Zoo News Digest March-April 2009
Ministry orders halt to elephant exports
Newspaper section: NewsElephant exports will be suspended for at least five years until a new registration process for the captive beasts is complete, says the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.
Better records on elephants born on farms are needed, including new ID cards, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti said yesterday.
"We decided not to export any more elephants until we have a better system to prove that the beasts we send overseas are from farms, not from forests," Mr Suwit said.
"This can help protect them from poaching."
The process would take at least five years.
The Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has estimated that there are 3,000 elephants living in the wild and another 3,000 on farms.
Poachers take elephants from the wild and domesticate them so they can be traded legally at home or sent overseas.
The present ID system and DNA checks cannot stop poachers taking
Gang convicted of stealing ostriches
A court in Vietnam has convicted 29 people of stealing dozens of ostriches, porcupines, pythons and other animals from enclosures at animal centres and selling their meat to restaurants.
"They confessed and repented for their crimes, so the court gave them reduced sentences," said Le Thi Huong, chairwoman of the People's Court of the southern province of Dong Nai.
The leader of the group, Huynh Van Khau, was sentenced to five years in prison, while 28 other defendants got one and two years in prison.
According to the indictment, Khau and his accomplices stole captive wild animals from authorised wild animal centres on over 30 occasions. The centres, located in Ho Chi Minh City and neighbouring provinces, were licensed to raise animals for research.
Khau's group was convicted of stealing 10 crocodiles, 43 pythons, 25 porcupines, 17 ostriches, three bears and several other animals.
They then sold the animals to restaurants, netting nearly 0.5 billion dong ($A39,194).
A military court already sentenced Khau to 9-1/2 years in prison in 2007 for stealing and killing a tiger from the Centre for Medicine Research and Production of Military Zone Number 9.
The Vietnamese national health
Pig suckles baby tigers at Thailand zoo
A Thai zoo hoping to tame its tigers is letting a sow suckle a pair of cubs, while a tigeress takes care of some of her piglets.
The bizarre arrangement at the Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Chonburi is intended to accustom the prey and predators to one another, and make the tigers more docile, officials say.
It has also drawn thousands of tourists to the zoo, located some 80 km (50 miles) east of Bangkok.
"It is to calm the tigers' fierce behavior because the pig will not teach them to hunt or be wild. The pig will only lie down and feed them, so that could help calm their fierceness," said veterinarian Soonthon Kamvisek.
In one room, a two-year-old pig named Ple allows the tiger cubs to suckle along with her piglets. In the next room, the cubs' mother nuzzles six little pigs.
Both surrogate mothers are loving to their little ones and never push the babies away when they are hungry.
"It is weird as I have never seen it anywhere else before. It shows that whether they are pigs to tigers, they can still live together," said visitor Nanthiga Sangchan.
The zoo has successfully bred at least 50 tiger
Zoo project may be saved
A stalled £100 million leisure and heritage scheme in the heart of Dudley, including a revamp for the town's zoo, could be saved by a new investment deal, it has been revealed today.
Dudley Council Leader David Caunt said the authority was on the brink of an agreement with Advantage West Midlands for "several million pounds".
If agreed, the new contract would help to resurrect the Castle Hill plans which feature a £10m package for Dudley Zoo including a mini version of Cornwall's Eden Project.
Talks between the council and developer St Modwen broke down in February putting the project in jeopardy. It had been feared it could take up to two years to select a new developer and get the ambitious scheme off the ground.
But Councillor Caunt said talks about setting up a "venture partnership" between AWM and the council along with
Ape escapes in Dutch zoo, no visitors hurt
Separated from his mother and confronted by a group of angry pregnant females, a bonobo ape didn't hesitate Thursday at a Dutch zoo.
Zamba ran through a 23-foot -wide moat surrounding the animals' island at the Apenheul zoo and straight into an area where dozens of shocked visitors were standing.
But there, the 11-year-old lived up to his species' reputation as peacenik primates and left the public alone until zookeepers ushered him safely back into captivity.
Nobody was injured in the Thursday morning escape, said Bert de Boer, a spokesman for the zoo in the central city of Apeldoorn.
There was no panic, De Boer said.
Bonobos — often lauded as the peaceful ape — are known for their matriarchal society in which female leaders work to avoid conflict, and
Lion Man caged by his mother in bitter feud at park
THE FEUD between Craig Busch and his mother, Patricia Busch, over management of the Zion Wildlife Gardens is so heated the Lion Man now has to phone his mum every time he, his partner and their visitors want to come and go from the lion park.
On Wednesday, Craig's lawyer, Wayne Peters, asked High Court judge Justice Paul Heath to prevent any moves by Patricia to stop her son and new partner from leaving or re-entering their house, which is in the middle of the park, and just 10m from her home.
Craig who shot to international stardom through his Lion Man TV series also sought an interim injunction against Patricia and associated companies listed as Country Developments Ltd, Wildlife Pictures Ltd and Primal Productions Ltd for allegedly breaking agreements in 2006 and 2007.
A hearing has been scheduled for Friday in the High Court at Whangarei.
Craig has been locked in an increasingly bitter and public dispute with Patricia, who is now running the Whangarei park with the help of former Auckland Zoo chief Glen Holland, whom she hired to replace her son.
In Heath's oral judgement Patricia's lawyer, Gilbert Walker, said "no steps will be taken to eject" Craig and his partner from their home before an Employment Relations Authority ruling expected to happen some time after Friday's interim injunction hearing.
Peters also asked for orders to allow Craig's friends, medical staff and lawyers access to the house. Craig is recovering from an operation.
Heath said he was satisfied that orders were required, but
Secrecy shrouds San Diego elephants' move
Ranchipur, the bull, is ready. Cookie and Mary are getting there.
Cha Cha, well, she's always been the idiosyncratic one, the youngest and a bit flighty.
Soon, Ranchipur and the three females -- Asian elephants all -- will transfer from the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park to the zoo itself. The exact day and time of the move is a closely held secret.
The four will be stars in the zoo's largest and most expensive exhibit: the $45-million Harry and Grace Steele Elephant Odyssey, 7 1/2 acres with 30 species, including jaguars and California condors.
Four years in the planning, the exhibit will have its grand opening May 23.
But before Ranchipur and his harem can wow visitors, they have to be driven along the winding roads that connect the Wild Animal Park to
Thousands of dolphins block Somali pirates
Thousands of dolphins blocked the suspected Somali pirate ships when they were trying to attack Chinese merchant ships passing the Gulf of Aden, the China Radio International reported on Monday.
The Chinese merchant ships escorted by a China's fleet sailed on the Gulf of Aden when they met some suspected pirate ships. Thousands of dolphins suddenly leaped out of water between pirates and merchants when the pirate ships headed for the China's.
The suspected pirates ships stopped and then turned away. The pirates could only lament their littleness befor the vast number of dolphins. The spectacular
Two wild Tigers get 'Lifetime Achievement Award'
Travel Operators for Tigers (TOFT) Lifetime Achievement Awards will be made on Friday night to Ranthambhore's famous tigress Machali and Bandavgarh's celerity male Tiger, known as B2 (or Sundar) in recognition of their star pulling power in Ranthambhore and Bandavgarh Tiger Reserves.
The two tigers - though not personally accepting the awards - with be given the prize at the launch of the TOFT Wildlife Tourism Awards, being held at the British High Commissioner's Residence in Delhi.
"They are multi-million dollar earners but it isn't a business award they are being given but an environmental one" says TOFT founder, Julian Matthews.
"Machali herself earns as much
38 animals die in fire at Calif. wildlife refuge
Officials say a fire swept through a building at a California wildlife refuge, killing 38 animals including monkeys and birds.
An electrical malfunction likely caused the Thursday morning blaze at the Zoo to You refuge in Paso Robles.
The nonprofit's education director, Anita Jackson, says the converted one-story home was engulfed in flames when she arrived. It took firefighters 15 minutes to contain the blaze.
The group takes in rescued animals, hosts school visits and conducts other educational programs.
Among the animals that died was a 50-year-old Macaque monkey named
Charity launched to save Scottish wildcat from extinction
A CHARITY was launched yesterday to help save the Scottish wildcat amid fears it might be extinct in five years.
The Scottish Wildcat Association (SWA) has been registered as a charity dedicated to protecting the predator whose numbers, it claims, have dropped to fewer than 400. The group attacked Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), which it said has been "paralysed by inertia", despite an action plan being launched to save the cats five years ago.
The wildcat was once widespread throughout Europe, Asia and Africa but is now extinct in many countries. Its decline in Britain began in the early 1800s and it disappeared from England and Wales by 1862, leaving Scotland as its last mainland
ProFauna Calls for Indonesian Government's Action to Stop Elephant and Tiger Poaching in Sumatera
Two elephants were ironically killed near Elephant Conservation Center in Sumatera. Government must take action to curb the killing leading to ivory tusk illegal trade.
Elephant and Tiger poaching in Sumatera get more rampant. ProFauna Indonesia, a wildlife protection organization in Indonesia, records the recent deaths
Colony of rare red squirrels discovered in remote Welsh forest
A remote part of Wales is home to the last remaining colony of rare red squirrels, conservationists have discovered.
Since the introduction of the American grey squirrel in the 19th century, numbers of reds have declined after their colonies were forced to retreat.
But new evidence suggests that the red squirrels of the Tywi Valley in the Cambrian Mountains of Mid Wales are among the purest left in Britain, thanks to a unique genetic code.
Dr Lizzie Wilberforce of The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales said: 'Visually they are no different to any other red squirrels.
'But their genotypes have never been found anywhere else - they have a Welsh red squirrel gene which tells us that they are unique
California Condor Nest Discovered in Mexico
Wearing a backpack filled with candling equipment and a harness, Juan Vargas, San Diego Zoo field biologist, rappelled 330 feet down a rocky cliff on the hunt for a rare and precious egg in Mexico's wilderness.
On Wednesday, April 8, Vargas braved the heights and found the precious egg nestled in a cavity in the Sierra San Pedro de Martir National Park in Baja California, Mexico. It is only the third egg to be
Rare discovery indicates hope for Yangtze alligators
Just 120 Yangtze alligators (Alligator sinensis) remain in the wild in China, making them the world's most endangered crocodilian species.
But now field researchers have higher hopes for the survival of the species, after finding that it is not only extending its habitat but also successfully breeding. The survey team found alligator tracks in areas where the species has not been found for many years, and "We have for the first time found wild baby alligators," Wang Chaolin, deputy director of the Chinese Alligators Protection Nature Reserve in east China's Anhui Province, told China's Xinhua news service this weekend. "Normally their survival rate is only 2 percent. The finding of the infants indicates
World's endangered bears to star in feature-length film
Ecologist Chris Morgan is taking his BMW motorcycle on a journey to four continents in search of the world's endangered bears _ an epic adventure that's being made into a feature-length documentary called "Beartrek."
The goal isn't just to show the bears in their habitat, stunning as the wild coast of Katmai, Alaska, and the rainforest canopy of Borneo, Malaysia, may be when shot in high definition.
The idea is to raise money for conservation efforts by selling audiences on why wild bears in wild places should matter to people, to spin an entertaining tale that will do for conservation what
Sacramento Zoo's new carousel to feature dung beetle chariot
Carousels make memories of lilting music, colorful horses and twirling dung beetles.
Dung beetles? This is not your grandfather's carousel.
On the new Sacramento Zoo carousel, several unorthodox choices – including the dung beetle – will carry riders round and round.
The carousel, being assembled this week, will open May 20. Rides will cost $2.
SPCA to probe Vancouver zoo zebra deaths
Four zebras who died within days of each other after two buffaloes were introduced to their enclosure at the Greater Vancouver Zoo succumbed to exertional myopathy, a muscle disease that occurs when animals are chased or stressed.
"(Zoo officials) released the cape buffaloes into the enclosure where the zebras were and immediately the zebras started running around and stressing out, busting through fencing, and one ended up in a pond," said Eileen Drever, an animal protection officer
Global response to kangaroo plight
An international rescue operation has been launched to help a baby kangaroo.
Baby Tijana fell from her pouch after her mother was startled by an emu at Belgrade zoo in Serbia.
Mum wouldn't let the tiny kangaroo climb back in, so she is now being cared for in an incubator and is being fed with special milk donated
Giant frogs flown from Caribbean island to save them from extinction
A dozen giant frogs have been airlifted from a Caribbean island to save them from extinction.
The endangered mountain chicken frog was being killed off by a deadly fungal disease and was rescued in a joint mission by the Zoological Society of London and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.
A total of 50 frogs have been saved after it was found frogs on the island were being wiped out by chytridiomycosis. Hundreds of died in the last few weeks
Dr Andrew Cunningham, a senior ZSL scientist, says: "Chytridiomycosis has already decimated the mountain chickens
Palm Beach Zoo opens animal-care complex
State-of-the-art animal-care complex is opened at Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park
It's a state-of-the-art facility outfitted with diagnostic laboratories, radiology, surgical rooms and an intensive-care unit.
It's nearly good enough to treat humans, but the new eco-friendly building will treat the more than 1,600 residents at the 23-acre Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park.
"It's Earth Day and a wonderful time to dedicate ourselves to science and conservation," Terry Maple, president and CEO of the zoo, said
Save Chinas Tigers
More Zimbabwe rhinos dying to poachers
Activists call 'growing Asian footprint' one reason for decline
Conservationists are raising the alarm for Zimbabwe's rare rhinos after a sharp increase in poaching because of a breakdown of law enforcement in this troubled southern African country.
Organized criminal gangs kill rhinos to sell the valuable horn that is used as a traditional medicine in Asia and carved for ceremonial dagger handles in the Middle East, Raoul du Toit, head of southern Zimbabwe's Lowveld Rhino Trust, said in a telephone conference call with reporters.
Zimbabwe's rhino population declined from about 830 in 2007 to 740 at the end of 2008 despite an excellent birth rate in monitored herds, London-based Save
UC Davis to join research, treatment of endangered mountain gorillas
UC Davis veterinarians soon will begin researching and treating some remarkable patients: the extremely endangered wild mountain gorillas of central Africa.
The university on Thursday announced a collaboration between its Wildlife Health Center and the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, which is working to conserve the world's remaining 740 mountain gorillas that live in the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda, Uganda and Congo.
With $750,000 in funding from the
Rescued Turtle Number Quadruples
When an 8kg turtle now known as Cracky missing its tail and the rear part of its shell came onto Dubai's shores, it was brought to the turtle rehabilitation unit at Burj Al Arab to recover where the number of recuperating turtles quadrupled this year.
Cracky's injuries, the result of a suspected fight with a shark, are an anomaly. While the rehabilitation centre has seen turtles with traumatic injuries, most notably one named Dibba with damage to its head, the majority brought to Burj Al Arab (BAA) are weak from cold winter water temperatures.
The Arabian Gulf normally provides a warm habitat for the turtles to feed and nest, but when the temperatures fall, some turtles, particularly ones less than a year old, go into shock, becoming almost immobile.
When they stop moving, barnacles grow on their shells, weigh them down and make feeding difficult.
"We have to jump in the tank and we have to force feed them," said David Robinson, an aquarist with Burj Al Arab said. "That's 90 per cent of the battle."
The aquarium received 87 turtles this year, 84 of which were the endangered hawksbill turtles. According to data published by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), there are just8,000 breeding female hawksbills left
in the world.
While the marine environment off Dubai's shores has undergone massive changes in recent years, the environmentalists and aquarists working with the rehabilitati
Rescued endangered dolphin tagged and released
An Indus River Dolphin -- nicknamed Musafir (traveler) by the staff that found it -- was rescued, tagged and successfully returned to the Indus River near Sukkur Barrage, Pakistan, by the World Wide Fund for Nature–Pakistan, in collaboration with the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) and the Sindh Wildlife Department. A young male, Musafir is two-and-a-half-years old, weighs 18 kilogrammes and measures 118 centimetres in length. He was found trapped in Mirwah Canal emerging from Sukkur Barrage, Pakistan, by staff members from the Sindh Wildlife Department in January 2009. Soon after Musafir was found, a rescue operation was organised by the WWF-Pakistan in collaboration with the Environmental Agency-Abu Dhabi and the Sindh Wildlife Department. An initial medical assessment was done by recording the condition of his teeth, mouth, the colour of mucous membranes, and signs of external injuries http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/09/04/26/10307816.html
They say it's just a zoo
HULU TERENGGANU: The development of the pheasant sanctuary here has drawn mixed reactions from conservationists. Malaysian Nature Society Terengganu chapter vice-chairman Anuar Abdullah McAfee said the bird sanctuary should emulate the Kota Kinabalu City Bird Sanctuary, which was within city limits, and where migrant and resident birds could be found. The public can venture into the Sabah sanctuary to observe the birds, which are not caged or restricted."The Ajil Pheasant Park attracts many visitors. It is breeding and will hopefully reintroduce species once found here but it is a small area holding captive birds for public viewing," he said. Conservationist Lim Aun Tiah said a sanctuary must provide free movement. Although the enclosures in the park were reasonably big, the pheasants were still restricted.Singapore National Biodiversity Centre National
Animals and money: Bronx Zoo lays off hundreds of 'unpopular' animals
The Bronx Zoo, the largest city zoo in the country, is facing a $15 million shortfall, and so hundreds of animals are being evicted. It's a real loss. The 114-year-old zoo, run by the Wildlife Conservation Society, is getting rid of animals based partly on which ones are popular with its 2.1 million annual visitors. That means four exhibits and a whole slew
San Diego Zoo adding $45-million Elephant Odyssey
Visitors to the San Diego Zoo's Elephant Odyssey habitat will travel back in time to explore the ancestors of animals that roamed California 10,000 years ago or more.Opening May 23, the new $45-million pachyderm playground brings together the zoo's three elephants with four from its sister Wild Animal Park into a single herd. The elephants' new home features a 2.5-acre yard, a 120,000-gallon pool and a medical facility where visitors can watch zookeepers and veterinarians feed and care for the massive animals.In an adjacent 4.5-acre area of the new habitat, a series of secondary exhibits showcase lions, jaguars, wild horses and camels in naturalistic environments, while smaller habitats house pond turtles, rattlesnakes, tree sloths and dung beetles.The new exhibit also marks the return of the
Zoo chief meets a star guest of future
HIS visit may have lasted only a couple of minutes, but Adelaide Zoo chief Chris West was yesterday thrilled to have been allowed to sit down with one of the two pandas in China earmarked to spend the next decade at his Australian menagerie.Speaking from the Bifengxia panda centre in Sichuan, Dr West told The Australian it had been "hugely exciting" to see the giant bears ahead of their move to his zoo in September. "It now feels real to be here in panda country and know they're well," Dr West said. The giant pandas, among the world's rarest animals, will be coming to Australia as part of an international breeding and conservation program. It is the first time pandas will have been lent to an Australian zoo for a long-term stay, after two giant pandas spent three months in Melbourne and Sydney
Forest Dept plans tiger safari park in Malabar Sanctuary
A major ploy for setting up a Nature Conservation Park and a Tiger Safari Park within a reserve forest is taking shape in the inner circles of the Forest Department.The safari park, which is to be built inside the proposed Malabar Sanctuary in the Kozhikode Forest Division by flouting norms, has the support of Forest Minister Benoy Viswom.Tiger safari is one of the 16 projects under an umbrella project - Nature Conservation Park.The Rs 24-crore project is to come up in 115 hectares of land inside the proposed Malabar
Rare Otago skinks to be bred in wildlife park
A major step in protecting the genetic diversity of a critically endangered western Otago skink has been taken with the transfer of five skinks to a specialist wildlife park in Christchurch.
The juvenile skinks are the first from the population of 40 at Awa Nohoaka Conservation Area, near Lake Hawea, to be transferred to captivity.
Department of Conservation ranger Lesley Judd said this group's genetic signature differed from that of the larger eastern Otago population at Macraes Flat, and they were living in an unprotected area vulnerable to predators such as stoats, rats and mice.
"The transfer is a major step towards protecting the genetic diversity of this vulnerable species."
Their new home is at Peacock Springs Wildlife Park, a predator-proof breeding facility which is also home to tuatara, black stilts and orange-fronted parakeets.
The Lady Diana Isaac Wildlife
£20m of ivory seized as poachers return to their prey
The decision to allow a sale of ivory to China and Japan could be fuelling a rise in smuggling, reports Cahal Milmo
Investigators have seized £20m worth of illegal ivory in south-east Asia in the past six weeks, including the third largest haul of elephant tusks on record, The Independent has learnt.
Customs officials in Vietnam last month discovered 1,200 sections of tusks from up to 900 elephants, weighing 6.23 tonnes, hidden inside a consignment of waste plastic which had been sent from the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam.
Conservation bodies said that poaching in countries from Kenya and Tanzania to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan is reaching levels not seen since a global ban on ivory sales was imposed in 1989 and was placing the remaining wild elephant
Eco-Islam: Malaysia's Imams to preach against poaching
Malaysia's Muslim preachers have been enlisted in the fight for wildlife conservation, using passages from the Koran to raise awareness and help protect some of the world's most endangered species.
After a successful campaign last year, when more than 400 mosques in the state of Terengganu held sermons focusing on turtle conservation issues, WWF decided to extend the project to support efforts to tackle poaching.
The conservation group is running workshops for local imams, explaining the importance of wildlife protection.
"There are several passages within the Koran which talk about the responsibility of humans in protecting our environment and wildlife," said Umi A' Zuhrah from the Tiger Conservation Programme at WWF-Malaysia.
"Religious leaders are
Jenny the elephant debate to grow even bigger with billboard campaign
The plight of Jenny the elephant just got a lot bigger.
About 14 feet by 48 feet, to be exact.
Concerned Citizens for Jenny, a group that wants the Dallas Zoo's 32-year-old elephant sent to a sanctuary, has posted six billboards in the area, from Garland to Greenville Avenue.
The billboards differ slightly from one another,, but each shows a photo of Jenny, her trunk flung over a gray wall at the
An assessment of trade in gibbons and orang-utans in Sumatra, Indonesia
Orangutans threatened by illegal pet trade
Orangutans are still being captured for pets in Indonesia, further threatening the survival of the critically endangered great apes, conservationists said Thursday, blaming poor law enforcement.
The wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC — using data from rehabilitation centers as an indicator for the trend — said rapid deforestation poses the biggest danger to the estimated 7,300 Sumatran orangutans left in the wild.
Despite years of legal protection and awareness campaigns, the capture and trade of these apes for pets or local zoos continues to contribute to the decline in these species, said Chris Shepherd, the group's acting director in Southeast Asia.
"Without serious penalties, this illegal trade will continue, and these species will continue to spiral toward extinction," he said, noting that the animals are generally caught when they are young and often handed over to rehabilitation centers when they are too old or big to be held as pets.
More than 140 orangutans were brought to one such center on Sumatra island between 2002-2008 — numbers that mirrored those in the '70s, when the trade went largely unchecked, the British-based group said.
"If this situation continues, the Sumatra orangutan
Peek into kangaroo's pouch shows 2 tiny pink joeys
A zookeeper's efforts to earn a kangaroo's trust has paid off with a video showing twin joeys, tiny and pink, growing inside their mom's pouch.
The male Matschie's (MATCH-ees) tree kangaroo twins are about 6 inches from snout to tail and they are starting to grow hair. Matschie's are an endangered species and the births at the Lincoln Children's Zoo in Nebraska are the first twins on record.
The video was taken about 16 weeks after the joeys' birth. They'll emerge from the pouch this summer.
To record the footage, zookeeper DaviAnn Buggi
Berlin's polar bear attack raises local zoo safety concerns
Over the weekend a woman was mauled by a polar bear at a Berlin, Germany zoo. On her accord, a 32 year old woman entered their enclosure by scaling the fenced wall of the polar bear exhibit. She then jumped into the bear's swimming pool. The incident raises the question domestically and abroad; how safe are our public zoos?
First of all, are our animals safe? Animal safety assures visor safety. Exhibits are designed with deep trenched moats, high walls and fencing for viewer visibility not accessibility. Those safety measures existed in the Berlin zoo. However no amount of protection can prevent spectator cyanogens. Such high jinks actions create un-safe conditions for the animals, zoo caretakers and other visitors.
Domestic safety concerns are justified. Even though the Cleveland Metro Park Zoo is open year round, springtime is usually opening season for zoo activity. Now
Zoo's pachyderms to get well-deserved pampering
$45 million elephant odyssey has all the bells and whistles
As elephant exhibits go, the San Diego Zoo's is shaping up to be a pretty sweet pad.
The zoo's elephants will get water misters in the summer and outdoor heaters during Southern California's winters. There's also a 130,000-gallon pool for swimming.
And, the $45 million Elephant Odyssey, set to open May 23, includes 25-foot-tall metal "trees" where the pachyderms will be treated to a changing selection of branches to munch – an elephant salad bar.
"We can look at Elephant Odyssey as San Diego's opportunity to bring up the leadership as far as animal care in general," said Rick Schwartz, a spokesman for the exhibit. "We're taking elephant care and turning it inside out."
The zoo gave the media a hard-hat tour of the 7½-acre exhibit yesterday.
Seven elephants will get 2½ acres
Bonobos Rate Food on Scale From Bark to Grunt
When presented with their favorite foods, the bonobos almost always barked. They grunted when encountering their least favorites. The other calls seemed to signify ratings in between, with peep-yelps falling in the middle range for nibbles the individual thought were so-so.
"Finding food is one of the most important challenges to any wild animal, and thus any signal indicating the discovery of food may provide useful information to receivers," Clay explained. "If variation in the vocal sequences provides information about food quality, receivers may be able to use this to decide whether to abandon a current activity or not."
The scientists suspect bonobos combine calls to produce more complex sequences, but she said, "Our understanding of bonobo vocalizations is in its infancy
At the Dallas Zoo, they don't care for the words 'catch' and 'cage'
Someone at City Hall pressed send a bit early on a press release about something to do with kids and superheroes teaching monkeys to recycle at the Dallas Zoo.
I'm not sure what that's about, but the draft we got had some revealing corrections about the kind of language the zoo does and doesn't prefer when it comes to its animals.
Here in italics are the phrases in the original presser and the suggested changes from the zoo in bold.
"we also need to change the following phrases...
so they can help catch the Monkeys and teach them the proper way to recycle
Please change to... so they can teach the Monkeys the proper way to recycle.
The Zoo does not want us to use the word "catch"
The bananas will then be placed in a cage to catch the Silly Monkeys.
Please change to...the bananas will then be placed in a habitat to help the monkeys find their way home.
The zoo does not want us to use the words "catch" or "cage"
The thinking here, I suppose, is that the zoo doesn't want people getting the idea that the animals are caged somehow.
I've been to the zoo quite a few times and that's true. Most of the animals don't live in cages. At the same time,
Zooming in on Jeddah zoos
On a Thursday evening the Beautiful Creatures Zoo situated on Tahliah Street off the Makkah-Madinah Expressway was crowded with families of various nationalities. On a Sunday morning two school buses were seen dropping off pupils at the zoo.
The zoo covers an area of 20,000 square meters, of which, the municipality owns 3,500 square meters. The zoo has been the focal point of an ongoing dispute involving local residents who complain about smells, noise and traffic, and the municipality that would like to see a developer turn the municipality-owned portion of the zoo into a commercial center.
Last year municipal officials swooped in and demolished the municipality-owned portion of the zoo, much to the consternation of the zoo's owners. There were even reports from zoo employees that some animals died because of the demolition. Officials later apologized to the municipal council for demolishing the zoo before it had issued a ruling on the decision.
Over a year after the surprise demolition, the land sits fallow (except for one closed mosque) and the rest of the zoo remains open for business. The zoo's owner, Wasmi Al-Wasmi, said plans for the commercial
4 zebras die at Greater Vancouver Zoo
Four zebras have died at the Greater Vancouver Zoo, prompting an investigation by the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The deaths occurred two months ago after two cape buffalo were placed into the zebras' enclosure, according to the Vancouver Humane Society.
The zoo, located in the Fraser Valley community of Aldergrove, east of Vancouver, did not make public the deaths of the animals. Repeated calls by CBC News on Monday were not returned.
The zebras, who were between five and 15 years old, must have
Orangutan makes shocking run at zoo
An orangutan went on the run at a zoo here for 40 minutes Saturday after apparently being jolted from a rope by an electric shock.
Officials at Ishikawa Zoo thwarted his escape by closing the entrance and used tranquilizer guns to sedate him.
No one was injured, the officials said.
The 13-year-old male orangutan, named Burotosu, apparently touched an electrified fence set up to prevent escape. The shock caused him to fall from ropes stretched between 10- to 13-meter-high towers into an area open to spectators around 10:35 a.m., the officials said.
Burotosu, who is about 180 centimeters tall and weighs
Letters: Welfare of zoo workers and animals
I would like to comment on an article titled "Visitors ask for cleaner Ragunan Zoo" (the Post, March 19, p. 19).
I agree that Ragunan Zoo management should increase the entrance fee; they should have raised it a couple of years ago. If 10,000 people visit the zoo on a Saturday or Sunday, with an entrance fee of Rp 4,000 (37 US cents) the zoo will only get Rp 40 million. Rp 40 million is not nearly enough to feed all the animals for even a day, as Ragunan has so many animals, not to mention pay for the salaries of all the workers.
If this happens in Ragunan Zoo, what about other zoos
Visitors to mainland pandas top 1 mln at Taipei zoo
The Taipei zoo said visitors to a pair of giant pandas, sent as gifts from the Chinese mainland, on Friday topped 1 million.
Four-year-old Chou Jie-ting, from Taipei County, became the 1 millionth visitor when she arrived at the Panda House at about 11 a.m.
She was rewarded with a greeting card bearing the paw prints of the two pandas, a movie ticket to "Touch of the Panda" among other gifts.
The pandas, named "Tuan Tuan" and "Yuan Yuan" (when linked, their names mean "reunion" in Chinese) arrived at the zoo on Dec. 23 last year. They made their public debut on Jan. 26 after a month of quarantine.
The pandas have been popular since then and visitors exceeded half a million on Feb. 28.
The mainland announced in May 2005 that it would give
Nandankanan gets `wild' gift from Bhopal
Maintaining heterozygosity is one of the most important factors of planned breeding in a zoo because healthy population and sound pedigree require fresh bloodline. The Nandankanan Zoological Park, known for successful breeding of the Royal Bengal Tiger (RBT), has long been crying out to infuse a new bloodline into its army of felines and now, it has happened.
In the last two decades, Nadankanan Zoo didn't have a wild-caught tiger for breeding in the Zoo.
Today, the famous animal park received one from Bhopal Zoo as part of an exchange programme.
In fact, a tigress rescued from Satkosia, after being shot by poachers, was rehabilitated in Nandankanan Zoo. However, as it was afflicted with posterior paresis, the large cat could not be part of the breeding programme.
``There was an urgent need to induce
Zoo's ongoing safari to gorillas in the mist
ZOOS South Australia has ventured into new territory with guided tours of Africa that offer a unique experience of animals in the wild.
UniSA psychologist and zoo scientist Dr Carla Litchfield says the 17-day Great Ape Expedition to Uganda last month was a first for the zoo and inspired a series of specialist tours.
She says people are looking for a "once in a lifetime experience" of wildlife and mountain gorillas are right at the "top of the to-do list".
But tourists also played with orphan chimpanzees at the Ngamba Island sanctuary and had a chance meeting with tree-climbing lions.
For Dr Litchfield, the full day
Work on new £4 million aquarium gets under way
Work to convert Bristol's former Wildwalk into a £4 million aquarium is under way ahead of its October opening.
Newquay firm Blue Reef has begun work to strip bare the former Wildwalk site and turn it into a venue which will employ 40 staff on opening.
The site, which includes the Imax cinema next to @Bristol, closed in April 2007 after operators revealed it was losing £1.5 million a year.
Workmen are currently excavating the site ahead of installation of two giant 10,000-litre fish tanks which will form the centre of the attraction.
Ian Cunningham, managing director of Blue Reef, said: "We are delighted work is under way.
"The key points about the new display
Wildlife Deparment Seizes Monitor Lizards
The Pahang Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) Department seized 210 clouded monitor lizards suspected to be for sale at a smallholding in Kampung Orang Asli Mencupu, Pekan, on Saturday.
Its director, Khairiah Mohd Shariff, said the animals, each in a small sack, were found during a raid at 6.30pm.
The lizards, valued at RM10,500, were seized but no one was arrested, she told reporters.
Khairiah said the raid followed the dete
China to replace panda center destroyed in quake
China will begin building a new panda breeding center next month to replace a world-famous preserve badly damaged in last year's devastating earthquake in southwestern Sichuan province, state media reported Sundday.
The new facility will be used for more than $200 million in projects to preserve the endangered species, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
The world-famous Wolong Panda Breeding Center, near Sichuan's capital of Chengdu, was nearly destroyed in the May 12 earthquake, which left 90,000 people dead or missing.
The quake killed at least one panda at Wolong and sent boulders
Safari Club International Foundation to Represent Hunters at Critical Meeting on Wildlife Trade
Next week the Safari Club International Foundation (SCIF) will represent hunters at the 24th meeting of the Animals Committee for the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) to ensure that decisions on trade for species of interest to traveling hunters, notably the African Lion, Elephant and Leopard, are based on science and the principles of sustainable use and not on the agenda of anti-hunting organizations.
"It is critical that the SCIF's conservation efforts are represented before the greater international community participating in these meetings," said Conservation Committee Chair Joseph Hosmer. "Efforts by SCIF to underwrite programs, such as with the African Lion in Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and others, ensure that hunting and trade of lions continues as long as this trade is responsible
All world's Bengal tiger types reared at wildlife centre
A wildlife centre has raised a collection of the rarest tigers on the planet, including the only known complete group of all four varieties of Bengal tiger.
The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.), in South Carolina, has animals of the Royal Standard Bengal (which is orange and black), the Royal White Bengal (white with black stripes), the Snow White Bengal (all white or with ghost stripes), and the Golden Tabby Bengal (red to pale orange cream stripes and saddle).
The wildlife education organisation, which hand-rears its tigers, has 67 at its base in Myrtle Beach, which it claims is the largest group of 'working' tigers in the world.
Dr Bhagavan Antle said: "Standard Bengal tigers are found throughout India, Loas, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia, where there have been an enormous drop in populations and there only a few thousand remaining.
"It is thought thousands of years ago tigers originally came from Siberia, where they were orange and black. But during the last Ice Age tigers were forced to migrate south as far the island of Bali and west to the Caspian Sea.
"During this great migration, tigers
And Another Pointless Stupid Ignorant Collection
Animal poisoner haunts Crimean zoo
Around 10 animals including a chimpanzee, bears and pumas have died in recent weeks at a Ukrainian zoo, and veterinarians suspect they were poisoned, the park's owner has said. The first death took place in March when a chimpanzee who had lived at the private zoo in the southern city of Yalta became sick and later died, owner Oleg Zubkov told reporters.
Since then, a lynx couple, a pair of pumas, a wolf and two Himalayan bears have died at the Skazka zoo, whose name means 'fairytale'.
The head of veterinarian services in the region of Crimea, Maria Mirochnik, suspects that the animals were poisoned.
"We have strong reasons to believe it was
It was a suicide bid, reveals woman who jumped into polar bear enclosure at Berlin Zoo
THE woman who threw herself into a polar bear pit at Berlin zoo had told friends she could not cope with being out of work.
The 32-year-old German mum had been driven to despair after losing her job as a teacher, it emerged yesterday.
The woman - named only as Mandy K - was mauled by the polar bears after climbing over safety walls and swimming out to them at feeding time.
Friends revealed she is a highly qualified teacher specialising in the care of young children.
Her former boyfriend Lars, the father of her seven-year-old daughter, said: "She loved caring for kids and really enjoyed all the special trips that she could arrange for them.
"It really affected her when she lost her job and she just couldn't see any future."
The couple separated four years ago and share custody of their daughter, who was spending Easter with her dad.
Mandy was still in intensive care yesterday at the Virchow Hospital, where she has severe bite wounds, and doctors say there is still a high risk of infection.
Meanwhile, zoo keepers said they were seconds away from shooting the polar bears to save Mandy's life.
Rifles had already been issued
Former Audubon Zoo worker's suit dismissed by judges
A former Audubon Zoo employee's suit was dismissed this week by a panel of judges. The suit was filed for discrimination in firing the emergency worker who sued the operators of the zoo for the loss of her job in 2006.
Yolanda Ann Collins had worked for the Audubon Nature Institute for 6 years before the firing. She claimed it was because she was black and also a member of the U.S. Naval Reserves.
The panel of judges from the 5th Circuit upheld an earlier ruling by a lower court judge and dismissed the case. Audubon Zoo presented their case with evidence of poor responses to two distress calls by visitors to the zoo. Both calls received unsatisfactory results. Collins' job required her to make emergency first responder calls while on duty. In one case
Amarillo zoo nearing completion of it's new herpetarium
The Amarillo zoo is nearing completion of it's new herpetarium, a 32 exhibit reptile and amphibian house. Visitors should be able to see the newest residents of the zoo sometime in early July.
The project is in the final 30 days of construction, at that point they'll start building the individual exhibits, which will take roughly 6 weeks. The zoo is currently acquiring reptiles and amphibians for the herpetarium, including a very large anaconda that has already been secured.
"It's going to bring a very high quality facility to the zoo that people will be very pleased to see, enjoy, and learn a lot about some new reptiles that have never been seen here at the Amarillo zoo," said Larry Offerdahl, Director of Parks and Recreation.
Over 200-thousand visitors came by
Zoo wants to find male bears for female bears
Workers at the Wuhan Zoo in Hubei province are trying to find male bears to live with some lonely female bears
Two female brown bears, a mother and daughter, have not enjoyed a relationship with a male bear for at least four years. The zoo's only male bear died in 2005. The baby bear was born in the 1990s.
Li Dexin, director of
Al Ain Wildlife Park to relocate trees, animals
Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort (AWPR) has kicked off its operation "green fingers" which involves relocation of over 500 trees. The process has taken more than 35,000 man hours and an expert team was flown in from California to ensure that everything runs smoothly and the trees are kept as stress-free as possible. The operators have scoured over 2000 acres for over four weeks, cataloguing the trees according to species, size, vital statistics and GPS coordinates. Every care and precaution is taken to ensure that the trees remain as stress free as possible and there is a 99 per cent success rate in moving the trees.
The Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort is working in partnership with Valley Crest Middle East - a leading landscape company from California with which Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort has established a joint venture.
Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort is home to 4300 animals, 3 per cent of which are considered to be endangered. As part of the transformation into a wildlife resort, significant development is progressing to set the standards globally for conservation education offered to its visitors.
The transformation did not only focus on relocating the 180 species
Zoo keeper's arrest after van collides with animal rights protesters -'regrettable accident'
A ZOO keeper whose van collided with a group of animal rights activists claimed the incident was nothing more than a "regrettable accident".
Animals' rights protesters released a video of The Jungle Zoo's manager Bernard Bale apparently driving into them outside the resort attraction on Easter Sunday.
Available to view here now, Mr Bale is allegedly seen driving a white van on the road in the Thrunscoe car
Ragunan Zoo to transfer excess animals to other areas
Many endangered animals in South Jakarta's Ragunan Zoo will be transferred to other conservation areas, as their number has exceeded its capacity.
Primates, like orang utans, owa (a gibbon from the Hylobatidae), siamang and mammals such as bears, white tigers, Sumatran tigers and Sumatran elephants are just a few of them.
"We have almost 50 orangutans, for instance. The number is about 10 percent higher than our capacity," Edy Setiarto, head of the city animal husbandry agency said recently.
As the grounds are getting too crowded, the zoo management is finding it hard to take care of all the animals, says Edy.
"We plan to exchange some of our animals with other kinds from zoos around Indonesia or abroad to solve the problem," said Edy.
"So far, we have exchanged animals with zoos in other countries, such as Qatar, China, Singapore and Australia," he said, adding that the cooperation also included training animal keepers.
The exchange, however, will take into account the conservation aspect, he said.
"The orang utan, for example, is categorized as an endangered animal. We will exchange it with other animals that have a similar level of endangerment," he said.
"We will not exchange an orang utan for a snake, for example," said Edy.
The second step will be to bring the animals back to their natural habitats, while the other option is to entrust them to rehabilitation centers.
The agency recorded the zoo also had a surplus of reptiles and birds. Rice paddy turtles topped the list of excess reptiles (49 turtles), followed by komodos (32) and estuary crocodiles (21).
Ragunan is home to more than 3,500 animals – nearly 2,000 birds, over 1,000 mammals, close to 350 reptiles and more than 150 fish.
There are 136 different species of birds inside the walls of the 140-hectare compound, 82 of mammals, 41 of reptiles and 19 of fish.
Meanwhile, the agency also plans to increase Ragunan's entrance fees to reduce the administration's subsidies.
There are about 15,000 to 20,000 visitors coming to the zoo on weekends and 3,000 visitors on weekdays.
Edy said the zoo's entrance fee was much cheaper than other recreational areas, such as the Safari park in Bogor or Ancol in North Jakarta.
The zoo only charges Rp 4,000 (less than 50 US cents) for adults and Rp 3,000 for early birds.
The Safari park entrance fee on the other hand costs Rp 50,000 for locals above the age of 6, and Rp 70,000 for foreign visitors.
The entrance ticket for Ancol is Rp 12,000.
"We want to reduce the [city] administration's annual subsidy toward the zoo," said Edy, adding the administration had already allocated about Rp 50 billion this year.
He said the agency was not afraid of losing visitors once the ticket price was raised.
"It's about time for us to review the ticket prices so we can give a better service, both to the animals and visitors," he said.
"We are also preparing a new plan for the zoo to a
Visitors ask for cleaner Ragunan Zoo
In response to the zoo's management's plan to raise the ticket price, some Ragunan Zoo visitors said they would be happier if animals were better looked after, children were given more playgrounds and restrooms were cleaner.
Yanti Supriyanto, a Kebayoran resident who accompanied 30 children from GBII Cipulir church's Sunday school, said he would like to see more playgrounds similar to those in Cisarua's Safari Park.
"But it's better if the administration delays putting the ticket price up, as in the current economic condition, there are not many other affordable recreational parks," Yanti said.
The administration's agency supervising the zoo said recently it planned to raise the Ragunan Zoo ticket price, without mentioning by how much.
"If the ticket price is raised to about Rp 7,500, it's still worth it. But the animals don't seem to be looked after properly. They should receive more care," said Savitri, a Manggarai resident in Central Jakarta.
At present, the Ragunan Zoo charges adults Rp 4,000 (30 US cents) and children from 3 to 12 years old Rp 3,000. Visitors are also required to pay Rp 500 each for insurance.
Wahyudi Bambang, a member of staff working in the zoo's promotion division, said the last time the zoo raised its entrance fee was in 2002, where tickets prices increased to Rp 3,000 for adults and Rp 2,000 for children.
Savitri also said children's playgrounds were what most parents wanted because it gave the children more options to play and spend the whole day at the zoo.
Elin, a South Jakarta resident who......She confirmed the zoo had too many animals, because it also housed animals confiscated from private owners or traded illegally.
"Of the 52 orang utans we care for here, 20 of them will have a new home this year in other zoos abroad," she said. But she could not disclose the names of the zoos.
The Ragunan Zoo is also building 10 new rooms for orang utan families.
"They need privacy too," she said........
Bahrain crackdown on five stables
FIVE stables have been taken over by the Municipality and Agriculture Affairs Ministry for illegally housing wild animals, it has emerged.
However, the owners will not be prosecuted because of an amnesty aimed at encouraging people to give up their potentially dangerous pets.
The action is part of a crackdown on people who keep wild animals after a surge in the number of cases reported.
Ministry officials confirmed that 21 people are being prosecuted for breeding wild animals and 15 others will not face any action after putting their animals into veterinary quarantine.
Lions, tigers, hyenas, monkeys, crocodiles and even snakes have been found in stables and homes across the country - often kept in inadequate conditions.
The increase in the number of cases prompted the ministry to urge the owners of wild animals to immediately hand them over to the veterinary quarantine in Buri or face prosecution.
"The population of wild animals is rising and we cannot ignore it anymore," animal wealth director Dr Salman Abdul Nabi Ebrahim told the GDN.
"The numbers are above normal and we need to focus
Chester Zoo and biological records centre event planned
BEING nice to nettles, making soil sexy and discovering the 'aliens' among us are just some of the topics to be explored through a series of wildlife events.
Monitoring plants and wildlife is the aim of a new project launched by Chester Zoo and record, Cheshire's local biological records centre. Called Count Me In! the project will create the wildlife recorders of the future by
Oakland Zoo working on project to save the western pond turtle
When it comes to determining the sex of the western pond turtle, warmer temperatures produce females, while the cooler temperatures turn out the males.
"Hot females, cold males," said Nick Geist, a biology professor at Sonoma State who has been studying the turtles since last summer and recently spent a day at the Oakland Zoo determining the sex of at least 16 of the 22 turtles there through a surgical procedure.
The result: 10 females and six males, zoo officials said.
Since 2007, the Oakland Zoo has joined Sonoma State and the San Francisco Zoo to form a unique coalition to save western pond turtles, California's only native aquatic turtle and a species that is dwindling.
The western pond turtle is almost extinct in Washington state — less than 200 in the entire state — and a "species of special concern" in California. So, the idea behind the project is to raise the turtles for about nine or 10 months before releasing them back into the wild. That will happen this summer when their shell has hardened and they are virtually immune to predators, Geist said.
"They used to be found in the millions," Geist said.
There's a certain science to mating rare animals at the Queens Zoo
Sometimes, it's not enough to just let nature take its course.
Getting certain endangered animals to breed in captivity at the Queens Zoo takes a lot of planning, study and - sorry to ruin the mood - science.
"It's not as easy as saying, 'We have a male and a female, let's let them mate,'" said Craig Gibbs, assistant curator of animals at the Queens Zoo.
First, zoo staff has to make sure the animals aren't too closely related. Then they have to make sure the baby has a good and safe home. "If you are going to breed animals, you really have an obligation to that baby," Gibbs said.
The Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the Queens Zoo, works with other facilities around the country on the Species Survival Plan. That program allows zoos to carefully match animals, paying close attention to bloodlines.
Spangles, an Andean bear, was brought to the Queens Zoo three years ago with hopes she would mate with longtime bachelor
The rarest turtle in the world (Rafetus swinhoei) It was caught by a local fisherman and get released back to it's home by ENV and local Forest Protection Department staff.
Black Market (Disturbing but excellent video footage)
The wildlife trade is the third largest illegal trade in the world, rivaled only by guns and drugs. Every year up to 30,000 primates, 2 to 5 million birds and 10 million reptile skins are traded.
Strong beliefs in obscure parts of traditional Chinese medicine fuel the development. According to ancient custom, animal parts are imbued with "magical" properties. For the superstitious, eating the flesh of a tiger provides the animal's strength.
Despite scientific studies proving these beliefs wrong, the trade of animals and animal parts continues largely unchecked, fueled by desire, greed and corruption.
The problem seems insurmountable; one way of curbing the rampant killing and to decrease the demand for rare animals is by educating future generations and removing antiquated and false beliefs.
Chimpanzees exchange meat for sex
Chimpanzees enter into "deals" whereby they exchange meat for sex, according to researchers.
Male chimps that are willing to share the proceeds of their hunting expeditions mate twice as often as their more selfish counterparts.
This is a long-term exchange, so males continue to share their catch with females when they are not fertile, copulating with them when they are.
The team describe their findings in the
World's first cloned camel born in Dubai: report
A scientist says the world's first cloned camel has been produced in the desert emirate of Dubai.
Nisar Ahmad Wani, a senior reproductive biologist at the government's Camel Reproduction Center, says the cloned camel is a six-day-old, one-humped female called Achievement or Injaz in Arabic.
Injaz was born April 8 after an uncomplicated gestation of 378 days, the center said in a press release Tuesday.
The center said she was created from cells harvested from an ovary of an adult female camel.
Camels are a valuable commodity in the desert sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf. They are used for
"Gay" zoo elephant angers politician
A Polish politician has criticised his local zoo for acquiring a 'gay' elephant named Ninio who prefers male companions and will probably not procreate, local media reported.
"We didn't pay 37 million zlotys ($18 million) for the largest elephant house in Europe to have a gay elephant live there," Michal Grzes, a conservative councillor in the city of Poznan in western
10 Zoo Ads That Will Make You Laugh Like A Hyena
Spring is a great time of the year to visit the zoo or wild animal park, wherever you live. These 10 clever international ads will remind you that "It's all happening at the zoo," whether you're in Argentina or Abu Dhabi. Maybe these ads will inspire you to visit your nearby zoo, but at least I hope they give you a good laugh.
Adoption planned for animals
Businesses and private individuals are being asked to join a nationwide adoption scheme to ease the financial burden on state agencies caring for wild animals confiscated from illegal traffickers.
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has launched the programme to lessen the financial strains affecting 23 wildlife breeding centres, which care for some 10,000 wild animals, said Wildlife Conservation Office director Chatchawan Pisdamkham.
"Tigers, Asian black bears and sun bears are the first animals put up for adoption, because rearing them costs more than with other animals. Most of the budget is spent on their diet," he said.
The centres currently look after 80 tigers and 300 bears.
Under the project, each adopter will donate 6,000 baht a month - to cover the cost of the animal's food and keep - for a period of six months to three years.
"We expect private companies to join this charity programme. Although individuals are welcome as well," he said.
Each wildlife breeding centre receives 3 million baht a year to care for confiscated animals, such as tigers, bears, birds, pangolins and apes, said the department's wildlife breeding division chief, Tanakorn Sanepood.
But the centres also take in captive wild animals which have been abandoned by their owners.
"According to the law, unwanted wild animals must be handed over to wildlife officials. The rising number in this group is a big problem for us," Mr Tanakorn said.
Conservation activists say Thailand is a "hub of wildlife trafficking", but the government is taking steps to combat the problem. The department will host a two-day conference in Pattaya, starting this Friday, to strengthen regional cooperation on tackling the illegal animal trade.
More than 100 delegates from government agencies and non-government organisations will exchange information on wildlife smuggling, and discuss law enforcement initiatives to crack down on the criminal activity.
Some 9,072 wild animals were confiscated in Thailand last year. Most were pangolins and tigers from Malaysia and Indonesia, bound for markets in China.
Sky tram in $56m zoo upgrade
EXTREME makeover: Zoo edition officially started on Friday.
THE highly anticipated $56 million upgrade of the Emperor Valley Zoo began on Friday with Tourism Minister Joseph Ross performing the official sod-turning ceremony.
The country was first made aware of the Government's intention to upgrade the country's only zoo on July 19, 2007, by then tourism minister Howard Chin Lee.
Ross confirmed that the budget "to bring major transformation to this current zoo" remained at that figure.
However, Ross said the investment was necessary in order to transform the 57-year-old zoo into a "first-class facility unrivalled as a conservation
New Information in Zoo Burglary
The Idaho Falls Police released some new information Monday on their investigation of the burglary at the Tautphaus Park Zoo.
Contrary to early reports, they said an outdoor lock was broken. That may be how the burglars got in.
Zoo officials say a safe was stolen. It contained very strong
Scientists focus on black-footed ferret
Monday morning, all she knew is that the sun was shining, there was snow on the ground, three strange men were standing outside her pen and she was hungry for some prairie dog.
About 25 years ago, there were only 18 known black-footed ferrets living in the wild, literally on the brink of extension because of disease and widespread loss of habitat.
Today, thanks to the efforts of wildlife biologist Paul Marinari and other federal scientists, there are about 800 black-footed ferrets living in the wild. Marinari runs the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's ferret conservation and breeding center north of Fort Collins,
Smitten by dolphins
She grew up collecting dolphin memorabilia and that fascination has since become her vocation.
FRESH from obtaining her doctorate degree in the last quarter of 2008, Dr Louisa Ponnampalam was greeted by a string of reports in the newspapers on dead dolphins washed ashore in Penang.
While the reports were helpful for this young dolphin scientist on a quest to document the marine mammal species and their distribution in Malaysian waters, she was nevertheless disturbed by the actions that followed – burying the carcasses and excavating the skeletal remains later.
"There is so much that can be learnt from a dead specimen, more so than one that's alive. All too often, we don't
National zoo to host `Grapes With the Apes'
Want to meet a baby gorilla over a glass of merlot? You can do just that April 16 at the National Zoo's annual "Grapes With the Apes" event. The yearly wine-tasting is wildly popular — more than 3,000 people attended last year — but this time around, there's an added attraction.
On Jan. 10, the zoo welcomed a new baby born to Mandara and dad Baraka, two western lowland gorillas who live in the Great Ape House. The 2-and-a-half-month-old infant just this week got a name — Kibibi, which means "little lady" in Swahili.
The ape house is home to seven western lowland gorillas and six orangutans, who split their time between the house and the zoo's Think Tank.
If you want to spend an evening getting to know the large primates, it's best to grab a ticket soon. The event, put on by Friends of the National Zoo, sells out quickly, said zoo spokeswoman Karin Korpowski-Gallo. Tickets are $30 for FONZ members and $40 for everyone el
Patna zoo has a new baby rhino
A rhinoceros at Patna's Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park gave birth to a female calf raising their number to a dozen.
With this, total count of rhinoceros in the zoo raises to 12. Out of which, 7 are female and 5 male. The birth of the calf has brought immense happiness to the zoo authorities, said Subhash Verma, director at the zoo.
According to zoo officials, both the mother and child are in a healthy condition.
Police foil pangolin smuggling
Riau Maritime Police have detained two men, including a Malaysian, for attempting to smuggle 13 pangolins to Malaysia.
The provincial maritime police director Sr. Comr. Zainal Palewang said the suspects were Zakaria bin Baharudin, 30, a resident of Bengkalis, and Mat Zaki bin Mislam , 40, a resident of Johor, Malaysia.
"The suspects were arrested in a
New £7m centre for Twycross Zoo
A Leicestershire zoo has announced plans for a new £7m expansion.
Twycross Zoo has received funding from the East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) to build a new visitor and tourist information centre.
The zoo said local, sustainable materials would be used and landscaping to attract biodiversity will be part of the development.
The new visitor centre will include a 300-seat restaurant, shops and conference centre.
Zoo director, Suzanne Boardman, said: "This is a major development for Twycross Zoo, and is one of a number of developments and improvements to be completed to attract
Tiger Passports Video
Taronga Zoo's feeling blue over pink flamingo
TARONGA Zoo staff are in mourning - and in shock - after one of their oldest inhabitants, a pink flamingo called Yellow Band, had to be put down.
The mourning is understandable, given Yellow Band had been part of the zoo since 1948 and is the last of its flock.
The shock came when an autopsy found Yellow Band, believed for more than 60 years to be a female, was in fact a male.
"Flamingos are exceptionally hard to sex - you have to do it surgically. Anyway she, I mean, he seemed to enjoy female behaviour too," Zoo spokeswoman Danielle McGill said.
The increasingly frail Chilean flamingo was put down last Friday. His death marks the end of an era at Taronga - which cannot import more of the birds because of laws to protect Australia from avian flu.
Once thought to breed and live in
13 lynx cubs born in captivity this year
The arrival of five more Iberian lynx cubs last week takes to thirteen the number born in captivity in Spain this year.
The cubs were born in two centres - El Acebuche (Doñana) and La Olivilla (Sierra Morena) - as part of a breeding programme to protect what is considered to be the most threatened wild cat species in the world.
With this year's thirteen surviving cubs, a total of 37 lynx cubs have been born in captivity
London Aquarium reopens to public
The London Aquarium has been transformed into a "leading centre of marine conservation" following a multi-million pound redevelopment.
The venue, in County Hall, will conduct breeding and research programmes as part of its new remit.
Visitors will also enjoy a "world class aquatic experience" following the £5m transformation which took six months.
The site is home to thousands of marine creatures - including six species of sharks - spread over three floors.
"Our ultimate aim is to tell a serious eco story in an entertaining way," said general manager Toby Forer.
"We believe we've got the perfect blend of visual spectacle, interactivity and access to aquatic experts to make a visit here a truly memorable and thought provoking experience."
New features include an Atlantic coastline display, the story of the River Thames, a "temple" d
New wildlife park brings a taste of Africa
IT is a little bit of Africa in a corner of Doncaster!
Wildlife expert Cheryl Williams opened up the doors of the new Yorkshire Wildlife Park at Brockholes Farm, in Branton and said: "I hope it inspires children to look after nature."
The new attraction, which features African wildlife in the fields of a former farm, is thought to be the first of its kind in Yorkshire.
Cheryl, who is chief executive of the facility, has worked with wildlife for years, previously working at Woborn Safari Park in Bedfordshire.
Guests at the official opening this weekend included children's television
Animal rights groups fume at internet lion meat for sale
LOCAL animal welfare groups are outraged that a US company is offering lion steaks and lion loin chops for sale through the internet.
The meat was advertised on the company's website as originating from lions farmed in South Africa.
But within 24 hours of the activists being alerted last week, the wording was changed and now reads: "Our Lions are ranch-raised in the United States of America."
The national Environment Department confirmed that both a Cites (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species) permit and veterinary health permit
Illegal wildlife trade in Singapore active despite heavy penalties
Despite heavy penalties for smuggling wild or exotic animals into Singapore, animal welfare groups say illegal wildlife trade here is still active.
Exotic spiders and reptiles were some of the 48 wild animals confiscated by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) during its recent raid in March.
The animals are now housed at the Singapore Zoo's Wildlife Healthcare and Research Centre.
Some of these animals were smuggled into Singapore from as far as Madagascar.
AVA said the animals could transmit diseases to human beings and other domestic animals
Bananas lure gorilla escapee back to zoo
nine-year-old gorilla has used a palm frond to escape from his enclosure at Melbourne Zoo and go walkabout before being recaptured with the aid of bananas.
Yakini's big adventure kicked off around 5pm (AEST) near closing time at the zoo on Thursday when he grabbed hold of the frond and swung himself to freedom to go on a 20-minute stroll.
He managed to get as far as the elephant barn where keepers lured him in with the help of a bunch of bananas, giving vets the opportunity to sedate him with a dart.
Visitors to the zoo were ushered into various buildings around the zoo, including the gift shop, while Yakini was in their midst, and no one was hurt in the drama.
General curator Dan Maloney said keepers, who had gone into their animal escape drill, admitted they had a great deal of luck with Yakini who did not panic and was apparently looking for a secure place to hold up.
"I've worked in zoos for 25 years and you think you have seen it all, then something like this hap
Are Elephant Populations Stable These Days?
How conservationists are doing in the battle against poaching and habitat loss
Far from it. The double whammy of poaching (illegal hunting) and habitat loss has led to a dramatic decline in populations of both African and Asian elephants in recent decades. In 1930, there were between five and 10 million wild African elephants, plying the entire African continent in large bands. Just 60 years later, when they were added to the international list of critically endangered species, only about 600,000 were scattered across a few African countries. Today that number is likely less than 500,000.
While Asian elephants were never as numerous as their African counterparts, their population numbers have also dropped
Can Zoos Survive the Economic Crisis?
What happens to the animals when the economy collapses?
It's hard to feed an elephant—let alone a herd—when you've just lost $15 million. Just ask the Wildlife Conservation Society, the organization that runs New York City's zoos and aquarium.
In order to avoid cutting back on feed and other necessities, the Society has had to cut $10 million from its payroll. So the animals won't starve, but there'll be fewer people to care for them, or study them.
And this is a critical time for animal study.
Diseases that jump from wildlife to humans, such as Ebola or bird flu, are on
Rare animals pushed closer to extinction, scientists warn
NEARLY 50 rare mammals including tigers, leopards, sambar and fishing cats could face extinction, conservationists warned yesterday.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature list of vulnerable species also included more than 70 other mammals from India on its alert "red list".
Professor Luigi Boitani of Sapienza Universita di Roma, an IUCN partner organisation, said: "The trend is particularly dramatic for south-east Asia which suffers from increasing human activities, with deforestation being the major issue."
The union report adds that almost one in four of the world's 5,487 mammal species is at risk of disappearing forever and at least 76 mammals have become extinct since 1500.
Dr Bibhab Talukdar, a leading conservationist in India and member of the National Board for Wildlife, said: "Species are threatened mostly due to poaching and habitat encroachment.
"We should now concentrate
Stray dogs kill zoo animals in western Russia
A pack of stray dogs has mauled a reindeer and a mountain goat to death at a zoo in Russia's Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, a zoo spokeswoman said on Thursday.
"Dogs got through the zoo fence - it has
Thai zoo housing pigs and tigers together
IT SOUNDS like something out of Winnie The Pooh, but a zoo in Thailand has pigs and tigers living together in harmony.
It's not Tigger and Piglet, but many animals at the Sriracha Tiger Zoo find themselves sharing their pens with different species.
The zoo, near the popular tourist resort of Pattaya, houses over 400 Bengal tigers and is one of the biggest tiger zoos in the world.
Sriracha Tiger Zoo likes to promote `happy families' made up of different species of animal – and has been known to put tiger cubs with sows and piglets with tiger mums.
This is not the only interesting feature
Quick Takes - ODDBALL OCCURRENCES
After use for years in Africa, officials in the United Kingdom may have a new tool in the fight against lost landmines: rats. Handlers at the Porfell Wildlife Park in Cornwall recently imported a Gambian pouched rat named Kofi that, according to trainer Wendy Winstanley, could be useful to British army and police for bomb detection. Already used by locals in Mozambique, the rats have proved themselves as valuable mine detectors. With a nose more sensitive than most dogs and a weight that allows them to run through
Gerald Durrell's Jersey wildlife conservation trust celebrates 50th anniversary
Fifty years since the opening of Gerald Durrell's wildlife conservation trust, his legacy forges on. Jessamy Calkin celebrates the work of the pioneering naturalist and author.
In a small art gallery in central London, an incongruous and eminent collection of people have gathered for an unusual event: the display and auction of fabric pictures and ceramic art by the artist and actress Lalla Ward. The occasion is the 50th anniversary of the opening of Gerald Durrell's wildlife trust in Jersey, and the mixed bag of attendees – who include Sir David Attenborough, Brian Eno, Edward Fox, Sir Peter Hall and Redmond O'Hanlon – are invited to bid for the work anonymously.
All proceeds go to Durrell's work in Galapagos, and a particular aim is to save the Floreana mockingbird, the bird that inspired Darwin's epiphany, and now one of the world's most endangered species
Female cub is living proof of cheetah-bark research
Researchers at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park had speculated that the staccato barks occasionally emitted by male cheetahs somehow triggered female cheetahs'reproductive systems to produce eggs and, ultimately, baby cheetahs.
Now they have proof. Zoo officials recently announced the arrival of Amara, born Feb. 19, as the direct result of experiments using recorded stutter-barks to promote cheetah romance. Both Quando, the father, and Kenya, the mother, are first-time parents.
Because single cheetah cubs are often neglected by their mothers, Amara, which means "grace" in Swahili, is being hand-raised by zookeepers. Recently, the 5-pound cub was moved to larger quarters. She is occasionally on view in the Wild Animal Park's nursery.
Valerie Smith, one of Amara's handlers, said the cub will not join the Wild Animal Park's general cheetah population but instead will become an "animal ambassador
Taipei Zoo seeks correction on panda prank story
A furious Taipei Zoo Friday demanded that a newspaper run a correction over an April Fool's Day prank that claimed two pandas from China were disguised forest bears.
'Using their professional knowledge to write this kind of news, it is not funny at all,' zoo spokesman Jason King said.
His comment came after the English-language Taipei Times reported Wednesday that a zoo official recently discovered the two pandas were in fact Wenzhou brown forest bears that had been dyed to create the panda's distinctive black and white markings.
The story said the official became suspicious when the pandas began to spend almost all of their waking
The adorable leopard cubs who are best friends with a baby orangutan
Just five weeks old, these twin baby leopards are as inquisitive as they are adorable - which is how they've made friends with a baby orangutan.
Solka and his sister Chant go to Rishi, aged one, for warm cuddles in his already long fur.
The pair, both African leopards were born at The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
They now weigh around two pounds, stand at six inches tall and measure 12 inches from tail to nose.
Hand raised by carers at the institute, these two endangered cubs will grow up to be animal ambassadors at the conservation centre, where people are given extraordinarily close access to the animal kingdom.
'Solka and Chant came away from their mother, Kirean, 10, around ten days ago,' said Rajani Ferrante, who gives the cubs 24 hour care.
'The babies are fed every four hours with a special formula made from vitamins, fresh yogurt and goats milk.
'In the wild the mothers are usually very attentive for around one month, after which they leave the babies to fend for themselves.
'When born in captivity it is necessary for trainers like myself to hand raise them.
White tiger joins Cedar Cove family
There's a new resident in Louisburg
A 400-pound, 2-and-a-half-year-old white tiger, to be exact.
Cedar Cove Feline Sanctuary & Education Center east of Louisburg is welcoming Kimar, a white Bengal tiger, to its ranks.
Kimar came to Cedar Cove in September from the Safari Zoological Park in Caney, Kan., after the park wanted to downsize its collection, said Cedar Cove President Larry Fries.
"To my knowledge, this is the first time any zoo in the Kansas City area has had a white tiger as part of a permanent collection," Fries said. "We are very excited because this puts Kansas City `on the map' in terms of zoological importance."
His brown and white fur gleaming
More than 300 gorillas butchered each year in the Republic of Congo
During 2008 and early 2009, Endangered Species International (ESI) conducted monitoring activities using undercover methods at key markets in the city of Pointe Noire, the second biggest city in Congo. Findings reveal that 95 percent of the illegal bushmeat sold originates from the Kouilou region about 100-150 km northwest to Pointe Noire where primary and unprotected rainforest still remains. The Kouilou region is one the last reservoirs of biodiversity and endangered animals in the area.
Gorilla is among many endangered species sold illegally in markets. Gorilla is sold in the form of smoked meat already cut in pieces. A piece of hand size smoked gorilla is usually sold for 2,500 CFA (6 USD). ESI has estimated about 300 gorillas butchered a year for the bushmeat market in Pointe Noire.
Pierre Fidenci, head of Endangered Species International
The financial picture for zoos isn't a good one. Would that the WPA was still around...
None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this Act may be used by any State or local government, or any private entity, for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, or swimming pool.
- American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (or, The Stimulus Bill)
When the oldest zoo in America was planning its 150th anniversary, it probably never thought Congress would compare it to a casino just weeks before the celebration. Such was the case for the Philadelphia Zoo, which marked its sesquicentennial this past weekend. The issue isn't access to the stimulus funds (though that couldn't hurt), but more the implication that, like swimming, golfing, and gambling, zoogoing is nice but not necessary.
So maybe it's appropriate that the zoo's party was thematically more about looking to its past than to its future. Chartered in 1859 (but, because of delays due to the Civil War, not opened until 1874), the institution celebrated its birthday with actors dressed in Victorian costumes, brass bands, and a guy riding the grounds on a penny-farthing bike — the kind with the giant wheel in the front.
Enjoying such a pleasant, early-spring afternoon at the zoo, one would likely be unaware of the precarious state in which the country's zoo find themselves today. Last week, the New York Times reported that many zoos — including those in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, and Baltimore — are cutting staff, programs, and operating hours, and in some cases are even relocating animals, in efforts to lower costs as both endowments and government support fall in the wake of the current economic crisis. The Governor of New York has announced plans to cut all state funding for zoos, aquariums, and botanical gardens in the 2010 fiscal budget. The Wildlife Conservation Society — which runs the Bronx, Central Park, Queens, and Prospect Park zoos, along with the New York Aquarium — responded by reaching out to the public through a series of videos in which a porcupine is first "fired" by the director of the Bronx Zoo, and then looks for work (unsuccessfully) at an unemployment office. The Philadelphia Zoo is a private non-profit, but its home city has said it will no longer waive the institution's water bill, most recently pegged at $2.8 million.
Given the reach of the current recession, it's perhaps to be expected that zoos and aquariums will see cuts in public financial support. What is surprising, however, is the depth of those cuts and, more important, the extent to which support of such institutions has come to be seen as frivolous.
This was perhaps most acute in the recent debate over how, exactly, we should spend hundreds of billions of dollars in federal stimulus
Frog causes drama at Dudley Zoo
A vet used to operating on animals like elephants and giraffes faced a different challenge when he treated a tiny frog with a broken leg.
Ember, a two-inch long White's Tree Frog, needed treatment after falling awkwardly on the limb in her enclosure at Dudley Zoo.
The zoo's vet Peter Stewart carried out the procedure to insert a small metal pin into the leg.
Painkillers were also administered to little Ember before the operation began which also proved a challenge for Mr Stewart due to the frog's size.
Although similiar operations have been carried out on other animals, it is the first time surgery has been carried out
Attorney cites retaliation in zoo firings
Two Abilene Zoo employees were wrongfully terminated after expressing concern about zoo operations to representatives of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, their lawyer said Wednesday.
Donald MacPhail, attorney for former zoo curator Diane Longenecker and former reptile aquatics supervisor Larry Lemon, said Zoo Director Bill Baker used "false pretenses" in dismissing the two.
However, City Manager Larry Gilley said no one has lost a job over the zoo's accreditation. The AZA tabled the zoo's accreditation for 12 months so that the zoo can fix problems cited by the AZA.
MacPhail said Longenecker was suspended in late February after meeting with and expressing concern to AZA representatives about zoo operations and administration.
MacPhail said Lemon also was suspended after he spoke with the AZA and then presented a list of concerns regarding zoo operations to high-ranking city
Sanctuary can only watch as flu kills rare apes
Bonobos have been struck down with a flu-like illness in their sanctuary near Kinshasa
A MYSTERIOUS flu-like disease is sweeping through the imperilled bonobo apes in their last havens in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Six of the rare primates have died in the past month and another 10 have fallen seriously ill at a sanctuary close to the capital, Kinshasa. With chimpanzees, they are mankind's closest living relatives.
Vanessa Woods, a researcher at Lola Ya Bonobo, said it was heartbreaking to watch. "It starts with a cough and then they get bunged up with mucus
Deputy shoots, kills loose chimpanzee
A chimpanzee was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy when the animal opened the door to the deputy's patrol car, grabbed his leg and tried to hit him, the Daviess County sheriff's office said Wednesday.
It happened Monday outside Winston, about 60 miles north of Kansas City. Deputies were called to help corral the 9-year-old male chimp named Timmy about 6:30 p.m. Monday. Authorities then searched the home where the chimp lived and allegedly found 200 dogs and three monkeys. But when the Humane Society of Missouri arrived, only 15 dogs and two cats were found, the
I baited jaguar trap, research worker says
Attorney general opens investigation into capture | Biologist denies telling worker to use scat to lure cat | State claimed Macho B's capture was inadvertent
A trap the state says inadvertently snared the last known wild jaguar in the United States actually was baited with female jaguar scat, a member of the Borderlands Jaguar Detection Project says.
Janay Brun told the Star that on Feb. 4 she put the scat at the site of the trap that two weeks later snared the male jaguar, known as Macho B. He was released but recaptured 12 days later, on March 2, because he showed signs of poor health. He was euthanized that afternoon.
Brun, 37, said she
Former circus elephants due at Belfast Zoo
Belfast should brace itself as two retired circus performers pack up their trunks and make their way to the city's zoo.
Asian elephants, Jenny (48) and 32-year-old Dunja, left their home in Hanover Zoo, Germany yesterday for the three day journey to their new home in north Belfast.
The Asian Elephant breeding programme recommended the zoo here as the best location for a placement for the ex-circus elephants.
They are pictured bidding auf wiedersehen to their German friends, hopefully comforted by the prospect of a friendly
Strike at Jhb Zoo ends
A strike that forced the closure of the Johannesburg Zoo on Wednesday is over, zoo spokesperson Letta Madlala said.
"The unprotected strike has now come to an end and all zoo staff members will be back at work tomorrow (Thursday)," she said on Wednesday afternoon.
The zoo would be open as usual on Thursday.
A "substantial" number of staff members downed tools on Wednesday morning in labour action organised by the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu).
The reason for the strike was
Saving the World's Endangered Species
There are at least 8 million unique species of life on the planet, if not far more, and you could be forgiven for believing that all of them can be found in Andasibe. Walking through this rain forest in Madagascar is like stepping into the library of life. Sunlight seeps through the silky fringes of the Ravenea louvelii, an endangered palm found, like so much else on this African island, nowhere else. Leaf-tailed geckos cling to the trees, cloaked in green. A fat Parson's chameleon lies lazily on a branch, beady eyes scanning for dinner. But the animal I most hoped to find, I don't see at first; I hear it, though — a sustained groan that electrifies the forest quiet. My Malagasy guide, Marie Razafindrasolo, finds the source of the sound perched on a branch. It is the black-and-white indri, largest of the lemurs — a type of small primate found only in Madagascar. The cry is known as a spacing call, a warning to other indris to keep their distance, to prevent competition for food. But there's not much risk of interlopers. The species — like many other lemurs, like many other animals in Madagascar, like so much of life on Earth — is endangered and dwindling fast.
Madagascar — which separated from India 80 million to 100 million years ago before eventually settling off the southeastern coast of Africa — is in many ways an Earth apart. All that time in geographic isolation made Madagascar a Darwinian playground, its animals and plants evolving into forms utterly original. They include species as strange-looking as the pygmy mouse lemur — a chirping, palm-size mammal that may be the smallest primate on the planet — and as haunting as the carnivorous fossa, a catlike animal about 30 in. long. Some 90% of the island's plants and about 70% of its animals are endemic, meaning that they are found only in Madagascar. But what makes life on the island unique also makes it uniquely vulnerable. "If we lose these animals on Madagascar, they're gone forever," says Russell Mittermeier, president of the wildlife group Conservation International (CI).
That loss seems likelier than ever because the animals are under threat as never before. Once lushly forested, Madagascar has seen more than 80% of its original vegetation cut down or burned since humans arrived at least 1,500 years ago, fragmenting habitats and leaving animals effectively homeless. Unchecked hunting wiped out a number of large species, and today mining, logging and ene
80 pounds of dead seahorses seized at Elizabeth Seaport
Eighty pounds of dead smuggled seahorses en route from China to Elmhurst, N.Y., were seized from a boat docked at the Elizabeth Seaport by U.S. customs agents who said the shipment violated international trade restrictions on endangered species.
The tiny seahorses -- who were dead before they were hidden in a container of legally exported food and ca
Online dating proves success for gorillas
Chessington Zoo was today celebrating the birth of a baby gorilla following the successful use of online dating.
Western Lowland gorillas Buu and Damisi were introduced last summer after Damisa was identified as a breeding male for Buu. Zookeepers used the Stud Book, the equivalent of an online dating agency for gorillas, to source the perfect match.
The computer database provides access to the entire European gorilla population and includes family trees and the history of every gorilla.
Keeper Michael Riozzi said: "We are so happy for Buu and Damisi who hit it
Rare dolphin and orangutan species found deep in the jungles of Bangladesh and Borneo
It's hard to believe there are still places on Earth that haven't been fully explored. And yet this week brings news that conservation teams working in jungles in Bangladesh and Borneo have discovered previously unknown populations of two critically endangered species, the Irrawaddy dolphin and the Bornean orangutan.
In Bangladesh, the news is especially good, as the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) reports finding nearly 6,000 Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) in the fresh waters surrounding the Sundarbans mangrove forest and in the nearby Bay of Bengal, areas where the WCS says little marine mammal research has previously been conducted. This discovery nearly doubles the estimates of the worldwide population for the rare dolphins, and represents the largest single population of the species. According to the WCS, known populations of Irrawaddy dolphins prior to this study numbered in the
Desert Islands Resort and Spa, Sir Bani Yas Island
Sir Bani Yas Island opened to the public for the first time last October. Until then it was the private domain of Sheikh Zayed, revered founder of the UAE.
Two hours' drive from Abu Dhabi (or three from Dubai), the 87sq km island is an irrigated oasis planted with three million trees. Its big attraction is the unique Arabian Wildlife Park, with African-style game viewing of once-indigenous animals such as Arabian oryx (now extinct in the wild) and striped hyenas. Other activities include cycling around the flamingo-filled lagoon, kayaking through mangroves and snorkelling over coral reefs.
The only way non-royals can gain access to the island is to book a room at Anantara's new five-star Desert Islands Resort and Spa. Most of the luxurious bedrooms overlook the free-form, infinity-edged pool and
Orangutan Females Steal Food to Test Potential Mates
Gentlemen, when a lady friend asks, May I have a bite of that? the proper answer is always, But of course, dear. Just ask the orangutan.
Orangutan females test potential mates by snatching food from the males to see how they'll react, according to a new study.
When males reacted violently or took the food back, the females screamed and tended to end the interactions much sooner than when the male tolerated the stealing.
Evolutionarily, the behavior makes sense, experts say, since relationships with aggressive males can be extremely damaging for females.
Males who are aggressive to other males may attract females. But when a male is aggressive to a female, he limits her ability to choose when and with whom she mates, since she faces attacks if she
Human virus blamed for death of chimp at Lincoln Park Zoo
Officials say it's unclear how 9-year-old Kipper was exposed to illness
Text size: Human virus blamed for death of chimp at Lincoln Park Zoo
Officials say it's unclear how 9-year-old Kipper was exposed to illness
A mysterious infection that led to the death of a 9-year-old male chimpanzee at Lincoln Park Zoo last week has been identified as a respiratory virus that causes at least 15 percent of the common colds suffered by humans worldwide every year.
Kipper, the chimp who died March 24 in the zoo hospital, was the youngest member of a seven-member family headed by the male chimp Hank. Since his death, the zoo veterinary staff has been trying to identify the illness that befell all seven members of the chimp group he lived with.
"It is a human virus," Steve Thompson, the zoo's vice president of conservation programs, said at a news conference held Friday in the Regenstein Center for African Apes that houses Lincoln Park's chimpanzee and gorilla collection.
The virus was identified, Thompson said, as hMPV [human metapneumovirus], known to cause pneumonia, bronchiolitis and flulike illness. Human children are most vulnerable to it, he said, with wide-ranging studies in human populations
St. Paul zoo's flamingo dies at 47
Harriet, a flamingo at the Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minn., has died after a battle with cancer. She was 47.
The St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press reported Friday that the bird had been diagnosed with cancer in 1998, a condition that caused her to undergo radiation treatments and the amputation of two toes.
The newspaper reported that zoo officials euthanized her March 26, after her heath deteriorated.
"They decided her quality of life was not too good," said Matt Reinartz, marketing and public relations manager for
EXCLUSIVE: Dutch millionaire's extraordinary plans for Fenland's first green 'zoo'
DUTCH environmentalist Lari Foorp today announced exciting plans for a new Fenland based 'green' zoo.
The multi millionaire entrepreneur - who built a fortune running virtual health clubs for overweight Danish businessmen- now hopes to extend his business empire to north Cambridgeshire.
"I have been working on this project for the past 10 years and many of the animals I hope to bring to the zoo not only like wind farms but positively thrive on being close to them," he said.
Mr Foorp hopes to use locally sourced renewable energy to heat the zoo buildings and waste from the animals will be used in a state of the art anaerobic digestion plant to run specially adapted buggies for zoo keepers.
"In truth the whole project will be self sufficient from an energy point of view," he explained. "We are now in talks with planners about the acreage we need for the zoo and expect an announcement shortly.
"To be honest you caught me on the hop. We didn't intend to put up the sign announcing the zoo until we had got planning permission and called a proper press conference. It's fair to say you've once again scooped the opposition."
South African environmental campaigner Alfi Prool
Taiwan-China relations were dealt a severe setback yesterday when it was found that Taipei Zoo's "pandas" are not what they seem.
Zookeepers discovered at feeding time yesterday that the two pandas are in fact Wenzhou brown forest bears that had been dyed to create the panda's distinctive black-and-white appearance.
The Taipei Zoo's head of ursidae ex-procyonidae care, Connie Liu (劉長春), said she became suspicious when the pandas, Tuan Tuan (團團) and Yuan Yuan (圓圓), began to spend almost all of their waking hours having sex. Pandas are notorious for their low libidos, which make them difficult to breed in captivity.
"Let's just say Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan would tuan yuan at every chance," said Liu, referring to the combination of the panda's names, which means "to reunite" in Mandarin. "They would do it doggy-style and every armchair zoologist knows that pandas favor the missionary position — when they do it at all. Their behavior caused chaos. Children screamed and parents became irate."
Her suspicions were confirmed yesterday when she noticed that the animals' new hair growth was discolored.
Their roots began to show," she said.
A zookeeper who asked to be identified only by his nickname A-diung (阿忠) because he was not authorized to speak with the media said he and his coworkers had long had their doubts, but were discouraged from publicly voicing their concerns by management.
"Whenever the moaning from the panda enclosure gets too loud
Jenny the elephant getting companion
A new friend has arrived in Dallas for Jenny the elephant, alone since the death of her companion KeKe in May.
Gypsy, a 27-year-old female African elephant, arrived in Dallas on Tuesday. Zoo spokeswoman Susan Eckert said Wednesday that Gypsy, acquired from a private owner in Texas, will be in quarantine for six to 12 weeks before being introduced to Jenny.
"Gypsy is very smart and very sweet," said Karen Gibson-Spenle, the zoo's elephant supervisor. "She is a quick learner and has a good disposition."
Eckert said that eventually two more elephants — Stumpy and Mama — will also come to the Dallas Zoo.
Next spring, the zoo will open the 10-acre "Giants of the Savanna," where all four elephants will live together. The exhibit will also include giraffes, lions and wild dogs.
Eckert said that on Wednesday, the Dallas City Council approved spending about $13 million of the anticipated $27 million cost of the habitat. The city approved $3.2 million last year and will be asked later this year to approve the remainder. The Dallas Zoological Society also is contributing $5 million.
Over the summer, controversy erupted when the zoo said it planned
Aquarium-bred clownfish put on sale to curb reckless fishing
Tokai University's Marine Science Museum has put museum-bred clownfish on sale, hoping to curb reckless fishing of the species popularized by the U.S. animated film ``Finding Nemo.'' Since succeeding in breeding clown anemone fish originally living in waters close to Japan in 1973, the museum has bred 11 of 28 species of clownfish, based on the idea that fish in an aquarium should not mostly be captured at sea but mainly be aquarium-bred.
The fish on sale for 2,500 yen each are clown anemone fish originally from Australian coral reefs. Only those with the necessary equipment for and experience in keeping sea fish are allowed to buy the tropical fish. It is the first time in Japan that an aquarium is attempting to sell ornamental fish. The reckless capture of clownfish has become a problem in Australia and Okinawa Prefecture.
Genjiro Nishi, head of the university museum, warned that buyers should not release the fish into the wild as ``aquarium-bred fish may be sometimes
Barry the giant sea worm discovered by aquarium staff after mysterious attacks on coral reef
Aquarium staff have unearthed a 'giant sea' worm that was attacking coral reef and prize fish.
The4ft long monster, named Barry, had launched a sustained attack on the reef in a display tank at Newquay's Blue Reef Aquarium over recent months.
Workers at the Cornwall-based attraction had been left scratching their heads as to why the coral had been left devastated and - in some
Crooked-necked giraffe immortalized
One of the Santa Barbara Zoo's most popular and inspirational animals, Gemina the crooked-necked giraffe, has been immortalized for future generations with a plaque dedicated yesterday in her honor.
Gemina died in January 2008 after a lengthy giraffe life of 21 years. Her crooked neck is highlighted on the two-foot bronze plaque near the giraffe exhibit, along with a short message describing her impact on the zoo and its visitors.
During her long and healthy life, she showed us that differences can be accepted and celebrated," the plaque reads.
Born at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, Gemina came to the local zoo as a 1-year old. Zookeepers
Captive breeding programs and zoos: good things?
Was I the only one saddened by the pictures of the clouded leopard cub born at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.?
Many rejoiced at the great success of the captive breeding program, but I couldn't get beyond the word "captive." I knew the poor little creature would live and die in captivity and never know the life it was meant to have.
The clouded leopard is supposed to be born in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, in exotic sounding places like Borneo and Sumatra. It is reported to be a rather short, medium-size wild cat with a long body fangs suggestive of a saber toothed tiger. The clouded leopard is nocturnal and elusive. They are good swimmers and agile hunters that eat other mammals, such as monkeys, as well as birds and fish. They are amazing climbers with "flexible ankle joints," that allow them to climb headfirst down tree trunks and walk upside down on branches. They hang from trees with only their back feet, leaving the front paws free to grab prey. Not exactly an animal cut out for life in a concrete confinement and meals of dead mice.
Clouded leopards are considered endangered as their natural habitats shrink, and they are difficult to breed in captivity because of aggression between mates. Also, the mother cat will sometimes kill her offspring. I found that fact interesting and was reminded of historical accounts of slave mothers who killed their newborns rather than give them life as a slave. Maybe there are fates worse than death.
What does it mean to be born in captivity, to live in a zoo?
Man's fascination with animals led to zoos, short for zoological park or garden. Biophilia was coined by Harvard professor Edward O. Wilson in the
Panda attacks teen in zoo enclosure
A male panda at the Beijing Zoo once bitten by a drunk tourist has attacked a teenager, ripping chunks out of the boy's legs.
The 15-year-old had jumped over a 1.4-metre barrier surrounding an outdoor exercise area for pandas yesterday, while 8-year-old Gu Gu the panda and another bear were being fed, said the director of the zoo management office, who identified himself only by his surname, Zhang.
The teen startled the 110kg panda, who responded by biting the unwanted visitor on both legs, Zhang said.
The Beijing News identified the teen as Li Xitao, citing emergency medical officials who said he was so viciously attacked that his bones were showing. Chunks of flesh were left behind in the ambulance, they said.
Gu Gu was in the news last year
Zoo Is Not a Dirty Word
A small, vocal group of animal activists in Los Angeles is mounting a campaign to halt construction on the new elephant exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo, and to send the Zoo's Asian bull elephant, Billy, to a sanctuary.
As a writer, I know the power of words, and "sanctuary" is one of those wonderful words that packs a lot of emotion. Serene, safe, peaceful, idyllic --all come to mind. Murmuring the word sanctuary through half-slitted eyes while conjuring the images the word evokes is enough to make me want to sign up to live in one.
Depending on your experience, "zoo" is also an emotionally loaded word. My own mental associations with the word have evolved dramatically over my lifetime. Childhood visits to the Bronx Zoo and others sparked a lifelong love of animals and fascination with their behavior. My family still laughs over an incident 30 years ago, when my little sister dropped her spending money into the monkey moat and then watched as one showy simian plucked the dollar bills from the water, held them up for all to see, and then promptly ate them.
In my twenties, I began to question the motives of zoos: Were they jailing animals for our entertainment who could otherwise be allowed to roam free?
My compassion for animals and my fascination with monkeys and apes in particular not only inspired my novels Monkey Love and Monkey Star, but also led me to pursue a degree in primatology and to work in both zoo and sanctuary settings.
Having worked at both, I can tell you what zoos and sanctuaries have in common: people who love the animals and are passionate about their welfare. Almost without exception, the people I've worked alongside were tireless in their efforts to care for the creatures entrusted to them.
The main difference, in my experience, is that sanctuaries by and large have fewer resources and lower standards for accreditation. At the sanctuary, we routinely fed expired and rotten food, doing our best to cut off the foul parts of each piece
Pink elephant is caught on camera
A pink baby elephant has been caught on camera in Botswana.
A wildlife cameraman took pictures of the calf when he spotted it among a herd of about 80 elephants in the Okavango Delta.
Experts believe it is probably an albino, which is an extremely rare phenomenon in African elephants.
They are unsure of its chances of long-term survival - the blazing African sunlight may cause blindness and skin problems for the calf.
Mike Holding, who spotted the baby while filming for a BBC wildlife programme, said: "We only saw it
Conservationists fear for Madagascar
Madagascar's political turmoil threatens the Indian Ocean island's rare wildlife, 13 international conservation groups said in a joint statement Monday.
The World Wide Fund for Nature, Conservation International and 11 other groups described armed men plundering lumber from national parks and smugglers taking more and more animals for sale on international markets. The groups also said illegal mining and slash-and-burn farming were increasing.
"These deplorable acts will only further impoverish the country and deprive future generations of the Malagasy people from their unique natural heritage," the statement said.
Madagascar's rain forests are home to species of plants
Save your greens for the gorillas
Keepers at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park are asking people to donate plants such as lavender, wild ginger and flowers for the gorillas at the zoo.
Blackberry and holly bushes as well as pampas grass are also needed to enhance the appearance of the gorillas' play area and break up the open spaces.
Phil Ridges, head of the gorilla section, said: "The spring is an ideal time for the keepers to spend time improving the look of the animal enclosures and we know the public are very good in responding to our appeals for plants to enrich the animals' lives.
"Herbs in particular, tend to be prolific growers and spread quickly and they will significantly add to the appearance of the areas where the gorillas play, providing more places to hide and making their areas more natural."
The keepers are willing to collect
Tug Gettling: Animal enrichment, from zoo to you
Zoos may be on to something. Disney's Animal Kingdom, the National Zoological Park, our own Hogle Zoo and many others across the world have the right idea. They practice something called "animal enrichment."
The idea is simple and makes a lot of sense. They provide enrichment activities for their captive wild animals for stimulating physical, mental and emotional experiences on a consistent basis. At first glance it seems like a no-brainer; however, it wasn't always so. The old mindset dictated that animals be kept confined, allowing for little exploration and physical activity in order to prevent injury. Food was given in safe, sanitary bowls to keep disease away, and animals were only on exhibit seasonally to avoid weather conditions that may induce illness. These measures were part of an effort to ensure the health and safety of the animals. As it turned out, animals in captivity were almost always much more obese than their wild counterparts. They became physically indolent and mentally lethargic and began having emotional and behavioral problems. Through hindsight, it seems evident that the result would be exactly what it was. Efforts to keep the animals healthy and safe backfired.
Today the concept of animal enrichment is flourishing in most cases, and captive animals are reasonably engaged in appropriate activities that build mental and physical "muscle" to some degree. Domestic animals such as dogs and cats (and humans) can benefit from the same animal enrichment concept. The following are ideas to help enrich the lives of animals and owners alike.
If there is a panacea for the things that ail us, it would have to be exercise. Certainly exercise stimulates and invigorates to the physical body; however, the mental and emotional impact has also been researched vigorously and the verdict is out. Exercise enriches our (and by 'our' I mean the human animals and the pet animals) lives in more ways than one. Exercise reduces stress, releases endorphins to make us feel happy, gives us clarity of thought, makes our rest more efficacious, fights off disease and so on. Anyone hoping to provide an enriched life for their pet would do well to take up some form of exercise with their pet. Jogging is likely the most popular, but activities such as swimming, jumping rope, bicycling or playing fetch, also can be utilized with great success. Involving your dog in canine sports is another option. Sports such as dog sledding, Iron Dog competition, weight pulling contests, Frisbee catching, hunting or retrieving matches can be rewarding for your pet.
Providing toys for your pet to use while you are away
Elephant, giraffe, crocodile and whale to be dissected for new Channel 4 show
An elephant, giraffe and a whale will be dissected on television for a new Channel 4 show
Animal Autopsy is a four-part Channel 4 science documentary series which claims it will uncover the anatomical secrets of some of the animal kingdom's largest beasts.
The dead animals, including a 16-ton, 65-foot fin whale which was
Argentina Zoo Lets Tourist Play With Dangerous Animals
For $7, Lujan Zoo, in Argentina, will let you play with lions and tigers and bears! Oh my! Tourists who have never watched a lion, bear, or tiger catch and kill prey on TV can ride, wrestle and pet them. Animal protection charity The Born Free Foundation has condemned the zoo and issued a statement to urge tourists not to visit the zoo. CEO Will Travers said, "Based on
ILLEGAL wildlife trafficking is worth an estimated $20 billion a year. That makes it the third most lucrative criminal activity, coming in just behind drug and human trafficking and, incredibly, ahead of arms smuggling. This is a stark reminder (as if we needed one) that there are people out there intent on getting rich irrespective of the cost to others with whom they share this fragile planet.
Animal Investigators documents this black market in unflinching and often depressing detail. But the book is more than just a journey into the criminal underworld, a litany of dismal statistics or a roll-call of cowardly, greedy intermediaries. Instead, Laurel A. Neme centres her book on a more inspiring place: the US Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Lab in Ashland, Oregon, the world's only laboratory dedicated to solving crimes against wildlife.
Find out how the FWS cracks its cases
This year marks its 20th anniversary, in which time it has dealt with some 10,000 cases. In Animal Investigators, Neme recounts three of these: Alaskan walruses slaughtered for their ivory
Questions arise about euthanized jaguar
A jaguar captured from the wild and euthanized may not have had chronic kidney failure after all, according to the University of Arizona's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
After reviewing tissue samples, pathologist Sharon Dial of the laboratory said authorities may have moved too fast to euthanize the jaguar earlier this month.
Arizona Game and Fish officials had said the jaguar, named Macho B, had "off-the-charts" kidney failure, while Dial said the animal's bloodwork actually
Rare animals to feature on Google Earth
FANS of wildlife documentaries could soon catch up with the latest rare animal sightings from their computers.
Cameras equipped with infrared triggers, known as camera traps, are used to identify, count and observe larger mammals in isolated areas. Now researchers from Earthwatch are adding the latest images from their camera traps in Ecuador's cloud forests to Google Earth.
They hope to raise awareness of endangered species, encouraging donations and attracting tourists to the region to support conservation efforts. "It's a form of fishing or hunting that doesn't kill anything," says Earthwatch scientist Mika Peck of the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK, who is leading the project.
Mammals currently on camera in the cloud forest include the spectacled bear - or "Paddington Bear" of South America - puma and deer.
The project should also enable researchers to pool sightings and information on animals from different areas, says
Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center gives baby elephant new lease on life
Srepok Wilderness Area is nestled among the mountains of Mondulkiri in Cambodia's northeast. The area is home to banteng, gaur, tiger and some of the countries last remaining wild Asian elephants. It is remote and rugged with few roads and little infrastructure.
Mondulkiri's isolation provides the perfect cover for Cambodia's animal poachers. The area is littered with snares, animal traps designed to hold live animals until their captors release them into the nation's illegal wildlife trade.
In March 2007, a team of Wildlife Alliance rangers heard reports of a baby elephant wandering through the forest. Early reports had identified the young elephant as alone and distraught with his front left foot severely injured and infected.
It is thought that the elephant
Zoos: Boredom behind bars
Did you hear the one about the elephant in a zoo who was so bored they built it a gigantic treadmill? Or how about the octopus in an aquarium that passes its days shorting out the lights by squirting jets of water at them?
These examples - along with a recent story about a chimpanzee in a Swedish zoo who stockpiles rocks to throw at gawking visitors - may sound like fodder for late-night comics, but they are actually heartbreaking, all to real, anecdotes.
It is impossible to imagine being confined for our entire lives, as captive animals are. The very essence of freedom is being able to come and go as we please, decide when and what to eat, hang out with people we like and avoid those we don't, choose and court our mates and decide whether or not to have children.
We punish criminals in our society by denying them these liberties. Yet animals in zoos, who have committed no crimes, are denied all of these important choices.
We assuage our guilt about keeping animals in captivity by convincing ourselves the animals don't "know any better." But any living beings who are denied their freedom instinctively know they are missing something.
Natural instincts don't somehow disappear just because an animal isn't where he or she is supposed to be.
Just like us, animals want and deserve to live their lives as nature intended.
Whatever their cognitive abilities, animals will do whatever they can to alleviate the unrelenting monotony of captivity. Those fascinating octopuses, for example, never miss an opportunity to express their dissatisfaction. Staffers at a California
Tacoma, Wash., aquarium beluga whale dies
Qannik, a whale at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Wash., has died of an unknown cause, officials said.
Aquarium officials became concerned about the beluga whale's health when Qannik stopped eating, The (Tacoma, Wash.) News Tribune reported Sunday, one day after the 8-year-old whale died. Its health began to "spiral out of control very quickly" as zoo officials were preparing to move the whale to a warmer pool, Point Defiance Deputy Director John Houck said.
"It is a big and devastating loss to us," he said. "He was a great animal. He really was."
Staff members from a Chicago aquarium and Sea World in San Diego tried to determine what was ailing the sea
Zoo teaches elephants to wash cars for donations
When Winston's Wildlife Safari in Oregon needed funds, it was the elephants who came to the rescue.
It seems the hard-working group doesn't mind a bit to be working for their keep and even have a special talent for the task. Visitors are treated to a high pressure wash and unique photo opportunity.
The fundraiser has so far been a success.Tourists
Zoo releases white rhino in a nature reserve in South Africa
COLCHESTER Zoo has released a male white rhino into its nature reserve in South Africa.
The seven-year-old male rhino was released into the zoo's UmPhafa Nature Reserve to join two female white rhinos in the hope that they will breed.
The £27,000 move has been tied in with a visit by Colchester Zoo's zoological director and conservation officer, who will ensure that the release goes smoothly.
Rebecca Perry, the zoo's conservation officer, said: "We are very excited to finally be releasing a male white rhino onto the reserve.
"This brings us one step closer to being able to breed from this charismatic species on UmPhafa, and also represents the culmination of a
Baby gibbon from Dorset's Monkey World faces big destiny in Vietnam
THIS latest addition to the Monkey World family could play its part in establishing a milestone for the Purbeck rescue centre.
It is hoped that the golden-cheeked gibbon, as yet unnamed, will be part of a family released into a rehabilitation centre in Vietnam – the first group to make the trip from the Dorset centre back to the wild.
The baby, thought to be female, has joined her family – parents Peanut and Pung-Yo and sibling Tien – at the Wool sanctuary.
Last year Dr Alison Cronin realised the dream of her late husband Jim when she opened the 64-hectare centre at Cat Tien National Park with the help of the Vietnamese authorities.
Since then work has continued apace and the realisation of the hope of releasing primates
Costly koalas annoy Japan's homeless
They are arguably the most famous Australians in Japan, but the six koalas at Osaka's oldest zoo are costing the city $1.4 million a year just in gum leaves.
Osaka also has Japan's largest homeless population and many people are questioning why these mollycoddled marsupials are being treated better than hard-pressed locals.
They might not move much - in fact they spend most of their time asleep - but the six drowsy koalas are by the far the biggest crowd pullers at Osaka's Tennoji Zoo.
Kenjiro Nagase, the zoo's chief curator, says the koalas have to be popular, because the food bill for these picky eaters is more than the rest of the zoo's 1,000 other animals combined.
"It costs $ 1.4 million a year to feed the koalas, because
Trampled by elephants
Congress cut zoos out of the stimulus and that's just wrong
An old African proverb says, "When two elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled."
The newly signed stimulus law trampled zoos and aquariums with one little-noticed provision, which prevents "any casinos or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course or swimming pool" from receiving stimulus funding to create jobs.
Others can speak for themselves, but the notion that zoos and aquariums belong on this list is wrong.
Many of America's finest zoological institutions were built by federal infrastructure and jobs programs. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt looked to put people back to work 75 years ago and since that time, the federal government has helped to establish a network of public institutions that the American people still enjoy today. From the Work Projects Administration to the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, zoos and aquariums have always been worthy of federal jobs investments.
All across America, zoos and aquariums are ready to put people to work, building education centers and habi
Researchers Help Save Rare Venomous Mammal From Extinction
Scientists at the University of Bath are working with the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust to study an endangered large shrew-like mammal that kills its prey with a venomous bite.
The Biodiversity Lab research group of the University's Department of Biology & Biochemistry will be a playing a key role in the new project that aims to help conserve two types of endemic land mammal in the Dominican Republic.
The Hispaniolan solenodon and the Hispaniolan hutia are two of the few surviving land mammals in the Caribbean Islands, and both are endangered with extinction through habitat loss and introduced mammals.
As a member of a distinct lineage which diverged from all other mammal groups almost
Survey looks for 'lost' dormouse
An appeal has been launched to find out whether a rare mammal still exists in Leicestershire and Rutland.
The city and county councils, along with wildlife trusts, have appealed for volunteers to watch out for signs the hazel dormouse lives in the area.
The animal, which weighs about the same as two £1 coins, has not been seen since the 1970s in Leicestershire.
The dormouse is seen as a good indicator of the wider health of surrounding hedgerows and fields.
Now conservationists are trying to detect its presence using dormouse boxes, nest tubes and looking for evidence over the distinctive way it gnaws hazel nuts.
Barry Ingram, of the Dormouse Project, said: ''We need villagers, farmers, landowners, nature lovers, walkers, and indeed anyone who enjoys the great outdoors to report or relate any experiences of dormice they may have had past and present.
"Has your cat brought one in? If you think it has, email us a photo."
The dormice are mouse-sized
Turkmenistan to send leopards to Russia's Caucasus
Turkmenistan has started catching leopards to help Russia restore its endangered population of the big cats in the Caucasus, the World Wildlife Fund said on Tuesday.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov earlier told Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that his country would send four of the animals to Russia. One has already been caught.
Leopards used to live throughout the Caucasus region, but largely disappeared in the 1960s due to loss of habitat through urban expansion. Only a few leopards now inhabit the area. However, larger numbers can be still found in the Central Asian region, including Turkmenistan.
"The leopard avoids humans and is known for being able to hide even on open territory. It is not aggressive, and runs away from
Orlando company gives $100,000 for zoo exhibit
Wharton-Smith Inc. of Orlando has contributed $100,000 to the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens Get Your Wild On! Capital Campaign, specifically for the Tiger Outpost exhibit.
"The zoo has an incredible partner and friend in Wharton-Smith Inc.," said Joe Montisano, the zoo's chief executive officer.
The Get Your Wild On! Tiger Campaign is the first phase of an $11.5 million capital campaign, the first major fundraising campaign for the zoo in more than 10 years. The $3 million Tiger Outpost exhibit will house four endangered Sumatran tigers.
"Wharton-Smith is proud to be a part of
Dancing, Acrobatic Seal Steals The Istanbul Dolphinarium Show
A new facility has opened up in Turkey, for families to enjoy music, dancing, and acrobatics. But, dolphins, seals, and whales are at the center of this performance.
Istanbul Dolphinarium opened it's first dolphin show center in recent days, and the entertainment was ready to perform. The seals amused the kids with it's two step, when doing the tango with a dance partner. The seal even played
PETA Gift Basket Welcomes Rescued Lions to Detroit Zoo
Three rescued lions arriving at their new home at the Detroit Zoo within the next 24 hours will be greeted by a gift basket of "big cat goodies"--including toys, catnip, and a variety of appealing spices--to help them pass the time during their initial 30-day quarantine. The male lion and two female lions had recently lived in a junkyard in Kansas and were released after PETA pressed authorities to take action.
PETA was first alerted to the big cats' plight in May 2008, when a passerby reported that lions and tigers were being kept in a junkyard. PETA sent a team of exotic-animal experts to the site. Their reports detailed unhealthy and unsafe conditions and were included in the local sheriff's report, which recommended that charges be filed against the big cats' owner. Authorities redoubled their efforts after a man was bitten by one of the lions in February. The Detroit Zoo agreed to take the lions;
Roar talent: patient training turns zoo animals into trained patients
IT'S an act of feline co-operation that would put many a moggie owner to shame. The keepers at Taronga Zoo have trained an irascible, 125-kilogram lioness to volunteer her hip at the edge of her cage so they can administer vaccination injections - no sedation, no drama, no claws before bedtime.
Big cats yet to undergo this kind of behavioural training have to be vaccinated using dart guns, which is stressful for all concerned. "The lions recognise the vets and the dart guns and they get, shall we say, a bit worked up," the senior carnivore keeper, Justine Powell, said. With a manual injection "they don't realise
WDCS To Work With Merlin Entertainments On Better Future For Captive Dolphins
WDCS has begun work with the global visitor attractions company, Merlin
Entertainments, to undertake a feasibility study aimed at finding a permanent
solution for the retirement and rehabilitation, to a natural setting, of a
number of captive dolphins that were part of shows in attractions acquired by
Merlin Entertainments in the last few years.
WDCS has been campaigning to end captures, trade and the captivity of dolphins
for many years. Dolphins are highly intelligent animals whose wild habitat can
cover vast distances. Confined in captivity, they are known to suffer, with a
shorter life expectancy than in the wild and with poor breeding success.
Cathy Williamson, Anti-Captivity Campaign Manager for WDCS said: "We very much
welcome the opportunity to work with Merlin and carry out this feasibility
study, and we praise the company for recognising the problems faced by dolphins
in captivity, it's the first time such efforts have been made by a visitor
attractions company to positively address these problems. We look forward to
working with Merlin to achieve a permanent alternative and much more positive
solution to the confinement in captivity of the dolphins that have come into
Merlin's care through these acquisitions."
The help from WDCS to secure the best possible future for the dolphins has also
been warmly welcomed within Merlin.
"We are very pleased that the WDCS has agreed to work with us in undertaking
this study. We are confident that WDCS is the ideal ally to help us identify
the solution which best provides for the welfare of the dolphins," said Sea
Life's senior marine biologist Rob Hicks.
"We ñ both Merlin and WDCS ñ are determined to move this forward, examining
every option thoroughly
COMMENT: ( Attached is the WDCS piece referring to their alliance with Merlin
Entertainments. Merlin's PR machine state (on their web site) that the company
has doubts about the suitability of cetaceans for captivity. They also sing
their own praises re rescue and rehab of marine mammals.
Obviously they have no doubts about the suitability (to a captive environment)
of the marine life they keep in their Sea Life aquarium chain. Nor are they
troubled about the gorillas, chimpanzees and many other exotics at Chessington
Zoo. The sea lions they have at several facilities are not giving them sleepless
Whatever their genuine thoughts on dolphins in human care, I am surprised that
they align themselves with the WDCS who repeatedly spew out misleading and
defamatory claims about cetaceans in marine parks.
I also question why Blackstone are interested in purchasing the Busch
Entertainment Corporation (Sea World, Busch Gardens etc) as they are the parent
company of Merlin. Unless they plan on throwing away a tremendous amount of
money by buying the parks and then stopping programmes with cetaceans they are
Tiny chirping frog, jumping spiders among new animal species discovered in Papua
A brilliant green tree frog with huge black eyes, jumping spiders and a striped
gecko are among more than 50 new animal species scientists have discovered in a
remote, mountainous region of Papua New Guinea.
The discoveries were announced Wednesday by Washington D.C.-based Conservation
International, which spent the past several months analyzing more than 600
animal species the group found during its expedition to the South Pacific island
nation in July and August.
Of the animals discovered, 50 spider species, three frogs and a gecko appear to
have never been described in scientific literature before, the conservation
group said. The new frogs include a tiny brown animal with a sharp chirp, a
bug-eyed bright green tree frog and another frog with a loud ringing call. One
of the jumping spiders is shiny and pale green, while another is furry and
"If you're finding things that are that big and that spectacular that are new,
Island haven for reds to squirrel away
A SCOTTISH island is to be turned into a refuge for red squirrels to help them
survive the onslaught from their grey cousins.
Arran is set to become a red squirrel "stronghold", along with 18 large areas of
forest on mainland Scotland, to help protect their future.
It is hoped that creating havens will help the reds to thrive, away from the
threat of grey squirrels ñ originally from America ñ which usually
China Using Contraceptive Pellets To Curb Rats In Tibet
China's authorities have scattered 200 kilograms (440 lbs.) of rodent
contraceptive pellets across the Tibetan plateau to control what they describe
as a "plague of desert rats".
The growing number of rodents have been blamed for destroying fragile
high-altitude grasslands and accelerating the spread of deserts.
Biodiversity experts warn, however, that the extermination campaign could worsen
the problem of soil degradation and the poisons could damage other parts of the
China's chemists custom-designed the drugs to induce abortions and prevent
pregnancy in "gerbils", according to the state-run Xinhua news agency. It is
possible they are referring to pika, a small cousin of the rabbit
Save the Act to save the Polar Bears!
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has limited time to rescind dangerous,
last-minute Bush Admin regulationsMarch 25, 2009Print Tell a friend United
States ó Last week Congress passed, and President Obama signed into law, a bill
giving Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar the authority to immediately
rescind Bush administration regulations that eliminate essential protections for
the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act. However, under the bill, if
Salazar doesn't withdraw the Bush regulations within 60 days of its passage into
law, the regulations
Dugong population under threat from commercial fishing
Thailand's dugong population is now under threat. Trawling and fishing by push
net has caused a dramatic and continuous decline in the marine animal's
population. According to official statistics, more than 10 dugongs have died
over the past 4 months as a result of commercial fishing.
The autopsy of a 40-year-old male dugong in Thailand's Satun province clearly
showed the animal did not die from illness or infection. Instead, the oedema in
its chest helped confirm the dugong had struggled to survive so hard it was
finally died of shock.
A marine biologist at Phuket Marine Biological Centre, who performed an autopsy
for this dugong, believed fishing tools were the culprit.
"Although there's no wound on its body caused by a fishing tool, there are
traces inside the body, which indicate the dugong suffered a serious shock. For
instance, an oedema in pericardium and a blood clot in the torso. These traces
were believed to be from a fishing tool," said Phaothep Cherdsukjai, a marine
Phuket Marine Biological Centre Commercial fishing, namely by trawler and push
net, is directly resulting in a sharp drop in the dugong population, as well as
other endangered species such as sea turtles.
Illegal fishing within restricted area of 3,000 metres
Miami zoo takes in exotic pets on 'amnesty day'
A howler monkey, several boa constrictors, an African tortoise that dug up its
yard and a macaw too loud for the neighbors were among the exotic pets handed
over to state wildlife officers at the Miami Metrozoo.
Saturday was the zoo's Nonnative Pet Amnesty Day. Wildlife officers accepted 102
animals that had become too big, too expensive or too troublesome to keep. The
state will find new homes for the animals.
The animals' owners won't face any prosecution for keeping unlicensed
Zoo in Warwick a first in Bucks
Famous wildlife expert Jack Hanna will help "Jungle Joe" Fortunato open his new
zoo on Friday.
When Joe Fortunato first met Jack Hanna, all he wanted was an autograph and a
A year later, "Jungle Joe" was on stage with "Jungle Jack," helping the famous
wildlife expert with his traveling animal education show.
On Friday, almost three years after their first meeting at the War Memorial in
Trenton, Fortunato and Hanna will appear together in Warwick for the grand
opening of Fortunato's Bucks County Zoo. Later that night, Fortunato and his
traveling troupe of exotic animals will again join Hanna at War Memorial.
Fortunato said he can hardly believe it's been only three years since he first
met Hanna, host of "Jack Hanna's Into the Wild" and director emeritus of the
Columbus Zoo in Ohio.
At the time, Fortunato was still a Falls police officer, and running an animal
education show and opening a zoo was still just a dream. Today, he owns a
successful traveling animal education business called Animal Junction, and
recently opened the Bucks County Zoo, the
In zoos, a different stimulus package
A lion rips open a paper bag stuffed with hay and meat. Giraffes chew up old
Christmas trees. Asian black bears claw on empty beer kegs.
A giraffe eats hay and lettuce from a wire basket during an enrichment session
at the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence.
It's been a busy winter for zoo animals ó and their schedules promise to be just
as packed this spring. But this is not for show: Zoo keepers say games and other
activities are essential to keeping animals physically and mentally healthy when
they're out of their natural environments.
The so-called "animal-enrichment" programs are part of a general change in zoo
philosophy in the past several years.
Not long ago, zoos thought keeping animals alive and
Audit slams Lowry Park Zoo
The Tampa City Auditor has released a scathing audit on the relationship between
Lowry Park Zoo, its former president Lex Salisbury, and a private animal park
owned by Salisbury called Safari Wild.
The audit claims the zoo paid more than $150,000 for construction projects at
Salisbury's private animal park.
According to the audit, "Many of the interviews with Zoo staff, supervisors, and
senior management disclosed issues of abuse and potential illegal acts, but none
were officially reported or investigated. Many of the personnel interviewed
disclosed their fears of retaliation for reporting instances of fraud and abuse
to senior management because of the culture maintained by the Zoo's President."
The audit goes on to suggest "the activities disclosed in this report should be
turned over to law enforcement for further investigation."
Copyright 2009 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This mate
Belfast zoo hunts 'elephant angel'
Belfast zoo on Monday launched a search for a mystery woman who sheltered a baby
elephant named Sheila during World War II.
The woman, dubbed the "elephant angel", housed Sheila in her back garden for
parts of the war because of fears the zoo would be hit during the 1941 Belfast
"The woman is something of a zoo legend," said manager Joy Bond, adding: "The
pictures have been here a long time but nobody had been able to identify her."
Grainy black and white photographs issued by the zoo give no clue to the
identity of the woman, but Bond said several people had called saying they
Solomon dolphin forum a farce: annual export quota set at 100 dolphins
I WOULD like to comment extensively regarding the so-called Dolphin Forum and
its failed attempt to appear transparent on this issue on the part of the
It is very obvious that this forum was to be biased from the beginning and a
First, I was invited after the Minister of Environment knew I had left the
I had provided a large number of important documents on Monday, March 9 to the
minisiter's office for review.
In these documents were opposition letters from the International Union for the
Conservation of Nature (IUCN) stating that the capture and exports of tursiops
from Solomons was not based on sound science despite the claim from Dr Defran.
Maybe Dr. Defran is a Phd from San Diego State Univ. but that does not give him
the sole credential to state it is
Two Komodo dragons kill fruitpicker in eastern Indonesia
Two Komodo dragons mauled a fruit-picker to death in eastern Indonesia, police
and witnesses said Tuesday, the latest in a string of attacks on humans by the
world's largest lizard species.
Tonda the Orangutan Dies, Pet Cat Lives On
Tonda, a 50-year-old orangutan whose unlikely friendship with a cat generated
international attention, has died.
Tonda, whose full name is Tondaleyo, passed in her sleep sometime early Friday
morning, according to ZooWorld, in Panama City, Fla.
Having celebrated her 50th birthday in February, Tonda was the oldest U.S.
registered orangutan in captivity.
"She was an older lady, and we have been keeping a close eye on
Runaway kangaroos on the loose in France
Vandals set loose 15 kangaroos from an Australian theme park in southern France,
sparking a major search operation, with three marsupials still on the loose on
"When we arrived on Saturday morning, five pens had been broken open, their
padlocks were smashed and the perimeter fence was torn in several places," said
Carole Masson, owner of the nature reserve in southwestern Carcassonne.
"We had 15 missing kangaroos -- it was complete panic," she told AFP.
Firefighters, police and gendarmes were mobilised to track down the animals as
they bounded through the woods.
"We found five in the park, and
Gerakan: How safe is the Tiger Park?
The state government's proposed Tiger Park project has attracted a litany of
criticisms with the latest questioning the project's safety aspects and
Penang Gerakan treasurer Ng Fook On said the people's safety was of paramount
importance and placing wild animals especially tigers in densely-populated
residential areas was inviting danger.
"The state government should not risk the lives of the people just because it
wanted to impress them that it could implement an eco-tourism project.
"Tigers should be allowed to remain in their natural habitats to roam freely,"
he said in a statement yesterday.
Ng was commenting on the proposal by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to create the
Tiger Park on a 40ha plot owned by the Penang Municipal Council known as the
Pondok Durian Cap Kaki in Relau.
Lim had defended his idea saying people, especially children, were generally
interested in big animals due to the `wow' factor.
Ng said he was sceptical as the "idea of the park seemed to have appeared out of
"Is there a blueprint? Is it a private-driven initiative or state project? What
about the safety aspects?" he asked
Be rational on tiger park, says CM
The state government will comply with international benchmarks and invite
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to be in a monitoring team if a proposal
to set up a tiger park here is approved.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said yesterday they could give their views on the
"Let us be rational and study the pros and cons. The state may decide in a
month's time whether or not to go ahead with the proposal," he told reporters
after a forum on "Nationality and Islam" at Komtar yesterday.
Lim said that while the state respected the views of the NGOs and concerned
groups, its responsibility was towards the people.
The Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (Mycat) had expressed concern
over the proposed park.
It claimed that housing and feeding
Tiger park is bad idea, say NGOs
A coalition of non-governmental organisations has warned the state that the
proposed tiger park will have negative implications.
The Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (Mycat), which comprises the
Malaysian Nature Society, Traffic Southeast Asia, Wildlife Conservation
Society-Malaysia Programme and World Wildlife Fund-Malaysia, said building zoos
and wildlife parks always sounded simple and exciting.
"Malaysia already has more than 40 zoos and monitoring them is a huge task for
the authorities, who are also holding the responsibility of protecting wildlife
in the wild," it said in a statement yesterday.
Mycat stated that some Malaysian zoos had been linked to illegal wildlife
trafficking, citing the discovery of four smuggled gorillas at the Taiping Zoo a
few years ago.
It also cited the Saleng Zoo in Johor, which was hauled up many times for
illegally acquiring endangered species.
Mycat said tiger parks such as the Harbin Siberian
PETA is Angry with Michael Jackson
PETA hasn't picked a fight in a few weeks, so good thing Michael Jackson did
something to piss them off so they'd have a new topic to complain about!
As you know, Michael is in the planning stages of his big comeback tour at
London's O2 Arena, which kicks off in July. He's planning on including live
animals on stage for his shows, which is a big no-no to PETA!
British tabloids are reporting that Michael has his heart set on featuring
exotic animals throughout the show. Sources say, "He hopes to make it the most
spectacular gig ever.
"For the jungle section, he wants to ride out on an African elephant with
panthers led on gold chains. Parrots and other birds will fly behind him. If it
goes to plan it will look incredible."
Artificial insemination projects to increase elephant population
The elephant population in Thailand has decreased to less than 5,000 as they
have been abandoned and left uncared. Concern authorities have made efforts to
increase the huge animal's population through artificial insemination projects.
Phang Sommai is the latest casualty at the Elephant Conservation Centre in
northern Lampang province. Her palms were seriously injured and she cannot walk.
Phang Sommai's injuries highlight the plight of Thai elephants. Some lost their
legs after stepping on landmines while dragging timber in the forest. Many
others were wounded by cars while roaming Bangkok's streets as a result of their
"Elephants brought to the cities usually become stressed. Sometimes they run
wild, hurting people and damaging property. They also suffer from exhaust fumes,
as their trunk which is a highly sensitive organ, is at the same level as car
exhaust pipes, and they inhale the toxic fumes directly," said Preecha Puangkam,
a veterinarian at Mae Sa Elephant Camp.
Despite attempts to improve the well-being of elephants, about 400 of the
pachyderms wander in cities. As a result, there are more untimely deaths than
there are babies born, causing an imbalance
Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo to sack 26 staff
THE global economic crisis is being blamed for sackings at one of Australia's
premier tourist attractions.
Australia Zoo, at Beerwah in the Sunshine Coast hinterland north of Brisbane,
has announced it would lay off 26 staff and delay expansion plans.
The zoo was founded by the parents of "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin in 1970 and
has grown to become one of Queensland's major tourism sites.
In a statement, the zoo said it had conducted an extensive and thorough review
of the business and its operations.
"Australia Zoo has taken all measures to retain members of the Australia Zoo
team. However, regretfully, the difficult decision has been made to temporarily
down scale less than five per cent of the team across the business - which
equates to 20 full-time and six casual staff - and push back expansion plans in
the interim," the statement said.
"All entitlements of affected staff will be met and we will be working closely
with our employees to provide appropriate assistance to those affected.
"The current economic climate
Zoo beluga falls ill
One of the two beluga whales at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium has fallen ill,
and staff is working with experts from around the country to find out what is
Qannik, whose name means snowflake in Inuit, is 8 years old. He came to Tacoma
in 2007 from Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. He lives with another male beluga,
On March 15 he showed a lack of interest in food. Karen Goodrowe Beck, general
curator at the zoo, said when an animal skips eating for a day it does not raise
major concerns, as this happens occasionally. But when he continued to show
disinterest in food, combined with changes in behavior, zoo staff knew something
Qannik is conditioned to respond to commands of his trainers. Goodrowe Beck said
he showed subtle signs of not doing so. "They are very responsive to their
trainers," she noted.
Blood tests were run on the 1,000-pound whale. They indicate some sort of
infection, although at this point it is not known exactly whether it is caused
by bacteria, a virus or some other pathogen. Goodrowe Beck said other tests are
being conducted, which could include taking samples of Qannik's respiratory and
Point Defiance staff has been discussing the situation
Rare clouded leopard cubs born at National Zoo's Conservation and Research
The National Zoo's Conservation and Research Center is celebrating the birth of
two clouded leopard cubs -- the first births of their kind for the National Zoo
in 16 years and the first in any North American zoo in six years.
Clouded leopards, an endangered species, present major challenges to those
attempting to breed them in captivity -- one big reason for the long gap between
captive births. Males are prone to aggression so severe that they often kill
their potential mates. Females have a tendency to kill their offspring
accidentally or intentionally shortly after giving birth.
The successful breeding that resulted in the two newborn cubs was much longer in
the making than their three-month gestation period. Michael E. Ruane of the
Washington Post explains:
Half of zoo frog colony dies
Researchers are struggling to stop deaths of native frogs being kept in
captivity in case the wild population dies out.
Out of 83 Archey's frogs kept at Auckland Zoo since March 2005, 42 have died.
A week ago the zoo revealed that five of its six blue penguins had died in the
last six months. The frog deaths are unrelated.
The frogs have been kept inside to protect them from chytrid fungus, which has
wiped out some Australian frog species and has started killing New Zealand
But staff working for a joint project between the zoo, the Department of
Conservation and a frog recovery group
Turtle: For some, it's the other white meat
American freshwater turtles are being harvested at an unsustainable rate to feed
the voracious appetite for turtle meat in Asia, warns the Center for Biological
Diversity in Tucson, Arizona.
Earlier this month, the organization petitioned eight U.S. states (Arkansas ,
Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, and Tennessee) to ban
turtle hunting in all public and private waters. Meanwhile, Florida's Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission has proposed its own ban, and will present a
draft of the rules at a Commission meeting next month. The Commission recently
estimated that 3,000 pounds of softshell
Woman staying in Los Angeles accused in bear bile importation
Seongja Hyun, 36, is federally charged with illegally importing from China two
pounds of the substance, which is used for medicinal purposes in some Asian
A South Korean woman staying in Los Angeles was charged by federal authorities
Friday with illegally importing more than two pounds of bear bile, used for
medicinal purposes and as an aphrodisiac in some Asian communities.
Seongja Hyun, 36, was arrested Thursday night by agents investigating a package
of green crystallized bear bile from China. Because bears are protected under an
international treaty and the Endangered Species Act, bear products can be
imported only with government-issued export or import permits.
Hyun initially told authorities she planned on using the bile herself but
eventually admitted she was selling the substance and had been advertising it,
Australia Zoo dumps Steve Irwin from billboards
MORE than three years after his death, is Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin finally
about to disappear from Queensland's roadside billboards?
Advertising for Irwin's Australia Zoo continued to feature the larger-than-life
Queenslander after he was killed by a stingray barb in September 2006 but the
number of signs now appearing without the croc man has set tongues wagging that
he is being retired.
His widow, Terri Irwin, and their two children, Bindi, 11, and Robert, 5, now
feature on prominent billboards around the southeast ñ without Steve.
However, Australia Zoo sales and marketing director Natalie Hodgskin downplayed
the suggestion, saying the whole family had always been included in advertising.
"Australia Zoo is the 'Home of the Crocodile Hunter' and Steve, along with
Terri, Bindi and Robert, have and always will feature significantly in all that
China talks boost hope of pandas at Scottish zoo
THE prospect of pandas coming to Edinburgh Zoo has "greatly improved" following
a meeting between the British and Chinese governments yesterday.
Jim Murphy, the Scottish Secretary, hailed his talks with Chinese foreign
minister Yang Jiechi as a great success and said it was now likely a pair of
breeding pandas would be coming to the zoo.
The subject was raised to support negotiations between the Royal Zoological
Society of Scotland and China to bring the pandas to Scotland.
Mr Murphy, who is leading a delegation of Scottish businesses in China, also
asked for help in tackling counterfeit Scotch whisky which is damaging the
China is one of the biggest growth areas for Scotch, but it is being undermined
by fake products coming on to the market.
The same issue will also be raised when Mr Murphy meets China's assistant
finance minister, Zhu Guangyao.
A spokesman for Mr Murphy said: "The
Safari park seals off monkey enclosure after virus discovery
Longleat Safari Park near Warminster has sealed off its drive-through monkey
enclosure after one of the females tested positive for the Simian Herpes virus.
After carrying out routine testing of the monkey colony, one of the female
monkeys was found to have contracted the virus.
The whole group have now been tested and all the other monkeys have proven to be
But despite this, Longleat is keeping its Monkey Jungle closed to drive-through
traffic until further tests on the affected monkey have been undertaken Longleat
has tested its monkeys regularly since 2000 and the tests have been carried out
with the Health Protection Agency at Colindale.
The safari park is now investigating how the monkey con
EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Employees Claim 'Horrific' Treatment of Primates at Lab
Hidden-Camera Investigation Goes Behind Closed Doors at New Iberia Research
Tucked into a rural section of Louisiana, a few miles from Lafayette, an
unexpected compound springs from the landscape. It is the nation's largest
primate testing lab. The New Iberia Research Center, part of the University of
Louisiana, houses more than 6,000 primates and one of the largest captive
populations of chimpanzees in the world.
"Nightline" obtained the results of a nine-month undercover investigation by the
Humane Society of the United States. A Humane Society investigator took a hidden
camera inside the New Iberia Research Center for most of 2008. The video shows
what the Society says is the way monkeys and great apes are treated behind
The New Iberia Research Center is a public facility, and its research includes
contract work for pharmaceutical
Twycross Zoo keepers spend £100,000.00 on animal welfare
Twycross Zoo is investing £100,000.00 in animal welfare, in a new initiative of
projects instigated by the keepers
Each keeper has been allocated £2000.00 to put to a project that will focus on
environmental enrichment or will improve our already high standard of husbandry
and animal welfare.
Keepers will have two buddies who will assist with ideas on how the money can be
spent, help to source high quality materials and prepare budgets for the various
projects. In addition to the buddies a member of the Senior Management Team will
also act a mentor to advise and steer the project.
All projects will comply with Twycross Zoo's mission Statement which is "To care
for our earth's animals and environment through conservation, communication and
One of the recent projects that have been completed is in the Chimp Complex.
Keepers used their funds to build raised nesting platforms which enable the
chimps to build nests as they would in the tree tops in the wild.
Chris Hern, Deputy Section Head of African Apes said, "I think it is fantastic
to give the keepers the opportunity to have a set budget to spend on our
animals, as we work closely with them, we know what their needs are. The raised
nest beds will encourage the chimps to fulfil one of their natural behaviours in
a captive environment."
A second project that has been completed is a specially
The financial picture for zoos isn't a good one. Would that the WPA was still
None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this Act may be
used by any State or local government, or any private entity, for any casino or
other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, or swimming pool.
- American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (or, The Stimulus Bill)
When the oldest zoo in America was planning its 150th anniversary, it probably
never thought Congress would compare it to a casino just weeks before the
celebration. Such was the case for the Philadelphia Zoo, which marked its
sesquicentennial this past weekend. The issue isn't access to the stimulus funds
(though that couldn't hurt), but more the implication that, like swimming,
golfing, and gambling, zoogoing is nice but not necessary.
So maybe it's appropriate that the zoo's party was thematically more about
looking to its past than to its future. Chartered in 1859 (but, because of
delays due to the Civil War, not opened until 1874), the institution celebrated
its birthday with actors dressed in Victorian costumes, brass bands, and a guy
riding the grounds on a penny-farthing bike ó the kind with the giant wheel in
Enjoying such a pleasant, early-spring afternoon at the zoo, one would likely be
unaware of the precarious state in which the country's zoo find themselves
today. Last week, the New York Times reported that many zoos ó including those
in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, and Baltimore ó are cutting staff, programs,
and operating hours, and in some cases are even relocating animals, in efforts
to lower costs as both endowments and government support fall in the wake of the
current economic crisis. The Governor of New York has announced plans to cut all
state funding for zoos, aquariums, and botanical gardens in the 2010 fiscal
budget. The Wildlife Conservation Society ó which runs the Bronx, Central Park,
Queens, and Prospect Park zoos, along with the New York Aquarium ó responded by
reaching out to the public through a series of videos in which a porcupine is
first "fired" by the director of the Bronx Zoo, and then looks for work
(unsuccessfully) at an unemployment office. The Philadelphia Zoo is a private
non-profit, but its home city has said it will no longer waive the institution's
water bill, most recently pegged at $2.8 million.
Given the reach of the current recession, it's perhaps to be expected that zoos
and aquariums will see cuts in public financial support. What is surprising,
however, is the depth of those cuts and, more important, the extent to which
support of such institutions has come to be seen as frivolous.
This was perhaps most acute in the recent debate over how, exactly, we should
spend hundreds of billions of dollars in federal stimulus funds. One proposal
included $4.8 million for renovations to the polar bear exhibit at the Roger
Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island. When word of the proposal got
out, the guano hit the fan. Critics of the bailout quickly adopted the polar
bear exhibit as the symbol of wasteful spending and zoos, casinos, and pools
were subsequently (and explicitly) cut out of the stimulus bill.
But zoos have had to fight even before the current downtown became obvious in
the fall. Last spring, in debates over a $1 billion bond that included funding
for a gorilla exhibit at St. Paul's Como Park Zoo, Minnesota State's House
Minority Leader Marty Seifert told members of that body, "You can pick the
school kids of Minnesota or you can pick the gorillas." As reported by Minnesota
Public Radio, Seifert continued:
What kind of house could you build for $500 thousand? A pretty darn nice one.
Hot tubs, bedrooms, brass, granite, garages. The whole nine yards. Now I want
you think what we're doing for the gorillas for a moment. Eleven million
taxpayer hard-earned dollars.
One guesses that Seifert's beef wasn't over the value of, say, gorilla
conservation versus that of free school lunches, but rather the fact that
gorillas would have what he assumed were the animal equivalent of hot tubs,
brass, and granite, when most of his constituents didn't even have the real
Such sentiments reflect a shift in the perceived value of zoos since their
development in America in the late 19th century. Inspired by both the animal
collections built from royal menageries in Paris and London, as well as by those
created by scientific societies throughout Germany, the builders of this
Chimp dies: Mystery ailment strikes Lincoln Park zoo chimps
6 other chimps also monitored for respiratory ailment that killed Kipper, 9
Lincoln Park Zoo officials are watching six ailing, quarantined chimpanzees
around the clock after an adolescent member of the group died in the zoo's
hospital earlier this week.
The 9-year-old chimp, a male named Kipper, died Tuesday, a day after
veterinarians brought him to the zoo hospital. He and the other six members of
his group, who are usually on exhibit in the Regenstein Center for African Apes,
came down with a mysterious upper respiratory infection March 19.
The cause of the respiratory ailment is still unknown, and there is no
indication that it has spread to the ape house's other chimp group or to its two
gorilla families, said Steve Thompson, the zoo's vice president
Lowry Park Zoo Regains National Accreditation
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has reinstated its endorsement of Tampa's
Lowry Park Zoo.
Santiago Corrada, the city's representative on the zoo board, said the vote was
unanimous at the group's meeting today in Oklahoma City.
The accrediting agency also reinstated the accreditation of Larry Killmar, the
zoo's director of collections.
"We are very pleased to be reinstated as a member of AZA ñ a relationship that
is very important to all of us at the zoo," said Craig Pugh, acting director.
"Throughout this process, we have focused on taking action to ensure best
PETA Killed 95 Percent of Adoptable Pets in its Care During 2008
Hypocritical Animal Rights Group's 2008 Disclosures Bring Pet Death Toll To
Today the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) published documents online
showing that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) killed 95
percent of the adoptable pets in its care during 2008. Despite years of public
outrage over its euthanasia program, the animal rights group kills an average of
5.8 pets every day at its Norfolk, VA headquarters.
According to public records from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and
Consumer Services, PETA killed 2,124 pets last year and placed only seven in
adoptive homes. Since 1998, a total of 21,339 dogs and cats have died at the
hands of PETA workers.
Despite having a $32 million budget, PETA does not operate an adoption shelter.
PETA employees make no discernible effort to find homes for the thousands of
pets they kill every year. Last year, the Center for Consumer Freedom petitioned
Virginia's State Veterinarian to reclassify PETA as a slaughterhouse.
CCF Research Director David Martosko said: "PETA hasn't slowed down its
hypocritical killing machine one bit, but it keeps browbeating the rest of
society with a phony `animal rights' message. What about the rights of the
thousands of dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens that die in PETA's headquarters
Martosko added: "Since killing pets is A-OK with PETA, why should anyone listen
Thailand Trains Airport Staff to Tackle Illegal Wildlife Trade
Thailand is working harder to stop wildlife smuggling, an illegal trade that is
threatening populations of endangered animals throughout Southeast Asia.
Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport is hosting a U.S.-funded training course for
airport staff so they can better spot smugglers and prohibited cargo.
Most of the animals illegally trafficked in Southeast Asia come from Burma,
Indonesia and Malaysia. They then go to markets in China, where exotic meats and
parts from animals like the pangolin are considered to have medicinal value.
Other wildlife like the Slow Loris, are destined for the U.S., Japan, and Europe
where they are sold as expensive, exotic
Zoo Seeks $200,000 From Salisbury
Lowry Park Zoo's board of directors has hired a lawyer to recoup more than
$200,000 in supplies and animals the former president and CEO took from the
facility, according to a city audit.
Tampa city officials released a final draft of a monthslong zoo audit Monday
that found Lex Salisbury turned the taxpayer-backed zoo into a fiefdom he used
to maintain his Dade City ranch and build his for-profit exotic animal park in
Polk County, called Safari Wild.
Mayor Pam Iorio, who called for the review after a Tampa Tribune investigation
of Salisbury, said the audit should be turned over to law enforcement to decide
whether to pursue a criminal investigation.
The final audit affirmed every major
ASIAN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS GO TO THE WOODS FOR A BEARS' PICNIC.
Khun Tuk-Tik, a second year BEng student wrote about the visit and Khun Game
(first year BEng) took the photos.
"On Wednesday 25th March, Asian University Community Service Committee and
students went to the Wildlife Conservation Centre, Sattahip, Chonburi, to have a
little visit there. At the Center there are various types of wild animals such
as bears, crocodiles, monkeys and otters etc. The animals that are there are
mainly animals that were bought and illegal pets, and been rescued by the
officers. Asian University Community Service Committee are aware and have great
concerns towards those captured wildlife, we would like to help them. We have
brought lots of dry dog food which the people could use it to feed the bears;
the food that the bears get is, rice cooked with dry dog food.
We went along with the staff on the feeding truck into the main big enclosure
and fed them. The bears are very cute but in the other hand they also look
scary, just like how bears should be. The center has 98 bears in total, include
all ages from 2 months until 30 years old. The center also acts like
As Zoo Awaits Word, Tampa's Aquarium Wins Accreditation
Lowry Park Zoo, which lost its accreditation in December, isn't the only local
attraction courting the organization that grants it -- the Association of Zoos
Today, the nation's premier accrediting organization for zoos and aquariums
renewed its endorsement of the Florida Aquarium. The aquarium's last review by
the association was five years ago.
"I'm extremely proud of our team and their passion for the Aquarium," said Thom
Stork, the aquarium's president and CEO. "Staff and volunteers alike maintain
the highest levels of quality when it comes to our facility and programs. It is
an honor having a group of our peers recognize our commitment to excellence."
The organization reviewed the aquarium's animal care, veterinary programs,
conservation, education and safety.
"The Florida Aquarium has been awarded
Zoo's Jumbo Mystery Girl Was Keeper ; APPEAL
A MYSTERY woman who cared for a baby elephant in her backyard during the Second
World War turns out have been one of her keepers at Belfast Zoo.
Sheila the elephant was moved to safety during the Belfast Blitz of 1941.
After a public appeal to find out who had hosted the unusual evacuee, the zoo
admitted yesterday the answer had been under their trunk all along.
She turned out to be
Manchurian tiger cubs born in Heilongjiang Zoo
One-week old Manchurian tiger cubs were laid their stomachs in the warm cabinet
in the Heilongjiang Manchurian Tiger Zoo as they were still too weak to stand on
Feeder Liu Xinmin said that the cubs, two males and one female were born on
March 8. They weighed more than 1 kilogram each.
The Heilongjiang Manchurian Tiger Zoo is the world largest Manchurian tiger
Sound bite: feeder Liu Xinmin, It took six hours for the mother to deliver these
three cubs. Their mother doesn't have milk, so we have to feed them with sheep
milk. Now they are very healthy, and add one kilogram each.
The Manchurian tiger is the largest of the world's
Missouri teen's family sues over tiger attack
The family of a Reeds Spring teen who was left paralyzed after a tiger attack
last summer has filed suit against the Branson zoo where the attack occurred.
Dakoda Wood lost the use of his arms and legs after being bitten in the neck
Aug. 4 by a tiger at Branson Interactive Zoo and Aquarium.
The zoo said the 16-year-old was an intern and had entered the tigers' cage to
take a picture of the animals for some zoo customers.
The lawsuit filed in Galena is seeking an undetermined amount of money to pay
Animal rights groups continue battle vs Manila Zoo
Animal rights activists have signed a petition asking Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim
to stop Manila Zoo from adding more animals in its "tiny, decrepit and outdated"
In a statement, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said the
petition was signed by 10 groups of animal advocates. It said the groups believe
that the "animals belong with their families and communities in the wild."
"The Manila Zoo is a tiny, decrepit, and outdated facility and has nothing to
offer animals except a life of deprivation, misery, and loneliness," said PETA
Asia-Pacific Director Jason Baker.
The group claimed that the animals are relegated to a lifetime of boredom and
abuse, which often leads to self-mutilation and other abnormal behavior.
Aside from PETA, the signatories in the petition include Animal Kingdom
Foundation Inc. (Philippines), Animal Welfare Coalition, Compassion and
Responsibility for Animals (CARA Welfare Phils), International Monitoring
Program (Philippines), International Wildlife Coalition Trust, LovePets, Network
For Animals, Palawan Animal Welfare Association and The Philippine Animal
The Manila Zoo, which opened in 1959, is located on 5.5 hectares of land along
Adriatico Street in Manila. It houses some 500 animals from about 100 species.
Last year, PETA stopped the transfer of elephants and giraffes from Tanzania to
Manila Zoo. -
Australian zoo condemned for shooting lion
An Australian zoo that shot dead an escaped lioness was at the receiving end of
a barrage of hate mail and abuse Thursday.
"It's predominantly emails, but we've had people ring up and swear at the
staff," said Mogo Zoo's John Appleby.
"Basically a large majority are saying why don't you use a tranquiliser gun?
We've had people say silly things like 'Next time don't shoot the animal, shoot
yourself'," he told Australian Associated Press.
The nine-year-old African big cat was shot dead by a marksman on Tuesday morning
as she approached a public area, after escaping her enclosure at the zoo south
Park owner Sally Padey defended her order to shoot the lioness, which she had
bottle-raised from birth, saying she was forced to take a snap decision in the
interest of public safety.
"When you have the blink of an eye to make that decision, how do you?" an
emotional Padey told commercial television.
"It was a situation that could have been far, far more devastating than it
already is. For the very first time in my life I made a decision with
Three questions for S.F. Zoo primate keeper
The gorilla house at the San Francisco Zoo - never a dull place - has been even
more intense since the Dec. 8 birth of a baby gorilla. The baby was abandoned
hours later by his mother, Monifa, who apparently decided motherhood was not for
Curator of primates Corinne MacDonald is in charge of nine keepers, who have
undertaken a round-the-clock effort to feed, play with, sleep with, entertain,
snuggle and change the diapers of the little guy until he's ready to be
introduced to the adult gorillas, perhaps as early as May. MacDonald, a graduate
of St. John's University in New York with a degree in business, gave up a career
as an employment recruiter nine years ago to join the zoo staff as an animal
keeper. She spoke the other day inside the gorilla house with Chronicle reporter
Q: Do gorillas really like bananas as much as people think they like bananas?
A: No doubt about it, they like bananas. But they like a lot of things. Bananas
are a cultural image that has grown up with all primates. Gorillas in the wild
eat fruit, leafy greens, roots, shoots, a lot of things. Our gorillas get a wide
variety of fruits and vegetables, in addition to fortified gorilla chow. I would
say that bananas are an insignificant part of their diet. Our silverback gorilla
might get two bananas a day. And every animal is different. Some like some
fruits more than others. Not all primates like the same things. Some of our
lemurs won't even go near a banana.
Q: What does it take to care for a baby gorilla around the clock?
A: A tremendous team of dedicated individuals. He goes through six to seven
bottles a day. You have to manage his intake. And also his output. This little
guy is a lot of hard work. We want him to be able to sleep through the ni
Safari park celebrates its first ever grey wallaby
A NEW baby wallaby sent gossip flying around West Midlands Safari Park after
becoming the park's first ever grey coloured joey.
When mum Dawn introduced the youngster, staff were shocked as the park's other
34 wallabies are all snowy white.
It is not surprising the four month old, who is yet to be named, is keeping
tucked up safe in his mother's pouch while the rest of the mob get used to him.
The strange occurrence has spurred speculation among the park staff but it
appears the colour of the new baby is completely natural.
A safari park spokeswoman said: "For the time being, the yet unnamed youngster
Two new stingrays die at Calgary Zoo, a year after deaths of 41 stingrays
Two more stingrays have died at the Calgary Zoo and officials are blaming it on
a shipping problem.
Forty-one of the animals died about a year ago soon after the opening of an
interactive exhibit where people could pet them in the water.
Last month the zoo's president admitted that human error was to blame for those
Last week, two rays that were part of a
In Zoo Cuts, It's Man vs. Beast
AS in other cities, the shocks of the economic collapse have reverberated
throughout Chicago, from the commodities exchanges in the Loop, past the fancy
storefronts on Michigan Avenue and into the residential and commercial
neighborhoods across the city's inland expanses.
But the gloom has also spread north along Lake Michigan, through the gates of
the Lincoln Park Zoo on the lakefront and right into the Regenstein Center for
African Apes. There, the gorillas are no longer getting their blueberries.
Facing a budget shortfall of more than $1 million because of endowment losses,
the 140-year-old zoo has had to cut back where possible. "Blueberries are pretty
expensive," said Steven D. Thompson, senior vice president for conservation and
science programs. "And there are lots of other things we can use as treats."
Taking pricey fruit off the table may seem like a trivial way to save money, but
it illustrates the problem that zoos and aquariums confront when the economy
turns sour. A gorilla ó or a sea lion, marmoset, skink or chinstrap penguin, for
that matter ó can't be put in storage, like a painting, to reduce
Gianyar develops five potential zones
Just a year into his leadership, Gianyar Regent Cokorda Oka Artha Ardana
Sukawati, better known as Cok Ace, has carried out many breakthroughs, including
allocating BOS school operational funds, healthcare funds for the less
privileged, and providing micro-credit loans without collateral.
His latest innovation is to develop five zones based on their respective
Gianyar is one of the nine regencies and municipalities in Bali renowned for its
artists and artisans. It spans 368 square kilometers (36,800 hectares) and
encompasses seven districts made up of 63 villages and six subdistricts.
Cok Ace said Gianyar was potentially capable of developing further, especially
from the economic and cultural aspect, which was one reason why he decided to di
....The regent also plans to have routine events at the city square and improve
the beach to make visitors feel more at home, as well as build a safari park to
cater to the needs....
Keepers shoot escaped lion at Australian zoo
A lioness was shot dead after escaping from its enclosure at an Australian zoo,
forcing dozens of visitors to hide inside buildings, a zoo spokesman said
The nine-year-old big cat, called Jamelia, broke out of its habitat at Mogo Zoo
south of Sydney on Tuesday morning as visitors were walking around.
"She never reached a public area but there was a concern she may have," zoo
spokesman John Appleby said.
"All our team members and visitors were taken into safe houses."
He said Jamelia, who was raised from birth at the privately-owned zoo some 300
kilometres (185 miles) south of Sydney, was shot de
Amazing moment an orang-utan caught a rope thrown by humans and swam across
flooded river to save her baby
All mothers know there is no limit to what they will do to protect their
But this mother orang-utan proved that the selfless sentiment extends to the
animal kingdom also.
These astonishing pictures from the World Wildlife Fund capture the moment the
terrified mother caught a rope thrown to her by humans and swam across a flooded
river to bring her baby to safety.
It is a long-held belief that the giant apes are petrified of water. But the
mother did not appear to give her leap into the swollen river a second thought.
The amazing pictures were taken by local officials of the WWF on the Malaysian
island of Borneo.
Villagers had reported that the mother and her baby were stranded in a tree when
a river flooded on the north east tip of the island.
Some reports claimed they had been trapped there for several days.
The Sabah Wildlife Department, which is linked to WWF, sent a team to the area
and set up a rope bridge so they could get close
Vet Tech Finds New Life Form At Texas Zoo
A Texas veterinarian technician has discovered a new life form during a routine
exam of an Attwater Prairie Chicken.
"I actually found it in April of 2007," said Casey Plummer, who discovered the
"It took almost a year to determine it was a new protozoan. When I found out, I
was so excited! When they told me it had never been identified before, I was
over the moon about it, really," she said during an interview with the Tyler
At just 29 years old, Ms. Plummer's achievement is rare. She grew up in
Whitehouse, Texas, and received degrees from both Tyler Junior College and The
University of Texas at Tyler before landing her position at the Caldwell Zoo in
Texas in 2004.
"It was during a routine fecal exam of our Attwater's Prairie Chickens that I
APES BLANKET JOYMonkeys left shivering at an animal sanctuary during the cold
snap are snug and warm after an appeal for bedding brought in 10,000 towels and
So many people responded to a plea by Monkey World in Dorset that the Army was
called in to help. Soldiers used lorries
Fungus devastates 'chicken' frog
Montserrat's "mountain chicken" frog has become the latest victim of the killer
fungal disease that is devastating amphibians worldwide.
UK researchers say that only two small pockets of the animals on the tiny
Caribbean island remain disease-free.
The mountain chicken (Leptodactylus fallax) is one of the world's largest frogs,
and appears on the coat of arms of neighbouring Dominica.
Conservationists plan to take surviving frogs into captive breeding programmes.
They suspect the chytrid fungus entered Montserrat on small frogs stowing away
Australian kangaroos are in the crosshairs
Australia's capital is plagued by too many kangaroos, and the best solution is
to shoot them, an official said Tuesday. Horrified conservationists vowed to
demonstrate if authorities followed through.
Canberra has among the densest populations of the common eastern gray kangaroo
in Australia, and they are regularly seen hopping in parks and other places
around the city.
The kangaroo is a national emblem of Australia, but it can also be a nuisance.
The animals munching grass and shrubs around Canberra are degrading their own
habitats and adding to threats posed to rare insects and lizards.
Kangaroos hopping across streets are a frequent traffic hazard in the city, and
they can pose other problems -- as one family in the area discovered last week
when a confused
Hunters under fire in battle to save polar bear from extinction
Summit to discuss limits on hunting as starvation hits numbers of Arctic
A limit on the hunting of polar bears by sportsmen and native Arctic people will
top the agenda at an international summit in Norway tomorrow, seen as vital to
the survival of the predator. Although few people outside the Arctic realise it,
there is still a major legal hunt for the animals in four out of the five states
that host the bears: Canada, Greenland, Alaska in the US, and Russia. In Norway,
stalking is banned.
This hunt by Inuit native peoples and in Canada also by sportsmen ñ referred to
as a "harvest" ñ claims as many as 700 polar bears killed every year, 3 per cent
of the entire population. Adding the threat from climate change, which is
eradicating the bear's natural habitat, the hunts are seen as no longer
"sustainable". Studies from the US Geological Survey and the International Union
for the Conservation of Nature suggest that the total population of 22,000 polar
bears will fall by up to two-thirds over the next 50 years, leading the creature
to the precipice of
Tiger protection to be preached in mosques
Preachers in some Malaysian mosques will urge worshippers to help stop the
poaching of tigers, elephants and other endangered animals after similar sermons
on turtle conservation were well received, an environmentalist said Monday.
Dozens of preachers in northern Kelantan state bordering Thailand have agreed to
read sermons against the illegal wildlife trade, said Sara Sukor, an official
with the World Wildlife Fund.
The sermons "talk about how
Penang Plans A Tiger Park At Relau
The Penang government plans to open a tiger park at Relau Community Park aimed
at attracting more tourists to the state.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the ecotourism project would only be
implemented after considering views from non-governmental organisations (NGO)
and the local community.
He said this was in line with the state government's Competency, Accountability
and Transparency (CAT) principle of implementing projects transparently and
fairly by listening to views from others.
"The free Wifi project opposed by many people is a good example. We want to
prevent a repeat of such problem and want to get views from others before
approving the tiger park project," he told reporters after visiting Relau
Community Park here today.
Lim said members of the public have two months to give the state government
their views on the project to be sited far from housing areas, with a new public
access road be built via Jalan Paya Terubong.
"The lush greenery of the 100-acre Relau Community Park will be a good place
for Malaysia's first tiger park.
"The cost for the government-private
Wild horses couldn't drag me from this treat
Wildlife Park owner, Royal Zoological Society, celebrates 100 years
MONGOLIAN wild horses at a Highland wildlife park enjoyed a carrot-flavoured
treat yesterday as part of centenary celebrations.
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) which owns the Highland Wildlife
Park was created 100 years ago by Edinburgh lawyer Thomas Gillespie.
The society created Edinburgh Zoo in 1913 and took over the Highland Wildlife
Park in 1986.
The park, near Kingussie, now has about 30 species of animals including Amur
tigers, red pandas, Japanese snow monkeys and European Bison. And later this
year it will become home to the only polar bear in a UK zoo, now in Edinburgh
The park is also involved in worldwide breeding programmes for endangered
species, while the RZSS is involved in conservation projects across the world as
well as helping with protecting native species in Scotland.
Many activities are planned to mark
Cdn. With 33 Rattlesnakes Allegedly Hidden In Car Among 25 Arrested Smuggling
Think about smuggling between Canada and the U.S., and drugs and guns often come
to mind. Which is what makes the discovery U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials
claim they found so unusual.
Twenty-five people - including three Ontario residents - have been arrested,
after authorities say they smashed a ring that sent protected and unusual
animals illegally over the border.
"Operation Shellshock" involved undercover investigators watching poachers
Bindi's poignant role
Bindi Irwin is to star in Free Willy 4.
Australia Zoo's Bindi Irwin will star in a new movie as an 11-year-old girl
whose father dies.
In Free Willy 4, child star Bindi ñ who stunned the world with her brave tribute
at the memorial service to her father, Steve Irwin ñ will have to revisit the
pain of losing her dad in 2006.
The fourth instalment of the movie is currently being filmed in South Africa.
Bindi is said to play animal lover Kirra, who is forced to live with her
estranged grandfather after the death of her veterinarian father.
Hollywood actor Beau Bridges will play Bindi's grandfather.
The film is a production by Steve Irwin's long-time friend John Stainton, in
conjunction with Warner Brothers.
Filming began at Cape Town
Ex-Zoo Boss In Federal Cross Hairs
Lex Salisbury, who ran Lowry Park Zoo before resigning under fire in December,
is trying to sell two zebras through an animal trading magazine even though he
doesn't hold the license the federal government requires for such transactions.
Salisbury, in fact, has never held the license, according to the U.S. Department
of Agriculture, raising new questions about animals he bought, sold or traded
for his personal Dade City ranch and his side business, Safari Wild, an
Anyone who is a zoo manager would have to know the laws, said Jessica Milteer, a
USDA spokeswoman in the Washington area. "That's what we expect."
Milteer said this week that the department will investigate.
Licensing can be stringent and expensive, requiring proper caging, veterinary
care and documentation. Licensing fees are based on a percentage of profit from
animal sales, and owners are subjected to random inspections.
Salisbury is asking $7,500 for a
Video: death-defying Kevin Richardson plays with a pride of lions
Kevin Richardson, a controversial animal behaviourist, has spent so much time
with a pride of lions in South Africa that he can treat them like family pets.
Critics argue that his hands on approach is inappropriate but he is undeterred
and rolls around, play-fights and even swims with a family of 38 lions in a
private safari park near Johannesburg.
"If they killed me," he said. "It would just be one of those things. If I could
come back after dying I'd do it all over
How the pink pigeon escaped the fate of the dodo
The Mauritius kestrel, the pink pigeon and the echo parakeet are examples of one
of the most successful conservation programmes on an island long associated with
the most famous extinction in history: that of the dodo more than 300 years ago.
Today the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF), with its pragmatic approach, is
determinedly making up for past thoughtlessness by working to bring back its
endangered native wildlife from the brink of extinction.
In the Seventies the kestrel, the only raptor on the island, was one of the
rarest birds in the world ñ only four lived in the wild. Today there are more
In 1980 the number of pink pigeons barely made double figures; 27 years later
there were 380. In the 1980s the emerald green echo parakeet numbered little
Dickerson Park Zoo thins herd to save money
Children love the zoo and moms love the low prices.
"Very reasonable, very affordable," said Tiffany Fink, visiting the zoo with her
kids on Thursday.
The zoo is inexpensive and entertaining but you may see some empty exhibits the
next time you walk through. The city's budget woes have the zoo trapped, forced
to make cuts.
" We looked for ways to trim the budget and close exhibits that would cause the
least effect on our visitors' experience at the zoo," said Melinda Arnold,
marketing director for the Dickerson Park Zoo.
That means getting rid of two hyenas that are here as eventual replacements for
the zoo's aging cheetahs. Since the big cats are still around, the hyenas will
move to a zoo in Boise, Idaho.
The zoo's main attractions like the elephants and the giraffes are here to stay
but some smaller bird exhibits are already empty. The zoo also closed its
African Plains exhibit, "where the large antelope
Reid Park Zoo's general curator to run zoo in Fresno, Calif.
Barton has worked at Reid Park for past five years
Reid Park Zoo's general curator will leave Tucson next month to become director
of the Chaffee Zoo in Fresno, Calif.
Scott Barton, 51, has been the zoo's general curator for five years. He said
he's excited about the opportunity but sad to leave Tucson.
"Tucson's an amazing community, and this
CM defends tiger park idea
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has defended his proposal to start a tiger park in
Relau, saying that the state needed a new eco-tourism project.
"Some people have suggested a zoo but it is not economical to have one
presently. The people, especially children, are generally interested in big
animals. The `wow' factor is there," he said when asked to elaborate on his
Lim had announced that the state government planned to create a tiger park on a
40ha plot owned by the Penang
Tiger park idea draws more flak
The proposed tiger park in Relau has drawn more objections from non-governmental
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Malaysia) chief executive officer Datuk Dr
Dionysius Sharma said they were not in favour of
the plan as the proposed park would be located in an artificial habitat.
"Eco-tourism should promote viewing of wildlife in their natural habitats.
"There is a risk that, if this park is set-up, it could be used as a repository
for problem tigers that are caught due to human-tiger conflict incidents," he
Dr Dionysius said there would also be several issues on tiger procurement for
"Wild tigers cannot be removed from their natural habitat as they are protected
under the Protection of Wild Life Act.
"Tigers caught due to human-tiger conflict incidents are currently managed by
the National Parks and Wildlife Department at the Malacca Zoo while importing
tigers from other countries would require a CITES (Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) permit,"
Lawyers argue over circus elephants
Animal rights activists and circus company Ringling Bros argued in court on
Wednesday over the use of metal-tipped prods and chains to control elephants,
offering their closing arguments to a federal judge who expressed reservations
about regulating circus acts.
US District Judge Emmet Sullivan finished hearing a six-week trial over whether
elephant handling techniques used by the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey
Circus violates America's Endangered Species Act.
Attorney Katherine Meyer, arguing for the animal rights groups, asked the judge
to stop the circus from harming the elephants during performances and punishing
them for bad behaviour. She said she hoped the case would "give voice to these
magnificent animals" who are beaten with prods and spend most of their days
tethered on chains.
"For nine minutes of performing, these elephants live a life of misery," she
Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, argues the animals are not hurt and
that the instruments are necessary to keep the animals under control and protect
There was no jury, so Sullivan alone will decide the outcome. The judge
expressed some reluctance to police circus techniques and asked how the prods
and chains were different from spurs used on horses and whips with tigers.
"Where does all this start and stop?" Sullivan
Mystery deaths strike zoo's penguin colony
Auckland Zoo is down to one blue penguin after a series of deaths that has
Four of the zoo's six penguins have died of a mysterious ailment in the past six
A fifth penguin drowned in a bucket while trying to escape from an emergency
enclosure keepers made to keep it safe.
Zoo veterinarian John Potter said the zoo would like more penguins to replace
Ani, Henry, Lucy, Pluto and MacGonagal.
The last penguin, Coral, was lonely, and the enclosure would be improved in an
effort to make her and her new companions more comfortable.
But he said staff were "stumped" about what had happened to the other penguins.
Tests of their swimming water had not found any possible cause of the problem.
The trouble started in April when keepers noticed the penguins had unusually
oily coats and did not seem to want to swim.
Too much oil makes penguins' coats absorb water and they can risk freezing to
It is not known if they were staying out of the water because of the oil in
their coats or because there was something wrong with the water in their
Over the next six months, the penguins
Gay penguins wed in China zoo
Same sex marriages have recently been introduced to the animal kingdom as two
loved up male penguins' married at China's Polarland wildlife park.
Zoo workers reported that the happy couple have been inseparable and were even
stealing other heterosexual couple's eggs for their own nest.
The grooms were dressed for the happy occasion, with one groom wearing a red bow
Zoo apathy leaves leopard a celibate
If sex at 10 for humans is considered profane and unhealthy, forced celibacy for
animals is against the rules of nature and law of the
land. But zoo keepers here seem to have taken a couldn't-care-less attitude even
if a middle-aged leopard's libido remains unfulfilled for years.
Nikon the animal, which was rescued by a former DFO from the clutches of a
poacher and later raised by him and his wife before being shifted
Film to focus on Chester Zoo's plan for £225m domed ecosystem
CHESTER ZOO is to release a film featuring its £225 million expansion project in
an attempt to bring in more funding.
Chester Zoo officials are seeking help for ambitious development plans called
Natural Vision ñ destined to create the UK's first domed ecosystem.
For the past two months work has been carried out on the film ñ being developed
by digital communications agency Rapport Creative, of King Street, Chester ñ to
create an animated 3D visualisation of how the zoo will look in 2018, the
anticipated completion date.
The people behind it have also hired Wild at Heart actor Stephen Tompkinson to
do the voiceover with the hope the film will reach a broad range of audiences
including the zoo's regional partners, community groups, commercial sponsors,
conservation bodies as well as the wider North West community and the zoo's
500-strong team of employees.
An African rainforest-themed sanctuary complete with a water ride will be the
centrepiece of the project, which could also include a 90-bed hotel, a
conservation college and a revamped
Kheri tiger brought to city zoo
The Kheri tiger has started adjusting to its new environment in zoo. "It is
eating well,'' said Renu Singh, zoo director. The tiger is a
male and a young one, not more than four years old.
Ever since it was rescued from Kheri and brought to the zoo last week it is
being kept under special care. The tiger was declared a man-eater after it
killed five human beings in villages of north and south Kheri.
The tiger has no disability except the three injury marks
Tiger handler hurt in rough play at Australia Zoo
A TIGER handler needed stitches to an arm gash after being scratched by a
Sumatran tiger in a play session at Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast.
Zoo director Wes Mannion confirmed today that the handler had been injured late
yesterday and taken to hospital for "about two stitches" before being released.
Mr Mannion said the tiger was a young male called Juma, which had been hand
raised at the zoo since arriving as a cub and the scratch was part of a rougher
than usual playtime, not an attack.
He said the handler was doing well and would make a full recovery.
The tiger incident follows a January scare at the zoo when a reptile handler
Tiger kills man who jumps into enclosure in China
A Siberian tiger at a wildlife park near Beijing attacked and killed a man who
climbed into its enclosure thinking he found a shortcut down from the Great
Wall, a park official said Sunday.
The 20-year-old man, surnamed Guo, had been hiking with two other people on the
wall when the group decided to jump down to save time on the descent ‚Ä"
unknowingly landing themselves in Badaling Wildlife World's tiger enclosure.
The tiger pounced on Guo, knocking him down and clamping its jaws around his
throat, said a wildlife officer who gave only his surname Wang. Guo was killed
A park ranger who saw the attack chased the tiger in a jeep until it released
the body, while the other two men escaped by clambering up a fence and out of
the enclosure, Wang said.
"The men ignored all the warning signs and jumped over the protective fences,"
The two men who escaped told police they had seen signs around the enclosure
cautioning of predatory animals but did not believe the warnings because they
could not see any, the Beijing Times newspaper reported.
The Siberian tiger, also known as the Amur, Manchurian
Poached skins matched to tigers
A new piece of software is able to identify individual tigers by the unique
stripe patterns on their coats.
This tool, the developers say, will make it easier to estimate tiger populations
and aid conservation efforts.
It is also able to match skins sold on the black market to photographs of the
animals taken using camera traps.
The team of scientists based in the UK and India report its invention in the
journal Biology Letters.
The program was based on software originally designed to scan the markings of
grey seals and identify them from photographs.
The researchers adapted this for tiger stripes, and combined it with a 3D map of
the surface of a tiger's body.
This enabled them effectively to unwrap the pattern of stripes from an image of
a live animal and match it to picture of the flat skin.
Dr Ullas Karanth, a researcher from the Wildlife Conservation Society India
Program, worked on the project with the
Sex, violence and vasectomies ‚Ä" as Edinburgh Zoo bids to safeguard rare chimps
CHIMPS will be arriving in Scotland to take part in a breeding programme that
experts hope will boost numbers of the rarest type of the primate, The Scotsman
Western chimpanzees used to thrive in 13 countries including Nigeria and Sierra
Leone, but the sub species is under threat due to habitat loss.
In a bid to help increase numbers, bosses at the Royal Zoological Society of
RZSS) are planning to add about five western chimps to the Budongo Trail
enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo.
It is hoped the newcomers will breed with two resident male western chimps.
David Windmill, chief executive of RZSS, said: "The western chimp is
particularly endangered and we are hoping the breeding we do will contribute to
a much wider, worldwide effort to maintain endangered species in captivity."
Jo Elliot, animal registrar at Edinburgh Zoo, added that the breeding programme
Tigers to join zoo's attractions
Bengal tigers are to be introduced at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm in north Somerset as
part of a conservation programme.
A ¬£200,000 one-acre enclosure is to be built at the animal attraction in
Wraxall to house the big cats.
Planning permission was granted by North Somerset Council after two years of
negotiations with the park's bosses.
The enclosure will be positioned behind a 5m (16ft) fence, with basking
platforms and pond and eye-level platforms for visitors.
Several tunnels will be created to give the animals privacy and allow them to be
examined or treated.
Head keeper Chris Wilkinson said: "Tigers are highly endangered in the wild so
it is therefore essential that breeding in captivity continues wherever
"Tigers are very good climbers and swimmers. This adaptability saves them from
natural disasters and floods.
"However, when it comes to fighting against their biggest mortal enemy, the
human, tigers fall short of a weapon in their arsenal.
"We hope to breed our Bengal
Bear Bites Oregon Safari Worker
A 23-year-old Wildlife Safari employee is recovering after she was attacked by a
black bear while trying to feed the animal.
Douglas County sheriff's deputies said Kadi Singleton, a carnivore keeper at the
park, was in the bear pen Sunday afternoon when an adult female moved toward
her. The Roseburg woman hit the bear with a cattle prod, which angered the
animal. The bear bit and clawed her right leg and left hand. She used pepper
spray to escape.
The Roseburg News-Review newspaper said she was talking and responsive at Mercy
The attack was in a drive-through portion of the park in Winston near
Roseburg.The zoo is home to
National Zoo's Neo-Natal Elephant-Shrew Dies
Though the National Zoo had expected and prepared for a second black and rufous
giant elephant-shrew birth in as many weeks, staff grew concerned when the giant
elephant-shrew appeared outside its nest three days after it was born -- nearly
three weeks before it should have. Something
Zoo chimp shows people aren't the only planners
A canny chimpanzee who calmly collected a stash of rocks and then hurled them at
zoo visitors in fits of rage has confirmed that apes can plan ahead just like
humans, a Swedish study said Monday.
Santino the chimpanzee's anti-social behavior stunned both visitors and keepers
at the Furuvik Zoo but fascinated researchers because it was so carefully
According to a report in the journal Current Biology, the 31-year-old alpha male
started building his weapons cache in the morning before the zoo opened,
collecting rocks and knocking out disks from concrete boulders inside his
enclosure. He waited until around midday before he unleashed a "hailstorm" of
rocks against visitors, the study said.
"These observations convincingly show that our fellow apes do consider the
future in a very complex way," said the author of the report, Lund University
Ph.D. student Mathias Osvath. "It implies that they have a highly developed
consciousness, including lifelike mental simulations of potential events."
Osvath's findings were based on his own observations of Santino and interviews
with three senior caretakers who had followed the chimpanzee's behavior for 10
years at the zoo in Furuvik, about 93 miles (150 kilometers) north of Stockholm.
Seemingly at ease with his position as leader of the group, Santino didn't
attack the other chimpanzees, Osvath told The Associated Press. The attacks were
only directed at humans viewing the apes across the moat surrounding the island
compound where they were held.
However, he rarely hit visitors because of his poor aim, and no one was
seriously injured in the cases when he did, Osvath said.
The observations confirmed the result of a staged laboratory experiment reported
in 2006 by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
in Leipzig, Germany. In that case orangutans and bonobos were able to figure out
which tool would work in an effort to retrieve grapes, and were able to remember
to bring that tool along hours later.
"Every time you can combine experimental and observational data and you get a
consistent result, that is very powerful," said an author of the 2006 study,
Joseph Call. "This is an important observation."
He noted that individual differences are big among chimpanzees so the
observation might not mean all chimpanzees are capable of the same planning.
"It could be that he is a genius, only more research will tell. On the other
hand our research showed the same in orangutans and bonobos so he
New Tiger Cubs Make Zoo Debut (Peters Note - delighted to learn that these white
tigers are only a temporary addition to Nashville.
Sister Cubs Are 4 Months Old
Two white tiger cub sisters named Benwa and Taboo where on display. The pair is
four months old, weigh about 30 pounds and are two-and-a-half feet long.
Zoo officials said the pair will double
Black tigress carcass found in Sri Lanka
The carcass of a black tigress has been found in Sri Lanka, a media report said
The Daily Mirror said the carcass was found after it got caught in a poacher's
snare in Deniyaya area, around about 200 km from here.
From a distance, its colour is jet black and when inspected from closer
quarters, spots are vaguely visible, the report said.
The newspaper quoted the Wild Life Department as saying that the black tigress'
Zoos in China show interest in raising Formosan serows: Taipei Zoo
Several zoos in mainland China have conveyed to the Taipei City Zoo their
interest in raising Formosan serows that are endemic to Taiwan, Chao Ming-chieh,
head of the zoo's animal division, said Tuesday.
The zoos expressed the interest after learning that Taipei will ship a pair of
Formosan serows - a goat-like animal - and two Formosan sika deers to the
mainland as a gift in exchange for two of China's Giant Pandas, Chao said.
The exchange of animals are seen as goodwill gestures by the two sides of the
Taiwan Strait as they seek to repair long strained ties.
Taiwan and China last November signed an agreement for the exchange of the
animals, and the pandas -- named Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan -- arrived in Taiwan in
Currently, the Taipei zoo is working to select
Cash crisis halts post-war rebirth of Sarajevo zoo
A shortage of cash is threatening the plans of Bosnia's only zoo to host lions
and tigers, replacing creatures that perished in the 1992-95 war.
General Manager Esad Tajic said the zoo may have to put on hold construction of
its planned 'wild garden', as Sarajevo city cannot afford the 250,000 Bosnian
marka ($161,300) needed to look after animals donated by zoos across Europe.
"The funding had been already agreed but now it seems the authorities fell short
of money and are not willing to help us complete the project and host lions,
tigers, pumas, wolverines and meerkats," Tajic told Reuters on Tuesday.
He said the zoo's management had made a "superhuman effort to prepare 1,000
square metre (10,764 sq feet) of space and create special Africa-like living
conditions for these species." It currently hosts 40 mainly
Cat Tien attracts preservation funding
The Cat Tien national park has signed a 500,000 USD project to develop
eco-tourism with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Vietnam and Denmark.
The project aims to improve the park‚Äôs community-based tourism services, and
encourage locals to join in the eco-tourist business, thus promoting their
involvement in preservation activities.
Cat Tien park is carrying out a number of ecological projects, including one to
preserve wild oxen, funded by the French Development Agency (AFD) and another to
protect primates by the UK‚Äôs Monkey World-Ape and Taiwan.
Additionally, 18 billion VND from the State budget and the Netherlands has been
allocated for moving 72 Ma and STieng ethnic households from the park‚Äôs core
zone to the buffer zone. The families have been trained in the cultivation and
Over 6 tons of elephant tusks may be auctioned
A customs officer in Hai Phong said that the 6 tons of illegally imported tusks
may be auctioned after the Institute for Ecology and Creatural Natural Resources
announces the test results.
A senior official of the Customs Agency of Hai Phong City, Vu Hoang Duong, said
the illegally imported batch of elephant tusks is 6,232kg. The tusks are packed
in 114 cardboard boxes, totaling 1,244 pieces and worth more than VND500 billion
(over $29.41 million).
The authorities could not contact the director of Phuc Thien Ngan Co, Ltd., Vu
Ngoc Tuan, the receiver of the tusks. However, Tien Phong newspaper met with
Tuan at his office on March 9.
Tuan said he did not know that this batch of tusks was sent to his company and
he did not have any business affairs with the foreign sender of the tusks. He
said he has been busy in recent days, so the authorities have not been able to
According to customs officers, this batch of tusks was left at a port in
Daresalam (Tanzania) in late January 2009. It was transported via a seaport in
Malaysia and finally landed at Dinh Vu Port in Hai Phong on February 28. In the
bill of lading, it was noted as plastic waste.
Hai Phong customs agency has collected much evidence related to this case,
including a very important one related
Malaysian resort preps orangutans for the wild
Deepa peeks out from a gunny sack while Fatt Fatt swings from grills as visitors
watch the young orangutans at a Malaysian resort that is also trying to increase
the population of the endangered species.
Orang Utan Island, a 35-acre island part of Bukit Merah Laketown Resort in Perak
state, is a tourist attraction and conservation centre that is home to 23
orangutans which resort officials say will eventually be released into the wild.
But some animal welfare experts have criticised the concept, saying rearing the
animals outside their natural habitat, and separating the young from their
mothers, is just wrong.
"I don't believe the orangutan should be kept in isolated places, like a penal
island," said Malaysian Nature Society senior member Neal Nirmal Ariyapala.
"I want to know ... how successful the Orang Utan sanctuary in Bukit Merah is.
Bukit Merah is a commercial enterprise and I think money takes precedence more
than environmental concern."
Orangutans, a great ape species native to Malaysia and Indonesia, are highly
endangered due to destruction of their rainforest habitats and poaching.
They are not endemic to western Malaysia, where Bukit Merah is located, but roam
free in the eastern states of Sarawak and Sabah on Borneo island.
There are several orangutan conservation programmes in Malaysia and at Orang
Utan island, five acres are used for the project that started in 1999 with three
animals brought in from their native Sarawak.
"We have a specially designed rehabilitation programme. Only then will we
release them to the wild," said resident veterinarian Dr. Sabapathy
Dharmalingam, adding it may take roughly five to six years.
A short boat ride takes visitors from the Bukit Merah resort
Noah's Ark officially recognised as a zoo
One of North Somerset's biggest tourist attractions, which started as a dairy
farm, can now officially call itself a zoo.
Noah's Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall already has giraffes, camels, zebras, a rhino and
many other animals which visitors would expect to find in a traditional
But an inspection carried out last year by North Somerset Council revealed that
a farm with a zoo licence, which it had, also needs a separate planning
application to be a zoo tourism attraction.
Its owners Anthony and Christina Bush believed that it did but on discovering it
didn't submitted a retrospective planning application.
Speaking previously Samantha Cordrey, the farm's marketing manager, said: "From
our side we assumed it had been processed.
"The council did not notice the separate application had been missed until after
our third zoo inspection in 2008.
"This retrospective application is just putting the paperwork right."
Because Noah's Ark Zoo Farm falls within the parishes of Wraxall and Portbury,
both north area and central area planning committees discussed the application
but as the land specifically under the application is in Wraxall, it was
councillors on central area which had to make a decision.
Backwell ward cllr Tom Collinson
Paradise Wildlife Park licence review after complaints about noise
PARADISE Wildlife Park in Broxbourne is facing a review of its licence after
complaints from a neighbour about excessive noise.
Steve Kutner, who lives next to the park in White Stubbs Lane, requested a
review of its licence citing two incidents last year when he claims the noise
from late night parties in a marquee on the grounds was "intolerable".
In a report to East Herts Council's licensing sub committee, officers state that
following one incident the park has taken steps to limit noise from the PA
The report also contains statements from eyewitnesses at Paradise Wildlife Park
concerning an incident in December when they say Mr Kutner turned up at the
park, hurled abuse at staff and shouted that it was like living next door to a
"lots of gipsies".
A range of options is available
‚ÄúDon‚Äôt Feed Wild Dolphins‚Äù Says New Public Service Announcement
Illegal feeding harms both animals and humans
‚ÄúJust stop feeding me!‚Äù says an animated dolphin in a new public service
announcement released today that highlights the dangers of dolphins getting
hooked on human handouts. The PSA was produced by a coalition of government
agencies and private organizations.
The PSA reminds viewers that feeding wild dolphins is not only illegal, it is
harmful to dolphins, even causing some to rely on begging for food from humans,
Zoo-keeper stuck in bird rescue
A zoo-keeper who tried to help a seagull trapped in mud was rescued herself
after she became stuck as well.
The keeper, from Newquay Zoo, waded in after the bird after spotting it at
Trenance Boating Lake, but she soon became stuck up to her thighs.
Fire crews in Cornwall called to the lake, which had been drained, used a
makeshift ladder to allow her to drag herself free.
Although the bird was rescued it had to
Fate of the rainforest is 'irreversible'
A third of the Amazonian 'carbon sink' is doomed whether or not emissions are
cut, Copenhagen conference is told
The impact of climate change on the Amazon rainforest could be much worse than
previously predicted, new research suggests.
Even if emissions were reduced and governments managed to limit temperature
rises to 2C ‚Ä" the current aim of international climate policy ‚Ä" between 20
and 40 per cent of the forest could die because of warming, a British scientist
told a conference on climate change in Copenhagen yesterday.
Dr Chris Jones, of the Met Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and
Research, said the Amazon may become "committed" to substantial change by rising
Breakthrough as 12,000-mile loggerhead odyssey is mapped
Marine biologists believe they have solved a long-standing puzzle: what do
endangered loggerhead turtles get up to in their early years, after hatching on
an Australian beach?
The answer is, they hitch a lift on ocean currents that transport them all the
way from Queensland across the Pacific to South America then back to Australia
‚Ä" a round trip of more than 12,000 miles.
The migratory behaviour of the juvenile turtles was confirmed by marine
biologists at Queensland's James Cook University, who did genetic testing on
loggerheads found stranded on the Australian coast and captured by long-line
fishing vessels off Peru. Turtles at the two locations on opposite sides of the
Pacific shared the same genetic background.
While loggerheads can be found around the world, in tropical and sub
Wild meat trade and eateries flourish unchecked in city
Ho Chi Minh City legislators Tuesday questioned the ineffective management of
local wild meat markets even as concerned agencies passed the buck to each
Many restaurants in the city have been serving wild meat dishes with impunity
and traders confidently assert they will meet any demand for wild meat.
‚ÄúPangolin cooked in Chinese medicine,‚Äù ‚Äúpangolin steamed with ginger,‚Äù
‚Äúroasted fox,‚Äù and several cobra meat preparations are dishes easily found
in a District 5 restaurant on An Duong Vuong Street.
Pangolin dishes sell for VND2.2 million (US$126) a kilogram, fox for VND650,000
($37) and cobra for VND780,000 ($45).
On the ground floor of the restaurant are many cages to keep various exotic
animals, including strange birds, iguanas and hedgehogs.
A waitress at the restaurant also recommends customers drink wine mixed with
The Pham Viet Chanh market falls under the purview of District 1 officials, but
it sells wild meat every day.
Sau, the owner of a booth in the market, Tuesday advertised she always has deer,
boar and muntjac meat at hand.
She also told customers to come to her house in Dong Nai Province‚Äôs Bien Hoa
Town, not far from HCMC, if they
Swiss Law Protects Goldfish, Guinea Pigs‚Ä"But Not Popular Baby Hippo
Under Swiss animal-rights provisions, guinea pigs must be kept in pairs to
prevent loneliness and unwanted goldfish must be rendered unconscious before
being flushed down the toilet.
But there is no protection under Swiss law for a superstar baby hippopotamus at
the Basel Zoo facing a likely death sentence. Four-month-old Farasi will be
euthanized if he can't find a home at another zoo before he grows old enough to
be a threat to his father, reports the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.).
The 220-pound hippo‚Ä"who is so popular that he beat out tennis star Roger
Federer in a 2008 contest to name the "Swiss of the Year"‚Ä"was born as a result
of a common European zoo policy.
Under it, animals are allowed to reproduce even if there is likely to be no room
for their offspring when they grow up, the newspaper notes. In such
Bequest to zoo tops $5 million
Frances J. Coultrap didn't like the limelight, but she's getting plenty of
attention posthumously because of a gift to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
Coultrap willed more than $5 million to the zoo, the largest bequest it has ever
received. The money was the bulk of her estate.
The Upper Arlington woman died last August at the age of 94. She had never
married and had no children, but had become intensely interested in the zoo when
she was in her 80s, according to zoo officials.
The Ohio Wesleyan University graduate majored in English and became the
secretary to the Ohio State University provost after getting her graduate degree
at OSU in the late 1930s. She remained his secretary when he moved
Adelaide to welcome giant pandas
The South Australia tourist board has revealed that two giant pandas will be
brought to Adelaide Zoo at the end of the year.
A panda enclosure is currently being built by the Royal Zoological Society of
South Australia to ensure that all of the necessary facilities are in place to
care for the pandas Wang Wang and Funi.
The ten-year period for which the animals will live at Adelaide Zoo represents
the first time that pandas have been lent to an Australian zoo for a significant
stretch of time.
Adelaide Zoo is seeking to establish itself as a major conservation centre by
building the A$33m (¬£15.5m) panda enclosure and taking part in an international
breeding programme to protect endangered species.
Earlier this year, Adelaide Zoo welcomed back a number of Madagascan lemurs that
had spent three years at Monarto Zoo, a conservation park also located in South
Holidaymakers in Adelaide who pay
Zoo plans $6M vet center
The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium will begin work on the first phase of a $6
million veterinary hospital and education center this spring.
The 22,000-square-foot, two-story building will be built into a hillside behind
the outdoor gorilla area. It replaces a smaller animal health center the
Highland Park zoo has outgrown and will include a second-floor interactive
education center to teach visitors about animal health procedures, said Barbara
Baker, zoo executive director.
Baker said the zoo can begin construction of the facility even though officials
Elephant born at San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park
An African elephant has been born at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park.
Zoo spokeswoman Yadira Galindo says the male calf born early Friday is doing
great and is nursing frequently from his mother, Umngani (oom-GAH'-nee).
The calf, as yet unnamed, was born with 2-year-old big sister, Khosi (KOH'-see)
The park's African herd has produced six calves since it arrived from Swaziland
in 2003. The zoo says five have survived.
The birth comes shortly after the death last month of the park's oldest
elephant, Sunita, an
Safari Park to get six kangaroos from Australian Zoo
Indonesia's biggest public zoo, Safari Park, in Cisarua, West Java, is expected
to receive six kangaroos from Australia in late March or early April 2009, to
mark cooperation between the Australian Zoo and Safari Park.
The cooperation between the two zoos was initiated several years ago, when Steve
Irwin was still active in managing the Australian zoo, Safari director Tony
Sumampau said as quoted by Antara news agency in Cisarua on Friday.
Irwin, a 44-year-old TV presenter known as the "Crocodile Hunter", was killed by
a stingray barb that went through his chest, while filming an underwater
documentary last September 2006.
Terri Raines Irwin, Steve Irwin's widow, visited Safari Cisarua last year, for
some agenda on wildlife conservation.
The six kangaroos would be part of 15 kangaroos to be given to Indonesia
Rare Gibbons Discovered in Vietnam
On Wednesday the 4th of March 2009 it was announced that a recent survey by
conservationists of the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in central Vietnam has
found as many as thirty families of the endangered Southern White Cheeked Gibbon
Nomascus siki. This is very good news as there are probably fewer than thirty
animals of this species in c
Dartmoor Zoo story could become Hollywood film
THE story of a family who bought a zoo near Plymouth could become a blockbuster
movie after a major Hollywood studio bought the rights to the father's memoir.
Ben Mee, owner of Dartmoor Zoological Park in Sparkwell, wrote a book about his
family's experiences called 'We Bought a Zoo.'
The film rights to the book have now been bought by Twentieth Century Fox.
Although production companies do not always exercise the rights they buy, the
story of the Mee family is being tipped as the next big thing by Hollywood
experts, who believe that Fox will use the story to try to emulate the success
of the surprise hit Marley & Me.
Julie Yorn, one of the rising stars of the movie industry, has been named by Fox
as the film's producer - another sign that the studio is serious about the
Ben said he's due to speak to Ms Yorn about the project on Monday.
He said: "I'm encouraged that she does want to talk to me. It could be really
"If they do make a film, they could base it in California in a donkey sanctuary
or something, but they could film it here.
Polar bear due north in move to Highlands
Mercedes will be relocated to largest enclosure of its kind in Europe
THE only polar bear in a UK zoo will get a bigger and better home when it is
moved to the Highlands later this year.
Mercedes has lived in Edinburgh Zoo since 1984, but is now to be transported to
the Highland Wildlife Park, near Kingussie.
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) says that Mercedes' new
enclosure will be about four acres, making it the largest polar bear enclosure
It will include a large natural pool and provide a natural tundra environment.
The Army will help build the structure and it is hoped that the bear will be in
its new home by the end of the year.
The polar bear was rescued from Canada, where it was scheduled to be shot after
making repeated visits to a nearby town in search of food.
Car company Mercedes assisted with transport costs, hence the name.
Iain Valentine, director of animals, conservation and education for RZSS, said:
"It has been our intention to move Mercedes for a couple of years now.
"She has been happy at Edinburgh Zoo and
Thousands apply for zoo positions
Thousands of people have applied for 150 summer jobs at a Leicestershire zoo,
Bosses at Twycross Zoo believe around 3,000 people have shown interest in the
The jobs do not involve working directly with the animals, but are in catering,
retail, visitor information and ranger details.
A recruitment open day was held at the zoo's Napier Centre. Successful
applicants will be notified next week.
John Ray of Twycross Zoo said: "We'v
U.S. Zookeepers Wary of Herpes Virus Attacking Asian Elephants
Zookeepers here feared the worst when they noticed that Jade, a 2-year-old
elephant calf, was acting sluggish this month.
The calf was limping slightly, her appetite was down, and the keepers, wary of a
deadly herpes virus prevalent in the country's Asian elephant population, sent a
blood sample to a laboratory for analysis.
"That's pretty much the first thing we do when we see something amiss with our
Asian elephant calves," said Martha Fischer, curator of mammals at the St. Louis
Zoo. "It's such a mysterious disease, and it has presented itself in so many
different ways ó anything could be a symptom."
Veterinarians began monitoring the 1,100-pound calf around the clock. They fed
her fluids intravenously and started her on antiviral drugs. Still, her
Her head became swollen at the jaw and forehead, and her tongue, normally
bubble-gum pink, became pale and speckled by an intricate pattern of red
bruises. Results from the National Elephant Herpesvirus Laboratory at the
Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington soon revealed that Jade was fighting a
previously unknown strain of the virus.
Researchers say the disease, elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus, has killed
one of five Asian elephant calves born in North American zoos since 2000
LA budget gap could grow to almost $1B
The city's budget gap could double to nearly $1 billion because of shrinking
returns on employee pension fund investments, a report warned.
The deficit for the city's $7 billion budget currently is projected at $427
million for the 2009-10 fiscal year, mainly because of shrinking rax revenues
and increases in worker pay and benefits. But that could grow to $983 million if
the city has to make extra payments in order to keep its pension system afloat,
according to a city budget report released Friday.
The city's retirement system and a separate pension system for firefighters and
police are expected to suffer combined investment losses of 25 percent in the
current budget year and to have flat returns in the next year, interim City
Administrative Officer Raymond P. Ciranna said.
"The deficit and the economy are the biggest challenges we face right now,"
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. "This is going to be the most serious effort to
reduce the size of government ... because we have no other options."
News of the swelling shortfall comes as Villaraigosa considers widespread
layoffs and service cuts. He also is considering privatizing the Los Angeles Zoo
and leasing out
`Ark' races to rescue jungle frogs
As lethal fungus spreads, captive amphibians are bred for eventual return to the
Biologist Edgardo Griffith is ready to find frogs. He has his rubber boots, his
plastic bags, his camera, and an intimidating metal hook to turn over rocks and
prod logs. But after an hour searching this scenic stream in the cloud forest,
he has yet to find a single one.
"Five years ago, if we had come to this stream we would have seen the whole
bottom moving just [from] the amount of tadpoles. Now we can't see any," he
sighs, ankle deep in the currents.
Conservationists predict that in 10 years, every highland stream in Panama will
resemble this one, all but devoid of frogs. For now, they see little that can be
done about it.
Scientists say that a deadly fungus is moving through mountain streams here and
elsewhere, killing as many as 8 out of 10 frogs and extinguishing some species
entirely. The enemy is a fungus known as chytrid (KIH-trid) or by its scientific
name, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Mr. Griffith and others are trying to stay
ahead of the plague
Birth of Elephant-Shrew Discovered
A new resident showed up at the National Zoo last month, a female mammal that
appeared after three weeks in which nobody knew that it even existed, zoo
The zoo described the baby as a black and rufous giant elephant-shrew.
Keepers at the Small Mammal House, where it resides, "did not know it had been
born until they saw three elephant-shrews in the exhibit instead of two," the
zoo said in a statement.
It said that newborn elephant-shrews typically remain buried and out of sight
for several weeks. Keepers, according to the zoo, think that the new
elephant-shrew was born in late January.
Here's to another year, Nellie
Nellie, the world's oldest dolphin in human care, celebrated another birthday
Friday. Now 56 years old, the marine mammal is a living legend as the life
expectancy for bottlenosed dolphins in the wild is about 25 to 30 years.
Joan Whittemore, spokeswoman for the Marineland Dolphin Conservation Center,
attributes Nellie's unusually long life to "good genetics, fresh access to
seawater and great care."
Fans of the finned wonder ranged in age from 6 to 80, like Peter Crane, who came
with his brothers and father from north of Jacksonville, or Della Barkman, who
traveled from Lakeland for the memories.
"This was a birthday present for myself," said Barkman, who turned 80 Tuesday.
Barkman said she has wanted to return to Marineland for 5
Mechanical mother comforts monkey
A hand-reared monkey has been given a mechanical surrogate mother to help keep
After the birth of the female DeBrazza's monkey by caesarean at Port Lympne Wild
Animal Park in Kent her mother was too weak to look after her.
To help keep her company, the three-week-old primate has been given a toy monkey
with a mechanical heart.
The zoo's head of primates, Simon Jeffery, said they hoped to re-unite the
infant with her parents soon.
It is hoped the mechanical heartbeat, which is triggered when the monkey
squeezes the toy, will help replicate her mother.
Jonathan Cage, manager of Canterbury-based Build A Bear Workshop, said: "We were
delighted to do som
Emmen Zoo euthanises elephant after fall
A veterinarian at the Emmen Zoo has euthanised an elephant which fell into a
ditch on Sunday. The 45-year-old Annabel, the Dutch zoo's oldest elephant, fell
into the dry ditch that surrounds the elephant compound at 4.00 pm on Sunday.
She landed on her side and was unable to climb back out by her
Henry Vilas Zoo introduces new projects
Officials propose update to arctic exhibit, new children's area, updated polar
The Henry Vilas Zoo introduced a plethora of upcoming projects Friday to the
Henry Vilas Zoo Commission, including an arctic passage exhibit, an already
under construction primate area, a new conservation center and a children's zoo
According to Henry Vilas Zoo Director Jim Hubing, the zoo received money from
Dane County, Madison Gas and Electric and the Zoological Commission to fund a
range of new projects and also keep the zoo up to standard.
Hubing said an Artic Passage Project will get jumpstarted once the zoo receives
adequate funding. The project will include a polar bear center, underwater
viewing area and a replica ship where visitors can learn about global climate
The project will fund the addition of snowy owl, reindeer and seal exhibits,
Hubing said. Additionally, there will be a weather station within the exhibit
where zoo faculty will host talks on environmental issues.
Dane County and the city of Mad
Jaguar recaptured, euthanized at Phoenix Zoo
The first jaguar to be captured, collared and released in Arizona was recaptured
Monday and transported to the Phoenix Zoo, where it was euthanized.
Veterinarians determined the cat was in severe and unrecoverable kidney failure.
The 118-pound jaguar, Macho B, was first captured in southern
Arizona jaguar's death probably hastened by capture, zoo veterinarian says
A jaguar captured recently during an Arizona Game and Fish Department research
study was fitted with a tracking collar and released. Jaguars were once thought
to be extinct in the U.S., and researchers were hopeful that following the big
cat's movements could prove helpful in the jaguar conservation effort.
Following its release, researchers were excited to confirm that the jaguar was
one they'd previously seen in still images captured by remote trail cameras over
the last 13 years. The cat, whom they called "Macho B," was thought to be the
oldest known wild jaguar at about 15-16 years old. Our colleague Kelly Burgess
at the Outposts blog wrote:
"Every indication is that Macho B is doing well and has recovered from his
capture and collaring," Terry Johnson, Arizona Game and Fish department
endangered species coordinator, said. "Until now, all we've had is a photo here
and a photo there, but nothing that shed light on what the species does while
moving within or between habitats."
Macho B is one of at least two jaguars known to have roamed southern Arizona in
recent years. The other jaguar, Macho A, was photographed in 2001 but hasn't
been seen since 2004. It is unknown if he has returned to Mexico or has died.
But events took a sad turn when wildlife officials noted Macho B's movement
patterns slowing. Observing the jaguar in the wild, they noted his abnormal
gait and apparent weight loss. Fearing for his health, they recaptured Macho B
and transported him to the Phoenix Zoo for evaluation.
Shortly thereafter, Macho B was euthanized when tests revealed severe kidney
failure from which he could not recover. Fish and Wildlife spokesman Jeff
Humphrey said kidney failure was common in older cats, but questions remained
about whether stress from his capture had caused or exacerbated Macho B's
condition. A necropsy was performed, and today Phoenix Zoo Executive Vice
President Dr. Dean Rice is saying the capture probably played a key role in the
While Macho B probably had existing kidney problems, stress and the increased
pressure on his body to process the tranquilizer drugs used during his capture
probably hastened his death, according to Rice.
"Any medications, any drugs we take, no matter whether you are human or animal
... if you give them sedation and the kidneys are not working," the medication
can have a damaging effect, Rice said in an interview
Thai zoo in fresh panda insemination bid
A Thai zoo has again resorted to artificial insemination of its giant pandas
after pornography, low-carb diets and even a spell out in the cold failed to
inspire the celibate pair.
Chiang Mai zoo's star residents, nine-year-old Chuang Chuang and his
eight-year-old partner Lin Hui, have showed no interest in reproducing the
traditional way since they arrived on a 10-year loan from China in 2003.
But determined zoo officials, despite failing in a previous attempt at sperm
donation two years ago, said they were hopeful a second try could finally
produce a cub.
"The artificial insemination was successfully conducted on February 18 at 1:30
pm, which was the most suitable time for successful reproduction," Sophon
Dumnui, the head of the team behind the attempt, said in a statement.
The zoo must now wait up to three months to find out if the method has worked.
Hopes were first raised among zoo officials this year when cold weather in the
northern city in January prompted an unusually frisky response from Lin Hui.
Authorities took the pair out of their usual climate-controlled
It will be anything but a roaring success
SAHABAT Alam Malaysia (SAM) takes a strong stand against the setting up of a zoo
in Bukit Takal, Kemaman, touted to be the largest on the east coast to boost
The objective of setting up the zoo is to boost tourism. But contrary to belief,
zoos don't attract tourists at all. Most zoos attract over 80% of visitors from
their surrounding communities, and more than half are people who make return
After some time, those return visitors stop coming resulting in financial loses,
with the zoo deteriorating further. These raise doubts as to whether zoos are
indeed a major tourist draw.
Zoos are not always exotic and exciting places to visit as it can be depressing
looking at animals which are imprisoned and removed from their natural habitat.
State governments and the tourist industry should not view zoos as places to
amuse and entertain but rather address the question of whether or not zoos ought
to exist, and if they should, in what form and for what purpose.
Animals captive in zoos suffer from zoochosis syndrome due to their removal from
natural habitat, frustration
Australia Zoo named top tourist attraction
Australia Zoo on Queensland's Sunshine Coast has been named the country's top
The wildlife park received the honour at the Australian Tourism Awards in
Melbourne on the weekend.
Four other Queensland tourism operators, including Cairns-based The Quicksilver
Group, also won awards.
Daniel Gschwind from Queensland's Tourism Industry Council says it is proof the
state's tourism industry is still thriving.
"They should all be used as champions and as de
Elephants may have to pack
The global recession is being felt at Auckland Zoo where a $13.5 million
succession plan for elephants Kashin and Burma is competing for a shrinking pool
of Auckland City Council cash.
Zoo director Jonathan Wilcken wants money to build a herd of elephants. The
giant animals have been a star attraction at the zoo for 80 years and it is the
only place left where New Zealanders can see Asian elephants.
Kashin, who turned 40 in November, is under constant medical surveillance for
arthritis and could die within five years. Because female elephants are
extremely social animals, 26-year-old Burma, another female, would have to go to
an overseas zoo for company unless the zoo can get new elephants.
The dilemma of phasing out elephants or building a herd of elephants comes
before the council tomorrow, where the ruling group of Mayor John Banks and
Citizens and Ratepayers will b
Rare cheetah caught on camera trap in Sahara
An "incredibly rare and elusive" cheetah has been photographed using camera
traps in the Algerian Sahara by scientists from the Zoological Society of London
There are thought to be less than 250 adult Northwest African or Saharan
cheetahs, making the subspecies critically endangered, but very little is known
about the cat.
The first camera-trap photographs of the cheetah, taken as part of a systematic
survey of 1,750 square miles of the central Sahara, are providing scientists
with information on population numbers, movement and how it interacts with its
The cheetah is found across the Sahara desert and savannah of north and west
Africa in small, fragmented populations, the biggest of which is thought to be
The survey identified four different Saharan cheetahs by examining the pattern
of their spots, which are unique to each individual animal.
The research also provided photographic confirmation
Animals die as activists torch zoo
Dozens of birds were killed Wednesday at a private zoo in Italy in an arson
attack claimed by radical animal rights activists, news reports said.
Several bottles filled with petrol were used to start the fire which killed some
40 hawks, buzzards and owls in an aviary at the Zoom Zoo near the northern city
"This is for the imprisoned animals - Animal Liberation Front" was found
spray-painted in red near the scene of the early morning attack.
Firefighters prevented flames from spreading to a warden's shed and other
buildings, one of them housing several tigers, the
Experts give zoo thumbs up
The Hartbeespoort Snake and Animal Park have been given the thumbs up by a
number of animal experts after the recent screening of Carte Blanche on M Net in
which serious allegations have been made regarding the welfare of the animals in
The most serious allegation, and one that elicited a flood of condemnation and
even hate mail on the M Net website, was that one of the chimpanzees, Claudia,
suffered from a serious deteriorating skin disease. People who were presented as
experts on the programme were convinced, after having been shown the footage,
that it was an untreated skin disease - "possibly scabies". (Scabies is a highly
contagious skin disease and is likely to spread like wildfire if left
Shortly after the programme had been screened, Dr Christine Pieterse of the
Hartbeespoort Animal Clinic, conducted a thorough examination of Claudia and
took skin scrapes for further examination. She found that Claudia had
de-pigmented areas on her arms, leg and back, but that there were no visible
signs of active inflammation of the skin and no signs of bacterial infection.
Dr Pieterse sent the skin scrapes and full thickness skin biopsies to
Onderstepoort were they were examined by a pathologist, Prof Mark Williams. He
found that there were no active lesions present and that the affected areas were
most likely related to an episode of skin disease experienced by the chimpanzee
eight years ago. In layman's terms it means that what Claudia is suffering from
are the scars of a trauma suffered eight years ago and from which she has
completely recovered after treatment. The results of this thorough and intensive
examination totally refutes the damning `diagnosis' presented in the programme.
Director of the Hartbeespoort Snake and Animal Park, Jack Seale's stance on
With Seattle zoo's help, villagers get jump on saving tree kangaroos
Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo has helped villagers in Papua New Guinea secure
permanent protection for 187,800 acres of pristine tropical forest in the
country's first-ever national conservation area. The land is owned by villagers
who decided to create the refuge for the sweet-faced Matschie's tree kangaroo,
an endangered species that lives nowhere else.
Keeping to itself for much of its life in the tropical treetops, the fuzzy-faced
tree kangaroo doesn't seem a likely vanguard for a revolution.
But so it is in Papua New Guinea, where conservation biologists from Seattle's
Woodland Park Zoo worked with residents of some 35 native villages to seal the
country's first-ever conservation deal, preserving 187,800 acres of tropical
forest stretching from the country's northern coast to the interior mountains.
The owners of the property are indigenous people, who committed for the first
time to managing their land as a national conservation area, off-limits to
hunting, mining, logging or other development.
The conservation area protects a large, pristine swath of the Huon Peninsula,
the only known habitat of the wild Matschie's tree kangaroo, long hunted by the
villagers as part of their subsistence economy. The small animal munches mostly
tree leaves, flowers and ferns. Only about 3 feet high and weighing as much as a
large sack of birdseed, it
Another two illegal loggers killed by wild tiger in Jambi
Jon Afrizal and Oyos Sasoro H.N., The Jakarta Post, Jambi, Bandarlampung
After killing three illegal loggers just last week, tigers fatally attacked a
further two workers Sunday night in the Sungai Gelam district, Muarojambi,
taking the number of people mauled by wild animals in the regency since January
The identities of the two loggers are not yet known but their remains have been
evacuated from the attack site, about 45 kilometers from the where the last
victim was found.
"We have deployed our people to the location where both loggers were killed,"
head of Jambi Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) Didy Wurjanto said.
He said his office would try to trap the tigers, most likely males, but was
Watertown zoo not interested in snakehead fish
Contrary to several reports the Thompson Park Zoo in Watertown says it's not
interested in taking in the now famous snakehead fish in Cicero. The zoo's
director Doctor John Scott Foster says nobody from the zoo has expressed
interest in the fish because it's not the right choice for the zoo.
The DEC says it plans to kill Chris Deverso's fish because a 2004 law made the
invasive species illegal to own. But, Deverso bought the fish before the law and
he says it is a not
IN PICTURES: Rescued from hunter's trap, she-wolf returns to the wild
After hesitating a few seconds in front of the people who came to watch, Ahinoam
the female wolf scampered out of her cage. She had been brought from the Ramat
Gan safari park to the wide-open spaces of the Gilboa Mountains in the north,
chalking up a success for a project devoted to returning wolves to the wild.
Ahinoam had been seriously injured when her leg was caught in a hunter's trap on
the Palestinian side of the separation fence. Soldiers of the Israeli armored
corps spotted her and alerted Roi Ben-Yosef, an inspector from the Israel Nature
and National Parks Protection Authority, who rushed the wolf to the safari's
Dr. Yigal Horowitz of the animal hospital said the wolf's leg had now healed
completely, but Ahinoam's contact with humans could affect her behavior in the
However, "from the way the wolf resisted getting into the cage, it was clear we
were witnessing the behavior of a wild animal," he said.
Ahinoam was released to the wild Tuesday in the presence of the soldiers who had
saved her life. She has been fitted with a transponder around her neck to allow
her movements to be traced. Dr. Horowitz noted that two wolf packs are known to
make their home in the Gilboa Mountains.
"We hope she joins one of them," he said.
In addition to hunter's traps, the wolv
Wildlife park: It's time for counting
NOAH had it easy.
While loading his animals on to the ark, he only had to count to two.
But spare a thought for the keepers at the Cotswold Wildlife Park.
As one of the country's leading breeding zoos, with globally-important
collections of rare and endangered animals, it is imperative that they know
exactly how many beasts they have within their fences.
So last month, staff at the zoological park near Burford embarked on a crucial
annual ritual ñ counting each and every one of their guests ñ from insects to
They call this marathon census, which is now complete, `stocktaking'.
And when you consider that this year's total was 2,094 (plus an additional
80,000 leaf-cutter ants), then that is no mean feat.
"People don't realise what goes on behind the scenes," says the park's curator,
"We know exactly how many lions, tigers or zebra we have, and don't suddenly
lose or gain animals. But it does get trickier in the tropical house, where we
have got big flocks of birds.
"The tropical house is nat
Death at the Zoo
It's rare that the public hears about deaths at the St. Louis Zoo. Just like the
births of animals, most of the deaths that find their way into newspapers or on
TV newscasts are those of visitor favorites.
But in reality, birth and death happen every day at the Zoo.
"We have thousands of animals with life spans of just a few weeks to many, many
years. Things are being born or dying every single day," said Michael Macek,
curator of birds and an 18-year veteran of the St. Louis Zoo. "There's
everything from a frog who lays thousands of eggs at one time to an elephant,
who can only give birth every two-and-a-half years."
Recently, however, the Zoo has experienced a spate of deaths and illness among
some of its best-known animals.
Two young Asian elephants at the Zoo are currently battling a potentially fatal
herpes virus. They are in stable condition, according to the Zoo.
On Feb. 28, a male gorilla was found dead by accidental strangulation in his
sleeping quarters. An inspector from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has
visited the Zoo in the wake of the gorilla's death. A similar visit took place
after two polar bears unexpectedly died within five weeks of one another in
2005. That visit resulted in a $7,500 fine for the Zoo for noncompliance to USDA
And on Feb. 15, one of the Zoo's highest-profile residents, chimpanzee Cinder,
the "Naked Ape," collapsed in her enclosure and died unexpectedly. Macek said
that currently the Zoo does not know what caused the 14-year-old chimp's death;
the chimpanzees had been dealing with a cold, but according to reports, Cinder
had already recovered from the mild illness.
Generally speaking, how the Zoo handles the death of an animal depends a lot on
the species, Macek said. In the case of Cinder, the social chimpanzees were
given the opportunity to grieve for their friend and relative. After failing to
resuscitate the chimp, keepers returned Cinder to her enclosure, where her
family had the opportunity to spend time with her for the bulk of an afternoon.
Macek said that the "visitation" also gave Cinder's keepers a chance to mourn
the chimp's death.
"There was a lot of touching, smelling and poking going on," Macek said,
explaining that those tactics are ways the chimpanzees ascertain that another
chimp has died. After a while, the animals lost interest, wandering away from
Thai Elephant Week Starts March 13
Thailand's most noble beast, the elephant is the star of two important events
this month. In the northern province of Lampang, people interested in the
welfare and care of these noble animals gather for Thai Elephant Week, 13 March
at the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre. The scene of documentary films made
for worldwide TV audience, the conservation centre, located in Hang Chat
district in Lampang province, is a renowned refuge where elephants, both healthy
and invalid, can be cared for and respected.
On this day visitors can learn from mahouts about the traditions and practices
that help to maintain an elephant's health and well-being. On the lighter side,
Circus CEO says elephants are struck, but not hurt
The head of the company that owns the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
acknowledged in federal court Tuesday that all his elephant handlers strike the
animals with metal-tipped prods, but he said it's necessary to keep the huge
animals under control and doesn't harm them.
Feld Entertainment Chairman/Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Feld said the circus
probably couldn't have elephants without the prods ó called bull hooks ó and
chains that are at the center of a trial in U.S. District Court. He said the
prods and restraints are needed to protect the safety of his staff and the
Animal rights groups are suing Feld Entertainment, saying the use of those
instruments harms the company's 54 Asian elephants, an animal protected by the
Endangered Species Act. The trial, being heard by U.S. District Judge Emmet
Sullivan without a jury, already has been going on for a month and is expected
to last a couple more weeks.
The defense opened its case Tuesday by calling Feld as its first witness. The
executive said he has no tolerance for mistreatment of circus animals, and
employees are trained on proper policies and encouraged to report abuse. But
under cross examination, he said the company has no policy to make sure he's
personally aware of abuse investigations.
He said he's seen handlers hit elephants under the chin, behind the ears or on
the legs with a bull hook ó which resembles a thick fireplace poker with a
curved metal hook ó describing it as a standard practice to "correct" or "guide"
the animals. "I don't view what I've seen as abuse," he said.
He said a handler was verbally reprimanded in 199
Rare rhinos caught on video
NEW infra-red footage released Thursday captures hitherto unseen images of
elusive Javan rhinos, the most endangered mammal in the world with less than 60
individuals believed to remain alive.
The grainy video was released by environmental group WWF which has been
monitoring the rhinos for about 20 years in the rugged Ujung Kulon National Park
on the southern tip of Indonesia's Java island.
They show mothers and calves and a single large male wallowing in various mud
holes, revealing behaviour researchers had never seen before and helping with
the identification of individual animals.
In one clip shot at night, a female rhino chases a wild pig away from her mud
'These rhinos are very shy. In the last 20 years our team has only seen rhinos
two or three times with their
Woman Lost Face And Hands In Attack By Chimp
A woman mauled by her friend's chimpanzee lost her face and hands in the attack
and may have brain damage, doctors have said.
Charla Nash was critically injured by the animal in Connecticut last month.
The chimp's owner, Sandra Herold, made a frantic 911 call when the pet suddenly
snapped and turned on her friend.
She screamed: "He's ripped her face off... My chimpanzee. He ripped her apart."
The Cleveland Clinic has now revealed the 55-year-old victim lost her nose, lips
and eyelids and could go blind.
"Her potential for recovery, if any, remains unclear at this time," the hospital
It is too soon to tell if she could
Zoo caretakers should guard against MRSA
An outbreak of community-associated methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus
occurred among caretakers of an elephant calf, U.S. health officials said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Mortality and Morbidity Weekly
Report, released Thursday, warns that people working with animals in zoo
settings should perform proper hand hygiene before and after animal contact and
use personal protective equipment -- gowns, gloves, and masks -- when working
with ill or infected animals.
The article describes the investigation of an outbreak of CA-MRSA infections
among caretakers of an elephant calf at the San Diego Wild Animal Park early
"This is the first reported case of MRSA in an
Syndicate trading endangered species investigated
The Riau branch of the Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) is
intensifying efforts to uncover an alleged syndicate trading rare animals
following the death of three Sumatran tigers trapped by locals in Indragiri
Hilir regency last month.
The center announced earlier this week that it had seized the skulls and hides
of two of the three tigers but failed to recover the remains of the other as the
locals had already sold them. They were reportedly trapped by residents of
Tanjung Pasar village, Pelasiran district in mid February.
"The transaction (of the remains) is an initial, strong indication of an
involvement of a syndicate," Syahimin, head of Riau BKSDA's Technical Affairs
Division, told a press conference in Palembang earlier this week.
It is also because of this, according to Syahimin, that the center has yet to
take action against the residents involved in the trapping of the tigers.
Instead they plan to further investigate the syndicate and its network. "We have
had their names," he said.
Identification of the hides and sculls, he added, showed that both belonged to
young tigers. They were killed separately on Feb. 10 and Feb. 16. Other parts of
their bodies were found after residents of the village gave information as to
He added that the seizure followed Forestry Minister MS Ka'ban's instruction to
thoroughly investigate the death of the three tigers. The center is currently
also investigating the death of another tiger trapped in a different village in
the regency last week.
"We are collecting the evidence. We hope the residents are willing to
voluntarily give it up to us," he said.
Tanjung Pasar, according to Syahimin, is known
Fire-breathing zoo dancers on drug charges
A fire-breathing performer from a dance troupe at Singapore Zoo was charged with
drug offences after a series of arrests forced the suspension of part of the
zoo's internationally famous night safari.
Singapore's Central Narcotics Bureau said Thursday the Malaysian contract worker
was charged with drug importation and a Singaporean with trafficking after a
series of arrests at the Singapore-Malaysia border Sunday.
Each faces a minimum sentence of five years' jail and five strokes of the cane
if found guilty.
Three members of the troupe of fire-breathing dancers who perform in the night
safari were detained at the border for possessing methamphetamine, or "ice," the
hallucinogenic party drug ketamine and cannabis, the bureau said.
Police later made a total of 13 arrests. The narcotics bureau said nine
performers were released on bail or were sent to a drug rehabilitation centre.
The zoo's night safari is one of Singapore's most popular tourist attractions.
Part of the show, which includes tribal dancing, fire-breathing and blow-pipes,