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|Zoo News Digest Jul-Aug 2017|
Zoo News Digest
It's Now Legal to Sell Rhino Horn in South Africa. The World's Top Breeder Makes His Move.
About 1,500 rhinos roam John Hume’s ranch in South Africa’s Klerksdorp, located a hundred miles from Johannesburg. Every 20 months or so Hume, who breeds more rhinos than anyone in the world, tranquilizes the animals and dehorns them. He does this to ward off poachers and for the potential to one day cash in on his more than six-ton stockpile.
That day has finally come. On Monday, Hume plans to hold an online auction to sell 264 rhino horns to South African residents.
A moratorium on buying and selling rhino horn within South Africa has been in place since 2009, but in 2015 Hume and another rhino horn breeder filed suit to overturn it. A final court ruling in April opened the way for the domestic trade to begin again, though the ban on the international trade, established in 19
S. Africa opposes online rhino horn auction
South Africa on Friday moved to halt an online auction of rhino horn starting next week, as outraged conservationists said the sale would undermine the global ban on rhino trade.
The three-day auction by South African John Hume, who runs the world's biggest rhino farm, comes after a ban on domestic trade in the country was lifted three months ago.
Hume's lawyer Izak du Toit claimed the permits had already been approved—but not issued.
The High Court in Pretoria started hearing the case on an urgent basis on Friday.
The court is expected to make a decision on Sunday, shortly before to the auction is scheduled to open at midday (1000 GMT) on Monday, officials said.
"The Minister of Environmental Affairs is opposing the application," the government said in a statement on Friday, declining to comment further.
Hume and some other campaigners say poaching can only be halted by meeting the huge demand from Asia through legally "harvesting" horn from anaesthetised live rhinos.
He has stockpiles of six tonnes of horns and wants to place 500 kilogrammes or 264 horns, under the hammer.
South Africa is home to around 20,000 rhinos, some 80 percent
WAYNE PACELLE SPEAKS OUT
Zoos and animal welfare groups
Zoos and animal welfare groups
An effort to work together
By WAYNE PACELLE Special to the Democrat-Gazette
What a disappointment to read Randal Berry's scattershot attack on me and the Humane Society of the United States that appeared in Perspective on Aug. 13. It was sparked by the invitation I received to appear at the national conference of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the organization that maintains rigorous standards for accreditation for its member institutions. Berry at one time worked for the Little Rock Zoo as a keeper, and is apparently in touch with professional operatives attacking HSUS on behalf of animal cruelty perpetrators, since he repeated so many of their canards and caricatures chapter and verse.
I've spoken at many zoos around the country through the years, and gave a keynote at a conference hosted by the Detroit Zoo that brought together animal welfare leaders, zoo leaders, and scientists to talk about advancing animal welfare. At that conference, I once again reiterated my support for AZA-accredited zoos.
There was nearly unanimous agreement among participants about the value of AZA-accredited zoos and mainstream animal welfare advocates uniting. HSUS values the important work of the Little Rock Zoo and strongly supports its current leadership. The Little Rock Zoo and HSUS have partnered on important legislation to protect wild and exotic animals, and HSUS has long supported the Zoo's conservation education efforts.
Berry is apparently unaware of the progress that zoos have made on the issue and is still carrying an us-versus-them banner, even after he's been long gone as a reptile keeper at the zoo. He trots out so many false claims about me and HSUS that it's hard to know where to begin. He says we're against the slaughter of animals for food, but I wonder how he squares that claim with the reality that HSUS has a National Agriculture Advisory Council and 11 state agriculture councils, with every member a working farmer or rancher and also a leader at HSUS. We have farmers on our staff, including a fourth-generation cattle rancher from Tennessee. If Berry is a serious-minded person, he has some fact-checking to do.
Conserving the Cooter: Turtle research in southeast NM
Eastern New Mexico University professor and biologist Dr. Ivana Mali and her students were on the hunt this summer for a small, yet precious species in the Black River in Southeastern New Mexico.
The Rio Grande River Cooter, a turtle of small size with "striking" markings, was drawn to traps she baited with shrimp and sardines.
Conservation efforts in Abu Dhabi mean new hope for endangered species
There is some encouraging news on the conservation of wildlife in the 2017 Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi report released on Sunday.
A yearlong project to study the Arabian Sand Cat reported 27 sightings in the Baynouna area, while a major census found 701 Humpback Dolphins, meaning that the world’s largest single number of the species live in the waters around Abu Dhabi.
Satellite tracking of the rare spotted eagle followed their migration path through the UAE, showing that they rested here in Spring and Autumn on a journey of 19,000 kilometres.
A chance discovery recorded extremely rare 10 Helleborine Orchids (Epipactis veratrifolia), the only species of orchid native to the UAE.
Fears of koala wipeout as hundreds face lethal injection
HUNDREDS of koalas are being sentenced to death by lethal injection as Queensland’s wildlife crisis deepens.
Most injured koalas taken to the RSPCA wildlife hospital at Oxley in Brisbane do not make it out alive and there are new fears the cuddly Australia marsupials may be heading for extinction.
Of the 323 koalas taken to the hospital in the past 12 months only 80 were returned to the wild, RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty said.
“They died of their injuries or had to be euthanised,” he said.
“It is very disturbing.”
Love beckons for recovering chimp in Brazil refuge
Marcelino is calling to her, but Cecilia cannot be with him. Not yet. He may be handsome, but she has suffered a lot and isn't ready for a relationship.
This is not a soap opera. It is just the way things go in a Brazilian refuge for abused and depressed chimpanzees.
Cecilia, 20, sits on a rooftop and gazes wistfully around—perhaps remembering her childhood spent in a cramped zoo, or her two friends who died there.
Luckily she is now in the best place to have her depression treated: the Sorocaba Great Primates Sanctuary.
She is alone in her enclosure, but with toys and plenty of space, it beats being in a zoo. And her carers say she is slowly getting better.
Legal chimp precedent
Cecilia came to Sorocaba four months ago from Mendoza in Argentina, after making legal history in a case brought by animal rights' groups.
The judge ruled that Cecilia was being held in unsuitable conditions at the Mendoz
Zoo gorilla dies of cancer, days after constipation surgery
A 49-year-old lowland gorilla at the Topeka Zoo in Kansas died Sunday after tests revealed she had late-stage ovarian cancer that had spread, four days after undergoing surgery for constipation.
The zoo said in a statement that after Tiffany failed to improve since her surgery Wednesday to clear "a significant amount of stool" from her colon, the gorilla was taken Sunday for scans that revealed two abdominal masses later identified as tumors linked to stage-four ovarian cancer.
During a surgery later Sunday, the zoo said, "it
Ignore the headlines about wildlife conservation – we don't need to resort to warzone tactics to protect endangered species
International interest in wildlife conservation in Africa seems to wax and wane in line with outraged or triumphant news headlines. Whether gnashing its teeth over Cecil the Lion's son, or cheering on last week's public destruction of two tonnes of ivory in Central Park, the international community is having all the wrong debates. Should we tackle poaching by targeting demand? Do we need more armed soldiers? But these do not need to be the only options when it comes to protecting endangered species.
Contrary to the recent increase in stories around militarisation of conservation, wildlife parks are not war zones and citizens should not have to be in a “battle” with animals to gain access to land. The word “engagement” is often thrown around like a panacea. But it really does work. For example, at the M
Hamed Al Marzooki lifted an Arabian gazelle calf from the seat of his four-wheel drive and placed it in an enclosure at the back of his house. The calf had an injured leg. Not only that, but it was alone and defenceless after its mother was shot by poachers.
As a ranger with Oman's Environmental Office for the Preservation of Protected Animals, it has fallen to Mr Al Marzooki, 48, to nurse the calf back to health and then release it into the government’s protected Al Kamil Wal Wafi park in the eastern region.
The 220-square-kilometre park is home not only to gazelles, but also to red foxes, wildcats, oryx, eagles and wild goats. Oman has five more of these protected parks around the country but it is losing the battle to protect wild animals because of poaching and now the development of housing estates for low income citizens close to parkland.
“Every year these animals go down in number. Poaching
Conservation and ethical care of sharks, skates, rays and chimeras
The Elasmobranch Husbandry Manual details the hands-on ethical care of sharks, rays, skates and chimeras. The Manual is intended to assist in the development of new exhibits, aid the training of husbandry personnel, prepare scientists for hands field work and answer specific questions about the care of this important taxonomic group.
I wanna be like you-hoo-hoo: How chimps like to imitate humans by pouting, swaying and bobbing their heads
Just as King Louie sang in the film The Jungle Book, scientists say chimps at the zoo really do want to be like you . . .
Swedish researchers noticed how zoo visitors liked to imitate chimpanzees, with clapping, head-slapping and armpit-scratching among the more common gestures by humans.
But after three weeks of secret observation, scientists found the chimps were also aping the humans outside their enclosure — by pouting, swaying their bodies and bobbing their heads.
Death by 50m camera clicks: As THREE SeaWorld killer whales die in a year, a former trainer says when the show is over, the gentle giant's lives are a 'disgrace to humanity'
A thousand tourists hold their breath as a giant killer whale leaps skyward, the sun gleaming off its smooth back.
As if auditioning for a Disney movie, the two-and-a-half ton leviathan performs an elegant backflip before landing with a thunderous splash.
It's a Thursday afternoon, but SeaWorld in San Diego, California, is packed with visitors, many of them British, all drawn by the undisputed star attractions: ten huge killer whales performing two shows daily.
Killer Whales, SeaWorld and the Truth About John Hargrove
In his book Beneath The Surface and in his public statements, author and former SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove tries to have it both ways.
On one side, John Hargrove is espousing animal activist dogma. On the other side, John Hargrove is praising his experience in the marine park industry, praising SeaWorld and trying to help a celebrity buy killer whales.
The only thing that is clear, John Hargrove has a book to sell you.
The Real John Hargrove loves SeaWorld and his time as a trainer. From his interviews with a young intern who was looking to become a marine mammal trainer, to his engagement with people on social media about his love of killer whales, or touting off the sound care the animals receive at SeaWord – the Real John Hargrove espouses the benefit and joy of working with captive killer whales and his employer, SeaWorld.
Now Book John Hargrove needs you to buy his
2 bears, not 1, killed Swedish wildlife park employee
Swedish public radio says two bears — not one — killed an employee at one of Europe's largest wildlife parks earlier this month.
Prosecutor Gunnar Jonasson told SR on Friday that the bears dug their way under a fence and mauled to death an 18-year-old man who was cleaning an enclosure at the Orsa Rovdjurspark in northern Sweden.
Jonasson declined to say why only one of the bears was euthanized after the attack. The investigation into what happened on Aug. 4 is not yet complete.
The unidentified employee died at a hospital.
The Orsa Rovdjurspark, 330 kilometers (205
Highland Council say no serious issues have been found at Black Isle animal park
More than 125,000 people have backed a petition calling for the visitor attraction to be closed amid accusations of poor animal welfare.
Highland Council and the Scottish SPCA have been criticised by Animal Concern Advice Line (ACAL) for not taking more stringent action against the park.
The petition against Black Isle Wildlife Park, now renamed Noah’s Ark Animal Park, attracted 125,394 online backers, of which 25,384 were from the UK. It has been sent to the council and the SSPCA.
But Highland Council said it had investigated all complaints in conjunction with Animal and Plant Health Agency appointed veterinary inspectors and the SSPCA, and found no "serious" animal welfare or neglect problems.
A spokeswoman added: "A number of visits to the park have been conducted by officers both unannounced and scheduled as part of these investigation in order to carry out a thorough inspection of the park, the condition of the animals and the welfare arrangements.
"The park also has their own appointed veterinary practice and our e
Inside the Chinese 'animal sanctuary' where endangered Siberian tigers are trained to perform in circus and pose for pictures with tourists
A safari park is usually a place where visitors go to watch animals roam around in vast open spaces under the knowledge that they are treated well.
But this sanctuary in Harbin, China has been branded a large-scale breeding farm where the Siberian Tigers are kept in unnatural conditions and are made to perform for visitors.
Visitors to the park are able to pay extra money to throw live animals into the enclosure and watch the tigers 'hunt'.
Grown-up chimps are less likely to help distressed friends
There, there! Adult chimpanzees are less likely than younger ones to console their companions in times of distress. The finding raises questions about how the capacity for empathy changes with age in our closest relatives – and us.
When a chimpanzee gets upset, perhaps after losing a fight, companions will often sit with them and provide reassurance by kissing, grooming or embracing them.
The same is true of young children. By age 2, children typically respond to a family member crying by consoling them in a similar way.
We know chimpanzees have personalities: individual differences in their behaviour that are consistent over time. But it was unclear whether their empathetic tendencies are part of their personality, and whether they
When collecting bird sperm, method matters
Different methods of collecting bird sperm produce different sperm lengths, potentially affecting the conclusions of fertility studies.
Scientists who are studying fertility in birds often use sperm length as an indicator of reproductive success. In birds, sperm length is a measure of how well the sperm can swim, and therefore their chance of success.
However, when collecting sperm, researchers often use a combination of different methods. Now, scientists at Imperial College London, the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Germany and the University of Linköping, Sweden have found different methods preferentially produce different lengths of house sparrow sperm.
This could potentially affect the outcomes of fertility studies. The results are published today in PLOS ONE.
The research team at Imperial College London, led by Dr Julia Schroeder, studies both a captive population of house sparrows and wild sparrows
Wild otter filmed alive in first Japan sighting since 1979
A wild otter was caught on film on Nagasaki Prefecture’s Tsushima Island in February, marking the first sighting of the mammal in Japan in 38 years, a University of the Ryukyus team said Thursday.
It is not known whether the observed otter was a Japanese river otter — which was once found across Japan but is believed to have gone extinct — according to the team of researchers. A river otter was last spotted in 1979 in the city of Susaki, Kochi Prefecture.
Hunting for otter fur and pollution in river habitats had caused a sharp decline in the animal’s population.
The Environment Ministry said an analysis of excrement samples collected on Tsushima Island in July suggested the presence of two Eurasian otters. One is believed to have come from South Korea or Russia’s Sakhalin island, but the origin of the other animal remained unknown.
The team said a camera set up for an ecological survey of the Tsushima leopard cat captured the otter. In the footage, the otter is of adult size and appears to be in good health and nutritional status, the researchers told a news conference at the ministry.
The team said the animal could either be a Japanese river otter that has survived, a Eurasian otter that has crossed the sea from South Korea about 50 km away, or a species that has been brought by humans.
There are more than 10 species of otter in
Thieves stealing Venezuela zoo animals to eat them, say police
Venezuela authorities are investigating the theft of animals from a zoo in western state of Zulia that were likely snatched to be eaten, a further sign of hunger in a country struggling with chronic food shortages.
A police official said two collared peccaries, which are similar in appearance to boars, were stolen over the weekend from the Zulia Metropolitan Zoological Park in the sweltering city of Maracaibo near the Colombian border.
“What we presume is that they (were taken) with the intention of eating them,” Luis Morales, an official for the Zulia division of the National Police, told reporters on Tuesday.
The chaotic collapse of the country’s socialist economic model has created chronic food shortages that have fuelled malnutrition and left millions seeking food anywhere they can find it, including in trash cans and dumpsters.
President Nicolas Maduro blames food shortages
Drunk man jumps into zoo enclosure to feed bear condensed milk but animal bites his hand off in bloody attack
A drunk man had his hand bitten off by a bear after he jumped into the animal's zoo enclosure to feed it condensed milk.
The 42-year-old's bloody attack was caught on CCTV as he ignored warning signs to climb over a fence in Irkutsk, Russia.
Celebrating vultures: The unsung heroes of the ecosystem
Vultures get a bad rap, but they actually play a crucial role in the ecosystem. They’re also super awesome.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park brought 9-year-old black vulture Duke to the News 8 Morning Extra Set to show off his feathers in front of the equally beautiful Heather Myers.
Vultures are becoming endangered and the zoo is celebrating the species with International Vulture Awareness Day at the park from September 2-4.
On that day, the zoo will feature the bird in various educa
9 Actual Animal Issues More Important than Killer Whales at SeaWorld (and How to Get Off Your Ass and Actually Start Making a Difference)
The country seems to be obsessed with the 22 killer whales living at SeaWorld. I applaud people’s passion on wanting these animals to have the best lives possible. However, don’t be distracted by what the media is telling you is important. There are actual animal issues occurring today – but nobody is talking about them…let alone taking action.
Here are 9 actual animal issues more important than Killer Whales living at SeaWorld.
Chinese Firm to Build US $40 Million Elephant Conservation, Breeding Center in Laos
A Chinese state-owned enterprise said on Saturday that it will build a U.S. $40 million elephant conservation and breeding center in northwestern Laos’ Sayaboury province and develop it into a for-profit tourist attraction by the end of the year.
At a celebration of the first World Elephant Day in the province on Aug. 12, the Sino-Lao Tourism Investment and Development Company Ltd., announced its plans to build the center in Sayaboury city for a species that has become increasingly scarce in the Southeast Asian country.
Company manager Mu Yian Yu told attendees through an interpreter that the company will invest $40 million in building the conservation center during the upcoming dry weather season which begins after October.
“The Sino-Lao Tourism Investment and Development Company will develop the center this year,” he said, adding that provincial officials have granted the firm a 50-year land concession for the center.
“In two years we will have boats, hot air balloons, and elephant shows,” he said.
A Sayaboury official, who requested anonymity, said the Chinese firm is building the elephant center as a tourist attraction.
“They are developing a tourist attraction in Sayab
"He started this place on a wing and a prayer": celebrating 30 years since Monkey World began
IT’S 30 years since a zookeeper from New York showed up in Dorset with a single-minded determination to build a rescue centre for apes.
Today, a decade after Jim Cronin’s untimely death, Monkey World has followers around the world.
His widow Alison, who met Jim in 1993, says locals in the 1980s must have found it hard to imagine what Jim had in mind.
“Mostly local people were rather bemused that there was this strangely accented American in the area who claimed he was going to rescue monkeys and live on the edge of Wareham Forest. That was all conside
Guest Speaker: Gabrielle Harris – Who Are We?
Gabrielle Harris is a great person I had the privilege to meet at on of the IMATA conferences I attended. She has a perspective on animal training what I like very much. Very thoughtful presentations are presented by her such as this one: Awareness of Control as Primary Reinforcer
She wrote a book called Touching Animals Souls and will be translated at the end of this month to German. Her second book is on the way as well and will be available in English and Czech.
She is a great writer and in this guest blog she proves this once again.
All work, no pay: the plight of young conservationists
Nika Levikov swore she would never work as a waitress again. But, today — with a master’s degree in conservation science from Imperial College London — she’s taking orders, delivering drinks, and cleaning tables to support herself.
After two years of looking for paid work as a conservationist around Europe and four months doing unpaid work in East Africa, Levikov moved to the island of Malta to work at Greenhouse Malta. Levikov, who owes over $100,000 (£77,644) in student loans, described her work at the small environment NGO as “casual” and “freelancing” — some hours are paid, others are volunteer — while the group looks to secure more funding.
“The reality many of us face is that we will have to babysit, clean toilets, and serve drinks as we try to gain the experience we need in conservation to finally get that dream job,” said Levikov, a former intern at Mongabay, who just turned 30.
“I’m not blaming anyone for my current situation in which I am utterly broke and still crossing my fingers that in the near future my career will finally take off,” she told Mongabay. “Indeed I was wrong in thinking that all my hard, unpaid work would lead to something or that having a degree fro
Zoo Keeper jailed for 10 years for supporting IS
A Zoo Keeper was jailed a total of 10 years for supporting the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group via the Telegram application and for possessing IS related paraphernalia.
In sentencing, High Court judge Datuk Indera Mohd Sofian Tan Sri Abd Razak said the guilty plea is not a must for an accused to be given privilege.
The judge sentenced Mohd Sharullizam Ramli, 31, to a ten-year jail term for supporting the IS.
The offence was committed at Batu 11, Gombak, between March 25, 2016 and June 29, 2016,
He was also sentenced to a 3-year jail term for having in his possession a flag, a headband and a car sticker with the IS logo.
The offence was committed at 1.20pm on July 19, 2016.
However, the accused will only serve a ten-year jail term, as the judge ordered for both sentences to run concurrently, from the date of his arrest, on July 19, 2016.
In mitigating for a lenient sentence, defence counsel N.Sivanesan said his client works at Zoo Negara and earns a salary of RM1,300.
He also told the court that Mohd Sharullizam's
SeaWorld Euthanizes Killer Whale Kasatka; Matriarch Had Lung Disease
Six weeks after being rumored near death, killer whale matriarch Kasatka has died at SeaWorld San Diego, the park announced late Tuesday night.
Nearly 42 years old, Kasatka was euthanized around 8:15 p.m. at Orca Encounter after a long bout with bacterial respiratory infection, or lung disease, officials said.
“Despite their best efforts, her health and appetite significantly declined over the past several days despite continually tailored treatments,” SeaWorld said. “Kasatka’s veterinarians and caretakers made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize her to prevent compromising her quality of life.”
Kasatka — the mother of four, grandmother of six and great grandmother of two orcas — “passed away surrounded by members of her pod, as well as the veterinarians and caretakers who loved her,” SeaWorld said.
The park said Kasatka’s behaviorists shared a special bond with the killer whale and were deeply saddened by her passing.
The loss leaves 10 orcas in San Diego — five females and five males, who appear to be doing well, SeaWorld said.
“But we’re monitoring and watching for any changes in their behavior,” said a statement. “While the loss of Kasatka is heart
The court case against Marineland might be over, but we can still consider this saga a 'win'
Despite years of bad press and seemingly credible allegations of animal abuse, it comes as little surprise that cruelty charges laid against Marineland by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) were withdrawn last week. The Crown said there was no reasonable chance of conviction.
Animal cruelty convictions are notoriously rare in Canada. But though the law may not recognize it, the very nature of Marineland — to confine animals to unnatural environments for entertainment and profit — is cruel.
This case shows that the struggle to shut down these zoos using the power of the courts is still very much ongoing. Nevertheless, it can and should be considered a win: the case succeeded in keeping years-old investigations into Marineland's treatment of animals in the news, and catalyzed all sorts of valuable discussions about the purpose these facilities serve in the 21st century.
Turning a profit
Under the guise of education and conservation, marine parks and zoos exploit captive animals to entertain humans and to turn a profit. Make no mistake, Marineland, like SeaWorld, like the Bowmanville Zoo, like the Ringling Bros. Circus, is a business. Its product: animals captured from the wild or bred in captivity, sentenced to life in small, unnatural environments where they are forever denied the ability to engage in natural behaviours, some even forcefully trained to perform.
Animal welfare can never be the top priority when profit is at stake because the condition of the animals will always come second to the bottom line. As a result, captive wildlife oft
EAD releases further 54 Scimitar horned Oryx into wild in Chad
The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, EAD, have just released a further 54 Scimitar horned Oryx into the wild in Chad. This latest release is a significant milestone for progress of the initiative, which seeks to reintroduce this extinct-in-the-wild species.
This largest reintroduction yet brings the number of animals in the wild to 89. The reintroduction efforts of the last year have seen the population grow with 16 calves now recorded in the wild.
EAD, along with their project partners, the Chadian Ministry of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Sahara Conservation Fund, aims to achieve a wild free-ranging, self-sustaining population of 500 animals in the Ouadi Rime Ouadi Achim game reserve in Chad. It is believed that the last Scimitar horned Oryx disappeared from Chad in the late 1980’s and the species was officially declared "Extinct in the Wild" globally by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, IUCN, in 2000.
The animals selected for the reintroduction come from the ‘world herd’ that EAD has been curating at its breeding facility in Delaija, Abu Dhabi. Many of the animals that make up the world herd were generously donated to EAD from the collection of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The genetic diversity of the blood-stock has been increased with the addition of animals that have been kindly donated from a number of zoos and private collectors across the globe.
A very careful selection process takes
How llamas conquered the world
Llamas recently have become a relatively common sight around the world. Whether you live in England or New South Wales, Canada, or New Zealand, you don’t have to go too far to find a llama. Indeed thousands of llamas are registered in the UK, where the species has emerged as a popular (if seemingly unlikely) choice for many aspiring livestock owners and is winning new admirers by the day.
While the llama is currently on the up, its history has not always been so rosy. Reared intensively by the Incas, llamas suffered severely at the hands of the Spanish conquistadors and still lack the genetic diversity they enjoyed in Pre-Columbian times. But over the past few decades, llamas have flourished as a global commodity, fulfilling novel roles and gaining an international profile.
So how has the llama gone from near extincti
Op-Ed:Partnering with Animals Rights ensures extinction of zoos and aquariums
Recently, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), an organization whose members I have proudly promoted and defended locally and nationally in good times and in bad for more than 25 years, announced it had invited HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle to be its keynote speaker at the public display trade association’s annual meeting in Indianapolis next month. Echoing the thoughts of many rank and file zookeepers and zoo directors that have shared on social media and directly with new AZA CEO Dan Ashe, this is a terrible decision. A trade association’s first duty is to protect and advance the interests of its members, not to “invite the fox into the henhouse.” Instead, the naïve invitation sends an unmistakable signal to the world that its finest and most knowledgeable zoological park professionals need the help of the most committed and well-funded anti-zoo organizations in the area of animal welfare.
These Zoo Elephants May Be the Loneliest in the World
Miyako is a female Asian elephant who has lived without other elephants since arriving at Japan's Utsunomiya Zoo, just outside of Tokyo, 44 years ago when she was six months old. She is kept in a small, concrete enclosure near the zoo’s amusement park, says Keith Lindsay, a conservation biologist and elephant expert based in Oxford, England.
“She’s been in that place her whole life, with no other elephants and nowhere to move,” he says.
Lindsay observed Miyako earlier this year, when he spent two weeks visiting 14 zoos believed to be the majority in Japan keeping elephants in isolation. He summarized the conditions of the animals and their surroundings in a new report released today, on the eve of World Elephant Day.
Five elephants have been alone their entire lives, the report says. Eight became isolated after their companions died or were moved, and one rejoined her previous companion but had to be kept in a separat
Disturbing video of Ottawa-area zoo reinforces calls for provincial regulations
Shocking video released by an animal rights group Friday appears to show the manager and the son of the owner of Papanack Zoo, near Ottawa, admitting to beating a lion cub for training purposes.
“This footage shot at the Papanack Zoo shows a number of very disturbing things, including baby animals ripped away from their mothers when they’re very young so they can be used as selfie props,” Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice, told Global News.
“It includes a zoo manager admitting to beating a baby lion for training purposes, it includes animals performing repetitive stereotypical
Sabrina Brando Named WAZA’s First Animal Welfare Coordinator
WAZA confirmed its commitment to animal care and ethics with the appointment of Sabrina Brando as the first-ever WAZA Animal Welfare Coordinator.
The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) confirmed its commitment to animal care and ethics with the appointment of Sabrina Brando as the first-ever WAZA Animal Welfare Coordinator.
Brando will oversee programmes that emphasize research, enrichment, advocacy, and the well-being of animals throughout WAZA’s global network.
“We are extremely pleased to have someone as highly regarded throughout the animal care community as Sabrina Brando join our staff as WAZA’s first Animal Welfare Coordinator,” said WAZA Chief Executive Officer Doug Cress. “WAZA is dedicated to achieving the highest possible standards for the animals in the care of its member zoos and aquariums, and we believe Sabrina
Inches from disaster: Edinburgh Zoo Keeper escapes looming giant panda let into enclosure by mistake
An Edinburgh Zoo keeper made a last-minute escape after one of the zoo's giant pandas was let into the enclosure by mistake.
A dramatic picture has emerged which shows the female staff member fleeing to safety.
The shocking security lapse in the capital has been blamed on staff shortages by disgruntled keepers, who claim the worker could have been killed.
Despite their "cuddly" image, adult giant pandas can be as dangerous as black bears and there have been several serious attacks on zoo staff and visitors in recent years.
EU Zoos Directive drives conservation, education and research
Polar bear buddies hug it out on World Bromance Day
Two polar bears living in the Highlands appear to have celebrated “World Bromance Day” – with a bear hug.
Walker and Arktos have been best friends since being introduced to each other at The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland Highland Wildlife Park in April 2012.
And the pair seemed to show off their relationship by getting into the spirit of World Bromance Day, which takes place six months after Valentine’s Day.
Bali Zoo awarded Best Conservation Institution in Indonesia 2017
Bali Zoo has been recognized by the Indonesian government as the best conservation institution in the country for 2017.
The award was given to the Bali conservation park by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry last Thursday in East Java’s Baluran National Park by Darmin Nasution, coordinating minister for Economic Affairs and Siti Nurbaya Bakar, minister of Environment and Forestry Indonesia.
While Indonesia is home to some of the most biological diversity on the planet, the country also leads the way with some of the most endangered species.
Operating in Sukawati, Gianyar, Bali Zoo’s motto of “Love. Conserve. Share.” seems to be what earned it such a major nod from the government.
Active participation in wildlife conservation apparently set the Bali Zoo apart from other conservation institutions in Indonesia this year, namely the successful breeding and routine release of
An Honest Report on Bali Zoo
Bali zoo http://bali-zoo.com is yet another Bali animal collection which prices its gate in US dollars. Here it was $20 or 225,000 Indonesian Rupiah. This is no small amount and I half expected to be ripped off.
I already knew a little of Bali Zoo having followed links in ZooNews Digest and knew of its recent association with Peel Zoo in Australia.
On their website they claim to be the first and only zoo in Bali. Well they may well have been the first but they are certainly not the only because there is the Bali Bird Park and the Bali Safari and Marine Park amongst others. I suppose it is the website designers perception of what is a zoo.
Activists sound alarm over Russia's whale trade
A young beluga whale looks down as it is winched in a net onto the deck of a rusty Russian ship moored at a far-eastern port.
"Don't forget us, bitch!" shouts one of its captors onboard the ship as the animal is deposited next to three more belugas and rows of other sea mammals such as seals.
The grim footage—aired in a recent Russian documentary—shines a spotlight on a murky and poorly regulated trade in marine mammals that has made the country the biggest supplier of some species to aquariums across the globe.
Activists documented squalid conditions and dead beluga whales being hastily buried as traders exploited loopholes in legislation to turn a lucrative profit.
"We started making a film about aquariums, but I couldn't imagine such a huge business behind them, a huge corrupt system," said Gayane Petrosyan, who directed the film "Born Free" that premiered earlier this year.
While many countries around the world are phasing out the use dolphins for entertainment, China's industry is expanding and Russian animals are its star performers.
"The animals are treated as a commodity," Petrosyan said.
ENVIRONMENTAL ENRICHMENT IN ZOOS AND AQUARIUMS
Hosted by Disney's Animal Kingdom®
March 10 - March 15, 2018
Blue Planet Aquarium confirms escapee otter Cho is back with her family
Blue Planet Aquarium has confirmed escapee otter Cho has been recaptured, but is unwilling to discuss whether more than one otter went missing.
On Friday (August 11) the popular Ellesmere Port attraction asked for the public’s help in tracking down their fugitive otter which had been spotted at nearby Cheshire Oaks and even filmed.
Blue Planet Aquarium has now confirmed that Cho, a female Asian short-clawed otter, was recaptured over the weekend and reunited with her mate Brian and baby Connie.
Puzzlingly, Cheshire Police received reports of three otters having escaped last Thursday but understands one was found in a supermarket car
How to save zoos? Focus on education, conservation
One of my earlier memories from my childhood is visiting the Frankfurt zoo in Germany. I watched several elephants in an indoor enclosure, and while they were huge and fascinating, it also saddened me to see such magnificent animals in captivity. I also remember having straw thrown in my face by one of those elephants, although my parents dispute this.
Now, with my own children, we visit the Toronto Zoo with all of its animals in more naturalistic enclosures, and the many educational and conservation programmes and displays. It’s a different world.
For many, zoos are central to some of their favourite memories as children. Seeing lions, tigers and elephants and other less familiar animals, never mind smelling them, can be a wonderful experience.
But the role of zoos in society has led to serious discussion about whether zoos should even exist. A strike earlier this year by workers at the Toronto Zoo had many musing about whether the zoo should re-open at all. The Toronto Star reported that social media and emails they received argued “zoos are outdated, inhumane attractions that should be closed outright, or converted to animal sanctuarie
Hunt for groom on for Rani Baug's only single penguin
Officials are taking a special interest in finding a mate for Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Zoo's lone single penguin from the waddle of seven now living here.
Zoo officials claim that they are coordinating for one more penguin with Goatrade Farming Co. Ltd., the Thailand-based procurement agency that helped the Mumbai zoo acquire the penguins.
"In case a penguin died while being in quarantine, a commitment was made by the agency to replace it," said a senior BMC official. Eight penguins were brought to Mumbai, however, one died in October 2016, while in quarantine.
Dr Sanjay Tripathi, Director of Byculla Zoo, informed, "We are constantly reminding the agency of their promise. They have been assuring us that they are looking for a Humboldt penguin for Bubble." He said that they were concerned about Bubble and had sp
Cincinnati Zoo Scientists’ Study Reveals Red Panda Reproduction Secrets
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s red panda care team was not surprised when a red panda cub was born on June 25, 2017. Thanks to a multi-year research study by the Zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW), the caregivers knew that mom, Lin, was pregnant, and so they were able to prepare for the impending birth of this endangered species.
Red pandas are one of many cold-weather animals that experience delayed implantation during pregnancy, in which an embryo stops growing and can float around for weeks or months before attaching to the uterine wall. This results in a two-month window of potential due dates for all expecting moms. Additionally, non-pregnant females can experience pseudo-pregnancies: following breeding season, they may gain weight and build nests, even though no embryos are present. Together, these two reproductive phenomena make it nearly impossible to diagnose pregnancy or predict parturition date in this species.
Sun bears, Malayan tapirs and Asian songbirds get stunning new homes at Chester Zoo
Chester Zoo has unveiled state-of-the-art new habitats for sun bears, Malayan tapirs and Asian songbirds.
The world famous zoo has added the huge new animal habitats to its £40m Islands zone – already the largest zoological development in the UK – which features animal species native to South East Asia.
The zoo’s two sun bears, Milli and Toni, who were rescued from Cambodia after their mothers were killed by poachers and they were found as mistreated pets, are among the individual animals with new South East Asian habitats.
Rethinking the Big, Bad Wolf
Last month the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife killed its first wolf from the Smackout pack after deciding that the animals were preying on too many cows in the state’s Colville National Forest. The state’s action came after its “Wolf Advisory Group” concluded that “lethal action” was the best way to manage the pack’s population following a string of attacks on livestock on grazing allotments in the forest, despite the fact that numerous scientific studies have proven that livestock predation actually increases when wolves and other large predator animals are killed.
Almost 5,000 miles away, across the continental United States and Atlantic Ocean, a similar situation is playing out in Denmark. There wolves have established a population for the first time in more than 200 years, thanks to reproductive success in nearby Germany. As in the western United States, the argument that wolves should be managed according to science is playing out against livestock-owner and hunting-industry desires to use lethal measures to stop the animals from preying on stock and game. It’s a contentious struggle — and one that has its origins in Europe itself.
“Wolves and other predator animals have been persecuted in Europe for hundreds of years by ranchers who want to protect their anima
Remake of BBC children's classic Animal Magic should be axed say campaigners in row over zoo creatures being given 'misleading' human voices
A BBC remake of the creature-based television classic Animal Magic in which animals are given amusing voiceovers, has been branded 'mis-educational' by an animal rights charity.
CBBC's The Zoo has been criticised by the Born Free Foundation for 'attributing human voices to animals and misinterpreting their actions to meet a fabricated narrative'.
Billed as the 'Animal Magic of the 21'st Century', the 15-part series is due to air on Monday and features real creatures with computer-generated mouths to give a realistic impression that they are actually talking.
Khao Kheow Open Zoo unveils Forest of Asia
Khao Kheow Open Zoo has unveiled a new display zone called Forest of Asia.
In his opening speech, Director of the Thailand Zoological Park Organization Benchapol Nakprasert, mentioned the role of Khao Kheow Open Zoo as a model of zoological management and said that Forest of Asia was expected to raise public awareness of the importance of wildlife and forest conservation.
The new display zone offers visitors the opportunity to get a close look at rare wild animals such as Himalayan marten, black giant squirrel, grey-shanked douc, Siam
Adaptation and Acceptance
Being in a position of giving a helping hand with many different species gives me an opportunity to observe species I never had the chance to observe before, I learn a lot. Observation is an important part of our day. A Head Trainer told me once do we really know our animals if we just train them and never observe in free time? Valid question I thought and Past the message through the departments in our Zoo.
How do animals respond to each others behaviour? To different species joining the environment? To new members being added on the environment? Or even babies that are born or start to move a lot more?
There is a lot to learn through looking at the animals we work with especially at moments where we change the groups around for a little bit. As with people I believe that animals also have the ability to like some animals better as others what I think is a normal thing. When animals don’t really like each other for whatever reason we can make them accept each other what gives both of them the b
Animal cruelty charges dropped against Marineland
Animal cruelty charges that had been laid against Marineland were dropped Thursday after prosecutors said there was no reasonable chance of conviction on most of the 11 counts faced by the Ontario tourist attraction.
During a brief hearing in a Niagara Falls, Ont., courtroom, the Crown said it could have proceeded on three of the charges — which related to failing to comply with standards of care for a peacock, guinea hens and a red deer — but did not believe it was in the public interest to do so, citing potential court costs and a weak case.
Crown attorney Stephen Galbraith said prosecutors had instead come up with an alternative solution that included ongoing monitoring of the amusement park and zoo.
“The Crown’s case is more circumstantial than direct evidence,” Galbraith told the court. “The photographs and video provided preserves observations, but there was no independent examination of the animals. The veterinarian’s re
Scientists hope to breed Asian ‘unicorns’ – if they can find them
In 1996, William Robichaud spent three weeks with Martha before she died. Robichaud studied Martha – a beautiful, enigmatic, shy saola – with a scientist’s eye but also fell under the gracile animal’s spell as she ate out of his hand and allowed herself to be stroked. Captured by local hunters, Martha spent those final days in a Laotian village, doted on by Robichaud.
Since losing Martha, Robichaud has become the coordinator of the Saola Working Group (SWG) at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). He has dedicated his life to saving this critically endangered species – and believes the best chance to achieve that now is through a captive breeding programme.
“We need to act while there is still time,” he said adding that “seldom, if ever” are captive breeding programs begun too soon for species on the edge.
“More likely, too late.”
We just found the saola – and now we’re very close to losing it forever.
Hardly a household name, the saola was one of the most astounding biological discoveries of the 20th Century. In 1992, a group of scientists met a local hunter in Vietnam who gave them a skull of something no
UK named as world's largest legal ivory exporter
Britain was the world’s largest exporter of legal ivory between 2010 and 2015, a breakdown of records held by the Convention on international trade in endangered species (Cites) has revealed.
Not only did the UK export more ivory than anyone else to Hong Kong and China – which are considered smuggling hubs for “blood ivory” - it also sold on 370% more ivory than the next highest exporter, the USA.
The new trade analysis, which is being released ahead of World Elephant Day on Saturday, will embarrass the government, after a call by Boris Johnson for “an all out ban” on ivory exports last month.
Mary Rice, the executive director of the Environmental Investigations Agency which carried out the research said: “UK ivory exports are stimulating consumer demand globally, especially in Hong Kong and China, two of the world’s largest markets for both legal and illegal ivory.
Proper paperwork puts penguins on path to Portugal
Twenty penguins from a coastal zoo in Devon have been sent to a new home in Portugal to help with the conservation of their species.
Living Coasts in Torquay has sent the penguins to Parque Zoologico de Lagos. The birds travelled by road in a temperature-controlled van, taking a ferry across the Channel before being driven on to the Algarve, a total journey of 1,700 miles.
The group – two breeding pairs and a collection of younger birds – is starting a new colony. Clare Rugg, Living Coasts operations manager/curator, said: "They arrived and all went for a swim. They seem to be fine after their journey."
Paulo Figueiras, the curator of Parque Zoologico de Lagos, said: "I am so excited, they are lovely birds. They will be a success at our zoo. When they arrived, they spent so long in the water… they go in the pool a lot. Thank you so much."
Like anyone going overseas this summer – they all had to have their travel documents in order.
Zoological collections don't buy and sell animals – they loan, donate or swap. And, as awe-inspiring and exciting as nature is, the conservation of species is a serious world of acronyms, committees and computer spreadsheets.
A pox on their squirrels: German scientists find new virus
Scientists in Germany have identified a new type of pox virus that's sickening young red squirrels in Berlin.
Tanya Lenn, who works at a local squirrel sanctuary, had noticed juvenile animals with severely inflamed hands and feet.
Lenn says: "The little squirrels cannot keep hold of anything because their tiny fingers are sticking together. The wounds are so painful that some animals die in shock."
Chinese tourist agencies to stop promoting elephant shows, rides
Three major Chinese travel agencies have pledged to stop offering elephant rides and shows over animal welfare concerns, a first in China according to one organization.
CAISSA Touristic, Zannadu and Faxian Trip are the first agencies in China to phase out elephant tourism from their offerings, Zheng Yu, an employee with World Animal Protection told thepaper.cn.
Zheng said the Chinese agencies join more than 160 travel agencies worldwide committed to keeping elephant-based entertainment off their itineraries.
Most of the activities are offered to tourists in South Asia, in countries including India, Sir Lanka and Nepal, thepaper.cn reported on Thursday.
About 100,000 visitors choose CAISSA Touristic to experience elephants rides every year, said Ge Mu, the company's deputy CEO.
Faxian Trip has already stopped offerin
Toby Nainan: The zookeeper who handled fighting hyenas, cuddly tigers and an anxious Rajiv Gandhi
On a rainy evening in July, 78-year-old Toby Nainan sat by his window recalling the day he caught a snake at his neighbour’s house. He looks for a picture on his phone and after some confused swiping, retrieves one from WhatsApp. In the photograph, Nainan has a firm grip on a snake’s mouth with his left hand. Zooming closer, he reveals his missing index finger. That one was lost while separating two fighting hyenas, he adds. The hyena episode also left him with a deep scar above his right ankle.
The table in Nainan’s drawing room was adorned with two large, emerald green emu eggs and coasters from the zoo in Algiers, both gifts from his travels. Much like the scars on his body, each of the objects in the room had a story that related to his time as the curator of the Delhi Zoo.
The future of zoos: A focus on education and conservation
One of my earlier memories from my childhood is visiting the Frankfurt zoo in Germany. I watched several elephants in an indoor enclosure, and while they were huge and fascinating, it also saddened me to see such magnificent animals in captivity. I also remember having straw thrown in my face by one of those elephants, although my parents dispute this.
Now, with my own children, we visit the Toronto Zoo with all of its animals in more naturalistic enclosures, and the many educational and conservation programs and displays. It’s a different world.
For many, zoos are central to some of their favourite memories as children. Seeing lions, tigers and elephants and other less familiar animals, never mind smelling them, can be a wonderful experience.
But the role of zoos in society has led to serious discussion about whether zoos should even exist. A strike earlier this year by workers at the Toronto Zoo had many musing about whether the zoo should re-open at all. The Toronto Star reported that social media and emails they received argued “zoos are outdated, inhumane attractions that should be closed outright, or converted to animal sanctuaries.”
That’s a widespread sentiment, manifested in part by t
Activists call for whale refuges, but can they stay afloat?
A Hawaii marine park’s purchase of Kina, a 40-year-old false killer whale long used in echolocation research, has reignited a debate about captive marine mammals and the places that care for them.
Most of the world’s captive cetaceans – dolphins, whales and porpoises – are now born in marine-park breeding programs, though some are still taken from the wild. Since they’re so expensive to care for, even marine mammals used solely for research, like Kina, often end up at attractions like Oahu’s Sea Life Park.
Animal-rights activists are calling for the creation of ocean-based refuges, where they say captive marine animals could retire and live a life closer to nature. At least two groups already are working to create such sanctuaries, but experts question whether they can stay afloat.
A closer look at the discussion:
Portrait of a Nation: Expert coaxed out of retirement to welcome wild animals to Dubai
With a lifetime of experience behind him, Timothy Husband was settling into retirement when the lure of helping captive wild animals at a new venture in Dubai pulled him back to work.
The animals at the closing Dubai Zoo had an uncertain future and, as an expert on exotic animals and as a trouble-shooter for failing zoos around the world, he knew he could assist in the setting up of Dubai Safari.
The New Zealander’s expertise in turning round poorly run wildlife parks was viewed as a key asset when he was approached by UAE authorities to take on the project, due to open in November.
Mr Husband, who studied a degree in zoology at Sydney University, has worked in zoos and safari parks in Canberra, Cairns, Bali and elsewhere in Indonesia before moving to the UAE with
Learning the rules of the rock–paper–scissors game: chimpanzees versus children
The present study aimed to investigate whether chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) could learn a transverse pattern by being trained in the rules of the rock–paper–scissors game in which “paper” beats “rock,” “rock” beats “scissors,” and “scissors” beats “paper.” Additionally, this study compared the learning processes between chimpanzees and children. Seven chimpanzees were tested using a computer-controlled task. They were trained to choose the stronger of two options according to the game rules. The chimpanzees first engaged in the paper–rock sessions until they reached the learning criterion. Subsequently, they engaged in the rock–scissors and scissors–paper sessions, before progressing to sessions with all three pairs mixed. Five of the seven chimpanzees completed training after a mean of 307 sessions, which indicates that they learned the circular pattern. The chimpanzees required more scissors–paper sessions (14.29 ± 6.89), the third learnt pair, than pap
The biggest condor recovery milestone yet: a second-generation wild-born condor.
Miracle and Nomad have made history.
Ventana Wildlife Society biologists discovered July 6 that Condor 538 (Miracle) and Condor 574 (Nomad), both of whom were born in the wild, made a nest together this year in southern Big Sur. It is the first known nest of wild-born California condors in the state since 1985.
But that’s not all: They have a chick in their nest, the first second-generation wild-born condor in decades
The BIG LIE about lion trophy hunting
So often we hear from the pro-hunting lobby that by killing free roaming lions, trophy hunters are actually saving lions.
Well, if my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle.
That term “sustainable offtake” often creeps into the justification. The trophy hunting of free roaming lions is about as sustainable as putting ice cubes in a mug of steaming coffee. Let’s dig deeper into this issue of sustainable, shall we?
Syndicate smuggling pangolin scales to Malaysia busted
Authorities in Ghana have arrested three agents from a syndicate behind the smuggling of US$1.2 million (RM5.14 million) worth of prohibited pangolin scales from the west African country to Malaysia in June.
They were said to have initially evaded detection by labelling the packaging of the goods in 16 boxes, weighing a total of 400kg, as “oyster shells”.
Graphic Online, an Accra-based news portal, reported on Saturday that the trio – shipping agents Prosper Kumako and Prince Anim, and exporter Robert Konu – were picked up in the capital city on July 27 and 29 through a paper trail for the illegal export during investigations.
It quoted Nana Kofi Adu-Nsiah, executive director of
French farmers demand action against wolves killing livestock
Hundreds of farmers, shepherds and politicians rallied in Aveyron, southern France, on Saturday calling for action to halt the slaughter of livestock by packs of wolves.
The demonstrators gathered more than 3,000 sheep, about a hundred cattle and a few horses in a field to represent the number of animals killed by wolves in France in recent months.
How To Leverage Education Value To Increase Visitation to Cultural Organizations (DATA)
Providing an educational experience helps visitor-serving organizations increase visitation – but not necessarily in the way that they might suspect.
This week, I would like to underscore an opportunity – and that opportunity is for cultural organizations (i.e. museums, zoos, aquariums, gardens, performing arts organizations, etc.) to successfully leverage their education value…by increasing their entertainment value.
Who said that they were at-odds in the first place?
These data do not represent a “win” for education in the infamous, ugly, and ongoing “education vs. entertainment” debate that still ra
Living blanket, water diviner, wild pet: a cultural history of the dingo
In traditional Aboriginal society, women travelled with canine companions draped around their waists like garments of clothing. Dingoes played an important role in the protection and mobility of the women and children, and are believed to have greatly extended women’s contribution to the traditional economy and food supply.
Dingo pups were taken from the wild when very young. The pups were a highly valued ritual food source, while others were adopted into human society. They grew up in the company of women and children, providing an effective hunting aid, a living blanket and guarding against intruders.
Nursing young dingo pups was also deeply embedded in traditional customs. Interspecies breastfeeding of mammalian young was common in most human societies pre-industrialisation, historically providing the only safe way to ensure the survival of motherless mammalian young. Technological advances in milk pasteurisation made artificial feeding a viable alternative by the late 1800s.
Cohabitation with human society represented a transient phase of the dingo’s lifecycle: the pups generally returned to the wild once mature (at one or two years of age) to breed. As such, dingoes maintained the dual roles of human companion and top-order predator – retaining their independent and essentially wild nature over thousands of years.
Regulating Costa Rica Zoos and Rescue Centers
New genetic analyses help scientists rethink the elephant family tree
The first DNA analysis of ancient straight-tusked elephant fossils may be changing what we know about elephant evolution. A new study shows that African forest elephants are more closely related to a now-extinct ancestor than they are to African savanna elephants, according to a report in the online journal, Mongabay.
Elephant dung shows stress levels
Asian elephant stress levels peak during dry seasons, when resources are low. This is what studying leftover hormones in elephant poop unravels. The method could be an important non-invasive tool to study the health of wild pachyderm populations in India, finds a new study. In the future, it could also help test the efficacy of management interventions introduced to conserve the endangered species.
With shrinking habitats, India's endangered elephants face food shortages and increased disturbances in their environments. The resulting physiological stress (a result of secretion of stress hormones such as glucocorticoids) can be beneficial for elephants, helping them escape from threats. However, if prolonged, the stress can affect their health, reproduction and even survival. Stress levels are often high in emaciated pachyderms: so can hormones – traces of which come through in elephant dung – be an indicator of elephant health?
Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, examined changes in visual body condition scores of 261 elephants in the Mysuru and Nilgiri elephant reserves in south India during wet and dry seasons, scoring their ‘body condition’ on a scale of one (for very thin pa
Naka Foundation: Changing the Narrative for Captive Elephants
We in Thailand have long taken elephants for granted. They have always just been ‘there’, taking our kings into battle through history, sung about in nursery rhymes, seen begging on the streets and as a tourist magnet. Elephants have lived amongst us and with us for so many generations that today’s trend to ‘free’ elephants, calling for a return to the wild, can be quite bewildering to we Thais.
Just over a century ago Thailand was home to over 100,000 wild elephant, today that number has dwindled to around 3,000. However, thousands more live in captivity alongside man in elephant camps and sanctuaries. This is cause for much debate amongst experts and profiteers, animal rights groups and owners.
CityNews talks to Carmen Rademaker, Founder of Na
Farmers offered free llamas to protect sheep from wild lynx
Farmers could be offered free llamas as bodyguards to protect their sheep from wild lynx, which conservationists are hoping to reintroduce to Britain.
The Lynx Trust has applied to Natural England for permission to release Eurasian lynx into Kielder Forest in England and also want to rewild the animals in the Scottish Highlands.
But farmers are opposing the plans, claiming lynx will kill sheep and lambs.
New grass snake discovered in the UK
A new type of snake has been discovered in the UK, bringing the total number of species to four.
Scientists say the barred grass snake, Natrix helvetica, is actually a different species to the common or eastern grass snake, Natrix natrix.
Before, it was thought the grass snake was one species with several subspecies that looked slightly different.
The others native to the UK are the smooth snake and the adder, which is venomous.
Grass snakes are a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act so it is a criminal offence to injure or kill them.
Both types of grass snake are normally found in lowland regions in the south of England. The snakes can be more than a metre (3ft) long, are found near water and eat mainly amphibians like frogs and newts.
The newly distinguished barred grass snake is grey, not olive green like the N. natrix and does not have the same bright
Civets under threat from exotic coffee
COFFEE keeps the world awake.
With an estimated 2.25 billion cups drank each day, coffee has grown from a bitter African berry to perhaps being the global beverage, in an industry worth over US$100 billion. After oil, coffee is the most sought-after commodity in the world!
Demand for coffee is growing worldwide, and with it come ever stranger and more specific methods of growing, gathering, cultivating and consuming it. Perhaps no method is stranger – or more notorious – than the technique that defines the world's most expensive cup of coffee – that gathered from the dung of civets.
This is a trend that worries Meg Evans – a PhD student from Kalamazoo, Michigan, who has called Borneo home for nearly five years. Her research field looks at carnivorous mammals – a group of animals of which Borneo has a unique range and diversity, from sun bears to civets – and their responses to landscape fragmentation.
For her PhD research, Meg uses data gathered from the medical records of civets, to assess how changes in habitat affect the lifestyle and health of these creatures. These findings can be extrapolated to give t
Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke launches 'sickening' bloodsports channel in the UK that shows lion and elephant hunts
Arsenal’s majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, has come under fire for launching a new bloodsports television channel that was unveiled in the United Kingdom over the weekend that will show regular hunting programmes that includes killing elephants, lions and other vulnerable African species.
The American billionaire, who owns 67% of the Premier League club’s shares, oversaw the launch of My Outdoor TV [MOTV], which was revealed in the UK at the Game Fair in Hertfordshire and described by those wh
If you want to give a turtle an erection, use a vibrator
So, let’s say you need to give a turtle an erection. There’s a quick and easy way to do it, a new study has found. It’s a seven-inch, variable-speed silver bullet vibrator. Yes, that kind of vibrator.
Turtle sexing is key for research purposes, and also for conservationists who are trying to pair mates. The easiest way to do that is to summon forth an erection, according to findings published in the journal Acta Herpetologica.
R.I.P. Ebenezer, the nation's oldest captive anteater
The oldest anteater in U.S. captivity was humanely euthanized at the Phoenix Zoo after his long, sociable, prolific life, officials said.
The zoo said 28-year-old Ebenezer was euthanized July 12 after his health declined recently.
The zoo's carnivore manager Angela Comedy said Ebenezer moved to the zoo from San Antonio when he was just a little over a year old. He lived there the rest of his life. During his long stay, he was well-loved and cared for by multiple keepers.
"He was like a gentle soul, which everybody loved ... every keeper that worked with him, he was one of their favorite animals at the zoo," Comedy said.
Ebenezer was highly social and loved to approach people and sniff their hands.
"He was super curious," Comedy said. "His whole loving personality and characteristics just made him so special. And the way that he really inte
Endangered Tigers Face New Enemy – Wire Snares
Illegal wire snare traps are creating a survival crisis for tigers and other wildlife across Asia. Today, on Global Tiger Day, the conservation groups TRAFFIC and WWF are urging the governments of tiger range countries to crack down on the practice.
Over 30,000 snares were confiscated in Cambodia last year alone, and WWF says it is likely that many more remain undiscovered.
“It’s impossible to know how many snares are being set up every day, and threatening wildlife in these critical habitats,” said Rohit Singh, wildlife law enforcement expert at WWF. “Hundreds of thousands of deadly snares are removed by rangers from Asia’s protected areas annually, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.”
An estimated 3,900 tigers now survive in the wild. This recent revision from the 2010 estimate of 3,200 has come primarily from new surveys in India, Russia, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan, according to WWF.
The number is higher due to new areas being included in the national surveys, improved survey techniques as well as growth in the population from conservation efforts.
This day was designat
A day in the life of ZSL’s training and behaviour expert
What do you do when an iguana needs daily physiotherapy? You call in the animal training and behaviour officer, that’s what.
So, when Susan, our rhinoceros iguana, hurt her toe, it was Jim Mackie who helped zookeepers train her to enter a special box where, with her foot emerging through the mesh, she could easily receive physio.
It’s precisely this – improving animals’ wellbeing – that is at the heart of Jim’s remarkable job: "At ZSL we use the most forward-thinking methods of looking after our animals," he says.
"For example, in the past an animal that needed relocating might have needed to be caught in a net. Now, we work with and train these animals so that they will voluntarily move into a crate to be moved to a new enclosure – accomplishing the same thing with the animal calm, comfortable and in control."
ZSL is at the forefront of zoos in terms of this kind of animal husbandry and veterinary training: "We use it for everything – health checks, physical exercise, play…" says Jim. "It’s based on an animal doing something voluntarily, rather than us needing to handle them."
What’s more, he adds, virtually any animal can benefit from training: "The science behind training a monkey and a fish is exactly the same," he says. "Behavioural science is a natural law that applies to all animals, from the largest elephant to the tiniest frog."
So how does it work? Simply put, animal training tends to involve a stimulus, a behaviour and a consequence: "We’ll provide a stimulus, such as a signal from keepers, and a consequence – the promise of something the animal likes, such as foo
China banned the sale of tiger bones so traders are importing South African lion parts instead
The ban on tiger trading in China is causing importers to use South African lion parts to make traditional tiger-based medicines, according to a report by the Environment Investigation Agency (EIA).
Traders are replacing tiger parts with lion parts to sidestep Chinese laws regarding the sale and purchase of products containing tiger bones. A joint study from conservation groups, Traffic and Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, notes that the sale of lion skeletons in South Africa had jumped from 50 skeletons in 2008 to 800 in 2015.
In China and parts of South East Asia, tiger bones are regarded to have powerful medicinal qualities.
Photo Evidence, Zoos, and YOU
You guys, I just realized something.
I know that I have never really been firmly in the "All Zoos Are Good Zoos" camp, and I have also never been in the anti-zoo camp, either. But generally speaking, I am pro-zoo/aquarium, provided the animals' well-being is truly the first priority, and not just a talking point we throw out to our guests.
I also like to think that I am a critical thinker in most scenarios, except at most mealtimes. Like, some people lose their inhibitions after a certain amount of alcohol is consumed, but pretty much the sight of mac and cheese renders me completely unable to process any further external stimuli.
But I digress. In many instances, I try to take what I read with a grain of salt, even if I am of the same opinion as the author. I am definitely not perfect at this, but I actively try. I also feel like I am a pretty introspective person, come hell or high water. I could do a 593-part blog series on my character flaws and still have content to write.
So imagine my terror and surprise when I read the most recent "Check Out These Photos Of Sad Animals In Zoos" articles, thinking I would see the same-old images, and feel the same-old "yeah but..." feelings. Except, this time, I had a totally differen
Trump Administration Advances Plan to Open Up Marine Sanctuaries to Oil Drilling
With the stroke a pen, President Trump recently implemented Executive Order 13795, directing Department of Commerce Wilbur Ross to re-evaluate the protective status of marine sanctuaries created under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. The Order also halts the establishment of new sanctuaries, directs Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to reconsider ‘unnecessary regulatory burdens’ from offshore drilling, and reverses the Obama Administration’s ban on drilling in the Arctic.
The protective status of eleven national marine sanctuaries and monuments, 425 million acres roughly 20% of the area of the lower 48 states, is at risk.
What could this mean for California, which hasn’t faced a significant threat of new drilling off its coastline since the 1980s? Of the eleven National Marine Sanctuaries and Marine National Monuments under review pursuant to EO 13795 for the
How a colony of wallabies made an island off Dublin their home
MANY NEW SPECIES of animals have been introduced to Ireland over the centuries.
After finding our mild climate fairly agreeable, they’ve settled in nicely.
Species common today were new at one stage – these range from rabbits, who came to our shores with the Normans in the 12th century, to the more modern and invasive introduction of grey squirrels in 1911.
One more recent, exotic, and elusive addition is thriving – the red-necked wallaby.
The Enemy Within: The Agenda to Destroy Zoos
Can you imagine President Donald Trump hiring Hillary Clinton to head up the Department of Justice? Can you imagine the Pentagon posting all their top secret weapons plans on Instagram? Can you imagine the Catholic Church merging with Planned Parenthood and the Pope taking over the CEO position at the local abortion clinic? These scenarios sound insane, right? Yet it’s happening right here and right now in the animal world.
When SeaWorld’s new CEO, Joel Manby took over he immediately announced that their star attraction, the killer whale, would no longer be bred at their facilities ending their captive breeding program. SeaWorld is slowly becoming nothing more than an amusement park with big fish. Without the beloved Orca, SeaWorld is nothing.
Then, we witnessed the destruction of the 146-year-old Ringling Bros Circus which closed earlier this year. After a twenty-year battle against the animal rights movement, Ringling won an important victory when it sued the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and won. In the aftermath of the court settlement, Ringling Circus still closed when city afte
The UAE’s conservation efforts are gold
Many animal lovers and conservationists continue to insist that animals solely belong in the wild. What they often fail to take into account, however, is the fact that the boundaries of their natural habitats are shrinking by the day and that animals are increasingly coming under threat by poaching, global warming and conflict.
This explains why the Dubai Safari Park, which recently imported older elephants and other animals, will play a critical role in the conservation of endangered species, while allowing residents to enhance their knowledge of the animal world.
As Timothy Husband, the park’s technical director, recently told The National, the desert elephants brought in from Namibia will not be used for rides, but to enhance breeding and care facilities. The animals will either be sent over to other zoos or will be part of an international breeding programme. “Some of them are critically endangered and we breed up the numbers to either send over to other zoos to help with new genetics or they go to a release programme,” he said. To the satisfaction of many, it will also serve as a
How One Marine Biologist Is Working To Save The Giant Clam
About 10 years ago, Mei Lin Neo, 31, was tasked with reproducing an offspring of giant clams. What was originally supposed to be just another science experiment where she would take the larvae of the offspring to examine for a few weeks has now defined Neo’s life-long purpose to save the giant clam as a marine biologist. “I faced multiple failures in trying to rear the giant clams to age, but I couldn’t give up. During my work, these microscopic larvae did not give up – they showed me what it meant to fight for their survival and want to be alive,” said Neo.
Today, Neo is the world’s leading scientist, as measured by publications in the field, on the giant clam. “When I finally succeeded, I felt immensely gratified to ‘give new life’ to these miniature giant clams. This became a constant reminder for me as to why I go to work daily, knowing that I can help make a difference and develop solutions to help save a species,” said Neo. At the time, Neo was just starting to discover that giant clams were on track to extinctio
A Defiant Couple Is Caging Big Cats in the Portland Suburbs. Should Anybody Stop Them?
What is Cheryl Jones hiding?
Two months ago, Jones and her partner, Steve Higgs, moved much of their family business to an old horse farm outside Hillsboro. Parts of the 80-acre property can be seen just south of Highway 26, but most of the land is tucked behind the tree line.
"No Trespassing" signs line the half-mile gravel driveway. A metal security gate flanked by two stone lions blocks visitors from the farmhouse where Jones and Higgs have set up shop.
Jones and Higgs run one of Oregon's odder nonprofits: A Walk on the Wild Side, a charity whose purpose, according to tax forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service, is "educational." Its mission: to house exotic animals and transport them in a fifth-wheeler up and down the West Coast to county fairs and birthday parties. Higgs manages the business of the nonprofit. Jones is the self-taught animal handler.
Since their move to Hillsboro in May, Jones and Higgs have stirred up the largely rural neighborhood. A Walk on the Wild Side's new home sits among properties that are typically more than 80 acres in size, and are home to blueberry fields and horse stables. But it's also less than a four-minute drive to a McDonald's and a Subway
Animals Always: Is There Enough Room in the Ark?
I guess in the case of many species — those that are extinct in the wild or those that are found in tiny numbers — zoos are pretty much their last hope. The problem, though, is the numbers part.
If you start with a small number of animals in any given species, the odds of them dying off completely are high. Makes sense, right?
If you start with a large number of animals, the odds are much better.
So, here’s the problem.
Our Zoo has a lot of different species, but in many very important cases, we don’t have as many animals as we need to feel sure that we’ll have that species at our Zoo 15 or 20 or 50 years from now. That’s bad.
What can we do about it?
Well, the first thing is that we could cooperate with other zoos. We keep a few animals of a certain species, others keep a few, and when you add it all up, there’s enough to ensure that we’ll have them in zoos for the long-term future. And that’s exactly what we do.
Many species found in zoos here in the United States and also in zoos around the world are in what we call Species Survival Plans (or SSPs). For an SSP, we basically run a giant computerized dating service designed to encourage genetic diversity, keep inbreeding to a minimum and keep the number of animals to the maximum for a very, very long time.
Byculla Zoo ups entry fee by 900%
Starting Tuesday, visiting Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo, also known as Byculla Zoo, is going to burn holes in your pocket. After the Humboldt penguins were thrown open for public viewing in March, zoo authorities had been considering a hike in entry fees.
The authorities have now upped the fees by 900 per cent. From the previous R5 per individual, one would now have to shell out Rs 50. However, a family of four – two adults and two children – will have to pay only Rs 100.
The proposal for the fee hike had been pending for over two decades and was pushed forward by the administration to curtail the crowd that was coming in, sources said. "We see at least 10,000 visitors during the weekend," an official said.
According to the authorities, the money collected will be spent on maintenance of the zoo and not for filling the coffers of the civic body.
Dreamworld's big cats help raise $3 million for conservation efforts
It’s a rare zoo-goer who doesn’t spare a thought for the wild relatives of the animals on display.
For every elephant, rhino or panda getting regular care and food inside the zoo, there’s many more in the wild at risk of poaching, habitat destruction, or pollution.
That’s particularly the case for tigers – whose numbers have plummeted from 100,000 to just over 3,000 over the past 100 years.
But Tiger Island in Dreamworld is fighting back, using its own eleven tigers as ambassadors to raise money for their struggling cousins.
Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation Director Al Mucci today announced the theme park has raised $3 million for wildlife conservation initiatives, as the Gold Coast park celebrates Global Tiger Day.
Part of the money was raised from Dreamworld’s tiger experiences – such as tiger photo opportunities, private walks and feeds – as well as from other fundraising initiatives.
“Since we started the foundation in 2012, the Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation has raised more than $3 million, which is incredible,” Mr Mucci said.
“This money is used to provide support to wildlife conservation initiatives, particularly relating to the ecology and threatened and endangered species on a global scale.”
More than $2 million of the money raised has gone dire
A change in your diet could save animals from extinction
Transforming large swaths of the tropics into farmland could render almost one-third of wildlife there extinct, new research suggests.
From the Amazon rain forests to the Zambezi floodplains, intensive monoculture farming could have a severe adverse impact on wildlife around the world.
Wildlife would disappear most dramatically in the remaining forests and grasslands of Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. The greatest species loss would occur in the Peruvian Amazon basin where as many as 317 species could vanish as a result of agricultural development.
As a doctoral researcher at Humboldt University Berlin, I studied human food consumption, land use and how they affect wildlife. Our research was published July 17 in Nature Ecology and Evolution.
While human population has doubled since 1970, the number of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians have dropped by more than half. At its root, this widespread environmental destruction is a result of our growth as a species and increasing food consumption to sustain ourselves.
Although climate change casts a shadow over future conservation efforts, farming is the No. 1 threat to wildlife. We have already altered some 75 per cent of the ice-free land on this planet. If we continue along our current course, we will need to double our crop productionto feed a growin
The IUCN Red List: A Barometer of Life
BJP Leader Seeks Probe Into Purchase Of Penguins For Mumbai Zoo
BJP MLA Ashish Shelar has sought a Special Investigation Team probe into the purchase of eight penguins by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for the city-based Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan, popularly known as the Byculla Zoo.Mr Shelar, the Mumbai chief of the BJP, also wants the revamp of the zoo to be made part of the probe by the Special Investigation Team.He made this demand during a debate in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly yesterday.Mr Shelar sought to know if the Penguins brought from abroad were bacteria infected.He also alleged that while preparing the master plan for revamp of Byculla zoo, the project manager was appointed without calling for bids.The Byculla zoo redevelopment plan was first envisaged in 2005. The master plan was prepared in 2009 which was rejected by the heritage conservation committee (of the BMC).Despite this, the same firm was awarded the contract for preparing the plan again, the MLA claimed.He alleged that the firm which was awarded the contract had used bogus mails, forged
Breeding in captivity or celibacy?
With tiger numbers plummeting across the globe and only 3,900 of them left in the wild of which 2,226 are in India, shrinking habitat and increasing threats from poaching and different sources are forcing them to be rescued and live a caged life of celibacy.
Even as countries celebrate World Tiger Day on Saturday, TOI looks into plethora of issues whether celibacy affects tigers' health, are there any psychological issues, do wildcats face any other problems and is captive breeding necessary.
The issue has hogged limelight after 8-year-old tigress Lee has been sent to mate with a same age male named Sahebrao at Gorewada Rescue Centre on breeding loan. Both the tigers were rescued from the wild separately and are celibates.
Due to many reasons, mating in zoos among wild animals is not actively encouraged
Behind the Scenes: Skinning Condors in the Name of Science
The majestically macabre California condor is the largest bird in North America, Mother Nature’s critically endangered cleanup crew, and a miracle conservation success story. After making a comeback with captive breeding, things are looking up for the condor—but not the birds that recently arrived at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Bird Collection laboratories. These condors were dead, and many of them had been for quite awhile.
During the Pleistocene Era, 2 million to 11,000 years ago, robust populations of condors soared high over the continent like grim reapers, scavenging the carcasses of giant prehistoric mammals. But once giant sloths, stag-moose and mastodons became extinct and human developments grew across North America, the California condor population took a nosedive.
By 1982, their numbers had dwindled to just 23 surviving condors. With extinction eminent, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) launched the California Condor Recovery Program to capture the remaining birds in the wild and restore the population through captive breeding. After just five years, enough birds had hatched in captivity that they could be released to the wild. About 500 descendents of the original 23 condors thrive today
The Busy Life of Bob the Flamingo
When veterinarian Odette Doest arrived at her local radio station on the Caribbean island of Curaçao for an interview about wildlife conservation, her companion, Bob, startled the staff. Doest told them she’d be bringing a flamingo, but they’d assumed she meant the plastic variety.
The unlikely duo met in October, after Bob (whom Doest named spontaneously when
the radio host asked his name) crashed into a hotel window and collapsed near the pool. Doest,
an exotic-pet veterinarian who rehabilitates wildlife on the side, learned of the accident via Facebook and rushed over. She quickly realized Bob couldn’t be released, because of his unnatural affinity for human company. So Bob became part of Doest’s rescue flock, which includes macaws, boobies, and a caracara. The birds live on her yard and porch-turned-aviary, next door to her office.
When wildlife photographer Jasper Doest visited his cousin Odette, he was so enchanted by Bob’s charisma that he began documenting the flamingo’s busy life. Doest brings Bob to schools and media outlets to educate locals about his wild kin. The island is home to around 250 of the elegant waders, but most of the country’s almost 160,000 inhabitants aren’t familiar with the birds or the threats they face, such as resort development encroaching on feeding and nesting habitat or injury from loose dogs. “I’m often surpri
Trump's budget cuts whooping crane project
The Whooping Crane project at Patuxent is shutting down, a victim of the Trump Administration's proposed budget.
"Some of you may have already heard the news but for those of you that haven't, the Whooping Crane captive breeding program at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center will be shutting down," the program's Facebook page reports. "We feel for our friends and colleagues who work there, many of whom have been there a dozen years or more. We are proud of everything they've accomplished or helped to accomplish and are incredibly grateful for their tireless efforts to help save and protect Whooping Cranes over the years!"
According to the page, the program is one being cut by the proposed 2018 budget, the reason being "propagation for release does not fit easily in our current research mission, and USGS will focus limited resources on filling gaps of information for species at risk that are not well studied."
The program has been working for years to coax the species back from the brink of extinction. Although other programs will continue, the closure still will have an impact on the species, the page predicts.
"We have been reassured that the LA reintroduction is still a priority for the International Whooping Crane Recovery Team and it's definitely still a priority for LDWF. However, whooping cranes are sensitive to disturbance and change so there will certainly be a decrease in the captive production of eggs and chicks for the next few years as the PWRC birds are transferred to new facilities," according to the page. "W
Wolf in Czech zoo wounds small girl approaching enclosure
A wolf wounded a three-year-old girl approaching its enclosure in the Olomouc zoo earlier this month, snatching at her through the railing and biting her in the knee, the zoo's spokeswoman Karla Breckova has told CTK, adding that the accident was not the zoo's fault.
The police are checking the circumstances of the accident and looking for eyewitnesses.
The wolf bit the girl on Sunday, July 16. Rescuers intervened, treated the girl on the spot and transferred her to hospital.
The regional rescue service's spokesman, Zdenek Hosak, said the wolf put its head through the electric railing and caused an open wound to the girl.
Breckova said the visitors with the girl breached the safety distance set for people to approach dangerous animals' enclosures, in spite of warni
George Rabb, influential former Brookfield Zoo director, dies at 87
Despite running Brookfield Zoo, one of the Chicago area’s top tourist attractions, for decades and even living in a house on zoo grounds, George Rabb was probably better known in the international zoo and conservation communities than he was locally.
“He was a quiet, shy, unassuming guy, and I’ve never in my life seen anybody more respected completely than him,” said Joe Mendelson, director of research at Zoo Atlanta and a longtime friend and colleague of Rabb’s. “He was absolutely central to the modernization of zoos from animal menageries to conservation and research centers.”’
Rabb died Thursday at 87 after a brief illness, the zoo said in a statement Thursday night. His legacy, marked throughout his career by bringing scientific methods into his chosen workplace, touches nearly all aspects of modern animal conservation, friends and colleagues said.
Rabb had heart surgery in early July and struggled to recover, Brooke Hecht, president of the Center for Humans and Nature, a C
Man is trampled to death as he tries to take a selfie with a rescued ELEPHANT
A man has been trampled to death in India after breaking into a safari park so he could take a selfie with a rescued elephant.
The 27-year-old victim, named as Abhilash, had entered an enclosure at the Bannerghatta Biological Park in Bangalore to take a photograph.
But the sales representative was crushed to death after being attacked by a bull elephant named Sunder.
The animal had previously hit the headlines after being rescued from his cruel former keepers following a c
Indonesian villagers fell forest in orangutan sanctuary
Nearly a fifth of the forest in an orangutan sanctuary on the Indonesian part of Borneo has been taken over by people, a conservation group says, threatening efforts to rehabilitate the critically endangered great apes for release into the wild.
People thought to have migrated from other parts of Indonesia have occupied part of the sanctuary, cut down trees and planted crops including palm oil, Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation spokesman Nico Hermanu said Thursday.
The human activities are near a “forest school'' where more than 20 orangutans live semi-independently and learn how to find food, build nests and other skills they need for survival -- a crucial part of their rehabilitation from trauma often inflicted by people, who take babies for pets or kill t
Modern Manners: Zoos and aquarium etiquette — Should ethics be a factor in your trip?
This week’s column has to do with a popular summer activity for people of all ages — going to the zoo or an aquarium.
There is a long history of displaying animals for the viewing pleasure of humans. According to a timeline on CBC Radio Canada (cbc.ca/doczone/features/history-of-zoos), the earliest known zoo dates back to 3500 BC in Hierakonpolis, Egypt, once a large urban center. In 1000 BC, Chinese Emperor Wen Wang founded the Garden of Intelligence, which covered 1,500 acres with animals housed in metal cages in a park setting, and has a name which alludes to the educational potential of establishments like these.
Jump to 1752, and the oldest zoo still in existence, the Tiergarten Schonbrunn, was opened in Vienna, Austria. In 1814, the first North American zoo called Down’s Zoological Gardens was opened in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1853, the first public aquarium was opened in the London Zoo. The first zoo that opened in the United States was the Philadelphia Zoo, which opened in 1890 after being delayed 15 years due to the Civil War.
In 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums was founded and establishment must pass their inspection for accreditation. Since then, many zoos have opened, some with an emphasis on a more safari type experience where you can see animals roam in open spaces similar to their natural habitats.
In recent years, zoos and aquariums have been scrutiniz
Soon, gates on border to allow Indian elephants to visit Bangladesh and return
Illegal migrants from Bangladesh entering India is a contentious issue between both neighbours. While New Delhi contends large-scale influx from across the border, Dhaka has denied these migrants are their citizens.
There was no such difference though when officials of both nations agreed on Thursday to construct gates along the border to allow ‘free and safe passage’ for wild elephants.
Setting up of the gates was one of the 18 points of action agreed between both countries at the 2nd Indo-Bangladesh dialogue on trans-boundary conservation of elephants held at Shillong.
“Trans-border migration of animals is a natural process. But due to erection of border fences, there have been occasions when elephants have broken barriers to continue on their route. The gates will allow them safe pa
Guest Speaker: Jenifer Zeligs – What is the “Fear Factor?”
One of the most common difficulties that any of us face in life is overcoming fear. In animal training there are many situations that potentially involve this hurdle: medical procedures, transport and new environments, to name a few. Increasingly in both human and animal learning environments, the profound advantages of careful systematic desensitization is used to reduce fears and expand comfort. Systematic desensitization involves breaking a stimulus (procedure or situation) into small component elements and exposing the animal in lesser approximations before progressing to the end product. In order to use this technique properly, one must be able to judge “what is the fear factor?”
In the beginning periods of exposure to something new, there is a delicate stage where an animal can become increasingly afraid (sensitized) instead of desensitized. What ends up happening is primarily based on what psychologists call the initial stimulus strength.
Stimulus strength is another way to describe the potential value of a stimulus to a given animal, or in scientific terms, its “salience.” When this value is highly significant and aversive it often causes sensitization. Therefore trainers need a keen sense of what types of properties might increase the aversive stimulus strength (and as a result, the fear an animal feels).
There are many factors that can typically suggest an increase in fear. For example, something that is very loud or that emits intens
Rebuttal: Thinking Critically About Anti-zoo Images
Recently, you may have seen that sources like the Washington Post, The Guardian, and IFLScience published stories about a book released by a Canadian photographer who traveled across Europe photographing animals in zoological facilities. Now, I won’t speak out against said book as I have not read it and, therefore, it would be improper of me to do so.
However, I will speak about some of the images found in the aforementioned articles. More importantly, I’m going to ask you to think critically about them and this situation. So take a moment to click on the links above and glance over the some of the images we’ll discuss.
Okay, ready? Good.
If the articles and interviews promoting the book are any indication, the photographer has published a biased, one-sided view of the life of animals in human care. At first glance, most of the photos seem haunting, telling of a captive animal’s endlessly depressed state, complete and total lack of stimulation, or inadequate living environment.
Judging from comments via social media, some members of the public were, in fact, disturbed by the images. But, I am here to remind you that while the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, what is not pictured is worth at least twice as much.
I’ll start by reminding you that the images captured and featured in these articles only display a fraction of that animal’s day.
Memphis Zoo livestreaming births of rarest snake in North America
Memphis Zoo is showcasing a continuous live feed of the births of its rare Louisiana pine snakes, which will hatch intermittently over the next two weeks.
The eggs were laid in May by five females, and have a 60-day incubation period on average. The 28 eggs are housed in tubs filled with vermiculite, a heat-treated mica mineral, which is commonly used in gardening.
“Incubators” are kept at approximately 82 degrees with 70-80 percent humidity to ensure the eggs stay hydrated.
“Hatching in snakes is a protracted event,” said Dr. Steve Reichling, Central Zone curator at the Memphis Zoo. “First they slit the leathery eggshell with a sharp tooth that grows on the tip of their snout. Then, they rest for up to a day while they absorb any remaining yolk into their body. Their egg tooth falls off, before finally slipping out of the egg.”
Known for its large eggs and small clutch sizes of three to five, the Louisiana pine snake is a species of nonvenomous constrictors.
It is the rarest snake in North America, and fewer than 250 specimens have been found in the wild. The species once existed in nine parishes in Louisiana and 14 counties in Texas.
However, as a result of habitat loss, they currently exist in only a few Louisiana parishes and have been eliminated from Texas entirely.
“We are thrilled to welcome these rare snakes here at the Memphis Zoo,” said Matt Thompson, director of Animal Programs at Memphis Zoo. “Consideri
Sanctuaries in Africa offer to take exotic pets from UAE following amnesty
Two sanctuaries based in Namibia and Kenya have offered to take wild animals owned by wealthy people in the UAE following an amnesty period that allowed animals to be rehomed.
The deadline was July 1 and two of the largest havens for rescued cheetahs and chimpanzees say they have yet to be contacted despite efforts to form links with private owners of wild animals in the UAE.
Patricia Tricorache, at the Cheetah Conservation Fund, said her research into illegal sales estimates that as many as 500 of the wild cats could be held privately in the UAE.
Sanctuaries like the one run by the CCF for illegally traded cats are crucial for the survival of the species, as many would not survive if returned to the wild.
In January 2014 a group of CCF experts visited the UAE to train veterinarians and cheetah-housing facilities in cheetah care.
“We hoped that through this training we could improve conditions for pet cheetahs,” said Ms Tricorache. “However, there is much secrecy on this issue, so we are unable to determine whether the training improved conditions for some of the pet cheetahs in the country.”
Despite forging links with cheetah owners in the UAE, the CCF has not been contacted by any owners about sending some of the captive animals to Namibia.
Federal law 2 of 2016 regulates the possession, trade a
Modern Manners: Zoos and aquarium etiquette — Should ethics be a factor in your trip?
This week’s column has to do with a popular summer activity for people of all ages — going to the zoo or an aquarium.
There is a long history of displaying animals for the viewing pleasure of humans. According to a timeline on CBC Radio Canada (cbc.ca/doczone/features/history-of-zoos), the earliest known zoo dates back to 3500 BC in Hierakonpolis, Egypt, once a large urban center. In 1000 BC, Chinese Emperor Wen Wang founded the Garden of Intelligence, which covered 1,500 acres with animals housed in metal cages in a park setting, and has a name which alludes to the educational potential of establishments like these.
Jump to 1752, and the oldest zoo still in existence, the Tiergarten Schonbrunn, was opened in Vienna, Austria. In 1814, the first North American zoo called Down’s Zoological Gardens was opened in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1853, the first public aquarium was opened in the London Zoo. The first zoo that opened in the United States was the Philadelphia Zoo, which opened in 1890 after being delayed 15 years due to the Civil War.
In 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums was founded and establishment must pass their inspection for accreditation. Since then, many zoos have opened, some with an emphasis on a more safari type experience where you can see animals roam in open spaces similar to their natural habitats.
In recent years, zoos and aquariums have been scrutinized over the treatment of their animals, and some have made changes to accommodate the animals to live a life closed to what they would in the wild. While I often have ethical questions regarding the captivity of animals in climates t
Is cuddling tiger cubs conservation? Experts warn it leads to too many tigers languishing in cages
A lifelong animal lover, Lisa Graham was intrigued when she saw photos on social media of friends cuddling and petting baby tigers at zoos.
So she made a trip from Lutz for her daughter's 11th birthday to Dade City's Wild Things, wondering what it would feel like that close to a tiger.
But when the Wild Things volunteer walked to their picnic table cradling a cub, barely old enough to stand, her excitement turned to pity.
The cub, she said, was lethargic, barely moved. She wondered if it was even old enough to be away from its mother.
As Graham and her daughter took turns stroking the cub's fuzzy coat, cupping its face, the volunteer repeatedly reminded them no personal pictures were allowed.
"I thought it was a little strange they were so adamant about no pictures being taken," Graham said. "When we started walking around, I knew immediately why. This is cruel."
In the forests and swamps of their native Asia, wild tigers are at extinction's doorstep.
Killed off by poachers for their bones and hide, and run out of habitats by human intruders, only an estimated 3,000 remain in nature.
But across the world from their native lands — in roadside zoos, suburban back yards, highway rest stops, and cement cages — an overpopulation of captive tigers is swelling in the United States.
More than 10,000 big cats are thought to be living in captivity in America, but exact numbers are impossible to know as some states have no laws on keeping tigers as pets. There is also no reliable reporting system for those who breed and ship cubs over state lines, hopelessly blurring inventory counts the federal government is supposed to take each year on licensed exhibitors.
RM15mil sanctuary for elephants soon
Johor Health, Environment, Information and Education Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said a contractor was appointed in May to start work on the 100ha project.
“The first phase will see about 15 elephants being housed in the sanctuary located along Jalan Lombong, not far from the Kota Tinggi waterfall, where the wild animals can roam freely,” he said.
He said the first phase was scheduled for completion at the end of next year and with that, help improve the conflict between wild elephants and humans in Kluang and Kota Tinggi.
He added that the sanctuary would also doubled as a tourism attraction for nature lovers to get close to the elephants.
“Johor’s vast forests are habitats to about 140 wild elephants where Segamat, Kluang, Mersing and Kota Tinggi are their stomping grounds,” he said.
MEET NORAH, THE BUFFALO ZOO’S NEW PRESIDENT AND CEO
As many members already know, the Buffalo Zoo has a new President and CEO. Norah Fletchall took over as the head of the Zoo at the end of May. She comes to Buffalo from the Indianapolis Zoo where she served as COO. We sat down with Norah and asked her some questions so that Western New Yorkers can get to know Norah better as she starts her new role here at the Buffalo Zoo.
When did you become interested in working with animals and what was your first job in the Zoo field?
From falling in love with horses as a youngster to spending hours fishing with my family I have always felt very connected to animals. My first job in the zoo field came purely by chance when I answered a classified ad for zookeepers at the St. Louis Zoo. With a bachelor’s degree in Animal Sciences and my experience with horses and cattle I quickly found myself caring for hooved animals ranging from sheep to kudu to giraffes and zebras. Within weeks I knew this was the career for me.
Beyond One Health—Zoological Medicine in the Anthropocene
In contrast to some of the well-established core disciplines of veterinary medicine, such as radiology, surgery, and internal medicine, zoological medicine is often perceived as a relatively recent development. However, as early as 1831, local veterinary practitioner Charles Spooner became the first zoo veterinarian at the London Zoological Garden in the United Kingdom. Shortly thereafter, he was followed by William Youatt, who remained in that position for 17 years while also establishing the world’s first veterinary journal, the Veterinarian, which reported on the diseases of wild animals. In 1865, the zoo also hired a pathologist. During the same period, in 1870, Max Schmidt, the director of the Zoological Garden in Frankfurt am Main in Germany, wrote Vergleichende Pathologie und Pathologische Anatomie der Säugetiere und Vögel (Comparative Pathology and Pathological Anatomy of mammals and Birds) (1). In North America, the Philadelphia Zoo employed a pathologist in 1901, and in the same year the New York Zoological Society (now the Wildlife Conservation Society) established the first zoological m
On Patrol With The Rangers of Tangkahan
The Leuser is one of the most biodiverse and important ecosystems ever described and is under serious threat from logging, oil palm, mining, roading and the Aceh spatial plan. It forms part of the largest wilderness area in South East Asia and is vital to the health of the entire planet, storing millions of tons of Carbon in its ancient peat swamp forests.
Animal Park big cat keeper Amy Waller: ‘My dad still has nightmares!’
When talking to Longleat’s Team Manager of Carnivores, Amy Waller, the Wizard of Oz lyrics ‘Lions and tigers and bears – oh my!’ spring to mind.
This year Amy celebrates her 10th anniversary at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire!
What’s on TV talked to the experienced zookeeper about how she came to have this unusual job and why she’s still not used to seeing herself on BBC1’s Animal Park with Kate Humble and Ben Fogle…
Zookeeper isn’t an every day job – how did it happen?
“I’ve always had a passion for animals. I grew up five minutes away from Longleat and used to hear the lions roaring from our house, it’s probably when my interest started. But I never thought it was something I could do as a career! Instead I did a degree in landscape architecture. When I finished university I came home and needed a job, so I applied for summer work at Longleat – and I’ve been here ever since!”
So you worked your way up?
“Yes, it started as a seasonal job 10 years ago! I’ve worked my way up and am now team manager of the carnivores. All my experience has been working on the job. I absolutely love it! Later in this series of Animal Park you’ll see I was lucky enough to go to Kenya and learn more about lions. It’s incredible I w
Zoos & Animal parks in the Netherlands
The Netherlands has more than 30 zoos or animal parks. Most of these belong to the Dutch Animal Park Association (NVD), and the larger ones are also part of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). Varying greatly in size, shape and popularity, these institutions can be found all around the Netherlands, both in remote nature areas and in the centres of big Dutch cities.
History of the zoos in the Netherlands
Zoos have existed in the Netherlands since 1838. They were initially showpieces for the elite, but were soon welcoming less rich citizens as well. The status and fame that went with showcasing exotic species by far outweighed the welfare of the animals. Many of the older zoos were originally founded by people with no previous expertise in animal care, and grew from curious private collections to generally accessible attractions.
Dutch zoos today
Today, zoos no longer solely serve the purpose of entertainment. The parks educate visitors on the many animal species that roam our world, and form a platform for pursuing animal rights, preservation and welfare, as well as discussing the boundaries between using and abusing nature.
How to become a conservation data scientist
I met Dr. Dalia Conde for the first time in July at our staff retreat in Minnesota. Her personality is as big as her passion for her work. Picture a biologist who has tagged jaguars in the rainforest, a conservation scientist advocating the value of data for her work, and a leader casually riding her bicycle through the office with a huge smile on her face. Even if you weren’t already committed to conservation, you couldn’t help but be inspired by her infectious energy and vision.
Training With A Laser Pointer
The Human Specie is an interesting specie to work with. They have strong social bonds and detailed complex thinking. Some are extraordinary smart and some are super fit. I think its very interesting how people respond to situations and there for I can just look at people for a long time. Just to see their behaviour. I would like to call this Popcorn time. Why people give responses the way they do are in many cases a learned behaviour from previous experiences. What makes popcorn time fun to have. Over time you acknowledge moments you had before and know how to respond to them because you experienced it before. Its similar to animals, animals learn on the way. There are apes out there who use tools such as rocks to crack nuts. We know rocks could be dangers for our fingers. When such an apes uses this rock and doesn’t have an idea about the danger it will learn at one point the dangerous matter by hitting his fingers. The funny part is the animal still keeps going because of the motivation of the nut he wants. Trial and Error a lot of us call these survival strategies. Its very interesting how and why people do what they do and its even more interesting when we talk about animals.
A personal thought came to my mind when my sister visited me last month. We had some talks about drinking water etc and that’s where I remember a friend of mine I used to dance with. He studied in a school for sports and he said to me one day “Peter it is actually very simple, in your whole life you have to take care of one thing and that’s yourself”. I thought “oke” back then but now I think yeah that makes a lot of sense actually. I mean nobody will poor water in your body accept yourself. Nobody can make you fit if y
Bienvenue! French zoo announces first ever panda pregnancy
A scan by zoo vets on Wednesday revealed that Huan Huan, on loan to Beauval zoo in central France from China along with her male partner Yuan Zi, is expecting her first cub.
"It's exceptional. We just exploded in joy as we've been waiting such a long time for this moment," the zoo's communications director Delphine Delord told AFP.
"It also gives us hope for the conservation of pandas, which in nature are in danger of extinction."
The nine-year-old pandas are the only giant pandas living in France, and they arrived in Beauval in 2012 after intense, high-level negotiations between Paris and Beijing.
Only 19 zoos around the world, outside China, have been allowed to house pandas.
But breeding pandas, in captivity or in the wild, is notoriously
Elderly Przewalski’s Horse Dies at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Keepers at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo are mourning the loss of Minnesota, a Przewalski’s horse who was humanely euthanized yesterday morning. At 29 years old, Minnesota was considered geriatric for his species; the median life expectancy for male Przewalski’s horses is 15 years in human care. A final pathology report will provide more information.
Animal care staff had been closely monitoring Minnesota for health issues related to his advanced age, including chronic dental disease, weight loss and lethargy. Working closely with Zoo nutritionists, keepers modified Minnesota’s diet to ensure that he was receiving the optimal amount of daily nutrients. When his condition did not improve, Zoo veterinarians anesthetized Minnesota to try to determine the underlying cause of his symptoms. Despite conducting a full physical exam and analyzing blood samples, veterinarians were unable to determine the exact cause of illness. Over the weekend, staff determined that his quality of life had worsened and elected to humanely euthanize Minnesota based on his poor long-term prognosis.
Born at the Minnesota Zoo April 10, 1988, Minnesota arrived at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Va., in June 2004. He came to the Zoo in June 2005 but returned to SCBI in February 2008. In 2014, Minnesota came back to Washington, D.C., to serve as a non-breeding companion for Rose-Marie, the Zoo’s 31-year-old female Przewalski’s horse. Keepers describe Minnesota as a good-natured horse who was very attentive to Rose-Marie and stuck close by her side whenever they explored their habitat.
Most zoo animals participate in a breeding program called the S
Dubai Safari Park animals will have best facilities, says director
Dubai Safari Park’s technical director says it animals will have the best facilities when the attraction opens its doors to the public.
Following pressure from wildlife groups in Africa about the importation of animals, Timothy Husband insisted baby elephants and other animals in Dubai will not be used for rides.
Reports that a Swedish-owned game farm in Namibia allowed the capture and export of five baby elephants for Dubai were denied.
Mr Husband said the new attraction will be a market leader when it opens later this year, or early 2018.
The wild animal specialist and zoo keeper was bought in by Dubai Municipality three years ago to oversee the new park, and use his 40 years of knowledge to help create a safe, animal-friendly environment.
Desert elephants from Namibia were chosen as they are regarded as adaptable to the harsh UAE climate.
He said there was never a plan to import wild elephants, but he was hoping to import older elephants who had been rescued in Namibia.
“The elephants I chose were going to be culled,” Mr Husband said. “They were teenagers. We were never going to take babies, as they must be schooled by adults.
“If you have babies without adults, they will become delinquent and unmanageable. The elephants I was looking at in Namibia were around 10 years old.
“We changed our path from the company that was supplying them, as we were not comfortable using them.”
Humans go ape over bellowing gibbon at Nagoya zoo
A punky gibbon has shot to stardom here because his bellowing roar sounds like he's aping a drunken middle-aged office worker bungee jumping off a skyscraper in the bowels of a bar-packed downtown district on a particularly boisterous Friday night.
Quite ironic since those type of roaring "ossan" (a nonsubtle way of saying "oldish guy" in Japan) cause most of us to run a mile when encountered in everyday life.
The male siamang Keiji, however, is pulling in punters at Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens due to what is being called the "ossan's call."
Plant hormone boost for New Zealand’s critically endangered night parrot
New Zealand’s nocturnal and flightless parrot, the kākāpō, may be famous for trying to mate with the head of biologist Mark Carwardine, but this unique species is facing some serious challenges.
With fewer than 160 birds alive, kākāpō are critically endangered. One reason for their dwindling numbers is that they only breed every few years, when native trees produce masses of edible fruit or seeds.
Our research suggests that the birds’ breeding success depends on oestrogen-like hormones (phytoestrogens) found in these native plants.
Death of four cubs at Islamabad zoo: negligence or infanticide?
Four cubs, at the Islamabad Zoo, that died earlier this month were fed high intakes of Welmingnch milk as an alternative to lioness milk that turned out to be a slow poison for the cubs, experts believe.
Marghzar Zoo Deputy Director Veterinary Dr Bilal Khijli claim that all of four cubs born to an African lioness died early July after lioness distanced herself from her cubs and stopped feeding them; alternate lioness milk [very costly to import] was not available in Pakistan, so authority was left with no other option but to feed them Welmingnch milk [as spelled by Dr Bilal Khijli], after consulting with experts. As a result, all of them died.
When contacted, Dr Ali Ayaz of NGO Animal Shelters said that powder milk cannot replace the milk of lioness; though, the said Welmingnch milk is artificial milk and it requires a specific process of diluting a minute quantity of powder with water.
In a case of failure to match the quantity or overfeeding, it can cause dire consequences. He said there must
Dubai Safari Park to include sanctuary for rescued exotic animals
A sanctuary for exotic animals rescued from illegal private collections or handed in during an amnesty will form an important part of the new Dubai Safari Park.
More than 1,000 animals from the ageing Dubai Zoo in Jumeirah will also be transferred to the new 119-hectare site near Dragonmart.
Hundreds of indigenous birds could also be released back into the wild from the closing zoo, including a flock of about 100 cormorants.
The new park will house a quarantine facility to temporarily house any exotic pets that are handed in, before they can be rehomed.
That will be either in the park itself, or to other registered facilities that meet the relevant criteria of good care and professionalism.
“People can surrender their animals here,” said the park’s technical director, Timothy Husband.
“We have a policy if the animal looks like it has recently been wild caught. We have a great connection with Emirates airline where we can get these animals back to the wild, or a sanctuary in the wild.
“If it looks as if they are captive bred, we can assess them if they are genetically good by looking at their health and by taking a blood sample we can enter them into an international stud pool.
“It takes about a year for an animal to go through that process. It’s like working on a stolen car to make it legal again to drive. It is a slow process.
“We can offer these animals to other zoos, but they must meet our high standards.”
Wild animal experts estimate as many as 100 cheetahs could be held illegally in private zoos and collections in the UAE.
Mandai eco-link for animals to be ready by end-2019
An elevated wildlife crossing in Mandai will be ready for animals to use by the end of 2019, allowing creatures such as the Sunda pangolin and lesser mouse deer to move between forested areas in the upcoming eco-tourism hub.
The 44m-wide eco-link, which will be 9m above ground and span the width of Mandai Lake Road, is part of developer Mandai Park Holdings' (MPH) plan to facilitate safe crossings for animals. Over the years, there have been reports of animals ending up as roadkill as they attempt to cross Mandai Lake Road.
Yesterday, MPH gave details of the bridge, and announced a slew of other green measures for the area, now that construction for the nature hub is under way. By 2023, a new Rainforest Park and relocated Bird Park will join the existing trio of attractions there - the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari.
Turkey mobilizes to save zoo animals from war-torn Syria
lready tackling the humanitarian aspect of the Syrian crisis that has displaced millions and killed thousands of people, Turkey is now turning to zoo animals in danger amid the ongoing war.
Several animals in a zoo affected by clashes in Aleppo were evacuated in a joint operation by a Turkish animal rights group, the Austria-based animal charity Four Paws, and the Forestry and Water Affairs Ministry, which oversees the national park authority that provides shelter for wild animals. Three lions, two tigers, two bears and two hyenas were among the survivors of the intense clashes in Aleppo and were transferred to a wildlife shelter in the Karacabey district of the northwestern city of Bursa. The animals will be rehabilitated for the trauma they suffered in the bombed-out Syrian city and for injuries they sustained at the abandoned Magic World Zoo. After their treatment, they will be housed in animal shelters in Karacabey. During the second stage of the rescue operation, officials plan to evacuate two more lions as well as two dogs from the Syrian city on July 29.
Speaking about the issue, Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu said wildlife is a shared heritage of the international community and they are committed to actio
My family and other Aspinalls: exclusive interview with Damian Aspinall's wife Victoria
The first day that Victoria Aspinall visited Howletts, the sprawling wild animal park in Kent that she now calls home, the arm of her white Burberry blouse was pulled clean off by an overly amorous gorilla. A salutary tale should follow about how designer labels and animals don’t mix but Victoria fell for the gorilla trick, which is lucky for the man who is now her husband, the conservationist Damian Aspinall – because if you fall for Damian you’ve got to fall for his gorillas, too.
Dozens of Laotian elephants 'illegally sold to Chinese zoos'
Dozens of elephants from Laos are being illegally bought by China to be displayed in zoos and safari parks across the country, according to wildlife investigator and film-maker Karl Ammann.
According to Ammann, so-called captive elephants in Laos sell for about £23,000 before being walked across the border into China by handlers or “mahouts” near the border town of Boten. Thereafter they are transported to receiving facilities, which buy them from the agents for up to £230,000 per animal. “That is a nice mark-up,” says Ammann, “and makes it exactly the kind of commercial transaction which under Cites rules is not acceptable.”
Ammann and his crew stumbled on the illicit trade between Laos and China earlier this year, while investigating the sale of 16 Asian elephants from Laos to a safari park in Dubai. None of the elephants had the necessary permits for export. The translocation was stopped by a direct order from the new Laotian prime minister at the last moment, while an Emirates Airlines Cargo 747 was already on the tarmac in Vientiane, the country’s capital.
Scale of pangolin slaughter revealed – millions hunted in central Africa alone
The true scale of the slaughter of pangolins in Africa has been revealed by new research showing that millions of the scaly mammals are being hunted and killed.
Pangolins were already known to be the world’s most trafficked wild mammal, with at least a million being traded in the last decade to supply the demand for its meat and scales in Asian markets. Populations of Asian pangolins have been decimated, leaving the creatures highly endangered and sharply shifting the focus of exploitation to Africa’s four species.
Pangolins are secretive, nocturnal and some species live in trees, making them very hard to count and the total size of the populations in Africa is unknown. But the new analysis, based on data collected by hundreds of local researchers at scores of hunting sites and bushmeat markets across central and west Africa, found up to 2.7m are being killed every year, with the most conservative estimate being 400,000 a year.
The Battle Over 2,500-Year-Old Shelters Made of Poop
Far up the coast of this ice-dominated island—north of the Arctic Circle; north of the glacier that spawned the Titanic-sinking iceberg; and north of the northernmost American military base—two birds of prey are locked in a vicious battle for food and territory.
Kurt Burnham has spent the past decade watching the fight take shape. He studies falcons at the High Arctic Institute, in Orion, Illinois, and he has traveled to Greenland most of the summers of his life.
For many of those trips, he helped survey peregrine falcons that use western Greenland as a summer nesting ground. But about a decade ago, he began tracking something new. As climate change tempered the Arctic’s frigid summers, peregrines were expanding their range north—farther north, he found, than there were ever records of them traveling before. Peregrine pairs began returning, summer after summer, to nest on the island’s northernmost cliffs.
They were not alone there. Another bird of prey, the gyrfalcon,
Understanding the Public’s Trust in Zoos and Aquariums
In the latest edition of their Destinology research series, St. Louis-based design firm PGAV Destinations probes the public’s views in Communicating Conservation: Strengthening the Public’s Trust.
Conducted in partnership with H2R Market Research, Destinology surveyed 1,006 people across America to better understand their perception of conservation and the role of zoos and aquariums.
“More than three-fourths of our respondents support wildlife conservation and are looking for ways to participate in it,” says John Kemper, Vice President and head of Zoo Design at PGAV Destinations. “And these respondents aren’t just members – they’re people who don’t even regularly visit zoos and aquariums.”
One of the most striking findings of Communicating Conservation is that the public’s number-one priority is that the care of the animals in residence must be exceptional. Guests want to be sure that a zoo or aquarium’s animals are receiving the best care possible, before they can be comfortable enough to support the institution’s conservation initiatives.
The report begins by exploring 2016 national visitor trends at zoos and aquariums: visitation rates,
Penguin enclosure is turned into a blood bath after urban fox breaks into Chessington zoo and slaughters EIGHT BIRDS
Zoo staff at Chessington World of Adventures have been accused of lying to customers after it emerged eight of its penguins were slaughtered by a fox.
Visitors to the zoo have been greeted by a cordoned off 'Penguin Bay' after the incident at the end of June, and were told it was because of 'remodelling'.
But they have now said a savage 'urban fox' killed the birds, with one source claiming it happened when the penguins were not being monitored correctly.
The playful 'Penguin Bay' was quietly cordoned off after the incident and a sign was placed on the enclosure gate after management apparently kept the news internal.
The sign stated: 'Our Humboldt Penguins are currently enjoying their other home behind-the-scenes while we make alterations to Penguin Bay.'
The only penguins on show to park visitors at the moment are those made from fibreglass, after eight of their famous flightless birds were killed and one maimed.
Employees at the world famous park were apparently warned not to talk about the fox attack.
Cotswold Wildlife Park escaped wolf shot dead
A wolf has been shot dead after it escaped from Cotswold Wildlife Park in Oxfordshire.
Visitors to the park were told to stay indoors when the female animal, named Ember, was discovered outside the perimeter fence at 11:00 BST on Friday.
The park's managing director said staff tried to tranquilise the three-year-old Eurasian wolf, but it was out of range.
Earlier this year Ember gave birth to five cubs, the first wolves to be born at the park in its 47-year history.
Visitor Penelope Bennett said on Twitter: "Wolf on the loose at the Cotswold Wildlife Park and we are all shut in the walled garden."
STATEMENT on the above: Investigation Outcome
The investigation following the sad events on Friday 21st July concluded that there was no breach of the Wolf enclosure perimeter fence, and no access had been left unlocked or open. However, it did reveal a problem with the electric fencing around the enclosure’s perimeter. The wiring is powered independently, away from the mains electricity, by a fence energiser. The voltage is tested every day by the keepers, using a hand-held fence reader, and the readings are logged. During the routine test on Friday 21st July, the reading revealed no abnormalities and was consistent with other readings dating back to the enclosure’s construction in 2006. But a second fence reader showed a much lower reading. Further tests on-site proved that the fence energiser had developed a fault, and this is now being investigated by the manufacturers. The original fence reader also proved faulty for giving the initial and incorrect high reading. The Wolf enclosure was immediately fitted with a new energiser and a new sensor has also been installed for the daily checks. It is believed the failure of both pieces of equipment contributed to the Wolf escaping the enclosure.
At no point during this incident were any of our visitors in any danger. The safety and well-being of all our visitors is our first priority. We are confident that this incident was an isolated case and that the replacement equipment, combined with an even more intensive electric fence-testing regime, will ensure that our Wolf enclosure will provide a safe and secure home for our Wolves.
Since Friday, keepers are optimistic about Ash’s behaviour towards his cubs. Ash, our male wolf, is displaying encouraging ‘natural’ behaviour as a single parent to his ten-week-old cubs, who are close to being fully weaned. The cubs, a mix of both male and female, are now eating naturally as they would in the wild with the support of their father. Other than ensuring plentiful, regular and appropriate food supplies, the keepers maintain a “hands off” policy. This means that we must let nature take its course, in accordance with the guidelines of the European Captive Breeding Programme, in which the Park participates. We must also bear in mind that Ash is young and this is his first litter. However, we remain confident that the cubs will continue to grow from strength to strength, that Ember’s genetic heritage will endure, and that her life, though short, will have been worthwhile.
The school holidays have begun – as always, we have a full programme of events to enhance our visitors’ time in the Park and to maximise their experience with the animals. We have all the relevant safety measure in place to ensure a safe and secure visit for everyone – now and in the future.
Lions And Monkeys And Bears Used To Live In The Tower Of London
Despite its 940-year history, the Tower of London still manages to keep many of its secrets under lock and key. Did you know, for instance, that beefeaters have their own pub there, or that recently it hosted a Game of Thrones world premiere?
In the first episode of a new podcast about London’s unknown history, the team from Fierce City have delved deep into the archives to shed light on another of the Tower’s surprising features: its menagerie. Here, we share some of their findings on the zoo that stood for more than 600 years.
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
Henry I, the fourth son of William the Conqueror, founded Britain’s first zoo at Oxford’s Woodstock Park in 1100. Although ensnared by the exotic appeal of leopards and lynxes, his primary concern wasn’t animal welfare: the creatures were released to indulge his pastime of hunting.
A hundred years later, King John brought the animals to London and the Tower menagerie was established, eventually settling near its main Western entrance, where the gift shop now stands. Over the coming centuries, the building would host zebras, ti
Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies
The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld’s former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company’s San Antonio park, SeaWorld said.
Veterinarians were treating 3-month-old Kyara for an infection last weekend, but her health continued to decline, the Orlando-based company said in a news release.
“Kyara had a tremendous impact on the entire zoological team, not to mention all of the guests that had the chance to see her,” San Antonio trainer Julie Sigman said in a statement. “The heart and support that has gone into caring for her throughout Takara’s pregnancy until today has been amazing. As animal caregivers we dedicate our lives to these animals, and this loss will be felt throughout the entire SeaWorld family.”
Since first orca capture, views have changed (2008)
A veterinary team will conduct a post-mortem examination to determine the ca
Sabah wildlife park must be relocated: State minister
Sabah’s Lok Kawi Wildlife Park must be relocated in order for it be managed successfully, said Sabah’s tourism, culture and environment minister Masidi Manjun.
The minister said that the park’s current location in Lok Kawi was fairly congested and not fully utilised due to its hilly terrain.
“If we are looking ahead, then we have to move to bigger and better forests. Wildlife shouldn’t be contained in small enclosures. It is difficult to see them in real natural habitat in small enclosures,” he said, adding that the proposal to relocate the park started a few years ago.
The land in question in Sugud, located in an adjacent district nearby, will be more than 10 times the size of the current park at 1,619 hectares compared to 113 hectares but is currently gazetted as a firewood reserve for the local villagers.
Other leaders, namely deputy chief minister Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin has object
Snooty, world's oldest manatee in captivity, dies in 'heartbreaking accident,' 2 days after birthday
Snooty, the oldest manatee in captivity and the most popular manatee in the Tampa Bay Area passed away Sunday morning after just turning 69 years old on Friday.
The Museum says Snooty's death was a heartbreaking accident.
In a press release sent out Sunday morning, officials with the museum say Snooty was found in an underwater area only used to access plumbing for the exhibit life support system. They say early indications are that an access panel door that is normally bolted shut had somehow been knocked loose and somehow Snooty was able to swim in.
Cheetahs often don’t thrive in captivity. We set out to find out why
Cheetahs have been tamed, used for hunting and kept in zoos in countries across Asia, Europe and Africa for centuries. However, they have never really thrived under captive conditions.
Between 1829-1952 there were 139 wild-caught cheetahs displayed at 47 zoological facilities. Most of these animals survived less than a year with 115 deaths and no births recorded during this period.
Despite improvements in husbandry conditions in zoos and other captive facilities around the world, cheetahs continue to suffer from a number of unusual diseases that are rarely reported in other captive cats. These include gastritis, various kidney ailments, liver abnormalities, fibrosis of the heart muscle and several ill-defined neurological disorders.
Post mortem findings in cheetahs housed at captive facilities in both North America and South Africa found that over 90% had some level of gastritis when they died. Similarly, the incidence of kidney disease affected more than two-thirds of ca
More vaquitas remain than thought: Profepa
Counting porpoises is doubtless a challenging task but the federal environmental attorney declared this week that the number of remaining vaquita porpoises is higher than estimated earlier this year.
The environment secretariat has previously challenged the estimate by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA) that only 30 of the porpoises remain.
On Thursday the head of the environmental agency Profepa said scientific studies have revealed there are at least 100.
Badaling Wildlife Park Visitors Still Can't Follow Rules One Year After Fatal Tiger Mauling
Almost a year to the day a woman was mauled to death by a tiger, another visitor to Beijing Badaling Wildlife World has again willfully disobeyed park regulations inside its carnivorous animal enclosure.
At around 10am on Saturday, a stopped black SUV was seen with a black sun bear next to it, standing up on its haunches and extending its head inside the open window of the driver's side.
As seen in the video taken by the driver in the following car from behind, the sun bear is reaching so far into the black SUV that its head is not visible. One of the bear's legs is perched on the vehicle's running boards, and at one point the bear is even able to lift itself off the ground completely.
From the perspective of the camera, we can't see what's going inside the black SUV with its tinted windows. However, it appears the occupants of the vehicle are feeding the bear when at one point a sausage flies out the window.
Approximately 10 seconds into the video, the black SUV drives away, at which point the bear drops down and begins eating food on th
Expedia Announces Changes to Wildlife Animal Attraction Booking; Pledges More Education and Greater Transparency
Expedia, Inc. today announced that activities involving certain wildlife animal interactions will no longer be bookable on its online travel sites. Relying on guidance from industry-leading wildlife and animal protection groups, Expedia will undertake a thorough review over the next few months and will remove activities from its websites and other distribution channels.
Today's announcement also comes with the launch of a new initiative committing the company to improving education for travelers about animal welfare. Launching later this year, travelers searching for animal-related activities will be presented with detailed information about specific activities offered through Expedia on a new Wildlife Tourism Education Portal.
Working in concert with globally renowned and respected zoo, anti-animal trafficking and animal protection groups such as The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, Born Free Foundation, The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, Expedia is determined to put animal welfare and standards of care for animals involved in these wildlife activities at the forefront of the travel planning discussion.
"Expedia can play an integral part in educating travelers about the diverse views related to wildlife tourism, so they can make informed decisions that align with how they travel and how they interact with the animals that share our planet," said Jen O'Twomney, vice president, Expedia Local Expert®. "As travelers, it is important that we know more about the places we go, the activities we engage in, and the ways in which we leave lasting impacts on our destinations. As we help people go places, we want to help them do it
ARE ZOO KIDDING? How Australia’s most wanted fugitive survived for months hiding in a ZOO stealing bananas from elephants, decapitating tortoises and raiding rubbish bins
A NOTORIOUS Australian fugitive ate the insides of tortoises and stole food from zoo animals during his headline-grabbing seven years on the run, it has emerged.
Malcolm Naden, a murderer and former abattoir worker, famously managed to evade police capture from 2005 until 2012.
Now a new book has revealed he decapitated a Galapagos tortoise and devoured its insides during time spent hiding in a New South Wales Zoo.
He also stole bananas from elephants, slept in the roof space of a zoo managers’ hut and cooked himself meals on coin-fed barbecues.
According to the Daily Mail, his seven years spent on the run are have been detailed in a new book called The Contractor.
The book recounts a security contractor’s time spent chasing Naden through the bush after he was contacted to locate a suspected “homeless person” living in Western Plains Zoo in 2005.
Food had been vanishing from staff accommo
'World's Oldest' Female Hippo Dies Aged 49 In Adelaide
The world's oldest female hippopotamus has died at Adelaide Zoo at the age of 49.
Susie, a crowd favourite at the South Australian zoo since 1975, passed away on Thursday after a battle with a number of age-related problems, according to Adelaide Zoo.
Zoos SA vet David McLelland told the ABC Susie was humanely euthanised this week.
AZA Giving HSUS Opportunity to Plug HSUS
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is the largest zoo accrediting group in the United States, and is part of a worldwide network of accredited zoological institutions that contribute greatly to animal conservation and public education. The existence of zoos, however, is threatened by radical animal rights groups including HSUS and PETA, who have spread anti-zoo propaganda to children and other demographics. These groups are laying the groundwork to undermine public acceptance of zoos (which is currently very high).
So why has the leadership of AZA provided Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, a keynote address spot at the group’s annual meeting in September? And why is it hosting another HSUS employee on a panel discussion?
HSUS and Pacelle have an anti-zoo, PETA-like agenda. Consider the following:
HSUS’s official position on zoos is that it “believes that under most circumstances wild animals should ideally be permitted to exist undisturbed in their natural environments. Zoos are, however, a currently established part of our society and a fact of life.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement. In fact, HSUS is saying that ideally there would be no zoos and implying that, in the long run, there should be fewer and fewer.
HSUS does not endorse AZA institutions. “Even some AZA-accredited zoos contain forgotten and outdated exhibits,” says HSUS.
“A serious, science-based accreditation program is vital to the health of the zoo and aquarium industry and to the animals at the center of these enterprises,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “The AZA standards are strongest in the industry by a country mile, and while they don’t answer every question related to the care of animals and the other operations of zoos, they provide an essential baseline that humane organizations, the public, and other key stakeholders value immensely.”
France bans cetaceans in captivity, as Ringling wraps up its final shows this month
Late last week and into the weekend, the Detroit Zoo convened zoo industry and animal welfare leaders and probed the question of animal welfare. There is also a rising tide of concern within that industry for animal welfare, certainly among zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Zoo industry leaders are taking a more serious look at the behavioral and psychological health of animals on exhibition, and taking other steps for animal welfare, including by becoming advocates for animals on a larger scale. Some are pushing for a federal ban on the sale of shark fins and a ban on the breeding and private ownership of big cats for the pet trade.
Statement from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums
The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) has invited Wayne Pacelle, the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), to speak at our Annual Conference this fall.
HSUS is active in the animal welfare community and Pacelle has an important perspective to share with conference attendees.
AZA-accredited facilities are well respected by HSUS. That was recently reflected in the following statement Pacelle made in an AZA news release about AZA accreditation.
“A serious, science-based accreditation program is vital to the health of the zoo and aquarium industry and to the animals at the center of these enterprises,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “The AZA standards are strongest in the industry by a country mile, and while they don’t answer every question related to the care of animals and the other operations of zoos, they provide an essential baseline that humane organizations, the public, and other key stakeholders value immensely.”
The AZA Annual Conference will be held in early September in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Another keynote address will be provided by Dr. Carl Jones, 2016 winner of the prestigious Indianapolis Prize. In the second plenary session, John G. Shedd Aquarium President and CEO, Dr. Bridget C
BREAKING NEWS: Vietnam agrees plan to close all bear bile farms
In a historic move the Vietnamese government has agreed a plan with Animals Asia to finally end bear bile farming in the country.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlines an agreement between animal welfare NGO Animals Asia and the Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST) to work together to rescue the remaining bears still caged on farms across Vietnam – believed to be around 1,000.
The document was signed and announced at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Hanoi on Wednesday 19 July.
Researchers Identify Novel Avulaviruses in Antarctic Penguins
A team of researchers recently identified 3 genetically and antigenically distinct avulaviruses in Antarctic penguins. The team’s findings, reported in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal, “suggest that, in Antarctica, a much greater diversity of avulaviruses exists than previously recognized,” wrote the researchers.
Avulaviruses comprise the Avulavirus genus, which is within the Paramyxoviridae family of viruses. Avian paramyxoviruses (APMVs) affect domestic and wild birds, including turkeys, chickens, and pigeons. Outbreaks of APMVs can be economically devastating, particularly to the poultry industry.
Currently, 13 Avulavirus species (APMV-1 to APMV-13) have been recognized formally. Although most avulaviruses cause either mild or no clinical signs, APMV-1—the well-known and highly contagious Newcastle disease virus—can cause acute respiratory disease and diarrhea in chickens. Previous studies have reported detection of APMV-1 and several other avulaviruses in Antarctic pigeons.
For the current study, researchers visited 7 Antarctic locations, collecting cloacal and fecal samples from Gentoo penguins and blood samples from Adélie penguins; samples were collected during 3 scientific expeditions from 2014 to 2016. Several diagnostic tests were performed to isolate, confirm,
Genome study offers clues about history of big cats
A large international team of researchers has conducted a genetic analysis and comparison of the world's biggest cats to learn more about their history. In their paper published on the open source site Science Advances, the team describes their work mapping the genome of the jaguar and comparing the results with other big cats.
The jaguar is the largest wild cat in the Americas, and as the researchers note, it is also in danger of becoming extinct. While some of the reasons for the rapid decline in jaguar populations are obvious, others are not so clear. That is why the team embarked on a five-year mission to study the animals hoping to learn how to save them.
One of the avenues of research involved mapping the genome of the jaguar—such mapping for other big cats had already been done. That allowed the researchers to compare markers between cats belonging to the genus Panthera, which, in addition to jaguars, also includes tigers, lions, snow leopards and regular leopards. Also, because so much genetic work has been done on the common house cat, they, too, were included in the study.
The researchers report that they found over 13,000 genes that were similar through all of the species included in the study. They also found that the cats all diverged from a single a
Everything you need to know about the move to reintroduce lynx to the British countryside
After being absent for more than 1,300 years, lynx could make a comeback – if the plans to reintroduce them to the British countryside are approved.
The Lynx UK Trust has submitted an application to Natural England to carry out a trial reintroduction of six Eurasian lynx in the Kielder Forest region of Northumberland.
It is the first time an application has ever been made in the UK for this species but the move has left people divided, with some experts saying the presence of wild cats could keep the roe deer population under control while farmers and many others believe it could have a significant impact on livestock numbers.
Here’s everything you need to know.
Reintroduced Przewalski's horses have a different diet
The Przewalski's horse, also called Takhi or Mongolian wild horse, is the only remaining wild horse species. In 1969, wild horses were officially declared extinct. However, a few animals survived in captivity. In 1992, first captive bred wild horses were returned to the wild.
Petra Kaczensky and Martina Burnik Šturm from the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna now found out that before their extinction in the wild Przewalski's horses were on a mixed diet. In summer, they only ate grass, in winter also less nutritious bushes. After their reintroduction, the animals only eat high-quality grass throughout the year.
"We explain this dietary shift by an improved human attitude. In the past, humans considered Przewalski's horses as pasture competitors and hunted them as a food source. The nutritious pastures were reserved for domestic sheep and cattle. Thus, access to pastures in winter was difficult for wild horses. Shrubs and bushes were the only alternative," explaines Martina Burnik Šturm, one of the lead authors.
Przewalski's horses are "holy animals" today
Unlike in former times, Przewalski's horses are today worshiped as "holy animals" in the Gobi Desert. They are fully protected and are no longer hunted by humans. "The wild horses can now feed on grass throughout the year because humans allow it", says wildlife biologist and lead author Petra Kaczensky.
Habitat in the Gobi Desert has hardly changed
In the last 120 years, the habitat of the wild horses in Southwest Gobi has hardly changed. The available food resources have remained the same. But the social acceptance of
Pangolins at ‘huge risk’ as study reveals dramatic increases in hunting across Central Africa
The hunting of pangolins, the world’s most illegally traded mammal, has increased by 150 percent in Central African forests from 1970s to 2014, according to a new study led by the University of Sussex.
The first-ever study of its kind, published in Conservation Letters, shows the true scale of local pangolin exploitation across the continent. The international research team, which includes researchers from academia and conservation organisations, state that up to 2.7 million pangolins are harvested annually from forests in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Congo.
The team used data from 113 sites in 14 African countries to estimate the total annual harvest of pangolins. Worryingly the new study reveals the mammal, which is more sought after than elephant ivory and reproduces slowly, is now making-up an increasing proportion of all animals hunted in Central Africa. The researchers also found that snares are still being used to capture pangolins despite the practice being illegal in most Central African countries.
Pangolins are hunted and traded for food and traditional medicine throughout their range in Africa, and recent evidence has also shown an increasing trade of African pangolins to some countries in Asia. The researchers show that the price of pangolins has increased in urban African markets since the 1990s, with a 5.8 times increase in price observed for the sought after giant pangolin despite it being protected.
The team are calling on governments across the continent to increase the capacity to enforce international trade bans, embark on education and outreach programmes, and monitor pangolin populations.
Daniel Ingram, lead author of the study from the University of Sussex, said: “Our new study shows that African pangolins are at risk. We now have
Should rangers be allowed to kill poachers on sight? Yes‚ researchers say
South Africa should adopt a “shoot-to-kill” policy to show that it is serious about halting the country’s rhino poaching crisis.
This is the controversial view of two University of Botswana academics‚ who raised a storm by urging South Africa to adopt the highly controversial policy.
Writing in the latest issue of the SA Crime Quarterly journal‚ Goemeone Mogomotsi and Patricia Madigele argue that the policy‚ adopted in Botswana in 2013‚ was a “legitimate conservation strategy” and “a necessary evil” to protect rhinos from extinction.
Zoo’s roadkill bid is left to 'waste away'
ALTINA Wildlife Park’s push to feed roadkill to its animals has fallen on deaf ears.
The Riverina zoo has lost an ongoing battle with the Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH), prohibiting staff from removing roadside carcasses.
Owner Gloria Altin described the outcome as a “disappointment”.
“Roadkill is useful for animals such as Tasmanian Devils, because it’s a much more natural diet for them in the wild,” she said.
“Additionally, we could have prevented accidents and helped save animals like the Wedge-Tailed Eagle, which tries to eat roadkill and becomes vulnerable to traffic.
“It really makes a lot of sense to us but there's not much we can do about it now.”
DEH informed the Darlington Point zoo that each carcass unlawfully gathered would attract a $3000 fine.
It came as a significant financial blow for t
On this day 1913: Edinburgh Zoo opens to the public
On this day in 1913, Edinburgh Zoo opened its doors for the first time. Edinburgh Zoo was founded by the Royal Zoological Society in the Corstorphine hill area, opening after just 15 weeks of work.
The park was created by Thomas Haining Gillespie, a solicitor from Dumfries. Despite the failure of Edinburgh’s previous zoo, the Royal Zoological Gardens, Gillespie’s ultimate goal was to successfuly house tropical animals. He soon formed the city’s Royal Zoological Society and began plans for Edinburgh Zoo. Searching for an appropriate site, the Zoological society desired a location which was widely and inexpensively accessible for the public, one which had minimal wind and maximum sun. The Zoological society was faced with financial difficulties so it was Edinburgh Council who purchased the 75-acre Costorphine Hill House estate for around £17,000 and allowed the society full use of the grounds in return for a small repayment fee each year.
Is there a place for zoos in modern-day society? The fight over Papanack Zoo
They gather out on County Road 19, mostly on weekends in the summer. Kerri Bayford, co-owner of Papanack Zoo, seems almost to be looking for them, these unwanted visitors, on this grey spring day. But it is far too early. The zoo doesn’t open until May.
“Animal rights activists like to come in the summer,” she tells me. “I think that’s why I like spring and fall so much.”
“There’s one nice thing about bad weather,” she says, gazing out on the two-lane road that runs in front of the zoo. “You usually don’t get a lot of animal rights activists coming out to see you.”
Bayford is taking me on a tour of the zoo, located about 45 minutes east of Ottawa, which she purchased in 2014. In addition to lions, Arctic wolves, lemurs, and a python, we see work crews feverishly constructing pens for the three Kodiak bears — Ursula, Betty, and Whopper — that will spend their first summer at Papanack this year.
“They’re going to be part of our new bear safety p
Wildlife park should stay put
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussin has objected to the Sabah Wildlife Department”s (SWD) proposal to shift the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park to Sugud, Penampang.
Yahya claimed that it would be unwise to shift the wildlife park, or commonly referred to as a zoo, as it will cost a lot money and time consuming.
“The zoo has been at Lok Kawi for a very long time now.
“I was made to understand that the main reason they want to shift the zoo is due to the limited space at the park”s present site.
“Thus, they (SWD) want to move it to Sugud, where the space is much bigger,” he said.
Yahya said constructing a zoo from scratch is not easy, as a lot of money would be needed.
“From what I can remember, when we first started the zoo, we had to spend almost RM40 million on the first day.
“Over the years, the expenditure grew t
Rethinking bad decisions taken at Bondla zoo
Who remembers Sarita the hippopotamus? Trucked into Goa from the Mysore zoo in 2013, she was "accidentally" killed by her mate last year, in their ill-suited enclosure at the Bondla zoo. Now there is one single hippo marooned in the jungle sanctuary, thousands of miles from his natural African habitat. Quite close by is another traumatised and lonely male animal, the Asian elephant Krishna, whose solitary existence dates back to the death of his own mate in 2012. It is heart-rending to view this marvellous but visibly doleful animal, shaking back and forth listlessly, its leg bound by a huge rope. Instead of being an attraction at the state's only zoo, the sight is thoroughly depressing.
Until last month, Krishna and Devidas the hippo weren't the only friendless and isolated animals at Bondla. There was also the tigress, Sandhya, whose own mate passed away some months ago. Now she has also been freed from her misery. This should have been regarded as a golden opportunity for the forest department authorities to rethink the obsolete mission of their flagship showcase, and to reorient to the twenty-first century cutting edge of animal r
Gene factor of melanistic tigers in Odisha under lens of NCBS
The Bangalore-based National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) is all set to study the rare melanistic tigers found in Odisha. The one-year project will entail genetic analysis of the melanistic tigers in captivity at Nandankanan Zoological Park here as well as the wild ranging ones in Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR).The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)-funded project received the recommendation of Research Advisory Committee (RAC) of the State Government last week. Uma Ramakrishnan of NCBS will lead the study.
Talking to this paper, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) SS Srivastava said the NBCS will collect blood samples from melanistic tigers which are in captivity in the zoo to understand genetic reasons behind melanism and the extent of melanism in these tigers.There are three melanistic tigers, all juveniles, in the zoo. They were born to Sneha, a white tigress paired with a normal-coloured male Manish. One of the three juveniles possesses strong black stripes on a white coat and in case of the other two, melanism is on normal colour body. Two of them have been released in the tiger safari of the zoo.
The research project will focus half of its tenure on the tigers in captivity while the other half will be in STR, where the melanistic tigers were recorded for the first time. During the last tiger en
Cairo's zoo falls into neglect
The Giza Zoo, built by Khedive Ismail Pasha and opened in 1891 under Khedive Muhammad Tawfiq Pasha, was considered a world-class facility when it opened. Covering an area of about 80 acres, the oldest zoo in the Middle East now houses approximately 6,000 animals, including some endangered species. In 1993, it ranked as the third best zoological garden in the world. Today, the zoo no longer figures among the top 330 such facilities. In 2004, it lost its accreditation from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).
Chimp Expert: 'War for the Planet of the Apes' Nailed Poop-Throwing
Sure, Caesar and his hyper-intelligent apes can operate machine guns, ride horses, and in a couple cases, speak English. But for the most part, the simians in the new Planet of the Apes series are pretty true to modern-day apes. Advanced motion-capture technology, extremely physical acting, and attention to detail help make the chimpanzees and gorillas in War for the Planet of the Apes staggeringly realistic… even when they, quite literally, go apeshit.
There are some shitty spoilers for War for the Planet of the Apes below.
Towards the end of War, Caesar and his ape family have been captured and imprisoned by Woody Harrelson’s militaristic human group. In order to escape, the apes, lead by Caesar’s right-hand chimp Rocket, come up with a very ape-like plan. A human guard is minding his own business on patrol when the apes nail him in the back of the head with a water
Frog farms combat poaching
Poachers in Ecuador have long known the hefty prices their country's rare frogs can fetch. But now environmentally conscious firms are starting to sell the amphibians too - to try to save them from the black market and threatened extinction.
In San Rafael, just outside the capital Quito, the scientific company Wikiri is raising 12 species of frog. Some are native only to Ecuador, while others are at risk of disappearing from their natural habitat elsewhere.
After being raised in hundreds of terrariums, they are sent to Canada, the United States, Japan and various European countries for up to $600 (R7,738) each.
That high value "gives you an idea just how profitable that activity (frog poaching) can be," Lola Guarderas, manager of the facility, told AFP.
To illustrate her point, Guarderas showed a glass frog, with translucent skin through which its organs and beating red heart could be seen, as it moved along the edge of its container.
On the company's grounds - 5,000 square metres made up of big gardens alongside a river - the frogs are reproduced in labs, so as not to affect local fauna.
They are then put into an "ethical bio-
Dade City's Wild Things moves tigers to Oklahoma during court battle with PETA
On Friday, a federal judge ordered Dade City's Wild Things not to remove or relocate any of its 22 tigers pending an ongoing legal battle with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
By Sunday, 19 of the Dade City tigers pulled into the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma after a 1,200-mile journey on a cattle truck.
The move appears to be a reaction to a July 12 ruling by a judge allowing PETA officials to inspect the facility, owned by Kathy Stearns, and observe the tigers' care and housing. The judge scheduled the site inspection for Thursday.
PETA sued Wild Things in October, alleging its tiger cub encounter program, in which visitors can pay to cuddle or swim with weeks-old cubs, violates the Endangered Species Act.
The judge granted an emergency injunction Friday, ordering Stearns not to move the animals after PETA learned about the relocation plan.
G.W. Exotic Animal Park entertainment director Joe Maldonado confirmed 19 of Stearns' tigers arrived at his facility Sunday. He said a pregnant tiger gave birth during the haul, and all three cubs died. He did not know the whereabouts of the other three tigers cited in the court order.
"All I know is (Stearns) called me and asked if I could take the cats until she figured something out," Maldonado said. "Something to do with a lawsuit and PETA, and she needed to get rid of her tigers."
On Monday, Stearns denied sending her tigers to Maldonado. When asked if she transported any tigers out of her zoo to other facilities over the past several days, she said, "I don't know, I just got back into town today."
Maldonado, who holds the facility's U.S.
Dade City's Wild Things blocks PETA officials at gates for court-ordered site inspection
Dade City's Wild Things founder Kathy Stearns refused to let People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals officials enter her facility on Thursday for a court-ordered inspection, court filings show.
The inspection was granted by a federal judge so PETA experts could observe the care and housing of 22 tigers on the property. PETA sued Wild Things in October, alleging its tiger cub encounter business, in which visitors can pay to cuddle or swim with weeks-old cubs, violates the Endangered Species Act.
A judge had granted an emergency injunction July 14, ordering Stearns not to remove any of the tigers from the zoo after PETA officials said they learned Stearns "was scheming to transfer its tigers" before the scheduled in
25 endangered one-horned rhinos die in Chitwan National Park during last year
As many as 25 one-horned rhinos have died in Chitwan National Park in Nepal in the last one year. The Nepal's Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation took a decision to transfer 30 rhinos from CNP to two national parks which aim to prevent possible epidemic dangers and increase the population of healthy rhinos.
Lion parts 'sold as fake tiger products' in Asia
Trade in bones and other parts of lions faked as tiger products is thriving in Chinese and South East Asian markets, a leading wildlife group says.
China's ban on the sale of tiger products has led to unscrupulous traders substituting them with lion parts, the UK-based Environment Investigation Agency (EIA) said.
South Africa is the largest exporter of lion parts to Asia, it added.
EIA is pushing for the trade to be banned, saying it encourages poaching.
It released its report as a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) begins in Switzerland.
Cites allows limited trade on body parts of lions bred in captivity.
The South African government last month announced an export quota of 800 skeletons, causing concern among conservation organisations.
The EIA said that between 2005 and 2015, South Africa exported the following to Laos and Vietnam:
755 lion bodies
587.5kg (92st 7lb) of bones, which is roughly the equivalent of 65 lions
Pretoria zoo strike comes to an end
The strike at the National Zoo in Pretoria, which started earlier this month, has come to an end after the National Zoological Gardens (NZG) of South Africa and employees affiliated to the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) reached an agreement.
In a statement, the NZG said the agreement saw the parties agree to end the strike and workers are set to resume duties on Wednesday.
"Details of the negotiated settlement will be discussed with the NZG’s non-striking employees and other stakeholders," the statement said.
"The NZG would like to expres
New Undergraduate Certificate in Zoo and Aquarium Conservation
A new certificate developed in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' School of Natural Resources and the Environment will introduce University of Arizona students to the increasingly important role that zoos and aquariums play in wildlife conservation and management, and help them understand how to maintain sustainable wildlife populations in a zoo setting.
Zoos and aquariums worldwide have joined with local, national and international agencies to protect animal species. In Arizona, for example, the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson is involved in Saving Animals From Extinction, or SAFE, to raise awareness about the vaquita, a critically endangered porpoise species in the Gulf of California. The Phoenix Zoo is raising species native to Arizona for release to the wild, including the black-footed ferret, Chiricahua leopard frog, Gila topminnow and desert pupfish.
Through the undergraduate certificate in zoo and aquarium conservation, students will have the opportunity to participate in such
Study suggests climate change may kill off the aardvark in some areas
A team of researchers with the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa has found evidence that suggests the aardvark may face a large decrease in population as the planet heats up due to global warming. In their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, the group describes how they fastened monitors to a group of aardvarks who by happenstance were forced to endure a severe drought—and how the animals fared.
Rare birth of endangered hairy-nosed wombat in Australia
The population of one of the world's rarest species has been boosted with the birth of a northern hairy-nosed wombat joey, Australian wildlife officials said Wednesday.
The arrival of the furry marsupial comes as a conservation programme to save the animal—which numbers just 250 in the wild—gathers steam.
The joey emerged from its mother's pouch at the Richard Underwood Nature Refuge in Queensland state, which was established just eight years ago and is one of only two known colonies remaining.
Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles said wildlife officers had been closely observing the mother for the past 10 months.
"It's been a long wait for the wombat specialist team, but finally it's confirmed that the joey has successfully left the pouch," he said.
"This is the first addition to the reintroduced colony of northern hairy-nosed wombats in five years, and it indicates the new male brought in last year is settling in well."
The only known colonies of the animal are both in Queensland—at the Richard Underwood Nature Refuge and Epping Forest National Park.
When numbers dropped in Epping in 2009, the state gove
OPERATION RED CLOUD: RHINO HORN TRAFFICKING IN CHINA
Elephant Action League (EAL) is proud to release GRINDING RHINO, a public report detailing another expansive and successful undercover investigative operation. In response to unprecedented growth in rhinoceros poaching rates in the past ten years, and enduring consumer demand for rhinoceros horn in both China and Vietnam, EAL commenced Operation Red Cloud in August 2016 and ended it in June 2017.
Operation Red Cloud is the first undercover investigation into rhino horn trafficking in China in decades. This 11-month intelligence gathering and investigative operation was designed to expose and map the networks, the players and the means (or ‘modus operandi’) by which rhino horn is trafficked into China. Today, EAL is releasing the results of this incredibly comprehensive operation.
A separate 200-page Confidential Intelligence Brief (CIB) has been prepared for law enforcement only, and it includes detailed information and evidence on 55 identified Persons of Interest involved in rhino horn trafficking in China and Vietnam.
Although completely illegal since 1993, anyone with the desire and means can easily buy rhinoceros horn in China. All you need to do is walk into an ‘antiques’ shop and ask.
The rhino horn products they show you are far from antique, though, they are new and have most likely been illegally trafficked from Africa to Vietnam and then into China. The report Grinding Rhino: An Undercover Investigation on Rhino Horn Trafficking in China and Vietnam, shows us exactly how rhino horn makes its way into those shops in China, now the largest illegal market for rhino horn in the world.
For Operation Red Cloud, in addition to off-site research and intelligence analysis, EAL investigators executed multiple field missions to China and Vietnam. EAL targeted provinces along the southern border of China — Guangxi, Guangdong, and Yunnan — as well as Henan, Fujian, Beijing, and a few key locations in Vietnam. Leveraging the experience and expertise of
New whale species discovered in Sri Lankan waters
Accidentally running into a whole new species of whale on the job? For marine biologist, conservationist and educator Asha de Vos, who’s a specialist in Sri Lankan blue whales, it’s all in a day’s work. She tells us more about her latest discovery—an Omura’s whale just off the shores of Sri Lanka, in the Northern Indian Ocean—and why this finding is significant.
What’s special about this species of whale?
Omura’s whale (Balaenoptera omurai) was only described as its own whale species in Japan in 2003. That’s just 14 years ago — amazing, considering that they grow to 33 feet and aren’t exactly microscopic! They have a distinctively long, narrow body and asymmetrical markings. Before 2003, this species was spotted in the South Atlantic, Eastern Pacific, and Eastern and Western Indian Oceans, plus one sighting of a
Sapphire mining threatens the indri lemur species
Indris - the largest lemurs - are native to Madagascar but their existence is threatened by illegal mining.
Since late last year more than 40,000 miners have descended on the island.
Our team followed the miners and made the long trek into what is meant to be a protected zone.
The Toxins That Are Designed to Kill - Or Heal
Venom is one of nature's great paradoxes. At its most basic level it's designed to kill – and to do so quickly and efficiently. Yet, the same properties that make it deadly can also be harnessed to provide potent healing.
There are potentially 20 million distinct venom toxins, each with its own targets and effects that have yet to be explored. As National Geographic reported:1
"Venom is exquisitely honed to stop a body in its tracks. The complex soup swirls with toxic proteins and peptides — short strings of amino acids similar to proteins. The molecules may have different targets and effects, but they work synergistically for the mightiest punch.
Some go for the nervous system, paralyzing by blocking messages between nerves and muscle. Some eat away at molecules so that cells and tissues collapse. Venom can kill by clotting blood and stopping the heart or by preventing clotting and triggering a killer bleed."
What's intriguing is that venom often targets the same molecules that medicines target to treat disease, "fitting into them like keys into locks."2 Out of the fewer than 1,000 venom toxins that have been analyzed by researchers so far, about a dozen medications have been developed and brought to market.
"It's a challenge to find the toxin that hits only a certa
Even scientists take selfies with wild animals. Here’s why they shouldn’t.
One of the great things about being a biologist is getting to work in the field and connect with wildlife. Through my career, I have enjoyed many unforgettable close encounters with various species, including turtles, birds, marine mammals, invertebrates and a lot of fish, especially sharks and rays.
My research program also has a strong focus on citizen science. I use data collected by recreational scuba divers and snorkelers to describe marine animal populations and conservation needs. Therefore, I work closely with the tourism industry.
Because of these connections, I am often asked to advise on best practices for tourists interacting with wildlife. In response I tell them that scientific studies have documented how unnecessarily handling or getting too close to wild animals can have lasting consequences – including causing stress which can interfere with their feeding or mating success.
Reflecting on my own experiences, however, I recognize that I and many of my peers have not always followed those best practices. Sure, we need to have close encounters with wildlife to do our work, and we have the necessary training and permits. We often have reason to photograph animals in the course of our research – for example, to quickly capture information such as size, health,
UK zoo donates white rhino eggs in IVF bid to save species
A British zoo is using IVF technology to help the three remaining northern white rhinos procreate and save the species from extinction.
Scientists at Longleat safari park in Warminster, England, extracted nine eggs from three female southern white rhinos in their facility earlier this week.
The eggs will be used by researchers at a clinic in Italy to develop IVF technology that eventually could be used with genetic material from the northern whites.
If scientists are unable to use IVF to create a pure northern white rhino, they have a back-up plan: to create and embryo using eggs from southern whites and sperm from a northern white to create a new hybrid species.
The southern white rhino is a sub-species that shares many of the characteristics of the northern white. While there are only three nort
9 Harsh But Helpful Tips on Rocking Your Internship With Animals!
I got my first internship the summer after I graduated college. Out of 30+ interns, I was the only one offered a job as a full-time trainer immediately after the internship ended. Since then I have coached other interns and have developed these 9 tips to help those who want to succeed in their animal internship.
If you are an aspiring marine mammal trainer, you understand the importance of getting animal experience (especially if you have read my book). Experience not only gives an inside look on what it is like to care for animals, but also connects you to influential leaders in the industry. If you are lucky enough to have landed an internship, you are well on your way to achieving your dreams. However, not everyone can be a trainer, so how you perform during your internship could determine whether or not you’ll be swimming with dolphins for a living.
Wildlife charity highlights use of palm oil in orangutan plight
Conservationists working for Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust are encouraging people to stop using products containing palm oil, to help save endangered orangutans.
Huge areas of the Sumatran rain forest are being cleared at an alarming rate to make way for palm oil plantations.
As well as contending with the loss of their natural habitat, orangutans, which are considered a pest in palm oil plantations, are often killed by workers as they go in search of food.
Durrell says any surviving orphan Orangutan babies are sold as pets.
The same fate often awaits other forest animals, such as rhinos and elephants.
Hot dogs: Is climate change impacting populations of African wild dogs?
Climate change may be harming the future of African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) by impacting the survival rates of pups, according to one of the first studies on how shifting temperatures are impacting tropical species.
Led by scientists from ZSL (Zoological Society of London) and published in the Journal of Animal Ecology, the study highlights how African wild dogs -- already classified as Endangered by the IUCN Red List -- raise fewer pups at high temperatures.
Three concurrent studies, undertaken by ZSL, the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, and the African Wildlife Conservation Fund, monitored a total of 73 wild dog packs at sites in Kenya, Botswana and Zimbabwe, over a combined 42 years of study.
Tracking with high-tech collars showed that wild dog packs spent less time hunting on hot days. When packs tried to raise pups in hot weather, more of the pups died, potentially because they received less food from individuals returning from hunts.
At the Botswana site, temperatures increased steadily over 24 years of monitoring. The average daily maximum temperature during the pup-rearing period was roughly 1°C higher in the first 12 years of monitoring than in the second 12 years, and over the same period the average number of pups surviving per pack per year fell from five to three.
The study's lead author, Professor Rosie Woodroffe of ZSL's Institute of Zoology, said: "Our study shows the truly global impact of climate change. When most people think about wildlife in a changing climate, they thin
The Lion’s Share
A briefing on how South Africa’s trade in lion bone is driving consumer demand for tiger parts and products
Myrtle Beach Safari Chimps Attend New "War for the Planet of the Apes" Premiere
To The Maryland Zoo Team
For those of you who don't know, Maryland Zoo has had two giraffe births within the past few months. The latest, a male named Julius, was born on June 15th. What happened afterwards is a story that so many of us have experienced, but have a lot of trouble not only processing internally, but expressing to people who have no idea what it is like to care for animals in this way.
Our critics often take opportunities where animals are ill, injured, or dying to rake us over the coals. Most people, even those who do not necessarily support zoos or aquariums, are decent human beings who do NOT leave heartless, cruel Facebook comments about these situations. However, it is the small minority of thoughtless people who mak
Zoomarine Italia Achieves Humane Certification for Animal Welfare
Today, American Humane, the world’s largest certifier of animal welfare and well-being, announced that Zoomarine Italia has achieved certification by the American Humane Conservation program, becoming only the second Humane Certified™ institution in Europe.
The American Humane Conservation program is the first-ever certification program singularly dedicated to helping ensure the well-being and humane treatment of animals living in zoos and aquariums across the world. The program enforces comprehensive, evidence-based welfare standards developed by an independent Scientific Advisory Committee comprised of world-renowned leaders in the fields of animal science, animal behavior, animal ethics, and conservation.
Why I Believe In Zoos
@liceham my anger in this reply is in no way aimed at you! I am super grateful you gave me a reason to write down some of my thoughts on this subject, and I love that you’re informing your own opinions. I think you’re great!
I’m really sorry this took me so long to reply to; I have a lot of feelings on this subject and I wanted to make sure I expressed all my points well.
I like your use of the phrase “low-key anti-zoo” because I feel like it sums up the feelings of a vast majority of people sort of 40 and under (although my favorite is “I don’t believe in zoos”. It’s a zoo, not fucking Narnia). I think the “zoos are bad” mentality has become part of our cultural consciousness, something that we absorb as truth in our childhood or adolescence and then never question as adults who are capable of informing our own opinions. I don’t blame people for having low-key anti-zoo feelings, though. Zoos in America were terrible places until not too long ago, and I feel like the Animal Rights movement did great things in bringing animal welfare into the public eye. Unfortunately, I feel like the majority of people who tell me they “don’t believe in zoos” generally don’t know why they have those feelings. They can point to one or two broader topics like, “wild animals should be wild” or “animals aren’t meant to be entertainment”, but they usually can’t clarify beyond those basic points, and they usually haven’t bothered to inform themselves about what zoos are doing in terms of conservation, animal care and outreach programs. And that makes me mad, because usually people tell me they don’t like zoos AFTER they find out that I’ve been a zookeeper my entire life, and that’s really shitty because it’s like they are telling me they don’t like me and everything I’ve worked for, and that they know more about zoos and animal care than I do. And they don’t. They just have this opinion that they’ve grabbed out of concoction of naked celebrity PETA ads, shittily-sourced internet articles and propaganda-ish “docum
The anti-zoo movement and the zoological community’s silence
I put “anti-zoo” rather than “anti-cap” in the title on purpose. Because it’s not actually anti-captivity. These people I’m talking about are perfectly happy keeping pets, livestock and other animals in captivity - it’s only zoos and aquaria - the “least evil” of them all, as far as I can tell - that are on the receiving end of their hate and vitriol.
This has been on my mind for a while, and I’m finally making a post on it, because the drop that finally made the cup overflow for me now was a post Kolmården Zoo made on their Facebook page yesterday. If you follow any zoo’s Facebook page, you’ll see they’re posting their various creative Christmas-themed enrichment for their animals the last few days. And Kolmården posted this video, of a lion tearing away at a tree, with the words “Do your cats also climb in the Christmas tree? A tip is to hang the tree in the ceiling so it won’t flip over! Merry Christmas from everyone at Kolmården.”
This was met with comments of “that POOR animal”, comparisons to Joseph Fritzl, “they need FREEDOM”, and you know the rest. Apparently, a lion playing with a toy in complete safety, being warm and fed and never having to worry about a thing in her life, was the worst thing these people had ever seen.
Grand birthday bash planned for Delhi zoo’s oldest inmate
For the first time in 56 years, Rita is getting a grand party for her birthday, one that promises to be quite unlike any other celebration.
For a start, no one knows exactly when she was born.
All that is known of the origins of the Delhi zoo’s oldest inmate —— and its only chimpanzee —— is that she came to the national capital from the distant shores of Amsterdam in 1964.
The chimp may no longer be the crowd-puller she once was due to her advancing age, but her long association with the zoo and “human-like” characteristics have endeared her to many.
“As its oldest inmate, she is a crucial part of the park.
She shows many human instincts. For instance, she wants to interact with her visitors, but old age forces her to stay back,” Raja Ram Singh, Joint Director, National Zoological Park, told PTI.
It will be more than just a birthday celebration, the official said, while promising an “emotiona
Stress test—how scientists can measure how animals are feeling
To help determine how stress is affecting animals across Australia, researchers at Western Sydney University are utilising non-invasive methods to help farmers, zookeepers and pet owners ensure their animals are happy and healthy.
Stress is an important biological response for animals as it helps their bodies prepare to fight or flee from danger. But many animals in the modern world are forced to coexist with humans in farms, zoos or homes, and the onset of chronic stress can have devastating results, both for them and their owners.
"Stress can affect the weight of farm animals, leading to losses for animal producers, and can disrupt the breeding patterns of endangered animals in captivity," says Dr Edward Narayan, Senior Lecturer in Animal Science, from the School of Science and Health.
"Here at Western Sydney University we are working with clients to collect animal scats under routine husbandry and run them through our laboratories to measure stress levels."
When a stress result is sparked in an animal, the brain-body starts to release biomolecules such as cortisol, which is the main stress hormone in large animals such as hum
Breeding hopes as new elephant attraction taking shape
Blackpool Zoo’s biggest ever attraction is edging closer to completion and bosses are excited that the resort could become a breeding centre for one of the world’s most iconic endangered species. The new £5m Project Elephant is taking shape on a one unused plot. And with construction work on both the paddock and main building nearing completion the scale of the scheme is becoming clear. Senior Large Mammal Keeper, Adam Kenyon, said: “From starting it on a piece of paper to where it is now is incredible. “When you start off with it in your head you have a vision of what it looks like. “When it comes to fruition i
New zoo in Yekaterinburg to be 17 times bigger than previous one
The administration of the Russian city of Yekaterinburg has presented a concept for a new zoo within the framework of the international exhibition 2017 INNOPROM, the body’s official website informs on Monday.
The report notes that a zoo will be a sort of gift for the 300th anniversary of Yekaterinburg. The space for animals is only part of the site built within the 300-PARK project in the area of Novokoltsovsky located in the south-west of the city.
“A new zoo occupies almost 35 ha, which is 17 times more than the territory of the existing one,” the statement reads.
According to a commercial director of Sin
Bertha’s death a reminder of Mali’s misery
The statement quoted in the report on Bertha the hippo supposedly
having lived a happy life in Manila’s zoo is false (Metro, 7/12/17). Manila Parks and Recreations Bureau Director James Albert Dichaves tried to refute Jason Baker, vice president of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), by claiming that Bertha was “happy interacting with our zookeepers.” That statement is laughable. Has anyone really monitored the daily number of hours zookeepers romp around with the animals?
I visited Manila’s zoo soon after the petitions for the release of Mali the elephant began around 2010. The zoo was in a pitiful state; there was hardly any greenery in any of the cages. The few zookeepers I saw seemed disinterested in the animals. I was told that a vet sometimes visited Mali, who has been in the zoo since she was given as a baby to Imelda Marcos by the Sri Lankan government.
To look at Mali’s misery is heartbreaking. Mayors Alfredo Lim and Joseph Estrada ignored all demands by Peta to be allowed to take her to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand. Absur
Managing Animal Enrichment and Training Programs.
This course provides students with the tools and skills needed to set up and manage a successful enrichment and training program that meets AZA accreditation standards. While some time will be spent on the concepts of training and enrichment, this course is not a workshop to develop enrichment ideas or learn animal training skills. This course focuses on developing the components of a successful program and learning the leadership skills needed to successfully implement that program.
Learn more and register at: http://www.aza.org/managing-animal-enrichment-and-training-programs
Puerto Rico economic crisis hits island’s only zoo
The economic crisis afflicting Puerto Rico for the last decade has also taken a toll on the island’s only zoo, with critics saying it is sorely understaffed and struggling to care for its animals on a limited budget.
Conditions at Dr. Juan A. Rivero, a 45-acre zoo featuring over 300 species in the western coastal town of Mayaguez, have deteriorated so far as to catch the attention of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which cited dozens of violations at the park in its most recent report from this spring.
Designs reveal how historic London Zoo aviary will become home for monkeys
IT is a neighbourhood known for its billionaires and ambassadors, actors and artists.
The newest residents to snap up a des-res in Primrose Hill, however, are set to be a troupe of Colobus monkeys with their eyes on a Grade II-listed beauty close to Regent’s Park.
The New Journal reported last year how the Snowdon Aviary at London Zoo – the soaring steel mesh landmark visible from canal tours – is to be turned into a home for primates, and now the plans for the conversion have reached the desk of planners. The £7.1m project to convert the aviary, which dates from 1962, will be overseen by globally renowned Modernist architects Foster and Partners.
The plans confirm the monkeys will be joined by African grey parrots, miniature deers called Red Duikers and waterfowl. Westminster Council hold the final say over whether it can go ahead, although Camden’s planning department has been surveyed too due to the proximity of the borough boundary. Designs show how a new monkey house will be connected to the aviary with a walkway for the monkeys to running above the Cumberland Basin footbridge.
The work is vital to improve the environment for the zoo’s animals, the application states. It is currently home to a variety of birds including peacocks and white ibis, but in a report to Westminster Council, heritage planning firm JLL
Ops to shift 7-year-old tigress for unique mating experiment begins
In a first-of-its-kind conservation breeding experiment here, seven-year-old tigress Lee of Maharajbagh zoo is being shifted to Gorewada rescue centre to mate with male tiger Sahebrao, which suffers from a limb disability.
The operations started on Saturday afternoon but were called off in the evening as the tigress refused to enter the cage that was readied for it.
Officials said the operations will resume on Sunday morning.
One-of-a-Kind Aquarium Comes to Jerusalem
Israel is known as the land of the Bible. It's a land rich in archaeological treasures and a place of innovation and technology. It even has a biblical zoo, where Jerusalem is opening the first aquarium of its kind in the Middle East.
A massive tunnel under the Mediterranean Sea exhibit is bound to be one of the main attractions at the new Gottesman Family Israel Aquarium in Jerusalem.
The tunnel is part of the aquarium's 400,000 gallon tank that's now part of Jerusalem's biblical zoo. It will hold sharks and other fish from the Mediterranean Sea.
Country’s Oldest Tiger in Captivity Dies in Assam State Zoo
Swathi, the oldest living tiger in captive environment in the country, died on Sunday at the Assam State Zoo in Guwahati. The tigress was 21 years old.
Born in Mysore Zoo on 28th January, 1997, Swathi was brought to Guwahati in 2005 even as she had already given birth to five cubs there. In Guwahati, the Royal Bengal Tigress gave birth to six more cubs, of which Birina – also a tigress is currently in the Assam State Zoo.
“She was not keeping well for some time. She died at around 0200 hours this morning,” Zoo authorities said on Sunday. Since the last two years, Swathi was kept away from public as she was unable to move. She was being nursed at a shelter.
The average life span of a tiger varies between 14 to 16 years and crossing twenty is only in exceptional cases.
Following its death, the Assam State Zoo is now left with four tig
World's large carnivores being pushed off the map
Six of the world's large carnivores have lost more than 90% of their historic range, according to a study.
The Ethiopian wolf, red wolf, tiger, lion, African wild dog and cheetah have all been squeezed out as land is lost to human settlements and farming.
Reintroduction of carnivores into areas where they once roamed is vital in conservation, say scientists.
This relies on human willingness to share the landscape with the likes of the wolf.
The research, published in Royal Society Open Science, was carried out by Christopher Wolf and William Ripple of Oregon State University.
They mapped the current range of 25 large carnivores using International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List data. This was compared with historic maps from 500 years ago.
The work shows that large carnivore range contractions are a global issue, said Christopher Wolf.
"Of the 25 large carnivores that we studied, 60% (15 species) have lost more than half of their historic ranges,'' he e
Baby western swamp tortoises set for release into wild
Three of Australia's rarest reptiles have been given a health check as they prepare to move from captivity into the wild.
Adelaide Zoo is one of just two zoos worldwide to house and breed the western swamp tortoise.
The zoo is celebrating a successful breeding season, which saw four baby tortoises hatching, each the size of a coin.
Native to Western Australia, in the mid-1980s it was estimated there were fewer than 50 tortoises left in the wild.
They now only live in the wild in two small habitats in the S
The sixth mass genesis? New species are coming into existence faster than ever thanks to humans
Animals and plants are seemingly disappearing faster than at any time since the dinosaurs died out, 66m years ago. The death knell tolls for life on Earth. Rhinos will soon be gone unless we defend them, Mexico’s final few Vaquita porpoises are drowning in fishing nets, and in America, Franklin trees survive only in parks and gardens.
Yet the survivors are taking advantage of new opportunities created by humans. Many are spreading into new parts of the world, adapting to new conditions, and even evolving into new species. In some respects, diversity is actually increasing in the human epoch, the Anthropocene. It is these biological gains that I contemplate in a new book, Inheritors of the Earth: How Nature is Thriving in and Age of Extinction, in which I argue that it is no longer credible for us to take a loss-only view of the world’s biodiversity.
The beneficiaries surround us all. Glancing out of my study window, I see poppies and camomile plants sprouting in the margins of the adjacent barley field. These plants are southern European “weeds” taking advantage of a new human-created habitat. When I visit London, I see pigeons nesting on human-built cliffs (their ancestors nested on sea cliffs) and I listen out for the cries of skyscraper-dwelling peregrine falcons which hunt them.
Climate change has brought tree bumblebees from continental Europe to my Yorkshire garden in recent years. They are joined by a
Wildlife faces climate’s survival and sex problems
Climate change could cast a dark shadow over the bees of Europe, with global warming posing sex problems for the sea turtles of the Atlantic.
Two separate studies confirm the worries that rising carbon dioxide levels, and soaring planetary temperatures, could devastate the creatures of the wild.
There are an estimated 550 species of bee in Germany, many of them solitary and short-lived: females devote their few weeks in the sun to feeding, reproducing and leaving food for their offspring.
What becomes of vital importance is the moment of hatching: if a bee emerges from hibernation too early, there is no food available, and starvation can follow. And spring has advanced steadily through the decades.
Researcher decodes the secret language of ring-tailed lemurs
Why do lemurs go "hmm?" It's not because they don't know the words, but the answer may provide important clues about how ancient human ancestors may have socialized with each other. In research published in Ethology, U of T Mississauga primatologist Laura Bolt recounts how vocalizations by Madagascar's ring-tailed lemurs may aid in protecting them from predators and bolster social cohesion within the troop.
How we're using ancient DNA to solve the mystery of the missing last great auk skins
The great auk, Pinguinus impennis, was a large, black and white bird that was found in huge numbers across the North Atlantic Ocean. It was often mistaken to be a member of the penguin family, but its closest living relative is actually the razorbill, and it is related to puffins, guillemots and murres.
Being flightless, the great auk was particularly vulnerable to hunting. Humans killed the birds in their thousands for meat, oil and feathers. By the start of the 19th dentury, the north-west Atlantic populations had been decimated, and the last few remaining breeding birds were to be found on the islands off the south-west coast of Iceland. But these faced another threat: due to their scarcity, the great auk had become a desirable item for both private and institutional collections.
The fateful voyage of 1844
Between 1830 and 1841 several trips were taken to Iceland's Eldey Island, to catch, kill, and sell the birds for exhibitions. Following a period of no reported captures, great auk dealer Carl Siemsen commissioned an expedition to Eldey to search for any remaining birds.
Between June 2-5 1844, 14 men set sail in an eight-oared boat for the island. Three braved the dangerous landing and spotted two great auks among the smaller birds that also bred there. A chase began but the birds ran at a slow pace, their small wings extended, expressing no
Animal Training Applications in Zoo and Aquarium Settings. This course provides zoo and aquarium staff with a background in training theory and an understanding of the skills necessary to train animals. It includes a historical perspective of animal training as well as terminology and an overview of training techniques. Selected training concepts and skills will be taught via animal demonstrations, group activities and individual skill development opportunities.
Learn more and register at: http://www.aza.org/animal-training-applications-zoo-aquarium-settings
Lebanon's PM has tigers to tea to talk animal trafficking
A truck carrying the caged animals was brought into the courtyard of Hariri’s residence, where the prime minister posed for pictures with the organization behind the animal’s care as a way to raise awareness on the issue of animal trafficking.
Jason Mier, director of Animals Lebanon, thanked Hariri for intervening in the matter. “We were only able to free them [the tigers] because of the support of the prime minister, Saad Hariri, who helped through the Council of Ministers,” Mier said. “We petitioned the government to take them in our care and it has taken us a full four months – and this should have been [an easy] case.”
Top of the south kaka breeding programme launches at Nelson's Natureland Zoo
To the untrained eye it looked like a first kiss, a touching of beaks on a tree branch.
But the first meeting of the male and female kaka, a nationally vulnerable native parrot, at Natureland Zoo on Monday was more innocent than that.
"They were just going up to say hi," said Meg Rutledge of Natureland Wildlife Trust.
Plastic to be phased out at major American aquariums
Working to reduce the massive amount of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, 19 of the nation’s top aquariums on Monday will announce that they are phasing out most plastic products — from plastic bags to straws to plastic beverage bottles.
The effort, which will also include the creation of exhibits explaining how people can find alternatives to plastic, is an attempt to raise consumer awareness among the 20 million people who visit the 19 aquariums, which include the Monterey Bay Aquarium, San Francisco’s Steinhart Aquarium and the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.
The aquariums say their goal is a market-based approach that they hope will steer the buying habits of the public to change the vast supply chains that manufacture, deliver and sell products to businesses across the world.
They compare the campaign to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s highly successful “Seafood Watch” program, which has provided 57 million wallet-sized cards to shoppers since 1999 telling them which types of fish are best or worst to buy based on a green-yellow-red scale.
As consumer demand changed, that program contributed to Walmart, Target, Safeway, Whole Foods and many of the largest retail stores in the United States announcing that they would sell only seafood
4 Ways to Train an Emergency Recall
One of the first behaviours I choose to train are Call overs and Recalls. I personally think it has so many great aspects to it just because it allows you to look at your animals from a closer range right away. On top of that you give every animal the chance to be trained what I think is very important. Through recalls you can start a great enrichment program as well. We will be talking about the emergency recalls, they are a little bit different than the usual Recalls or Call overs how I call them. With Emergency recalls you actually practise the most accurate scenarios that could happen in the animal’s environment. While Call overs you do not necessarily have to go through a full desensitisation plan for scenarios that could happen. The fun part is that we can connect any criteria to this behaviour, for example you can say come to me or come to a position, you can say males to the left and females to the right (what could help you with social feedings), it can even be part of your first group separation to close the first gates on your own. There are plenty of ways to train this behaviour, I listed a couple with my least favourite first and then the most favourite ones last.
Animal Training Academy - Dr. Susan Friedman – Behavior works/Psychology professor at Utah State University
Cheetahs in captivity need a better diet
Which is more stressful: being free, but having to fight for your own food and survival, or being confined in captivity, with all your food and security needs provided for?
In cheetahs it seems that unnatural food – rather than captivity itself – is the cause of their known health problems in captivity.
Captive cheetahs commonly suffer from chronic inflammation of the stomach lining, various forms of kidney failure, apparent low libido and immune system abnormalities, which are rarely seen in their wild counterparts. Also, members of the cat family are known to groom themselves meticulously, yet captive cheetahs are often covered in burrs and biting flies and hardly seem to notice these discomforts. Cheetahs in zoos and other facilities have shorter life expectancies and lower breeding success than other big cats in captivity. In these confined environments, cheetahs often produce large amounts of the stress hormone cortisol and many believe that, for cheetahs, life in captivity is simply too stressful.
Besides stress, many have proposed that a lack of exercise, low genetic diversity and the provision of unnatural
Lions Escape: Nigerians In South African Province Urged To Be Cautious
The Nigeria Union, South Africa, on Tuesday urged Nigerians resident in Mpumalanga Province to be cautious following the escape of four lions from the zoo in the area.
Mr Williams Mabasa, the spokesman for the South African National Parks, said that four male lions escaped from the Kruger National Park, at Mpumalanga Province on Sunday.
The Tourism and Parks Agency of Mpumalanga province, where part of the Kruger Park is located, said it was helping rangers and the police in their search for the lions.
3 escaped lions in South Africa are shot and killed
Officials in South Africa say three lions that escaped from the country's biggest wildlife park have been shot and killed.
The national parks service said Friday that a farmer near Kruger National Park killed one lion and wounded another after a cow carcass was found on his farm. It says park staff in a helicopter located the remaining lions and decided to kill them rather than dart and return them to the park as originally hoped.
Officials say the uninjured lion had to be killed partly because lions that eat cattle develop a taste for livestock and could pose
Houston Zoo supports local Texas conservation efforts
At the Houston Zoo, one can see animals from areas all over the world, but behind the scenes, the zoo is helping out with conservation efforts close to home.
According to Peter Riger, vice president of Wildlife Conservation, the zoo partners with nearly 30 conservation programs across a dozen countries and the state of Texas.
The zoo partners with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) on two important wildlife recovery programs for the Attwater's prairie chicken and the Houston toad.
The Attwater's prairie chicken is native to Texas. Its population used to be in the hundreds of thousands across the prairie of southeast Texas.
"It is estimated that less than 100 adult birds are left in the wild," Riger said.
Lion walks out of its enclosure at Rajkot zoo
A sub-adult lion sneaked out of its enclosure at Rajkot Zoological Park popularly known as Pradyuman Park on Wednesday morning. However, its keeper managed to shoe the big cat back into its enclosure within a few minutes even as zoo authorities termed it “a very minor incident” before the public visiting hours.
Sources said that Harivash, the three-year-old male lion escaped from its enclosure located in the heart of the park at around 8:30 am. “Caretaker apparently forgot to lock the door of animal retiring room on the edge of the enclosure after offering breakfast to lions. Minutes later, a lion pushed open the door of the retiring room and walked out of the enclosure. Within minutes, the caretakers came to know about it. Since Harivansh was borne in the enclosure and had some rapport with its caretaker, it responded to calls and w
City’s zoo from hell
More charges are to be laid against the East London Zoo by the national council of SPCAs (NSPCA) following the death of a female gibbon monkey called Peanut who died of TB and may have been infected by humans.
Peanut died in her enclosure on July 2, four months after her mate died of the disease and following an NSPCA request she be euthanased after she was found to be a TB carrier. Further contraventions of the Animal Protection Act would be added to the charges, NSPCA wildlife protection unit national inspector Cassandra MacDonald said.
BCM spokesman Samkelo Ngwenya said “legal recourse was welcomed” because the zoo had nothing to hide.
The new charges follow after a male Chacma baboon called “William” was put down in May after MacDonald found him suffering from paralysis in his hind legs. When a warning that the baboon be examined by a vet was not complied with, William was euthanased on site because his condition had deteriorated to the point where his open wounds became infected and infested with maggots. Ma
Stricter wild animal permit requirements impact North Texas Fair and Rodeo
People shouldn't expect to see tigers or other potentially dangerous wild animals at the North Texas Fair and Rodeo anymore.
After eight Bengal tigers made an appearance at last year's fair, the Denton Police Department's Animal Services Division created a written policy in February that outlines more stringent requirements for issuing wild animal permits. The requirements flat-out prohibit "dangerous wild animals," which, according to state law, includes tigers, lions, bears and cougars.
Glenn Carlton, the fair association's executive director, said last year's exhibit raised some concern from a "handful" of people about whether the animals were being kept humanely. While police officials said there were no issues reported in last year's exhibit — the city approved permits for the tigers — Deputy Chief Lenn Carter said the department received secondhand complaints with similar concern
A History of Primate Reintroduction
Attached is A History of Primate Reintroduction. The History is a fully copyrighted and protected book that is being published on this website for broad, rapid, and free distribution and review. I like to think of the History as a tool for colleagues and students (and anybody else who is interested), present and future, to increase the efficiency and success of future reintroductions and to improve the wellbeing of reintroduced primates.
The History provides as much descriptive information about each reintroduction program as I could find. For some programs I’ve added some subjective impressions of the human and nonhuman primates involved and about the program’s context. The appended table summarizes the descriptive information.
I was able to document 202 primate reintroduction programs (please see Definitions, pp. 238-246) that involved 22,999 individual prosimians, monkeys, and apes. The precision of that number is misleading because some sources do not state how many primates were actually reintroduced, and at least one program probably exaggerated the number that were released.
The term Reintroduction is used in the History a
Publish and don’t perish – how to keep rare species’ data away from poachers
Highly collectable species, especially those that are rare and threatened, can potentially be put at risk from poaching if information describing where they can be found is published. But rather than withholding this information, as has been recently recommended, scientists should publish such information through secure data repositories so that this knowledge can continue to be used to help conserve and manage the world’s most threatened species.
Scientists are encouraged to publish data so their discoveries can be shared and scrutinised. However, a recent article has identified the risks of publishing the locations of rare, endangered or newly described species.
The example of the Chinese cave gecko shows that these concerns may be warranted. The species went extinct at the location where it was discovered, potentially at the hands of scientifically literate poachers.
But instead of withholding such information, we sug
To pace or not to pace? A review of what abnormal repetitive behavior tells us about zoo animal management
Wildlife park may move to Sugud
The Lok Kawi Wildlife Park will probably be shifted to Sugud in Penampang, but the proposed move is subject to the approval of the district office and feedback from the surrounding communities as well as allocation from the government, said Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) director Augustine Tuuga yesterday.
He cited the limited space at the park’s present site as the main reason for shifting, saying that although the Lok Kawi site covers an area of 280 acres, only 70 acres were utilised as the remaining were hilly terrains which also served as water catchment areas for the surrounding communities. The area in Sugud is about 2,000 acres.
A meeting had been held and that the proposal to shift the wildlife park came about two years ago, Augustine told reporters during a tour of the wildlife park yesterday following negative feedback concerning the condition of the animals and birds at the wildlife park.
With regard to negative allegations that had been made viral on the social media, Augustine viewed some of them as an exaggeration.
“We accept criticism. If they can properly channel the comments to us we can accept it … but some of the comments were too much for us to accept, hence we called you (reporters) here to see for yourself. We feel not all that has been said is true,” he told those present.
He said that the department decided against answering the allegations one by one and opted instead to bring members of the media to see for themsel
PETA says Feld closing Center for Elephant Conservation
After Feld Entertainment terminated its 146-year-old Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus in May and retired its elephant act a year before that, one of its long-time animal-rights nemeses says the Ellenton-based live-show production company is now planning to quietly disperse its herd of pachyderms.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, long critical of Feld’s Center for Elephant Conservation (CEC) in rural Polk County, says mounting expenses from its 200-acre Indian elephant retirement home is a likely motivating factor.
“Feld is an entertainment company, it’s not in the business of conservation,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “It doesn’t make financial sense for them to maintain elephants. These elephants are sick, they’re crippled, they’re dealing with psychological stress, and Ringling sees an opportunity to get rid of one of its major costs.”
Billionaire Ringling owner Kenneth Feld ann
Gujarat to set up its own bustard breeding centre
With collaboration of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and expertise offered by United Arab Emirates (UAE) the state government is planning to set up a breeding centre for great Indian bustards (GIB) at Naliya in Kutch. This will be the first breeding centre in the state for the birds, which are currently on the Red List of threatened species maintaine
What about one more zoo in Coimbatore?
Coimbatore may get another zoo and a conservation centre on its lake bunds if the suggestions in the interim report submitted by Oasis Designs Inc to corporation commissioner K Vijayakarthikeyan on Friday are implemented.
The report not just details the projects, designs, suggestions and challenges of the massive rejuvenation process that will be done on the eight lakes located inside the city but also the vario
Forum inspects Zoo cages
The newly constituted Zoo Protection Forum yesterday inspected the cages of the Assam State Zoo.
The seven-member delegation of the forum noticed that the drinking water containers in the cages were dry. Deer were licking the wet mud in thirst, the delegation observed.
According to the forum, the hippopotamuses were also kept in a very unhygienic condition. Similar was the condition of the crocodiles. “The condition of the cages has been deteriorating day by day. There is only one permanent cleaner at the zoo at present. The X-ray machine in the zoo hospital is lying defunct. Many animals were staring at death,” the forum said.
The forum is in the process of drafting a memoran
Phuket Aquarium steps up conservation efforts
Opens the new Aqua Dome in a bid to promote marine environmental awareness
Phuket Aquarium has opened its new Aqua Dome@Phuket Aquarium in an effort to raise awareness of marine environmental issues, bolster marine conservation and slow down the degradation that Thailand has witnessed in its coastal areas over recent years.Phuket Aquarium, part of the internationally recognized Phuket Marine Biological Center, offers lively aquatic displays, interactive exhibits and fascinating audio and video presentations to take visitors on a journey through various aquatic environments, from mou
Zookeeper Pregnancy - Morning Sickness
I swear to god this is not your typical pregnancy/morning sickness blog post.
Not that there is anything wrong with so-called Mommy Blogging. In fact, there are some great ones out there, so I am told. But the people who write that share at least three of the following qualities:
1) They have kids
2) They use coasters religiously and appropriately
3) They grow all of their own food with one hand (the other hand is usually doing something crafty)
4) They take perfectly artistic photos of everyday goings-on (such as pooping) that make it look like a utopian paradise
5) Their clothes match
I meet precisely one criterion in that list (hint, it is not number 5). Even though I do have a kid, and I am 31 years older than said child, I feel like I am still in seventh grade. This is a quality about my mindset that has not changed. The only re
'Bertha' the hippo, Manila Zoo's oldest inhabitant, dies at 65
"Bertha" the hippopotamus, Manila Zoo's oldest inhabitant, passed away Friday at 65.
Zookeepers said they found Bertha lifeless in her area this morning. They said the hippo may have died of old age as autopsy results did not point to any disease.
People who were in charge of taking care of Bertha also pointed out that the 65-year-old hippo had been moving slower than usual in the past two to three months.
Zoo official: This was not first time Kumar the orangutan escaped exhibit at Greenville Zoo
An orangutan escaped from its enclosure at the Greenville Zoo on Sunday, per zoo officials.
Jeff Bullock with the Greenville Zoo said the male orangutan was able to break one of the wires that held the enclosure netting together and slipped through the hole around 11:30 a.m. The orangutan then sat on top of the roof holding area, Bullock said.
A witness captured video of the orangutan during the very moment he escaped. Click to watch.
The zoo was then placed on lock down and all visitors were moved inside of the gift shop and various other safe areas.
Soon after, the orangutan returned to its enclosure through the hole and a curator brought in several pad locks to secure the netting where the hole was created. The orangutan never wandered away into the park area where visitors are.
Bullock says crew members then used water hoses and fire extinguishers to get the orangutans to retreat into the den area long enough for that crew member to secure the net using the pad locks. This is a tactic also u
Beluga whale dies at SeaWorld Orlando shortly after birth
SeaWorld Orlando says a beluga whale died shortly after it was born at the theme park and an investigation has begun into the cause of death.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that theme park officials say the calf was born this past week but was unusually weak and rose to the surface briefly before sinking to the bottom of a pool. Its mother was 17-year-old Whisper, who has lived at SeaWorld Orlando since 2010.
SeaWorld said animal care teams tried to revive the calf but were unable to save it. The cause of the newborn whale’s death is unclear.
Park officials say they will run
As Bradenton area mascot turns 69, let’s celebrate Snooty
Though the Bradenton area is fortunate to have many great ambassadors, there is one in particular whose contributions sometimes go unnoticed.
The good news is, he doesn’t seem to mind.
Snooty the Manatee, the “Oldest Living Manatee in Captivity” according to Guinness World Records, resides at the South Florida Museum in downtown Bradenton and will turn 69 on July 21.
His annual Birthday Bash on July 22 provides the perfect opportunity to see him and celebrate his life and contributions.
For those who don’t know his history, Snooty is the oldest-known manatee in the world. In the 1940s, Samuel Stout, owner of the Miami Aquarium and Tackle Company, acquired a permit from the state to exhibit a single manatee named Lady.
Baby giraffe at Maryland Zoo receives second plasma transfusion
A 3-week-old baby giraffe at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore underwent a second plasma transfusion Sunday and will continue to receive around-the-clock care, the zoo said.
The calf, Julius, has had trouble nursing and since he was born June 15, according to zoo officials, preventing him from receiving essential antibodies from his mother. Julius received a plasma transfusion from a giraffe at the Columbus Zoo three days after he was born.
On Saturday, a sudden change in Julius' bloodwork sparked "serious concern for the giraffe care and veterinary teams," according to the zoo's website. A critical care plan required a second plasma tr
Cotswold Wildlife Park backs RHS elephant campaign
COTSWOLD Wildlife Park is involved in a garden at this week’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show that highlights the destruction of Africa’s elephant population as a result of brutal ivory poaching.
It has worked with Tusk, a conservation charity set up to combat poaching in Africa, to create a garden named Not For Sale, which is made up of a ring of tusk arches, symbolising the scale of the slaughter of African elephants killed by poachers.
Sounds of the African savannah will play around the tusks while arid grasses, plants and acacia trees will help create a real sense of Africa.
At the end of the arched walk, the garden opens into
Gibbon Conservation Center Aims To Reintroduce Endangered Primates To Natural Habitats
20 species of gibbons–many of which are endangered or critically endangered–take shelter in the center, located in Saugus. In fact, this haven for the primates is the only institution in the world to breed all four genera of gibbons.
“From these 20 species of Gibbons, there is only one species that is only vulnerable, all the other ones are either endangered or critically endangered,” said Gabriella Skollar, the director of the Gibbon Center.
The endangered animals are becoming even more rare in the wild, Skollar said, because of human interference.
“The reason they are endangered is because of hunting and deforestation,” she said, adding that many gibbons are from dwindling forests in Southeast Asia. “They’re losing their habitat because they are cutting down the forest for palm oil plantations, cafe, tea plantations, creating roads, hardwood for furniture.”
The Gibbon Center, founded in 1976 by Alan Mootnick, provides consulting services to zoos, museums and government agencies such as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and participates in all relevant species survival plans.
Entirely self taught, Mootnick spent 15 years caring for animals and studying captive primates before housing his first gibbon, according to the center’s website. He supported costs for the Gibbon Conservation Center by selling “personal assets” and running his own construction business until 1990 when it went non-profit.
He continued running the center until his deat
Flawed Indonesian captive breeding plan facilitates wildlife laundering
A new study has questioned the validity of Indonesia’s plan that allowed breeders to produce over four million animals in captivity for trade in 2016.
The Captive Breeding Production Plan (CBPP) establishes quotas for the species and number of mammals, reptiles and amphibians that can be bred by licenced commercial breeding farms in the country.
For 2016, the Plan applied to 13 captive breeding facilities, 129 mammal, reptile and amphibian species with a total of 4,273,029 animals to be produced through captive breeding.
However, a critical scrutiny of the Plan published today in Conservation Biology finds major flaws that permit the laundering of wild-caught animals into legal trade through falsely claiming they have been captive-bred.
Among the flaws highlighted in Biological parameters used in setting captive breeding quota for Indonesia’s breeding facilities, is the exaggerated inflation of the breeding capabilities of many animals—for one frog species the Plan sets a quota 67 times higher than the animal would have been able to produce naturally.
Researchers even found that quotas had been set for two species where no breeding stock was present in any of the country’s registered breeding facilities, nor did some quotas take into account how difficult it
The Top 10 Behaviours of Expert Animal Trainers by Steve Martin
Think of a trainer you recognize as an expert. Now, think of the characteristics that inspire you to call that person an expert. Is it the person’s knowledge, skills, charisma, confidence, reputation or … something else? This presentation will operationalize some of the most important characteristics that expert animal trainers exhibit, from my point of view.
We all know great trainers in our lives, people we look up to, admire, talk about favorably with others. But, how does a person earn that reputation as a great trainer? And, what separates a great trainer from an average trainer? To answer these questions, we need to start by operationalizing the construct “training skill.” What does a trainer do to earn a reputation and label of “Expert?”
Curators, managers, supervisors, veterinarians, directors and more would benefit from a description of the observable training skills of their staff. Since everyone’s training these days, how does a leader with no experience in training judge the skills of their staff? Because a person has read Don’t Shoot the Dog (a great resource by the way), has a whistle around their neck or a clicker in their hand, and uses jargon that confuses non- trainers, does not mean a person is a highly-skilled trainer. When a vet, curator or director watches a training session how are they to know skillful training when they see it? When the trainer tells them the animal is acting up, distracted by their presence, or messing with their minds, how does the director know the real problem isn’t the trainer encroaching on the animal’s personal space, unclear criteria, low rate of reinforcement, poor antecedent arrangement, or one of many other common training mistakes? For that matter, how does the trainer know?
Good training involves the artful application of scientific principles. As in other art forms, skill is a product of learning combined with practice. Where some people have developed their skill mostly by learning from their mistakes, others have benefitted from the guidance of knowledgeable and skilled mentors. As the training profession advances, there are increased opportunities to learn from mentors and other experts in the field through conferences and direct contact. However, animal training
Don’t get us wrong about rhinos says Environmental Affairs
Last Friday (June 30) the Department of Environmental Affairs issued a curious media statement in which it notes with concern what it terms the misrepresentation of facts associated with the international trade in rhino horn. It warns that this trade is prohibited in terms of the Convention on International Trade in Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES). As a case of slamming the gate after the horse has bolted, this is hard to beat.
In April this year the Constitutional Court upheld a High Court decision overturning a 2009 moratorium prohibiting the domestic trade in horn. This followed a successful application brought by rhino farmers challenging the moratorium. Environmental Affairs took the decision to the Constitutional Court and lost. The Department is now preparing legislation to ratify the trade.
The result of the ConCourt decision requires an unbanning of domestic rhino horn trade retrospective to 2009, opening the gate for charges against the department by farmers for restriction of trade and loss of earnings. How it came to this, in the face of massive rhino poaching (over 1 000 a year) and an international ban on cross-border trade and massive public support for rhinos is simply disastrous bungling by the department. The outcome was so startling that there have been questions raised about collusion between the department and rhino farmers.
The point, though, is why would anyone want to buy rhino horn if it could not be onsold illegally to dealers in Asia where it’s worth more per kilogram than gold or heroin? With sophisticated poaching syndicates running circles around highly trained military personnel in th
Muslim prayers at Quebec zoo upset some people
A Quebec zoo is defending itself after receiving criticism for allowing a group of Muslims to pray on its premises.
Parc Safari says it has been the subject of hateful and racist comments since a YouTube video was posted on Sunday showing the prayers.
A woman can be heard shouting, “we are too conciliatory,” while another says she is against prayers in public spaces.
Zoo management says the Muslims respected all the guidelines and would have been expelled had they not.
Parc Safari officials say the zoo is a multicu
Zoo workers strike but animals OK
The Pretoria Zoo has failed in a last-ditch bid to prevent a strike.
The National Trade Union Congress slapped a strike notice on the National Zoological Gardens of SA yesterday.
Zoo spokesman Craig Allenby said the notice warned that members of the union, which represents about 120 zoo workers, intended demonstrating and picketing after the expiry of the 48-hour notice period.
He said the dispute related to an agreement signed in 2009 between the zoo and its trade unions on the implementation of a seven-day working week.
"[The union] is demanding that the agreement be cancelled and employees be paid overtime for weekend work."
Management emphasised that the zoo - which attracts more than 150000 children annually - was a seven-days-a-week operation and it was impractical and financially impossible to meet the demands of the union.
Founded in 1899, the zoo is the largest and oldest in the country. It is home to more than 5000 animal species - many of the
Elephant MASSACRE: Tragedy as 720 tuskers killed in biggest ivory haul for decades
The 15,873lb shipment – valued at £7.1 million – was uncovered in Hong Kong, highlighting how the demand for “white gold” is as high as ever despite global attempts to smash the illegal ivory trade.
Customs officials discovered the tusks wrapped up with fish inside a 40-ft container shipped into the former British colony from Malaysia.
The seizure sent shockwaves through the conservation community with calls for tougher sentences for those behind an illegal trade killing 80,000 elephants a year.
Heather Sohl, Chief Advisor on Wildlife at WWF-UK said today: “This huge ivor
In South Africa, Lions Are Bred for Slaughter - and Volunteers Are Duped Into Helping
Images of magnificent lions appear on the computer screen. Their tremendous manes seem to be windblown. This is the menu, or shopping list, of a site that sells short hunting vacations in South Africa to hunters from around the world. The surfers are invited to choose the lion they find most impressive, mark it with the mouse and make a reservation. The company promises to provide the lion for a kill within a fenced-in, confined area. You can’t miss. The payoff comes fast. Who has time to waste these days, especially if you have money?
Hunting excursions in enclosed or confined areas, known as “canned hunting,” are organized down to the last detail and operate like a Swiss clock. The owners of the game farms who organize these safaris breed the lions especially for this purpose. The trophy hunters arrive tw
The Cheetah Man: Fota Director Sean McKeown on a life working with the wild bunch
Sean McKeown has an office view that dreams are made of. Floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the cheetah run at Fota Wildlife Park. Every so often one of them swaggers past the window, sometimes stopping to stare through the glass. There had been talk of a wall to border the cheetahs and the office building when Fota’s entrance was revamped in 2010, but the wildlife park’s director put a stop to that. The view he secured is only right for the person known in the industry as ‘The Cheetah Man’.
McKeown holds the stud book in Europe for the Northern cheetah, deciding if and when they should be bred in zoos around Europe. Under his watch, there has been a hugely successful cheetah breeding programme at Fota — to date, more than 200 have been born, the latest on May 29. The four cubs, two male and two female, went on view to the public for the first time last Thursday. It’s the second birth this year for mother Nimpy.
Cameras are positioned inside the den where the female gave birth. It’s to ensure the cubs, and mum, are safe and secure. The director has access to the camera feed on his phone, he shows me video after video of the cheetah caring for her young, admitting he has a soft spot for the breed.
But we are here to talk about another new addition to Fota Wildlife Park — the new tiger cub. It’s a rare feat for any zoo — just five or six litters of the Sumatran Tiger are born in captivity worldwide each year.
In the wild, the species is critically endangered, with current esti
Italy has its own subspecies of bear – but there are only 50 left
It’s hard to believe that just a few hours drive from Rome, a small population of bears has survived in isolation for thousands of years. They live in the Apennine mountains that run along the centre of Italy, where high peaks merge into woodland, lakes and pasture, with humans scattered in villages throughout.
These are brown bears (Ursus arctos), the most common and widespread of the eight bear species.
Brown bears can be found from the coldest coasts of Alaska to the relatively warmer mountains of Turkey, and right across Eurasia from Japan to Scandinavia.
Lynx could return to Britain this year after absence of 1,300 years
After an absence of 1,300 years, the lynx could be back in UK forests by the end of 2017. The Lynx UK Trust has announced it will apply for a trial reintroduction for six lynx into the Kielder forest, Northumberland, following a two-year consultation process with local stakeholders.
The secretive cat can grow to 1.5m in length and feeds almost exclusively by ambushing deer. Attacks on humans are unknown, but it was hunted to extinction for its fur in the UK. The Kielder forest was chosen by the trust from five possible sites, due to its abundance of deer, large forest area and the absence of major roads.
Sheep farmers and some locals are opposed to the reintroduction, but Dr Paul O’Donoghue, chief scientific advisor to the Lynx UK Trust and expert adviser to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) believes there are good reasons for reintroducing the predator.
Rx for orphan walrus calf: touch, massage, cuddle, repeat
Everybody needs a shoulder to lean on now and then. A walrus calf at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska, is getting one 24 hours per day.
Trained staff members, working in pairs, are touching, massaging and cuddling a calf all day and all night as part of its recuperation. The calf, estimated to be about 6 weeks old, was found last month without its mother several miles outside Nome.
Walrus are highly social and spend two years with their mothers, said Jennifer Gibbins, marketing and communications director for the center.
"They need constant contact," Gibbins said. "Part of the caregiving is providing that constant contact and tactile interaction.
The calf was spotted in mid-June on the deck of a mining barge. The walrus was still on the barge the next morning and the barge crew summoned wildlife experts.
The SeaLife Center is dedicated to marine research and education and features a public aquarium. It's the only facility in Alaska that holds a permit for marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation.
When the calf reached Seward on June 17, it weighed 120 pounds (54 kilograms) and was extremely lethargic.
"He was severely dehydrated," Gibbins said. "That was really th
Of snarls and scratches: Stories from zookeepers who care for dangerous beasts
There are few beasts in the world that fascinate and frighten us as much as the tiger. Even when we watch the majestic animal when it is within the confines of a cage, a shiver runs down the spine as it growls and fixes its fierce eyes on us.
But for 48-year-old Raman, one of the zookeepers at the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo, the tiger is an animal who can be a friend.
Around 9.30 am, Raman reaches the first cage and calls out, "George!". The response from his friend is immediate. "Grrrr!" growls George, as he puts his massive head out of the inner enclosure and strides out to the outer cage. On seeing Raman holding the water hose, George cannot contain his joy. He runs towards him with a huge roar, as if he's forgotten that there are iron bars between the two of them."Were you sleeping?" Raman asks George lovingly. "Come, let's take a bath!"
The great cat obediently sits, ready for a good splash.
Sprinkling water on George's head, Ra
VIDEO: Kai Palaoa To Governor – Sign Aquarium Life Bill
Kealoha Pisciotta of the Kai Palaoa group is adding her voice to the chorus urging Governor David Ige to sign Senate Bill 1240, a bill that would phase out aquarium fish collecting in Hawaii.
Gov. David Ige announced on June 23 that he intends to veto the bill because “there is concern that the science does not support the claims made by the bill. It will be premature to ban aquarium collection before doing the necessary studies.”
Pisciotta, a cultural practitioner with Mauna Kea Anaina Hou and Kai Palaoa, disagrees. She equates the aquarium with wildlife trafficking.
“Aquarium fish are actually our wildlife,” Pisciotta says. “Imagine if we just went out and we collected our w
Big cats could be released onto Dartmoor - and sheep farmers have big concerns
Plans to reintroduce lynx into the countryside have taken a step forward following a new license application, causing fresh concern among sheep farmers.
The Lynx Trust, which has long campaigned for the wild cats – once native to the British Isles – to be brought back, has recently applied for a license from Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage to reintroduce the animals.
Conservationists believe that such 're-wilding' efforts – currently focused in Scotland and Kielder Forest in Northumberland – could help to control the deer population, and be beneficial for farmers by reducing fox and badger numbers.
Monkey escapes at Woburn Safari Park not reported
A monkey escaped from its enclosure three times in a day and was not reported to the regulator.
The Barbary macaque got out of its pen at Woburn Safari Park but remained inside the Bedfordshire zoo's grounds.
The monkeys' exploits were only revealed after an anonymous letter to Central Bedfordshire Council, which issues the zoo's licence.
The zoo said the incident had "posed no
Jakarta zoo looking for female gorilla
Ragunan Zoo in South Jakarta is set to establish cooperation with a Japanese zoo to bring a female gorilla to the city.
Since 2002, Ragunan Zoo has acquired three male gorillas and the primates have now reached breeding age, said Jakarta Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat.
However, the zoo does not have any female gorillas.
"Now, they are 17 years old and ready for breeding. Hence, we are looking forward to cooperating with a Japanese zoo to barter a male for a female gorilla," Djarot said during a recent visit to the zoo, which charges entry fees of Rp 4,000 (30 US cents) for adults and Rp 3,000 for children.
Djarot, however, did not explain which Japanese zoo was being considered to cooperate with Ragunan Zoo.
Ragunan Zoo, which occupies 148 hectares of land, is home to 2,080 animals.
The zoo has an abundance of some animals, such as pelicans, elephants, orangutans and giraffes.
Its Sumatran tigers alone number 40.
To deal with the overpopulation issue, th
KILLING PILOT WHALES IN THE FAROE ISLANDS IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO!
Sea Shepard spread the above picture around the world. Their purpose was to make the Faroe people look like the cutthroat bloodthirsty butchers so the public would send Captain Paul Watson a few million dollars of tax-free money. However, before you send Sea Shephard one thin dime or judge the Faroe people, you need to know the truth.
The whole world eats and slaughters animals. The killing part ain't pretty. There is no beautiful or humane way to take an animal's life. However, circumstances might occur under which taking a life quickly can by justified versus allowing the animals to die a brutal, horrible death.
And don't forget, hundreds of thousands of lives are often lost during natural disasters. Do you blame Mother Nature or do you blame God when thousands of people die in a flood or an earthquake? I blame the stupid people for living in an earthquake or flood-prone zone. But can you blame poor people who can't afford to live anywhere els
Zoo Science for Keepers and Aquarists
Three gorillas escape from their den at Paignton Zoo
Three gorillas escaped from their den into a secure corridor at Paignton Zoo and caused thousands of pounds damage ripping apart water pipes, electrical wiring and ducts.
Experts initially considered closing the zoo because staff were unable to get to all three together to dart the escaped lowland gorillas, which each weigh up to 30 stone (teenage gorillas).
It was decided to leave the primates overnight on Friday in a secure corridor in the dens of the Ape Centre at Paignton Zoo. But they have left a trail of destruction behind which could take weeks to repair.
The CITES authority in the Netherlands reasserts Loro Parque in the Morgan case
It sounds absurd that after 7 years since Morgan appeared dying on the Dutch coast and five judicial pronouncements stated that her return to the sea would mean her death and her deafness has been proved, there are still organizations committed to denounce Loro Parque demanding her release. But that is a well-known strategy of some self-proclaimed animalistic groups: seeking the impact on the media and social networks to get attention and funds. Although they know perfectly well that Morgan has no chance of being released and that there is a firm sentence of the highest Dutch court that ratifies it since 2014.
The Free Morgan Foundation has got us used to the scandal strategy. They file a complaint against Loro Parque, they publish campaigns in the media creating social alarm and worrying honest people who love animals and so they obtain funds for their organization. But when the administrations dismiss and reject these allegations as unfounded they never recognize their mistake and never make it public. They do not even put negative resolutions on their website to acknowledge its members. That is fraud.
Reimagining Spaces for Animals: A Conversation with Jon Coe, Legendary Zoo Designer
Jon Coe has been at the cutting edge of zoo design since helping establish immersion habitats in the 1970s. Throughout the years he’s been the one to break the mold with revolutionary ideas for animal habitats: a space where gorillas live in a lush replication of the African rainforest, an African savanna where you can’t see other people looking out at the animals, animals such as tigers and orangutans rotating a series of habitats and even trails that let animals explore the entire zoo grounds. Coe has not only defined the art of habitat design but pushed zoos worldwide to continue to be innovative and create dynamic, enriching spaces for their animals. Here is his story.
Lion Country’s new owner plans to expand conservation, education at zoo
The founder of a Connecticut-based wildlife center, who also has ties to Wellington’s equestrian community, plans to buy Lion Country Safari in western Palm Beach County in a deal that is expected to be finalized during the third quarter of the year.
Marcella Leone, founder and director of the nonprofit Leo Zoological Conservation Center in Greenwich, Conn., has “agreed to purchase America’s first cage-less zoo,” Lion Country said Tuesday in a news release announcing the impending sale.
Money Over Morals: Colombia’s Conservation Failure
*This article would have been published in the next few weeks. However, it is being published ahead of schedule and without being entirely complete due to the recent, savage, and completely FALSE public accusations made by Eduardo Serio of Black Jaguar White Tiger against a heroic young woman who sought to help us and others take a stand against Serio, his lies and his abuse.
Somewhere in Colombia, six lions live in dilapidated circus carriages, the bars eaten with rust, the floors partially rotting. Four lionesses exist cramped together in one, two males in the other. They languish, the distasteful reminder of a country that tried to take a step forward in conservation by banning animal acts in circuses, but failed to consider the lives of the animals they were supposedly protecting. When Colombia made it illegal to utilize animal acts in circuses, it did so without having any feasible way to care for the hundreds of animals suddenly made homeless by their own policies. There was, and remains, scant documentation on the precise number of animals owned by circuses before the ban, or the number of ani
Let's Get Some Shoes
Something happened to me a few days ago that inspired this week’s blog (with a little encouragement from Suzanne Smith...thank you!). This event was both puzzling and frustrating, but it lead to some really great memories as I thought about which ones to populate this entry with.
So what happened? Well, someone stole my flip flops.
Court upholds gun ban at zoo
A St. Louis Circuit Court judge ruled Monday that the zoo has the right to ban guns.
The ruling makes a temporary ban that was issued in 2015 permanent. In 2015, gun rights activist Jeff Smith said he planned to lead a group of armed people into the zoo, challenging the zoo’s gun policy.
After Monday’s ruling, the zoo released the foll
Talking Turtles II: WCS Discovers More Turtles That Talk
Scientists from WCS and other groups have found that the pig-nosed turtle (Carettochelys insculpta) has joined a select group of chatty chelonians that can vocalize. The researchers recorded 182 simple calls from seven individuals in the wild and in a private breeding facility and found that the turtles communicate with each other while feeding, basking, and nesting.
The researchers published their study in the journal Copeia. Authors include Camila Ferrara, Aquatic Turtle Specialist for WCS; Richard Vogt of the Instituto Nacional de Pequisas da Amazônia; Carla Eisemberg of Char
500kg of rhino horn up for grabs as South African breeder hosts first ever online global auction
The world’s biggest rhino breeder has announced plans to sell part of his massive stockpile of horns in a global online auction‚ sparking concern that this could undermine the 40- year-old international ban on rhino horn trading.
Billed as the world’s first “legal rhino horn auction”‚ the three-day sale is scheduled for midday on August 21.
South African businessman and game rancher John Hume‚ who has nearly 1‚500 rhinos at his game farm in the North West‚ has a stockpile of nearly six tons of horns that he wants to sell. This after he won a series of court battles earlier this year to overturn the eight-year-old moratorium on the domestic sale of rhino horns.
Hume – along with other private rhino breeders — has been removing horns from his herd for several years. The animals are anaesthetised and the top section of the horn removed so that they can regrow naturally as part of a “bloodless‚ horn-harvesting” operation.
In an attempt to halt the unrelenting slaughter of rhinos in Africa and Asia by poaching syndicates‚ a ban on the international sale of rhino horns came into force in 1977 by member states of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). This was followed by a 2009 ban on the sale of rhino horns within South Africa that coincided with an unprecedented spike in horn poaching.
Now that Hume has overturned the moratorium on domestic sales within South Africa‚ he plans to sell 500kg of horns in an online auction
Ever Heard of “The Window of Opportunity”?
Right at this moment I’m in a dilemma if I should train the next 2 weeks for a triathlon. The race is called IronMan, it’s a big triathlon race. I’m not able to do a full one but half should be ok, although that’s what I think. The hardest part is that 2,5 weeks is not a lot of time to train for a 1,9km swim, 90km cycle and 21km run so decisions have to be made to do it yes or no. My window is not very big due to the time that I need for myself to practise. If I’m to late deciding I might not go full into my practises for this race. It’s kind of a condition test for myself but let’s see.
But let’s talk a bit more about decisions… We make many decisions in our life time, some good and some bad. Some will be quick and some will be super slow. Why are some decisions slower and others quicker? If we have a lot of time to decide, us as people will take this time till the last second where we have to decide. If we get a particular option and have to decide we will decide right away, this decision connects to the consequence we get afterwards. For example, I’m doubting about my decision for this IronMan challenge because I’m not forced to make a decision yet. I don’t mean forced in a bad wa
Singapore Zoo turns 44: Milestones of the popular attraction
On June 27, 44 years ago, the Singapore Zoo was officially opened by then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Goh Keng Swee.
It has become one of the country's most notable attractions, and now attracts some 1.7 million visitors each year. It houses more than 2,800 animals from over 300 species of mammals, birds, and reptiles.
It has also become one of the world's best rainforest zoos.
DEA 'ignores' concerns over lion bone trade
The South African Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has blatantly ignored public opinion by formally approving the export of 800 lion skeletons to Asia this year. This in spite of international condemnation from conservationists and local stakeholders.
The numbers of African free-range lions have declined alarmingly over the last few decades with only 20,000 remaining today, down from 30,000 just two decades ago.
“It is irresponsible to establish policy that could further imperil wild lions,” said Dr. Paul Funston, Senior Director of Panthera’s Lion Program earlier this year when the DEA first proposed its plans.
However, the DEA says the export will only be from captive-bred lions which is legal under the Convention in the Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). Lions in South Africa are listed under Appendix II, which means their products can be traded internationally - but only “if the trade will not be detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild.”
The DEA believes that the sale from captive-bred lions will reduce the Asian appetite for wild lion parts from a growing market for exotic products such as tiger-bone wine. Lion bones have lately been sold off as tiger bones, since the latter has become extremely rare.
But, says Funston: “South Africa’s lion breeding industry makes absolutely no positive contribution to conserving lions and, indeed, further imperils them.
In 2016, according to Panthera, 90% of lion carcasses found in the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique all had their skulls, teeth, and claws removed while rates of poisoning lions specifically for bones increased dramatic
Role of zoos is conservation, zoo veterinarians say
Among those who share this perspective are Drs. Scott Larsen, president of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians; Mike Adkesson, AAZV president-elect; and Sharon L. Deem, president of the American College of Zoological Medicine.
Some people believe wild animals don’t belong in zoos. Dr. Larsen, vice president for veterinary medicine at the Denver Zoo, said, "There’s a lot of public sentiment that for zoos to continue to exist, they need to be involved with conservation. They need to be very focused on animal welfare and enrichment, providing quality lives for these animals as individuals and as ambassadors for their species in the wild, and enlightening people about conservation issues."
Most zoo professionals feel strongly about the message they’re sending and the welfare of the animals, Dr. Larsen said. "It’s not just ‘Are we patching up lacerations o
Zoo veterinarians, behind the scenes and in the field
A flurry of activity surrounded Kasha, an Amur leopard, as he lay, intubated and anesthetized, on an examining table.
A veterinary technician cleaned the big cat’s teeth, including his long canines. Two veterinarians in training programs took a blood sample from a hind limb. Dr. Mike Adkesson listened to the leopard’s heart.
Kasha was undergoing a routine full work-up at the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The zoo has seven veterinarians on staff: Dr. Adkesson, vice president of clinical medicine for the Chicago Zoological Society, which operates the zoo; three other clinical veterinarians who are specialists in zoological medicine, one also an anesthesiologist; a clinical resident; a post-residency anesthesiology fellow; and a radiologist.
Although the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians dates to 1946, and the American College of Zoological Medicine to 1983, having multiple vete
PhD student first Malaysian to get UK award for hornbill research
THE floor of the dense forest off the Kinabatangan River in Sabah is the playground for Ravinder Kaur, who maps her grid in search of natural cavities for hornbills among the thickets of the big trees.
She eats, sleeps and breathes hornbills, and for good reason too, as she and her team have just been honoured with the 2017 Future Conservationist Award by UK-based Conservation Leadership Programme, the only Malaysian to receive the award for 2017.
Her hornbill project is a long-term commitment towards building artificial nesting boxes for hornbills and studying the nest-hole crisis.
Her focus is now on Kinabatangan, in Sandakan, Sabah. It is a degraded forest, she said, as there was a lack of big trees, but it is also a regenerating forest.
“We find bigger species of hornbills living here,” she said, referring to the Rhinoceros and Helmeted H
Brexit threatens to clip the wings of UK butterfly exporter
That is the concern of Richard Lamb, general manager of the Stratford Butterfly Farm in Stratford-upon-Avon, which bills itself as “the UK’s largest tropical butterfly paradise”. It has its own zoo-like attractions, which the company says draws about 150,000 visitors a year. It also supplies butterflies for similar parks around the world. Last year, Stratford sold £1.2m worth of pupae, around 750,000, about half in the EU. “We’re a good business,” Mr Lamb says.
Yet, depending on the fine details of the UK’s exit deal with the EU, Mr Lamb fears Brexit could “wipe out” a large chunk of his business, and threaten the livelihood of his far-flung suppliers. “All arou
Japan’s oldest aquarium-born sea otter celebrates 21st birthday with ‘ice cake’
The oldest aquarium-born sea otter in Japan celebrated her 21st birthday Wednesday, in an event highlighted by a colorfully decorated cake made of ice given to her at an Osaka aquarium.
Having reached an age thought to be equivalent to over 80 human years, the sea otter, Pata, was handed the cake at a poolside by visitors chosen for the event at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, where she has spent her whole life.
Pata then returned to the water and ate the cake while floating. The birthday gift — a special version of the ice blocks she receives every day as a treat — had “icing” on top which was shaped like a fish and a heart, and brightly colored in green, orange, yellow and blue.
Visitors at the event also cheered and took photos to mark the occasion. Pata is the oldest of the 12 sea otters kept at aquariums in Japan, which had been home to 122 of the northern species i
China’s terrible zoos and why they’re still thriving
A donkey thrown into a tiger enclosure to be eaten alive. A brown bear so malnourished it looks like a bag of bones. Siberian tigers so obese they were mocked by visitors. A crocodile living alongside piles of rubbish in a dried-up pond, and a snake lying dead in its tank, unnoticed by its keeper.
How One Zoo Helped Save the Mountain Gorilla
Imagine sitting on the ground in a clearing in Africa and having a group of gorillas saunter over to you. That was Charlene Jendry’s first experience with the endangered mountain gorillas of Rwanda in 1992. “The females, who were carrying babies on their backs, came over and touched me,” recalls Jendry, then a gorilla keeper at Ohio’s Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on her first trip to Karisoke Research Center, established by primatologist Dian Fossey of Gorillas in the Mist fame, inside Volcanoes National Park. “Their mouths were so close I could feel their breath.”
For someone who cared for gorillas in a zoo but had never seen them in the wild, this was the manifestation of a dream—especially since the number of the endangered species she met, the mountain gorilla, had dwindled to around 250.
“It was amazing and magical,” says Jendry. “I went out in the park to visit the gorillas every day.”
One night the dream took a terrifying turn. Park patrolmen radioed to say they had shot three gorilla poachers. Two were dead but they were bringing one critically wounded poacher to the camp for emergency treatment. Jendry and her campmates, none of whom were medical doctors, scrambled to provide first aid for someone who was illegally hunting the very gorillas they were trying to save. As they worked to keep him from going into s
Thailand's thriving industry in crocodile farms
Thailand is home to some of the world's biggest crocodile farms, where tourists can see the giant creatures lounging in the hot sun, chomping on chicken, or swarming in emerald green pools.
Some 1.2 million crocodiles are kept on more than 1,000 farms in Thailand, according to figures from the Thai department of fisheries. Some are equipped with slaughterhouses and tanneries to produce luxury products.
Sri Ayuthaya Crocodile Farm is one of Thailand's biggest, and has been operating for 35 years.
"We're an all-in-one farm, creating jobs for the people, creating income for the country," said Wichian Rueangnet, the owner of Sri Ayuthaya, which has an estimated 150,000 crocodiles.
Sri Ayuthaya is registered with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), allowing it to legally export products made from the critically endangered Siamese freshwater crocodile. One of its top buyers is China.
"We do everything from raising crocodiles to slaughtering, tanning and exporting crocodile products," Wichian said.
Crocodile leather products include Birkin-style handbags, which sell for up to 80,000 baht ($2,358) each, and crocodile leather suits, which fetch around 200,000 baht ($5,894), Wichian said.
Crocodile meat is sold for as much as 300 baht per kg (2.2 lb). The bile and blood of the reptile, made into pills because they are believed to have health benefits, are worth 40,000 baht
Rare animals among body count at Scottish zoos
More than 900 creatures in the care of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) died in captivity last year, including several hundred rare snails bred for conservation.
Figures released by the charity, which runs the 82-acre Edinburgh Zoo and a wildlife park in the Scottish Highlands, show that about 25 animals were put down on health grounds.
Dozens more perished within weeks of birth, among them several animals designated as under threat by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red List.
They included a female socorro dove, which is extinct in the wild; four cotton-top tamarins and three visayan warty pigs (both critically endangered species); a barbary macaque and two painted hunting d
Leigh Clayton, Director of Animal Health at the National Aquarium, speaks about being an aquarium veterinarian. Listen to the PODCAST.