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|Zoo News Digest Jul-Aug 2013|
Zoo News Digest
The Toronto Zoo Elephant Saga – The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth
Truth For Toronto Zoo Elephants – What you won’t read in mainstream media
The group Zoos Matter has fought tirelessly to stop the proposed transfer of the Toronto Zoo elephants to the PAWS sanctuary. If you do not know of the story please sit back and prepare yourself because the truth about the Toronto Zoo elephants is the most despicable act of animal exploitation at the expense of true animal welfare.
Upon arrival to his new job as CEO of the zoo John Tracogna’s first act was to phase out our African elephant exhibit. The issue cited was money, not enough to do the necessary upgrades.
Toronto had several elephant deaths prior to this decision and by May of 2011 and facilities upgrades were badly needed. Further the AZA had laid out new guidelines for its accredited facilities on the keeping of elephants. All of this meant more money. In 2009 it appeared as if the zoo board was prepared to make these changes but by 2010 and John Tracogna’s arrival this plan had changed. What remained of the zoo’s herd were three healthy and spectacular female African elephants, Iringa (44) and Toka (43) who have lived at our zoo since they were young calves and Thika (32) who was born
Student, 19, mauled by 400lb tiger in Thailand at popular tourist attraction
Enjoying the trip of a lifetime to Thailand, university student Isabelle Brennan strokes a young tiger at a popular tourist attraction – one of the few places in the world where you can pet the deadly animals while they sleep.
But just minutes after this photo was taken, another 400lb tiger leapt into the frame, knocking the 19-year-old to the ground with its paw and sinking its teeth into her thigh.
She was saved when keepers at the Tiger Temple sanctuary in West Thailand jumped between her and the animal, while her sister and travelling companion Georgie, 21, dragged her to safety.
Eight weeks on, Miss Brennan is recovering at home in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, but cannot walk unaided, while doctors said the four-inch wound will leave her scarred for life.
The University College London student wants to warn others of the dangers of approaching the orphaned tigers, which are hand-reared by Buddhist m
Op-Ed: Is SeaWorld running scared? You decide
SeaWorld executives rarely respond to criticism beyond a sentence or two. But today, the vice president of zoological operations for SeaWorld San Diego, Mike Scarpuzzi, published an entire editorial in the U-T San Diego.
SeaWorld's reticence is notoriously well known. Whenever the corporation has been criticized in the past, its response has never progressed beyond two sentences. Their rebuttals inevitably include two standard phrases, "SeaWorld educates" and, "SeaWorld cares for its animals."
So it was rather a shock when SeaWorld initially broke its silence over the documentary Blackfish, a film that is making as many waves as SeaWorld's own killer whales. Recently, a former SeaWorld pass holder was so disturbed by the film that he cut up his season pass and declared that he would never visit the park again.
In its initial rebuttal to the movie, the corporation refused to address the issue publicly. It chose to target around 50 film critics instead, with an e-mail that described the movie as, "egregious and untrue."
Now for the first time, the vice president of zoological operations for SeaWorld San Diego, Mike Scarpuzzi, has published an open editorial in the U-T San Diego. Yet again, it focused more on the educational value of the facility for the public, and less abo
Dhaka Zoo not in safe hands: Committee
Get those who know animals and their food habits to run the Dhaka Zoo is the advice given by the parliamentary committee of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock.
Or else the Dhaka Zoo will suffer much, they said in a report.
At the moment, the zoo is being run by those who lack knowledge of food for animals, with the result that poor quality of food is being supplied to them, the committee observed
A sub-committee was formed on Feb 17 to probe the irregularities plaguing the zoo which submitted its report to the panel on Thursday.
The zoo authorities do not maintain a chart on food fed to animals and its quantity does not meet global standards, the report said.
bdnews24.com has a copy of the report.
DALTON ZOO EXPANSION PLANS ARE APPROVED BY INSPECTOR
A FOUR-year saga came to an end yesterday when the South Lakes Wild Animal Park was given the go ahead to expand.
The zoo is set to celebrate its 18th birthday in style after plans for the park to grow by almost three times were given the green light.
Fifteen new jobs are set to be created and park owner, David Gill, has pledged to use only local contractors to carry out the £4m development.
Speaking from his ranch in Wyoming, Mr Gill said the expansion would see some ‘major new arrivals’, with the zoo becoming a ‘flagship attraction’.
He said: "I’m very happy, it’s been a long time in the planning.
"I think the first plans were originally drawn up about four years ago.
"I have an enormous feeling of relief and am so glad that common sense has prevailed.
"There will be a minimum of £4m being spent, and this will go into the local economy.
"All of our contractors are local and they will then obviously spend that money locally.”
Denver Zoo visitor bitten by rhino during zoo's rhino encounter program
A Denver Zoo visitor was bitten by a rhino during the feeding portion of the "rhino encounter" program on Wednesday, the Denver Zoo said.
The woman was bitten on the finger by Mshindi, a black rhinoceros, around 12:30 p.m. and was transported to the hospital by ambulance.
"This is a terrible accident. We feel horrible for the woman involved," said Denver Zoo Vice President for Animal Care Brian Aucone in a news release. "Mshindi is a gentle animal. We believe this was an accident and that he was not trying to hurt anyone."
Mshindi has been removed from his exhibit and the zoo's rhino encounter program has been suspended indefinitely pending full review of its procedures.
"Mshindi has been hand fed safely thousands of times at Denver Zoo. Mshindi's primary keeper with more than 20 years experience was supervising the program. We are reviewing all the protocols related to the program thoroughly to ensure this never happens again," Aucone said.
The zoo began offering rhino experiences for purchase earlier this year, a feature that has been safely conducted at other zoos for years. The rhino encounter is h
Zoos rethink role as matchmaker for endangered species
Like an online dating site for endangered species, many zoos use computerized matchmaking to mate animals in captivity in hopes of saving some of the world's most vulnerable creatures.
The tools of the trade range from frozen panda sperm, to genetic databases to ultrasounds for hefty rhinoceroses.
But like dating everywhere, it gets expensive, complicated and doesn't always work.
After more than three decades of efforts, some experts are taking a fresh look at modern-day breeding tactics. Zoos, they say, cannot keep pace with the high costs of shipping animals from one facility to another, as the loss of wild habitat pushes more and more creatures to the brink of extinction.
A movement to improve captive breeding began in the late 1970s when scientists realized that some zoo-held baby giraffes, gazelles and deer were more likely to die if inbred.
"That really caused a sea change in zoos because they realized they had to be better at managing captive populations," recalled David Wildt, head of the Center for Species Survival at the Smithsonian National Zoo.
Today, survival plans exist for more than 500 species, including cheetahs, Asian elephants and black-footed ferrets.
Belfast Zoo's oldest Asian elephant, Jenny, dies
Belfast Zoo's oldest Asian elephant, Jenny, has died aged 53.
Jenny joined Belfast Zoo's elephant sanctuary, for elderly non-breeding females, in April 2009.
The elephant which was born in 1960 once lived in an Italian circus before being re-homed at the zoo before passing away on Friday.
Belfast Zoo said they were deeply saddened by the death and had temporarily closed the elephant enclosure.
Belfast Zoo vet, Michael Griffith, spent a lot of time with Jenny during her time at the zoo.
"Jenny once lived in an Italian circus and during her time there she accidentally stood on a tent pole, causing damage to one of her feet," he said.
"Since her arrival at Belfast Zoo, we have bee
Japanese scientists create sperm bank of endangered animals ‘to colonise other planets’
A Japanese university and zoo are creating a sperm bank for endangered animals that could one day be used to bring extinct species back to life and even help to colonise other planets with Earth’s rarest creatures.
To date, scientists at Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Medicine and the city’s zoo have managed to freeze dry the sperm of chimpanzees and a Sunda slow loris, both of which are listed as primates at risk, as well as giraffes.
Takehito Kaneko, an associate professor at the university, spent a decade perfecting a method of incorporating a buffer solution in the freeze-drying process to preserve the sperm at the same time as protecting the genetic information within the sample.
The scientists were able to bring the sperm back to life by thawing it gently in water.
This method preserves the sperm samples very well and technically we believe it is possible to store them for decades or even longer into the future,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
"After they have been preserved, we want to continually examine the condition of the genetic infor
Is 'Blackfish' documentary hurting SeaWorld attendance?
Attendance at SeaWorld parks across the country has dropped 6% in the first half of the year, but is the decline due to bad publicity or bad weather?
SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. has endured some harsh publicity lately with the debut this summer of "Blackfish," a documentary about the treatment of orca whales in captivity.
In its latest financial report, SeaWorld Entertainment reported attendance of 10.1 million in its 11 parks in the first half of the year, down from 10.7 million in the same period in 2012.
Although overall revenues for the first six months of the year grew by 2%, the company reported a net loss of $56.2 million, or $0.66 per share.
Still, representatives for the Orlando-based company reject suggestions that the movie has played a role in reducing attendance. They also say they are not reducing admission prices in response to the drop in attendance.
For example, an offer to let children (ages 3 to 9) enter SeaWorld San Diego for free with a paying adult in October was part of a citywide promotion supported by about 100 other businesses, including the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld officials said.
Indonesian Investigators Probe Apparent Zoo Poisoning Deaths
Indonesian authorities are trying to figure out who apparently poisoned a Sumatran tiger and two African lions in a zoo in southern island of Sumatra – and why.
The three animals are believed to have died of strychnine poisoning on Aug. 17 at Taman Rimbo Zoo in Jambi. The zoo is a popular tourist site.
Authorities have been talking to meat suppliers, zookeepers, a watchman and a lab expert for help in figuring out what happened to the animals. A two-year old Sumatran tiger was also poisoned but may survive.
"We’re still trying to develop the case by strengthening the lab result [indicating]that they were poisoned by strychnine,” said Nurazman, the head of Jambi Natural Resources Conservation Agency, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name.
The agency is being aided in the investigation by Jambi police and a local government investigator.
Strychnine is very tightly controlled in Indonesia. The government uses it to kill stray dogs to reduce the incidence of rabies. Strychnine is not available to the general public.
"We can’t imagine that someone wanted to kill th
Scientists breed endangered Panamanian golden frogs in captivity
Determined scientific efforts to preserve the tiny Panamanian golden frog from extinction due to the spread of a deadly fungus have begun to pay off with its successful reproduction in captivity.
The rescue project of the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center, or EVACC, with the participation of both Panamanian and foreign scientists, announced this month that it has managed to breed 42 healthy Panamanian golden frogs.
Project director Heidi Ross told Efe that this is the first time since 2006, when the project began, that the golden frog could be added to the list of other amphibian species bred in capti
Namibia to send 10 rhinoceros, five elephants to Cuba zoo
Namibia will airlift 10 rhinoceros and five elephants to Cuba in September, concluding a massive translocation project of 135 animals taken from its national parks, the environment ministry said Wednesday.
The 15 animals will be captured from the Etosha National Park in northern Namibia – one of the country's major tourist attractions – plus a nearby smaller game reserve, the Waterberg Plateau, environment and tourism deputy-minister Pohamba Shifeta told AFP.
The ambitious project, dubbed Noah's Ark II, has populated Cuba's 342-hectare National Zoo outside Havana.
A total of 120 animals of 23 species – including endangered black and white rhinos, cheetahs, leopards and lions – were already transported to the Caribbean island nation in November.
Animal rights groups have protested the capture of wild animals.
But Shifeta defended the translocation as Namibia's "token of appreciation" to Cuba for its support.
Cuba gave the southern African country political and military backing during its struggle for independence from South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s.
"Cuban people were not complaining when their government was supporting us," Shifeta told AFP.
The donation is also aimed at helping Cuba establish a "proper wildlife programme", he added.
China's People's Park claimed dogs, foxes and rats were more exotic species
A CHINESE zoo that used a large, hairy dog to impersonate a lion was rumbled when the 'big cat' started barking.
The People's Park in Luohe, Henan, also tried to pass off a fox as a leopard and used another dog to impersonate a wolf. The zoo's most creative feat was labelling a pair of rats as snakes.
The chief of the park's animal department told Chinese media its real lion had been sent to a breeding facility. Not wanting to disappoint the public, a Tibetan Mastiff belonging to a member of staff was used as a substitute.
One woman told the local newspaper Dahe Daily: "I had my young son with me so I tried to play along and told him it was a special kind of lion. But then the dog barked and he knew straight away what it was and that I'd lied to him."
A spokesperson for the zoo explained that it had put domestic animals in some of its cages because it
Saving species by translocation – new IUCN Guidelines
A new publication by IUCN has set a precedent for deliberately moving plants and animals for conservation purposes around the world. Based on 30 years of experience and pioneering reintroductions such as the Arabian Oryx (Oryx leucoryx) in Oman, the Golden Lion Tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia) in Brazil and the Red Wolf (Canis rufus) in the USA, and many other plants and animals subsequently, this publication is an essential guide to the contentious but increasingly necessary action of translocating species.
Published by the Reintroduction Specialist Group (RSG) and Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC); ‘Guidelines for Reintroductions and Other Conservation Translocations’ explores the biological, social, and political aspects of translocating species, and provides a starting point for risk assessment and feasibility studies. It is envisaged that by incorporating these guidelines into wider conservation strategies, conservationists will be ever-more prepared to intervene and save species, should extrinsic pressures require it.
Guidelines can be downloaded here: http://ow.ly/mRgRG
For more information contact:
Lynne Labanne, IUCN Global Species Programme ; t +41 229990153,email@example.com
Jonathan Hulson, IUCN Global Species Programme; t +41 229990154,firstname.lastname@example.org
Conservationists’ anger at list of animals "reliant for survival on zoos”
Conservationists who have dedicated their lives to ensure a safe future for endangered species of primates and their habitat have today hit out at a report published by the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA). The report entitled "Top Ten Mammal Species Reliant on Zoos” names ten animals which, BIAZA claims, "may be lost to extinction forever” if it were not for the work of their member zoos.
Inmates raising fish to feed Columbus Zoo’s penguins
A partnership between a state prison and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium that will teach inmates how to raise rainbow trout for penguin feedings started with a splash yesterday.
Inmates at the Southeastern Correctional Institution, about 35 miles southeast of Columbus, opened the prison’s new fish hatchery by tilting into the water a cascade of 5,000 fingerlings, or baby trout. This first batch will take 180 days to raise, and then the fish will be flash-frozen and delivered to the zoo.
Penguins love to eat trout. Otters and polar bears do, too, and may be added later to the zoo animals fed with prison-raised fish.
Warden Sheri Duffey came up with the idea earlier this year and contacted the zoo. Zookeepers had been buying all the penguins’ trout from an Idaho supplier and welcomed the chance to buy locally, less expensively and from a prison.
Forget doggy paddle – apes prefer breaststroke
Different strokes for different folks? Not when it comes to the aquatic ape: the first detailed observations of swimming chimpanzees and orang-utans suggest that they, like us, tend to swim using a form of breaststroke. The findings imply that we may owe our swimming style to our evolutionary past.
Apart from humans, great apes usually avoid deep water for fear of unseen predators that might be lurking there, but anecdotal evidence shows that they will go for a dip if they feel safe enough.
Cooper the chimpanzee and Suryia the orang-utan are extreme examples of this. These two captive apes, raised respectively in Missouri and South Carolina, have thrown off any instinctive fear and taught themselves to swim in a swimming pool.
Footage taken by Renato Bender at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, shows that both of the apes instinctively opted for a version of breaststroke to keep afloat – that is, they moved their limbs out sideways from their bodies, roughly parallel to the water's surface. Suryia's limbs moved mostly alternately (see video) but Cooper often kicked with both hind limbs simultaneously, mo
Child, 2, seriously injured in tapir mauling at Dublin Zoo
A two-year-old child is in a serious condition in hospital after a shock attack by a tapir at Dublin Zoo ripped mucles from its arm.
The incident, which occurred yesterday afternoon, is understood to have left the child unconscious, and with deep stomach and arm injuries caused by the animal’s powerful jaw.
The child’s mother was also wounded after attempting to bring a halt to the extremely rare attack from the usually docile creature, which occurred during a supervised "encounter” visit to the Brazilian tapir enclosure.
The child was last night continuing to receive treatment from surgeons at Temple Street Children’s Hospital, while the two-year-old’s mother was cared for at the Mater.
The Irish Examiner understands the incident took place after zoo keepers agreed to allow the family to view the tapirs from a closer site than most visitors — a step that is usually closely monitored by expert workers.
However, after entering the second site it is understood one of the zoo’s two adult tapirs — a female called Rio, whose weeks-old baby was also in the location — became agitated.
Foreign zoos present endemic turtles to Vietnam
VietNamNet Bridge – On August 16, the Cuc Phuong National Park will receive 71 Vietnamese pond turtles from the zoo of the Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands and the Munster Zoo in Germany, said Mr. Bui Dang Phong, director of the Cuc Phuong Turtle Conservation Center.
The Vietnamese pond turtle is an endemic freshwater turtle species in Vietnam, which is included in the list of critically endangered wildlife.
Endemic to a small area in central Vietnam, it was reportedly abundant in the 1930s, but all field surveys after 1941 had failed to locate any individuals in the wild. As it was occasionally seen traded as food, it was not yet extinct in the wild however. In 2006, a wild population of Vietnamese pond turtles was found in Quang Nam Province.
Currently, the number of Vietnamese pond turtles in the wild is rapidly declining due to poaching, illegal trade and habitat loss.
Cuc Phuong National Park is located in Ninh Binh Province. It is Vietnam's first national park and is the country's largest nature reserve. The park is one of the most important sites for biodiversity in Vietnam.
The turtle conservation center was established
CNN Anchor Says Zoos 'Feel Like a Stone Age Thing': They Had Zoos Then?
CNN anchor Erin Burnett ended her evening news show Upfront on Thursday night with a commentary suggesting America should close its zoos. "It feels absolutely wrong to cage" animals. "It feels like a Stone Age thing."
They had zoos in the Stone Age? Isn't it more likely they just killed and ate animals rather than put them on display? She began her commentary by relaying how a Sumatran tiger had cubs at the National Zoo in D.C., but then shifted to the zoo-cruelty line:
BURNETT: Costa Rica, known for its incredible biodiversity, is closing its zoos because cages are bad for animals.Costa Rica's minister of the environm
Court action being considered in elephant cruelty case
Police investigating allegations of cruelty to elephants at Twycross Zoo have handed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider court action.
Three workers at the Leicestershire zoo were sacked and arrested after allegedly causing unnecessary suffering to two animals in September last year.
The hit documentary Blackfish has a message as dubious as its methods
A current hit on the arthouse circuit, Blackfish is the type of documentary that covers over its flaws in argumentation with the sort of trickery you'd expect to see in negative political campaigning: decontextualized video footage presented in slow motion, with a voiceover offering the most damning possible explanation of its meaning, while the soundtrack strikes gut-churning minor chords. Through interviews with former whale trainers, an OSHA expert with an ax to grind against Sea World, and copious video footage, the film attempts to make several cases at once while dishonestly withholding its ultimate message.
First, by focusing on the tragic death of expert Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau while working with the 12,000-point bull orca Tilikum in 2010, director Gabriela Cowperthwaite and her witnesses argue that Tilikum was a violent whale, a ticking time bomb who had already racked up two prior kills. (The film practically uses obscene serial-killer psychology to discuss Tilikum, mostly for cheap dramatic effect.) Second, the film argues that whales are sufficiently intelligent that keeping them prisoner for human amusement is unethical and cruel. Third, whales are wild animals, uncontrollable and dangerous.
Zoo Photos Capture Caged Animals’ Melancholy
Photographer Gaston Lacombe doesn’t hate zoos. He just thinks some of them need improving.
For the past four years, he’s been trying to make that point with a series of photos called Captive. All of the photos are shot from regular, public viewing areas and are meant to highlight the poor or unnatural conditions some animals live in when they’re removed from their normal habitat.
"Even in the very best of zoos you still find animals placed in horrible cement enclosures or little glass boxes,” says Lacombe, who was born in Canada but now lives in Washington D.C.
Captive shows zoos from nine different countries on five different continents. Lacombe’s images have a melancholy feel to them — not overly dramatic, just real. They’re an anthropological study of humans encaging animals to be viewed safely and leisurely.
People love zoos. And the people running them say it’s unfair to judge them just by what’s visible. Steve Feldman, spokesperson for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, says he knows some of the enclosures at zoos might not look natural, but that there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes at AZA zoos to ensure that all animals’ physical, social and psychological needs are met and that AZA zoos and aquariums "don’t engage in practices that are bad for the animals.”
All 212 zoos accredited by the AZA in the U.S. encour
Sad Animals in Zoos
"Aw, that polar looks so sad. He doesn’t like this cage”. "Poor monkey, so bored with nothing to do”.
Have you ever made a comment like this? Have you ever heard someone say this at a public zoo or petstore? The answer is likely to be yes. Despite unfamiliarity with the species in question, or even that animal as an individual, this is a common occurrence and a blatant example of the conflict with anthropomorphism.
DNA confirms elusive Night Parrot found
Work at the Western Australian Museum’s recently acquired DNA laboratory has proved conclusively the Night Parrot – often referred to as the Holy Grail of ornithology – is not extinct.
Queensland bird enthusiast John Young, who has been searching for the Night Parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis) for nearly 15 years, sent five feathers from a roost site he found within the Lake Eyre Basin to the Museum’s Molecular Systematics Unit for testing, convinced the birds he had been watching were indeed the elusive parrot.
The feathers were found to be 100 per cent identical to Pezoporus occidentalis, listed as extinct in New South Wales, regionally extinct in Victoria, critically endangered in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and endangered in Queensland and South Australia.
WA Museum CEO Alec Coles said this was an incredibly significant discovery and one the Museum was very excited to be part of.
"The Night Parrot is a bird many people believed to be extinct up until 1990, and the WA Museum is very pleased to have been asked
Look into the eyes of a caged tiger and you will see the zombie victim of 'zoochosis':
A passionate plea by conservationist who breeds big cats to return them to wild It is more than 180 years since the first zoos opened in Britain. To put that in perspective, the electric telegraph hadn’t been invented, never mind the telephone, and passenger railways had only just come into existence.
People rarely travelled far, hardly ever abroad, so imagine their delight when they visited menageries filled with chimpanzees, oryx and orangutans.
I can also understand why so many of you today want to take your children to see an elephant or giraffe or gorilla close up.
But I think the time has come to re-evaluate the role of zoos. I know it’s not practical to close all zoos today. Nor am I suggesting that all zoos can be closed tomorrow. But I am proposing that we phase them out over the next 20 to 30 years.
If you are going to the zoo today, I urge you to look closely. In the wild, these creatures roam hundreds of miles. They hunt their prey, raise their offspring and enjoy complex social relationships. So think how it must feel to be
After a Whale Trainer Is Injured, Man Who Videotaped It Stands by Marineland
A trainer at the park was injured during a whale show this week, prompting another backlash against the park from animal activists.
Last month, TakePart reported on a Tampa father, Carlo De Leonibus, who brought his family to SeaWorld Orlando, only to witness and videotape a juvenile pilot whale stuck in the concrete slide-out, struggling to free itself.
The video went global and overnight De Leonibus became and anti-captivity activist. His young daughter Cat no longer wants to be a dolphin trainer at SeaWorld—she now wants to be a marine biolgist.
And just yesterday, TakePart reported on another young father, this time from Ontario, Canada, named Tom Blake, who brought his own family, including two children ages two and five, to see the shows at Marineland, near Niagara Falls.
During a segment in which two trainers performed in the water with two belugas, the beguiling white whales known for their docility, the young female trainer was injured and hauled up on the slide-out area by her colleague, writhing in pain.
It would appear that the whale may have bitten down on her knee, though Marineland has not responded to requests f
Tapir attacks past, present, but hopefully not future
Last Thursday (August 8th, 2013) a Brazilian or Lowland tapir Tapirus terrestris at Dublin Zoo (Ireland) seriously attacked and injured a two-year-old girl that, believe it or don’t, was taken into the tapir’s enclosure. The child’s mother was injured as she tried to rescue (or, rescued) the little girl. The girl reportedly received "deep abdomen and arm injuries” that involved arterial damage and de-gloving of hand and arm skin (yes, this is exactly what it sounds like).
Reparative surgery has occurred in hospital. It may not surprise you to know that the tapir was a mother with a young calf (you may have seen this case being much discussed on facebook and twitter: I tweet @TetZoo). The story broke about two days ago and features worldwide in online and printed media to
Sabah in no rush to send rhinos overseas for breeding
Sabah is in no rush to send its rhinos to zoos abroad for breeding amid fears that the animal faces extinction in Borneo, said state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.
He said it would be the state’s last resort to send rhinos overseas for breeding.
"We are looking at all available options and the most important thing is to ensure that these animals will not become extinct,” he said.
"However, to send them overseas will be our last resort,” he said at the Sabah Muslim Cabinet ministers’ Hari Raya open house at Likas Sports Complex on Saturday.
Asked about the growing calls for the near extinct rhinos to be sent to a US zoo for breeding purposes, Masidi said that it was hard to get rhinos to mate due to geographical factors.
"Rhinos are loners. They don’t really move in packs. It makes it much ,more difficult fo
Saudi gift to city zoo accepted
The state government has approved the request of Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar Bin Saud Bin Mohammed Al Saud to gift cheetahs and African lions to the city’s Nehru Zoological Park.
"The state government has agreed to accept the gift and the wild animals will soon be brought to the city zoo,” said chief wildlife warden A.V. Joseph. "Apart from cheetahs and African lions, several other wild animals like squirrel monkeys, black swan etc., will also be brought in from Saudi Arabia”, he said.
Joseph said the new animals would join the city zoo as part of its soon-to-be-celebrated golden jubilee. Meanwhile, the footfalls in the Nehru Zoological Park have increased in the weekends following Id-ul-Fitr.
On Saturday and Sunday over 52,000 people visited the zoo, for which the zoo officials had to set up additional ticket counters. The zoo has ac
Manila Elephant to Stay Put, Despite Push by Powerful Pals
Mali, a 39-year-old elephant in a Manila zoo, has very powerful friends. Including the ex-Beatle Paul McCartney.
But a push by McCartney and many other animal lovers hasn’t succeeded in persuading the mayor of Manila to send Mali to a Thai sanctuary, which has already said she’s welcome and would have elephant friends. One animal rights group has even offered to spring for her plane ticket.
Instead, Mali will stay at the Manila Zoo, with the goal of bringing two elephant friends in, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has decided. Plus the zoo is going to be renovated so Mali – who will continue to be a star attraction – will have better digs.
Still, Mali – short for Vishwa Maali, which means "world” and "lady” in Thai — might get a vacation from the zoo she’s called home for 30 years. Manila’s zoo is getting ready to have a big renovation. That means Mali may get to go temporarily to the 50-hectare Zoobic Safari in Subic, about 100 kilometers northwest of Manila Bay.
Mali arrived in the Philippines at age three, as a gift from Sri Lanka to then-First Lady Imelda Marcos.
Since then, Mali has proven to be wildly popular. She is the only elephant at the zoo. She spends her days picking peanuts and bananas from visitor’s hands and being cooled off by water squirted by them at her.
But her living conditions aren’t like in the Sri Lanka jungle. Instead, she spends her days in a cramped enclosure at the Manila Zoo.
World’s oldest penguin reaches 36
MISSY the penguin has waddled forward to claim the crown as the oldest in the world after reaching 36 years old – a staggering 108 in human years.
King penguin Missy arrived at the Birdland wildlife park in Gloucestershire when she was at least five years old in 1982. And despite losing the vision in one eye she is still the leader of the colony today.
Despite her age her keepers had no idea that she was the world’s oldest until a zoo in Denmark claimed the title with a Gentoo penguin two years younger than Missy. Staff at the park in Bourton-on-the-Water are now planning to send her details to Guinness World Records to prove her claim to the title.
King penguins – Aptenodytes patagonicus in Latin – are only expected to live up to 26 years in captivity, much more than their 15-20 years life expectancy in the wild.
South Africa’s trophy hunt industry linked to rhino horn trafficking … AGAIN
The July 2013 seizure of 24 rhino horns and arrest of 16 suspects in the Czech Republic points yet again to South Africa’s failure to properly monitor its own trophy hunt industry.
The "hunters” were said to have been hired by an "international criminal gang” to legally kill rhinos in South Africa. This is in order to use the CITES permit loophole which allows for the import of "legally” sourced rhino horns into the Czech Republic. Customs officials at Prague’s Václav Havel International Airport became suspicious and contacted the police, according to Radio Prague. Although no names were released due to the ongoing investigation, among those arrested were Czech as well as foreign nationals. The operation was conducted in conjunction with
12 years until elephants are all wiped out as one dies every 15 minutes
12 years until elephants are all wiped out
Elephants could be extinct within 12 years because poachers are killing one every 15 minutes, a charity warns.
About 36,000 of them were slaughtered last year in Africa, the Kenya-based David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust claims in a report today.
‘A world without elephants is hard to comprehend but it is a real possibility,’ said Dame Daphne Sheldrick.
‘Elephants have walked the earth for 50million years but against a sub-machine gun or poacher armed with a spear, they stand little chance.’
The 4.5 tonnes of ivory seized in Hong Kong last month was a tiny fraction of the amount smuggled each year, says the trust which rescues and rears orphaned elephants.
Only about a tenth of the tusks transported are detected by customs officials, the charity estimates.
In Kenya so far this year, 162 elephants out of a population of about 35,000 have been killed, it adds in the report timed to coincide with World Elephant Day.
Judge rules SeaWorld made good faith effort to protect trainers
SeaWorld scores significant legal victory in ongoing battle with OSHA
An administrative law judge has ruled that SeaWorld has made a good faith effort to protect its trainers from the dangers posed by working with killer whales.
The judge also indicated that SeaWorld has more expertise than the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in determining how close trainers can safely work alongside killer whales.
However, OSHA investigators still have concerns the marine park is jeopardizing the safety of its employees.
Following the 2010 death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was drowned by a killer whale named Tilikum, OSHA issued citations against SeaWorld and ordered the company to take steps to better protect its employees. Last summer, Judge Kenneth Welsch ordered the company to pay a $12,000 fine and abate the hazards. OSHA recommended that trainers be kept behind barriers or remain a safe distance away from killer whales during show
Close call for zoo worker bitten by Russell viper hatchling
In what could be considered exuberance or sheer carelessness, a 60 plus man working at the corporation zoo for nearly two decades came close to death after a Russell viper hatchling bit him on the base of his left hand index finger on Monday afternoon. A Russell viper snake at the Corporation Zoo here in the city had 22 hatchlings today and it was one of these hatchlings that decided to bite Singaraj's finger. The incident occurred when Singaraj was showcasing the batch of hatchlings, as per instructions of zoo director K Asokan, to be photographed and passed on to local media houses for publication.
"He is an experienced man and has been handling snakes for more than 20 years. I asked him if he wants any medication but he said he was fine. We have gloves and tongs to handle snakes but these workers do not use them," said K Asokan.
TOI tracked down Singaraj outside his residence in Nagarajapuram with his swollen left hand. Narrating the sequence of events, Singaraj told us that he was holding the hatchlings in his palm when one of them bit him close to the base of his index f
Kangaroo meat issue not about contamination or quality
THE kangaroo meat trade has suffered another blow, with Russian authorities questioning an export bungle that threatens the $180 million industry.
Australian exports of kangaroo meat to a region that includes Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are a sensitive issue after the market was closed in 2009 following lobbying by Animal Liberation.
The Russian quarantine authority Rosselkhoznadzor partially lifted the ban in December, granting sole access to South Australian processor Macro Meats.
Yesterday, animal rights group Voiceless claimed Russia had reinstated the ban after the discovery of unauthorised shipments. It quoted news agency RIA Novosti as reporting Rosselkhoznadzor had acted after seizing an 18.6-tonne shipment.
"Rosselkhoznadzor notified Australia's veterinary service of the necessity to suspend certification of Macro Investments products for the market of the Customs union states," the authority reportedly said in a statement. But the Department of Agri
UAE conservation fund helps hundreds of endangered species
Almost 200 endangered species benefited from grants worth Dh5.5 million from the Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund in 2012.
The fund supported 250 projects in 75 countries during the year, contributing to the survival of 185 endangered species - 101 of which are critically endangered - and 27 other species.
Among the species the fund helped to preserve is Morocco's Bald Ibis, a bird classed as critically endangered.
According to the fund's annual report, six Arab countries received funding for conservation projects in 2012.
Almost half the fund's grants, 43 per cent, were allocated to projects in Asia, 27 per cent in Africa, 15 per cent in South America, 9 per cent in North America, 4 per cent in Europe and 2 per cent in Oceania.
In terms of species, 41 per cent of the funding went to mammals, 16 per cent to birds, 12 per cent to reptiles, 8 per cent to plants, 8 per cent each to fish and amphibians, 5 per cent to invertebrates and 2 per cent to fungi.
In addition to supporting endangered species, the fund, chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, also helps species that are as yet unclassified or insufficiently documented.
Since its est
Zoo animals recover after Ivory Coast civil war
During Ivory Coast's civil war in 2011, Abidjan's only zoo fell into disrepair and many animals died. Now, the facility is getting a makeover, and wants to become a center for conservation excellence in West Africa.
Ivory Coast's zoo - in the heart of the country's biggest city, Abidjan - almost ceased to exist during the country's 2011 civil war. During the conflict, which killed at least 3,000 people, more than a quarter of the animals at the zoo died of starvation.
Violence that erupted after the 2010 presidential elections turned parts of the city into no-go areas. Fearing for their lives, people stayed indoors, and food wasn't delivered to the zoo for months. Those animals who could survive on vegetation grew painfully thin. Others, including a pack of lions, starved to death.
Zoo acquires rare white lion from South Africa
The Hodonin zoo is the first in the Czech Republic to acquire a South African lion, a rare species widely dubbed "white lion" for its fur of a butter colour, the zoo spokeswoman Bohuna Mikulicova told CTK yesterday.
The zoo gained the seven-month-old male lion from the Lory Park, South Africa, in exchange for other animals.
Now it plans to acquire a female to form a couple.
"We want to secure a female either from Ukraine's Belogorsk zoo, which specialises in breeding South African lions, or from Yalta," Hodonin zoo director Martin Krug said.
Besides its light colour of fur, the South African lion
Chile investigates condor deaths
Health authorities are trying to find out what poisoned at least 20 condors in the Andes mountain range between Chile and Argentina.
The huge endangered birds, with a wingspan of up to 3m, were found near the town of Los Andes, about 80km east of the Chilean capital, Santiago.
The authorities say two birds died, but 18 are recovering at a clinic.
Mauricio Fabry, director of Metropolitan Zoo, told re
'Slow loris tickling' video points to online peril for endangered species
Study follows arc of public opinion as awareness grew of pygmy slow loris's endangered status and lethal properties
New research suggests that viral videos can have a devastating effect on the populations of endangered species and that a mechanism is urgently needed to report images of them online.
Picture the scene: people clustered around a computer screen, cooing over the latest cute baby-animal video. A grinning, umbrella-toting slow loris is entrancing them and the video views pile up.
But the work of Professor Anne Nekaris points to a darker side to this internet fame, as it has led to slow lorises, an endangered species, being targeted by vendors exploiting the public perception of the species as the ideal pets – despite their being potentially lethal to humans.
The primates are transported miles from their original homes in China, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, to be sold for as little as £10.
From bats to tigers, zoos lead the fight against extinction
ONE of the most powerful predators on Earth and a bat that loves figs are among the top 10 mammals beating extinction thanks to zoos around the British Isles, it was claimed yesterday.
The critically endangered Sumatran tiger – of which fewer than 400 remain in the wild – is being helped by an international breeding programme, said the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The endangered Livingstone’s fruit bat, from the Comoros Islands, is being helped by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust on Jersey and by Bristol and Chester zoos.
Others include the scimitar-horned oryx, Peru’s San Martin titi monkey and Madagascar’s blue-eyed black lemur.
Western lowland gorillas are being helped by zoos including Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent which has released 21 into rainforest.
The Case for Closing Every American Zoo
In a surprising announcement last week, Costa Rica will be closing down two of its most popular zoos by next year, with hopes to bring the country to a new environmental standpoint: "No cages." The Simon Bolivar Zoo and the Santa Ana Conservation Center will become a botanical garden and a park, respectively, with the animals either released into the wild or sent to rescue facilities and wildlife reserves. The administration hopes to close all public zoos under this new guidance. The decision is already fraught with controversy in Costa Rica — legal, economic, environmental, and political issues are all playing parts.
The event brings a new question into the U.S. as well: Should America close its zoos?
Why Freeing Willy Was the Wrong Thing To Do
Willy was never really free. The killer whale star of the Hollywood movie Free Willy had to be cared for by humans even after he was released and he never successfully integrated with his wild kin. Researchers now say attempts to return him to the wild were misguided.
"We believe the best option for [Willy] was the open pen he had in Norway, with care from his trainers," says Malene Simon of the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, who participated in efforts to reintegrate the cetacean in the wild and is lead author of the study. "He could swim as much as he wanted to, had plenty of frozen herring – which he was very fond of – and the people that he was attached to kept him active."
The killer whale, whose real name was Keiko, died in December 2003, at about 26 years old. Despite efforts to integrate him with wild killer whales in Iceland towards the end of his life, he proved unable to interact with them or find food.
"While we as humans might find it appealing to free a long-term captive animal," the researchers say in the paper, "the survival and well-being of the animal may be severely impacted in doing so." The only cetaceans that have successfully been returned to the wild have been young and only kept in captivity for short periods.
5 Reasons Being a Zookeeper Will Make Me a Better Parent
My partner and I don't have kids yet, but we're trying. As more of my friends squeeze out little bundles of joy, I'm struck by how similar zookeepers and parents really are. We're both obsessed with poop. Moreover, we take our jobs as caregivers very, very seriously. When you have another life depending on you, it's time to step up your game. Here are five ways that being a zookeeper will make me a better parent.
Bring On The Bodily Functions
Ever been peed on by a tiger? In sheer volume and stink quality, nothing is more gross. So I'm confident that, when my own tiny human chooses to shower me with urine, I probably won't bat a pee-soaked eyelash. Zookeepers deal with feces on a daily basis, and most have been spat on, puked on, even rubbed with scent glands. Sure, baby poop is stinky, and I'm sure there will be times when I'm nearly knocked unconscious by what I find in my child's diaper, but it's probably nothing worse than something I've smelled at work.
Darnell Dockett Nabbed a Pet Tiger, Looking to Add Monkey If You Know of Any
Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith reports on a veritable menagerie budding in Darnell Dockett's backyard.
The star Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman has already procured a pet tiger and is browsing around for a monkey—at least that's what he offered in an interview with Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports 910 AM in Phoenix.
Dockett is eager to share images of the tiger cub he is calling "Little Buddy." Here is the
coolest pet in the NFL, via Dockett's Twitter feed.
Flip-flop animal sculptures at The Virginia Zoo
Designers have brought out the animal in flip flops at the Virginia Zoo.
Animal sculptures made of flip flops are now available in the Zoo’s gift shop.
The sculptures are part of an effort to recycle thousands of flip flops in the Indian Ocean, where flip flops are one of the largest marine pollutants. The company Ocean Sole takes these flip flops and pays artists in that area to make sculptures out of the footwear.
The Virginia Zoo’s executive director partnered with Ocean Sole and the San Diego Zoo to bring this art to the U.S. The Virginia Zoo
Members Of Oregon Zoo Staff Test Positive For TB
A Multnomah County health official says members of the Oregon zoo staff, who have had contact
with an elephant infected with tuberculosis, tested positive for the disease.
Justin Denny is a doctor with the Multnomah County Health Department. He says "very, very few” staffers tested positive for TB. He says the staff members have a latent form of TB that’s highly treatable.
"So it’s curable. And so it’s good news that we have very very reassuring information. So two bits of good information, one is it’s treatable TB and the second thing is very very few people became positive as a result of the exposure,” Denny says.
Denny says zoo visitors are not at risk. Only zoo staffers who had direct and prolonged contact with the elephant tested positive.
And while health officials ass
Mangalore: 36 King Cobras born at Pilikula Biological Park
Snake lovers, photographers and tourists will find an added attraction in Pilikula from now on.
As many as 36 King Cobras were born in Dr Shivarama Karantha Biological Park, Pilikula recently.
With the assistance from snake lovers, 37 eggs of King Cobras were rescued from a farm belonging to an agriculturalist near Dharmasthala in Beltangady taluk. They were brought to Pilikula Biological Park sometime ago.
After these eggs were artificially hatched for nearly 80 days, 36 out of 37 king cobras were born in the biological park. These baby King Cobras are around one to one and half feet long and in good health, said H J Bhandary, director of the park.
By birth, these baby snakes are poisonous enough to kill a person with a bite. Usually, procreation of these breeds take place in the forest. How
IS CONSERVATION EXTINCT?
A new look at preserving biodiversity
Conservationists are used to justifying their work. Since the movement first took shape in the 1800s, they’ve provided a litany of contemporary arguments for conserving the natural world, from economic (protecting forests for wood) to spiritual (preserving places that stir the soul) to scientific (safeguarding biological systems). But lately they’ve been wrestling internally with another fundamental question about their task: not why we should save nature, but what exactly we should save and how we should save it. Against a backdrop of growing global resource demand and climate change — as well as emerging technologies, such as synthetic biology — that are wreaking philosophical havoc, finding the answers is urgent.
Indonesia, India fingered as biggest shark catchers
Indonesia and India on Tuesday were named as the world's biggest catchers of sharks in an EU-backed probe into implementing a new pact to protect seven threatened species of sharks and rays.
Indonesia and India account for more than a fifth of global shark catches, according to the
wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.
They head the list of 20 countries that together account for nearly 80 percent of total shark catch reported between 2002 and 2011.
The others, in descending order, are Spain, Taiwan, Argentina, Mexico, the United States, Malaysia, Pakistan, Brazil, Japan, France, New Zealand, Thailand, Portugal, Nigeria, Iran, Sri Lanka, South Korea and Yemen.
COULD THE DETROIT ZOO GIRAFFE BE SOLD FOR $80,000?
The shock following the city of Detroit's bankruptcy announcement has settled, and now many are wondering what's the next step for the troubled metropolis. According to the Detroit Free Press, the city is contemplating selling some of their assets, including a female giraffe named Chardo from the Detroit Zoo.
The 'I' of the Tiger
World Tiger Day proudly sits on Monday 29 July, a day to raise awareness of the plight of the tiger - in fact, 3,200 tigers, which is the grand total of those remaining in the wild. (An often stated fact is that there are more tigers in captivity in the USA than there are in the wild globally). But, what does World Tiger Day mean and how can it really help save the Tigers? And what is the 'I' of the Tiger?
Okay: which of these words should describe World Tiger Day: useful, pointless, or neutral? Who knows?
Certainly WTD can't hurt, but preaching to the converted is not the way. We need to reduce consumer demand for tiger 'parts', increase enforcement systems to protect them in the wild, manage habitats to avoid 'human-wildlife conflict', and just stop being so damn 'human' in our approach. Not everything has to have a price or has to come second to our needs. So, for World Tiger Day, let's quickly debunk some myths:
Fact: Drinking tiger wine does not make you more virulent. It makes you barbaric and senseless.
Fact: Having a tiger skin rug or trophy on your wall does not make you look or feel rich. It makes you look arrogant, ill-informed and uneducated.
Fact: Going to an attraction like Tiger Temple for a Facebook photo isn't a rite of passage, and any tiger that needs to be chained for ho
Dolphin leaps outside its enclosure at SeaWorld
Video has surfaced of a dolphin stranded on concrete after jumping from its enclosure at a SeaWorld in Texas.
The video, posted on YouTube by animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
(PETA), shows the bloodied animal floundering on the ground just outside its tank at the San Antonio SeaWorld.
PETA says overnight guests at the water park on a tour before the park opens were feeding the animals when the dolphin stranded itself.
Eyewitnesses told PETA two dolphins were performing tricks for the guests when they crashed into each other and one landed outside the enclosure.
Guests were ushered away f
SeaWorld fights OSHA citations
Company hires attorney son of Supreme Court Justice
Calling themselves "the world leader" in the care of marine mammals, SeaWorld attorneys have filed a brief with an appeals court, hoping to get their animal trainers back in the water with the park's famous killer whales.
To prepare for the challenging legal battle, the company recently hired Washington D.C. attorney Eugene Scalia, a former Department of Labor solicitor who happens to be the son of Surpreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
After trainer Dawn Brancheau was drowned by a killer whale in 2010, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration issued safety citations against SeaWorld. Last year, an administrative law judge upheld OSHA's recommendation that trainers remain behind physical barriers or a safe distance away from the water when interacting with killer whales during
Subic park boss to Erap: We can take care of Mali
Looks like a third party wants a piece of Mali.
An operator of animal theme parks in Luzon has asked Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada to allow his company to take care of Mali, the lone elephant at Manila Zoo, saying it could provide a more suitable habitat for the aging animal.
The request came from the Zoomanity Group (ZG), a part of the Yupangco Group of Companies that operates the Zoocobia Fun Zoo at Clark Freeport, the Zoobic Safari in Subic, Zambales province, and the Paradizoo Theme Farm in Cavite province.
In his July 23 letter, ZG president Albert Yupangco asked Estrada to let his company transfer Mali to the 50-hectare animal theme park in the Subic Bay Freeport.
Yupangco cited the campaign of animal rights activists to have Mali transferred to a nature sanctuary in Thailand. "However, there are some misgivings whether Mali can withstand the strenuous travel to Thailand, in view of her physical condition and old age,” he said.
Mali going to Zoobic
Mali the elephant is finally leaving the Manila Zoo, but only temporarily, and not for a sanctuary in Thailand.
The elephant will stay in a park in Subic once the renovation of the Manila Zoo starts. Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada yesterday said he agreed to the request of Zoomanity Group (ZG) to allow the company to take care of Mali at least temporarily.
"It would be temporary because we will be constructing a world class Manila Zoo. While it’s being constructed we might give (Mali) to Subic... We will not let go of Mali,” he said.
ZG of the Yupangco Group of companies operates several farms and zoos including Zoocobia Fun Zoo at Clark Freeport, Zoobic Safari in Subic and the Paradizoo Theme Park in Cavite.
In a letter to Estrada, ZG said it could provide better care for t
2-headed turtle at Texas zoo gets Facebook page
The Facebook page on Sunday showed photos of the quirky reptile and imaginary conversations between the two heads
A two-headed turtle born last month at the San Antonio Zoo has become so popular that she has her own Facebook page.
Zoo officials say the Texas cooter, named Thelma and Louise for the female duo in the 1991 Oscar -winning movie, has been doing well.
Spokeswoman Debbie Rios-Vanskike (van SKYKE') says the turtle eats and swims, and added that the two heads — named Louise Left and Thelma Right — get along.
The Facebook page on Sunday showed photos of the quirky reptile and imaginary conversations between the two heads.
The turtle hatched June 18. The animal is o
UK-Born Javan Langur Struggling to Adjust
The only male among six Javan Langur monkeys born in captivity in British zoos and now being sheltered at a rehabilitation center in Batu, East Java, is facing difficulties adapting to its new surroundings, according to an official at the center.
Iwan Kurniawan, the project manager for the Javan Langur Center in Batu, said on Thursday that since the six langurs were moved from Patuha in West Java to Batu on July 11, all five females in the group had been able to adapt well.
The six langurs were born at the Port Lympne and Howletts zoos, both in southeast England, to parents that were part of an animal-exchange program with Jakarta’s Ragunan Zoo.
They were sent to Indonesia in February and had been placed in a primate rehabilitation center in Patuha to adjust to the tropical climate before later being sent to Batu to be prepared for subsequent release into the wild.
Iwan said the langurs would undergo a process of training before being released. They will be eased into their natural diet
Japan bucks trend: Captive dolphin biz big
Despite an international trend taking the opposite tack, the number of aquariums in Japan is growing and sales of dolphins continue to flourish, results of an independent study have revealed.
Animal welfare groups Elsa Nature Conservancy and Help Animals have collated data from official documents, marine facilities and other organizations showing Japan is the world’s leader in aquariums and the numbers of cetaceans kept in them.
"When it comes to aquariums, Japan is the globe’s superpower,” leads the report, "Dolphins Raised in Japanese Facilities,” released July 20. The majority of dolphins kept in captivity are taken from the wild and cetacean deaths within facilities "are not unusual,” it continues.
Wildlife conservation: Formation of National Zoo Association advocated
The establishment of a national zoo association is crucial in order to improve animal welfare, their gene pool and conservation, World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan Biodiversity Director Uzma Khan said on Tuesday.
She was speaking at a workshop to highlight the importance of an organisation to enhance partnership among the zoos in the country.
"This workshop is a critical step towards the formation of a national zoo association,” she said, "Our zoos could then be represented at the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).”
The workshop was attended by officials from the Lahore Zoo, Lahore Zoo Safari, Karachi Zoo and the Lamar Wildlife Park (in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa). Several climate change and WWF officials attended the workshop as well.
The participants agreed that the association could play a significant role towards improving coordination between zoos and provide them opportunities to share expertise and adopt best management practices. The association could also monitor the setting up of zoos, their administration and the quality of care and safety of captive wild animals in the country.
Why Should We Care? By Peter Riger, Vice-President of Conservation
Vice President of Conservation, Peter Riger is visiting Borneo to find out how the Houston Zoo can be of further assistance in the race to save Asian wildlife.
Why should I care? That is an odd question, but extremely relevant in today’s world. Some of the challenges we face are growing human population, water and food shortages, and competition for other natural resources between human-to-human and wildlife-to-human.
Why should we care about wildlife and wild places? There has to be some value in protecting not only species but complete ecosystems. Believe it or not, they really do sustain life and without animals – from insects to elephants – these systems will falter.
But if you live in a country that does not have a wild population of elephants, why should you care? They do not walk through your crops, threaten your livelihoods and other than viewing them at a zoo or on tv, they most likely are not something you think about.
Cairo Protest Sends Zoo Animals Into Panic – Report
A weeks-long protest in support of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo is sending animals at a nearby zoo into panic, the widely circulated Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram (The Pyramids) reported Sunday.
Fearing attacks by police after the country’s Interior Ministry vowed to disband the rally, demonstrators have installed powerful spotlights around the gathering in Cairo’s Al-Nahda Square to ward off possible armed encounters at night, the newspaper said.
However, the bright lights are shining into the nearby zoo and stirring up a frenzy among the sleep-deprived animals, who are not used to unnatural light, the report said, citing a zoo management representative.
"The park has a lot of tigers, lions and zebras who until recently had only seen the sun rise and set, and used that for orientation. We don’t have any artificial lighting; everything here is as close as possible to the natural environment. But now these protestors are lighting up the park at night wi
More Room To Roam
A few of the biggest local celebrities are getting a new home as the Oregon Zoo elephant enclosure is set for expansion.
The zoo is in the midst of its most significant construction project since it opened at its current location in 1959. Projects scheduled over the coming years aim to upgrade outdated facilities and improve the zoo experience for visitors.
One project at the heart of the construction effort is the 6.25-acre Elephant Lands. Construction on the $53 million project started in early June and is scheduled to be completed by 2015.
"It was state of the art at the time, but we’ve learned so much since then,” said Hova Najarian, media and public relations officer.
While the Elephant Lands project is one of the largest changes in store, a series of additional improvements, using sustainable practices, are scheduled in the coming years. The projects are paid for by a $125 million bond measure passed by Portland Metro-area voters in 2008.
With an area more than four times the size of the current facility, Elephant Lands is expected to provide the
Mammoth mission to secure friends for lonely elephant
A mission to provide friends for a lonely elephant at Auckland Zoo has struck a hitch because of strict quarantine rules.
The zoo wants to import a pair of orphaned pachyderms as company for Burma, who has been on her own since the death of long-term partner Kashin four years ago.
"We are really keen for her to have a family at Auckland Zoo, this is her home, this is where she is most comfortable," said Kevin Buley, from Auckland Zoo.
How Old Is That Lion? A Guide to Aging Animals
Animals may not have birth certificates, but they do display telltale signs of aging.
It seems like every year, the world discovers a newest oldest animal.
Almost a decade ago, it was Ming, the 405-year-old clam. Then there was Jonathan, a giant tortoise who was touted as the world's oldest living creature—until questions later emerged about his identity. There are accounts of 150-year-old whales and 115-year-old reptiles. They make Lonesome George—the famous Galápagos tortoise who died last year at 100—seem relatively young in comparison.
Determining the ages of these particular animals was not overly difficult. Like all clams, Ming grew tree-like rings for every year it was alive. Jonathan and George—the tortoises—were well documented, having appeared in diaries and photographs over the years. The bowhead whale—called the longest-living mammal on Earth—was found with a century-old harpoon pin lodged inside of it.
New rules for zoo animals
The Environmental Protection Authority has set new rules for keeping animals in zoos.
The change will mean a standard set of rules will apply to all animals approved for containment in zoos, where in the past there were different rules for different species and different situations.
The new rules are outcome based, which means the focus is on making sure zoos contain their animals properly, rather than providing prescriptive rules about how they contain them. They include requirements for facilities to have written documentation to show they are complying.
They will have to prove their management practices and finances are robust enough to care for their animals in the long term.
Every facility will have to document staff training, and ensure they have the right level containment for their animals.
The new controls have been set by the EPA's Hazardous Substances and New Organisms committee, following an application from the Zoo a
Govt planning transfer of Chiang Mai Zoo operations
The government plans to transfer the operations of Chiang Mai Zoo over to the Office of the Prime Minister's Pinkanakorn Development Agency, said the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry's permanent secretary Chote Trachu yesterday.
Chote said the ministry had received an official letter from the Office of the Prime Minister about the transfer of the zoo's operations. In the letter, it was explained that the transfer was aimed at promoting the development of tourist destinations like Chiang Mai Zoo, which is a home of hundreds of wild animals, including several pandas from China. The zoo generates more than Bt100 million a year.
The official letter was signed by Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi and was sent on August 4 requesting that Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wichet Kasemthongsri transfer administration of the zoo to the Pinkanakorn Development Agency.
According to the official letter, Plodprasop has also instructed the Zoological Park Organisation to organise a meeting to resolve the issue.
Research at zoo to protect pangolins
Nandankanan Zoological Park has undertaken reserch to protect and conserve pangolins, as the toothless mammals face threat of extinction.
Set up in 2008, the Pangolin Conservation Breeding Centre (PCBC) has been studying the mammal's behaviour, reproduction, physiology, nutrition and the diseases they suffer from.
"Though many have an idea that pangolins are dangerous animals because of their scaly look, in reality they are completely harmless. But their scales are sharp and can cause cuts, if one is not careful while touching them. They are captured in large numbers for their scales and meat, which are used to make medicine," said Rajesh Kumar Mohapatra, a research fellow studying on pangolin at Nandankanan zoo.
Nandankanan zoo has been taking care of the pangolins for the last 50 years and so far 20 captive births have taken place at the zoo, of which three births occurred in the PCBC. Presently, the zoo has eight pangolins, including four females.
"It's very difficult to study the behaviour of these animals because they hardly come out during the day. These animals are very agile and tend to roll up into a scaly, armoured ball as self-defence mechanism. That's why they are easily caught by hunters," Mohapatra added.
The number of pangolins has fallen sharply because they are hunted and used in preparing medicines. However, very little is known about the status, ec
Two young elephants die within weeks at Chester Zoo
A second young elephant has died this month at Chester Zoo.
Three-year-old-male Nayan Hi Way died a few weeks after two-year-old female elephant Jamilah, the zoo said.
A post-mortem examination showed Jamilah died of an illness that affects both wild and captive elephants aged between one and four years of age.
Staff said it was too early to determine what had caused the second death, but the rest of the elephan
Zoo tigers 'won't save species from extinction'
On International Tiger Day zoo breeding programs for tigers are in the spotlight again. One conservation charity argues they’re doomed to fail and that saving the animals’ natural habitat is the only way forward.
Last month the birth of two Sumatran tiger cubs made headlines as the rare event was captured on camera at Chester Zoo in the north-west of England. Only 300 to 400 Sumatran tigers are thought to be left in the wild, and the species is considered to be critically endangered.
The Chester Zoo tigers are part of an international captive breeding program aimed at saving Sumatran tigers from extinction.
"The international breeding program is vital in terms of creating a viable back-up population to the wild," said a zoo spokesperson. "That's why these new arrivals are so important."
Zoo trainer beat sea lion for photos, report says
A trainer at Zhengzhou Zoo who beat a sea lion with a stick on Sunday upset some visiting children, according to the Dahe Daily.
The trainer and photographer were busy arranging children to have their photographs individually taken, for a charge of 20 yuan ($3.3), with a sea lion on Sunday, at the zoo, in Henan province.
The sea lion seemed impatient as it had to pose for the camera repeatedly. To everyone's surprise, the keeper started to hit it with a white plastic stick. The kids became upset and left with their parents.
The photographer told the newspaper the 4-year-old sea lion had been in the zoo for three years.
According to the newspaper, the sea lion had to pose with about 100 tourists in the morning for photos. If it misbehaved, the photographer is ou
Group lauds Al Ain centre’s conservation model for Arabian tahr
Management of Nature Conservation’s model can be used worldwide, group says
The conservation model used for the endangered Arabian tahr by a centre in Al Ain has been recommended to be used globally by an international group.
Al Ain’s Management of Nature Conservation (MNC), operating under the Department of the President’s Affairs, was recently awarded a Certificate of Excellence by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Germany in recognition of its dedicated contribution towards saving the Arabian tahr from extinction.
Abdul Jaleel Abdul Rahman Al Blouki, MNC director-general, received the recognition on behalf of
Eng Mubarak Sa’ad Al Ahbabi, Chairman of the Department of the President’s Affairs. The award was given after a two-day independent audit of the centre’s system and processes conducted earlier this month.
The Arabian tahr (Arabitragus jayakari) is endemic to northern Oman and the UAE. It is listed as endangered due to a small population size fewer than 2,500 mature individuals, and is considered as possibly extinct in the UAE.
MNC started the cause of protecting the Arabian tahr in 2002 and started its breeding programme the same year. The centre achieved great strides in 2006 when 334 young Arabian tahr were born.
Sea lions' eyes hurt by Whipsnade Zoo water
Sea lions at a zoo in Bedfordshire suffered eye problems after a new water filtration system was installed.
Whipsnade Zoo's five Californian sea lions had been temporarily housed at London Zoo while their pool was refurbished.
But when they returned the increased chlorine levels hurt their eyes, an inspection report from March 2012 has revealed.
Whipsnade Zoo said the problem was "quickly rectified".
A report on the zoo, obtained by a Freedom of Information request by the Independent on Sunday, said a sea lion called Salt had shown an "adverse reaction" due to the increased chlorine levels.
'Zoo-cum-safari imperils wildlife in Bellary'
Former minister Gali Janardhana Reddy might be languishing in jail but his brainchild — the Atal Behari Vajpayee Zoo-cum-Safari — has raised hackles among environmental activists.
Proposed to be spread across 350 acres of scrub forest land within the buffer zone (200 metre) of the Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary in Bellary district, the project has come as a "rude shock” for ecologists.
Officials in the know told Deccan Herald that the government had already floated the tenders for the project and preliminary work, including digging of borewell, has commenced.
They, however, rue that not all the required approvals have been obtained. "As the area is a reserved forest and numerous trees will be lost, approvals are necessary from the National Wildlife Board and the Ministry of Environment and Forests,” Santosh Martin, Honorary Wildlife Warden of Bellary district, said.
Intriguing Habitats, and Careful Discussions of Climate Change
Poor Facilities at Indonesian Zoo Spark Rare Animal Seizure
Fourth big cat dies of distemper at Wylie sanctuary
A fourth big cat at In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center in Wylie — a white tiger named Harley — died Wednesday of distemper. The sanctuary's Facebook page reported the tiger had been sick for weeks, and they had decided to put him down.
About 45 minutes before a vet was scheduled to arrive, Harley died peacefully. The North Texas animal sanctuary has reported an outbreak of canine distemper that previously took the lives of three big cats.
Also dead are Abrams and Apollo, two 12-year-old Bengal tigers; and an African lioness called Layla who would have been 18 years old on Wednesday.
Officials with In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center in Wylie say about 20 other big cats have shown symptoms, but the exact number suffering from distemper is not known because all of the blood test results have not come back.
Details on the group's website indicate
FRANKFURT ZOO BLACK RHINO PROJECT CANCELLED.
It is with deep regret that we announce the cancellation by Frankfurt Zoo to move two black rhinos (Kalusho and Tsororo) to the Mkhaya Game Reserve in the Kingdom of Swaziland.
These precious animals are sub species Diceros bicornis minor that originate from the Zambezi valley in Zimbabwe. There is no breeding program for these animals in Europe so they will spend the rest of their lives in captivity with no opportunity to play a positive conservation role for the species. Their Zambezi genes are critical in the Swaziland black rhino conservation effort.
The negotiations were fraught with indecision by the zoo from the start. Frankfurt cancelled the project on many occasions. An official statement was issued by the zoo director Prof Manfred Niekisch in November 2012 which stated, "there is no change whatsoever with regard to our continuing commitment to this project and the specifications as laid down in the MOU signed by Mick Reilly (Big Game Parks Swaziland), Hamish Currie (Back to Africa), James Marshal (sponsor) and myself in 2012”.
David Attenborough Says Humans Are A 'Plague On Earth' Who Need To Stop Breeding
David Attenborough has described humans as a "plague on Earth" that need to slow down breeding to stop the world's population being reduced by more brutal means.
Speaking to the Radio Times, the beloved naturalist said the impact of the rapidly increasing population "will come home to roost over the next 50 years or so."
Finding food for the human 'hordes' is as just big a threat to survival as global warming, he said.
"It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde," he told the magazine.
"Either we limit our populatio
Florida's Most Famous Manatee Celebrates 65th Birthday
The oldest manatee ever to be held in captivity is celebrating its 65th birthday this Sunday.
In what was one of the first recorded births in captivity, Snooty was born at the Miami Aquarium and Tackle Company on July 21, 1948. In 1949, he was transferred to the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, where he has been living comfortably ever since.
To celebrate the occasion, the museum will be holding a free birthday party.
Over the years, Snooty has proven to be invaluable in teaching scientists about conservation and education of the state's marine life.
And as the AP reports, he has not been slowing down his
"Blackfish” director: "Using animals for entertainment is the bottom of the ethical totem pole”
Even before "Blackfish” came out, it had already become a lightning rod.
The new documentary calls out SeaWorld for keeping killer whales penned up and forcing them to perform for our entertainment; it hinges, as does director Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s curiosity about the subject, upon killer whale Tilikum’s lethal attack on one of his trainers in 2010, one that followed previous attacks by that same orca.
SeaWorld has contested the allegations made in "Blackfish” about how unsuited killer whales, by their nature loving and compassionate to one another, are to living in the pens. The theme park’s statement read in part: "To promote its bias that killer whales should not be maintained in a zoological setting, the film paints a distorted picture that withholds from viewers key facts about SeaWorld – among them, that SeaWorld is one of the world’s most respected zoological institutions.”
What is a species?
In recent years there has been a spate of news stories announcing new species discoveries from all corners of the Earth. But what exactly do we mean by ‘new species’? And how can scientists be sure this is indeed a new discovery? Guest blogger Sandhya Sekar from the University of Lincoln explains…
From the time we started living in groups, hunting and gathering food from the forests around us, it helped to name everything. Names made communication
easier, clearer. Today, we talk about conservation measures for different endangered species; about scientists discovering new species. Definitive phrases
like "scientists discover a new species of cave fish” – gives the word "species” an aura of certainty.
A recent count by science philosopher John Wilkins showed as many as 26 definitions of what makes a species. The purpose of this blog is not to elaborate the
26 types – Wilkins has done a great job. It is simply to examine t
Manila to improve zoo, acquire two more elephants
Coming soon: A bigger, better and modern Manila Zoo and possibly two more elephants to keep Mali, its most popular resident, company.
This was confirmed by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada who told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, on Tuesday, that talks were ongoing for a public-private partnership program with investors from Singapore who would spend P2 billion for the project.
"We will modernize the Manila Zoo,” Estrada said as he also announced that the city government had asked the Sri Lankan government for two more elephants.
Estrada said the city government had requested two more elephants from Sri Lanka to serve as Mali’s companions.
"She’s very smart and playful,” said volunteer caretaker John Chua, a veteran photographer who had taken care of the elephant for 12 years now.
Mali was seen filling up her trunk as she was being sprayed with water by a caretaker. Then the 38-year-old elephant would drink the water or squirt it to her body, much to the delight of the visitors of Manila Zoo.
If the water was trained to one of her feet, Mali would lift that foot and let you wash the underside.
Tuberculosis Risks in the African Elephant Herd at PAWS 'Sanctuary'
In Death Polar Bear 'Knut' Helps Science
Following the death of the polar bear Knut at Berlin Zoo, examinations carried out at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin showed that Knut was suffering from virus-induced encephalitis (acute inflammation of the brain). Researchers at Saarland University and IZW have now analysed his genetic material and discovered and characterised new sequences of endogenous retroviruses. The retroviruses were also found in another former resident of Berlin Zoo: the giant panda Bao Bao. The work of the research team indicates that these viruses were inserted into the genome of an ancestor of both bear species some 45 million years ago. These newly discovered viruses are very similar to those found in the genetic material of bats, cattle and even humans.
Some of these viruses are suspected of being involved in triggering some diseases in humans. The study has now been published in a recent edition of the journal Virology.
SeaWorld Unleashes 8 Assertions About 'Blackfish' and Filmmakers Respond
It's rare that corporations targeted in documentaries hire a film publicist to make sure that critics and journalists are informed of the company's response to a film. McDonald's didn't work to do damage control with film writers when "Super Size Me" opened, though there were rumors it would. It's common for industries and corporations to erect damage control mechanisms for the public. In the famous case chronicled in the New Yorker, David Koch seems to have pulled his support of WNYC because they aired Alex Gibney's "Park Avenue." "Gasland" director Josh Fox's follow-up to his fracking exposé makes clear the natural gas industry's attack on his film.
This weekend, indie film publicists had competing clients, when SeaWorld lashed out at Gabriela Cowperthwaite's film "Blackfish," the Sundance documentary that was picked up by Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films. Starting with the death of orca trainer Dawn Brancheau, "Blackfish" tells the history of SeaWorld and other like theme parks and notes the ways in which the conditions at these parks are harming the whales that are kept in them and are putting humans in danger.
Man jumps fence, runs through San Francisco Zoo African exhibit
A man jumped a security fence and ran through the African Savannah exhibit at the San Francisco Zoo on Sunday, then bolted from zoo staff and nearly into a monkey enclosure before police took him into custody.
According to a statement from the San Francisco Zoo, the intruder was seen climbing the fence at about 11:15 a.m. Sunday, July 14. He ran through the exhibit and then climbed out of it, back into the public viewing area.
The man was spotted again near "Greenie’s Conservation Corner,” a garden area near the primate exhibits and the outdoor penguin pool. Zoo personnel confronted him there, but the man took off running.
He ran to the upper level of the Primate Discovery Center and then down one of the center’s stairways. When zoo staff approached him there he jumped into a planted area near an exhibit housing mandrills, an African monkey that can weigh up to about 80 pounds.
Zoo personnel locked the mandrills in their indoor space and called San Francisco police. Officers arrived and took the man into custody at about 11:42 a.m., the zoo stated.
Sgt. Dennis Toomer of the Police Department confirmed Monday that police responded to the incident and cited a white male for trespassing. Toomer stated
Yet Another Tiger Attack
On the 7th July a visitor to the Wat Or Noi Temple in Nakorn Pathom, Thailand was attacked and severely injured on the arm and hand.
The temple currently has five tigers and has been keeping these since 2003. The Abbot claims that the animals were legally acquired and are registered with the Wildlife authorities. It is likely that the tigers were acquired from either the 'other' Tiger Temple or the Sri Racha Tiger Zoo which over breeds their inbred Tiger hybrids to a degree of extreme concern.
There are a number of Temples in Thailand which seek to imitate the unglorious success of the main Tiger Temple. Claiming to offer sanctuary these operations actually have no place in Buddhism and are merely fronts to rake in money and offer cheap (and sometimes not so cheap) thrills to gullible tourists.
The Abbot of the temple, Luang Pu Dharma Issara, has stated that the Temple will foot the bill for any medical treatment required.
Zoos in Thailand breed Tigers in large numbers and there is a huge question mark as to where the animals disappear to.
Design of Dudley Bug centre is monstrous, claim campaigners
Campaigners desperate to save Dudley Hippodrome today branded its replacement as ‘monstrous’ and they have vowed to fight a scheme for a Dudley Bug-shaped £3 million centre on the site.
Dudley Zoo has unveiled designs for a new education and conference centre aiming to pay homage to the town’s prehistoric past.
It has been designed to recreate the famous Dudley Bug fossil shape. But campaigners have hit out at the plans, saying the futuristic Trilobite Building would look out of place shadowed by the 11th century Dudley Castle.
They threw back claims from officials that the Hippodrome was an ‘eyesore’ and a ‘blight’ on Castle Hill by rounding on the architecture of the planned multi-million pound centre.
Campaign chairman Geoff Fitzpatrick today said he feared the building would become a ‘white elephant’ for the town. "I think it looks monstrous and I can’t quite believe they think this would be in keeping with the medieval castle,” he said.
"The Hippodrome is a great example of an art deco styled building that fits in place with the buildings like the Station Hotel nearby.
"We knew these ideas would be coming. We always thought they’d want to knock the Hippodrome down so that they could expand the zoo. It won’t stop us. If anything, we want to show that we won’t go away and that we will keep fighting.
"They’ve not given permission to dem
Kohl’s announces $1.5 million donation to Zoological Society
Kohl’s Department Stores, based in Milwaukee, is supporting the continuation and expansion of Kohl’s Wild Theater programming at the Milwaukee County Zoo with a $1.5 million donation to be rolled out over three years.
Kohl’s Wild Theater was launched in 2010 with a $1 million donation from Kohl’s philanthropic arm known as Kohl’s Cares and operates through a partnership among Kohl’s Cares, the Milwaukee County Zoo and the Zoological Society of Milwaukee.
The family-friendly theater programming features live, interactive performances on zoo grounds.
Performances convey conservation messages through drama, puppetry and songs.
Kohl’s recently announced donation, to be given to the Zoological Society, will provide the resources to add to the program’s collection of theater shows with 15 total, bring in new puppets, and enhance the zoo’s stage and theater venue with a raised stage floor and a shaded stage area among other amenities."Kohl’s Wild Theater has become one of the best zoo theater programs in the country thanks to Kohl’s tremendous support,” said Dr. Bert Davis, president and chief executive officer of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee County. "We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with Kohl’s and provide quality programming designed to inspire children to car
White Lion Cubs: See The 7 Adorable Baby Lions Born At Himeji Central Park In Japan [PHOTOS]
Seven white lion cubs have been born to a zoo in Japan during the last month. Three different lions at the Himeji Central Park Zoo have given birth to white lion cubs. The latest litter of white lion cubs are just about nine-days old and will go on public display later next week, the Daily Mail reports.
The three sets of white lion cubs were born to three female South African lions on June, 6, 26 and 30. The cubs were shown to the press on Tuesday in all their adorable glory. According to the Mail there are only 300 white lions around the world. A white lion cub can only be born through inbreeding.
The Mail also reports that the white lion cubs are the first of their kind to be born in Western Japan. The white coat trait is a result of a recessive gene shared by both the cub's parents.Wild white lions are native to the Greater Timbavati region of South Africa. Although the scientific community considers the wild white lion extinct due to the hunting of males for sport and th
Should chimpanzees have legal rights?
The ‘animal personhood’ movement believes dolphins, great apes, and elephants deserve to be able to sue — and now it has a plaintiff.
SOMEWHERE IN AMERICA—its lawyers won’t say where—a chimpanzee is about to have its day in court.
In the next few months, an animal advocacy group called the Nonhuman Rights Project plans to file a case on behalf of its first animal client. It has already chosen the plaintiff, a captive chimp, on whose behalf it plans to file a writ of habeas corpus and ask a state court judge to grant the chimp’s liberty.Their goal is to win animals a toehold in the world of legal rights—a strategy that is the culmination of more than two decades of writing and legal work by lawyer Steven Wise and an allied group of attorneys, scientists, and animal activists. They hope to have an animal declared a "person” in a court of law, breaking down a legal barrier between humans and other species that has stood for millennia.
Over the last century, animals have enjoyed a steady march in legal protections. Once treated no differently than inanimate objects, today they can’t be abandoned, beaten, or deprived of food, shelter, or veterinary care. Despite these protections, however, animals are still legally considered property. And for Wise and others, given what we now know about the biology and inner lives of animals, this is no longer a tenable distinction. It is time, they argue, to grant at least some species fundamental rights
Wildlife group seeks new protections for disappearing Tennessee salamander
Lurking in waterways with its long, slimy body and beady eyes, the hellbender is Tennessee's largest salamander, not to mention a survivor of ancient times.
For at least the last two decades, though, as water quality in many parts of the country has declined, the hellbender's population has dwindled, threatening its very existence, wildlife advocates say.
Recently, the Tucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washingtonagainst the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect hellbenders unde
Brush-tailed wallaby breeding program outfoxed
A 15-year project to return the cute and small brush-tailed wallaby to western Victoria has been put on hold because foxes keep eating them.
In November last year, 17 captive-bred wallabies from Adelaide Zoo were released into the Grampians, where they had been extinct since the 1990s. By April, according to an internal Department of Environment and Primary Industries report, only five were still alive.
Only one death was a confirmed killing by fox, but four other bodies were recovered with signs of being chewed. Three collars and radio tracking devices were also recovered (but no bodies), and another collar was found buried and attached to a head. Another two wallabies were found dead from head trauma.
According to the report, at a meeting at Melbourne Zoo on March 8 - which was attended by staff from DEPI, Parks Victoria, the Adelaide Zoo, University of Melbourne researchers, and ACT Parks - it was decided to suspend further releases, pending
Bid to save spotted deer in Negros bears fruit
The Biodiversity Conservation Center of Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation now has 14 Visayan spotted deer (Cervus alfredi) after another fawn was born in June.Dr. Joanne Justo, the center’s curator, said on Thursday that the newborn fawn was born on June 24, but its gender had yet to be determined. It is the fourth offspring from breeding pair Girom and Sandy.
"The Visayan spotted deer is the largest endemic species of the Western Visayas faunal region,” Justo said.
She added that the species has been classified as critically endangered and is found only on Negros and Panay islands.
Justo cited deforestation, hunting and pet trade as factors in the decline in the number of the spotted deer.
The center was established in 1996 to serve as a breeding and rescue station for endangered and endemic animals found on Negros Island and other parts of the country.
Zoo's water use much higher than SeaWorld
SeaWorld has tanks big enough for an orca to do aerial flips, separate pools for seals, belugas and dolphins, a water theme park and a manmade lake that three ski boats can race around.
Yet last year, it used less than a third of the water the San Antonio Zoo did.
The zoo's is 99 years old and its water policy and infrastructure are showing their age. The zoo started when there was no limit on the amount of water that could be pumped from the Edwards Aquifer. Now a three-year
Theodore Reed, leader in the modernization of zoos, dies at 90
Former keeper of the National Zoo, Theodore Reed was at the forefront of a movement that transformed zoos from barred enclosures into verdant, open showcases and research centers.
Upon joining the staff of the National Zoo in 1955, veterinarian Theodore Reed was greeted by antiquated animal dwellings — some dating to the 1890s — and a budget so spare he bought medicine for his new charges at a local drugstore and wheedled reimbursement later.
Within a year he was running the Washington, D.C., zoo, which struggled along until a horrific event galvanized its keepers: A toddler was pulled into a cage by a lion and mauled to death in 1958.
The tragedy led Congress to appropriate funds that allowed Reed to vastly modernize the wildlife park. Over the next quarter-century, he was at the forefront of the transformation of zoos from barred enclosures into verdant, open showcases. He also pushed for them to serve as scientific research facilities, a now commonplace occurrence.
Colleagues regard Reed as a giant in the field but to the public he remains best known as the zookeeper who accompanied two panda cubs from China in 1972 as they flew to their new home, which is officially known as the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. Record crowds soon lined up to see Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, whose mating and pregnancy travails turned into a national obsession.
Reed, 90, died July 2 at a nursing facility in Milford, Del., from complications of Alzheimer's disease, said his son, Mark Reed, executive director of the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kan.
"If you wanted to see what was next fo
Damian Aspinall vows to keep Howletts and Port Lympne open... despite fact zoos 'aren't viable'
Zoo owner Damian Aspinall says he has no intention of closing Howletts or Port Lympne - despite publicly declaring animals should not be kept as prisoners.
The 53-year-old had sparked fears he may shut the parks in Canterbury and Hythe after saying zoos should be phased out in 20 years.
But on Twitter this week he said the parks will remain open while there is a "need for real conservation”.
The father-of-three took over the animal parks from his late father John, who died in 2000, and continues the conservation work he started through The Aspinall Foundation.
Speaking on BBC 5 Live recently, Mr Aspinall spoke of the foundation’s recent project to send gorillas from his parks out to start new lives on a reserve in the Gabon in Afr
Mumbai's beloved elephants will stay put
Two of the city’s largest residents can trumpet in glory about being able to live on as Mumbaikars. Four years after it directed all zoos move their elephants to natural habitats, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has now permitted the Byculla zoo authorities to retain its pachyderms Lakshmi, 55, and Anarkali, 48.
In November 2009, the CZA had ordered all zoos in the country to shift elephants to national parks, tiger reserves or sanctuaries due to concerns over trauma due to lack of space for free movement.
According to civic officials a two-member expert committee had visited the zoo following the CZA’s directions. "Subsequently, a sub-committee formed to take the call on the shifting of the elephants has decided that we can retain the elephants,” a joyous senior civic official told dna. Zoo director Anil Anjankar, too, confirmed the development. "This is the first communication since the CZA’s 2009 order,” he said.
Forest officials from various states had visited the zoo to check the elephants but did not get back. "Due to their advanced age, the forest officials felt they were unsuitable for work like patrolling or pulling logs. Once they realised this they were not interested in the elephants,” added the official. "There were concerns about their inability to adjust to new surroundings after relocation too.”
According to him, "The duo has lived together for many years and can’t be separated. Whoever wanted them would have to take both of them.” This was one of the reasons cited by zoo authorities while writing to CZA several times asking for an exemption to the relocation.
While rules stipulate that elephants should be retired after 65 years, both Lakshmi and Anarkali
have been captive in the zoo for more
Subic records first live birth of captive dolphin in the country
Ocean Adventure Subic announced Sunday that one of its bottlenose dolphin gave birth last week (July 7) to a healthy calf making it the first live birth of a captive dolphin in the country.
In a statement, Ocean Adventure said Vi, an 11-year-old bottlenose dolphin gave birth to a healthy 1-meter long calf which weighs approximately 12 kilos.
Vi’s regular ultra sound in February revealed that she was pregnant.
Vi trained with a special dolphin "puppet” to encourage nursing behavior throughout her 12-month pregnancy.
Ocean Adventure said that at present, the mother and calf are doing fine but added that the next 30 days will be critical for the baby dolphin.
Experts were brought in by Ocean Adventure to sup
'Lovelorn' leopard escapes cage, recaptured within hours
A female leopard kept captive at a forest nursery in Moharli breached the bars of its enclosure and escaped into the wild on Sunday morning. Her freedom came after over four and a half years of captivity. It lasted barely six hours.
Forest officials surmise that the leopard had escaped in search of a mate. "A male leopard had been visiting the forest nursery for months. The female had become aggressive lately," said ACF Arun Tikhe.
Rescue workers tracked the leopardess on the game trail along the border of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve. It was tranquillized and recaptured in a daredevil operation by afternoon and brought back to forest nursery.
The forest nursery at Moharli houses four leopards. Three are these are the ones captured during combing operations in the wake of a series of attacks by leopards on villagers in the buffer zone of TATR. The fourth leopardess is the one captured in Mul range, when man-animal conflict was at its height there in January 2009. She was kept at Somnath camp run by Maharogi Seva Samiti in Mul for over three years and was shifted to a specially built large cage at forest nursery in Moharli in October 2012.
Escape of the leopardess came to notice at around 7am, when a sanitary worker went to the cage for routine cleaning. "The cleaner saw the door of the cage aja
Jurong Bird Park releases more hornbills on Pulau Ubin
Three more captive-bred Oriental Pied Hornbills were released into the wild on Wednesday, in a bid by the Jurong Bird Park to diversify the giant bird's genetic pool. "Increasing (the genetic pool)...is important to the conservation of the species because it allows for a healthier population of these birds. With more genetic diversity, the species is less susceptible to diseases," said Dr Minerva Bongco-Nuqui, avian curator at the Bird Park.
The birds had been fed whole fruit weeks prior to their release onto Pulau Ubin, to acclimatise them. They were then given a thorough health check on Monday, and measured for research purposes.
Since 2009, the Bird Park has released nine birds from its collection onto Pulau Ubin and the mainland. There ar
NH author’s ‘Tapir Scientist’ a kid-friendly read
"The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America’s Largest Mammal” by Sy Montgomery; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 80 pages; hardcover; $18.99.
In New Hampshire author Sy Montgomery’s new jungle journal, she’s on the trail of a lowland tapir in Brazil’s vast Pantanal ("the Everglades on steroids,” she writes).
Part of the "Scientists in the Field” series, "The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America’s Largest Mammal” features Montgomery’s every detail alongside Nic Bishop’s lush photography of the elusive, snorkel-snouted mammal. The author says the tapir "looks like a cross between a hippo, an elephant and something prehistoric.”
The expanse of grasslands and subtropical forests is captured, largely fortified by Bishop’s powerful imagery. Armchair scientists will enjoy the gadgets – from microchips to remote camera traps – and her lovely verse, which helped Montgomery earn the moniker "part Indiana Jones, part Emily Dickinson,” by The Boston Globe.
"I think the ‘Indiana Jones’ part came from the time I worked in a pit with 18,000 snakes,”
Montgomery said. "But unlike the movie character, I was not surrounded by poisonous snakes, but ha
Thieves steal exotic reptiles from Australian zoo
hieves stole a horde of exotic reptiles from an Australian zoo, including a baby alligator, leaving their keepers fearing they could be destined for the black market.
Twenty-three creatures, mostly snakes, lizards and geckos, were taken from their enclosures at
the Australian Reptile Park north of Sydney during a night-time raid on Sunday, senior curator
Liz Vella said.
"They had smashed through the enclosures and broken doors," she told AFP, in a robbery which lasted about seven minutes.
"These guys obviously came in with the purpose of taking the animals. They definitely knew what they wanted."
Vella said officials were still speculating on the motive behind the robbery, but usually such thefts were by young people who "wanted a bunch of reptiles for their home and to show off to their friends".
"(But) it's definitely a concern that they will try to sell them on the black market," she said.
She said the black market value of the animals sold together was only about Aus$10,000 (US$9,000)
Australian animal thefts: a worthless emu and a koala who fought back
From snakes and penguins to alligators and monkeys, thieves have stolen a variety of animals from
Australian zoos and parks
While jewellery and cash seem more obvious hauls for thieves, animals have been the target of several robberies in Australia. Known motivations for nabbing an animal run from drunken pranks gone wrong to presents for girlfriends, and animals reportedly used to pay for drugs.
Koala too scary, so thieves took crocodile
Thieves attempted to steal a koala to exchange for drugs in 2006 but when it put up too much of a fight they took a crocodile instead. The 1.2-metre freshwater crocodile weighed 40kg and was dragged over a 2.4-metre fence at Rockhampton Zoo in Queensland. Zoo keeper Wil Kemp told reporters how the koala had managed to fight the thieves off. "Apparently [the koala] scratched the shit out of them,” he said.
Stolen monkey 'mistaken for possum'
In 2010 a marmoset monkey named Cheeky was taken from Nowra Wildlife Animal Park and found two
days later in the bedroom of a 20-year-old woman after police received an anonymous tip-off. The woman told police she was minding the monkey for a friend and though it was a possum. "It was very stupid of me," she told a court, and sh
Elephant sanctuary to open soon
THE first phase of the elephant sanctuary in Kinabatangan here will be opened in September, lifting hopes for the survival of the species in Sabah.
The opening phase of the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary was recently completed with a handling paddock, staff quarters and a store built at a cost of RM1.8 million.
Initiated by the Sabah Wildlife Department and non-governmental organisation Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT), the centre will serve as a rescue and treatment centre for injured or displaced elephants, as well as for conducting awareness programmes and activities.
This will be followed by the second phase, which will cost RM5.2 million, to develop a 25ha plot in the sanctuary. A forested area has also been identified for rehabilitated elephants to be released into.
Both were part of the Elephant Conservation Action Plan that will see a bigger area turned into a full-fledged sanctuary measuring more than 1,200ha, which will cost up to RM30 million to establish.
Sabah Wildlife Department director Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said the first two phases of the programme could cater to between 12 and 16 elephants.
"Injured elephants will be treated at this centre before being released into forests and wildlife reserves.
9 Young Giraffes Find New Home in Qingdao
Young giraffes are seen at their pen at the Qingdao Forest Wildlife World in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, July 14, 2013. Nine young giraffes settled in the zoo Sunday after their long journey from South Africa. These new tall r
Alagba: Incredible story of Ogbomoso’s mystical tortoise
Ogbomoso is a sprawling town strategically located along Ibadan-Oyo-Ilorin road. The major highway that links the southern part of the country with the north through South-west axis runs through Ogbomoso.
This historic city, which is one of the places that have been a source of attraction to visitors and tourists, is the palace of the town’s traditional ruler, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi, Ajagungbade III.
For those visiting the place, what appears to be the magnet drawing them there is a 324-year-old
tortoise popularly called Alagba by residents.
According to those living in the palace, the tortoise has lived in the palace for over 300 years.
This is not the only spectacle about Alagba. Since its arrival in the palace, the tortoise, which is said to have mystical powers plays host to different calibres of people including royal fathers, tourists from foreign countries, ailing individuals seeking divine healing and people seeking longevity.
In an encounter with the tortoise’s caretaker during a trip to Ogbomoso recently, it was gathered that the tortoise receives up to 150 visitors daily.
When killer whales attack
Theme parks would have us believe they’ve been tamed. But a new film, 'Blackfish', says killer whales are being driven mad in captivity – with deadly consequences.
On February 24 2010, news channels across the world reported that Dawn Brancheau, an experienced trainer of killer whales at SeaWorld Orlando, had been found dead in the pool. A huge male orca,
Tilikum, had leapt out of the water as Brancheau had been talking about the creature to a group of visitors, grabbed her with its jaws and dragged her under the water, where she drowned.
Central Zoo deprived of lion for failing to meet international standardsThe Central Zoo in Jawalakhel, Kathmandu has not had a lion since the past 15 years. "We have had three lions in the zoo in the past. They lived their full life and died because of natural causes. I still remember how we gave the last of the lions a respectful burial, performing all the rituals,” said Radhakrishna Gharti, a zoo staff for the last 25 years.
"That was a male lion. It had grown so old and fragile in the last days that we had to shift it to an isolated place to keep it away from the visitors as it disliked noise and disturbance.”
According to Juddha Bahadur Gurung, who recently signed an MoU with the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) of India in capacity of the member secretary of National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), the body that oversees the zoo, "a zoo without lion is simply incomplete."
Gurung informed that India is ready to gift the creature to Nepal if we can meet the criteria for the zoo.
"However, the fact is we do not meet the international standard for keeping a lion. International law specifies the quality of cage and the requirements related to space and human resource,” said Gurung.
Whipsnade Zoo chimpanzees fitted with heart monitors
A pair of chimpanzees have been fitted with under-the-skin heart monitors at their Bedfordshire zoo.
Vets at Whipsnade are carrying out research into heart defects in apes.
Two males called Phil and Nikki were chosen because they are closely related to two other males diagnosed with cardiovascular abnormalities.
Data will be collected from the monitors, which have been implanted on the backs of the pair by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) team.
They will allow researchers to monitor heart rates while the animals are awake, whereas before they have only been able to monitor them when they have been sedated.
The team said it would be able to train Phil and Nikki to present their backs to them so that data ca
Why the aquarium trade is the real dolphin killer behind 'The Cove'
On Tuesday the International Court of Justice will hear arguments on 'scientific whaling' and the dispute between Australia and Japan. But what about that other killing scandal—the dolphin fishing in Taiji made notorious in the film The Cove? Goldman Sachs banker Alastair Lucas has travelled to Japan to break down the economics of dolphin hunting, and campaign against the practice.
I had a vague knowledge of [dolphin fishing] through The Cove, a wonderful film I recommend to
everyone—it won an Academy Award.
I hadn't seen the film in full and my daughter brought it to my attention, and that led to her deciding to go to Taiji to see these killings. I decided to go with her.
I spent, I have to say, the worst week of my life in the most horrible place in the world—this little town on the east coast of Japan. And we witnessed for a week these appalling atrocities.
Gorillas on theme at Sea World
GOLD Coast theme park Sea World is branching from marine to extreme with a new multimillion-dollar jungle-themed attraction featuring Queensland's first gorillas.
The exhibit, to open in 2015, will include gorillas, hippos, crocodiles and other animals as part of an African encounter attraction.
The gorillas would be sourced from an international breeding program designed to shore up populations of the primate.
Sea World officials were yesterday tightlipped about the project, which is the park's latest foray away from traditional marine-themed attractions.
An interactive dinosaur attraction was added this year.
A Sea World spokesman said the African safari-style attraction would be an exciting addition to the theme park, which forged its name on dolphin shows and aquarium exhibits."We are all excited about a wonderful new attraction which will
Editorial: It’s all happening at the zoo
To say that the Guzoo animal farm near Three Hills has been a lightning rod for complaints over the years is like pointing out that it’s been a bit damp of late in Calgary and Toronto.
One of Canada’s largest private zoos is once again in the news, this time over a video posted on YouTube that appears to depict negligent conditions at the family-owned facility. A self-described whistleblower claims to have secretly shot the video over the Canada Day weekend.
Guzoo owner Lynn Gustafson has shrugged off this latest animal-abuse allegation as the work of "domestic terrorists” but he appears to be reaching something of a breaking point. A zookeeper who has faced his own share of regulatory ultimatums has responded with one of his own: the Redford government has six months to get animal welfare critics off his back or he will close the operation to the public and maintain Guzoo strictly for family and friends.
No matter whose side you take in this relentless dispute, at this point that just might be the best possible outcome.
It’s certainly far preferable to the action Gustafson threatened two years ago when the provincial government began taking steps to shut him down. Back then, before authorities backed off plans to decommission Guzoo, Gustafson mused darkly about euthanizing his menagerie, or having them stuffed.
Zoo Visitors Watch Mating Rituals Of Ice Cream Shop Staff - Spoof!
Describing the behavior as bizarre yet captivating, dozens of visitors to the Saint Louis Zoo reportedly looked on in fascination Saturday as the ice cream shop’s staff engaged in their unique mating rituals.
According to eyewitnesses, the four males housed in the park’s Polar Bear Cafe enclosure performed an elaborate routine of posturing and vocalizations, at points engaging in combative clashes with one another in an effort to win procreative rights over their two young and fertile female counterparts.
"There was a real big one by the front glass who was definitely the alpha male, and you could see he was trying to assert his dominance in front of the females,” said onlooker Audrey Trumbull, describing a hulking 250-pound specimen known to zoo personnel as "Derek,” who is reportedly identifiable by his broad forelimbs and distinctive black wraparound Oakley sunglasses. "I think he was trying to show that he would be a healthy mate, because he kept puffing out his chest and making these loud, frequent roars about his workout routine while he scooped out ice cream.”
"And it looked like the little yellow-haired one was really receptive, because she responded with these instinctive, chirping giggles every time he called out to her,” Trumbull added. "It definitely seemed like they were going to pair off and mate, probably when their shift ended at five.”
Visitors stated that a second male with a thick
Auckland zoo says Sri Lankan elephants could be quarantined on Niue
Auckland Zoo, which wants to bring in elephants from Sri Lanka, says they could be quarantined on Niue.
The head of marketing for the zoo, Ben Hutton, says nothing has been finalised, both in terms of securing the elephants or just where they might be quarantined.
But he says a requirement of the importation of Asian elephants is that they spend 3 months in quarantine in a third country and Niue is one of the places being considered.
Niue has successfully serv
Imaging techniques can improve management and husbandry of rhinoceroses
High-resolution computed tomography and digital radiography in captive rhinos reveal that bone pathologies in the feet of these pachyderms are highly prevalent and diverse.
Chronic foot disease is a common and severe orthopeadic disorder in captive Indian rhinoceros. It is a clinical challenge, poses a threat to the general health of the animal, affects its breeding ability and sometimes has fatal consequences. "It was surprising to find such a wide spectrum of bone pathology in terms of types and severity, affecting almost 30 % of bones at 95 sites," says Gabriela Galateanu of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) who led this scientific study, just published online in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.
To shed light on chronic foot diseases and find underlying causes in rhinoceroses, an international team of scientists from Germany and three zoos from France launched a high-resolution computed tomographic study.
Zoological institutions are making a considerable effort to resolve chronic foot diseases in large mammals by continuously improving management and husbandry conditions as well as treatment procedures. In this field, hoof disorders are assumed to being confined to soft tissues only, bone pathology often being overlooked, and therefore radiographic diagnoses are rarely performed.
Over the past 40 years, scientists reported only two kinds of bone pathology in three rhinoceroses (two black and one Indian rhinoceros). Foot pathology in soft tissues is widely reported in captive Indian rhinoceroses, affecting practically all breeding males from European collections. Intriguingly enough, captive elephants, who also suffer from chronic foot disease, display a wide variety of both soft tissue and bone pathologies, with over 20 osteopathologies reported to date. It has been unclear h
Animal keepers challenge draft rules
An association which represents the interests of animal keepers including zoos, bird and other animal parks has expressed frustration at proposed permit conditions for keeping wild animals captive, vowing legal action if it found irregularities.
Professor Jeremy Ridl, attorney for the Animal Interest Alliance, has questioned the legality of the conditions proposed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife for the permits, which were put out for public comment on Monday.
Ridl said permits and licences for keeping wild animals may be issued only under the Natal Nature Conservation Ordinance 15 of 1974 and the Threatened or Protected Species Regulations to the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act of 2004.
"Not only is Ezemvelo empowered by this legislation, its powers are limited by its terms. On the face of it, the proposed standard terms and conditions include provisions that exceed the powers conferred upon Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife by the ordinance. These powers will be considered carefully and if Ezemvelo is acting outside of its statutory mandate, its actions will be challenged in court,” he said.
Will rhino horn auction work?
Both analysts and the public divided over government’s announcement that it is planning to auction off massive stockpiles of rhino horn.
Government on Wednesday said it was considering a once-off sale of over 16,000 kilograms (kg) of rhino horn it had in stockpiles.
More than 2,000kg is in private hands.The move is aimed at reducing the incentive behind rhino poaching, which has become a major concern for the country.
Rhino populations in South Africa dwindled to around 20,000.
In a poll conducted on Eyewitness News Online, readers were asked if the country should auction off rhino horns.Results at 7pm showed 52 percent of people were in favour, while 48 percent were opposed to the idea.
Independent economic consultant Keith Lockwood outlined the theory behind the plan. But he was unable to say whether he fully agreed with it.
Essentially, the theory is if the market for rhino horn is flooded by auctioning off the country’s stockpiles, the price will drop and the incentive to poach will decrease.
Lockwood’s first concern was that the condition of the stockpiles was unknown, meaning the actual
amount that might be available for sale could be a lot less than hoped. "Rhino horn deteriorates over time and can be infested with bugs, which might make some of it unsalable.”
He also noted that there are no legal provisions for trade in rhino horn, referencing the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).
However, South Africa will host the next Cites conference in 2016 where the idea will be presented to all members.
This could lead to the development of such provisions.
Sumatran orangutans: Meeting the refugees of the lost rainforest
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust was set up by Gerald Durrell with the aim of saving species worldwide. Harriet Bradshaw has been looking at the work they are doing with one particular species - the Sumatran Orangutan.
In the early hours of a morning in June my phone rings. The high pitch shrill wakes me up. I have been waiting for this call. The crackly voice on the speaker sounds strained.
"Harriet? It's Rick. I've got news about Dana…"
I'm only six months older than Dana. When I look into her eyes she stares back with intelligence.
We are alike. We share 97% the same DNA and we are both female.
Neil MacLachlan, a consultant from Jersey's General Hospital, tells me her anatomy is so similar
to mine it is relatively straight forward for surgeons such as him to operate on her.
But, for all the similarities, Dana and I are very different. From the small things like her two missing fingers that were bitten off in a fight, to the dramatic tragedy she faced four years ago when she was bleeding to death after giving bi
Free the tigers – put them in a zoo
According to one school of thought, a tiger in a zoo is free and a tiger in the wilds of a jungle is actually captive.
The reasoning is that a tiger in a zoo has freedom from fear. The zoo provides food, water, shelter, an outdoor area, medical care and security. There is seldom anything that could be considered real danger.
The zoo tiger is given exactly the kind and amount of food needed for a sound diet. The water it
is given is clean. The inside shelter which is provided has what is needed for private time and sleeping, if the tiger doesn't mind the usual cameras for the keepers and those viewers on the internet to watch. The outdoor area given to the tiger is usually equipped with toys or other items for exercise, play and resting, again with cameras. Sometimes the outdoor area mimics a natural habitat.
The health of the tiger is watched over with frequent checkups, medical treatment including surgery or medication and whatever vaccinations the governing body of the zoo believes is necessary.
Most important of all, there is complete security. Often the tiger lives not alone but in a "gated community” with bars to keep out unwanted intruders. And there are often security cameras everywhere.
The proof of the superiority of zoo life is that a zoo tiger can live up to 26 years. A tiger in the wild lives a maximum of about 15 years.
So, as far as "quantity of life” is concerned, the zoo tiger has it all. But what about the "quality of life” in the zoo?
Does the tiger who lives in the comfort of a totally secure place where everything needed is provided have a life which is interesting, stimulating and fulfilling? Take the food, for instance.
According to an internet source, the zoo tige
Mammals can 'choose' sex of offspring, Stanford-led study finds
A new study led by a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine shows that mammalian species can "choose" the sex of their offspring in order to beat the odds and produce extra grandchildren.
In analyzing 90 years of breeding records from the San Diego Zoo, the researchers were able to prove for the first time what has been a fundamental theory of evolutionary biology: that mammals rely on some unknown physiologic mechanism to manipulate the sex ratios of their offspring as part of a highly adaptive evolutionary strategy.
"This is one of the holy grails of modern evolutionary biology — finding the data which definitively show that when females choose the sex of their offspring, they are doing so strategically to produce more grandchildren," said Joseph Garner, PhD, associate professor of comparative medicine and senior author of the study, to be published July 10 in PLOS ONE. The results applied across 198 different species.
The scientists assembled three-generation pedigrees of more than 2,300 animals and found that grandmothers and grandfathers were able to strategically choose to give birth to sons, if those sons would be high-quality and in turn reward them with more grandchildren. The process is believed to be largely controlled by the females, Garner said.
"You can think of this as being girl power at work in the animal kingdom," he said. "We like to think of reproduction as being all about the males competing for females, with females dutifully picking the winner. But in reality females have much more invested than males, and they are making highly strategic decisions about their reproduction based on the environment, their condition and the quality of their mate. Amazingly, the female is somehow picking the sperm that will produce the sex that will serve her interests the most: The sperm are really just pawns in a game that plays out over generations."
Pangolin Release attempt no. 2
In preparation for the next two pangolin releases veterinary staff from Animals Asia Foundation came down to the CPCP centre at Cuc Phuong National Park to attach the transmitter to the next female pangolin (P34) to be released.
As well as attaching the transmitter the pangolin had a final health check. This was a very basic check of general condition as a more comprehensive health check had previously been done last year. In these health checks all pangolins had blood and faecal samples taken to check for parasites. This was not only for the health of the released individuals but to ensure that their release would not have a negative impact on a
Rare Primate Species Needs Habitat Help to Survive
The population of the critically endangered large primate known as the drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus) has been largely reduced to a few critical habitat areas in Cameroon, according to a recently published study by researchers with the San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research. The study highlights the challenges faced by this species as its living area becomes ever more fragmented by human disturbance. In addition, the report directs conservation efforts towards key areas where the populations continue to s
Passenger pigeons may come back from the dead
It is often said that the passenger pigeon, once among the most abundant birds in North America, traveled in flocks so enormous that they darkened the skies for hours as they passed. The idea that the bird, which numbered in the billions, might disappear seemed as absurd as losing the cockroach. And yet hunting and habitat destruction pushed the animal to extinction. Martha, the last known passenger pigeon, died in 1914 at the Cincinnati Zoo.
Plans are afoot to bring back the bird by using a weird-science process called de-extinction. The work is being spearheaded by Ben Novak, a young biologist who is backed by some big names, including Harvard geneticist George Church. The idea was recently promoted at a TEDx meeting in Washington, D.C., and is being funded by Revive and Restore, a group dedicated to the de-extinction of recently lost species. (Other candidates include the woolly mammoth and the dodo.)
Novak’s idea takes a page from Jurassic Park, in which dinosaur DNA was filled in with corresponding fragments from living amphibians, birds and reptiles. Working with Church’s lab and Beth Shapiro, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Novak plans to use passenger pigeon DNA taken from museum specimens and fill in the blanks with fragments from the band-tailed pigeon. This reconstituted genome would be inserted into a band-tailed pigeon stem cell, which would transform into a germ cell, the precursor of egg and sperm.
The scientists would inject these germ cells into developing band-tailed pigeons. As those birds mate, their eventual offspring would express the passenger pigeon genes, coming as close to being passenger pigeons as the available genetic material allows.
The process is not the same as cloning. Novak’s approach would use a mishmash of genes recovered from different passenger pigeons, resulting in birds as unique as any from the original flocks. Most pigeons mature and reproduce quickly enough that the de-extinction process could be completed in less than a year. Producing a flock large enough to release into the wild would take at least another
Panel set up to conserve the endangered bustard
The Nashik forest department range has set up a Bustard Conservation Committee and has forwarded a proposal of the plan to the state government, based on the Centre's guidelines for preparation of a state action plan for the Great Indian Bustards' (GIB) recovery programme.
The Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) is a large bird that was once abundant on dry plains, over large expanses of grassland and scrub. Weighing upto 15kg, the Bustard is among the heaviest of the flying birds in India. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recognised the bird as being critically endangered, with a 2011 estimate putting the total number of mature individuals at 250.
As per the Centre's directions, each forest range in the states where the bustard is spotted will have a committee chaired by the chief conservator of forests (CCF). The committee is to comprise of representatives of a scientific institution working on bustard ecology and conservation or in a related field/an ecologist or conservation biologist in the vicinity of the project area, a representative from a local NGO well-versed with the socio-ecological issues in the vicinity of the project, representative(s) from the local Panchayat(s), member, officer in-charge of the project and member secretary. The chairman can also add additional members.
The Nashik range committee has members from the Bombay Natural History Society (BHNS), veterinarian and wildlife experts, members of the NGO Nature Conservation Society of Nashik (NCSN), a retired range forest officer, a bir
Mysterious new virus found in sick dolphin
In October 2010, the body of a young short-beaked common dolphin was found stranded on a beach in San Diego, Calif. The sickly female had lesions in its airway, and a necropsy showed that it died of so-called tracheal bronchitis, likely due to an infection.
Now, further investigation has revealed the dolphin's malaise was caused by a virus that scientists had never seen before, according to a new study. The pathogen, which researchers propose should be named Dolphin polyomavirus 1, or DPyV-1, is still quite mysterious. Scientists say they don't know where it came from, how common it might be, or what threat it poses to
PG Tips chimp Louie dies aged 37 at Twycross Zoo
Louis the chimpanzee, who starred as 007 in one of the most famous TV ads, passed away aged 37
One of the original PG Tips advert chimps has died, his keepers revealed today.
Louis the chimpanzee, who starred as 007 in one of the most famous TV ads, passed away on Monday aged 37.
The animal introduced himself to millions of television viewers with the immortal line: "The name’s Bond, Brooke Bond”.
Louis - part of the so-called Tipps Family of chimps - spent his entire life at Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire.
In a statement, the zoo said: "His loss will be felt among keepers and staff, both past and present.
"Although gone, Louis will never be forgotten. He will always be a member of our Twycross Zoo family.”
The chimps first appeared on screen in 1956, using the voices of stars including Peter Sellers and Bob Monkhouse.
They also parodied Tour de France cyclists, removal
Turtle Back Zoo Sets the Record Straight on PETA Allegations
Brint Spencer, Acting Director of Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, wants to set the record straight. Turtle Back Zoo has been part of the American Zoo Association since 2006, and is not a ‘roadside zoo’ as characterized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
PETA implicated Turtle Back Zoo in a lawsuit they filed against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and in a press release dated June 27, 2013, stated that "birds at Turtle Back Zoo covered by the Animal Welfare Act since 2002 have been neglected and found suffering from injuries and illness, filthy enclosures, and contaminated water, among other violations. In the case of the Turtle Back Zoo. PETA investigated and, on July 1, 2010, wrote to the USDA regarding the more than 500 budgerigars (parakeets) who had died in the span of approximately two years from starvation or parasites and a penguin who died after being featherless for two years, among other incidents."
The USDA's July 20 and 21, 2010, responses to each bird-related allegation mentioned in PETA's complaint stated, "Not under our jurisdiction. (Non Regulated Species)."
The charges reflect an ongoing battle between the USDA and PETA, who have been demanding that the
USDA inspect bird/poultry facilities on a yearly basis as they do with mammals. Turtle Back Zoo receives a surprise inspection each year from the USDA for its mammals, but not its birds.
However, Spencer noted that Turtle Back Zoo has the coveted Association of Zoos accreditation, and that "we adhere to the same standards as the San Diego Zoo."
Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo was irate in his response to the implications, stating "While we respect PETA’s mission to protect animals, we are outraged that they would characterize Turtle Back Z
Antarctic krill face unhappy Hollywood ending if fossil fuel emissions keep rising
Australian study finds keystone Antarctic krill species struggle to hatch in more acidic oceans
I've no idea if anyone has ever done a study to find out if people care more about a particular creature once it's featured in one of those Hollywood computer animated movies.
But let's presume that people do and that the fan base for penguins (Happy Feet), clownfish (Finding Nemo) and ants (Ants) is now considerably larger than it once was.
This would mean that we're all bothered about that cutest of all the cuddly crustaceans, the krill, since actors Matt Damon and Brad Pitt loaned their voices to two of them for the film Happy Feet Two a couple of years ago, So with sarcasm switch turned on, we are all now obviously right across new research, just published in the journal Nature Climate Change called Risk maps for Antarctic krill under projected Southern Ocean acidification, warning that as oceans become more acidic due to the burning of fossil fuels, krill numbe
Wolf Bit Off Nine-Year-Old Boy’s Finger In The Belgrade ZOO
A nine-year-old boy was injured today in the Belgrade ZOO when a wolf bit off his finger. The accident happened in the afternoon, and the boy was transported to the hospital where doctors are trying to repair the injury, reported Serbian daily Kurir.
As Kurir learned, the boy came to the ZOO with his parents. At one moment he was left alone and then he pushed his hand through t
French elephants spared death head to new royal home
Two elephants saved from euthanasia after an outcry in France left a zoo in Lyon on Thursday for their new home at a ranch belonging to Monaco's royal family.
Princess Stephanie of Monaco looked on as Baby and Nepal, who had been ordered killed over suspected tuberculosis, were loaded into containers and lifted onto a truck for the eight-hour journey to the principality.
The princess has agreed to host the two elephants, aged 42 and 43, at the royal family's Roc Agel ranch in the Alpes-Maritimes region in the southeastern corner of France.
"Everything went really well," zoo director Xavier Vaillant told AFP after the elephants' departure.
"They will live in a place where there will be no risk to the public," he said, adding that the animals will soon be retested. The elephants were to be put down in December, when municipal officials in Lyon decided they had almost certainly been infected with TB and warned they could be a threat to the health of other animals and visitors to the Tete d'Or zoo in the city. Authorities later lifted the threat of execution after an outcry that saw film-star-turned-animal-rights campaigner Brigitte Bardot threaten to
Dolphin Makes Early Break for Freedom From Korean Rehab Facility
After four years behind bars, Sampal escaped her sea pen in Korea and found her family in the open ocean.
This is the story of a dolphin named Sampal.
Sampal is a creature that spent the first decade of her life in the waters around Jeju Island, off the coast of South Korea. Sadly, abuse and exploitation have featured heavily in her life.
But her story also has a happy development, one that should give us pause when considering how we treat these beings of the sea.
When Sampal was about ten years old, she was accidentally captured in one of the numerous fishing nets in the waters around the island. Rather than being released, she was illegally sold to the Pacific Land Aquarium, where she spent roughly three years confined to a tiny subterranean pool.
Kept hungry, she was forced to perform daily by doing tricks that would be rewarded with food, as is routine
Six UK-Born Javan Langurs Moved to Batu
Six Javan Langurs monkeys born in captivity in British zoos have been moved to a rehabilitation center in Batu, East Java, to prepare them for their release into the wild, an official at the center said on Thursday. "In February, these Langurs were sent from England to Patuha for quarantine,” said Iwan Kurniawan, the project manager for the Javan Langur Center. "After they adapted to the Indonesian climate in Bandung, they were sent by train to Batu on Wednesday.”
The monkeys, from the Trachypithecus auratus species, were born at the Port Lympne Zoo and Howletts Zoo, both in southeast England, to parents that were part of an animal-exchange program with Jakarta’s Ragunan Zoo.
Patuha, in West Java, is home to the Java Primate Rehabilitation Center, while the Java Langur Center is in Batu.
Tango, Diamond, Tequila, Dwel, Linseed and Adzuki, all around five years old, were put in three of the four large cages at the center, mixed with other Javan Langurs.
Iwan said that the newcomers were able to quickly blend with the six other monkeys at the center. He said that to adjust to the langur community str
Thai expert’s findings on Mali ‘inaccurate’
A veterinarian for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) has disputed the findings of an elephant expert from Thailand who said that Mali, the 38-year-old elephant in Manila Zoo, looked healthy and well-cared for.
"Properly cared for elephants of the same age as Mali do not have cracked foot pads and nails or overgrown cuticles,” Peta Asia’s veterinary affairs consultant Dr. Manilal Valliyate said in his July 5 letter addressed to the director of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB). Valliyate noted that Mali’s "favoring” behavior—repeatedly shifting her weight from one leg to the other and leaning on the walls of her enclosure—indicated a problem and constant pain in the limbs and joints.
The animal rights group has been calling for Mali’s transfer to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand.
Valliyate claimed that Peta had received calls from veterinarians worldwide who were outraged by the "inaccurate, ambiguous and superficial statements that Dr. Nikorn Thongtip made to the media.”
"Dr. Thongtip confuses Mali’s mental suffering—stemming from her loneliness and boredom—with stress. To suggest performing a hormone or hydrocortisone test shows a lack of understanding regarding what the problem is,” Valliyate said.
"Numerous scientific studies have r
Welcome to the pleasure dome: China opens the world's largest building
WHEN does a building become a town? As the world’s biggest freestanding edifice opens to the public in China this has become a serious question.
The New Century Global Centre in Chengdu in Sichuan Province is a building in the sense that it is a space enclosed within four walls and a roof. But inside that space are other full-size structures including a replica Mediterranean village and a holiday resort complete with beach and pirate ships.
We know about Chinese .......The many visitors will be watching the shows and shopping in the 400,000sqm of high-end boutiques and dining on "the rarest oceanic fish species” in the restaurants.......inspired by "sailing seagulls and undulating waves”. In the lobby artificial sea breezes waft through the 18-storey atrium and an entire wall is taken up with an aquarium which houses ocean fish and coral reefs.
'It was a miracle that I survived':
Canadian teen suffers 'huge rips' in her body after trying to KISS a lion
Lauren Fagen was volunteering at the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in South Africa
A Canadian teen got a little too close for comfort to a lion she was helping care for in a South African rehabilitation facility when the beast tried to drag her into its cage by the legs.
Lauren Fagen, 18, was volunteering at the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre when she leaned in to kiss the beast's fur.
The Montreal girl was then pulled into the animal's cage, her legs gnawed and gashed by the lionand its mate, before she was finally dragged away by a lifesaving fellow
Teen Mauled While Trying To Kiss Captive Lion
The Turtle That Never WasIn Moscow, built Europe's largest aquarium (Using Google Translate)
A species of freshwater turtle deemed to be extinct may never have existed in the first place.
In the late 19th century, German zoologist August Brauer toured the mountains of Mahé island in the Seychelles archipelago off the east coast of Africa, collecting specimens as he went. In 1901, three of his finds—freshwater turtles that seemed to belong to a unique, endemic species—made their way to the Zoological Museum in Hamburg, Germany. There, Austrian herpetologist Friedrich Siebenrock inspected the specimens, placing them in a new taxon, Sternotherus nigricans seychellensis (later changed to Pelusios seychellensis). The species was never again observed, however, leading researchers to assume that it had gone extinct. But new molecular evidence suggests the species never existed in the first place.
Tiger panel's role sparks controversy
Triggering fresh controversy, wildlife activists have ridiculed the state government's dependence on National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to study whether Satkosia is a suitable habitat to shift the wild tiger that strayed into Nandankanan.
They questioned why the state government's forest department couldn't assess the feasibility of the habitat when it is receiving funds for tiger conservation from NTCA every year. Ever since the tiger strayed into the zoo for the first time, the debate over whether to house it in the zoo or release it to the wild has been raging. This forced the chief wildlife warden to write to NTCA, seeking its help. The NTCA technical team, comprising Ravikiran Govekar, Bilal Habib and Parag Nigam, has landed in Bhubaneswar and held discussions with Nandankanan authorities. They left for Satkosia on Tuesday.
Wildlife activists, however, felt the role of NTCA is limited as far as studying feasibility of Satkosia as a tiger habitat is concerned. "It is deplorable that state government till now is not aware whether Satkosia is a suitable tiger habitat despite spending huge funds for its management," said wildlife activist Biswajit Mohanty.
He further said in the last two years, the cameras installed inside the habitat hardly captured movement of tigers. As per 2010 census, the tiger population officially was 12.
Streak for Tigers - Thursday 15 August
Did you know that a group of tigers is called a Streak of Tigers?...
It's time to unleash your wild side and show us your stripes in support of the ZSL Sumatran Tiger campaign
ZSL London Zoo is hosting a very unique and daring event on the evening of Thursday 15 August. We are looking for 300 supporters to strip off and bare all for Tigers and streak around ZSL London Zoo!
With only 300 Sumatran Tigers left in the wild, we hope this event will not only raise much needed funds for ZSL but it will also highlight and raise the profile of the drastic work that needs
SA backs legal rhino horn trade
South Africa’s government is backing the legalisation of trade in rhino horns in an effort to stem poaching of the endangered animals.
"South Africa cannot continue to be held hostage by the syndicates slaughtering our rhinos,” Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa told reporters today in Pretoria, the capital.
"The establishment of a well-regulated international trade” could help curb rhino poaching, she said.
At least 446 rhinos have been killed illegally in South Africa this year, with 280 slaughtered in Kruger National Park, a conservation area the size of Israel that borders Mozambique and where the army has been deployed, the Department of Environmental Affairs said in a June 26 statement.
The rate of deaths this year is on course to exceed last year’s record.
South Africa’s government has about 16,437 kilograms (36,237 pounds) of stockpiled rhino horn, while 2,091 kilograms more is in private hands, Fundisile Mketeni, a deputy director-general in the department, told reporters.
The government favours a once-off sale of horn derived from rhino fatalities and doesn’t plan to dispose of horn from "illegal activities,” he said.
Don’t feed the animals (do feed the zoo)
WITH SUMMER underway, families are converging upon the panoply of great destinations in Greater Boston. But what should be a major attraction, the Franklin Park Zoo, has long been an underfunded, second-class amenity. Zoo New England, the organization that runs the zoo, does its best with a challenging location and limited resources. But the Franklin Park Zoo still ranks only 96th out of the 194 Boston attractions rated by TripAdvisor, and time and again Beacon Hill budgeters confront an uncomfortable question: How much taxpayer money should the state devote to an institution that is valuable but never quite manages to thrive financially?
The zoo began 101 years ago as a municipal project funded with private philanthropy. In 1908, George Parkman left more than $100 million (in current dollars) to the city for the maintenance of parks, and a chunk of that money went on the zoo. In August 1912, the Globe reported that six "vicious, untrained” bears arrived from Hamburg. The bear pit was one of the early zoo’s big attractions, despite the Globe’s 1913 reporting that "disgruntled” polar bears "persistently refuse the products of civilization.”
For the next two decades, the zoo was free — and a resounding success. On one day in 1923, 25,000
turned out to see the baby elephant, Molly, consume vast quantities of dirt. In the era, writers earnestly suggested that Boston should have the world’s finest zoo.
That didn’t happen. The zoo’s finances faltered during the Great Depression, and the zoo sank into a long decline, which was not stemmed when control moved from the city to the state in 1958.
Years later, when Governor Weld turned Franklin Park and the Stone Zoo over to Zoo New England — a private but state-supported entity — he essentially reversed the old model of public control and private fundin
Man Killed By Tigers in Turin Zoo
Yesterday a Zoo Keeper was killed by three tigers in the Turin Zoo. It would appear that once again that this was a case of keeper error. Failure to ensure that a door was securely closed before entering the enclosure for feeding.
The alarm was raised by the wife of the 72 year old man but it was too late to save him and he was confirmed dead at the scene.
The Turin Zoo was closed down five years ago but there were difficulties in relocating the animals. Nine Tigers and one Leopard were amon
Retired Italian zookeeper, 72, mauled to death by tigers he kept at closed-down zoo as he tried
to feed them
An elderly zookeeper was ripped to pieces and eaten by his own tigers when he went to feed them.
Mauro Lagiard, 72, was attacked from behind as he entered the enclosure at a closed-down zoo, near Turin, in northern Italy.
In a horrific scene he was dragged 100ft while his wife watched helplessly from outside the cage.
His dismembered body was later found by the tigers' water trough, police said.
Mr Lagiard and his wife had cared for the tigers since the small animal sanctuary was closed downin 2010 at the peak of the eco
Atlanta aquarium lets you swim with whale sharks
The shark is 15 metres long, weighs 12 tons and is swimming directly behind you.
Stay calm and try not to look or smell like phytoplankton.
These sharks don’t like meat – at least that’s what the guides told you after you paid $225 for 30 minutes of swimming with these giant whale sharks in the Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta.
They are the largest fish in the sea, but they eat only krill, macro-algae, plankton and small squid or vertebrates that get sucked in to their huge mouths while they filter feed.
Their mouths – wide enough to swallow a Volkswagen - are lined with 350 teeth, but they’re for sifting rather than chomping. When the shark expels a mouthful of water through its gills, those teeth hold back all the tasty stuff to be swallowed.
You’ll learn all this during 90 minutes of preliminary instructions and education before plunging into the 10-m
IUCN: 1 in 3 species could face extinction
A CAPE Verde lizard, a fish from Arizona and a freshwater shrimp from Indonesia have been declared extinct and 21,000 species are in danger of dying out, according to a scientific survey.
The new Red List of Threatened Species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) prompted fresh calls to step up conservation efforts when it was published yesterday.
As well as the three species now extinct, the report reveals "worrying declines” in populations of a Chinese porpoise, tropical cone snails and conifers around the globe, with a total of 20,934 species now listed as threatened with extinction out of the 70,294 assessed – almost one in three.
Jane Smart, global director of the IUCN’s biodiversity conservation group, said: "We now have more information on the world’s biodiversity than ever before, but the overall picture is alarming. "We must use this knowledge to its fullest – making our conservation efforts well-targeted and efficient – if we are serious about stopping the extinction crisis that continues to threaten life on earth.”
The Santa Cruz pupfish, once found in the Santa Cruz river basin in Arizona, has been wiped outby wat
Wallabies escape fire at Dudley Zoo enclosure
A fire broke out in the wallaby house at Dudley Zoo this lunchtime - but all seven of the Parma wallabies escaped unhurt.
Two workers at the zoo used fire extinguishers when the animals' straw bedding caught fire from an electrical heater at 11.45am.
Two crews were called from Dudley fire station - but the fire was already out when they arrived just bef
Riga Zoo in financial trouble due to reduced subsidies
Due to reduced state subsidies and rising electricity and heating prices, the municipal Riga Zoo has gotten into financial trouble, LETA learned from the Riga City Council.
While the zoo could attract more visitors by new exhibitions and displays, organizing such exhibitions and displays is impossible currently due to limited funds, the Riga Zoo Director Rolands Greizins writes in a letter to Riga City Council's Housing and Environment Committee.
Taking into consideration the zoo's limited abilities to increase incomes necessary to cover the zoo's regular spending, the zoo has turned to the Riga City Council, informing that the zoo requires an additional LVL 256,000, but the minimum amount necessary so the zoo could continue operations is at least LVL 38,000. Without this, the zoo will be unable to continue to function as per normal, notes Greizins, reminding in the letter about Riga's status of the European capital of culture next year.
One of the future inhabitants of the "Sea House" - whale named Narnia - will soon be delivered to the capital
From next spring in the list of the capital's attractions will be a new unique object: VVC will open Europe's largest aquarium. Its year-round, visitors can observe the life of about 1000 individuals of marine animals (from tiny tropical fish to large whales, "killer whales"), feed the sharks and swim with the stingrays. What will surprise Muscovites' Underwater Zoo "figured correspondent" MK ".
he building of the aquarium will be the VVC Khovanskii near the entrance, on the former site of the pavilion 23 "Teplitsestroenie and vegetable growing." Object area is about 40 thousand square meters. m, and its construction will cost the developer $ 70 million, excluding the cost of the animals. The building, in addition to the aquarium, dolphinarium will house, theater pinnipeds, Center for the Study of marine animals and many other unique options.
- The Oceanarium is designed for year-round operation, - says Elena Slivina, a representative of the developer "Revival Exhibition Center" - a special water treatment system will create a marine animal habitat conditions similar to natural. Visitors will be able to one day travel around the world and discover the marine flora and fauna of Central Russia, Russian North, Far East, Japan, China, Southeast Asia, the Amazon, the Great Barrier Reef, in addition, a separate large aquarium will be highlighted for sharks and stingrays.
Zoo relooking collection of animals with eye on future
The Singapore Zoo celebrated its past achievements as it turned 40 on Thursday and it is already looking to the future.
It wants to do more focused research on endangered species and become "one of the best archives of data" on these animals, said Ms Claire Chiang, chairman of Wildlife Reserves Singapore which owns the zoo.
About a quarter of the over 300 species currently in the wildlife park are endangered.
The park is relooking its animal collection and has engaged experts to guide it on the types of animals to keep, breed, acquire and exchange, she said.
The zoo has also been the venue of several international conferences studying animals like terrapins and pangolins, she added.
"In the future, there is a possibility that a lot of species will be seen only in zoological institutions. It's a sad thing, but at least we have them," said Ms Chiang. "And I'd like Singapore Zoo to be that cutting edge laboratory as well as archive of data."
She also appealed to the younger generation to carve out careers in the zoo, adding that the
issue of future leadership at the park is a "ch
Madagascar Giant Tortoises, Now Extinct, Could Be Replaced With New, Imported Species
Two millennia ago, millions of giant tortoises roamed Madagascar, an island nation off the southeastern coast of Africa that is rich in species found nowhere else on Earth. Those tortoises kept Madagascar's unique ecosystem in check by munching on low-lying foliage, trampling vegetation and dispersing large seeds from native trees like the baobab.
When humans began settling on the island about 2,300 years ago, Madagascar's large vertebrate populations were the first casualties. Dozens of species disappeared altogether, including 17 giant lemurs, three pygmy hippopotamuses, two aardvarklike mammals, a giant fossa (a catlike carnivore), eight elephant birds, a giant crocodile and two giant tortoises. With their demise, the composition of Madagascar's ecosystems changed, shrubs and vegetation clogged the forest floor and wildfires became more frequent and intense.
Now, researchers think they've found a way to replace Madagascar's lost giant tortoise species: Bring in some relatives, says Miguel Pedrono, a Madagascar-based conservation biologist with the French agricultural research center CIRAD.
Pedrono's team has identified a very close relative of the extinct giant tortoises, and they plan to transplant a few hundred of them to Madagascar to help fill the ecological gaps left by their extinct kin.
"This project is not an ecological substitution with an analogous species, like what's been done
on other Indian Ocean islands; inst
The 'gorilla whisperer' and her flight from rebel forces
With less than an hour’s notice, Angelique Todd was forced to leave the gorillas she’d befriended and the Africa she loved. We tell her amazing story On March 24, a few hours before rebel troops finally seized Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, Angelique Todd, 44, took her daughter swimming. It was Sunday, Todd’s day off, and she had promised Poppy, who is three, a trip to the river.
Todd first heard rumours of a coup in January, when rebel groups had been spotted advancing through the country in what appeared to be an attempt to overthrow President François Bozizé. But Todd was 300 miles from the capital in the remote village of Bayanga. "The rebels were so far away we didn’t think it would touch us,” she recalls. "I thought Poppy would be disappointed if we didn’t go.”
Todd is used to danger, but from animals, not humans. As head of the World Wide Fund for Nature’s primate habituation programme at the World Heritage Site of the Dzanga-Sangha forest reserve, Todd had done something remarkable and befriended a family of wild gorillas.
Penguins support gorillas as biscuit makers respond to palm oil threat
Many of the biggest biscuit manufacturers have pledged to reduce the amount of palm oil in their products
Penguins are coming to the aid of gorillas, according to a survey which reveals that the UK's leading biscuit manufacturers are responding to the environmental threats of palm oil production.
Many of the biggest names in biscuits including Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's and United Biscuits – which makes some of the UK's most popular biscuits including McVitie's Digestive and Penguin – have pledged to reduce the amount of palm oil in their products.
The Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) and Ethical Consumer magazine together surveyed over 50 of the UK's biggest biscuit manufacturers about their use of palm oil or its derivatives.
The top scoring companies were the Co-op, M&S, Sainsbury's, Waitrose and United Biscuits. Those
at the bottom of the ranking were mostly American-based companies including Asda/Walmart, PepsiCo
and Kraft, makers of Ritz and Oreo biscuits.
The project was carried out in response to the increasing threat that palm oil production is posing to the world's rainforest and to the people that rely on these forests for their livelihoods. Palm oil is a core ingredient in many food products but companies are not required by EU law to label products containing it until December 2014.
Having destroyed vast areas of forest in countries including Indonesia, which is home to orangutans, the RFUK says palm oil companies are now planning to expand into the rainforest
The lynx affection
Chimp and big cat bromance at American wildlife park
A BABY chimp and lynx cub have become unlikely buddies at a wildlife park.
Varli, 20 months, loves apeing around with his nine-week-old wildcat pal Sutra. They chase each other, cuddle up and even sleep together.
KMC allows risky giant turtle child ride in Safari
Anneke Moresco spent the last year doing post doctoral work at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in the Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW). Anneke and colleagues participated in a conservation and reproduction project for the black-footed cat in South Africa. See the spotlight HERE. Photo credit Dr. Alex Sliwa (curator at the Cologne zoo)