Zoo News Digest
Only haredim allowed entry to Beersheba zoo
Public zoo visitors discover it is open only for haredi public. Following complaints, visitors were allowed inside only if 'appropriately dressed'
The fourth day of the holiday drew large numbers of travelers out of their homes, but those who chose to visit the Beersheba zoo found closed gates. The zoo was open for the haredi public only, visitors argued, without any prior notice. A small sign on the zoo's gate confirmed the allegations, while the zoo's management insists that entrance to the zoo was not limited.
"We arrived at the zoo at 9:50, 10 minutes before it opens," said Avigail Kanterovich, who arrived at the zoo with her family, friends and their children. "We tried to buy tickets, and the cashier told us they will not allow us to enter, since it is only for haredim today."
According to her, there was no prior notice, and nowhere did it say that the zoo would be closed for visitors today according to religious affiliation. "They performed selection at the entrance, and didn't allow even national-religious people to enter. Only the haredim."
Kanterovich said that only after a long argument they were allowed entrance. "We were furious. They let us wait in the sun for 20 minutes, and no one came to talk with us." According to her, only later the management put up a sign stating the entrance was restricted to haredim only. Eventually they were allowed in the zoo.
The municipality: Living in harmony
Another visitor, Yael, also saw the sign. "Outside, the public was mixed," she recounts. "Eventually they let us in, but everything inside was separated for boys and girls." Yael too said the visitors had to wait outside for a while before they could enter.
The zoo's manager explained that the site was closed due to a special event for the Orthodox public, but everyone who wished to enter could do so if appropriately dressed.
The Beersheba municipality said that as part of the holiday's event, the city held an event for the ultra-Orthodox public at the zoo. However, contrary to the allegations, entrance was allowed to everyone who wanted to participate in the event.
"In Beersheba we're living in harmony, religious
The World Is Watching
Although I left my heart in Africa last year a part of it now resides in Thailand, a country I’ve never been to, as I follow the day-to-day progression of events at two internationally respected wildlife sanctuaries. The Elephant Nature Park (ENP), and Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT), have been repeatedly raided by armed government officials from the Department of National Parks (DNP) in what appears to be retaliatory actions for statements made by ENP and WFFT decrying the illegal wildlife trade in Thailand, and the Thai government’s suspected complicity.
It began on February 8, when ENP founder Sangduen Chailert, known as Lek, was asked to produce proof of ownership for the elephants at her sanctuary after an anonymous phone call claimed she was sheltering over 70 illegal, wild elephants. Lek was able to produce the documentation for the actual 30-plus elephants at her sanctuary, most of them elderly and disabled from spending their lives in the logging and tourism industries. Approximately 100 officials vacated the premises after reviewing her documentation, having disrupted the park for a full day
Hard Times Force Famed Refuge's Sale
White Oak Served as Retreat for World Leaders, Artists—and Rare Animals
For decades, Howard Gilman, a New York arts habitué and heir to a lumber and paper company fortune, indulged his two great loves—ballet and animal conservation—at White Oak, an elegant plantation in this tiny town on the Florida-Georgia border.
On a 7,400-acre swath of pine stands that hugs the meandering St. Mary's River, Mr. Gilman built expensive habitats for his rare-animal collection as well as dozens of cottages and recreation facilities for his friends and guests, who included world leaders, movie stars, dancers and other artists. Anyone invited to stay at White Oak had the run of the house, with all food, lodging and sporting activities completely free of charge.
Ballet master Mikhail Baryshnikov and actress Isabella Rossellini were frequent visitors; The Sundance Institute, the organization behind the famous film festival, brought playwrights to write and rehearse. Bill and Hillary Clinton hunkered down for six days at White Oak in the spring of 1999, strategizing for Mrs. Clinton's first Senate run as storm of the Monica Lewinsky scandal passed.
But the plantation's role offering respite and refuge is ending: Last week, the Howard Gilman Foundation, which owns White Oak, put the property up for sale. The foundation, which estimates the value of the property at $30 million
Celebrating Plants and the Planet:
Why is there no major holiday to really celebrate plants?
Some combination of the feasting of Thanksgiving (in recognition of our dependence on plants for food of course), the outdoor flower gawking of hanami (Cherry Blossom Festival), the car races of Memorial Day (and just where do all fuels originate?), and the gift giving of Christmas (because plants are so giving!!) seems about right to me.
April’s links at http://www.zooplantman.com/ (NEWS/Botanical News) are to encourage you to start your own holiday:
· In the USA, over 338,000 acres of farmland are planted in tobacco. What if all that tobacco went into vehicles’ engines instead of peoples’ lungs? All hail the latest biofuel.
· The perfume industry depends on the fixative properties of ambergris which comes from whales (enough said about that). Scientists have discovered that fir trees could provide an equivalent material.
· We produce tons of sewage creating a disposal and sanitation problem for us. Here come bacteria willing to take it off of our hands and give us electricity in exchange.
· Plants don’t need to be processed or harvested or “work“ to offer wide ranging benefits. The Japanese practice of “Forest Bathing” has been researched demonstrating the widespread physiological as well as psychological benefits of spending time in forests, around plants.
· And so it is especially tragic that we harm plant communities without even knowing it. Human noise has been shown to disrupt pollination and seed dispersal. We change our planet with every step we take.
So while you’re planning your Plant Appreciation Holiday, head on out for inspiration in the Amazon right now from the comfort of your computer with Google StreetView: http://maps.google.com/help/maps/streetview/gallery.html#!/Amazon
Please share these stories with associates, staff, docents and – most importantly – visitors! Follow on Twitter: http://twitter.com/PlantWorldNews – a new story every day as well as hundreds of stories from the past few years.
Zoo and Aquarium Visitors More Concerned About Climate Change than General Public
National Survey Shows That Sense of Connection with Animals Affects Beliefs
People who visit zoos and aquariums are more concerned about climate change than other Americans and are willing to take action to help because they feel a connection with animals. The findings are in the final report, "Global Climate Change as Seen by Zoo and Aquarium Visitors," analyzed by the Climate Literacy Zoo Education Network (CLiZEN). The Network is led by the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which manages Brookfield Zoo.
Researchers surveyed more than 7,000 zoo and aquarium visitors at 15 accredited zoos and aquariums around the country and found that visitors are more concerned about climate change than the general public. For example, 64 percent of zoo and aquarium visitors say they are concerned or alarmed about global warming, compared to only 39 percent of the general public. Also, 35 percent of the general public report being disengaged, doubtful, or dismissive with regard to global warming versus only 17 percent of zoo and aquarium visitors. Non-visitor attitudes were collected via a survey by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.
"We have long suspected that people who visit zoos and aquariums care more about environmental issues and that their sense of care is tied to the connection they feel to the animals they see in our institutions. These findings give us the opportunity to help visitors understand climate change and to provide educational information about what they can do to make a difference," said Alejandro Grajal, Ph.D., senior vice president of conservation and education for CZS.
Nearly two-thirds of surveyed zoo and aquarium visitors believe that human actions are related to global warming, and the majority of visitors think that global warming will harm them personally, as well as future generations. These findings suggest that zoo and aquarium visitors are a prime audience for clim
Female Bengal tiger and a Siberian tiger give birth to three cubs
Jaguar Zoo in southern Mexico has three new members, a litter of half-Bengal, half-Siberian tiger cubs born on 3 April.
The zoo, 26 miles south east of the city of Oaxaca, mated their 12-year-old Siberian male tiger named Yagul with an eight-year-old female Bengal tiger, Yaki, to produce the litter of three.
"Despite being from two different subspecies, the cross-mating was done successfully and the cubs are in good condition," said the zoo's veterinarian, Felipe Ramirez Sanchez.
Although the zoo lacks a specific breeding programme for the critically endangered Siberian tigers, also known as Amur tigers, Ramirez said that they hope to find a Siberian female to mate with Yagul to produce fully Siberian cubs.
"The Siberian tiger species is in danger of extinction. Currently there are fewer than 2,000 of them in the wild," he noted, saying also that they will start searching for a Siberian mate in other Mexican zoos. Bengal tigers are more numerous and are only considered threatened," he said.
The zoo receives around a
Open Letter to Indonesia President Yudhoyono to Save Orangutans
We, the undersigned, have devoted much of the past half-century to the study of great apes and the advocacy for their protection. That is why we are gravely concerned about the ecological damage caused by man-made fires in Sumatra, and why we write to you today as Patrons of the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) to ask you to halt this destruction.
The fires set to clear forest land in the Province of Aceh for oil palm plantations currently threaten the Leuser Ecosystem, which includes some of the most important great ape habitat in the world. Experts believe that as many as 300 critically endangered Sumatran orangutans may perish in the fires, pushing the species even closer to extinction.
In 2005, the Government of Indonesia signed the Kinshasa Declaration on Great Apes, which articulated the need to “ensure the effective enforcement of legislation protecting great apes.”
The Leuser Ecosystem is classified
Wanted: Rhinos for breeding
Sabah wildlife officials are on the lookout for more rhinos to take part in an ongoing breeding programme of the highly endangered animals.
State Wildlife Department director Laurentius Ambu said they were hoping to capture more of the elusive animals, particularly those that were capable of breeding.
Researchers have estimated that there are fewer than 30 rhinos in the wild in Sabah and most of them are within the Tabin wildlife sanctuary and Danum Valley conservation area in Sabah's east coast.
The breeding programme is being carried out at the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary in Tabin where wildlife researchers are hoping to get a male named Tam to breed with two females named Puntung and Gelogob.
The sanctuary was given a boost recently when the Sime Darby Foundation provided an additional RM6.4mil grant for the various rhino conservation programmes there.
Since 2009, the foundation has provided RM5mil that went towards patrolling for poachers, maintenance of the paddock and facilities, rhino quarantine facilities and other operational costs.
"It was clear to us that the programme was worth continuing," said Borneo Rhino Alliance executive director Datuk Dr Junaidi Payne.
He said the alliance applied for the grant extension from the Sime Darby Foundation and was granted RM6.4 million (S$2.6 million) for the next three years.
He described the past three years' effort at the sanctuary as eventful.
The sanctuary is a programme run by the Sabah
Anglerfish on show at Blackpool aquarium
A rare fish which lives up to 1,000 metres below the surface has taken residence at an aquarium in Blackpool.
Sealife Blackpool claim it is the first aquarium in the UK to exhibit the deep sea anglerfish.
Senior aquarist at the centre Martin Sutcliffe said the fish are very difficult to keep in captivity as they have to be kept dark and at 11C.
He said: "We weren't sure what visitors would make of them as they are ugly looking but they have proved a hit."
The aquarium has taken receipt of four anglerfish which can grow up to two metres (6.56 ft) in length.
They have to be stored in separate tanks because their skin is very sensitive and even shrimps can scratch it.
Mr Sutcliffe said: "Very little is known about the fish as they are a deep sea animal which is why I think people are so intrigued by them.
"They are weird and wonderful things. They can eat mackerel whole - which are the same
Interview with a Big Game Farmer (and Rhino Conservationist)
Chalk this one up to interesting and potential careers. Businessman and entrepreneur John Hume, who was featured in the most recent edition of National Geographic, talks about his herd of rhino’s and how safely and humanely farming their horns as a business can save the rhino from extinction.
What do you do for a living?
Game ranching on 2 different farms in South Africa, primarily for the purpose of breeding both Black and White rhino, which are both severely threatened by poaching because of the Eastern demand for their horn. One is an intensive game ranch, where rhinos are kept in large camps and the other ranch is an extensive wildlife system, with various other species of game on it too. It is a more natural system, like a small reserve and rhinos roam freely on this ranch.
How would you describe what you do?
Most of my time is spent on trying to save the African rhino from extinction and managing my other businesses which afford me the income required to look after the rhino.
I want people to know that you can safely and humanely farm a rhino’s horn. All of my rhino’s are dehorned(thus making it less likely a poacher will kill them).
The rhino has to be anesthetized to do the dehorning. So we dart it and the drug takes about 5 minutes to be effective and we take 15 minutes to do the rest of the procedure.The rest of the procedure comprises cutting off both horn about 80 mm above the flesh. If you go below this say at 40mm you would hit the quick and just like your toenail, if you cut above your quick there is no pain at all.
The animal is awakened after about 20 minutes. The horns will grow out again at about 100mm per year.
My rhino are all dehorned and live a very normal life doing everything that a normal rhino does including fighting but we have less damaging injuries with the rhinos because they have short blunt horns.
What does your work entail?
Managing the managers on two
Animal rights groups seek performance ban
Animal rights groups are calling for a ban on all animal performances in China, including live shows, petting zoos and photo sessions.
However, their campaign - which also calls for a ban on dolphin shows - is said by some to have gone too far.
Animal performances and circus shows, especially in Beijing, have "seriously impaired the country's and city's image with brutality and savage behavior", Liu Huili, an animal rights supporter and researcher with Green Beagle, a Beijing-based non-governmental organization, said at a symposium on Saturday.
Attendees at the symposium, including researchers and volunteers from Green Beagle, China Zoo Watch and the Beijing Loving Animals Foundation, proposed the performance ban, especially in the capital city.
China Zoo Watch conducted a study from January 2011 to the end of March, in which it sampled more than 40 zoos nationwide. It found that animal performances, which it claims often involve acts of cruelty, are common nationwide.
About 50 percent of urban zoos, 91 percent of animal parks and 89 percent of aquariums offer such performances, according to the survey.
Performances include animal wire walking, jumping through fire loops, standing upside down and boxing, which "might seriously impair the animals' physical and psychological health", Liu said.
In Beijing, the wildlife park in Daxing district offers shows of dogs jumping through fire loops, and another wildlife park near the Badaling section of the Great Wall features wolves and tigers jumping across fiery circles and bears playing with flaming sticks, the survey found.
Both parks declined to comment on the issue when reached by China Daily on Sunday.
Liu Nonglin, a senior engineer of the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens, said a zoo should be a demonstration site for animal protection.
Scientists use satellites to map penguins from space
Scientists counting emperor penguins from space have found twice as many of the birds in Antarctica as expected.
The discovery is reassuring for a species seen as under threat from global warming and will provide researchers with a benchmark for monitoring the giants of the penguin world in years to come.
Using high-resolution satellite images to study each of 44 colonies around the coastline of Antarctica, experts said on Friday they put the total emperor penguin population at 595,000, or roughly double previous estimates of 270,000 to 350,000.
"It's good news," team leader Peter Fretwell of the British Antarctic Survey said in an interview.
"It gives us a bit more confidence not only that there are lots of emperor penguins out there but that we can actually keep track of them as well."
Seven of the colonies studied had never been seen before.
A key advantage of satellites is that they can capture multiple images in one go, whereas visiting dozens of remote colonies in temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius would be hugely expensive and time-consuming.
Still, conducting a penguin roll-call from space is not simple. It took a special technique known as pan-sharpening to increase the resolution of the satellite images to differe
Gaza zoo features mummified animals
A trip to the zoo usually means the chance to see live exotic animals on display, but the Dream Park El Janoob Zoo in Khan Younis on the Gaza Strip showcases its animals in a different way.
Visitors are treated to an entire exhibition of mummified animals. Workers embalm dead animals such as lions and tigers that are then placed in cages.
This gives people the chance to stroke the furry creatures without being attacked, as would happen with a living wild animal.
The reasons for a seemingly morbid method of displaying animals is due to financial shortages in shipping of live creatures from countries like Egypt and Senegal and ongoing challenges in importing goods into Gaza.
Israel has imposed land, air, and sea blockades on the territory since 2007, in a bid to prevent illegal smuggling of weapons and military material from reaching its Islamist rulers Hamas.
Among the visitors are school children, and like Rwan Ghames, they are very well aware of the reasons for displaying mummified animals at the local zoo.
Zoo owner Ziad Owadah maintains the mummified animals, and says that it would be a waste to get rid of them considering how expensive they we
Stolen penguin back safe in Australia Sea World
A trio of men faces charges after allegedly stealing a penguin from Sea World on the Gold Coast of Australia's Queensland and then bragging about it online.
Dirk, one of the park's 29 fairy penguins, was found under Southport pier Sunday night, frightened but apparently not hurt.
The theft on Saturday night was the first of an animal in the park's 40-year history, the park's spokeswoman Renee Soutar said on Monday.
Police alerted Sea World after someone saw pictures of the penguin on Facebook allegedly posted by the three men, who were releasing it nearby.
Sea World then reached out to local media to get the public's help in finding the penguin. Someone then spotted
Farming aquarium species to save them
Shawn Garner watches over 18 tanks of hundreds of tiny sea horses, bobbing among the artificial sea grasses and plastic zip ties provided to give their tails a hitching post.
“It’s the coolest animal in the world,” he said, showing them off with a touch of both pride and awe. “It has a head like a horse, a tail like a monkey and a pouch like a kangaroo.”
Garner, supervisor of the Mote Marine Laboratory’s sea-horse conservation lab, is one of several experts across the country trying to raise ornamental fish and other wild marine species in captivity. These researchers, many working at aquariums and zoos, are engaging in the kinds of farming operations once reserved for fish sold in food markets and restaurants.
For sea horses, the stakes are high. Nearly one-fourth of the 36 sea-horse species assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature are threatened with extinction.
Three factors account for the deaths of tens of millions
Kids Park becomes Emirates Park Zoo
The Family and Children’s Zoo located in Al Bahia has officially changed its name from Kids Park to Emirates Park Zoo. The new name is to commemorate the UAE’s 40th National Day in December 2011.
Park owner Nasser Al Nuaimi said that the change was undertaken in support of the government’s efforts to elevate the status of the UAE as a country with a rich history and cultural heritage.
The zoo also aims to cultivate an appreciation of nature and wildlife, particularly among the youth. Visitors have access to interactive experiences allowing them to touch and feed the animals, as well as learn from professional guides.
Opened in 2008, the Kids Park Zoo was the first of its kind in the Capital. It is home to over 1,400 animals, wild and domestic. As part of its current expansion programme, the zoo is planning to increase this number to 2,000 and to introduce new species such as anacondas, hippopotamuses and sea lions.
The large-scale expansion will also introduce new facilities to the
Fatal attractions: Wild side of the UAE
Shocking documentary by young Emirati reveals over 3,000 people in the UAE keep dangerous animals as pets
Over 3,000 people in the UAE have wild animals as domestic pets, reveals a hard-hitting documentary by a young Emirati filmmaker.
In what could be the boldest expose yet, Marwan Al Hammadi, 22, a third-year student of applied communications at the Dubai Men's College has produced a 15-minute short film titled Cats which zooms into villas and farms across the UAE where proud owners talk about their prized possessions as the majestic cats lounge around them.
The documentary, chosen from thousands of entries in a student competition, will be aired at the fifth Gulf Film Festival beginning in Dubai on April 10.
An exclusive preview of Cats on Tuesday indicated that the stories portrayed could be the tip of the iceberg. In a revealing preface, the film claims that over 3,000 people in the UAE have wild animals as domestic pets. Of those, many own three or more.
The Arabic commentary (with English subtitles) set against images on a mobile phone screen is no coincidence. "In fact, the idea of making the film came from the phone as pictures of exotic cats are being exchanged all the time. So I wondered who these people were and where the animals came from. I was surprised when I learnt the huge number of exotic animal owners, some of whom have more than 100 varieties, not just cats," said Al Hammadi, who directed the film along with Saeed Abbas Al Emadi, his junior in college.
The actual film opens with a pet owner pulling out a crate with a lion cub from his car at his spacious villa. He talks about how his family was shocked when he first brought the cub home. But they accepted him later, he says, even as the camera zooms in on the six-month-old cub at her playful best.
Another owner of a lion cub relates the challenges he had weaning away the cub from its mother in captivity. He asks his three children whether they love him or not. And they answer in the affirmative as they sit on a sofa, stroking their favourite pet.
Zoo raid unconstitutional, judge rules
The Hattiesburg American reports (http://hatne.ws/Iafo4G) that Circuit Judge William Barnett ruled this week that the seizure of the animals without notice to the owners or an opportunity for a hearing violated due process clauses.
Barnett said Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks' regulations regarding the seizure of inherently dangerous animals requires three days' notice before officials obtain an order of seizure from justice court. Barnett said the department rules were violated because officials gave the three days' notice after the seizure order was already entered, thus denying zoo owners Gus and Betty White a hearing.
Barnett sent the case back to Forrest County Justice Court.
The return of the currently displaced tigers, wolf hybrids, leopards, cougars and a Rhesus macaque to the zoo is pending a full hearing in justice court.
"We'll all have our day in court. We expect to prevail," said Jim Walker, MDWFP spokesman.
Betty White said judges in the past have ruled in her favor.
"But it didn't do us any good because (MDWFP) didn't listen to the judge's orders," she said.
Rhino Summit in Nairobi develops action plan
The Nairobi based conservation centre of the African Wildlife Foundation, in short AWF hosted a continental meeting during the week, aimed to discuss strategies on protecting the rhinos, now under assault like never before. Prices for a kilogram of rhino horn have risen to an all time level of as much as 50.000 US Dollars, pricier than even gold, and with nearly 450 rhinos killed last year in South Africa alone, now a hotbed for organizied commercial scale poaching, NGO’s and conservationists from around the world came to Nairobi to seek solutions.
Helen Gichohi, President of AWF, said in her statement: ‘Wildlife authorities, private land rhino reserve owners, conservation organizations, and others have made valiant efforts to halt the rhino poaching crisis, but these disparate actions have sadly been no match for this epidemic that is plaguing Africa’. KWS Chief Executive Dr. Julius Kipng’etich also appealed to the meeting participants to urgently find ways and means to stop the menace, disclosing that in 2011 Kenya lost 24 of the endangered species, while reaffirming Kenya’s position to continue opposing any form of trade, which according to some participants has led to the increase in poaching in the first place, a thinly concealed reference to what many now see as a failed policy by the CITES Secretariat, caving in to powerful economic pressures from some Southern African states.
Kipng’etich also voiced his doubts over the effectiveness of dehorning as a sole measure to protect http://www.eturbonews.com/28680/rhino-summit-nairobi-develops-action-plan
Zoo targeted by protesters
Animal rights activists have been protesting outside a zoo farm in Wraxall, in North Somerset today. It's part of a national campaign saying it's wrong for animals to be held in captivity for entertainment.
Today, they encouraged vistors to Noah's Ark Zoo Farm to spend their money elsewhere.**
One of the campaigners, who wished only to be known as "Jenny" told us: "Zoos are an old Victorian idea and its a questions of making money out of showing animals - they should not be in cages. Zoos are not the place for animals. They wont show their natural behaviour, so what kind of education are you really showing the public?"
Anthony Bush, has worked at the farm for more than 50 years, and now owns it. He say's he's only trying to do the very best by the animals and it's not about making money.
"We've never made a profit, its never been the aim of running noah's ark, never has, will, but we do want to look after he animals well, we want to give
Animals in British zoos live in conditions 'as bad as those in the former Soviet Bloc'
Animals in some British zoos are kept in conditions little better than those in former Soviet Bloc countries, it was claimed last night.
A major undercover investigation of zoos, wildlife parks, bird of prey centres and aquaria, revealed numerous cases of agitated animals and repetitive behaviour.
Other animals were in a state of apathy, while many enclosures were dirty and drinking water was stagnant or dirty.
Animals whose plight has been highlighted by the Born Free Foundation include a Bornean orang-utan living in ‘horrendous’ conditions and an Asiatic bear huddled against the wall of a bear pit at Dudley Zoo in the West Midlands.
A panther, an elusive and private creature, was pictured in a barren enclosure at the zoo at the Drayton Manor theme park in Staffordshire.
Although the panther, or black leopard as it is more properly known, did have access to some inside space, the charity is still concerned about the lack of stimulation for a breed that thrives on swimming, climbing and hunting.
And at Exmoor Falconry and Animal Park a kookaburra was seen housed in a ‘dilapidated garden shed’.
Some 25 English animal attractions were randomly chosen and inspected, as part of an investigation of more than 20,000 enclosures at 200 zoos and animal parks in 20 countries across Europe.
Will Travers, who founded the Born Free Foundation with his actor parents Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, said: ‘In some respects, the enclosures we found in the UK are little better than those in former Eastern European countries which many only now be in the process of applying zoo legislation.
‘Whereas, in the UK, we have had modern zoo legislation since 1984 – nearly 30 years.’
The zoos have described the photos as ‘highly-selective’ and said it is impossible to get the full picture without doing extensive visits and questioning keepers and other staff.
Pictures of Dudley Zoo show an orang-utan that in the wild would live in the treetops of Borneo peering woeful out of a small, white-washed enclosure.
Mr Travers said that the enclosure, which appears to boast little more than a wooden climbing frame and a few tyres, has barely changed since he visited the attraction in the 1980s.
He told the Daily Mail: ‘The orang-utan very rarely comes to ground, it lives almost its entire life in the forest canopy, in a dynamic environment.
‘The trees move, the branches move, the seasons change, the seeds and the fruits change at the time.
‘But what we are looking at here is a static, sterile environment that bears no resemblance to any of the conditions in its natural habitat.’
Scott vetoes "Jurassic Park" bill sought by Lowry Park Zoo, approves dyeing chicks and bunnies
Giraffes, zebras and rhinos won't be roaming Florida's parks — not yet, anyway.
But if they do, they could be dyed blue.
Late Friday, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a bill that had been pushed by Lowry Park Zoo officials that would have allowed zoos to lease state land to create breeding herds of everything from gazelles to elephants. But Scott said one reason he vetoed it is because the law already allows the state to lease land to anyone — even zoos.
Meanwhile he signed a wide-ranging agriculture bill, HB 1197, that exempts farms from having to pay local stormwater fees and bars local governments from regulating beekeeping.
The agriculture bill's most controversial provision lifts a 45-year-old ban on selling chicks, bunnies and dogs that have been dyed pink, blue or a whole rainbow of colors. Animal welfare groups and veterinarians had opposed the bill, which had been filed at the request of a dog groomer who wanted to color his show dogs for more dramatic effect. It takes effect July 1.
Scott signed 80 bills into law Friday, including the so-called "Caylee's law," HB 37, that makes it a third-degree felony to give false information to a law enforcement officer about a missing child. The bill was driven by public outrage over the death of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony and her mother's subsequent acquittal on murder charges.
He also approved SB 436, which stiffens the penalties for video voyeurism and clarifies that a person has a right to privacy in his or her residence. The bill was a reaction to two Bulgarian women discovering cameras inside their Hillsborough County apartment last year.
Scott also vetoed HB 865, which would have swapped a property tax with a sales tax in Pinellas County. The extra revenue could be used to pay for a new light rail system, which is estimated to cost about $1.7 billion. Although the swap would take place only if voters approved a sales tax in 2013 or 2014, Scott said it represented an opportunity for a large tax increase.
In a letter explaining why he rejected the zoo bill, HB 1117 — dubbed the "Jurassic Park bill" by environmental activists — Scott wrote that it "lacks sufficient safeguards" to "ensure the protection of state … lands, native species and habitats."
Toronto Zoo’s ‘hidden work’ is saving endangered species
Some experts are calling it an extinction crisis.
Around the world, animals are disappearing at an alarming rate. Of the world’s 5,499 types of mammals, 79 have become extinct or extinct in the wild, 194 are listed as critically endangered, 447 are endangered and 497 are vulnerable, according to the “red list’’ of threatened species issued by a widely respected environmental group, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN.
Scientists, veterinarians, curators and other animal experts at the Toronto Zoo are waging an aggressive campaign — most of it behind the scenes — to prevent more than 100 of those species from vanishing.
There’s the Toronto Zoo visitors take in as they visit various enclosures and watch the curious habits of multitudes of creatures.
And then there’s the “hidden zoo,” engaged in species survival plans and other conservation efforts.
Zoo conservation staff participate in everything from habitat restoration, to captive breeding and reintroduction, veterinary and reproductive research, and the exchange of genetic information with other zoos.
It’s extremely detailed work.
Animal rights campaigners hold protest outside Dudley Zoo
ANIMAL rights protesters are targeting Midland zoos over the Easter bank holiday.
The Captive Animals’ Protection Society waved placards at families as they entered Dudley Zoo yesterday with logos reading: “Sad eyes and empty lives – the reality of zoos.”
They are planning to repeat their protest at the attraction tomorrow and members are due to attend Twycross Zoo in Staffordshire today.
The demonstrators warned that the bank holiday action would be followed up by at least 1,000 of their members staging a huge animal rights rally in Birmingham city centre on April 28.
Dudley Zoo chief executive Peter Suddock hit out at the protesters, saying: “They anger visitors and irritate queuing members of the public.”
Demonstrator Dean Bracher, Birmingham Animal Aid group co-ordinator, admitted that children arriving at the zoo could get upset by their banners, but he said it was part of educating youngsters about the unsuitability of keeping animals in captivity.
He said zoos’ traditional argument that keeping animals in captivity meant their survival could be guaranteed “did not wash any more” because 95 per cent of animals
“A Licence to Suffer”: Zoo report highlights how the law is failing animals in English zoos
Leading animal protection charity, The Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS), has today launched a groundbreaking report which lays bare the apparent failure of the law to effectively protect animals held in zoos in England.
The charity, which campaigns against the keeping of animals in captivity, said that the report will shed new light on the oft-held belief that animals in zoos in the UK fare better than in other countries due to the strict legislative framework designed to ensure zoos meet minimum standards. The summary report, entitled “A Licence to Suffer” relates the main findings from a study carried out by independent consultant, Jordi Casamitjana, which examined the practical application of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 and found a vast number of widespread and systemic problems which, the charity says, indicates that the system is not only not working, but is fundamentally unworkable. The report features previously unpublished photographs from award-winning wildlife photographer, Britta Jaschinski, and a foreword by world-renowned animal behaviourist, Marc Bekoff.
The study, which encompassed a random sample of 75% of all zoos in England, used official zoo inspection reports completed by authorised inspectors
Circus link zoo received Government grant of £265k to support opposed elephant exhibit
A Freedom of Information Act request by campaigners at the Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) has today revealed that Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, which was shamed by an investigation by the charity in 2009, which revealed links with the notorious Great British Circus, has been given a massive £265,745 Government grant to fund plans for its proposed elephant exhibit.
The zoo, which misleadingly refers to the planned exhibit as a “sanctuary”, has been heavily criticised by leading animal protection organisations, who have unanimously called for a stop to the plans. The zoo had claimed that it would meet welfare standards laid out in guidelines written by elephant experts but authors of the guidelines made formal demands that any reference to their work be removed, and said that claims that the establishment could meet their strict code of practice were “farcical”.
The grant has been provided by the Rural Development Programme for England which is focused upon support for “farmers and foresters in delivery of environmentally beneficial land management practices”. The zoo mentions the grant on its website but the amount given remained undisclosed. With the true figure revealed, CAPS has branded the move “an apalling use of Government funds”.
Said Director of CAPS, Liz Tyson:
“Leading animal experts have been calling for years to see a complete end to the keeping of elephants in zoos, in recognition that they are inherently unsuited to life in captivity. Noah’s Ark continue to refer to their proposed exhibit
Jerez: Zoo animals facing starvation in the city that ran out of cash
Alasdair Fotheringham reports from Jerez, where public employees go without pay
One of the unexpected attractions of the small Andalusian city of Jerez de la Frontera, or just plain 'Jerez' as it is popularly known, is that it boasts one of Spain's finest zoos.
But it has a problem. Nobody knows how long Jerez - which has the dubious honour of being Spain’s second most indebted municipality after Madrid - can afford to feed the animals.
The omens are not good. Jerez's bankrupt town hall has already run out of money to pay its municipal employees - which includes school cleaners, police and fire services, health workers, even grave diggers - with any degree of regularity. It can’t pay for spare parts for the town’s buses and police cars, let alone the electricity bills. And there are fears that the animals’ food could be next.
“I’ve heard they are ok for now, but they’re in a crisis situation,” says one Jerez
Pandas' brief encounter fails, but the ducks did it
Once Tian Tian had ovulated, which occurs only once a year, she had just 36 hours to get pregnant
Making beautiful babies is clearly more of a problem for giant pandas than for rare ducks. Britain's panda pair, Tian Tian and Yang Guang at Edinburgh Zoo, ran out of mating time yesterday as their much-hyped but limited breeding season drew to an unsuccessful close.
At the same time it was announced that the world's rarest duck, the Madagascar pochard, had produced 18 ducklings in captivity in its native land – an achievement hailed as an "incredible step forward" in saving the bird from extinction.
The two pandas had been brought together this week when it became clear that Tian Tian, the female, had ovulated – an event that happens only once a year – leaving her a mere 36 hours in which to get pregnant.
The animals met in a "tunnel of love" between their two enclosures, but despite showing much mutual interest, wrestling, grunting and climbing
Lionman determined to move on from controversial past
Northland's controversial wildlife park has reopened, with lionman Craig Busch leading the pride.
The newly named Kingdom of Zion has had a troubled past - including the death of a zoo keeper, liquidation, and a bitter ownership dispute.
Today was a new beginning for the 36 big cats at the Kingdom of Zion as the public gathered for the park’s official opening, and the new owners are determined to restore the park back to its former glory.
The opening is a step towards restoring the park’s reputation but, speaking on RadioLive, Craig Busch admits there is still a long way to go.
“I think it’s an absolute mess and disgrace,” says Mr Busch. “Things have been put together in an unsafe way – very dangerous to be handled by the staff that used to be here.”
The cats are now receiving medical care.
“There is things to do with teeth that should have been sorted years ago and their teeth have gone rotten, and they’ve got big infections that can kill them. Another has got an eye problem.”
For Mr Busch today’s opening marks the end of his three year exile form the park.
He was dismissed in late 2008 after his mother Patricia took over, and they fought bitterly over the ownership.
A year later there was more bad publicity for Zion when horrified visitors watched as zoo keeper Dalu McCube was mauled to death by a white tiger.
Now Mr Busch says he is determined
Former Aceh chief denies orang-utans died in burn
THE man who signed the permit allowing 1600 hectares of carbon-rich peat forest and orang-utan habitat to be razed and turned into a palm oil plantation agrees his decision was ''morally wrong''.
However, Irwandi Yusuf, the former governor of Aceh who is seeking a second term in Monday's election, said he had done it as a wake-up call to the international community over its failing climate change policies.
Dr Irwandi, who himself once worked in a project to conserve elephants, signed a pledge soon after becoming governor in 2007 to protect all his province's primary forests, which lock away billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide.
He was also active in international climate negotiations arguing that Acehnese forests could be saved if international companies were prepared to pay to protect them - so-called REDD+ schemes.
But in Banda Aceh this week, Dr Irwandi announced his disillusionment with the REDD+ schemes and threatened to allow more burning if nothing changed.
''The international community think our forest is a free toilet for their carbon,'' he said.
''Every day they are saying they want clean air and to protect forests … but they want to inhale our clean air without paying anything.
''That concession, 1600 hectares, was like a pinch to the international community. Maybe I will make a threat to lift the moratorium [entirely] to
Gigantic aquarium opens in shopping mall with 3,000 fish, 264,000 gallons of water and the strength to withstand earthquakes
Behind the panes of the Aquadream aquarium, 3,000 sea creatures swim through 264,000 gallons of water - all within the confines of Casablanca's Morocco Mall.
So imagine the carnage that would take place if an earthquake were to hit the attraction, which has opened in the tremor-prone North African region.
Luckily, the firm that designed the tank built it with this nightmare scenario in mind, and it has already survived two small quakes during construction.
There were fears that an earthquake would cause it to break, sending water and marine animals cascading through the shopping centre.
But it has been built on its own special foundation and was not affected by two recent tremors.
The American firm responsible say they hope
Lions, tigers become problem pets in the Gulf
On a dusty day in the northern-most Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, 40-year-old Jasim Ali wrestles playfully with his four-legged friend Teymour over a chew toy. But Teymour is not a dog -- he's a fully-grown African lion.
"There is a special language, I can say, between him and I," said Ali.
Ali rescued Teymour from a farm where, he says, he was a neglected pet.
"I treated him differently than how he had been treated before. So, a love story began between us. He would only eat if he saw me there. If I wasn't there, you would feel he was upset. He would wait for me."
With an African lion, love can be tough. Ali said he's been bitten several times -- always during play --- and although he trusts Teymour implicitly, he always treats him with caution and respect. Ali's main concern during playtime is that one of Teymour's claws may accidentally come out. "He could tear my flesh," he said.
Ali manages the Ras Al Khaimah Wildlife Park, set up a few years ago under the patronage of Sheikh Taleb bin Saqr Al Qasimi, one of the Ras Al Khaimah's royals. He has been adopting neglected and mistreated animals for more than 15 years.
Many of those animals, including Teymour, are endangered or exotic, and were initially bought on the black market.
Owning an endangered animal as a pet is illegal in the United Arab Emirates, a signatory of the Convention on the Illegal Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). However, the trade in endangered wildlife remains a problem in the Gulf, where owning expensive exotic pets, especially big cats, is the ultimate status symbol. A rare white lion sells for around $50,000 on the black market, Abu Dhabi Wildlife Center.
None of the pet owners we approached would speak on the record about illegally purchasing exotic animals, but many amateur videos uploaded online attest to their popularity among young men in the Gulf.
In one YouTube clip that was widely viewed in the region, a man frightens his friend by chasing him around the living room with a chained lioness. Another clip shows a group of men walking a cheetah on a leash in an indoor location. There's even a man trying to ride a fully grown lion.
It is all about bragging rights for the men buying these animals, says Ali.
"If someone buys a very expensive animal, he is boasting that he has enough money to get anything he wants," he said. "If he has a tamed wild animal like a lion, he is trying to show off that he is brave. But this is not courage; this is animal rights abuse."
It has largely fallen on private individuals like Ali, backed by the government, to care for neglected illegally obtained animals.
Wildlife at Lok Kawi in good hands: Dept
The Sabah Wildlife Department on Tuesday denied allegations that orang-utans and Borneo pygmy elephants are being mistreated at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park.
Its Senior Veterinarian Officer, Dr Sen Nathan, said all animal lovers out there can rest assured that currently orang-utans, elephants and other wildlife at the park are in good hands.
He said this at a press conference at his office at the Wildlife Park.
Dr Sen addressed points brought up to Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun, in an email sent by Nature Alert's Chief Executive Officer, Sean Whyte.
Backing up his statement with photos, Whyte gave the thumbs down to the zoo keepers who he claimed were caught red-handed feeding orang-utans with junk food (potato crisps) and referred to it as a show that was put on to entertain visitors.
Dr Sen, who replied the email, said: "Let me assure you that this was a one-off case. The keeper concerned has been questioned and severely reprimanded to stick to the food items for token feeding which among them include prunes and raisins."
Token feeding is one of the regular enrichment activities at the park to reduce boredom. Other enrichment activities include hiding food material inside a bamboo and making ice cubes with fruits inside.
"Sometimes the zoo keepers would just throw some sunflower seeds on the ground so that it can be an activity for them to go and look for each seed.
These are the kind of activities that animals in captivity are being exposed to."
"It is not actually a show as Whyte mentioned in his email."
As for the issue of shelter which was also raised, he explained that although the outdoor exhibit will be renovated very shortly to further improve the facility, currently there is still ample shade available to protect them.
Orang-utans are kept in their night stalls during heavy downpours.
"That's where they sleep when the exhibit is closed. They are not left out in the sun or rain to be toasted and soaked," Dr Sen clarified.
Sanctuary hits snag
THE Borneo Elephant Wildlife Sanctuary, which was expected to be ready by the middle of the year for the Borneo Pygmy elephants and other wildlife driven from their habitat, has hit a snag.
There is a shortage of experts to train the elephants.
In fact, there is only one specialist in the state.
He is Sabah Wildlife Department's elephant trainer Jibius Dausip, who is now tasked with recruiting and training mahouts.
Jibius, 48, from Tambunan, who had more than 20 years experience taking care of elephants, said he had seen many of his peers give up their careers as mahouts because it took a lot of sacrifice and dedication.
A mahout needs years of training and is expected to spend long periods away from his family while staying in the remote wilds of Sabah, including at wildlife reserves such as Tabin in Lahad Datu.
While training was mainly done with the elephants rehabilitated at Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, Jibius said the job went beyond normal working hours as he resided in the Park, always on standby in case of emergencies.
"Elephants are huge but shy creatures and not everyone can handle them.
"That is why you need to create a special bond with each individual elephant.
"This, of course, requires spending a lot of time together.
"I guess I am still in this business because I love working with elephants," said Jibius, who was trained in Thailand and Europe before coming home to Sabah to help train the
Scottish government's Edinburgh Zoo panda advert banned
A Scottish government advert has been banned for suggesting China had "gifted" two pandas to Edinburgh Zoo.
The press advert stated "the Chinese are gifting two giant pandas to live in Scotland, under the custodianship of Edinburgh Zoo".
But two animal charities complained that the text was misleading as the pandas had actually been leased to the zoo at a substantial price.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled the advert was misleading.
It had featured in newspapers under the headline: "Celebration of links between Scotland and China as pandas arrive in Edinburgh".
It went on to state: "Now, in a symbolic gesture of friendship between the countries, and following five years of political and diplomatic talks, the Chinese are gifting two giant pandas to live in Scotland, under the custodianship of Edinburgh Zoo."
We considered that consumers would interpret the terms 'gift' and 'gifting' to mean that the pandas were given without payment”
The text continued: "The pandas' presence in Scotland is a sign of a strengthened alliance with China, and opens up new opportunities in trade, culture and education
The elusive freshwater dolphin of the sacred Ganga
Think of the word dolphin and the immediate image that is conjured is one of Bottlenosed Dolphins in the ocean which has made them the visual representative of all dolphins. However it comes as a surprise to some people to learn that there are several species of dolphin, like the Gangetic River Dolphin, that are also found in freshwater systems, rivers and lakes. These animals are not as eye catching and attractive as their sea dwelling partners but nonetheless they are endangered and
Kodiak brown bear escapes US wildlife refuge
An Alaska wildlife centre that takes in orphaned and injured animals is missing one of its larger residents.
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Centre announced on Monday that a 136kg, 2-year-old female Kodiak brown bear escaped six days ago from its enclosure near Portage. The bear had been destined for a zoo in Sweden in early summer.
The centre is near Chugach National Forest land in the southernmost end of Anchorage, about 64km from downtown.
The bear was last seen last Tuesday night in mountains between the Portage and Placer valleys, the centre said. A spokesman for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said the bear was
Indian zoos to be graded on performance
Do you know which is India's best zoo? Soon you will, with the authorities planning to grade the nearly 200 zoos in the country based on their performance on different scales. What's more, those faring poorly could even be penalised.
The Central Zoo Authority (CZA), which oversees the functioning of zoos across the country, is in the process of formulating a grading system which is expected to be in place within a month.
The grading will be done on a scale of 100 under categories like sanitation, planning, environment, human resources, animal enclosures and health, education awareness among staff, administration, visitor facility and overall upkeep.
All 198 CZA recognised zoos in the country will be graded by a team of experts and a certificate each based on their performance will be issued.
"We are coming up with a grading system like the one prevalent in Western countries. All facilities in zoos will be measured on various indices and they will be rated accordingly," B.S. Bonal, member secretary, CZA said.
The grading will be excellent (score of 90-100), very good (70-89), good (50-69), fair (30-49) and unsatisfactory (less than 30).
"The zoos falling in unsatisfactory category will be derecognised and would not be allowed to stay open to the public. A timeframe will be given to them to improve facilities, failing which they will be shut down," said Bonal.
The CZA has already discussed the grading system with zoo directors and all have shown interest in ratings. The grading system will improve the upkeep of zoos as it is likely to develop a sense of competition among various zoos.
The National Zoo Policy, 1998, gives clear directions for the functioning of zoos. It states that the main objective of zoos shall be to complement and strengthen national efforts in the conservation of the rich biodiversity of the country.
"To play the assigned role, the zoos need to have physically, genetically and behaviorally healthy and self-sustaining populations of desirable wild animal species," he said.
This is important not only for display but also as insurance against future exigencies and release/introduction/reintroduction operations in the wild, if required.
To provide financial support, zoos in the country have also been allowed to spend the revenue generated through sale of tickets for upkeep of the zoo rather than depositing in the state exchequer.
The CZA was established in 1992 to oversee the functioning of zoos and provide them with technical and other assistance for their improvement. Accordingly
Vietnam bear sanctuary struggles to fight off developers
Safe behind a 3-metre electric fence, a moon bear swings suspended on a rubber tyre, limbs stretched out to the four points of the compass.
Its mien, bulk and glossy coat all suggest a healthy, happy existence.
But the bear has not always had it easy.
A closer look reveals a missing paw, chewed off in distress over the years that it was locked in a cage, drugged and poked with a needle twice a day to extract its bile before it was rescued.
The Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre is operated by international organisation Animals Asia in Tam Dao national park, about 70 kilometres north of Hanoi.
Currently, 99 sun bears and moon bears live here, confiscated from bile farms or given up by pet owners.
There are around 4,000 bears in farms across the country, and only a few hundred left in the wild.
The sanctuary has been hailed as one of the most successful conservation stories in Vietnam, a country with a rampant trade in animal products and rapid deforestation.
But Animals Asia warns that its future could be at stake if plans to build a hotel in the area get the go-ahead.
The hotel plan is the brainchild of Truong Giang Tam Dao Joint Stock Company.
The company, set up in April 2011, sought permission to rent 48 hectares of land from the national park, under legislation introduced last year allowing tourist resorts with environmental credentials to be built on parkland.
But 6 hectares of the planned development is on land that Animals Asia says is theirs under an agreement with the Agriculture Ministry.
They hope to build enough enclosures on the land to house 101 more bears, implementing the second phase of their 3.4-million-dollar project.
However, when construction started in September, they were stopped by the director of the national park, Do Dinh Tien.
"As soon as soon as workers began digging for the foundations of the new bear enclosure, they were told to stop," Animals Asia country director Tuan Bendixsen said.
Just two days earlier, the park director wrote to the ministry for approval of Truong Giang's application to rent the land.
Aquarium to open new exhibit on threatened monster fish
There's something primal that leads people to wonder what's lurking below the surface of any large river. Humans seem to be hardwired to be both fascinated by, and somewhat fearful of, Volkswagen-
Soon a remarkable collection of freshwater fish that can reach such legendary sizes will be on display at the Tennessee Aquarium. The new River Giants exhibit, opening April 28th, features amazing species that grow to enormous proportions in the wild.
"These guys are the Goliaths of freshwater," said Thom Demas, the Aquarium's curator of fishes. "And, for the first time anywhere, people will have an opportunity to see a global collection of these giants in a single display."
Giant pangassius catfish, that can reach lengths of more than nine feet in the wild, will be joined by a seven foot beluga sturgeon, impressive Australian whiprays, beefy barramundi and a menagerie of other freshwater creatures from around the world. Demas says some species like marbled eels, ghostly-white alligator gar and wallago will add a bit of the weird to this collection of monster fish.
"The wallago catfish is one of my personal favorites," said Demas. "It has the face of a bullhead and an eel-like body. In Southeast Asia, wallago can grow to eight feet in length."
Redtail catfish, feisty fish with unique markings and very long whiskers, will be another crowd favorite. They'll be found prowling near the bottom of the exhibit while prehistoric-looking arapaima slowly patrol the waters above. Demas predicts guests will snap a lot of pictures of these massive predators. "The arapaima don't just look powerful, they're more than 100 pounds of pure, angry muscle." Demas and other staffers have been in the water working with lots of massive fish while getting the exhibit ready for visitors.
National Geographic Explorer Dr. Zeb Hogan has also had many face-to-face encounters with titanic freshwater fish. Among the 20 species he's highlighted for his popular National Geographic television
Embattled High Park Zoo saved by last-minute cash donation
The High Park zoo will likely stay open until December with the help of a local family. The Honey Family Foundation offered to match donations to the zoo fund of up to $50,000 for the next three years.
The announcement Monday evening was met with cheers from volunteers and zoo-goers. It means the beloved but embattled attraction will likely get the $100,000 it needs to run until the end of the year and buy time to develop a business plan, said councillor Sarah Doucette (Ward 13) at a meeting organized by Friends of the High Park Zoo.
She doesn’t know much about the foundation, which contacted her office last week through the Toronto Community Foundation, a group that funds revitalizing projects in the city. But their generosity has left her shaking, Doucette said.
The foundation “knew that after a while it gets harder to raise money. They wanted to give us a kick-start,” she added.
The zoo has already raised $40,380 through online donations, community fundraisers and donations from zoo-goers, which will allow it to stay open until June.
The foundation will match donations made to the city fund between April 9 and June 15, up to $50,000. They will also match donations of up to $50,000 for the next two years.
It makes saving the zoo less a dream and more a reality for its supporters who packed the Grenadier Cafe on Monday night.
“I feel much more confident now . . . it’s amazing,” said Joanna Van Viegen, who comes to the zoo with her two young children at least once a week.
Funding for the High Park Zoo was axed in February during contentious city budget negotiations. The move will save Toronto $114,000 a year. The animal enclosures, which date back to 1890, currently hold an assortment of deer, bison, yak and other kid-friendly beasts.
A baby llama was born last week.
Doucette hopes the foundation’s gesture will encourage other donors to step forward to keep the zoo open in the long-term. “Other corporations will say, hey your zoo is staying open and they will come forward in the future years,” she said.
Suggestions from the crowd also included paid guided tours and charging to feed the animals.
Still, Doucette said the zoo should be put back in the 2013 city budget, and that it was a mistake to remove it particularly without public cons
Gorilla shot by poachers: British vets operate
A young gorilla shot by poachers has been given a new lease on life by a team of East Midlands vets which flew to Cameroon to operate on its wrist.
Shufai, a 10-year-old male, was wounded as a baby when his mother was killed for bush meat.
The bones in his wrist were shattered and failed to grow properly in the next few years, leaving him unable to walk on his knuckles or climb trees.
"He needed surgery to get him out of pain," primate specialist Sharon Redrobe of Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire said.
Dr Redrobe, a veterinarian and trustee with charity Ape Action Africa, was asked to help the injured
Circus bears arrive at Five Sisters Zoo in West Lothian
Three bears who were rescued from the circus have arrived at a West Lothian zoo.
Carmen, Suzi and Peggy spent 20 years living in cages barely bigger than themselves, and were transported around Europe as part of a circus troop.
They were rescued in Belgium and taken on by the Five Sisters Zoo in West Calder.
The bears' new home has a large built-in waterfall and stream with indoor and outdoor enclosures.
One of the bears, Suzy, is said to be so traumatised by the conditions she sometimes still keeps walking in small circles.
'Bears to safety'
All three of the bears were born in captivity and are now aged between 23 and 28 years.
A huge rescue effort was launched when the bears' owner became ill and was taken to hospital with a long term illness.
Officials at the Five Sister Zoo started a fundraising campaign to raise £80,000 to build the bears
Stillborn elephant is new tragedy for zoo
Staff at Twycross Zoo are mourning the loss of a baby elephant who was stillborn at the weekend.
The female calf was delivered stillborn to Tara, one of the zoo's Asian elephants, early on Sunday morning.
Three vets and two nurses spent an hour unsuccessfully trying to revive her.
It is the second major blow for the zoo after Ganesh Vijay, an 18-month-old elephant, died of a suspected heart condition last April.
Tara, a first-time mum, gave birth surrounded by the zoo's other elephants – known as a herd birth – while veterinary staff watched anxiously on CCTV.
Head vet Sarah Chapman said: "Immediately after the birth, we could see the calf wasn't moving.
"It's common for elephants to nudge a
Longleat picks up Island’s penguins
PENGUINS from the Isle of Wight will be the stars of a new exhibit at the world-renowned Longleat Safari Park.
Seaview Wildlife Encounter has been chosen to supply 20 fertilized Humboldt penguin eggs for the Wiltshire park’s new penguin exhibit, due to open in a few months.
Each of Seaview’s ten breeding females recently laid two eggs, which are being incubated by the parents. Shortly before hatching they will be placed in incubators and taken to their new home.
Seaview Wildlife Encounter general manager
Bengal to set up rescue centres for stray jumbos
In a bid to reduce man-elephant conflict and rehabilitate jumbos driven away from the herd, the West Bengal government is planning to set up two 'Elephant Rescue Centres' on a pilot basis.
"Instances of elephants straying away from the forests have been on the rise, resulting in man-elephant conflicts in the state. The stray elephants often destroy crops or kill humans or are killed in the process," West Bengal Forest Minister Hiten Barman told IANS.
"In order to rehabilitate the stray jumbos, we plan to set up two rescue centres of 100 acre each in north and south Bengal. Currently, a survey is on to locate the proper
Tiger attacks conservationist John Varty at South Africa wildlife park
A well-known conservationist was recovering Thursday after being attacked by a tiger at his wildlife park in South Africa.
John Varty, whose work has appeared on the National Geographic Channel, was
Patricia Busch may lose her licence to operate Zion
Patricia Busch's licence as operator of Zion Wildlife Gardens is under threat after revelations an undisclosed party has applied for her job.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry yesterday confirmed an application had been received for operator's status which was being considered.
It refused to identify the interested party or when the application was lodged.
The news follows an announcement that the park will officially re-open on Easter weekend, with Lion Man Craig Busch on hand to welcome visitors and run some tours.
The ministry said it had no involvement in the park's public reopening or its business operations.
"Our responsibilities relate only to the containment and welfare of the animals and these issues are being managed appropriately," said the ministry's director of verification Steve Gilbert.
Beth McVerry and Ian Stevenson of Tauranga are the new owners of Zion, with Mr Busch back at the park with his big cats.
Mrs Busch was not allowed back into Zion shortly after the new owners took charge but she managed to hold on to her operator's licence.
Zion spokeswoman Jill Albrow said the park started running public tours from March 17, although the official opening would not be until next weekend.
She said the response so far had been good, with people either phoning in or turning up at the gates.
"We had some visitors from the UK on Friday and a group came from Auckland on Saturday but it's mostly domestic visitors at the moment because overseas visitors need time to plan their trip."
Ms Albrow said the Easter opening might include a chance to win a "Behind the Scenes" day with Mr Busch.
The park had lowered the entry fees for children from $30 to $25 while adults would pay $60 a head, she said.
A family pass would cost $150.
Guided tours by Zion staff
ACRES and Lao Zoo set up Vientiane centre to curb illegal wildlife trade
Singapore animal welfare group ACRES and Lao Zoo have set up the first Wildlife Rescue and Education Centre in Vientiane, Laos.
ACRES, which stands for Animal Concerns Research and Education Society, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the ACRES Wildlife Rescue and Education Centre (AWREC) in Laos on Wednesday.
Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law, Mr K Shanmugam and Laos Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Dr Thongloun Sisoulith were present at the ceremony.
"I am delighted to have witnessed the MOU signing between the Lao Zoo and Singaporean charity ACRES," said Mr Shanmugam. "The Bear and Wildlife Protection Programme under the MOU is a timely initiative. Wildlife and environmental conservation is an increasingly important issue, so the joint effort is very encouraging."
Under the agreement, the five-hectare AWREC will provide sanctuary to animals rescued from the illegal wildlife trade, with a focus on rescuing bears.
ACRES said AWREC will also serve as an educational facility to create awareness on the wildlife trade, environmental protection and a host of animal protection issues.
It will have exhibits on a animal protection issues and conduct educational talks, skits and performances to create awareness and inspire the community to make a difference.
The state of the ark: Zoos in Indonesia
The Jakarta Post recently reported the death of a giraffe at Surabaya Zoo, found to have ingested 20 kg of plastic. This is extremely tragic, but of course by no means surprising in Indonesia’s zoos, given the appalling way they are managed.
As a former zoo keeper myself in the UK, what is clear to me is that the vast majority of zoos in Indonesia hardly pay any attention whatsoever to investing in their zoo and instead see them only as potential revenue generators.
A good example is the so-called Medan Zoo in North Sumatra. For many years this occupied just a few tree-shaded hectares within the city itself and despite its poor and insanitary conditions, a number of animals somehow managed to survive there for several years. Nevertheless, they were subjected to volumous decibels of dangdut just outside their cage every weekend and public holidays, and a barrage of peanuts were thrown at them every day.
On public holidays, more than 20,000 visitors would visit and almost all would throw copious numbers of peanuts at the animals during the day. Not exactly a nutritious balanced diet.
In its wisdom, the Medan municipality eventually decided to move the zoo to a large area of open, mostly tree-less land on the edge of the city. It was then reported that around 60 percent of the animals died during or after being transferred to the new site, built hurriedly, poorly designed and with little thought to providing shelter from the sun or rain, or clean water supplies to any of the animals.
A few survivors did manage to hang on, but could be clearly seen hiding in the few shady areas, gasping due to the heat and dehydration. The standard of care was also extremely poor. A small clinic building had no drugs or equipment, and not even the tools to anesthetize animals properly. Food was inadequate, generally handed out in the mornings, and left there all day.
Scott's Antarctic diet: Stewed penguin and champagne
A century ago Robert Falcon Scott and his men perished on their return from the South Pole. But what did they eat as they explored one of the harshest places on earth - and did their diet contribute to their deaths?
They endured months of freezing temperatures and exhausting sledge-pulling, but life for the men of the Terra Nova expedition was not without comfort, at least not in their wooden hut at Cape Evans.
The smell of fresh bread and rhubarb pie was a common feature of life there.
Seal meat - curried, fried, or in soup - was another constant, and it was popular.
"We never tire of our dish and exclamations can be heard every night," Captain Scott wrote in
Can zoos save polar bears from extinction?
Global warming is putting polar bears’ natural environment in jeopardy. Some zoos say captivity could help them survive global warming’s assault.
Captivity could help polar bears survive global warming assault, some zoos say
Polar bears are ideally suited to life in the Arctic: Their hair is without pigment, blending in with the snow; their heavy, strongly curved claws allow them to clamber over blocks of ice and snow and grip their prey securely; and their rough pads keep them from slipping.
The one thing they cannot survive is the disintegration of the ice. They range across the sea ice far from shore to hunt fatty seals, whose blubber sustains them.
15 zoo pythons released in Western Ghats
Fifteen Burmese pythons from the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur were released into the Kalakad-Mundanthurai tiger reserve in the Western Ghats. Zoo officials involved in the exercise said it was part of the forest department's plan to promote the exterior conservation - conservation of rare species in their natural habitat.
The spot where the reptiles were released was marked with the help of a GPS tracking system to help officials locate them when they visit the forest after 15 days. Till then, the officials said, staff of the tiger reserve would monitor the snakes with the help of local villagers.
Earlier, for nearly a month, steps were taken to help the selected reptiles adapt to the new environment (Western Ghats). "Adequate training was given at the zoo and they responded well," said zoo director and chief conservator of forests, KSSVP Reddy.
They were left to fend for themselves in a large enclosure deep inside the reserve forest area (the Vandalur zoo is located within the reserve forest area). Initially, the daily feed was delayed and officials monitored their movements through closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras. After a few weeks, the officials found that the snakes were able to locate and kill the prey and survive on their own. From the time they were born on August 21, 2011, the pythons were fed rats and chicken daily.
The training "was a laborious exercise as we had to ensure that denying them the regular feed did not affect their health. Besides, the area selected had to be somewhat similar to the area where they would be released," said zoo sources.
Wildlife experts say adequate training is a pre-requisite before species in captivity are released into their natural habitat. Measures like setting up cage-like structures away from the usual enclosure and steps to check their capacity to feed on their own are crucial, they said.
"Every wild species has its own way of survival. Those which have been in captivity for long need to be trained before being released into their natural habitat. This is one
Film on ecology stars real tigers, leopards
National Award-winning director Ashvin Kumar of Inshallah Football fame finally able to release his first ever film, The Forest, after four year wait.The victim in this film has four legs, growls if bothered, and can, with one solid leap, combat the biggest villains that Bollywood’s best have
National Award-winning filmmaker Ashvin Kumar fought the Censor Board for years to protect his documentary, Inshallah Football, from drastic cuts. Ironically, the film won a National Award this year. But even before Inshallah Football, Kumar had directed a film called The Forest which didn’t get to the theatres — until now. On May 4, thanks to a PVR Cinemas initiative, the Nandana Sen-Javed Jaffrey starrer will finally release.
“Inshallah Football should be called Baptism by Fire,” he says, before laughing when asked about the irony in receiving an award from a system that he spent the last few years fighting. “It’s a good milestone, the National Award. It’s tiny, but good.”
Ask him whether his first fiction feature film is seeing the light of day today due to the award and he denies it, saying, “No, the award came much after the deal was settled. My wait has been agonising. Distributors came close to signing, and then plans changed. That’s the thing about Mumbai, no one says no. They’ll make you believe that they’ll do it and then not do it.”
The Forest has been in the cans for over four years. The avid wildlife conversationalist was a regular at Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand when the idea of writing a film about the “anguish about man-animal conflicts in India” came to him. “We are one of the rare countries that has this wildlife, yet we read stories about leopards being stoned to death and burnt in cages,” says Ashvin.
Spread across Jim Corbett, Bandhavgarh and Thailand, the film has been made on a budget of R6.5 crore. This amount also includes the hiring of trained leopards that were flown down from France to Thailand for the shoot.
“The story is about a man who confronts his fear of the animal. All the animals in the film are real — tigers, leopards, elephants — though some scenes were put together during post-production,” reveals Ashvin, adding that the most exciting part of the filming was recording the sound with a 40-piece Philharmonic Orchestra in the iconic Abbey Road studi
Escaped cheetah dies hours after rescue, as baboons roam Al Ain
The pet cheetah caught last week after escaping its abusive owners died only a few hours later, it was confirmed yesterday.
Dr Majid Al Qassimi, the deputy chief veterinarian at the Al Ain Zoo, said the reasons for the cheetah's death had not been confirmed but it was found "stressed" and severely malnourished.
Dr Al Qassimi said that after escaping from its cage in a private villa, it ate several pets belonging to its owner's Emirati neighbours.
The zoo is awaiting results of a post-mortem examination.
Meanwhile, the second baboon in a week has been found roaming the wilds of the Garden City.
The zoo last Wednesday received a call about an illegally kept baboon that was wandering around Al Masoudi. The female olive baboon jumped from roof to roof, eluding zookeepers before being caught the next morning.
Yesterday another was found roaming Al Ain, but on the other side of town. This one was caught by pest control workers.
Dr Al Qassimi said the cheetah's death was "quite surprising", as there had been no sign of severe illness
Debate erupts over elephant training as circus comes to town
Handlers say use of 'bullhook' is crucial to training, health
He stands on a grassy slope, right arm extended upward with an alfalfa treat, addressing his 4-ton companion in the tones of a tender friend.
"You're a sweetie, aren't you? You're special," Mike McClure says. And Dolly plucks the treat from his hand, curls it into her mouth and emits a guttural rumble.
That's the sound of a pachyderm purring, says McClure, the director of animal programs at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore and an internationally known handler of elephants. Dolly, 36, is an African elephant.
It's a remarkable degree of mutual trust — and one that the trainer is sure he'd never have developed were it not for a grim-looking tool some call an instrument of torture.
The so-called bullhook, a 2-foot goad with a pointed end that elephant handlers have used for centuries to train and guide the huge creatures, has been the subject of a national debate that has had Baltimore talking since the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus rolled into town this week.
Elephant trainers around the world still use the tools, now commonly called guides. Animal-rights activists have complained for years that the devices are barbaric.
It's a debate that has pitted Jada Pinkett Smith, a Baltimore-born actress and spokeswoman for People for the
Mystery as white rhinos drop dead at Dubbo zoo
AN investigation has been called into the sudden deaths of four white rhinos, including a mother and her calf, at Dubbo's Taronga Western Plain Zoo.
Staff at the zoo in central NSW are shocked and puzzled as to what caused the deaths.
Intombi and her daughter Amira, as well as two other rhinos, Izizi and Aluka, began showing signs of neurological abnormalities a couple of weeks ago.
The first animal died shortly afterwards and the fourth died at the weekend, a zoo spokeswoman said.
The animals' deaths have been a blow to staff, General Manager Matt Fuller said.
"The rhino keepers and veterinary staff know and care for every individual in the herd, so this has been a huge shock. We're all very sad and supporting each other through this difficult time," he said.
"Our focus is on continuing this investigation to pinpoint the cause."
Vets are consulting rhinoceros specialists in Africa and North America, as well as virologists and other experts.
"So far the investigation has ruled out exposure to toxins, bacterial infection, snake venom and
We Bought a Zoo: why displaying animals can be a grizzly business
We Bought a Zoo may show an idyllic picture of zoo life, but is it really acceptable to incarcerate animals for our pleasure?
You could hardly wish for a more heartwarming film than We Bought a Zoo. Nice people do nice things, prevail over their difficulties and are rewarded with well-deserved success and emotional salvation. This, apparently, is what happens to zookeepers. But what about their charges?
The furred, feathered and scaly denizens of the film's Rosemoor Wildlife Park are incredibly well cared for. They even get Scarlett Johansson to look after them. Yet, in the real world, the fate of zoo animals is still a cause for disquiet.
We were reminded of that last year when dozens of lions, tigers, bears, monkeys and leopards had to be shot by police after the owner of an Ohio zoo deliberately released them. Following this incident, American animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals demanded (unsuccessfully) that We Bought a Zoo should carry a warning about the responsibilities of zookeepers.
Abuses of captive animals continue to be reported. A study of British zoos found that the space provided for the average mammal was less than a hundredth of what its home range would have been in the wild. There's an underlying question that even the rose-coloured lens through which we're asked to view Rosemoor cannot entirely avoid. Is it really OK to incarcerate animals just so people can gawp at them?
In a world where there's so much else to worry about, this may seem a piffling concern. Once, however, people were kept in zoos, and nobody fussed about that. In Paris in 1877, "ethnological spectacles" featuring Nubian and Inuit exhibits attracted more than a million paying customers. Naked "natives" were still being displayed in cages alongside exotic animals into the 20th century.
Gorilla loose at zoo; contained within facility
A gorilla got loose at the Buffalo Zoo late this morning, but zoo officials working with the police managed to contain it inside the facility, authorities said.
Zoo officials, working with police, managed to tranquilize the animal, initial reports from the scene indicated.
One of the zookeepers, though, was bitten on the hand and leg, according to reports from zoo patrons who were whisked to safety after the gorilla got loose.
"It's my understanding that the gorilla has been contained in some kind of lounge area," Buffalo city and police spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge said shortly before noon.
Buffalo police responded to the scene, and the police SWAT Team also was called to the zoo, as part of normal procedure when an animal gets loose.
Zoo patrons praised facility workers for doing everything they could to keep people safe when the gorilla got loose.
Brian Knoll, 33, of Kenmore, was with his 2-year-old son Elliott in the zoo's barn area, petting farm animals at roughly 10:45 a.m., when the commotion started.
"We were petting the horses and cows, and all of a sudden, we could see panic ensuing and people running from my left to my right, away from the Gorilla House," Knoll said.
The zookeeper in the barn area encouraged the Knolls and others to go into that building barn while she closed the door.
Knoll later overheard, from zoo employees talking on a facility radio, that a male gorilla had gotten out of its pen, into a kitchen/prep area, but not out of the Gorilla House. Public-safety officials later emphasized that the animal never got out of the house and that the public never was at risk.
"There was a keeper there who was afraid for her life," Knoll said. "She was hiding in a corner with a female gorilla and a baby."
Zoo officials, working with the police, managed to tranquilize the gorilla, apparently with a dart, but that didn't ensure that everyone was safe.
Those same officials were concerned, according to Knoll, that once the gorilla was tranquilized, it might go after the zookeeper in that area, because the tranquilizer doesn't take effect immediately.
That's apparently what happened, leading to the female zookeeper being bitten.
Asked how scared he was for himself and his young son, Knoll mentioned the frightening sight of people seemingly running for their lives, when the news first broke.
"You kind of run through every animal in the zoo, and you wonder what might pop out, like a lion," he said.
Then he laughed and mentioned the other extreme: "Or a peacock."
Zoo officials declined comment
Al Ain Wildlife Park's white tigers
Lion king who talks to animals
Tao was kept in a tiny cage and starved for the first nine months of his life.
As a result, he has a hunched back, a limp leg and permanent shackle marks where his legs were bound.
The two-year-old lion would probably have been put down if it were not for the Dr Doolittle of Ras Al Khaimah.
Tao is now "the friendliest lion" at Ras Al Khaimah Wildlife Park, said Jasim Ali Salim, an Emirati trader who began collecting unwanted wild animals from local families 15 years ago.
"He was extremely wild and ferocious when we first got him, you can see even his hair growth is irregular. But by God's grace in one month he was tamed," he said. "People have laughed at me when I told them that I can communicate with animals. But I understand the body language of lions and the roars and groans they make and, accordingly, I act."
Mr Salim's two-acre plot in Awafi is home to more 20 different species, including an Arabian wolf, lions, leopards, hyenas, baboons, snakes, a Nile crocodile and an assortment of wild cats from Asian, African and Arabian origins.
"People keep these animals as a sign of pride or to show off," he said. "They do not realise that when they grow they become more ferocious and dangerous.
Phuket baby elephant probe hinges on DNA maternity tests
Officers who led the raids on three elephant camps in Phuket late last month are back on the island to continue their investigation into whether all the elephants at all three camps were legally obtained.
The investigation focuses on three camps: the ATV @ Hill Adventure Tour camp on the road to the Big Buddha image in Chalong; the Elephant Camp at the Laguna complex in Cherng Talay; and the PhuThai Souvenir Market in Chalong.
“I have visited the three elephant camps again to follow up on our investigation,” Col Watcharin Phusin, the superintendent of the regional Natural Resources and Environment Crime Suppression Division, told the Phuket Gazette today.
“We are now waiting for the results of DNA tests, which were actually supposed to be available about the end of February,” he said.
The DNA tests are expected to prove conclusively whether or not the baby elephants are the offspring of a female elephant seized at the Pang Chang Sai Yok Elephant Park in Kanchanaburi province in January.
That adult female was discovered to have been illegally obtained and has since been seized by National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) officers and transferred to the Thai Elephant Conservation Center (TECC), a state-run enterprise in Lampang, Col Watcharin explained.
“The baby elephants seized have been sent to the Thai Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang. Their mother was seized because the identification document for her that the camp owner of the Sai Yok Elephant Park presented to us didn’t match,” Col Watcharin said.
“Now we are waiting for the DNA test results. After we
Lie of the tiger – ‘wild’ animal shot by Putin was actually from a zoo
A TIGER can’t change its stripes – which is leading Russians to wonder if Vladimir Putin needs to change his story about which one he shot.
In one of the macho photo moments the Russian leader often indulges in, he was shown on an expedition with preservationists in the Far East in 2008 tracking wild Amur tigers.
According to video footage, Mr Putin shot one of the rare beasts with a tranquilliser gun so Russian scientists could put a GPS collar on it.
Mr Putin’s website later showed photos of what it claimed to be the same tiger, back in the wild.
But environmentalist Dmitry Molodtsov, who runs a website about the big cats, has come to the conclusion that the tiger shot by Putin isn’t the same one shown later in his video – and that the animal tranquillised by the Russian leader wasn’t a wild specimen at all but a comparatively docile animal from a zoo.
Mr Molodtsov insisted the tigress Mr Putin shot had been taken from a zoo and had never lived in the wild. He said photographs of a tiger named Serga at a zoo in the in the eastern city of Khabarovsk made him “99 per cent certain it was the tiger pictured with Putin”.
He said Serga was then taken on the long drive back to the Khabarovsk zoo. In the days that followed, the rare tiger died, unable to recover from the three tranquillisers used by scientists during the PR stunt.
Mr Molodtsov said he felt obligated to publish his investigation. “I thought this to be my civil duty to report this,” he said. “I want to live in a country where a politician will know that he can improve his declining ratings only with real deeds.”
Vladimir Krever, from the Russian branch of the World Wildlife Fund, agreed. “What I have seen online are two different animals,” he said.
But Natalya Remennikova, project co-ordinator at the government-funded Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution in Moscow, which is in charge of the Amur tiger preservation programme, said Mr Molodtsov’s claim was untrue.
“Somebody made it up or they thought they saw something suspicious,” she said, adding that the report could be aimed to smear Mr Putin, the current prime minister and president-elect.
The Russian leader is known for his stage-managed media appearances in an array of manly pursuits – stroking a polar bear, riding a horse bare-chested and hanging out with leather-clad bikers.
The images have endeared him to many Russians but provoked scorn among
Preserving Endangered Gametes
Berlin zoo braces for flood of Knut mourners
The Berlin zoo is bracing for a flood of guests Sunday and Monday to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of their polar bear star Knut.
The bear died on March 19, 2011 from brain damage. He was only four.
Knut captured the world’s attention after his mother rejected him and he was raised by zookeeper Thomas Dörflein, who died in 2008.
Pictures of the cub being bottle fed went around the world.
Fans already came out en masse last December at what would have been Knut’s fifth birthday. They visited his cage and put flowers in front of it.
“There will surely be a big rush of fans from all over the world,” said Thomas Ziolko, chairman of the Friends of Tierpark Berlin and Zoo Berlin. Ziolko expects the biggest crowds to come on Sunday.
Germans were so taken by Knut and his story that groups like “Knutitis” a fan forum, were formed. Forum administrator Conny Krautwurst said the group’s “mourning will take place in a private sphere.”
These Knut fans say they loved the bear, but they were mostly ridiculed by the public. Krautwurst defended her group, saying “We are not hysterical Knutianer,’” referring to a term meaning Knut followers.
Still, some writings from fans show a deep devotion. One fan, who gave her name as Birgit, wrote, “When I think of the 19th, I get a stomach ache. Last year everything was okay with the world.”
Since the bear died there have been numerous discussions of what the zoo, politicians, and activists did right or wrong concerning the polar bear. Critics said the zoo used the bear for marketing purposes when it should have directed attention
Capacity crowd hears more about care and feeding plans for National Elephant Center in Fellsmere
Providing protected contact to the elephants and cultivating partnerships within the local community — such as using vendors to provide food for the animals — were among the highlights of a presentation Tuesday on the National Elephant Center in Fellsmere.
The talk drew a capacity crowd at Capt. Hiram's for the March Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
Chief Operating Officer Jeff Boling and Executive Director John Lehnhardt gave a shared presentation on the facility under development in Fellsmere near the Brevard County line that included the center's approach to elephant care and management. They stressed that the focus will be on "protected contact," and "positive reinforcement."
animal cruelty? mosul zoo’s neglected beasts and their devoted keeper
The animals are neglected, the place reeks and neighbours want the second oldest zoo in Iraq closed down. But the zookeeper insists on his dedication to his bestial charges; he has even founded an animal welfare society.
One can barely see down the road which leads to the second oldest zoo in Iraq. It’s lined with dozens, perhaps hundreds, of motorcycles all waiting outside of repair shops along the road. The door to the zoo is dirty and smeared with oil but a large sign on it, decorated with cartoons of animals, enthusiastically proclaims: “Welcome to Ninawa Zoo!”
Any enthusiasm is soon dispersed though. Ninawa’s zoo is located in an old, derelict stone building. Inside the place looks like a cave – rusting metal cages are spread throughout and a horrible smell indicates a lack of maintenance or care. The sorry conditions the animals are in only adds to the unpleasantness of the place.
This place is the only zoo in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, capital of the province of Ninawa and home to around two million people. Entrance costs IQD500 (around USREPLACE.40) but despite the cheap price of entry, locals prefer not to bring their children here to see the animals. Some of them avoid even coming near the building; they believe it’s a health hazard that could cause disease.
The first animal one sees upon entering the zoo is Salem, a monkey. Salem moves very slowly and one gets the feeling he’s sick, just from his progress across the cage. Look at his food dish, filled with sheep offal, and this seems even more likely.
As you move further into the zoo, surrounded by dirty, sick animals and rotten food, you start to wish you could turn off at least two or three of your five senses. Questions come into your mind: What kind of life can exist here? Who comes here?
Still, Dirgham Sharif al-Hamid al-Quraishi says he is proud to be the owner of this manky zoo. “I travelled all over the Iraq to bring animals to this zoo that people would like to see,” says the man, whose father also had animal husbandry as a profession. “And I also imported animals from outside Iraq.”
I ask about Salem the monkey and how he came to Iraq and
Marineland in for another $1.7M of upgrades
A little more than a year after the Georgia Aquarium bought Marineland , there have been investments in infrastructure, new partnerships and expanded programs, and more changes and improvements are expected for 2012.
The new owner of the attraction south of St. Augustine, now known as Marineland Dolphin Adventure, spent $1.7 million in 2011 on improvements and upgrades that included resurfacing and updating the water circulation in the dolphin habitats.
In 2012, there are plans to invest another $1.7 million to complete
Conserving South Asia’s Threatened Vultures
ESCONDIDO: Zoo scientists launch "tadpole mega-unit" to breed endangered frogs
Just in time for frog breeding season, scientists with the San Diego Zoo have launched what they call a "tadpole mega-unit" ---- a clean, green nursery for endangered frog eggs.
Located in the zoo's Institute for Conservation Research near Escondido, the complex of superfiltered tanks houses newly hatched eggs from mountain yellow-legged frogs, a species near the brink of extinction in Southern California.
The large, long-lived frogs were once common throughout high-elevation streams in Southern California but had nearly vanished by the turn of the century.
Social Lessons from Vampire Bats
Vampire bats are accurately named, as they come out at night and drink the blood of sleeping animals. Nevertheless, they are somewhat charming, once you get to know them. In fact, the common vampire bat is one of the few animals known to share food; the others include wild dogs, hyenas, and chimpanzees (Wilkinson, 1990).
Food sharing is a rare behavior because it would, in most cases, decrease an animal’s evolutionary fitness. Fitness describes an individual’s genetic contribution to future generations, and so it is entirely dependent on an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce. Taking care of offspring increases the parents’ fitness, but sharing food with neighbors would be more likely to reduce it. Such detrimental behavior simply would not be preserved through natural selection. But as with most things in nature, there are exceptions to the rule.
Vampire bats are one exception; sharing meals directly supports their survival and fitness. On any given night, when vampire bats go out to feed, 7-30% of them don’t manage to eat. If a bat fails to feed for two nights in a row, it will die (Wilkinson, 1990). If a bat misses a second meal, however, a neighboring bat will regurgitate its own meal for it, keeping the hungry bat alive. The sharing bat is more vulnerable to hunger now, but it is less vulnerable than the receiving bat. And, should the first bat miss a second meal, it can
AN ENDANGERED ISLAND BIRD ON THE BRINK
I've been having tropical thoughts again. It is something I do- flashbacks brought on by a rose-tinted sunset, by a certain houseplant scent, by some seemingly insignificant detail that transports me back to a separate lifetime. It was a long time ago now, the better part of twenty years, and yet it doesn't seem that way. My father warned me that memory was like that. He would speak of exploring the Panama jungle seventy years hence and say it all seemed like yesterday.
My tropics were those of the Pacific and its remotely seductive islands that drove even Darwin to distraction. The natives often described their home islands as paradise and, indeed, there were large elements of those landscapes that were difficult to distinguish from anything other than that hackneyed word. My wife, son and I still talk of personal flashbacks in a kind of private family speak that we agree we largely can't share with others. They could never really understand.
The specific instance of my latest digression began when I realized during an extended conversation that I was thirsty. My thoughts drifted from that present thirst to real thirst- the kind that sets in when even thick jungle shade does nothing to alleviate the saturating humidity of a tradewindless tropical afternoon. A day in the field there always involved carrying at least a half gallon of water and even then, when field time ran to 14 hours, supplimentation of milk from machete-sliced coconuts was a staple. Indeed, to this day I have not shed the machete from my backpack. One never
Chester Zoo unveils £30m Islands development
CHESTER Zoo has released images of its £30m Islands development – a conservation expedition bringing the islands of the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Bali, Sumatra, Sumba and Sulawesi to the heart of Cheshire.
The development will showcase the zoo’s conservation fieldwork and bring together a range of animals including Anoa, Babirusa, Bali Starling, Cassowary, Indonesian Rhinoceros Hornbill, Indonesian Wrinkled Hornbill, Lorikeet, Sumatran Orangutan, Saltwater Sulawesi Macaque, Sumatran Tiger and the Visayan Warty Pig.
Dr Mark Pilgrim, director general of Chester Zoo, said: “Our wildlife expedition will be based on real life, real people and real stories and will be unlike anything seen in a UK zoo.
“These images show, for the first time, a flavour of what can be expected from our new development. Islands will not just showcase the areas that the zoo works but will be a platform for some of the most endangered animals on the planet.”
Visitors will travel through the islands by boat or on foot and will navigate mangroves, swamps, bamboo and tropical forests.
Some of the animals are already in the zoo but new species will include the Saltwater Crocodile and Banteng, a beautiful wild and endangered cattle species.
Islands will also include a major new Indonesian tropical house which will be the largest indoor zoo exhibit in the UK and home to orangutans.
Work is expected to start in autumn this year with opening planned for Easter 2015. A
Anti-Aquarium Proponents Shun Open Dialogue
In a move that comes as no real surprise, the deeply entrenched anti-aquarium folks at Forthefishes.org have called on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to retract an invitation to MASNA board member and aquarium trade spokesperson, Ret Talbot, to speak at an upcoming meeting at the Maui NOAA Whale Sanctuary. For the Fishes claims that the “immediate” request to withdraw the invitation comes as many Hawaii residents, county councils, and even the Maui mayor find the aquarium trade to be “offensive”. Ret is scheduled to be talking to attendees of the event about the aquarium trade in Fiji, which For the Fishes condems for its collecting of corals and live rock. The press release from For the Fishes goes on to indirectly liken the aquarium trade to the intensely brutal dolphin and whale slaughter when they asked if NOAA would also invite fishermen from those industries as well.
The most disheartening thing about this broadcast email from For the Fishes is that it demonstrates the organizations persistent stance: they want to close all dialogue regarding the aquarium trade. They don’t care about sustainability; they don’t care about scientifically backed data; they don’t care about anything other than shutting down a trade that has far less impact than other ocean-based industries (commercial fishing and tourism). The small orginization ignores all logic and
Judge rules on animal lover Vera Spear's bequest
HER dying wish was to help a Hampshire haven for sick and injured owls.
Bird-loving Vera Spear was so passionate about the work of New Forest Owl Sanctuary and other animal charities she left them her life savings of £260,000 – minus a small sum for her parrot.
But just days after the 84-year-old pensioner died in her Fareham nursing home in 2007 the Ringwood-based sanctuary closed amid allegations of cruelty.
Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC then decided to settle in court who now deserved the £65,000 slice originally destined for Mrs Spear’s
Anna Ryder Richardson and Colin MacDougall accused of health and safety breaches
Presenter and wildlife park owner Anna Ryder Richardson is being prosecuted over alleged health and safety breaches after a tree fell on a boy.
The three-year-old and his mother, from Llanelli, were injured on a family day out at Manor House Wildlife Park at St Florence, near Tenby, in August 2010.
Park owners Anna Ryder Richardson and husband Colin MacDougall face two charges each following the incident.
A hearing was held at Haverfordwest Magistrates' Court on Monday.
The case was adjourned until 26 April.
The three-year-old, Gruff Davies-Hughes, sustained serious head injuries and spent time in the high dependency unit at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.
His PE teacher mother, Emma Davies-Hughes, was also injured.
Merlin dives in to acquire Siam Ocean World rights
Merlin Entertainments Group has taken over the management of Siam Ocean World, the biggest aquarium in Southeast Asia, after acquiring Living and Leisure Australia Group, the aquarium's owner.
Merlin is the world's second-largest family attraction operator and operates Madame Tussauds wax museums across the world including in Bangkok. It recently acquired Living and Leisure's 10 attractions in Asia-Pacific including Siam Ocean World.
Located at Siam Paragon, Ocean World has 10,000 square metres of space and hundreds of different marine species on display in a 5-million-litre aquarium.
"This not only underlines Merlin's position as the world's premier aquarium operator with its Sea Life brand but also complements the company's other fast-growing business in the city _ the iconic Madame Tussauds Bangkok wax attraction at Siam Centre," the company said in a statement.
Merlin is looking to make a significant investment to improve the aquarium and the local team, along with Merlin's global marine experts, will be working on these plans in coming months.
Linking the two attractions offers a number of management and commercial benefits. It also provides a platform for Merlin to develop joint marketing activities.
The first is the launch of a joint ticket package for Madame Tussauds
Breeding Cycles of Penguins in the Western Antarctic Peninsula Affected By Global Warming, For Better or Worse
Higher global temperatures from climate change, despite their appeal to the human population, have chilling affects for some penguin species that breed in the Western Antarctic Peninsula. While gentoos are able to adapt to the region’s rapidly warming climate, adélie and chinstrap penguin populations are dwindling, according to research published in Polar Biology, Ecology, and Marine Ecology Progress Series (MEPS).
Using a combination of traditional ecological fieldwork and state-of-the-art satellite imagery to track colonies of the three species in Antarctica, researchers confirmed what scientists already knew about many creatures in more temperate climates: Rising temperatures may affect animals’ breeding patterns and population. Resident gentoo penguins, they found, are able to account for temperature change faster than migratory breeding penguins in the Western Abtarctic Peninsula.
“We don’t think that a gain in the gentoo population is necessarily a loss for the adélie and chinstrap, but in previously-dominated adélie and chinstrap islands, the gentoo
Understanding Sloth Bears — An Interview With Dr. K. Yoganand
I conducted intensive field research on sloth bears (Melursus ursinus) between 1996 and 2000 in Panna National Park (Madhya Pradesh), a partly degraded, dry deciduous forest habitat in Madhya Pradesh, central India. I captured and fitted radio-collars on several sloth bears and followed them to observe their behaviour and learn more about their secretive lives, such as, when did they sleep, what did they eat, how far did they move in a night, where did they give birth, where did they get all the food they needed, what did they do when they met a tiger, what circumstances prompted them to attack humans…
I also assessed the quality of the forest from a sloth bear’s point of view – how much area of the forest was covered by woodland, grassland and other types of habitats; how many different kinds of trees and shrubs were there that produced fruits eaten by sloth bears; how many fruits were produced by a single tree in a year; how many ant nests could be found in a hectare of forest, etc. I put all this information together to form a picture of a typical day in the life of the sloth bears of Panna.
Dry deciduous forests probably hold a major proportion (about 50%) of the sloth bear population in India. Unfortunately, degradation of habitat by humans has been severe in this forest type. For informed conservation planning and management of this habitat and the sloth bears that inhabit it, it was essential to have baseline information on their behaviour and ecology. Further, we felt that conducting a study in a human impacted area would help in objectively assessing how various human-induced impacts affect bear behaviour. From 2002 to 2008 I also periodically conducted additional field research in other sites, including a preliminary assessment of the distribution and status of the sloth bear acro
New Turtle Shelter at Conservation Centre in Sattahip
A new turtle shelter was constructed on Monday at the soon to open Turtle Conservation Centre in Sattahip. Navy officers took time out to help with the construction of the 4 million baht center, which will open
Cheetah takes a stroll in Al Ain neighbourhood
A young cheetah, who escaped from a private captivity, was captured in a neighbourhood of Al Ain on Wednesday and taken to Al Ain Wildlife Park (Zoo) and Resort.
According to residents of Al Yahar South, a small township about 31km west of Al Ain city centre, the cheetah was spotted roaming in the neighbourhood on Wednesday.
The zoo officials, police officers and residents started a hunt for the big cat.
“The cheetah was found in the compound of an Emirati family. They called the police, and soon a strong police rescue team surrounded the house.
“They were later joined by Al Ain Zoo experts. The animal was finally captured,” Noor Mohammed, a local resident told Khaleej Times.
He said that the news of cheetah’s presence triggered panic among the residents forcing them to remain indoors. He added that many shops and restaurants in the area also remained closed.
A spokesperson from Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort told Khaleej Times that the residents of the house where the cheetah was hiding, called the police for help. “Police team was already there when our experts, including vets arrived there and successfully captured the young cheetah that was tired and exhausted. We rushed the animal to the resort clinic for observation and treatment. The cheetah is recovering and will remain in the zoo and will be looked-after,” the official asking for anonymity said.
Another resident, Omar Hassan, said the news of the cheetah a first broke out through the exchange of Blackberry messages. He also said the young animal was also sighted roaming around different villa compounds in the area, spreading fear among the residents.
“I received a message on my Blackberry at around 5:20pm yesterday (Wednesday) saying a young cheetah has escaped from a private captivity in the area. It also read: ‘Please be cautious, keep your house compounds protected and do not let your children go out because a cheetah is on the street in the area,” he explained.
Hassan added that after the spread of the message, Al Ain Police came in action informing the residents about the presence of the big cat and advising them
Capacity crowd hears more about care and feeding plans for National Elephant Center in Fellsmere
Providing protected contact to the elephants and cultivating partnerships within the local community — such as using vendors to provide food for the animals — were among the highlights of a presentation Tuesday on the National Elephant Center in Fellsmere.
The talk drew a capacity crowd at Capt. Hiram's for the March Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
Chief Operating Officer Jeff Boling and Executive Director John Lehnhardt gave a shared presentation on the facility under development in Fellsmere near the Brevard County line that included the center's approach to elephant care and management. They stressed that the focus will be on "protected contact," and "positive reinforcement."
Shark baby boom at Dubai's Atlantis
Number of sharks tipped to boom by year end as hot weather makes for perfect mating seasonDubai: Atlantis, The Palm is preparing for a baby boom of a fishy kind — sharks and rays. "It is that time of the year. As temperatures rise, we anticipate new baby sharks and rays to be born by end of the year from heavy mating in the lagoons. "Although it is difficult to predict the number, but up to ten new baby sharks and rays can be expected to be born by end of the year," said Nicholas Derbyshire, Manager, Animal Acquisitions, Atlantis. He said aggressive mating behaviour by a breed of giant guitar sharks, zebra sharks, whitetip sharks, grey reef sharks and gorgeous black marble rays have left the females tired and pregnant! "What is more interesting is that once the animals deliver, they are ready to start mating and breeding all over again!" he
Spy Eggs Help Get to the Bottom of Penguin Trash-Talking
If you think penguins are cute, huggable things, you have not met a little blue penguin (yes, that’s actually the name of the species). Adorably named but fiercely territorial, male little blue penguins will get into bill-slashing, flipper-whacking fights. One-eyed penguins are not uncommon.After winning a fight, the penguins flap their flippers around and engage in loud braying (listen here). After seeing (and hearing) this behavior, researchers wondered: Are the winners just really happy to have both eyes, or are they sending signals of their toughness to “social eavesdroppers” in the penguin colony?To test their hypothesis, the researchers got clever, temporarily swapping a fake, pulse-measuring egg into the nest of an eavesdropping penguin. As the penguin sat incubating on the fake egg, the scientists replayed the sounds of a fight followed by the approaching calls of the winner or loser. The heart rate of male penguins jumped when they heard a winner, but not a loser, approaching. The males were also less likely to call in response to an approaching winner. By advertising their victories, winners may be keeping competition at bay.So male penguins brag to pump up their
Monkey business seen behind chimp gift to Safari
The Safari Park administration has recently accepted ‘donation’ of a pair of chimpanzees without seeking information about the conservation status of the species and looking into the donor’s credentials, Dawn has learnt.
The park administration failed to give a satisfactory reply when they were asked about the global sensitivities attached to the trade of chimpanzees while the administrator of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), under whom the Safari Park and Karachi zoo are run, responded by saying he might return the animals to the individual.
A pair of common chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes, was reportedly ‘donated’ to the Safari Park by a businessman a few days ago. Both species of chimpanzee, the common chimpanzee and the bonobo, are listed as endangered in the IUCN Red List. They are also listed in Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Permits for animal import were earlier issued by the National Council for Conservation of Wildlife (NCCW), abolished under the 18th amendment. The NCCW staff is now part of the forestry wing.
Tensions rise as Longleat meets future
Viscount Weymouth and the new chief executive officer of Longleat told a feisty public meeting that they needed to stop access to the famous estate because they feared poachers could target the rhinoceros in the safari park.
That was among a long list of reasons given to ban dog walkers, joggers, cyclists and ramblers from around 1,000 acres – ten per cent – of the Wiltshire estate, which also included the threat of armed robbery, lead and metal thieves, dog attacks on children and 4x4s churning up the lawn. Ceawlin Thynn, the son of Lord Bath who holds the hereditary Viscount Weymouth title, supported the chief executive officer of Longleat, David Bradley, in giving a presentation to around 220 people in Warminster on Tuesday night.
They outlined their plans to invest millions in Longleat, and said they needed to control access to the area around the house, attractions and safari park to satisfy insurers and protect visitors. Mr Bradley admitted Longleat had been ‘tired’ when the Viscount took over and appointed him to run the West’s most popular tourist attraction, and said they had spent more money in the 18 months since than was spent in the previous 30 years. He outlined new attractions opening this year, including an African village, and said most of the new animal areas were near the house and away from the 45-year-old Safari Park.
The banning of ramblers, dog walkers and cyclists from the area around the house had sparked outrage among local residents, who packed the Civic Centre to voice their displeasure. Viscount Weymouth apologised to anyone upset at being escorted out of the area, but Mr Bradley said his priority was the
Minnesota Zoo is no place for a dolphin
I venture that most Minnesotans who have watched the documentary "The Cove" would be strongly opposed to seeing the state sink $7 million in public funds to repair and upgrade the Minnesota Zoo's dolphin exhibit.
The award-winning film shines light on the brutal international dolphin trade -- fueled, in part, by the zoo and aquarium industry.
Since its opening, the Minnesota Zoo has been plagued with a series of premature deaths of its captive dolphins. Last month's death of Taijah, a baby Atlantic bottlenose dolphin on exhibit at the zoo, was a case in point.
The final report on Taijah from the pathologist said: "The cause of death is uncertain. It may be speculated that the animal lost significant amounts of blood from the gastric ulcer. The cause of the ulceration was not apparent."
We must consider that captivity itself was the cause of the dolphin's death. Most captive dolphins are confined in minuscule tanks containing chemically treated artificial seawater.
Dolphins in a tank are severely restricted in using their highly developed sonar,
Cocodrile Shown to Pope Arrives to Cuban Zoo (sack the proof reader)
The Cuban crocodile shown to Pope Benedict XVI in a recent public hearing in the Vatican will be taken on Friday to Cuba''s National Zoo, officials of the institution announced.
The 40 cm long specimen, belonging to the species "crocodylus rhombifer" is arriving to the island three days before the Pope´s visit to Cuba from March 26 to 28, Cubadebate website reports.
The reptile was symbolically donated to Benedict XVI in January, on behalf of 1, 200 animals that hosts the Rome's Bio Park zoo, which celebrates
Bob Barker funds $880,000 elephant flight to CA Three elephants will travel from the Toronto Zoo to a sanctuary in California aboard a private plane thanks to longtime animal activist Bob Barker.
Three elephants will travel from the Toronto Zoo to a sanctuary in California aboard a private plane thanks to longtime animal activist Bob Barker.
The 88-year-old TV icon offered to fund the $880,000 flight after learning that one of the elephants wasn't well enough to withstand the long trip by truck, Barker spokesman Henri Bollinger said Friday.
He said the Toronto Zoo agreed to move Thika, Iringa and Toka to the Performing Animals Welfare Society elephant sanctuary in San Andreas, Calif., in the Sierra foothills southeast of Sacramento, but that one of the animals suffers from "a serious foot problem."
Barker said the elephants "have suffered so much for so long and now they have an opportunity to live the rest of their lives at what has been described as `elephant paradise.' To think that one of them might not survive the trip
Sciquarium construction taking shape at Natural Science CenterIt’s been under construction for months, but the Sciquarium is now starting to take shape at the Greensboro Natural Science Center.
The grand opening of the $10 million interactive aquarium is still a year away. The building is expected to be completed in about six months, but director Glenn Dobrogoz said it will take another six months before it’s ready to be opened to the public.
In the video above, get an update on the progress.
The 22,000 square-foot addition is the
Ex-PETA VP: Omnivores are Like Racists or Something
You might remember that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (the ones they don’t kill, anyway) recently sued Sea World, claiming that the park’s famous performing whales were actually slaves. The Daily Show’s Wyatt Cenac made fun of PETA at the time for suggesting that animals were the moral equals of humans forced to toil against their will. However ridiculous the view that giving people greater moral standing than “sea kittens” is a sin akin to racism might be, it’s a key philosophical underpinning of the animal rights movement.
In fact, there’s even a term for it: “speciesism.”
Bruce Friedrich, a former PETA Vice President who now holds a senior position with Farm Sanctuary, promoted a film examining this so-called “speciesism” at the Huffington Post this week. He’s not an outlier in his view among animal rights activists: PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk has claimed “a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy,” and the head of the Humane Society of the United States (which gives just one percent of its budget to local pet shelters) told an animal rights philosopher that he became vegan after he realized he was being a “speciesist.”
In the real world, the view that “speciesism” is some equivalent to racism or sexism is recognized as bunk. One biologist notes that it is impossible not to put humans before at least some animals:
The vegan militia have forgotten that to get their cruelty free vegetables, the land has already been cleared, all competing species have been killed or driven out, those that remain are poisoned (even by organic farmers – they just use “certified organic” methods of pest control or even other animals like ladybugs). We put humans first every time we clear a field, dig a foundation, fence and spray our crops, and burn diesel
Death-Ridden Surabaya Zoo Pleads for Cash
The acting caretaker of the much-maligned Surabaya Zoo said on Tuesday that investment was urgently needed or the zoo might not have any animal left in as little as three years.
The zoo has been plagued by a string of recent deaths among its animals as well as charges of theft and sales of its animals by unscrupulous officials. In the latest incident, a giraffe died last week.
“Of course the animals will die if they are exposed to the heat and rain all day and night,” said Tony Sumampauw, the acting caretaker. “They can also be infected with diseases from wild animals like cats and rats. It’s no surprise some animals have suffered from tuberculosis.”
Tony said death and infection could be prevented if better spaces were provided for the animals.
The zoo had planned to build a larger open cage for giraffes, camels, zebras and several other animals, he said. Unfortunately, the zoo’s last giraffe died before the plan could materialize.
He said the new open cage, including a holding facility and corridors to check on the animal’s health, would cost billions of rupiah the zoo doesn’t have.
Now the ball is in the court of the Surabaya municipal administration, which Tony said needed to immediately set up a regional company specifically to manage the zoo. Under the current management, it would be difficult for the zoo to grow, he added.
“Keeping animals cannot be accurately budgeted. If an animal gets sick, money should be available to treat the animal,” he said.
If the zoo were managed under an office of the municipal administration, he said, a much lengthier and complicated process involving a series of meetings would be needed for the disbursement of any funds.
Baktiono, a city councilor, said the local legislative council had already given the green light for Surabaya municipal authorities to create a state enterprise to manage the zoo.
A state company, he said, could be more professional than the current system, he said. “We will be able to see the professionalism of the director through a fit and proper test before he is given the zoo to manage,” he added.
The Surabaya administration had earlier pushed for the zoo to be taken over by a unit of one of the city’s many offices, but the idea was vetoed by the Forestry Ministry, which is in favor of creating a state enterprise to manage it.
The ministry revoked the zoo management’s license in August last year and placed the facility under a new team, headed by Tony, from the Taman Safari park in Bogor, following a series of animal deaths.
The zoo had lost a Sumatran tiger, an African lion, a wallaby, a Komodo dragon, a babirusa
Nightmare zoo in Indonesia shaken by giraffe death
The tigers are emaciated and the 180 pelicans packed so tightly they cannot unfurl their wings without hitting a neighbor. Last week, a giraffe died with a beachball-sized wad of plastic food wrappers in its belly.
That death has focused new attention on the scandalous conditions at Indonesia's largest zoo. Set up nearly a century ago in one the most biologically diverse corners of the planet, it once boasted the most impressive collection in Southeast Asia.
But today the Surabaya Zoo is a nightmare, plagued by uncontrolled breeding, a lack of funding for general animal welfare and even persistent suspicions that members of its own staff are involved in illegal wildlife trafficking.
The rarest species, including Komodo dragons and critically endangered orangutans, sit in dank, unsanitary cages, filling up on peanuts tossed over the fence by giggling visitors.
"This is extremely tragic, but of course by no means surprising in Indonesia's zoos, given the appalling way they are managed on the whole," said Ian Singleton, a former zookeeper who now runs an orangutan conservation program on Sumatra island.
The zoo came under heavy fire two years ago following reports that 25 of its 4,000 animals were dying every month, almost all of them prematurely. They included an African lion, a Sumatran tiger and several crocodiles.
The government appointed an experienced zookeeper, Tony Sumampouw, to clean up the operation and he struggled, with some success, to bring the mortality rate down to about 15 per month.
But following last week's death of the 30-year-old giraffe "Kliwon" -- who had for years been eating litter and trash thrown into its pen and was found with a 40-pound ball of plastic in its stomach -- Sumampouw said he's all but given up.
Nothing short of a "total renovation" is needed, he said.
"We need to either think about privatizing or transferring out
Calgary Zoo's elephant Rani pregnant, again
Rani, a Calgary Zoo elephant that has already lost two calves, is pregnant again.
Rani had her first calf, Keemaya, in 2004 and another, Malti, in 2007. The first died shortly after being rejected by its mother at birth.
The second was also rejected, but the two bonded a few months later. Malti died about a year later of elephant herpes virus.
Zookeeper Colleen Baird says staff are better prepared for this birth, which is expected in February
Bristol Zoo offers the trip of a lifetime to Madagascar
Bristol Zoo Gardens is offering the trip of a lifetime to members of the public wanting to discover rare lemurs and other unique wildlife of Madagascar
The Zoo has teamed up with Reef & Rainforest Tours to offer a trip to experience the 'Lemurs of the Lost World'.
Departing on October 7, 2012, travelers will be immersed in lush green rainforests, semi-arid sandstone landscapes, transitional forest and unique spiny forest and can marvel at scores of lemurs, chameleons, birds and invertebrate oddities such as the giraffe-necked weevil and flatid bug.
The trip includes visiting Mantadia National Park to search for lemur species such as diademed sifaka and black and white ruffed lemurs, and Ranomafana National Park where guests may catch a glimpse of the very rare golden bamboo lemur.
The tour will be in a group of around 10 people, led by an experienced local Malagasy Naturalist Guide ably assisted by Bristol Zoo's Education Manager, Dave Naish. It lasts for 17 days, including three days of leisure time by the Indian Ocean for coral reef snorkeling and relaxation.
Dave Naish comments: “This is a fantastic opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts or for those looking for a memorable trip with a difference. Madagascar is a truly unique destination brimming with nature and boasting exceptional views of the natural word.”
If you're looking to take part in a trip of a lifetime, surrounded by magnificent landscapes and some of the most endangered species on the planet, then this is for you.
For more information and to book call 01803 866 965 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tokyo aquarium hunts for escaped penguin
Keepers at a Japanese aquarium have appealed to the public to help them track down an escaped penguin, last seen headed for Tokyo Bay.
Tokyo Sea Life Park declared the 1-year-old Humboldt penguin missing yesterday, the Japan Times reported. The alarm was raised by a sharp-eyed official at a nearby wildlife park, who spotted the – ahem – jailbird making a break for it down the Old Edogawa river.
"Since then, we don't have any specific information about the penguin's whereabouts," said aquarium spokesman Takashi Sugino.
Keepers are at a loss to explain how the flightless bird escaped its enclosure, which is surrounded by a 2-meter fence. According to Sugino, it may have found a gap through which to clamber, or even scaled the barrier after being startled.
The park is asking members of the public to report any further sightings.
"We apologize for causing
Iowa bars animal rights videos of farm industry
Iowa has become the first state to make it a crime to surreptitiously get into a farming operation to record video of animal abuse.
Republican Gov. Terry Branstad signed the law Friday despite protests, letters and campaigns launched on Twitter and Facebook by animal welfare groups that have used secretly taped videos to sway public opinion against what they consider cruel practices.
But Branstad's action wasn't a surprise. Iowa is the nation's leading pork and egg producer, and the governor has strong ties to the state's agricultural industry. He signed the measure in a private ceremony and issued no statement about his decision.
Legislatures in seven other states - Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York and Utah - have considered laws that would enhance penalties against those who secretly record video of livestock, though the efforts have stalled in some states.
In Minnesota, similar legislation was introduced last year but never received a hearing. But with Iowa's new law and hearings this week in the Illinois Legislature, the issue is gaining some momentum.
Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake and a pork producer, has proposed penalties for tampering with an animal facility, or secretly recording farm animals without the owner's consent. Even possessing or distributing an undercover videotape would also be a gross misdemeanor for the first violation, or a felony for
Laguna defends keeping of elephants in Phuket
Laguna Phuket today issued a statement clarifying its position after Joey, a young elephant at the Laguna Elephant Camp, was seized by authorities on February 27.
Joey was one of three young elephants in Phuket taken away by authorities on suspicion that they were born to an unregistered mother who was being held illegally in a camp in Sai Yoke, Kanchanaburi Province.
In the statement, Mark Breit, Regional director of Laguna Tours and Quest, stressed, “The Laguna elephants were rented from their owners in accordance with official procedures and in each rental procedure we have undertaken thorough and exhaustive due diligence.
“However, one of these elephants, Joey, a two year-old juvenile, was recently taken into the care of authorities while his mother’s legal status was investigated.
“[Neither] Laguna Phuket, [nor] any of its hotels, has been accused of wrongdoing in this issue.”
Defending Laguna’s keeping of elephants, he said that the hotel complex “houses and employs domesticated Asian elephants which, due to habitat loss and poaching, have no available area to be returned to the wild.
“By housing them and involving them in our tourism activities we offer a good alternative to city-based scenarios, where elephants can be seen performing tricks for money.
Laguna’s five elephants, he said, were well cared for and “much-loved by both staff and hotel guests”. They are used to “provide interaction with guests” and as part of Laguna’s Elephant Education programme, which “promotes understanding of elephants’ well-being”.
Mr Breit added that the Laguna Elephant Camp has been inspected and approved by Dr Richard Lair, chief adviser to the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang – the place where Joey is now being housed until DNA tests can determine his maternity.
Dr Lair, the statement adds, is “an internationally-recognised authority” and author of the manual “Gone astray: The care and management of the Asian elephant in domesticity”, published in 1997
Dist unit of PFA under scanner after arrests
Questions have been raised about the anomalies in management of the Dehradun District Unit of People for Animals, after two of its employees were arrested while trying to sell an owl rescued from the Raj Bhawan.
To prevent anomalies in the rescue, treatment and release of birds and animals, the Forest Department is about to release guidelines to be followed by wildlife NGOs. In addition to this the department also plans to investigate as to why the district unit of PFA was called to rescue an owl while the forest department was not even informed about the case.
Sources said that Raj Bhawan officer is also involved with PFA, Dehradun and had called the organisation to rescue the bird without informing the department.
It will be recalled that on Friday, the Rajaji national park SOG team had arrested four persons including two employees of PFA Dehradun while they were in the process of transacting a brown wood owl. The PFA animal ambulance driver Manoj Kumar and animal shelter attendant Sanjay Kumar were trying to sell the owl for Rs 51,000. After their
Old friends together again
Of the world's foremost experts on orangutans, perhaps only Robert Shumaker can claim a 30-year collaboration with the same ape.
Shumaker, 48, met the orangutan named Azy when he started work as a volunteer at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington while still in high school.
"He just turned 34 in December," said Shumaker, now the Indianapolis Zoo's vice president of life sciences. "We kind of grew up together, I guess."
Today, Shumaker and Azy reside in Indianapolis. Azy is one
How World's Smallest DNA Virus Evolved in Rare Parakeets
A University of Kent-led team of scientists has gained new insight into a rare virus that is threatening to wipe out the Mauritius parakeet -- one of the world's most endangered species of parrot.
The Mauritius parakeet was saved from the brink of extinction 30 years ago, thanks to the work of an international team of conservationists, including scientists from Kent. Now an outbreak of deadly Beak and Feather Disease is once again raising the spectre of extinction.
But a team led by Dr Jim Groombridge, of the University's Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), has been able to make use of its archive of DNA samples from Mauritius parakeets, built up over many years, to identify how the world's smallest DNA circoviruses have
DNA shows we're closer to gorillas than we realized
Researchers complete genome sequencing of the great apes using western lowland gorilla
Adding to the already-sequenced genomes of humans, chimpanzees and orangutans, researchers have completed the set of the great apes by sequencing the genes of a western lowland gorilla.
The complete genome comes from a female western lowland gorilla named Kamilah, who was born in captivity and now lives at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The researchers also sequenced parts of the genomes for two other western lowland gorillas and one eastern lowland gorilla. The results reveal more than ever about how the evolutionary tree connecting humans, chimps and gorillas was shaped.
"The gorilla genome is particularly important for our understanding of human evolution, because it tells us about this crucial time when we were diverging from our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees," study researcher Aylwyn Scally of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute said in a news conference about the findings.
The results show that humans are closer to gorillas than we'd realized. The human-chimp part of the great ape lineage split off from the gorilla line about 10 million years ago, study leader Richard Durbin, also of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, told reporters. Humans and chimps then diverged from each other about 6 million years ago. Evolutionarily speaking, that's fast.
"The interesting consequence of that is actually that the pattern of ancestry across the three genomes changes from position to position (in the genome)," Scally said. "So although most of the human genome is indeed closest to the chimpanzee genome on average, a sizeable minority, 15 percent, is in fact closer to the gorilla, and another 15 percent is where gorilla and chimpanzee are closer."
In fact, the new data confirm that humans and gorillas are about 98 percent identical on a genetic level, said Wellcome Trust researcher and study co-author Chris Tyler-Smith.
But the differences are illuminating. For example, the researchers found that certain genes involved in sperm formation have become inactive or have been reduced in the gorilla genome compared with the human genome. That may be because gorillas live in harems with one male to many females, Tyler-Smith said, so there is little competition between different m
Japan zoo tries to drum up alligators' interest in sex
A Japanese zoo has turned to rhythmical banging on traditional drums in a bid to encourage some enthusiasm for sex among lust-lacking alligators.
Zookeepers said Wednesday they hoped the low booming sound produced by large Japanese "taiko" drums would spur lethargic Chinese alligators to begin mating because of its similarity to the animals' natural pre-coital cry.
"After listening to the drum performance, the female alligator Susu cried a few times but the male, Yoyo, appeared not to be interested," said Hideaki Yamamoto from Sapporo's Maruyama Zoo.
"We believe the drumming was effective. We hope to try again in the future, during the alligator's mating season from February through March," he said.
The zoo has succeeded in breeding the species in the past by knocking on the glass of their enclosure, but renovations mean this is no longer possible.
"The new enclosure built last year has a thick
Animal advocates aren't laughing about the lion who peed on Chad Ochocinco
When a lion urinates on a star football player, humorous headlines are bound to follow:
“ Chad Ochocinco Got OWNED by a Lion!” – VladTV.com
“Caged lion felt the call of nature and New England Patriots receiver was caught in the stream” – CBSNews.com
“Ochocinco was urinated on by a lion and lived to tweet the tale” – Yahoo Sports
But animal protection organizations are not amused.
'Big cats as party props'
Regarding the incident at a Miami party where a caged lion sprayed urine at New England Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco (who then Tweeted about the experience), Big Cat Rescue founder and CEO Carole Baskin told Animal Policy Examiner (APE), “There is still an ignorant element in our society that does not understand the ramifications of having big cats as party props. All they are thinking about is their ability to get near an animal that would kill them if given the opportunity, and thus they feel powerful over the caged animal. Perhaps it is at a subconscious level, but that doesn't change the fact that it is selfishness and the need to hide that selfishness by claiming ignorance, or worse, claiming that no harm is being done.”
Man wounded by lion at Loi Bher Wildlife Park
A man was seriously wounded by a male lion when he entered into its territory in the Loi Bher Wildlife Park here on Friday to cut grass.
The safari park or wildlife park is a commercial tourist attraction where visitors can drive in their vehicles or ride in vehicles provided by its administration to observe roaming animals. The main attractions are large animals from Sub-Saharan Africa such as giraffes, lions, rhinoceros, elephants, zebras and antelopes.
A key official of the Loi Bher Wildlife Park, on condition of anonymity, told ‘The News’ that at about 12:40 p.m., a lion attacked a poor man, Muhammad Arshad, when he walked into the lions’ territory to cut grass for which he had paid some amount to the watchmen.
“Unfortunately, the male lion was roaming outside his cage and it attacked Muhammad Arshad wounding him seriously. After listening to his cries, we rushed to the area to recover the wounded man, who had fallen unconscious by the time he was rescued from the lion’s clutches,” he said.
Muhammad Arshad, he said, was rushed to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) where he was reported to be in a serious condition.
Muhammad Ameen, brother of Muhammad Arshad, told this scribe that their family
was at the PIMS. “Arshad’s condition is serious as the lion has badly injured his face, neck and body,” he said. The doctors at PIMS have stated that his condition was very serious.
Lions are part of a group of exotic animals that are the core of zoo exhibits since the late eighteenth century. Members
Bird charity fights Monkey World for bequest
A bird lover's legacy to a Hampshire owl sanctuary is at the centre of a vexed High Court dispute after the object of her generosity ceased to exist.
Vera Spear died in a nursing home in Fareham, Hants, in January 2007, leaving everything she had to be split between four animal charities - "save for a personal bequest of her parrot".
Mrs Spear, who died aged 84, had no children.
And her £260,000 estate was to be divided equally between the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals, of Priorslee, Telford; Monkey World Ltd, of Bindon Abbey, Dorset, and the New Forest Owl Sanctuary Ltd, of Crow, near Ringwood, Hants.
But her will has now sparked a complex legal wrangle - drawing in lawyers for the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC - due to the "demise" of the New Forest Owl Sanctuary (NFOS), leaving a question mark hanging over where its £65,000 share should now go.
Mr Grieve's barrister, Christopher
Wishbone, S.F. Zoo’s last Andean bear, dies
Wishbone, the San Francisco Zoo’s last Andean bear, was put down Monday after he lost use of his hind legs from a suspected neurological illness, zookeepers said.
Wishbone was born at the Los Angeles Zoo and spent 24 of his 25 years at the San Francisco Zoo, said Corinne MacDonald, curator of primates and carnivores.
“He wasn’t able to walk properly,” MacDonald said. Wishbone was taken out of his exhibit last month and keepers monitored him to see if his legs would improve, but they didn’t. Zoo keepers won’t know the official reason his legs failed for a few weeks, MacDonald said.
Andean bears, also known as spectacled bears because of the markings around their eyes, rarely live beyond 20 or 25 years in captivity, MacDonald said. Without Wishbone, the zoo now only has polar and grizzly bears.
Wishbone is the third
Columbus Zoo opposes mascot exemption in Ohio bill
Officials at the Columbus Zoo are taking issue with an exemption in an Ohio bill that would allow a school to display a dangerous wild animal as a sports mascot.
The exemption is part of a proposal introduced on Thursday to regulate exotic animals in the state.
The zoo's chief operating officer says the facility supports the legislation overall, but not the exemption.
Tom Stalf also praised the bill's perimeter fencing requirements. He says the rule could have helped keep dozens of animals in Zanesville contained after their suicidal owner freed them from their cages in October.
The bill would ban new ownership of exotic
L.A. Zoo: Reptiles And Amphibians Rule At New $14.1 Million Facility
The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens made a major expansion into the world of reptiles and amphibians today with the opening of its $14.1 million LAIR—Living Amphibians, Intvertebrates, and Reptiles—a new permanent showcase of 49 exhibits, featuring some of the rarest species in North American zoos. Electric-hued poison dart frogs, neon-green Fiji Island banded iguanas, speckled Mangshan vipers, lengthy crocodiles and a Chinese giant salamander, the world’s largest amphibian, hang out in elaborate habitats representing rainforest canopies, mountain ranges, cool forests, red rock formations and arid deserts.
To advertise its new dazzling creature collection, the L.A. Zoo is launching a major campaign including clever television spots starring the quirky team of Betty White and rocker
Police seize more than 200 animals at private zoo in Thailand’s largest wildlife bust
More than 200 animals, including kangaroos, flamingos, red pandas and white lions, were seized from a private zoo Thursday in Thailand’s largest recent wildlife bust.
Most of the animals were non-native species intended to be sold domestically or smuggled elsewhere. Thailand is a hub of the international black market for protected animals.
More than 50 species of animals had been kept without a license in the compound, police Maj. Gen. Norasak Hemnithi said. The owners had imported animals from Africa and elsewhere for almost 10 years, he said.
Five tigers, 13 white lions, three pumas, three kangaroos, four flamingos, two crowned cranes, 66 marmosets, two orangutans and two red pandas were among those seized, according to a conservation organization, the
Europe’s first safari park to open in Crimea
Europe’s first safari park, Taigan, is due to open in the Crimea.
The park will host 50 lions, brought from all the zoos of the former Soviet Union, as well as from European and South American countries.
The lions will be able to freely walk amid trees, flowers and in tall grass.
The safari park of 32 hectares boasts sprawling infrastructure and is already home to some 2,000 birds and animals.
The opening ceremony
Up, up and away: Smuggling victims set free
A quartet of rare falcons got to live the expression “free as a bird” on Saturday. The birds, believed to be smuggled in from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), were set free by the wildlife department in Broha village near Murree.
According to wildlife department officials, the birds were taken into custody at Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA) around 2am on Saturday, after custom officials found the birds in a wooden box, being offloaded from flight number EK-314 coming from the UAE.
They immediately informed wildlife department officials at the airport, who in turn took the falcons into custody. However, none of the alleged smugglers, who are believed to be Arab nationals, were arrested as they managed to exit through the VIP lounge.
A source in the wildlife department told The Express Tribune that the Federal Investigation Agency had allegedly abetted their escape due to their influential background.
Following the incident, the wildlife department moved an application in the Rawalpindi District Court on Saturday morning, upon which judicial magistrate Ahmed Ahsan Raja ordered that the birds be released.
However, the source noted that up until the birds were set free, the department was facing immense pressure from certain influential politicians and bureaucrats, who wanted
Furore intensifies over elephant trade in Thailand
Repeated government raids on respected wildlife sanctuaries have damaged Thailand's image at home and abroad.
They may also have undermined the position of the National Parks chief, whose judgment has been called into serious question since revelations that killings of mature elephants in Kaeng Krachan recently were orchestrated to supply babies to elephant tourist parks - with the involvement of top officials in that park, several hours south of Bangkok.
Numerous elephant camps and wildlife centres have been raided since reports emerged in January that a criminal syndicate was selling baby elephants from Burma and national parks to tourist facilities for large sums - up to 900,000 baht each.
There have been claims that up to half of the young tuskers in Thailand have been smuggled in alongside 'fake' surrogate mothers that already have identity papers. A loophole in the law, which does not require babies to be registered till they are eight years old, has aided this trade.
Chinese websites ban sale of bear gall, shark fins
In light of recent public outcries against the mistreatment of animals, Taobao.com and Tmall.com, two of the leading e-commerce sites in China, have banned the sale of bear gall, shark fin and other animal products that are obtained through questionable or cruel methods.
Jin Yuanying, a senior director with the department of social responsibility at Hangzhou-based Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, said that the two sites will stop selling these products to help protect the environment and in support of animal rights. "Change starts from us ourselves and consumers," he added.
Alibaba and Taobao.com have banned the sales of shark fin on its sites since 2009. In May 2010 Alibaba announced it would stop selling bear gall and any bear-related products. The group has gone on to place more stringent restrictions on the sales of animal products, particularly nationally protected animals.
When the number of Chinese Internet users passed 500 million in December, there was additional pressure for the e-commerce leader in China to place more emphasis on animal protection.
"Now on the two online trading sites there are some products that are labeled with 'shark fin' tags to attract attention. They're not the shark fin we're banning, but rather squid," said Ni Lian, a quality control representative with Taobao.com.
He added that the prevention and eradication of sales
New role tipped for zoo chief in wake of debt crisis
A CONFIDENTIAL Zoos South Australia public relations strategy shows the Adelaide Zoo wants to reposition the role of chief executive Chris West in the wake of its financial crisis, focusing on his animal management expertise.
The plan, obtained by The Australian, also acknowledges the poor relationship between staff and management and creates tactics to "increase their positive attitudes towards management".
Stories make the zoo a more interesting place
The average zoo visitor spends less than 30 seconds at each exhibit.
It's true. If the animal is not immediately visible, most people simply move along without trying to find the critter and without reading the education sign.
Even if they do hang around, see the animal and read the sign, they're not absorbing as much information as they could if there was a zoo docent there to share some interesting and memorable facts. Signs are limited and most times use technical language. Zoo docents know things about the animals that no one could ever read online or in a book, which makes my new undertaking a bit more challenging.
This is called "interpreting the zoo," or relaying information to visitors in a way they can understand and remember. During this week's training session, we toured a portion of the zoo and learned lots of interesting little quips that we can share with visitors.
The green wing macaws, for example, can talk. They know "hello," "goodbye," "cracker" and "pretty bird." They're also escape artists. Although their wings are clipped, they are good climbers and are often found in other exhibits scattered about the zoo.
"If you see a macaw where it's not supposed to be, please let a keeper know so we can return it to its exhibit," said Amy, a zookeeper.
The two Florida sandhill cranes -- which made an ungodly, territorial screeching sound when we approached their exhibit -- are brother and sister, yet they keep mating. Unfortunately, zoo staffers have to "pin" the eggs to avoid inbreeding. "Pinning" is just how it sounds -- they poke a hole in the shell to kill the embryo, then they replace the real eggs with fake ones.
The Andean bear can usually be seen pacing back and forth, which is a bad habit he picked up from a previous zoo. It's similar to fingernail biting. According to zoo staffers, the bear was kept in an enclosed area for long periods of time and when he came to Salisbury, he had five or six "obsessive compulsive disorder-like" habits. The zookeepers have managed to break him of all those habits but one -- pacing.
Finally, the female whitetail deer whose tongue is always sticking out is not panting because she's hot. About 15 years ago, a pack of dogs broke into the zoo and the deer, scared to death, ran head-first into a fence. The veterinarian "put her back together" as best he could, but she's still got nerve damage in her face, which causes the tongue to stay outside
Zookeepers wanted for Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve
Zookeepers wanted - must love animals of all shapes and sizes.
In fact, there are a few more qualities than just loving animals being sought for what many people consider their ideal job.
Since advertising in The Cairns Post recently for a senior and junior zookeeper, Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve at Koah, near Kuranda, has received about 150 applications.
"They are saying this is my dream job, I have had cats and dogs and I love animals, but we want to see something more," Elaine Harrison, who took over ownership of the zoo a week ago, said.
She said she was looking for qualifications and experience from candidates.
"I would be looking for someone who loves animals, is passionate about animals and wants to work with animals," Ms Harrison said.
"But they also need to demonstrate a greater connection with them.
"It could be voluntary work, perhaps in a veterinary practice, with the RSPCA or in an animal shelter.
"They have to have a passion and empathy and the experience; you can't just love animals."
Her ideal candidate was someone who had shown through TAFE and other courses as well as voluntary work that they were dedicated to zookeeping as a career.
People who were scared of animals need not apply, though phobias with certain creatures could be worked through.
"Animals can sense fear in humans; they have a sixth sense and they pick up the nervous tension," Ms Harris said.
But if an applicant with a proven
Lawrence Anthony, Baghdad Zoo Savior, Dies at 61
Lawrence Anthony, who abandoned a career in insurance and real estate to play Noah to the world’s endangered species, most spectacularly in rushing to the smoldering Baghdad Zoo after the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, died on March 2 in Johannesburg. He was 61.
The Earth Organization, a conservation group that Mr. Anthony founded in 2003, announced the death. News reports said the cause was a heart attack.
Mr. Anthony persuaded African rebels who were wanted as war criminals to protect the few remaining northern white rhinoceroses prowling their battlegrounds. He adopted a herd of rogue elephants that would otherwise have been shot. He fought to save crocodiles and other species.
To preserve wildlife and their habitats, he showed
antagonistic African tribes how they could benefit by cooperating in setting up game reserves to attract tourists. He worked with diplomats and lawyers to introduce a proposal to the United Nations to prohibit using conservation areas or zoos as targets of war.
Craggy, bearded and exuberant, Mr. Anthony was known to play music from the rock bands Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple at full volume in his Land Rover as it bounced across the African countryside. He worked with eminent environmental scientists while readily volunteering that he had barely made it through high school.
Mr. Anthony’s most widely publicized work was after the
Zoo fighting back from brink
A leopard appears healthy and strong as it paces the walls of its cage with a confident swagger and muffled growl that hints at its ferocity.
It’s a welcome sight at Kampot province’s much-maligned Teuk Chhou zoo, which less than one year ago was struggling to feed its emaciated animals as they languished in tiny, rusted cages that offered little or no shade from the sun’s searing heat.
“She’s in better condition; every animal here has put on weight,” says Wildlife Alliance’s wildlife rescue and care director Nick Marx, one of the men entrusted with bringing this zoo – and its animals – back from the brink.
“There have been a few new animals, a few have died, but it’s around the same. Maybe previously they weren’t receiving enough food,” the experienced wildlife worker says.
Marx is leading us on a tour of the zoo to show us the early stages of what financial backers Rory and Melita Hunter hope will be a huge transformation of the site, which lies in a tourist-rich area at the foot of Bokor Mountain, a short drive from Kampot town.
When the Post visited the zoo last March, conditions were so appalling that skeletal elephants living in faeces-filled cages were stretching their trunks through thick bars in a desperate attempt to eat blades of grass. Other cages, which had housed bears and an otter, were eerily empty.
“Every animal is better fed now,” Marx explains as he leads us closer to the elephants.
Their enclosure, which we soon discover has been improved by a $20,000 sheltered containment area, proves change is happening.
Most striking is the physical improvement of the two elephants, which are looking healthy.
“They were just skin and bones. Look at their stomachs now. I feel they are smaller than they should be. But they’re doing fine now,” Marx says.
Should the trade in rhino horn be legalised?
MORE than 30 years after governments agreed to ban the international trade in rhino horns, the slaughter rate has got much worse, not better.
More than 95 percent of Africa’s remaining rhinos were wiped out within 20 years of the 1977 ban.
And in SA, the largest-remaining bastion of wild rhino protection, massive holes have been punched through the law enforcement barriers which once protected the country’s rhinos from ruthless underworld crime syndicates.
More than 1 000 rhinos have been slaughtered here in just four years. Every year the death rate climbs steadily, despite government pledges to tackle horn poachers head-on.
Inevitably, this mounting death rate has triggered renewed calls for a revision of rhino-protection strategies – including a highly controversial proposal to lift or relax the global trading ban.
The broad theory is that legalising the sale of SA’s massive rhino horn stockpiles could help to drive down soaring black market prices and reduce the need to poach or kill living rhinos.
So far the government has not given any firm signal on whether it will support the proposal, but the Department of Environmental Affairs opened the door to this option last September when it commissioned two new studies to probe the likely impacts of opening up a legal national and world trade in rhino horn.
The ban has been in place since 1977, when 175 member states of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) voted to halt the global sale of rhino products.
Zoo Miami could get massive development neighbors
County-owned ZooMiami might soon encompass other attractions, banquet halls and conference centers, hotels, amusement centers or restaurants if developers buy into solicitations for partners to fund growth that would yield income for the county.
Following the 2½-year drive by Commissioner Dennis Moss to spur an entertainment district at the zoo, Miami-Dade is seeking interest in a two-stage solicitation for the project at the 740-acre zoo, where only 327 acres are now developed.
Last month the county commission asked Mayor Carlos Gimenez to negotiate a deal with developers "whose proposals provide the greatest financial benefit to the county."
The county is now pushing a two-stage solicitation to negotiate for lease and development of the entertainment area. The county has released an informal expression of interest, inviting developers to propose approaches, and plans an informational session on the project at the zoo, 12400 SW 152nd St.
Based on responses, the county is to advertise a formal invitation to negotiate with developers whose proposals give the county the highest financial impact. Permissible developments include attractions, amusements, lodging, restaurants, retail shops, banquet halls and conference centers.
"We envision the development of a world-class entertainment destination with premier attractions, services and venues that will not only stimulate economic vitality and the growing needs of our thriving southwestern Miami-Dade County, but increase tourist visitation to the area, facilitating a more balanced and sustainable financial outlook or the entire county," Mr. Moss said. "We encourage all major developers
Mammals’ Rise Began Before Dinosaurs’ Fall, Study Finds
It was long believed that mammals began to diversify and flourish only after dinosaurs died out in the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period, about 66 million years ago.
But a new study in the journal Nature suggests that some mammals diversified well before that.
“The story appears more complex,” said an author of the study, Gregory Wilson, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Washington.
Using 3-D imaging and CT scanning, he and his colleagues studied the teeth of multituberculates, a group of rodentlike mammals that lived 165 million years ago to about 35 million years ago, well after dinosaurs went exinct. Some of the teeth were tiny: as small as four-hundredths of an inch across.
The researchers found that over time, the mammals’ teeth evolved to have more patches, or bumps.
“In modern mammals, the greater number of patches you have, the more likely you are to have a diet composed of
New frog species found hiding in NYC
Scientists say they have found a new type of frog living in New York City.
While new species are usually discovered in remote regions, this so-far unnamed type of leopard frog was first heard croaking on Staten Island.
Jeremy Feinberg of Rutgers University in New Jersey noticed the frogs there had a call he had never heard before.
They look identical to other species, but genetic analysis showed they are a new species of leopard frog that probably once lived in Manhattan.
While studying leopard frogs Mr Feinberg noticed that instead of the long "snore" he was expecting, he heard
Edinburgh Zoo's penguins moved to Gloucestershire
Six penguins made homeless when their pool sprang a leak are heading south to Gloucestershire.
All Edinburgh Zoo's king penguins, including Sir Nils Olav, are being re-homed at Birdland, near Bourton-on-the-Water.
They are among more than 100 penguins being moved, with the others heading for zoos in Belfast and Denmark.
The penguins are expected to return to Scotland in about
Palm oil: the hidden ingredient causing an ecological disaster
Palm oil is in our food, cleaning products and fuel. But it's destroying rainforest and contributing to climate change. Sustainable certification schemes have been set up, but campaigners increasingly question whether they work
It’s impossible to get away from palm oil. Over the last few days you have eaten it, rubbed it into your skin, put it in your car or fed it to your pets. It is found in a staggering array of household products, including processed food, cosmetics, soap and shampoos, and it’s a key ingredient in lubricants, paints, pesticides and biofuels. Yet palm oil is also responsible for some of the most destructive deforestation of current times, and its production is contributing to climate change.
Darwin zoo volunteer mauled by lion
A man has been attacked by a lion at a Darwin animal park after he reportedly reached his arm into the cage.
Nine News has been told the lion grabbed volunteer Peter Davidson, 42, on the arm at Crocodylus Park as he was being shown weeds that needed to be sprayed.
The NT News reported that muscle was torn from the bone of Mr Davidson's arm and will undergo surgery.
Keepers applied a tourniquet to his arm to stop the blood from flowing. It is understood he is able to move his fingers and is currently in a stable condition.
Crocodylus Park specialises mostly in reptiles like crocodiles, but also features big cats like lions and tigers.
It is the first lion attack at the park in 15 years.
The park's management say they are happy with their procedures and
Fitz: Critics of zoo’s handling of elephants packed and shipped
Reid Park zoo officials announced that today they had packed two PETA activists and 3-concerned citizens into crates and loaded them on to trucks.
“We’re shipping them to Bob Barker’s compound in Burbank where they can live out their lives with other animal rights activists. They’ll be fed wheat grass smoothies and Oprah will visit them.”
En route to southern California the activists passed Connie and Shaba who were driving a Mini-van packed with beach towels and peanuts, bound for San Diego.
Connie said, ”Shaba’s been ready
Dolphin water park project: State on the defensive against NGOs
Despite directives from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to “not entertain” the proposal for the construction of a dolphin park in Sindhudurg district, the State government is still strongly defending the Rs 510 crore project. Experts in Pune’s Science and Technology Park, a Central Government institute, have been asked to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR) to justify the State government’s plan.
Opposition to the project meant to promote the State’s coastline, and to be constructed on the lines of Seaworld in Orlando, USA, has been coming from animal activists and environmentalists alike. Last week, Ric O'Barry, director of Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project urged Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to “take immediate action to stop the Sindhudurg proposal before it proceeds”. Writing on behalf of the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), he stated that “dolphins do not cope well in cramped, artificial environments” and that “keeping them in captivity is morally and ethically indefensible.”
However, Dr Sarang Kulkarni, a marine biologist with the Science and Technology Park, who is in-charge of preparing the DPR rubbished the fears. “The opposition is based on half knowledge. There are lots of misunderstandings,” he told The Hindu on Thursday. The project had received an in- principal approval in October last year, based on the interim technical feasibility report prepared by the same institute.
The hostility from Mr O’Barry and similar organisations has put the government on the defensive. Recently, Maharashtra Tourism minister Chagan Bhujbal reportedly said, “Anything and everything is facing opposition from NGOs. This is not good for the state's development as a tourist hub,” reacting to Mr O’Barry’s letter to the Chief Minister.
Another Animal Dies in Indonesia Surabaya Zoo
After previously found unconscious and resuscitated, the Surabaya Zoo’s (KBS) giraffe finally passed away.
Kliwon, the 25-year old giraffe, was listed as the only African giraffe male (giraffa camelopardalis) in KBS.
“He died last night, precisely at 9 PM. We will conduct autopsy later. It’s to confirm the cause of death,” said Surabaya Zoo spokesperson, Anthan Warsito, Friday, March 2.
The autopsy will take place in the Surabaya Zoo. A number of people from the medical team will examine all its organs.
Warsito said that the zoo
Name mess: MP allowed cheetah ‘hunting’ even after extinction
The admission of guilt may have come a little late in the day, yet it’s worth taking note of. For 18 long years after the cheetah was officially declared extinct in the country, Madhya Pradesh continued to issue notifications allowing its hunting.
All because the fastest land animal was known in common parlance as the panther, and the gazetteers carried the confusion to the record books.
The embarrassing revelation was made in the Assembly by the government, which admitted that limited hunting of the cheetah was officially allowed in MP till 1970.
The last cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) in India was killed in 1947 and it was officially declared extinct in 1952.
Forest Minister Sartaj Singh told the Assembly in a written reply that the cheetah in the gazettes was actually the panther (Panthera pardus). The panther, the cheetah and the Hindi term “tendua” were used as synonyms. He claimed the then officials were aware that the carnivore had been declared extinct.
The question was asked by BJP MLA Premnarayan Thakur, who wanted to know what steps, if any, the government had taken to arrest the decline in numbers.
He was told that “over hunting” and lack of prey base coupled with growth of agriculture in its habitat were the reasons behind the animal getting extinct.
Fittingly enough, two sites in MP, the Kuno-Palpur and Nauradehi wildlife sanctuaries, have been chosen for re-introduction of the animal. The third possible site is
Tigon debuts in E China wildlife park
A newborn tigon was thrust into the spotlight in a wildlife park in eastern Jiangsu province Tuesday.
A pair of twin tigons and a lion cub, the offspring of a male tiger and a female lion, were born in Yancheng Safari Park of Changzhou city on December 26, 2011. But the female tigon cub died soon after its birth, said a park official.
"The two-month-old male tigon cub is very healthy and the wildlife park is considering providing strictly nutritious foods and a 24-hour nursery for it," said Xu Tianci, manager of the park.
Tigons have features of both tigers and lions, and their head usually resembles the mother, while their body resembles the father.
The rare tigons have a low survival rate, close to 1 in 500,000. The tigon is much rarer than the liger, a hybrid of a male lion and a tigress, said Tian Xiuhua, director of China Wildlife Conservation Association.
Tian said that the survival rate of tigons is much lower because it's more dangerous for a lioness to give birth than it is for a tigress, and the cubs have gene defects.
In China, tigons can also be seen in Haikou, Hainan province, Shenzhen, Guangdong province, and Xiamen, Fujian province.
Bipartisan Bill Prohibiting Private Possession of Big Cats introduced in House, with Senate Bill to Follow
Today, bipartisan legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives that would prohibit breeding and private possession of captive big cats. The "Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act," introduced by Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, (D-CA), would ensure that lions, tigers and other dangerous big cats—which are kept as pets in the U.S. in alarming numbers—do not threaten public safety, diminish global big cat conservation efforts, or end up living in deplorable conditions where they can be subject to mistreatment and cruelty. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) is expected to introduce a companion bill in the Senate within the next few weeks.
"No matter how many times people try to do it, wildcats such as lions, tigers, panthers and cheetahs are impossible to domesticate for personal possession and require much higher living standards compared to a domestic house cat," said Rep. McKeon. "When accidents happen and these wild cats are released into our neighborhoods, it causes panic, puts a strain on our local public safety responders and is extremely dangerous. This bill is a step forward in protecting the public and ensuring that wildcats reside in proper living conditions."
It is estimated that there are 10,000 to 20,000 big cats currently held in private ownership in the U.S., although the exact number remains a mystery. In the past 21 years, U.S. incidents involving captive big cats—tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs and lion/tiger hybrids—have resulted in the deaths of 21 humans, 246 maulings, 254 escapes, 143 big cats deaths and 131 confiscations.
"It's a little hard to believe that there's a crazy patchwork of regulations governing people who try to keep wild cats as pets. I know it sounds like something you just read about when there's a tragic news story, but it's all too real for first responders who respond to a 911 call and are surprised to come face to face with a Bengal tiger," said Sen. Kerry. "This bill will ensure that these endangered creatures are kept in secure, professional facilities like wildlife sanctuaries rather than in small cages in someone's backyard or apartment building."
The debate over private ownership of big cats garnered national attention last October when the owner of a backyard menagerie in Zanesville, Ohio, opened the cages of his tigers, leopards, lions, wolves, bears and monkeys before committing suicide. Local police, who were neither trained nor properly equipped to deal with a situation of that magnitude, were forced to shoot and kill nearly 50 animals—38 of them big cats—before they could enter populated areas.
Report: Employees, animals in danger at Las Vegas Zoo
The Las Vegas Zoo is in trouble again and it's not just about the animals.
Contact 13 has been exposing concerns about animal welfare at the zoo for more than two and a half years. Now, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is involved for the first time since the zoo opened more than 30 years ago.
Back in August, OSHA inspected the zoo for the first time after employees wrote formal complaints. That resulted in OSHA citing the zoo for multiple serious violation that put employees and the visiting public in danger.
When the OSHA inspector showed up to investigate employee complaints, zoo director Pat Dingle denied him entry, much like he did to Action News. He slammed his office door on Action News without a word.
OSHA's report says he turned them away because "he could" and stated he was a "retired police officer and knew how tough it would be to get a search warrant to conduct the inspection."
Animal welfare advocate Linda Faso says she's not surprised OSHA wrote the place up for serious violations after they finally got access. OSHA found the zoo not following industry standard by sending employees into the ape cage with no equipment to protect against scratches, cuts and disease.
"At any moment, one of those apes could grab somebody, bite them. That's the unknown," Faso said.
In the OSHA complaint, an employee quit after being injured by an ape wrote "I was put in extreme danger by Pat Dingle and fear for future zookeepers and the general public."
OSHA is also requiring him to upgrade his zookeeper house, which has been described
State senator says other businesses share zoo's OSHA problem
State Sen. John Lee read this week's column on the Las Vegas Zoo's battle with OSHA officials and experienced a sense of deja vu.
He had heard before the story of inspectors from Nevada's Occupational Safety and Health Administration office placing burdensome fines on small businesses. Proposing a $13,200 penalty on the diminutive zoo, a nonprofit run on a slender budget, was another example of bureaucrats gone wild.
Zoo Director Pat Dingle says the fines could shut down the facility after 31 years.
"Nevada OSHA seems to be pushing (businesses) out of the state as fast as we can bring them in," Lee says.
"No one wants employees or animals to get hurt," he adds, but overzealous inspectors can easily apply undue pressure.
And that makes him question whether state OSHA has the right mission. It should work to increase
Hong Kong Airline Bans Dolphin Cargo: Activists
A Hong Kong airline has promised to stop transporting live dolphins after coming under heavy criticism from animal welfare activists, conservationists said on Wednesday.
More than 6,500 people have signed an online petition urging Hong Kong Airlines to stop the business, revealed when an internal memo about a recent delivery from Japan to Vietnam was leaked to Chinese media.
“Hong Kong Airlines wishes to convey that it is a responsible member of the transport industry caring for the future and environment,” the airline said in a letter to animal welfare groups dated Wednesday.
“Since it is believed that transportation of this nature can result in endangering wildlife elsewhere, Hong Kong Airlines will immediately ban shipments of this kind,” the letter stated.
A copy of the letter was posted on US-based conservation group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Web site. Representatives from the group have written to the airline denouncing the dolphin shipment.
Hong Kong Airlines declined to comment.
“This action should send a message to all airlines that the consequences of transporting dolphins will result in such global negative publicity as to affect a loss of business that will far outweigh any short-term financial gain from the transfers,” Sea Shepherd Hong Kong coordinator Gary
Edinburgh Zoo’s penguin pen shut for maintenance
EDINBURGH Zoo’s iconic penguin enclosure is to close for months as urgent maintenance is carried out to fix the animals’ leaking pool.
The work will mean that the penguin colony is split up today. The relocation process will take up to two weeks, with a third of the penguins remaining at Edinburgh Zoo and others sent to zoos in Belfast, Gloucestershire, and Odense, Denmark. Some will never return.
Zoo officials said the first stage of repairs would involve allowing the outdoor penguin pool to drain naturally, which will take around five weeks, followed by an assessment by a team of engineers. The enclosure is expected to reopen in the summer.
Hugh Roberts, chief executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the charity which owns and manages Edinburgh Zoo, said: “The existing pool has served our large colony of kings, gentoos and rockhoppers extremely well for 20 years, and to ensure it continues to
Zoo man Damian Goodall fined over frog in Sri Lanka
A MELBOURNE Zoo keeper has been fined for allegedly illegally holding amphibians and reptiles in Sri Lanka.
Damian Goodall was arrested on Saturday in the northwestern town of Puttalam, while on a tour led by amphibian and reptile product retailer Exo Terre.
What was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, a prize won by Mr Goodall for his photography of animals, turned into a nightmare when Sri Lankan authorities searched group members as they prepared to leave their resort villas.
The Belgian leader of the group, Emmanuel Van Heygen, told a US internet radio station Mr Goodall had rescued a frog in the resort's saltwater swimming pool and put it in a bucket of fresh water in his room to rehydrate, which had constituted his charge of illegally holding an amphibian.
He was fined and is returning home.
"This guy is like the nicest guy ever," Mr Van Heygen said. "We have never done anything wrong. All we are doing is getting pictures."
Mr Goodall, 34, was one of six
Flushing eatery cooks unreal shark fin soup
State legislation that could ban the sale of shark fins used in traditional Chinese soup is either bad for business, good for the environment or just not a big deal depending on who you talk to, but one Flushing restaurant has a recipe to serve the dish legally even if it is outlawed.
Happy Buddha, near the corner of 37th Avenue and Main Street, serves up vegetarian shark fin soup that lovers of the meal — considered auspicious in Chinese culture — would be hard-pressed to distinguish from the real deal, except by its price.
Shark fin is a highly expensive, mostly tasteless flap of cartilage that comes from the top dorsal fin of sharks around the world.
But it is most often eaten at wedding banquets, according to Peter How, president of the Asian American Restaurant Association, where a bowl for 10 people could run between $150 and $500. The price tag often translates to elegance, he said, which is why brides and grooms spare no expense to ensure
Wanted alive: Endangered ibis escapes from Tokyo zoo
A female northern bald ibis has fled Tokyo's Tama Zoo and remains on the loose, the zoo's operator revealed on March 1.
The zoo in the capital's Hino district was alerted to the escape when it received a call from a nearby university saying that a rare bird had been spotted in front of the school's entrance.
When zoo officials counted their birds, they discovered that one of their 26 northern bald ibises -- a critically endangered species -- was missing from its cage.
The runaway ibis, according to zoo officials, is 40 to 50 centimeters tall with a black body and red beak and legs. It has blue identification rings on both of its legs.
Zoo staff believe the mesh on the upper part of the cage may have been loosened by accumulated snow, opening the escape route.
The zoo -- operated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau of Construction -- is requesting
How did it get THERE? Tree lobster thought to be extinct for 80 years found alive clinging 500ft up on remote Pacific rock taller than Empire State Building
A narrow and forbidding rock that stands higher than the Empire State Building, it does not look like the most welcoming place to set up home.
But that did not stop an insect which was thought to be extinct for 80 years from building its last known colony on the 1,844ft high Ball’s Pyramid.
Scientists have discovered 24 of the creatures living 500ft above the South Pacific Ocean around the single plant that had survived on the rock.
The ‘tree lobster’ insect, which is as large as a human hand, had somehow made its camp despite the lack of food and the harsh conditions.
Nobody could say how they got there in the first place - but four have now been taken off and have bred thousands more to ensure their species survives.
The astonishing discovery was made on Ball’s Pyramid which emerged from the sea seven million years ago off the coast of Australia near Lord Howe Island.
It is the equivalent of 11 Nelson’s Columns stuck one on top of the other. The Empire State building is only two thirds as tall at 1,250ft.
On all sides the rock face drops off vertically making it almost impossible for anything to survive - but the insects somehow did.
The six legged ‘tree lobster’ or, Dryococelus australis, was actually presumed extinct since none had been seen on Lord Howe Island since 1920.
They are 12cm long