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Zoo News Digest Jan-Feb 2015

Zoo News Digest

Jan-Feb 2015



Wild animals are not pets, leading expert warns
The wildlife expert, Dr Jane Goodall, warned the public to forgo domesticating wild animals as an alarming number of cases are being reported where their owners incur injuries.
Goodall, PhD DBE, primatologist, is visiting the UAE and shedding light on different aspects of the rising trend of domesticating wild animals in homes. In an exclusive interview with The Gulf Today, she said that chimpanzees are wild animals and cannot be domesticated.
“When they are small they are cute. They can be dressed up and they are very loving if treated well. They are clever and can learn much from humans, like drinking from a cup, riding a tricycle, and so on. But when they reach adolescence, they can become very dangerous; at 8 years old, they are stronger than us. They are unpredictable and can suddenly lose their tempers,” she added.
According to information from different parts of the world, she said that a woman had her face and both hands bitten off. Other wild pet owners have been injured. To get a baby chimp, the mother has often been killed. Members of their community who come to the rescue, often the top ranking male, are likely to be shot also. Many infants are wounded and die before they ever reach the market. Chimpanzees once numbered 2 million in Africa. Today, the maximum number is 300,000, spread over 21 countries, many in isolated groups in fragmented forest patches that will not survive in the long run due to inbreeding.
Describing the behaviour of the animals, the expert pointed out that when a pet becomes too strong, what will happen to him or her? They will either be shut in a small cage for life or sent to a bad zoo. They can never be successfully integrated into an existing captive group – the
Endangered Bonobo Chimp Imported to Armenia Goes Missing: Preliminary Investigation Drags On
An endangered bonobo primate has disappeared from the Jambo Exotic Park in Armenia’s Tzoraghbyur village.
The park’s founder, Artyom Vardanyan, claims that the animal, listed in the international Red Book of endangered species, died last month.
All such animals can only be imported with special permits and must be kept in special conditions.
The importer of the bonobo and many other endangered animals is a company called Zoo Fauna Art. A criminal case of contraband was launched against company director ArturKhachatryan a year ago and is still on-going.
Hetq asked the ministry of finance to provide information about the criminal investigation and whether it has revealed any wrongdoing.
In reply, the ministry said that inquiries have been made to authorities in Guinea and the Congo in order to finalize the preliminary phase of the case but that it hasn’t received any answers as yet.
ArturAfrikyan, first deputy to the president of the State Revenue Committee, provided us with a list of the animals imported to and exported from Armenia between 2010 and 2013 with CITES permits. According to that list, in addition to two bonobos (Pan panicus) imported to Armenia in 2011, another two were imported in 2012 and not exported. Furthermore, f
Biggest pride of white lions anywhere in a zoo
Apart from President Paul Kruger and President Nelson Mandela, only one other South African has a street named after him in an overseas city, Nic Anicic, a Benoni businessman. The street is not just any street in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, it is in the Belgrade Zoo.
Nicifor Anicic came to South Africa more than 40 years ago from a little village, Prijepolje, in the spectacular and mountainous part of South Eastern Serbia and established Anicic Heavy Engineering where one would find the 76 year-old before his staff arrive in the mornings.
He kept his links with the country of his birth and several years ago, don
Controversy surrounds captive killer whale in Miami
Dolphin with kidney disease euthanized at Shedd Aquarium
One of the oldest Pacific white-sided dolphins in the Chicago area was euthanized Friday at the city’s Shedd Aquarium.
Tique — a 30-year-old dolphin that had been at the Shedd since the opening of the aquarium’s Abbot Oceanarium in 1991 — was euthanized after suffering from a deteriorating kidney disease for years, according to Andrea Rodgers, a spokeswoman for the aquarium.
“It is a very sad day for Shedd Aquarium,” said Tim Binder, vice president of collection planning at Shedd. “We’ve had the tremendous privilege to care for, and learn from, Tique for more than two decades.”
Tique, which means waterborne in Tinglit, an aboriginal language in Alaska, was collected in southern California and was one of the first dolphins to live at Shedd. Out
A First: Sea Otter born in Captivity after Conception in the Wild
Researchers at the University of California Santa Cruz have claimed that a sea otter conceived in the wild has been born in captivity for the first time ever.
A university spokesman said the birth took place on November 26 at UC Santa Cruz's Long Marine Laboratory, but it was ensured that the news did not disseminate widely to prevent the species from excessive exposure to people.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium said a rescue team had saved the life of the pup's mother, Clara, and it was later determined that she had become too accustomed to survive on

South Lakes zoo owner faces prospect of losing zoo licence
A SPECIAL licensing meeting next week will determine whether the owner of a South Lakes animal park is fit to hold a zoo licence.
David Gill, who runs South Lakes Safari Zoo, will appear before Barrow Borough Council’s Licensing Regulatory Committee faced with the prospect of having the zoo closed down.
The review follows Mr Gill’s conviction in November for three counts of allowing an animal to escape into the wild.
The offences related to a flock of Sacred Ibis, and during the trial it emerged that Mr Gill had shot dead 13 of the birds following a nu

Rare rhinos given animal VIAGRA to help them conceive a zoo baby
Two rhinos struggling to conceive naturally at a zoo are to be given animal viagra.
The southern white rhinoceros, Rumbull and Rumba, have become long-term partners after spending more than a decade at the animal centre.
They are now reaching sexual maturity but the 14-year-old pair have so far failed to conceive naturally.
Keepers at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall, North Somerset, are now hoping to speed up the process by giving them an aphr
Giant Panda Zoo Awards 2014: the winners revealed
The winners of the annual Giant Panda Zoo Awards were revealed on Friday at the Belgian panda zoo, Pairi Daiza.
According to the results, Hao Hao from Pairi Daiza received the gold award for favorite panda outside of China. The ZooParc de Beauval in France received the gold award for favorite panda enclosure outside of China.
In addition, Chinese president Xi Jinping and King Philippe of Belgium's visit to Hao Hao and Xing Hui at Pairi Daiza was awarded a first prize for panda moment of the year.
From December 12, 2014 until January 18, 2015, panda fans from around the world were invited to vote for their favorite pandas, people, institutions, organizations, and zoos. There were 258,490 votes cast in ten categories during the one-month online contest.
"The third edition of the Giant Panda Zoo Awards was again a huge success," said Belgian panda aficionado and award founder Jeroen Jacobs. Most zoos with giant pandas in their collections were very proud and enthusiastic about participating and to promote their nominees, he said.
According to Jacobs, the awards are the time of year for the general public to speak up and support those who have worked very hard in the panda conservation field.
The Giant Panda Zoo Awards are organized
Zoo fires keeper for torturing South China tiger cub
A zookeeper suspected of torturing a South China tiger cub, which enjoys first-grade protection at state level, has been fired in Nanchang, East China's Jiangxi province, Qianjiang Evening News reported.
In a video that went viral online, a man is seen grabbing the neck of a cub, which is the size of a kitten, suspending the animal in the air, and punching it in the head when it tries to escape.
The suspect is also filmed holding the cub's feet tightly and slapping or flipping its face until it can't move. In another scene, the keeper allows the tiger to fall on the ground while feeding it improperly. 
Kuang Huaming, a manager at the zoo, has confirmed the authenticity of the video and says the keeper involved has been fired.
The zoo currently hosts 18 adult South China tigers and one cub.
Kuang said the one-month-old cub has received a full checkup and is deemed to be healthy.
South China tigers, believed to have been extinct
Why It's So Hard to Stop Zimbabwe's Export of Baby Elephants
When it recently came to light that Zimbabwe is planning to export dozens of baby elephants, conservation organizations, elephant experts, and concerned citizens expressed horror and condemnation.
Such export is legal under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the global treaty organization that sets rules for and monitors trade in live animals.
Clear facts around Zimbabwe's planned export are hard to come by, but CITES confirms that a number of captive elephants are destined for the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Various news reports say China and France are also interested in importing some of the young elephants.
National Geographic asked John Scanlon, secretary general of CITES, a post he's held since 2010, to clarify the role of the convention.
Speaking from his home in Geneva, the headquarters of CITES, Scanlon explained that his priorities are to represent the convention globally, to enhance the depth and breadth of partner agencies (such as Interpol) that help implement CITES's policies, and to effectively manage the secretariat itself.
Exotic Pet Statistics | Lion, Tiger, and Big Cat Attacks and Fatalities in the United States (1990-2014)
Woman, 54, severely injured after being mauled by caged BEAR she was trying to pet at wildlife center
A woman was mauled by a caged bear at a wildlife center after sticking her arms through the bars in the hope of petting it.
The unnamed 54-year-old was touring Wildlife Haven Rehab in Dade City, Florida, in the hope of adopting two birds.
But when she spotted the 400-pound black bear, named Abner, resting in a cafe, she th
Govt shuts down Rimini dolphinarium for good
The environment ministry has decreed the shutdown of a dolphinarium that operated without a license for almost a decade in the seaside resort town of Rimini on Italy's eastern coast, Italy's Anti-Vivisection League (LAV) reported Thursday. "This is the first dolphinarium to be shut down by ministry decree in Italy," the animal rights group said. "This puts a final stop to any attempt on the part of the facility to keep
Taiwan toughens law after star hippo death
Taiwanese authorities toughened animal cruelty laws on Friday in the wake of the death of a performing hippopotamus that once starred in a popular soap opera.
The new rules were drawn up after A Ho, a male hippo who regularly performed for spectators at a private zoo, died last month after breaking a leg and sustaining other injuries while being transported from the site.
The legislation, dubbed by the local media as the "A Ho clause", doubles the maximum fine for intentionally causing serious injury or death to animals to $32 200 in addition to up to one year in prison, official

Zoo-Kept Female Tiger Eats Own Offspring
Siberian Tigers are designated as natural monuments, and the non-disclosure of births and deaths of these animals is to be punished under a new law on wild animals. Since the grace period of the said law is due to terminate this July, the Nakdong River Basin
SeaWorld offers details on whale tanks
Imagine strolling alongside a sandy shoreline as mammoth killer whales no further away than 20 feet glide through shallow water, its perimeter lined with plants and rocky formations. That’s just the teaser for an interactive experience that will ultimately guide visitors to SeaWorld along a 40-foot descent into a wide-open underwater vista of orcas swimming and frolicking overhead.
Blue World, as it’s being called, is a $300 million initiative that SeaWorld Entertainment hopes will captivate and educate its patrons while recognizing it is unlikely to silence its harshest critics.
Although former CEO Jim Atchison officially left his post last week amid a planned reorganization and months-long search for a new leader, the Orlando, Fla.-based company is still forging ahead with its previously announced plan to double the size of its orca tanks, commencing construction later this year at the San Diego marine park. Construction of similar tank projects at SeaW
Undercover investigations allege abuse of tiger cubs at roadside zoos
Results from two undercover investigations at roadside zoos — including one in central Oklahoma — resulted in allegations of inhumane treatment, according to a national animal protection group.
The alleged abuse includes inhumane of tiger cubs exploited for photographic opportunities, indiscriminate breeding of tigers, rampant trade in cubs for public handling and dumping of the cubs once they were no longer profitable. The Humane Society of the United States conducted the investigations at Tiger Safari in Oklahoma and Natural Bridge Zoo in Virginia. These roadside zoos allow members of the public to pet, feed, pose and play with baby tigers for a fee.
The investigations documented the business of using infant tigers for public photo shoots and other moneymaking events — fees ranged from $50 to $1,000 per session, according to HSUS reports.
Video footage shows distress and handling which HSUS alleges is abusive. In the Tiger Safari video, the owner tells employees not to "tell the USDA a f.... thing."
HSUA alleges that tiger cubs were forcibly separated from their mothers during birth and the first few months of their lives were dictated exclusively by public handling schedules. Further allegations include that cubs who were tired, overheated, thirsty, hungry or sick were required to sit still for a parade of paying customers.
The investigations also provided a snapshot of the unfettered breeding of big cats for the exploitation of their cubs, the resulting surplus of adult big cats, and the animal welfare and public safety implications when large cubs are discarded after ceasing to be profitable, HSUS alleges.
Overcoming Our Differences to Tackle Poor Animal Welfare in Zoos
Poor captive wild animal welfare is globally prevalent and the challenge to make improvements is vast; addressing wild animal welfare concerns within captivity is, and will, remain complicated. From assessment challenges, cultural diversity and differing attitudes, to changing global demands and expectations, via the complexity of meeting a variety of specific species needs, it is only complicated further by the ever questioned ethical conundrum of keeping wild animals in captivity.
Let's assume for now, rightly or wrongly, zoos and aquariums (including private collections and un-regulated sanctuaries) will continue to successfully exist worldwide. In doing so, there is a real fear that the gap between the "good" and "bad" zoos for animal welfare will continue to grow. The better zoos are already investing in, and developing, better animal welfare practices. They are also recognising animal sentience as a growing player in decision processes and adopting responsible actions based on the well-being and needs of the animals in their care.
On the one hand, these improvements can contribute to driving forward better protective legislation, guidance and policies in poorer wild collections. On the other, while attempting to imitate the better zoos, sub-standard collections could inadvertently cause further suffering owing to limited resources, expertise and an incapability to manage complex species.
International reporting and in particular the power of social media continues to highlight some of these worst capt
America Has a Tiger Problem And No One’s Sure How to Solve It
Tiger attacks in the United States are always dramatic news—there were 27 reported between 1990 and 2006, with seven people and most of the tigers killed. But maulings aren’t the only problem arising from the perhaps surprising fact that there are more captive tigers in the U.S. than there are wild tigers on earth.
Conservationists estimate that about 3,200 wild tigers remain around the world, while there are some 5,000 tigers in captivity in the U.S., according to the World Wildlife Fund. Even that number is probably low, says Carole Baskin, the founder of Big Cat Rescue, an animal sanctuary in Tampa, Florida, because reporting is “based on the honor system, and we’re dealing with a lot of people that are really dishonorable.” Edward J. Grace, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s deputy assistant director for law enforcement, estimates that the nation is home to more than 10,000 captive tigers. Only about 350 of those, says the WWF, are held in facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
For the thousands of tigers in private hands, from those in big-top circuses and roadside attractions to others in backyard dens, the regulations are inconsistent at be
Bear-faced history of life in Dudley Zoo ravine
Engineers revamping Dudley Zoo’s Bear Ravine were surprised to discover the names of bears formerly housed at the building still painted over their den doors.
The discovery was made as workers began clearing out the den area at the base of the famous Tecton enclosure.
The names of the bears – Tina, Drownie and Mr Tumper – are daubed in paint above the metal den doors. All three would have lived within the enclosure and been a draw for visitors to the attraction.
Workers also discovered a steel-spiked roller used as a security measure on the lower cantilevered platform to prevent the animals
Lovelorn porcupine breaks into Safari park in central Israel
The mystery of who's been dropping a load at night outside the porcupine pen at the Ramat Gan Safari Park has been solved by an industrious zookeeper making the rounds one night: it's a wild porcupine coming to visit his lady love.
The story starts eight years ago with a tiny baby porcupine rescued by passersby after her mother had been run over. They brought the wee thing to the Safari Park. The park people decided she couldn't return to nature, named her Dorit, and have housed her in a pen ev
The Middle Flipper Is….(Part 13)
Normally, I like to write Middle Flipper events about completely different stories or individual animals.  You know, to keep the content fresh.  But due to recent events that have since transpired, I figured you’d all appreciate an update on little Chopper dearest.
Unsurprisingly, Chopper lost some interest in lodging his toys under the docks.  I say unsurprisingly because as trainers, we all know about desensitization.  At some point, putting EEDs* in hard-for-humans-to-reach-places was going to get kind of lame and boring.  And if you’re not an animal trainer, but an animal lover and/or parent, then you know how easily kids get over toys, games, or movies they once could barely exist without.  I mean, even in high school I watched Monsters Inc about eleven theaters.  And then when it came out on DVD I watched it every day for at least a month solid, mostly because my mental age has never progressed past 10 and also because Pixar is amazing.  Obviously, I ha
Lynx attacks dog after Swedish zoo escape
A teenage girl in northern Sweden had the fright of her life on Wednesday night when a lynx which had escaped from a local zoo leapt out of the woods and pounced on her two-year-old Siberian husky.
Four tigers shifted to rescue centre
Four tigers — two rescued/captured in the wild and two born in captivity — have been shifted to the conservation, rescue and rehabilitation centre set up by the Mysore zoo at Koorgalli on the outskirts of the city. One of the reasons for shifting the tigers is the space constraint at the zoo hospital and the Tiger House (where tigers are kept for public display).
Usually, animals — mainly carnivores such as tigers — that have been rescued or captured from the wild are housed in a specially-built enclosure at the zoo hospital. In the absence of an independent rescue centre, the animals were kept at the zoo. The rescue centre was therefore proposed as the zoo lacked space to accommodate animals brought in for rehabilitation.
Zoo Executive Director B.P. Ravi, who is t





Secret sorrows of tea chimps: Real animal stars of TV’s most popular ad
Back in the mid-1950s the antics of the apes, dressed in human clothes, drinking from cups and eating jam sandwiches, caused a sensation.
then a smart advertising executive had a brainwave. Why not go a stage further and use their obvious ability to mimic people in a TV campaign?
The PG tips chimps were created and delighted viewers for more than 25 years. Even now the adverts, which made the tea Brit ain’s best-selling brand, are fondly remembered.
The young chimps became stars and earned a fortune for the zoo where they lived.
However a new Channel 5 documentary reveals that away from the cameras there was a darker side to teaching animals to become human.
Once they were no longer wanted to promote tea the chimps struggled to adapt to normal animal life, paying a price for their fleeting stardom.
The first PG tips commercial was screened in 1956, recreating a chimps’ tea party in an elegant mansion.
It was a huge success and the brand flew off the shelves, sparking a demand for more daring adverts.
The makers turned to Molly Badha
Father-of-six wildlife park boss died when he was crushed by tree he was felling with his son at bird centre
A wildlife park boss was killed in front of his son after he was crushed by a tree he was felling for fuel, an inquest heard today.
Father-of-six Ceri Griffiths, 71, could not escape as the tree crashed down onto his head at his South Wales bird centre.
Mr Griffiths suffered catastrophic brain injuries from the accident at his Welsh Hawking Centre in Barry, near Cardiff, and died later in hospital.
He cut into a v-shaped trunk believing it was one tree - not two - and the second tree fell on him.
Falconry expert Mr Griffiths and son Griff were cutting down trees with a chainsaw to use as fuel for his wood burner.
His son told the Cardiff inquest: 'He had cut a v-shape in the tree four feet from the ground when I saw that the tree was two trees which had merged into one trunk.
'My dad cut through
Rhinos escape zoo after security guard falls asleep (Video)
Three rhinoceroses managed to escape from the front gate of the Ramat Gan Safari Park zoo in Ramat Gan, Israel, after the security guard fell asleep. You had one job.
One zookeeper attempted to chase down the rhinos, as if he could somehow stop them. “Hey, guys! Wait! Come back! I promise I won’t lock you in a cage again!” The rhinos were only able to experience the sweet taste of freedom for 10 minutes, before
How Female Animals Choose Which Male Animals Get to Bang Them
Choosing a mate is a funny thing. While other animal species are probably less likely to make the poor alcohol-fueled choices most of us regret, albeit fondly—and less likely still to wake up in a hungover fog in a strange place the next morning, grabbing articles of clothing up off the floor and checking the waste bin to make sure the number of used condom wrappers matches up with our hazy memories—females of other species are subject to a lot of the same bravado and competitive posturing we endure from human males, and they act just like we do: sometimes accepting an offer, sometimes walking away.
This process of picking—whether you're mating for lifelong partnership, to make babies, or just for a recreational quickie—is known as sexual selection. Just like us, animals mate for a staggering variety of reasons. And also like us, they frequently make questionable decisions.
Why we pick the mates we do has been the subject of countless research studies since Charles Darwin coined the term "sexual selection" 150+ years ago, but we still know way less than you'd expect. One thing we do know: animals are show-offs, and will do just about anything to impress a lady.
Darwin was so impressed by animal courtship that he included a description of sexual selection in On the Origin of Species—a term he defined by contrasting it to his theory of natural selection. That is, while natural selection is shaped by "a struggle for existence," sexual selection depends "on a struggle between the males for possession of the females," in an effort to produce the most viable offspring.
Darwin's examples of sexually selected traits that confer an advantage range from "special weapons confined to the male sex," such as horns, spurs, or overall strength and dominance, to the "more peaceful character" of sexual selection see

North Korea claims 'new liver medicine made at national zoo'
A researcher at North Korea’s Central Zoo has been busy working on a liver medicine to combat hepatitis, according to the state news agency KCNA.
Kwon O-song, a researcher at the zoo, said the new medicine consisted of “a compound of bear’s gall and extract from pith of maackia amurensis,” according to KCNA. He reportedly added that it “has proved to be efficacious against liver diseases like fatty liver and hepatitis.”
The article cites the case of Choe Ryong from the Pothonggang District of the North Korean capital Pyongyang, who “feels no pain in his right side and digests well after taking it for nearly half a month.” The medicine has been awarded the DPRK patent, the report said.
Robert Winstanley-Chesters, director of research at Sino NK, a group of academics focused on North Korea, says the ‘liver cure
Hollywild Animal Park: Fire Kills Dozens Of Animals At South Carolina Zoo
At least 28 animals have died in a fire at a zoo in South Carolina.
A fire broke out in the animals’ primate barn some time before 8:30 Friday morning. Zoo employee Jay Gossett discovered smoke in the barn when he arrived at work, and went into the building to find several animals had died from smoke inhalation, according to Time. Fourteen other animals in the barn survived and are currently being treated.
Dr. Beverly Hargus, Hollywild’s veterinarian, told WHNS (Greenville) that the animals that died likely didn’t suffer, and that the survivors likely
Over 28,000 endangered lemurs illegally kept as pets in Madagascar may threaten conservation, survival of species
An estimated 28,000 lemurs, the world's most endangered primates, have been illegally kept as pets in urban areas of Madagascar over the past three years, possibly threatening conservation efforts and hastening the extinction of some of lemur species, according to a study by Temple University researchers.
The researchers published the findings, "Live capture and ownership of lemurs in Madagascar: extent and conservation implications," online Jan. 5, in the international conservation journal, Oryx.
Led by Temple biology doctoral student Kim Reuter, the researchers spent three months in Madagascar surveying over 1,000 households in 17 cities and villages across the country's northern half about pet lemur ownership, which is illegal.
"We've been spending millions of dollars on lemur conservation in Madagascar, but despite spending all this money, no one has ever quantified the threat from the in-country pet lemur trade," said Reuter. "If we're spending these millions of dollars there to preserve these species, we should actually exami
Odisha’s Nandankanan zoo staff hurt in elephant attack
A staff of Nandankanan zoo near Barang on the outskirts of Odisha capital was seriously injured after he was attacked by a female elephant.
According to reports, Arjuna Khamari (41), alias Babuli, a mahunta (trainer) and employee of the zoo, had gone inside the elephant enclosur
Germany: White stork tests positive for H5N8 avian flu at Rostock Zoo
A day following reports of two cases of H5N8 avian influenza in mallard ducks at Saxony-Anhalt, the Ministry of Agriculture in Schwerin report an additional case in a white stork at the Rostock Zoo (computer translated).
More Tiger cubs perish at Sri Lankan zoo
Thirty tiger cubs have so far perished at the Dehiwala Zoo during the last four years. Four Bengali Tiger cubs died yesterday.
Five Bengali Tiger cubs were born on Saturday. One is alive. It is also in a critical condition, zoo officials said.
Previously 26 tiger cubs including 10 rare white tiger cubs had died at the zoo, sources said.
Last year, a rare white tiger cub was given euthanasia because he was considered abnormal.
A veterinarian told The Island that those involved in Animal Exchange Programmes should be questioned why the pedigree of an animal was not traced.
The Zoo, tagged as one of the bes
Compagnie des Alpes Announces Sale of Dolfinarium Harderwijk
The sale of Dolfinarium Harderwijk has been completed and the sale of Walibi Sud-Ouest has been initiated as is expected to complete by the end of January 2015.
In FY 2013/14 the two sites together contributed around 6% of EBITDA and €22.5 million sales for CDA’s Leisure business unit.  Walibi Sud-Ouest will retain its brand for at least three years.
The disposal is in line with CDA’s strategy to
The Englishman returning wildlife to Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple complex
The forests surrounding the ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat in Cambodia are once more echoing to the eerie, whooping calls of the pileated gibbon, a species, like so many in south-east Asia, that has been decimated by hunting and deforestation.
Conservationists have reintroduced the gibbons as part of an ambitious project for the "re-wilding" of Angkor Wat, a vast "temple city" that was once surrounded by forests teeming with deer, monkeys, birds and big cats before the arrival of commercial hunters with guns, traps and an appetite for money.
The re-wilding is being led by Englishman Nick Marx, a conservationist who believes the project could become a model for other parts of south-east Asia hit by the trade in endangered wildlife.
Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument on earth, was made a World Heritage Site to protect its sprawling network of temples. Now conservationists want to restore the surrounding forests of Angkor Archaeological Park to their former glory, Mr Marx said.
"The area of forest is beautiful and mature. It's a unique site but it's devoid of wildlife now," he said. "We want to introduce different species that would be appropriate, such as a cross-selection of small carnivores, h
Tiger farms stoke Chinese demand for tiger wine and rugs, putting wild cats in peril
To the thump of loud dance music, four tigers roll over in succession and then raise themselves on their haunches. A man in a shiny blue shirt waves a metal stick at them, and they lift their front paws to beg.
The “show” takes place twice a day in a gloomy 1,000-seat auditorium — empty on a recent afternoon except for one Chinese tourist, two reporters and a security guard, its uneven floorboards, broken seats and cracked spotlights painting a picture of neglect.
Outside, hundreds of tigers pace back and forth in small, scrubby enclosures or lie listlessly in much smaller cages made of concrete and rusted metal. An occasional plaintive growl rends the air.
This is one of China’s biggest tiger farms, the Xiongshen Tiger and Bear Mountain Village in the southern city of Guilin. It is part of a booming industry that is threatening to drive this magnificent animal toward extinction in the wild, conservationists say, by fueling demand for “luxury” tiger parts.
Encouraged by the tiger farming industry, China’s wealthy are rediscovering a taste for tiger bone wine — promoted as a treatment for rheumatism and impotence — as well as tiger-skin rugs and stuffed animals, sought after as status symbols among an elite obsessed with conspicuous consumption.
Zookeeper attacked by Whipsnade rhino still in hospital but ‘stable’
A Whipsnade zookeeper who was seriously injured by a rhino spent Christmas and New Year in hospital as he continues to recover from injuries.
The keeper, a man in his 50s, was found by other members of staff in water in the zoo’s Asian rhino enclosure at 8.15am on November 19.
Paramedics gave him enhanced pain relief at the scene and took measures to keep him warm as his body temperature had dropped considerably after being immersed in the water.
He was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and underwent surgery after sustaining serious injuries to the chest, abdomen and pelvis in the incident.
The zookeeper remains in a s
Second generation of octopuses born at Mote Marine Aquarium
Mote Marine Aquarium in Sarasota is now home to several baby octopuses.
The last week of December, more than 20 Caribbean pygmy octopuses were born.
Biologists were not expecting them and said the babies are a total surprise.
“I got lucky enough to have my second generation of captive-raised octopus babies here,” Senior Aquarium Biologist Brian Siegel said.
The eight-tentacled bundles of joy are the children of Mote’s famous now-adult Caribbean pygmy octopuses, who made national news last year.
The new babies came from parents hatched in March 2014, which in turn hatched from wild octopus eggs.
A picture showing one of those babies next to a pencil went viral, gaining thousands of fans on social media and appearing in Scientific American online.
The photo was recently dubbed one of the "most amazing science and technology images of the year" by Popular Science.
The new babies are now hiding behind the scenes, currently too delicate and secretive to be on exhibit.
Caribbean pygmy octopuses (Octopus mercatoris) are nocturnal, reclusive and great at blending into the reefs and rocky outcroppings they inhabit in the wild.
“The minute you turn the light on, they’re gone,” said Siegel. “They don’t want to be viewed all the time, so displaying them can be a challenge for a biologist.”
Siegel said the new babies came about through luck and skill.
“It was luck that I had the adults in a group of five males and two females so they could breed," he said. “We can’t recognize the females until they lay eggs. It’s also i

Reviving Depleted Wildlife Parks and Zoos in Nigeria
About 20 years ago, the country's zoological gardens and parks ranked among the best in the Africa continent.
Such parks and gardens generated huge revenues into government coffers, but today, those facilities have suffered from such severe neglect that some are devoid of their exotic animals or have lost their land space to land speculators.
Such gardens as the Port Harcourt Zoological Garden, the University of Ibadan Zoological Gardens, Ibadan; the Yankari Games Reserve, Bauchi; the Jos Zoo and Wildlife Park, Jos ; and the Old Oyo National Park, Ibadan, were the delight of tourists that flocked from within and outside the country to see the animals housed in them.
The zoos were then the major tourist attractions in the country. Tens of thousands of visitors from neighbouring states and even foreign countries trooped in their numbers to view the animals in their makeshift habitats.
Nigeria presently has eight national parks, unlike the number in some African countries like Kenya and South Africa that have 52 and 56 games reserves respectively.
A few years ago, the zoos harboured various types of animal including reptiles, chimpanzees, elephants, tigers, lions, rhinos and leopards, as well as various species of monkeys.
A distinction here on wildlife parks and zoos. An example of a wildlife park is the Yankari Games Reserve, while most universities have zoological gardens- mostly for teaching.
Animals in the zoos are fed by their keepers and their 'homes' (cages or venclosures) can hardly be described as natural. However, animals in wildlife parks are as calle
Legalizing Rhino Horn Trade Won't Save Species, Ecologist Argues
Conservation efforts saved the species from an earlier brush with extinction. There were no more than 50 white rhinos in South Africa at the end of the 19th century. Today South Africa holds nearly all of Africa's estimated 20,135 white rhinos.
But more than 1,215 were poached for their horns in 2014. A similar number were killed in 2013. The animals are expected to be in net decline by next year.
And yet in the lead-up to the next big meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to be held in Cape Town in October 2016, South Africa is expected to push hard for legalization of trade in the horns of southern white rhinos.
In Vietnam, among other Asian nations, powdered rhino horn is said to treat fevers and cure cancer, although no scientific studies exist to support such beliefs.
A legal trade, proponents argue, would reduce incentives for poaching of wild rhinos and the illegal trade of their horns. People who are pro-trade view rhino horn as a renewable resource because the horns gradually regrow after they're cropped.
The idea is that rhinos would be intensively managed under farmed, or at least semi-captive, conditions, and that the animals would be sedated while their horns are harvested. Profits from the sale of horns would be invested in maintaining "viable, free-ranging" populations in "natural habitat," as South African

Shocking trade in baby orangutans being bred as playthings for the Russian super-rich for £24,000 each
Baby orangutans are being bred in Russia as exotic pets to sell as playthings for the super-rich and are being advertised for sale on the internet for £24,000, a MailOnline investigation has found.
And the endangered creatures are not just being reared in Russia but also being imported in an apparent defiance of international rules.
With very little regulation and a myriad of legal loopholes, a booming animal trade has grown with a shocking selection of animals - from macaques to falcons - being offered up for sale over the internet.
At a 'nursery' called Exotic Zoo in Desna village outside Moscow, MailOnline was offered an orangutan for two million roubles (£23,845).
The great apes are in the Red Book, an internationally recognised
Trafficking great ape body parts in Cameroon
For years, traffickers fuelled the slaughter of gorillas and chimpanzees in Cameroon's rainforests to meet demand for bush meat - an activity conservationists feared could wipe out the great apes in the wild in a few decades.
But now they fear a far worse scenario is taking place.
A previously unknown trade in ape heads, bones and limbs - rather than full bodies for meat - is encouraging poachers to kill more animals than previously done, and wildlife law enforcement officials say it is speeding up population decline.
"We may be looking at something that is developing down the road of ivory trafficking," said Eric Kaba Tah, deputy director of the Last Great Ape Organisation (LAGA), a non-profit wildlife law enforcement body based in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde.
"Gorillas and chimpanzees were hunted mainly for bush meat. The babies were captured and sold as pets. Heads and limbs were cut off and left behind because they resemble human parts," Tah told Al Jazeera.
However, a new picture has no
Zoo keeper reveals what was going through his head when a giant crocodile attacked him and bit his THUMB off
A zoo keeper blames himself for a near-death experience with a crocodile which ended with his thumb being ripped off - although he does admit that he has very scant memories of the traumatic event.
The owner of the reptile park, Ian Jenkins, was grabbed by a crocodile whilst performing in front of a large crowd, at Snakes Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo near Childers, south of Bundaberg,far north Queensland .
In extremely distressing scenes, the 58-year-old was dragged into the pond at which point the four-metre croc ‘Macca’ started a death roll.
Thanks to the quick thinking of his fellow worker, Louise Smith, Jenkins escaped with his life.
‘I’m relieved but also so annoyed,' Mr Jenkins told Seven News from hospital after the incident.
'You just don’t get yourself into that situa


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