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Zoo News Digest Sep-Oct 2013

Zoo News Digest

Sep-Oct 2013

 

 26Oct2013

L.A. Zoo attempts to close Komodo dragon gender gap
The L.A. Zoo has found a way to identify the lizard's gender before eggs are hatched, allowing managers to produce more females and strengthen the population.
The Los Angeles Zoo is trying to raise the population of female Komodo dragons, a giant and endangered lizard, by using a DNA test originally devised to identify the gender of bird eggs.
Swelling the female ranks would help close a gender gap in captive dragons in North America, which is home to 71 males, 46 females and six of the giant lizards whose sex remains unknown. It would also move the species closer to a self-sustaining and genetically diverse population, which scientists believe they would reach with 75 males and 75 females.
"Until now, we couldn't control the gender of the dragons we hatched out — creating a lopsided male-heavy population," said Ian Recchio, curator of reptiles and amphibians at the L.A. Zoo. "In captivity, it's not uncommon for males to kill females, and females are prone to often fatal complications in pregnancy."
Another reason for wanting to manage the number and sex of Komodo dragons hatched each year: They are expensive to keep and grow big enough to eat a human being.
"Komodos are like keeping tigers," he said, admiring one of the two adults on exhibit at the zoo, a 10-foot male with a powerful tail, slashing stiletto claws and toxic saliva.
The procedure, first attempted at the L.A. Zoo, involves insertion of a fine needle into the leathery shell of a baseball-sized dragon egg halfway through its 260-day incubation period, and extracting a small sample of blood without killing the embryo. The sample is submitted to a laboratory for DNA testing to dete


Bees suspected in zoo bird deaths
Months after the fact, people are still concerned about, and talking about, the deaths in July of two ravens and a turkey vulture at the Alameda Park Zoo.
"I was shocked and saddened. I was fond of Edgar," zoo director Steve Diehl said Tuesday during an interview in his office. Edgar, one of the ravens, was named after Edgar Allen Poe, author of "The Raven."
Diehl explained that during a severe windstorm, a branch carrying a bee colony dropped and landed on top of the raven exhibit in the Bird of Prey area. The bees stung and killed the three birds, and stung a great horned owl and a Harris hawk, which Diehl said he treated with Benadryl, and they recovered.
"We removed the birds in that area as a precaution, and now we've put them back," he said. "The park has been here for 100 years, and the bees have been here for 100 years. They pollinate our trees and flowers.
"I've been here 27 years," Diehl continued. "I've walked by those bees every day, and we've never had anything like this happen before. I've never had a bee sting. This was an isolated situation, a catastrophic event."
Rob Shepler, of Mayhill, a member of the board of directors of the New Mexico Beekeepers Association, was in Diehl's office. Shepler said he had just heard about the incident Friday while attending the Western Apicultural Society meeting in Santa Fe.
It was reported there by a USDA inspector, who requested anonymity. The USDA has to be informed of deaths of animals and int


Bhutan - About phalluses, a zoo no one visits, plenty stray dogs and a national dish that causes ulcers
A visit to Bhutan is something one must 'Must Do' in one's lifetime. Besides the scenic beauty and people, there are little things in Bhutan that make the place even more beautiful and also curious in a way. For instance:
There is one major zoo in Bhutan in Thimpu and it houses only one animal species - the national animal Takin (a goat-antelope). While the zoo, which is more of a natural reserve spreads into hundreds of acres, there are only a handful of Takin inside and very few visitors. A visit to the zoo is not always part of a tourist's itinerary.
*Quite a few tourist hotels in Bhutan are run by women only. Not only are the women 'bell-girls' who carry luggage to t


Elephant bullhooks? Not in L.A.
The City Council should take another step in protecting the animals and ban the tool in any kind of performance anywhere in the city, including circuses.
As human understanding of elephants has evolved, so has our treatment of them. Zoos decades ago freed these largest of land mammals from standing for hours in chains on arthritis-inducing concrete. Also gone from many zoos is the bullhook, an instrument that resembles a fireplace poker that is used to poke, prod or strike an elephant. Although the blunt end can be used as a lead for an elephant, the sharp end makes it a tool of coercion. The Los Angeles Zoo stopped using the bullhook in any manner in 2010. Similarly, the San Diego Zoo does not use it.
On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council will consider banning the bullhook — or any instrument that could be used like one — for use on elephants in any kind of performance anywhere in the city. That would mean that elephants in traveling shows, circuses and other events could not be managed with bullhooks. This is a smart and humane measure and should be adopted. The council will also consider an out-and-out prohibition on the use of elephants in traveling shows and exhibitions in the city.



Jellyfish rule the world
Jellyfish are taking over the world, scientists say. They are reproducing too much and not dying enough. They are clogging up power plants. They are messing with fishing hauls. They are making it unpleasant to swim at beaches. The nature of that unpleasantness ranges from mild discomfort to death.
Here are some of the things worth loving and fearing about jellyfish — the strange, beautiful creatures from the deep that may soon rule us all.


Houston Zoo hosts Chinese interns
With the rapid development of the zoo industry in China, there have come more and more exchanges between Chinese and the US zoo officials.
Liu Xiaoqing, director of animal management at the Guangzhou Zoo, and Tu Rongxiu, director of animal breeding and protection at the Shanghai Zoo, have been on a two-week working visit to the Houston Zoo that ends next Wednesday.
"The Houston Zoo made comprehensive arrangements for our visit," said Tu. "We were shown every animal exhibit in the zoo and got to see how each one works. We also met with officials from various departments to share experiences and exchange information and knowledge."
What's impressed Tu the most so far have been the zoo's programs in animal welfare and animal training. "The zoo is like an ecological park," she said, "with all of its exhibits set up as if the animals were living in their natural habitats.


Captive koalas in crisis as numbers plunge to 40
The number of koalas at zoos in Japan has fallen by more than half in the past 15 years, worrying zoo officials and fans of the critters that have attracted zoo visitors for nearly 30 years since their introduction to Japan.
The number of koalas raised at eight zoos in Japan has dwindled to 40 as of Oct. 22, down from 96 in 1997. The decrease is largely attributed to the aging captive population of the marsupials and their inbreeding. Experts have noted cooperation with Australia—the animal’s native country—will be essential for boosting their numbers.
It was on Oct. 25, 1984, that koalas first arrived in Japan—six male koalas from Australia. Tama Zoological Park in Hino, Tokyo, Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Nagoya and Hirakawa Zoological Park in Kagoshima each received two koalas to raise. In 1985, seven female koalas were brought to Japan.
One of them gave birth to the first koala cub born in Japan the following year at Higashiyama Zoo.
Since then, koala breeding was successful for more than a decade until a decrease in the number of koalas became apparent in 2000. The pregnancy rate dropped, while many cubs died at birth or while they were young.


Opinion column: Common sense
A story made national news back in November 2012 due to the shocking nature of the event. You may remember hearing about it. Headlines read something like, "2-year-old mauled to death by African wild dogs.”
Ringing any bells? If not, here’s a refresher. Mother and 2-year-old son visit the Pittsburgh Zoo in Pennsylvania. They get to the wild dog enclosure, where visitors stand up above the dogs, looking down into the large pen.
A wooden, 4-foot railing surrounds the viewing area above and around the enclosure, and it’s built so that the top angled back toward the visitors. In other words, if a child was to jump up onto the railing, he or she would slide back to a parent or guardian.
On this particular day, the mother picked up her young son and held him over the railing to get a better look at the carnivorous pack animals. She then promptly dropped him, where he was ripped apart and eventually died.
Violent, sure, and terrifying for all of those at the zoo that day. The prosecuting attorney in that county chose not to file charges against any party, calling the entire event a "tragic accident.”
The story should’ve ended there, but it didn’t. The family of the deceased 2-year-old decided it was the zoo’s fault the child d


'Blackfish' film ignores SeaWorld's benefits to conservation, research
Shortly after 1:30 p.m. on February 24, 2010, a SeaWorld Orlando trainer lost her life in a tragic accident involving one of the park's killer whales. The death of Dawn Brancheau was an occasion of almost unbearable sadness for those closest to Dawn -- her family, friends and colleagues at SeaWorld.
I was honored to know Dawn and count myself among those SeaWorld team members deeply affected by her loss.
Dawn's death has been the subject of thousands of articles, broadcast news stories, blogs, books, and now a feature film called "Blackfish." Many of these accounts trade in the details of Dawn's death in graphic detail. They do so not to inform but, rather, regrettably, because of the desire to sensationalize.
Filmmaker: Why I made 'Blackfish'
The three years since Dawn's death have seen the emergence of individuals who have chosen not to honor her memory, but rather to use the events of February 24, 2010, to advance their own interests. Some seek commercial gain. Others seek to forward a political or philosophical agenda. Still


Beyond Reproach
Many members of the zoo community have followed the recent events at the Toronto Zoo with great concern.  The antics of the animal rights activists have been documented and described in great detail by the group known as Zoos Matter, and do not need to be rehashed here.  Every zoo professional will have their own reaction to the elephant issue as it played out in Toronto, from anger and disgust (the reaction I’ve seen the most of) to denial ("It could never happen here!”) to indifference ("doesn’t apply to me…”).
After thinking about it in some depth, I’ve settled upon my own course of action.  It takes the form of a new philosophy, summed up in two words: Beyond Reproach.
Now, I am in no way suggesting that the keepers of the Toronto Zoo were in any way responsible for the misfortune that has befallen them, that they themselves were not "beyond reproach.”  Instead, I am saying that this is a reminder that there are those forces outside of our institutions who do not wish us well.  There are people – some with a feeling of guilt, some without such moral qualms – who like reading bad news about zoos and aquariums.  When an animal dies (as all animals, zoo or wild, must), when an escape occurs, or when a keeper is injured or even killed, they take some satisfaction in it, seeing their feelings about zoos validated.  


All change at the zoo?
For more than a century now families have been visiting the Giza Zoo in Cairo, but the history of zoos in Egypt dates back to the ancient Egyptians and the reign of Queen Hatshepsut of the 18th Dynasty who sent a hunting crew to Somalia that came back with a number of monkeys, reptiles and giraffes and established a public garden for people to visit.
Fatma Tamam, today the manager of the country’s zoos, tells the story of the Giza Zoo. "In 1867, the Khedive Ismail decided to establish a zoo in Cairo, at first in Zamalek and then at what was then the Giza Palace, its current location, in Cairo. The resulting zoo was then opened to the public in 1891 by Ismail’s son the Khedive Tawfik.”


Dolphinarium moving forward with key vote
Coral World is one step closer to building its "Dolphin Experience."
Members of the Senate Economic Development, Agriculture and Planning Committee heard testimony from people on both sides of the dolphinarium addition to Coral World, and they liked what they heard.
The committee, by a 6-0 vote, approved an amendment Monday evening to Coral World's existing lease agreement that would allow the venue to construct an addition for an exhibit that Coral World's owners said they have been trying to put into place for years.
Senators Janette Millin Young, Donald Cole, Sammuel Sanes, Diane Capehart, Myron Jackson and Shawn-Michael Malone voted to send the Coastal Zone Management permit for the dolphinarium to the full legislative body for action. Sen. Nereida Rivera-O'Reilly was absent.
The permit is expected to be on the agenda for Wednesday's meeting of the full Legislature.


Zoo elephants getting fat, study says. Or is that curvy?
Don’t tell Dumbo, but he’s got too much junk in his trunk. That spherical silhouette, it turns out, isn’t so healthy — even for elephants.
Zookeepers have long suspected it. And now they have some science to back it up.
America’s zoo elephants have gotten fat.
"Look at what percentage of the U.S. population is currently obese. Are we surprised that we’re feeding our elephants a little too well?” said Anne Baker, former director of the Toledo Zoo. "We’re feeding ourselves a little too well.”
This fall, zoo researchers from across the country are wrapping up the biggest study of zoo elephant health in the nation’s history. And they’ve uncovered a range of major findings, from the health of elephant feet, to the miles they walk, to the prominence of their posteriors.
Over three years, the team examined more than 100,000 pages of medical records, 6,000 blood samples and 40,000 pounds of elephant dung. Subjects included 255 elephants in 70 zoos from Mexico to St. Louis to Miami.
Researchers hope to submit the study to scientific journals for publication as soon as this winter. But even preliminary findings, they said, are revealing.


Search under way for monkeys missing from Belfast zoo
A search is continuing for two monkeys who escaped from their enclosure at Belfast zoo.
Six lion-tailed macaques managed to get out on Monday - four have since been returned.
The other two monkeys have been seen in the grounds or near the zoo.
Belfast zoo said it has been monitoring their movements and has positioned a number of traps and staff in the areas where the missing animals have been seen.
One of the monkeys was captured by zoo keepers in the grounds of Belfast Castle.
The incident was filmed by Michael McGowan, who was walking his dog in the castle grounds at the time.
Mr McGowan told the BBC he spotted the monkey shortly before it leapt on to a window ledge on the castle.
"The dog took a second glance, I took a second glance, and the monkey wasn't in the least bit worried about hum


Mahouts to ride on Govt House (video)
Elephant owners and mahouts from different provinces gathered at the Royal Elephant Kraal in Ayutthaya’s Muang district on Thursday and prepared to march to Bangkok to protest against an amendment to the Wildlife and Preservation and Protection Act.
The group, comprising more than 100 members, brought with them supplies and over 100 elephants, which were to be trucked to the capital overnight and ridden to Government House on Friday.
Under the amendment bill, authority over Thai elephants will be transferred from the Department of Provincial administration to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.
The owners and mahouts argue the amendment will empower the department to confiscate a domesticated elephant if the owner fails to produce documented proof of ownership. However, this was not always possible.
The group said elephants that are bred by villagers should not be confiscated by the government because they have done nothing wrong.
They were also worried that wildlife authorities would not be able to take proper care of seized elephants.
The elephant owners and mahouts also opposed the provision in the Wildlife and Preservation and Protection Act that prohibits the sale of organs and trunks from dead animals, which they said affects their earnings.
Pol Col Sermkit Sitthichaikan, acting chief of Ayutthaya p


A win-win solution for captive orcas and marine theme parks
 The film "Blackfish" compellingly describes many of the reasons why keeping orcas in captivity is -- and always has been -- a bad idea.
The main premise of the film is that these large, intelligent, social predators are dangerous to their trainers. But orcas are also directly harmed by being confined in concrete tanks and the science is growing to support this common sense conclusion.
The latest data show that orcas are more than three times as likely to die at any age in captivity as they are in the wild. This translates into a shorter life span and is probably the result of several factors. First, orcas in captivity are out of shape; they are the equivalent of couch potatoes, as the largest orca tank in the world is less than one ten-thousandth of one percent (0.0001%) the size of the smallest home range of wild orcas.
Second, they are in artificial and often incompatible social groups. This contributes to chronic stress, which can depress the immune system and leave captive orcas susceptible to infections they would normally fight off in the wild.


The wild animal circus ban, or when is a wild animal not a wild animal?
The question to ask is why it appears the government is seeking out the prohibition of some 'wild' animals in circuses whilst appearing not to apply the same rules to the same animals use in other public entertainment and leisure events.
As some will know, the UK government has brought forward a proposed bill to ban all wild animals from UK circuses from 2015. As a provisional measure in December 2012, it introduced a codified welfare inspection and licensing system for all circuses displaying wild animals. Currently two British circuses hold such licenses.


Report on Woodland Park Zoo elephants released
Uncertainty surrounds the future of the elephant exhibit at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle.
A task force assigned to study the health and well-being of the zoo's three elephants released its final report on Tuesday.
There is a growing body of evidence suggests captivity is harmful to elephants.
So the zoo commissioned a task force and on Tuesday two options were presented: one would keep them at the zoo and expand the herd. Another option would be to allow them to age out or retire.
The expert review panel found the overall health of the Chai, Bamboo and Watoto was good. All three were considered bright, alert and active. And that staff of the elephant exhibit are well trained and provide excellent care.

 

 


19Oct2013

Pocatello Zoo Keeper Helps Enrich Vietnam Zoos
The Pocatello Zoo’s hoof stock zoo keeper Matthew Rich traveled to Vietnam for three weeks in September to teach seminars on animal enrichment.
 "The Peace Corps for animals,” is how Pocatello Zoo Keeper Matthew Rich describes it.
Animal enrichment is anything that will stimulate the natural behaviors in an animal, especially when it comes to feeding.
"We’re used to sitting down at a table and having food put in front of us, eating off a plate. Animals aren’t. Animals need to search,” said Rich.
Matthew’s 30 years of zoo experience working with animals from all over the world have taught him just how to make them feel at home, no matter how far away from home they are.
"Animals always need to be enriched. If you put an animal in an enclosure here, if it’s an animal from Asia or Africa, it’s the same as an animal from America. It still needs to be stimulated,” explains Rich.
Matthew did a lot of good in Vietnam, working to rebuild and enrich a bear exhibit, carnivore exhibits, and two new monkey exhibits. He isn’t just bettering zoos half way across the world, however, he’s gotten to work right here in Pocatello too.
"In the wild these donkeys would be eating all day long. We do them a disservice by feeding them in one place, once time a day, set time. What we’re doing right now behind me is we’re feeding the


The plight of the African elephant
The current plight of Africa’s rhino population, as disturbing as it is, pales in comparison to a much less widely reported wildlife crisis of considerably more staggering proportions – the loss of hundreds of thousands of elephants.
In 1980 there were in the region of 1,2-million elephants in Africa spread across some 37 range states. In 33 years that figure has been reduced to an estimated 420,000 animals. That’s 780,000 elephants lost to the world. Some of this loss can be attributed to reduction of habitat due to human expansion, but the main reason is ivory poaching, and when it comes to ivory, the market is driven by one country - China.
Chinese involvement in ivory poaching is Africa’s biggest open secret and its most shameful deceit. Indeed, the decrease in elephant numbers is synchronous with China’s growing economic foothold in Africa. Investments by China’s state-owned companies began in the 1980s when they became bedfellows of failed and failing African governments, with Zimbabwe and Zambia leading the pack.
  

India bans dolphin shows but what about other less ‘intelligent’ species?
Few contest the obvious privilege of intelligence in all walks of life. But what indeed is intelligence? And who decides how intelligent is intelligent enough? The decision of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to ban dolphinariums or marine parks, captive facilities where dolphin shows are organized, has not made big headlines. But this is a bold move that sends a clear signal to various states planning to set up dolphinariums for tourists. And, it is in keeping with the ban on use of animals in circuses. Like most wildlife, cetaceans — marine mammals such as dolphins, whales and porpoises — have a history of poor longevity in captivity across the world. Zoos, however, keep a wide variety of wildlife in large numbers. One would think that the cetaceans drew special attention because captive dolphins are almost always made to perform. Most zoo animals serve only as exhibits.
But the CZA circular cites a curious justification. The authority doesn’t want dolphins in zoos because scientists have found them to have "unusually high intelligence” and therefore they should be seen as "non-human persons and as such should have their own specific rights and is morally unacceptable to keep them captive for entertainment purpose.” This has raised certain dilemmas among conservationists. Ashish Kothari of Kalpavriksh, for example, summed it up in an online forum: "Perhaps it is a step towards the ‘rights’ of nature being recognised.


Poser over panda costs
 How much will it cost Malaysia to lease the two pandas, Fu Wa and Feng Yi, from China for 10 years?
Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said it will cost the Chiang Mai zoo in Thailand up to US$1 million (RM3.22 million) to bring in another panda to join the one they have had since 2003.
He said it may cost Malaysia the same amount to bring in the two pandas from China, with the total bill for leasing the animals possibly totaling US$2 million a year.
"As we are leasing two pandas for 10 years, the bill for leasing alone may come up to US$20 million," he told a press conference.
Lim said a written reply to his question in parliament last Wednesday has left many questions unanswered, adding that the government is required to come clean on the matter.
He said the reply only stated the cost of building the exhibition area and the habitat in Zoo Negara for the pandas at RM24.9 million.


Sometimes a zoo's job is to let animals into the wild
The Oregon Zoo is known mostly for the elephants and other animals it keeps in captivity.
But it also releases many
critters into the wild as part of its commitment to conservation and preserving endangered
species.
In late September, the zoo won three awards from the national Association of Zoos and Aquariums, two for its conservation work to aid imperiled Northwest species, and a Green Award for environmental improvements in its day-to-day operations.
"These awards are like the Oscars of zoos and aquariums,” says Kim Smith, zoo director.
At an undisclosed site in Clackamas County, Oregon Zoo staff have raised endangered California condors since 2005. Over the years, 45 condor chicks have been raised there and 21 were released into the wild, says Dr. David Shepherdson, the Oregon Zoo’s deputy conservation and research manager. There currently are 42 condors there, including six breeding pairs, he says.


Best Aquariums in the United States
There are countless aquariums throughout the United States that can be fun for the whole family to visit. Yet, there are some aquariums that go above and beyond in trying to educate, entertain and amaze guests. From dolphin shows to massive whale sharks and underwater tunnels to interactive exhibits, these are hands down some of the best aquariums in the United States.


Ripley's Aquarium of Canada opens in Toronto (with photos)
Visitors to Toronto may not be able to swim with the sharks on Bay Street but they'll have an up-close view of the ocean predators in a new indoor aquarium.
After two years of construction, delays and $130 million in costs, Ripley's Aquarium of Canada opened to the public Wednesday.
The aquarium, billed as the country's largest, is home to more than 13,000 aquatic animals and 450 different species held in nearly six million litres of water.
More than 10,000 tickets to the downtown facility have


Minnesota Zoo Director Lee Ehmke named president of world zoo association
Lee Ehmke, the Minnesota Zoo's director and CEO since 2000, has been named the new president of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Announcement of his two-year term came at the international association's annual conference this week in Orlando.
Ehmke's charge as president: to implement a strategic plan to assure "the full conservation potential of the world’s zoos and aquariums." That includes a global plan for zoo animal welfare.
Said Ehmke in a statement:
"As the future of wildlife and wild pl


Morgan Is Not The Only One Having Problems Hearing!
Thursday 13 November saw the yet another judgement from the Dutch courts on the fate of the young, female killer whale "Morgan” who stranded on the Dutch coast in June 2010 and was rehabilitated by the group SOS Delfijn and employees from Dolfinarium Harderwijk.  The animal was deemed unsuitable for release and was moved to live with a group of other killer whales at Loro Park Tenerife, Spain in November 2011.
The recent hearing stated that the permit to move "Morgan” should only be issued if the goal was research or teaching. The judgment conclude that the park on Tenerife conducts research and performs an educational function and therefore the whales move was legal.
The court further saw no reason to believe that the welfare of Morgan danger in Tenerife. If The Orca Coalition disagree they are open to take legal action in a Spanish court.
Details of the background of this case can be found HERE


Toronto elephants leave zoo for California
With their trunks packed and bickering behind them, three Toronto Zoo elephants have finally hit the road.
Iringa, Toka and Thika were coaxed into silver crates, loaded onto two flatbed trucks and driven off zoo property around 10:30 p.m.Thursday, hours after their original planned departure.
But the elephants’ final day in Canada wasn’t without the usual hemming and hawing over their safety during the 50-hour drive to California
Zoocheck Canada campaign director Julie Woodyer accused zoo officials of pulling "pranks” to thwart the trip after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspected the three pachyderms Thursday morning.
"There is no question in my mind it was a last-ditch attempt to stop them from going to the sanctuary,” Woodyer said.
Toronto Zoo spokesperson Jennifer Tracey said the CFIA checkup was simply procedural.
"We take offence to this accusation. Zoo staff were professional and co-operative and loaded the elephants into their individual crates this morning as required. At no time were any ‘pranks’ played,” Tracey said.
In a deal reached mere hours before the trip, two Toronto Zoo employees were granted permission to accompany the three elephants during the cross-country journey.


Beaver Butts Emit Goo Used for Vanilla Flavoring
Just in time for holiday cookie season, we’ve discovered that the vanilla flavoring in your baked goods and candy could come from the anal excretions of beavers.
Beaver butts secrete a goo called castoreum, which the animals use to mark their territory. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration lists castoreum as a "generally regarded as safe” additive, and manufacturers have been using it extensively in perfumes and foods for at least 80 years, according to a 2007 study in the International Journal of Toxicology.
"I lift up the animal’s tail,” said Joanne Crawford, a wildlife ecologist at Southern Illinois University, "and I’m like, ‘Get down there, and stick your nose near its bum.’”
"People think I’m nuts,” she added. "I tell them, ‘Oh, but it’s beavers; it smells really good.’”


Irregularities in "La Reina” Zoo at Tizimin
Environment Protection Federal Attourney (PROFEPA) paid a visit to the facilities of the "La Reina” Zoo located in the city of Tizimin, Yucatan.
During this visit, PROFEPA authorities found some irregularities in addition to an overpopulation of peccaries (wild hogs), therefore some animals will have to be released for its own safety.
Due to these irregularities, a tiger died of peritonitis last summer on August 27 within the premises of this Zoo.
During the inspection, it was o


Serpent Experts Try To Demystify Pentecostal Snake Handling
Two weeks ago, NPR reported on a group of Pentecostals in Appalachia who handle snakes in church to prove their faith in God. The story got us thinking: Why are the handlers bitten so rarely, and why are so few of those snakebites lethal?
After the story aired, NPR was contacted by snake experts who strongly suggest that a snake's reluctance to bite a religious serpent handler may have more to do with the creature's poor health than with supernatural intervention.

Mammals Pee For Same Duration Of 21 Seconds, Urination Study Finds (VIDEO)
Now this is streaming video.
Researchers at Georgia Tech have compiled footage of animals peeing to prove their "law of urination," which states that mammals take about 21 seconds to pee.
Male or female, small bladder or big bladder, it doesn't matter. Elephants, farm animals, dogs and any mammal above a kilogram in weight require a similar time frame to relieve themselves, give or take 13 seconds.
As for an elephant, the researchers explain in the video above that the animal's wider and longer urethra compensates for the huge volume the animal must discharge -- that gives the liquid more room to flow and generates greater gravitational pull to increase the speed, Dr. David Hu, assistant professor of biology at Georgia Tech, told The Huffington Post. Previous research has focused more on bladder pressure.
The researchers arrived at their findings by testing mammals at Zoo Atlanta in Georgia, and they weren't just out to wow us with theory. In fact, they wrote that their study, might help diagnose animals' urinary problems, according to Discover magazine. They also expressed hope that the flow-enhancing properties of the urethra could be applied to improve man-made hydrodynamic systems such as water towers.
If you're wondering what the averag


New River Monster Discovered in Brazil
Native to the Amazon River, Arapaima are a huge freshwater fish capable of growing to 6 feet and 400 pounds.
For more than 200 years, skeptics have been announcing the end of the great age of species discovery—and the end, in particular, for finding anything really big. But giant species somehow just keep showing up.
Now scientists are reporting the discovery of a river monster, Arapaima leptosoma, in Brazil’s Amazonas State. It’s a new species, described from a single specimen measuring 33 inches from head to tail, in a genus that can grow to almost 10 feet and weigh up to 440 pounds.
Arapaima, also commonly known as pirarucu, is a genus of air-breathing fish that inhabit creeks and backwaters in and around the Amazon basin. They live by crushing other fish between their large bony tongue and the roof of the mouth. People prize them both for their tasty flesh and for their handsome scales, which tourists (including this writer) used to carry home incorporated in handsome necklaces and other folk art. But these huge fish are now badly overharvested, in part because it’s so easy to harpoon them when they come to surface to breathe. Arapaima gigas, for example, is listed as endangered under the Conventional on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES.

 

 

 


12Oct2013

Zookeeper Killed While Feeding Elephants
A veteran zookeeper at Springfield's Dickerson Park Zoo was killed this morning while feeding the animals, police say.
The incident happened about 8:44 a.m. when elephant manager John Bradford was with the animals in the elephant barn.
Zoo officials say on a typical morning, Bradford feeds the 6,000 pound animals around 9:00 a.m.
Today, he was performing that routine chore, but one of the female elephants became aggressive, charged him, and Bradford was killed as the result of injuries he suffered.
Bradford, 62, had been with Dickerson Park Zoo for 25 years, as supervisor of the Asian area of the zoo, where the elephants live.
Officials say at the time of the charge, other zoo workers were also in the barn.
The female, Patience, is 41 years old.  She has been at Dickerson Park Zoo since 1990.  Zoo officials say no decisions have been made about her future at the zoo. 
It is the second major tragedy at the Zoo this week involving the elephants.    Saturday,  the matriarch elephant, Connie - known to most as Pinky - was euthanized.
Connie had been in failing health since August and her health had rapidly declined. 
Dickerson Park Zoo had been Connie’s home since 1981, when she moved th


Zookeeper Followed Correct AZA Procedures
The city of Springfield was shocked Friday when a zookeeper was killed while working with elephants he has worked with for nearly 30 years. But, the death today isn’t the first of its kind.
In 2011, a Knoxville Zoo worker was killed by an elephant.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has specific guidelines for protecting zookeepers from large animals.
They require zoos to use what they call a "protective contact” to keep the person physically away from the elephant.
The AZA Procedure Manual says "All institutions must have in place adequate infrastructure to manage and care for elephants with barriers and/or restraints in place to increase employee safety.”
All institutions must have in place and be implementing adequate infrastructure to manage and care for elephants with barriers and/or restraints in place to increase employee safety.
According to Springfield Spokeswoman Cora Scott, John Bradford was behind protective contact.
The Dickerson Park Zoo uses steel beams to separate zookeepers from the elephants.
KOLR10’s Laura Kennedy spoke with an elephant expert from Tampa’s Zoo Friday afternoon.
The expert says the incident is an unfortunate accident and even with protective barriers, there is always a chance something could go wrong while working with 6,000 lb animals.
The AZA also says there will be investigations by regulatory agenc


Special Report: Asian Rhino Conservation Update by Dr. Susie Ellis
It’s been a jam-packed month for our efforts to conserve Asian rhinos. The week before last, Dr. Bibhab Talukdar (IRF Asian Rhino Coordinator), Inov (Indonesia Liaison), and I were privileged to participate with experts from the US, India, and Indonesia in Way Kambas National Park to determine how to coordinate and implement a Sumatra-wide survey for Sumatran rhinos. We put together a coordinated, multi-dimensional plan, including identifying high priority 4 x 4 km quadrants within the three Indonesian parks where Sumatran rhinos remain (Way Kambas, Bukit Barisan Selatan, and Gunung Leuser National Park including the Leuser Ecosystem) and the number of days needed for ground surveys. We also identified how many video camera traps would be needed, and staff from our partner the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology trained field teams in collecting and storing dung to be analyzed to determine sex ratios win the populations and later, possibly, to determine reproductive status. The total cost to pull together all this information? About US $2 million. The value of finding even a few more rhinos in addit


Americans dictate rhino trophy hunting
The unabated poaching of rhinos in Namibia has only exacerbated the desperation of the Ministry of Environment to generate funds for rhino conservation, by selling the same rhinos they vowed to conserve for trophy hunting.
Two White Rhinos, an adult male and a pregnant female with a calf, were poached last weekend in the Karibib and Omaruru area. The Save the Rhino Trust Fund has opened a toll-free anti-poaching hotline (55555) to help track down poachers and assist the police in their investigations.
Impeccable GRN sources said that the ministry of environment was given an approval to sell five Black Rhinos for trophy hunting in the next five years through a tender process to generate money for Rhino conservation.
Against the backdrop of an increase in rhino poaching in the country, the American Dallas Safari Club Annual Convention has dictated to Namibia to sell one of the five Black Rhinoceros directly to them for a hunting trophy.
Rhino trophies are normally sold to Namibian registered trophy hunting operators, who in turn sell to foreign hunters, but in this instance the Dallas Safari Club was given the leeway to choose a Namibian hunting operator to co-ordinate the hunt for the Americans.
The Ministry of Environment and Touri


China prepares first release of offspring of Japan-born crested ibises
Offspring of crested ibises born in Niigata Prefecture will be released in China for the first time on Oct. 10, the 10th anniversary of the death of Japan’s last natural bird of the species.
The birds are scheduled to be released into the wild at 10 a.m. from the Dongzhai Nature Reserve in Henan province.
Takuya Nakajima, a specialist working for the Japan International Cooperation Agency who has helped to raise and train the birds in China, will attend the release.
"Although I believe it is just a coincidence that the date happened to be the same, I am still surprised,” he said.
The 34 crested ibises are offspring of 13 birds that were transferred to the reserve from the Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center in 2007, as well as offspring of four crested ibises raised in China.
The number of crested ibises born in the wild has decreased in China, forcing the nation to take measures to protect and raise the birds. China has an estimated 1,000 crested ibises in the wild, and about 650 are being raised artificially.
The birds have been released in Shaanxi province, but this will be the first release in another province.
The descendants of the crested ibises born on Sado Island, in Niigata Prefecture, will play a role in a new measure to protect the birds in China.
The crested ibis is designated a national natural treasure in Japan.
In 1985 and 1994, the Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center borrowed three crested ibises from China in an attempt to breed and raise the birds on Sado Island. However, the initial project failed.
In 1995, Kin became the last native crested ibis still alive in Japan. When then Chinese President Jiang
 

Un-marketing rhino horn
home to 83% of Africa's rhinos and 73% of all wild rhinos worldwide—has been suffering a rhino-poaching crisis since 2008. In 2012 668 rhinos were killed; 2013 is expected to be worse. And South Africa is no exception: poaching is surging across the continent, according to Save the Rhino, a conservation group.
The numbers are a reminder that an international ban on trade is often not enough to save a species. In the case of the rhino it may actually make things worse. When demand remains high for a product whose legal trade is banned, the result is a lucrative black market—one that may have financed the Shabaab, the terrorist organisation responsible for the recent assault on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi.
It is difficult to see how one might eradicate this trade. The economist's answer would be to flood the market with legal supply. But rhinos grow so slowly that this will not be possible until someone develops another way of growing horn. Instead, then, conservationists must turn to what is known as "demand reduction". In other words, somehow rhino lovers have to convince buyers that they do not want rhino horn.
The first step in "un-marketing" rhino horn is simple: find out who your buyers are and why they like the product. TRAFFIC, an organisation that monitors the illegal wildlife trade, has just conducted a survey to identify the most important buyers of rhino horn. It turns out that it is a luxury purchase by rich men in Vietnam: profe


Down, Not Out: Threatened Species Find Sanctuary at Taman Safari
The car came to a sudden stop as Taman Safari park director Tony Sumampau opened the door, yelling at a group of foreign tourists breaking one of the park’s most important rules: never step out of your vehicle.
"Get back into the car,” he yelled at the confused-looking men.
The men stood there sheepishly before climbing back inside. Guest safety is a constant concern for Tony. Taman Safari is a cage-less zoo and a veritable Noah’s Ark of animals. Our van rolled past wandering giraffes, bathing hippos and crouching lions as we headed deeper into the park.
The beasts, which seem tame enough from the car window, have enticed curious visitors from their cars. The consequences of getting too close to a wild animal, Tony warned, can be severe.
"We had an incident one time where a foreigner ventured outside of his vehicle and got bitten,” he said. "The embassy got involved.”
Located in the Puncak highlands of Bogor, West Java, Taman Safari is one of Indonesia’s most famous zoos. It houses roughly 2,500 animals with a special focus on Indonesian species. At the safari section of the zoo, visitors can drive through the grounds and gaze out the window at a wide range of free-roaming animals.
But the zoo is also known for something else: it’s an internationally recognized animal-rehabilitation center tasked with treating some of the nation’s most critically endangered animals.
Decades of unchecked deforestation and rampant poaching have taken a toll on Indonesia’s population of forest-dwelling animals. The Sumatran rhino,


54-year-old elephant, Laxmi, and 55-year-old zoo keeper Prakash Gangaram Kadam are the oldest residents of Byculla zoo
For over 30 years she has seen numerous animals, keepers, mahouts come and go in the city’s only zoo. But more than that she has seen the zoo grow. After all, she 54-year-old elephant Laxmi  is the oldest resident in Jijamata Udyan zoo, Byculla. And everyone is fond of her mahouts, keepers and the public.
Her mahouts say Laxmi was brought to the zoo in 1976, along with two other elephants from a fair around Kolkata. Since then she has made this zoo her home and the mahouts her family.
"Three generations of my family have been working in this zoo for almost a century. My father was among those who went with the zoo officials to pick Laxmi up. We are as attached to her as she is to us.  She doesn’t listen to anyone else,” says her mahout Mohd.
Sajid Khan who has himself been around for more than 15 years. Indeed, known for her fierce temper, Laxmi has had her share of spats with the human beings. But one won’t know that seeing Laxmi quietly savouring her daily diet of carrots, husks, sugarcane, bananas and grass.
However, in 2011, a man who was reportedly under the influence of drugs entered her enclosure only to be killed by the pachyderm. Laxmi lifted him with her trunk and bashed him against a wall.
"She has a personality


Auckland Zoo farewells 60-year-old chimpanzee
Auckland Zoo staff have said a difficult farewell to one of their leading-ladies, 60-year-old chimpanzee Janie.
Janie was euthanised early this afternoon once it became clear staff could no longer maintain her standard of welfare, due to multiple health issues and natural ageing.
"Janie was and always will be a special part of Auckland Zoo and we are very saddened by her loss," head of Life Sciences Kevin Buley said.
"While it was a heartbreaking decision, the overwhelming desire to preserve Janie's dignity meant it was the right one."
Mr Buley said Janie was one of the oldest chimpanzees in a zoo in the world.
Janie was the last of the 'tea-party chimps' and her death also symbolises the passing of an era. She came to Auckland Zoo from London Zoo in 1956 with her three companions, Bobbie, Josie, and Minnie to showcase 'Chimp tea parties' to en


Maharajbagh Zoo deer to become live feed for Pench tigers
Maharajbagh Zoo is going to release its excess deer in Pench. The decision comes right behind Shiv Sena-led Ramtek Municipal Council's decision to oppose shifting of deer in Ambada enclosure as live feed to three captive tigers in Pench Tiger Reserve.
There are 40 deer in Maharajbagh Zoo. As per National Zoo Policy, there cannot be more than 10 deer in a small zoo. The zoo has been granted permission by the chief wildlife warden to release the excess 28 animals in Navegaon National Park. Of this, 8 deer have already been released. The remaining 20 will now be released in Pench.
Zoo controller and associate of College of Agriculture VS Gonge said, "Chief conservator of forests (CCF) & field director, Pench, MS Reddy had requested us to release the excess deer in Pench." "We have agreed to concede to his request," Gonge told TOI.
Reddy too confirmed that the zoo authority has agreed to release the excess deer in Pench. "I will have to now seek fresh approval from PCCF (wildlife)," he said.


Zoo keeping kick-starts vet student’s career
Daren Mandrusiak was walking an elephant when he heard he’d been accepted into the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) at the University of Saskatchewan.
"I was taking the elephant (Lucy) for her afternoon stroll on a grassy hill at the zoo,” Mandrusiak recalls. "I was so incredibly excited. I think it was the happiest point of my life. I remember Dr. Grahn (WCVM’s associate dean academic) asked me what I was up to, so I said, ‘Oh, walking an elephant.’”
Walking Lucy — the 37-year-old Asian elephant whose health has garnered a lot of public and media attention in the past few years — was just part of Mandrusiak’s routine work as a zoo keeper at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. It’s one of the many volunteer and work experiences that the Alberta student undertook in preparation for a veterinary career.
He’s now one of 79 first-year students who began the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program in mid-August at the WCVM. Mandrusiak and his classmates received an official welcome to the WCVM on Friday, September 27, during a white coat ceremony in Saskatoon, Sask. All first-year students received personalized white lab coats and stethoscopes from representatives of national and provincial veterinary medical associations during the evening ceremony.
The new students, who will graduate in 2017, come from communities across Western Canada and the northern territories. Mandrusiak’s goal of becomin
  



Peter Kuitenbrouwer: Hypnotism by sea creatures a serious risk at new Ripley’s aquarium next to CN Tower
Peter Doyle is a showman.
As he leads a visit to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Mr. Doyle brings to mind Willy Wonka giving a tour of his chocolate factory: exhorting us onward to ever greater wonders.
"Come along!,” says Mr. Doyle, a slight man packed with energy. "Keep moving! There is so much more to see! We have nine galleries, and we have only seen two.”
A native of Dundas, Mr. Doyle worked in entertainment and tourism in Dubai, Florida, Hong Kong and Singapore before Ripley’s lured him home last year to run this aquarium.
Now they’ve filled the tanks with 5.7-million litres of water. They’ve brought in 16,000 water dwe

http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/10/11/peter-kuitenbrouwer-hypnotism-by-sea-creatures-a-serious-risk-at-new-ripleys-aquarium-next-to-cn-tower/ 

 

 


28Sep2013

As Zoo Board meets, CUPE 1600 renews call to ‘live up to commitments’ and do ‘what’s best’ for the elephants
 As the Toronto Zoo Board meets in Scarborough for the last time before three African elephants are chained in crates and driven for 80 hours to California, the union representing their keepers and animal professionals renewed their call for politicians and administrators to live up to their commitments and ‘do what’s best’ for Toka, Thika and Iringa.
"The system has failed these elephants. Politicians and administrators have failed to live up to their responsibilities to put the elephants’ best interests at heart,” said Matthew Berridge, Vice-President of Local 1600 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 1600).
In 2011, Toronto City Council, which has ultimate responsibility for the Zoo, voted to move the elephants to the Performing Arts Wildlife Sanctuary (PAWS) in California. An alternative endorsed by zookeepers, animal care professionals and ethicists was deemed too risky for the elephants because it involved a one-and-a-half day ground transport.
"We disagreed with the decision, but said if they are to be moved, the best place is in Florida and the best way is by air,” said Berridge.

New Safari Park for Bacolod
Metro Safari Resort Bacolod
Metro Safari Resort will soon open in Bacolod City, this was revealed by owner Mr. Francis Rey Cabuna. The zoo resort will be located in Brgy. Alangilan,The first of its kind in the region and will be completed in 10 months. Metro Safari Resort will house tigers, lions, crocodiles and other exotic animals conf


Orangutan Caring Week - November 10-16, 2013
We want you to participate in this worldwide event.  Help build a "critical mass of concerned voices" each  November to focus attention on the species through your efforts and those of other supporters.
We would like people to come to understand that the habitat of the orangutan, the tropical rain forest, is vital to not only orangutans but to other wildlife and to all of us on this planet. Rainforests and related ecosystems provide important services from climate moderation, to water quality and erosion control, to storehouses of genetic, species and ecological biodiversity.  Rainforests need to be sustainably managed to maintain these services. We want to inform citizens in our own communities of this connection and continue to enlighten local people in areas near orangutan habitat.


Mystery surrounds suspension of Longleat Safari Park supremo
Mystery surrounds the reason behind the suspension of Longleat chief executive David Bradley, with Longleat confirming this week that an investigation is being carried out.
The Wiltshire Times understands that Mr Bradley was removed from the site last week, with all locks to the Estate office and his office replaced.
Longleat confirmed that Mr Bradley had been temporarily suspended from his role as the head of the safari and adventure park while a review is carried out.
Mr Bradley, formerly managing director of Legoland, was brought in by the Viscount of Weymouth Ceawlin after his father Lord Bath retired in 2009, with the new CEO tasked with bringing the park into the 21st century.
A spokesman for Longleat said: "David Bradley has been temporarily suspended from Longleat and we are currently carrying out a review. We’re unable to comment further on any claims as it would be unfair to those involved.”
Longleat’s PR agency Pelham Bell Pott


Former Las Vegas Zoo animal care manager speaks out
Their exodus marked the beginning of the end for the Las Vegas Zoo and now for the first time former zookeepers are breaking their silence. They spoke exclusively to Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears.
They told Darcy the zoo was plagued with problems and the longer they stayed, the more they realized they couldn't be part of the solution.
Zoo Director Pat Dingle owns the land, the animals, and has the final say on everything. That, according to the former zookeeping staff, was the biggest problem.
They said the animals needed more shade, more food, more enrichment and they needed more help to provide all that, but Dingle wouldn't let them do it. A refusal despite recent directives from the United States Department of Agriculture.
"When you look the USDA in the eye as an animal care manager and agree with them and say I want to do that and then you can't, now you gotta start questioning your integrity. So if you're not doing that then that's when you really have to take a step and make some decisions on do you need to leave and unfortunately all of these things drove me to finally have to exit and I didn't want to," said Jeannie Akins.
Akins said for two of the seven years she was there, she alone was responsible for caring for the zoo's 182 animals. When the other zookeepers were hired, th


Death of blackbucks: Lucknow zoo director removed
The state government on Friday removed Lucknow zoo director Renu Singh for alleged laxity in the management of the zoo where as many as 20 blackbucks have died since September 7.
Minister of State for Zoological Gardens Shiv Pratap Yadav said the transfer followed the report of a two-member probe committed formed by the state government.
Yadav said the deaths of blackbucks indicated "laxity".
The two-member committee of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Training and Research) Ashwani Kumar and veterinarian J K Pandey submitted its report to the government last week.
Yadav said the state govenrment was still considering the report of the committee in order to take further action.
While the postmortem revealed they died of lung infection, the pathological tests conducted by Bareilly-based Indian Veterinary Research Institute found the


New chief executive taking the reins at Twycross Zoo
TWYCROSS Zoo will welcome a new chief executive next month after nearly a year without an ‘official’ boss.
Sharon Redrobe, a member of the zoo’s board and its director of life sciences, takes up the role from October 14.
The 44-year-old was appointed following a "lengthy, rigorous and independent selection process” according to chairman, Susan Bell.
Mrs Bell added: "We are confident we have a capable and enthusiastic new chief executive with the right skill set and experience to lead Twycross Zoo through the next phase of its development.”
Acting chief executive Mary-Lorraine Hughes, a trustee, stepped into the breach when former CEO of just one year, Dr Susie Jackson-Morgan resigned on November 2 2012.
Her departure came just weeks after revelations of alleged abuse to two elephants by three keepers and the start of a police investigation.
The matter came to nothing last month when the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to act on the allegations.


What does it mean to lose zoo accreditation?
Among the nearly 3,000 zoos across the United States, less than 10 percent boast national accreditation from the prestigious Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The Jackson Zoo has been among the fortunate few since 1989, but that soon could end.
The AZA will not renew Jackson’s membership, it told the zoo earlier this month, citing financial instability.
Zoo leaders have appealed and will keep provisional accreditation until a hearing in March, but if it fails, it could lose more than just cachet. It also could forfeit dozens of its most popular animals.
AZA accredited zoos belong to a Species Survival Program, which allows them to share animals with other accredited zoos.
Jackson houses 43 such animals through this program, including its Sumatran tigers, white rhinoceros, red wolves and orangutans.
Losing accreditation wouldn’t necessarily result in the automatic seiz


More zoo animals ill with foot-and-mouth disease
At least 20 animals at the Bannerghatta Biological Park are showing signs of the contagious and often fatal foot-and-mouth disease.
These include bison, nilgai and spotted deer, said executive director of the zoo, Range Gowda.
The contagious viral disease, which has killed scores of cattle in the State, has already claimed the lives of three spotted deer and a nilgai at the zoo’s herbivore safari. The safari has remained closed for two days to keep the disease from spreading.
VACCINATION
The enormous task of vaccinating the 300-odd animals at the herbivore enclosure is proving difficult, Mr. Range Gowda said. "We have been darting drugs through tranquilising guns, but the herds startle and run away the moment we begin firing them.”
As a result only a few dozen animals have been vaccinated so far, senior veterinary scientist B.C. Chittiappa told The Hindu. Medication being administered includes antibiotics to prevent secondary infection and B complex to build up resistance.
BIO-SECURITY
Meanwhile, the zoo authorities have begun putting in place "bio-security measures” to destroy traces of the virus in the environment. "We’ve had to


4 elephants call former citrus farm home
Forget peanuts. In the heart of Florida's citrus grove region, it's the oranges elephants are after.
At the newly opened National Elephant Center in Fellsmere, Fla., the pachyderms have discovered how to pluck the fruit from the trees with their trunks and pop it into their mouths.
Fresh Valencia oranges are not the only thing that makes the 200-acre center unique. It is also the only such site operated by the U.S. zoo community to house displaced elephants.
The center is open to two categories of the mammoth mammals: those sent for a limited stay by zoos that need to temporarily free up space for renovations or breeding; and elephants that need a p

Chimpanzee escapes from the zoo
Don’t worry, it’s nothing like Rise of the Planet of the Apes or any other animal escape-themed Hollywood blockbuster gone awry.
Sudi, the lone chimpanzee at the Emperor Valley Zoo in Port of Spain, escaped her enclosure yesterday morning and was just about to start taking a stroll through the zoo when zookeepers noticed the shaggy, greyish-black three-and-a-half-foot upright-walking creature roaming the primate section was Sudi.
In a release yesterday, the zoo said that around 8.30 a.m., Sudi escaped her cage into the general zoo compound.
As soon as her escape was discovered, almost immediately after it happened, zoo curator Nirmal Biptah initiated standard operating procedures for such an event, which proved quite effective in containing and recapturing Sudi.
The zoo opens at 10 a.m. so there were no members of the public v


Endangered Orangutan Dies at Surabaya ‘Zoo of Death’
An endangered Bornean orangutan has died young at Indonesia’s notorious "zoo of death” in Surabaya after succumbing to a tumor in her large intestine, the zoo confirmed on Wednesday.
"The autopsy result showed that there was a tumor in her large intestine,” Surabaya Zoo spokesman Agus Supangkat said. "Her appetite had dropped drastically.”
Nanik, who was also found to have liver problems, was found dead on Sept. 21 at the age of 12 — Bornean orangutans should live to around 60 in captivity.
Agus said a group of veterinarians at the zoo had become aware of the animal’s health problems around two months ago. Vets described the animal’s declining energy levels and increasingly asthenic appearance before she was moved to the zoo’s quarantine facility on Sept. 19.
Animal doctors administered antibiotics, vitamins and an analgesic in quarantine but Nanik made little progress in the following two days.
At 2:45 p.m on Sept. 21, Nanik exhibited difficulties breathing. She died shortly after.
Indonesia’s largest zoo has proved itself to be a macabre animal dungeon, incarcerating some of the world’s most endangered species in shambolic squalor. A giraffe was found dead with almost 20 kilos of plastic in its stomach. A steady diet of formaldehyde-laced meat corroded a Sumatran tiger’s digestive tract. More than 150 pelicans lived


Toronto Zoo Elephants – A diplomatic sacrifice in the name of Trade Deals
As the Toronto Zoo braced for the arrival of two pandas from Chengdun, China I could only stop and wonder; If the three Toronto zoo elephants were iconic pop culture images of conservation as pandas have become around the world would more people care about how they were sacrificed to aid the Prime Minister in a trade deal with China?
In fact to aid a multiple of people’s careers and self interest causes
They are now slated for an inhumane 4200km road transport and transfer to the PAWS sanctuary in California which has proven tuberculosis risks and a now documented TB outbreak. All facts, science and expert industry opposition to this transfer is ignored. But alas when it comes to pandas and elephants the issues are not just black an


Merlin secures Turkuazoo Aquarium acquisition
Merlin Entertainments has announced the acquisition of Istanbul's Turkuazoo Aquarium from Dutch-based company Global Aquariums BV for an undisclosed sum. The aquarium is Merlin’s first acquisition in Turkey’s largest city, which the attractions brand sees as a catalyst to potentially develop a ‘cluster’ of its global midway brands in the city. The aquarium, which first opened in 2009, will have its displays and infrastructure upgraded to enhance the overall visitor experience. Merlin owns and operates Sea Life, the largest aquarium brand in the world, which attracts around 14m visitors a year through its 45 aquariums and marine sanctuary attractions. "Istanbul offers us both a very significant domestic market as well as a fast growing tourist trade and this wonderful site – big enough to be awe inspiring, but also very accessible for visitors,” said Glenn Earlam, managing director for Merlin Entertainments Midway Attractions. "Our obje - See more at:http://www.attractionsmanagement.com/detail.cfm?pagetype=detail&subject=news&codeID=306989#sthash.Gnc2n1fT.dpuf


Hippo swims out of flooded zoo in China
A hippo escaped from the zoo Sunday during heavy rains brought by Typhoon Usagi in the city of Shantou, south China's Guangdong Province.
The super typhoon Usagi made landfall on Guangdong Province on Sunday evening, which affected 5.48 million people and displaced 310,000 residents.
The escaped hippo was detected by local residents in a river near the zoo.
According to officials from the zoo, the hippo swam over the guard railing as the rain water was as high as two meters in the zoo.
"The hippo's legs are only 20 centimeters long. So it is unable to jump out of the railing. However the hippo was able to swim out of its home as the water level was 80 centimeters high


Leopard print clothing banned at zoo as it 'confuses animals'
A wildlife park has banned visitors from wearing leopard print clothing because it is confusing the animals.
Chessington World of Adventures Resort introduced the zero-tolerance policy on animal print and brought in bouncers to enforce it.
Zookeepers noticed the trend for animal print clothing had caused animals to try to communicate with those wearing it or to run away in fear.
The ban follows the launch of a new experience 'ZUFARI: Ride Into Africa!', which sees visitors journey off-road on a safari adventure.
In this they come face-to-face with white rhinos, giraffes, flamingos, waterbuck and other antelopes such as blesbok.
Since the launch of the 22-acre Serengeti-style trail, Chessington's zookeepers have noticed the wildlife 'becoming puzzled' when spotting visitors that look like them.


Zoo closes after entire zookeeping staff quits
The troubled Las Vegas Zoo is facing even more problems. This time with their employees.
Contact 13 has learned the entire zookeeping staff has quit.
Chief Investigator Darcy Spears has been looking for answers, but the man who owns the zoo isn't talking.
The big empty space on the zoo's front fence is where their "open hours" banner used to hang.
As of Monday morning, the sign was gone and the only activity we saw was a rodent running across the zoo's entryway.
There's a new sign hanging here now that says, "The zoo is closed to the public while we upgrade."
But the last of the three zookeepers, who quit on Friday morning, says none of them were aware of any upgrades going on at the zoo and they're wondering, who is taking care of the animals?
That's what animal welfare advocate Linda Faso wants to know. She filed a formal complaint with the USDA on Friday.
"I just asked them to please check on the facility as soon as possible, that the zookeepers have all left and that I didn't know if the animals were gonna get properly taken care of, who was going to feed them," said Faso.
Animal Care Manager Jeannie Akins was the first of the zoo's three keepers to quit. She left the zoo two weeks ago, and the two women she t


Op-Ed: Bad PR and lies for new Qatar dolphin facility
A newly planned dolphin aquarium in Souq Waqif, Qatar, lied about a National Geographic sponsorship and then launched an incredible display of bad PR.
At the end of August and in preparation for opening, Qatar Dolphin Discovery & Research (QDD) announced on its Facebook page that its new marine mammal show was being sponsored by the National Geographic Society.
The announcement immediately raised several red flags after learning that the temporary lease dolphin show was being run by Ukrainian company NEMO or Nerum LLC, a business that has purchased and imported dolphins captured in the cruel Taiji dolphin drives.
Requests for denial or confirmation were sent to NatGeo's media office on Sept. 16 and 19, but went unanswered. Finally on Sept. 20, the National Geograph


And this little panda went to....14 adorable cubs shown off to an admiring Chinese public
THESE innocent little panda cubs look all worn out and ready for bed, or perhaps in need of Goldilocks and 14 bowls of porridge, Chinese-style.
Fourteen were placed on a small bed to lie to show them off to an adoring public at the Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding today.
In all 20 Panda cubs were born this year with 17 surviving.
The Chengdu Panda Base was founded in 1987 with six giant pandas rescued from the wild.
Today, 83 of the captive speci


Elephant handlers protest in Ayutthaya
A large group of elephant handlers and their animals gathered at Ayutthaya Historical Park in Ayutthaya province Sunday to protest the government's plan to transfer supervising authority for domesticated elephants from the Provincial Administration Department to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNWPC).
The elephants were brought from Lae Paniad Elephant Kraal in Ayutthaya while the handlers were from the Northeast and the South.
The government has drafted a bill to transfer the supervision of domesticated elephants from the Provincial Administration Department to the DNWPC.
A public hearing on the "elephant bill" will be held on Monday.
Laithongrian Meephan, owner of  Lae Paniad Elephant Kraal in Ayutthaya, said elephant handlers had been given no part in the drafting of the bill and mo


The great rhino cash con
Conservationists fear money donated by the public to help save the endangered rhino, could be lining the pockets of opportunistic fly-by-nights posing as NGOs.
Bandile Mkhize, chief executive of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, said "everyone was jumping on the bandwagon” proclaiming to help rhinos, but not everyone cared about the endangered animal. Conservationists were asking where the money raised from the public to help fight rhino poaching ended up.
Chris Galliers, the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa’s Rhino Initiative co-ordinator, said as there were numerous NGOs and non-profit organisations operating to save the rhino, there was a need to ensure that the public’s money went to the right places.
"A database of this nature is long overdue, and will help see who is doing what,” said Galliers.
He said there were many organisations capitalising on pretending to save the rhino.
There is so much alarm in environmental circles about scams involving fund-raising for rhinos that the government has stepped in and asked all organisations and individuals involved in anti-poaching and conservation projects to register with the Departme


Profit over Killer Whales
Living in the Pacific Northwest, I have had the good fortune to see killer whales on several occasions from shore or boats. My dream is to view them underwater while scuba diving. Once after having surfaced from a dive in Saanich Inlet, I was told a pod of killer whales had swam past behind me. I was upset at the dive instructor who explained that he hadn’t informed me because he was afraid the other diver in our group might panic.
So I was particularly keen to watch the documentary on captive killer whales, Blackfish, which reminded me of La Planète Sauvage (Fantastic Planet) in reverse. La Planète Sauvage is a thought-provoking French animation from 1973. On this savage planet were humans, called Oms, but there were also giant blue humanoids, called Traags. The Traags would capture the Oms and keep them as pets. On Earth, many humans believe they have the right to capture animals and place them in zoos and aquariums for their viewing pleasure (and, in the case of the owners, for their profit). There appear to be no limits. Humans will capture large sentient sea mammals with brains that surpass a human’s brain in size, creatures that demonstrate complex thinking and exhibit a high level of communication.
Blackfish dove home the topic matter on the morality of killer whale captivity effectively, but its probing of related issues came off as shallow. Another quibble is the lack of labeling so the curious vi


Secrecy divides Idaho Aquarium board
Idaho Aquarium board member Josh Cook was told this week he cannot have access to recent board minutes, bank statements or billing records unless he signs a confidentiality agreement. And if he wants to see the nonprofit organization's tax returns, he can dig around online.
"I am not signing a confidentiality agreement," Cook said Friday. "As a board member, I have a duty to investigate the allegations being made against the aquarium. I want answers. I cannot get answers."
Earlier this month, the aquarium had all employees sign confidentiality agreements.
"We are not giving him that information until he signs the agreement," board president and aquarium director Ama


Casino king’s last roll of the dice to save wildcat
DAMIAN ASPINALL, the millionaire casino operator and conservationist, is turning a remote island into a breeding centre for the Scottish wildcat, in a last attempt to save it from extinction.
Aspinall, son of the famous gambler and zoo keeper John Aspinall, is creating the sanctuary on the uninhabited island of Carna, on the west coast of Scotland, after warnings from scientists that the species could die out within a few years.
The animal, of which there are only an estimated 35 to 100 left in the wild, is threatened by mass crossbreeding with feral domestic cats. Most "wildcats” are already hybrids with just a handful of pure-br


Furry furore as Rihanna poses with endangered loris
The US-based Barbadian R&B singer arrived in Phuket last week and has posted several photos on her Instagram account, including ones with the endangered loris and elephants at an unidentified location. Local...
The US-based Barbadian R&B singer arrived in Phuket last week and has posted several photos on her Instagram account, including ones with the endangered loris and elephants at an unidentified location. Local...


How Marineland Is Using the Law to Silence Protestors
Even if you don't care about beluga whales or how animals are treated in captivity, you may still be interested in what's happening at Marineland. In this age of widespread protest -- from the Occupy Movement to the Québec student protests to the Arab Spring -- Marineland reminds us that it is not just governments that may seek to silence their critics.
Marineland, a marine mammal park in Niagara Falls, Ontario, was the subject of an investigative series by the Toronto Star last year. The series was based in part on allegations by former employees, of abuse and mistreatment of animals. Marineland has denied and responded to the allegations, and is suing the Star as well as several of the former employees. Marineland has also set its sights on protesters and activists who demonstrate outside the park -- launching lawsuits against at least two protestors -- and has gone to Ontario courts for injunctions to order that protestors refrain from certain activities.
The Ontario government recently introduced a Bill that would make it easier for individuals faced with lawsuits like Marineland's to get the cases dealt with quickly. Where the lawsuit aims to curb expression on a matter of public interest, it could be dismissed on an expedited basis. This anti-SLAPP legislation (a SLAPP is a strategic lawsuit against public participation) is designed to keep threats of legal action being used as a way to silence debate and discussion on issues of interest to the public. We should encourage the government to pass this legislation


Family of girl savaged by tapir will not look for compensation
Zoo forced to stop close interaction with animals after incident
The family of a two-year-old girl nearly torn apart by a tapir at a zoo will not look for a cent in compensation.
The horrific mauling left little Katie Frost in Temple Street Hospital with serious injuries last month.
But her parents aren’t looking for any cash from Dublin Zoo following the attack on August 8.
A family source said: "Everyone has been through the ringer but the main thing is that Katie is OK.
"There was a lot of talk that they would be in for a massive amount of compensation if they wanted to go down that route but they don’t.
"It is all about making sure Katie is OK and that she makes a full recovery. The family are friends of the zoo.”
The mauling happened when the toddler and her family had a private visit to see the tapir, a pig-shaped mammal known for being calm and approachable, in its enclosure.
But when Katie let out a shriek of delight after she spotted a baby tapir, the mother pounced on her, knocking her unconscious.

http://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/family-girl-savaged-tapir-not-2288960 

 

 


13Sep2013

AZA vs ZAA
What’s the Difference Between the AZA & ZAA?
More than can be included in this article, but here are two of the differences that are most important to saving big cats.
Origins of AZA vs ZAA
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) was founded in 1924.  The Zoological Association of America (ZAA) claims to have been founded in 2005, but appears to have just been an idea that never really took off until the Lowry Park Zoo, under leadership of Lex Salisbury, lost its AZA accreditation in 2008.  Online sources show that Salisbury had hosted the ZAA at the Lowry Park Zoo in 2007 and began using the zoo’s facilities to run the ZAA in 2008, presumably to maintain the appearance of being accredited by someone.


Civet cat coffee's animal cruelty secrets
Animal cruelty during the production of one of the world's priciest coffees has been exposed by a BBC investigation.
Kopi luwak is made from coffee beans excreted by Indonesian palm civets - small, mongoose-like creatures.
But undercover reporters in Indonesia witnessed civets held in battery-cage conditions to produce the coffee.


Can you worry about an animal you’ve never seen? The role of the zoo in education and conservation.
"He had black fur and a horn on his head,” my sister said. She came to DC for a few weeks and spent many afternoons visiting our local zoo. After one of those visits,  she hurried to Google Chat to report that a big tall bird was chasing her behind the fence of his enclosure. My sister described the bird as having long fur-like feathers and a horn. She has never seen anything like that before and was genuinely curious. She was familiar with the belligerent bird’s neighbours', the rheas (ratite birds like ostriches and extinct moas). Rheas are native to South America, as are we, and we’ve seen them before while growing up in south Brazil. "Mystery bird” was about to become a perfect example of zoo education.


Zoo leader taking conservation message to international audience
Lee Ehmke has spent years telling Minnesotans their zoo in Apple Valley is about much more than exhibiting animals from around the world.
Now Ehmke will now take that message to a larger audience.
Next month, Ehmke begins a two-year term as president of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, or WAZA, an international group with 250 members. Once a professional organization for zoo managers, WAZA has evolved over the past two decades into an umbrella organization supporting zoos and aquariums and their growing role in conservation efforts around the world.
"My interest in zoos stems from my interest in conservation," Ehmke said. "At the zoo, we believe conservation is at the core of why we exist."
WAZA's growing focus on preserving animals and habitat will fit nicely with Ehmke's day job as director and chief executive of the Minnesota Zoo, which has conservation efforts that span the state and stretch as far away as the black rhinoceroses in the deserts of Namibia and dholes, the wild dogs living in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia.
"This is a recognition of that work by our peers," Ehmke said of his election to lead WAZA. "I hope Minnesotans will see their zoo


Worldwide Researchers Flock to Penguin Meeting
IRA FLATOW, HOST:
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Just about everybody loves penguins, right? They're funny on land. They're amazing underwater, and they're very photogenic, so they show up in lots of ads and movies. But beyond the screen, prospects for the birds are not entirely good. This week, over 200 researches from around the world met in the U.K. to talk penguins, from the prospects of conservation of species to how penguins are able to stay under water so long, to the properties of penguin poop.
Joining me now to talk about it is Peter Barham. He's a professional teaching fellow in physics at the University of Bristol. He's also the chair of the organizing committee for the Eighth International Penguin Conference, which wrapped up today. Welcome to SCIENCE FRIDAY.
PETER BARHAM: Good afternoon, I think it must be, Ira.
FLATOW: Thank you. First let me ask you: What's a physicist doing studying penguins?
BARHAM: Oh, physicists, of course, we turn our hands to anything. But I have had, through my wife, an obsession with penguins for quite some time. And a while back, must be - it was about 15, 16 years ago now, I went to the Third International Penguin Conference for fun and discovered that there were things to with tagging and marking and following penguins which a physicist's skills were helpful for, and got involved then, and it's since become a major part of my research career.
FLATOW: Yeah. You know, we see penguins in so many ads on TV and the movies, cute little fellows. We don't think of them as endangered at all, but they are, according to...
BARHAM: They are very much endangered, yes. There are 18 or maybe 19 species of penguin. It depends on how you do the genetics. and of those, all but three are listed on the IUCN red listed as being at least threatened, and three - no, four now are listed as being actually endangered. And


DALTON ZOO EMPLOYS NEW VET AFTER DEFRA INSPECTION
A NEW vet has been employed at the South Lakes Wild Animal Park following an inspection.
Four recommendations were made to zoo bosses following a government inspection.
They have been given until November to ensure the matters are addressed – but say the relevant measures have already been put in place.
A team visited the Dalton zoo for its six-year Defra inspection on May 20 to assess its day-to-day running policies and practices.
The zoo was asked to find a full-time vet, regulate temperatures in freezers, put in place a screening policy for abandoned animals taken in by the zoo and erect a barrier around a perching area for parrots.
Councillors were told on Thursday, in a letter from Karen Brewer, marketing manager at South Lakes Wild Animal Park, that the demands had been fulfilled.
The council’s report raised some concerns about public walkways, particularly over the giant otter pool and recommended the park’s management get professional advice and record any alterations or modifications.
The Defra report shows around 275,000 people visit the zoo each year and it praised "substantial” fi


Simon Husher beats 900 applicants to be big cat handler at Australia Zoo
Qualified floor and wall tiler Simon Husher, 36, has beaten 900 job applicants to become Australia Zoo's new big cat handler.
Resumes poured in from all over the world but it was this lad from Townsville who won over the boss.
Head tiger keeper Giles Clarke said the public response to the job advertisement had been overwhelming.
"There's some wacky ideas out there, people are very creative and inventive as to what they think will make them stand out from the crowd," he said.
"We would have had everyone ranging from 'I'm leaving school next year can you hold the job for me?', to grannies you would think were well and truly retired decades ago."
Mr Husher, who changed careers at age 31, said he was proof that it was never too late to pursue your passion.
As a schoolboy he dreamed of working with animals but was dissuaded by his teachers who warned him it would be too difficult.
  

ASHGHAL SEEKING BIDS FOR DOHA ZOO PROJECT: Qatar's Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has invited contractors to submit their bids for demolishing the existing buildings at Doha Zoo and prepare ground for a new facility, the Peninsula has reported. The 30-year old zoo comprises a cluster of old structures that accommodate the animals and birds. The other buildings are used as offices and staff accommodations. According to the plan, the new zoo is to be three times bigger and once the renovation is completed, visitors will be able watch the animals from a close distance in a natural environment. The demolition is scheduled to be completed by the end of May 2014. http://www.menafn.com/6061ab6a-b35a-49e5-ba15-ac6d3a2fd321/AME-Info-Abu-Dhabi-United-Arab-Emirates-real-estate-briefs?src=main


Enhancing Zoo Elephant Welfare
 A ground-breaking study announced today revealed that analyzing the daily lives of zoo elephants -- ranging from when and how they are fed to how they spend their time both at night and during the day -- provides new, scientifically based information that zoos can use to improve the welfare of their elephants. "Using Science to Understanding Zoo Elephant Welfare" is the largest and most comprehensive, multi-institution study ever conducted to collect and assess data on the welfare of any species in North American zoos.


 Why We Don’t Need Pandas
Now I know what you are thinking. Don’t need Pandas!? How dare he! On some days I might even be inclined to agree with you. Even now as I write this I feel I am getting some pretty judgmental looks from the stuffed panda toy at the other side of the room. Well calm down; I love pandas, perhaps even more than most. Pandas are among the most interesting, charismatic and culturally significant animals in the world and ones that need our protection if they are to survive. So why would I write such a thing? Well as much as I like pandas, I like conservation even more.
The fact is that conservation biology suffers from a phenomenon known as taxonomic bias. It has been long acknowledged that popular species such as lions, eagles and pandas receive disproportionate amounts of funding and public attention over others. This shouldn’t be surprising; you don’t have to look much further than the city zoo to see how the famous animals draw in crowds of people, eager to catch a glimpse of an orangutan de-felting himself. They are the faces of conservation charities around the world and they appear all the time on the covers of magazines. They are on our clothes, they have their own movies, heck, they even show up in breakfast cereal.


Panda Poop Microbes Could Make Biofuels of the Future
 Unlikely as it may sound, giant pandas Ya Ya and Le Le in the Memphis Zoo are making contributions toward shifting production of biofuels away from corn and other food crops and toward corn cobs, stalks and other non-food plant material.
Scientists presented an update today on efforts to mine Ya Ya and Le Le's assets for substances that could do so during the 246th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). And if things work out, giant pandas Er Shun and Da Mao in the Toronto Zoo will be joining the quest by making their own contributions.
"The giant pandas are contributing their feces," explained Ashli Brown, Ph.D., who heads the research. "We have discovered microbes in panda feces might actually be a solution to the search for sustainable new sources of energy. It's amazing that here we have an endangered species that's almost gone from the planet, yet there's still so much we have yet to learn from it. That underscores the importance of saving endangered and threatened animals."


Science Explains Why the Panda Hate Must Stop: Biofuel Researchers See Promise in Their Poop
Pandas are stupid. They are amazingly bad at sex. They're fat, lazy, and poop way too much – up to 40 times a day.
Well, guess what, panda haters: In regard to that last point, panda dung could be the very thing that saves civilization from wars, famines, and doom.
Bear with me here. As the planet creeps closer and closer to depleting its petroleum stocks, scientists are scrambling to find alternative fuels to keep machines humming and governments secure. One promising energy source is ethanol made from converted organic matter. Manufacturers can whip up big vats of this vital fluid by fermenting crops grown around the world, such as corn, sugarcane, and soybeans.
There's a problem with that strategy, though: It makes food more scarce and drives up the prices at the grocery store. Refineries can use inedible or "garbage" organic matter to make ethanol, like switchgrass and corn cobs, but doing so involves more expensive and tedious methods. That's because the stringy, tough lignocellulose in this unpalatable stuff cannot be fermented, and must undergo conversion processes that can involve high temperatures, high pressures, and slow and unstable catalysts.


UK's rarest lizards return to sand dunes
Rare sand lizards have been released on sand dunes in North Wales in a bid to revive ailing populations.
 Seventy juveniles have been released on the Flintshire coast and a total of 400 will be reintroduced through the week to sites in Merseyside, Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset.
 The sand lizards were bred at 10 specialist breeding centres, including Chester Zoo, over the summer.
 The animals have suffered dramatic declines due to habitat loss.
 Native populations now only remain in Merseyside, Surrey, and Dorset but even in these areas populations have dropped by 90% or


Zoo appoints new chief exec
THE board of trustees of a popular zoo has appointed a new chief executive. 
Sharon Redrobe, 44, a vet with a distinction in zoo medicine, will start her new role at Twycross Zoo in October. 
She had previously worked as head of veterinary services at Bristol Zoo Gardens as well as a clinical associate professor at the University of Nottingham. 
Susan Bell, chairman at Twycross Zoo, said: "After a lengthy, rigorous and independent selection process, we are confident that we have a capable and enthusiastic new chief executive with the right skill set and experience to lead Twycross Zoo through the next phase of its development.” 
She added that the board of trustee


What Created This Mysterious "Picket Fence” in the Amazon?
It’s probably the only picket fence in the Amazon, but scientists have no idea what made it or what its purpose might be. 
Georgia Tech doctoral student Troy Alexander stumbled upon these two-centimeter-long white structures growing on trees in Peru on June 7. (


Duke of Cambridge and David Beckham join forces to fight illegal wildlife trade
The Duke of Cambridge has enlisted David Beckham in the fight against illegal wildlife products as he launched a new global conservation organisation.
On the day the Duke announced he was quitting the Armed Forces, he revealed that he has created a partnership called United for Wildlife, which brings together seven of the world's most influential conservation organisations, as well as The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
The body will initially focus on the illegal wildlife trade, and is likely to take up a large slice of the Duke's time after he announced today that his seven-year operational career in the forces was at an end. The Duke will be president of the new organisation.
Earlier today the Duke was joined by Beckham and the former Chinese basketball star Yao Ming to record two public service videos on behalf of the anti-wildlife trade charity WildAid. The videos are aimed at the Far East, which has the biggest market for banned wildlife products such as rhino horn and ivory, and will be released later this year.
An estimated 25,000 elephants are killed every year by ivory poachers and 618 rhinos have been killed so far this year for their horns. The Duke has warned in the past that the "catastrophe"


CAPS: Taking the law into their own hands?
Captive Animals Protection Society (CAPS) Director Liz Tyson is attending the 2014 Animal Rights Conference in Luxembourg where she is presenting 'Taking the law into our own hands' a presentation to the faithful on how current welfare laws could be used against circuses, zoos and other animal enterprises.  Ms Tyson has a degree in Environmental Law and is now undertaking further academic study in animal welfare law.
However, it is a great a shame she and her fellow CAPS members do not have a clear understanding of some other laws, namely the UK's Malicious Communications Act 2003 (amended by Section 43


Orangutans Plan Their Future Route and Communicate It to Others
Male orangutans plan their travel route up to one day in advance and communicate it to other members of their species. In order to attract females and repel male rivals, they call in the direction in which they are going to travel. Anthropologists at the University of Zurich have found that not only captive, but also wild-living orangutans make use of their planning ability.
For a long time it was thought that only humans had the ability to anticipate future actions, whereas animals are caught in the here and now. But in recent years, clever experiments with great apes in zoos have shown that they do remember past events and can plan for their future needs. Anthropologists at the University of Zurich have now investigated whether wild apes also have this skill, following them for several years through the dense tropical swamplands of Sumatra.

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