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Zoo News Digest
Patronizing zoos perpetuates a sad and dangerous cycle
Re "Two gorillas briefly escape Kansas City Zoo enclosure" (sacbee.com, Feb. 20): As the incident at the Kansas City Zoo demonstrated yet again, it is incredibly difficult to contain wild animals. When they escape, zoo animals are likely to attack people and many carry transmittable disease like herpes and rabies. In addition, the quality of life for animals in zoos is severely diminished. Gorillas living in zoos lack natural social structure, and have only a fraction of their natural three-square-mile range. Zoos may tout expensive, state-of-the-art enclosures for a few popular animals, but they cannot properly care for dozens of different species.
If you are interested in seeing and learning about wild animals, catch a glimpse of native animals on a walk or hike. Watch footage
Dutchman shines spotlight on Thailand's baby elephant trade
The discovery of six slaughtered elephants last month in two of Thailand's national parks has exposed a nasty secret about the country's ubiquitous elephant tourism industry.
Dutch national Edwin Wiek, founder of the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, jumped on the wild elephants' gruesome demise in Kaeng Krachan and Kiu Buri parks to draw attention to a lucrative trade in baby elephants that has been carried out with the seeming compliance of government officials.
In an article titled Thai Elephants Are Being Killed for Tourist Dollars published in The Nation newspaper on January 24, Wiek said that the six elephants had been killed to get their babies, not for elephant meat and ivory as claimed by government officials.
He argued that the incident demonstrated that the trade in baby pachyderms was no longer just a cross-border business with Myanmar, but that poachers were now targeting Thailand's own depleted herd of fewer than 2,000 wild elephants.
Based on his own investigations, Wiek estimates that two to three baby elephants are poached from the wild per week.
A baby elephant can fetch up to 1 million baht (32,260 dollars) at camps in Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Phuket, where they are trained to perform tricks and provide rides for tourists.
Foreign tourists might think twice about supporting the elephant business with their money if they were aware that many of animals had been poached from the wild and their parents slaughtered, Wiek said.
After the article was published, Wiek's animal sanctuary in Phetchaburi province was raided on February 13 by 70 armed officials from the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department.
The officials demanded to see ownership documents for some 400 animals kept at the wildlife rescue charity, established in 2001.
Although Wiek had proper ownership documents for his six pachyderms, national park officials claimed that 103 smaller mammals lacked proper documentation and vowed to confiscate them.
Gorillas missed: Two escape exhibit at Kansas City Zoo
Water hose was used to lure animals back to enclosures. Public was never in danger.
But on Sunday at the Kansas City Zoo, Mbundi and his half-brother Ntondo decided to stir up a little trouble instead.
The western lowland gorillas, each weighing more than 400 pounds, managed to get from their enclosed exhibit into a zookeeper area. That triggered a “code red” and prompted zoo employees to herd visitors into buildings as a precaution.
Two keepers who were in the area and realized that they were close to the animals climbed a ladder out of the exhibit, said Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff.
Zoo officials emphasized that the public was never in danger during the three-hour incident, which ended when employees
Oregon Zoo's California condors at six eggs and counting this busy breeding season
At the Oregon Zoo, it's half a dozen and counting -- California condor eggs, that is.
With two eggs arriving last week, the zoo's breeding program, part of a larger effort to restore the critically endangered species, is on track to deliver perhaps as many as eight chicks this season, says Kelli Walker, lead condor keeper.
"Each new egg," Walker says, "is critical to the survival of the species."
Condor egg-laying and hatching season is seldom without drama in the zoo's breeding facilities, a large barn and flight pens at the Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation in rural Clackamas County. This season is no exception.
When Walker found a small hole in one eggshell earlier this month, she washed it with sterile water, applied diluted antiseptic and covered the hole with a thin layer of glue. When she "candled" it -- held it up to a bright light to check for signs it
Zoo requests $30 million in state bonding
Minnesota Zoo Director Lee Ehmke came before a House committee Wednesday, Feb. 22 to describe a bonding request that includes a $30 million request to upgrade the Tropics Nocturnal Trail and exhibit renewal on the Northern Trail, among other projects.
Ehmke held aloft a big piece of peeled paint from the salt water dolphin tank in the zoo’s Discovery Bay exhibit as evidence of the need for state funding.
Peeling paint is not something the zoo wants around its marine animals, Ehmke explained to the Senate Capital Investment Committee.
Nor do the federal
Panda power rebounds at Ueno Zoo
Tokyo's Ueno Zoo has already been visited by more than 4 million people this fiscal year, thanks to the arrival of two giant pandas from China that haved helped it top the mark for the first time in 19 years, zoo officials said Wednesday.
"At the current pace, we expect 4.4 million people to have visited the zoo by the end of March," one official said, noting the tally broke 4.05 million at the end of last month.
Attendance has been sluggish since the April 2008 death of giant panda Ling Ling, the zoo's star attraction since 1992.
But last April, the zoo reintroduced pandas for the first time in three years by leasing male panda Ri Ri and female Shin Shin from China. Attendance immediately surged.
The officials said about 3,000 visitors lined up outside the zoo for the pandas' debut on April 1, the
Because his 300 fish need va-va-room: Thierry Henry rebuilds his £6m home to fit in FOUR-STOREY 5,000 gallon tank
Stretching 40ft from the bottom of his house to the very top, it will take 5,500 gallons of water to fill, house 300 fish and cost a staggering £250,000 to build.
This is the giant aquarium footballer Thierry Henry is so keen to have that he wants to rebuild his luxury home to accommodate it.
The former Arsenal striker has lodged controversial plans to demolish his £5.9 million North London house – which was completed only in 1999 and is described as one of the finest examples of modern architecture in the UK – and replace it with a larger property.
His proposals detail the extravagant four
Rare pygmy Nile crocodiles turn up in new areas
They're some of the least known and most poorly understood reptiles in West Africa
Conservationists working in Uganda are finding new areas that are home to one of the least known crocodilians in Africa, the pygmy Nile crocodile.
A team of Ugandan researchers trained by the late John Thorbjarnarson, a noted crocodilian expert with the Wildlife Conservation Society, is conducting population surveys of these poorly understood crocodiles in Kidepo Valley National Park.
Pygmy Nile crocodiles were reconfirmed as still present in Uganda only three years ago, and their conservation status remains unknown.
Crocodilians are an order of animals that includes alligators, crocodiles and other large reptiles.
In 2011, scientists lead by Matthew H. Shirley of the University of Florida discovered that pygmy Nile crocodiles are not a smaller race of the more common Nile crocodile but actually a unique population of a distinct crocodile species distributed
Friday Weird Science: Does your menstrual blood attract BEARS?!
While Sci was listening eagerly to Kate Clancy's appearance on Skeptically Speaking last Sunday (you'll be able to download the episode soon), I was flabbergasted to find out that there is a rumor out there that, if you go out hiking on your period...you might attract BEARS.
Not only that, the rumor was apparently widespread enough that someone actually did a study to find out if it was true.
Which is good, I'd hate to fear for my life while hiking because I'm shedding my uterine lining. I'd like the think bears are more sensible than
Spurs or Ankus?
The Atlanta mounted police unit currently has twelve officers, all wearing spur's with now fear of reprisal for "animal abuse." Eleven officers and their mounts are assigned to patrol a regular beat and special details, such as festivals, parades and other community events. One additional officer and three horses are in training. The unit is expected to expand to 18 officers and mounts over the next 3 years.
Equestrians(which would include Atlanta's mounted police unit) commonly wear spurs to emphasize their leg aids. The leg aids, USUALLY(interpret "usually" for yourself) pressing the heels against the horse's sides, urge the mount to move off or transition from a slower gait to a faster gait. When spurs are applied, the horse feels a SHARPER(sharp as a tack or a sharp tongue?) urgency from the rider and PAYS CLOSER ATTENTION(you can interpret this as "controlling an animal hundreds of pounds larger then you") to what the rider is asking it to do. When properly used, spurs are an extension of your leg aids, allowing your cues to the horse to be SUBTLER AND MORE REFINED(you may not even have to use them each time, but they are still there, just in case......... Like a bull hook off stage Ernie or a bull hook held wrong with the metal hidden in your hand to
Scientists: New amphibian family augurs more India discoveries
Scientists have found what they say is a new family of legless amphibians in Northeast India – animals they say may have diverged from similar vertebrates in Africa when the land masses separated tens of millions of years ago.
The find, the scientists say, might foreshadow other discoveries in Northeast India and might help show the area played a more important evolutionary role than previously thought.
The creatures are part of an order of limbless, soil-dwelling amphibians called caecilians – not to be confused with snakes, which are reptiles. Caecilians were previously known to consist of nine families in Asia, Africa and South America.
But different bone structures in the head distinguish this apparent 10th family, and DNA testing links the creatures not to other caecilians in India, but to caecilians that are exclusively from Africa, the scientists report this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London.
The new family has been dubbed Chikilidae by the scientists from India, Belgium and the United Kingdom, including lead author Rachunliu Kamei, who was pursuing her doctorate at University of
New lizard species found in Junagadh named after Gujarat A new species of gecko, first found on a wall at Junagadh’s Vagheshwari Mata Temple, in the Girnar Hills, has earned Gujarat the distinction of having a lizard named after it.
But those who discovered the gecko say the state may host more new species while simultaneously warning human activity, especially tourism, could increase pressure on habitats.
The Hemidactylus Gujaratensis — which typically measures a little shorter than five-inches in length —was found in October 2007 by Raju Vyas and Sunny Patil, who are both members of one of India’s most prestigious nature organisations, the Bombay Natural History Society.
Vyas currently lives in Vadodara and works as a herpetologist with the Sayaji Baug Zoo. Patil is from Mumbai. Hemidactylus Gujaratensis, according
Potamites Montanicola, New Lizard Species, Discovered In Andes Researchers have discovered a new species of lizard in a strange place. The brightly colored, water-loving lizards live in the Andes Mountains in southern Peru -- an odd place to find them, scientists say, because of the chilly conditions.
The semi-aquatic reptiles, dubbed Potamites montanicola, grow to about 2.5 inches (6.4 centimeters) in length from nose to hindquarters. Because lizards are not warm-blooded, scientists are wondering how they survive the alpine settings.
The newfound lizards proved elusive quarry. In August 2010, researchers found a single specimen near a wooded mountain stream. From the moment he saw it, lead researcher Germán Chávez said, he knew the little lizard must be a new species, because it looked so different from other lizards in
First Asian houbara chick of season born The International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) has announced the hatching of its first captive-bred Asian houbara chick of the season, at the National Avian Research Centre in Sweihan.
This chick is one of thousands to be produced in the UAE this year as part of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s strategy to protect and conserve
Extremely rare beaked whales filmed for the first time ever in Australian waters Australian researchers on Thursday revealed they had filmed a pod of extremely rare Shepherd's beaked whales for the first time ever.The Australian Antarctic Division team was tracking blue whales off the coast of Victoria state in January when they spotted the reclusive mammals, which are so rarely seen that no population estimates of the species exist.
Voyage leader Michael Double said the black and cream-coloured mammals with prominent dolphin-like beaks had been spotted in the wild only a handful of times through history.
According to the Australian environment department, there have only been two previous confirmed sightings - a lone individual in New Zealand and a group of three in Western Australia.
They have never been filmed live before.
“These animals are practically entirely known from stranded dead whales, and there haven't been many of them,” said Double calling the footage “unique”.
“They are an offshore animal, occupying deep water, and when they surface it is only for a very short period of time.”
Double said what was remarkable about the sighting was that the whale was previously thought to be a solitary creature, yet was in a pod of 10 to 12.
“To find them in a pod is very exciting and will change the guide books. Our two whale experts will now carefully study the footage to work out the whale
Surat zoo will soon be home to African white buffalo, rhino
If all goes well, animal lovers in the diamond city would be able to see zebra, giraffe, African white buffalo, cheetah and African rhino at Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC)-run Sarthana zoo. The zoo authorities have initiated efforts to bring best of the wild species here from the zoos in the African and other foreign countries.
After Mysore and Junagadh, Surat will be the third zoo in the country to get rare and majestic animals.
"Sarthana zoo is relentlessly trying to get these majestic animals for the animal lovers in Surat in particular and Gujarat in general," said Dr Prafful Mehta, in-charge zoo superintendent.
Mehta said zoo authorities have applied for import licence with director general of foreign trade (DGFT) to airlift the wild species from foreign countries.
Once the clearance comes from DGFT, the matter would be referred to deputy director of wild life in the DGFT to check various issues related to animals' import and quarantine measures taken by the concerned in importing the wild and endangered species from the foreign countries.
"After getting import licence from DGFT, we can directly get in tough with the reputed zoos in the foreign countries to get the wild species under the international exchange programme or on direct purchase," added Mehta.
Meanwhile, the zoo authorities are planning to approach various departments of Central Government for getting clearance for the wild animals. The departments are ministry of environment, ministry of agriculture and ministry of commerce.
Zoo authorities disclosed that they have started correspondence with some of the reputed international agencies based in Bangkok and The Netherlands, who have got international licence for the transfer of the rare and endangered species.
"Veterinary certificate and health protocol have to be
Arrests made in US rhino horn smuggling ring
The US has made seven arrests in a multi-state rhino horn-smuggling ring, seizing $1m (£637,000) in gold ingots.
The arrests come after an 18-month-long investigation, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) told the BBC.
Rhinos are an endangered species, but their horns are smuggled for buyers who believe they cure cancer.
Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe told the Los Angeles Times the arrests had "dealt a serious blow to rhino horn smuggling both in the US and globally".
Agents working on Operation Crash (named after the collective noun for the rhinoceros) arrested individuals in four states: California, Texas, New York and New Jersey.
Edward Grace, deputy chief of law enforcement for the FWS, said the seven individuals were charged with multiple counts, including trafficking endangered species and conspiracy.
"The rhino is an animal of prehistoric origin that is facing possible extinction because of an illegal trade for its horns on the black market that is driven by greed," Ignacia Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division told the Associated Press news agency.
Authorities seized $1 million in cash, diamonds and Rolex watches bought with funds from the sale of smuggled horns, along with 20 rhino horns.
The investigation was undercover until alleged trafficker Wade Steffen and his family were stopped in a California airport with $337,000 in their luggage.
Officials said they had intercepted at least 18 shipments of rhino horns from the Steffen family and an exotic animals auction house owner.
Three of the alleged traffickers, Jimmy Kha, 49, his girlfriend Mai Nguyen, 41, and his son Felix Kha, 26, were detained in southern California.
It is thought that Mr Steffen had been sending supplies to the Khas from 2010.
Three others - Amir Even-Ezra, antiques expert David Hausman and Jin Zhao Feng, a Chinese national - have also been taken into custody.
Only about 30,000 rhinos remain in the world, with only hundreds of certain sub-species.
When smuggled, the horns
Penguins Decimated by Greedy Blubber Merchant Bounce Back Impressively Three squawks for conservation! After New Zealand businessman Joseph Hatch boiled down 3 million Macquarie Island king penguins for their blubber, public outrage helped make the island a wildlife sanctuary in 1933. The king penguins then flourished undisturbed, growing from the decimated population of 3,400 to half a million today. Those raw numbers look good, but to gauge the population’s viability, scientists needed to find out a little more. A new study has found that the population has also recovered to pre-slaughter levels of genetic diversity, just 80 years after their near-extinction.
Population bottlenecks like the one caused by Hatch’s steam digester mean not only fewer individuals but also less diversity in the gene pool. This makes it difficult for the population to adapt to any stresses—a disease, for example, that can wipe out the remaining population if everyone
Turtle hunt a toxic issue
Testing done on snapping turtle road kill in Ontario found most of the creatures to be a toxic soup of PCPs and mercury, Ontario Nature Staff Ecologist John Urquhart says.
Opponents of the Ontario Snapping Turtle hunt say the population cannot withstand the combined pressures of pollution, cars, disappearing habitat and hunting given their low rate of reproduction.
An 11,000-signature petition calling for an end to the snapping turtle hunt will be presented to the Ontario legislature this week.
"The amount of snapping turtles dying on roads in Ontario is more than enough to cause a decline in just about every population near a road," Urquhart said. "In addition to that, 70% of the wetlands in southern Ontario are gone."
A new report by the David Suzuki Foundation, Ontario Nature and the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre, says snapping turtles have been around for 40 million years but are now being pushed to the brink.
" The Road to Extinction: A Call to End the Snapping Turtle Hunt highlights a controversial provincial policy that allows snappers to be hunted, despite being listed as a species at risk and identifies eight hotspots where thousands of turtles are being run over and killed
'Rhino horn gang' strikes in Germany
A gang of four has carried out an "unbelievably audacious" theft of rhino horns worth 50,000 euros ($69,923.76 CAD), German police said Tuesday, the latest in what appears to be a spate of similar robberies.
As two of the suspected thieves distracted staff at a museum in Offenburg, south-western Germany, the other two clambered on a display case, removed a rhino head from a wall and smashed off the horns with hammers, police said.
"Then everything happened in the blink of an eye," police said in a statement.
"The two men stuffed the horns into a bag and left the museum. At the same time, the other two lost interest in their chat with staff members and followed their accomplices," the statement added.
The rhino head was left behind during the suspected robbery, which happened on Saturday afternoon, according to authorities.
Rhinoceros horn is especially prized in Asia where many consider it to have aphrodisiac and disease-fighting properties.
The perpetrators "acted with unbelievable
Shaikha Latifa donates rare big cats to Dubai Zoo
Shaikha Latifa bint Rashid bin Khalifa bin Saeed Al Maktoum has donated lions and tigers to Dubai Zoo at the fourth Dubai Family Forum, which is being organised by Princess Haya bint Al Hussein Islamic Cultural Centre, an affiliate of the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in the emirate.
The forum is being held under the auspices of Princess Haya, wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-president and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Mona Belhasa, assistant to the Director-General of the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities for Institutional Support Affairs and chairperson of the higher organising committee of the event, expressed gratitude and appreciation for the gesture, which helped the zoo achieve its edutainment purposes by increasing the number of animals.
“Spreading over an area of 10,000 square metres, the zoo is home to several rare animals,” she said, adding that it is situated in a vast area designed to resemble nature and provide each animal its suitable habitat.
‘‘The zoo will break the record in terms of visitor turnout by the end of the forum in April,” Belhasa said. The Dubai Family Forum hosts a wide array of events and entertaining activities such as cultural and awareness programmes, poetry sessions, educational courses, Islamic and public lectures and contests that mainly target children to enhance social and traditional principles
Call of threatened frog species saved as a mobile phone ringtone
Keepers at Chester Zoo are hoping that a mobile phone ringtone will help raise awareness of a highly threatened species of frog and save it from extinction.
They have recorded the mating calls of the green eyed frog - one of the world’s most endangered species - and made it available to download from the zoo’s website.
The species is so rare that the zoo in Cheshire is maintaining the world’s only population of green eyed frogs, outside of its native Costa Rica.
Twenty-three of the frogs are being kept in a purpose-built amphibian laboratory, which keepers call an ‘APod’ (Amphibian Pod) and is where they carry out important research and conservation breeding.
In the wild, the zoo also works with the Monteverde Conservation League in Costa Rica to monitor the rare species, also known as the Rancho
Irwin family plays at dolphin habitat
A Las Vegas visit by the family of late Australian TV crocodile hunter Steve Irwin raised questions Thursday about whether they were following through on his plans to open a zoo here.
Irwin's widow, Terri, and their children, Bindi and Robert, were guests of The Mirage on Thursday during the family's tour of Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat.
Before he was killed while filming a stingray in September 2006, Steve Irwin had plans to open a Las Vegas offshoot of the Australia Zoo founded by his parents near Brisbane, according to published reports.
Terri Irwin told an Australian newspaper three years ago that hundreds of Australians would be among 900 people employed at the wildlife showcase in Las Vegas.
Asked whether the family was in town for talks about the zoo, a
5 teenagers referred to prosecutors for burning monkey at zoo with fireworks
Five 18-year-olds had their cases referred to prosecutors on Feb. 23 after a large amount of lit fireworks were thrown in a monkey exhibit at a zoo, burning one of the animals.
According to investigators, in the morning hours of Jan. 3, the teenagers threw lit fireworks into a pen with 26 monkeys, burning the nose of one. Surveillance footage shows what appear to be the teenagers shining flashlights on the monkeys and throwing in fireworks one after the other. After the video was released and caused a stir, the teenagers turned themselves in to police. According to the Fukuchiyama Police Station, they have admitted to the allegations, saying they did it for fun.
On Feb. 15, the teenagers went to the zoo to apologize and were told by the head of the zoo, Toshikuni Nihonmatsu, that he wanted them to apologize to the animals. Reportedly, the teenagers
Trying to get zoo animals to breed is both art, science
With her gray, hairy whiskers, deep wrinkles and jagged claws, Meatball, a southern three-banded armadillo, isn’t the sexiest animal at the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Solitary by nature, this type of armadillo gives birth to only one offspring at a time. Candles and champagne won’t work for these loners. Their human caretakers need to study their habits to learn what puts them in the mood, analyzing hormones to try to figure out when females are most receptive to mating and whom they might be interested in.
“Compatibility is a real issue,” said Dave Bernier, general curator at the Lincoln Park Zoo. “You have to worry about aggression. Stress levels need to be low.”
Birds do it, bees do it, even armadillos do it. And for more than a decade, about 90,000 animals living in North American zoos and aquariums like Meatball have mated — or not — under the watchful eye of zookeepers in a program based at the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Started in 2000, the Population Management Center brings together the country’s zoos and aquariums to help endangered species survive, avoid inbreeding of genetically linked animals and keep zoos full but not overcrowded.
Now, the PMC is moving into its next phase, a more advanced animal match.com and one that officials at the Lincoln Park Zoo hope will lead to an even deeper understanding of the most basic of animal instincts. A new online database is helping researchers gauge what happens when they transfer animals to other zoos to mate. How does the animal adjust to its new surroundings? How does the introduction go for the new mate? Do they mate and successfully produce healthy offspring? The new PMCTrack aims to find out, analyzing thousands of data points about America’s zoo animals.
For many of these animals, this isn’t about sex. It’s about species survival, the motivation driving different institutions to work together for a common goal.
“This is more than about baby animals,” said Sarah Long, PMC’s director. “We want to save species. It’s not often you see separate economic entities working together. It’s still amazing to me it all works.”
For other species, not breeding is as important as getting their groove on. “We don’t have space for everyone to breed willy-nilly,” Long said. “Everything is planned.”
Each animal species has a team of matchmakers, zoo staff from around the country who volunteer their time to weigh in on matches. In person or online, the teams weigh everything from the animals’ personalities to their genetic makeup before recommending if animals be moved from one zoo to another for a possible match.
Some animals, like Meatball, are classified as “holds” — basically a sentence to celibacy for a variety of reasons. In Meatball’s case, she was hand-raised and is small in size. Bernier is concerned she would have trouble giving birth.
Like human matchmaking, animal matchmaking
Vulture egg ‘breaks’ all hopes
Dashing long-awaited hopes of breeding, the egg laid by a white-backed vulture a fortnight ago at the Nehru Zoological Park fell from the nest and smashed to the ground. The male vulture, in a bid to readjust the nest pulled out a few twigs which led to the egg falling down, zoo officials said. This was captured by the CCTV cameras installed at the breeding centre.
The egg was crucial for the centre that became operational about a year-andhalf ago, four years after it was announced, to initiate captive breeding of the endangered birds. The scavenging birds have been almost wiped out
UK shamed as appetite for cheap timber sees it top sales of illegal wood
The £700 million trade is 'one of the best kept secrets', say campaigners, with consumers largely unaware they are buying illegally felled timber
The UK has only one year left to get ready for new EU rules designed to stop the import and sale of illegally logged wood, timber and paper - but is it ready?
From March 2013, companies importing timber into the EU will be required to keep evidence documenting where the wood has come from. In practice this means companies will have to do as much as they can to ensure their timber is legal. If they can't prove this 'due diligence' they will be liable for prosecution, which could lead to a fine and ban on trading.
However, with the onus on individual countries to enforce the rules and loopholes already exposed, campaigners fear sales of illegal wood will continue.
With an estimated £700 million worth of illegally logged timber bought by consumers every year, WWF estimates the UK is the biggest market in terms of value in Europe. This is largely because it buys so much both directly and indirectly from countries with illegal felling problems, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
As well as the conservation value of forests, illegally logged timber deprives local communities of their livelihood, government tax revenues and has been linked to conflict. Illegal wood also depresses the market price by between 7-16 per cent, according to estimates, making it more difficult for legitimate traders who are sustainably managing wood a
Two-headed tortoise goes on show in Ukraine
A two-headed Central Asian tortoise has gone on show at the natural science museum in Kiev where visitors will be able to observe the different eating habits of each head over the next two months.
"Strictly speaking it isn't a tortoise with two heads, but rather two conjoined tortoises," Yuri Yuravliov, a zoologist, told AFP.
"The female has two heads, two hearts, four front legs, but only two hind ones, and one intestine," he explained.
The five-year-old tortoise has a heart-shaped shell, about a dozen centimetres in width, according to an AFP journalist.
The two heads are quite different, even in their feeding habits.
The left one is more dominant and active, "prefers green food, while the other prefers more brightly-coloured food -- carrots and dandelion flowers," said Yuravliov.
The tortoise, a species that can live 50 to 60 years, was kept from birth by a Ukrainian in his home, he said.
"Animals with this type of pathology
Mystery how Asian jungle 'cat' came to be living wild in north Cumbria
Members of the Australasian zoo industry are surprised Lion Man Craig Busch is back working at Whangarei's lion park, an experienced consultant says.
Australasian zoo consultant Tim Husband said news that Mr Busch was involved in the purchase of the park - to be known as Zion Wildlife Kingdom - had been greeted as a "joke" by several zoo operators.
Mr Husband is a zoo consultant who was hired by Zion Wildlife Gardens operator Patricia Busch in June 2009 to iron out safety concerns and get the park re-opened for customers.
Mr Husband said he discovered several things that made him uncomfortable during his time at Zion, saying big cats had not only been declawed, but had their toes amputated at the joint, so claws and toe were gone. He also questioned the breeding of what were supposed to be rare Barbary lions, claiming they were not recorded in a stud book and were not part of a breeding programme.
Mr Husband's concerns were put to Mr Busch, who responded through his lawyer, Noel King, saying it was unfortunate Mr Husband chose the present time for his comments.
"His [Mr Husband] primary concern should be the cats and where they'll stay in future," Mr King said.
Beth McVerry and Ian Stevenson of Tauranga last week announced they were the new owners of Zion, with Mr Busch back at the park with his big cats.
Park operator Patricia Busch, Mr Busch's
Being a zookeeper is a very public job. Even though a lot of our work takes place behind the scenes, a zoo is a business that owes it's livelihood to the people who come to visit every day. And people love to talk to zoo keepers and watch us do our job. Most of the time, keepers are happy to speak with visitors and share our knowledge of the animals and our passion for conservation. But there are always those zoo visitors who seem to ask asinine questions just to annoy keepers, and comedians who think the old "That's a funny-looking monkey/bird/tiger!" joke is an original. If you'd like to avoid being "that guy", here's a list of things zookeepers with you knew.
Those animal identification signs aren't just for decoration.
The whole purpose of going to the zoo is to learn about strange and exotic creatures. Knowing that our zoo guests aren't going to be familiar with many of the animals at the zoo, the graphics or education department has thoughtfully labeled every exhibit with colorful, informative signs. The answer to the question "What is that?" can be found on those signs. This is especially important in a mixed-species exhibit, where there will be more than one kind of animal. Please take a minute to actually read the exhibit sign. If it still doesn't answer your question, then the keeper will be happy to!
If the keeper is in the exhibit, usually the animal is not.
No, we don't go in with our tigers/bears/orangutans. At least, not if we would like to make it home for dinner. Zoo animals are trained to "shift" to an off-exhibit holding area while their main exhibit is serviced. Even animals that would not be considered dangerous are generally moved off exhibit to make it easier for keepers to move around without worrying if the animal is underfoot or trying to get out of the exhibit. It's also a great way to get a good look at the animal to check for general health and do training. When you see a keeper in the exhibit, the animal is elsewhere. Come back later!
Just because I'm carrying a bucket doesn't mean I'm going to go feed something.
Zoo staff understand that the ubiquitous vision of a keeper involves a bucket, usually full of tasty food for the animals. In reality, we use buckets for all kinds of things; sand, water, even garbage. I once had a visitor ask me "What are you going to feed?" while I was carrying a paint can! If you're really curious, go ahead and ask the
On 31 January 2012 and after some months of stand-by, the Commission for Production and Commerce of the Greek Parliament passed a law banning the use of all animal species in any form of show business, thus also and above all in the circus.
So far, this is a unique measure in Europe, which bans the keeping of animals if the purpose is to make them participate in any form of entertainment in front of an audience.
Obviously, the regulation concerns all forms – also minimal ones – of a show with animals in front of an audience. Zoos, aquariums, pet shops etc., however, are allowed on condition they do not provide any performance in front of spectators.
The law appears even more unusual if you take into consideration that Greece has no national circus of its own but that so far only companies from abroad have performed in this
Officials at the Calgary Zoo may be anxiously awaiting the 2018 arrival of a pair of giant pandas on loan from China, but some animal advocate groups are sounding a cautionary note.
Julie Woodyer, campaign director for the national animal protection charity Zoocheck Canada, said her organization has reservations about the $1-million per year lending fee that both the Calgary and Toronto zoos will have to cough up as a result of the Chinese deal.
Woodyer said zoos should be concentrating on improving their existing facilities rather than investing massive amounts of money in one star attraction.
“The fact is many facilities around the world that have brought in pandas have lost significant amounts of money,” Woodyer said. “There’s this belief that there’s going to be
A leopard growls angrily and chases away two of his companions, marking his territory inside a dingy, tiny cage at the Dubai Zoo.
The leopards, along with about 125 other species at the zoo, have been surviving in close quarters and harsh temperatures for more than four decades. But they may soon have more room to stretch their legs.
The municipality announced yesterday that it had commissioned a study to shift the two-hectare, government-run zoo from Jumeirah to new, world-class premises.
Within two months a consultancy and action team is to come up with the final concept, proposing a new location and required area, and recommending the allocation of space for each species according to international standards, said Hussain Lootah, the director general of the municipality.
When the Dubai Zoo was built in 1967 it had several dozen animals, but that number has greatly increased. Many animals have been donated privately or given to the zoo after Dubai Customs discovered them being smuggled into the UAE.
As a result, they are forced to share cages and jostle for room, and not always with their own kind.
The lack of space and poor living conditions at the public park have been under fire from visitors and activists for several years.
“The current zoo should be improved as it is very old and small after the huge development around it, and increasing number of animals and visitors,” Mr Lootah said.
The consultants had given the municipality the option of keeping animals in a “safari”, an open-air environment or enclosures.
“We are going to adopt the cages system, considering the area constraints in the emirate,” Mr Lootah said. “The cages will be arranged and distributed in accordance with each category and type of animals, birds and other species in a comfortable way.”
He said cages were common at zoos in most countries.
The park will have a team of specialists, veterinarians and curators, officials said.
A giant tortoise called Darwin will this month be donated to the Cotswold Wildlife Park by the government of the Seychelles.
The new arrival is part of an exciting conservation project between the Seychelles National Botanical Gardens and Cotswold Wildlife Park.
The project aims to enhance the conservation of these amazing reptiles and their birthplace in the Seychelles.
Georgia Dunlop, who was heavily involved in the project as the Seychelles’ Tourism Ambassador in the UK, said that the project was a “dream come true”. She hopes it will start a partnership between the countries which will last many years.
These particular tortoises originate from the Aldabra lagoon in the Indian Ocean and are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES).
Darwin is 25 years old - a youngster in terms of tortoise years. He will be the fourth Aldabra Giant Tortoise to make the Wildlife Park his home.
He was named after the famous scientist Charles Darwin, who was one of the first to encourage the protection of the Aldabra species.
Jamie Craig, Curator of the Cotswold Wildlife Park
Edinburgh Zoo has been told to conduct a full review of its financial controls following an inquiry into complaints over how it has been run.
A report by The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) cleared the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland of any misconduct.
However, it found "areas of governance that could be improved".
It follows complaints from animal welfare charities over the viability of the 10-year lease of two giant pandas.
Last year the then acting zoo chief executive Gary Wilson and senior official Iain Valentine were suspended.
However they were later both reinstated after the zoo found they had been subjected to "a deeply unpleasant and malicious smear campaign by person or persons unknown".
The report found the zoo needs to tighten its practices and review its disciplinary procedures.
Royal Zoological Society of Scotland chairman Manus Fullerton said: "The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has now concluded its inquiry into the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland following a number of complaints made in 2011 relating to the deployment of policy, procedure and practice.
"We are pleased to report that none of the complaints has been upheld and that OSCR is satisfied that trustees have acted with appropriate care and diligence and in the best interests of the society.
"OSCR has made a number of recommendations in relation to internal controls and governance.
"It acknowledges the trustees had already started work on implementing changes covered by their recommendations prior to the inquiry.
"Policies relating to financial procedures, procurement and contract management have been reviewed and significant steps taken to strengthen management controls."
The OSCR report said: "It is clear from the evidence presented during the course of our inquiries that there have been past weaknesses with respect to the level of overall control exerted by the charity trustees over the senior management team.
"A symptom of this was the lack of full and consistent deployment of key policies, procedures and good practice across the society which was manifested in an apparent lack of understanding and/or compliance with these across the organisation.
"However, the charity trustees have already undertaken considerable work to identify areas that need to be strengthened and are taking appropriate action to address the weaknesses."
John Robins, of Animal Concern said: "I still maintain that the extremely high costs involved in leasing and caring for two giant pandas (plus any possible offspring
STAFF at Knowsley Safari Park have been keeping up a constant ‘poacher watch’ over their herd of seven rhinos after the price for the animals’ horns reached a staggering £25,000 a kilo.
After the soaring cost of rhino horn in the Far East, zoos and safari parks in the UK, including Knowsley, have been put on red alert over concerns they could be the target for ruthless poachers.
It follows a warning from the National Wildlife Crime Unit over increasing worries that the soaring prices could prove tempting for criminals.
However David Ross, general manager at Knowsley Safari Park, said he was confident that their security measures, which were already in place, are more than adequate.
He said: “Yes, we were given a warning. It’s unbelievable the price of this on the black market.
“It costs around $40,000 (£25,000) a kilo, and people are going to great lengths to get it.
“Poaching has gone up from a relatively low level to more than 400 animals last year.
“The demand dictates the price. These people kill the rhino and saw off the horn. Unfortunately everything has a price.
“Ours here are particularly secure. We have seven at the moment and they are breeding like mad.
“We have strict security, with several people living on site who constantly monitor them. We were already ahead before the warnings.”
He stressed that thefts of animals from some zoos is common, especially birds and in particular parrots.
He added: “But when people are willing to pay ridiculous
A Cornish wildlife park has become the new home of two rare cats rescued from animal traffickers.
Brothers Willow and Timber have spent the last four years at an animal shelter at Amsterdam airport after they were seized by customs officials.
The pair had been found on a flight from the USA, but neither had any papers and as a result have been effectively living in captivity ever since.
Blood tests have shown the brothers are Savannah cats, a mix between wild African Serval cats and the Egyptian Mau, a domesticated breed.
They are now making a new home at Porfell Wildlife Park and Sanctuary near Liskeard, where they will have a large enclosure to run free.
John Palmer, owner of Porfell, said he would be using the animals as a case to demonstrate to visitors why it was wrong to encourage cross breeding between wild and domestic animals.
"These poor animals are breed purely for selfish financial gain without concern for the animal which belongs neither in the wild or the home," he said.
"By buying these animals, it is encouraging large-scale business in breeding and supplying the pet trade with an unnatural animal which will almost certainly be kept in unnatural environments and become
Poachers have killed more than 200 elephants in Cameroon in just six weeks, in a "massacre" fuelled by Asian demand for ivory.
A local government official said heavily armed poachers from Chad and Sudan had decimated the elephant population of Bouba Ndjida National Park in Cameroon's far north in a dry season killing spree.
"We are talking about a very serious case of trans-frontier poaching, involving well-armed poachers with modern weapons from Sudan and Chad who are decimating this wildlife species to make quick money from the international ivory trade," said Gambo Haman, governor of Cameroon's North region.
Speaking on local radio, Haman said some of the poachers were on horseback and operated in cahoots with the local population, who were given free elephant meat and were glad to be rid of animals that damage their crops.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said cross-border poaching was common during the dry season but the scale of the killings so far this year was unprecedented.
"This latest massacre is massive and has no comparison to those of the preceding years," the group said in a
Playful little vervet monkeys have a new toy in their zoo enclosure – a 10ft Nile crocodile
In search of fun, the monkeys swing down from their ropes and tweak the croc’s tail, before an almost imperceptible movement sends them scurrying away.
If one of the monkeys were to get close enough to the reptile’s powerful jaws, it would be in a position to observe that they contain about 65 large and very sharp teeth.
The monkey might also discover that, while it is more agile at seeking out its prey in water, even on dry land the croc can reach a surprisingly nifty 14kph in pursuit of dinner.
But by that time, of course, it could be too late.
Do the monkeys know they’re dicing with death? Oh yes, says Dr Arshad Toosy, acting director of conservation and development at Al Ain Zoo.
“They know by instinct that he is a dangerous animal, but that doesn’t mean they’re not playful.”
The five-year-old crocodile is fed a chicken once every three days, but Dr Toosy said it would attack a monkey if left hungry. So far, no close calls have been reported.
It is not unusual for the zoo to introduce a mixed-species exhibit, but this is the first time it has brought together primates and crocodiles.
The enclosure, which they share with more than a dozen turtles, replicates a real wildlife habitat, recreating what would be a common scene in eastern Africa.
It was specially
A trio of rare white lions will soon be on display at the Toronto Zoo, but that’s about all we can tell you about the city’s newest exotic animals.
One male and two female white lion cubs landed in Toronto on Thursday and are now in quarantine at the zoo, a senior official told the Star.
The lions are expected to be the big summer draw for the struggling zoo, which has seen two straight years of declining attendance.
But much about the animals — their names or how long they will stay — remains a mystery. We do know they’re from South Africa and that the zoo paid $45,000 for them, out of existing budget funds.
In keeping with a recent trend of perplexing secrecy, the zoo’s public relations department refused to confirm the arrival of the lions or answer any questions about them.
Staff instead sent a cryptic email response to the Star’s inquires.
“Our plans are in development for 2012 so there is no information to share at this time,” said Shanna Young, the zoo’s director of marketing and communications. “We will continue to provide updates on activities at the zoo when ap
The Reston Zoo is a popular petting zoo for families and also hosts birthday parties for children. It houses a variety of animals, such as goats and camels and chickens and emus. And, until recently, a Wallaby, which looks like a small kangaroo.
But Thursday morning, Fairfax County Police executed a search warrant after an employee at the zoo said the zoo director had drowned a sick Wallaby as a means of euthanasia. In The search warrant, the employee told the officer he'd put the Wallaby in a crate, and later observed the empty crate next to a water spigot with a five gallon bucket of water.
The warrant says the employee jumped into a dumpster and found a trash bag containing the deceased wallaby which was profusely wet.
The officer wrote that the director said she euthanized the Wallaby by injection with a drug called Beauthanasia. But, the officer found no blood at the supposed injection site and noted
The male Rabb's fringe-limbed tree frog was believed to be one of two left in the world.
Zoo Atlanta said Friday it had to euthanize an ill frog — believed to be one of two of its kind left in the world — whose species was only discovered in 2005.
The decision to euthanize the male Rabb's fringe-limbed tree frog followed serious decline in his health, Zoo Atlanta said.
Zoo officials also wanted to prevent further suffering and preserve its genetic material.
“Amphibians decompose much more rapidly than do many other classes of animals. Had the frog passed away overnight when no staff members were present, we would have lost any opportunity to preserve precious genetic material,” Joseph Mendelson, Zoo Atlanta’s curator of herpetology said in a statement.
“To lose that chance would have made this extinction an even greater tragedy in terms of conservation, education and biology.”
Herpetologists don't believe there are any Rabb's fringe-limbed tree frogs left in the wild following a fungus that has decimated their populations.
The only other of its kind is another male at the
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be allowed to use bullhooks on elephants during its performances in Atlanta this week despite a countywide ban on the devices.
Bullhooks are tools with long handles and a sharp hook at one end that allows trainers to apply varying degrees of pressure to sensitive spots on an elephant’s body. Circuses say the tools are necessary for the safe handling of elephants, but critics say bullhooks are harmful to the animals.
In June, Fulton County commissioners voted for a ban on the controversial devices, becoming the first Georgia jurisdiction to do so, but on Tuesday, Feb. 14, a Fulton County Superior Court Judge issued an order that temporarily overrode the ban.
In his order, Fulton County Superior Court Judge John Goger said the city of Atlanta had not adopted an elephant ordinance of its own. He also said there is no intergovernmental agreement between the county and the city for animal control services, which enforces the ban.
However, Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts says the city has been paying for and using those county services.?? "It says to me even in the absence of a signed document there is an implied agreement and therefore we have the right to enforce this provision
The day ahead of him is hectic and includes preparing animal diets, cleaning, maintaining and repairing enclosures. But each step of the way he has help.
“I love being a zoo keeper,” he says simply. “It offers me an opportunity to work with wild animals directly and at the same time interact with the general public. I would not change for anything in the world.”
Shirinda, who has a degree in nature conservation from the University of South Africa, has been at the zoo for a decade, caring for all sorts of animals. He speaks briefly about his passion for wildlife, and admits that he has a soft spot for the African hippo.
“I know is a destructive animal and feared by many people. But I am fascinated by how fast it moves despite its heavy weight.”
Much of the cleaning and feeding is done before 9am, when the zoo opens for visitors. “There is a lot of work to be done in the zoo before visitors come in. The foods that have been prepared from the kitchen to feed the animals are collected.”
After slipping into his khaki uniform and thick shoes, the day begins with a meeting.
Here, the zookeepers skim through the daily reports from the previous day to see if there are any issues with the animals which have to be taken into account.
The meeting breaks up, and Shirinda
New zoo in the offing in Dubai
Can the jungle law save orangutans?
What's that you say? My favourite fact of 2011? I was beginning to think you'd never ask. It's this – there are more pandas in Scotland than Tory MPs.
Here we are in 2012, and I'm still a bit tickled by that. It's 2-1 to the bamboo-scoffing doe-eyed layabouts.
And last night's Wild About Pandas (BBC2, 9pm) showed how it all came about. The panda part, that is.
They didn't really touch on the Scotland's-only-got-one-Tory bit. Probably doesn't need explaining.
Anyway, this cheery film set off with a vet and a zookeeper to a panda sanctuary in China, where Tian Tian and Yang Guang lounged about in blissful ignorance of their looming upheaval.
Edinburgh Zoo is paying £600,000 a year to hire the pandas, which have also cost a million quid a year each to insure.
Chuck in the £70,000 of bamboo they'll chew their way through each year, and the quarter of a million the zoo shelled out on building them a new home and you can start to see why grumbly people grumbled.
But the zoo needed to gamble. Visitor numbers are tumbling, and pandas are the A-listers of the zoo world.
Landing Sweetie and Sunshine – as they're conveniently also known – on a 10-year loan is a coup for the zoo, said David Tennant on his gentle voice-over. A coup for the zoo.
If you or I said that, it would barely raise an eyebrow
A baby chimpanzee has found a new mother in a zoo in Germany after she was rejected by her own.
Three-week-old female Nayla's adoption by another chimp at Osnabruek Zoo, north-west Germany, shows the high level of nurturing and maternal instincts of man's closest animal cousins.
More importantly, for a bewildered and lost little mite, it means that Nayla will not have to be raised by human hand but can live among her own.
Nayla was born at Osnabrueck Zoo three weeks ago, but her mother, Vakanga, 17, rejected her at the weekend, casting her aside in her enclosure.
Normally this would have meant instant intervention on the part of zookeepers if he was to survive.
But, before they could step in, zoo staff witnessed something remarkable. A eight-year-old male called Kume stepped in as a surrogate father to the abandoned infant.
Keepers watched as he lovingly groomed the orphaned chimp and carried her around like females do.
Wolfgang Festl, in charge of the primates at the zoo, said: 'We saw at the weekend that she was on her own. And then just hours later she was being cared for by Kume.'
For an entire day the zoo staff watched what was taking place at the colony, where 10 chimps live together.
Mr Festl said: 'Throughout the day Kume was grooming the baby, walking around with him and even stuck his finger in his mouth to keep him quiet - like a dummy.'
Zoo inspector Hans-Jürgen Schröder and director Dr Susanne Klomburg hoped Vakanga would take Nayla back because, helpful though Kume was, he could not feed his new daughter.
Dr Klomburg said: 'If that failed, we hoped we could give a bottle to the baby if Kume sat near the bars.
'Chimps learn through observation and if we had more time we could have showed Kume what we wanted to do with a dummy or a doll.'
But Kume didn't let little Nayla out of his grip for days, and she grew gradually weaker.
Then on Tuesday this week Kume finally left baby Nayla alone and staff we able to enter the enclosure and give her some much-needed milk.
And then keepers witnessed something even more extraordinary.
Nayla was pi
Two rhinos, a mother and a calf, have been killed by poachers in a Limpopo reserve, police said.
Tzaneen police spokeswoman Major General Maggy Mathebula said the two rhinos were found in the Tiergarten Wildlife Reserve near Letsitele on Thursday.
Both had been shot and their horns removed.
Last year, two rhinos were
The lawyer for the former manager of Northland's Zion Wildlife Gardens says his client is taking fresh legal action over the sale of the park, and care of its big cats.
The receivers of the Gardens have sold the debt-ridden park to a company called Zion Wildlife Kingdom, and it is understood the purchaser has engaged the Lion Man, Craig Busch, to help run the enterprise.
The lawyer for Mr Busch's mother and the former park manager, Patricia Busch, says they are filing proceedings against a number of parties including the new owner, and possibly the police and
A BUS carrying 27 people to see wild beasts at a zoo in eastern China was attacked by a group of Bengal tigers, leaving the visitors fearing for their lives for about 20 minutes while the tiger zone's gatekeeper was out for dinner.
At least five adult tigers smashed the bus with their paws, breaking its windows, and bit its tires on Saturday afternoon, according to the Paomaling Wild Animal Zoo in Jinan, capital of Shandong Province.
Zoo employees finally became aware of the incident through security cameras and rushed to open the gate linking the tiger zone to a safe area. No one was injured, the Jinan Times reported yesterday.
The zoo said the tigers were agitated and got "too excited" by some visitors' behavior.
"The tigers have entered the estrus, highly agitated by some of the visitors who deliberately provoked them," according to the announcement published by the zoo.
But visitors denied the allegations, saying the
Tension boiled over at Zion Wildlife Kingdoms after former owner Patricia Busch was locked out and her operator's license for the park is being looked at by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
The drama unfolded about noon yesterday when Mrs Busch returned to the park after having lunch but was denied entry together with her lawyer, Evgeny Orlov.
"We're going to go to court immediately to ask for judicial intervention into this mess, this is, in my view, highly illegal action," Mr Orlov said.
Police were earlier called to the park after the lawyer for Mrs Busch's daughter, Megan Busch, refused to leave when asked to by Zion's new owners.
Megan Busch yesterday pleaded not guilty in the Whangarei District Court to the charge of trespass at the park and was released on bail to re-appear for a defended hearing on May 7.
Police spokeswoman Sarah Kennett said the lawyer, who she
WHEN the Warsaw Zoo was bombed during World War II, killing most of the animals, the zookeepers devised a dangerous plan: they decided to use the cages and enclosures to hide more than 300 Jews who were fleeing the Nazis. Their refuge became one of the most successful hide-outs of the war.
After I wrote about this true story in “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” readers shared their outrage with me about the bombing of a zoo, which they regarded almost as a sacrilege. I heard similar outcries in 2003 after the Baghdad Zoo was bombed. We’re used to the killing of enemies, but we reserve a special circle of hell for people who set fire to zoos. It’s the ultimate massacre of the innocents. The animals are silent victims, supposedly beyond our ideas of good and evil.
More than 150 million people a year visit zoos and aquariums in the United States. Why do we flock to them? It’s not just a pleasant outing with family or friends, or to introduce children (whose lives are a cavalcade of animal images) to real animals, though those are still big reasons. I think people are also drawn to a special stripe of innocence they hope to find there.
Though not a natural world by any means, more like a collection of living dioramas, a zoo exists in its own time zone, somewhere between the seasonal sense of animals and our madly ticking watch time. The relatively quiet, parklike setting offers an oasis in the crowded, noisy, stressful, morally ambiguous world where humans tend to congregate. The random gibbering and roaring, cackling and hooting, yowling and grunting strike ancient chords in us, a feral harmony that intrigues and lulls.
Smells create a subtle olfactory landscape that stirs us: from the sweet drops that male elephants dribble from glands near their eyes in mating season to the scent signposts of lions, hyenas and other animals. Just as dancers have body memory, we have wilderness
Biologist warns that Peta's attempt to apply US constitution to non-humans at SeaWorld could undermine scientific argument
A legal bid to free five orcas from captivity at SeaWorld on the grounds that their "enslavement" is in violation of the US constitution is a "strategic error", a conservationist has warned.
The case, brought by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) against SeaWorld in the US, to be heard this week, has triggered controversy over applying the 13th amendment – which abolished "slavery or involuntary servitude" in America – to non-humans such as killer whales.
In the UK, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society senior biologist Philippa Brakes said that taking a large-brained mammal, which would naturally range in groups over a huge area, against its will and putting it alone in a situation where it was harming itself because of its misery "amounts to slavery".
But she said most of the public would not necessarily see it that way, and they enjoyed seeing orcas and dolphins in marine zoos without being aware of the "hideous lives they're leading".
In the US, Peta has faced criticism over its bid to pursue the freedom of an animal under the 13th amendment.
While the case would bring publicity to the issue of the rights or interests of "non-human persons", something for which some people have been arguing for a long time, if the case fails and there is then case law history against recognising those rights, that would not be helpful for the cause, Brakes warned.
"I would love to be wrong, and that they find for the orcas in this case, but I doubt very much that's going to happen, and I think it's a strategic error," she said.
Five killer whales have been named as plaintiffs in a lawsuit which argues they deserve the same constitutional protection from slavery as humans.
A US judge is considering a complaint by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (Peta) against SeaWorld.
It is reportedly the first time a US court has heard legal arguments over whether animals should enjoy the same constitutional protections as humans.
SeaWorld's legal team said the case was a waste of time and resources.
The marine park's lawyer, Theodore Shaw, told the court in San Diego: "Neither orcas nor any other animal were included in the 'We the people'... when the Constitution was adopted."
He said that if the case were successful, it could have implications not just on how other marine parks or zoos operate, but even on the police use of sniffer dogs to detect bombs and drugs.
Peta says the killer whales are treated like slaves for being forced to live in tanks and perform daily at the SeaWorld parks in California and Florida.
It is not considered likely that the whales will win their freedom, but campaigners said they were pleased the case even made it to a courtroom.
The lawsuit invokes the 13th Amendment
An effort to free whales from SeaWorld by claiming they were enslaved made a splash in the news but flopped in court Wednesday.
A federal judge in San Diego dismissed an unprecedented lawsuit seeking to grant constitutional protection against slavery to a group of orcas that perform at SeaWorld parks, saying the 13th amendment applies
TWO Dudley Zoo keepers have been spending time in a virtual classroom, as well as working alongside some of the rarest animals in the world.
Cerys Grove, aged 21, and 43 year-old Neil Flockhart, are studying for the Diploma in the Management of Zoo and Aquarium Animals which covers conservation, care, nutrition and enclosure design throughout the two year course.
And their studies include internet-based learning as well as traditional on-site skills, including observation and the recording of animal behaviour, how to organise transport between collections, and how to deal with health issues.
Chief executive, Peter Suddock said:?“The course reinforces the high quality practical skills demanded at Dudley Zoo, and we have ensured that all of our keeping staff have this
Cleared in a hurry amid much fanfare, Project Cheetah now waits for funds to fly in the first consignment from Africa. But the once-lost cat stands even less of a chance in a crowded 21st century India, and its reintroduction will pose fresh challenges for other species on the brink of extinction. There may still be just enough time to scrap this dangerous experiment
The cheetah was officially declared extinct in India in 1952. Six decades on, the country has come a long way. The GDP has increased by 66,400 per cent. The human population has grown from 350 million to 1.2 billion. The forest cover remains the same on paper, but more than 40 per cent of it is degraded beyond recognition. Poachers have replaced hunters. Man-animal conflict has become news staple. Even tiger numbers have slipped below the 1972 level when Project Tiger was launched.
And yet, certain experts feel the cheetah could get second time lucky.
Sally emerged last month from her white room at the Denver Zoo into a maze of logs and rope, leaning on her fists, both of them closed loosely as if they cradled buzzing flies.
The 44-year-old Sumatran orangutan ate some oatmeal and peanut butter in the exhibit, studied people on the other side of the glass, and slipped her long fingers into a concrete barrel full of bubble-bath. She scooped up drifts of foam and ate it, giving her a white beard and mustache, and mugged like Lucille Ball for her audience.
She was back to her old self, said Cindy Cossaboon, Sally's principal zookeeper, back to being a "very strong, stubborn woman" who finds loud noises rude and who
For philanthropist Charlie Annenberg Weingarten and his organization Explore.org, cute videos of baby sloths or kid goats on a trampoline do more than make us feel good. They can help save the planet.
The website of the Santa Monica-based organization features a series of live webcams and short films about endangered animals, including polar bears, beluga whales and reef fish. It has just launched its newest webcam initiative, the panda-cam, as an effort to familiarize the world with these critically endangered creatures and inspire efforts to rebuild their destroyed habitat.
Two panda toddlers are the stars of the new camera, which is best viewed after 4:30 p.m. PST. They play together, eat, and move around their habitat. Pandas are seriously endangered, with only about 1,300 in existence.
“It’s really part of a bigger initiative,” said Weingarten, reached by phone while traveling in Aspen, Colo. “I call it Pearls of the Planet. [It] is really based upon my belief that, by serving the natural world, we’ll fall in love with it. My hope is that by being able to observe these sacred creatures, you’ll learn about their habitat, you’ll be able to ask questions, and you’ll be able to become educated.”
The newest cam project began in 2008, when Weingarten visited the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, which was then in Wolong. Shortly after his visit, a massive 8.0 earthquake hit the Sichuan region and destroyed that research center and a whole network of panda preserves in the area, killing a couple of the pandas. When Weingarten reestablished contact with the scientists, they agreed to allow the cameras to be installed as a way to increase international understanding.
The cameras do get a fair amount of traffic. Explore
From a hill overlooking lush pastures on Chiloé Island in Chile, Gicella Saldivia and her family manage a small organic farm and restaurant. Bird-watchers arrive by the busload to marvel at the mix of native and migratory species on nearby Mar Brava Beach. You might assume that a scene this bucolic, and an energy source as clean as wind power, would be a good fit. But Saldivia and many of the 160,000 residents of this 8,000-sq km (3,000 sq-mile) Patagonian isle are at odds, and in court, with Chilean energy company Ecopower over plans to build a $235 million, 56-turbine wind park on Mar Brava. "Chile has a wealth of natural resources to protect that other countries don't," says Saldivia. "This is going to affect my tranquility."
Peace of mind was exactly what alternative energy like wind was supposed to give enviro-conscious citizens like Saldivia. But the Chiloé dispute is a reminder that wind power, like hydroelectric power, has its own potential negatives. That's not what the government of a near-developed but energy-starved nation like Chile wants to hear, especially when its boomingeconomy compels it to double its power output to 30,000 megawatts by 2025. What's more, it creates an awkward p.r. dilemma for the environmental movement, which has long been badgering developing countries to move away from fossilfuels. As Barbara Galletti, president of the Cetacean Conservation
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1600 responds to recent Zoocheck statements concerning PAWS, the animal sanctuary in California, where the Toronto Zoo may send their three African elephants. CUPE Local 1600 represents workers and animal keepers at the Toronto Zoo.
Zoocheck describes itself as a "…national animal protection charity established in 1984 to promote and protect the interests and well-being of wild animals."
"Zoocheck claims that PAWS has stricter quarantine protocols than most accredited zoos, and has general health surveillance procedures during quarantine," said Grant Ankenman, president of CUPE Local 1600.
"Examination of Zoocheck's statements reveals that PAWS appears to be no different than the standard in place at the majority of accredited zoological institutions in North America. CUPE Local 1600 queries Zoocheck's assertion, and would welcome verification, with specifics.
"In addition, Zoocheck makes the claim that the Toronto Zoo's African elephants are not at risk of contracting disease at the PAWS sanctuary," Ankenman continues. "With all due respect, no one can make this claim, especially with regards to an airborne contagion such as tuberculosis. The determining factor is the degree of risk, not the absolution of risk."
Ankenman clarifies that he is not addressing the issue of the actual elephant transfer itself. CUPE Local 1600 will continue to take an interest in the transfer of the Toronto Zoo's elephants, and will be
THE troubled Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve at Koah looks set to be given a new lease of life with new owners.
Jenny Jattke, who has owned the zoo since 2006, confirmed yesterday a deal to sell the property had been struck.
"It has been sold but it is not unconditional," Ms Jattke said.
It is believed the new owners could be in place by March.
Ms Jattke declined to identify the buyers, citing their privacy, or to discuss their plans.
"They want to make their own announcement," Ms Jattke said.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive Rob Giason wanted to know more about the deal.
"If it has been sold to someone wanting to invest in the product so that it is a competitive attraction, that will be good for the region," Mr Giason said.
Tropical Tablelands Tourism chairman Michael Trout said the park was an attraction that added a lot of diversity.
A new owner "always breathes new life" into an enterprise and there was nothing else like
An Auckland Zoo cheetah handler has been injured by of one of the big cats.
The Zoo says the cheetah took a swipe at the zookeeper as she was walking the animal on a lead on Tuesday morning.
Zoo director Jonathan Wilcken says the keeper was taken to an accident and emergency centre but her injuries were minor and she has returned to work.
Mr Wilcken says the zoo is serious
Infectious disease has recently joined poaching and habitat loss as a major threat to African apes. Both “naturally” occurring pathogens, such as Ebola and Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV), and respiratory pathogens transmitted from humans, have been confirmed as important sources of mortality in wild gorillas and chimpanzees. While awareness of the threat has increased, interventions such as vaccination and treatment remain controversial. Here we explore both the risk of disease to African apes, and the status of potential responses. Through synthesis of published data, we summarize prior disease impact on African apes. We then use a simple demographic model to illustrate the resilience of a well-known gorilla population to disease, modeled on prior documented outbreaks. We found that the predicted recovery time for this specific gorilla population from a single outbreak ranged from 5 years for a low mortality (4%) respiratory outbreak, to 131 years for an Ebola outbreak that killed 96% of the population. This shows that mortality rates comparable to those recently reported for disease outbreaks in wild populations are not sustainable. This is particularly troubling given the rising pathogen risk created by increasing habituation of wild apes for tourism, and the growth of human populations surrounding protected areas. We assess potential future disease spillover risk in terms of vaccination rates amongst humans that may come into contact with wild apes, and the availability of vaccines against potentially threatening diseases. We discuss and evaluate non-interventionist responses such as limiting tourist access to apes, community health programs, and safety, logistic, and cost
A PROJECT in Nigeria supported by Paignton Zoo has snapped a photo of a rare forest elephant.
This is the first photograph of a forest elephant ever taken in the Omo Forest.
Paignton Zoo Deputy Head of Education Sue Lowe explained: “People have seen signs such as dung and footprints, but until now no-one has managed to photograph an elephant in the Omo Forest.”
Paignton Zoo has supported the conservation project in the Omo Forest in south-western Nigeria since 1993. It is now part of the Omo-Shasha-Oluwa Initiative, which aims to protect the wildlife of the three adjoining forests from logging and poaching.
Sue Lowe continued: “Elephants play an important role in the ecosystem of the forest – they spread seeds from the fruit and nuts that they eat. Some of these seeds can only germinate after they have been through the digestive system of an elephant. The elephants need the forest and the forest needs the
A huge-eyed little primate of the Philippines can communicate in pure ultrasound — issuing calls so high-pitched that human ears can't detect them.
Study researcher Marissa Ramsier noted the ironic discovery in an animal that has always been considered a quiet night creature. "It turns out that it's not silent. It's actually screaming and we had no idea," said Ramsier, an evolutionary biologist at Humboldt State University
The executive director of the Toledo Zoo, Anne Baker, plans to retire by year's end. As it looks for her successor, the zoo's governing board should aim to build on the economic and educational successes Ms. Baker has achieved.
When she became the zoo's first female director in 2006, Ms. Baker worked to regain community trust after the controversial tenure of her long-time predecessor, William Dennler. Although voters narrowly rejected a levy soon after she took over, she helped persuade them to pass subsequent millages -- including a tax vote last fall, which voters soundly approved despite a tough economy.
Her record includes the construction of a $15.3 million elephant, rhinoceros, and hippopotamus exhibit. She laid the groundwork for a $25 million renovation of the zoo's aquarium. She replaced the outdated children's petting zoo with the award-winning Nature's Neighborhood.
Along with these physical improvements, Ms. Baker has made major advances at the zoo in the fields of renewable energy and climate change. These realities should continue to be valid elements of the zoo's community outreach efforts.
Early in her tenure, Ms. Baker publicly supported the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate the polar bear as a threatened species, largely because of global warming. Right-wing talk radio ridiculed her for that stance, but it was the right one to take. The board, to its credit, stuck by Ms. Baker.
During her years as director, the zoo also has added its first wind turbine, solar panels, and other clean-energy technologies. These things show zoo visitors how greenhouse
Tauranga accountant Ian Stevenson is in the thick of the highly publicised ownership changes being undertaken at Zion Wildlife Gardens near Whangarei.
The lion park, which has over recent years been the scene of an ongoing bitter and public battle between Lion Man Craig Busch and his mother Patricia Busch has been sold by the receiver, Price Waterhouse Coopers, to Zion Wildlife Kingdom Ltd.
The directors are Beth McVerry of Cambridge and Ian Stevenson, who intend to reopen the park to the public.
“It is going to operate as a park,” says Ian.
“We do have some plans for improvements, possible expansion with time – but the first thing is to get it up and running.
“There’s no public access at the moment.
We are working to get the place cleaned up and get the animals organised.
“There are a few issues there, with the well-being of the cats being the first priority, particularly relating to health issues that we are sorting out.”
There are 36 big cats; tigers, Bengal tigers, white lions, lions, cheetahs and a black leopard.
“The black leopard is wicked; I tell you, the eyes pierce through you,” says Ian.
The manner of the takeover of the wildlife park by the new owners made national news, but from an accountancy perspective, Ian says the takeover method used was standard in a receivership.
“Usually you go in, in force with security
The invasive species outnumber humans on the US Caribbean territory but the local government is drawing up plans for a volunteer force to eradicate the lizards.
Puerto Rico has announced plans for a massive cull of an invasive species of iguana and for the sale of harvested meat, according to The Associated Press.
The US territory hopes to eradicate the species with a population of four million, which the AP says outnumbers humans on the island and has long been considered an invasive nuisance.
According to the AP, Daniel Galan Kercad, secretary of natural resources, said his agency had been granted permission to draft plans for volunteers to bring the iguanas to a slaughter house which would
Why zebras sport black-and-white stripes is a question that has nagged experts for decades, but now it’s finally been solved.
Researchers from Lund University in Sweden have shown that the characteristic markings keep horse flies at bay.
They say that the stripes, which are unique to each animal, are unappetising to the hungry pests, which have a nasty bite and spread lethal blood dis
A conservation group demonstrating an anti-poaching method for reporters in South Africa accidentally killed the rhinoceros they were using in the demonstration.
The rhino, nicknamed Spencer, went into convulsions and died after he was shot with a tranquilizer dart in front of a crush of TV cameras and photographers who had been invited to document an operation to insert a poison capsule into his horn.
The private reserve near the capital, Pretoria, calls in veterinarians to sedate rhinos so their horns can be treated with a dye and an insecticide, and tracking and identification
The giant that perished
The largest known razorbill, or auk, was a powerful swimmer that couldn’t fly. Our ancestors carved images of the Great Auk in caves 35,000 years ago. But in the 1800s we drove it to extinction.
The Natural History Collections of the University of Bergen (UiB) includes specimens of the extinct bird, Pinguinus impennis, from nearly all parts of Norway.
They could reach a height of over 70 centimetres, and originally thrived on all the North Atlantic coasts. Colonies were found in Scotland, the Shetlands, Norway, North America, Greenland and Iceland.
The Great Auk is sometimes called the penguin of the Northern Hemisphere. In fact the Welsh name for them was pengwyn, the Spanish and Portuguese sailors called them pingüinos and the present-day penguins of the Southern Hemisphere were named for their resemblance to the Great Auk. Like the penguin, it was flightless, awkward on land and a graceful underwater swimmer.
Small wing bones
Osteologist and zoologist Anne Karin Hufthammer at UiB specialises in bird anatomy. She refers to the Great Auk as one of her favourite museum specimens.
“I’m fairly sure that it descended from birds that could fly, but at some point in time other abilities gained priority,” she says.
“Its small wing bones, compared to species of comparable size, clearly show why the Great Auk couldn’t get off the ground. But it was an excellent swimmer.”
The museum has bones from several individuals. The bone that corresponds to our upper arm bone, the humerus, is amazingly small for such a large species.
“This proves that the wing couldn’t lift the bird. If we look at the bone corresponding to our forearm bones, toward the tip of its wing, we also see how tiny it was compared to other large species,” explains
The elephants were never domesticated, and although captive breeding for sure occured, before and during medevial time, this was ocassionally, by random matings, and probably never leading to a second generation.
The reason, especially in Asia, was simple: it was much easier to catch wild elephants in the forest, and tame and train them, than trying to breed them. Maybe Asian mahouts during medevial times, already then found out, that captive born elephants becomes much more dangerous and aggressive, than wild caught elephants, a fact that obviously still until today is unknown by most laymen, and also many people within the Zoological community. Another reason was that the elephants were used for war or work, why it was more effective to catch semiadult, or adult elephants. Some Indian states actually had written laws, prohibiting capture of elephants younger than 20 years. Investing time, food, and recources in elephant babies was uncommon.
Therefore, Asia had no traditions of captive breeding, and the first recorded babies born in Asia is from the 18 century. The northern african elephant, Loxodonta pharaoensis, (now extinct) which was captured and used for roman time wars by Carthago and Rome, was probably not bred in any remarkable numbers, although some
A Buffalo college is gathering together national and international experts to discuss the future of zoos.
The two-day symposium starting Friday is organized by the Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations at Canisius College.
It will ask animal behavior experts, zoo architects and zoo curators to take on the question of what zoos will look like 50 and 100 years from now. They'll consider topics such as the demographics of future zoo patrons, what visitors' expectations will be, zoos as resources for scientific research and the moral implications for future zoos.
Among those scheduled to attend are two zoo
Chimpanzees in a Russian zoo have learned to clean their cages by watching zookeepers.
A pair of chimpanzees, Yasha and Jessica, grabbed mops, rags and trash bags in order to clean up their two-floor cage on a regular basis, the Udmurtia zoo's press service said.
Yasha was the first to use the mop, which he "covertly obtained" from the zookeepers. The chimpanzee also took special care to clean the glass walls of its cage, "spitting on them before wiping" them, according to the zoo in the Volga region.
The duo eventually split cleaning duties, with Jessica sweeping the cage's ground floor and putting trash in the bag and Yasha taking similar care of the upper floor.
However, other species failed to follow
Skinny and bony, lion at Xiamen Haicang Zoo suspected to be maltreated
Gavin Harrison leapt at the chance to be cast away on a deserted tropical island – even though it was crawling with rats
AS CHOICES go, it shouldn’t have been too difficult. Gavin Harrison was being offered the opportunity to live on a tropical desert island. His home would be a white sand beach surrounded by clear blue waters; he would be lulled to sleep at night by the gentle lapping of waves on the shore.
It sounded like a dream job, but it came with a catch: along with various species of exotic birds, the senior bird keeper at Edinburgh Zoo would be sharing his tropical paradise with thousands of rats.
Their presence would have been enough to put most people off, but it was the need to eradicate the rodents from Henderson Island, a UK overseas territory in the South Pacific, which called for Harrison’s aviculture skills. Harrison was part of a small team charged with protecting the rail, a bird species unique to the island, while the rat eradication project was undertaken.
“There were rats everywhere,” he says. “Most nights we’d get them visiting the camp.” It meant Harrison and his five fellow team members had to be scrupulous about tidying up after themselves. Even items like soap and toothpaste had to be carefully stored to stop the rats from gnawing them.
Described by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds as an “ecological time-capsule”, Henderson Island is home to 55 species of endemic birds and plants and is a World Heritage Site thanks to its unique, pristine flora and fauna. Harrison’s work was part of a larger RSPB and Pitcairn Islands government operation to conserve rare seabirds by removing non-native Pacific rats. The rodents, who probably reached Henderson Island from visiting boats centuries ago, were destroying the island’s habitat, driving the endangered Henderson petrel to extinction, and significantly damaging the populations of other bird species, rare plants, insects and snails, all found nowhere else on earth.
Toronto Zoo’s chief executive will provide an update about a special exhibit, which one report is saying will be a pair of pandas from China.
Members of the zoo board are meeting Thursday morning, and one of the items on the agenda is an update by CEO John Tracogna on “a future special exhibit.” But no further details were provided, and officials weren’t immediately available for comment.
Citing sources, the Globe and Mail reported Thursday that the panda announcement will be made next week during Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s five-day visit to China.
The zoo has been trying for years to bring a pair of pandas to Toronto, and even struck a Giant Panda Acquisition Task Force comprised of board and external members in its effort to raise funds and acquire the animals.
In an August 2010 letter, Tracogna said “The Zoo’s goal is to introduce the new giant panda cooperation and research project in conjunction with the 2015 PanAm
Bird enthusiasts are reporting rising numbers of snowy owls from the Arctic winging into the lower 48 states this winter in a mass southern migration that a leading owl researcher called "unbelievable."
Thousands of the snow-white birds, which stand 2 feet tall with 5-foot wingspans, have been spotted from coast to coast, feeding in farmlands in Idaho, roosting on rooftops in Montana, gliding over golf courses in Missouri and soaring over shorelines in Massachusetts.
A certain number of the iconic owls fly south from their Arctic breeding grounds each winter but rarely do so many venture so far away even amid large-scale, periodic southern migrations known as irruptions.
"What we're seeing now -- it's unbelievable," said Denver Holt, head of the Owl Research Institute in Montana.
"This is the most significant wildlife event in decades," added Holt, who has studied snowy owls in their Arctic tundra ecosystem for two decades.
Holt and other owl experts say the phenomenon is likely linked to lemmings, a rodent that accounts for 90 percent of the diet of snowy owls during breeding months that stretch from May into September. The largely nocturnal birds also prey on a host of other animals, from voles to geese.
An especially plentiful supply of lemmings last season likely led to a population boom among owls that resulted in each breeding pair hatching as many as seven offspring. That compares to a typical clutch size of no more than two, Holt said.
Demand from Asia is driving the killing of Africa's elephants for their tusks, with seizures hitting a record high in 2011 following a ban in 1989
Last year was the worst year for ivory seizures in Africa since an international ivory ban went into effect in 1989. During 2011, authorities seized more than 23 tons of ivory, which represented about 2,500 individual elephants killed.
At the forefront of efforts to track this grim data is Tom Milliken, the elephant expert for TRAFFIC, the group that monitors the international trade in wildlife under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). In that role, the U.S.-born Milliken tracks and analyzes data related to the ivory trade and attempts to raise awareness of the importance of preserving one of Africa's most iconic species.
Milliken, who has lived in Africa since 1991, attributes the latest spike in ivory seizures to a seemingly insatiable demand for ivory in Asia and the increasingly sophisticated network of criminal gangs that are feeding the market.
In an interview with Yale Environment 360 contributor Christina Russo, Milliken talked about the factors leading to the continued slaughter of elephants and about the lack of strong law-enforcement against ivory traffickers. "The fact that nobody is ever arrested, and there are no prison sentences," he said of cases where ivory is seized, "just sends them right back into the bush to accumulate more ivory faster because they want to make up for what they just lost."
Yale Environment 360: Last year was arguably the worst for large-scale elephant seizures since the ivory ban in 1989, with the seizure of more than 23 tons of elephant tusks. Did you see this crisis coming?
Tom Milliken: In one sense, yes. I've been running a database, the Elephant Trade Information System [ETIS] for CITES, as the monitoring system for illegal trade. And in every analysis that we've done since 2004, illegal trade in ivory has been escalating. The last time we did a major assessment, in 2009, it was escalating at a rate faster and greater than we had seen previously...
Two orangutans (mother and child) were rescued on January 22, 2012 and released on January 25, 2012 in Kehje Sewen Forest, in the Regency of East Kutai, East Kalimantan. Kehje Sewen is a forest ecosystem restoration concession (HPH-RE). The right to manage this area has been awarded to PT RHOI.
Jakarta, February 2, 2012. After nearly a week combing several oil palm plantations in the regency of Kutai Kartanegara, East Kalimantan, the Rescue and Release Operation which began on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 finally paid off. On Sunday, January 22, 2012, the Rescue Team, which was a joint-team of staff from PT Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia (RHOI), Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF), and The Office of Conservation and Natural Resources of East Kalimantan (BKSDA
A spotted leopard that survived a wildlife massacre at a ramshackle home zoo in Ohio has been euthanized after an accident at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, where it was being held in quarantine.
The leopard was being moved between two enclosures about 11 a.m. Sunday when it was struck in the back of the neck by a heavy security door that was being lowered at the time. The change in enclosures appears to have been part of the zoo's normal cleaning and feeding routine.
"The leopard moved through the opening but then unexpectedly darted back as the door was being lowered, striking it on the neck," according to a statement released by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which was overs
FAMILIES visiting a zoo were left in tears after lions ate an owl which had flown into their enclosure.
Ash the barn owl was taking part in a display with his handler when a lioness in the enclosure clubbed him out of the air.
Watching children screamed as a male lion then pounced and devoured the bird. Keepers rushed into the lion enclosure at Colchester Zoo, Essex, but could not save Ash.
The crowd was quickly moved on and the area closed to the public. Gavin Duthie, from Colchester, had been enjoying the owl display with his two-year-old son, Daniel. He said:
CAS prof studies links between nutrition, reproduction
Crashing through undergrowth, splashing through creeks, Cheryl Knott races to keep up with the 100-pound ape adroitly clambering through the lush canopy overhead. She’s following the wild orangutan, whom she calls Beth, through the Indonesian rain forest, documenting the animal’s daily search for fruit to feed herself and the newborn infant clinging to her reddish fur.
The scene typifies Knott’s many research expeditions to Gunung Palung National Park in an Indonesian province on the island of Borneo, where the College of Arts & Sciences associate professor of anthropology has been studying orangutans since 1992. In addition to observing and documenting the behavior of the endangered species, Knott and her field team of Western and Indonesian researchers gather samples of the orangutans’ food, which she’ll later analyze for calorie and nutrient content, and of their urine, which she’ll test to measure the animals’ hormone levels. Her not-so-glamorous role as an “orangutan pee collector” earned Knott a place in Popular Science’s 2005 list of the worst jobs in science. “Have I been pissed on? Yes,” she told the magazine.
Knott began studying orangutans as a graduate student at Harvard in the early 1990s. “I was interested in a general sense in reproduction because evolution operates through reproductive success,” she says. While her initial interest was in human reproduction, she “started to realize that we actually
The CareerBuilder.com ad campaign featuring chimps has been a popular one.
Last year's Super Bowl ad ranked No. 6 on the USA TODAY ad meter.
Now officials from Lincoln Park Zoo are trying to ban the ads because they believe it harms conservation and makes people believe that chimps can be pets.
"If people see them that way they are less likely to try and conserve them," Dr. Steve Ross, assistant director of the zoo's Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes told Don Babwin of the Associated Press. "Individual chimps are being harmed and wild populations are being harmed by this frivolous use of an endangered species."
Ross says the company has been ignoring his letters since 2005 and does expect them
Knoxville Zoo’s animal artists have been hard at work creating original pieces of art for your SWEETHEART! Get ready to make a bid on one-of-a-kind works of art created WITH LOVE by the animals with fingers, paws, noses, trunks, tails, fur and brushes too. From elephants to rabbits, these unique pieces - with a romantic flair - will provide just the right accent for a home or office. And with Valentine's Day right around the corner they make the perfect gift for that special animal lover in your life.
Visitor numbers at Edinburgh Zoo are up 200% thanks to the recent arrival of giant pandas.
Around 70,000 people have seen Tian Tian and Yang Guang since they went on public display in December, more than three times the number who visited the zoo in the same period of 2010.
Around 1,000 cuddly panda toys, some costing as much as £40, have been bought from the zoo shop each week since the animals went on display.
Edinburgh Zoo chief executive Hugh Roberts said: "We've been fully booked almost every day so far and expect the popularity of Tian Tian and Yang Guang to continue. Visitors' faces have been amazing, both young and old. For the vast majority of people this is the first chance they've had in their lifetime to cast their eyes on a giant panda."
Visitors are not charged extra to enter the panda enclosure but time slots need to be reserved due to the high demand.
Around 200 spaces are available for each half-hourly interval and this scheme has been extended to March to ensure as many people as possible can see the bears each day.
Mr Roberts added: "As well as being incredibly endangered and rarely seen
Fewer U.S. zoos of the future may have elephants but those that do would have happier animals under a new policy requiring American zoos with two elephants to add space for a third in case one dies.
Starting in 2016, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums will require room for three elephants if a zoo wants to retain the AZA's coveted accreditation.
"Elephants are social creatures, they require other elephants," said AZA spokesman Steve Feldman.
There are 20 or so two-elephant zoos in the United States, such as the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, where African elephants Cinda and Stephanie have been together for 40 years. Unless the zoo is expanded, they would have to move, possibly getting split up.
"They are like sisters, they came here when they were five feet tall and grew up together," said Mike Quick, curator of mammals at the Sedgwick County Zoo.
What would happen if one died?
"It would be traumatic," Quick said. "That's why it's important to have other elephants so you don't go through that experience."
Quick supports the AZA three-elephant standard, even though he is not sure how his zoo will deal with it four years from now. The cost of making room for three elephants would be about $1 million, Quick said, and then the zoo would need to find a third elephant.
About 70 of the 225 zoos accredited by the AZA have at least two elephants and none have only one elephant,
All about rhinoceros conservation, research, education – in all languages – on all subjects.
In this issue:
Capture of Puntung in Sabah
Rhino horn thefts
The Rhinoceros in Mammals of the World
Bibliography of Fossil Rhinocerotidae
Pachyderm 50 is near
RRC Website Report 2011
Douwe Mout and rhino Clara
Rhinos in Modern Art
Rhino literature in the 21st century
New additions to the RRC on African, Asian and Fossil Rhinos
The total number of references in the database and collection of the RRC now stands at 16,219.
There are over 14,795 references available as PDF on the RRC website.
We've had some unexpected animal run-ins at Dartmoor zoo – it can be an unforgettable educational experience
When I heard that Colchester zoo had lost one of its owls to one of its lions, my first thought was: "That could have been us, or any other zoo in the country." Although our falcon display takes place a good distance from the bears, wolves, lions and tigers, the birds do sometimes become distracted and make forays into areas they shouldn't.
Fortunately, so far, they have always – eventually – returned to the capable gauntlet of David our falconer. Being on the edge of Dartmoor, where big buzzards and falcons are not uncommon other wild birds often fly nearby. I once watched one of our falcons become a speck in the sky a mile away while it checked out a potential mate or rival, and my greatest concern then was actually for our two meerkats, who are the natural prey of such birds – luckily they never forget it, constantly checking the sky and darting into their burrows even when a plane flies past.
From that distance looking down at the park, these two bite-sized mammals would have looked pretty appetizing to a large bird of prey flying in. It would have been a dramatic climax for David's display, though not the outcome we'd want, if the crowd had witnessed the falcon swoop down and carry off Timone or Sue in their talons, squeaking plaintively "I knew this would happen."
And we have had some unexpected animal run-ins ourselves. Our Siberian lynx, Karuna, caught three peacocks while she was in quarantine here, waiting to go into her enclosure. Because the quarantine is usually empty, the peacocks got used to roosting there, and took a while to adapt to the idea that there was suddenly a large, well equipped jumping predator living there, who specialises in taking birds in flight.
Karuna's success with the peacocks may have actually tainted her relationship with her mate, Les. When they were first introduced, he gallantly caught a mouse and passed it through the fence for her. But she turned her nose up and walked away unimpressed, as if to say: "Bring me an emu and maybe we can talk." She's been remained pretty unimpressed with Les ever since.
The most spectacular catch I wish I'd seen was when Josie, our lioness, caught a wild heron in flight, more than 10 feet off the ground. The heron was scouting for scraps from the lions' food, and thinking it was far enough up to be safe. Which, in normal circumstances it would be. But not above a lion enclosure. Several people saw her
Local conservationists are taking on the number one movie in the nation. “The Grey” shows actor Liam Neeson struggling for survival against a pack of wolves.
But the wolf keepers at the Westchester Wolf Conservation Center told CBS2′s Lou Young that they’re upset about the way the animals are being portrayed in “The Grey”.
“This movie does exploit an irrational fear, and it’s going to keep growing,” said Spencer Wilhelm. “They used wolves in making that film. Behaviorally, wolves are not going to do things like that.”
The conservationists at the center raise and care for endangered wolves before releasing them into the wild out west, and in the south to improve ecological balance.
In the wild the wolves face an already
An Australian biology professor is causing a rumble in the academic jungle by suggesting that his country should import elephants and other foreign species into its wild interior.
Rhinos and even giant Komodo dragon lizards could be imported, David Bowman suggests in an article in Nature.
He says Australia is just not managing its most pressing ecological problems, and something radical is needed.
But some fellow scientists say it is just a bad and dangerous idea.
Others, however, are supportive, seeing potential for helping beleaguered Aboriginal communities and reducing the risk of forest fires, as repairing some damaged ecology.
The problems Prof Bowman proposes solving with his radical zoological armoury stem from the huge changes wrought by the two waves of human arrival - the first by forebears of the Aborigines about 50,000 years ago, and the second by European settlers a few hundred years ago.
The first initiated the slow demise of the spectacular megafauna that once bestrode the giant continent.
They included the marsupial lion, a metre and a half long and a powerful predator; the diprotodon, a wombat bigger than a cow; giant birds such as the Dromornidae family that once boasted Stirton's Thunder Bird, three metres high; and crocodiles, lizards and turtles bigger than any still walking this Earth.
Take so many big species out of an ecosystem, and there are bound to be changes all the way down to its bottom.
If you throw in land clearance across enormous swathes of the continent and the subsequent introduction of rabbits, camels, cane toads, rats, pigs and everything else that came with the European settlers, you have an ecology in profound turmoil.
Attempts have been made to control rabbits, pigs, buffalo and lots of other alien species; but they haven't really worked.
"We have a very unbalanced ecology and it's all just spiralling into a trajectory," lamented Prof Bowman when I spoke to him earlier in the week.
"We're not managing actively, we're just managing bits of the problem - so it's a big mess."
So the root of his idea is that if you can't restore the animals themselves, bring in something
The new zoo regulations, which among others stipulate a minimum cage size for animals, come into effect today.
The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said in a statement yesterday that 42 zoos nationwide will be given a six-month grace period to comply with the regulations -- which are a part of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 -- or risk having their permits cancelled.
Those who operate zoos illegally can be fined a maximum of RM70,000 or jailed up to three years, or both.
Apart from a minimum cage size, the new regulations also require zoos to set up a quarantine area for wildlife; employ a full-time or permanent consultant veterinarian; provide wildlife with nutritious and sufficient quantities of food as prescribed by a veterinarian; provide a veterinary clinic and hospital in the zoo premises; maintain an animal record keeping and healthcare; ensure the cleanliness of the zoo; ensure that vaccination of zoo animals be done by a veterinarian or anyone under his supervision; conduct euthanasia whenever necessary; and conduct wildlife shows that involves an animal's natural behaviour only.
Zoos would also be required to renew their permits annually.
"The criteria set under these regulations are intended to ensure that the welfare, health and safety of wildlife in captivity are well taken care of by the zoo operators.
"These regulations will ensure the best management practices in Malaysian zoos to make them world-class zoos," the statement said.
Individuals who do not abide by the regulations
Development projects, climate change and human encroachment into animal habitats are trampling on several species and putting them at risk of extinction. Protection of wildlife may be on the backburner during an economic downturn, but Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort, or simply the Al Ain Zoo, hopes some talking points will put the spotlight back on endangered animals across the world.
Last week, the zoo hosted the third annual workshop of the International Union for Conservation and Nature’s (IUCN) Species Survival Commission Task Force which will present its revised guidelines later this year at a conference in South Korea.
“The focus of this meeting was climate change, pollution and its impact on habitats, and funding for wildlife projects,’’ said Dr Arshad Toosy, acting chief of Life Science and Conservation Development at the zoo. He said it was the ideal platform for international experts to share ideas, discuss current issues and develop solutions to climate change and urbanisation which affect wildlife.
Speaking on the new conservation guidelines which will be released in September to 6,000 delegates this year, Dr Mark Stanley Price, Al Ain Zoo Conservation Fellow and Senior Research Fellow at the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, University of Oxford, said: “The main driver for updating the guidelines is the increasing realisation that the world’s wildlife faces
AL AIN - Director General of Al Ain Zoo Ghanim Mubarak Al Hajeri hailed the new Veterinary studies programme established by Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) for UAE Nationals.
The Ministry of Presidential Affairs and the HCT had signed recently an agreement to develop a Diploma in Veterinary Medicine, which will start in September 2013. The course will include all aspects of study of Veterinary Medicine that focus on the health and welfare of animals as well as their benefit to the community.
“We are actively involved in raising awareness on the importance of the welfare of wildlife and species conservation and as such believe that knowledge of our environment and biological sciences is vital for the next young generation of Emiratis.
We commend both the Ministry of Presidential
His beady eye is trained on me suspiciously, his beak tense, his yellow chest proudly puffed up. Slowly I edge my hand towards a flipper – I’m certain the flipper makes a small movement towards my hand. I grab the foreign, leathery thing empathetically; I’ve just become one of a minority of people in the world who can claim to have shaken hands with a penguin.
Looking up from my triumph, I watch as a dozen other penguins waddle, frolic and make friends on the powdery snow beneath my feet. Only this isn’t natural snow. In fact, we couldn’t be farther from the penguins’ native South Pole – I’m actually in Ski Dubai at Mall of the Emirates. If it wasn’t fantastical enough to host an artificial ski slope inside an air-conditioned shopping mall in the middle of the desert, someone decided they needed to take it one step further. That step was flying in 20 perky little penguins to make the mall their permanent home, to be introduced to the Dubai public during the first days of February. Time Out was lucky enough to get an exclusive first meeting with the new arrivals in mid-January, so I suspect I won’t be in the hand-
A zoo in central Kazakhstan, where overnight temperatures have dipped to nearly -40C, is giving monkeys a wine concoction as a remedy against flu.
Karaganda Zoo chief animal specialist Svetlana Pilyuk told local media it was not a matter of making the animals drunk but of "relaxing" them.
The red wine is diluted with hot water and mixed with sugar and fruit.
Ms Pilyuk said it was "normal practice" in zoos but London Zoo told the BBC this was "absolutely not" the case.
Karaganda is one of the oldest zoos in Kazakhstan, an ex-Soviet republic with extreme winters.
Despite the current freezing weather, the temperature in the monkey enclosure is kept at 27C, Ms Pilyuk said.
'Just like people'
In video released by local newspaper Novy Vestnik, a member of staff at Karaganda Zoo was shown mixing the drink in a kettle.
It consisted of wine, lemon, apple, sugar and "a little" hot water.
Monkeys were then filmed drinking the "grog" from the spout of the kettle, as a keeper coaxed them, saying "Drink, drink, drink".
The keeper told the paper that the norm per animal was between 50 and 100 grams.
Pregnant monkeys and babies are not allowed to have the
Panda Tartan Revealed
Amid shocking predi-ctions that SA’s rhinos are headed for extinction within a matter of decades – unless the runaway poaching rate is arrested – bogus hunters from Vietnam, China and Thailand are still slaughtering the country’s dwindling rhino population using perfectly legal loopholes in local hunting laws.
An official list of hunters who killed rhinos in North-West province over the past three years shows that the vast majority are from countries in the Far East most deeply implicated in the illegal trade in rhino horns by organised crime syndicates.
In North West province alone, more than 90 percent of the more than 180 legally sanctioned hunts over the past three years appear to have been awarded to Eastern nationals.
While far fewer rhinos were hunted in KwaZulu-Natal, almost 50 percent of the rhinos legally shot in this province in 2009 were killed by Vietnamese nationals.
And while local conservation officials have been alert to the abuse of hunting permits in several provinces for almost a decade, Environment Minister Edna Molewa rejected calls earlier this month for a national moratorium on rhino hunting in SA.
Largely owing to its formerly proud record in protecting
The alarm bells rang way back in 2003, when the first batch of bogus Eastern “trophy hunters” arrived in SA, home to the largest remaining rhino population in the world.
Once the beasts were shot, SA authorised the export of at least nine rhino trophy horns to Vietnam, under the authority of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) permits.
A year later, three more trophies were exported to Vietnam and by 2009 the number of trophies had grown to hundreds – yet Vietnamese authorities could only account for the official arrival of 38 horns.
According to a report by rhino specialists Tom Milliken and Richard Emslie, at least 87 percent of the South African trophies were going astray, while Cites permits were also being recycled to launder other illegal horn exports.
“Investigations in South Africa have revealed disturbing evidence of organised crime, including the frequent involvement of a small number of Vietnamese nationals in rhino hunting, often on the same game ranches repeatedly; numerous cases whereby Vietnamese “trophy hunters” paid above market price for rhino hunts, but then had to be instructed how to shoot,” Milliken and Emslie warned in an official report to Cites officials in 2009.
They also reported the alleged involvement of Vietnam embassy staff and vehicles in the illegal movement of horns through SA, while one official invoked diplomatic immunity to evade arrest.
The report also drew attention to involvement of several Thai, Chinese and Cambodian nationals in the illegal trade and warned that there were no systems in place within Vietnam to prevent sport trophies being ground down into powder for Eastern traditional medicine.
Yet, almost a decade after the first bogus hunters began to exploit the legal loopholes in the Cites hunting permit system, scores of Eastern “
Even though Coronado is famous for sunny weather, usually in the 70’s, Liz Thaete wakes up on work days and has to wear a pair of long underwear and a couple of pairs of socks to her 6:30am shift in the 40 degree penguin enclosure at Sea World.
Liz Thaete’s family was brought to Coronado by way of the Navy. She and her sisters were born here and have been through all the schools, sports and youth groups the island has to offer. She graduated CHS in 2005. I was very excited to learn that we both had the same history teacher, Mr. Heaphy, while at Coronado High School.
Since Liz was little, she always had a keen interest for animals that her friends and family observed. She has always known she wanted to work with animals no matter what. While growing up she volunteered at local animal shelters to try and get as much hands-on experience with animals as possible before applying for a job that had to deal with any sort of creatures.
She attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara and graduated in 2009. During her summers away from college, Liz worked in the educational department at SeaWorld. Finally, when she was able to apply for a full-time job to work with any species of animals, she got the news she was going to be working with the penguins!
“It is not a glamorous job, but I love it” was Liz’s first reply when I asked her about what it is like to be a penguin trainer at SeaWorld. “Having penguin poop, scales, and the odor of fish on you all day,” she said, “is not pretty,” but she has grown to love the penguins who cuddle up to her legs when
An orangutan at a Cleveland zoo has become the of it's kind in North America to receive an implanted birth control device.
Two doctors, including a gynecologist from the Cleveland Clinic, implanted the contraceptive into the 10-year-old orangutan named Kitra on Tuesday morning.
Not wanting to separate her from the group in which she lives, which includes her mother and father, the zoo worked to find a safe
Animal was discovered at airport without microchip.
The UK Border Agency has announced that it has seized a live African cheetah at London Heathrow Airport.
One of four cheetahs being transported from a South African safari park to Russia, the endangered animal was discovered to be without a micro-chip, therefore breaking international rules concerning the transportation of endangered animals.
The animal was impounded by the UK Border Agency’s specialist CITES (Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species) team.
Head of the UK Border Agency Marc Owen, accounting for the seizure, said, “The illicit trade in animals is a serious contributory factor in the threat of extinction faced by many endangered species, and that is why the rules around moving them are so strict.
“Each animal has to be clearly identifiable
Volunteers are being sought to help save hundreds of toads and other amphibians from being killed as they make their perilous annual breeding migration.
Every year toads, frogs and newts migrate from their winter resting sites to ponds and streams to breed. Toads in particular are very fussy about where they breed and like to return to their ancestral ponds; this often means crossing busy roads.
Some roads have been closed for the breeding season, allowing the animals to cross safely, but many roads still remain open and busy. Now toad patrols have been set up at some of the busiest crossing points - in Fishponds and Pill, Bristol; and Edington village, near Westbury in Wiltshire.
Bristol Zoo’s sister organisation, the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation (BCSF), is now calling on people to help them collect migrating toads and move them to safe breeding sites.
Jen Nightingale, the UK Conservation Manager for the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation, said: “Volunteers will be needed over the coming weeks as toads will start to migrate when the weather reaches over five degrees. As we’ve experienced quite a mild winter, the toads might start moving very soon, and the migration period can last up to four weeks.”
She added: “Toads and other amphibians set out on their journeys after dusk, preferring dark, wet and warm conditions, so we need volunteers between 6pm-10pm to help collect up hundreds of toads, frogs and newts and save them from being run over.”
“Even if you can only spare one evening, it will help save amphibian lives. All you need is a bucket, a torch and a high visibility jacket.”
Toads can often travel more than 1km during their migration back to their spawning ground. Rather than using rough hedgerow or grassy land, toads will often choose the easier bare ground to travel along, making roads the obvious easy travel route.
To find out more about volunteering for toad patrols, contact Bristol Zoo’s conservation office on 0117 974 7382 or email
Alternatively contact the Avon Reptile and Amphibian Group (ARAG ) which coordinates the toad patrols in Fishponds and Bath
To find details of other toad patrols in the south west, visit the Froglife website at www.froglife.org. Froglife is a national wildlife charity committed to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles -and saving the habitats they depend on.
Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work in the zoo, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.
For more information about Bristol Zoo Gardens visit the website at
or phone 0117 974 7300.
Two rare Caribbean iguanas have been born at the Durrell Wildlife Park in Trinity, Jersey.
The Lesser Antillean iguanas successfully bred at Durrell for the first time in 11 years.
The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust first bred a single offspring in 1997, followed by eight more in 2000.
Durrell said the iguanas were becoming increasingly endangered in the wild because of habitat loss, predators and interbreeding.
Mark Brayshaw, head of Durrell's animal collection, said: "We are delighted by the arrival of these new hatchlings.
"They are feeding and growing well, and we are continuing to monitor them carefully at our herpetology department.
A RHINO keeper has been named as Chester Zoo’s Green Traveller of the Year.
Mark Cleave has cycled to work every day for the last 17 years, pedalling 72,726 miles in the process - that’s equivalent to almost three times around the world, or nearly a third of the way to the moon.
“Come rain, sleet, wind, snow, hail, fog or shine, I haven’t missed a day, nor used any other means of transport,” said Mark.
“In truth, I’d cycle a heck of a lot further to work with black rhinos. They’re incredible animals and it’s a privilege to work with them day in, day out. We run a successful breeding programme
Barely two months before the giant pandas arrive, the Singapore Zoo has lost one of the key people involved in bringing the animals here.
He is zoologist Biswajit Guha, who quit as the zoo's general manager last month after working there for more than 18 years.
Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) - which runs the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park - confirmed his departure.
It also confirmed the loss of another senior staff member, Ms Pauline Chua, WRS' director of human resource. She
PROUD Scots yesterday insisted “You’ll never take our pandas” as it emerged a key issue in the independence debate could be the loss of our beloved bears.
It is feared Edinburgh Zoo favourites Sunshine and Sweetie could become embroiled in a tug-of-love battle between the Scottish and UK governments if we break from the Union.
But animal lovers last night promised to fight to keep the bears at their new home.
Elspeth Walker, from Edinburgh, said: “I love them. It would be awful if we lost them now.”
Another zoo visitor added: “It would be stupid to take the pandas away. David Cameron should butt out or he’ll have a fight on his hands.”
Unionists claim custody of the giant pandas could be in question because the pair – also known as Tian Tian and Yang Guang – were a gift from China to the UK government.
They arrived a month ago on a 10-year loan and it’s hoped they will eventually breed here.
But the SNP yesterday said the panda agreement was signed between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA).
Student Pamela Gray, 22, said: “We only just got the pandas and they are settling in. It would be unfair to uproot them again.
“Scotland is ranked alongside places like Tokyo and Dubai as a top tourist attraction and we want to keep it that way.”
Fellow student Megan McAllister, 21, added: “They are the only pandas in the UK. It would be terrible to see them go.”
Rose Jones, who is in her 50s, said: “Independence would not be good for Scotland and neither would losing the pandas. Having them here is wonderful.”
Zoo visitor Carole Williams, from the Cayman Islands, said: “If Scotland became independent and the pandas were moved, maybe the Queen would also have to give up her Scottish homes.”
SNP MSP Colin Keir, who represents Edinburgh Western constituency, warned Westminster to keep their hands off.
He said: “I thought Cameron blundering into the referendum was bad enough. Trying to take the pandas out of their home would surely be a step too far, even for the Tories.”
An SNP spokesman added: “Edinburgh Zoo has been recognised by the CWCA as having the world-class expertise necessary to breed and care for these rare animals.”
Yang Guang was taken out of public
Edinburgh Zoo's male panda is steadily improving after his bout of colic, according to zoo bosses.
Yang Guang was taken off public display last week after he became unwell.
The eight-year-old and his breeding partner Tian Tia - the first giant pandas to live in the UK for 17 years - arrived in the capital at the start of December.
Over the weekend he passed a mucus plug, known as panda slime, and his energy levels have since risen.
Simon Girling, head of veterinary services at Edinburgh Zoo, said: "A clear jelly like pellet, panda slime often goes hand-in-hand with panda colic and is produced in the bear's large
A FURNESS visitor attraction reported a record year for visitors.
More than 300,000 people poured through the gates of South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Dalton last year.
The figure represents a rise of 31,000 from the previous year and is the highest ever recorded since the park opened in May 1994.
Zoo boss David Gill said it had managed to crack the credit crunch by improving visitors’ experiences.
Improvements carried out over the last year included the building of a new gift shop, expanding the restaurant capacity and installing a new miniature locomotive.
The zoo also celebrated the arrival of several new animals, including Katoumi, the peralta giraffe, who came from France to join breeding partner Doya, and newborn rhino Indiana.
Mr Gill said he was pleased the zoo had such a successful year in what are difficult times.
He said: “The thing about
Last year, hearts were broken in Berlin and around the world when Knut the polar bear died at the Berlin Zoo. Following an outpouring of grief, the zoo and an association supporting it decided to erect a monument to the bear, and issued a call to artists. On Friday, they announced the winner.
“Center for Great Apes is a shining example of all that a sanctuary should be” says GFAS director
The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) is honored to announce that the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula, Florida, has achieved GFAS Accreditation.
“It is hard to encapsulate in a few words all that is so right with this sanctuary,” states Patty Finch, Executive Director of GFAS. “Patti Ragan, founder of the sanctuary, as well as their chief veterinarian each have over 20 years’ experience in working with great apes, which means that the orangutans and chimpanzees are receiving a level of informed care that is simply unsurpassed. And the facility itself is inspiring with a mile of elevated chutes that allow the great apes to meander throughout the sanctuary and observe other groups of apes, or even walk themselves to the infirmary for health checks.”
The accreditation means Center for Great Apes meets the comprehensive and rigorous definition of a true sanctuary and is providing humane and responsible care of the primates, meeting rigorous and peer-reviewed standards for operations, administration, and veterinary care established by GFAS, which is the only globally recognized organization providing standards for identifying legitimate animal sanctuaries. The accreditation status also provides a clear and trusted means for public, donors, and government agencies to recognize Center for Great Apes as an exceptional sanctuary.
Established in 1993, the Center for Great Apes is a 100-acre sanctuary in which more than 40 orangutans and chimpanzees have room to live in safety and in the company of their own species. It is the only sanctuary specifically dedicated to orangutans in the United States.
For more information on GFAS, please visit
. For additional information on the Center for Great Apes visit
One lucky loggerhead sea turtle was released back into waters off the Florida Keys Friday after being rescued from an unusual predicament: a puffer fish he tried to swallow inflated its body to about twice the normal size in defense, causing it to get lodged in the turtle's throat.
"It's the first time we've ever heard of such a thing," said Jo Ellen Basile, manager of The Turtle Hospital in Marathon. "They had to deflate the fish in order to get it out. It closed off the glottis, blocking his ability to get air, so by the time they got the fish out, he was near suffocation."
The 99-pound juvenile loggerhead, nicknamed 'Puffer' by his caretakers at the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, was spotted in distress on December 17 by two children on vacation in the Keys. Emily and Ben Graue were snorkeling with their parents and the crew of the Jolly Roger dive boat when they saw Puffer struggling to breathe on the ocean's surface. After the captain received permission from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to approach Puffer, one of an endangered species, she used a life jacket to keep him afloat and bring him on
Scott centennial at Natural History Museum recalls horrific trip across polar wastes to prove link between birds and reptiles
Henry Bowers, Apsley Cherry-Garrard and Bill Wilson took 35 days to collect three emperor penguin eggs in July 1911. In the middle of the Antarctic winter, they had to survive intense blizzards and temperatures that plunged to –60C. It was pitch black and the three had to navigate by candlelight and the stars. They took turns falling into crevasses. Cherry's teeth chattered so violently that they shattered, while Wilson was blinded in one eye by a blob of boiling blubber from a camp stove.
In the end, the three men – members of Robert Scott's doomed expedition to the south pole – returned to their base camp, utterly exhausted and close to death, with the three penguin eggs packed in their sleds. Cherry never recovered from the ordeal – which he vividly described in his book, The Worst Journey in the World – while Wilson and Bowers died with Scott on his final trek back from the pole.
The eggs were supposed to reveal the evolutionary links between reptiles and birds but their collection nearly killed the journey's participants. They remain some of the most precious ornithological specimens on the planet and, for the first time, one will be put on public display when it will form the
Someone once said that a zoo is an excellent place to study human habits. But human habits, especially in India, can be strange and can turn these safe havens for animals into death traps.
On January 3, a pack of stray dogs entered the enclosure for chinkaras (Indian gazelle) in Delhi zoo and killed four of them. A few months back, several black bucks - an endangered species - died in the same zoo after consuming contaminated water. Such incidents have been reported from most of India's 198 zoos. Just two months back, seven tiger cubs died at Nandankanan and Kanpur zoos. Five of them, shockingly, died of starvation.
Animals die in zoos all over the world but rarely do they succumb to callousness
A pair of pandas from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding left the capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province on Sunday morning and was expected to arrive in Paris after flying nearly 11 hours.
Yuan Zai and Huan Huan will stay in ZooParc de Beauval in France to take part in a conservation and research program for a decade under a loan agreement reached between China and France.
"They are the first panda pair sent to France since 1973," said Zhang Zhihe, chief of the Chengdu base.
In 1973, China sent Li Li and Yan Yan to a zoo in Paris. Li Li died one year after arriving, and Yan Yan lived alone in France for 27 years before dying of old age.
"The arrival of Huan Huan and Yuan Zai is a historic event for ZooParc de Beauval, marking the accomplishment of a great collaboration with China," said Francoise Delord, founder and president of ZooParc de Beauval.
"We have been looking forward to this moment for five years. The zoo has prepared for this epic journey for a long time," he added.
Since 2005, workers from the French zoo have visited the Chengdu base many times, and in late 2007, experts from the Chengdu base visited the zoo to investigate whether it had the experts and proper facilities. The exchange of visits
DARLING Downs Zoo has rejected online claims it plans to sell two of its lion cubs to a circus.
Owner Stephanie Robinson said it was possible the cubs would be moved from the zoo, but that would be a decision for the zoo to make.
"We are not in the practice of selling animals," Mrs Robinson said.
"We do work with other organisations."
The cubs were born at the zoo and represent the third generation of lions raised by Mrs Robinson and her husband Steve.
Claims two of the three cubs currently at the zoo were to be sold to a circus were published on the California-based website Care2.com.
An online petition against the rumoured sale had today attracted more than 1400 supporters from around the world.
Mrs Robinson said animal liberation supporters had been in contact with
My favourite and sometimes provocative magazine Psychology Today has an eye-catching photo on the cover of its February 2012 issue showing a chimpanzee in a tuxedo with a woman in a wedding dress as her "mate."
The article is called "Are You With the Right Mate? What to do when you think it's all a mistake (and you will)"
As an older divorced primate with what I believe is now a promising second attempt at lifelong companionship, I am compelled to read this article and others, ones in the February issue like the cure for insomnia, thinking like a genius, how to keep your brain
The 2011 list of the Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants, released today by In Defense of Animals (IDA), once again exposes the hidden suffering of elephants in zoos, where lack of space, unsuitably cold climates and unnatural conditions condemn Earth’s largest land mammals to lifetimes of deprivation, disease and early death. The list is in its eighth year.
A promising trend toward the closure of inadequate elephant displays continued in 2011 and includes zoos that have appeared on IDA’s annual list.
The most recent are the Central Florida Zoo and Southwick’s Zoo in Massachusetts. The Toronto Zoo’s appearance on the 2009 list sparked a campaign that led to the closure of that exhibit in 2012. This brings the number of zoos that have closed or will close their elephant exhibits to 22, and zoo experts expect that number to rise.
The Reid Park Zoo appears for the second time on IDA’s list with the following entry:
Reid Park Zoo (Tucson, Arizona) You can’t get more cold hearted than this.
This zoo has a cruel plan to separate Connie and Shaba, who have been tightly bonded for 30 years. Why? Because Connie, who is Asian, does not fit into the zoo’s new African-themed attraction. African Shaba will remain, but if she doesn’t integrate with the breeding group coming from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, she’ll be sent to another zoo. Zoos often separate bonded elephants, causing profound suffering, and ship them between
The 2011 list of the Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants, released today by In Defense of Animals (IDA), once again exposes the hidden suffering of elephants in zoos, where lack of space, unsuitably cold climates and unnatural conditions condemn Earth’s largest land mammals to lifetimes of deprivation, disease and early death. The list is in its eighth year.
A promising trend toward the closure of inadequate elephant displays continued in 2011 and includes zoos that have appeared on IDA's annual list. The most recent are the Central Florida Zoo and the Southwick’s Zoo (Mass.). The Toronto Zoo’s appearance on the 2009 list sparked a campaign that has led to the closure of that exhibit in 2012. This brings the number of zoos that have closed or will close their elephant exhibits to 22, and zoo experts report that the number is expected to rise.
Another result of IDA's relentless advocacy for elephants in zoos has been the creation of an historic management policy by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that calls for an end to handling that requires keepers to share the same unrestricted space with elephants. If the AZA is serious about enforcing this policy, it will pave the way for an end to the use of the bullhook, a weapon used by keepers to threaten and to often inflict painful physical punishment.
"IDA's Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants list illustrates the many serious problems that condemn elephants to lives of misery in zoos," said IDA Elephant Campaign Director Catherine Doyle. "These include abnormal repetitive
The receivers of the Zion Wildlife Park in Whangarei hope an offer for the zoo will ensure the survival of the animals.
The announcement comes after the lawyers representing the park claimed the 36 big cats may have to be put down if they are not moved by early February.
The receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers says an interested party has made an offer for the park and an application has been made to the Auckland High Court to support the sale of the zoo.
It says the welfare of the animals remains a priority and they are being provided with food and veterinary care.
A hearing to consider the sale of the park and the fate of the animals will be held at the Auckland High Court on Wednesday.
The president of the Australasian
There are suggestions that 36 rare big cats at Whangarei's troubled Zion Wildlife Gardens may be shipped overseas.
The future of the endangered cats will be the subject of an urgent court hearing tomorrow in the latest battle for the troubled animal park which was forced to close its doors last year.
Animal welfare group SAFE said the cats will not be able to find a home at a park in New Zealand, but may have a chance finding a home overseas.
The park went into liquidation in August last year after an application to liquidate was made by Inland Revenue with lawyer Phil Smith claiming that Zion owes more than $100,000 in taxes.
Evgeny Orlov, lawyer for park operator Patricia Busch, said today the fate of the cats is uncertain, with Rabobank having applied "to euthanize the cats" or have the cats removed from the park urgently.
Christchurch's Orana Wildlife Park owner Lynn Anderson said the cats can be relocated to parks across Australasia.
But she adds that research may need to be done to determine whether the cats will fit with their new environment.
High Court application
Rabobank's application is to be heard in the High Court at Whangarei tomorrow, despite originally being
Details of a prospective buyer for the troubled Zion Wildlife Gardens were kept secret at a court hearing today.
The Northland attraction was placed into liquidation in August after the High Court at Whangarei found it could not pay debts said to be more than $100,000.
Receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) said today they had received an offer for the park and a conditional contract was in place. They refused to disclose the buyer but said the park's 36 big cats would be kept alive and on the site.
During a lengthy hearing at the High Court at Auckland, the lawyer for park operator Patricia Busch, Evgeny Orlov, asked to view the sale agreement because he was concerned the offer was from his client's estranged son Craig.
"That would be an illegal transaction because he owes Mrs Busch money, and there are also questions about his previous treatment of the animals,'' he told the court.
Citing commercial sensitivity, Justice Mark Woolford allowed only lawyers to see an abridged version of
Earlier this week we looked at the growing problem of elephant poaching and the illegal ivory trade, which has risen to its highest levels since the 1989 international trade ban on ivory products went into place. Today we look at a positive project in India, one meant to rescue some captive Indian elephants (Elephas maximus indicus) from the unhealthy and often-abusive conditions that they currently endure.
The animals are currently trapped in a kind of legal purgatory. In 2009 India’s Central Zoo Authority, a government body that owns all of India’s zoos, mandated that all elephants be removed from the nation’s zoos and circuses. The authority issued the order, which will eventually affect about 146 animals, after a five-year study by a citizens’ committee found zoo life can be profoundly unhealthy for the animals. Unfortunately, the elephants have had no place to go.
Life in the worst Indian zoos “can be quite horrible,” says Carol Buckley, co-founder and former director of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee and now founder of Elephant Aid International. In some, elephants spend their lives in stark concrete bunkers where they are perpetually chained and can barely move. Animals who are somewhat better off can also suffer. “There’s a zoo in Bangalore where a family of elephants is exhibited on a tiny dirt yard during the day where they can barely turn around,” Buckley notes, but when the zoo closes each day, the animals are released into the bordering forest.
Buckley is about to leave for Bangalore, India, where her nonprofit intends to build the first Elephant Care and Rehabilitation Center, currently in the planning stages. When completed, the 80-hectare facility is expected to become home to seven former zoo elephants and to be a model for other rehabilitation centers throughout India. “Once everything is working smoothly, the government will jump on and replicate this effort throughout India,” Buckley says. She also expects
The zoo, it appears, is no longer an insurance against poaching for feral animals.
Guards at the Assam State Zoo in Guwahati caught a poacher from near the rhino enclosure early Sunday morning. The man had scaled the wall Saturday night with a .303 rifle, six-round bullets and an axe in a bid to kill as many rhinos as possible. The zoo has nine rhinos.
According to the zoo’s divisional forest officer Utpal Bora, the man identified himself as Chin Khansong, 55, from Churachandpur district of Manipur. “He confessed to having sneaked in yesterday (Saturday) night hoping the zoo would be empty today (Sunday) on the occasion of Magh Bihu,” Bora told HT.
“He has been handed over to the police."
Khansong said he had arrived from Manipur on January 13, checked into a hotel and planned his strike. He was planning to take the rhino horns out to be eventually smuggled to gray markets in Southeast Asia via Myanmar.
Despite being a mass of hair, a rhino horn is highly valued as an aphrodisiac in China and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. It is also sought after in Yemen, where it is turned
Humans are mammals, and mammal are animals, therefore humans are animals. That said, it's not good practice to call your employees animals.
Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou called his employees animals at an end-of-the-year party, as quoted by WantChinaTimes. "Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million worldwide and as human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache."
Hon Hai is the parent company of Foxconn, which saw numerous employee suicides in 2010, many of them from a location that manufactures Apple products. It recently saw the threat of a mass suicide at a plant that manufactures Xbox 360s for Microsoft.
To make matters worse, Gou added that he wants to learn from Chin Shih-chien, who is the director of Taipei Zoo, exactly how animals should be "managed." It should be noted that Gou was probably joking --- maybe. Or perhaps not.
Gou had invited the zoo director to speak at the Hon Hai's annual review meeting. He asked all of his general managers to listen carefully to the lecture, so that they could learn how to manage "the animals that work for them."
It was when Gou asked Chin to put himself in the chairman's shoes that he reportedly "earned" laughter from his managers.
Still, one has to admit that changes in the minds and lives of Chinese workers have undoubtedly made them far less malleable than Gou might like.
Foxconn is just one of the huge manufacturing firms in what would formerly have been called underdeveloped nations where manufacturing is done in conditions that might not pass as livable or humane in the Western world. While Guo may not have meant it to come
A zoo cheetah reported to have escaped its enclosure copped a hoof in the face when it attacked a pony being taken for a walk.
German website The Local reported that Turbo the cheetah managed to clear the fence around his enclosure.
At the time, the petting pony and several other animals were being walked around the Nuremberg Tiergarten zoo for exercise.
Turbo attacked the pony from behind, but took a hoof to his head, the website reported.
Both animals were returned to their enclosures. Turbo was sedated with a tranquiliser dart before capture. Neither
Daily care of the Zoo’s carnivores including brown bears, polar bear, harbor seals, North American river otters, Amur tiger, African lions, snow leopard, siberian lynx, puma, gray wolves, snowy owl, great-horned owl, and silver foxes. Care includes cleaning, feeding, animal training, and enrichment. In addition to animal care, I often interact with the public through educational keeper chats.
After the suspension Mahaut (Elephant caretaker) who has been working for the last 20 years broke the headlines a month ago, the authorities at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad have refused to reinstate the suspended employ Muhammad Bilal, apparently the only trained Mahaut who can handle the two elephants at the facility. Bilal was suspended without any prior show cause notice, as per the rule of law and is still lurking in shadows, uncertain about his future.
For Bilal, there might be a strong possibility that he will able to find some other source of income particularly considering the fact that he comes from a long lineage of Mahauts, the two elephants at the facility have now lost all hope of surviving the miserable conditions.
The male elephant nick-named “Kawan” has not been unchained or taken out of his enclosure for the last three months and the poor animal has been standing at one place with heavy shackles tied on all four of his feet. Kawan has been one of the major attractions for the visitors and tourists who flock the elephant enclosure for a visit of the giant Pachyderm.
But the story does not end with Kawan alone. The smaller baby elephant which was brought some three years ago has a gorier story to tell.
The young female nick-named “Saheli” has developed gangrene in the right-hind foot and was seen limping in the enclosure virtually waiting for the deadly disease to sweep through the rest of the body causing a possible death in near future.
Staff present at the enclosure blamed the corrupt practices of the zoo officials especially Director Zoo operations Sajjad who has suspended the old Mahuat with citing any reason. Sajjad inducted several of his “favourites” for the job who have no knowledge or training of handling the giant animals.
The entrance ticket charged from the visitors is a meager six rupees for the adults but the ticket collectors refuse to give the tickets even on demand, although they eagerly collect the cost of them. Rampant corruption and negligence on part of the authorities have put the lives of many of the precious and rare animals in jeopardy. There have also been reports
Primate keepers at a Lancashire zoo have come up with a sparkling idea to help them measure reproductive hormone levels in one of their female gorillas.
Njema, who is 18 and came to Blackpool in 2002, has not yet had any babies despite being young and healthy and mating with resident silverback Bukavu.
Zoo staff are using child-friendly glitter mixed with yogurt as a means of being able to identify her droppings.
They can then send it off to specialist labs for analysis.
Peter Dillingham, animal manager at the zoo, said: "We would have hoped to have had a positive pregnancy test by now.
"We know that Bukavu is fertile as he fathered the first baby Western Lowland Gorilla ever to be born at Blackpool Zoo, who will turn two in May.
"Surprisingly, you can get a lot of information
The Assiniboine Park Zoo’s new International Polar Bear Conservation Centre will officially open to the public Tuesday morning, although there aren’t any bears there just yet.
The centre represents the first phase of a massive zoo redevelopment that also includes the Journey to Churchill Arctic exhibit which will open late next year.
While that exhibit will showcase adult polar bears and other northern animals to zoo visitors, the IPBCC will serve as a research and education centre that will also house orphaned wild
Deep in Indonesian Borneo’s Wehea Forest last summer in East Kalimantan province, PhD student Brent Loken set camera traps in hopes of capturing photos of the elusive Bornean clouded leopard.
Instead, he bagged the find of a lifetime—photos of the critically endangered Miller’s Grizzled Langur, which had never been documented in the 38,000-hectare Wehea rainforest and was thought to be possibly extinct.
The American Journal of Primatology is publishing an online article about the find this month.
"It was a challenge to confirm our finding as there are so few pictures of this monkey available,” says Loken, who is studying resource and environmental management.
“The only description of Miller’s Grizzled Langur came from museum specimens. Our photographs from Wehea are some of the only photos of this monkey.”
A former school principal and science teacher, Loken holds both Trudeau and Vanier scholarships, and spends up to six months each year in Borneo, where he runs Ethical Expeditions. He co-founded the non-profit organization three years ago to help the indigenous Wehea Dayak people fight back against deforestation.
Borneo has lost 65 per cent of its rainforest, largely due to palm-oil plantations and coal mines.
“Finding Miller’s Grizzled Langur in a forest outside of its known geographic range highlights how much we don’t know about even the basic ecology
Animal lover fears Toronto’s elephants risk infection at their new home
Of late, I have been deluged with messages regarding the shifting of elephants from Toronto Zoo to the PAWS(Performing Animal Welfare Society) sanctuary in California in USA. and have been constantly reminded of the Canadian poet Margaret Atwood’s statement, “Nature is to zoos what God is to churches.” An intriguing comparison but given the state of most zoos across the world and indeed in Canada, it might be more appropriate to say, “Aesthetics in zoos is similar to what pornography is in art.” There have been so many tomes written on zoos, especially in the West that one is spoilt for choice when considering the topic. If childhood visits to zoos are meant to help people gauge the true beauty and value of nature then these institutions are falling short of their objectives.
Traditionally, in Canada or in any other country, a visit to the zoo is meant to be an exercise in reconnecting with nature for city folks who have lost all touch with animals and plants. And as with any institution, zoos find a representation in literature in all countries, including Canada. My colleague Rob Laidlaw, director of Zoocheck Canada has written a book for children that questions the ethics and objective of conventional zoos. As an organization based in Toronto that monitors zoos in USA and Canada, they are in a good position to comment. Rob’s book, as a non fiction volume, lays bare the myths surrounding zoos, at least traditional zoos that stock as many animals as possible.
A Canadian writer named Yann Martel won the Booker Prize in 2002 for writing a novel based on a zoo sojourn named ‘The Life of Pi’. The book narrates the adventures of young boy named Pi Patel who makes a journey with zoo animals and is shipwrecked with a tiger. The plot is novel
Earlier this week Yellowstone National Park released its ‘State of Conservation’ report in which it outlines its financial needs for improving or maintaining the park’s values as a World Heritage Site. Among its top priorities, the Park identifies the need to translocate grizzly bears into the park to maintain the population’s genetic diversity.
Given that grizzlies in Yellowstone are so few and so isolated that they would require the addition of translocated bears, it is confusing that the Fish and Wildlife Service believes the Yellowstone population of grizzlies is recovered and should be removed from the endangered species list. I mean, if a population is recovered, shouldn’t it be able to sustain itself into the future without indefinite human intervention to keep it going?
But in fact, the translocation of bears is part of Fish and Wildlife Service’s delisting plan for the grizzly. That is, the Service has specifically acknowledged that the Yellowstone population is genetically isolated from other grizzly populations and has been for about 100 years. Their answer to this is to translocate bears on a regular basis starting in 2020. While there are some efforts to attempt to connect the Yellowstone population with other grizzlies through landscape protection to facilitate connectivity, the recovery of grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park, by design, calls for indefinite artificial supplementation of the population to maintain
I’ve been sitting on this post for a few months as it fermented and festered in my brain. In the past couple of years anti-aquarium activists in Hawaii have been leading a charge against the fishery that harvests wild marine fish from Hawaii’s coastal waters for use in aquariums. I should first offer a kind word, because after all, they do very much care about the reef and the life that lives there, and they are doing what they genuinely believe is the right thing to do. The problem? It’s not actually the right thing to do, yet they seem to be gaining momentum, and from what I’ve heard their efforts aren’t going to end in Hawaii. Hawaii, my friends, is just the beginning. It is the star player, and if they can take it down, the rest falls easily. And the ultimate goal is far beyond simply stopping the wild harvest of fish for aquariums – if really pressed, the ultimate reality is that no aquarium is a good aquarium. However, it is only the aquarium hobbyist who can be the ultimate savior of the reefs.
The anti-aquarium battle got public attention with “Snorkle Bob” Wintner’s “Dark Hobby” essay, but it has gained momentum by adding another notable voice in Rene Umberger, all under the auspices of the “For The Fishes” organization and the Snorkle Bob Foundation. These activists have succeeded in spawning more independent activists, such as Dr. Gail Gabrowsky of Chaminade University (seen in this youtube video irresponsibly releasing 5 store-bought tangs back into the waters of Hawaii – UPDATE – this video has been made private by the channel operator, but we’ve found mirror copies you should search for). The anti-aquarium effort has also brought attention to organizations like the intensely hypocritical SeaSave organization, a family affair founded by “former aquarium industry insiders” who rally against the industry with truly insane rhetoric.
Yet while railing against the aquarium industry at every turn, SeaSave’s former “insiders” operate what they call an “aquarium rescue”. When you strip away all the “pet rescue” jargon and “if these were puppies” strawmen, SeaSave is actually just another local fish store that takes in animals to “adopt them out” (AKA resells them). SeaSave also actively propagates corals and breeds fish (yes, right now on the homepage the first line is “We have a few of our Tank Raised Bangaii’s for adoption” and they claim to have “the largest breeding colony [of Banggai Cardinalfish] in captivity”). I wish I could directly quote some of the really juicy lines from the Sea Save Facebook page, but I’ve been long since blocked from it for calling them on what I perceive to be utter BS (i.e. there are 1,000,000 aquarium retailers in the US? 10 billion fish dying in the trade each year?). When the math doesn’t add up, it doesn’t add up folks!
2012 International Elephant Foundation Grants Backed by Zoo Donations.
The International Elephant Foundation (IEF) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) today announced support for 19 elephant conservation projects for 2012.
“IEF-supported projects protect elephants from poaching, seek solutions for human-elephant conflict, equip and train community conservationists, increase our knowledge of the treatment and prevention of disease, and educate people,” said IEF Executive Director, Deborah Olson “In 2012, IEF will provide over $225,000 to support elephant conservation around the world, adding to the over 2 million total invested in conserving elephants since its inception in 1998.”
IEF’s elephant conservation and education programs are ongoing both in managed elephant care facilities and in the wild. IEF is a non-profit organization established in 1998 by a group of zoos and other elephant care facilities to enhance and promote elephant conservation around the world. IEF receives the majority of its funding from AZA-accredited zoos. To date, seventy-five AZA institutions have contributed funds or support to IEF totaling over 1.4 million.
“African and Asian elephants are relying on us to ensure their future,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “Elephants in North American zoos contribute to studies in welfare, reproduction and behavior which has applications for their wild counterparts and also generate support for the International Elephant Foundation while providing a powerful, up-close connection to animals only seen on T.V.”
“AZA is proud to support the efforts of the International Elephant Foundation,” said, Jim Maddy. “Elephants in AZA-accredited zoos are wildlife ambassadors who educate the public, create life-long
A SHOCKING new book aims to highlight the appalling treatment of orangutans in Borneo – and champion the men and women trying to save them.
The Ape Crusaders takes the reader on a heartbreaking yet ultimately uplifting journey, showing for the first time the highs and lows of frontline conservation in action.
The book follows a small proactive group as they rescue and nurse back to health starving, scared and miserable apes from ignorant, or downright negligent, owners.
Author and photographer Sean Whyte was one of the first to bring the West's attention to the mistreatment of the loveable apes at Malaysia's Melaka Zoo.
There have been 125,000 protected orangutans killed, captured or sold into the illegal wildlife trade over the past 40 years without a single prosecution.
Through no fault of its own the orangutan – Man
ZOOS South Australia has spent an extra $2 million on staff salaries and wages in the past financial year, despite having financial problems that prompted a multimillion-dollar state government bailout.
Figures released by the zoo show that since 2007, annual staff costs almost doubled from $6.9 million to $12.8 million, while the amount spent on animal care rose only $165,000.
In the past financial year, wage and staff costs increased $2.3 million despite the zoo being unable to service $24 million in debt incurred as a result of infrastructure associated with the giant pandas.
Yet while the zoo was grappling with its financial problems, it cut spending on animal care from $723,000 in 2011 to $676,000 in 2010.
The number of staff directly involved in animal care and visitor services also declined in 2011, plummeting from
Keeper Neville Buck has been recognised for his dedication at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park this week.
The wildlife enthusiast was presented with a sculpture to mark his 25 years of service to the park near Ashford but he has no intention of leaving anytime soon.
Neville said: “I started here in 1986 and since then have seen many changes to the park. I was chuffed to bits to be given this fantastic sculpture depicting a Scottish wildcat chasing a rabbit - wild cats are very close to my heart and the park has given me some incredible experiences with them.
“Every day brings something special and I’m looking forward to the next 25 years.”
The sculpture was created by the artist David Mayer was presented to the keeper by managing director Bob O’Connor.
Mr O’Connor said: “We are very lucky to have such a loyal and dedicated member of staff. Neville is the Section Manager for small cats at Port Lympne and he also holds the stud book for Scottish wild cats and the international stud book for bush
A lioness slipped out of an enclosure in the Nandankanan Zoo, triggering panic among visitors here on Tuesday.
The lioness – Supriya – was still out in the open as the zoo authorities' day-long effort to capture it proved futile. The operation to catch it would resume on Wednesday morning. However, the comforting news is that zoo personnel have cornered the lioness in a 10,000 sq. metre marshy area. Watchers have been deployed to monitor its movement.
In what could be touted as the biggest-ever capture operation launched by the zoo authorities, more than 50 personnel and an elephant were engaged to drive out the lioness from the bushy area inside the 900-acre zoo.
Tranquilliser darts were fired at the lioness thrice, but they missed the target. The 10-year-old Supriya continued to dodge the zoo personnel throughout the day. Even deployment of an elephant did not help the cause.
“We were engaged in trapping the lioness since Tuesday morning. But the adverse weather condition made our job very difficult,” said Siba Narayan Mohapatra, Deputy Director of Nanandankanan Zoo.
Mr. Mohapatra said: “Since the lioness hid in the bushy area we could not get a clear vision. Due to heavy rain, visibility required to fire the dart was not there. Actually, an opportunity was there to tranquillise the animal, but she charged towards our team members foiling the attempt.”
The authorities said there was no chance that the lioness could scale the boundary wall and stray into the city. There is hardly 500 metres between the area where Supriya is wandering and a
After totally wiping out jackals from the city zoo, the canine distemper virus is turning fatal for hyenas too. Two hyenas infected with the virus died early on Wednesday. The canine distemper virus infection, a disease found in stray dogs, had claimed the lives of eight jackals in the city zoo, four of which were subjected to euthanasia.
Fourteen-year-old Rahul and its seven-year-old cub Kumar had been under critical condition for the past one week. Their condition became severe by Monday. One died on Tuesday night and the other on Wednesday morning. The deaths confirm the spread of the deadly airborne disease to other animals in the zoo.
Both the hyenas were subjected to video endoscopy on January 2 owing to the suspicion of the intake of plastics. Remains of plastic hoses were found from their stomachs. Rahul was suffering from gastric ulcers and Kumar from megaoesophagus, a condition of enlarged oesophagus.
However, it is learned that canine distemper virus was the cause of death of the two. With these fatalities, no hyenas now remain in the city zoo. A female
Questions are being raised by former elephant trainers and handlers about whether the San Diego Zoo “euthanized” two adult elephants prematurely last week – before they were needed to be put to death. Two Asian elephants were put to death last week because they were “ailing and aged” we’re told.
On top of that, we are raising a question of why the story about the elephants being killed was ignored by U-T San Diego and had to be broken by the LA Times. Perhaps, it was too messy and ugly a story to run for the U-T’s new owner, Papa Doug Manchester, and his image of a bright, shiny and wonderful San Diego that he wants projected by his daily fishwrap.
On Friday, January 6th, the LA Times ran a front page article by Tony Perry on their local section about our Zoo euthanizing two ailing elephants. The Times reported that Cha Cha, about 43 years old, and Cookie, about 56, were both “ailing and aged” and were “suffering and their
Providing new findings that agree with several decades worth of data, a recent nationwide survey finds wide approval of hunting, fishing, and target shooting among Americans. The study, conducted by Responsive Management for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), found that more than seven in ten Americans approve of legal hunting and legal, recreational shooting, while more than nine in ten approve of legal, recreational fishing. Such results indicate that Americans' attitudes toward these activities have remained consistent over the past 15 years, with approval and support continuing to greatly outweigh disapproval and opposition. Other pertinent findings from the research include that substantial percentages of Americans voiced interest in going hunting, fishing, and shooting, while sizable numbers of respondents said they had consumed wild-caught (as opposed to farm-raised or commercially processed) game meat or fish in the 12 months prior to the survey. The demographic proportions
The male Giant panda at Edinburgh Zoo has been taken ill suffering from colic.
Yang Guang has retreated from public view to his sick bed while he recovers from the illness.
The panda only arrived at the zoo from China on December 4 a few weeks ago, along with fellow panda
Sahabat Alam Malaysia’s attention was drawn to an e-mail diverted to us for follow-up action, from a visiting tourist on a tiger exhibited in a small area at a café in Burau Bay, Langkawi.
A visitation from SAM revealed a tiger on display at a café in an enclosed area, with natural setting of grass and bamboo plants while another exhibit next to the tiger enclosure displayed a marmoset. There is intent to bring in a pair of tigers sometime this year.
There are already zoos in theme parks and resorts. Such being the case it won’t be long until café outlets move in with plans for mini zoos, aviaries and or aquarias. The café claimed that the wild female animal presented by a zoo is not a hybrid.
When questioned the purpose of keeping a tiger in a café, the café management was quick to proclaim that such facility benefit education and promote the conservation of our endangered species whose number have dwindled to near extinction.
The astonishing truth is permit for the keeping of this tiger was issued by the Wildlife department (Perhilitan) followed by periodic inspection of the animal.
There are two pertinent questions raised: What is a wild tiger doing in a café when ideally it should be in its natural habitat? Another pair will be coming in later. If it is not for breeding purpose what other reasons are there for the additional collection?
The café’s claim that the tiger is solely for education is totally unconvincing to SAM. We maintain that zoos deliver a misleading, and damaging message by implying (both implicitly and explicitly) that captivity is beneficial to the cause of species conservation
Ryu, the oldest white tiger in Japan, has died at Tobu Zoo in Saitama Prefecture at the ripe old age of 20, the zoo said.
An employee found the tiger dead in its rearing facility at around 8 a.m. Wednesday, the Miyashiro-based zoo said.
Ryu had been eating less than usual since the start of the new year, officials said, adding that 20 years for a white tiger corresponds to 100 in human terms.
About 200 white tigers, a mutation of the Bengal Tiger, are being reared in captivity worldwide. Ryu was among 26 bred
CO-OPERATIVE rhinos from Colchester Zoo have been helping top-level scientific research.
A team from the Royal Veterinary College has been investigating how a two-tonne rhino gets about on such tiny feet.
And the rhinos in Colchester have been instrumental in the collection of vital data.
As part of their research, rhinos at the zoo were trained to walk across a hi-tech mat which was packed with sensors.
These allowed researchers to measure the pressure and forces in the rhinos’ feet, to reveal how the weight is distributed.
Prof John Hutchinson, from the college’s structure and motion laboratory, said: “There is a little bit known about the anatomy of rhinos and their health, but nothing is known about the mechanics of their feet – the physics, the physiology, the detailed anatomy or the behaviour of how they use their feet.”
That is where Cynthia, Zamba, Emily, Otto and Flossie came in.
Sarah Forsyth, curator at Colchester Zoo, said the rhinos had already been trained to target – a technique
Zoos a breed apart for species on the brink
Cha Cha and Cookie, put down two days apart, were elderly and ailing. After a temporary closure, the elephant exhibit has reopened.
Reporting from San Diego -- Two ailing and aged elephants at the San Diego Zoo had to be euthanized this week, zoo officials announced Friday.
The two Asian elephants were suffering and their chances for recovery were virtually nil, officials said.
Cha Cha, estimated to be 43 years old, was euthanized Wednesday. To allow other elephants to see her a final time, her lifeless body was lifted on a forklift and taken to where other elephants in the Elephant Odyssey exhibit are kept.
Cookie, estimated to be 56, was euthanized Friday morning. There was no connection between the decline of Cookie and Cha Cha, officials said.
Both elephants were at the zoo's Wild Animal Park — now called the Safari Park — for decades before being moved to the zoo in 2009. Before such performances were halted, both were stars in the elephant shows at the Wild Animal Park.
Cha Cha, the smallest elephant in the Elephant Odyssey exhibit, was often seen in the company of Ranchipur, the 12,000-pound dominant male.
Elephant keepers performed an emergency procedure on Cha Cha on Christmas Day after noting that she was having trouble eating and drinking. A large mass of food blocking her esophagus was removed. But within two days, she began to rapidly decline.
Cookie had been in distress for months with a variety of geriatric problems and had begun to drag her back legs. She was given large doses of pain medication, but zoo specialists concluded that her condition was irreversible.
Elephant Odyssey, one of the more popular exhibits at the zoo, was closed temporarily but reopened Friday. But elephant-keeper interactions with the public have been canceled to provide time for them to mourn, officials said.
Cha Cha arrived at the Wild Animal Park in 1971, Cookie in 1981. Their deaths come just weeks after Umoya, 21, an African elephant at the Safari Park, was killed in an attack by another elephant.
The zoo now has five elephants at Elephant Odyssey and 17 at the Safari Park. The zoo elephants are older than those at the Safari Park and need more attention
Large-scale tusk smuggling has reached a record high this year, with at least 2,500 dead elephants used for ivory.
Organised criminals - particularly Asian syndicates - are increasingly involved in the illegal trade, according to environmental agency Traffic.
Experts believe it has been the worst year for the endangered animals since sales of ivory were banned in 1989.
Thousands of horrified Mirror readers have complained about orangutans being kept in disgusting conditions at a zoo.
Heartbreaking photos we published this week have already generated more than 60,000 angry emails to officials in charge.
Campaigners say the orangutans are kept in prison-style conditions at Melaka Zoo in Malaysia. Some seem to be locked up for 24 hours a day. Others are in cages that are barely 5ft-wide.
Appalled readers bombarded the Malaysian embassy with more than 500 calls and emails. Online petitions have generated tens of thousands more irate emails.
Sean Whyte, from Nature Alert, which raised the plight of the orangutans, said: “Thank goodness for Daily Mirror readers. Nature Alert has generated over 60,000 emails this week to Malaysian
Malaysian zoos have been thrown into the international spotlight again with British newspapers reporting the alleged abuse of orang utan housed at Malacca Zoo.
The Mirror, the online edition of British tabloid The Daily Mirror, reported that the orang utan were "being cruelly locked in for up to 24 hours a day by callous zookeepers".
It quoted British conservation and animal rights group Nature Alert director Sean Whyte as saying that the orang utan were being treated "like prisoners on death row".
"We don't know how long it's been like this but it's months and possibly years," he said in the report published earlier this week.
Another tabloid, Mail Online which is the online edition of the Daily Mail, reported that the orang utan were left without any room to exercise and could only stare hopelessly from behind bars.
Its report claimed that despite attempts by Perhilitan (Department of Wildlife and National Parks) to clamp down on the appalling conditions in the zoo, it had failed
Scientists have found 57 hybrid sharks that are a cross between two types. Find out why the shark...
Twelve people were charged Friday with trafficking in endangered wildlife -- from live animals to sea turtle boots and leopard skin coats. The suspects all used websites to sell their wares, authorities said in Los Angeles in announcing the results of "Operation Cyberwild."
"We made our first undercover purchase within 24 hours of beginning the operation," Erin Dean, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent, said in a statement (which includes the names of all 12 defendants). "We hope that this operation will send a message to individuals selling – or even considering selling – protected wildlife that we are watching
In the final days of 2011, various television news programs paid tribute to notables who died last year. Kim Jon Il. Elizabeth Taylor. Andy Rooney. Vaclav Havel.
Inexplicably, perhaps inexcusably, none of the lists I saw included Cheetah, who reportedly died of kidney failure on Christmas Eve in Florida at the age of “around 80.”
Cheetah, as every Saturday matinee-going kid of the ’50s knew, was the simian sidekick of Tarzan, the Ape Man, who swung on vines through jungles and consorted with wildlife, which he summoned by cupping his hands around his mouth and imitating Carol Burnett.
Cheetah appeared in numerous Tarzan movies, playing a supporting role for Johnny Weissmuller, although its debatable which of them had more acting ability. The fact that Weissmuller got top billing may merely have been because he had the better agent.
The plots of these movies were not exactly Shakespearean, or even easy to distinguish from each other: Tarzan protects animals against greedy white poachers.
And Cheetah’s roles were not terribly complex. Cheetah pretends to laugh. Cheetah pretends to be afraid. Cheetah jumps up and down. Cheetah doesn’t jump up and down.
But we were not what you would call a discerning audience. It never even occurred to us to wonder why a chimpanzee had been given the name of a large cat. If you had a giraffe, would you call it “Hippo?”
Of course, Tarzan wasn’t noted for his extensive vocabulary and “Boy” probably was lucky Tarzan didn’t name him “Banana.”
Zoos vital as EU aims to meet biodiversity targets
This month, we are highlighting Jennifer Hausmann, a resident veterinarian at Milwaukee County Zoo. See the story about her residency program.