Zoo News Digest
Exotic pets: Why do Americans keep dangerous animals?
There are more tigers in captivity in the US than in the wild in the whole of Asia, according to some estimates. But the trade in exotic pets has dangerous consequences for man and beast alike, writes Louis Theroux.
I was in the back garden of an elegant home in rural Missouri with a ticklish question hanging in the air. Should we let the big chimpanzee out of his cage?
For several weeks I'd been on a kind of suburban safari, on the trail of America's large and growing population of exotic wild animals that are kept as pets.
In Indiana, I'd had a close encounter with a baboon called Tatiana. I'd also spent several days getting to know a few of the more than 150 tigers at an "Exotic Animal Sanctuary" in Oklahoma, though mostly through the bars.
But this chimpanzee, called Cooper, was a step up on the exotic animal danger-scale. He belonged to a couple called Jill and Brad James.
The owners of a funeral home, they'd raised two daughters when they decided to take on Cooper. Later, to give Cooper some company, they added a second, younger chimp called Tucancary into the mix.
Even in the world of exotic animals, chimps are considered somewhat contr
Delhi zoo to get a major facelift
Aquarium, insectariums and a butterfly park along with different zones representing different geographical areas of India will be part of the revamp work to be carried out at the National Zoological Park over the next two decades. Authorities at the park, popularly known as Delhi Zoo, are all set to unveil the masterplan with focus on its overall upgrade and increasing its inhabitants.
The draft plan, which is almost finalised, envisions that Rs 150 crore will be spent on the park's upgrade over the next two decades.
Ever since 2008, thanks to reasons ranging from a court case to changes in the administration, had delayed the zoo's masterplan, which is under the purview of the Union ministry of environment and forests.
Major re-hauling works include a new comprehensive visitor centre along with automated parking and a fine dining
Future of Jersey's Durrell wildlife trust 'more secure'
The future of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is much more secure, says its chief executive.
In 2010, the wildlife charity had to cut jobs at the park in Jersey because of financial difficulties.
Paul Masterton said thanks to hard work from everyone at the trust, "things were looking up".
Speaking from the new visitor centre in Trinity, which he believes has helped, he said the the trust was on track to break even by 2014.
He said: "I am very proud to say that through a lot of hard work from everyone here at the trust
Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson's Zoo Targeted by PETA
Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson shouldn't be surprised if they get a call from Leonardo DiCaprio.
Just this morning, DiCaprio took to his Twitter to express his dismay over the horrific slaughter of escaped wild animals in Ohio.
But what does this have to do with Damon and Johansson?
Well, their new movie, We Bought a Zoo, is now being targeted PETA for the very same reason.
Based on Benjamin Mee's memoir, the film stars Damon as a father who moves his family to the countryside to help save a struggling zoo. Johansson plays a keeper at the animal park, which is home to an assortment of lions, tigers, zebras and bears, among other creatures.
PETA says it has sent a letter to Zoo director Cameron Crowe urging him to include a warning at the end of the movie about the dangers of owning wild animals.
"We Bought a Zoo conveys the misleading and downright dangerous message that no special knowledge—just a lot of heart—is needed to run a zoo," PETA's Lisa Lange said in a statement.
"As the tragedy in Ohio gruesomely illustrates, wild animals aren't Disney
Are whales slaves?
Animal rights campaign Peta has filed a lawsuit against SeaWorld based on the 13th amendment of the US constitution which outlaws slavery. Can killer whales be regarded as slaves?
PETA opposes marine park in Sindhudurg
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an American organisation, wrote to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday, urging him “to put a stop to the ill-conceived and reckless plan” of building a marine park in the coastal district of Sindhudurg.
The State government has proposed an aquarium-based theme park in Sindhudurg on the lines of SeaWorld, a chain of marine mammal parks and ‘oceanariums' in the United States. Spread over 200 acres, the Indian counterpart is reportedly estimated to cost around Rs.500 crore.
In an email to Mr. Chavan, PETA stated: “The proposal for a marine park in Sindhudurg flies in the face of growing worldwide condemnation of confining wild animals or otherwise using them for human diversion. As people around the world learn more about the miserable lives of animals in oceanariums and other captive environments, they are staying away…We respectfully ask that you give serious consideration to immediately
Zoo has response plan for animal escape
If a lion or bear managed to escape from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, officials there know exactly how to react.
The zoo has a thick manual, called the “animal escape procedure document,” that explains what to do in an escape situation. It is updated every year. Staff members drill in a special-response team twice a year, bringing in outside law enforcement and emergency teams for help.
That knowledge helped the zoo’s animal experts as they helped respond to the massive exotic-animal case near Zanesville on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“It is not something we take lightly,” said Dusty Lombardi, vice president of animal care. “We were the perfect zoo to respond to this. We have put ourselves in many different scenarios.”
Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz said his office did not have a plan in place for how to deal with an outbreak of animals of this magnitude, despite their knowledge of Terry W. Thompson’s farm and the problems they had there in the past. He said some people have a misconception that the animals escaped, but they were let loose, and officers could not have foreseen that, he said.
“Even if we had a plan for what happens if a lion gets loose, or what happens if two tigers get loose, or what happens if we have a lion and bear loose, there would never have been anything put in place for this,” he said.
Lutz said had this been just one or two animals escaping, and it had been earlier in the day, he has no doubt in his mind that they could have contained those animals and waited for wildlife
Attack of the jellyfish
Scientists debate the ‘rise of slime’ theory
In September, 62-year-old marathon swimmer Diana Nyad attempted to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, which had never been done before. But after making it roughly halfway there, Nyad had to abandon her goal. It wasn’t sharks that forced her to quit, but jellyfish: she received a number of stings, including to her face. The pain had become unbearable, she said, and made it dangerous for her to continue.
In the Gulf of Mexico, fishermen were complaining about them, too. Just over a year after the BP oil spill, a blanket of milky white moon jellies was clogging the water, slowing down business. This summer, media reports said jellyfish were being spotted on south Florida beaches “in record numbers.” Across the Atlantic, in the U.K. and the Mediterranean, bathers worried about large swarms of jellies (which are called blooms). A nuclear reactor in Scotland was temporarily shut down in June after jellyfish clogged its seawater filters. Off the coast of Japan, reports suggested Nemopilema nomurai, or Nomura’s jellyfish, which are as big as refrigerators, are increasing, but researchers aren’t sure exactly why.
Scientists have been sounding alarms about the “rise of slime” for at least a decade. As fish and other marine species are killed off by threats like overfishing, pollution and climate change, some say jellyfish—which have lived through Earth’s five mass extinctions—are taking over. Increasing jellyfish populations could be disastrous, hurting tourism, impeding shipping routes and crowding out the fish we typically rely on for food. But as dramatic as it sounds, experts are by no means in agreement. Among the small, tight-knit community of jellyfish scientists, the question of whether our oceans really are becoming a jelly-filled ooze is hotly debated.
Several types of jellies live off the Canadian coasts, including a tiny red one of the genus Crossota, which lives deep in the Arctic ocean and has appeared on a Canada Post stamp. They’re remarkable animals. “A jellyfish’s body is unlike any other species,” says Dave Albert
Zoo says exotic animals are doing well, but now owners wife wants them back
The Columbus Zoo is reporting that the surviving exotic animals from Zanesville, Ohioall appear to be healthy and adjusting to their new environment.
Terry Thompson, the Zanesvilleman whoset the animals free before committing suicide owed well over $70,000 in back taxes to the state. He had two liens filed against him last year.
Dozens of animals, including Bengaltigers, lions, wolves, monkeys and bears were freed from the Zanesville, Ohio, animal preserve and 48 of them were shot and killed by local police.
Three leopards, a grizzly bear and two Macaques were the only animals that survived. They are now in the care of Jack Hannah and the Columbus Zoo. The animals are said to still be showing signs of stress, but that they
15 baby gharials die at Chhatbir Zoo in 10 days; staff to be trained
Owing to consequent death of 15 babies of a gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) in the last 10 days, despite the authorities being regularly in consultation of the experts, the field director has planned to send some of the zoo officials to undertake special training for breeding of gharials.
The gharial had given birth to sixteen babies in June this year at Chhatbir Zoo. Of these, only one could be saved after being kept under optimum temperature.
Of these fifteen, the last three died on October 18, as per the officials.
Chhatbir Zoo Field Director Basanta Rajkumar said, “Gharials are cold-blooded species and their hibernation begins as soon as winters approach. Over the past two years, similar deaths had been reported during the season change. Despite all the precaution measures, we managed to ensure the survival of the babies for four months only.” “To avoid any similar situations next winters, we have planned to get send our team for a training
Komodo Dragon Dies at Surabaya Zoo
A female Komodo dragon has died of unknown causes at one of the country’s most notorious zoos.
The eight-year-old reptile was found dead in her enclosure at Surabaya Zoo at about 11 p.m. on Sunday, zoo spokesman Anthan Warsito said.
He said there had been no indications beforehand that the dragon was ill. I nitial suspicions were that the animal had died from some sort of infection, although tests would be needed
Concern as More Animals Die at Indonesian Zoo
An Indonesian forestry agency has threatened to forcibly evacuate animals from Surabaya Zoo after another spike in deaths.
The East Java Natural Resources Conservation Center, an agency that falls under the Forestry Ministry, said on Thursday that it believed the lack of fixed management was contributing to the deaths of the animals.
Lutfi Ahmad, head of the center, told Okezone.com that if more deaths occurred, the zoo would lose all its animals.
“It would be much better if the [animals] were removed until a fixed management is formed. The deaths of the animals is the cause of the power struggle among the zoo’s management people,” Lutfi
Peta takes aim at We Bought a Zoo
Cameron Crowe asked to tame forthcoming film's cavalier attitude to owning wild animals in wake of Ohio zoo tragedy
With its assertion that "you don't even need any special knowledge to run a zoo – what you need is … a lot of heart", the trailer for Cameron Crowe's forthcoming We Bought a Zoo raised a few eyebrows when it debuted in September. Not least, it appears, among the members of US animal rights group Peta, which is calling for the movie to display a warning pointing out that taking charge of a menagerie of exotic creatures is actually a rather daunting task.
The group's request comes after the shooting last week of nearly 50 animals in a tragedy at a zoo in Zanesville, Ohio. Police were forced to kill 18 rare Bengal tigers and 17 lions, as well as dozens of bears, monkeys and leopards, after the owner of the private facility released them from their cages before allegedly shooting himself to death.
"We Bought a Zoo conveys the misleading and downright dangerous message that no special knowledge – just a lot of heart – is needed to run a zoo," Peta vice president Lisa Lange said in a statement. "As the tragedy in Ohio gruesomely illustrates, wild animals aren't Disney characters. They have very special needs
Loving the Chambered Nautilus to Death
It is a living fossil whose ancestors go back a half billion years — to the early days of complex life on the planet, when the land was barren and the seas were warm.
Naturalists have long marveled at its shell. The logarithmic spiral echoes the curved arms of hurricanes and distant galaxies. In Florence, the Medicis turned the pearly shells into ornate cups and pitchers adorned with gold and rubies.
Now, scientists say, humans are loving the chambered nautilus to death, throwing its very existence into danger.
“A horrendous slaughter is going on out here,” said Peter D. Ward, a biologist from the University of Washington, during a recent census of the marine creature in the Philippines. “They’re nearly wiped out.”
The culprit? Growing sales of jewelry and ornaments derived from the lustrous shell. To satisfy the worldwide demand, fishermen have been killing the nautilus by the millions, scientists fear. Now marine biologists have begun to assess the status of its populations and to consider whether it should be listed as an endangered species
Take away his tigers
It all started in 1996 with six illegal tigers reportedly bought by the Thanh Canh Enterprise
in Binh Duong province. The law at that time, as it does today, stated that it was illegal to keep wild animals unless they were of legal origin. However, enforcement of the law back at the time was weak, and ten years later in 2006, the owners had acquired more than 100 animals including endangered
primates, about 60 bears and many other species, many of which lacked legal permits, according to local authorities.
In addition to the original tigers, a secret breeding program had produced offspring, which
authorities suspect were being sold into the trade. In fact, in 2007, a tiger cub was observed
at Thanh Canh by ENV investigators, at a time when the owners were claiming that there were no births.
In 2007, the issue of private individuals keeping tigers came under the national spotlight and lacking facilities to place confi scated tigers, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
settled on registering the tigers at six existing establishments. The idea was that the owners
would be keeping them for “conservation”, and would be prohibited from any form of commercial
trade in the tigers or th
Conservationists round on Chinese whale shark aquarium
It is China's most audacious tourist attraction yet, a sleek metal-clad aquarium holding a pod of five whale sharks, the largest fish in the world.
Since it opened last month, some 30,000 visitors have flocked to the Whale Shark Aquarium in the northern city of Yantai, enchanted by the languid movements of its star attractions.
In a fillip to national pride, the owners have boasted that there is no other aquarium in the world where tourists can see five whale sharks swimming together.
But conservationists have opened fire, accusing the aquarium of cramming the whale sharks into a tank that is far too small for them.
When they reach maturity, each of the five whale sharks is likely to be 33ft long and weigh nine tons, while their tank measures just 88ft by 52ft.
By contrast, the tank at the Georgia Aquarium in the United States, which hosts four whale sharks, is ten times the size.
"I am quite pessimistic about the fate of these whale sharks," said Hua Ning, a campaigner at the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Beijing. "This aquarium only wants to make a profit and are using these creatures as a publicity gimmick. The whale shark is the largest fish in the world, and it needs a vast area of ocean to swim in.
Keeping them in a tiny space will put a lot of pressure on them and there will be corresponding consequences." Xiao Bing, an environmental activist in Xiamen, added: "In other countries, they prefer to take visitors out to sea in order to see large whales and fish. This is a low-cost way of enjoying nature, and mainland investors should look at this
Review of the world's first photography exhibition underwater
Having lived in Brighton a fair few months, it seemed almost criminal that I hadn't been down to The Brighton Sea Life Centre, the oldest operating aquarium in the WORLD. So when the chance to witness the first ever underwater photography exhibition arose, I decided to dive right in (sorry).
Celebrations Of The Sea, which features portraits of professionals whose lives are dominated by the ocean, and is sponsored by John West, is the first exhibit of its kind, and opened in the Victorian aquarium, which has been fully operating in Brighton since 1872.
The portraits are displayed in tanks occupied by various sea creatures, and were produced by acclaimed marine photographer Kate Westaway, who has photographed marine life across the world, and notably Angelina Jolie, during the filming for Tomb Raider.
The first thing I notice when entering the aquarium, is just how beautiful the architecture is; the typical Victorian design, with its wrought iron supports twisted into beautiful shapes and the incredibly high ceilings, provide a beautiful backdrop for this incredible attraction, and ultimately
Chimpanzee escapes her enclosure at Dallas Zoo
Koko, a 25-year-old chimpanzee at the Dallas Zoo, briefly escaped from her enclosure Tuesday morning but stayed in an area not open to the public and was quickly caught, officials said.
Police were summoned about 10:20 a.m. by zoo officials, who said a large adult female chimpanzee had gotten loose, Senior Cpl. Sherri Jeffrey said.
Authorities closed the Wilds of Africa exhibit and moved visitors as zoo workers quickly reached the chimp and shot her with a tranquilizer dart.
"Koko is groggy but doing fine," zoo Deputy Director Lynn Kramer said. "Our staff was never in any danger, and the public was never in contact
Exotic Animal Survivors From Zanesville Farm In Ohio: How You Can Help
Though the Columbus Zoo has now taken in the sole six survivors from the Zanesville, Ohio, farm tragedy, the animals still need additional help.
No one is sure as to why Terry Thompson, 62, released more than 50 animals from his private farm and committed suicide, the AP reports. But, activists and nonprofits are stepping in to make sure that those that escaped death are properly cared for and that such a tragedy doesn't happen again.
See the list below for ways you can help:
Help The Survivors
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and the Wilds is currently caring for the three leopards, two Celebes macaques, and one young grizzly bear that survived the tragedy on Tuesday. Though
Baby emperor penguin attracts visitors to Wakayama animal park
A newborn emperor penguin was unveiled to the public Thursday at an animal park in Shirahama, Wakayama Prefecture, the only facility in Japan that has succeeded in breeding such birds, the park operator said.
The baby penguin was born Oct. 18 using a special incubator at Wakayama Adventure World, one of two facilities in Japan offering public viewing of emperor penguins, as the 14th emperor penguin there.
According to Adventure World, it is difficult to breed emperor penguins as it requires an environment similar to penguins' natural habitat of Antarctica for hatching.
The baby, the sixth emperor penguin born
Richardsons give $5M to Assiniboine Park
Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park has received a $5 million gift from the Richardson Foundation, the single largest gift in the park's history.
The donation is earmarked for the interactive Journey to Churchill exhibit, announced earlier this year. The province has said the exhibit will be a world-class attraction for the park which is being developed as part of a massive $200-million redevelopment of the park, lead by the Assiniboine Park Conservancy.
Journey to Churchill, along with one of its major components, the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre, is part of a $31-million commitment made by the province last year.
Scheduled to open in October 2013, the exhibit will include a Polar Bear Conservation Centre for academic research on the Arctic environment and polar bear conservation, public education programs, and a polar bear rescue and relocation network for orphaned or injured animals.
The $25-million exhibit will also include underwater and above-ground viewing opportunities, with polar bears
Killer crane got zoo keeper sacked
Bruce the Brolga was known to have temper
A keeper at Wellington Zoo was sacked after she left a small female bird in an enclosure with a killer Australian crane named Bruce.
The peahen was promptly attacked and was so badly hurt it had to be put down.
The crane, named Bruce the Brolga, was known to have a violent temper. It was aggressive toward humans, had previously attacked a wallaby, and was the prime suspect in the killing of other birds, including another brolga crane.
Kelly Green, a keeper at the zoo for four years, was suspended from her job and was later dismissed. She appealed against the dismissal through the Employment Relations Authority.
Its report said Ms Green told a supervisor she had expected the peahen – the female version of a peacock – to fly out the top of the cage in the July 2010 incident.
"She said that she had noticed it had looked a bit slow and
Indonesia may host man-made 'orangutan island'
UK conservationist plans to create four new islands in northern Sumatra for sick and injured orangutans currently in cages
A British conservationist is leading an audacious plan to create a chain of man-made islands in northern Sumatra that would liberate the Indonesian island's population of caged orangutans.
Dr Ian Singleton aims to create four islands of grass, shrubs and trees for sick and injured orangutans – those who are unable to be reintroduced to the natural habitat – to roam, freeing them from the 3x4m cages in which they currently reside.
Singleton is currently in the process of securing land for the islands. The ideal location would be near the coast with a consistent supply of fresh water via a stream or river.
Diggers, operated by local contractors, will then carve up the land to create moats, thereby encircling the land with water. The earth removed by the digging will be used to landscape the islands to make them ape-friendly.
Orangutans, which can't swim, will be reluctant to leave the islands due to the water, although Singleton plans to erect an electric fence to ensure the creatures don't drown.
"Depending on the site, it shouldn't take us too long to create the islands, as long as the moats don't leak," Singleton told the Guardian from northern Sumatra.
"The biggest challenge is finding the right land that has the right security and a water supply that isn't full of effluent."
"Finding a clean stream in Sumatra can be difficult as there's lots of pollution, but we have the option
Vienna Zoo polar bears 'will suffer'
Bosses of Austria’s most popular zoo have rejected animal rights activists’ appeals to stop setting up a new polar bear enclosure.
Vienna’s Tiergarten Schönbrunn (Schönbrunn Zoo) plans the creation of a Eisbärenwelt (Polar Bear World) by 2014. Now Frank Albrecht of the Österreichischer Tierschutzverein – a leading organisation for the protection of animals – harshly criticised the touristic attraction over the project. He told the Kurier that polar bears would certainly not feel well at the new compound "no matter how large it will be."
Albrecht said yesterday (Tues) that 70 to 95 per cent of polar bears in zoos suffered from behavioural disorders. "Polar bears always suffer," he said about animals kept at zoos. Albrecht also criticised the costs of the project of nine million Euros and called on Schönbrunn Zoo to stop building the Polar Bear World enclosure.
Gerhard Kasbauer, vice chief of the zoo, said in a first reaction to Albrecht’s attack: "It is true that polar bears are rogues. This is why the new compound will feature two separate parts."
Speaking to the Kurier newspaper, Kasbauer also said that breeding was becoming more important due to climate change effects on polar bears' natural habitats. He stressed the zoo had no plans to make changes to the construction project.
There are currently no polar bears at Schönbrunn Zoo. The zoo – which will celebrate its 260th anniversary next year – was awarded Best Zoo in Europe 2010 for a second time in a row after 2008 when the examination was also carried out. Leipzig Zoo in Germany came second in the most recent survey by the Zoological Society of London, Great Britain. The Zoologischer Garten in German capital Berlin was ranke
All lions and tigers need a good home
Our tour at the Conservators’ Center in Caswell County was winding to an end Saturday afternoon before Julia Wagner brought us to the “star attraction.”
He’s Arthur, a handsome white tiger. Arthur was a malnourished cub when he arrived three years ago, but he’s plenty big and healthy looking now.
“He is not smart,” Wagner confided to a group of about 15 visitors. “He is challenged by a lot of things. But he’s sweet.”
Wagner, the center’s director of outreach, shared observations about the individual characteristics of many of the nearly 100 animals we saw during our hour-long tour. A former keeper, she’s clearly in love with her work.
The population includes 10 tigers, 21 lions and two leopards, as well as servals, a caracal, bobcats, a lynx, wolves, an ocelot, binturongs, lemurs and many other species.
My visit was prompted by last week’s tragedy near Zanesville, Ohio. The owner of an exotic animal farm opened the cages, then killed himself. Local authorities, whose priority was public safety, gunned down 35 lions and tigers.
So here, about 15 miles northeast of Burlington, occupying 40 acres of woodland and a former farm, is a facility with nearly as many large cats, as well as other potentially dangerous animals. Yet it’s not a state zoo or even a public-private facility like Greensboro’s Natural Science Center.
In fact, North Carolina is one of a handful of states — with Ohio — that doesn’t regulate private ownership of exotic animals. There are as many as 150 lions and tigers at federally licensed facilities in North Carolina, according to some estimates.
Last week’s incident inevitably raises questions about the need for tighter restrictions or an outright ban on private ownership.
The issue gets Mindy Stinner’s attention. She is the 12-year-old center’s co-founder and director. High standards and regular inspections to assure public safety and animal welfare are fine with her, but not a prohibition that would close her operation. It’s too important. For most of the animals at her facility, “we were the last resort before euthanasia,” she
State of Ohio intervenes to keep exotic pets in zoo
The state of Ohio intervened on Thursday to stop six exotic animals from being transferred back to the widow of the man who released them and dozens of other creatures last week shortly before killing himself.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture said it issued a quarantine order for the three leopards, two monkeys and one grizzly bear currently held at the Columbus Zoo, citing concerns "the animals could be infected with disease as a result of the conditions in which they were reportedly held."
Earlier on Thursday, the zoo said it had been notified by attorneys representing Marian Thompson that she planned to collect the six animals and return them to the couple's farm
After 20 Years, Zoo's Long-Promised Elephant Exhibit Nears Completion
A new elephant exhibit, promised at the Honolulu Zoo for nearly 20 years, is now just a few weeks away from completion. The new $12 million elephant habitat may help the zoo regain its accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The zoo's two female elephants, Vaigai and Mari, will move out of their cramped, old exhibit in about two weeks and into their new one-and-a-half acre habitat that is roughly 10 times larger than their old one.
"This is a much larger exhibit so you're probably going to, for the most part, see them further off in the distance," said Honolulu Zoo Director Manuel Mollinedo.
Mollinedo said the zoo will keep a construction fence around the exhibit for several weeks after the elephants move in, before officially opening it on Dec. 12.
"So we can let the elephants adjust to their new home, 'cause they're going to be nervous here. This is a new environment," he said.
The facility has two separate habitats, so the zoo can eventually bring in a male elephant that will live apart from the females until he breeds with them.
The new habitat has almost a resort-like quality, with two swimming pools and waterfalls, so the elephants can swim and
Breeder slams Bob Katter executive Rob Nioa's trophy 'hunting'
THE trophy hunting of rare antelopes on a Northern Territory game park has sparked outrage from the businessman who originally raised the "extinct in the wild" animals for his private collection.
The African scimitar oryxes are being offered for trophy hunts for between $50 and $5000 an animal on a 4046ha area at the Mary River Australia Safari Park, about 250km south of Darwin.
Mr Anderson said he bred the herd up to 100, which he sold to the Mareeba Wildlife Park in Queensland, but when the park failed to gain permission for authorities to bring the animals into Queensland, the Mareeba zoo operator on-sold them to Mary River ...
Spooky Looking Hatchlings Arrive for Halloween
Pharaoh cuttlefish float like ghosts in the dimly-lit depths within the Boneless Beauties gallery at the Tennessee Aquarium. With eight arms and two long tentacles, these creatures conjure up images of the Kraken, the legendary sea monster. However, these animals are rather timid. “Cuttlefish are cephalopods related to squid and octopus,” said Carol Haley, the Aquarium’s assistant curator of fishes. “Like octopi, cuttlefish have chromatophores, special cells they use to change the color of their skin. They do this for camouflage, to express
Sumatran Tiger Conservation Foundation Rescues Another Endangered Tiger, Begins Relocation Process
Relocation Supported by Asia Pulp & Paper as part of ongoing tiger conservation programmes
The Sumatran Tiger Conservation Foundation (YPHS) has today announced the successful rescue and planned relocation of an endangered two-year-old Sumatran tiger. The tiger, named Bima, was rescued in Riau Province, after being caught in human-tiger conflict.
This follows the successful rescue last August of another Sumatran tiger, named Putri, which was subsequently relocated to Sembilang National Park, in eastern Sumatra. The two rescues were both supported by Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP), which has been a long standing partner of the YPHS.
"We are thrilled to have rescued Bima, and to have added him to the ranks of the Sumatran tigers that we have helped protect," said Bastoni (single name), the senior YPHS conservationist, who led the team that saved Putri and cared for the tiger for several months before its eventual release in Sembilang National Park.
"Our relocation process is extremely delicate. Safely rescuing a tiger that has come into contact with humans, conducting a thorough medical assessment, ensuring it remains safe and healthy, and ready
25 staff given notice as top tourist attraction announces closure
NEXT year’s season will be the last for one of south Lincolnshire’s biggest tourist attractions.
A significant drop in visitor numbers along with rising costs mean the directors of Long Sutton Butterfly and Wildlife Park have been left with no alternative but to close.
Director Peter Smeaton said the decision was sad but did not come as a surprise to the ten full-time and 15 seasonal staff, who have been given 12 months’ notice.
He said: “It’s a combination of increased costs and red tape. One example is our zoo licence, where one of the conditions that they have imposed is that we have to put up a high security fence around the park at a cost of about £200,000.
“Our biggest cost is wages, where there have been increases in the minimum wage, the second is heat and the third is feed. Every single item that we buy has gone up.”
Mr Smeaton says the park, which has been running for 24 years, is currently losing about £100
Toronto and Taiwan Make Strides for Sharks
The good news just keeps rolling in for sharks – this time from Toronto and Taiwan.
Yesterday the Toronto City Council voted to ban the sale and use of shark fins in the city; the ban will take effect in September 2012.
Meanwhile, Taiwan has announced its intention to ban the practice of shark finning starting next year, a step forward in promoting the sustainable fishing and humane treatment of sharks. Shark finning is the practice of cutting the valuable fins off of sharks, and throwing the dead or dying body back in the ocean. Shark fins are used to make shark fin soup, a popular and expensive dish that is served primarily in China and
Zoo keepers fuming over vote sending elephants to sanctuary
The Toronto Zoo’s elephant keepers are up in arms over a late-night city council vote to send the animals to a sanctuary rather than an accredited facility.
“No offence to any city (councillors) that made the decision, but they’re quite honestly not qualified to make a decision on what’s best for these elephants,’’ an angry Vernon Presley, one of seven elephant keepers at the zoo, told the Star Wednesday night.
Council voted 31-4 late Tuesday to send the zoo’s three remaining elephants — Toka, Thika and Iringa —to the sprawling Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary in San Andreas, Calif., rather than a zoo accredited with the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
The zoo’s board of management voted in the spring to close the elephant exhibit for cost reasons, and the board’s first choice was an AZA facility.
In the meantime, animal rights advocates, led by former Price is Right host Bob Barker, launched an aggressive campaign to have the trio packed off to PAWS. Barker has offered to put up some of his own money toward the $100,000 to $300,000 cost to move them south.
Behind the scenes, zoo officials, staff and animal rights interests have been debating the merits of the sanctuary. Proponents say PAWS and others like it provide warmer climates and huge swaths for elephants to roam. But critics say sanctuaries have lower standards of care and don’t operate transparently.
Last week, a zoo official said talks were going well with an AZA facility in the U.S., a destination favoured by the elephant keepers. That’s now been scuttled by council’s decision.
Presley, who hasn’t been to the PAWS sanctuary, said AZA standards require regular routines with elephants, including drawing blood, trunk inspections and daily exercise such as strength and flexibility training, elephant “yoga’’ and cardio work.
PAWS co-founder and co-director Pat Derby said Wednesday she’s “surprised and excited’’ Toronto’s elephants are coming to her facility, which offers 30 hectares for African elephants, 20 hectares for Asian elephants and a barn with heated floors. They also have a Jacuz
Hume: Let’s hope elephants do forget
At this point it’s hard to say who’s in greater need of our help — Toronto’s pachyderms or its politicians.
Undoubtedly, the city’s three elephants will be happy to put their enclosures at the Toronto Zoo behind them and head for sunnier climes.
But what has this got to do with city council?
Perhaps because the elephants are “city property” — a thoroughly obnoxious concept — council felt the need to get involved, for all the right reasons, of course.
Then again, maybe the elephants presented an opportunity for a rare display of official compassion.
Good intentions aside, council has no business sticking its collective nose into matters that require more expert input. Or have we reached the point where even the fate of these unfortunate creatures is political?
City councils have always been happy to devote
Mystery Still Shrouds Alleged Orangutan Slaughter in E Kalimantan
Last September, a newspaper in Samarinda, the capital of East Kalimantan Province, received photos from a local resident allegedly showing orangutans being slaughtered.
The alleged orangutan killings reportedly had occurred from 2009 to 2010 at Puan Cepak village, Muara Kaman sub district, Kutai Kartanegara District, East Kalimantan Province. Kalimantan or Borneo Orangutans (Pongo Pygmaeus) are often considered as a pest by plantation companies.
Chairman of the East Kalimantan Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) Mukmin Faisyal has urged police to investigate the alleged killings of the endangered and protected animals.
"I ask the legal enforcers to fully investigate the case and bring the perpetrators to court, no matter what excuses they have. The primates must be protected," Mukmin Faisyal said in Samarinda recently.
He regretted that the rare primates living in East Kalimantan are seen as a pest at oil palm plantations and not protected by certain parties. The forestry ministry’s forest protection and nature conservation director, Darori, said in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, Sumatra, recently that his office in cooperation with police, has carried out an investigation into the case.
He suspected that certain companies o
A report says the Javan rhino is now extinct in Vietnam
A critically endangered species of rhino is now extinct in Vietnam, according to a report by conservation groups.
The WWF and the International Rhino Foundation said the country's last Javan rhino was probably killed by poachers, as its horn had been cut off.
Experts said the news was not a surprise, as
Can Asia’s large mammals be saved from extinction?
The Javan rhino isn’t the only south east Asian mammal whose future looks bleak, says the WWF’s A. Christy Williams
Earlier this year, when I received the results of DNA analysis of rhino dung and tissue samples gathered from the Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam, it confirmed our worst fears. The last Javan rhino in the country had been poached in early 2010. It’s an event that could be the first milestone on a potentially inexorable slide towards the extinction of several large mammals in south east Asia.
In the 1990s, as the region opened up after years of war, there was a real feeling of joy and optimism amongst conservationists, when several large mammals were either re-discovered (the Javan rhinos in Cat Tien) or newly discovered (the Saola, Giant Muntjac in Laos and Vietnam) and protected areas, on paper at least, were being set up at a rapid pace. Non-government
100,000 turtles sacrificed in ritual slaughter to celebrate Hindu festival
A Hindu festival that celebrates light has been shrouded in darkness following the sacrificial slaughter of up to 100,000 turtles.
Shown in these horrifying images, critically endangered species including the northern river terrapin and the black soft-shell turtle, are sacrificed in the name of religion.
The ancient ritual takes place during the celebration of Kali Puja, which started in Bengal yesterday.
Held once a year, and corresponding with the festival Diwali, sacrifices are made to Kali, the Hindu goddess of power.
During Kali Puja, market streets are teeming with devotees who purchase and consume thousands of turtles.
One of the species found on Dhaka's markets is the northern river terrapin.
Around 25 individuals are known to exist, making it one of the rarest animals on earth.
On paper it is offered the same level of protection as a tiger.
Another targeted species is the black soft-shell, which has only recently been officially been found in the wild and it has a single population in a pond in the region of Chittagong.
Even though many of the turtles are critically endangered and feature on Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, the slaughter
Trees blamed for lack of air
A day after 136 students collapsed at a Kompong Cham high school while standing at attention as punishment for not showing deference to the national flag, the local police chief offered a unique explanation for the mass fainting – trees.
“According to the hospital’s analysis, the reason why the students fainted is [because of] the huge tree in the school compound and the farmland surrounding the school, which absorbed the oxygen,” said Heng Meng, police chief of Chamkar Leu district, adding that the punishment could not be blamed as one of the teachers “also [had difficulty breathing] and felt dizzy”.
Heng Phal Rith, school director of Bosknor high school in Chamkar Leu district, also cited the hospital’s report in blaming the incident on a lack of oxygen, adding that he “did not punish the students. It is just a rumour”.
A doctor from the local hospital, Iv Then, said that
Zoo Miami Celebrates New Solar Array Donated by FPL
FPL and Zoo Miami celebrated the unveiling of the first solar array installed on the Zoo grounds, located in the Amazon & Beyond exhibit on top of the trellis area in the main plaza.
Part of FPL’s Next Generation Solar Education Station program, the solar array is a donation from Florida Power & Light Company and the result of a partnership with Zoo Miami and the Zoological Society of Florida to expand the zoo’s green initiatives.
The Zoo Miami Next Generation Solar Education Station features operational solar panels similar to those in service at FPL’s DeSoto Next Generation Energy Center in Arcadia, Fla. The array of photovoltaic panels converts sunlight directly into electricity, producing on average 617 kWh
Fort Worth Zoo installs 4,000-square-foot solar panel to power facility
Texas is continually making headway in the amount of solar energy used, most recently with the September installation of a 4,000-square-foot solar array system powering several buildings at the Fort Worth Zoo.
The new 47.5-kilowatt solar panel system was installed on the roof of the zoo’s administration building and is expected to produce more than 93,000 kilowatt-hours of clean electricity per year, saving around $300,000 over the system’s 30-year lifetime.
The Green Mountain Energy Sun Club donated $140,000 to the zoo to pay for the solar panel
Sad end to an unusal friendship between dog, elephant
Officials at The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tenn., said Friday that Bella, a rescue dog whose longtime companion had been Tarra the Asian elephant, was killed earlier this week.The best friends were the stars of the sanctuary and even had a book written about them.
Femen Against Kiev Zoo Administration
Today topless Femen activists expressed their indignation standing on the roof of the entrance to the Kiev zoo. They distributed bowels and blood over the floor demanding to stop corrupted administration from stealing material resources of the zoo and sentencing the species to extinction. According to them, the zoo must be closed, the animals sent to zoological gardens and zoo administration put in cages instead of the animals.
Elephant gives birth after a two year pregnancy - the longest ever recorded at a British zoo
Elephants are notorious for their long memories, but now they will be renowned for their lengthy pregnancies.
Long-suffering Asian elephant Azizah was carrying her baby for 700 days - 84 longer than the average -and finally gave birth at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Bedfordshire, last Tuesday.
It is believed to be the longest pregnancy ever recorded at the British zoo - nearly two extra months over the normal gestation period of 22 months.
And the baby, at just 16 stone (104kg) at birth, is
Exotic pet bite infects Chattanooga girl
When Jada Thurmond showed up at the emergency room complaining of stabbing stomach pain Sept. 18, the doctors treated her for a virus and sent her home.
By the next morning, the 16-year-old was battling a fever of 102, suffering severe headaches and urinating blood. Her mother rushed her to Children's Hospital at Erlanger.
That's when Thurmond told her mother and doctors about the kinkajou bite. To which everyone replied, "Kinka-what?"
"I had never heard of the animal, and neither had the doctors," said Thurmond's mother, Miika Montgomery. "I was Googling it, they were Googling it. ... If it had been a dog or a cat or a raccoon, they would have known exactly what to do, but
Zion Wildlife Park tours face delay
People wanting to tour financially troubled Zion Wildlife Gardens near Whangarei face delays, despite assurances it is business as usual at the park.
Receiver PricewaterhouseCoopers is keeping mum on the future of the park and the fate of its big cats while talks with interested parties continue.
It's understood receivers are running pre-booked tours with certain conditions, three months after the park ran into financial trouble.
Those ringing the park to make bookings are encountering a recorded telephone message saying Zion is closed for public tours while receivers assess the situation.
The park's Gray Rd office is not being manned.
It's understood limited
Animal park to put up high fence two years after zoologist row
A safari park hopes to erect threemetre high fencing in its elephant enclosure almost two years after a former worker quit over safety fears.
Dr Paul O’Donoghue resigned from Woburn Safari Park and took the company to an employment tribunal saying worries over the animals’ wellbeing led to his resignation in 2009.
At the hearing, zoologist, Dr O’Donoghue claimed that an elephant escaping from its enclosure was the ‘final straw’. He told the tribunal in March: “When an elephant escaped, it wasn’t reported to the local authority and for me it was the final straw.
“The fence it was kept in was a fence you would keep sheep in – it was about three to five feet tall.
“An elephant would not, and did not, have any trouble
Michigan City zoo director suspended
The director of Washington Park Zoo in Michigan City has been disciplined for having what was described as an "after-hours" party at the zoo.
Among the violations cited against Johnny Martinez were concessions such as ice cream and slushies being eaten without paying for the items and not picking up the litter.
Originally, Martinez was suspended by parks Superintendent Jan Orlich for five days, but that was increased to 20 days Wednesday by the Michigan City Park Board.
The board's decision came at the recommendation of Orlich, who
Scandal of the private zoo that ended in slaughter
Their owner freed them moments before his suicide. Now the hunting of scores of wild animals has shocked Ohio and America
It wasn't easy for residents of Zanesville, Ohio, to fathom how such carnage involving so many exotic animals could have happened in their midst yesterday, and yet, looking back, you could say that something like this was always bound to happen at the private Dolittle compound of Terry Thompson.
The pandemonium at the Muskingum County Animal Farm began late Tuesday when police officers responded to calls that some of its 56 animals were on the loose. They found the farm gate unlocked and animal cage doors wide open. They also found Thompson dead from a gunshot wound. It is believed he shot himself.
That Thompson, a veteran of Vietnam who sold firearms from the farm and once owned a Harley Davidson dealership in the area, had long been at war with the rest of the world was no secret. He had just spent a year in prison for firearms violations and had often been in dispute with neighbours.
The sheriff's office had received numerous complaints since 2004 about animals escaping on to neighbours' property. Thompson had been charged over the years with animal cruelty, animal neglect and allowing animals to roam.
Some who had had run-ins with Thompson, who lived on the 70-acre farm – which was not open to the public – with his wife, Marian, think they know what happened. Desperate for whatever reason – perhaps the huge cost of keeping the animals had overwhelmed him – he freed them as a parting gift to all his neighbours. It "could have been a 'fuck you' to everybody around him," suggested Angie McElfresh, who lives close by.
"What a tragedy," Barb Wolfe, a veterinarian with The Wilds, a nearby wild animal preserve. "We knew there were so many dangerous animals at this place that eventually something bad would happen, but I don't think anybody really knew it would be this bad."
It could have been worse. When Sheriff Mark Lutz arrived at the farm with his deputies they were confronted by wild and dangerous animals everywhere. His first concern was the safety of his officers and the local community. Containing the animals, which mostly meant shooting to kill, was his first priority before someone got mauled.
After an all-night hunt that extended into Wednesday afternoon, 48 animals were killed. Six others – three leopards, a grizzly bear and two monkeys – were captured and taken to the Columbus Zoo. A wolf was later found dead.
Another monkey, that was carrying the dangerous Herpes B virus, is believed to be dead after being eaten by one of the other animals. Those destroyed included 18 rare Bengal tigers – an endangered species – and 17 lions, six black bears, two grizzlies, a wolf, a baboon and three mountain
Rescued exotic animals land at Columbus Zoo
Sheriff: Big cat bit owner's head after suicide
Amid expressions of horror and revulsion at the killing of dozens of wild animals in Ohio — and photographs of their bloody carcasses — animal rights advocates agreed there was little local authorities could have done to save the dangerous creatures once they began roaming the countryside after their owner released them before taking his own life.
Sheriff's deputies shot 48 animals — including 18 rare Bengal tigers and 17 lions — after Terry Thompson, owner of the private Muskingum County Animal Farm near Zanesville, threw their cages open Tuesday and then committed suicide.
Thompson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and also had a bite wound on the head that appeared to have come from a large cat, such as a Bengal tiger, county Sheriff Matt Lutz said Thursday morning.
It appeared the bite occurred quickly after Thompson shot himself and that his body had been dragged a short distance, Lutz said.
"What a tragedy," said veterinarian Barb Wolfe, of The Wilds animal preserve sponsored by the Columbus Zoo. "We knew that ... there were so many dangerous
Zoo employees decry 'horrid' loss of animal life in Ohio on Wednesday
Workers and volunteers at Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure shared their passion for wild animals Thursday, and echoed distaste over the destruction of so many exotic species Wednesday in western Ohio.
But they also agreed that the shooting of 18 Bengal tigers, 17 lions and other species was justified. The animals were let loose from the Muskingum County Animal Farm by owner Terry Thompson, who later committed suicide.
"Of course, you're concerned about human safety. That's always top priority," said Sandy Walker, assistant director at Rolling Hills, a zoo with a museum and other attractions located seven miles west of Salina.
"While it's a terrible tragedy, there is no way to anesthetize animals in the dark," she said.
The news was followed by "a lot of shock," said Peter Burvenich, the Rolling Hills curator.
"Any time you lose that many animals for any reason, it's horrid," he said.
The story also brings to light the issue of keeping wild animals, the responsibility and resources required, and what governments should do to regulate the practice.
"These types of exotics really should not be owned by individuals," Burvenich said.
Allan Feltes, a Rolling Hills volunteer, wondered about the care of the animals, and the owner's intentions, which he doubts had much in common with the mission of zoos.
"It's not about conservation, it's about people having the desire to own exotic animals," he said.
Maybe tougher rules
While there are some federal regulations addressing the ownership of wild animals, Burvenich said, much of the oversight is left up to states.
"Ohio is probably one of the most lax, regulations-wise," he said. "I come from Florida. Down there, you've gotta have your ducks in a row to own them."
Perhaps the experience in Zanesville, Ohio, will influence tougher rules, Walker said.
"I would hope the message is these are not appropriate pets," she said. "Their needs are so vast and so specialized."
It might be cool to entertain the thought of keeping a monkey in a dorm room, Walker agrees, but that's not a quality life for such an animal.
These are social animals
"To have one primate is cruel. They should live in pairs or groupings. Likewise, lions are very social animals. To have a single lion is really not a life of high quality," she said. "They also need large spaces to get the
U.S. zoo in ‘promising’ talks over Toronto’s elephants
Nearly six months after the Toronto Zoo decided to close its elephant exhibit and send three aging female pachyderms elsewhere, a new home for them could be decided soon, an official with the Scarborough facility confirmed.
Talks are going well with a U.S. counterpart interested in taking Toka, Thika and Iringa, Bill Rapley, the zoo’s executive director of conservation, education and wildlife, told the Star.
While there are “opportunities’’ in the works with other facilities, one U.S. zoo — Rapley wouldn’t identify it for fear of jeopardizing sensitive discussions — is looking promising.
“There is real good potential evolving with one particular facility,” Rapley said, adding that if discussions go on as hoped, “it’s the best solution.’’ The location is one accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
His comments came after a Thursday meeting of the zoo board at which a member of the watchdog group Zoocheck Canada urged swift action to send the elephants to the PAWS sanctuary in California, which is not AZA-accredited.
Zoocheck director Julie Woodyear pointed out to board members that nearly half of the zoo’s annual $620,000 cost to maintain the elephant enclosure has been spent since the May decision to close the popular exhibit because it would cost too much to properly upgrade.
Woodyear reiterated the offer being made by her group and their “donor,’’ retired television personality Bob Barker, to pay for the elephants’ relocation to the sanctuary. That’s estimated to cost between $100,000 and $300,000.
The board had voted to look first for a suitable AZA-accredited zoo, in part because such organizations operate in a transparent way.
The PAWS elephant sanctuary isn’t an AZA member because it isn’t run like a zoo, but rather as a massive retirement home for old and ailing beasts. Also, PAWS doesn’t believe in breeding elephants in captivity, as tradition
Nepal to 'poo-print' tigers
Scientists in Nepal are building up the world's first Bengal tiger national DNA database by collecting and recording a unique genetic fingerprint from each adult's faeces.
Conservationists have relied in the past on the old-fashioned technique of photographing the big cat and recording footprints to study the population, said to number little over 100 adults in Nepal.
But the Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal (CMDN) told AFP a two-year Tiger Genome Project would gather a raft of vital behavioural and genetic information to help conservationists better understand the species.
"The whole idea is to scoop all the poop and get a genetic database of all the tigers in Nepal," said CMND researcher Diwesh Karmacharya.
Teams from the centre will fan out in four national parks in Nepal's Terai southern plains, the main habitat of the Royal Bengal tiger, armed with sample bags.
The project, funded by the United States
EUROPEAN COMMISSION REACTS POSITIVELY TO EU ZOO INQUIRY FINDINGS
The European Commission has agreed to include a session on 'wild animals in captivity' as part of the planned regional workshops across Europe for veterinarians. This resulted from the key findings of The EU Zoo Inquiry, a review by the Born Free Foundation and ENDCAP of the implementation and enforcement of the EU Zoo Directive, which identified a lack of knowledge of captive wild animal welfare and expertise of State Veterinarians in the majority of EU countries,
The EU Zoo Inquiry conclusions are consistent with those of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), concerning the limited animal welfare knowledge amongst practitioners, which led the FVE and the Commission to organise a series of training workshops aimed at benefiting both practitioners and State
World-famous crocodile Pocho dies in Siquirres
Pocho, the “domesticated” Costa Rican crocodile that gained international attention for a weekly show he performed with owner Gilberto Sheedan, died Tuesday at Finca Las Tilapias in the Caribbean-slope town of Siquirres. Olga Valle, Sheedan’s wife, said the nearly 1,000-pound croc died a natural death at age 50. A funeral will be held for Pocho on Sunday at 1 p.m.
“All of the people in the village have offered their condolences and assistance,” Valle said.
On past Sundays, Pocho and “Chito,” as Sheedan was better known, performed a show for visitors in a 100-square-meter artificial lake at Finca Las Tilapias. Chito, 54, declared the one-eyed crocodile “domesticated.” He could command Pocho to do tricks such as winking its one good eye, lifting its head and tail out of the water, rolling over and permitting Chito to stick his head inside the massive reptile’s maw.
Chito found the 5-meter-long crocodile near death on the shore of the Parismina River, in the Limón province, 17 years ago. The crocodile had been shot in the left eye. Chito and several friends loaded the animal into a boat and took him to Siquirres, where Pocho was nursed back to health. Chito even slept with the crocodile during its recovery.
After an employee saw Chito swimming with Pocho one day, word of the duo’s friendship spread. In July 2000, Costa Rica’s Channel 7 filmed the unusual pair. Chito and Pocho became stars, receiving attention as far as the United States, Chile and the United Kingdom.
The Environment, Energy and Telecommunications Ministry allowed Chito to keep the crocodile as long as they could monitor it. Chito worked with a veterinarian and a biologist and fed Pocho 30 kilograms of fish and chicken a week.
Chito never imagined the fame that would come from the unique friendship. All he wanted was an animal companion. A sign on his ranch emphasized that relationship
Trafficking of baby gorillas poses new threat to endangered species
DR Congo authorities say they are powerless to combat trade in which poachers demand up to $40,000 an animal
A surge in trafficking of baby gorillas is posing a fresh risk to the endangered species in the Democratic Republic of Congo, wildlife officials have warned.
Poachers demanding $40,000 (£25,350) for one of the animals were caught by park rangers earlier this month in an undercover sting operation.
It was the fourth such incident since April, making this a record year for the poachers trying to feed a growing black market caught with baby gorillas.
Mountain gorillas are critically endangered, with around 790 remaining in the world - about 480 in the Virunga volcanoes conservation area (shared by DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda) and just over 300 in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. Eastern lowland gorillas are more numerous but largely outside protected areas and still in decline.
Emmanuel de Merode, director of Virunga national park, said: "We are very concerned about a growing market for baby gorillas that is feeding a dangerous trafficking activity in rebel controlled areas of eastern DRC.
"We are powerless to control the international trade in baby gorillas, but our rangers are doing everything they can to stamp it out on the ground." Merode added: "Four baby
Zoo looks for staff with an interest in bear necessities of life
WANTED: giant panda staff. Must be willing to spend all day talking about breeding pandas.
Edinburgh Zoo is looking for 12 to 15 full-time employees to work at its new Giant Panda enclosure as it prepares for the arrival of a pair from China later this year.
The jobs will involve giving educational talks about the pandas at the £250,000 purpose-built enclosure and answering visitors’ questions.
The move comes as Alison Maclean, headkeeper of the giant pandas for the zoo, prepares to head to China to spend three weeks getting to know Tian Tian and Yang Guang at the Bifengxia Panda Base in Sichuan Province before they are sent to Edinburgh. She will remain there until next month, to learn about pandas’ daily habits and breeding patterns.
She will even wear her Edinburgh Zoo keeper uniform each day to familiarise the pandas with the outfit.
“Pandas can be quite sensitive animals, and quite sensitive to change,” she said. “I really need to get to know these pandas inside out and get to a stage where, when I come in to see them in the morning they think, ‘Oh, it’s her’, not ‘Who is this strange person?’??”
Maclean will also learn some words of Mandarin that the pandas understand, as well as hand signals
Zebras Escape from Zoo Enclosure to Terrify Boston
Two zebras escaped from their exhibit at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston on Saturday, forcing the evacuation of the zoo and briefly sending the city into paroxysms of fear until zookeepers managed to return one to its enclosure and "confine" the other to a "non-public area."
It was the first day on the job for one of the two fugitives—a baby—and he apparently returned to the exhibit fairly quickly; the other, an adult female, "took off," probably in search of human meat, which is the zebra's favorite food. Zoo New England evacuated the zoo as a precaution and "corralled" some zoo-goers, like Pete Hopkins, who took the
Somerset elephant haven will be largest in Europe
A Somerset zoo has unveiled plans for Europe's largest elephant enclosure.
Elephant Eden at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall, North Somerset, is due to open in 2013, and will include a 9ft-deep heated swimming pool and a 19.5-acre paddock where the animals can roam freely.
The enclosure will become home to four Asian females and one Asian male, who will be fed organic food and receive daily mud baths and skin rubs.
Zoo owner Anthony Bush said the sanctuary would set a "much-needed" national benchmark in animal welfare standards.
"Elephant Eden will be a new chapter in the history of elephant accommodation - and is the result of extensive thought and planning," he said.
"Elephants are the largest land mammals, and we want to create a destination of paradise for these important creatures."
The enclosure will be built within the zoo's existing 110-acre site in Wraxall.
It will comprise a spacious steel-framed 'hotel' where
Unknown ‘rodent’ wipes out exotic birds
Persistent attacks by a rodent like animal over the past year have left the Phuentsholing zoo, which most residents don’t know about, with only one animal – a deer.
The zoo, which has been in existence for more than a decade, was home to three peacocks, six peahens and two deer. Eight of the birds were killed and preyed upon by a rodent like creature, which neither the caretaker nor the forestry officials were unable to name. “The attacks began last year,” Tika Ram Rai said. “In lhotsham, the animal is called a neuri musa, and we’ve mentioned it that way in the report submitted to our department,” a forestry official said.
“During the first attack last year, a peacock got killed and two peafowl were injured,” said caretaker Tika Ram Rai.
Following the attack, Rai said additional wire fencing and lighting were installed. “But it didn’t work, as the mammal being quite small could still come inside.”
The last attack, about two months ago, left all the seven peafowl – two peacocks and five peahens – dead, while the deer weren’t attacked. “It attacks the peafowl on the neck, kills it and sucks blood,” he said.
The incident occurred around 1:30am Rai said. “That day it rained
Rhino escapes at Zoo MiamiOfficials at a Florida zoo said an Indian rhinoceros escaped its enclosure and was on the loose for about 25 minutes, but never entered any public areas.
Zoo Miami officials said Juanpur, a 21-year-old rhino on loan from Louisiana's Baton Rouge Zoo, set off a "Code Green" about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday when he walked through a gate mistakenly left unsecured by a zookeeper, The Miami Herald reported Thursday.
Ron Magill, communications director for the zoo, said Juanpur, nicknamed "Johnny" by zoo staff, never left the adjacent service area and did not go near any public areas. He said zoo patrons were never in danger from the animal, which has poor eyesight.
"We always had a sighting of him," Magill said.
Magill said zoo staff used pickup trucks to herd the 4,640-pound rhinoceros back into its enclosure about 25 minutes after t
Second polar bear cub dies at zoo after ‘rejection’
When the keepers came out for their daily chat at the Toronto Zoo’s polar bear enclosure on Thursday, people wanted to know about the cubs.
Late Tuesday night, 10-year-old polar bear Aurora gave birth to three cubs and “rejected” them. One didn’t survive, and on Thursday, the zoo announced a second had died. A third, uninjured, male cub is being monitored in an intensive care unit.
“Where is the mother?” a woman asked, watching the feeding at lunch.
“She’s in the house,” the keeper said, later explaining, “She’s just inexperienced. That happens with a lot of animals, she doesn’t know what to do.”
In a release, the zoo did not mention the cause of death but noted that “young animal mothers do not always nurture offspring, resulting in rejection and death.”
A source told the Star that Aurora tried to eat her cubs and had done so with a previous litter last year. During the feeding, a keeper noted that Aurora’s last litter was “born dead.”
“She’s never taken care of babies,” the keeper
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Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo hosts the Jewels of Arabia showcase
The Arab world's own animal diversity now takes centrestage with 'Jewels of Arabia,' a spell-binding showcase of aquatic and desert animals at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo in The Dubai Mall. From October 13 to November 30, 2011, Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo opens new windows of learning and insights into animal and marine species from the Gulf region.
Visitors who opt to experience the walkthrough tunnel of Dubai Aquarium and tour Underwater Zoo can revel in the sheer diversity of the Arabian fauna, and learn fascinating details about their way of life and how they adapt to the natural environment.
Gordon White, General Manager of Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, said: "The Arabian bio-diversity will captivate every nature lover with the animals demonstrating intelligent adaptive mechanisms that help them survive the harsh conditions of the desert. The seas of the Arabian Peninsula, similarly, have a wealth of aquatic animals that will charm you with their features."
He added: "Jewels of Arabia is a concerted effort by Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo to showcase aquatic animals and other species from the region. Our objective is to enhance awareness of the nature around us, and inspire visitors to respect the environment we live in, as it is home to innumerable species."
The Jewels of Arabia showcase will include aquatic animals such as the Arabian Killifish, found in UAE mountain wadis and coastal lagoons, and can withstand temperatures as high as 46 degree C; the Oman blind cave fish, one of the common native fish species; the blue-spotted ray with bright blue spots and venomous spines; the common lionfish with distinctive red and white strips and elongated fins; the common clownfish alias the Hollywood-fame Nemo; the Triggerfish Picasso, named after the globally renowned artist, Pablo Picasso; the blacktip shark and orange-spotted groupers, among others.
To mark the 'Jewels of Arabia' celebration, Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is also showcasing turtles that are tagged as part of the World Wildlife Fund Protection Fund, and will be released to their natural habitat shortly.
Diverse species from the desert are part of the Creepy Crawlies exhibit at Underwater Zoo. Spot an array of geckos - the large-headed ground gecko, the Khobar ground gecko, the frog-eyes gecko and the button-scaled gecko. Spiny-tailed lizards, many species of sand skinks, a world
Zoologger: The toad that's part clone, part love child (Amazing!)
It's a question we all must face at some point: how, if at all, should we reproduce? In recent years humans have developed a bunch of new ways to do it, like in-vitro fertilisation and surrogate pregnancy. But even so we are a pretty staid and boring species as far as reproduction goes.
Plenty of organisms have fundamentally different ways of making babies. Many dispense with sex and clone themselves, or are male and female at the same time, or change sex over the course of their lives.
To this menagerie of animals with alternative strategies, we can now add the Batura toad. These Pakistani amphibians carry two separate genomes, which they pass on to their young in different ways. One gets jumbled up with their mate's genome, but the other simply clones itself. So each toad is
Zoo expansion to bring animals closer
The National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra has unveiled plans to triple its size and give visitors a more interactive experience.
The $15 million plan to turn the site into an open range zoo includes new luxury accommodation where shark tanks are part of the furnishings.
Lions, cheetahs and giraffes will also be moved to larger enclosures.
"Big cats are pretty lazy, so they don't move around a lot. They sleep about 20 hours per day," said zoo director Trent Russell.
"But our intent is to get them
Rare Orangutan Bids Perth Zoo Goodbye
Perth Zoo is bidding goodbye to an endangered Sumatran orangutan that it has taken cared of since its birth six years ago. The animal named Semeru will be reintroduced into the jungles of Indonesia's Sumatra island to repopulate the species now numbering only 6,300.
Semeru is scheduled to be flown to Indonesia on Sunday and then released into the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park making him the first zoo-bred male orangutan in the world to be released into the wild. The zoo also made history by releasing in the same park the first zoo-bred orangutan in 2006.
"Semeru will be closely monitored and supported on a daily basis with two dedicated trackers for two years, and longer if necessary, while he adjusts to life in the forest,'' said Environment Minister Bill Marmion, according to Perth Now. The trackers will locate Semeru by following signals emitted by a radio transmitter implanted on the orangutan.
Zoo veterinarians, keepers and officials prepared Semeru
Chimps at Edinburgh Zoo support World Porridge Day
Chimpanzees at Edinburgh Zoo have been going bananas for big portions of warm porridge to mark World Porridge Day.
The global event, which takes place every year on October 10, gives porridge enthusiasts the chance to celebrate one of Scotland’s favourite national dishes, whilst raising awareness of the life-saving work of Scottish-based charity, Mary’s Meals.
Porridge provides a delicious breakfast for people all over the UK, but for over 479,000 school-children in Malawi – who receive a daily mug of maize-based, porridge-like ‘likuni phala’ from Mary’s Meals – it is a powerful incentive to go to school and, for many, the only nutritious meal they will have that day.
And the nutritional benefits of ‘oat cuisine’ are not lost on the keepers at Edinburgh
Donald Dube Killed In Deer Attack: New Brunswick Farmer Attacked While Feeding Herd
A New Brunswick man who was attacked by a male deer died after a violent struggle, the RCMP said Wednesday.
Donald Dube, 55, was killed Sunday evening while feeding his herd of domesticated deer behind his home in Saint-Leonard.
RCMP Sgt. Marc Violette said investigators believe the dominant buck in the herd attacked and killed Dube with its antlers and hoofs.
Violette said there were signs of a struggle so violent that Dube was missing a boot and sock when his body was found by officers in a pen where the animals were kept.
"The animal probably stomped on him and used his antlers to rough him up and throw him around like a rag doll," he said.
An autopsy concluded that Dube suffered massive internal injuries.
Violette said the homeowner went out to feed the animals and his wife got worried when he didn't return home or answer her calls to his cellphone. She called police, who went to the rural home to find Dube's body.
Violette said it's rutting season — a time of year when
Elephant-poo power electrifies zoo
At Munich Zoo you can watch the courtship rituals of the banded mongoose, hear the morning song of the scarlet ibis or visit the Indian elephants, who help keep the lights on with electricity generated from their dung.
They can do this because Munich Zoo has harnessed "poo power," energy stored in animal waste, which can be converted into a fuel known as "biogas."
It works like this: The zoo has built three large containers, each capable of holding about 100 cubic meters of animal waste -- that's around a week's worth of dung collected from all the vegetarian animals in the zoo.
Once inside the containers, it's mixed with warm water and the bacteria in the dung is left to decompose in an oxygen-free environment for 30 days.
The resulting biogas, mainly comprised of methane and carbon dioxide, rises naturally through vents in the ceiling to a corrugated hut on the roof where it's collected in a "big balloon," says park supervisor Dominik Forster.
The biogas is then fed into a gas-powered engine that's used to generate electricity. Forster says that the balloon -- which more closely resembles a small Zeppelin -- can store
Climber escapes from zoo's gorilla enclosure
The Werribee Open Range Zoo is reinforcing its new gorilla enclosure, after a professional climber escaped over the fence in seconds.
The enclosure is being prepared for the arrival of three male gorillas in the next two weeks.
Climber James Kassay was brought in to test the fence.
He says he crawled under the fence and climbed along a wall to escape.
"I saw a couple of photos of it and I thought there's no chance, but I'm always up for a challenge so I thought I would give it a go," he said.
"I got in there and we were having a bit of a walk around and I spied a line that I thought I could get out from.
"I gave it a quick attempt and then a
West Java’s Taman Safari Pursues Global Recognition With the Spirit of a Tiger
Drive-thru zoo Taman Safari Indonesia is embarking on a new kind of expedition: to upgrade its facilities and human resources in pursuit of higher-quality conservation and entertainment.
The 165-hectare zoo is aiming to have the best wildlife hospital in Southeast Asia by 2016, and is also working to be reaccredited as a conservation body, a status it lost in 1990.
“Originally we weren’t aiming too high, but at the start of this year we set our goal as becoming the number one wildlife hospital in Indonesia, then in Southeast Asia,” Irawan, a Taman Safari education staff member, said on Monday.
“We decided not to make a half-hearted effort, so we raised our sights and moved our deadline back a little.” Irawan said the safari park, located in the highlands of Cisarua in West Java, perceived zoos in South Korea, Japan and Singapore as its main competition .
He said that to reach their target, the hospital would have to boost their number of doctors, nurses and paramedics.
Taman Safari has been home to a wildlife hospital since 1981. It employs six veterinarians and 12 paramedics to care for the park’s 2,500 animals of 270 species.
Its present facilities include two operating theaters, an X-ray studio, a laboratory, an autopsy room and animal care wards.
Meanwhile, the park is working with the Forestry Ministry to renew its expired conservation accreditation. Irawan said the zoo hoped to complete preparations for accreditation by November.
“[Accreditation] also includes financial security. That means if income is interrupted, for how long can we continue to provide feed for the animals,” he said.
“A conservation body must be able to continue to pay its staff and feed the animals. If it can’t [guarantee that] then it should shut.”
Taman Safari is also working on an accommodation upgrade for its star tenants: 22 Sumatran Tigers, whose cages were built three decades ago.
“These tiger cages were built in 1981,” Irawan said.
“Ideally, they should be upgraded for the well-being of the animals. We plan to be fini
The zoo ahead of its time
IN 1916, a hesitant elephant was lowered on to an open-top barge and ferried across Sydney Harbour to the newly built Taronga Park.
According to records, the 40-year-old pachyderm objected to this method of transport - but quietened down when her feet were placed on the deck.
The Sydney zoo had started life across the water at Billy Goat Swamp, now better known as Moore Park. But a bigger, better site was found north of the harbour
Largest crocodile in captivity starts long-due study of near extinct reptile
Just one step away from being extinct in the wild, the Philippine crocodile will finallly have a long-delayed and much-deserved look from scientists starting November.
It could be the start of long-term government research on what is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a "critically endangered" species.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will start a groundwork study next month on the population and distribution of crocodiles in the Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary in northeast Mindanao.
"This scientific study will hopefully provide us with the necessary baseline information on the abundance and area of concentration of crocodiles within the marsh, from which we will base our short term and long term management program for the crocodiles in the Agusan Marsh," said Environment Secretary Ramon Paje.
Hopefully, it will also be the beginning of a focused
With only spines attached, shark fins come ashore
Despite recent measures to crack down on the practice of shark finning, Costa Rican fishermen and environmentalists believe that foreign fleets are once again using methods to evade Costa Rican fishing laws and regulations.
In recent months, three Taiwanese ships landed shark fins attached only to the shark’s spine at the public dock in Puntarenas. The sharks’ flesh was shaved away from the sharks’ spines, leaving only skeletons attached to full fins.
Last year, the Costa Rican Agriculture Ministry (MAG) and the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (Incopesca) barred foreign fleets from unloading at private docks. Instead they must land at public docks, where inspectors can enforce the law (TT, Nov. 30, 2010).
Shark finning consists of slicing off sharks’ cartilage-filled fins – worth hundreds of dollars per kilogram in some Asian markets – and dumping the still-alive sharks back into the ocean, where they bleed to death. With this technique, ships had more room to store only fins. A public backlash begun nearly a decade ago helped ban the practice in Costa Rica. However, shark fishing remains legal in the country.
Today Costa Rican regulations stipulate that only three authorized cuts can be made when shark fishing: the head, the entrails and a partial cut to allow the bending of the fin. Yet recent cases in Puntarenas have shown that the law has left grey areas that fishermen exploit.
The Taiwanese boat Wang Jia Men was the first ship discovered using the new practice of landing only skeletons. In May, the foreign-flagged ship landed
Topeka council to consider settling zoo lawsuit
The acting Topeka city attorney is encouraging the city council to approve a $132,500 settlement with a veterinarian at the Topeka Zoo. Veterinarian Shirley Yeo Llizo filed a federal discrimination
lawsuit against the city after she was fired in October 2009. She was rehired in August 2010 after an arbitrator ruled the city shouldn't have dismissed her. She is currently working as the zoo's staff veterinarian.
Llizo, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Singapore, contends
Why nuclear power plants are safer than wind farms
It’s been a bad year for safety in nuclear power, following the disaster at Fukushima and a fatality in France.
This just goes to show that renewable energy is far safer than nuclear, right?
In fact, many more people have died this year in accidents relating to wind energy.
A recent disaster at a Chinese wind turbine factory has caused five deaths including, ironically enough, a communist party official. This is the same number of people in total who have died at Fukushima (three workers killed by the earthquake and resulting tsunami, and two of suspected heart attacks) and there are likely to be few if any more.)
However, the latest wind power accident is not the only fatal accident in the industry this year – not by a long shot.
A further three people died in a Chinese factory earlier this year; a snowmobiler died in Canada when he collided with a fence surrounding
Amur leopard captured on camera in China for first time since 1949
An Amur leopard, also known as a Wild Manchurian leopard, was photographed in a forest in Wangqing county, on the border of Russia and North Korea.
The adult leopard was caught by an automatic infrared camera set up by a researcher from Peking university.
Sun Ge, the researcher, said the photograph had been a stroke of serendipity. "I am actually researching herbivorous animals in three forests around the county, and I had not expected to capture an image of an Amur leopard at all," he said.
Mr Sun had set up 40 cameras around the forest in the Spring, returning to collect the images every 20 days. The leopard was photographed on September 19.
There are fewer than 50
Aussie lion tamer Tamblyn Williams takes pride in her work in South Africa
SHE had answered a call for volunteers but ended up doing the lion's share of the work.
When Tamblyn Williams moved to South Africa to study wildlife, she couldn't have imagined how close she would become to her subject.
The 23-year-old from Caringbah was enlisted to take over the care of two lion cubs named Jagger and Adam after they were abandoned by their mother, who had been part of a
Ms Williams said she quickly settled into a routine, mixing formula and bottle-feeding them before eventually moving them on to solid food. She also monitored the youngsters as they met their developmental milestones
Penis size does matter for bank voles, says study
The secret to social dominance for bank voles appears to be the size of their genitals, according to scientists.
The link was made by researchers from Europe who were studying the small brown mammals' reproductive behaviour.
The study, in Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, found dominant males had wider penis bones, also called baculum.
Although not present in humans, these bones are found in many other species of mammal but their
Beauty bath eel swims up man's penis
A beauty treatment ended in the emergency room for a Chinese man who bathed in live eels after one of the slippery creatures swam inside his penis.
Vain Zhang Nan, from Hubei province, central China, had heard that bathing with young eels would make him look younger because they would chew off dead skin.
But the 56-year-old got more than he bargained for when he climbed into the bath with the animals.
"I felt a severe pain and realised a small eel had gone into the end of my penis," Mr Zhang said.
"I tried to hold it and take it out, but the eel was too slippery to be held and disappeared."
Mr Zhang was taken t
Greenpeace condemns Indonesia after deportation
Greenpeace on Friday accused Indonesia of waging a vendetta against the environmental group, after the head of its British branch was denied entry to Jakarta to campaign against deforestation.
Greenpeace UK director John Sauven was blocked by immigration officials on arrival at Jakarta international airport Thursday evening and was sent back that night to Britain.
"Parts of the government want to attack Greenpeace," the environmental group's Indonesia forestry campaigner Bustar Maitar told AFP. "It's obvious that some government officials are involved," he added.
In recent years, Greenpeace has run several campaigns against Indonesia-based Sinar Mas, a privately owned paper and palm oil giant which environmental groups accuse of illegally logging swathes of carbon-rich
Sanctuary's rare white tiger needs life-saving surgery
He’s a rare stripeless white tiger.
And he is facing a medical procedure uncommon for his species.
Ten-year-old Snow Magic is scheduled to soon have a life-saving amputation of his paralyzed rear left leg, but it will be expensive and somewhat complicated. A special operating table must be built to fit him, and he’ll need a sterile enclosure to keep him tightly confined while he recuperates. Then, he’ll need a handicap accessible enclosure to live in.
A fundraising effort is under way to cover the costs.
The 500-pound tiger was retired from magic shows in Las Vegas about three years ago and has since lived at Serenity Springs Wildlife Center near Calhan with about 120 other big cats and other exotics.
Snow is adored by the staff and visitors. He loves swimming in a water tank and makes soft, friendly “chuffing” noises at visitors. He particularly enjoys his meals and anxiously awaits
Trouble Brews about the Zoo
A ROW has broken out after a South Lakes Wild Animal Park manager complained about the conduct of two councillors.
The park’s marketing and development manager, Karen Brewer, has written to Barrow Borough Council’s standards committee, lodging a complaint about planning committee chairwoman, Councillor Ann Thomson, and planning member, Councillor Gordon Murray.
She complained about issues from a planning committee meeting on July 26 when the zoo’s expansion plans were being heard.
Miss Brewer, who attended the meeting, said she felt Cllr Thomas made comments of an inappropriate nature, before introducing and proposing a “minded
Zookeepers deal with the deaths of zoo animals
In the wild animal kingdom, where prey and predator must outmaneuver each other for survival, death tolls are expected.
But in the tranquil and contained quarters of a zoo, the loss of a single animal life can be jolting. For officials and visitors at the Cameron Park Zoo, an animal death can tug hard at the heartstrings.
The zoo has lost two favorite animals in as many years. In July, it euthanized Julie, an 18-year-old reticulated giraffe, because a birth deformity in her right front ankle worsened this year, making it difficult for her to walk and stand.
In 2009, 38-year-old great white rhinoceros Wrinkles died from multiple organ failures.
If it seems a puzzling task what to do with a zoo animal's remains, especially a 2-ton rhino or 20-foot-tall giraffe, the simplest option is the answer. Both are buried on-site at the zoo in a designated burial ground for large mammals.
"It's always a very sad occasion," said Terri Cox, curator for programs and exhibits at the zoo. "We give the keepers that took care of the animals time to be with them and say goodbye, just like you would if someone in your family was dying. These are animals that we've taken care of and given heart and soul to for many, many years."
But the location of the burial ground is not disclosed or accessible to the public.
Cox said unscrupulous scavengers could attempt to dig up the remains and sell the parts of endangered animals, like a rhino horn, for money on the black market.
"You just don't want to open it up for somebody
Analysis: World divided on new plan to combat global warming
A new plan to curb global warming risks becoming a battleground between rich and poor nations and could struggle to get off the ground as negotiators battle over the fate of the ailing Kyoto climate pact.
The 1997 Kyoto Protocol covers only emissions from rich nations that produce less than a third of mankind's carbon pollution and its first phase is due to expire end-2012. Poorer nations want it extended, while many rich countries say a broader pact is needed to include all big polluters.
Australia and Norway have proposed negotiations on a new agreement, but say it is unrealistic to expect that to be ready by 2013. They have set a target date two years later, in 2015.
"This is the only way ahead. There is no other way than failure," said a senior climate negotiator from a developed country on the Australia-Norway proposal, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the talks.
Developing nations insist Kyoto be extended to commit rich countries to tougher carbon cuts and fiercely resist any attempts to side-line the world's
With Deaths of Forests, a Loss of Key Climate Protectors
The trees spanning many of the mountainsides of western Montana glow an earthy red, like a broadleaf forest at the beginning of autumn.
But these trees are not supposed to turn red. They are evergreens, falling victim to beetles that used to be controlled in part by bitterly cold winters. As the climate warms, scientists say, that control is no longer happening.
Across millions of acres, the pines of the northern and central Rockies are dying, just one among many types of forests that are showing signs of distress these days.
From the mountainous Southwest deep into Texas, wildfires raced across parched landscapes this summer, burning millions more acres. In Colorado, at least 15 percent of that state’s spectacular aspen forests have gone into decline
Taiwan Unveils World's Longest Aquarium
An impressive 33-metre-long aquarium went on display in Taipei, Taiwan on Friday at the opening ceremony of an aquarium expo.
The aquarium is believed to be the longest in the world and was built to celebrate Taiwan's centennial this year. It features scenery and landmarks from around the island and 100 species of domestic cichlid fish.
The tank holds 28 tons of water and is made of tempered glass with an extra explosion-proof layer.
The aquarium has seven sections with nearly 30 modelled landmarks, including the Yehliu Geopark at the north coast, the landmark Taipei 101 building, Taiwan's highest Jade Mountain, the Taroko National Park, and the Eluanbi Lighthouse down south. Each of the tanks is connected with a curved tank displaying waterfalls.
Lai Yung-sheng, who has been an aquarium landscape artist for more than 20 years, said he used styrofoam, foamed concrete and natural rocks from Taiwan to complete the settings.
[Lai Yung-sheng, Aquarium Artist]:
"We tried to come up with ideas and looked up information on the landmarks that are the most familiar to people. That's how it was done."
The aquarium was designed at the beginning of the year, and twice tested before it officially appeared to the public. It took three months to build.
Hundreds of visitors attended on the first day of the
African penguins to race to help raise money for wild friends
"Betting” which African penguin will win a foot race won’t make the Vegas lines this month, but it will put smiles on the faces of children, parents and trainers.
Mystic Aquarium will celebrate African penguins this month with two events designed to raise awareness and provide assistance to the endangered species.
On Saturday, the aquarium will hold African Penguin Awareness Day where guests can meet a penguin trainer, see penguins paint, cheer the penguins as they race and participate in penguin-themed activities. The following week, on Oct. 15, humans and penguins will unite for the 5th annual Penguin Run/Walk.
“I know last year’s participation was around 1,000,” said Erin Merz, manager of media and public relations for the Sea Research Foundation. That would be 1,000 humans. The two-footed nonhumans participating this year will be down to 29 with the September death of Yellow Red, also known as String. String was a 19-year-old female who was hatched at Mystic Aquarium on Oct. 4, 1991.
An African penguin’s life expectancy is 18-20 years in the wild but they can live into their 30s in zoos and aquariums. The penguins making their home at Mystic Aquarium
Zoo keeper says goodbye to the animals
WORKING at Dudley Zoo for over four decades, head of reptiles, Graham Chilton, certainly has some tales to tell.
The 61-year-old has decided to say goodbye to his beloved animals and hang up his keepers uniform as he retires after 45 years at the Castle Hill site.
Since starting work as a trainee on September 29, 1966, aged just 16, Graham has worked with most of the zoo’s collection of animals from the big cats, primates and elephants to dolphins and killer
Zoo on self-sufficiency target
President of the Zoological Society of Trinidad and Tobago, Gupte Lutchmedial, reflecting on this year’s performance, was pleased at the progress of the organisation in its bid towards self-sufficiency.
In a statement on the generation of funds by the Society, he said, “We have surpassed the estimated income for the fiscal year 2010/2011.” He added, “This enabled us to reduce the dependence on the Government’s subvention and if this trend continues, in three years the society will become self-sufficient.”
Placing this in the context of the Society’s five-year strategic plan, of which this is just the second year, it is evident that the organisation is well on schedule with its projections. Lutchmedial pointed out that credit must be given to the new Phase of the Emperor Valley Zoo which opened in May 2011, with otters and flamingo exhibits which exceed the international standards as set out by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
Visitors to the Zoo cannot help but be impressed with these exhibits and this should come as no surprise as they were designed by Patrick Janikowski, an architect with experience in designing several AZA accredited facilities.
In commenting on the future plans to bring the rest of the Zoo up to international standard, 1st vice-president of the Society, Benjamin De La Rosa elaborated, “This phase is only the first of the upgrade project and we are keeping our fingers crossed that the resumption of works will take place imminently.”
These developments taking place at the Zoo as well as the various conservation projects being undertaken by the Society have also peaked the interest of the international Zoo community. At the recent AZA convention/workshop held last month in Atlanta, USA, the delegation from the Society comprising Lutchmedial, De La
Kaohsiung mulls relocation plan for Shou Shan Zoo
The Kaohsiung City government is considering moving the Shou Shan Zoo to a bigger site that can provide a better environment for its animals, with four options currently being investigated, zoo officials said Sunday.
After an initial investigation, the Fongshan, Neimen, Yanchao and Maolin districts have been listed as the four options under evaluation, according to the Zoo Management Center under the Kaohsiung Tourism Bureau.
The areas of the proposed sites are all larger than the 12.89- hectare Shou Shan Zoo, but there is no timetable for the relocation plan, according the center.
One of the four proposed sites, in Fongshan District located near Phoenix Mountain and the Republic of China Military Academy, covers an area of 102 hectares of national land, said Hu Chun-
Arabian Oryx, Root Of Unicorn Legend, Making Comeback
Growing up in the Middle East, Myyas Ahmed al-Quarqaz only knew the Arabian oryx from postage stamps.
The antelope made famous in Arabian poetry and by its associations with the unicorn legend had been hunted to near-extinction. But over the past three decades, it has staged a remarkable comeback through a program that got its start in the Arizona desert and has flourished under the united efforts of several Arabian Gulf countries.
Today the Arabian oryx can once again be seen in settings reminiscent of the Bible, grazing and cavorting in the deserts of the Middle East, showing off the thin, graceful horns that underlie the unicorn legend because from a certain angle they look like a single horn, or because they are fragile and sometimes one of them can break off.
Al-Quarqaz, a Jordanian, is a conservationist who has worked with the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency to reintroduce oryx into a remote region of sand dunes, gravel flats and dry lake beds along the border with Saudi Arabia and Oman. The first 100 came in 2007 and the numbers have risen to 155 with the goal of reaching 500. A much smaller reserve exists outside neighboring Dubai.
"The Arabian oryx is one of the most iconic species in this region. Wherever you go, people know the species and they love it," said al-Quarqaz, as he approached a feeding station in the Arabian Oryx Protected Area of Abu Dhabi.
The oryx program has already inspired efforts to revive populations of black-footed ferret and California condor in the U.S., golden lion tamerins in Brazil, scimitar-horned oryx in North Africa and Pere David deer in China.
"This was the first operation to restore a large mammal back to the wild and it has become a classic conservation success story," said David Mallon of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
His environmental umbrella group says about 1,000 Arabian oryx now live in the wild and up to 7,000 in captivity – enough for the organization to change the animal's status from critically endangered to vulnerable.
Over the centuries the oryx was integral to Middle East life. It could lead Bedouin nomads to watering holes, its facial skin upholstered rifle butts, its blood was used to treat snake bites and it yielded a soup that eased joint pains.
But hunting intensified, and by 1962 their number was down to 200, prompting the establishment of a "world herd" that included three caught in Yemen, four from private Saudi collections, one from the Kuwaiti ruling family and one from the London Zoo.
The following year they were flown to the Phoenix Zoo, chosen because Arizona's terrain resembled the oryx's natural habitat, according to Frank Turkowski, an American zoologist on the program. Over time, the population in Phoenix grew and 10 oryx were the first to be reintroduced into the wild at a sanctuary in Oman 1980. Saudi Arabia followed with its own reintroduction program in 1990. Today they are found, wild or semi-wild, in Bahrain, Israel, Jordan,
Phoenix Zoo takes the lead in reviving oryx
Fifty years after the start of Operation Oryx – an international mission to save the Arabian oryx, previously declared extinct in the wild – the species has come back from the brink of extinction thanks to the Phoenix Zoo.
This summer, the oryx, an antelope species native to the Arabian Peninsula, became the first species ever to improve three full categories on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.
The species is now classified as “vulnerable.”
Historically, Arab nations considered the oryx, with its white coat and long, straight horns, to be the embodiment of the unicorn legend. The animals had long been hunted for food and for the magic believed to exist in their horns, and hunting increased sharply after World War II, when powerful guns became more widely available.
The species was deemed extinct in the wild in 1972.
Phoenix had been selected as a starting point for breeding some of the few remaining oryx in 1962 because of its hot, dry climate, which mirrors that of the species’ native habitat.
In 1963, the zoo began breeding three wild oryx with a handful of oryx from other zoos and private collections.
Nearly 240 oryx have been born in Phoenix since.
“Had it not been for us getting involved, there wouldn’t have been a breeding program in place to potentially introduce
Elephant calf was soothing balm for nuked Japan
When bombing started over Japan during the Second World War, a public announcement was made - kill all the wild animals in the zoo, they could escape. This was plot of a musical organized by a bunch of kids at the inauguration of peace museum at K H Kalasoudha in Hanumanthnagar on Sunday.
The little ones as well as the elders were intrigued as the play progressed. Many faces were gloomy when the hunter started killing animals and when the nuclear bomb was dropped.
However, the smiles returned when in a part Jawaharlal Nehru is shown writing a letter to the children of Japan saying he was sending an elephant calf named Indira for them to play with.
"Our purpose to tell the children and even the adults is that war has done no good for them. Children tend to understand when it is told through a story of animals but eventually the message is of non-violence," said John Devaraj one of the organizers of the events.
The museum, which is in its initial stages, shows the history of the damages done to humanity by war. It will be developed over time. "We have a collection of photographs which shows what happened to Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombing. We want people
Oceans of plastic killing turtles as the Federal government pursues a carbon tax
WHILE the federal government champions itself as a saviour of the planet in its fight to introduce a carbon tax, another of its key environmental promises has been left blowing in the wind.
During the 2007 election campaign both Kevin Rudd and Peter Garrett vowed to ban non-degradable plastic bags. As prime minister and environment minister respectively they were bullish, warning they'd do so "with a legislative ban if necessary". But nothing happened.
Since their hollow words, about 18 billion plastic bags have ended up in landfill or have been scattered by the wind, littering the land and coastal waters, according to Jon Dee, founder of Do Something! and for a decade Australia's leading advocate of a non-degradable plastic bag ban.
Taronga Zoo sees the consequences on an almost weekly basis. Last week the zoo's hospital was forced to put down a hawksbill turtle which had eaten so many bags that it constantly excreted plastic globs from the moment it was brought
All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others” : an examination of identities
When I was in class three, I remember reading a story about Guru Nanak which spoke about his perplexity with the discrepancy between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have nots. The story narrated his bewilderment with the status quo of society and the inability of his father to explain inequality in society. Twenty five years down the line, the perception of differences in society as well as in the diversity of life continues to strike me as hard as it did during those formative years. And I, like many millions like me, see it manifested all over.
The overwhelming differences in the lifestyles of ‘high society and low society’ folks, the differences between those who speak in English in India and those who do not, the gaps between urban India and rural India, the chasm between those in power and R K Laxman’s common man, the discrimination between different races and a very strange unwillingness to accept Darwinian principles that has led to a very damaging relationship between man and animals based on perceived notions of superiority and inferiority.
I start from the last one since I have a special interest in the topic. It is a matter of regret that most of us would rather seek to believe than know when it comes to evolution and even today, in the world’s
Zion Wildlife park's coffers empty
Failed lion park Zion Wildlife Gardens Ltd appears to have no assets and creditors are unlikely to get any money back, says the liquidator's first report.
The company went into receivership on July 26 and liquidation on August 22 on the applications of Rabobank and the Inland Revenue Department respectively.
The sole director of Zion Wildlife Gardens Ltd is Patricia Busch, who is locked in a bitter dispute with her son Craig over the future of the big cats. He in turn has applied to have her declared bankrupt.
Mrs Busch owns the land and buildings of the park through her company Country Developments Ltd, also in receivership.
She will contest her son's bankruptcy application in Whangarei Court on October 18.
The case relating to the future of the animals will be heard in the same court next February.
Auckland accountancy firm PWC is handling both the receivership and the liquidation (under receivership a company can continue trading, under management by the receiver, but in liquidation a company will ultimately be dismantled and all the assets sold with proceeds shared by creditors).
PWC's first liquidation report says the Zion Wildlife Gardens owes $568,771 to four unsecured creditors and that there was "currently no expectation of a dividend being paid to unsecured creditors".
Mrs Busch appears twice on the list of four unsecured
South African Park De-horns Rhinos to Deter Poachers
Another African rhino dies for its horn.
This animal was killed by poachers earlier this month - one of more than 300 already slaughtered in South Africa this year alone.
Poaching has reached such epidemic proportions that game park owners are turning to the de-horning their rhinos in a desperate attempt to save them.
Vet Martine van Zijll Langhout, has been involved in the practice for three years and says it takes just minutes.
[Martine Van Zijll Langhout, Veterinary Surgeon]:
"It takes around 16 to 17 minutes from darting to fully awake and this animal can just run off into the bush and feel exactly as before the procedure."
The horn is a fibrous material that is not connected to the skull - similar to a human finger nail or horses hoof.
[Martine Van Zijll Langhout, Veterinary Surgeon]:
"It is exactly the same as when you clip your own nails, because we don't go into the tissue."
Once removed, the horns are recorded and stockpiled in bank vaults. Jeff York is the Mauricedale Ranch Manager.
[Jeff York, Mauricedale Ranch Manager]:
"We had three rhinos poached in 2007, and we decided that the only
Nation's elephants under threat
With the death of a large number of tame elephants recently concerns have risen regarding the threat of extinction in the absence of measures to safeguard the animals.
Dan Nang Long, an elephant keeper from Central Highland Dak Lak Province, had one of his elephants killed and three others injured in a poaching attack.
Long said that while he had reported the incident to local police, very little existed in terms of concrete evidence in confirming the crime.
"I believe my elephant was killed," he said, "but the police have not been able to apprehend the perpetrators."
During the incident, three of the four animals almost had their tails severed in the belief that elephant hair brought luck to those who wear it as jewellery, particularly as rings.
Determined, Long has subsequently been successful in helping detect and bring to justice a ring of poachers specialising in elephant tails.
According to historian Duong Trung Quoc, Viet Nam had over 500 wild elephants in 1985, but the numbers have since dropped to only 52.
Long expressed his concern regarding extinction due to the animals having little opportunity to reproduce while the taming of wild elephants has been prohibited.
The breeder, alongside Quoc, recently attended a workshop held in Ha Noi where participants shared their views on preserving Viet Nam's remaining elephants.
Journalist Do Doan Hoang said that elephant poachers were usually only sentenced as minor thieves while local breeders were solely respo
Meet the species hunters
Picking his way slowly through the dense tangle of forest undergrowth, Dr Andy Marshall almost missed the venomous snake ahead of him. If he had, he might have lost out on one of the most exciting discoveries of his career. As he searched for a rare species of monkey in the jungles of Tanzania, the young biologist’s eyes were fixed on the trees above him rather than the shrubs around waist height. Until, that is, the green and brown twig snake, coiled around a branch, suddenly moved, spitting something on to the ground in front of him. It was a pale, four-inch long lizard.
At that moment, Dr Marshall, a conservationist at York University, had discovered a new species. The lizard that had so nearly become dinner for the twig snake turned out to be an unknown species of chameleon. “Twig snakes are not easily frightened,” he explains. “Perhaps because this one had something in its mouth it felt vulnerable, and fled.
“It had been in the process of eating the chameleon and had almost all of it in its mouth when it spat it out. I knew it was something I hadn’t seen before, so I took a photograph and later showed it to a herpetologist. He said right away it was something special.”
Dr Marshall has since named his new species Kinyongia magomberae, which means the chameleon from Magombera, the forest where it was found.
While not the most conventional
Penguins get the chop
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has axed plans for a penguin pavilion at Moscow Zoo.
“The construction of a penguin pavilion has been cancelled due to the extreme cost of the project – 1.5 billion rubles,” a source in the Mayor’s Office said. The pavilion was originally planned under the previous city administration back in 2004. Since that time, some 30 millions rubles have been spent on the project’s designs.
“The zoo’s management proposed to not
One-ton croc has its first meal
The largest recorded saltwater crocodile in the Philippines has eaten its first meal in captivity, nearly one month after he was captured, a local official said on Tuesday.
The 6.4m reptile ate seven kilos of raw pork on Monday evening in a wildlife park in Bunawan town in Agusan del Sur province, 840km south of Manila, according to Welinda Asis-Elorde, a local government spokeswoman.
The one-ton croc, nicknamed Lolong, had been refusing to eat since he was caught in a marsh in Bunawan on September 3.
Animal rights groups had expressed concern that Lolong's refusal to eat could be an indication that he was traumatised by the capture.
Asis-Elorde said workers at the wildlife park would again try to feed Lolong on Tuesday evening.
“Maybe he's not yet full,” she said. “We will feed him dressed chicken tonight.”
Lolong was captured after he was suspected
Aging and Ill Animals Increasingly Bring Tough Choices to Zoos (Long Article)
Maggie retired from the petting zoo at the Brevard Zoo shortly after her 16th birthday. A fallow deer with familiar white dapples on her back, Maggie had lived at the Florida zoo since 1994, where staff and guests alike knew her for her calm, sweet nature and attraction to men wearing strong cologne.
"Many times we would be sitting in the yard and she would put her head against our legs or in our laps if we were sitting down, and she just wanted us to be there and to pet her," said Brandi-Ann Pagano, a lead animal keeper who cared for Maggie. "A few people, either zoo guests or volunteers that Maggie came to recognize, she would actually walk up to those people to greet them if she remembered them."
At 16, she was edging past the life span expected for a fallow deer, and struggling with change.The zoo had just opened up a children's petting area, and it included a new herd of rowdy young goats that nibbled at her coat, which the deer apparently hated.
Because she didn't feel at ease with this new herd, she became more uncomfortable around people, according to Pagano. The keepers noticed Maggie pacing and saw that she was losing hair, and, about a year and a half ago, a decision was made to retire her to her own yard.
A familiar problem
Animals in zoos do not face the stresses and dangers of the wild: Food is guaranteed, there is no risk of being eaten, and ailments are treated. And many zoos offer enrichment, or activities intended to keep an animal occupied. As a result, zoo animals, like modern humans, can live into old age, and they, too, face the physical decline and illness of old age. Aging animals develop problems rare among wild populations, such as cancerous tumors, as well as more standard problems associated with aging, such as arthritis, according to Trevor Zachariah, director of veterinary services at Brevard Zoo.
As a result, zoos must treat geriatric animals and, sometimes, make difficult decisions.
"The whole keeping of animals in zoos has just evolved dramatically over the years, and as that science evolves, I think more and more we are looking more specifically to the needs of the individual animals as opposed to the needs of the whole population of animals or the needs of the zoo," said Michael Loomis, chief veterinarian at the North Carolina Zoo. "For instance, if there was a genetically valuable animal in the past the zoo would try to keep the animal going at any cost in order to get another offspring, whereas in this day and age, this animal is looked at
Nicaraguan Zoo Pleads for Money to Feed Animals at Rescue Center
Nicaragua National Zoo director Marina Argüello has asked the private sector for support in the care and feeding of 1,250 animals of 75 species that it shelters at its rescue center.
The zoo works with an annual budget from the government of 4 million cordobas (about $176,289) but needs at least 10 million cordobas (about $440,722) to adequately maintain the center, Argüello told Efe.
Significant sponsorship from the private sector is therefore needed by the National Zoo, which has a rescue center that nurtures species seized from outlaw animal traffickers, the zoo director said.
The National Zoo, located 16 kilometers (10 miles) southeast of Managua, receives a yearly average of 1,000 creatures of different classifications including birds, mammals and reptiles.
The rescue center looks after some 1,250 animals in captivity made up of about 750 birds, 250 reptiles and 150 mammals.
Among the species are lions, lizards, Bengal tiger
Louisville Zoo plans World's Largest Halloween Party
Ghosts and goblins will be taking over the Louisville Zoo on weekends throughout October.
More than 80,000 people are expected to attend what is billed as the World’s Largest Halloween Party.
Starting Friday and running through Sunday and also on Oct. 13-16, 20-23 and 27-30, Meijer will present activities that will include not-so-scary fun for children and families.
There will be costumed characters to greet guests as well as storybook scenes throughout the zoo and trick-or-treating for children 11 and under.
Zoo awash in conservation work
Exhibits’ facelift saves energy, drains penguins’ ‘bathtub’
When it comes to sustainability improvements, it’s all happening at the zoo.
The Oregon Zoo, that is, not the Central Park Zoo that Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel sang about in their 1967 tune.
Thanks to voter approval of a $125 million bond measure in the thick of the nation’s financial crisis in November 2008, the Oregon Zoo is trying to make good on its goal of becoming the greenest zoo in the country.
“If you’re talking about conserving the wildlife and the environment, the best way is conserving your resources,” says Kim Smith, zoo director. “We wanted to walk our walk.”
As the zoo modernizes the animal exhibits that opened a half-century ago, it’s installing a litany of green building and renewable energy features — many of which will ultimately save the zoo money on operating costs.
A couple weeks ago, the zoo installed a 30,000-gallon cistern to collect rain water next to its nearly finished Veterinary Medical Center, among the first of nine projects funded by the bond measure. Rainwater collected for free, courtesy
Hopes penguin might be Isle of Wight’s stolen bird
HIS disappearance nearly five years ago caused an international outcry.
Now, a rare Jackass penguin spotted swimming in The Solent has raised hopes that Toga, which was stolen from Amazon World, Newchurch, could be alive and well.
An eagle-eyed holidaymaker shot film of what looks like a Jackass penguin swimming just yards off a beach at Portsmouth.
The rare bird, which is normally seen in South Africa, was also spotted waddling around the harbour during last weekend’s heatwave.
Experts are studying the footage to see if is an endangered Jackass.
One theory is that it was separated from its group and followed a food trail through
Happy Feet's fate still a mystery
The fate of Happy Feet, an emperor penguin who washed up in New Zealand, 3 000 kilometres from his Antarctic home, remained a mystery despite persistent questioning in parliament on Thursday.
Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley could only tell the House of Representatives that it was "highly improbable" that he was caught in the nets of a trawler after being released into the Southern Ocean September 4.
The saga of Happy Feet has been followed by thousands around the world since he was nursed back to health after being found on a North Island beach eating sand under the impression it was snow.
Fans expressed alarm when the satellite transmitter glued to his feathers stopped sending signals eight days after he was freed from a boat into the near-freezing waters off New Zealand's Campbell Island.
There was immediate speculation that he had been eaten by a whale or some other monster of the deep, but Green member of parliament Gareth Hughes suspected he had been swept up in the nets of one of nine trawlers recorded around Happy Feet's last known location.
The boats, trawling for southern blue whiting, or blue cod, were 37 to 55 kilometres away from the penguin at the time of the last transmission.
"A southern blue whiting trawler can cover 93 kilometres in a day, and we are talking about an incredibly long net that is almost half a kilometre wide and 75 metres high," Hughes said.
"How can the minister claim that it is very unlikely that Happy Feet was possibly trawled?" he asked.
As the speaker tried to keep order amid the festive noise of the last day of parliament before next month's general election, Heatley reminded parliament that the closest vessel was 32 kilometres away when the transmissions fell silent.
"Its fishing lines are not 32 kilometres long," he said. "That would have meant that the vessel raced the transponder's emission, which went probably
Elephants are topic of conference at Rochester's Seneca Park Zoo
The Seneca Park Zoo hosting the 2011 Elephant Manager’s Association (EMA) Conference through this Sunday, Oct. 9. The conference is being attended by elephant handlers, veterinarians, field researchers from Africa and Asia, aand elephant enthusiasts from across the globe.
“We are delighted to host this group of knowledgeable and talented professionals and are incredibly proud to be leading the discussion about the importance of elephant care in our very own Zoo and across the world,” said Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks. “Genny C. and Lilac, the Zoo’s two African elephants, are beloved members of our community and we are thrilled to showcase them, our facility and our wonderful staff during this unique conference.”
The EMA is an international non-profit organization of elephant professionals and is dedicated to the welfare of the world’s elephants through improved conservation, husbandry, research, education and communication. The EMA was formed in 1988 and has held annual conferences since its inception.
“Seneca Park Zoo is honored to host this international conference,” said Larry Sorel, County Zoo Director. “The one thing everyone at this conference has in common is that we love elephants. Each institution has slightly different styles when it comes to elephant management. This conference gives us the opportunity to show off our small, but great, Zoo, and the magnificent elephants in our care.”
The conference unofficially kicked-off today, Wednesday, Oct. 5, with a pre-trip to African Lion Safari in Ontario, Canada. The conference officially begins tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 6.
On Friday, professionals will give presentations in the morning and will travel
Chester Zoo raises British spiders for release in Cheshire
HUNDREDS of endangered spiders are being reared at Chester Zoo ahead of their release later this year, as part of a conservation programme aimed at stemming their decline in the UK.
Lead keeper Karen Entwistle is hand-rearing 400 baby fen raft spiders in a purpose-built, bio-secure pod at the zoo.
Ms Entwistle said: “The spiders are all kept in separate test tubes so they do not attack each other.
“I have to individually hand feed them
SECOND FOURTH-GENERATION RHINO CALF BORN AT THE WILDS
The Wilds southern white rhino family has added another new member. On Oct. 2, a female named Zenzele gave birth to her second calf who appears to be strong and healthy alongside mom at the conservation center in southeast Ohio. The birth of the calf is particularly significant as it is the second fourth-generation southern white rhino born at the Wilds. “It is fascinating to watch the interaction between the mother and the rest of the herd in pasture. said Dan Beetem,” Director of Animal Management. “The wide open spaces at the Wilds allow us to manage our animals in a more natural social grouping. We think this environment is one of the key factors in the success of our program.” The dam, Zenzele, was the very first rhino born at the Wilds in 2004.The sire, 9-year old Fireball, came to the Wilds in 2008 as part of the Southern white rhinoceros Species Survival Plan (SSP). In 2009 the first fourth-generation white rhino born in human care was born at the Wilds. Three Indian rhinos have also been born there.There are currently ten southern white rhinoceros and six Indian rhinos at the Wilds. Southern white rhinos were almost extinct in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Effective conservation efforts in the 1950s led to the exportation of individual wild white rhinos to zoos in North America and Europe. The current wild population is estimated to be about17,500 animals however rhino poaching in Africa reached a 15-year high in 2009. Calves are born after a gestation of 16 months. White rhinos can grow to be For more information, visit
Forest Ranger Killed By Gorilla Poachers
A forest ranger has been killed and another seriously injured in a violent clash with gorilla poachers outside a national park in Cameroon, WWF has learned. The attack occurred on September 27 about 10 kilometres from Cameroon's border with Central African Republic.
The two rangers were on patrol near LobÃ©kÃ© National Park, where WWF provides critical support to forest rangers, when they discovered the carcasses of two critically endangered Western lowland gorillas in a forest camp, authorities say. Intending to take the perpetrators into custody, the rangers concealed themselves nearby while waiting for the poachers to return to the camp.
Detecting the rangers, a group of six or more men opened fire on the unarmed forest guards who both sustained multiple gunshot wounds. Ranger Jean Fils Mamendji, who was hit in the arm and shoulder, was able to escape.
Mamendji's partner Zomedel Pierre Achille, a 12-year veteran of the patrol, was hit in the chest and back. "I staggered with Achille some 300 metres but had to let go because the poachers were closing in on us and shooting simultaneously," Mamendji tearfully told WWF from his hospital bed.
A rescue mission was dispatched and searched through the night for Achille. His body, stripped naked, was located the following day having been tied to a tree by the assailants. Evidence suggests that the victim was also severely beaten about his head and body, possibly with a rifle, before his death. He may also have sustained stab wounds.
"This brutal attack was a deliberate attempt to intimidate the government," said David Greer, WWF's African Great Ape Coordinator. "Poaching gangs are waging a war for Cameroon's
Lion cub rescued from Beirut balcony
A lion cub being kept in Beirut was rescued last week and will soon be sent to a sanctuary in South Africa. The five week old cub, kept on a balcony, was smuggled into Lebanon before ending up as a private pet.
"The keeping of lions as pets has drastically increased in the last two years, and we regularly receive reports about new cubs," said Lana El-Khalil, President of Animals Lebanon. "Within the first couple months of life a lion becomes too large and strong to be kept in a house, only to end up locked in a backyard cage or sold to a private zoo."
This cub, unlike so many others Animals Lebanon receives pictures and emails about, is safe now and will soon have a new home in South Africa with other rescued lions who have come from similar conditions.
"Animals Lebanon has uncovered zoos in Syria offering new born lion cubs for $350 each, and workers offered to advise on how best to bring a lion to Lebanon," continued El-Khalil. "One zoo owner in Lebanon reported bringing in eight lions from Syria, and admitted that they all died within weeks as they were too young.
The Drakenstein Lion Park in
JAAN’s involvement with the Sintang Orangutan Center (SOC)
By Femke den Haas
Founding Director, JAAN
I worked for Willie Smits at his Wanariset Orangutan Center in East Kalimantan in 1996. I was only seventeen years old, and it allowed me to have an unforgettable experience with orangutans. I worked with a group of juvenile orangutans that were getting ready to be released from the rehabilitation center where they were being caged in small groups. I joined the release team in the Sungai Wain forest and stayed there for another five months afterwards to observe the orangutans adapting back to life in the wild.
Once you get to know orangutans, there is no way you'll ever forget them. They stay in your heart and mind forever. After this experience I was determined to return to Indonesia to be able to do more for the orangutans. So a few years later when Willie asked me to come back and work at one of his new rescue stations for confiscated wildlife, I gladly accepted his offer.
Willie had been given an endowment by Mrs. Puck Schmutzer and he was building a network of wildlife rescue centers in Indonesia. I had met her when I was in Jakarta in 1996 and again in the Netherlands in 1998 when she was very ill and she asked me to visit her in the hospital. She was an incredible woman who made a lasting impression on me. Her dedication to helping animals was endless and her biggest wish was to help the animals of Indonesia. I was happy and excited to be involved with these new projects.
Willie and the Gibbon Foundation built rescue centers in more than a dozen different locations in Indonesia. It was a great plan on paper but unfortunately the implementation was not good. Many things went wrong at the centers, and in 2006, two years before the original end date of the MOU (collaboration agreement) between the forestry department and the Gibbon Foundation, Willie and the Gibbon Foundation suddenly ran out of money. This came as a complete surprise as all centers thought we were safe on funding for at least another two years. The centers felt the effects immediately. Thousands of animals had been taken in at the centers and all of a sudden there was not enough funding to care for them. This was the main reason why we would found JAAN. We needed to continue to help Indonesian wildlife-- and especially those animals already under our care couldn't just be abandoned.
Zoo issued with health warning
HEALTH watchdogs banned a zoo from allowing the public contact with animals after its lack of hand-washing facilities posed a potential risk to the public.
South Lakes Wild Animal Park was served with a prohibition notice under the Health and Safety at Work Act after failing an inspection carried out by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and Barrow Borough Council’s environmental health on August 18.
The inspection was carried out after the HPA was informed of a case of a child in Lancashire who was found to have contracted the E Coli o157 bug after visiting the Dalton zoo in the summer.
There has been no evidence that the visit was the direct cause.
But inspectors found the zoo had failed to comply with new hygiene guidelines issued.
Prohibition notices can only be served when an inspector believes activities on at a premises involve or will involve a risk of serious personal injury.
The tourist attraction was ordered to stop letting people have contact with its animals until it had cleaned areas of the park and could provide hand washing facilities.
The council said the park has since been inspected and has been found to be complying with the notice, but it will be closely monitored to ensure hygiene standards do not drop.
Zoo owner David Gill said he had taken immediate action after the notice was issued by installing 30 new hand-washing areas.
Gary Ormondroyd, chief environmental health officer for Barrow Borough Council, said: “Because we had been asking Mr Gill to carry out work prior to the inspection, we had agreed with him that we would be going in with the HPA, so we notified him in advance we were going to inspect the park.
“They have cleaned the soiled areas and put in adequate washing facilities and signage to ensure members of the public wash their hands after petting the animals so they are complying with the notice at present.”
Mr Gill said: “Around three to six weeks earlier, new guidelines were issued. We carried out a risk assessment and felt we were doing
Zoo to reply to appeal, still seeks winter room for Lucy
The City of Edmonton is considering ways to winterize the Valley Zoo home of Lucy the elephant before the new year, as PETA continues its fight to have her transferred to a U.S. sanctuary.
Lucy’s enclosure meets all necessary standards, the city says, but she could use more room to exercise when it’s too cold to go outside. The Edmonton Humane Society recommended finding that extra space before Dec. 31.
“Right now what we’re doing is exploring options for meeting the recommendations of a report of a third party specialist who examined Lucy,” said Mary Lou Reeleder, communications business
Cage fighters: Inmates flee Kiev zoo hell
A Ukrainian zoo, already notorious for being beyond horrible, has more to it than meets the eye. More animals have chosen to break free from their tiny living spaces at Kiev’s troubled zoo opting for freedom, natural surroundings and…love stories.
An African crowned crane was the first to make an escape bid. He flew out from his small cage only to land in the center of the city and immediately be recaptured.
Seven rare marmots, eight porcupines and a fox shortly followed suit. The porcupines and the fox were quickly intercepted near the zoo’s ticket office. The marmots, however, dug a tunnel so deep that the zookeepers still cannot reach them.
The next effort came from a common crane. The bird attempted to run, as its wings were docked, up his aviary wall, clambering up hanging nets. But the poor bird fell into wolves’ claws and was eaten. The zoo employees later recalled the crane has been rehearsing the escape, practicing running up and down the nets.
Next in line was a badger. The poor creature ran not for freedom, but for romance, heading straight into a cage of a neighboring marten. In a surge of passion, the badger demonstrated incredible skills – it disentangled the metal mesh of his cage to get through to the neighboring one
SeaWorld Orlando quietly working on 'major' expansion
SeaWorld Orlando has quietly launched a "major redevelopment" that will add several new attractions to the marine park in 2012 and 2013.
The plans, according to government filings and interviews with people familiar with various elements, include transforming a 24-year-old penguin exhibit into a new, possibly Antarctica-themed ride; adding a sea-turtle movie attraction to an existing manatee display; and building a rainforest-themed trail in Discovery Cove, SeaWorld's limited-admission boutique park, that would include a freshwater pool and habitats for primates and otters.
SeaWorld would not discuss details of its plans this week, though it confirmed that it has multiple new attractions in the works.
"We do have plans for incredible new attractions at SeaWorld Orlando, and we're committed to finding amazing new ways to immerse our guests and fans in the mysteries of the sea," SeaWorld spokesman Nick Gollattscheck said. "It's too early to talk
Lang: Grand zoo plan 'dead on arrival'
Mayor Scott W. Lang is proposing a Buttonwood Park Zoo easterly expansion of a little less than 2 acres and says the now defunct park greenhouse should fall under the auspices of the zoo and be developed into a butterfly exhibit.
Lang, speaking at his weekly press briefing Friday, said he also backs the idea of reserving wetlands to the south of the zoo for nature trails.
Lang said he is going to present his formal recommendations to both the city's Park Board and City Council next week.
Lang did not hang any dollar signs on his plan, which he said would be "inexpensive."
He did say funding for any exhibits would have to be a "private-public partnership."
"It would have to be very, very close to a zero net (cost) for the taxpayers of the city," he said.
He said the greenhouse could serve as the future home of a butterfly exhibit. The greenhouse will not be included in the "zoo proper," he said, but a walkway would lead to the structure.
The expansion will include new sidewalks, Lang said. He also wants the zoo to become "an all-weather facility" and spoke of fostering a more substantial "indoor component."
"The expansion itself will be very minimal," he said.
He did not get into specifics
White rhino auction draws mixed reaction
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has once again drawn mixed reactions from conservation bodies on the eve of its annual white rhino auction tomorrow, where the group plans on selling 30 of the animals.
The auctions, which have been held since 1989, stirred controversy after Musina-based game farmer Dawie Groenewald (who was later found to be facing charges of poaching rhinos and trading in rhino horn) had bought some of his animals through these auctions.
Yolan Friedmann, chief executive of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, said they did not have a problem with the practice.
“Ezemvelo has a policy of selling game and unfortunately, for financial reasons, they will have to keep doing it.
“We request that they really scrutinise where the animals are going. They must make sure that the buyers have no outstanding criminal litigations or permit irregularities against them,” he said.
Chris Galliers, conservation project manager at the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa (Wessa), said: “Spreading rhino populations is a good thing – it ensures that there is diversity in terms of breeding. It is also bridging the rift between public and private ownership.”
He also said Ezemvelo should offer buyers support to make sure the animals were being looked after adequately.
Animal Action founder Ethel Horsman said her organisation placed animals in homes and didn’t sell them.
"I don’t like the idea of selling and auctioning animals. If it means that the rhinos will be protected, then I guess they have to do it,” she said.
One of the aims of the 22nd auction at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi
Tiger 'nip' hospitalises Dreamworld handler
A Dreamworld employee remained in hospital overnight after being bitten by the same Bengal tiger responsible for biting another handler earlier this year.
Kato, the 160 kilogram Bengal tiger which bit handler Daniel Jans on the leg at Dreamworld in May, yesterday ‘‘nipped’’ another handler while being led through his enclosure about 9am.
The tiger handler, who is said to be in good spirits, was taken to Pindara Private Hospital on the Gold Coast with two puncture wounds to the lower right calf.
Dreamworld spokeswoman Melinda Lloyd said yesterday’s incident occurred in similar circumstances as the previous one when the impatient adult Bengal tiger gave his handler a ‘‘hurry up nip’’.
‘‘Today, the handler was leading the tiger through the enclosure behind Tiger Island and had stopped to open a gate when the tiger bit him,’’ she said yesterday
Ms Lloyd said handlers at the theme park would closely monitor 10-year-old Kato’s behaviour in light of the latest incident.
‘‘We will need to look at his behaviour
Minnesota Zoo's dolphins on break, but training in public view
Taijah, the 14-month-old, is mischievous and distractible. Her mom, Allie, 24, is a bit nervous but still playful. Dad Semo, a senior citizen at age 47, can do plenty of tricks, but trainers have to be careful about working him too hard.
For these reasons, a dolphin show as many people might think of it - synchronized "dancing" and leaps, animals jumping through hoops and doing flips in the air - has been out of reach for the Minnesota Zoo's small pod.
The zoo discontinued the shows a few years ago, after Allie became pregnant with what would be a stillborn calf. Since then, another pregnancy and the various life stages of the animals kept shows from happening.
But the creatures still work with trainers, who teach them to leap, dance and dive. So this summer, zoo officials quietly began scheduling training sessions in the dolphin auditorium, sprinkling in some music and education, so visitors could see what the animals can do.
"This is us," marine mammal supervisor Diane Fusco said. "This is who we are right now."
Judging by the gasps and "ahhs" of delighted parents and preschoolers at a recent weekday session, visitors don't seem to mind a less flashy alternative.
The session starts with an introduction of the Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.
Though he's one of the oldest dolphins in human care, Semo thrusts his craggy
Cats roar as Lion Man returns to Zion
Craig "The Lion Man" Busch has returned to the pride of big cats at embattled Zion Wildlife Gardens.
Sunday News can reveal Busch recently visited the 36 lions, tigers, cheetahs and leopard at the Northland tourism attraction for the first time in two years.
The big cat handler has submitted an "unconditional cash offer" to receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers to regain control of the wildlife park.
Busch took legal action in late 2009 to be allowed back into Zion. He was dismissed from the park by his mother, Patricia Busch, in November 2008.
He was granted the right to visit Zion once a month, for a period of about two hours.
But until recently, Busch hadn't taken up the option, partly because of lengthy stays in South Africa, where he was involved in wildlife rescues. It is understood he was also concerned a temporary return would upset the big cats, many of whom he hand-raised from cubs.
A legal agreement prevents Busch from talking publicly a
Zion Wildlife Park receiver's warning to creditors
The receiver for Northland's Zion Wildlife Gardens is in talks with interested parties looking to buy the land and animals, though there probably won't be enough money to pay unsecured creditors.
Receivers Colin McCloy and David Bridgman of PwC had begun the sale process and were "working with a number of interested parties in this respect,'' they said in their first report.
The park, which houses 36 big cats including lions, tigers, cheetahs and a leopard, is still running pre-booked tours but is otherwise closed to the public.
Since their appointment, the receivers have stressed in their updates that they are doing their best to maintain the welfare of the animals.
The park called in receivers after defaulting on its loans in July, and owes some $2.7 million to Rabobank as first ranking secured creditor and $292,000 to owner Patricia Busch
NGO cries foul over ill-treated orangutans
An international conservation group has ripped into the Malaysian government for turning a blind eye to the plight of eight abused orangutans.
In a press statement today, Nature Alert said that it had investigated the disappearance of the eight from the A’Famosa Resort in Malacca after the orangutan show was banned last April.
The animals were recently discovered at an undisclosed location hunched inside cages with little hair left, malnourished and suffering from severe depression.
“For the last 18 months we’ve been asking Perhilitan (the Department of Wildlife and National Parks) to investigate where and under what conditions these eight orangutans were
Smuggled rhino horns: The Thai connection
Local prostitutes conscripted by gangs to pose as hunters are at the centre of an alleged Southeast Asian smuggling network that South African authorities are scrambling to stop
Fetching US$2,500 (76,700 baht) for 100g in some Southeast Asian countries, it comes as no surprise to the man tasked with trying to stem the international illegal trade in rhino horns that it is now a major organised crime.
"At the moment rhino horn is worth a lot more than heroin or cocaine," says John Sellar, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) chief enforcement officer based in Geneva.
Some estimates put the price of rhino horns as high as 2.85 million baht per kilogramme, but many conservation bodies are unwilling to quote prices for fear of increasing trade in the endangered species.
At the centre of the criminal networks are Thai and Vietnamese gangs accused of taking advantage of provisions in South African wildlife laws to harvest rhino horns under the guise of legitimate big-game hunting.
According to the South African Revenue Service (Sars) the biggest scalp so far is smuggling "kingpin" Chumlong Lemthongthai, a 43-year-old Thai national, who was arrested in July at a home he leased in Edenvale, Johannesburg.
The allegations against Mr Chumlong, whose trial has been set for Nov 8, make for colourful reading. He reportedly recruited Thai sex workers and bar girls to pose as hunters and legally kill the animals for trophies, in this case their horns, which are usually mounted on pieces of wood. He is facing multiple breaches of the South African Customs and Excise Act.
Under South African wildlife laws and the oversight of Cites, which permits export of rhino hunting trophies, one hunter is allowed to hunt one rhino every year under supervision of conservation officers after providing a passport and being fingerprinted by police.
In an interview with the South African news programme Carte Blanche, one of the Thai "hunters" _ identified as Lee _ says she was promised a relaxing holiday and was not aware there would be any hunting. She denied killing any rhinos herself.
Lee: Not shoot anything, yes. Sit down, wait, drink, eat, anything.
Interviewer: Then you take a picture with the rhino?
Lee: Yeah, big money for me: 5,000 rand [18,800 baht].
Interviewer: You get paid 5,000 rand?
Lee: Yes, the man he pay me 5,000 [rand].
Interviewer: Who paid you?
Lee: The Thai man - name (is) Chumlong.
The programme then showed pictures of smiling Thai women posing beside dead rhinos, but Lee said most of them were sad the animals had been shot.
Lee: Some people cry for the rhino.
Interviewer: Some of the ladies were crying?
Lee: Cry, yes ... yes, really.
In documents submitted to the Kempton Park
Dafoe hopes Tassie Tiger still exists
Actor Willem Dafoe feels like a kid again saying it, but he hopes the Tasmanian Tiger still exists.
In his latest film, The Hunter, Dafoe plays a mercenary sent to Tasmania by a pharmaceutical company to hunt for the last surviving Tasmanian Tiger.
In reality, the 'tiger' is believed to have been hunted to extinction by Australian settlers, with the last known one dying at Hobart
Coral thefts hit 2 Jacksonville aquarium stores
Live coral, clams and other aquarium items valued at $31,200 are gone following a Sunday smash-and-grab burglary at Bio Reef.
It is the second time this month that a business that specializes in saltwater aquariums has been burglarized in Southside Jacksonville, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The latest burglary was captured on a security camera at the 3653 Regent Blvd. business in an office/warehouse park with a fence and security gate off Beach Boulevard. Police said someone broke through the fence, then the video shows three men breaking in after a chunk of concrete was used to smash a window just after 4 a.m.
A 5-gallon fish tank, 300 live coral pieces and a dozen saltwater clams were stolen along with three coral growth light systems, according to the police report.
On Sept. 6 someone broke into Coral Logic at 7860 Gate Parkway, but no report was written, according to police. But the officer investigating the Bio Reef burglary spoke with Coral
‘Criminal negligence’ and starvation behind lion cubs death
Suggesting major penalties against zoo officials whose “wilful negligence” caused the death of three lion cubs at the Karachi Zoological Gardens more than a month ago, the officer investigating the case with the assistance of a technical team has recommended that the “whereabouts of the fourth missing cub needs to be ascertained with the help of local police” as no evidence was found suggesting that the lioness had eaten her baby.
These remarks are part of the much-awaited inquiry report that has been submitted to the DCO by Ghanwer Khan Leghari, executive district officer (EDO), revenue, city district government, last week after a gap of 45 days. The inquiry was supposed to be completed within 15 days.
The inquiry report states: “The death was due to the wilful negligence on the part of zoo staff. The birth of cubs and their rearing was taken too casually, as it was caring for pye-dogs. There was no 24-hour monitoring of cubs to ascertain the behaviour of captive lioness towards her cubs. There was no effort to bottlefeed the cubs or take care of them.
“As a matter of routine, the staff taking care of the cubs used to leave for homes at 3pm. It is very strange that the zoo authorities claim that the lions were seized and it is not their responsibility if the cubs expired.”
Two pairs of lions were confiscated at Karachi airport by customs authorities last year as the animals were being imported on an expired permit. The big cats were handed over to the Sindh wildlife department which shifted them to the zoo, saying the department did not have any facility to keep wild animals.
While the matter is still pending in court, a lioness gave birth to four cubs last month. The cubs could hardly survive for five days — three of them were found dead while another was found missing the same day on Aug 12.
Zoo cries foul over 'loss' of bears
A private animal park in Lanchang here has been suffering losses because its main attraction -- three Malayan sun-bears -- were taken away by the state National Parks and Wildlife Department (Perhilitan) last week.
The animals, two males and one female, had been at the Deerland Park since it opened in 2004, luring hundreds of visitors every week.
Of the three bears, 13-year-old Muda had been drawing the largest crowd as it was very friendly and would allow visitors to rub his big belly while he enjoyed the milk and nuts offered to him.
However, the mini zoo was affected by the newly-implemented Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, which required private zoo owners who could not meet the specifications to surrender their endangered animals to the department.
Zoo owner Abdullah Ahmad Mahmood is upset with Perhilitan's decision.
He told the New Straits Times yesterday that after the bears were taken away, the park had lost its appeal and suffered a drop in visitors as tour agents said the animals were the main attraction.
"Some tourists who visited the zoo claimed they had been cheated.
"Tourists claim that the brochures and the websites shown by the tour agents included feeding and taking pictures with Muda as part of the activities, but none of the bears are here."
Abdullah said the mini zoo, which was just a stone's throw from Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary near here, attracted some 70,000 visitors every year, including ministers and even members of the Pahang royal family.
The 4ha park at the edge of the Krau Forest Reserve was also home to several other animals, including a herd of deer -- ranging from full-grown ones to fawns, an albino python and various birds, including peacocks and peahens.
State Perhilitan director Khairiah Mohd Shariff said
Film for chimps premieres in Liverpool
Giving chimpanzees television to watch is not new: chimps in captivity all over the world are often shown TV as form of environmental enrichment. To make 'Primate Cinema: Apes as Family', Los Angeles-based artist Rachel Mayeri collaborated with comparative psychologist Dr Sarah-Jane Vick to explore issues around cognition and communication in research primates.
The duo tested different styles and genres of film on chimps in captivity to gauge their responses and to see whether chimps 'lose themselves' in what they are watching as readily as humans.
The resulting film is a dual-screen installation juxtaposing a chimp-centred social drama, enacted by humans in the guise of apes, with mesmerising footage of the reactions of an ape audience at Edinburgh Zoo.
Rob LaFrenais, curator at The Arts Catalyst, who commissioned the work, explains: "As the watchers of the watching chimps, we perceive - or we imagine - fascination, puzzlement, and flashes of anger in their responses. Sited in different spaces in Los Angeles and Edinburgh we are never sure whether we are seeing a lab, zoo, wildlife park, rumpus room or post-apocalyptic landscape inhabited by half-chimp/half-humans.
"Mayeri's intriguing and amusing story-and-response structure contains dark undercurrents in its contemplation of the lives of our captive close relatives."
Mayeri was an awarded an honorary mention for 'Primate Cinema: Apes as Family' at Prix Ars Electronica, the leading electronic arts festival, in May 2011.
'Primate Cinema: Apes as Family' was commissioned
Foreign crocodile experts studying Agusan crocs
Foreign crocodile experts from the non-government organization World Conservation Union (WCU) are now studying the origins of saltwater crocodiles found in the Agusan Marsh and swamps in Del Carmen town here.
American Peter Webb Graham, a member of the WCU’s Crocodile and Wildlife Conservation Project, recently visited the swamps of Del Carmen and Bunawan in Agusan del Sur, where the 21-foot crocodile “Lolong” was captured last month.
Graham said they are studying the similarities of Lolong with another 19-foot crocodile known as “Kibol” that was captured at the swamps of Del Carmen in Siargao Island in 1992.
He said both Lolong and Kibol are saltwater crocodiles.
Lolong is being kept in a fenced pond at the remote Barangay Consuelo in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur, while Kibol, which means amputated in English because the animal’s tail had been cut, is now at the Palawan Crocodile Farm in Puerto Princesa City.
Graham said they are studying the possibility that the species of Lolong and Kibol have the same origin even though the two animals thrived in different places.
He said both Kibol and Lolong have the same features and have attacked humans and animals alike.
The American expert said the study would also include how saltwater
Bristol Zoo gorilla statues raise £427,000 for charity
Sixty life-sized gorilla statues have raised £427,000 at a charity auction after being on display around Bristol throughout the summer.
Each Wow! Gorilla sculpture was painted by a local artist as part of Bristol Zoo's 175th birthday celebrations.
Gorisambard - a gorilla modelled on Isambard Kingdom Brunel - was the highest selling statue, going for £23,000.
Auctioneer Andrew Morgan said the gorillas were a "spectacular success".
Wow! Gorilla was a public art trail which saw 60 gorilla sculptures spending 10 weeks at many of the city's landmarks, such as Clifton Suspension Bridge, Ashton Gate Stadium and Bristol Bus Station.
More than 500 people attended the
Chimps move into new $7 million home at Taronga Zoo in Sydney
(Great photo...they don't look thrilled)
STUNNING views of Sydney Harbour, cascading water features and towering palm trees - who wouldn't want to live here?
Add some climbing ropes and you've got the perfect abode for 17 lucky Taronga Zoo chimpanzees, who officially moved into their new $7 million home today.
And the chimps aren't the only winners.
The state-of-the-art interactive complex also allows members of the public get up close and personal with the primates.
With 12-metre high towers, a network of climbing ropes and a 180kg hammock made out of fire hoses, there's always something to keep the chimps entertained.
The makeover began in 2009 after the chimps were moved to a temporary exhibit.
Six families now make up the 17 animals at the new chimpanzee sanctuary. The eldest is 59-year-old Lulu and the youngest Sule, who was born in 2008.
Senior primate keeper Allan Schmidt said the new enclosure would meet the changing needs of the chimps, including a population of m
Eagle ruffles feathers at Santa Barbara Zoo
A hungry bald eagle spent two weeks hanging around the Santa Barbara Zoo earlier this month, bothering birds and forcing employees to relocate some animals and guard others.
Zoo spokeswoman Sheri Horiszny told the Los Angeles Times ( http://lat.ms/mTV3yj) for a story Thursday that the toucans noticed the bald eagle first.
Keepers moved 16 macaws, 13 otters, four chuckwallas, four rabbits, two meerkats, two cranes, two ground hornbills and a black-necked swan from open-air enclosures to eagle-proof shelters.
Zookeepers applied for a permit to catch the
An individual has been fined $40,000 for engaging in the illegal trade of an endangered species
The Quebec component of an investigation into the illegal trade of Queen Conches, initiated in October 2006 by Environment Canada, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and fisheries officers from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ended in a guilty verdict and a fine totalling $40,000 for Michael Angelakis. This investigation was conducted in Quebec by Environment Canada's Wildlife Enforcement Directorate from several regions in the country.
Angelakis, 31, from Laval, was found guilty on Monday, September 26, in Montréal Provincial Court. Angelakis was accused of importing a shipment of Queen Conches (Strombus gigas) into Canada without an export permit under the Columbia Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Not having a CITES permit is a violation under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.
Following a joint declaration of facts, Angelakis was given a $40,000 fine payable to the Environmental Damages Fund. In consideration of this, Angelakis was given an absolute discharge by the court.
The Queen Conch, also known as the pink conch, is a large local mollusc—the flesh of which is highly sought after—found in the waters of 36 Caribbean countries. The species is protected under the CITES.
Operation Shell Game, which began in 2006, required the participation of wildlife officers
Animal Games hit for cruelty
THIS year's Animal Games, already under way at the Shanghai Wildlife Park, have prompted a round of protests, with people concerned about the welfare of the animals.
The Olympic-like games feature sports competition between animals or between animals and people.
The games opened last Friday, and more than 200 animals - including 30 different kinds - are expected to participate in more than 40 events.
In the opening ceremony, a bear named Whinny, an elephant named Mary and a chimpanzee named Xiao Xiao lit the torch of the "Olympics." The event is scheduled to last for more than a month.
Audience members shot video of the opening ceremony and it spread fast on the Internet.
"It looks exciting, but I don't want to imagine how the animals were treated when they were trained to do all the stuff," said Wei Yin, a visitor to the park.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare said the event is cruel and violates Chinese law.
A regulation issued by the State Forestry Administration makes it illegal from this year to use animals in performances in zoos and wildlife parks. This includes the use of animals to pose for photographs with visitors.
But the park argued the performances are for the animals' own good, maintaining their vitality. Officials from the park said that animals aren't kept in
Beware the blenny's bite!
It’s smart and normally peaceful — but don’t threaten the Striped poison-fang! Dave Wolfenden explains why Meiacanthus grammistes deserves respect.
The Striped poison-fang blenny (Meiacanthus grammistes) is commonly available. Growing to some 10cm/4", the species is widely distributed around the western Pacific, from the Great Barrier Reef of Australia northwards to southern Japan, and from Papua New Guinea westwards to the Gulf of Thailand.
It is part of a specialised group of fang blennies, poison-fang blennies or sabre-tooth blennies consisting of a few dozen species over a handful of genera, all with fascinating behaviour and unique defensive adaptations.
Meiacanthus grammistes is very attractive, with a white ventral surface, often with a brilliant blue hue in some regional variations and yellow and black longitudinal stripes, believed to be a form of aposematic or warning coloration.
The striped markings terminate in black spots on the tail, which is much less lyre-shaped
Zoo gets donation for animal artic exhibit
The Jacobs family and Delaware North Companies presented a $250,000 donation to to the Buffalo Zoo Friday morning.
The donation will go towards financing an arctic animal exhibit scheduled for completion in 2014.
Zoo president Donna Ferandes said she looks forward to the updates.
"There will be a lot more interpretation on what's happening now to polar bears in the wild with climate change, so it will be a much much better experience for our visitors but more importantly a much nicer habitat for the bears' quality of life," said Fernandes.
Ferandes is thrilled by the Buffalo-based company's generosity.
"Well it's great because, you know they've been a real stand out corporation in this community for a long time, and I think a
Vietnam to dispel rhino horn myths
A meeting between Vietnamese and South African government delegations in Johannesburg this week revealed that the Vietnamese were completely unaware of the scale of the horn-smuggling racket on its soil, a senior South African government official said after the encounter.
The Vietnamese had even cited statistics showing that illegal trafficking in rhino horn in Vietnam was decreasing, said South Africa's deputy director general of biodiversity and conservation in the department of water and environmental affairs, Fundisile Mketeni.
Last week the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) revealed that South Africa had lost 297 rhinos to poachers this year. Of the 165 people arrested in connection with the crime, many were Vietnamese nationals.
Last month a South African magistrate sentenced two Vietnamese citizens to eight and 12 years in prison, respectively, for attempting to smuggle rhino horn out of the country. Vietnam's deafening silence on the issue has drawn strong criticism from conservation bodies. Traffic, an international wildlife-trade monitoring network, is deeply concerned about the role of Vietnamese nationals in driving the illegal selling of horns. The network sponsored this week's meeting between South Africa and Vietnam.
The role of Vietnamese crime syndicates in
Mayor rejects offer to have giant crocodile transferred to QC park
Mayor Edwin Elorde of Bunawan, Agusan del Sur, rejected on Saturday the suggestion of Environment Secretary Ramon Paje to transfer Lolong, the one-ton saltwater crocodile captured in the Agusan Marsh last month, to the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife compound in Quezon City.
“Personally, I don’t agree with that plan,” Elorde told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone from Bunawan. “We are capable of taking care of the crocodile. The provincial government, as well as prominent personalities, has promised to help us.”
But Elorde said he could not do anything if the people of Bunawan supported Paje’s idea, which was made since Lolong’ has refused to eat anything since his capture.
“I cannot decide on my own. I’m just their representative,” Elorde said.
He said the local government was striving hard to make Lolong at home in the wildlife park being put up in Bunawan.
“The first phase [of the park’s construction] covers at least 20 hectares,” Elorde said, as he tried to illustrate how big Lolong’s new environment would be.
Paje said the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife compound was large and would be more comfortable for Lolong.
Elorde also rejected reports that the captive reptile had become lethargic.
“Experts who visited us said the reptile is in good condition although still not eating since September 3,” he said.
Elorde said he would be the saddest man in Bunawan if Lolong’s health was deteriorating as reported.
“I’m so attached to Lolong. I spend most of my time with the crocodile. I consider him my son now,” he said.
The 21-foot monster was ensnared in the Agusan Marsh after authorities and volunteers hunted down a crocodile blamed for the death in July of a Bunawan resident.
Lolong is being touted as the largest saltwater crocodile in captivity although that claim has yet to be validated by the Guinness Book of World Records.
The current record for the largest crocodile in captivity is held by Cassius,
Ezemvelo to auction white rhinos
Thirty white rhinos will be auctioned next month at the iMfolozi game reserve, says Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
"The auction is aimed at disposing white rhino that are surplus to the ecological requirements of the various protected areas," Ezemvelo's rhino security strategist Jabulani Ngubane said.
The auction on October 1 was part of a larger "disposal strategy" which incorporated internal translocations and donations to private and communal land owners, he said.
"The sale of rhino to private land owners has been an essential ingredient in saving the species from extinction and remains an important part of its continued survival," he said.
Ngubane said rhino conservation successes were being undermined by poaching. He said 23 rhinos had been poached in KwaZulu-Natal reserves so far this year. The
China must help S. Africa halt rhino poaching surge, WWF says
China, Vietnam and Thailand, where rhinoceros horns are used for supposed medicinal properties, need to match South Africa’s efforts to end a surge in poaching of the endangered animals, WWF International said.
South Africa, home to 93 percent of Africa’s rhino population, has arrested 165 people this year in connection with rhino killings. At least 287 rhinos have been killed by poachers in South Africa in 2011 compared with 181 during the same period a year earlier, Joseph Okori, the African Rhino Programme manager for the Gland, Switzerland
‘Happy 100th birthday, Admiral’
Durban’s oldest tortoise, Admiral (pictured), has a lot to celebrate. He’s seen two World Wars, the dawn of democracy in South African and on Saturday, he’ll be turning 100-years-old.
Admiral, carefully strolls up to Mitchell Park zoo assistant Deva Pillay. It’s been a big week for the four-legged centenarian-to-be. With a party that’s to be hosted at the zoo and an estimated guest list of an expected 4 000 people, according to zoo spokesman Karl Westphal, the pressure will certainly be on.
The Mitchell Park Trust has organised birthday celebrations on the paddock
Feline Conservation Federation Census Documents Less than 3,000 Tigers in America
The Feline Conservation Federation used the Freedom of Information Act to gain USDA and state wildlife agency inventories of all wild cats
Contrary to the wild guesses of five to ten thousand tigers in the U.S.,a nation-wide survey of tigers and tiger habitat, conducted by the FCF, has revealed less than 3,000 tigers live in America.
"We have suspected this for a long time, but now we know for a fact that the pitiful, dwindling number of tigers living in nature exceeds those protected in state and federally licensed animal facilities in the US", says Lynn Culver, executive director for the Feline Conservation Federation (FCF).
“The FCF survey also proved the so-called “pet tiger” in your neighbor’s back yard, is an overblown urban legend. The majority of tigers live in licensed exhibits such as zoos, nature centers, and sanctuaries.”
In 2011 the Feline Conservation Federation used the Freedom of Information Act to gain USDA and state wildlife agency inventories of all wild cats. The project also worked to identify non-exhibiting sanctuaries, and non-licensed wild feline owners
Between the devil and the deep blue sea
The marine mammal scientist who spent four years conducting a study into beluga whales in Russia's Okhotsk Sea says the decision not to import them to Hong Kong may do more harm than good to the near-threatened species. Simon Parry reports.
Few people in the world know and love beluga whales as well as Olga Shpak. The marine mammal scientist has devoted years of her life to studying and understanding the species in the icy waters of the Okhotsk Sea in Russia. And few people are as disappointed as Shpak by the decision not to import wild-caught belugas to Hong Kong for Ocean Park's new Polar Adventure attraction - something she believes will do more harm than good not only for the six whales in question but for the species in general.
"This decision is nothing to do with science," she said in a phone interview with the China Daily from Moscow. "It's about politics, and to me it is just incredible."
Shpak, more than most people who supported the import, has good cause to feel crestfallen by the events of recent weeks. She spent four years conducting a study commissioned and funded by Ocean Park into the sustainability of beluga whales in the Okhotsk Sea.
That study, verified by a panel of independent international experts, concluded that 29 beluga whales a year could be removed from the part of the sea she studied over the next five years without adversely affecting the population.
When Shpak flew to Hong Kong for her first ever visit in June and was shown the giant tank being prepared at Ocean Park for the six beluga whales, currently in a holding facility in Russia, it must have seemed only a matter of time before they were on their way to Hong Kong.
"I have to say I really liked what I saw," she said. "I've seen different facilities in different countries and Ocean Park is a nice facility. It looks like the same level as the high-standard facilities in the United States. It looked a rich environment for the belugas."
Lawyers clash in SeaWorld killer-whale case
Lawyers for the federal government said in opening arguments that SeaWorld animal trainers cannot safely work in close contact with killer whales.
"Killer whales are large, powerful and non-domesticated animals. They have the potential to cause serious physical harm or death to people who get near them," said John Black, an attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor.
But lawyers for SeaWorld defended the company's safety program.
"There's a lot of training of the killer whales themselves … that goes hand-in-hand with the training of killer-whale trainers," said Carla Gunnin, an attorney representing SeaWorld. "They have a lot of safety procedures in place. You don't start Day 1 at Shamu Stadium and go train a killer
Fellsmere city manager: 'We look at elephants as just big cows'
A 225-acre private elephant ranch proposed for just south of the C-54 Canal is expected to get city Community Development Director Mark Mathes' approval Friday, the only local review it needs before regional water managers look over the National Elephant Center's plans.
"I took a look at it today and I don't see much of a problem," Mathes said Thursday.
The National Elephant Center is a collaborative effort with the support of 73 zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
"The folks associated with this are top-quality folks," City Manager Jason Nunemaker said. "This is not some sort of carnival show. We're excited."
The center won't be open to the public. But Nunemaker said he stressed allowing access for school groups on an educational visit.
A site plan filed with the city Thursday shows the elephant compound straddling a north-south irrigation canal at the northernmost end of the Fellsmere Joint Venture's agricultural property, which the city annexed in 2007. The property would be reached on
Armed man escorted from zoo by police sues city of Evansville
A lawsuit has been filed against the city on behalf of a man Evansville Police Department officers physically escorted out of Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden after police said he refused to cover up a gun he was carrying on his hip.
The lawsuit, filed in Vanderburgh Circuit Court on Friday by attorney Guy Relford of Zionsville, Ind., names Evansville and its Department of Parks & Recreation. It alleges the actions of zoo employees and police officers violated an Indiana law effective July 1 that pre-empts the regulation, with a few exceptions, of firearms by local governments.
The lawsuit seeks financial damages, including triple attorney fees; a court declaration finding the city’s actions were illegal; and an injunction preventing future actions by the city — all of which the state law spells out.
“It’s a clear violation of Indiana law,” Relford said. “As of July 1, the state law pre-empts local regulation of firearms, including the carrying of
Saint Louis Zoo Launches Institute for Conservation Medicine
Zoo will form major consortium to work for healthy animals, healthy people
ST. LOUIS, Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A leader in wildlife conservation medicine for the past 20 years, the Saint Louis Zoo will establish an Institute for Conservation Medicine and take its conservation work to a new level, it was announced today. The Institute will focus its research on diseases known to affect threatened and endangered wildlife, as well as how disease relates to domestic animals and public health.
Though infectious diseases have always been of concern for human survival - black plague, influenza go back centuries - it is only in the latter part of the twentieth century that emerging infectious diseases were noted to be increasing in incidence and geographic range.
"Many of these emerging diseases are now common household terms," says Dr. Sharon Deem, director of the Zoo's new institute. "Avian flu, West Nile virus, SARS, Ebola and monkeypox are all newsworthy today. Unfortunately, because these diseases may be transmitted from animals to humans, it is possible that wildlife may be seen as the 'bad guys,' threatening human health. In reality, wild animals are not the bad guys. Rather, growing human
Denver Zoo the greenest
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has awarded its first Green Award to the Denver Zoo for its sustainability practices.
Among the zoo's conservation achievements are the reduction of electricity usage by 13 percent from 2008 levels and a 60 percent reduction in annual water usage since 1999.
Craig Piper, the zoo's chief executive, and Jennifer Hale, the zoo's sustainability coordinator, accepted the award at the group's annual
NARCO PETS: Mexico's zoos strained by drug kingpins' exotic animals
For years, three tiny squirrel monkeys led a life of luxury on a 16-acre ranch surrounded by extravagant gardens and barns built for purebred horses.
More than 200 animals, ranging from mules to peacocks and ostricheslived on the ranch in central Mexico and hundreds more stayed on two related properties, many in opulent enclosures. Also kept on the grounds were less furry fare: AK-47 assault rifles, Berrettas, hundreds of other weapons and cocaine.
The ranch's owner was Jesus "The King" Zambada, a leader of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel. He had developed a love for exotic species shared with other kingpins. Just two days before Zambada's arrest, police confiscated two tigers and two
Living Coasts fish at Torquay's coastal zoo raises family – of 65!
A fish just a few inches long has raised a family of 65 youngsters on her own.
The female orange chromide has managed to rear the fry despite her mate dying shortly after the youngsters hatched.
Living Coasts exhibit manager Clare Rugg said: "This is the first time we have bred orange chromides at Living Coasts. We believe that approximately 65 hatched in June. They were around 5 millimetres long when they emerged. We have had no deaths as far as we know."
Clare added: "One parent has raised them, which is a huge feat! They share their tank with banded archer fish, scats, and Atlantic mudskippers. The scats are much larger and are omnivorous, so we were worried they would eat the young, but when we tried to remove the scats, it was impossible because they are so quick.
"We had to leave the fry with the parent, as they feed off a mucus the parents produce on their skin for the first few weeks of their lives, which obviously we are unable to replicate. We could have taken some of them away to help the parent fish cope, but it was doing well, so we let nature take its course. We are all very proud of her!"
The orange chromide, Etroplus maculatus, lives in brackish water in India and Sri Lanka. It is wary and sensitive to changes in water chemistry. It is not uncommon in zoos and aquariums and is kept by private aquarists.
Females can lay up to 300 eggs on rocks, wood, and roots. Both parents guard them until they
Nest efforts in a large-scale iguana project produce a baby boom
A baby boom is underway at the San Diego Zoo among the Grand Cayman blue iguanas, one of the world's most endangered lizards.
Since 2007, the zoo has been part of an international effort to save the blue iguana. Despite elaborate efforts at providing the right environment, results have been modest: three or four hatchlings a year.
But in the past week, nine blue iguana hatchlings were reported at the zoo's Anne and Kenneth
Zoos criticised by animal group "Animal Equality"
SPANISH zoos ill-treated animals, claimed international animal rights group Animal Equality.
The animals’ living conditions were not good and the group called for eight zoos, including those of Madrid and Barcelona, to be shut down.
In contrast to earlier occasions, the group lodged formal complaints as a result of their investigations. In the past, they had limited action to releasing photographs to the media as had happened with mink farms and pig-raising plants, explained Animal Equality’s Sharon Nuñez.
Named and shamed were zoos in Madrid, Barcelona, Castellar (Jaen), Cordoba, and Guillena (Sevilla), together with Zoobotanico in Jerez and Bioparc and Rio Safari in the Valencian Community.
“We did not score them but conditions at Madrid Zoo were very bad indeed,” Nuñez said.
Self-harming and violent behaviour amongst the animals were among situations denounced by Animal Equality. This, she claimed, was the result of stress caused by confinement in small spaces not adapted to their needs.
“We can’t allow animals to be used as mere entertainment,” argued Nuñez who also complained about visitors throwing objects into cages or, when animals were kept behind glass, banging on windows.
Ill-treatment by employees ranged from rough handling to obliging the animals to perform. Dolphins were frequently seen with grazed heads “probably as a result of trainers standing on them during training and performances.”
Animal Equality footage also showed the suffering and death of a lioness when zoo refused to go to the expense of paying a vet to treat her.
Zoos served no educational purpose, accordin
Zuohai Jellyfish Aquarium to open on Oct.1
Zuohai Sea World Jellyfish Aquarium, the first jellyfish aquarium in Fujian province, will be put into service on Oct. 1.
It is reported the aquarium made of acrylic glass costs about five million yuan and covers an area of more than 160 square meters. Construction has been completed and the aquarium is now undergoing water quality testing and exterior finishing.
Also known as the “invisible killer”, most jellyfish are poisonous. There are now more than 250 species of jellyfish in the world and eight of them are very common to sea on the coastline of China, including moon jellyfish and freshwater jellyfish. The aquarium accommodates nearly ten species of jellyfish, including a large jellyfish called the Pacific sea nettle from America, brown jellyfish from Japan, and pearl-like Australian spotted jellyfish. The biggest jellyfish is the 24-tentacled Pacific sea nettle, while the Australian spotted jellyfish has a blue “umbrella” dotted with white spots.
Given the very high demand for the living environment of jellyfish and their short life with an average life expectancy of only couple of months, Zuohai
Court date set for Lion Man and mum
The Lion Man and his mother are set to go head-to-head in the High Court.
Craig Busch has applied to have Zion Wildlife Park director Patricia Busch declared bankrupt for failing to pay almost $4000 for previous court costs owed to him.
Mrs Busch has entered a counter-claim through her lawyer, saying she gave financial
Captive breeding of aquarium fish urged
Breeding saltwater aquarium fish, seahorses and invertebrates in captivity could preserve the ecosystems of the world's coral reefs, U.S. researchers say.
Marine biologists at the University of Texas at Austin say their research into captive breeding could help move much of the $1 billion marine ornamental industry toward entrepreneurs working to sustainably raise fish for the aquarium trade, a university release reported Tuesday.
"It's the kind of thing that could transform the industry in the way that the idea of 'organic' has changed the way people grow and buy fruits and vegetables," Joan Holt, UT professor of marine science, said.
"We want enthusiasts to be able to stock their saltwater tanks with sustainably raised, coral-safe species."
Holt, a pioneer in developing food sources and tank designs that enable fragile larvae to survive to adulthood, is a vocal critic of current methods used to bring sea creatures from the oceans to pet store tanks.
"One popular method is to use a cyanide solution," Holt said. "It's squirted into the holes and crevices of the reef and it anesthetizes the fish. They float to the surface. Then the collectors can just scoop them up, and the ones that wake up are shipped out."
This method damages coral and contributes to 80 percent of traded animals dying before ever reaching a tank, she said.
Holt said she believes fish raised in captivity will live longer, be healthier and be easier to care for.
"Species that are bred in captivity should
Penguins identify mates, kin by smell, study finds
Penguins can sniff out the odor of lifelong mates, helping them reunite in crowded colonies, and also can identify the scent of close kin to avoid inbreeding, scientists said on Wednesday.
Some seabirds have previously been known to use their sense of smell to find food or locate nesting sites but the experiments with captive Humboldt Penguins at Brookfield Zoo near Chicago proved, for the first time, that the birds use scent to discriminate between close relatives and strangers.
"Other animals do it, we do it, so why can't birds?" said Jill Mateo, a biopsychologist at the University of Chicago, who worked with graduate student Heather Coffin on the research published in the journal PLoS ONE.
"Their sense of smell can help them find their mates and perhaps choose their mates," Mateo said.
"Seafaring birds that travel long distances in the ocean use odors to find food and use odors to recognize nests but we didn't know what odors or the
Anger at zoo appeal move
COUNCILLORS voiced their anger that a decision over the proposed extension of Dalton zoo has been taken out of their hands.
Members of Barrow Borough Council’s planning committee spoke out over an appeal lodged by South Lakes Animal Park boss David Gill at a meeting at Barrow Town Hall yesterday.
Mr Gill appealed to the Planning Inspectorate due to the delay in a decision being made over a proposed extension. This means the decision over whether to give plans the go-ahead will now be made by the government.
In July, Barrow Borough Council’s planning committee members said they were minded to refuse plans to expand the Dalton zoo by nine hectares. The committee had been due to issue a final decision on whether or not to reject the plans.
But Mr Gill appealed on the basis of non-determination, as he was unhappy that the council failed to issue a decision within an eight-week timescale.
But councillors blamed the delay on ‘sketchy’ plans.
Councillor Ernie Wilson said: “I think the information Mr Gill provided us with was very sketchy
Zookeepers baffled by mysterious critter
Zookeepers from the city of Wenling have not been able to identify the creature and now believe they may have stumbled across a new type of monkey or possum, Daily Mail reports.
The rat-like animal has a marbled tortoise-shell coloured fur with pointy paws and a bushy tail.
The zoo said the animal measures about 25cm in length and liked to eat grass.
Malacca Zoo getting crowded
The Malacca Zoo cannot accept a high number of animals sent there for keeping due to a lack of space.
Malacca Zoo director Ahmad Azhar Mohammed said seized wild animals could still be placed at the zoo as a temporary measure until court cases or other disputes involving them are settled.
“The zoo has adequate facilities to accept them. However, it will not be able to accommodate a high number of animals at any one time due to space constraints.
White Tiger Cubs Need Names at Chinese Wildlife Park
They are the first white tiger cubs being successfully raised by humans in the region.
Unbanning trade in rhino could curb poaching
Increase in rhino poaching is laid at the door of growing economic prosperity in some Asian countries, particularly Vietnam and China, and an unfounded belief that it has medicinal properties
WATER and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa should "seriously consider" lifting the ban on national rhino horn trade, which could free up more than R1-billion in stockpiled rhino horn that could be used to combat poaching, the SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association said yesterday.
SA, home to almost 90% of the world’s estimated 22800 rhinos, has lost at least 290 of the pachyderms to poachers this year, 335 last year and 122 in 2009.
The increase in rhino poaching is laid at the door of growing economic prosperity in some Asian countries, particularly Vietnam and China, and an unfounded belief that it has medicinal properties.
World Wide Fund for Nature African Rhino Programme coordinator Joseph Okori said there was no legal rhino horn market anywhere in the world, and neither the fund nor the South African government could condone black market trade.
SA Hunters’ hunting and conservation manager Herman Els said trade partners would have to be vetted and a legal trade route established.
"It wouldn’t start tomorrow ...we would have to go there
Happily feather after: The bald baby penguin rejected by its parents who grew a new coat
This dejected little chap didn't have a lot going for him.
Born without feathers and rejected by his parents, his chances of survival looked grim.
But now, thanks to the efforts of keepers at an aquarium in China's Liaoning Province, the five-day-old has been reunited with his family.
Zoo builds ‘fang shui’ habitat for python
Eight months of remodeling dust has settled and an 18-foot python is settling into her new digs at the Detroit Zoo.
The 85-pound female reticulated python was rescued from a private owner in July 2010 and now has an enclosure full of features she would find in her native habitat, such as plants, trees and a basking pool that provides underwater viewing for visitors.
“Pythons are exceptional swimmers, so the pool was vital to replicating a habitat synonymous with the wild,” Detroit Zoological Society Curator of Reptiles Jeff Jundt said.
Aquarium says its dolphins aren’t from drive fisheries
The Vancouver aquarium is a member of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, an international organization that condemns the inhumane killing of dolphins and other cetaceans in the Japanese drive fisheries [“The Cove comes downtown”, September 15-22]. The message of The Cove—that drive fisheries must stop—echoes our position and that of like-minded, credible institutions.
Members of the alliance do not support, fund, or acquire animals from drive fisheries. It is completely false that any of these animals are being exported to North America. There is not a single dolphin from the drive fishery in any aquarium accredited by the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums or the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums.
Our three Pacific white-sided dolphins did not come from the Japanese drive fishery, nor were they purchased. They were rescued as badly injured animals from fixed fishing nets along the east coast of
Zoo appeals for help saving rescued bears
Bid to rehome bears that were held in small cages for 20 years as part of a circus.
A West Lothian zoo has just under 12 weeks to raise £60,000 to save three former circus bears.
The animals are currently being held in a holding pen in Belgium.
In their new enclosured in Belgium, Carmen, Suzi and Peggy can turn and move around. For the last 20 years they have been held in cages barely bigger than themselves and transported around Europe as part of a circus troupe.
However, if the Five Sisters Zoo in West Lothian zoo can raise enough cash, the bears will be brought there to live out the final years.
Brian Curran from Five Sisters Zoo said: "We have a bit of ground at the back here which is ideal for bears. It's nearer their natural living conditions as you would get.
"We're keeping it as natural as possible. We're keeping the trees that are already there.
"There's a pond that we've
New plan for Byculla zoo makeover ready
Four months after the central zoo authority rejected the civic body's master plan for the renovation of the Veermata Jijabai Bhosle Udyan and Zoo, a new plan has been prepared.
Thailand-based firm HKS Designers & Consultants International has prepared the new makeover plan for the 150-year-old Byculla zoo, which has a Grade II B heritage tag.
“The consultant will make an official presentation to the civic administration. Only after the municipal commissioner approves the plan, we will submit it to the central zoo authority next week,” said Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner.
Despite several revisions in the first master plan, the central zoo authority had rejected it saying it was “impractical” and will reduce the green cover on the premises.
“In the new plan, we have adhered to all the directions of the authority. Minimal changes will be carried out, so that the vegetation is not destroyed,”said Anil Anjankar, director of the Byculla zoo.
Under the new plan, only three exotic animal species will be housed in the zoo —humboldt penguins from Chile, zebra and emus from Australia. Earlier, the BMC had wanted to bring in many
Zoo stories gone bad ...starved of funds, Ranchi park ails
Bhagwan Birsa Biological Park, spread over 104 hectares of sprawling natural forest in Ormanjhi, could have been a green oasis for its 1,000-odd animals and birds, but for the stranglehold of red tape which has squeezed funds for this financial year dry.
Its 80-odd daily-wage workers have threatened to strike from early next week as they haven’t been paid since April. They’re fuming more because 18 government employees — from class IV to class I — get monthly salaries on time, including the zoo director, assistant conservator of forests, doctor, two foresters, office assistants and peons each, three rangers and six forest guards.
Zoo sources said cleaning and sanitation activities had already taken a beating. Worst, stockists stopped supplying medicines, as outstanding bills amount in excess of Rs 50,000, and food supplies are depleting.
The worst victims of this cash crunch are the animals and birds of the zoo, 15 km from the state capital. For, resentment among workers
Educational zoos receive good marks
Swiss Animal Protection (SAP) is generally satisfied with animal parks and zoos in Switzerland, although some animals still don’t have adequate space.
In its latest report, the organisation noted an “upwards trend” in zoo animal care, picking out for particular praise large zoos and wild parks which end up being education centres for the protection of species.
Successful models included the elephant enclosure and tropical wetland at Zurich Zoo, the ape house at Basel Zoo, the Dählhölzli animal park in Bern and the children’s zoo in Rapperswil.
But poor marks were given to the Hotel Restaurant Grimselback in canton Valais and the Connyland dolphinarium in Thurgau “where ignorance about animals’ specific requirements is joined by a fundamental misunderstanding of the aim of zoos, using animals as crowd pullers”.
SAP also criticised otherwise praiseworthy institutions where animal care “harked back to the beginning of the last century”: tiny owleries, bleak wolf or bear enclosures and ape cages that are legal but unsuitable for the species.
SAP, the largest organisation of its kind in Switzerland, was founded in 1861. In 2010, its 70 sections across the country lo
Bisexual Squid? Not Exactly — Just Lonely
Male deep-sea squid will get it on with just about anything with tentacles.
A team of researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute observed nearly 20 years of mating behavior of Octopoteuthis deletron, recorded on video by remote-controlled vehicles up to half a mile below the surface of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California. Male squid were just as likely to try to mate with other males as with other females, the researchers found.
It's not the first time same-sex sex has been noted among squid and octopus species, but it's the first time it's been found to be equally as common
Sticker Tortoise Garden sanctuary given 24 hours
Threat to 'reclassified' tortoises
A tortoise sanctuary in Cornwall has been told it has 24 hours to apply for a zoo licence or face closure.
Joy Bloor, who has run the Tortoise Garden, in Sticker, St Austell, for 20 years, said she could not afford to pay for a licence.
Council officers said tortoises were "wild animals" and needed to be covered by the licence.
They said that after Friday Mrs Bloor would be in breach of the law and could face prosecution.
The zoo licence costs licensees £275 for the first four years.
On top of that, they have to pay fees for government-appointed inspectors to assess their site when they apply for a licence, along with any subsequent formal inspections.
Anyone found without a licence can be fined.
Mrs Bloor said the sanctuary, which houses about 400 tortoises whose owners have died or are no longer able to look after them, would be unable to meet the extra costs.
She said she already struggled to meet the £25,000 annual cost of caring for and feeding the animals and said she was "really worried" about the future.
Mrs Bloor said: "I'm going to have try and find other ways of raising funds to keep them.
"I've made them a moral promise that I will have them for life and I am going to keep that."
Allan Hampshire, Cornwall Council's head of public health and protection, said the authority had spoken to experts who considered tortoises to be "wild animals, in that they are not normally domesticated in this country".
Born Free Foundation chief executive Will Travers said not complying with the law was "unacceptable".
Mr Travers said: "Any facility that contains a specie or species that are not normally domestica
Calgary Zoo gets nod for preserving rare marmot
The Calgary Zoo and Toronto Zoo have been recognized for their role in the preservation of the endangered Vancouver Island Marmot.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums recognized both zoos for their work in helping the endangered animal recover as a result of their captive breeding programs.
The Vancouver Island Marmot is one of North America's most endangered mammals. The Calgary Zoo was also recognized in 2006 for similar work in the recovery of the swift fox.
"We are honoured to receive this award along with our colleagues for our work with the Vancouver Island Marmots," said Dr. Doug Whiteside of the Calgary Zoo. "From 2000 to 2011, the Calgary Zoo has contributed 95 pups to the recovery effort - either for reintroduction
Panda born at Atlanta zoo and returned to China is male, not female as previously thought
Turns out a panda born at Atlanta’s zoo and returned to China for breeding will end up being a dad, not a mom as originally thought.
Zoo Atlanta staff and a researcher from the panda research center in China where Mei Lan now lives examined the panda 19 days after its birth and determined the panda was female, said Rebecca Snyder, curator of mammals at Zoo Atlanta. But researchers in China recently noticed male reproductive organs and determined Mei Lan is male.
It’s difficult to determine the sex of giant pandas early on and mistakes are not uncommon, Snyder said. Generally, the Chinese try to examine cubs within a day or two of their birth because they’re slightly dehydrated and have less fur, which makes a close examination of the genital area easier, she said.
“With Mei Lan we waited quite a while before we took him the first time because that was Lun
‘Big cat’ out on the prowl
A “PANTHER-like” beast spotted prowling the countryside is the latest sighting of a mysterious big cat thought to be living in the district.
Claire and John Booth saw the animal, which resembled a large black cat, on farmland near their Notton home on Sunday.
Mrs Booth, 40, of Notton Lane, said the animal was much bigger than a domestic pet.
She said: “It was between four and five feet long. It looked panther-ish.
“It was definitely a big cat. You could tell
New Croc Discovered by Fordham Biologist
Fordham University professor has published evidence that shatters the long-thought belief that the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) found throughout Africa is a single species of crocodile.
A team of researchers led by Evon Hekkala, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology at Fordham, and Matt Shirley of University of Florida, Gainsville, discovered a second cryptic, or hidden, lineage of crocodiles through DNA analyses of modern crocodiles and ancient mummy crocodile hatchlings.
Hekkala and her team collected contemporary crocodile samples from throughout Africa as well as from museum specimens, including some from Thebes, Egypt that are currently housed in the Museé National d’Histoire Naturelle (MNHN) in Paris. Although the modern Nile crocodile (C. niloticus) is found throughout Africa, there have long been reports that it is larger and more aggressive in the Eastern and Southern African regions and smaller and more docile in the Congo and West Africa.
The reason, Hekkala’s research suggests, is because the Eastern and Western crocodiles are in reality different crocodile lineages, which shared the Nile river as recently as 100 years ago.
Hekkala’s analysis showed that several of the MNHN mummy samples, collected during Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt in the early 1800s and estimated to be up to 2,000 years old, belong
Dingo origin predates Neolithic expansion
Genetic evidence has revealed that dingoes may have arrived in Australia earlier than previously believed, and likely took a very different route that began in South China.
Australian dingoes (Canis lupus dingo) and domesticated dogs from Polynesia originated in China and travelled via Thailand and Indonesia to reach their final destination, rather than coming from Taiwan - a journey that would have entailed more sea crossings.
The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, could have implications for human history in the region as well, revealing clues about the geographic origin of the Polynesian population and its Neolithic culture.
It also reveals information about the extent of contact, or isolation rather, between pre-Neolithic cultures of Australia and their surrounding world.
Dingo arrival before Neolithic?
In Australia there is little evidence of any interaction with Neolithic cultures: apart from the feral dingo, which is viewed as a Neolithic introduction, and has led many researchers to conclude that Australia was not completely isolated.
Dingoes appear in the Australian archaeological record roughly 3,500 years before present, but the study, which analysed the genetic code of around 900 dogs, indicates an earlier introduction to Australia sometime between 4,600 and 10,000 years ago.
The arrival of dogs in Australia predates any Taiwanese Neolithic expansion, according to the study, and therefore underscores the notion that Australia was indeed quite isolated prior to this period.
An ancient mystery
The key problem in the history of Polynesia is explaining the existence of Neolithic domesticated animals — including the dog, chicken and pig — which indicate an expansion from Taiwan, possibly during the Neolithic farming expansion.
Agusan del Sur Wildlife Park in the Works
Agusan del Sur is now gearing up for a wildlife park that will feature the soon-to-be world’s largest crocodiles. After the capture of the world-famous giant crocodile last week, Bunawan Mayor Cox Elorde has greenlighted the construction of a wildlife park that will feature the province’s unique species. Elorde
South Lakes Wild Animal Park boss appeals to decide fate of expansion proposal
THE fate of a proposed extension to a zoo is to be decided by the government.
South Lakes Wild Animal Park boss David Gill decided to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate due to the delay in a decision being made over a proposed extension.
In July, Barrow Borough Council’s planning committee chose to issue a minded to refuse decision against plans to expand the South Lakes Wild Animal Park, in Dalton, by nine hectares.
The committee had been due to issue a final decision on whether or not to reject the plans.
But now the decision will be made by national body the Planning Inspectorate after the appeal was launched.
The appeal is on the basis of non-determination – with Mr Gill unhappy that the council failed to issue a decision within an eight-week timescale.
The process will now be handled by the inspectorate, with the final decision resting with the office of Eric Pickles MP, the secretary of state for
Welsh Mountain Zoo's £5m tropical dome project
A £5m project to transform a Conwy zoo with a tropical house under a glass dome has been unveiled.
The Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay said exotic plants and animals, including alligators, would live under the dome.
Conwy council said it would be the region's response to Cornwall's Eden Project.
A report to councillors said the zoo needed to develop to remain the area's most-attended visitor attraction.
The Eden Project visitor attraction is famous for its artificial biomes - or domes - which house plants from around the world.
The mountain zoo said its smaller dome could result in visitor numbers increasing from 135,000 to 185
Crocodiles Loose After Flash Floods Hit Pattaya Zoo
The PDN reporter acknowledged that many crocodiles had escaped from the Million Year Stone Park and the Crocodile Farm’s reptile pools. More than ten zoo keepers were trying to catch the crocs.
The reporter arrived at the park which is located at Moo 1, Tambon Nong Preu, Chonburi province where he found the zoo staff about ten people with equipment engaged in catching the big reptiles that had escaped to the lotus well. Later in the evening the team was able to catch four big crocodiles.
A worker of the Crocodile Farm who could not speak Thai clearly said that two escaped crocodiles had been found in the neighbouriging area.
Mr Prajak Noipan age 35, a local man said that in the evening the staff caught four crocodiles each measuring about 4-5 meter. Later Mr Prapak found two more crocodiles
How to artificially inseminate a rhino
An assortment of specialist scanners, probes and other paraphernalia are carefully laid out, ready for action.
But unlike the kit used for most medical procedures, everything here is on a supersized scale.
The reason? Scientists are about to examine two southern white rhinos at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire.
Their job today is to help them conceive through artificial insemination, a procedure that entails collecting the semen from the male rhino and then inserting it into the female.
Tim Bouts, the zoo's veterinary officer, explains that natural conception is not an option for the female rhino.
She has sustained an injury to her foot
The Crucial Role of Predators:
A New Perspective on Ecology
Scientists have recently begun to understand the vital role played by top predators in ecosystems and the profound impacts that occur when those predators are wiped out. Now, researchers are citing new evidence that shows the importance of lions, wolves, sharks, and other creatures at the top of the food chain.
Found in the North Palace at Ninevah, stone panels depicting the Royal Lion Hunt of the last Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal, are as violent as any video game: A female lion flies upside down, arrows protruding from her back and belly. Beneath her, a male rears back, arrows piercing his nasal passages while another male drags his hindquarters behind him. From the king’s chariot, attendants drive spears through the chest of another.
The panels are two-and-a-half thousand years old, and the story they tell is nearly over. In Africa, the lion’s numbers have declined sharply in the past decade, to as low as 23,000. The tiger is near extinction. Earlier
Activist Say Orangutans Permitted To Smoke In Indonesian Zoo
A wildlife activist says that zoo officials in Indonesia are taking no steps to stop orangutans from smoking cigarettes, unlike in Malaysia.
Visitors to the Taru Jurug Zoo in Solo, a city on Java island, have been giving cigarettes to the endangered red apes for years.
One young male was captured on video shortly before his death in 2009 smoking with his 5-year-old son.
Hardi Baktiantoro, director
Birds die in zoo, Bengal chicken feed restricted
Supply of chicken from West Bengal to the Birsa Munda Biological Park has been restricted after a large number of birds died of some unknown infection in the past few days. Park authorities have started administering preventive medicines and a cleaning drive has been launched on a war footing. But what remains unanswered is the exact cause of death and the fear of more birds succumbing to fresh infections.
Till Friday, five peacocks, three silver pigeons, two adjutant stalks and an owl died in the zoo. Park officials segregated the sick birds at the zoo, but it was of little help. Since there was no post-mortem, the exact reason for the deaths could not be ascertained.
Director of the park, P K Verma, said veterinary doctors are administering preventive medicines to the birds and special care is being taken while feeding them. "We presume that it was because of incessant rains that some sort of infection occurred," he said, adding
How the UK's zoophobic legacy turned on wild boar
Farming Today's framing of the issue illustrates a peculiar desire to keep ecosystems in a state of arrested development
Is the United Kingdom the most zoophobic nation in Europe? Do we, in other words, have an unusually intense fear of wild animals?
We've certainly been less successful than other nations at protecting large mammals. Norway and Finland, for example, have lost none of their large, post-glacial land mammal species. But, until recently, our native species numbered just two: roe deer and red deer. As David Hetherington of the Cairngorms Wildcat Project pointed out at a meeting in London zoo last year, the UK is "the largest country in Europe and almost the whole world" which no longer possesses any of its big carnivores. Other countries as densely populated and industrialised as ours have managed to hang on to theirs.
There are several reasons for this failure. Early and extensive deforestation wiped out much of the habitat large mammals require. England was colonised by a ruling class – the Normans – which was fanatical about hunting. Once an island loses its mammals, it becomes very difficult for them to recolonise naturally. But another factor is the peculiar and fearful determination of the people who own large tracts of land to kill anything they can't control.
The tendency was illustrated again this week by the news that grouse estates in Scotland appear to have been poisoning golden eagles, peregrines, red kites, buzzards and even a white-tailed eagle. The leniency with which these estates are treated, in terms of both investigation and prosecution, suggests
SD Zoo Helps Endangered Hawaii Bird Population
The San Diego Zoo on Friday announced it had a record year for breeding the endangered Hawaiian crow, or 'alala.
The zoo's species recovery program hatched 20 chicks. The zoo successfully raised 19 of them.
That raises the number of living 'alala from 76 to 95, zoo officials said. That is up from just 20 known birds in 1994.
The project is part of the Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program, which includes the Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“With the ‘alala population now on a stronger foundation, we are excited about the next phase of the species recovery program, with the goal of reestablishing the species within the Hawaiian forest e
Ontario breeder selling lion and tiger cubs as house pets
A breeder is offering three-month-old lion and tiger cubs for sale as house pets on an Ottawa website. And owning them is perfectly legal in most of Ontario, though not in Ottawa.
Four cubs are for sale at $2,800 each, says the breeder, who identifies herself by e-mail as Jenifer Ashu. She doesn’t say in her ad where her business is located.
The cubs are advertised on UsedOttawa.com, a website that advertises items for sale in the Ottawa-Gatineau region.
It says: “We are breeders and we have exotic cats, white lion cubs and tiger cubs available in our cattery. We have been giving them home trained method with kids and other domestic animal. Contact us for more information if interested to own one of them in your home as house pets.”
The ad doesn’t list the business’s name or phone number. Buyers respond only by email through the website.
When the Citizen answered the ad, the breeder sent this response: “We breed exotic cats and also have lion and tiger cubs all ready to go. The cubs are 15 weeks old and are 4 in number. They go for $2,800 each.
“Let me know if you are still interested in the cubs and the number you will like to get. Feel free to ask any questions that
New species of dolphin discovered off Australia
Australian researchers have discovered a new species of dolphin living right under their, uh, bottlenoses.
A population of 100 dolphins in Port Phillip Bay and 50 in the Gippsland Lakes on Australia's southern coast have been proven to be genetically unique from dolphins anywhere else in the world, Monash University doctoral researcher Kate Charlton-Robb said in a university release.
"We're very pleased to announce that yes it is a new dolphin species, and I have called it Tersiops Australis," Charlton-Robb
Tigers threatened by wild forest fires
One of last remaining populations of Sumatran tigers in Indonesia is under threat from wild forest fires. The fires started in mid-August and now surround much of the border of Berbak National Park in Sumatra, a peat swamp forest that is prime tiger habitat. There are only 300 remaining Sumatran tigers in the wild and Berbak is an important site for the species’ survival.
Peat has a high carbon content and burns as smouldering, stealthy underground fires making Donate to 21st century tiger the fires difficult to track and put out.
Ten local fire fighting teams have been drafted in to tackle the fires and are being aided by more than 100 local community volunteers and National
S. Lanka warned against giving elephant to Philippines
An international animal rights group warned Sri Lanka Friday against giving the Philippines a baby elephant, saying the creature would face a "lifetime of confinement, boredom and abuse".
The Asian unit of US-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) wrote to Sri Lanka's Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne saying the donation would sentence the elephant to a life of "misery at the Manila Zoo".
The plea comes a day after Sri Lanka announced it was marking 50 years of diplomatic relations with the Philippines by giving the Manila Zoo an animal from its state-run elephant orphanage.
Sri Lanka's acting information minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene told reporters that the cabinet approved the gift after it was proposed by the prime minister.
Referring to the Manila Zoo as a "decrepit facility that has recently come under public scrutiny", PETA's Manila office said Jayaratne's move reflected poorly on Sri Lanka.
"If you care about elephants, you would never send one to the Manila Zoo to suffer for the rest of their life," PETA said, adding that the zoo's sole elephant, Mali, spends her days alone in a barren cement enclosure.
"I beg you to cancel plans to condemn another elephant to a life of confinement
Will We Bought a Zoo be as lame as its trailer?
Early nomination for most lame and cloying trailer for a supposed 2011 Oscar wannabe: the kids, critters and cuddles cringefest that is We Bought a Zoo, due out at Christmas.
We have to hope for Cameron Crowe's sake that he's come up with something better than what's on view in the just-released trailer for his screen adaptation of Benjamin Mee's zoo-as-home memoir.
The movie stars Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church and a menagerie of cute kids and animals.
Just guessing here, but if the story is anything other than Damon playing a beaten-down single dad finding fulfillment and new love while knee-deep in zebra dung, as the tell-all trailer suggests, then we'd be awfully surprised.
We're also b
Conservation fund helps preserve endangered animals and plants
Majestic and solitary, the Arabian leopard once roamed the Arabian Peninsula. Now, less than 250 of these beautiful creatures exist, their numbers threatened by loss of habitat and hunting.
Destroying a top predator in a food chain in such a manner could wreak havoc on the entire ecosystem, a leading environmental fund manager told Gulf News in the capital yesterday.
"This is why it is important to detect remaining members of the species and prevent them from dying out," said Nicolas Heard, head of fund management at the Mohammad Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund.
The conservation fund, established in 2008, provides support and grants for projects that seek to preserve plant and animal species across the world.
Spearheaded by an endowment of about Dh127 million by General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, its initiatives are being highlighted at the Abu Dhabi
Animals are neither safe in the wild nor in the zoo
Mysore’s famed Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Garden is slowly losing its prized possessions. Out of the six chinkaras (Indian Gazelle) that were brought to the zoo three years ago, only one is alive now. Zoo officials blame it on the weather and say that the animals faced adjustment problems.
It was about three years ago when six chinkaras were brought to Mysore Zoo with the hope that they will procreate and increase the number of species the zoo flaunts. Speaking about the issue, Dr Dhanalakshmi, veterinarian, Mysore zoo, said, “We had brought one pair from Lucknow and two pairs from Chandigarh. They were doing well until recently.”
In the past three years, almost all chinkaras (also known as blackbuck) died of viral infection. However, the zoo authorities
Chester Zoo celebrates hatching on rate (of rare?)* radiated tortoises
Needs a spell check
CHESTER Zoo is paying special care to some new arrivals.
The zoo’s lead keeper of reptiles, Karen Entwistle, is looking after some baby Radiated tortoises, nine of which recently hatched.
Native to the island of Madagascar, the species is critically endangered due to loss of habitat, over exploitation from the pet trade and illegal poaching.
Miss Entwistle said: “In the wild, these tortoises are now being poached for food which, along with pressure from
SeaWorld fights for future of killer-whale shows
Nineteen months after an animal trainer was killed by one of its killer whales, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment heads to court next week to fight for the future of its iconic Shamu shows.
SeaWorld is challenging the results of a federal investigation triggered by the Feb. 24, 2010, death of veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was pulled underwater and killed by Tilikum, a 6-ton killer whale.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration wants to fine SeaWorld $75,000, but far more than a financial slap on the wrist is at stake for SeaWorld, a $1.2 billion-a-year business with namesake marine parks in Florida, California and Texas. Legal experts say the case, which will be heard in a Seminole County courtroom, could dictate whether SeaWorld is able to put trainers and whales in the water together ever again.
Some within the zoological and amusement-park industries fear the results could also reverberate far beyond SeaWorld and into zoos, aquariums and other facilities where employees work closely with large, potentially dangerous animals. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions said it is "monitoring" SeaWorld's case.
"A lot of people are following this," added Jack Hanna, the celebrity biologist and director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, who occasionally works with SeaWorld. "I'm concerned about the outcome. And I think anybody in our business should be."
At the heart of the case is a citation issued by OSHA last August after a six-month investigation of SeaWorld's killer-whale program. The agency has accused SeaWorld of committing a "willful" safety violation — its most severe classification — for not adequately protecting trainers from the danger of being struck or drowned by killer whales.
But most troubling for SeaWorld is how OSHA has proposed that the violation be fixed, or "abated." In its citation, OSHA recommends that trainers be prohibited from working with the whales — either in the water or from the edges of pools — unless they are protected by a physical barrier.
OSHA indicated in the citation that — at least for whales other than Tilikum, the largest and most dangerous animal in SeaWorld's collection — it might accept other means of abatement, such as decking systems, emergency oxygen supplies or other engineering changes. But even then, it suggested it would only accept those measures if they provide "the same or a greater level of protection" than a physical barrier.
It is such a high bar that it could effectively prevent SeaWorld trainers from swimming with the whales.
"Nothing's going to protect better than a barrier," said Jim Laboe, a lawyer with Orr & Reno in Concord, N.H., who represents companies facing OSHA inspections. "I just don't know how you're going to find an equivalent level of protection."
Probing Poop For Cellulose-Chomping Microbes
In the search for ways to break down tough plant material like cellulose into biofuel, researchers are looking in odd places—like the feces of pandas, zebras and giraffes. Biochemist Ashli Brown and microbiologist David Mullin discuss the microbes that inhabit the guts of herbivores.
Well, I'm going to bring up a topic that I never thought I'd really talk much about. I'll tell you why. You already know how we make biofuels, like ethanol, from raw materials like we eat - corn, starch, cane sugar - and how we compete for those things, right? Do you want food? Do you want fuel? Well, that's the easier thing to do. That's why we do it, because it's easy. But there is a harder thing to do, and the harder to figure out is an economical way to squeeze energy out of tough woody plant matter full of stringy cellulose, like wood chips and switchgrass and even newspapers, things that we don't eat.
My next guests are both looking for the answer in an unusual place: poop. If you think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense. Animals that dine on fibrous things like - animals like pandas and zebras and giraffes - they extract
Turtle survives aquarium inferno
A turtle miraculously survived an inferno in an aquarium which was so hot it boiled water in some tanks and killed hundreds of fish.
The blaze at the Mapua Aquarium near Nelson was one of three fires in the area early yesterday morning believed to have been the work of arsonists.
Fire investigator Lewis Jones said the fire caused "total destruction'' in the building and was so intense it boiled water in some of the tanks and caused
Accident ends tragic life of lion carer
Karen Greybrook - former partner of "Lion Man" Craig Busch - has died following a freak accident.
Greybrook was a key figure in The Lion Man television show, hand-raising cubs, caring for big cats and even taking a lion on a beach walk from their home at Zion Wildlife Gardens near Whangarei.
The gates to the park are closed to casual visitors after receivers took over in July, and the park this month went into liquidation.
In 2007, Busch was convicted of two charges of assaulting Greybrook two years earlier. She suffered a fractured vertebrae, bruising and a cut head during the assault, which occurred after he found her in bed with another
Northern Leopard Frog showing improved numbers
Finding egg masses for the endangered northern leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) is not an easy task. Once widespread throughout south eastern B.C. there are now only two known wild breeding areas remaining in the province. So when biologists from the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP) located 17 egg masses during the spring breeding season of 2011 - the most since the Northern Leopard Frog Recovery Project got underway in 1996 - they were ecstatic.
This is one of many projects the FWCP has led on behalf of its program partners BC Hydro, the Province of B.C. and Fisheries and Oceans Canada who work together to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife in British Columbia. Approximately one-third of FWCP projects focus on species-at-risk such as the northern leopard frog which is federally endangered, and red-listed provincially.
"Typically we only find between six and nine egg masses each year
'Monster croc will go crazy in zoo'
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) senior campaigner Ashley Fruno expressed her organization's dismay at keeping "Lolong," the giant crocodile of Agusan del Sur province, as a tourist attraction.
Despite the imminent danger that the crocodile may pose to humans living around its natural habitat, PETA underscored the importance of animals' rights, especially their freedom.
"It will be unacceptable for Lolong (dahil) wala siyang freedom, walang choice of food, kaibigan and habitat," said Ashley Fruno, senior campaigner of PETA Asia-Pacific.
With PETA's advocacy against keeping animals from being tucked away in zoos, especially poorly-managed ones, Fruno also wishes the same fate for Lolong
"Animals in zoos exhibit a condition called zoochosis, where they will be frequently banging their heads, pace aroud and repeatedly (show other abnormal animal behavior)." said Fruno. "The result of zoochosis might be dangerous. He poses a risk of escaping. No matter where he is, he can still be dangerous to humans. It depends on how we're going to deal with it."
Instead of keeping Lolong in a zoo, PETA suggests keeping him in an area with very few people, citing that it is better for him to live his long life comfortably and at peace.
Fruno is urging the government to give Lolong the life that he truly deserves, and not forcing him to live according to what a tourism park demands.
"Please have pity for Lolong, he deserves to
Agusan del Sur crocodile traumatized, won't eat four days after capture
Lolong the 21-ft saltwater crocodile is still traumatized and refuses to eat four days after his capture, as he tries to get used to a new pen built for him in a wildlife reserve by the local government of Bunawan, Agusan Del Sur.
The crocodile shuns the chicken-meat kept ready and available around the man-made pond where he now swims, as visitors to the park have been kept in limited numbers upon recommendation of experts to allow the reptile to rest and recuperate.
Crocodile caretaker Loloy Aguillon told GMA reporter Jiggy Manicad on GMA news program “24 Oras" that crocodiles can subsist after their last feeding for two whole weeks so there is yet nothing to worry about.
‘Lolong,’ the crocodile hunter
Ernesto “Lolong” Coñate was distraught when he and his team of crocodile hunters came back to their base that day empty-handed.
It had been three days of failed attempts to catch a problem croc in the interiors of Agusan marsh in Agusan del Sur province. They had been returning to the marsh every morning to check the traps after setting them up the night before. And each time, they discovered all of their traps were cut loose and destroyed.
“Nakakapitong kable na tayo. Nakakahiya na (We’ve already set up seven traps. This is embarrassing),” he told his teammates.
It was just one of those moments that endeared Lolong to colleagues. Before he died late last month because of hypertension, the soft-spoken Coñate was the go-to guy at the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (PWRCC) located
Orangutans display some very human behavior
You may have seen the YouTube footage of an orangutan cooling her face with a wet towel. Filmed on a sweltering day in August at Tama Zoological Park in Tokyo, the ape is seen dipping a towel in a pond, wringing it out, and patting it on her face.
The clip was posted on news sites around the world, and has been viewed more than 1 million times. Why the fascination? The usual interest with any great ape using a tool or doing something funny at a zoo? Yes, but in this case we can also closely identify with what she's doing — we've all done the same thing on a hot summer's day — and
Fence breach sparks security fears at wildlife park
Intruders may have broken into the grounds of Zion Wildlife Gardens – which houses 36 lions, tigers, cheetahs and a leopard.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry fears the park, on the outskirts of Whangarei, has been "breached by unauthorised [sic] persons".
"A perimeter check noted markings in dewy grass that could have been human footprints," a MAF annual audit said.
"This indicates that the containment facility may have been breached by unauthorised persons."
The audit – obtained under the Official Information Act – was carried out by MAF biosecurity inspector Crystal Lange on November 2, 2010.
It said "a number of issues" had been identified with housing of the big cats.
"Enclosures had been divided to separate previously compatible animals that are no longer happy with their playmates or to reduce behavioural fraction as contraceptive implants wear off," the audit said.
"The internal fencing, mesh and electric wires of varying lengths may not keep fully aggressive animals apart but offers a short-term respite.
"The reduced size of each partition may also have a welfare impact if these animals do not have sufficient space to exercise or if isolation from a pride group becomes a stressor."
Six enclosures needed repairing, the
Danga Bay animal sanctuary’s licence suspended
Another animal sanctuary here was raided by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) a day after it raided the Johor Zoo.
Danga Bay Petting Zoo was raided by 45 personnel and officers from Perhilitan in a day-long operation.
An adult male Asian elephant was found chained and locked up within an enclosure made up of empty containerised cargo boxes about one kilometre away from the petting zoo.
"The zoo's licence to keep non-domesticated animals is being suspended as it failed to adhere to regulations on providing better living conditions for the animals,” Perhilitan deputy
Monkey Cannibals: Robert Conyers Charged With Animal Cruelty UPDATE
Miami freight shipper Robert Matson Conyers was charged with animal cruelty yesterday after a tri-continental shipment of monkeys turned into a cannibalistic simian catastrophe.
Guyanese animal supplier Akhtar Hussain hired Conyers to help ship 25 monkeys -- 14 marmosets, five white-fronted capuchins, and six squirrel monkeys -- to a buyer in Thailand in 2008. In theory, the whole deal was legal. But when customs officials in L.A. opened the crates, they found the primates had gone all Donner Party on one another.
Conyers shipped the animals from Miami to L.A., where they were then shipped to Guangzhou, China. But Chinese officials sent the monkey crates back to California because of documentation problems.
What do you get when you put dozens
Department of Environment Announces Mountain Chicken Project Logo Competition Winner
Roydenn Silcott of Manjack is the winner of the Department of Environment’s Mountain Chicken Project Logo Competition.
The Department of Environment said they were delighted to receive over 40 entries from a wide variety of persons in Montserrat and across the globe, from as far away as Poland.
A number of entries were short listed and the judges had great difficulty deciding the winning logo, said a statement from the department. “However, the simplicity, professional look and innovative design by Mr. Silcott identified him as the winner.”
“The logo competition was organized in an effort to raise awareness of the ongoing Mountain Chicken Project on Montserrat. The project which is funded by the UK Darwin Initiative is monitoring the effects of the deadly chytrid fungus on the Critically
Shark tunnel part of S.C. Aquarium’s $68.5 million makeover
The South Carolina Aquarium is looking to make a big splash over the next 10 years.
The waterfront tourist attraction unveiled a $68.5 million master plan Thursday to transform the 11-year-old facility into a more visible, more inviting and more interactive venue.
Exhibits and other facets in the four-story building hugging the banks of the Cooper River will be moved around or eliminated, making room for new animal displays such as the lemur exhibit coming in March. Others new features include building a massive, new shark tank with an underwater tunnel over the loading dock and moving the sea turtle hospital to an area where visitors can see animal care firsthand.
Some features won’t require a ticket purchase. Those include a harbor-view cafe and gift shop near the entrance.
Aquarium officials are also talking with members of the National Park Service about recreating Liberty Square in front of the aquarium as a more inviting link to Concord Street and the planned International African-American Museum beside the parking garage.
The outside of the building could change as well. A glass-like awning is proposed to project across the expanse of the building’s front side
Proaquatix Annouces New Captive-Bred Watchman Goby Species
Commercial Marine Ornamental Fish Breeder Proaquatix promised more surprises for 2011 - the announcement of captive bred bluefin watchman goby is one we couldn’t have predicted. The Bluefin or Y-Bar Watchman Goby, Cryptocentrus fasciatus, isn’t commonly available in the trade (only price we could find was a single offering from LiveAquaria’s Diver’s Den for a $100 pair). The introduction of C. fasciatus brings the total number of Watchman Goby species that have been successfully captive bred to at least 4: the others being C. cinctus, C. lutheri, and C. leptocephalus. Proquatix is the first to offer this attractive goby captive bred for the aquarium hobby.
While the captive-bred juvenile Bluefin Watchman Goby shown above may appear rather cryptic, the adult broodstock differs significantly, being largely black with some white markings on the back (vaguely reminiscent of a much more expensive goby that recently made a splash in the aquarium industry). A quick look at Fishbase’s images will reveal the striking possibilities this species offers as an adult. Drawing on our freshwater experiences, we’re thinking that hobbyists may have to play with environmental colors and perhaps keep these gobies in pairs to get the best coloration out of them. Of course, this is a Watchman Goby, so it will burrow, tunnel, and sift your sandbed as others of the genus do. Not to mention they are a shrimp goby, so bring on the pistol shrimp
Living Links to Human Health, Mind and Medicine
Can the evolutionary insights of Darwin and his modern followers offer new vision into human health and medicine in the 21st century?
That’s the question going to be explored with a series of talks taking place at Edinburgh Zoo. In the company of chimpanzees, in the Zoo’s Budongo Trail lecture theatre, the evolutionary perspective on health and medicine, ranging from self-medication in wild primates, to the new science of Evolutionary or ‘Darwinian’ medicine will be examined.
Supported by the Wellcome Trust, the fascinating new series of talks starts on Monday 12th September with Professor Michael Huffman from Kyoto University in Japan, a world leading expert on primate self-medication in the wild and captivity, with “Chimpanzee use of plants as medicine and the evolution of self-medication in primates and other animals”
Other talks in the series include:
20th October 2011 – “Culturally transmitted information, nutrition and health in the great apes” by Professor Andrew Whiten, University of St Andrews. Professor Whiten is Scientific Director of the Living Links Centre and an international authority on social learning and culture in human and non-human primates. This talk will also give an overview of what the talk series is about.
27th October 2011 – “Putting our past into the present: the emerging field of evolutionary medicine” by Professor Gillian Bentley, Durham University. Professor Bentley is a leader in this field in the UK. Her theme is that many sources of our illness and health may be better understood using an evolutionary perspective, with the implications this yet to be fully recognised and exploited by modern medicine.
3rd November 2011 – “The primate origins of HIV and AIDS” by Dr Catherine Adamson, University of St Andrews. Dr Adamson is a virologist who will tell the fascinating story of the origins of HIV and AIDS, as viruses jumped between closely related species and evolved across the ‘living links’ of African monkeys, apes and humans.
10th November 2011 – “Perceiving health in the face and body – new discoveries in humans and other animals” by Professor David Perrett, University of St Andrews. Professor Perrett is a British Academy Wolfson Research Professor and a leading authority on the perception of health and beauty.
Hugh Roberts, Chief Executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, comments: “Some truly fascinating subjects, one of the key goals of the Society is to promote an understanding of the inter dependence and connectivity between all living things on this planet. The exploration and comparison of human health, mind and medicine to our non-human primate relatives is an amazing and valuable concept to explore and I’m delighted that, together with St Andrew’s University, the RZSS is able to offer this opportunity at Edinburgh Zoo.”
The talks are organised in conjunction with a series of events and displays on the same theme in Living Links, a field station and research centre for the study of primates at Edinburgh Zoo. Living Links has been developed in a unique partnership with RZSS and the University of St Andrews.
Each talk costs £3 and commences at 7.30pm. To reserve seats please telephone 0131 314 0334 or email
For further information see
Adelaide Zoo gets $500,000 lifeline but still faces asset repossession
ADELAIDE Zoo is refusing to say which of its assets are at risk of repossession as it fights to refinance a $24 million debt.
The head of the Environment Department, Allan Holmes, revealed to a parliamentary committee yesterday that the Government had advanced a further $500,000 to the zoo this week to enable it to service its loan.
Mr Holmes said the Government had so far refused to guarantee the zoo's debt to its commercial provider, and some of its assets may be at risk.
"There has been no commitment of guarantee or support (from the Government)," he said. "Its debt level is somewhere around $24 million, $25million, so it's got a substantial amount of debt, and it's clear that it is unable to service that debt.
"I think it is fair to say that some of the assets of the zoo would be at risk, bearing in mind that the substantial asset, the land on which the zoo sits, is crown land, and
NC Zoo Seeks to Help Animals in Libya
The North Carolina Zoo is joining in an effort to help animals in the Tripoli Zoo in the capital city of war-torn Libya, officials said.
N.C. Zoo Director Dr. David Jones is reportedly leading an effort to raise $100,000 to pay for animal food, according to a press release.
Animal-rescue experts help Tripoli Zoo
In a city slashed by war, a tiger fights for life.
Osama, a Siberian tiger at the Tripoli Zoo, has been suffering for days. He is on his side, breathing shallowly, his huge paws motionless -- caramel, black-and-white-striped fur covered with flies that he is too weak to brush off.
A team of animal-welfare experts from Austria's Four Paws International gently rolls the tiger over and Dr. Amir Khalil, dripping sweat, searches for a vein, then puts in an IV drip to give the animal vitamins.
Asked why the tiger is so sick, the veterinarian replies, "Honestly, we don't know but I believe he's old, 21 years. That's number one. Number two, it was a lot of stress in the surroundings here."
During the struggle for Tripoli, gunfire raged just outside the zoo. When the fighting was at its height some Libyans packed up their cars and fled. The animals at the Tripoli Zoo didn't have that option. The deafening sounds of shooting, the acrid smell of battle -- there was no respite for these sensitive creatures.
Shells still litter the zoo grounds. As the zoo's director, Dr. Abdulfatah Husni, leads a CNN crew to the mammal house, he points out bullet casings on the sidewalk. "This
Blackbrook Zoo faces bright future after public support
The outlook for a north Staffordshire zoo is looking brighter after a successful appeal to raise £75,000.
Blackbrook Zoological Park had been threatened by closure, but public donations and business backing have secured its immediate future.
Debbie Hughes, the zoo's general manager, said she was "overwhelmed" by the response of the public.
The attraction in Winkhill, near Leek, had seen its revenue fall during the recent economic downturn.
Managed by a charitable trust, its annual operational costs were in the region of £250,000. Last year, takings were £175,000 - leaving a £75,000 shortfall.
But a fund-raising appeal, which started earlier this summer, has led to an improvement in the zoo's finances.
Visitor numbers are up and the zoo is less reliant on external funding. Adoption of animals has
Happy Feet the penguin's tracker falls silent
Emperor penguin found in New Zealand and returned to the ocean may have been eaten – or his tracker may have fallen off
Happy Feet, the emperor penguin who became an international celebrity after losing his way and ending up in New Zealand, is missing presumed eaten after being released into the ocean this month, scientists said.
Concerns were raised over Happy Feet's fate when the tracker device attached to his body stopped sending signals on his trip home to Antarctica.
Kevin Lay, of Sirtrack, the specialist firm that fitted the tracker, said no signal had been received since Friday, when the penguin was about halfway home. He said it was possible Happy Feet had been eaten, but he remained hopeful.
"There are some species that will forage on emperor penguins. It's not likely that it has happened to Happy Feet
Sumatran Tiger Castoffs May Hold Key to Survival of the Species
Behind an unassuming gate, marked simply with a “Staff Only” sign, deep inside the Taman Safari Indonesia conservation park, lies the best chance for the continued survival of the critically endangered Sumatran tiger.
This is the Sumatran Tiger Breeding Facility, set up in 1992 and now home to 22 “troubled” tigers — those that have been trapped by poachers or villagers, those that have preyed on livestock and those believed to have killed and eaten humans.
Each of the 11 male and 11 female tigers here have their own harrowing history. Two of them, Salamah and Ara, female juveniles caught in boar traps set by villagers inside palm oil plantations in Aceh, had to have a paw amputated because of the seriousness of their injuries. Though accused of being man-eaters, the accusation has never been proven. At the park, they are affectionately referred to as “tripods.”
The latest addition is Tupan, an 8-year-old male who was brought to the facility on the verge of death.
Like many of the others, he was caught in a trap in his natural habitat after spooking villagers with his frequent encroachments into their area. When wildlife authorities reached him, they found he had been shot twice several days before being captured.
Following intensive treatment, he has made a full physical recovery.
“Most of the tigers that we keep here are disabled to some extent,” Retno Sudarwati, a senior veterinarian at the park, tells the Jakarta Globe.
Activists Call for Halt in Orangutan Skull Trade
An animal rights group is urging the government to be more proactive in putting a halt to the illegal trade in orangutan skulls.
“The trade in illegal orangutan skulls still continues in souvenir shops in Pontianak, West Kalimantan; Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan; and Balikpapan, East Kalimantan,” said Hardi Baktiantoro, director of the Center for Orangutan Protection.
According to Hardi, orangutan skulls could fetch between Rp 500,000 and Rp 2 million [$60 and $235] each.
The skulls, he said, were obtained from villagers living near palm oil plantations and forest preserves.
“Orangutans that are trapped in the fragmented forests or in the forests for conservation areas easily get shot. And after a month, the hunter will be back to the area and take the skulls,” Hardi said.
In August, the center discovered four orangutan skulls at a palm oil plantation in Central Kalimantan. The NGO said it also found an orangutan’s corpse buried at another plantation in East Kalimantan.
“This trading could be completely stopped if the souvenir traders who could be convicted of selling the orangutan skulls were arrested. Therefore, there would be no more people buying and ordering the orangutan skulls from the communities or the oil palm workers,” Hardi said.
Hardi urged the Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) of the Ministry of Forestry to act firmly by enforcing the law against shops that sell bones and other parts of endangered species.
He also said that palm oil companies should bear the burden of providing protection for any orangutans or other endangered specie
Trainer who beat Wildlife Park bear suspended
A circus trainer at the Shanghai Wildlife Park was suspended yesterday after he was caught mistreating a black bear that performs at the park.
Veterinarians examined the black bear, which did not suffer serious physical injuries, park officials said.
A netizen shot a short video of the bear being beaten and posted it on the Internet this week.
The video shows two male trainers cursing, one waving a stick, the other beating the young bear with his fists, and then shoving it to the ground.
The bear is moaning and screaming in pain during the whole process. When noticing that someone was shooting a video, one of the trainers dragged the bear by its neck chain to its lair and threw the stick at the video shooters.
Park officials said they
Selling conservation: learning lessons from Selfridges
If conservation is truly important then why is it such a low priority for most people and bottom of the political agenda? Is the conservation community failing in selling the conservation message to the general public? What will it take to make conservation fashionable, ultimately leading to changes in behaviour and a more sustainable relationship with our planet?
In 2011 ZSL embarked on a conservation communication experiment with Selfridges, involving celebrities, scientists, royalty, youth-group leaders, parliamentarians, heads of state, leaders from the fishing industry, artists and fashion designers. Events
Elephant Center shifts north to Fellsmere from St. Lucie County
Plans for a National Elephant Center on the Treasure Coast are back, although the location has changed.
The group looking to house elephants now plans to locate in Fellsmere instead of western St. Lucie County.
After squabbles with St. Lucie County commissioners over restrictions, the organization is expected to apply for permits on Thursday on 225 acres in northern Fellsmere, currently an unused private citrus grove surrounded by farmland near the Brevard County line. The project's first phase is expected to cost the elephant
Rain shuts Delhi zoo on weekend for first time
For the first time since it was set up in 1959, the Delhi zoo was forced to close its doors to the visitors on Saturday due to excessive waterlogging caused by Friday's heavy rainfall.
Usually the zoo receives about 7,000 visitors on Saturdays, and even more on Sundays. But until the water clears out, officials cannot say when they will reopen it.
More than half of the zoo has been flooded with water, in some places several feet deep. Even animal enclosures have been inundated, and with about four-foot-deep water, the spotted deer cages are the worst-affected.
Zoo officials say that since last year, water from the nearby areas like Bapa Nagar, Old
Mass break-out attempt at troubled zoo
Seven rare marmots, eight porcupines and a fox have made a break for freedom, making an escape attempt from the Kiev Zoo in Ukraine, notorious for high death rates among its inmates.
The porcupines and the fox were neither prickly nor sly enough to make it far away and were intercepted near the zoo’s ticket office, according to Ukraine’s Segodnya newspaper.
However, the bobak marmots turned out to be more sophisticated escapees – they dug a tunnel so deep that the zookeepers still cannot reach them.
“They have burrowed a tunnel and dug in. It’s natural for them. Inappropriate gauze was used during the cage construction. It has rusted and bobaks dug holes. We are trying to recover them; but the deeper we dig, the deeper they burrow,” said the director of the zoo Aleksey Tolstouhov.
The Kiev Zoo is infamous for the conditions in which it keeps its inhabitants. German tabloid Bild listed it as one of the five worst zoos in the world and claimed that its director should be jailed. The tabloid pointed out the very high death rates at the zoo.
Life in captivity in the Ukrainian capital’s zoo does
The Paignton Zoo frogs that think they're moss?
The natural world is full of extraordinary examples of camouflage. Here, two mossy frogs show that the species is well named.
Mossy frogs, native to Vietnam, are rarely seen in public collections, with only a handful of places in the UK keeping them.
Paignton Zoo's Amphibian Ark conservation centre is currently home to nine animals. Mike Bungard, the Zoo's Curator of Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates, said: "We know little about the species in the wild, but I would hazard a guess that the species isn't doing brilliantly – despite its amazing camouflage!"
The mossy frog, Vietnamese mossy frog, or Tonkin bug-eyed frog (Theloderma corticale) is found in Northern Vietnam. Its natural habitats are tropical forests, freshwater marshes and rocky areas. It is a semi-aquatic, semi-arboreal species threatened
Psst … Know Where I Can Get Me Some Parrot Eggs?
If getting a 6-ounce perfume bottle through airport security seems impossible, imagine trying to bypass scanners with 18 monkeys strapped to your waist. In July 2010, one smuggler did just that, flying from Lima, Peru, to Mexico City, only to get busted after acting nervous during a random check, according to news reports.
If successful, he could have sold the monkeys for as much as $1,550 each (and turned a profit of more than $25,000), said the news reports. That's because, for some people, it's no longer enough to pick up an animal at the local pet shop. Exotic wildlife has become yet another status symbol—and one reason that illegal animal smuggling
Beware of the Gonzo Nature-TV Presenter
Sept. 4 is the fifth anniversary of the death of Steve Irwin, the Australian wildlife presenter fatally speared by a stingray's barb while filming on the Great Barrier Reef. His death was a shock, but its manner surprised nobody. There was no dangerous animal Irwin wouldn't provoke and manhandle for TV.
Five years on, the pet-and-pester approach he pioneered has become the standard way for nature programs to produce cheap dramatic footage — reality TV with claws. Turn on any channel and you'll see Irwin lookalikes hassling animals. They declaim their love of nature, while unwittingly recording our dysfunctional relationship with it, teaching our children to both fear and subjugate creatures already pushed to the brink of extinction.
Irwin's boyhood inspiration was the British broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough. Often whispering so as not to disturb his subjects, Attenborough reverentially reveals the wonders of the natural world and our place in it.
1000th Kiwi Chick Now Even Closer
The 1000th kiwi chick to hatch at Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park is now even closer with the second chick of the season hatching.
Kiwi Encounter - the park's hatching facility - began the season with only one dozen hatches to go before reaching its 1000th milestone chick as part of the BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust programme. The first chick emerged from its egg last week and the second followed in quick succession at the weekend.
As part of BNZ Operation Nest Egg™ (O.N.E) eggs are gathered from nests to save them from predators and are incubated and cared for at Kiwi Encounter. The kiwis are then returned to the wild when they weigh around a healthy 1 kg.
“The newest arrival is little, but he is cute and strong,” says Emma Bean, Assistant Kiwi Husbandry Manager, Kiwi Encounter.
The 1000th kiwi is expected to hatch during the height of the Rugby World Cup and Rainbow Springs has created a giant kiwi nest filled with 12 rugby balls to celebrate. Each time an egg hatches it is replaced with a toy kiwi signifying the new arrival.
Rainbow Springs has been involved in O.N.E. since 1995 and their involvement began with the arrival of a kiwi egg that had been abandoned. Over the last
Eagles and small child claims 'alarmist' RSPB says
The Scottish Gamekeepers Association has raised concerns about whether sea eagles could differentiate between children and their natural prey.
The comment follows an incident where a senior clergyman was injured by a young eagle as he tried to scare it away after it attacked one of his geese.
The SGA has called for a public inquiry into the impact of the reintroduction of the birds on the east coast.
RSPB Scotland has described the small child claim as "alarmist nonsense".
The Scottish government said it was not aware of any attacks by sea eagles on children in other countries and did not think a public inquiry was necessary.
In a letter to the Scottish government, the
25 dolphins bound for China
ABOUT 25 bottlenose dolphins worth millions of dollars will be exported out of the country destined for China, Tuesday next week.
This was revealed to the Solomon Star yesterday by Earth Island Institute regional director and dolphin activist Lawrence Makili.
Mr Makili said he has received reports that Dr Badley Anita who operates a dolphin business on Mbugana Island, Central Province was planning the export.
It was understood the Ministry of Environment issued an export license to Dr Anita on Thursday
Como Zoo ape expert's much more than a keeper
Megan Elder grew up visiting Como Zoo as a child, never thinking she'd return one day to care for its endangered orangutans and emerge onto the international stage as a leader in their survival.
And now, at 35, Elder has achieved a status held by only three other people in history: international orangutan studbook keeper for the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Studbook keepers track captive animal populations and their genetics, playing a key role in improving the living conditions and understanding species and their survival. They maintain databases that can stretch back generations, often finding themselves in the role of foreign diplomat as they collect data from far-flung locals where political tensions can run high. (There are also regional studbooks for populations within a certain country.)
Elder's position places her square in the battle to keep the great apes alive in captivity as their numbers dwindle dangerously low in the wild, all the while bringing worldwide attention to a small family zoo in St. Paul that was founded in 1897 with three deer fenced in a pasture.
"I'm completely hooked into it," Elder said. "It's pretty much my life now."
Elder's work this summer took her to Borneo and Malaysia, where she collected data and
Lion cubs loss mystery still unsolved
Officials investigating the loss of four lion cubs are yet to come up with a conclusive evidence to explain the tragedy that struck the zoo over a fortnight ago.
The Karachi Zoological Gardens had witnessed the birth of four lion cubs after 30 years. Three of them were found dead and one went missing hardly a week later.
Sources said that laboratory reports regarding the samples taken from the animal bodies formed an important part of the investigation, which the officials had not yet received.
While no clue has been found to the missing cub, the delay in making the results of the inquiry public is raising suspicion about the incident that took place on Aug 12 in highly mysterious circumstances.
It’s worth noting that the government constituted two inquiry teams to investigate the case. One was led by Revenue Executive District Officer Ghanwar Leghari while special secretary Shazia Rizvi was appointed inquiry officer of another team by the local government minister.
The city government team collected samples from the animals’ bodies on Aug 13 and from their pen on Aug 15 and sent them to the chemical examiner and a laboratory of Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS).
According to sources, the chemical examiner’s report has been received while the DUHS lab’s report related to any possible viral or bacterial infection is still pending.
“We were earlier told that the report would be released within 10 to 15 days. However, the lab staff is now contending that the report would be released after Eid as relevant persons have not been able to do the job due to a breakdown of law and order in the city,” a city government official said, adding that nothing could be said about the incident with certainty unless all reports were received.
The official declined to reveal the findings of the chemical examiner’s report.
But, in reply to another question, he said that if nothing conclusive came out of the reports, it would be concluded that the cubs died of starvation and the zoo management would be held directly responsible for negligence and mismanagement.
Federal officials to weigh new protections for captive chimpanzees
The federal government will examine whether captive chimpanzees should be reclassified as “endangered,” officials said Wednesday, a move that could eventually prevent the animals from being used in medical experiments or for entertainment.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — responding to a petition filed by groups including the Humane Society of the United States and the Jane Goodall Institute — announced it had found enough information to justify a review of whether captive chimpanzees need a more protective
Fears grow for Asia's endangered anteaters
Tiger poaching gets the press but wildlife groups in Asia are increasingly fearful for the future of a smaller, scalier and "less sexy" creature: the pangolin.
So prized are the meat and supposed medicinal properties of this reclusive anteater that it is now thought to be the most heavily trafficked mammal in the region, rapidly being driven towards extinction.
"The volumes we are seeing in seizures are mind-boggling. No species can survive this level of extraction for long," said Kanitha Krishnasamy from the wildlife trade watchdog Traffic.
"Unfortunately, this scaly animal does not invoke as much attention from the public, and by extension from the authorities, as pangolins are considered to be less sexy than their larger mammalian counterparts," she added.
Tigers are also killed for their body parts, mostly for use in traditional Asian medicines, and major international campaigns have been launched to save them from extinction.
Trading in pangolins is banned under international law, yet Traffic's Asian surveys show they are frequently poached from the wild, mainly in Indonesia and Malaysia, exacerbating the threat from rapid deforestation.
They are transported through Southeast Asia, mostly ending up in China and Vietnam, where pangolin flesh is a delicacy and its scales - it is the only mammal known to have them - are ground into a powder for medicinal purposes.
First Stem Cells from Endangered Species
Starting with normal skin cells, scientists from The Scripps Research Institute have produced the first stem cells from endangered species. Such cells could eventually make it possible to improve reproduction and genetic diversity for some species, possibly saving them from extinction, or to bolster the health of endangered animals in captivity.
Roger Moroney: No wonder emperor got cold feet
As the zoo people and scientists watched on, the big penguin was given a gentle nudge on to the slippery slope and off he went.
Ungracefully into the cold seas where he briefly surfaced, got his bearings, then dived out of sight ... almost certainly heading north instead of south because he's an oddball who prefers the attention of humans over the attention of orcas.
Did you see that glimpse of hesitation?
He looked around, looked back at his minders, glanced at the ice-filled little house he had spent the last three or four days in, recalled all the delicious fish he had had served up to him ... and then he took in the sight of the great and ferocious southern seas.
Happy Feet appeared to have cold feet, and I wasn't surprised.
For he had stumbled into a colourful world of attention and kindness and safety.
He had become a star ... even relegating
The Newest Recruit In the Fight on TB
Yashica isn't your typical laboratory technician. For one thing, there's the tail. For another, he'll literally work for peanuts.
Yashica is an African giant pouched rat, Cricetomys gambianus, that on a recent afternoon at the zoo here demonstrated his preternatural sense of smell by scuttling along a metal bench and sniffing out splotches of grenadine syrup.
This trick that amuses zoo visitors in Europe holds promise for diagnosing tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa. A team of scientists reported last month in the online Pan African Medical Journal that the rodents are better than human lab techs at identifying TB
Three new bat species discovered in Indochina
Nocturnal and secretive, bats are often overlooked components of tropical diversity. The study, commissioned to address this lack of knowledge, has turned up three new bat species. Among these is the aptly named Beelzebub’s tube-nosed bat, a diminutive but demonic-looking creature known only from Vietnam.
The etymology of the species is explained in the Journal of Mammalogy, in which the citation appears: “Beelzebub commonly appears as a high ranking personality of the underworld in Christian texts, in both Old and New testaments, although one of the presumed original meanings of the name is ‘Lord of the Flies’.” Dr. Gabor Csorba of the HNHM further clarifies, “We chose the name Beelzebub to reflect the dark ‘diabolic’ colouration of the new species and its fierce protective behaviour in the field.”
“As with Beelzebub’s, the other two new species belong to a distinctive group known as tube-nosed bats”, said Dr. Neil Furey of FFI. “These species are highly adapted to forest environments, a fact which renders them especially vulnerable to ongoing deforestation in the region.” Surrounded by myth and facing a litany of threats, scientists are currently racing to document the poorly known bat fauna of the region. “Though bats already represent nearly a third of SE Asian mammals, recent genetic research suggests that th
Conservationists concerned for future of White-shouldered Ibis
The 2011 Cambodian census of White-shouldered Ibis Pseudibis davisoni has found a larger number of birds than ever before, but celebrations are muted, as this species’ survival is imminently threatened by serious habitat loss.
The total of 543 birds, counted concurrently in four key sites, was a record exceeding the 428 individuals at the same time last year. Nevertheless, the larger number provides little extra long-term security for this species, as up to 85% of these birds are at risk of losing their habitat from change in land use in the near future.
White-shouldered Ibis is classified as Critically Endangered by BirdLife on behalf of IUCN, of which Cambodia is a member. This means there is a high probability that the species will go extinct in the near future – a route already trod
21-foot crocodile caught in Agusan del Sur town
A 21-foot saltwater crocodile suspected of having attacked several people was caught in Barangay Nueva Era in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur, a television report said on Monday.
A report on GMA News TV's "News To Go" said the crocodile weighs 600 kilos and is the largest crocodile caught in the country to date, according to the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center.
The Bunawan local government, together with the Protected Areas and Wildlife Division of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, set up traps to catch the crocodile after residents reported incidents of
Flamingos breed at British zoo for the first time ever... After staff put up mirrors to help get them in the mood
A zoo is celebrating the birth of its first ever flamingo chick - conceived after keepers got the birds in the mood to breed by putting up mirrors for them.
Staff at Marwell Wildlife Park have been willing the exotic birds to produce offspring since 1972.
Now, almost four decades later, they've finally got their wish - after employing the ingenious tactics to get the creatures in the mood.
Greater flamingos are more likely to breed in larger colonies where they feel secure.
So keepers tricked them by installing mirrors and piping in the sound of flamingo calls from speakers. They also put up fake nests with dummy eggs.
To their delight, their first chick was born and, with eight eggs left to hatch, it is hoped there will be more arrivals before the end of the year.
Keepers say their latest
The lion-tailed macaque faces habitat destruction
Nelliampathy, the second biggest abode of the most endangered lion-tailed macaque after the famous Silent Valley National Park, is facing destruction of its habitat due to “unregulated plantation activities, fragmentation and conversion of forest land.”
A recent study on “ecology and behaviour of the arboreal mammals of Nelliampathy” found a total of 13 lion-tailed macaque troops with 200 individuals in the area.
Thus it is the second biggest population of one of the most endangered primates. The Silent Valley has 250 members
Distribution, abundance and conservation of primates in the Highwavy Mountains of Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu, India and conservation prospects for lion-tailed macaques
War's forgotten: Tripoli Zoo animals suffer, lacking food, water
The residents of zoos are often the first to be neglected when cities are hit by man-made or natural disasters.
CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson discovered a dire situation Tuesday at the Tripoli Zoo, struggling to function as a nationwide conflict rages around it.
Robertson found the gates locked and was told the zoo was under renovation -- that there were no animals there.
But a big cat's roar told a different story, and Robertson followed the sound -- underscored by the echo of gunfire in the distance -- to find enclosures holding a tiger, lions, giant tortoises, hippos, hyenas, bears, monkeys, deer, emus and more.
All the animals appeared undernourished and struggling as they waited for food and for water where there
Libya's Zoo struggles to keep animals alive
The body of a gazelle lies near an empty feeding bin, flies swarming around the corpse. A male lion growls angrily, leaping toward the front of his cage when a rare visitor approaches the bars.
This is life in the Tripoli Zoo, which has found itself a casualty of the war to oust Moammar Gadhafi.
Once one of the city's best-loved family destinations, today it is 110 dusty acres of listless animals and overgrown, sunburned grass. Empty bullet casings are scattered everywhere. A patch of black grass near the monkey cage shows where a rocket-propelled grenade hit. A turtle cage is cracked by gunfire, garbage is piled everywhere and three forlorn hippopotamuses hang their heads in a filthy pit, standing next to a shallow pool of fetid water. Because of the city's water shortage, the zoo's skeleton staff can only clean the animals' cages every four or five days.
At least two of the nearly 600 animals at the zoo died from the stress of living in a combat zone, zookeepers say, and many more are
Zoos not just to exhibit animals
WHEN one is thrown into the deep end, there are only two ways to react -- sink or swim.
When the Singapore Zoo found itself in such a situation in 2004, it chose to swim.
That was the year the Singapore government decided to cut the cord, after years of having to bail out the zoo.
"The zoo had been losing money for over 30 years. Every year, it received funds from the government but in 2004, the Singapore government decided that enough was enough.
"There was to be no money coming in from 2006 onwards," said Isabel Cheng of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), the parent company of the Singapore Zoo.
Left unfunded but with a mandate to turn itself around, the establishment got down to business, literally.
It brought in a new management team from the commercial sector that same year and ran a tight ship.
Among the first things the team did was to take over the management of the food and beverage (F&B), and souvenir retail segment, the moneymaking machines of the business.
The zoo subsequently underwent a steady stream of makeovers to naturalise its environment and took on an active approach towards building up its educational and conservational role. In 2006, it turned a small profit -- its first in many years -- and has been profitable ever since.
Cheng maintained that while the business is profitable, the entity remains not-for-profit.
Resources are ploughed back into redevelopment and rejuvenation, allowing parks under the WRS umbrella, which include the Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park, to be world-class attractions.
A unique selling point of the Singapore Zoo -- which houses over 3,000 animals of 316 species, 36 per cent of which are endangered -- is its secondary rainforest setting.
Set in a lush rainforest environment, the zoo's "open concept" allows animals to live in spacious and landscaped environments simulating their natural habitat.
"Animal enrichment programmes" are conducted to keep the inhabitants psychologically healthy, said WRS director of zoology Biswajit Guha.
The zoo is also evolving into an open, learning space, where exhibits are equipped with educational and interactive content to better convey facts about the animals and messages on wildlife conservation.
While zoos have been known to be recreational in the past, that module is becoming increasingly unsustainable, said Cheng.
"In some societies today, zoos remain a place for exhibiting exotic animals to satisfy visitors' curiosity, a circus to entertain peop
Leading article: Are zoos justified?
One of the advantages of the science of animal behaviour, which was founded 60 years ago by Niko Tinbergen and Konrad Lorenz, is that it has let us understand something of the essence of wild creatures: how they go about their normal lives in their natural state. It has also correspondingly enabled us to see, for the first time, that some behaviours exhibited by the animals we keep in captivity are not normal at all. Indeed, as we report today in the case of chimpanzees, they can be examples of considerable distress, or even incipient madness; and the cause seems to be captivity itself.
Zoos have not been unresponsive to the challenges of animal welfare in recent years. For example, it is a decade now since London Zoo moved its elephants from their entirely unsuitable concrete elephant house in Regent's Park to the greener and freer pastures of Whipsnade. Yet it is clear that despite the obvious value of zoos for education and the captive breeding of endangered species, there is a growing questioning of the virtue of keeping some creatures in captivity at all, not least the primates, our closest relatives in the animal world.
Zoo to breed chimpanzees despite cruelty warning
A Scottish zoo is planning to start a new breeding programme for chimpanzees, in the wake of recent research suggesting that captivity drives chimps mad.
The plan for new chimpanzee breeding at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling follows findings from the University of Kent showing that serious behavioural abnormalities – "some of which could be compared to mental illness in humans" – are endemic among captive chimpanzees.
The research, focusing on 40 chimps in six leading but unnamed zoos in the UK and the US, found that all the animals studied engaged in abnormal behaviour, which included self-mutilation, repetitive rocking, the eating of faeces and drinking of urine. The chimps came from many different backgrounds, and the researchers were unable to isolate any single cause, other than the one thing they all had in common – that they were in captivity.
"We suggest that captivity itself may be fundamental as a causal factor in the presence of persistent, low-level, abnormal behaviour – and potentially more extreme levels in some individuals," said the leader of the study, Nicholas Newton-Fisher, an expert in wild chimpanzee behaviour.
But the findings, published in the online science journal PLoS ONE, are not deterring the Blair Drummond Safari Park, which already has chimpanzees Chippy and his half-sister Rosie, born there 23 years ago, and wishes to bring in a new female in the hope that she and Chippy will mate.
"I do not believe that captivity is inherently bad for chimpanzees," said head keeper Alasdair Gillies. "There may be individuals in captivity who do display abnormal behaviour, but I think that is likely to be a result of their background. These abnormal behaviours could be learned culturally – chimps often imitate other chimps."
Mr Gillies added: "We will be pressing
San Diego Zoo Conservation Project Uses Squirrels to Help Owls
This month, the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research announced that they've released over 350 squirrels to the wild as part of a long-term focus on rejuvenating the numbers and habitat of the burrowing owl. Visiting parts of San Diego county designated as burrowing owl stomping grounds (including Otay Mesa and Jamul), releasing squirrels is helpful to the owls in a number of unique ways.
The California ground squirrel is one of the most common in America, and can be found predominately on the west North American coast, from Mexico to Washington. While they're often scampering in trees, they spend a majority of their time within 25 feet of their underground burrow. And, they're smart as well. In 2006, researchers at UC Davis discovered that female squirrels have learned to chew on rattlesnake skin, and then lick their fur and their squirrel pups in order to disguise themselves to local snakes, which hunt by scent.
So how do these squirrels help out burrowing owls? While they've become common park scavengers in urban environments, each squirrel will burrow its own area, which when vacated serve as homes to burrowing owls. Unlike typical owls, burrowing owls will spend their active time during daylight, mostly hunting in the dawn and dusk hours. "Burrowing owls are a species of special concern in California; they're a very important part of the grassland ecosystem," said Colleen Lenihan, Ph.D and Postdoctoral Associate at the Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research. "They live underground in association with ground-dwelling mammals like the California ground squirrel. They eat a lot of rodents, small birds and quite a few insects." They're also known to eat fruits and seeds, another rare trait for owls. Aside from pre-built burrows, additional help from squirrel neighbors comes with their appetite, which keeps the surrounding grass and invasive plant species down enough for burrowing owls to hunt. And, it just seems like having an active squirrel area fosters more life in general, as, according
Swimming with tigers at Florida zoo
You've heard of swimming with dolphins, manatees or even sharks - but tigers?
A zoo in Dade City, Florida is hoping cat lovers will pay $200 a pop for the chance to take a dip with a tiger cub.
Dade City's Wild Things, a nonprofit sanctuary zoo, will host the 30-minute swims Tuesdays through Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The two male Siberian tiger cubs, named Rajah and Ruari, are 8 weeks old and were born at the zoo.
Zoo President Randy Stearns said the swims are
Medical Treatment to Endangered Species
The Ministry is aware of the shortage of trained veterinary doctors to deal with wildlife health problems in the country. However, the details of the requirement of veterinary doctors are not compiled in the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
The State/Union Territory Governments are primarily responsible for the management of National Parks/Wildlife Sanctuaries. Involvement of State Veterinary Department and their hospitals located near the Protected Areas has been identified as a practical solution for treatment of wild animals.
Further, the Central Zoo Authority organizes training programmes for the veterinarians working in the zoos at interval of two years to enhance their skill and efficiency in respect of the diagnosis and treatment of wildlife including the endangered species. The Central Zoo Authority also organizes specialized training programme for the zoo compounders and laboratory technicians at the National Institute of Animal Welfare,
Why three lion cubs died at Karachi Zoo and other tales of incompetence
The death of three lion cubs at the Karachi Zoo, and the disappearance of a fourth, highlights the dearth of professionals trained in the care of animals, and an apparent indifference on the part of senior officials charged with overseeing the upkeep of the country’s zoological gardens.
The lion cubs were the latest in a long line of animal victims of human negligence and incompetence.
I was once asked by the Punjab government to determine why several of their most expensive and rare birds kept dying in the enclosures built for them. Upon examination, I discovered that the enclosures had been designed by an engineer with no knowledge of the habits of those birds.
At the same zoo, the reptile enclosure had no heating arrangements despite the city’s cold winters. Many of the reptiles died of hypothermia. When I asked why there was no heating for a cold-blooded animal, I was told that the low-powered bulb, hanging about 13 feet above the animals, had been deemed to be a sufficient source of heat for animals most commonly found on desert sands.
Similarly, the giraffe enclosure was very poorly designed. The architect who designed it seemed to overestimate the height of the animal and made the food basket too high for the poor giraffe to reach, resulting in the animal starving for not being tall enough.
Poorly designed enclosures seem to be a running theme across zoos in Pakistan. At one zoo, an elephant broke its leg when it slipped into a moat that had been meant to keep the animal in its cage. The elephant eventually had to be euthanised.
On some occasions, the thought
100 animals died in Delhi Zoo last year
More than 100 animals died in Delhi Zoo last year. In all, nearly 3,000 animals died in zoos across the country in the same period, official figures revealed Monday.
Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan informed the Lok Sabha that 109 animals died in the Delhi Zoo in 2010-11.
Further, 2,910 animals died in zoos across the country in the same period. The highest number of deaths was recorded in Gujarat, which stood at 380.
"Most of the death of animals occurred in the
Guj at top in losing its zoo animals
The highest animal mortality in zoos of the country was reported from Gujarat. Of the 2,910 zoo animal deaths in a year across India, 380 were in Gujarat. In Kankaria zoo in Ahmedabad, 150 animals died in the last one year. This zoo has over 2,000 animals.
After Gujarat with 380 deaths, Karnataka was the biggest loser of caged animals with 354 of them dying in a year. Maharashtra followed at third place with 242 deaths.
This information was given out by Union ministry of forest and environment in reply to the question of Dharmendra Yadav, Member of Parliament from Badaun in Uttar Pradesh. Yadav when contacted said that he has demanded information, but the question never came up for discussion. He said that he received the reply from the parliament secretariat.
In its reply, the government said that in all, 2,910 animals have died in zoos across the country in the one year ending on March 31, 2011. Of these over 13 per cent deaths, the highest
Rare creatures to be zoo's new features
THEY are among the rarest creatures on the planet, and have never been seen before in the Capital.
Given their size, visitors to a new exhibition at Edinburgh Zoo may have to look hard to spot the weird and wonderful animals. The creatures are part of a new exhibit featuring rare cannibal snails and cooing tortoises.
A dozen species, nine of which have never been shown at the
What is killing killer whales?
Killer whales, the ocean's fiercest predators, are easily recognisable by their black and white markings.
But their future seems less clearly defined.
Marine experts are concerned about an invisible threat to the animals that has been building in our seas since World War II.
That was when industries began extensively using chemical flame retardants, such as PCBs.
These chemicals were later found to harm human health and the environment, and governments around the world banned their use in the 1970s.
But their legacy lives on in the world's seas and oceans, say biologists, posing a modern threat to animals such as killer whales, also known as o
‘Smart Collar’ in the Works to Manage Wildlife Better
The collar of the wild is coming.
And in the same way that the smartphone changed human communications, what might be called the “smart collar” — measuring things that people never could before about how animals move and eat and live their lives — could fundamentally transform how wild populations are managed, and imagined, biologists and wildlife managers say.
The collars, in development in academia and intended for commercial production in the next few years, use a combination of global positioning technology and accelerometers for measuring an animal’s metabolic inner life in leaping, running or sleeping. From the safari parks of Africa to urbanized zones on the edge of wildlands across the American West — places where widespread interest in the devices has already been voiced, scientists said — the mysteries of the wild might never be the same.
“What you end up with is a diary for the animal, a 24-hour diary that says he spent this much time sleeping, and we kn
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/30/us/30collars.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=radio collar wildlife&st=cse
Bahrain wildlife park gets new resident
Visitors to Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve in Bahrain will be able to catch a glimpse of a new resident this Eid - an Arabian leopard.
Bahrain's first resident Arabian leopard is being housed at the recently-opened enclosure for wild animals, alongside Arabian hyenas and wolves.
Al Areen director Dr Adel Al Awadhi said the animal had yet to be given a name, but was being referred to as 'Ramadan' by some of the keepers due to the timing of his arrival.
Dr Awadhi said that the four-and-a-half years old leopard had been brought to Bahrain with plans to eventually breed with a female.
'The Arabian leopard, which we brought from the UAE, has already been placed in the wildlife enclosure,' he told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
'We have special breeding facilities so maybe
Beluga whales won't be coming
Critics welcome Ocean Park's decision not to import the wild-caught mammals
Ocean Park has abandoned its plan to import wild-caught beluga whales from Russia, following an outcry from animal welfare groups....
Chairman Allan Zeman and his fellow executives decided yesterday morning to
drop the option of bringing in the near-threatened species for the park's
new Polar Adventure attraction, which opens next year.
The U-turn comes even though Ocean Park has an option on six belugas caught
in the wild last year and being kept in a holding facility in Russia and has
begun work on a tank to accommodate the whales.
The theme park funded a sustainability study that concluded that up to 29
beluga whales a year could be taken from the Sea of Okhotsk over a five-year
period without putting the population at risk.
But opposition from animal welfare groups in Hong Kong and overseas who
argued Ocean Park should not import wild-caught belugas persisted. A protest
by a coalition of groups was due to be staged outside Ocean Park on Sunday.
Zeman said last night: "Everyone can rest assured no belugas from the wild
will be imported into Ocean Park - not from Russia or from anywhere else."
He said the plan to import the belugas was only ever
Tasmanian tiger was no sheep killer
New research has revealed the tasmanian tiger may not have deserved its sheep-killing reputation.
September marks the 75th anniversary of the death of the last known tiger, or thylacine, at a Hobart zoo.
When it was alive it had a bad reputation as a sheep killer.
From 1830 till 1909 there was a bounty on the species because it was considered a pest.
PhD candidate Marie Attard, from the University of New South Wales, says people thought each thylacine could be eating up to 100 sheep each year.
While it has been more recently acknowledged that that was an exaggeration, Ms Attard says thylacines may not have even been capable of killing
CDC Investigation Pinpoints Elephant-to-Human TB Outbreak (not new news but worth remembering)
Several employees at a Tennessee elephant refuge were infected in 2009, including some who had no close contact with the animals. Air flow tests indicated bacteria that were aerosolized during routine pressure washing of a quarantine barn entered an adjacent administrative building.
A newly published CDC study points out the need for strong infection control practices for workers who have close contact with elephants living in captivity. The authors explain what they found when the Tennessee Department of Health reported in 2009 that several employees of an elephant refuge not open to the general public had latent M. tuberculosis tests. The lead researcher was Dr. Rendi Murphree, Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer at CDC and a Vanderbilt University Visiting Scholar, and the study has been published in the March 2011 issue of CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases (Vol. 17, No. 3).
About 270 Asian elephants and about 220 African elephants live in captivity in North America, and about 12 percent of the Asian elephants and 2 percent of the African elephants are thought to be infected with M. tuberculosis, they report. The first reported outbreak of TB among elephants in North America occurred at an exotic animal farm in Illinois in 1996, and an investigation there confirmed four Asian elephants and 11 human caregivers were infected. As a result, since 1998, the USDA Animal Plant Health
Following the Trail of Conservation Successes
Pessimism prevails in the conservation community because of ongoing habitat destruction and associated threats to a wide variety of species. With the global population expected to surge past 10 billion people by the end of this century, conservationists will face increasing challenges in their efforts to protect imperiled species and habitats.
A new paper by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS), James Cook University and Mongabay.com, published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, shows that although large-scale biodiversity declines are ongoing, certain conservation actions have made a positive difference.
The paper was led by the late Professor Navjot Sodhi of NUS, a renowned conservation ecologist who, more than anyone, understood the dismal outlook of conservation, having focused much of his career highlighting the biodiversity crisis.
According to one of the authors, Luke Gibson, a PhD student from the Department of Biological
S.Africa may dehorn rhinos, ban hunts to stop poaching
South Africa is investigating dehorning its rhino population and stopping legal trophy hunts to fight a poaching crisis that has killed 279 animals this year, the environment minister said Monday.
Officials are considering putting a moratorium on rhino hunting to deal with abuses in the allocation of permits, which were issued to around 130 people last year and some 140 this year, Edna Molewa told reporters.
"Illegal hunting and abuse of (the) permit system may be the main threats that could impact on the survival of rhinos in the wild in the near future," the minister said.
The ministry has also commissioned a study to look at the possibility of removing rhinos' horns, a measure believed to deter poachers selling to the lucrative Asian blackmarket.
"We haven't said that we are going to dehorn. The dehorning possibility
SA eyes lifting of ban on rhino horn trade
SOUTH Africa has taken the first step on the long and controversial road to lifting the world ban on rhino horn trading.
The ban has been in place for more than 30 years.
Last month, the Department of Environmental Affairs placed two advertisements on its tenders website to initiate a series of studies that could pave the way for a resumption of controlled rhino-horn trading.
The studies will include a detailed assessment of whether there are “options and opportunities available to South Africa to access a legal market”.
A separate study will look into the feasibility of dehorning thousands of rhinos as a way of saving them from poachers’ bullets.
Department spokesman Albi Modise said yesterday no decisions had been taken on the question of trading horns internationally, and the preliminary studies were to guide future decision-making on “various options” to safeguard the country’s rhino population.
International trade in rhino horns was banned in 1977 by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) after a wave of poaching threatened to decimate rhino populations in Africa and the Far East.
South Africa, which still allows trophy hunting under a permit system, also imposed a moratorium on the domes- tic sale of rhino products and horns in 2009.
This followed an upsurge in rhino poaching
Drusillas zoo clack rhino horn stolen
A rare black rhino horn has been stolen from a locked conservation cabinet at a zoo in East Sussex.
Drusillas Park in Alfriston had the artefact on display as part of an education exhibit.
The thieves forced the lock on the glass case during opening hours on Wednesday afternoon.
Staff at the zoo saw two men running away from the scene. Police said they were described as white and in their late teens to early 20s.
One was wearing a baseball cap and sportswear, while the other had a horizontal blue and white striped top with jeans.
They were last seen heading
Rhino hunting and economics
Currently there is talk about banning rhino hunting because basically poaching has reached the point where it is getting ridiculous.
The hunting lobbies are anti this because, well, they’re hunters. They like shooting things for fun and profit.
One of the arguments they are now raising is that it will increase poaching because it will drive the price of rhino horn up.
Okay let’s think about this one from an economist’s point of view.
Legal, illegal, it doesn’t make much difference. Dagga is illegal, and pretty cheap I hear. Supply is plentiful as it is known as weed for a reason.
What dictates the price of a good is basically supply versus demand. If lots of people want it, and there is a limited supply, the price will rise.
If the supply is plentiful and nobody much wants it, well it isn’t going to go for much.
So what does it say that the price of rhino horn will increase if South Africa bans rhino hunting? Less rhinos are going to get shot, limiting supply.
That is pretty much what we are going for so it isn’t much of an argument against a ban now is it?
I am sympathetic to the idea we should enforce the laws we already have – but if we aren’t doing that a ban probably won’t have much
This is a very odd video on an interesting platform (Kickstarter).
I don't approve. The guy obviously has a heart but sadly has strayed a long way from the good zoo conservation path. Cats and others should be parent reared and if they are not then housing is wrong. Cats and others should not be bred (especially white ones) if they are outside of an official breeding programme. Okay, I'm rambling...watch the video:
Are we opening a can of Apple worms at zoo?
I saw the new movie "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" this week and learned that if you enhance the intelligence of primates in captivity, they will turn on us.
The same day, an article in this newspaper said apes at the Milwaukee County Zoo are using iPads for finger-painting, creating music and checking out videos.
Does anyone else see what's happening here? We're messing with the natural order that chimps and computers don't mix. We may live to regret the day we started giving them Apples instead of apples.
There's something to be said for keeping our zoo animals dumb and docile. If you teach apes to manipulate a touch screen with those sausage fingers of theirs, the next thing you know they'll be banding together, escaping and rampaging across the Hoan Bridge. Let's see who wants a bike lane up there then.
The climax of the movie occurs on the Golden Gate Bridge, and it's not pretty for us humans. But it didn't happen overnight. First, the apes were injected with a miracle gene therapy that made them smart, and
No to lion park bailout, says Merv
A Whangarei district councillor believes the council should not spend ratepayer money on the troubled Zion Wildlife Gardens.
Suggestions have been made that local councils could rescue the big cat park, which has been placed into receivership.
However, Councillor Merv Williams says that, based on his experience with Craig Busch, the council should not get involved.
Mr Williams worked with Mr Busch on a voluntary basis when Mr Busch moved his animals from Kerikeri to Whangarei in 2002.
And Mr Williams said his wife organised tours of Zion Wildlife Gardens once the park was established in Whangarei.
The couple helped develop a financial plan to make the park profitable, but became disillusioned with the way Mr Busch
Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm criticised for plans to house elephants
The controversial plans were unveiled by the zoo this afternoon with the help of Strictly Come Dancing star, and former Conservative MP, Ann Widdecombe.
Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm was the centre of a scandal in 2009 after an undercover CAPS investigator discovered that the zoo was breeding tigers for the Great British Circus.
One of the tigers, Tira, died 10 days after giving birth to four cubs. Shockingly, her head, paws and skin were cut off before her body was buried in breach
Ann Widdecombe launches elephant sanctuary project
The Right Honourable Ann Widdecombe went to the Wraxall attraction on Thursday to launch Elephant Eden - a 15-acre site which will include a revolutionary elephant house.
During her visit, Miss Widdecombe, who also starred in last year’s BCC series of Strictly Come Dancing and has been a long-term friend of zoo farm director, Anthony Bush, dug the first turf of an eco-irrigation pond which will serve the elephant facility, fed a tiger and met some of the staff.
After several years of research and planning permission being granted in 2010, now begins the development of the Elephant Eden project.
A statement from the zoo said: “We are confident this will become an internationally-recognised zoo exhibit and
Gorilla artwork on sale on eBay
A gorilla is selling his artwork on eBay.
N'Dowe, a critically endangered lowland gorilla, was given art materials to see how he would react.
Now, the seven-year-old's masterpieces are being sold by Paignton Zoo in Devon to raise money for international ape conservation.
The paintings were created using non-toxic child-friendly paints.
Zoo keepers Craig Gilchrist and Lorraine Miller acted as artist's assistants, putting blobs of paint on the canvas and letting N'Dowe use his fingers. Senior keeper Mr Gilchrist said: "He seemed to enjoy it - he got paint all over himself and us."
One piece is a vibrant red and purple abstract artwork on a canvas 30X23cm. Three more are 40X30cm and feature greens and oranges.
Zoo spokesman Phil Knowling said: "We can't be sure, but it's possible that the vigorous use of bold colour is a comment on the brutal way the natural habitat of gorillas and other species is being destroyed around the world."
N'Dowe is the youngest of six gorillas in the zoo's bachelor group. The rest are silverback Pertinax, 29, Kumbuka, a 13-year-old black back, Kivu and Kiondo, who are both nine, and Matadi, who is eight. Walking sticks made by Kumbuka have also been selling on eBay to raise funds for the ape campaign.
Dr Kirsten Pullen, zoo research officer for the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, which runs Paignton Zoo, said: "Paintings by animals are not entirely unknown - chimps and elephants have done
Video: If you go down to the zoo today... don’t feed the humans
A NEW exhibit is set to rattle a few cages at a North Yorkshire zoo as a group of four humans go on display as part of a university charity project.
The University of York is co-hosting the UK’s only captive group of homo sapiens at Malton’s Flamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo.
The unusual display will raise money for forest conservation and increase awareness of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria Great Ape Campaign.
A Flamingo Land spokesman said: “Humans are the last surviving species of the Homo genus and will join Flamingo Land’s chimpanzees as its second great ape species on show. Although humans are not endangered, nor part of a conservation breeding programme, it is exciting news for Flamingo Land as the homo sapiens will be promoting the Udzungwa Forest Project (UFP) which uses education and research
Developers threaten animals in Croatia's cave network
Species of animals, millions of years old, could be wiped out by pollution and development in Croatia, according to a new breed of cave biologists.
Jana Bedek and her team of bio-speleologists have recently discovered that the underground networks of the Balkans, especially Croatia, have the richest cave fauna in the world.
"We are now in the place with the best range of cave animals in the world," she says.
"The other countries have their own rich fauna in rainforests, marine ecosystems etc, but here in this area we have cave fauna. Really important at world level."
But on a political and economic level, Croatia is emerging from decades of communism, and