowing for treatment of infected animals before the deadly disease develops.


Four of the zoo's five Asian elephants, including










World Bank calls for China, other Asian countries to shut down tiger farms


China and other Asian nations should shut privately run tiger farms as they are inhumane and fuel demand for the endangered big cat's bones and skin, the World Bank said Thursday.


The call came as governments from 13 countries where tigers exist in the wild met in Thailand to discuss their conservation and how to boost tiger numbers.


Tiger farms are found principally in China, as well as Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. Owners claim rearing the cats in captivity will help reduce the illegal trade in tiger parts which are used in traditional medicine, but environmentalists say it only stimulates further smuggling.


"Our position is that tiger farms as an animal practice are cruel. They fan the potential use of tiger parts. That is extremely dangerous because that would continue to spur demand," said the World Bank's Keshav Varma, who is the program director for the Global Tiger Initiative, a coalition formed in 2008 with the Smithsonian Institute and nearly 40 conservation groups. It aims to double tiger numbers by 2022.


"The Global Tiger Initiative as well as the World Bank are in favour of shutting down these farms," he said by phone from the sidelines of the conference in the beach resort of Hua Hin.


Wild tiger numbers have plummeted because of human encroachment, the loss of more than nine-tenths of their habitat and poaching. From an estimated 100,000 at the beginning of the 20th century, the number today is less than 3,600.


China alone is believed to be home to 5,000 domestic tigers, and farms thrive despite the government banning the trade in tiger parts in 1993. It has imposed stiff sentences on offenders and ordered pharmacies to empty their shelves of tiger medications purported to cure ailments from convulsions to skin disease and to increase sexual potency.


The first tiger farms started before the ban, but others sprang up afterward because speculators thought the ban would be temporary. The government says the farms have been developed to attract tourists but critics say they are used to harvest tiger parts.


Despite lobbying from influential businessmen for the ban to be lifted, China last month announced it would take stronger law enforcement action on the trade in tiger parts and products. It also promised stricter regulation of captive breeding.


Conservationists like the group TRAFFIC welcomed the new measures but continue to call for tiger farms to be shut down. They say










Lao domestic elephants may disappear in 50 years


The continuing decline in the number of domesticated elephants means they are likely to disappear from Laos within 50 years, a report has concluded.


The study was made by ElefantAsia after only one birth in 2009 was recorded among domesticated elephants in Xayaboury province and 15 elephants died in the same period.


Head of Programmes at ElefantAsia, Mr Gilles Maurer, said the elephants died of natural causes – old age and disease.


"The trend is getting worse and worse because in 2008 there were two births, but last year only one. We almost didn't have any births last year because the baby elephant only arrived in December."


He emphasised that if this low birth rate continued for several more years, there would be no way to save the domestic elephant. The birth rate had to rise if elephants were to continue to be part of the culture and lifestyle of the Lao people.


There are currently around 500 domesticated elephants in Laos, and ElefantAsia expressed concern these animals were ageing.


Life expectancy for elephants is about 60 years










Lucy's lawyer ignores facts


Animal rights groups take Lucy's case to court, the Journal, Feb. 2


Mr. Steve Phipps, lawyer for Lucy the elephant's defence, has a very weak case indeed. He claims that Zoocheck and PETA should have contacted the Edmonton Humane Society, that there was no written correspondence between the two bodies.


He must have been shocked to learn that all the correspondence between EHS and Zoocheck is posted on Zoocheck's website, visible for all to read.


Mr. Phipps claims that the zoo may not live up to Zoocheck's and PETA's standards, but that their standards are not the law. Again, he has missed the mark.


It's Alberta's own standards, set out in the Animal Protection Act and based on American Zoo Association standards










Protection Denied for the Pika


Federal officials have decided not to provide endangered species protections to the American pika, a tiny mountain animal thought to be struggling because of climate change. In a decision posted Thursday on its Web site, the Fish and Wildlife Service said that while some pika populations in the West were declining, others were not. The agency says Endangered Species Act protections are not warranted. The pika lives mostly in high, rocky mountain slopes in 10 Western










Panda cubs bamboozle keepers as SIXTEEN join zoo nursery in China


It's the ultimate case of panda-monium as no fewer than 16 cubs are released together in to their new nursery.


In these adorable images the tiny pandas are shown in their new home after being separated from their mothers to begin life on their












Valentine's Day treats for zoo animals


We received the following heads-up from the zoo about a fun event happening next Saturday, February 13th:


Woodland Park Zoo's animals will celebrate Valentine's Day the wild way…


Otters, red pandas, gorillas, snow leopards, and more will enjoy heart-shaped ice pops made of fruit juice, honey, strawberries and cranberries, herbal bouquets, heart-shaped steaks and more.


The special treats are part of the zookeepers' ongoing enrichment program to help enrich










Tourist Trap


A PAIR of tigers tuck into a live cow at a zoo - as tourists take snaps.


The doomed animal was CHOSEN by the holidaymakers from a menu, and served up by workers who dumped it off the back of a truck. It got to its feet unsteadily - as the beasts moved in for the kill.


Amateur photographer Chris Geddes, 31, captured the horror at the Siberian Tiger Park, in Harbin, China. He said










A Tusky Situation


Miami elephant gets dental work done


One of the Miami MetroZoo's favorite inhabitants, a 12,000-pound elephant named Dalip, had to get some tusk work done yesterday and he took it like a champ.


Elephant keepers at the zoo trimmed off about 12 inches from Dalip's ivory tusks to prevent him from










Insectarium marks 20 years


Open house this weekend features displays, mysteries and tastings


The Insectarium celebrates its 20th birthday this weekend with an open house.


Insectarium founder George Brassard will be there to sign autographs and pose for pictures. (The one-hour sessions are at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.)


Brassard's goal was to create a museum that would demystify the world of insects for children. The museum welcomes around 350,000 visitors a year and has become an important stop, with its collection of 140,000 specimens, for scientists to further their research.


"The museum has been a success since the beginning," director Anne Charpentier said.


Charpentier credited popular activities like the annual insect tastings, the release of Monarch butterflies and the magical Butterflies Go Free event for putting the Insectarium on the map, and







Queen Triggerfish Bred by Aquarium and University



Collaborative efforts result in successful captive breeding of the threatened queen triggerfish (Balistes vetula)


The New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts, and Rogers University in Bristol, Rhode Island, have teamed up to hatch and raise the world's first captive-bred queen triggerfish (Balistes vetula).


A pair of queen triggerfish inside of the New England Aquarium's Bahamian coral reef exhibit has been producing viable eggs since their early days in the aquarium. Although queen triggerfish lay up to 750,000 eggs every 18 to 20 days, the larvae are so small that they are difficult to feed and therefore keep alive.


The New England Aquarium and Rogers University decided to work together to hatch the queen triggerfish's eggs. Researcher Dan Laughlin collected and transported the










Alaska OKs some exotic cats; bars chimps, sloths


Alaska is famous for wildlife: moose, bear, whales. Not capuchin monkeys and kinkajous.


And the Alaska Board of Game wants it to stay that way.


The board considers exotic pet requests every four years, and this year's petitions covered everything from allowing Alaskans to own the "organ grinder" monkeys to adding exotic cats to the list of animals people can own without a permit.


At the end of a four-day meeting this week, the vote was in: capuchins out; some of the cats in.


Chimpanzees, previously allowed










Commercial Fishing Endangers Dolphin Populations, New Study Finds


Extensive commercial fishing endangers dolphin populations in the Mediterranean. This has been shown in a new study carried out at the University of Haifa's Department of Maritime Civilizations. "Unfortunately, we turn our backs to the sea and do not give much consideration to our marine neighbors," states researcher Dr. Aviad Scheinin.


The study, which was supervised by Prof. Ehud Spanier and Dr. Dan Kerem, examined the competition between the two top predators along the Mediterranean coast of Israel: the Common Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and bottom trawlers. (Trawling is the










Whales, dolphins and porpoises suffer dramatic declines from by-catch in fishing nets


Toothed whales are currently suffering from a major threat which is unsustainable loss from by-catch in fishery operations. For 86% of all toothed whale species, entanglement and death in gillnets, traps, weirs, purse seines, longlines and trawls poses a major risk. Lack of food and forced dietary shifts due to overfishing pose additional threats to 13 species.


These are among the findings of a report launched today on the website of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (UNEP/CMS). A corresponding poster available online shows for the first time all toothed whale species sorted according to their conservation status as defined by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


This encyclopaedia on all 72 species of toothed whales includes the most recent scientific findings on the distribution, migration, behaviour and threats to this group of whales. Maps showing the currently known distribution of each species were provided by IUCN and the Global Mammal Assessment.


UNEP/CMS Executive Secretary Elizabeth Mrema said: "During the International Year of Biodiversity, the Convention on Migratory Species continues to address major threats such as by-catch, ship strikes, ocean noise impacts and climate change to safeguard these charismatic marine mammals. Governments need to enhance their efforts towards implementing targeted action plans under the Convention. "


Toothed whales occur in a wide range of marine and freshwater habitats, from the Arctic to the tropics. Some species live in large river systems










Solomons dolphin release 'obnoxious publicity stunt'


Chris Porter has drawn much controversy over the years for his business of exporting dolphins from Solomon Islands, but now he says he is prepared to make a change and release 17 dolphins into the wild.


He has invited one of his biggest












Denmark teen passage to manhood: kill innocent dolphins for sport


To be considered a man in the Faroe Islands, part of Denmark and Greenland: it is a ritual requirement to kill dolphins and other small cetaceans.


The whole town turns out to watch the slaughter. Children are kept home from school, so they can line the bloody shores and watch the brutality. They listen to the cries of wounded and suffering dolphins as if it were all a part of the festival atmosphere that residents claim proudly as their



Koala removal stumps wildlife park owner



The owner of the Waterways Wildlife Park, on the Oxley Highway near Gunnedah, says she does not know why the RSPCA has removed her entire population of koalas.


Three inspectors, a national parks ranger, two veterinarians and a film crew arrived at the park, home to more than 100 native animals, on Wednesday morning.


Six hours later they left with eight§ion=news





Indonesia Confiscates Five Pet Tigers



The Ministry of Forestry has confiscated five tigers from a private residence outside Jakarta where they were kept for nearly 20 years, said a senior official on Friday.


"We discovered that there were five tigers, two adult tigers and three cubs, based on people's information," said Awriya Ibrahim, director of forest protection at the ministry. "Unfortunately, we still need to run DNA tests to discover what species these tigers belong to because different species would mean different handling."


Critically-endangered Sumatran tigers are protected by Indonesia's conservation law, but Bengal tigers would require action under international law, he explained.


No matter the species, it is illegal own wild animals without a permit, Awriya added.


The alleged owner of the tigers, Kusbanu Hadisumarto, told local news media that the animals were Bengal tigers he had gotten from Taman Safari Indonesia wildlife park in the 1990s to breed at his home in Rempoa, Tangerang.


While the Bengal tiger is the world's most populous, it is still endangered. The wildlife organization WWF estimates its wild population at 1,850. Tigers around the world are threatened by habitat loss and poaching.


Awriya said the tigers will be `staying the night' at Kusbanu's




Abilene Zoo officials rush to correct problems

Abilene Zoo officials are scurrying to address concerns cited in a recent inspection by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.

Mike Hall, the city’s director of community services, said Monday, “Most of the things are taken care of or will be in the next few weeks.”

In January, an AZA team inspected the zoo for two days and issued a list of “continuing concerns and achievements.” The inspection was a follow-up to one last year that led to the AZA tabling the zoo’s request for reaccreditation.

The city has until Feb. 12 to provide evidence the concerns have been addressed.

An accreditation hearing is set for March 4 in Virginia Beach, Va., at which time more evidence could be presented, Zoo Director Bill Baker said.

The AZA first accredited the Abilene Zoo in 1985 and

Bridgeton zoo's coatimundi predict six more weeks of winter

Expect six more weeks of winter, based on the predictions of the Cohanzick Zoo's furry meteorologists Monday.

The zoo's three coatimundi, or coatis, were released from their indoor enclosure Monday morning, but had to be coaxed from their dens, at Bridgeton's yearly version of the traditional Groundhog's Day celebration.

After braving a few minutes in the snow, the Central American white-nosed cousins of the raccoon decided they had enough and returned to their home.

"Well, it looks like that's that," zookeeper Alison Bohn said to a very small group of people who came out to witness

Cane toad 'sausages' help wildlife

Cane toads are being turned into sausages in the Northern Territory as part of a research project to help save an endangered mammal.

The sausages, which are made up of the minced legs of the toads, are being fed to quolls as part of the project by Sydney University and the Territory Wildlife Park.

The sausages are then laced with a chemical that makes the quolls sick.

Researcher Stephanie O'Donnell says the aim is to make the quolls feel ill so they will avoid eating the poisonous amphibians in the wild.

"They can't smell [the chemical]. They

Five Blackbucks found dead at Rajkot zoo

Authorities at the Pradyuman Park Zoo in Rajkot found five Black Bucks dead in their enclosures under mysterious circumstances on Monday.

The incident has shocked keepers and officials of the Pradyuman Park Zoo.

The deer were lying mutilated when the keepers went to their enclosure early in the morning.

Authorities believe that two stray dogs, which trespassed into the deer enclosures, may have killed the animals. However, they are awaiting a medical and post-mortem report to ascertain the cause.

Even though the zoo is well-guarded by around 38 security guards, entering of canines in the premises is a security lapse, said a zoo official.

"We had deployed a security guard outside the

Mountain chief's regret as Alladale gets dangerous animals licence

Mountaineering representatives have criticised councillors’ decision to renew a controversial estate’s licence to keep dangerous animals.

Members of the Highland Council’s Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross licensing committee today unanimously agreed to grant Alladale Wilderness Reserve a licence under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. The licence relates to a compound on the estate in which wild boar and elk are kept.

Hillwalkers and climbers have complained that the fencing at the site restricts their access to the countryside, including the 846m (2,772ft) corbett Càrn Bàn. The council’s own access officer Matt Dent recommended refusal of the renewal of the licence on the estate, set up by millionaire Paul Lister.

Sarus Crane rehabilitation- Mysore Zoo achieves Natural breeding

The Sarus Crane which is one of the endangered species has finally found a true nestling place at Jayachamarajendra Zoological park in Mysore. Though they had been there ever since the Zoo began, only this year they started breeding in captivity. Thanks to the trouble taken by the curators of the facility, the first captive breeding has been reported in the zoo.

Officials of the zoological park clarify that there was little or no human intervention in the breeding, the bird that gave off springs inside the Zoological park area was a resident of the facility. "We only isolated her and gave her safe haven in an enclosure and prevented other predators of Sarus crane eggs from entering the enclosure,” said an official. Left by itself this giant bird can protect herself as well as its off springs adequately which the present bird did and chased away small predators by herself. Generally the Sarus Crane lays two eggs but this one laid three, two of them did not hatch and third one did and yielded a healthy baby delighting the zoo authorities.

According to the Zoo authorities this is the tallest species among the Crane family standing at 4-5 feet tall, with a wingspan of eight feet. The body plumage is light gray. The crown is covered with smooth greenish skin. The rest of the head, throat and upper neck are covered with rough orange/red skin. The ear is marked by a small

The man with 24 crocodiles living at his semi

If you were looking for the largest collection of crocodiles in Britain, you'd probably try one of the big zoos.

Actually, it's in the back garden of a semi in Oxford.

That's where Shaun Foggett keeps an astonishing 24 crocodiles and

Arabian oryx almost blinds 2-year-old boy in Riyadh zoo

An Arabian oryx attacked a two-year-old boy in a zoo here Saturday causing serious injuries to the boy’s right eye.

According to Al-Watan Arabic newspaper, the boy was standing beside his father watching animals when the oryx came close to him and pierced his right eye with its horn.

The hospital to which the boy was taken reported that 95 percent of his eyelid was torn.

The area has no fences to prevent this type of incident, the newspaper said.

Khaled Al-Enizi, the father of the boy, blamed the management of the zoo for “weak security and inadequate preventive and control measures.”

The father intends to take legal action against zoo officials, the newspaper said.

Abdulrahman Al-Hamdan, Assistant Director of Public Relations at the Security Forces Hospital, said a specialist team operated on the boy for two hours. The boy’s skull and eye socket were CT

Some animal lovers are opposed to Groundhog Day

The folks at the DuPage County, Ill., Forest Preserve District don't come right out and say they oppose Groundhog Day. Still, they have a definitive position, and it leans toward killjoy.

They don't celebrate that whimsical, pseudo-holiday of Feb. 2. The district contends that the pudgy rodents, also known as woodchucks - or whistle-pigs in the South - need uninterrupted hibernation from early November through February and into March.

"And they could count on the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County to support their right to hibernate in peace," the district stated in a release notifying the world of its position on the issue.

Sleep soundly tonight. Groundhog rights are preserved and protected.

Forest Preserve District animal ecologist Dan Thompson maintains he is not a killjoy, merely a nature enthusiast trying to seize a teachable moment.

"During hibernation, a groundhog's heartbeat, metabolism and respiration slow," Thompson said, "allowing it to live on its body fat. If a groundhog is awakened from hibernation too early, it might not have the energy to find food and survive in cold winter temperatures."

It is true, contends Ben Hughes, handler of celebrity groundhog Punxsutawney Phil of east central Pennsylvania, that the animals hibernate deep into February

Billionaire's legacy provides $60,000 towards BAMZ projects

An organisation named after one of Bermuda's wealthiest long-term residents has donated $60,000 to help support three programmes at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo (BAMZ) that work to educate the Bermudian youth in conservation and the environment.

The Ernest E. Stempel Foundation, named after the late billionaire, philanthropist, Bermuda resident and former head of American International Group donated the sum to benefit conservation efforts and environmental education.

The total of $60,000 will benefit three projects, the "Power of One" Environmental Youth§ionId=60

‘Negligent’zoo staff suspended

The Assam state zoo today suspended three of its employees whose “negligence” had led to a tigress and her cub slipping out of the unlocked enclosure door on Saturday morning, sparking panic among the visitors.

Fortunately, the animals did not cause any harm and were subsequently tranquillised and taken back to their cubicle.

Two veterinary department staff, B. Appa Rao and Prabin Mikir, and animal keeper Rangeel Ali have been charged with negligence of duty and suspended with immediate effect. The trio were cleaning the enclosure but had forgotten to lock its door, leading to the incident.

“The suspension has been effected with a lot of unhappiness but disciplinary action had to be taken given the serious nature of lapse on their part,” Narayan Mahanta, the divisional forest officer of the zoo, said today.

He said the negligence had been viewed seriously as it could have led to a disaster, given the presence of nearly 2,000 visitors in the zoo at the time.

Disciplinary action, however, was on the cards

Zookeeper pinned under 300kg gate

A ZOOKEEPER has been rescued by co-workers after she was pinned under a gate weighing more than 300 kilograms.

The woman, in her 20s, was trapped for about three minutes after the gate fell on her at Victoria's Werribee Open Range Zoo just before 3pm (AEDT) today.

Paramedic Brett Parker said quick-thinking co-workers raced to the zookeeper's aid.

"Thankfully, a number of staff were nearby and three men managed to lift the gate off her body,'' he said in a statement.

"Incredibly, when we arrived the woman was upright and talking, but she was in significant pain.

"Given the potential for spinal injury we gave her

Giraffe with overgrown hoofs may be euthanized

Jerome the giraffe will fight for his life on Tuesday at a controversial zoo in the Vancouver suburb of Fort Langley.

The young male giraffe, who lives at the Mountainview Conservation Centre, has overgrown hoofs and may have to be euthanized if the job of shearing them down doesn't work.

The veterinarian who'll make that decision, Dr. Bruce Burton, said he'll do everything he can to keep Jerome alive.

"He's probably one of the nicest giraffes you'll meet," Burton said. "Everything that we can do we will do to try and save this guy. We very well may not succeed."

"If we do not think we can help him, unfortunately, we are probably going to have to euthanize him."

Two giraffes died at the facility in December, and the facility is under SPCA investigation for animal cruelty and neglect.

Jerome, who stands between five and six metres

Lions Arrive At Bristol Zoo Following Controversy

Three 8-month old cubs have been welcomed at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm today.

In recent months there's been controversy surrounding the zoo keeping tigers and last year, were struck off the trade body's list.

Keepers at the zoo insisted the animals were not part of a circus breeding programme and were looked after correctly.

In a seperate issue, the farm is currently being investigated about claims of animal cruelty.

Emma Godsell who's the Big Cat keeper why they've brought the lions to the zoo amongst all this controversy.

She told us "They were born at Linton Zoo

Rescued blinded turtle Homer is flown to Newquay home

A turtle which was deliberately blinded off the coast of Greece is being flown to Britain to start a new life.

The 123lb (56kg) loggerhead turtle, Homer, will be cared for at the Blue Reef Aquarium at Newquay in Cornwall.

He has been cared for since 2007 at a rescue centre near Athens, but is now ready for a long-term home.

Pavlos Tsaros, from the Greek rescue centre, said turtles could destroy fishing gear and were deliberately blinded by some fishermen.

Homer, who is expected to arrive at Heathrow at 1700 GMT, will help raise awareness about





How Bambi Met James Bond to Save Israel's 'Extinct' Deer

It Took Cloak-and-Dagger Effort to Return Creatures From Iran to Biblical Home

On Nov. 28, 1978, as Iran was hurtling toward Islamic revolution, zoologist Mike Van Grevenbroek landed at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport, coming from Tel Aviv, carrying a blow-dart gun disguised as a cane and secret orders from an Israeli general.

His mission: to capture four Persian fallow deer and deliver them to Israel before the shah's government collapsed.

It marked the daring climax of a years-long cloak-and-dagger effort to reintroduce the animals of the Holy Scriptures of Judaism to Israel.

In December 2009, Israeli wildlife officials added another chapter to the endangered ruminant's unlikely comeback when they released four descendants of those original deer into the Jerusalem hills. The animals joined the nearly 500 fallow deer that now roam freely in Israel. The deer are the crowning achievement of a program that has also returned biblical onagers, oryxes and ostriches to the wild.

Wildlife preservation was a low priority during Israel's early years of statehood that changed with the passage of a conservation law in 1962. An active-duty general, Avraham Yoffe, a founding member of Israel's pre-statehood militia, the Hagana, and commander of the army division that captured Sharm al-Sheikh in 1956, was appointed head of the newly created Israeli Nature and Parks Authority.

Conservationists say the general, who died in 1983, waged war in defense of wildlife with the same zeal he had brought to the battlefield. The 1978 Iranian "deerlift" remains his most daring feat and his biggest success.

The Persian fallow deer stands about 3 feet tall at the shoulder, with a tawny coat, white spots and flattened antlers like those of a small moose. In the book of Deuteronomy, the deer was listed as one of the hoofed animals the Hebrews were allowed to eat. The Book of Kings says the animal was tithed to King Solomon by his subjects.

The last of the fallow deer in Israel were believed to have been hunted to extinction in the early 1900s. The species was thought to be extinct until the late 1950s, when the deer were rediscovered in Iran.

When Gen. Yoffe learned of the deer's existence, he began courting Iranian officials. He invited the shah's brother, Prince Abdol Reza Pahlavi, who was an avid hunter, to Israel's Negev Desert to hunt the rare Nubian ibex, a desert-dwelling mountain goat found in few places outside Israel. Months later, he arranged a second hunting trip for another senior Iranian wildlife official, Rashid Jamsheed, who bagged an ibex with more than 53-inch antlers, the Safari Club International world record to this day.

It was strictly forbidden to hunt the ibex, but then-Agriculture Minister Ariel Sharon, agreed to make an exception for his fellow general's pet project, says Mr. Van Grevenbroek, the Dutch zoologist whom Gen. Yoffe asked to lead the reintroduction effort.

Gen. Yoffe's efforts paid off. In 1978, the prince agreed to give Gen. Yoffe's Nature Authority four fallow deer. Later that year, Gen. Yoffe visited Iran to pick up the deer but had a mild heart attack as soon as he arrived in Tehran, recalls Itzik Segev, Israel's last military attaché to Iran. "As the general was being rolled onto the airplane on his stretcher, he turned to me, clutched my hand, and said, 'Segev, you will get me those deer,' " said Mr. Segev, who is now retired and living in a suburb of Tel Aviv.

In the following months, the Islamic revolution picked up steam. Massive popular protests turned violent. The teetering government declared martial law. In Paris, the Ayatollah Khomeini was preparing for his triumphant return to Iran.

At the Israeli Embassy in Tehran, diplomats and intelligence agents were frantically shredding documents and trying to evacuate the 1,700 Israelis living in Iran, says Mr. Segev. For Gen. Yoffe, the clock was ticking since his deal for the deer would collapse with the shah's government. He dispatched Mr. Van Grevenbroek to help Mr. Segev capture fallow deer.


St. Lucie OKs elephant center project


County commissioners and zoo officials found a way around the elephant in the room to allow such large mammals into St. Lucie County.

Representatives from the National Elephant Center agreed Tuesday to forbid the presence of a criticized training tool on the proposed 326-acre property as one condition for approval of a $4 million project to house up to 10 elephants.

Representatives from national and local animal-rights groups asked commissioners to ban the use of the bullhook, which resembles a fireplace poker, as a condition for project approval. Though plenty of other issues from access roads to disease control were raised, none drew the amount of response as the possible use of the tool.

Although representatives from the National Elephant Center claimed the bullhook could be used in a safe way and would only be used on a small portion of elephants, the group agreed to prohibit the bullhook.

The step paved the way for a 5-0 vote in favor of a project publicly backed by several groups, including the St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce, while satisfying the demands of the animal-rights groups and the authors of almost 1,000 e-mails sent to each commissioner. Some activists who spoke against the project even


Footfall high in Zoo despite tiger incident

A day after a tigress and her cub sneaked out of their enclosure in the Assam State Zoo cum Botanical garden creating panic, visitors were back thronging the zoo. Sources in the zoo said that visitors had not shied away and like other Sundays the footfall was high.

But if yesterday's incident was an aberration another problem is being confronted by the zoo authority that has no easy solution. The number of some species is growing, and the zoo is running out of space to display or care for them.

Zoo DFO Narayan Mahanta told The Assam Tribune, "It is a challenge to care for increasing numbers of tigers, leopards, Himalayan black bear, and sambar. These animals require space, and that space is getting scarce".

The numbers have increased because of breeding


Tiger meal: Decision to release deer in Sunderbans evokes criticism

The state government's decision to release 63 deer in the Sunderbans to supplement the prey base for tigers has been questioned by an NGO, specialising in wildlife.

Expressing doubt whether the Sunderbans, which according to the last census in 2001 had 274 tigers, the NGO — Nature, Environment and Wildlife Society (NEWS) — in a letter to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) said there should be a scientific study to ascertain the number of the big cats and to determine the prey base.

Claiming that the release of the deer was being done in an unscientific manner, NEWS secretary Biswajit Roy Chowdhury said, "Determination of the root cause for decline in prey base through a scientific basis is the need of the hour. How is such a step justified when looked at in the long-term?"

But the Field Director of Sunderbans Tiger Reserve (STR) Subrat Mukhjeree defended the government's decision saying it was done


Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo Offers Student Internship Programmes

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo at The Dubai Mall, is now offering much-sought after Internship programmes to students from around the world.

The Internship is designed to provide students with practical working experience on all aspects of managing an aquarium. The programme can also cater to a student's particular area of interest within the aquarium industry.

Kaltham Abdulla, 23 year-old UAE National, is the first intern at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo. Currently in her final year at the College of Education at Zayed University, Kaltham has undertaken a 12-week internship programme, which focuses on the aquarium's Ocean School.

During her internship, Kaltham's main project has been to research and contribute to the development of new programmes which will focus on teaching children about conservation and the environment.

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo has also accepted another placement for an Australian student of Veterinary Science who will complete a two-week curatorial internship in January 2010.

Mr Damian Prendergast, General Manager, said the Internship is specially envisaged to share Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo's wide breadth of expertise and experience in aquarium management with the student community, and thus share its extensive knowledge base.

He added: "Aquarium science is a specialised field, and as one of the world's largest aquariums with over 33,000 aquatic animals, we have unmatched practical knowledge in managing them. With the Internship programme, we are offering a unique opportunity for students to gain hands-on knowledge about the various aspects of aquarium management and the diverse aquatic species."

On her experience as intern, Kaltham, who has previous teaching experience, said: "I chose to intern at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo because of the new experience it provides, especially in teaching school children. The edutainment classroom at the Aquarium is a new experience and will greatly benefit students."

Secondary or university students from around the world can apply for this Internship. Students must be 16 years of age and above, and preference will be given to those currently studying Marine Science, Teaching or Tourism subjects.

The programmes require a high level of commitment from students who will be requested to commit a minimum of two weeks, with a total of 40 hours per week. Participation is totally voluntary.

Interns must be prepared to participate in `hands on' learning, which may involve animal food preparation, cleaning or even getting wet. Due to the health and safety of the animals, they will not have any direct contact with any animal during their internship.

On completion, students will walk away from the programme with practical working experience and a better understanding of what is involved in working in an Aquarium. Students can also request to continue working at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo on a voluntary basis, subject to management approval.

"We hope that Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo can contribute to the education of the next generation of teachers, aquarists and business professionals," Mr Prendergast added.

Applications can be made at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo or via email to Short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview.

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is one of several


Altruistic Chimpanzees Adopt Orphans

Chimpanzees can be altruistic just like humans, according to a new study that found 18 cases of orphaned chimps being adopted in the wild.

The kind-hearted chimp parents were discovered in the Taï forest in the West African country Ivory Coast. The adoptive caregivers, both male and female, devoted large amounts of time and effort to protecting their young charges, without any obvious gain to themselves.

"I don't know of any other cases of unrelated orphans being adopted," said research leader Christophe Boesch of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany. He said the young chimps had lost their genetic parents to predation, injury


Endangered animals get new lease of life in Singapore

Sporting spiked hair and silver earrings, Samuel Tay hardly looks like a typical midwife.

The 25-year-old zookeeper beams with quiet pride as he watches over his "babies" -- row upon row of snakes bred for Singapore's popular zoo.

"These are my kids. Why do I need kids when I have so many already?" he told AFP, gesturing to tanks where newborn reptiles, including some from highly endangered species, receive tender loving care.

From jaguars and chimpanzees to Komodo dragons and manatees, heavily urbanised Singapore is gaining a reputation as a successful nursery for some of the world's rarest animals.

With a breeding programme for 315 species, around one in six of which are threatened, the Singapore Zoo is seeing a steady stream of locally born additions to its collection, currently numbering more than 2,500 animals.

Tay, a zoologist by training, is one of Singapore's frontline warriors in the


Cheetahs unwell in Junagadh, Singapore Zoo is being consulted

Four Cheetahs at Junagadh's Sakkarbag zoo that were brought from Singapore zoo in March – 2009 in exchange of Gujarati Gir Lion are under medical treatment due to problem occured in Membranous tube and lever.

Junagadh's Sakkarbag zoo is India's only zoo that possesses Cheetahs presently. Earlier all efforts to keep Cheetahs in any India zoo invited failure in last several decades and Cheetahs


Tell her you love her with a penguin painting

Tired of giving roses, chocolates and lingerie on Valentine's Day?

Well, Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration may have the gift for you.

For $124.99 each the aquarium is selling 30 original paintings created by two of its mated African penguin pairs.

The framed and matted 16- by 20-inch paintings were created by Green-Blue and Green-Black, who have had three chicks over five years, and Gray-Silver and Yellow-Red, who have been a pair for 12 years. The penguins are named for the identification bands on their legs.

Each pair creates a painting by


Win-win as grandma bears down to save dancing animals

A shocking discovery prompted a suburban grandmother to act and rally others. Mary Hutton has rescued more than 600 Asian bears, saving them from cruel practices and ending up on menus, writes Julie Miller.

For Raju the sloth bear, it is just another working day as he walks obediently behind his master, rope taut through his nostrils and jaw bound by a leather muzzle. But little does he know that at the end of this dusty road near Bangalore, India, lies a very different future; no longer will he be forced to stand on his hind legs, jigging in parody of a Bollywood dance to earn a pittance for his owner. Instead, animal welfare history is about to be made.

Standing outside the gate of the Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Centre on this mid-December day is Mary Hutton, founder and chief executive of Free the Bears Fund, an Australian wildlife charity. Tears well in the Perth grandmother's eyes as a transaction is made and the four-year-old bear is led away


Animal park researcher decoding African elephants' 'secret language'

Study could help boost endangered species' successful breeding rate

They're huge, they walk on four legs, and they stuff food into their mouths with their trunks. Like humans, though, they like to hang out together and "talk."

Someone is watching and listening when they do.

And it didn't take that someone long to discover that female African elephants in a herd at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park talk a heck of a lot more than anyone realized.

Dr. Matt Anderson, the park's acting director of behavioral biology, has been recording eight of the elephants' vocalizations for one 24-hour period per week for about 10 weeks, then overlaying the sounds with information about their movements and behavior.

He said last week that the project is already producing big surprises: Female elephants tend to be chatterboxes and their ranking in the herd plays a role in how vocal and active they


Food for thought at Chester Zoo

CHESTER Zoo is inviting all visitors to learn more about food plants everyday during half-term week as part of the Food For Thought event.

Families will have the opportunity to pot their own food plant such as curry, mint and strawberries and use a `food for thought' food trail sheet as they walk around the zoo.

Visitors can also enjoy two presentations on elephants and an elephant `touch' table so they can get to grips with elephant artefacts.

The event will highlight how food directly links to conservation and will discuss how the zoo uses chilli plants to ease human elephant conflict in its Assam Haathi project in Northern India. Human elephant conflict is a growing problem throughout Asia as elephants are forced to move into agricultural areas as their natural forest habitat is destroyed and human populations expand.

This project aims to educate villagers on how to live alongside elephants peacefully by developing techniques to reduce the existing conflict.

Mark Sparrow, curator of botany and horticulture


Jersey zoo redundancies 'will impact conservation'

Job losses at Durrell zoo will affect its conservation and fundraising efforts, the charity has said.

On Friday 10 staff members were handed official redundancy notices following the conclusion of a "consultation process" with employees.

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust's chief executive officer said it had been a "tremendously difficult day".

Paul Masterton said the redundancies were essential to make sure the trust can go on into the future.

Durrell, orginally named Jersey Zoo, was founded by author and naturalist Gerald Durrell in 1959 with a mission to save species from extinction.

Earlier this month zoo bosses announced jobs would be cut because the centre faced a significant


Pack of Stray Dogs Tears to Pieces Rare Animals in Sofia Zoo

Rabid stray dogs have ripped up and eaten 13 rare animals in the largest Bulgarian zoo in Sofia.

A total of eight mouflons, four fallow deer, and one doe have been torn to pieces by several stray dogs, the Director of the Sofia Zoo, Ivan Ivanov, announced.

The incident happened last weekend but was not made public until Friday. At 7:30 on Sunday, January 24, 2010, several veterinarians discovered six rabid dogs in the moat of the fallow deer space in Sofia Zoo. The rabid stray dogs were picked up by the Sofia Municipality firm, Ekoravnovesie.

"Don't ask me how I felt when we were removing the remains of the killed animals. I just cannot overcome what happened. I now come to sleep every night in my office here in the zoo in order to guard the animals," Director Ivan Ivanov told the Monitor Daily.

In his words, the rabid dogs got in the zoo through a low part of the fence where the zoo borders on a privately-owned parking lot.

He has no explanation of why the guards from the private security


Wildlife Reserves and partners sign MOU to promote conservation message

Biodiversity conservation looks set to get a boost with an agreement signed on Friday by Wildlife Reserves Singapore and three partners – its Conservation Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Society and its Singapore branch.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore manages the Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and the Night Safari.

Among many projects under the partnership, endangered Giant River Terrapins – which are only a few months old – from the Singapore Zoo, along with their wild cousins in Cambodia, will be part of a Joint Turtle Initiative in Asia.

The Wildlife Conservation Society currently manages 500 conservation projects in more than 60 countries. It also manages five parks in New York City - the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo.

One other project the partnership will undertake is a turtle workshop for specialists in Asia, which will give them the opportunity to take stock of the current situation of endangered turtles in the region, as well as share their conservation strategies.

2010 has been designated by the United Nations as the International Year of Biodiversity, and in the spirit of that, all four organisations said they hope the collaboration will tap into the knowledge from all four sides, and will help enhance global conservation efforts.

The parties also committed to exchanging best practices and technical expertise, along with promoting public awareness about the importance of preserving global biodiversity.

Ward Wood, chairman of the Wildlife Conservation Society


Refurbishing Ragunan Zoo

The government's plan to invite wealthy citizens to take part in adopting Sumatran tigers has sparked controversy, with animal conservationists seething at the offer.

And while the tiger adoption program is still much debated, we therefore offer an alternative for wealthy Jakartans who are interested in animal conservation. They can play a part in improving the well-being of thousands of animals housed at the 30-hectare Ragunan Zoo in South Jakarta.

The animals' well-being currently relies much on taxpayer money, as revenue from ticket sales cannot cover the zoo's overhead. In fact, the zoo has great potential to independently cover all its daily expenses if serious efforts were taken to exploit its existing resources.

Rich animal-loving Jakartans do not need to directly donate their money to the zoo. Instead, they can help the zoo management dig up the site's great potentials so that it will no longer be a second-class tourist attraction, which it currently is.

Ragunan Zoo is the one place that people from all walks of life can afford to enjoy their leisure time in. It is always crowded with Jakartans and those living in neighboring areas, particularly on weekends and national holidays. Unfortunately, the trademark of Ragunan Zoo as a low-cost recreation site has had both negative and positive consequences.

Charging a relatively cheap entrance fee is good on the one hand because it makes it affordable for most Jakartans, including low-income families who surely also need a place to relax and escape from the daily grind. On the other hand, many high-income families are reluctant to come as they consider the zoo a less-prestigious hangout for them.

We believe that Ragunan Zoo, which opened in 1966, can become a prestigious tourist destination suitable for all visiting families. It not only displays animals inside their enclosures, but also has integrated education facilities that help visitors - mainly children - make direct contact with the animals or watch movies about them in the mini theater.

With financial assistance from rich Jakartans, the management can start the refurbishment program by converting the slum image of the zoo, including the dozens of poorly furnished food stalls situated near the parking lots and the main entrance, which have made the zoo a less prominent tourist attraction site.

Another area of concern is the poor state of sanitation inside the zoo, which contributes most to its slum image. Here, the management can add trashcans to prevent visitors disposing of their waste all over the place.

The last bit is an optional but important measure to attract more visitors. The management, with the donors' money, can initiate the construction of eco-friendly supporting facilities, such as open-air meeting facilities, meeting rooms, ample restaurants and other venues that will allow people to hold gatherings within the zoo compound.

All those efforts are aimed at lifting the image of Ragunan Zoo as a prestigious urban tourist attraction as well as optimizing its potential. Rather than getting involved in the heated debate over the Sumatran tigers adoption program, it would be better for rich animal-loving Jakartans to lend


Leopard victim of Moscow housing dispute

A pet leopard named Cleopatra has become the latest victim of a bitter housing dispute in Moscow where residents are fighting to save their riverside houses from demolition.

The leopard, which lives in a cage at a housing development in northwest Moscow, faces eviction and confiscation as its owner's house is due to be demolished by city authorities.

The big cat's plight prompted Russia's natural resources ministry to declare on Friday that Cleopatra, which grew up in captivity, should be removed from its owner and given to a zoo or rehabilitation centre.

"The Natural Resources Ministry expresses its concern at the fate of the leopard," the ministry said in a statement.

"The only answer is for the animal


Panel investigating animal deaths at Calgary zoo to begin work soon:official

A five-member panel that has been appointed to look into animal deaths at the Calgary Zoo get down to work by the middle of next month.

Laurie Herron, a zoo spokeswoman, says the five members of the review panel have been chosen.

Their names haven't been released.

The panel members were chosen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, based in Washington, D.C., and its Canadian affiliate.

The zoo has been the subject of controversy for several animal deaths in recent months.

One mule deer broke its neck last month after running into


Saigon, Australia's last living elephant, a relic of the past

AUSTRALIA'S last living circus elephant cuts a hulking, forlorn figure.

Saigon lives out of the back of a truck for 10 months of the year, traveling from town to town with Perry Bros Circus and Zoo.

The last of her four female friends died at Christmas and, at 55, she has never known a male, nor produced a calf.

Too old to perform tricks, Saigon still has to hit the road with the rest of the menagerie as the show must go on.

Bunkered down at Point Cook on the outskirts of Melbourne for a few days, she stood on the dustbowl of vacant land where the circus has pitched its big tent.

Surrounded by an electric fence with a few bales of hay, she shuffled from foot to foot, slowly swaying, and with no rain or nearby pool, idly blew dust over her broad back to filter out sun.


Two tigers escape from Guwahati zoo, tranquilised later

Two adult tigers Saturday escaped from an enclosure at the Assam State Zoo in Guwahati, triggering panic among nearly 10,000 visitors who were inside the zoo at that time, wildlife officials said.

A zoo spokesperson said the two big cats managed to sneak out of their iron enclosure when three animal keepers were disinfecting it by opening one of the cage doors.

'The two tigers came out of the enclosure and started walking lazily in the open leading to great amount of panic and fear,' zoo warden Narayan Mahanta told IANS.

The zoo, the only one in Assam, was teeming with people with an estimated 10,000 visitors inside the premises when the two tigers walked out of the enclosure.

'We immediately evacuated the visitors and tried to locate


Breeding birds of prey in Liberec ZOO



Details of re-wilding South China Tigers written into book

Shortly before the arrival of the Chinese Year of Tiger on February 14, Chinese readers are greeted Wednesday by a work journal recording details of re-wilding the endangered South China Tigers in a South Africa wildlife reserve.

The book, titled "South China Tiger Journal," covers seven years of a training process that helps prepare the once captive tigers, also known as Chinese Tigers, to go back into the wild.

It contains stories of each step of the re-wilding process, from independent predation of chickens to wild antelopes. Anecdotes such as the tigers getting stabbed by porcupines were also included.

Li Quan, principal author of the book, said at the launch ceremony that the book intended to both entertain and educate readers with details of the training process and knowledge of the nature.

In doing this, Li said she hoped the book could raise public awareness of saving the tigers and motivate more people into action.

The South China Tigers, one of the six living tiger sub-species, are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as one of the ten extremely endangered species. There are only about 70 Chinese Tigers living in captivity in zoos across China.

In the past decade, several animal-conversation teams from in and outside China searched for wild South China Tigers in their original habitats, but found no definitive evidence of their existence.

The re-wilding program aims to establish a conservation model for South China Tigers by creating a pilot reserve in China where the re-wilded tigers could be reintroduced.

The South Africa program is part of a larger scheme, Reintroduction of the Chinese Tigers into the Chinese Wild, which is co-operated by the charitable


Baloo the black bear and his best friends the Bengal tiger and a lion called Leo

Baloo, an American black bear is a brave bear indeed because he shares a pen with Shere Khan a Bengal tiger and a lion called Leo at an animal rehabilitation centre.

The unlikely pals were seized as cubs in 2001 following the arrest of a drug dealer who had kept the cubs as a status symbol.

The trio have been enthralling visitors at Noah's Ark Zoo in Georgia, USA, as they lark around together.

Bosses at the centre where the animals were taken soon realised that the three predators were friendly with each other and decided not to split them up.

Diane Smith, assistant director at Noah's Ark Zoo in Georgia, USA, explained: "We could have separated them, but since they came as


Fishing cat beaten to death

A fishing cat that fled from Rajshahi Central Zoo a week ago due to negligence of the authority was beaten to death at Haragram Sheikhpara area in the city yesterday.

Fazlul Haque Bhulu of the area, his son Hikmat along with their dog chased the cat after he saw it near his house after Fazr prayers.

Minutes later, the dog grabbed the cat's neck while Bhulu, Hikmat and other villagers beat it to death, said witnesses.

The villagers declined to return the cat's carcass to the zoo authority.

The cat managed its way out through a hole in the wired cage at the zoo last Wednesday, said Abul Kalam Azad, caretaker of the zoo. "We did not notice the hole beforehand," he said.

On taking any legal action, Forhad Uddin, veterinary surgeon of the zoo, told The Daily Star they could not say anything until they got the cat's body. "In fact, the forest department is responsible for this."

Afzal Hossain, officer-in-charge of Rajpara police station, said he heard the news but could not manage time


Hillwalkers out of step with landowner over wild animals

WALKERS and mountaineers could deal a blow to a Highland landowner's plans to keep wild boar and elk on his land.

Councillors will be asked next week to renew a licence for 17 wild boar and two European elk held in enclosures at the Alladale Estate in Sutherland.

A previous licence under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act was granted in 2007, but Highland Council access officer Matt Dent has lodged an objection on the grounds it would be contrary to the Land Reform Act 2003, which established a right to roam.

Mr Dent received a complaint from a hillwalker who tried to descend from the surrounding hills and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCoS) has also raised doubts over access.

Despite the concerns, Chris Ratter, the council's area environmental health manager, recommends the licence is granted.

However, it has highlighted growing unrest at plans for Alladale, where estate owner Paul Lister is creating a wilderness reserve. He announced recently he is to apply for


Pet shop manager arrested for stealing penguin from zoo

A pet shop manager was arrested Wednesday for allegedly stealing a penguin from a zoo here, police said.

Akira Honda, 24, the manager of a pet shop in Fukuoka, was arrested on suspicion of theft.

Honda is accused of stealing a Humboldt penguin -- worth about 400,000 yen -- from the Nagasaki Bio Park in Saikai at around 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The suspect has


Safari park's pride in visitors

Visitor numbers at Knowsley Safari Park at their highest for 35 years.

Park bosses are delighted with the increase, which comes despite the recession and poor summer weather.

Thee were more than 530,000 visitors during 2009 – an increase of 7,000.

General manager David Ross: "Throughout 2009 we had to cope with very mixed weather including, of course, the forecast 'barbecue summer' that turned out to be a monsoon most of the time.

"When you also take into account all the economic doom and gloom that's been around, plus high fuel prices, it was a real achievement to see visitor figures rise to a level that we haven't seen for the best part of four


SE Asian tigers 'extinct within 15 years'

A top level conference on tiger conservation has begun in Thailand with a warning that the animals could be locally extinct within 15 years.

Government ministers from 13 countries with native tiger populations are meeting for the first time and say tiger numbers are in crisis.

Earlier this week the World Wildlife Fund released a report warning that tigers could be locally extinct in the Greater Mekong region within 12 years.

The report blamed habitat loss and poaching for tiger body parts, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

The WWF estimates that combined numbers in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam have fallen to just 350.

Thailand's environment minister says countries


World Bank wants tiger farms shut

China and other Asian nations should shut privately run tiger farms as they are inhumane and fuel demand for the endangered big cat's bones and skin, the World Bank said Thursday.

The call came as governments from 13 countries where tigers exist in the wild met in Thailand to discuss their conservation and how to boost tiger numbers.

Tiger farms are found principally in China, as well as Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. Owners claim rearing the cats in captivity will help reduce the illegal trade in tiger parts which are used in traditional medicine, but environmentalists


Zoo finding its way back to business

The hoots and chirps of howler monkeys bantering with gibbons blended with the roar and back-up warning signal of a bulldozer widening a moat at the zoo in Gulf Breeze.

Despite the commotion, the zoo was eerily devoid of human creatures as new zoo director Glenn Goodman and zoo founder Pat Quinn toured the grounds to assess the work needed to reopen the zoo.

Formerly known as The Zoo of Northwest Florida, the 25-year-old facility closed last August because of financial problems precipitated by damage from Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and Hurricane Dennis the next year.

Eric Mogensen bought it from the local owner, Animal Park Inc., in December. The new owner also owns Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge, Va., and Reston Zoo near Washington, D.C.

"Our main objective is to get the zoo open by mid-February. We want to get the people back," Goodman, 47, said as he surveyed the empty primate island from a pedestrian


Zoo mates falling prey to pollution

It was in the run-up to the Bakrid festival when the city zoo lost six black bucks last November within five days. The veterinary doctors at the zoo were surprised that the animals had died due to foot and mouth disease, which is caused by a virus that had been eradicated from Andhra Pradesh many years ago. And that's when they realised how the virus had gained entry into the zoo: illegal slaughter houses that had mushroomed around the zoo unchecked had brought cattle and sheep from neighbouring states for the festival. Officials said the epidemic was contained and thus other animals saved.

Nevertheless, of the 24 animal deaths at the Nehru Zoological Park in the last one year, 18 have died in the last three months alone. Two animals, a fox and a mouse deer, died last week. But these deaths were not due to the virus. The fox was found dead in his burrow with maggot wounds and the mouse deer died due to a rare urine retention illness.

Clearly, there are more factors leading to deaths in the zoo than just the deadly virus. When founded in 1965, the 300-acre zoo was located on the city outskirts and its animals lived in mint fresh environs. If slaughter houses around it are making unwanted donations of the foot and mouth disease virus that travels into zoo at the


Zoo upsets redheads

An Australian zoo has dropped an ad campaign offering free visits to people with ginger hair to highlight the plight of orang-utans.

Adelaide Zoo ran advertisements offering "free Zoo entry for all rangas" during the school holidays, reports the Adverstiser.

"Ranga" - an abbreviation of orang-utan - is a common nickname in Australia for redheads.

"We seem to be getting quite a bit of a negative reaction to that request," said Zoos SA's director of conservation programs


Albino animals: Some are too Cute!


Indonesia: Government proposes 21 million hectares of plantations to meet climate targets

There are two realities in the forestry sector in Indonesia. In one, the forests continue to be destroyed, peatswamps are drained, forests are logged, burned and replaced by industrial tree plantations. Indigenous Peoples' and local communities' rights are bulldozed along with the forests. Meanwhile, in the other reality, trees are planted, forests are restored and greenhouse gas emissions will soon become a thing of the past.

Occasionally, these two realities collide. In December 2009, Cornelis, the Governor of West Kalimantan, was giving a speech about the government's "One Man, One Tree" campaign, but was repeatedly interrupted by the noise of logging trucks loaded with newly logged timber on the nearby Trans-Kalimantan highway. "I'm making a speech about the tree-planting movement and a truck carrying piles of timber passes by," the Jakarta Globe reported him as saying. "If we ask the drivers, I don't think they will have permits," he added. After four trucks had interrupted him, Cornelis asked the police to stop any more logging trucks for driving past. Just until he finished his speech.

In September 2009, Indonesia's President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, told a G-20 summit in the USA that Indonesia "will change the status of our forests from that of a net emitter sector to a net sink sector by 2030." He also announced that Indonesia


Cats and dogs in the animal cruelty law

The mainland media is buzzing with reports about a draft law on the prevention of cruelty to animals.

Judging from the critical response the draft is already generating online and in the print media, the law will not be an easy one to pass. Originally titled "Animal Protection Law," the present title was adopted after the drafters received feedback from people who felt that talk of "animal protection" and "animal welfare" was hard to accept: "They felt that it was more important right now to protect the people's welfare," said Chang Jiwen, director of the Social Law Research Department at CASS.

Article nine of the draft law was the most eye-catching part:

This reporter learned that the Cruelty to Animals law (draft for expert feedback) states that for individuals, the illegal consumption or sale of the meat of dogs or cats may result in a fine of up to 5,000 yuan, up to 15 days in prison, and a signed statement of repentance; companies or organizations can be fined between 10,000 and 500,000 yuan. Supervision will be undertaken by public security agencies, which will set up a uniform hotline and assign responsibilities to other departments.

Following the Chongqing Evening News' lead, most news outlets ran their reports under headlines like "Dog meat eaters will face up to 15 days in jail." Driven by the framing on news portals, the section on cats and dogs attracted the most animated discussion online.

Some commentators questioned whether people in northeast China, where dog meat is part of ethnic Korean cuisine, and in Guangdong, where dogs and cats are eaten for their purported medicinal properties, will submit to the


Condor nearly 80 years old dies in Connecticut zoo

A Connecticut zoo says an Andean condor believed to be the oldest one living in captivity has died at nearly 80 years old.

Thaao (TAY'-oh) arrived at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport in 1993 after living most of his life at the Pittsburgh Zoo. He was the only endangered animal at the zoo to be born in the wild.

A necropsy proved inconclusive.

The zoo says an Andean condor lives to about 50. The zoo believes Thaao was one of the original animals to have been tracked using a breed registry, a list of the known individual animals in a breed.

Biologists estimate that there are only a few thousand Andean condors in the wild.

Zoo director Gregg Dancho says


Crocodile zoo would be top attraction

AFTER an eight-year love of crocodiles, Shaun Foggett is keen to share this with the rest of the country.

He wants to open the UK's first crocodile zoo in West Oxfordshire.

These types of reptile parks are usually seen across the Atlantic in the USA and other far-off shores.

So imagine the number of tourists that will be drawn to the district if the unusual park does go ahead?

West Oxfordshire relies on tourism to bring in extra capital, with the main draw being the beautiful setting and proximity to the Cotswolds.

It has its fair share of museums, parks, and historic houses, but a crocodile zoo is a completely unique pull.

Those curious about these rarely seen animals or who share Mr Foggett's passion for the reptiles will swarm to the zoo.

As he points out, most animal parks have just one or two crocodiles or alligators.

He is also keen to dispel


ITV's Lion Country puts the spotlight on Real Gap's efforts to save Africa's endangered lions!

The Lion population in Africa has dwindled by almost 90% in the last 30 years, in a fascinating new series, ITV pays a visit to Lion and explores the work that conservationists and Real Gap volunteers are doing to halt the decline….

Once hailed as the king of the jungle, Africa's most iconic animal has made its way onto the endangered species list with alarming rapidity. In just 30 years, Africa's lions have dwindled in numbers from an impressive 200,000 to an estimated 23,000, a drop of almost 90%. In an effort to highlight the plight of these incredible animals and prevent further decline in numbers, leading conservationist David Youldon has joined forces with ITV to make the fantastic new series, Lion Country.*


AZA finds communication, management structure Topeka Zoo's weakest points in review


Rare Kenya rhinos de-horned to frustrate poachers

Four extremely rare Northern White rhinos recently transferred to Kenya from a Czech zoo have been dehorned to protect them from poachers, a conservation group said Tuesday.

"With the increase of poaching in Kenya, we are simply not taking any chances," Elodie Sampere from the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, which is overseeing the animals' acclimatisation told AFP.

"Without a horn, these rhinos are of no value to poachers," she said.

The rhinos, two males and two females, are among only eight members of a very rare sub-species of white rhinos known to be alive worldwide and were transferred back to Kenya with the hope they would reproduce.

Kenyan wildlife rangers earlier this month arrested 12 men from an illicit game trade syndicate suspected of killing a 10-year-old white rhino and hacking off its horns.

The east African country, which has the world's third largest rhino population -- around 600 black and 300 white rhinos -- suffered its


Conservationists urge Gordon Brown to create 'Britain's Great Barrier Reef' 

This week the 10,000th person joined a campaign to create the Earth's biggest marine protected area in the Chagos archipelago

A coalition of conservationists is calling on the British public to urge Gordon Brown to create "Britain's Great Barrier Reef" by designating its territory in the Indian Ocean as the biggest protected marine area on Earth.

The Chagos archipelago (map here), part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, is a group of 55 tropical islands over half a million square kilometres of Indian Ocean that have belonged to Britain since they were captured from France in 1814 during the Napoleonic Wars. The islands include Diego Garcia, the site of a controversial joint British-American military base.

The archipelago boasts the world's largest coral atoll and the world's cleanest, most pristine waters, that are home to at least 220 coral species and more than 1,000 species of fish. The underwater landscape of 6,000m deep trenches, oceanic ridges and sea mounts, is also a refuge and breeding ground for large


Zoo under fire

City councilor wants to place blame for giraffe deaths

City Councilor Bill Christiansen said Tuesday that he expects someone to be held accountable for the second giraffe who died at the Tulsa Zoo.

"We pay a lot of money to people out there to make sure the zoo is handled properly and the animals are cared for," Christiansen said during a council committee meeting. "I think it's really quite embarrassing to the city of Tulsa to have two giraffes die in such a short period of time."

A 9-year-old female giraffe named Amira died at the zoo Jan. 10. The cause of death was determined to be hypothermia.

In December, another female giraffe, 5-year-old Amali, died at the zoo from a neck injury she suffered in October while being transported to Tulsa from the Wilds zoo near Cumberland, Ohio.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums is conducting a focused inspection of the Tulsa Zoo and its policies, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investigating both deaths.

Councilor G.T. Bynum said he had heard from many constituents who thought the council


CPRE raise serious concerns over Zoo's biodome

GREEN Belt campaigners have hit out at zoo bosses' plans for a £225 million `Eden Project of the North'.

The Cheshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) say they are `seriously concerned' about the planning application from Chester Zoo to build the `Heart of Africa' Biodome up to the edge of the A41 from Flag Lane North to the Backford Dip.

The charity said it fears that the development, part of the zoo's Natural Vision project, would have a `very significant impact' on the Chester Green Belt.

Phase one of the project, which has been submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council, is costed at £80m and the full plan will cost more than £225m.

The biodome will be a third larger in size than world-renowned Eden Project tropical dome in Cornwall, 180


First-ever Sand Cat Kittens Produced by In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer at the Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort

The Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort (AWPR) announced the first-ever birth of 2 Sand cat kittens following an in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer procedure at its facilities in Al Ain. The success of the program marks an important step forward in its efforts to conserve this threatened cat species and other arid land carnivores such as the Arabian leopard.

In October AWPR initiated Project Sand Cat in partnership with the US-based University of Illinois and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden– both world leaders in endangered species research. Fresh sperm and eggs collected from male and female Sand cats were fertilized in an incubator to produce 50 embryos. Twenty-one of those embryos were transferred into 4 host cats, one of which recorded a successful pregnancy. The remaining 29 embryos were frozen and transported to the Cincinnati Zoo for similar trials.

"No Sand cat kitten has ever been born as a result of in-vitro fertilization and embryo transfer.


Thailand Clouded Leopard Breeding Project

This program, based at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo, was developed by a consortium consisting of the Thailand Zoological Parks Organization (ZPO), Khao Kheow Open Zoo, Nashville Zoo, Smithsonian's National Zoological Park, and the Clouded Leopard SSP. This coalition of international partners is working together to develop a viable self-sustaining clouded leopard breeding program in Thailand. Khao Kheow Zoo, in Chonburi, Thailand, serves as the project's first breeding center, housing pairs of clouded leopards originating from the five zoos within the ZPO. Some of the cubs that result will be exported to the United States to serve as new founders to the SSP population in an effort to improve that population's genetics and demographics.

An essential component of the project is the placement of a full-time coordinator from the United States in Thailand. The coordinator, Rick Pasarro, oversees the project and performs critical duties such as developing proper husbandry techniques, training Thai zookeepers, improving enclosures, assisting in veterinary care, and maintaining records. Experienced clouded leopard managers from Smithsonian National Zoo, the Nashville Zoo, and Point Defiance Zoo &


Crane migration adds $10.33 million to local economy, UNL study says

In another few weeks, the spring crane migration will begin to descend on Central Nebraska.

With it will come crowds of human visitors, bringing an infusion of money to the area -- about $10.33 million last spring, according to a recent University of Nebraska-Lincoln study.

The study focused primarily on the Rowe Sanctuary near Gibbon, estimating the center contributed $2.08 million to the local economy during last spring's crane migration season.

Rowe's director, Bill Taddicken, said both numbers were impressive indicators of just how central crane viewing is to this part of the state.

"I think it's a really big number to show the effects of one nonprofit on the local economy," Taddicken said.

The study, which was published in the fall by UNL's Bureau of Business Research and announced Monday, was conducted by two UNL economics professors, Rick Edwards and Eric Thompson.

Thompson said he and Edwards had been studying a cheetah conservation center in the southwestern African nation of Namibia and thought it might to be interesting to carry that examination over to conservation-related tourism in Nebraska.

They gave out surveys to visitors at Rowe and Fort Kearny State Historical Park south of Kearney on several days last spring, asking them why they came, where they were from and how much they planned on spending.

They used those surveys, along with more information from the Platte River Whooping Crane Maintenance Trust and what is now the Nebraska Nature and Visitor Center (formerly Crane Meadows), to determine an


Tiger adoption

The government's proposal to offer rare Sumatran tigers for adoption by wealthy citizens is a giant step backwards in enforcement of wildlife protection laws (protected wildlife cannot be traded or kept, National Law No.5 1990).

Darori, Director General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation, is quoted as saying "there are many orders from rich people who want them, who feel if they own a tiger they are a big shot" and also says "And because these people are rich, they will definitely give them good food."

There is no correlation between being a rich and giving good food to animals. Real "big shots" would establish and support tiger sanctuaries and rehabilitation programs focused on releasing tigers back into the wild, not keeping them in cages at their homes for the perceived


Turtles in trouble

FOR turtle conservationist Dr Chan Eng Heng, the Integrated Shrimp Aquaculture Park (i-SHARP) is bad news for the survival of two critically endangered terrapins.

In 2004, she pioneered research and conservation work on the river terrapin (Batagur affinis) and painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) populations in Sungai Setiu.

Upon her retirement from University of Malaysia Terengganu early this year, the marine reptile scientist set up the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) to continue efforts to augment the low nesting by restocking the population.

This is done by purchasing terrapin eggs from villagers, incubating them and releasing the hatchlings into the river. Thanks to Chan's project, which has gained international recognition and financial support, the terrapin population has a chance to recover


Abused chimp gets new lease on life


AVMA Supports Proposal Calling For More Wildlife and Zoo Veterinarians

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) today announced its support of newly-introduced federal legislation that will help bolster the nation's supply of veterinarians specializing in the care of wildlife and zoo animals.

The Wildlife and Zoological Veterinary Medicine Enhancement Act, introduced January 21 by U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., will fill a critical need in protecting the country's animals, environment and its people.

"This is absolutely needed," said AVMA Chief Executive Officer W. Ron DeHaven, DVM. "If passed, this legislation will strengthen curriculum in our veterinary schools. It will create opportunities for our veterinary graduates to work in the areas in which they have studied, and it will protect both animals and people."

The bipartisan legislation aims to build the country's cadre of wildlife and zoo veterinarians on several fronts. It will create new funded positions for specialized veterinarians in both clinical and research settings. It will help reduce the amount of educational debt veterinary students amass during their education. It will help veterinary schools develop curriculum specializing in health management of wildlife in their natural habitat and in captivity. And it


Chimp Victim Seeking Face, Hand Transplant

However Hospital Known for Doing 1st U.S. Face Transplant Says It Can't Help Woman Who Was Mauled by Chimp, Attorney Says

The hospital known for doing the United States' first face transplant has told the family of a woman mauled by a chimpanzee a year ago said that it can't perform a face and hand transplant for her, a family attorney said Monday.

Charla Nash's family is looking into alternative facilities after the Cleveland Clinic said it could not do both transplants, attorney Bill Monaco told The Associated Press on Monday. He said the transplants have to be done simultaneously and come from the same donor.

The 200-pound chimpanzee went berserk in February after its owner asked Nash to help lure it back into her house. The animal ripped off Nash's hands, nose, lips and eyelids.

Telephone messages left Monday with the hospital were not immediately returned.

The clinic does not believe it has the capability to do the hand transplant surgery, Monaco said. He said it has not ruled out the possibility of


Human rights argued for chimp


Mekong tiger population plunges to 'crisis point': WWF

Governments must act decisively to prevent the extinction of tigers in Southeast Asia's Greater Mekong region, where numbers have plunged more than 70 percent in 12 years, the WWF said Tuesday.

The wild tiger population across Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam has dropped from an estimated 1,200 in 1998 -- the last Year of Tiger -- to around 350 today, according to the conservation group.

The report was released ahead of a landmark three-day conference on tiger conservation, which will be attended in the Thai resort town of Hua Hin from Wednesday by ministers from 13 Asian tiger range countries.

It said the regional decline was reflected in the global wild tiger population, which is at an all-time low of 3,200, down from an estimated 20,000 in the 1980s and 100,000 a century ago.

"Today, wild tiger populations are at a crisis point," the WWF said, ahead of the start of the Year


Out and About: Ragunan Zoo: A gem in careless hands

The history of Jakarta's zoos began with Raden Saleh, a prominent Indonesian painter in the 19th century.

He donated around 10 hectares of his land for the establishment of its first zoo at Taman Ismail Marzuki, Central Jakarta.

About a century later, the zoo was relocated to a 140-hectares of land in Ragunan, South Jakarta.

It was officially opened Jun. 22, 1966, managed by the city administration.

Today with an entrance fee of only Rp 4,500 (47 US cents), Ragunan Zoo has become an affordable recreational site for families.

Yet there have been complaints from visitors about the cleanliness and security of the area.

They report there is littering and some visitors complain about pickpockets.

People may also not agree with animals' living conditions.

For example, kangaroos are situated in compounds unlike their natural habitats.

Singapore Zoo has better environments for their animals such as spacious areas that are similar to their natural habitats.

However, Ragunan Zoo also has the Schmutzer Primate Center, one of the largest of such centers in the world.

The 13-hectare special enclosure houses various primates, including gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans.

The center was named after the late Pauline Antoinette Schmutzer, who donated her estate to the center.

But if this center is better managed, perhaps the Ragunan Zoo may attract more visitors.

People believe zoo management should pay more attention to facilities such as food stalls, tour buses, signs, walkways and toilets.

Toilets, for example, are poorly managed even though visitors are required to pay around Rp 1,000 (10 US cents) to use them.

Looking at how our neighboring countries running zoos such as


Proposal may ban feeding of ducks in parks

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd has introduced legislation that would amend to park code to crack down on behavior at the zoo, but the legislation appears to do something more than just that.

"It shall be unlawful for any person to feed, or offer food or any substance to any animal in any park which is wild by nature and not customarily domesticated in the city and country of San Francisco," a provision in the proposed legislation says.

It seems the legislation would ban duck feeding in San Francisco parks. In 2007, the Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin successfully passed legislation prohibiting the feeding of the famed wild parrots of Telegraph Hill.

That legislation initially proposed the prohibition of the feeding of all birds in all parks, but Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier objected because she said families should be able to feed ducks in Golden Gate Park. So the provision was removed and specified no feeding of the parrots.

During Monday's Board Supervisors City Operations and


Taiwan opposition says pandas a waste of money

Two pandas donated to Taiwan by China have failed to attract the expected number of visitors to Taipei Zoo, anti-Beijing opposition politicians said yesterday, calling them a waste of money. The Taipei city government had forecast six million visitors in 2009, but the actual number was little more than half that.

"Since the pandas have failed to attract visitors, it's


Tigers and pigs in baby mix-up?

It looks as if there has been a little confusion among just which babies belong to which mother.

An eight-year-old tiger Sai Mai looks after three adoptive piglets in a Thai zoo - while in a different enclosure a sow suckles two tiger cubs as well as her piglets.

The Sriracha tiger zoo employs a unique accelerate the growth of tiger cubs by raising them partly on pig milk - suckled direct from sows by the cubs themselves.

Tiger are facing extiction across much of


Tigers in focus

Bangladesh is stepping up conservation efforts for the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger under an action plan that includes a new census of the Sundarban big cats, which like other tiger populations around the world face tremendous threats from poaching and habitat loss.

According to the last census in 2004, the Sundarbans—the largest unbroken mangrove forest in the world stretching 6,000 square kilometres along the coast of Bangladesh—is home to around 440 Royal Bengals, one of the last significant tiger populations in the wild.

"Our tigers have to be protected for conservation of biodiversity in the Sundarbans and Bangladesh as a whole," state minister for forests Hassan Mahmud said on Monday as he inaugurated a Tiger Immobilization Training Programme at Bon Bhaban, the forest department headquarters in the capital.

The forest department, under its Bangladesh Tiger Action Plan (BTAP) 2009-2017, is jointly running the first ever immobilisation training with Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh (WTB) to ensure safe tranquillising procedures.

The training will help foresters save tigers intruding into human localities where either humans or the tigers are too often killed, said officials.

Mahmud also said 33 forest staff had already received training, for


Zoo report finds fear, dishonesty

City requested AZA inspection after series of C-J stories highlighted problems at facility

Seven weeks after a top-to-bottom inspection of the Topeka Zoo, its findings released Monday point to a lack of trust in management and misleading statements from senior staff members.

The city, in a news release Monday, said the report from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums could lead to the re-evaluation of the zoo's accreditation during the AZA's mid-year meeting March 3.

The harshest assessments in the report were reserved for management.

"A feeling of fear, intimidation, and lack of trust in management" exists at the zoo, and communications from the director and senior staff were "not completely true," it said.

"Making misleading statements to staff and the public is unacceptable and damages the institution both internally and externally," said the six-page report compiled by three zoo inspectors from similar facilities across the United States.

The AZA serves as an accrediting body for zoos and aquariums and ensures that accredited facilities meet higher standards of animal care than are required by law. The Topeka Zoo was stripped of its AZA accreditation in a 2001 move that left it unable to borrow or loan animals to other zoos or to receive other benefits. The zoo got its accreditation back in 2003 and was re-accredited for five years in 2007.

The team the AZA sent to Topeka from Dec. 2 to 4 conducted not an accreditation review but a "focused inspection."

The city said in a news release Monday that in light of the AZA's findings, it was anticipated the AZA could re-evaluate its accreditation of the Topeka Zoo during its mid-year meeting March 3 at Virginia Beach, Va.

City manager Norton Bonaparte said he had asked interim zoo director Dennis Taylor to review the findings of that inspection and provide him a response by Feb. 8. The city has


Activists against tiger adoption program

Environmental activists have strongly criticized the government's plan to allow Sumatran tigers to be adopted by wealthy citizens and the private sector.

The activists said the adoption plan, which they suspected as being politically motivated, was not the best solution to save the animal and could escalate poaching.

The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) Sumatra region campaign manager, Mukri Friatna, said that in line with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's first 100-day program, all the ministers in the new cabinet were trying to improve their image.

"That's the political motive behind the tiger adoption program. We want to emphasize that Walhi opposes the plan since it is the wrong way to save the tiger," he said.

"If we wish to save the Sumatran tiger, the government should be serious in stopping illegal logging and poaching, not issuing tiger adoption permits."

On the sidelines of the National Nature Conservation Day event at the presidential palace in Jakarta on Jan. 22, Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said his office was studying plans to issue tiger adoption licenses to wealthy Indonesian citizens and corporations.

Zulkifli said the ministry has so far been successful in protecting the Bali starling, which was earlier on the verge of extinction, by allowing residents to help breed the bird through a program.

In the program, the bird breeders are later obliged to hand over one of three hatchlings to be later released to their original habitat.

A similar method will be used to save the Sumatran tiger.

Under the plan, to be able to adopt the rare and protected animals, the adoptive parents must pay US$100,000 or Rp 950 million as collateral.

They must also provide enclosures and prepare an area spanning 60,000 square meters and sign an agreement that the tigers remain as state property and their condition and presence can be monitored by the state at any moment.

The tiger adoption program will follow the Sumatran tiger conservation program at the Tambling Nature Wildlife Conservation (TNWC) in the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (TNBBS) in West Lampung.

In the last two years, TNWC had released four tigers from


Endangered animals get new lease of life in Singapore

Sporting spiked hair and silver earrings, Samuel Tay hardly looks like a typical midwife.

The 25-year-old zookeeper beams with quiet pride as he watches over his "babies" -- row upon row of snakes bred for Singapore's popular zoo.

"These are my kids. Why do I need kids when I have so many already?" he told AFP, gesturing to tanks where newborn reptiles, including some from highly endangered species, receive tender loving care.

From jaguars and chimpanzees to Komodo dragons and manatees, heavily urbanised Singapore is gaining a reputation as a successful nursery for some of the world's rarest animals.

With a breeding programme for 315 species, around one in six of which are threatened, the Singapore Zoo is seeing a steady stream of locally born additions to its collection, currently numbering more than 2,500 animals.

Tay, a zoologist by training, is one of Singapore's frontline warriors in the battle against animal extinction, and visitors from around the world


Angela Smith rules out attending a meeting at London Zoo

Third sector minister will not be present at the annual Compact meeting next week because she is a patron of the Captive Animals' Protection Society

Third sector minister Angela Smith, a strong supporter of animal rights, has ruled out attending the annual Compact meeting next Monday on the grounds that it is being held at London Zoo.

The venue was agreed jointly last September in consultation with the Office of the Third Sector, but OTS officials did not consult Smith at the time and were not aware of the potential problem until more recently.

Smith, a patron of the Captive Animals' Protection Society, will go instead to Cardiff next Monday to address the annual conference of the Social Enterprise Coalition, Voice10, which continues on Tuesday.

Smith's Cabinet Office colleague Dawn Butler, minister for young citizens and youth engagement, will take her place at the annual meeting on the Compact, the agreement that regulates relations between the voluntary and public sectors.

The Compact meeting is an annual opportunity for assessing progress on the Compact, which was


Drug lord's hippo gets a check-up

A hippo that once belonged to cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar has found a new home at a zoo in New Mexico.

This happy hippo getting his dental check-up once belonged to Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.

Escobar had so much money – at one point he supplied 80 per cent of the world's cocaine – that he could afford to have exotic animals shipped to his Hacienda Napoles from around the world.

He already had a fleet of luxury cars, a bullfighting ring and a dinosaur theme park – so why not a menagerie of exotic animals?

When the narcobaron was killed in a rooftop shootout in Medellin, there were some 20 hippos at his ranch, which was taken over by Colombian authorities, but they had little idea of how


Latvian Zoo adopts threatened seals


S.J. reluctantly takes back control of zoo expansion funds

Boosters run out of money midway through $5M project

The unfinished construction project in Micke Grove Zoo landed back in the county's lap Tuesday with the approval of an agreement with the group of zoo boosters who had started the East End expansion project but ran out of money before it was completed.

The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors didn't consider whether to put the rest of the project out to bid at its meeting Tuesday. But during discussion of the new agreement with the Micke Grove Zoological Society, which gives expansion funding decisions back to the county, some members of the board voiced reluctance to pay the $3 million it would take to complete the zoo project in a year they would have to bridge a wide budget gap.

"Sometimes you have to put a fence around (it) and wait for things to get better," Supervisor Steve Bestolarides said.

There's a fence around the East End expansion area right now. Structures have been built, including buildings that would house snow leopards and Asian small-clawed otters when the animals are not out in front of zoo visitors. Those viewing areas are not built.

In all, the Zoological Society said it paid $2 million, completing about 40 percent of the project, according to the county. The county Parks and Recreation Department has set aside money that could be used to finish the project, but shifting it to the zoo project would take an action by the Board of Supervisors, county officials said.

That money is part of the county's general fund and could be spent elsewhere. Which would be a possibility, as the county is facing a general fund shortfall of $54 million that could result in hundreds of layoffs of county employees.

"We can't have these little surprises ... when we're trying to put together the pieces of this budget puzzle," Supervisor Larry Ruhstaller said.

Since 2005, the Zoological Society has funded construction of the zoo's veterinarian clinic and education


Utah zoo's staff investigating sudden deaths of 2 zebras

Officials at Utah's Hogle Zoo say they've launched an investigation into the deaths of two Grevy's zebras.

Officials said Thursday that zookeepers found the first animal, Taji, dead in his exhibit area Tuesday. A necropsy conducted that day identified no obvious cause of death.

Staff found the second zebra, Monty, in distress and began treatment Wednesday. He was later euthanized.

Associate Director of Animal Health Dr. Nancy Carpenter says staff is now consulting with other veterinary experts to determine what caused the deaths. The U.S. Department,0,5803322.story


Utah zoo investigating deaths of 2 zebras Utah News, KUTV


Washington and Tai Shan prepare for departure (Nice Photos - Peter)


Stray yak mauled to death by tigers (Not Nice Photos - Peter)

A herd of free-range yaks from Yancheng Wild Zoo in Changzhou, Jiangsu Province were suddenly frightened and ran on January 28, 2010. One yak strayed from the group and jumped into the tiger area, where the tigers immediately attacked the drowning yak. Although


Zoo director leaves Ross Park

Mike Janis, who's headed the Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park since 2006, is no longer with the zoo, officials confirmed today.

"We wish him all the best," said Joanne Aloi, the zoo's executive board president. She could provide no further details of Janis' departure, she said, because it was a personnel matter.

A search committee is in place and looking for the facility's next director, she said.

During Janis' tenure, the zoo regained its accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The 134-year-old facility lost it in 2005 due to turmoil over its previous leadership and finances. Since 2006, the zoo has raised more than half a million dollars


Phila. Zoo goes to the rescue of cobra bite victim

A Maryland woman who was bitten by an exotic cobra over the weekend may owe her life to the quick action of snake specialists at the Philadelphia Zoo.

The woman walked into a Baltimore clinic Sunday night reporting she had been in a shopping center parking lot when she bent down to pick up what she thought was a stick.

The "stick," a two-foot monocled cobra, sank a fang into one of her fingers, said Elisa Armacost, spokeswoman for the Baltimore Fire Department.

The woman, who has not been identified by name, bagged the offending snake and took it along with her to the clinic, Armacost said. Clinic staffers called the fire department.

"They were looking for guidance on what to do with the snake," Armacost said.

Medics took the woman to Johns Hopkins University Hospital as fire department personnel began a frantic search for a source of antivenin, Armacost said.

One of the calls reached Jason Bell, assistant curator


How Kansas City Zoo protects the animals in winter

Her name is Lola, but, as the song goes, she's no showgirl.

She's a warthog like Timon's sidekick Pumbaa in "The Lion King" — ugly tusks and all.

She is a little on the prissy side. She doesn't like broccoli. And she doesn't like cold weather, either, so don't ask her to go out when it's colder than 45 degrees.

Which means that this bitter January, Lola — like the other African animals at the Kansas City Zoo — has spent a good deal of time inside.

The zoo is open year-round, even when Swope Park looks more like an Antarctic outpost than the middle of Kansas City. But because the lions and hippos and cheetahs and


Elephant skull a big headache

When money trouble led collector Jerry Snapp to put his prized possession up for sale, he had no idea what lay ahead.

Jerry Snapp loved Tiffany, and it broke his heart that he had to sell her. Close to 200 pounds, almost 4 feet tall, a foot and a half wide, she was his most beautiful skull.

He picked her up in the spring of '97. He heard about her from a friend and wanted to know where she came from.

"The L.A. Zoo," his friend said.

And how much did she cost?


The next day he rented a truck and headed off to D&D Rendering in Vernon. Tiffany was out back, her head slowly rotting in a gray plastic box, destined for a landfill if a buyer wasn't found. Her three,0,3894107.story


Palawan passes resolution to develop Calauit Safari Park

The Provincial Board of Palawan recently passed a resolution that would enable private sector participation in the master planning, financing, construction and development of the Calauit Safari Park in Busuanga, Palawan.

The resolution hopes that the development of the 3,700 hectares Calauit island into a premier wildlife and game refuge park will boost tourism potentials in the Calamianes Group of Islands particularly in Busuanga town.

The Calauit Island was declared a Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 1578 signed by former President Ferdinand Marcos in 1976. In 1994, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources transferred the management of Calauit to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff. Through Executive Order 772 signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2008, Calauit is now managed by the Provincial Government of Palawan.

The original concept of the Calauit project was for the translocation and propagation of African exotic animals. Now, it is the venue for the preservation and propagation of Palawan endemic species like the Palawan Peacock Pheasant, mouse deer locally known as "pilandok", Calamian deer, Philippine crocodile, bearcat, scaly anteater, Philippine palm civet, porcupine, white-tooth shrew


White Rhino born at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom is celebrating the birth of a white rhino.

Kendi, an 11-year-old white rhino, gave birth to the female calf Sunday, January 17. This is Kendi's third baby and the eighth white rhino born at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Disney's Animal Kingdom participates in a white rhino breeding program coordinated by the



Oregon Zoo gains a trunkful of history

The estate sale brimmed with photo negatives and slides, military memorabilia, antiquated mountaineering gear and a box that so intrigued Larry Clark he sprang for the $4 price. Its label read simply "zoo."

Good thing he snagged it: Images, memos, letters and yellowed news clippings inside the box fill in missing pieces of Oregon Zoo history. The unexpected archive provides glimpses into how things were in the 1950s and '60s, and illuminates ways that science and husbandry have changed zoo operations. Plus, its contents make you wonder how things might have been if some outlandish ideas had taken hold.

Imagine, for example, Packy, the zoo's prize elephant, confined to a dungeon because of his frightful behavior.

Or a proposal to use pachyderms to help log Northwest forests.

But first things first.

Clark, a Southeast Portland antique dealer


Two gorillas adjust to SA zoo life

Two eight-year-old male gorillas, Bongensa and Binga, have been flown in from Switzerland to help Pretoria Zoo in its efforts to save Africa's most charismatic species from extinction.

A European breeding programme for endangered species will create a new gorilla family group in Pretoria after the death of the zoo's gorilla .

Clifford Nxomani, managing director of the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, said Hobbit, a male gorilla in his late 30s, died recently, so the zoo applied to become part of the European breeding programme.

Bongensa and Binga, who were born at the Zurich Zoo in Switzerland, will be joined by another two male gorillas from the Ramat Gan Zoo in Israel.

"The arrival of these young gorillas m


Hastings Introduces the Wildlife and Zoological Veterinary Medicine Enhancement Act

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) introduced the Wildlife and Zoological Veterinary Medicine Enhancement Act. This legislation will develop affordable and well-qualified opportunities for individuals who are seeking to become wildlife and zoo veterinarians, spur job growth, and promote robust public health policy. (Please find attached a copy of the legislation)

"Wildlife and zoo veterinarians are the primary source of essential health care for, and management of, wild animals in their natural habitat and in captivity. Not only do they preserve natural resources and animal lives, but they help protect human health by preventing, detecting, and responding to exotic and dangerous diseases," said Hastings.

In spite of a growing threat to public health posed by emerging infectious diseases as well as higher risks of large-scale outbreaks, the United States continues to face a shortage of positions for




Jungle Zoo protest case collapses

POLICE have admitted a mistake which led to the collapse of the case against a Cleethorpes zoo boss accused of deliberately driving at protesters.

Bernard Bale was cleared of driving at the protesters demonstrating outside The Jungle Zoo because of a "procedural error".

CCTV footage and a mobile phone clip filmed by a protester – which were both shown in court – captured Bale's van mounting the grass verge where the protesters were standing


A Devon breeding programme is helping to save the dormouse

Conservationists working to increase the dwindling population of dormice have started a project to produce a breed of supermice. Over the winter, staff at Paignton Zoo, Devon, have cared for animals collected to augment the bloodlines of the captive breeding population.

The common or hazel dormouse has become an increasingly rare species in Britain. The zoo-bred mice are released into the wild in parts of England from which they have disappeared. The zoo


WWF fears for Siberian tiger after Russian oil leak

A leak from Russia's new Siberian oil pipeline shows the potentially damaging consequences the project could have for the endangered Siberian tiger, an environmental campaign group warned on Friday.

Around 300 cubic metres (10,600 cubic feet) of oil leaked from the pipeline in eastern Siberia, Igor Dyomin, spokesman for Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft told AFP.

The leak covered an area 10 metres (yards) across and two kilometres (1.2 miles) long, he said.

"The major accident on the new Siberia-Pacific oil pipeline which has just come into operation shows the project has major flaws around ecological safety," the environmental campaign group WWF said in a statement.

"The WWF is worried about the planned


Brazilian Animal Rights Groups Wants Chimp Freed

He was rescued from a circus 13 years ago and has been living alone at the Niteroi Zoo ever since, but 24 year old Jimmy may soon be moving out.

Last month animal rights groups filed a petition of habeas corpus to set Jimmy free and relocate him to a reserve to live with other apes.

The petition argues that Jimmy is a living being with rights, rather than an object and should be granted the same freedom of movement that applies to people under Brazilian law.

Selma Mandruca from the Great Ape Project.

[Selma Mandruca, Coordinator, Great Ape Project]:

"We decided to file this habeas corpus to protect chimpanzee Jimmy from the inadequate place in which he lives. He is a chimpanzee who lives in isolation and this goes against the nature of chimpanzees, who just like human beings, are gregarious animals who must live in groups. He also faces a situation of inadequate exposure


British team discovers lost Eden amid forgotten forest of AfricaScientists from Kew have brought back an astonishing collection of new specimens from the unmapped heart of Mozambique

It was one of the few places on the planet that remained unmapped and unexplored, but now Mount Mabu has started to yield its secrets to the world.

Until a few years ago this giant forest in the mountainous north of Mozambique was known only to local villagers; it did not feature on maps nor, it is believed, in scientific collections or literature. But after "finding" the forest on a Google Earth internet map, a British-led team of scientists has returned from what is thought to be the first full-scale expedition into the canopy. Below the trees, which rise 45m above the ground, they discovered land filled with astonishingly rich biodiversity.

The scientists found what they believe are three new species of butterfly, a previously undiscovered adder snake and new populations of rare birds. They also expect to find new plants among the hundreds of specimens they have brought back with them.

Photographs from the trip - published here for the first time - show just part of the forest, tropical creepers, giant snakes such as the gaboon viper, and other wildlife seen by the team, including small klipspringer and blue duiker antelope, noisy samango monkeys, elephant shrew, and the granite-like rocky peak of Mount Mabu. Back at Kew Gardens in west London, where he is based, expedition leader Jonathan Timberlake said the wonder of what they experienced was only sinking in now that they are home: "That's when the excitement comes out - when you come back home or start reading some of the background


Durrell to launch two appeals

DURRELL are to launch two major appeals this year calling on the public to help them through their current funding crisis.

An emergency request for short-term funding is likely to be made to fund day-to-day costs, and an appeal will be made for help to pay for the building of a new visitor centre and improvements to the gorilla complex. It is hoped that the developments will increase visitor numbers.

This week the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust announced that due to a projected £1 million deficit this year, they have to make up to 14 staff redundant, and reduce their animal


Good Zoo Keeping Animals Safe

Keeping the animals safe and warm throughout the winter season at Oglebay's Good Zoo is a priority for the zoo's animal care staff.

Joe Greathouse, curator of animals for the Good Zoo, said there are a number of issues they have to take extra precautions with through the winter season. He said ice is always a bigger concern than snow.

"Hoof stock, ostrich and kangaroos can slip on the ice and damage their tendons, so even though they like a sunny winter day outside, we have to keep them in if the exhibits are icy," said Greathouse.

Even the animals that relish the snow and cold, such as the river otters, bears and the red panda have continuous access to indoor shift areas or holding buildings in cold weather. They are there for the animals' protection and comfort if needed. A good example is the the miniature donkey exhibit. They usually like to walk around the outdoor pen, but if it's extremely windy or cold they will stay inside the barn, Greathouse said.

Fresh water and good nutrition are obvious essentials the staff provides for the zoo animals on a daily basis. "Access to unfrozen water is absolutely critical for all animals," said Penny Miller, director of the Good Zoo.

She said that if an animal has to eat snow to get hydrated, it will become hypothermic and dehydrated. "At the zoo and home on the


IG Report: Last U.S. Jaguar Captured, Killed Intentionally

The last known wild jaguar in the United States captured and killed last year in Arizona, was intentionally caught by employees of the Arizona Game and Fish Department in a snare, the Interior Department's Office of Inspector General said in a report issued Wednesday that implicates the state agency in criminal activities.

Jaguars are a federally protected endangered species. The death and subsequent necropsy of this animal, named Macho B, are subject to an ongoing criminal investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement and the U.S. Attorney's office in Tucson, Arizona.

"Our review of the FWS agents' documentation showed evidence linking an AZGFD subcontractor and possibly an AZGFD employee to criminal wrongdoing


Snow monkey temporarily escapes from Tokyo zoo

A snow monkey from Aomori Prefecture, the northernmost habitat in the world for a simian, enjoyed a hiccup of freedom Sunday after escaping from Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, the first day


White Tiger

Joe Fortunato, the executive director of the Bucks County Zoo, plays with a white tiger cub in the facilities in Warminster.The 20-pound, 16 week-old female is there until the end of February when she will be relocated to


Save the tiger: Pressure mounts for tougher action

After trudging through the wilds of western Thailand for several hours, the forest rangers thought they were finally onto something: the distant sound of crunching leaves.

Automatic weapons drawn, the five Thais crept forward, hoping to catch a tiger poacher. It turned out to be a banteng, a wild cow, which disappeared into the woods.

But all in all, the absence of illegal hunters was good news, said ranger Sakchai Tessri. "When we passed before, we would always run into poachers." Now he felt their room for maneuver was narrowing.

"In the old days," he said, "they would spend many nights in the forest for poaching. Now they just come in, shoot, grab and go quickly."

The 6,400-square-kilometer (2,500-square-mile) Huai Kha Kheang and Thung Yai Wildlife Sanctuaries on the Myanmar border represent a rare success in the struggle to save the world's dwindling tiger population.

Funded by the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, the increased patrols, armed with the latest technology, have scared off poachers and helped stabilize the tiger population of more than 100, along with animals such as the banteng which they prey on.

Elsewhere, tigers are in critical decline because of human encroachment, the loss of more than nine-tenths of their habitat and the growing trade in tiger skins and body parts. From an estimated 100,000 at the beginning of the 20th century, the number today ranges between 3,200 to 3,600, most of them in Asia and Russia.

Now hopes are rising that 2010 will see a turning point.

Ministers from the 13 countries with tiger populations will hold a first-ever meeting Wednesday through Friday in Hua Hin, Thailand to write an action plan for a tiger summit in September in Russia, where Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has been championing the survival of the tiger.

The purpose of this week's meeting is to elicit promises of more money for conservation and to persuade countries to set tiger population targets. It is being organized by the Global Tiger Initiative, a coalition formed in 2008 by the World Bank, the Smithsonian Institute and nearly 40 conservation groups. It aims to double tiger numbers by 2020.

"The bleeding continues," said the World Bank's Keshav Varma, the initiative's program director. "I'm not sure if these poachers are feeling the heat of regional and global and national action. They seem to be o


I howled for the woman I loved... and she howled back - British wolfman tells how his obsession drove away the love of his life

Until I met Helen Jeffs, I don't believe I'd ever really been in love. But the more I saw of her, the more I was convinced I'd found a soul mate.

A teaching assistant, she lived across the valley from Combe Martin Wildlife Park on Exmoor, where I looked after wolves, eating and sleeping alongside them. For a while, Helen and I communicated by howling at each other across the valley with wolf sounds that I'd taught her.

My obsession with wolves hadn't helped past relationships. I had split up with Jan, the mother of my four children, after 11 years together, but there was never any animosity; it was more a case of separation by default

Maybe I never gave that relationship a chance. I was so passionate about wolves that I wonder whether any human relationship could have come close. If I'd had to choose between spending a night in the wolf enclosure or at home, I would probably have chosen the wolves.

Nevertheless, I thought there might be someone who would drag me back into the human world. But I hadn't expected the pull to be so sudden and so strong.

Helen and I spent most of our time together around the wolf enclosure I had built, or in my caravan in the park. She was under no illusion about what she was getting herself into but that didn't seem to faze her.

On the morning she agreed to move in with me, I had a meeting to discuss ideas for a TV series which ended up going out on channel Five in Britain and Animal Planet in America. And, after my two-year stint living with a wild wolf pack in the American Rockies, I had learned so much about them that my work had also been featured on the National Geographic Channel.

I mentioned at the meeting that I was going to teach Helen to join the wolves that I looked after at Combe Martin. At that moment, the theme for the series -Mr And Mrs Wolf - was born. We were


Happy birthday to heroic tiger mother!

The Albino tiger Kaili runs in a pond at Xiangjiang Safari park, in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, Jan. 21, 2010. Thursday was Kaili's 15th birthday. The life span of an albino tiger is usually 15 to 18 years. The albino tiger Kaili was imported from Sweden in 1997, and had bred 60 albino tigers in eight years.


Giant panda at Haicang Safari Park may leave Xiamen

After one year's living in Xiamen, "Wei Yi", the giant panda who made its home at the Haicang Safari Park in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian province on Feb. 9, 2009, is likely to leave for her hometown in Sichuan province next month, according to the park.

The 20-year-old female giant panda, whose temporary name is "Wei Yi (The Only One)" and is numbered No. 21 at the China Giant Panda Protection & Research Centre in southwest China's Sichuan province, has attracted streams of tourists from Xiamen and nearby cities from the day it made home in the park.

Wang Xiaolan, an official of the park said, as the leasing contract will expire next month on the 9th, the giant panda may have to leave for her hometown. However, the park is considering talking about a new contract with the giant


'Muharram' joy for Johor Zoo

The Johor Zoo has another reason to celebrate - a second tapir was born in captivity on New Year's day.

The two-week-old tapir, named Muharram, was born to Minah and her mate Buta.

His "brother", Saffar, was the first tapir to be born in the zoo in 2008.

Head zookeeper, Mohd Sham Mahdon, was overjoyed with the birth, which came as a surprise.

"We did not know she was pregnant as we saw no physical changes," he said yesterday.

"Ours is the only zoo in the state that has a tapir born in captivity," he said, adding that the parents mated regularly.

Mohd Sham said Buta was so-named because he had a cataract in his left eye.

Tapirs, he said, were shy animals and seldom gave birth in captivity.

"This is a very good start to our Tapir Breeding Programme as the animal is a fully protected species," he said, adding that


Elephant center plan before St. Lucie commission Tuesday


African and Asian elephants could be roaming their own pastureland in western St. Lucie County by the end of this year if plans to create a national center for elephants are approved by the St. Lucie County Commission on Tuesday.

"We hope to start work on The National Elephant Center this spring and finish by the end of 2010," said center Vice Chairman Rick Barongi. "We expect to start with 8 to 10 elephants."

Funds for construction of the $4 million center came from contributions by accredited zoos across the United States, Barongi said. It will serve as a place to send elephants when zoos need to renovate their elephant areas. Also, a few elephants may retire there, and it will include a training program for new elephant keepers.

The county commission's growth management department is recommending approval of the site plan.

Animal rights groups are opposing it, saying it will merely be a holding area and breeding ground for elephants.

Barongi said that although most elephants will not live there permanently, they will be well cared for, protected with security cameras and an observation tower. They will be indoors at night in stalls, and with habitat similar to what they would find in their native lands.

The center has a 40-year lease on 326 acres owned by Waste Management a quarter mile north of Okeechobee Road bordering Okeechobee County. Access to the center will be from Okeechobee. Just 34 acres of the property will be used for the elephant center, with expansion possible in the future.

"We chose Florida because of the climate," Barongi said. "We've


China plans fifth panda breeding centre

China plans to open a fifth breeding centre for giant pandas in an effort to boost the population of the notoriously sex-shy species, state media reported on Wednesday.

Four young adult pandas are due to arrive at a zoo in the central city of Changsha on May 1 from a breeding base in southwestern Sichuan province, which was hit by a devastating quake in 2008, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Xie Zhongsan, an official at the Changsha Zoo, in Hunan province, said a cooperation agreement had already been signed with the breeding base in Sichuan to launch the new facility.

"We are waiting for the forestry authorities' approval of the new breeding base," he was quoted as saying.

"We plan to arrange for two to three panda experts to take care


San Francisco Zoo Tries to Claw Back to Prosperity

After Attraction Rebounded From Fatal Tiger Attack, Recession Hit; Layoffs, Cuts to Programs Lead to Slight Profit

The San Francisco Zoo, one of the city's oldest attractions, can't catch a break.

Just when it seemed that the zoo had rebounded from a 2007 fatal tiger attack, the recession has eroded its donor base and reduced the number of visitors. Last year the zoo laid off employees, reduced its hours and cut back on its animal breeding programs.

"They are living hand to mouth," says Jim Lazarus, president of the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department, which manages the city's relationship with the zoo.

The zoo's executive director, Tanya Peterson, says the situation isn't that dire. But she acknowledges the zoo—which opened in 1929 and boasts about 250 species of animals, including giraffes, grizzly bears and a troop of gorillas—has been hit by a "double whammy" of the economy and tiger attack. Revenue is down, but the recent


Zoo denies deer mistreatment claims


The Calgary Zoo says four deer that died at the zoo did not die because of human error, contrary to claims made yesterday by the group Zoocheck.

The animals died over the course of several months last year, not over the last week, as claimed by Zoocheck in information sent to media outlets Monday. The group said a zoo employee reported that four mule deer died as they were being rounded up.

"This is not the case and this is not true," said Calgary Zoo spokesman Simon Scott.

"We had no incident involving mule deer last week nor any incident involving human error and mule deer last week."

Four mule deer did die at the zoo between September and December of last year, said Scott.

One animal was 13 years old and had pneumonia, another was




Wildlife park's hippo to celebrate 50th birthday on Jan. 26

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park will celebrate Lu, the hippopotamus', 50th birthday with a special event at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 26.

The Wildlife Care Department will present Lu with his own birthday cake, and children from the Homosassa Elementary School will be attending the party to help Lu celebrate his birthday.

Park visitors, staff and school children will join in singing Happy Birthday, and park volunteers will provide cupcakes for the




Zoo to raise $250 million

The political face of Toronto Zoo's ambitious fundraising plans says they are still looking to raise $250 million in the next nine years.

This despite the downturn in the economy and the public relations woes that have plagued the city's Scarborough attraction for the past few years.

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti said Monday, despite only planning to raise $16 million in the first five years of the campaign, the goal is still reachable.

"It's all about public and private partnerships," he said, adding should the zoo be successful in acquiring two giant pandas from China, it would help the fundraising efforts.

In 2008, the zoo announced the ambitious plan to upgrade the zoo's exhibits.

Severed ties

That same year, the board severed ties with the zoo foundation, the fundraising arm of the attraction, amid fears the largely volunteer charitable organization couldn't raise those types of funds.

Earlier this month, the zoo hired a new executive director of development, who




First white baboon welcomes 100-day birth celebration in E China





Malignant malaria found in apes

The parasite which causes malignant malaria in humans has been identified in gorillas for the first time.

Researchers analysed faeces from wild gorillas in Cameroon and blood samples from a captive animal from Gabon.

The study says increasing contact between humans and primates due to logging and deforestation raises the risk of transmission of new pathogens.

The research findings are published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

New genetic sampling techniques allowed scientists from France, Cameroon, Gabon and the US to examine evidence of malaria parasites in the faecal matter of wild gorillas and chimpanzees in Cameroon.

"Sampling malaria parasites from apes in the wild has until now been very difficult", said Dr Francisco Ayala from the University of California, Irvine.

The team also took blood samples from wild born, pet animals in Gabon.

DNA evidence of Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malignant malaria in humans, was found in faecal samples from two gorilla subspecies, the highly endangered cross-river gorilla and the





Wildlife crime lessons to be offered to schools

Schools are to be offered lessons on wildlife crime as part of efforts to tackle the illegal killing of animals.

Police, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (Paw) have worked on the education programme.

It was launched at Wildlife Crime Day at the RZSS's Highland Wildlife Park.

Organisers said the Amur tiger - five are in the park's collection - was an example of a species targeted by criminals internationally.

Poaching has led to numbers of the big cat falling to critically low levels.


Jasper Hughes, education officer at Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig, said the wildlife crime day





Nunavut hotline callers claim boom times for polar bear

Irngaut: "The future of the polar bear is bright."

Callers to Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.'s polar bear hotline have spoken and they're saying bear populations are booming.

Paul Irngaut, a wildlife advisor with NTI, said he's interviewed 35 hunters through the hotline. They report signs of climate change, including thinning sea ice, but say that polar bears are adapting to the changes—and thriving, Irngaut said.

"Yes climate change is happening, but [hunters] don't feel it's going to have a negative impact on polar bears," Irngaut said Monday. "Polar bears hunt on land, they hunt on open water."

In fact, Irngaut said hunters view thinning sea ice as a boon for polar bears because it makes hunting for seals easier. And hunters also reported larger numbers of polar bears on land near communities, where they've been damaging food caches and cabins.

What exactly that proves about the health of individual bears isn't certain, but Irngaut said it's proof polar bear populations are healthy and growing.

"The polar bear population has exploded to the point that Inuit are seeing bears that they never used to see."

"The future of the polar bear is bright," he said. But that's a minority opinion these days, with conservation groups and many scientists claiming that the loss of sea ice due to climate change means the polar bear is facing habitat




Are we tracking a big cat or a bunny?

The Abominable Snowman, Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster and the beast that stalks the Fens are just some of the myths that have yet to be proved fact or fiction.

The Fen Tiger was first reported in 1982 in Cottenham, and this week a paw print was found in the snow.

But big cat experts from Linton Zoo and Shepreth Wildlife Park are split over the existence of the beast.

Paw prints photographed in the snow at Histon prompted claims they might belong to a big cat.

One reader, Kerry Goodayle, said: "I can't imagine it was a dog – it could be a big cat, maybe a puma."

Since the story was reported in the News, Linton Zoo has received a number of calls from the public asking about animal prints they have seen.

And Kim Simmons, spokeswoman for the zoo, has spoken out to scotch suggestions that a big cat is out there somewhere.

She said: "There is no way that the prints shown in the photos in the News could be a big cat

"There is a lot of hysteria about the so-called Fen Tiger, but I am sure it doesn't really exist. If it does, where does it come from, and what is it feeding on?

"The zoo has been keeping all kinds of big cats since the late Sixties, including pumas, leopards, panthers, tigers and lions, so we have many years' experience of behaviour and footprints.

"We have always kept an open mind about the Fen Tiger, which has become a bit of a Loch Ness monster, and we have




Rockwool keeps animals warm at Newquay Zoo

Insulation firm protects lions, marmosets and kinkajous from the worst UK winter in decades

Newquay Zoo and insulation firm Rockwool have formed an unlikely partnership to ensure the zoo's exotic animals are protected from the worst British winter for decades.

The Cornish zoo is installing stone wool insulation provided by Rockwool in its enclosures so that the likes of African lions, silvery marmosets and kinkajous, can keep warm in our inhospitable climate.

The zoo, which tries to place a great emphasis on conservation, called upon Rockwool to ensure its enclosures mirror the complex habitats from which the animals are drawn.

Insulated habitats also ensure animals that favour colder climes are kept cool during the warmer summer months.

Hans Schreuder, the Rockwool managing director, said: "When we heard that Newquay Zoo was looking for sustainable




Islamabad Zoo presenting a deserted look

Islamabad Zoo, the most visited spot by the people, now days wears a `ghost town look' as the influx of visitors dies down due to harsh and chilly weather in the federal capital.

It is situated at the foot of the Margalla Hills, offers tremendous recreation to the people from different age groups due to its natural wildlife environment. Besides, many foreign tourists and children particularly visit the natural habitat of the animals. It also offers people a good chance to learn about various animals and birds.

The unique characteristic of the zoo is its natural environment with diverse kind of wildlife species that were mostly donated by different wildlife organisations.

Similar to other recreational spots, the number of visitors to the Islamabad Zoo has drastically declined that has also resulted in financial losses of the management.

An official of CDA said that the concerned authorities will enlarge the cages for leopards, wolves




Crocodile is living in a bungalow in Kent

Caesar is kept as a pet by retired civil servant Chris Weller, who has moved into the loft of his home to allow the crocodile to roam through other parts of the property eating supermarket steaks and prawns.

More than 4,000 animals are licenced under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act (DWAA), which imposes strict security rules on owners to prevent escapes.

Caesar, who is four years old, is already 4.5ft in length, although his species can live for up to 40 years and reach 7ft.

Mr Weller, 63, bought him in 2007, as a-one-year-old, when he was only 1ft long. He has spent around £20,000 converting the loft and turning the dining room and conservatory of his home in Strood, Kent, into a habitat for the crocodile, with a special pool fitted.

Mr Weller said the downstairs kitchen, bathroom and hallway were "neutral zones", for both him and Caesar.

"He eats meat and fish," Mr Weller said. "He really likes steaks and salmon, tuna and prawns. I get a lot of it from the supermarket, but it is only the budget ranges.

"He comes in the kitchen sometimes. When he is hungry, he will come when I call his name."

Mr Weller has installed a cat-flap device to allow Caesar to move between rooms. Although the crocodile can





Kankaria Zoo may soon get CCTVs, infrared cameras

With security of all zoos in the state being on its main agenda list, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) might give a go ahead to Kankaria Zoo Proposal to install CCTVs and infrared cameras. CZA Member Secretary B S Bonal has called a meeting of all the representatives of the zoos in India on February 20 to discuss security proposals.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Bonal said, "The agenda of the meeting and the proposals made by the zoo will be discussed on February 20. Till then, I cannot comment on this issue." Meanwhile, CZA Evaluation and Monitoring Officer Brij Gupta said, "In the last six months, several cases of animal thefts have been reported from zoos in India. This could be one of the important issues to be discussed at the annual meeting."

About the recent theft of Military Macaws (worth two lakh rupees) at Kankaria Zoo, the CZA officials said the mastermind behind





Nashville Zoo's Attendance Reaches Record High

New Animals, Cool Summer Temperatures Credited For Increase In Visitors




Albino turtles are donated to the Red River Valley Zoo

The rare albino snapping turtles came from an anonymous donor. They just showed up one day.

Zookeepers know someone found the clutch of eggs, hatched them, and released all but the albino's. They say that's good because an




Chester Zoo's Rhino Maniacs team to tackle Mount Kilimanjaro in bid to preserve black rhinos

A TEAM of Chester Zoo staff will begin their ascent in September up the 19,340 feet of the world's largest free-standing mountain – Mount Kilimanjaro – in aid of Black Rhino conservation.

The team, dubbed the Rhino Maniacs, are doing the in their own time, including all the training and fundraising, to help raise awareness and money for the Zoo's Eastern Black Rhino conservation programme.

Team member and rhino keeper




Aussie Zoo: Good News for Endangered Species

On the outskirts of the country town of Dubbo in New South Wales Australia, is the Taronga Western Plains Zoo. The 1,000 acres of Australian bush provides a safe environment for many threatened animal species.

And it's a setting that offers more than just a stable existence for its inhabitants. The zoo's Life Science Manager, Paul Metcalfe, explains.

[Paul Metcalfe, Life Science Manager]:

"The zoo has been involved in a number of endangered species breeding programs for some time now, particularly we focus on rhinos. We hold three species




Romeos can pop question in animal enclosures at Colchester Zoo

WILL zoo be mine?

Romantic chaps can woo their sweethearts in front of an audience of elephants, giraffes or sealions under a new scheme at Colchester Zoo.

Perfect Proposal gives lovers a chance to get down on oneknee while in the company of their favourite creature.

The half-an-hour St Valentine's Day experience offers couples a private feeding and training session in the animal enclosure of their choice.

A zoo keeper will be on hand to supervise - and will also be at the ready with a bottle of wine and a red rose for Romeos who are ready to pop the question.

Animals available for the £150 sessions - which must be pre-booked - also




From zoo to circus: it's time for real inquiry

I was a zoo convert until the recent circus act of animal deaths. Ironically, it was thanks to the embattled Calgary Zoo that made me change my mind about the cruelty of caging animals meant for the wild. It was the first zoo I ever visited, having boycotted them all my life. I found it to be a good facility that puts animals first, at least it seemed that way on the surface.

The zoo appeared focused on the right priorities: it provides ample space in landscapes that closely match habitats in the wild; it rescues orphaned cubs, injured animals and other wildlife at risk of dying if allowed to remain in their natural environment; and, through its Centre for Conservation Research, it supports projects to learn how humans can better coexist with other species.

For visitors, this tranquil oasis in the heart of Calgary provides a brief respite from the hectic pace of to-day's busy life, and brings out the child in us all.

Unfortunately, a slew of unnatural animal deaths has undermined all of those early good efforts that began decades ago, under the direction of former president Peter Karsten. He turned the Calgary Zoo into a world-class model for others to emulate, and pushed the facility in a direction that was less about attraction and more about animal conservation, especially of those most suited to Calgary's climate.

That approach gave way to profits and entertainment when Karsten was replaced by former CEO Alex Graham, who broke fundraising records and proposed controversial and ambitious expansion plans, such as bringing whales to a landlocked zoo, thousands of kilometres away from the ocean.

He thankfully left in 2007 and was replaced by the current CEO Clement Lanthier, a veterinarian.

Karsten's legacy seems to be slipping even further away under Lanthier, who refuses to accept there's a pattern to the some 50 animal deaths since 2004. He won't even call for an independent inquiry, instead asking the industry Association of Zoos and Aquariums in Washington and the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) in Ottawa to investigate -- via a panel of former zookeepers, curators and veterinarians.

Asking the accrediting bodies to investigate is hardly independent, as these organizations have already found the zoo to be operating according to industry standards and regulations




Scientists Find a Shared Gene in Dogs With Compulsive Behavior

Scientists have linked a gene to compulsive behavior — in dogs.

Researchers studied Doberman pinschers that curled up into balls, sucking their flanks for hours at a time, and found that the afflicted dogs shared a gene. They describe their findings — the first such gene identified in dogs — in a short report this month in Molecular Psychiatry.

Dr. Nicholas Dodman, director of the animal behavior clinic at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, in North Grafton, Mass., and the lead author of the report, said the findings had broad implications for compulsive disorders in people and animals.

Estimates have obsessive-compulsive disorder afflicting anywhere from 2.5 percent to 8 percent of the human population. It shows up in behavior like excessive hand washing, repetitive checking of stoves, locks and lights, and damaging actions like pulling one's hair out by the roots and self-mutilation.

The disorder has been used in popular movies and television shows to define characters like the reclusive writer Melvin




WWF says China's wild tigers face extinction (Strange that they should use Malabon Zoo for the photographic link - Peter)

The World Wildlife Fund warned on Tuesday that the wild tiger faced extinction in China after having been decimated by poaching and the destruction of its natural habitat.

"If there are no urgent measures taken, there is a high risk that the wild tiger will go extinct," Zhu Chunquan, conservation director of biodiversity at WWF China, said ahead of the start of the Year of the Tiger on February 14.

Zhu said that China's State Forestry Administration (SFA) estimated there were only around 50 tigers left in the nation's wilderness.

"Globally, WWF estimates that if poaching and other threats continue, there are around 30 years left until tigers go extinct," he told AFP.

Loss and degradation of the tigers' habitat in China and poaching of the animals as well as their prey — or source of food — were behind the rapid disappearance of the animal, he added.

The SFA says around 20 Siberian tigers remain in China's northeast, 20 Bengal tigers in Tibet, and 10 Indochinese tigers in the southwest of the nation.

"As for the South China tiger, after the late 1970s, there has been no concrete evidence to show that there are any left," Zhu said.

In the 1950, about 4,000 of the South China variety roamed China, he said.

The WWF says on its website that the




Fadnavis slams govt Gorewada zoo

South-West Nagpur MLA Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday slammed the Democratic Front (DF) government and guardian minister Shivajirao Moghe for its apathy towards Gorewada international zoo project.

Moghe on Saturday had said that the government did not have the money to build the zoo and it had been found unviable for built operate and transfer (BOT) basis. "It seems that Moghe has not bothered to go through the project report prepared by Bernard Harrison & Friends Ltd. The project is not only viable but a profitable one," Fadnavis told TOI.

However, if the government really thought that the project was unviable then it showed complete breakdown of government machinery in the state. Chief minister Ashok Chavan had included the zoo in the Vidarbha package announced during recently-concluded winter session. "This shows what kind of whitewash the package was," the MLA said.

Although the international zoo was cleared by state government way back in December 2005, it has remained on paper due to various factors including inter-department squabbles and general apathy of




It's all about giving animals a good life in the zoo

It is not about who runs the zoo but how it's managed. A good team of experts, and resources, will give zest to animal life in capitvity.

These are the views of experts in response to Zoo Negara director Dr Mohamad Ngah's comment earlier this month that the government had no right to get a government-linked company (GLC) to manage the zoo.

Dr Mohamad was responding to Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas, who last month said that the government was considering several options to upgrade the zoo, including turning the Malaysian Zoological Society into a GLC.

Botanist Dr L.G. Saw said experts, resources and aesthetic value mattered the most when promoting a zoo. Without any of these components, any zoo will be tough to manage.

"A zoo is an expensive venture. It depends on how well it is taken care of, whether by the government, a public listed company or a non-governmental organisation," he said.

Saw cited Taiping Zoo as a good example of a well-managed zoo.

"In the end, it boils down to a good team of experts and a pool of resources. You cannot have one without the other or you will face problems trying to take care of the animals and their environment."

A zoologist from the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), who declined to be named, said public participation was needed to ensure that a zoo appealed to visitors.

This is essential to convey the message of conservation to both the young and old. Conservation is a sign of a progressive society, therefore public recommendations and views will help improve Zoo Negara.

"Besides, a zoo is an education centre for conservation




Zoo's white rhino pregnancy ends in stillbirth

Officials at the Indianapolis Zoo says they're saddened that the pregnancy of a rare white rhinoceros has ended in a stillbirth.

Zoo experts say they may never know why the baby white rhino was stillborn last week.

Zoo spokeswoman Judy Gagen says the pregnancy of a 30-year-old white rhino called Gloria was normal and nothing seemed amiss when she showed signs of going into labor Tuesday.

But when the female calf was born about 12 hours later it never took a breath, indicating that it




White lion cubs at Zoodoo

ZOODOO Wildlife Park near Richmond has taken delivery of some precious cargo from South Africa.

It is now the proud owner of four white lion cubs two females and two males. They are all six or seven months old, from different litters, and born and bred in captivity.

They romped around their enclosure yesterday with handler Megan Stein and park owner Trevor Cuttriss, who were clad from head to toe in quarantine clothing as access to the animals is extremely restricted for 30 days.

The four cubs Tara and Chase, and a female and male still to be named appeared comfortable in their new surroundings, with Ms Stein occasionally picking up and holding one of the cubs for the benefit of photographers taking pictures behind glass.

Mr Cuttriss said their new home was specifically built to house lions and exceeded national standards. He believed Zoodoo was only the third zoo-park in Australia to have white lions.

"The white lion is occasionally found in wildlife reserves in South Africa and is a rare colour




Chimp sanctuary reaches out to public through fundraisers, events

It's lunchtime at Save the Chimps Sanctuary, and Tanya watches visitors through the window of her shelter while she eagerly waits to be fed.

Hungry chimpanzee screeches abound, as sanctuary director Jen Feuerstein puts her face up against the glass and hoots at Tanya who can hear her through tiny open cracks on the sides of the window.

"Hey, pretty mama. I know. You know I can't open that window," Feuerstein says. "Unfortunately, there will always be a barrier between us."

When you hear some of their stories and what each of the chimpanzees have endured during decades of being subjects of biomedical research, it's hard to believe they'd want anything to do with humans, especially strangers.

But sparing no shyness, Tanya puckers her lips up against the glass to give a visitor a kiss.

"The chimps are very, very forgiving," said Feuerstein, who worked as a caretaker at a primate research lab in Georgia for five years before coming to Save the Chimps. "I look at them with a lesson to learn. If I was treated the way they were treated, I would hate the human race. But if



Zoo scouts black market for falcons, pays Rs 20L

The Chhatbir Zoo has got embroiled in a serious controversy after senior officials purchased four very rare Shaheen falcons from the grey market at a cost of Rs 5 lakh each for the Rs 56 lakh falcon-breeding project.

The falcons have been hidden away from public in the zoo's quarantine facilities as the authorities do not have the required permission from government or the Central Zoo Authority to keep them. "The zoo authorities were planning to show the birds once the permission came from the Government of India. However, a dispute arose between the officials and the veterinarians over handling and medication of the birds, which are very sensitive," sources told TOI.

The mystery of the birds worth Rs 20 lakh and their source has only deepened considering the fact that there are no official dealers of this bird of prey in India. Besides, it has not been sighted in Punjab for many years.

In fact, under the terms of the falcon-breeding project sanctioned by the government, permission has to be given for either buying the falcons from dealers abroad or




Zoo's survival plans underway to save Gorillas

Humans have pushed the Western Lowland Gorilla into a dangerous state of existence, but through the species survival plan, or SSP, there is hope for both them and us.

In an effort to promote awareness and increase support of preserving this grand mammal, 2009 has been designated "Year of the Gorilla" by UNEP Convention on Migratory Species, UNEP/UNESCO Great Ape Survival Project, and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. One of several organizations participating in this endeavour is the Toronto Zoo and the species survival plan is a significant part of that objective.

"Any animal that's endangered, in a zoo environment, has a group of people that look out for them and it's called the SSP," says Angie Snowie who is a keeper at the zoo. "This group of people is basically in charge of makin




Feds sued over Mexican gray wolf petition

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is being sued over a petition that seeks to list the Mexican gray wolf on the federal endangered species list separate from other gray wolves in North America.

Conservationists submitted the petition in August, arguing a separate listing was biologically warranted and legally required.

WildEarth Guardians filed a lawsuit Tuesday in an effort to force the Fish and Wildlife Service to issue a finding on the petition. The lawsuit is part of a campaign started in December to persuade the Obama administration




Don't relocate orangutans for eco-tourism: Sabah

Sabah is not keen to relocate any orangutans to peninsular Malaysia for eco-tourism purposes.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said that not only was it dangerous to remove the environment-sensitive primates from their natural habitat, but local people were also against such a move to send away the state's icon.

He was commenting on a proposal by Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk James Dawos Mamit to obtain orangutans from Sabah and Sarawak to set up an eco-tourism attraction similar to the Sepilok orangutan sanctuary in Sandakan and the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre in Kuching.

Masidi said that orangutans were not like some other animals that could be relocated from their habitat easily, and such movement could prove traumatic for them.

He said relocating an orangutan involved a lot technicalities and planning, saying they cannot be just caught and flown out to another location.

"The orangutans should stay where they are. Those




World Wildlife Fund lists the 10 most threatened species in 2010

The World Wildlife Fund has released its annual list of the most threatened species in 2010, and it includes some of the most-loved animals on the planet. The group says the long-term survival of many of these species is threatened by climate change and loss of habitat.

Here is the list, with information about the particular problems facing each animal.

Tiger: The cutting down of forests, called deforestation, and climate change are reducing the size of the tiger's natural habitat. Tigers also are killed by poachers for skins and other body parts, which are used in some ancient Asian medicines.

Polar bear: Loss of ice means polar bears have smaller hunting and breeding




China's wild tigers face extinction 'in 30 years'

China's wild tiger population has fallen to just 50 and faces extinction due to poaching and the destruction of its natural habitat, the World Wildlife Fund has warned.

"If there are no urgent measures taken, there is a high risk that the wild tiger will go extinct," Zhu Chunquan, conservation director of biodiversity at WWF China, said ahead of the start of the Year of the Tiger on February 14.

Mr Zhu said China's State Forestry Administration (SFA) estimated there were only around 50 tigers left in the nation's wilderness.

"Globally, WWF estimates that if poaching and other threats continue, there are around 30 years left until tigers go extinct," he told AFP.

Loss and degradation of the tigers' habitat in China and poaching of the animals as well as their prey - or source of food - were behind the rapid disappearance of the animal, he added.

The SFA says around 20 Siberian tigers remain in China's north-east, 20 Bengal tigers in Tibet, and 10 Indochinese tigers



Study: Rising seas threaten Bangladesh tigers

One of the world's largest tiger populations could be wiped out this century as rising seas threaten to engulf their dwindling habitat in the coastal mangrove forests of Bangladesh, researchers said Wednesday.

A projected sea-level rise of 11 inches (28 centimeters) above 2000 levels along coastal Bangladesh by 2070 may cause the remaining tiger habitat in the Sundarbans to decline by 96 percent, pushing the total population to as few as five tigers, according to the new World Wildlife Fund-led study published this month in the peer-reviewed journal, Climatic Change.

Studies in the past have shown that tiger populations below 25 have difficulty surviving.

Colby Loucks, WWF's deputy director of conservation science, said in a statement that tigers were capable of thriving in a wide range of habitats from the snowy forests of Russia to the tropical


2009 Top Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants

List documents devastating consequences of keeping elephants in North American zoos.

San Rafael, Calif. - The 2009 list of the Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants, released today by In Defense of Animals (IDA), exposes the hidden suffering of elephants in zoos. In its sixth year, the list highlights how confinement of these giants to tiny enclosures wreaks havoc on their physical and psychological health and leads to premature death for many. For the first time, the list includes a Canadian entry, the Toronto Zoo.

India took the lead internationally last year when it stunned the zoo world by banning elephants in all zoos. Authorities cited problems common to most zoos, such as lack of space, poor breeding, and the absence of any positive effect on elephant conservation.

In contrast to India's progressive leadership, North American zoos remain mired in the past, denying the devastating impacts of zoo captivity on elephants, sinking hundreds of millions of dollars into woefully inadequate exhibit renovations, and clinging to archaic and cruel circus-style training methods. The expert testimony in federal court of Mike Keele, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' elephant group head, on behalf of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and its brutal elephant handling practices is a mark of just how out of step with progressive elephant care and advocacy most zoos have become.

"The Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants list shines a spotlight on the terrible suffering of elephants in zoos," said IDA president Elliot Katz, DVM. "It's time for North American zoos to join India in recognizing that Earth's largest land mammals don't belong in urban zoos which lack the space and complex natural conditions elephants need. Zoos must follow the lead of the two U.S. sanctuaries that provide elephants with vast acreage in natural habitats and a far superior quality of life."

IDA's 2009 Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants List: READ LIST


The big cat rescue mission

Friendly low fare airline, has pledged to fly a pride of neglected lions from a Romanian zoo to Yorkshire free of charge this February as part of, what is planned to be, the biggest ever big cat rescue to date. has joined forces with Yorkshire Wildlife Park, who is leading the mission, to charter a one-off flight to rescue a pride of 13 lions which are being held in cramped conditions, facing an uncertain future at Oradea Zoo, Romania. Under the supervision of leading wildlife veterinarians, the big cats, which range in age from one to 27 years old, will be flown to Doncaster Robin Hood Airport and re-housed at a specially built 10-acre enclosure at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Doncaster. Philip Meeson, Boss of said, "When we heard about the plight of the lions at the Romanian zoo, we immediately offered to provide a charter aircraft and the support of our highly trained staff free of charge to transport the big cats to their new home near Doncaster this February." "As Yorkshire's leading leisure airline, it's a great honour to be involved in what is looking to be one of the biggest ever cat rescues. We are working closely with the wildlife park to ensure the campaign runs as smoothly as possible so that these majestic animals will soon, quite literally, be the pride of Yorkshire." Cheryl Williams, Director of Yorkshire Wildlife Park said, "This is a huge project for the Park and we are extremely grateful to for chartering a flight specifically for these magnificent creatures that desperately


Night hunting Peregrine falcon caught on camera in Derby

Video film from Derby Cathedral is a world first in showing night-hunting by peregrine falcons

January 2010. The Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project team have recorded what may be the first ever film showing conclusively that peregrine falcons use urban floodlighting to catch prey at night.

For some years, scientists and volunteers monitoring the spread of peregrine falcons into urban areas have found the remains of prey items which they believed must have been caught at night. Shy species like woodcock, quail, water rails and little grebes are often found in autumn and winter, but they rarely fly in daylight, preferring to take wing under the safety of darkness.

Late night woodcock supper

Reports and articles have been published about this phenomenon, but until now there has been no film footage to prove it conclusively. However, just before Christmas, a web camera installed high on the tower of Derby Cathedral captured film of a woodcock being brought back late at night. The bird had obviously just been caught in flight and can be seen struggling to get free on the top of a stone gargoyle situated in


Loch Lomond Aquarium staff thrilled at finding Nemo's eggs

AQUARISTS at Loch Lomond Aquarium got a New Year's Day surprise when they spotted some tiny clownfish eggs in their tank.

The fish had been showing signs of mating during the festive period but the tank was clear on Hogmanay.

Leigh Hotson, senior aquarist at the Balloch centre, said: "Two of the clownfish had been showing displays of mating by chasing each other in and out of one the corals, however this tank has been up and running for a while and nothing had ever come of it, so we were really surprised to see the little eggs.

"We don't know at the moment if the eggs have been fertilised but we should know in the next 15 to 20 days."

The petite clownfish have become popular in aquariums since the launch of the animated film Finding


G W Exotic Rescues 15 White Tigers From Dying Economy

The G.W. Exotic Animal Park located in Wynnewood Oklahoma is feeling the pressure of the dying economy in more ways than one. Not only is the amount of donations declining by the day, but the amount of animals needing to come in to the G. W. Exotic Animal Park is rising. The latest rescue of seven white tigers and 2 tabby tigers brings the total number of Tigers to 187 on the G.W. Exotic Animal Park facility.

Just in the last months the economy has shut down 4 facilities and has many more on the brink of extinction, leaving hundreds of animals left in the cold. The G.W. Exotic Animal Park is closed to accepting any more large cats at this time until funds can be raised to build more compounds to house large cats. In fact, the G.W. Exotic Animal Park is giving other facilities and private owners FREE meat in order to keep their cats well fed long enough to allow them to be moved to the GW Exotic Animal Park facility.

The "Text to Save a Tiger" program has been initiated in order to raise enough donations to bring in more of the exotics needing to be re-homed. "It is very easy." said Satrina, the office manager of G.W. "All you have to do is text "GWPARK" to 85944 and respond with yes when you get a confirmation text back, and this will donate $10.00 to the fundraising efforts which is simply billed to your phone bill."

Satrina goes on to state, "We hope to get the word out over the next month to receive our goal of 8000 texts in order to bring in the 23 more tigers and 60 primates that are on the waiting list


Whipsnade keeper is hurt after push from jumbo

Zoo says it was a minor incident

A Whipsnade Zoo keeper was taken to hospital after a mishap involving an elephant on New Year's Eve.

He was walking alongside the elephants in their enclosure when a female adult jumbo pushed him with her head.

The keeper was pushed against a nearby tree and suffered bruising to his arm.

In a statement, the zoo said that it was a minor incident.

Fellow keepers, who were there at the time, took action immediately, and the elephant was moved away.

An ambulance was called to the zoo as a precaution, just after 11.30am, and the keeper was taken to the Luton & Dunstable Hospital.

The statement went on: "The zoo, in line with the guidelines from the British Association of Zoos and Aquaria, moved


The giant Amazon arapaima fish is 'under threat'

The arapaima, a giant species of fish that lurks in the Amazon river, may be threatened by overfishing.

Studies reveal that errors in the classification of the species could mean that it is being pushed closer to the edge of extinction than thought.

The arapaima is the largest freshwater fish with scales in the world.

But there may actually be four species rather than one, say scientists, and a lack of research and management may allow some to be fished to extinction.

The threat to the future of these fish has been revealed in research conducted by Dr Leandro Castello of the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Massachusetts, US, and Professor Donald Stewart of the State University of New York in Syracuse, US.

They have reviewed what is known about populations of the arapaima, and conducted detailed investigations into the status of the fish in the wild.

Previously, it was thought there was one species of arapaima (Arapaima gigas), which also goes by the common names pirarucu or paiche

This perspective is based on a taxonomic review done over 160 years ago.

Adults grow to almost 3m in length and can weigh more than 200kg, making the fish the largest with scales living in freshwater anywhere in the world.

They are also air-breathers, coming to the surface every 5 to 15 minutes to gulp air, a behaviour


Rare griffon vulture sent to safari park

The forest department sent a Eurasian griffon vulture (gyps fulvus) to Bangabandhu Safari Park in Cox's Bazar yesterday for its conservation, says a press release.

Local people in cooperation with the local correspondent of the Prothom Alo Mahbubur Rahman rescued the injured vulture from Sonapur area of Noakhali on December 8.

On December 27, wildlife expert and forest conservator Dr Tapan Kumar Dey identified the rare bird as griffon vulture and asked the authorities to send it to the safari park for better treatment.

Veterinary surgeon Dr Malek took the


India launches Tigernet

A website launched this week by Mr Jairam Ramesh, Hon. Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Environment and Forests will give Tiger reserve directors and chief wildlife wardens in India the ability to key-in crucial information about Tiger deaths, poaching and seizures.

The Tigernet website, at, will be the first consolidated database on mortality and poaching related to Tigers and other protected species within Tiger reserves.

Gathering accurate information on such Tiger activities is crucial to assisting anti-poaching efforts.

The new system will allow enforcement officers to record information on Tiger mortalities, to monitor patterns of where poaching incidents are occurring and use this information to strengthen anti-poaching efforts.

TRAFFIC has helped develop the new website, in collaboration with the government's National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

The information will be available in the public domain, while Field Directors and Chief Wildlife Wardens will be required to log in to key in information on Tiger-related issues.

The accurate reporting of Tiger deaths and the circumstances surrounding them has been a contentious issue in India, with conflicting information from official


Fatal attacks by exotic pets will continue unless Ont. takes action: activists

Fatal maulings like the one an Ontario man suffered when his 300-kilogram pet tiger attacked will happen "again and again" if the province fails to bring in a licensing system for exotic animals, activist groups said Monday.

Norman Buwalda was killed Sunday when he entered a cage to feed hisSiberian tiger. The 66-year-old kept the big cat on his property in Southwold, Ont., some 30 kilometres southwest of London.

The tragedy could have been prevented had the province brought in a ban on keeping of dangerous exotic pets when it revised the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act last year, said Melissa Matlow, programs officer for the World Society for the Protection of Animals.

While some municipalities have introduced bylaws prohibiting keeping exotic animals as pets that patchwork is inadequate and the province needs to step in and implement licensing, said Matlow.

"It should be restricted to only people who are keeping professional facilities and can ensure the animal's welfare and the public safety," she said, adding animals such as


Animal groups urge tougher laws after Ontario tiger owner killed

A leading rights group that works to protect the well-being of wild animals in Canada says that the mauling death of an Ontario man by his tiger is a wake-up call to governments at all levels to prevent people from owning exotic animals.

Rob Laidlaw, the executive director of Zoo Check Canada, said the death of Norman Buwalda on Sunday was the result of Ontario's weak laws that make it too easy for people to keep wild animals as pets without any oversight.

"We've had a litany of incidents and the government has washed its hands of it," Laidlaw said Monday.

This weekend's attack in Southwold township, near London, Ont., is not the first time a large cat has mauled somebody on Buwalda's property. The same tiger is believed to have attacked a 10-year-old boy in 2004, severely injuring him.

The attack prompted the township to pass a bylaw preventing the ownership of exotic animals, but Buwalda successfully fought the law in 2006, having his animals - reportedly two tigers, two lions and a cougar - grandfathered past the ruling.

Mayor James McIntyre said town council will again take up the cause and debate a new bylaw at its next meeting.

Barry Kent MacKay, the Canadian representative of Born Free USA, another animal rights group, said his organization has been warning communities for years to toughen laws.

"We warned these communities to pass these bylaws


National Zoo panda inseminated

The female panda at Washington's National Zoo was artificially inseminated during the weekend when she entered her once-a-year heat, officials said.

Mei Xian entered her 48-hour annual heat Saturday, but failed in attempts to mate with Tian Tian. Both pandas then were sedated and sperm from Tian Tian injected into Mei Xian, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Mei Xian and Tian Tian were to be placed in separate enclosures so veterinarians could monitor Mei Xian to see if she is pregnant. A panda's gestation can range from three to six months.

Via artificial insemination, the panda couple produced one cub, Tai Shan, in 2005 but subsequent breeding attempts failed. Tai Shan is to be sent to China early next


$15.6M zoo funding to prevent layoffs, exhibit closures

Although not resting in its coffers yet, Brookfied Zoo has been promised $15.6 million in state funding to prevent exhibit closures and dozens of layoffs.

The funding, part of a state-wide job creation program, will go toward repairs and upgrades at the zoo, and is intended to create 370 construction jobs. The work will likely take place over the course of six years.

Gov. Pat Quinn announced the funding at the zoo Sunday, Jan 10.

Stuart Strahl, the CEO and president of the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, said the zoo would be using the money to improve maintenance in many of its aging structures.

"With the funding, the elephant facility will be able to get a new roof," Strahl said. "The HVAC system in the barn and in the children's zoo will be replaced, and the stainless steel mesh in the snow leopard exhibit will be replaced. Four roofs total will be repaired in 2010, and another 14 are set to be repaired in 2011. We have about 80 structures in the park, and some of the roofs are original. We'll also be replacing old boilers and


Polar bear shot dead after 200-mile swim

(An old story but included because it turned my stomach - Peter)

Apolar bear that swam more than 200 miles in near-freezing waters to reach Iceland was shot on arrival in case it posed a threat to humans.

The bear, thought to be the first to reach the country in at least 15 years, was killed after local police claimed it was a danger to humans, triggering an outcry from animal lovers. Police claimed it was not possible to sedate the bear.

The operation to kill the animal was captured on film.

The adult male, weighing 250kg, was presumed to have swum some 200 miles from Greenland, or from a distant chunk of Arctic ice, to Skagafjordur in northern Iceland.

"There was fog up in the hills and we took the decision to kill the bear before it could disappear into the fog," said the police spokesman Petur Bjornsson.

Iceland's environment minister, Thorunn Sveinbjarnardottir, gave the green light for police to shoot the bear because the correct tranquiliser would have taken 24 hours to be flown in, the Icelandic news channel reported.

Sveinbjarnardottir's account was disputed by the chief vet in the town of Blönduó, Egill Steingrímsson, who said he had the drugs necessary to immobilise the bear in the boot of his car. "If the


PETA pulls ads featuring Michelle Obama

Animal-rights group used first lady's image without authorization

The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said Tuesday it is pulling an ad campaign that used the likeness of first lady Michelle Obama without her permission.

At the same time, PETA is urging the White House to take a stand against another unauthorized use — the debut last week of the Ringling Bros. circus' newest performing elephant, "Baby Barack."

PETA said it used photos of Michelle Obama in an anti-fur campaign because the first lady does not wear fur. But they never received authorization to use her image.

Michael McGraw, a PETA spokesman, said the decision to pull the Michelle Obama ad campaign, which also featured Oprah Winfrey, Carrie Underwood and Tyra Banks, was "to show good faith."

In PETA's view, the use of the Obama name by the circus is far more disturbing. In a letter Tuesday to the president, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk urges the White House to demand a name change for Baby Barack.

"'Baby Barack' is not even a year old, but his curious and energetic childhood has been cut tragically short while Ringling attempts to profit from your popularity by putting him on the road to perform in the circus," Newkirk wrote.

Norfolk-based PETA says the circus elephants


Detroit Zoo helps in Texas animal rescue

TheDetroit Zoo is helping officials in Texas treat thousands of animals, many of them seriously ill, that were seized in what's believed to be the largest animal rescue in U.S. history last month.

More than 27,000 animals were saved in a Dec. 15 raid of an Arlington, Texas, exotic-animal dealer, zoo spokeswoman Patricia Janeway said today.

If the animals won't be returned to U.S. Global Exotics, the Detroit Zoo has offered to provide a home for some of them, including five wallabies, four sloths, three agoutis, two ring-tailed lemurs, two coatis, two kinkajous


Reid Park Zoo: 4th Worst?

Reid Park Zoo is ranked one of the worst zoos for elephants according to an animal welfare group. The group, "In Defense Of Animals", puts Tucson's zoo as fourth among the top ten worst zoos when it comes to taking care of elephants. It calls the zoo's third of an acre enclosure "measly". It says both elephants, Connie and Shaba have a history of foot disorders and that the foot disease is a common cause of death in captive elephants because the elephants do not have enough room to move around.

Zoo officials disagree. They say


Leefy, Weedy Sea Dragons In New Zoo Exhibit

The Minnesota Zoo has a new and very unusual exhibit of "Leefy" and "Weedy" sea dragons.

"We have two species in here, we have weedy sea dragons and leafy sea dragons," said Dan Peterson, of the Minnesota Zoo. "

The dragons are close relatives to seahorses, and you can find them in a new home inside Discovery Bay at the zoo.

"They come from southern Australia, from the colder waters," Peterson said. "Everybody thinks Australia is warm, the Great Barrier Reef area, but southern Australia is cooler waters, kind of like our Pacific Northwest."

The animals cost around $25,000, making them one of the more expensive animals the zoo has in the aquarium department, he said.

"Now, when you see the leefys. They're gonna


Honolulu ranked among top 10 worst zoos for elephants

The two largest land animals in all of Hawaii are at the center of a lifestyle dispute.

An animal welfare group says the elephants Mari and Vaigai should be removed from the Honolulu Zoo and sent to a wildlife sanctuary.

Cramped quarters, foot disease, and circus-style training are some of the allegations released on Tuesday that put the Honolulu Zoo on a list of top ten worst zoos for elephants.

On Tuesday night, the city fired back.

In a video a watchdog for zoos posted, Mari and Vaigai look like they're dancing, and entertaining visitors with tricks.

But an animal welfare group claims the zoo's two female elephants are suffering.

In Defense of Animals (IDA) says rocking and swaying is abnormal, neurotic behavior triggered by severe confinement.

"It is disappointing that a group like IDA would put something out that, to me, is not factual without at least


Tiger kills owner at rural home

Norm Buwalda was a big man who loved his big cats.

Now, township officials are trying to figure out what, if anything, they can do about the immense tiger that remains on the estate where it mauled the Southwold businessman to death Sunday.

As the animal kept close watch on passersby yesterday from its barn, Deputy Mayor Stan Lidster of Southwold Township, Ont., said its animal control bylaw applies to stray dogs, not 600-pound tigers.

"Mr. Buwalda felt his animals were his pets and, personally, I don't think a wild animal is a pet of any kind" and should instead be in its natural habitat or a zoo, Lidster said.

Even so, when a Superior Court decision four years ago quashed a 2004 bylaw banning private ownership of exotic animals, the township had no recourse but to accept it, he said.

In June 2004, one of Buwalda's tigers attacked a visiting 10-year-old Toronto boy -- an incident that propelled passage of a bylaw that had been in the works for more than a year beforehand.

It's believed Buwalda, 66, was attacked by the big cat, one of several he'd successfully fought for the right to keep, when he went into its cage to feed it Sunday afternoon.

People who knew Buwalda remembered him yesterday as an imposing presence, a strong-willed businessman who had a soft spot for his friends, for local junior hockey and especially for his big cats.

Lidster said Buwalda -- whose years-long battle with the township over the latter's effort to ban his tigers and lions was epic and unrelenting -- nevertheless was a loyal customer at Lidster's tire shop and never seemed to harbour any personal ill will.

"As far as I was concerned, he was a good guy, a good businessman," Lidster said.

He was a risk-taker with a big heart, said Strathroy-Caradoc Mayor Mel Veale, who for years owned a property beside Buwalda's Shedden-area home.

"He was a man who thought way beyond the box. He was his own man and he'll be really missed ... He lived on the edge and I respected him for it," Veale said.

Veale said Buwalda attended church and hockey games regularly, and employed dozens at his successful business, CanFab custom metal fabrication and welding in Strathroy.

He said Buwalda once introduced him to one of his big cats. Veale was nervous, but Buwalda "had that way about him that he commanded an animal's attention. He had absolutely no fear of them -- no question."

Veale said Buwalda had run-in with his animals, including one with a cougar that left his arm bloodied. Buwalda told Veale he "considered himself lucky" to have escaped with his life.

London lawyer Alan Patton represented Buwalda during the court case that eventually struck down Southwold Township council's exotic-animal bylaw, and said yesterday, "Mr. Buwalda took great care of his animals. This wasn't a roadside zoo."

Buwalda made sure the tigers and lions were kept in roomy cages and given frequent exercise.

"I landscaped for him and he had better cages than a lot of zoos," said Philip Pennings, who lives in Shedden.

"He treated those animals nicer than most people treat their cats or dogs."

Even one of Buwalda's biggest opponents concurred with that assessment yesterday, but with one major qualification.

"It was a well thought-out, double-gated, secure, zoo-quality enclosure," said neighbour David Rawson, "as long as it was closed,"

But the animals were often allowed to stroll the unfenced property, Rawson said. He said yesterday the township was too short-sighted to see that a bylaw with teeth would have kept everyone, including Buwalda, safe.

"It was all totally preventable," Rawson said. "We all knew it could happen again and, sadly to the shock of me and my neighbours, it has happened, and fatally to its owner."

Lidster said it's "totally false" to suggest the township is to blame. "Southwold Township council did all they could to put a bylaw in (place) and we did put a bylaw in and it was squashed by the courts."

Yesterday the tiger, estimated by police to weigh almost 660 pounds, gazed out from between the sturdy-looking bars of the loft area of its barn enclosure.

Occasionally it would lie down, appearing to be asleep, until it would gaze out at a vehicle passing by the property along the usually quiet rural road.

Police said the family requested privacy and a woman who answered the phone at the Buwalda home said she didn't want to comment.

The driver of a white truck that entered the property at midday asked reporters to leave. "We don't want anyone around here. Leave," the man said.

Lidster said the estate owns the tiger now. He believes it's the only large cat left on the property from several that once were there, although police suggested there may be another one there.

OPP Const. Troy Carlson said an autopsy on Buwalda was performed, but he didn't know the results. A funeral is set for Thursday.

Patton said, "The misconception by many is that these cats were roaming the property. They weren't -- they were confined unless he exercised them."


MP ready to welcome lions, Gujarat in no mood to allow relocation

Despite Gujarat being in no mood to allow shifting of any of its Asiatic lions, Madhya Pradesh government has spent over Rs14.53 crore to relocate 1,543 families in Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary being prepared as an alternative habitat for the king of the jungle.

At present, Asiatic lions are found only in Gir forests in Gujarat and the Centre had plans to relocate some of them to Kuno Sanctuary to repopulate the endangered species there.

There are around 800 lions in the Gir forests but experts feel that the concentration of the entire lion population at one place exposes it to the danger of being wiped out by disease or natural calamity.

However, the Narendra Modi government has categorically refused to part with the lions citing non-conducive environment such as threat from poachers and poor prey base in the Madhya Pradesh sanctuary spread over 344.686 square


Fallen on bad days

Everybody claims to be worried about the depleting population of tigers in our sanctuaries where they were supposed to flourish but are on the verge of extinction. Facts suggest that action taken on the ground remains insufficient and marred by bureaucratic procrastination.

This February 14, conservationists will converge at a global tiger meet that will be hosted by India. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests will highlight measures being undertaken to save these big cats. The country has the distinction of harbouring almost half of the world's tiger population, which, unfortunately, is rapidly declining because of the illicit international trade in animal parts. They are now said to number about 1,000 in India.The four-day Global Tiger Workshop, held in Kathmandu last October, reflects the worldwide concern for saving this endangered species, whose numbers are estimated to be a meagre 3,500 or less. In 2008, Mr Bivash Pandav of World Wildlife Fund was reported to have said that till five years ago, in 2002-2003, the estimate was around 5,500 to 6,000.

All the 14 tiger range countries were represented at the Kathmandu conference: India, Russia, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and North Korea. The 17-point recommendations included regional cooperation in tackling the problem; and strengthening laws against poaching. In view of the magnitude of the crisis, leaders of countries, where such trafficking is rampant, were to be especially sensitised to the issue, and the need to conserve tigers on an emergency basis. Nepal's Forest and Soil Conservation Minister also expressed his seriousness about reviving the carnivore's numbers. The Himalayan nation's tigers are estimated to be a paltry 121. The Government now plans to double the number in the next 10 years.

It is a difficult task, given that Nepal happens to be a key conduit for the illegal trade in tiger parts, along with Tibet, China and some South-East Asian countries. India, of course, has been the hunting ground for poachers and suppliers. China and Tibet comprise two of the largest markets for pelts, bones, teeth and other parts and their derivatives. These are used for making apparel, in talismans, aphrodisiacs and in religious ceremonies. In Asia, trafficking in animal parts is said to have crossed $ 1 billion, being second to the arms trade. Kashmir, incidentally, figures prominently in this crime network, not only as a conduit but as a recipient of dirty money. Intelligence sources reveal that some of the funds derived from the illicit wildlife trade are deployed to feed terrorist activities. It is a vicious cycle, with crime engendering further crime.

Now with China having declared 2010 as year of the tiger, according to Chinese astrology, conservationists fear a spurt in tiger poaching. The year begins on February 14 and ends on February 2, 2011. Superstition and custom are expected to combine so as to make the coming months even more hazardous for the majestic creatures. While tiger farming is permitted in China, trade in tiger parts is banned in all countries. However, people have been lobbying with the Chinese Government — and these include owners of tiger farms — to legalise the trade in animal parts within China. They want the domestic tiger trade ban, imposed in 1993, to be lifted. The World Bank, on its part, wants tiger farming, anywhere, to end as it poses the threat of driving the endangered animals closer to extinction in the wild.

In the meantime, India, as the main refuge of the big cat, needs to act faster to stem its decline. The World Wildlife Fund now lists the tiger as most endangered in a list of 10 species. The other nine, in order of risk perception, are polar bear, Pacific walrus, magellanic penguin, leatherback turtle, bluefin tuna, mountain gorilla, monarch butterfly, Javan rhinoceros and giant panda. Latest disclosures are utterly shocking. While the last tiger census, using the camera trap method — considered more scientific than the inaccurate pugmark technique — placed their numbers at 1,411, thereby repudiating the earlier estimate of over 3,500 tigers, the current estimate is reported to be a dismal 1,000. The results of the new census will be known probably by early next year.

This is certainly discouraging as in the wake of the brouhaha over the Sariska scandal, when all tigers in this sanctuary were claimed by poachers, it was expected that the Ministry of Environment and Forests would clamp down on poaching and do everything possible to increase numbers. Instead, in a replication of the Sariska tragedy, the Panna reserve's tigers all disappeared. This, despite the upgradation of Project Tiger into a statutory body, called the National Tiger Conservation Authority in September 2006, and setting up of the Wildlife Control Crime Bureau in June 2007. In a bid to deter poaching and traffi


US cult of greed is now a global environmental threat

The average American consumes more than his or her weight in products each day, fuelling a global culture of excess that is emerging as the biggest threat to the planet, according to a report published today. In its annual report, Worldwatch Institute says the cult of consumption and greed could wipe out any gains from government action on climate change or a shift to a clean energy economy.

Erik Assadourian, the project director who led a team of 35 behind the report, said: "Until we recognise that our environmental problems, from climate change to deforestation to species loss, are driven by unsustainable habits, we will not be able to solve the ecological crises that threaten to wash over civilisation."

The world's population is burning through the planet's resources at a reckless rate, the US thinktank said. In the last decade, consumption of goods and services rose 28% to $30.5tn (£18.8bn).

The consumer culture is no longer a mostly American habit but is spreading across the planet. Over the last 50 years, excess has been adopted as a symbol of success in developing countries from Brazil to India to China, the report said. China this week overtook the US as the world's top car market. It is already the biggest producer of greenhouse gas emissions.

Such trends were not a natural consequence of economic growth, the report said, but the result of deliberate efforts by businesses to win over consumers. Products such as the hamburger – dismissed as an unwholesome food for the poor at the beginning of the 20th century – and bottled water are now commonplace.

The average western family spends more on their pet than is spent by a human in Bangladesh.

The report did note encouraging signs of a shift away from the high spend culture. It said school meals programmes marked greater efforts to encourage healthier eating habits among children. The younger generation was also more aware of their impact on the environment.

There has to be a wholesale transformation of values and attitudes, the report said. At current rates of consumption, the world needs to erect 24 wind turbines an hour to produce enough energy to replace fossil fuel.

"We've seen some encouraging efforts to combat the world's climate crisis in the past few years," said Assadourian. "But making policy and technology changes while keeping cultures centred on consumerism and growth can only go so far.

"If we don't shift our very culture there will be new crises we have to face. Ultimately, consumerism is not going to


Wildlife Smuggling: Why Does Wildlife Crime Reporting Suck?

Did you read the story about the illegal trade in gorilla testicles? Have you seen the one about parrots poached in Brazil using glue? How about the news bulletin last week about the guy at LAX with Australian lizards strapped to his chest?

Generally there are two kinds of wildlife crime stories in the media: the weird news item showing a smuggler in flagrante (a stunned German tourist with a marmoset hidden in his beard) and the "in-depth" overseas report. I want to focus on the latter because too often these overseas reports kill endangered species.

After a description of a featured [mammal] [reptile] [bird] enjoying the best day of its life, chances are that any overseas report you've encountered went something like this:

Illegal trade in wildlife is a $10 billion a year industry, second only to trade in illegal drugs. Last summer [fall, winter, spring] I visited [foreign country] and found [mammal, reptile, bird] for sale. Here's a photo. Then I interviewed an NGO official who told me that [mammal, reptile, bird] is near extinction. So, I joined up with a ranger and went with him on patrol--notice


Global Hunting Industry Reflects Economy

If you can spare the $40,000 or more needed to go to Africa to shoot an elephant, then chances are you are in a recession-proof income bracket.

If you enjoy you hunting and fishing but have a tighter budget, or have not been immune to the tough economic times, then you may be scaling back on some of your regular trips.

That is the picture that emerged from the annual convention of the Dallas Safari Club during the weekend, which featured more than 1,000 exhibitors from around the world.

It is not your run-of-the-mill convention, with big guns on display as well as a menagerie of stuffed animal trophies including massive brown bears, rhinos and elephant heads. Some of the exhibitors were clad in camouflage or bright hunter's orange.

"The Big 5 stuff is selling," said Darren Baker of Coenraad Vermaak Safaris, referring to the fabled "Big 5" game mammals of Africa: elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard.

"But the cheaper hunts for plains game antelope are not doing as well," said Baker, whose South African-based operation takes clients on hunting safaris to places like Botswana, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

He said the average price for an elephant hunt was about $40,000 but they can cost much more.

Joe Klutsch, whose Katmai Guide Service offers hunting and angling excursions to Alaska, noted a similar trend.

"The high-end stuff is holding up and doing fine," he said, referring to moose or brown bear hunts. The latter he said can cost up to $25,000. But he said demand for cheaper hunts and sport fishing services were down.

He also said that because of the economic uncertainty, clients were far more reluctant than they have been in the past to sign up for trips one or two years down the line.

"People are writing checks for 2010 but unlike in the past people are not booking two years out. People are tentative because they don't know what the economy is going to do, they are uncertain," he said.

The economics of travel is also making some sportsmen who used to venture further afield stick closer to home.

Danny McGuire, who is in the restaurant business, was checking the displays but said he and many of his friends were scaling back on overseas trips in favor of hunting and fishing opportunities nearby.

"I'm still hunting and fishing but won't go to Argentina for a bird hunt now, I'll go to south Texas ... everyone here is looking for a deal," he said as he browsed the stalls.

One sector that seems to be benefiting from this state of affairs in Texas is the exotic game industry, which a 2007 study by Texas AgriLife Extension Service, which is linked to Texas A&M University, estimated to be worth $1.3 billion.

The study also found it to be the fastest growing sector of the state's farming industry.

The industry essentially revolves around the farming of exotic game such as kudu antelope from Africa which are then hunted on ranc


Chile apologizes for kidnapped human zoo exhibits

The Chilean government apologized on Tuesday for the treatment of five indigenous people, who were kidnapped in 1881 to be exhibited at human zoos in Europe.

The remains of the five Indians were repatriated from Europe on Tuesday.

At a ceremony to receive the remains, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said the Chilean government wanted to make an apology for the complicity of the authorities at that time, or at least for their neglect of such abuses.

"When celebrating the Bicentenary of the Independence it is inevitable to face the lights and shadows of our history -- the glories as well as the injustice," Bachelet said.

The remains returned on Tuesday are part of a total of 11 Kawesqar


Chester Zoo donates bronze elephant calf to prime city centre site

CHESTER city centre will be welcoming a heavyweight new arrival come the New Year.

Taking centre stage at a proposed site near Barclays Bank will be a bronze elephant calf, donated to the city by Chester Zoo

The 1m tall elephant elephant – created by Hampshire-based sculptress Annette Yarrow (pictured) – mirrors the bronze elephant calf that resides near the main entrance of the 110-acre zoo.

The female calf was gifted by the zoo to the city to demonstrate the links between the award-winning attraction and Chester itself.

Alasdair McNee, Corporate Director for Chester Zoo, said: "The bronze elephant at our main entrance has been a huge draw for visitors young and old and is a welcoming focal point in the zoo, a place for photographs to


Zoo collects old spectacles to help African villagers

South Lakes Wild Animal Park, in conjunction with Furness Waste Consortium, has collected hundreds of old spectacles and out-of-date bandages for villagers in Niger.

Zoo boss David Gill will deliver the items to a clinic in Niger this year, as part of his annual trip to West Africa with the Wildlife Protection Foundation.

The clinic looks after three tribes which consists of 20,000 people in total.

The zoo already funds a project in Niger that protects wild giraffes and works with villagers.

A spokeswoman for the zoo said: "It is very important to help the villagers out.

"For many of the people out there, there is a lack of vitamin E, a lack of nutrition


Police train vultures to find human remains

German police are testing the use of vultures to seek out human corpses in a unique project aimed at dramatically speeding up criminal investigations.

A bird expert at a wildlife park in northern Germany is training Sherlock, a five-year old turkey vulture, to locate fabric containing the scent of dead people.

The scheme was commissioned by the Lower Saxony police force after a senior officer, Rainer Herrmann, watched a BBC wildlife documentary about the extraordinary sense of smell of turkey vultures, which are indigenous to the Americas. The programme


Chances with wolves

Businessmen are being taught how to take bolder risks by studying wolves at a German wildlife park. The courses show how alpha males in the wild keep their packs in order using leadership, sex, food and co-operation. Organisers at the Wildpark Schorfheide resort say the skills can easily be transferred to the business world. "Wolf packs are a lot less violent and bullying than many workplaces. "Pack leaders


Please bear with us: Como Zoo upgrades exhibit

When it opens in a half-year, the Polar Bear Odyssey will be a bigger and better place for bears and humans than its previous version, zoo officials say.

Talk about comforts for creatures.

Native plantings, saltwater pools and rocky outcroppings await Buzz and Neil, the Como Zoo's twin polar bears who have been hanging out in Detroit while their home is renovated.

The not-yet-open Polar Bear Odyssey exhibit is quite an upgrade from their former concrete-laden home.

It's about six months from opening, but major construction is complete. Already, the facility has been getting rave reviews from polar bear preservationists and advocacy groups.

Zoo curator John Dee said the attention to details and efforts to provide an enjoyable experience for both human and animal puts Como in a position to welcome new bears, rescued cubs and breeding bear couples.

In total, it's about a $15 million project. About $10 million has come from the state and city. Como Friends, the nonprofit that contributes to programs and projects at the St. Paul zoo and conservatory, will help raise the remaining $5.2 million in private money.

The exhibit is four times the size of the old one and is intended to mimic a Hudson Bay ecosystem.

There are two outside exhibit areas, which meet at an indoor structure with a maze of concrete holding pens and training areas.

An indoor room provides views of all three areas through thick glass. There will be various interactive education stations, and visitors will be able to watch zookeepers do training exercises with the bears.

Outside, a visitor looking at one side of the outdoor spaces will see a flat area similar to the tundra -- it's


Bengal tigers 'adopted' by 18,000

They would not make the cuddliest pets but tigers are the most popular species for adoption, a wildlife charity has disclosed.

In the last year 18,000 people in the UK have adopted Bengal tigers under a WWF scheme which lets people sponsor an endangered animal.

The money helps protect the big cats, whose numbers have plummeted by around 95% to 4,000 in the past 100 years, according to the charity.

Polar bears were the second most popular, with 17,000 people adopting one in the past year.

And about 7,000 people adopt pandas, of which, as few as 1,600 remain in the wild. WWF uses the money to help increase the area of habitat under legal protection and creating corridors to link isolated pandas.

Eight thousand people adopt orang-utans, whose numbers have fallen by between 30 and 50% in the last decade. And 3,000 decided to help protect the amur leopard, of which fewer than 35 survive in the wild.

They are found in Primorsky Krai, in the Russian Far East, but their habitat is being destroyed by logging and farming companies clearing the land and forest fires.

In the past year 64,000 people in the UK adopted animals through WWF, raising around £6 million for the charity.

Animal lovers can also adopt dolphins, elephants, rhinos,


Dalton zoo workers brave weather to rescue bird from the cold

ZOO workers braved the weather to rescue a bedraggled bird stranded in a neighbouring field.

The alarm had been raised by a woman who was out walking her dog along the side of the road in Dalton.

Staff scrambled a team together and took the bird to the comfort of South Lakes Wild Animal Park.

Park marketing manager Karen Brewer said the woman had seen the wild bird, which she believed was in a distressed condition and thought it may have an ibis, which could have escaped.

Ms Brewer said: "The bird was soggy


Truth About The Humane Society of the United States

Despite the words "humane society" on its letterhead, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is not affiliated with your local animal shelter. Despite the omnipresent dogs and cats in its fundraising materials, it's not an organization that runs spay/neuter programs or takes in stray, neglected, and abused pets. And despite the common image of animal protection agencies as cash-strapped organizations dedicated to animal welfare, HSUS has become the wealthiest animal rights organization on earth.

HSUS is big, rich, and powerful, a "humane society" in name only. And while most local animal shelters are under-funded and unsung, HSUS has accumulated $113 million in assets and built a recognizable brand by capitalizing on the confusion its very name provokes. This misdirection results in an irony of which most animal lovers are unaware: HSUS raises enough money to finance animal shelters in every single state, with money to spare, yet it doesn't operate a single one anywhere.

Instead, HSUS spends millions on programs that seek to economically cripple meat and dairy producers; eliminate the use of animals in biomedical research labs; phase out pet breeding, zoos, and circus animal acts; and demonize hunters as crazed lunatics. HSUS spends $2 million each year on travel expenses alone, just keeping its multi-national agenda going.

HSUS president Wayne Pacelle described some of his goals in 2004 for The Washington Post: "We will see the end of wild animals in circus acts … [and we're] phasing out animals used in research. Hunting? I think you will see a steady decline in numbers." More recently, in a June 2005 interview, Pacelle told Satya magazine that HSUS is working on "a guide to vegetarian eating, to really make the case for it." A strict vegan himself, Pacelle added: "Reducing meat consumption can be a tremendous benefit to animals."

Shortly after Pacelle joined HSUS in 1994, he told Animal People (an inside-the-movement watchdog newspaper) that his goal was to build "a National Rifle Association of the animal rights movement." And now, as the organization's leader, he's in a position to back up his rhetoric with action. In 2005 Pacelle announced the formation of a new "Animal Protection Litigation Section" within HSUS, dedicated to "the process of researching, preparing, and prosecuting animal protection lawsuits in state and federal court."

HSUS's current goals have little to do with animal shelters. The group has taken aim at the traditional morning meal of bacon and eggs with a tasteless "Breakfast of Cruelty" campaign. Its newspaper op-eds demand that consumers "help make this a more humane world [by] reducing our consumption of meat and egg products." Since its inception, HSUS has tried to limit the choices of American consumers, opposing dog breeding, conventional livestock and poultry farming, rodeos, circuses, horse racing, marine aquariums, and fur trapping.

A True Multinational Corporation

HSUS is a multinational conglomerate with ten regional offices in the United States and a special Hollywood Office that promotes and monitors the media's coverage of animal-rights issues. It includes a huge web of organizations, affiliates, and subsidiaries. Some are nonprofit, tax-exempt "charities," while others are for-profit taxable corporations, which don't have to divulge anything about their financial dealings.

This unusually complex structure means that HSUS can hide expenses where the public would never think to look. For instance, one HSUS-affiliated organization called the HSUS Wildlife Land Trust collected $21.1 million between 1998 and 2003. During the same period, it spent $15.7 million on fundraising expenses, most of which directly benefited HSUS. This arrangement allowed HSUS to bury millions in direct-mail and other fundraising costs in its affiliate's budget, giving the public (and charity watchdog groups) the false impression that its own fundraising costs were relatively low.

Until 1995 HSUS also controlled the Humane Society of Canada (HSC), which Irwin had founded four years earlier. But Irwin, who claimed to live in Canada when he set up HSC, turned out to be ineligible to run a Canadian charity (He actually lived in Maryland). Irwin's Canadian passport was ultimately revoked and he was replaced as HSC's executive director.

The new leader later hauled HSUS into court to answer charges that Irwin had transferred over $1 million to HSUS from the Canadian group. HSUS claimed it was to pay for HSC's fundraising, but didn't provide the group with the required documentation to back up the expenses. In January 1997 a Canadian judge ordered HSUS to return the money, writing: "I cannot imagine a more glaring conflict of interest or a more egregious breach of fiduciary duty. It demonstrates an overweening arrogance of a type seldom seen."

From Animal Welfare to Animal Rights

There is an enormous difference between animal "welfare" organizations, which work for the humane treatment of animals, and animal "rights" organizations, which aim to completely end the use and ownership of animals. The former have been around for centuries; the latter emerged in the 1980s, with the rise of the radical People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

The Humane Society of the United States began as an animal welfare organization. Originally called the National Humane Society, it was established in 1954 as a spin-off of the American Humane Association (AHA). Its founders wanted a slightly more radical group — the


Polar Bears Changing Habitat in Response to Sea Ice Conditions

A long-term study showing the changes in habitat associations of polar bears in response to sea ice conditions in the southern Beaufort Sea has implications for polar bear management in Alaska.

Karyn Rode, a polar bear biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Anchorage, Alaska and one of the study's authors, says data collected between 1979 and 2005 show that polar bears in the region are occurring more frequently on land and in open water and less frequently on ice during the fall. This means there are increased chances for human/bear interaction. The paper was published in the December issue of Arctic -- the journal of the Arctic Institute of North America.

Polar bears were observed over the 27-year period by U.S. government Minerals Management Services staff as part of the fall bowhead whale aerial survey conducted annually in the southern Beaufort Sea. Ice conditions were also recorded.

Data showed that as ice conditions changed, bears were being found on different habitats. Between 1979 and 1987, 12% of bear sightings were associated with no ice. Between 1997 and 2005 however, 90% of bear sightings were associated with no ice.

"When bears were seen, they were more often seen in open water and on land than on sea ice. At the same time, changes were observed in ice, suggesting that these


Chilean zoo unveils white tigers

Santiago Zoo presented five endangered white tiger cubs to the public on Wednesday. The cubs underwent their first medical tests in front of journalists and excited visitors


Pair of rare birds raising chick at Tampa zoo

A pair of rare birds at Lowry Park Zoo is doing something no other pair has done in North America.

They're raising a chick.

The African shoebill storks became parents on Christmas Day when the chick started to break through its shell. It was a textbook hatching, taking about 24 hours to fully emerge. The parents, who spent nine months learning how to build a nest and who accidentally crushed another egg in October, have been natural caregivers.

"We are amazed at how by-the-book they've been," aviary assistant curator Julie Tomita said. "They know when to do everything and how to do everything."

Lowry Park Zoo is only the second wildlife establishment in the world to have a successful live birth of this large bird. Most of the data about them comes from field studies in Africa. Now researchers are watching this new family from dawn to dusk.

"We'll definitely be publishing and we'll do presentations at our industry conferences," Dr. Larry Killmar, the zoo's director of collections, said. "We're not sitting in the middle of a swamp using long-distance binoculars; we're pretty close and able to document the frequency of feeding, the amount of food and that will again help the other holders of other birds in captivity."

There have already been a few surprises. Experts thought the incubation period for the egg was between


Group to zoo: 'Don't close the Night Exhibit!'

The Woodland Park Zoo is pretty sure it's going to close its popular Night Exhibit. And nearly 5,000 members of a local Facebook group are pretty sure they don't like it.

"I'm not seeing this as enemies of the zoo. These are people who are friends, who are wishing us well," zoo spokesman David Schaefer said. "Nobody's happy about it here. People like the exhibit."

The closure, which was recommended in November, is expected to save the zoo $300,000 in operating expenses and is part of its 2010 budget. In 2009, the zoo instituted unpaid furloughs for senior staff and suspended its contribution to employee retirement plans to cut costs in tough times.

"We didn't want to do that again," Schaefer


High seas high jinks

The serious maritime incident in Antarctic waters yesterday, in which a Japanese whaling vessel collided with a vessel from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, has once again fanned the flames of controversy over Japanese whaling.

It has also thrown a spotlight on the reckless tactics of the Sea Shepherd, the heavy handed Japanese response to their antics, and above all to what can be done not only to prevent these dangerous encounters but also to bring Japanese whaling to an end.

Mercifully, no one was injured when the Japanese vessel, the Shonan Maru 2, sliced clean through the bow of the Ady Gil, Sea Shepherd's trimaran, a vessel which is registered in New Zealand. However it could easily have been a major maritime disaster involving significant loss of life, and marine pollution, well within Australia's Maritime Search and Rescue Region.

Greg Hunt, the opposition's environment spokesman, has called on the Australian government to send a ship such as the Oceanic Viking customs vessel to intervene. But the government cannot


Falcon resurges

Nearly 100 peregrine falcons have established themselves as top predators in Ontario.

That's nearly 100 more than in the 1970s when the bird was deemed "extirpated" -- or "locally extinct" -- in this province.

Officials promoting the bird's recovery are guardedly optimistic that the fleet flyer is back to stay. However, they continue to monitor ongoing threats.

"They've turned the corner," Kyle Holloway, an educator with the Canadian Peregrine Foundation, said yesterday. "But being the top predator, there could be a lot of issues for them. One is flame retardant. That's something we have to be aware of. Just because we've brought them back doesn't mean we can't knock them down again."

Rehabilitators are highly conscious of man-made contaminants because it was one such chemical -- the insecticide DDT -- that extirpated peregrines in Ontario in the first place.

DDT prevented female peregrines and other raptors from transferring calcium to their eggshells. Eggs became brittle as a result and were crushed during incubation. DDT was such a problem because it persists in the environment long after it is sprayed.

"If I went around the room and took tissue samples, I would find trace amounts of DDT in each and everyone of you," Holloway said during a presentation to students at Elgin Avenue Public School in Simcoe. "A lot of other countries still use DDT on their fruits and vegetables. That's why it is very important that you wash really well all the fruits and vegetables that you eat."

The flame retardant PBDE, which is commonly used in furniture


Frog mum adopts tadpoles at Chester Zoo

A MUM with a difference is entering the New Year at Chester Zoo by achieving a world-first with her patenting skills.

One of the zoo's Mountain Chickens - which is actually a huge frog - has taken on a new role as an adopted mum to a nest of abandoned tadpoles that `arrived' at her door.

The new mum's role came when Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (formerly Jersey Zoo) found that they had a foam nest of Mountain Chicken tadpoles which had been abandoned by their uncharacteristically non-maternal mother.

Despite the best efforts of the Herpetological staff at Durrell, the female would not feed the tadpoles and they became starved and weak.

Fortunately for them, Chester Zoo had


Safari Park Sends Young Male Elephants Abroad (nice Photo)

In this handout file photo, issued December 27 , 2009 baby African elephant Bakbuki is bottle-fed as his mother stands by on February 1, 2006 at the Ramat Gan Safari Park in central Israel. Bakbuki, now four-and-a-half years old, is one of two young males who are being sent to a zoo in Hungary to join a solitary elephant there. The Safari Park said they need to transfer the two males at this time as they are


Humane Society wants details about death of two giraffes at Mountain View Conservation Centre

Both died during cold snap in December

Questions are being raised about the deaths of two giraffes last month at the Mountain View Conservation Centre in Langley. The Vancouver Humane Society is looking for answers.

Gillian--a three year old giraffe--and a six week old giraffe died within days of each other in early December during a cold snap. Peter Fricker from the Vancouver Humane Society believes we should know by now what killed the animals. "It's been over a month now since they went for necropsies, and what we would like to know what the results of those necropsies showed and what the cause of death of the giraffes was."

The Conservation Centre says so far their investigations have found no obvious cause of death and more tests will be needed to find out. It says it could be weeks before those results are available. The Centre says it's just as curious as everyone else about what killed their giraffes because they want to keep


Zoo Gets New Liger

The Sierra Safari Zoo has a new baby liger. The liger is an 8-month-old girl and was donated so the non-profit zoo could "grow and flourish."


Tuttle's safari park adds new tiger, center

Tiger Safari, an interactive exotic animal park in Tuttle, continues to expand with more exhibits and animals coming in 2010.

Park director Bill Meadows' dream of building the park started more than a decade ago. Meadows opened the park in 2003 and has continued adding animals and buildings to the 45-acre zoo.

"It's really coming together," he said.

A welcome center and banquet hall were completed last month. Construction is wrapping up on a new education center and bed and breakfast, scheduled for completion in February.

Meadows also recently added to his animal collection. He acquired a snow tiger named Ajhi this fall.

The tiger, a 1-year-old male, has been acclimating to his new surroundings for the past few weeks



Phuket, Thailand: A second baby white handed gibbon has been born in the

Khao Phra Theaw Non-hunting Area just days after the Payu family added

another member to their clan..

Not to be outdone by fellow forest member Dao, who gave birth to a baby a

few days before Christmas, Kip from the Hope family decided to give the

Gibbon Rehabilitation project staff and volunteers an extra reason to

celebrate the New Year, by delivering a baby boy on December 30.

Staff members were both surprised and pleased to make their second baby

discovery while they were en route to feeding the newly-released Jita family

and to observe the progress Dao was making with her new baby, named Newbe.

This is the fifth baby to be born to the Hope family, and a truly remarkable success story for the GRP.

The Project now have a lot of work on their hands in order to look after

these new family members in the forest and to keep observing the Jita group

to ensure their release in the forest is a success, therefore it's all hands on deck.

They are calling on anyone who might be able to give up their time for a few

weeks to help volunteer at the project during this very special time.

The new baby is the brother to Thong, Hope and Toffee. It is the sixth baby

to be born in the wild since the first family was released back in 2002.

Run in conjunction with the Wild Animal Rescue Foundation of Thailand, the

Gibbon Rehabilitation Project is the only one of its kind releasing

ex-captive gibbons into the forest of Phuket.

Phuket's original wild white-handed gibbon population was poached to

extinction around 30 years ago.



Media Enquiries: May Ampika


Al Areen upgrade

TWO new attractions worth BD300,000 at Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve in Sakhir will officially open to the public next month.

They are due to be opened by Southern Governor and Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife president Shaikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

They were originally due to open for National Day on December 16, but could not be completed in time, said reserve director Dr Adel Al Awadhi.

The attractions include an Arabian wild animals complex, costing BD200,000, and a BD100,000 aviary.

"We were planning to open both sections on National Day, but due to some incomplete work, we had to delay it until February," said Dr Al Awadhi.

"We earlier thought to open them in January, but then a lot of holidays came up and we had to postpone the opening.

"The other reason is that Shaikh Abdulla is out of Bahrain and we are waiting for him to come back.

"All the animals and birds are already in the park and we are just waiting for the opening of these sections to transfer them."

The walk-through aviary has been partially open, with visitors able to see some of the birds from the outside.

Park guiding tourism head Sager Khamis said visitors as well as the staff were anxiously waiting to see the new sections.

"We have been receiving calls from people asking about these attractions every day, as they are anxious to know about the opening day," said Mr Khamis.

"But as the date is still to be fixed, we can't tell them anything except that the sections will open soon. The construction work is already completed, but we are waiting for the final touches and they will be ready to open."

He said people could call him on 39642882.

The wild animals complex will house leopards, foxes, wolves and hyenas.

Mr Faraj said the animals had been brought in from Africa


Cricketers to be roped in for conservation of wildlife

The former skipper of the Indian cricket team Anil Kumble said he would rope in the services of the Indian cricket team in activities concerning wildlife conservation.

He was interacting with presspersons on the sidelines of a function organised by the Mysore zoo here on Sunday.

Mr. Kumble said there were many cricketers in the present team as also other stalwarts who were passionate about wildlife and he would request them to join hands with him in wildlife conservation activities. Mr. Kumble said he recently visited the Bandipur National Park and apprised himself of the situation and would soon submit a report about his observation on the prevailing scenario. He called for an end to man-animal conflict and suggested creating greater awareness among the people in the villages adjoining the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. He said there is no use blaming animals for the conflict as expanding human landscape had encroached into the wildlife territory. He said the Wildlife Board


Endangered turtles sold in Agartala market

If you thought turtles, elephants, mynahs or parakeets, were endangered and protected under Wildlife Protection Act, then think again.

In the popular fish market of Agartala, the capital city of Tripura, where the authentic Bangladesh hilsa arrives, a regular supply of endangered turtles are also smuggled in.

The illegal sale of turtles is rather common but what is more shocking is the revised taxation on market commodities issued by the Agartala Municipal Council which legitimises the sale of protected animals.

According to an official circular, turtles and birds like parrot and maina have been taxed at Rs 1.50 per shop. What is even more bizzare is that elephants are listed at Rs 9 and Rs 5.50 depending on their size.

"Turtles are protected by Wildlife Protection Act in India, and it is a Schedule One animal," said Prof J P Roychoudhury, a wildlife activist.

Occasionally they are intercepted and seized but generally they make it to the market and are sold openly which is against the law.

Ironically when NDTV approached the Tripura Forest Department


Bear Has Learned To Open Truck Doors Using Handle (Video)


Kenya Breaks Ranks with Tanzania on Ivory Trade

Kenya will campaign for a total ban on ivory trade at an international meeting on wildlife conservation scheduled for March, as its herds of elephants continue to be endangered by poaching.

The position is likely to anger Tanzania which is pushing for a new trading window to allow it to sell its ivory stockpile to fund conservation measures. Other countries likely to team up with Tanzania include Zambia, which has put up a similar petition while previous beneficiaries; Botswana, Namibia, south Africa and Zimbabwe are quiet.

Since the drive to save the African elephant picked up in 1980s, Kenya has been playing a lead role in calling for a total ban and dramatised its wish by burning its stockpile worth millions of shillings in the Nairobi National Park.

The Qatar Conference is the 15th such meeting of the parties that have signed the Convention on International Traded in International Species (CITES). "We oppose any trade in endangered species especially elephant and rhino tasks," said Julius Kipng'etich, the Director of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

He said the opening up of a small window could lead to increased poaching in the region. But while the country has remained firm that it will oppose the lifting of the ban imposed in 2007, Zambia and Tanzania have asked for an exemption to the 1989 ban on ivory trade, which was put in place to protect the African elephant and rhino, whose population was decreasing due to increased poaching.

But Kenya argues that giving a window to make such sales would


Dolphins deserve human status, say scientists

Can dolphins be upgraded to human status? Think about it before saying no. "Many dolphin brains are larger than our own and second in mass only to the human brain when corrected for body size," said Lori Marino, a zoologist at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, who has used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to map the brains of dolphin species and compare them with those of primates. Hence, it is an injustice done towards such intelligent creatures if they are kept in captivity or killed.

Studies show that dolphins are so clever that they can think about future. They even have distinct personalities and a strong sense of self. Amazingly, they can identify themselves in the mirrors too.

Dolphins are cultural animals. It means that they pick new behaviour very quickly. Teach a dolphin to tail-walk and leave it in the wild. After sometime you can see the rest of the members in the school tail-walking. Unbelievable? It is true.

Dolphins are capable of solving difficult problems, while those living in the wild co-operate in ways that imply complex social structures and a high level of emotional sophistication. Their intelligence is evident from the way they round up fish and feed on them.

Marino and her colleagues found was that the cerebral cortex and neocortex of bottlenose dolphins were so large that "the anatomical ratios that assess cognitive capacity place it second only to the human brain." They also found that the brain cortex of dolphins such as the bottlenose had the same convoluted folds that are strongly link


Is violent protest wrong?The collision between whalers and an anti-whaling boat reveals the biggest problem with violent protest: it breeds more violence

How far can you go, in pursuit of a campaign goal? Is violence ever acceptable? The collision between the anti-whaling Sea Shepherd boat and the Japanese whalers this week was the fault – both parties claim – of the other side. Did it make life better for whales – the ostensible focus of the Sea Shepherd campaign? Those two sentences, pretty much, sum up the problem with violence.

The accepted position is that violent tactics are, de facto, wrong. The only people who are legally allowed to use violence in our society are the police, the army, and, very occasionally, us in self-defence. It is not acceptable, we all believe, that the World Wildlife Fund, say, should stand at the frontiers of jungles and bash over the head anyone who tries to nick a baboon.

But somewhere between rattling a tin on the high street and beating people up to stop them doing things there is a surprisingly wide grey area, and for the last century activists have been exploring that area. They've tried civil disobedience, non-violent passive resistance, boycotts, sit-ins, die-ins, blockades, and of course direct action. They've explored right up to, and sometimes over, the difficult-to-define line that differentiates violence from non-violence.

This, in fact, is part of the problem. In a thought-provoking book by anarchist Peter Gelderloos, he describes a workshop he ran where he read out a list of tactics and asked the participants to walk to one spot if they considered the action violent, and to another if they considered it non-violent. "The actions included such things as buying clothes made in a sweatshop, eating meat, a wolf killing a deer, killing someone who is about to detonate a bomb in a crowd and so on. "Almost never," he wrote, "was there perfect agreement between the


Iran, Russia hope to revive extinct big cats

Iranian and Russian ecologists have announced ambitious plans to return Caspian Tigers as well as Asiatic cheetahs, which disappeared some half a century ago in their countries, to the wild.

A delegation of Russian ecologists headed by Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation Sergey Donskoy arrived in Tehran a week ago to discuss avenues to reestablish the wild cats.

During the meeting, the Iranian ecologists shed light on the prospect of repopulating the jungles in northern Iran with extraordinary Caspian Tiger, which became extinct over 40 years ago.

This is while through modern genetic analysis it has been discovered the Caspian Tiger and the Siberian Tiger, still in existence, are separated by only one letter of genetic code. The Caspian Tiger can be reestablished by using their relative, the Siberian Tiger.

Russian and international conservation groups banned hunting of tiger in 1947, but it was too late for the Caspian Tiger to make a recovery. Poaching and contributing factors wiped out the majestic cat. Conservation efforts, however, did help to protect and stabilize the Siberian Tiger. Fortunately, the subspecies commingling in the distant past will allow the Caspian Tiger to once again take its rightful place in the family tree of tigers.

The Russian ecologist asked for Iranian assistance in revival of Asiatic cheetahs in the northern Caucasus region.

Described as powerful and graceful hunters, cheetahs are the world's fastest animal and easy to train. Cheetahs were trained by ancient Persian kings, who used them to hunt gazelles.

Recognizing the cats' precarious situation, Iran's Department of Environment has worked§ionid=3510212


Rajasthan to set up tiger conservation foundation

The Rajasthan Government will set up a Tiger Conservation Foundation (TCF) for preserving Sariska Wild Life Sanctuary near Alwar and the Ranthambhore National Park (RNP) in Sawaimadhopur.

The state cabinet today decided that the foundation would be represented by the government, forest department, NGOs and wildlife experts, an official spokesman said here.

The TCF would lay emphasis on conservation of biodiversity and strengthening of infrastructure and supply of water to acquatic flora.

The cabinet also approved amendment to the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

For introducing mediclaim policy-2009 for accredited journalists, the Rajasthan Patrakar and Sahityakar Kalyan


The Missing Lynx - Trailer on YouTube


Vietnam to buy German technology to clean up Hanoi turtle lake

Hanoi officials said Thursday that they are to invest in a German sludge-removal system to clean up the city's famous Hoan Kiem turtle lake.

The city had been running a pilot project since November.

'After the pilot run, the dredged area became deeper and cleaner while doing no harm to turtles,' said Professor Ha Dinh Duc, the project's chairman. 'That is why we decided to buy this technology.'

Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake at the heart of the old city is stagnant, thick with green algae, choked with sludge and full of fish and crabs. It is also a historical treasure and the heart of Vietnamese nationalism.

But most importantly, the lake is home to Vietnam's most famous turtle. The turtle might be the last of a unique species, Rafetus leloii, or belong to another critically endangered species, Rafetus swinhoei, of which


'Chicken' frog saved from pot

PAIGNTON Zoo has joined a global conservation project with the arrival of a rare species.

It is now home to a giant frog which has two misfortunes — it is both tasty and large enough to be a meal.

The mountain chicken, or giant ditch frog, is one of the largest frogs in the world weighing in at more than 2lbs.

A zoo spokesman said: "The mountain chicken might be one of the most-confusing animals in the world. It is not a bird and it doesn't live in the mountains but


WWF Scotland release hit-list of 2010's doomed species

SCOTS conservation experts have pin-pointed the planet's most at-risk species in 2010.

Butterflies, tigers and tuna are among the 10 most threatened species according to a new WWF Scotland report released today.

They believe climate change, poaching and deforestation in 2010 will leave some animals at "a greater risk than ever."

And they added that Scotland's pledge to cut emissions by 42 per-cent by 2020 was a vital part of global efforts.

Director of WWF Scotland, Dr Richard Dixon, said: "We have a window of opportunity in which to step up and pull back some of the world's most splendid animals from the brink of extinction.

"We urge everyone who wants to live in a world with tigers, polar bears, and pandas to make it their New Year's resolution to help save these amazing and threatened species before it's too late.

The fact that the majority of the species listed this year are being directly or indirectly impacted upon by climate change underlines the urgent need for world leaders to hammer out a legally-


Turtles can act like chameleons to deceive predators and prey alike

In a new research, scientists have determined that turtles can act like chameleons, by matching the colour of their skin and shells to the colour of their habitat's substrate, which helps them to deceive predators and prey alike.

According to a report in Natural History Magazine, the research was carried out by John W Rowe, of Alma College in Michigan, US, and his three colleagues.

They collected gravid female midland painted turtles and red-eared sliders from the wild, brought them to the lab, and injected them with oxytocin, a hormone that induces egg laying.

They assigned the hatchlings to two control groups, which they kept for 160 days on either a white or a black substrate, and to two "reversal" groups, which they kept for 80 days on white or


Clouded Leopard Conservation in Assam, India

As we near the end of 2009, we have been receiving progress reports from several of our grant recipients. One is from Karabi Deka and Jimmy Borah whose project, "Status, distribution, and ecology of small cats in Assam, India with a focus on the clouded leopard as a flagship species," received funding from the CLP. This is the first project we have supported outside of our usual area of emphasis in Southeast Asia. We received a number of requests for India-based projects this year. In fact, we had an all-time high number of proposals submitted in 2009. Although we wish we weren't so limited in our ability to provide support, it's exciting to see how the number of clouded leopard and small cat field efforts has boomed over the last few years. With such dedication to uncovering the ecology of these cats and bringing much needed awareness to local communities we are confident that


Seoul Zoo to Go Eco-Friendly

Seoul Zoo is going to be revamped as an eco-friendly ecological park by 2020.

"We will make Seoul Zoo an international tourist destination by renovating it as a park of the future where a zoo and theme park will be combined together in eco-friendly way," Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said.

The renovation proposal was made by a consortium of five companies from Korea, the United States and Singapore.

The plan divides the zoo into a free public park and a paid theme park called "The Living World."

The theme park will consist of four zones where visitors can experience different ecosystems while enjoying various attractions on a 3.


Blackpool Zoo's double celebration

CHAMPAGNE corks are popping all round Blackpool Zoo as staff celebrate two fantastic firsts

It has been officially confirmed the first ever Western Lowland gorilla to be born at the zoo will arrive in Summer 2010, just as the attraction marks the 10 year anniversary of Gorilla Mountain.

Expectant first-time mother Miliki, who turned 16 on Christmas Day, has been at Blackpool for six years and successfully mated with the latest addition to the group, Bukavu.


And it's also De Brazza monkey magic for Mia, who was seven months old on Christmas Day, as she is successfully reintroduced to her group after being hand-reared by keepers at the zoo.

Mia's mother died when she was 12 days old and her care was taken over by staff.

Jude Rothwell, marketing and PR co-ordinator


Zoo's growth continues

While most of us will be glad to see 2009 in the rear view window, it has been a year of great success at the Oklahoma City Zoo. Attendance was excellent and, in fact, the Oklahoma Zoological Society edged tantalizingly close to the 20,000-member families mark. The society also drew record crowds for the annual "Ostrich egg breakfast" and a new event, "Zoobrew."

These events and other fun-filled "ZooFriends" activities enabled the nonprofit organization to donate nearly $1.2 million to the zoo. This was a 42 percent increase over the previous year and is an obvious tribute to the leadership of Dana McCrory, the society's executive director. Her enthusiasm also might explain why almost 80 percent of ZooFriends members renewed their memberships this year.

Dwight Scott, the zoo's executive director, also continues to excel. Working with more than 130 dedicated employees, Scott hosted the Association of Zoos and Aquariums midyear meeting. More than 350 zoo professionals attended this


NC Zoo looks to expand popular polar bear exhibit

Officials at the North Carolina Zoo are hoping a multimillion-dollar expansion of one of its exhibits will lead to expansion in the number of inhabitants in the exhibit.

The News & Record of Greensboro reports that officials want to create a polar bear breeding program at the zoo, a move that could mean additional revenue.

The $4.7 million expansion to the polar bear exhibit will accommodate some of the critical elements female bears crave in raising cubs: space and privacy.


Private zoo operator loses ID Supreme Court fight

An Idaho man whose now-defunct private zoo in Nampa was a magnet both for school kids and disputes has failed to fight off a 2006 conviction for misdemeanor possession of exotic animals.

TheIdaho Supreme Court ruled last week there was no evidence that Jerry Korn signed contracts in 2005 to transfer his exotic animals from his Nampa site to a new location in Payette County before Payette County passed a law forbidding exotic animals on June 1, 2005.

Korn contended the Payette County ordinance illegally impaired his contracts, but Justice Joel Horton wrote Korn failed to prove he'd finalized the contracts


White tiger victim 'played dead' in cage

A German zookeeper who was bitten on the neck by a white tiger says she played dead to avoid being killed.

Nearly two weeks ago, Karim the male tiger attacked Linda Gruhn, 30, while she was cleaning its cage.

Ms Gruhn had her neck broken in the attack and was airlifted to hospital.

"It all happened so fast," she told German newspaper Bild.

"He suddenly appeared behind me and grabbed me.

"I thought any minute it's over ... instinctively, I played dead."

But the animal — which had slipped th


Poacher killed in shootout

A rhino poacher was killed and two others injured in a fierce exchange of gunfire between a group of poachers and game rangers on Christmas day, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) said on Monday.

"Two suspected rhino poachers were wounded and one killed in an exchange of gunfire with field rangers in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park on the evening of December 25," EKZNW said.

Field rangers in the iMfolozi section of the park heard shots in the western part of the Makhamisa section of iMfolozi at about 19:40 and responded immediately.

"Using torches the field rangers


Poachers still continue to hunt Sumatran tigers

Poachers still continue to hunt the remaining Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris) in the Bengkulu forest, conservationist Radius Nursidi of the Profauna nature conservation organization said.

"Based on its survey in March, Profauna found at least 12 tiger traps in the Seblat Elephant Conservation Center (PKG) in North Bengkulu," Radius said here on Tuesday.

He said that Profauna conducted the survey only in one area, namely around the PKG forest park where it found at least 12 tiger traps." he said.Poachers also hunt elephants in the Seblat forest park, he said.

Due to the illegal hunting of elephants and tigers in the Seblat PKG forest park in Putri Hijau subdistrict, North Bengkulu, the population of the


Zoo employee testifies that he never saw animals mistreated at Arlington business

A Fort Worth Zoo employee who bought and sold animals for himself at U.S. Global Exotics testified Tuesday that he never saw animals being mistreated at the north Arlington business.

Mike Doss, who was not representing the zoo, disputed the testimony of witnesses for Arlington that the business improperly housed animals and denied them food, water and veterinarian care.

The owners of U.S. Global, an Internet-based exotic-animal wholesaler, are trying to regain custody of more than 26,000 animals seized by the city Dec. 15 during an animal cruelty investigation. Tuesday was the fifth day of the custody hearing before Municipal Judge Michael Smith.

"I was impressed," Doss said of what he saw during regular visits to the business since 2006 to buy animals or sell those he had raised at home.

"They obviously invested a lot of money in their caging systems and how they took care of their animals."

Doss, who cares for coldblooded land animals at the zoo, said there are several plausible reasons why some of the snakes, lizards and turtles seized from


Como Zoo polar bears will no longer bum you out (maybe)

Remember the days of visiting the Como Zoo and coming across the polar bear exhibit? Maybe your brain blocked the painful memory from your mind. Yes, the zoo is free (sweet!) but you still felt like a terrible person enjoying your day when those enormous polar bears looked like they were plotting their own suicides.

We don't blame them. Even we felt their pain when we'd come by years later to see the polar bear doing the exact same swimming routine in what looked like an over-sized kiddie pool for giants. You could put your hand on one spot on the glass and the polar bear would give you a "high-five" every time. You'd even see kids get a little bummed out by the sight of it. Or how about the other one that walked along one of the concrete barriers, swinging its head so oddly you wondered if the poor animal was stable.

Not anymore folks! Twin brothers Buzz and Neil are getting brand new digs at Como Zoo that should be open in about


Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at GSU partners with Zoo Atlanta

Georgia State University's Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (CBN) recently partnered with Zoo Atlanta to go forth with cognitive research, especially with the zoo's great apes. The partnership has already proved to be a symbiotic relationship; not only has the CBN gained valuable research, but the Center also assisted in the birth of the giant panda cub, Mei Lan.

Though the beginnings of this collaboration were as early as late 2003, the Center has worked with the zoo to develop the Orangutan Learning Tree, which officially opened in April 2007. Other projects include gorilla cognition and tool-use and the Zoo Atlanta's giant panda breeding program.

The biggest project, the Orangutan Learning Tree, is an exhibit at Zoo Atlanta where orangutans have access to a large touch-screen computer where they can perform certain cognitive tasks while the visitors outside observe. The visitors also have a computer screen in th


Detroit Zoo's lions, visitors to get closer

The Detroit Zoo wants visitors to get a closer look at its big cats and has announced plans to raise $1 million to make over the lion habitat.

Plans call for filling in a dry moat barrier that gives visitors an unobstructed view of the animals and replacing it with a glass wall, which will nearly double the space for the lions and afford visitors a closer look, zoo spokeswoman Patricia Mills Janeway said.

"Warming rocks near the glass will provide the lions with a toasty perch from which to view visitors. Trees, plantings and rocks in the visitor area will mirror those in the lions' habitat, making the experience seem that much more immersive," Janeway


More rare animals seized

CAMBODIAN authorities made five major seizures of protected wildlife in the third quarter of this year, according to newly released data from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' Wildlife Enforcement Network.

ASEAN recorded just two major arrests by Cambodian law enforcement for the first six months of 2009, but three large-scale seizures came in August, followed by two more in September.

Following the August 18 seizure in Battambang province of two Asiatic black bears, which are recuperating under the care of the local branch of Wildlife Alliance, Cambodian authorities confiscated 163 kilograms of live Bengal monitors in a bust in Kampong Cham province on August 26.

Just two days later, a veritable menagerie of rare creatures was seized in Phnom Penh, including 15 monocled cobras, 67 elongated tortoises and 15 giant Asian pond turtles. September saw busts in Kandal and Svay Rieng provinces that included 15 live Sunda pangolins, three live water monitors and 25 dead purple swamphens.

Chheang Dany, deputy director of the wildlife protection office at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said it was difficult to quantify the value of the confiscated wildlife, as demand for particular species is hard to measure. Difficult economic circumstances and


What's better than one keyboard-playing otter? Two keyboard-playing otters, of course!

In June, we were shocked and awed by the staggering sight of an otter playing a keyboard. Little Dua, an Asian small-clawed otter, was a resident of California's own Monterey Bay Aquarium, and his caretakers decided that he needed more excitement in his life. The solution: Supply him with his own Yamaha keyboard and enough snacks to convince him that playing it was worth his while.

Dua's not exactly Elton John -- heck, he can't even play Chopsticks -- but we gave him an A for effort, and watching him tickle the ivories became one of our favorite pastimes. (Don't tell our boss.) Imagine our delight, then, when we heard from aquarium staffer Karen Jeffries about a new keyboard-playing-otter video -- this time featuring two otters playing a duet!

These two, like Dua before them, are Asian small-clawed otters -- no coincidence, since the species is known for its manual dexterity. (In the wild, the little guys -- and we do mean little, since the species is the smallest of all the world's otters -- use their


Bristol Zoo praised in annual inspection

Bristol Zoo has passed its annual inspection with flying colours.

Staff at the zoo are celebrating after official inspectors gave them a near-faultless zoo licence, and said they had "nothing but praise" for the Clifton attraction.

Every zoo in the country has to have an official licensing inspection by its local authority, to ensure that animal welfare and care is of the highest standard.

Part of the inspection involves an audit, which looks at animal diet plans, veterinary care, zoo policies and procedures, conservation and research programmes, health and safety, security, education and staff training.

Afterwards recommendations are made for


Owners of protected animals have six months to register

Owners of endangered species will be required to apply for permits from the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) starting today.

The requirement — even for endangered species as pets — is the result of the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 coming into force.

Perhilitan legislation and enfor­cement director Saharudin Anan said all owners of such species have six months beginning today to obtain the necessary permits.

"They have six months' grace to register before enforcement begins," he said when contacted yesterday.

Besides pet owners, pet shop owners and any other individuals who could be in possession of such species of animals will also have to obtain the necessary permits.

Common household pets which are on the endangered species list include tortoises such as the star and radiated tortoises. Other exotic pets such as imported snakes and reptiles are


Six-month amnesty open to abuse

A non-governmental organisation has expressed concern that the six-month grace period for all owners of endangered species including pets to apply for permits will be abused by animal traffickers.

The Traffic South East Asia said that traders may reuse the permit to import and sell more of the same animals during the grace period.

Its acting director Chris R. Shepherd said: "This is called laundering."

It was reported that owners of endangered animals were required to apply for permits in the next six months beginning yesterday as the result of the International Trade of Endangered Species Act coming into force.

Shepherd said the grace period could provide an opportunity for criminals to smuggle wildlife, register for it and be forgiven for the next six months.

"As most criminals know where the loopholes are and how to exploit them, there is a serious risk of the amnesty


Homesick zoo tigress on hunger strike after being shifted

It's been eight days since Radha, a 17-year-old tigress in the city's zoo has eaten anything. She is being administered glucose intravenously. Zoo authorities, who have not been able to make her eat say it's a case of mental trauma due to relocation to a new home.

The relocation from one zoo to another seems to have traumatized tigress, who is also suffering from old age. She stopped taking food since she was shifted from Aji Zoo to the newly built Pradyuman Park Zoo about eight days ago. In order to prevent her condition from deterioration, the


Zoo penguins help Antarctic birds

Penguins at a Leicestershire zoo are helping scientists with a new project to track the movements of their cousins in Antarctica.

The macaroni species at Twycross Zoo is trialling new tags that record light levels and time to work out where they are for up to three years.

If trials are successful the tags could be used on penguins at the south pole.

Scientists say the wild birds' movements are poorly understood, as they can travel thousands of miles.

Tags 'caused sores'

The British Antarctic Survey developed the 1.5g data logger built into a soft leg ring, after


Bannerghata zoo has work to do

If your visit to Bannerghatta Biological Park turns out worthwhile, it's because of its decent, tourist-friendly infrastructure. However, when it comes to wildlife care, the Park is yet to plug certain loopholes.

A visit to a zoo always sounds like a fun-filled activity for kids and adults alike. Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) located on the outskirts of Bangalore in Anekal district is no exception. Easy accessibility, parking spots, surprisingly well-organised ticket counters, and numerous food kiosks make the outing a delightful experience.


Mistletoe fires underwater passions at aquarium

Mistletoe has tricked less than amorous leafy sea dragons (Phycodurus eques), right, at the Sea Life Centre in Weymouth, Dorset, into a mating frenzy. The close relatives of sea horses look similar to the traditional Christmas greenery, and in an effort to breed them for the first time in Europe, staff put some mistletoe in their tank. Fiona Smith, display supervisor at the centre, said: "The males have suddenly started


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