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|Zoo News Digest Sep-Oct 2016|
Zoo News Digest
Zoo says accusations of panda abuse groundless
The Lanzhou Zoo in Northwest China's Gansu Province denied any abuse of a panda after pictures allegedly showing a huge amount of blood on the animal's back sparked an uproar among the public, saying the panda might have been struck by bamboo.
Wang Huitai, deputy head of the Lanzhou Zoo, told the Global Times Sunday that the giant panda named Shulan was found injured on her back with a less-than-one-centimeter abrasion on Friday and "we believe it was caused by a bamboo strike."
The zoo veterinarian regarded the wound as not serious and sprayed some iodine around it, which might have been mistaken as the alleged blood, added Wang.
The State Bureau of Forestry on Saturday pledged to further investigate the case.
Viral pictures s
howed that 22-year-old Shulan was w
Stem cells generated locally help blind sea lion at SeaWorld see
SeaWorld is turning to stem cells harvested in the labs of local biotech companies to heal its park animals.
Last week, 10News anchor Itica Milanes was given an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look as a sea lion was given second chance at life thanks to the unique medical treatment.
SeaWorld has rescued thousands of sea lions through the years, with most stranded or starving. Recently, one that washed up in La Jolla had a much bigger problem -- the young male sea lion was almost blind.
Park veterinarian Dr. Todd Schmitt said, "We're not sure of the underlying cause. There may be some underlying trauma. It's basically creating a haze across the cornea that is causing vision impairment for this animal."
SeaWorld caretakers realized he couldn't see, so he couldn't catch any fish. In the wild, he would starve to death or be easy prey.
"So this is general anesthesia, like you or I would have," Schmitt said prior to beginning the procedure.
Jennifer Haselow moved to San Diego
Orangutan escapes Kansas zoo enclosure, returns on her own
A Kansas zoo confirmed an 11-year-old orangutan briefly escaped from her enclosure Tuesday morning and the facility was placed on lockdown.
The Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita said visitors to the facility alerted zookeepers around 10 a.m. to an orangutan outside of her enclosure, and officials quickly confirmed 11-year-old Sumatran orangutan Tao had made her way to a public area.
After death of penguin at its zoo, BMC wants contractor to replace dead bird
A day after an 18-month-old female Humboldt penguin, Dory, died at Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo in Byculla, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has directed Goatrade Farming Company, the procurement agency, to provide another penguin as replacement. In the face of severe criticism from political leaders and animal rights activists for the death, the zoo authorities and civic officials insisted that the plan to place for public viewing the Humboldt penguins, natives of Peru and Chile, would not be rolled back, though the inauguration of the penguin enclosure will be postponed to D
A group of architects striving to renovate Karachi zoo
A team of seven architects headed by Zain Mustafa, who is also an architect and designer, are striving to renovate the Karachi zoo to improve the quality of life of the animals there.
The talented design group of 7 creative minds headed by animal rights activist and architect Zain Mustafa and mentored by PTI architect Samar Ali Khan visits the Karachi zoo every Friday to re-design the whole place for making it more animal friendly.
The group made a presentation “Karachi Zoo- Revival Conceptual Visualizations” for the awareness of the masses.
The presentation was made right in front of the disturbed screeching Chimp Raju. They said their initial conce
Zoo sends Puerto Rican Toad tadpoles to habitat
The N.C. Zoo recently shipped just over 400 Puerto Rican Crested Toad tadpoles to Puerto Rico for release into the wild.
The shipment is part of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan program, which aims to manage the population of these amphibians in the wild and prevent their extinction.
In 1984, the Puerto Rican Crested Toad became the first amphibian to be protected under the Species Survival Plan (SSP) program. At more than 32 years, it is the longest continuous running reintroduction program for an amphibian species. To date, 19 participating institutions have sent over 350,000 tadpoles to Puerto Rico.
The toads are kept in isolation from general zoo populations to prevent the spread of disease to the wild. Although the toads have bred naturally in captivity, hormones are generally used to time all breedings to coordinate shipments and
Calgary Zoo opens Canada's 1st greater sage-grouse breeding facility
There's some good news for one of Canada's most endangered birds.
The Calgary Zoo has just opened the first captive breeding facility in the country to help restore the greater sage-grouse population, which experts estimate has fallen below 400 individuals.
"I see the greater sage-grouse as an iconic part of our Canadian heritage; a key component of our prairie ecosystem," said Axel Moehrenschlager, director of conservation and science at the zoo.
How One U.S. Zoo is Supporting African Wildlife Conservation
Despite the sensation of tough gravel, I never expected a rhinoceros to feel so soft around the back of the ears and mouth.
Staff at the Seneca Park Zoological Society in Rochester, New York had graciously allowed me to come face to face with Bill, the resident southern white rhinoceros who, funnily enough, was more interested in being petted than eating his helping of bananas.
“He loves contact,” one of the keepers said as I reached out to touch his horns. Aside from the pleasant thought of the bond that humans have shared with animals for centuries, seeing those massive horns brought to mind the uncertain future that wild rhinos throughout Africa currently face.
Though normally reporting conservation stories from remote corners of sub-Saharan Africa, I’d arranged a visit to Seneca Park Zoo to find out how management and staff are leading the charge in saving threatened and endangered wildlife.
Bill, now 12, is part of the zoo’s Step Into Africa program, which includes lions, elephants, baboons, and even a Maasai manyatta (encampment) exhibit, commonly found throughout southern Kenya and northern Tanzania.
While I was given a behind-the-scenes tour of h
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium set to launch sub-Antarctic penguin ride
Travel in a raft through a sub-Antarctic environment and get close to a spectacular colony of king and gentoo penguins at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.
This first-of-its-kind penguin exhibit, due to open in November, is inspired by Macquarie Island – an Australian-owned island in the Pacific Ocean.
Explorers (guests) will be surrounded by penguins and a flurry of snow, whistling winds and the stunning southern lights, before arriving at the Macquarie Island Explorer Hut. Here they can observe these creatures on land and under water and learn more about life on the remote island.
Merlin Entertainment’s Rob Smith said: “The ride allows guests to make amazing discoveries about life on Macquarie Island, the different personalities of cheeky gentoo and maje
Longleat safari park worker framed male colleague with bogus emails to cover up one-night stand with another zookeeper
Hayleigh Flak, 28, was concerned Craig Brooks would expose her affair with his friend and pretended to be a customer, falsely accusing him of being abusive.
A married Longleat safari park worker framed a male colleague with bogus emails in an attempt to cover up a one-night stand she had with another zoopkeeper , a court heard.
Hayleigh Flak, 28, who previously worked as a pole dancer, slept with a colleague who worked with her on the same shift at the Wiltshire wildlife park.
The military wife, who is currently 16 weeks pregnant with her third child, admitted harassing workmate Craig Brooks when she appeared at Chippenham Magistrates' Court today.
The court heard Flak, who runs a lifestyle
The Guardian view on zoos: respect our animal relatives
Gorillas are not just animals, Sir David Attenborough said this week, explaining: “They are related to us; they get stressed. A gorilla is not a fish.” Leaving aside the fact that fish can also get stressed and are probably also related to us, albeit more distantly, he surely has a point. Humans, at this advanced stage in their evolution, may like nothing better than to parade themselves on Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor, but gorillas still value a bit of privacy and do not necessarily enjoy performing for visitors.
That, some think, may have been a factor in the escape of a dominant male gorilla called Kumbuka from his enclosure at ZSL London Zoo. The attraction went into lockdown while the gorilla was located – he was in a secure keepers’ area – and tranquillised, although not before he had downed five litres of undiluted blackcurrant cordial. It does not appear to have done him any lasting harm, and the zoo was able to give assurances that the public were never in any danger from his adventure. But the incident has been a public relations disaster, particularly because the management initially failed to explain how the animal was able to escape; the answer, it emerges, was two unlocked doors. Some commenters on social media enjoyed the spectacle of human visitors, who had been advised to seek sanctuary in secure buildings a
Meet the man who bought a zoo: Ten years on
Exactly ten years ago this man made the biggest decision of his life – he bought a zoo.
Now he's got an internationally bestselling book, a television series and a Hollywood blockbuster under his belt.
World's mammals being eaten into extinction, report warns
Hundreds of mammal species - from chimpanzees to hippos to bats - are being eaten into extinction by people, according to the first global assessment of the impact of human hunting.
Bushmeat has long been a traditional source of food for many rural people, but as roads have been driven into remote areas, large-scale commercial hunting is leaving forests and other habitats devoid of wildlife.
The scientists behind the new analysis warned that, without action, the wiping out of these species could lead to the collapse of the food security of hundreds of millions of people reliant on bushmeat for survival.
The work comes against the backdrop of the natural world undergoing the greatest mass extinction since a giant meteorite strike wiped out the dinosaurs 65m years ago, with species vanishing far more rapidly than the long term rate, driven by the destruction and invasion of wild areas by humans and their livestock and hunting.
The researchers, whose study is published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, used the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) red list to identify the endangered land mammals that are primarily at risk from hunting for food. They found 301 such species, representing 7% of all the land mammals assessed by IUCN and about a quarter of all e
Mysterious origin of European bison revealed using DNA and cave art
Threatened forest icon may be a hybrid of two extinct species.
The European bison (Bison bonasus) may be the continent’s largest land mammal, but its origins have long been a mystery. Hunted for millennia and pushed into the wild corners of Europe as agriculture expanded, the bison — also known as wisent — were reduced to just a few zoo specimens by the late 1920s. Today, a semi-wild population roams Białowieża Forest, near the Poland–Belarus border, where they slip between hornbeams and mighty oaks, their curly coats and horns lending an aura of the Pleistocene to the ancient forest.
It took a reach into the past using ancient DNA and cave art to unveil the wisent’s origin story. Researchers published the species’ family tree on 19 October in Nature Communications1.
The team took almost a decade to complete their work. Much of the analysis used ancient mitochondrial DNA derived from 65 bison specimens ranging from 14,000 to more than 50,000 years ago. But it wasn’t until technological advances made it possible to examine nuclear DNA that researchers were able to produce a coherent
Scientists Warn Federal Agency's Plan Would 'Result in Extinction of Red Wolves in the Wild'
The same scientists who provided the population viability analysis to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for the red wolf have sent a rebuttal to the agency, accusing it of "many alarming misinterpretations" in its justification for removing most of the remaining animals in the wild.
Gorillas deserve more than captivity for human thrills
When it comes to the fascination with exotic species, the ancient Egyptians seem to have got there first. Archaeologists working at a cemetery in Hierakonpolis, a thriving city by the Nile in the fourth millennium BC, have uncovered a zoo’s worth of skeletons of baboons, hippopotamuses, leopards, elephants and crocodiles. These were not pampered pets; the remains reveal scars from beatings and broken bones from tethering.
Tasmanian devil milk fights superbugs
Milk from Tasmanian devils could offer up a useful weapon against antibiotic-resistant superbugs, according to Australian researchers.
The marsupial's milk contains important peptides that appear to be able to kill hard-to-treat infections, including MRSA, say the Sydney University team.
Experts believe devils evolved this cocktail to help their young grow stronger.
The scientists are looking to make new treatments that mimic the peptides.
They have scanned the devil's genetic code to find and recreate the infection-fighting compounds, called cathelicidins.
PhD student Emma Peel, who worked on the research which is published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, said they had found six important peptides.
These appear to be similar to peptides
So Long, Congo’s King Kong? Dramatic Population Decline of World’s Largest Gorilla
The largest living primate, Grauer’s gorilla, lives only in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Before civil war broke out in the region in 1996, the population was estimated at 16,900 individuals, but it has since been difficult to conduct population assessments.
Mumbai zoo in licence jeopardy?
The city's zoo that has been much in the news of late for its new inhabitants — the eight Humboldt penguins — is finding itself under the spotlight again, but this time for a different reason. As per reports, the Mumbai zoo is facing a stiff notice from the CZA (Central Zoo Authority) for allegedly flouting norms by failing to maintain conditions of its animal enclosures and occupants. The zoo authorities are to rectify matters and draft a reply until December.
Penguin dies of infection at Mumbai zoo, activists ask police to probe
A day after a Humboldt penguin died at the Byculla Zoo barely three months after it was procured, animal activists in Mumbai filed a complaint with the police alleging negligence by zoo authorities and demanded an investigation into the matter.
Non-governmental organisation, Plant and Animals Welfare Society – Mumbai (PAWS) also wrote to Central Zoo Authority asking it to visit Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo and check whether ideal conditions have been provided for the seven remaining penguins.
On Sunday, a one-and-a-half-year-old female penguin named Dory, died at the zoo’s quarantine facility owing to liver dysfunction and an intestinal infection.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had spent Rs 2.57 crore to buy the South American species found in the cold climes of coastal Peru and Chile . The birds were brought to Mumbai in July amid oppo
LEMUR CENTER REELING FROM SUDDEN DEATH OF FOUR AYE-AYES
A mysterious affliction has killed four endangered aye-ayes at the Duke Lemur Center in the last 24 hours.
All four -- two males and two females ranging in age from 7 to 28 years -- were stricken suddenly and died in the emergency care of two of the world’s foremost lemur veterinarians.
“We have experienced a tragedy,” said Lemur Center Director Anne Yoder. “The staff is devastated.”
“This happened very quickly,” said operations director Greg Dye. A technician entering the enclosure where the stricken aye-ayes were housed noticed lethargic behavior at around 3 p.m. Tuesday and transported two animals to the center’s emergency room within minutes. “The first one died within 20 minutes
Zoo harassing dalit staff: Parishad
Mysuru Divisional State, Central Semi-Government and Aided Institutions SC/ST Officers and Employees Parishad on Wednesday accused Mysuru Zoo authorities of harassing dalit employees.
Four on-contract dalit employees of Mysuru Zoo were suspended recently without giving any valid reasons, the parishad claimed.
Parishat President Shantaraju on Wednesday told reporters that atrocities against dalit employees have increased at the zoo. "Over 80% of its employees belong to backward communities or minorities and yet, they face a lot of harass
Puan the grumpy Perth orangutan is declared world's oldest
A 60-year-old primate at Perth Zoo has been declared the oldest living Sumatran orangutan in the world.
But do not expect Puan to show much enthusiasm.
Staff at Perth Zoo said while the primate was in surprisingly good health, she had become a little grumpy in her old age.
"Puan's a difficult one," primate keeper Martina Hart said.
"She gets a bit impatient, she stamps her foot when she wants something quickly.
"She demands a lot of respect. She deserves a lot of respect, she's not someone who'll show you outwardly that she's particularly interested in you."
It has taken staff at Perth Zoo several years to clarify how old Puan is.
It was believed she was born in the wild in 1956, earning her
The American Zoo Debate: Sanctuary or Threat?
The zoo has always been a family fun excursion. Here, in habitats that are as close to the ones in the outside world as possible (except for the aspect of freedom, of course), people can come and visit some of the most stunning creatures this earth has to offer. One such place, the San Diego Zoo, has even grown into one of the most popular attractions ever seen. This nonprofit zoo is more than respected and literally brought in $30 million dollars more than it spent last year alone.
Woman killed by tiger at breeding centre in Free State
A senior supervisor at Laohu Valley Reserve near Philippolis in the Free State, South Africa, was killed by a tiger over the weekend. The Laohu Valley Reserve is a roughly 350km² private reserve that was established in 2002 as a breeding centre for the South China tiger. The reserve is not open to the public, as the tigers are part of a project that aims to rewild the animals for eventual return to protected reserves in China.
MUMBAI MIRROR EXPOSÉ: THE BIG LIE BEHIND THE PENGUINS AT THE BYCULLA ZOO
Highway Construction won contract for penguin enclosure by telling BMC it has a JV with US firm specialising in aquatic exhibits. Mirror finds there’s no such pact, which means a company for roads and civil works is heading the project.
The company building the penguin enclosures at Byculla zoo was awarded the Rs 50-crore contract because it said it had struck up a partnership with a US firm specialising in aquatic systems. But Mirror has discovered there is no such joint venture between M/s Highway Construction Company and Austin-based SIVAT Services, and the BMC blindly believed the agreement’s existence.
SIVAT, in an email to Mirror, said it only discussed the possibility of a joint venture with Highway Construction, which has experience only in road and civil works, but the talks didn’t move forward because of cost concerns. It insisted it had no involvement in the pengu
World’s Most Endangered Alligator Making a Comeback – in Shanghai
WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) reports that eggs of critically endangered Chinese alligators discovered recently in a nest in a Shanghai wetland park have hatched and that baby alligators have been photographed and identified swimming in the area. The announcement signals a huge success for the species and for ongoing reintroduction efforts initiated by East China Normal University, Chongming Dongtan Wetland Park, and WCS with the help of U.S. zoos including WCS’s Bronx Zoo, and the Saint Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park.
“This shows that even the most endangered wildlife can recover if given a chance,” said Aili Kang, WCS Executive Director for Asia Programs. “Without the efforts of our partners and colleagues in China, we wouldn’t have had this great outcome that demonstrates that people and predators can co-exist in one of the most densely populate
Lions, tigers and conspiracy theories
It may not rise to the level of the Kennedy assassination or the moon landing, but the Zanesville animal escape has become a prime breeding ground for conspiracy theories.
Authorities see the events of Oct. 18, 2011 as an open-and-shut case of a single man who let all but a few of his 56 exotic animals free before taking his own life. Many, including Columbus Zoo & Aquarium Director Emeritus Jack Hanna, remain unconvinced that an individual could release so many dangerous animals without being injured or killed in the process. Others take their theories even further to include elaborate plots involving murder, political intrigue and cover ups.
"Was someone else involved, it's a question I've always had," said Hanna, who rushed to the scene from a speech he was giving in Pennsylvania to help advise law enforcement on how to handle the animals. "I've wondered how this man went around and opened all the cages, he couldn't have done it."
The Muskingum County Sheriff's Office didn't find evidence that would lead it to any criminal charges regarding the release of the animals and the death of animal owner Terry Thompson, Sheriff Matthew Lutz said. By early 2
Shark industry, lobbyists take sides in shark finning debate
Competing interests in Florida’s debate over shark fishing are taking sides in Washington D.C., lobbying lawmakers over a bill that seeks to ban trading shark fins.
Timothy Cama of The Hill reports on a trade group called the Sustainable Shark Alliance, a new ad hoc industry player in the $2.2 million business which works primarily in Gulf and East Coast waters around Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina and New Jersey.
The alliance is battling the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act, which would expand on an existing congressional ban on shark finning. The bill, sponsored by New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Democratic U.S. Rep. Gregorio Kilili Sablan of the Northern Mariana Islands, attempts to outlaw cutting a fish’s fin and returning it to the ocean
Some Animals Have Picky Eating Habits...and These Guys Are No Exception
There is this hilarious thing floating around the Internet about toddlers' weird eating habits. If you haven't seen it, you can check it out here. But basically, it is photo after photo of grumpy-looking young'uns and a brief, quippy description of their quirky nourishment conundrums.
Zoos and Zookeepers: The Roles of an Industry and its People (A Four-Part Series)
Part One: What is a "Zoo" and A Brief History of Them
Before I jump into the nitty-gritty of this four-part series, a little background on myself and what I aim to give readers with these pieces. My name is Blaine Peluso-Miller. I am, proudly and professionally, a zookeeper; a zookeeper that is slowly growing his roots in an industry and profession that has its fair share of successes and failures, proponents and opponents, and controversies and misconceptions, like every single business and industry in the world, past, present, and future. Educating the public is one of the most important things that a zoo can do; especially with the global ecological problems that we are facing today. But all too often, questions remain unasked and unanswered or worse the wrong answers are presented with extreme bias and it causes distortion of reality and brings about misconceived perceptions.
Like a majority of professional zookeepers and animal caretakers, I have always loved animals (and the natural world) and wanted to make a difference for future generations of people and wildlife; it was these two things that really propelled me into this industry in the first place. I started as a seasonal naturalist at a local state park in New Jersey during college, educating the general public about our planet, the natural world, and the creatures that inhabit it. After that I was hooked on zookeeping as a career path and profession, but I digress. What I am writi
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Zagreb Zoo Opens after a Two-Year Reconstruction Project
Reconstruction works at the Zagreb Zoo have finally been completed after two years, and as of today all parts of the Zagreb Zoo are again available to visitors. The modernized zoo was opened this afternoon by Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić, reports Index.hr on October 16, 2016.
“On the island, we have built a large dwelling for Dalmatian pelicans, the first in Croatia after a hundred years”, said Tomislav Krizmanić from the Zoo. “We have also built a new habitat for African birds, the Madagascar area with a living area for Madagascan animals, a souvenir shop, the new main entrance to the Zoo, an education centre and a restaurant”, said Kriz
‘It’s hardly surprising he got fed up’: Sir David Attenborough defends the gorilla that escaped from London Zoo and blames the glass enclosures and ‘shrieking’ visitors for winding him up
Sir David Attenborough has defended the gorilla which escaped from its enclosure at a zoo and urged visitors to be more respectful when observing animals.
The veteran naturalist, 90, said that it was 'hardly surprising' that the gorilla got 'fed up', after being subjected to intrusion by visitors for most of the day.
Visitors to ZSL London Zoo described fearing for their safety as they were ordered to take cover in buildings when the mammal got out of its den last week.
Rob (Robert) J Ollason MBE
One of the great zoo educators of the 20th century and a key player in the International Zoo Educators association (IZE) history and development, Rob Ollason, died in Edinburgh 10th October 2016.
Rob was born in the Shetland Islands, and graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 1961 and after some years teaching art and design in Edinburgh and Shetland, then spent 5 years in Kenya.
At the end of 1976 he took up the post of Education Officer / Head of Education at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Edinburgh Zoo, a post he held until his retirement 27 years later.
Rob became involved and engaged with various zoo committees and activities, especially the development of zoo education, and was a member of the IZE Board for over 10 years. He hosted the IZE conference in 1984, and was President of IZE from 1992-1996. He also hosted several UK Federation of Zoos (now BIAZA) zoo education and other conferences and helped inspire and encourage a generation of educators and zoo professionals.
Through the '80s and '90s Rob, alongside his team, especially Mary Patterson, and with the encouragement of RZSS Director Roger Wheater, developed innovative new zoo education programmes and facilities at Edinburgh Zoo. This included diverse schools programmes, interpretation, keeper talks, summer schools, volunteer scheme and overseas tours.
On his retirement at the start of 2004 Rob was awarded the MBE in recognition of his contribution to education. After leaving Edinburgh Zoo Rob continued to travel and spent more time doing his art work, including taking part in an art exhibition back in Shetland.
Rob was a real gentleman and contributed greatly to the life and work of many colleagues across the world and his contribution to zoo education is noted in many zoos. I remember meeting him on many occasions and always felt his warmth and generosity of spirit and encouragement. I also felt a real sense of responsibility and honour when I took up the post of Head of Education at RZSS a few years after his retirement.
He was also author of the popular book ‘Penguin Parade’ and wrote many papers on zoo education. He will be sorely missed and remembered fondly by all of us.
Stephen P. Woollard
(RZSS Education 2005-2015)
Returning endangered animals to the wild
It has been 35 years since the Japanese crested ibis disappeared from the skies of Japan. This year, “genuinely wild” chicks, the offspring of ibises born out of captivity on Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture, left their nests for the first time in 42 years. The effort to reintroduce the ibis is one of several similar initiatives — rare even overseas — to preserve endangered species that have disappeared from the wild.
Ibises learn to fly, find food
A total of 174 ibises were being bred at seven locations throughout Japan, including the Environment Ministry’s Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center on Sado Island, as of Sept. 25. They are ibises provided by China since 199
Public consultation as part of the REFIT evaluation of the Zoos Directive
PETA Says Florida Zoo Abuses Baby Tigers
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has set its sights on a private Florida zoo that allows visitors personal interaction with cute and cuddly tiger cubs.
In a federal lawsuit filed in Tampa, PETA claims Dade City's Wild Things and its owners are violating the Endangered Species Act.
The complaint, peppered with eyewitness accounts and references to previous federal violations, takes aim at the zoo's programs that allow patrons to handle, pet and swim with tiger cubs.
Dade City's Wild Things holds more than 200 animals, including primates and reptiles, on 22 acres of land in Pasco County, Florida.
Among its draws are opportunities for up-close interactions with tiger cubs, baby alligators and monkeys, including a chance to swim with them.
Under Florida law, patrons can only have contact with tigers under 25 pounds.
The zoo's owners — Kathryn Stearns and her son, Randall Stearns — are also named as defendants.
Randall Stearns, president of the zoo, declined to comment on PETA's allegations, saying he has not yet seen the complaint.
According to the lawsuit, Dade City's Wild Things staff forced cubs to interact with patrons by forcibly grabbing the animals and not allowing them to escape.
PETA also claims the cubs are prematurely separated from their mothers and suffer under bad conditions.
"The Endangered Species Act prohibits harming and harassing tigers," said Brittany Peet, PETA's director of captive ani
Zoo rhino poaching case still under investigation
The most shocking rhino poaching incident that rocked the Free State when two white rhinos were killed in the Bloemfontein Kwaggafontein Zoo is, after more than six months, still under investigation.
This is according to Free State Environmental Affairs MEC, Benny Malakoane. He said during an oral question-and-answer session in the legislature that the investigation is being handled by the police.
The dead rhinos were found during a routine patrol, with three gun shots each. Malakoane says all I
What we lose when we lose the world’s frogs
Last month, a frog died in an Atlanta botanical garden. With it went an entire species never to hop along the Earth again. Biologists at Zoo Atlanta who’d looked after the frog for the past 12 years called him “Toughie.” He was a charismatic, glossy-eyed specimen and the very last Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog in the world.
Joseph Mendelson, the director of research at Zoo Atlanta, had been prepared for this. When the Rabbs’ frog was discovered in Panama in 2005, some 80 percent of the population had already been lost to disease. A few were removed in hope of a revival. Alas, the last female died in 2009. In 2012, when another male died, Toughie became the sole survivor of his kind.
Still, his death hurts, in part because of one of his beautiful biological quirks: The Rabbs’ were the only species in the world where the fathers let the babies eat the skin off thei
Durrell wins inaugural Conservation Award from The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Last night Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust was awarded the first ever Conservation Award from The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).
In a ceremony that took place at WAZA’s 71st Annual Conference in Puebla, Mexico, the conservation charity’s CEO Dr Lesley Dickie accepted the award from WAZA president Susan Hunt and Manfred Niekisch Chair of CSC.
Commenting on the amazing achievement, Durrell’s Honorary Director, Dr Lee Durrell, said, "I am overjoyed with the news that Durrell has won the WAZA Conservation Award and so proud that we are the first ever recipient. It validates the efforts begun by Gerald Durrell so long ago to prove that zoos could become agents of species survival, and his firm belief that all zoos should strive towards this goal. Now more and more zoos and aquariums tackle conservation issues proactively and engage their visiting public in what needs to be done and why. I hope the award heralds an era of even greater commitment to conservation by our community. I am delighted that our new CEO, Dr Lesley Dickie, is able to attend the WAZA conference and accept this prestigious award on Durrell's behalf."
This, the first ever Conservation Award was introduced by WAZA in order to promote and recognise conservation efforts and success within the WAZ
ELEPHANTS TO AMPHIBIANS – ANIMAL INTERACTIONS IN ZOOS AND AQUARIUMS
Zoos and aquariums have seen a rapid growth in interactive experiences in recent years. From walk-through, swim-through or drive-through exhibits and shows, to direct animal contact that includes activities such as touch pools, touch paddocks and petting areas, the interactive experiences on offer vary. Their popularity has increased as they are deemed to demonstrate an engaging educational experience, with education being a key objective for the modern zoological collection. Although animal interactions are popular, the welfare impact of such interactions is still relatively unknown. Many facilities do support positive interaction programmes that can be rewarding for both the animal and visitor, but equally there are some that demonstrate only minimal planning having been given to how the animal’s welfare may be affected by different experiences.
Legally, any animal interactive programmes a zoological collection offers should comply with all applicable regional, national and international legislation. However, in many countries there are no specific regulations pertaining to such programmes and as such, institutions are reliant on either other legislative standards that may have an impact on such programmes (health and safety etc.) or regionally specific guidelines from their respective regional zoo asso
Edinburgh Zoo earns its stripes through tiger research
Edinburgh Zoo is developing pioneering conservation techniques to boost the survival of endangered cat species ranging from tigers to the Scottish wildcat. Although primarily known as a leading tourist attraction, with more than 600,000 visitors each year, the zoo is aiming to increase the profile of its research work, which plays a vital role in internationally coordinated efforts to preserve diversity of life.
Plans for new company to take over Dalton zoo's licence revealed
A NEW company intends to take over the licence of South Lakes Safari Zoo, it was revealed during a meeting today.
A plan is due to be submitted to transfer the licence from the Dalton attraction's current licence holder, David Gill, to a different company which he has no connection to.
China's 'extinct' dolphin may have returned to Yangtze river, say conservationists
Chinese conservationists believe they may have caught a rare glimpse of a freshwater dolphin that was declared functionally extinct a decade ago having graced the Yangtze river for 20 million years.
Scientists and environmentalists had appeared to abandon hope that China’s baiji, or white dolphin, could survive as a species after they failed to find a single animal during a fruitless six-week hunt along the 6,300-km (3,915-mile) waterway in 2006.
Yellowstone bison genetics transferred to another zoo herd
Jennifer Barfield has salvaged life from the slaughterhouse floor.
That’s where the Colorado State University professor has collected ovaries from some of Yellowstone National Park’s bison after they met their controversial demise.
“It’s definitely not a fun part of the process,” said the professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. “None of us enjoy that.”
But by retrieving some of the bison’s ovaries and the eggs they contain, Barfield and CSU have managed to preserve and spread the coveted genetics of the species to conservation herds around the United States. Most recently, Barfield transplanted fertilized embryos from the Yellowstone gene pool into four bison cows at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, Minn. Now, the waiting begins to see if the bison will give birth
State zoos turn deathtrap for translocated big cats
A day after a tigress trapped inside a coffee plantation at Armad, near Sulthan Bathery, on the fringes of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WSS), was shifted to the Thrissur zoo for treatment, animal activists have urged the authorities to discourage translocation of tigers from the sanctuary to zoos in Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram.
“Many a time caging and translocation turn to be lethal to the animals as it can lead to capture myopathy. Three of the five big cats translocated from the sanctuary in the past four years were dead in a short time,” they said.
In a petition addressed to Inspector General (IG), Ministry of Environment and Forest, V.K. Venkitachalam, secretary of the Thrissur-based Heritage Animal Task Force, said as many as five big cats had been caged and three shot dead in the sanctuar
Zoos Victoria 'devastated' over accidental animal deaths, reviews practices
Zoos Victoria says it has taken immediate action and learnt valuable lessons after a number of incidents resulted in the deaths of animals, including 17 possums who were accidentally baited.
Acting CEO Rachel Lowry said staff at Werribee Open Range Zoo were devastated over the incident and practices had been changed to ensure it never happened again.
It was one of a number of incidents over the past year, detailed in the latest annual report.
She said the organisation was transparent in the deaths so that other zoos around the world could learn from their mistakes.
"Unfortunately an accident occurred where the baiting wa
Plan ‘Singapore style’ lion safari: Chandigarh administrator V P Singh Badnore
UT ADMINISTRATOR V P Singh Badnore has mooted a proposal for setting up a lion safari on the lines of Singapore Night Safari in Chandigarh. He has directed the Chandigarh Administration to look into the details of implementation of the project. Sources said he also discussed the matter with the officials of the Punjab wildlife department during his visit to the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park at Chhatbir recently.
Confirming the development, M P Singh, principal secretary to Badnore, said, “Yes it one of his ideas for the City Beautiful. He has also asked the UT officials and the officials of the forest department to look into the details of how the project can be implemented in the city and to find a suitable place for the same.” He added that the Administrator had told the forest department officials that if need be they can visit the Singapore Night Safari to study t
TripAdvisor Stops Booking Activities With Captive Animals and Endangered Species
After six months of soul searching — and consulting conservation, animal welfare, academic, trade, and tourism groups — TripAdvisor announced late Tuesday it will no longer allow users to book activities that involve contact with endangered species or captive wild animals.
The decision comes as public sentiment, and public companies’ actions, evolve on the subject of animals and entertainment. Following years of pressure that reached a peak with the CNN-produced film Blackfish, SeaWorld said earlier this year that it would end its orca breeding program and theatrical shows. And Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey stopped using elephants in circus performances this spring as jurisdictions put more regulations on animal treatment into place.
“TripAdvisor’s new booking policy and education effort is designed as a means to do our part in helping improve the health and safety standards of animals, especially in markets with limited regulatory protections,” Steve Kaufer, CEO and co-founder of TripAdvisor, Inc., said in a statement. “At the same time, we want to celebrate those destinations and attractions that are leaders in caring for animals and those in the tourism industry who help further the cause of animal welfare, conservation and the preservation of endangered species.”
The new policy, which goes into effect at the beginning of 2017, means TripAdvisor and its tour subsidiary Viator will not sell tickets for tourist draws such as swim-with-dolphin programs, elephant rides, or pet-the-tiger photo opportunities.
Customers will still be able to review such activities, but the travel site will provide links to research and information from a variety of groups who have signed on as partners in the effort. Thousands of attractions will be designated with a special paw icon linking to a portal with educational material.
“Soon, for anyone who cares about animals, there will be some of the best minds in tourism, sustainability, conservation and animal welfare who will be able to put their best foot forward and make their arg
It’s time to get real about conservation
How can scientists protect biodiversity? In the wake of August’s Great Elephant Census, which revealed a precipitous decline in numbers throughout Africa, there were the usual calls from researchers for more and better data. Only if we know where and how many of each species there are, this argument goes, can we hope to conserve them. This is nonsense.
Beasts of A Nation: Rebuilding the Kabul Zoo in a Time of War
Nestled between two hills, the Kabul Zoo is a massive oasis of green in a war-torn city that continues to be increasingly compartmentalized into a maze of concrete blast walls and concertina wires. The zoo, once the frontline for Kabul’s bloodiest conflict, has found itself caught between deadly crossfires far too often as the Afghan civil war left most of the historic city in rubble and ruins.
Today, however, you are more likely to find idyllic young men sprawled on its lawn taking in the afternoon sun, children huddled around a merry-go-round set up in what used to be the elephant’s enclosure, and families huddled in awe and amazement around the cage of a lonely Chinese pig — believed to be the only one in the whole of Afghanistan. And if you look closely enough, you will even spot quite a few young couples, many of whom find an unusual refugee for romance among the sparse wildlife Afghanistan has to boast of.
The zoo and its tenants have a most unlikely story to tell. “What remained after years of battle was a crumbling enclosure a few monkeys, two vultures, and one lion named Marjan, who was blinded with a hand grenade by an angry mujahideen,” says Aziz Gul Saqib, the direct
BBP's animal-keepers seek regularisation of their service, move HC
Animal-keepers at Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) have approached the High Court seeking directions to the Zoo Authority of Karnataka to consider them on a par with kavadis and mahouts. Kavadis and mahouts are Group D employees working with elephants under the forest department. A petition has been filed by Suresh and 55 others who have been working in the BBP on contract for many years as administrators, animal-keepers, watchmen, drivers, electricians, plumbers, cooks, gate-keepers, ticket examiners, solar operators, store-keepers, sweepers and assistants.
The petitioners have contended that in their years of service at the park, they have gained experience and special knowledge about wild animals at the BBP. Most of the workers have experience of over 15 years and have been working for more than 10-12 hours a day, but are deprived of medical or retirement benefits.
The petitioners have sought directions to the Zoo Authority of Karnataka to frame Cadre and Recruitment Rules or include them under the Karnataka Forest Department Recruitment Services (Recruitment) Rules. Kavadis and mahouts are included under these rules. The petitioners have said that despite several pleas to the government to regularise their services, no action has been taken.
A master plan proposed by the Central Zoo Authority for BBP in December 2014 recommended 208 posts but there are already 200 contract workers at the park. The petitioners have said that in the Supreme Court order in Karnataka Government versus Umadevi’s case, there were principles laid down that if appointments are made on contract when there are vacancies, the workers on contract are entitled to benefits as they are eligible candidates. They have also contended that though mahouts were regularised in Mysuru Zoo in 1990 and in 2013, the petitioners were never given similar benefits.
The petitioners have approached the High Court seeking interim relief by restraining the Zoo Authorities and the forest department from terminating their services. They have also sought directions to the authorities not to cut their increment and benefits which they are entitled to by virtue of eligibility, during the pendency of the writ petition.
Justice A N Venugopala Gowda, hearing the petitioners, ordered issuance of notice to the zoo authorities and to the forest department and have directed the government counsel to get original documents relating to zoo-keepers’ recruitment. The judge adjourned the next hearing to October 20.
Can We Alter Endangered Species to Be More Adaptable?
Scientists have long known that invasive species possess “pesty traits” that benefit their spread. But what if similar, but latent, pesty traits could be triggered into action in endangered species to allow them to be more adaptable, maybe improving the success rates of captive breeding programs, or of habitat reintroductions?
Why Private Exotic Cat Ownership Should be Made Illegal
In the early evening of October 18, 2011, the Zanesville, Ohio police department began receiving phone calls from terrified citizens. There were dozens of animals on the loose, running wild through their neighborhood. What made these calls different from the ordinary escaped animal reports were the species of animals being reported: bears, wolves, cougars and, most alarming, lions and tigers. This wasn’t a zoo escape, however, as these animals were fleeing from a private residence. The Zanesville police department, or any other organization for that matter, had no experience with a disaster of this magnitude and the only way to prevent massive human casualties was to execute every animal on sight. When this frightening ordeal was finally under control, 50 exotic animals were dead, along with their owner. Among the dead were 18 Bengal tigers and 17 lions. It was later determined that the owner of the property set all of his animals free, then committed suicide.
This horrible tragedy made international news and brought necessary attention to the highly controversial subject of private ownership of wild and exotic cats. Finding an accurate number of citizens who are involved in this practice, or the number of animals in captivity, is difficult to truly ascertain. There is no official organization which specifically monitors this activity, and many exotic animal owners remain in the shadows, afraid of losing their animals to the government or animal advocacy groups. According to Born Free USA, the number of exotic animals kept as pets are estimated to be in the millions. Most noteworthy is the fact that there are an estimated 5,000-7,000 tigers held in captivity, which is more than the amount living freely in the wild. The Humane Society estimates that fewer than 400
Mixed exhibit management
Mixed exhibits is not something from today but its being done in zoos for a while now. The beautiful part is when its done right it looks stunningly beautiful. I’ve been to quite some zoos over the time and it is fascinating how and what zoos put together to give a more natural look to an exhibit for the animal and the visitors. Dublin Zoo has some great mixed specie exhibits but so as Borås Djurpark on the west coast of Sweden.
Mixed exhibit are something to go to in the future it looks like because it gives a wilder look to the exhibit but for training and enrichment there are some cons, believe it or not. Yes it is very enriching to have some animals together but we can’t forget that these animals over time get used to each other as well, of course to a certain extend. I do believe it stays enriching for the animals to be in a mixed specie exhibit. Beside that matter managing mixed specie exhibits can be ve
Evansville zoo could lose nearly half of its animals
The national association that accredits zoos and aquariums has given Evansville's Mesker Park Zoo one year to fix maintenance concerns or the zoo could lose nearly half of its animals.
Zoo director Amos Morris told the Evansville Courier & Press (http://bit.ly/2dPahMt ) that he should be able to satisfy the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' immediate concerns to remain accredited if money from City Council comes through.
According to the zoo's review the association found that Mesker's is inadequately funded, is too slow in updating the facility and defers maintenance too long.
Morris said with the current zoo funds, short term problems can be resolved but not the big maintenance issues.
"I can fix a barn," he said. "I can get mold off a roof. But the other piece of this is long term sustainability. We need to create something that allows the zoo to b
Bowmanville Zoo closing today after animal cruelty scandal
After 97 years in operation and plenty of controversy, the Bowmanville Zoo is officially closing its doors Monday afternoon.
Last December, PETA posted a portion of an undercover video online, which showed the zoo’s co-owner, Michael Hackenberger allegedly whipping a tiger during a training session.
The OSPCA launched an investigation and Hackenberger was charged with five counts of animal cruelty.
After the controversy, attendance for the 2016 season dropped so significantly that Hackenberger and zoo staff were forced to make the decision to shut down.
Feelings were mixed about the zoo’s closure.
“They do a lot of education for children,” one visitor to the zoo said. “I think there are a lot of children who come here and enjoy learning.”
There were people outside the zoo on Monday protesting, saying the closure is a victory for animal rights.
These animals have been treated
"Species, Interrupted; Why it Matters When Extinction Silences a Tree Frog"
Elephants walk on their tip-toes and it’s literally killing them in captivity
Olga Panagiotopoulou, an evolutionary morphologist at the University of Queensland, Australia, wanted to get to the bottom of an oddity. Many captive elephants are plagued by foot problems which not only changes their gait in an awkward way but in time can grow in a disease. Every year, elephants from zoos and conservation sites need to be euthanised because there’s nothing that can treat them, Panagiotopoulou said.
The debate has come up with two primary candidate explanations: either the captivity itself is driving the elephants to change their gait and ultimately ruin their feet or somethin
An Aspiring Trainer’s Guide to Conquering Career Induced Depression (Special Guest Author Justin Dickinson)
I met Justin Dickinson when he interned at my current facility last year. Now, he's all growed-up, working as a zookeeper and writing blogs. When I read the one I'm about to share with you, I got real excited. Here was an entry that perfectly encapsulated not only the struggles of aspiring trainers...but ALL of our bad days and ruts in our career and life. But the best part of Justin's spiel? The ability to turn our jobs as animal trainers and caregivers into a life lesson. There are a lot of gems of wisdom in here, and I happily pass this on to
Michael Hackenberger reflects on his time at the Bowmanville Zoo on its final weekend
After 97 years in operation, the Bowmanville Zoo, North America’s oldest private zoo will close this weekend.
“It’s terribly sad,” said Zoo co-owner Michael Hackenberger. “You have an institution that has survived nearly 100 years - that has informed and delighted millions of people, that has been a vibrant addition to the economic community and I think this an example of the power of the Internet.”
In December 2015, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) posted a portion of an undercover video online allegedly showing Hackenberger whipping a tiger during a training session. The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) launched an investigation and Hackenberger was subsequently charged with five counts of animal cruelty.
The social media campaign by PETA urging people to stop supporting the Bowmanville Zoo has proven successful and the effects of that have been catastrophic for the Zoo.
Attendance for the 2016 season dropped so significantly that Hackenberger and staff were forced to make the decision to close.
“Perception is everything. PETA has been masterful in discharging their ideology in an extremely high fashion,” said Hackenberger, in an
Abbot dreams of reopening his tiger zoo
The abbot of the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi province told reporters on Saturday that he already had a zoo licence and would seek a return of five disabled tigers so he could reopen the place to visitors...
Behind the Scenes at the National Zoo With the World’s Most Dangerous Bird
In the years he has spent looking after the National Zoo’s cassowary, Eric Slovak has never found himself on the receiving end of one of her assaults. That’s impressive, because she's an uncommonly monstrous creature.
Imagine an ostrich as described by H.P. Lovecraft, or maybe a turkey fused with a velociraptor. Weighing in at close to 150 pounds, she stands on powerful reptilian legs that let her stretch to six feet tall when she needs her full height. Though flightless, the cassowary is covered in a coat of long black feathers, against which her brilliant blue visage—crowned by a towering, keratinous casque—stands out like a symbol in a dream.
The feature she and her kind are best known for, however, is not her plumage. It’s her toenails: On each three-toed foot, one nail is longer than the rest.
Royal Zoological Society of Scotland appoints new CEO
Jeremy Peat, Chair of Trustees of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), said:
“I am delighted to announce that, following a very thorough externally-supported process with consideration of a range of internal and external candidates, the Board of Trustees of RZSS has appointed Barbara Smith as the organisation’s new Chief Executive Officer.
Barbara was previously the Managing Director of RZSS and has been acting as interim
Aquarium wins $1 million lawsuit against Fishman Chemical
It was back in April of last year when the Texas State Aquarium experienced a sudden and unusual fish mortality. It was later discovered that a mislabeled chemical was at fault, and on Thursday, the Aquarium announced that they have won the lawsuit against Fishman Chemical, LLC.
U.S. District Judge Hilda G. Tagle ruled in favor of the Aquarium on Sept. 22, ordering Fishman Chemical to pay in excess of $1 million.
It was April 15, 2015, the morning after the fish mortality, when 3News confirmed that all of the animals inside of the Islands of Steel exhibit tank at the Texas State Aquarium, with the exception of two, were dead. Aquarium representatives said they were trying to treat a parasite that they had detected in the tank, but when they added medicine to the
Why wildlife conservation is good for our collective health
What if we could reduce diseases and discover life-saving drugs by conserving natural habitat? Would saving ecosystems become more appealing if human health were on the line?
Well, although an underreported dimension of the destruction of wildlife habitat, human health is exactly what is at stake. Habitat destruction has played a role in the emergence of disease organisms that move between humans and other animals, such as Ebola, and even, some scientists argue, in the increase of incidences of Lyme disease. Loss of habitat has also had the unintended consequence of eliminating access to potentially lifesaving drugs by destroying the very places where those drugs originate.
Whether or not people care about nature for its own sake, these implications for human well-being should galvanise them toward habitat and wildlife conservation, and elevate conservation to the same level of importance as things such a
Can great apes read your mind?
One of the things that defines humans most is our ability to read others’ minds – that is, to make inferences about what others are thinking. To build or maintain relationships, we offer gifts and services – not arbitrarily, but with the recipient’s desires in mind. When we communicate, we do our best to take into account what our partners already know and to provide information we know will be new and comprehensible. And sometimes we deceive others by making them believe something that is not true, or we help them by correcting such false beliefs.
All these very human behaviors rely on an ability psychologists call theory of mind: We are able to think about others’ thoughts and emotions. We form ideas about what beliefs and feelings are held in the minds of others – and recognize that they can be different from our own. Theory of mind is at the heart of everything social that makes us human. Without it, we’d have a much harder time interpreting – and probably predicting – others’ behavior.
For a long time, many researchers have believed that a major reason human beings alone exhibit unique forms of communication, cooperation and culture is that we’re the only animals to have a complete theory of mind. But is this ability really unique to humans?
In a new study published in Science, my colleagues and I tried to answer this question using a novel approach. Previous work has generally suggested that people think about others’ perspectives in very different ways than ot
Thai authorities keeping tabs on tagged tigers
Thai wildlife authorities began checking microchips and taking blood samples from tigers at a zoo on Thursday, pressing ahead with new ways to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.
The Sriracha Zoo in Chonburi province east of Bangkok is home to 323 registered tigers and offers visitors feeding and photo opportunities with cubs, and a circus show with adult tigers.
Tiger tourism has come under increased scrutiny in Thailand after wildlife authorities found scores of dead cubs while rescuing animals from a famous Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok, in June.
The inspection will continue into Friday, offici
Special Investigation: Inside the Deadly Rhino Horn Trade
It was a five-hour drive from South Africa’s Kruger National Park, home of the world’s largest wild rhinoceros population, to Polokwane, home of the world’s most wanted man when it comes to rhino horn trafficking: a millionaire safari operator and ex-policeman named Dawie Groenewald.
To meet Groenewald, photographer Brent Stirton and I sped in two cars through gorgeous, winding mountain ranges. But then night fell, and in the darkness outside the city someone had poured tar down the center line of the highway and set it ablaze. It appeared to be another protest rooted in the racial and economic tensions that continue to flare in South Africa more than two decades after the end of apartheid. We wove around the fire only to come upon a traffic jam and a makeshift roadblock a mile later. In the middle of the road what looked like a sofa was on fire, the flames shooting 10 feet into the air. Large rocks blocked all four lanes. Brent got out of his car and moved rocks too big to drive over, while I watched for an ambush. We picked our way through the gantlet as unseen people hurled stones from beyond the shoulder.
We stayed the night at a dank roadside hotel, then waited, in accordance with Groenewald’s instructions, at a gas station for his man, Leon van der Merwe, to meet us. We followed h
First ‘baby dragons’ hatched in captivity reach adolescence
IT WAS touch and go for a while. But the elusive pink aquatic salamanders that hatched inside Slovenia’s Postojna Cave about four months ago have survived the most difficult stage of their lives, reaching adolescence.
“These are the only baby dragons in the world known to humanity,” says Sašo Weldt, a member of the conservation team taking care of the creatures, called olms.
They were once only known from specimens washed out of caves by flooding and legend had it they were baby dragons – a nickname that stuck. They can live to be 100 years old and only lay eggs once or twice a decade.
So it was remarkable to see 64 eggs laid by a single individual earlier this year. They were placed in an aquarium within the cave. In total, 22 eggs hatched, and all are
Singapore Underwater World diver killed by stingray
A professional diver has been killed by a stingray at an oceanarium in Singapore.
Philip Chan, 62, was heading a team of divers who were removing sea creatures from the Underwater World attraction on Tuesday.
The once-popular marine life park shut down earlier this year.
Police said Mr Chan was taken to hospital where he died from his injuries. They are now investigating the "unnatural death".
A police spokesman said the incident was the first of its kind in Singapore.
Rhino export to Vietnam under fire
South African NGO Oscap (Outraged SA Citizens against Poaching), supported by the Species Survival Network, which represents more than 100 local and international NGOs, on Monday delivered a letter to the Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa requesting she suspend the export of six rhino calves.
These rhino calves, which are being held under quarantine at Sondela Wildlife Centre, are destined for a zoo in Vietna
FWC report finds no fault with zoo in fatal tiger attack
New developments in the investigation surrounding that deadly tiger attack at the Palm Beach Zoo in April.
A state wildlife agency has just issued its investigation surrounding the attack that claimed the life of a beloved zookeeper.
A report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission concludes the Palm Beach Zoo did not violate any state rules or regulations on April 15, when Stacey Konwiser was killed by a male Malayan tiger named Hati.
The report shows Konwiser was attacked when she entered the Tiger River night house and she entered an enclosure the tiger had access to.
Investigators say Konwiser violated two zoo policies. At no time is a zoo staff member supposed to enter a deadly animal enclosure unless the animal has been immobilized.
And zoo policy states that staff members caring for dangerou
What Happens to Smuggled Animals After They’re Seized?
We’ve heard a lot recently about illegal trading of elephant ivory and rhino horn, but it’s not only animal parts that smugglers attempt to slip across borders for the commercial trade. They also move live wild animals—reptiles, birds, monkeys—to other nations, where they’re sold as exotic pets or as props in tourist attractions. Some are killed to supply demand for their body parts.
Officials seized more than 60,000 wild creatures between 2010 and 2014, according to a recent study by World Animal Protection and WildCRU, Oxford University’s wildlife conservation research team. About a fifth of those were threatened species. And this statistic represents the “tip of a far greater iceberg,” said lead author Neil D’Cruze, because most countries don’t report information about live wildlife confiscations.
So with grim futures awaiting so many trafficked animals, it’s a good thing when authorities seize illegally traded wildlife—you’d think. Instead, wildlife advocates say that animals often fare terribly after they’re confiscated.
“In some places, if the animals could speak up, maybe they’d choose to be with the traffickers,” said Elsayed Ahmed Moha
THE DODO ISN’T ADVANCING ANIMAL RIGHTS, IT’S HINDERING THEM
It’s easy to consider yourself a friend to the animals if you’re a daily reader of The Dodo. The Dodo is pop animal welfare, a website that positions itself as true-blue animal activism. After exploring this popular online community, it becomes quite obvious that The Dodo is piggybacking off the Animals Rights Movement, and dragging it back.
Right in the beginning of it’s mission statement, The Dodo tells us that their goal is to “make caring about animals a viral cause,” and viral cause they have indeed created. The header on the front page gives us a few options: Video, Pets, Inspiring, Cute, Seaworld, Animals in Need, Community, and How to Help. Fun, precious animals, usually pets, having a good time. Oh, Seaworld- there we go! Seaworld is hell for animals, but wait, we all saw that on CNN and at the Oscars. Okay, Dodo, let’s check out Animals in Need
Copenhagen Zoo sees birth of Denmark's first okapi calf in 50 years
An okapi calf was born in a Copenhagen Zoo for the first time in half a century on Sunday (2 October). The animal that is also known as a "forest giraffe" was due to be born in approximately two months.
The mother okapi had suffered a miscarriage previously, so the zookeepers were incredibly surprised when she started to go into labour, a
San Diego Zoo turns 100 amid a global debate over the treatment of animals in captivity
entury ago, a San Diego physician named Harry Wegeforth held a meeting with his brother and three other men. The topic: starting a zoo.
There were already some animals — buffalo, bears, monkeys, lions, wolves — left over from the 1915 to 1916 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego’s Balboa Park, but not much else. Nobody knew where they would get more animals, where they would put them, or how they would pay for it all. The men went ahead anyway, forming the San Diego Zoological Society.
“The whole zoo was a gamble from the start,” Wegeforth later wrote, “but fortune usually favored us.”
By many measures, it favors them still. What was derided in the early days as “Wegeforth’s Folly” has become one of the most famous and respected zoos in the world — a major tourist attraction, a leader in efforts to conserve endangered plants and animals, and a thriving nonprofit that last year took in almost $30 million more than it spent.
But the zoo begins its second century on Sunday amid a swirling public debate about the treatment of animals in captivity that has already roiled other facilities.
In March, bowing to pressure ignited by th
For zoos, pandas are about prestige, not profit
Giant pandas aren’t quite the economic boon they’re made out to be.
In fact, American zoos that host giant pandas don’t make money at all. They lose it.
“Pandas have been a cost, not a revenue source,” said Christina Simmons, public relations manager for the San Diego Zoo, which is one of four U.S. zoos with pandas. “Our attendance has been the same from before and after we got pandas.”
When the San Diego Zoo acquired pandas in 1996 it agreed to a loan contract that required the zoo to donate $1 million per year toward panda conservation, exchange experts for research at zoos and in the wild, and contribute $500,000 toward conservation for the first baby panda born at the zoo, plus additional funds for subsequent births.
That deal, which was similar to those at other American zoos, has since been negotiated to a 50 percent discount, but the costs still outweigh the profits.
When it tried to acquire giant pandas from China, the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium used a budget of $55 million. That included the standard $1 million per year, 10-year loan, plus $250,000 per year toward panda conservation, $15 million or more for a new exhibit and additional funds for research and conservation. About $400,000 w
Ganzhou zoo under fire for spraying pandas with cold water
China Giant Panda Research Center has demanded that Ganzhou Forest Zoo reform its problematic practice in panda care. The demand comes after Internet users alleged that the zoo was mistreating its pandas.
According to several Weibo users, the caretakers at Ganzhou Forest Zoo regularly spray the zoo's pandas with cold water. In a letter to the China Giant Panda Research Center, the zoo denied the allegation. It also explained that, due to recent high temperatures, they use central air conditioning to create a comfortable environment for the pandas.
According to the statement, the zoo d
Giant panda that ate trash is in good condition: zoo
On the afternoon of Oct. 5, a netizen posted photos online, showing the panda house at Taiyuan Zoo littered with snacks, water bottles, beverage cans and plastic bags. An adult giant panda was eating the refuse thrown away by tourists and no one was trying to stop it.
Soon afterwards, China's State Forestry Administration and the China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center ordered the zoo to investigate the incident.
According to the Center, the giant panda involved in the incident belonged to the center and was named "Shunshun." The male panda was b
How natural selection acted on one penguin species over the past quarter century
Biologists of all stripes attest to evolution, but have debated its details since Darwin’s day. Since changes arise and take hold slowly over many generations, it is daunting to track this process in real time for long-lived creatures.
“We know that evolution occurs — that species change,” said Dee Boersma, a University of Washington professor of biology. “But to see this process in long-lived animals you have to look at generations of individuals, track how traits are inherited and detect selection at work.”
Are zoos still relevant? Minnesota Zoo exec takes on the question
The Timmy controversy unfolded around the beginning of Kevin Willis’ zookeeping career. Now the Minnesota Zoo’s vice president for biological programs, Willis points to cases like Timmy’s when he talks about how little the public understands zoos.
“If you look at the movie ‘Blackfish’ and Sea World’s response to it, and the public response to it, if you look at the public’s response to the shooting of the gorilla at the zoo in Ohio, there are a lot of people who I don’t think really thought very much about the role of zoos,” Willis said. “When those sorts of topics come up, I think people do start to question.”
These days, the questions spread a lot faster than they did in 1991. Type “Minnesota Zoo dolphins” into a Google search, and “Minnesota Zoo dolphins death” emerges among the top results. Do the same with bears, and “Minnesota Zoo bear breaks glass” pops up.
Last year’s story about a grizzly
The Tiny Threat That’s Killing North America’s Largest Bird
Every egg matters when you’re trying to save a critically endangered bird from extinction.
That’s especially true for California condors, North America’s largest birds with a 10-foot wingspan. Condors nearly went extinct in the 1980s as a result of hunting, lead contamination, DDT poisoning, and other factors. The last 22 California condors were brought into captivity in 1987 in a last-ditch effort to breed them in safety and save the species from disappearing.
Zoos breed animals by the studbook
Breeding animals in the zoo is not as simple as putting any male and female together and expecting them to mate.
Zoologists around the world work behind the scenes to find the perfect match for animals in order to ensure good genetic diversity.
They do this with the help of studbooks, which are online databases on the parenting history of animals.
Nine-Year-Old Girl Killed in Egypt by ‘Mountain Leopard’
Speaking to Youm7, investigative officials said that the leopard had escaped from a farm that had been licensed by the Ministry of Agriculture to privately breed a range of animals. After escaping, the leopard travelled to Kafr Hameed, which is more elevated than other nearby areas.
The owner of the farm has been summoned for investigation and may face charges relating to the escape.
What Meerkat Murder Tells Us About Human Violence
A new study of violent behavior in more than 1,000 mammal species found the meerkat is the mammal most likely to be murdered by one of its own kind.
The study, led by José María Gómez of the University of Grenada in Spain and published Wednesday in the journal Nature, analyzed more than 4 million deaths among 1,024 mammal species and compared them with findings in 600 studies of violence among humans from ancient times until today.
The findings tell us two things:
Some amount of violence between humans is attributable to our place on the evolutionary tree.
Meerkats are surprisingly murderous.
To be clear, the study's authors d
Animals still fascinate Julie Mansell after 32 years at zoo
THERE'S a big 'love-in' going on in the bushes up on the Antrim Road – and it's not a laughing matter.
Among the concerned observers is Julie Mansell, who is wondering where it will all lead: for a start, the chemistry between the 'lovebirds' is currently unknown and, so far, hasn't ventured beyond the 'smelling' stage.
It may not be the most romantic of introductions, bt it is all part of an elaborate seduction routine involving two rare striped hyenas at Belfast Zoo.
"It is a tense time, when animals are first introduced to each other," observes Julie, curator at the zoo where she will have worked for 32 years this November.
"They will circle around each other first, smelling each other, sizing each other up – it's part of the hyena love dance and is the next big challenge on my horizon. It can be one big dating scene here at times.
"It is always fascinating, no matter how many years I have worked here, to see how animals interact with each other and, of course, to see the end result of successful breeding programmes, with the birth of healthy babies."
And this year there have been quite a few baby animals delivered at a
Governor Jerry Brown Signs a Misguided “Animal Rights” Bill
As you may have heard, the Governor of California, Jerry Brown, just recently signed a bill into law that prohibits both the use of Killer Whales in theatrical shows at places like SeaWorld, and Killer Whale breeding in captivity. This seemingly feel-good legislation is a response to a recent sway in public opinion against these kind of aquatic institutions thanks in part to the 2013 film Blackfish. But as warm and fuzzy as we may all feel about this new law, as an animal behaviorist and trainer who has extensive experience working with these magnificent creatures, I can tell you that this bill is a bad idea, and will end up doing more harm than good: a seemingly new trend in animal welfare.
New approach on cranes takes wing
A major shift in strategy in managing endangered whooping cranes begins this week with the arrival in Wisconsin of juvenile cranes that no longer will rely on ultralight aircraft to guide them during fall migration.
The slow-moving aircraft will be absent for the first time since 2001, when a public-private partnership launched a novel reintroduction plan involving ultralights and humans dressed to look like cranes.
Instead, nine young cranes flown to Wisconsin on Wednesday by private plane from a federal facility in Patuxent, Md., will be paired with adult cranes in the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County and other areas.
Three other cranes hatched at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo will be released in the coming weeks — all with the hope they bond with adults and follow them south for the winter.
Efforts to bring back whooping cranes to the eastern United States has cost more than $20 million and has resulted I
'World's saddest polar bear' offered home at UK zoo
The "world's saddest polar bear" is set to be saved by a UK zoo after public outcry at the poor living conditions he was enduring in China.
Pizza the polar bear is currently being kept at the Grandview shopping centre in the country's Guangzhuo city.
But animal rights campaigners claim the bear - which is the zoo's star attraction - does not have enough space to move around.
And now Yorkshire Wildlife Park, near Doncaster, c
Wildlife Safari welcomes its 200th cheetah and litter of 4 cubs
In 1972, the Wildlife Safari in Winston opened to the public and, shortly after the park’s grand opening, a cheetah breeding program was established.
Since then, Wildlife Safari has celebrated milestones and biological achievement among not only cheetahs, but with all the big cats that call the park home. Since the inception of the cheetah breeding program at Safari, the park has blossomed into the most successful cheetah breeding facility outside of Africa and the number two facility on Earth, second only to The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre in De Wildt, South Africa, Safari officials said.
On August 28, 2016, Wildlife Safari welcomed its 200th cheetah and a total litter of four cubs to the world.
In support of their mission to conserve and save big cat species, Safari auctioned off the naming rights to the litter of 4 at the September 9 annual Ladies Auxiliary of Wildlife Safari auction, an event which raised the park well over its $150,000 goal, grossing almost $200,000 before expenses.
“Moonfire is a very healthy 9-year-old cheetah and she's being a wonderful mom, taking excellent care of her cubbies,” Benji Alcantar, MVZ, the park’s head veterinarian said. “(She's) very attentive of their needs. The cubbies were born on Sunday, August 28; all weigh in at between 2 and just over 3 pounds, 2 girls an
Rio’s AquaRio Aquarium to Open November 9th
“I did not expect it to be so large, and diversified. The space is another attraction in the Port Region,” exclaimed Naira Amorelli, from the travel website Embarque na Viagem, at a special unveiling for journalists and media last Thursday, September 15th.
Sure to be one of the highlights of any visit to AquaRio will be the main tank, called Recinto Oceânico. At five hundred square meters and seven meters deep, Recinto Oceânico will allow guests to touch some of the marine animals, or even dive with the sharks, fishes, and manta rays.
Other attractions will include a virtual aquarium, which uses the latest technology to simulate an interactive underwater experience, and the Sciences Museum, which will house permanent and temporary marine exhibitions.
Szpilman, also AquaRio’s CEO, told the crowd of excited reporters at the special unveiling that the marine aquarium has three goals, “education, research, and conservation. Our proposal is to awaken in children the interest in science.”
AquaRio has partnered with the Department of Marine Biology of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) to create a scientific research center on the site, which will also include a biodiversity conservation center, aimed at preserving animals in danger of extinction.
Animal welfare group threatens Tilman Fertitta's Landry's Inc. over white tigers at aquarium
A national animal welfare group on Monday notified Landry's Inc. it plans to sue the company if it doesn't take them up on an offer to find new homes for four white tigers they say are being forced to live in deplorable conditions at the company's Downtown Aquarium.
Leaders of the San Franciso-based Animal Legal Defense Fund say the tigers have no access to sunlight, fresh air or natural surfaces and live in what amounts to a "Landry's sponsored dungeon" in the current exhibit at the aquarium known as the "Maharaja's Temple."
The threat of legal action appears to be spurred by new standards under consideration by the Association for Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that stipulate tiger exhibits include an outdoor space, natural vegetation, and reduced exposure to the public, none of which they say is available to Landry's white tigers.
The Landry's aquarium is accredited by the AZA.
Longleat penguins die in malaria outbreak
A "large number" of penguins have died following an outbreak of malaria at a safari park.
A spokesman for Longleat in Wiltshire said a number of Humboldt penguins had died after contracting the avian st
rain of the disease from mosquitoes.
Avian malaria cannot be passed on to humans but the park has decided to close Penguin Island to visitors.
Darren Beasley, head of animal operations, said: "Our team of keepers are absolutely devastated."
The safari park, which is home to a colony of captive-bred Humboldts, has said it will release further details of the number of penguins aff
BRAZIL TO OPEN LATIN AMERICA’S FIRST ELEPHANT SANCTUARY
Brazil is ready to open the first elephant sanctuary in Latin America. The facility is located on a 1,100-hectare farm (2,700 acres) in the midwestern state of Mato Grosso do Sul. The area will host up to 50 elephants – and the first elephants to call the sanctuary home will be three females who retired from the circus. The sanctuary, entirely financed by international NGOs, will not be opened to visitation.
Before being placed in the facility, the elephants will undergo a rehabilitation process under veterinary supervision to regain confidence. The animals usually suffer the consequences of years of abuse, which is especially the case for former circus elephants, or a total lack of stimulation, as it so happens with zoo elephants. The territory chosen for the sanctuary is considered ideal by experts, as it is isolated by natural barriers; mountains and valleys surround the property.
The animals will not be bred, and will be separated according to their species and gender.
The first two elephants to be placed in the sanctuary will be 44-year-old Maia and 42-year-old Guida, both rescued in 2010 from a circus in Bahia. Both hav
Paignton Zoo's Director Simon Tonge on Education, Inspiration and the New Savannah Exhibit
“I’m sure living in Africa didn’t hurt, but I think even if that hadn’t happened I would have been obsessed with animals anyway.”
After completing a zoology degree at Bristol University, Tonge launched his career at Durrell’s famous Jersey Zoo in the Channel Islands.
He worked in the reptile department for eleven years before taking two years out to train as an accountant, having decided it was time to learn more about the financial side of the business.
“The things I learned in those two years are, I would say, essential for anybody who has aspirations to be a senior manager.”
With his career firmly on track, he worked out that there were likely to be several vacancies for zoo directors around the year 2000 and was determined to position himself as a likely candidate.
“The two years as an accountant helped, then I worked at London Zoo as the Senior Curator in charge of the animal department and all the keepers, which was a good background for my current position as Director of the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, and all its zoos.
“That’s how it happened.”
Students free penguin from S-African aquarium
Two South African students have confessed to stealing a penguin called "Buddy" from a marine park and releasing him into the Indian Ocean, the park's management said Tuesday.
The endangered African black-footed penguin was taken from Bayworld in Port Elizabeth in the early hours of Wednesday last week, put in a car and taken the short distance to the coast.
The students, who have not been named, confessed to the crime and said it was a demonstration against animals being kept in captivity.
"They are convinced what they did was in the interest of the penguin," Dylan Bailey, manager of the Bayworld Oceanarium, told AFP.
"They thought what they were doing is right.
"We are still discussing the matter with their legal representative. There was no malicious intention, they did
Editorial: Puzzling reaction to penguin theft
There is much about the disappearance of Buddy the penguin that leaves one very puzzled indeed.
The bird went missing from the penguin enclosure at Bayworld last Wednesday and has still not been found.
What makes the case even more bizarre is that the two men who (through a legal representative) have owned up to removing Buddy are known to Bayworld, whose director is now refusing to make their identities known to the public and media.
This despite the fact that Bayworld actively sought our paper and readers’ help when Buddy’s disappearance first became known.
One wonders what possible reason Bayworld could have for protecting the identity of these culprits. Some would argue this only serves to condone their actions.
And, if these two were so easily able to access the facility and steal a penguin, what stops others from attempting to do the same?
Regardless of how they might justify their actions, the two committed a crime by entering Bayworld unlawfully and taking what was not theirs to take.
There is nothing that entitles them to protection, yet it appears the facility’s director does not intend to press charges, raising even more questions.
We can only hope that the police will still pursue
Revealed: how senior Laos officials cut deals with animal traffickers
Officials at the highest level of an Asian government have been helping wildlife criminals smuggle millions of dollars worth of endangered species through their territory, the Guardian can reveal.
In an apparent breach of current national and international law, for more than a decade the office of the prime minister of Laos has cut deals with three leading traffickers to move hundreds of tonnes of wildlife through selected border crossings.
In 2014 alone, these deals covered $45m (£35m) worth of animal body parts and included agreed quotas requiring the disabling or killing of 165 tigers, more than 650 rhinos and more than 16,000 elephants.
Trading in all three of those species is prohibited by Lao law and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species(Cites) which came into force in Laos in 2004. The Lao government has publicly paraded its
Bearizona Wildlife Park cited by USDA after mountain lion kills sheep
Bearizona Wildlife Park in Williams was cited by the feds after a mountain lion jumped onto the premises, killing a Dall sheep, ABC15 has learned.
According to an Aug. 23 inspection from the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the sheep was found dead "outside of its enclosure" back in May.
The agency notes that all outdoor housing facilities must be enclosed by a perimeter fence, of sufficient height, to keep animals and unauthorized people out. The lion jumped over an eight-foot fence to get to the sheep.
New Research Sheds Light on Snake Vision
Researchers have long known that snakes have highly variable sets of rods and cones – the specialized cells in the retina that an animal uses to detect light. But until now, most modern studies of vision in vertebrates have concentrated on mammals, birds and fish.
“There are more than 3,500 living species of snakes, with very diverse lifestyles,” said study senior author Dr. David Gower, an evolutionary biologist at the Natural History Museum, London, UK.
“Most modern work on the genetics of vision has been done on mammals, birds and fish. But studying snakes’ eyes is important for a more accurate and complete understanding of how vision functions and has evolved in vertebrates more generally.”
To investigate snake visual evolution, Dr. Gower and his colleagues from the United Kingdom, India and Australia examined the genes involved in producing visual pigments in 69 different species of snakes – as the genes vary from species to species so does the exact molecular structure of the pigments and the wavelengths of light they absorb.
They discovered that most snakes express three visual opsin genes (rh1, sws1, and lws) and are likely dichromatic in daylight – seeing two primary colors rather than the three that most humans
Sadness as founder of Twycross Zoo dies
One half of the partnership who created Twycross Zoo, has died. Nathalie Evans, who along with her lifetime business partner, Mollie Badham, founded the Leicestershire zoo, died on September 9, aged 98.
A spokesman for Twycross Zoo said: "Natalie will be sadly missed throughout the zoo world and by all those who were fortunate enough to count her as a friend."
Sarah Nathalie Evans, who was known as Nathalie, discovered her love for animals breeding dachshunds before eventually selling them worldwide. This experience led her to finance her next business venture, a pet shop in Sutton Coldfield.
The rival pet shop in the town was run by Molly Badham, and it was in the window of Nathalie's shop in 1949 that Molly saw her first monkey. The encounter lead to a unique partnership between Molly and Nathalie and their joint and enduring passion with primates began, and legendary association was born.
Zoo creates rain storms to help lemur leaf frog breed
Keepers have bred a critically endangered colour-changing frog by using artificial rain storms.
It is the first time the lemur leaf frog, found mainly in the rainforests of Costa Rica and Panama, has been bred at Paignton Zoo in Devon, England.
A team from the zoo prepared a rain chamber using a water pump and timer system to make it rain every few hours during the day.
The rainfall and humidity helped replicate the kind of conditions the frogs would encounter at the start of the wet season, when they breed.
Andy Meek, a keeper from the zoo's lower vertebrates and invertebrates department, said: "We have a total of 18 tadpoles, a number of w
Guangzhou mall rejects offer to transfer polar bear to UK zoo
A shopping mall in Guangdong province, which raised an international outcry for keeping a polar bear in its facility allegedly in miserable conditions, has turned down an offer by a British zoo to give a new home to the arctic mammal.
A petition to remove the bear, named Pizza, from its current location at the Grandview shopping center in Guangzhou gained more than half a million signatures in a campaign launched by animal rights group Animals Asia, The Independent reports.
Photos published online by the Hong Kong-based group show Pizza living in a small, prison-like room without windows, looking distressed as tourists gathered around to take pictures.
The campaign gained traction after various media outlets such as CNN, the BBC and Al Jazeera reported Pizza’s plight, dubbing it “the world’s saddest bear”.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster, England, confirmed it was willing to take care of the bear.
The park maintains a facility established spe
We know exactly how the Vietnamese Javan rhino went extinct
In the dense, hilly jungles of southwest Vietnam, a lone rhino once wandered. She was the last of her subspecies and this was her home.
Cat Loc, a northern sector of Cat Tien National Park, is a part of the world once ravaged by Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Today it is better known as a wildlife conservation area – but also a place where some of those efforts have failed.
The last rhino spent her days roaming across thousands of hectares, a much wider range than was thought natural for these herbivores. But then again, she had the run of the place. There were creeks and rivers where she could wallow and there was also plenty of food – like rattan, a woody climbing plant found all over the area.
But one day, a hunter peered at her through the sights of a semi-automatic weapon – and pulled the trigger. We do not know if the rhino saw her killer and we do not know how many times she was shot. But as that gunshot cracked out in echoes across the forest, the extinction of Javan rhinos in Vietnam was sealed. However, it did not h
BELFAST WELCOMES EUROPE’S BIGGEST GATHERING OF ZOO PROFESSIONALS
This week Northern Ireland’s capital city is swarming with zoo professionals attending the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) conference at Belfast Waterfront.
Regarded as the biggest annual gathering of the European zoo and aquarium community and arguably the most important event in the industry’s calendar, the 4-day conference kicks off today with a jam packed programme focused on promoting biodiversity and wildlife conservation.
Belfast’s honey pot of fantastic conference facilities, excellent choice of hotels and an active European and international breeding programme to help protect endangered species, were key to attracting 700 delegates from 44 countries to the city, and generating an estimated £1.4m for the local economy.
Dr Thomas Kauffels, the chair of European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) is thrilled to bring their annual conference to Belfast for the very first time, and comments: “Belfast Zoo and the city have designed a 4-day programme guaranteed to excite, engage and enable us to explore the region’s rich culture as well as the local ecosystems.
“Having a conference centre that is flexible and able to adapt helped create the winning proposal and the perfect setting for this year’s conference. Belfast Waterfront’s fantastic conference facilities are even better than some UK centres. Its city centre location and convenience to the region’s two airports have proven extremely beneficial to our international delegates – members can fly in and go straight to a meeting,
BANNERGHATTA NATIONAL PARK : GIRAFFE FROM CYPRUS ZOO? A TALL ORDER
Bannerghatta Biological Park's efforts to add giraffe to its menagerie is proving to be a test of its resilience. After four years and two failed attempts, it has finally struck a deal with Pafos Zoo in Cyprus: Two female elephants in change for two pairs of giraffe. But the issue now is how will it foot the $250,000 transportation cost? The animal will have to be brought in a special chartered flight.
And so, the biological park is now on the lookout for other zoos in India that might also be interested in an exchange with the Cyprus zoo so that the expenses can be shared.
The park will soon submit a detailed plan in this regard to the State government for its approval. Santosh Kumar, executive director, BBP, confirmed the news with Bangalore Mir
SIKKIM’S SCHOLAR MAKES SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGH , DISCOVERS A NEW SPECIES OF PIKA
A new study based on genetic data and skull measurements has identified a new species of mammal high up in the Sikkim Himalaya.
Reported in the Journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, the new pika species, O. sikimaria is an important part of the ecosystem, and sensitive to the impacts of climate change.
Sikkim’s Daughter Nishma Dahal, the first author of the paper and a Sikkim native has been studying pikas since 2010. Little did she know on her first trip to East Sikkim that she was handling a new species of pika.
The research conducted by the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) with support from the Department of Biotechnology shows that though the species is morphologically similar to the Moupinpika, it is actually very distinct from the former from a genetic and ecological perspective.
Such discordance between genetics and morphology has never been reported in pikas, although such cases have been reported in many organisms like butterflies, arctic plants and f
Snail mail: RZSS reintroduces rare Partula snails to Tahiti
Conservation charity the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) has provided hundreds of critically endangered Partula snails to be reintroduced to their native habitat of French Polynesia. Most species of the tree snails became extinct as a result of predation by the introduced rosy wolf snail; however, thanks to the combined conservation efforts of RZSS Edinburgh Zoo and its partners, a number of the species were rescued from complete extinction.
RZSS Edinburgh Zoo has sent off five different species of Partula snail to be returned to the wild this September, with further reintroductions planne
Measuring the relationship…
I’m always wondering how far having a relationship goes in the eyes of us trainers. I mean do we value relationships the same as what we have between each other? If this is the case we might need to reconsider what having a good relationship means with the animals we work with. Working with killer whales in various facilities made me understand much better how important it is to build up a relationship, because this was depending on your own safety. The theory was if the relationship is strong enough then the safety is on a higher standard for the animal and yourself. There for we did a lot of relate sessions with the animals.
SEAWORLD CUTS DIVIDEND AS FINANCIAL WOES CONTINUE
SeaWorld announced this week that it would be cutting the dividend paid to its shareholders for the current quarter and stop paying dividends altogether for the foreseeable future.
Instead the company will focus on repurchasing shares with $190 million set aside to pay for this.
SeaWorld's share price has slumped over 60% during the past three years since the release of the award-winning film Blackfish, and amid ongoing criticism over its continued display of orc
Tapirs Are Surprisingly Well Endowed
In the distant past, orangutans existed throughout southeast and southern mainland Asia, but their populations are currently only found in northern Sumatra (Indonesia) and in Borneo (Indonesia and Malaysia). Throughout much of their history in captivity, there has been debate about the degree to which the orangutans living on these two islands differ genetically. Until the latter part of the 20th century, most zoological collections managed the apes as a single species, regardless of individual origin, thereby creating a large hybrid population. Significant genetic studies performed in the 1980s and 1990s demonstrated that the orangutans from the two islands are indeed genetically distinct and classifiable as separate species – Pongo pygmaeus (Bornean orangutan) and Pongo abelii (Sumatran orangutan).
Bird flu poses threat to penguins - scientists
Scientists are warning of new threats to penguins on Antarctica from diseases spread by migratory birds.
A modern strain of bird flu has been found in penguins living on the snowy continent, although it does not seem to be making them ill.
Conservationists say penguins need better protection through monitoring for new diseases and safeguarding their breeding and fishing grounds.
Bird flu is an infectious disease of poultry and wild birds.
Scientists found an unusual strain of bird flu among penguins on Antarctica a few years ago.
A second strain has now been discovered, suggesting viruses are reaching the continent more often than previou
Wildlife Crime Bulletin
Extinction looms for the once-ubiquitous hornbills of Belum Temengor
We are in danger of losing another iconic wildlife, writes Elena Koshy “LANGIT terus tak ada — dilitupi oleh burung ni,” (couldn’t even see the sky for the birds...) the weathered face of the “Batin” or village headman of the Orang Asli village of Chiong in Temengor looks wistful as he stares off into the distance, recalling the long past days where the skies were once filled with thousands of Plain-Pouched Hornbills making their migratory journey across the still waters of the Temengor Lake. Flocks of hornbills covering our skies were common sight in the deep forests of Belum Temengor in the 1990s and up to the early 2000s. However, in recent years and from the recent Hornbill Survey undertaken by the Ecotourism & Conservation Society Malaysia (ECOMY) at the Royal Belum State Park late last month, there’s an alar
Forced to pose for selfies with crowds after performing in portable chlorine pools: Sad life of dolphins captured for Indonesia's traveling circuses
Pictures from one of Indonesia's popular travelling dolphin circus have revealed the cruel conditions the sea creatures are being being kept in.
More than wild 72 dolphins have been caught from the ocean and kept in captivity as part of travelling circuses that perform across Indonesia, according to The Black Fish.
In Semarang, west of Jakarta, crowds pay very little to watch a man command dolphins to do tricks with balls, jump through hoops and perform flips.
It's part of the furniture but without a Dutchman and Bertie, Dublin Zoo could have shut forever
DESPITE BEING A staple of Dublin and one of the most popular visitor attractions in Ireland, there was a time when the capital was faced with the possibility of losing Dublin Zoo.
The organisation was nearly on its last legs financially at the turn of the millennium and if it wasn’t for government intervention in 2006, the zoo may well have been forced to close its doors for good.
“I walked in 15 years ago and I scratched my head,” says Leo Oosterweghel, the Dutchman who joined as director of Dublin Zoo from Melbourne Zoo in 2001 to try and reinvigorate the organisation.
On a worldwide basis, state backing in zoos is quite rare, according to Oosterweghel, who says Dublin Zoo has one man in particular to thank for ring fencing the €18 million in funding that has helped bring the organisation back fr
Exmoor Zoo staff left heartbroken after all 10 penguins die
Exmoor Zoo staff have been left heartbroken after all its penguins died.
The zoo reported today that all 10 of the birds had died from a quick and devastating outbreak of avian malaria.
There have been penguins at the zoo, near Bratton Fleming, since it opened in 1982, and some of the birds that died today are children of the original birds.
Hunting Mudpuppies: On the Trail (and in the River) with Herpetologist Stephen Nelson
The Hiwassee River ripples like a slippery salamander, reflecting the flinty color of the sky. Then Stephen Nelson’s head breaks the smooth surface, and he rises from the chill water with a gasp, holding a gallon Ziploc bag. His scuba mask and labored walk toward shore give him a robotic look as water pours off his wetsuit.
Nelson yanks off his mask with a smack, revealing eyes pinned to the bag. It’s half full of water in which swims a sleek, shadowy creature normally accustomed to hiding in dark, wet corners. It’s small for an animal, but big for a salamander.
“It’s a common mudpuppy,” says Nelson, a herpetology keeper at Zoo Knoxville. The salamanders supposedly got their common name from making high-pitched whines when distressed, rather like a puppy’s bark.
But Nelson has never heard one utter a sound.
This animal both is, and isn’t, what he was seeking. Although he’s sampling for mudpuppies and this one will add to the genetic database he is buildi
Cheetah is now 'running for its very survival'
Pitiful scenes of cheetah cubs lying emaciated and bewildered highlight one of the cruellest but least-publicised examples of illegal wildlife trafficking.
Baby cheetahs are so prized as exotic pets that entire litters are seized from their mothers when they may only be four to six weeks old.
Each tiny animal can fetch as much as $10,000 on the black market and end up being paraded on social media by wealthy buyers in Gulf states.
But the trade exacts a terrible toll on a species that claims a superlative status as the fastest land animal on the planet but which now faces a serious threat to its survival.
Chinese Malls Are Filled With Sad Animals
Want to see something on a grand scale? Don’t head into nature—head to a Chinese mall. The country’s shopping obsession has taken the indoor shopping center concept to a new level, packing each mall with amenities and entertainment designed to lure in customers. But while the thought of a shopping spree might sound fun, the mall is anything but enjoyable for some of its residents: exotic animals. As Echo Huang Yinyin writes for Quartz, thousands of wild animals call Chinese malls home, living in a state of captivity for the sake of selfies.
Yinyin tracks the fate of animals like Pizza, a three-year-old polar bear held in captivity in The Grandview mall in Guangzhou. Pizza is stuffed into Grandview Mall Ocean World, an aquarium and zoo that features everything from Arctic wolves and foxes to walruses, beluga whales and other species. The animals’ keepers have been accused of everything from killing animals in transit to storing animals in filthy, too-small tanks. Pizza the polar bear gained international fame when he became the subject of a petition to release him from his isolated conditions. Outside experts claim that Pizza’s behavior—pacing, listlessness and staring—while mall
Half of Niabi Zoo’s animal handlers resign
Major changes are underway at the Niabi Zoo.
According to zoo director, Lee Jackson, five of the 10 animal handlers at the zoo have resigned. Three of the handlers have already left the zoo. Another two will leave in the next month.
Jackson says some of the employees have been looking for other jobs for months and it is a coincidence they received job offers close together. He also says some employees are leaving because they are unhappy with so
Niabi Zoo in 'crisis'
Five of the 10 animal handlers at Niabi Zoo have resigned, leaving the new director scrambling to find qualified, temporary help.
Two of the handlers have accepted jobs at larger zoos, director Lee Jackson said Tuesday. They gave notice and are working their final days at Niabi, located in Coal Valley.
Three others resigned this month, including assistant director and former interim zoo director Dan Meates. His wife, Leisje Meates, also a handler, has resigned as well. One keeper, Bryan Pohlmeier, simply "threw his keys down" on a desk, he said.
In about a week, an animal handler on loan from the National Zoo is to arrive to help temporarily, and Niabi is advertising for permanent replacements for all five positions.
"I've also reached out to several other zoos closer to home to see if they can help us out," Jackson said.
"We have nothing to hide out there," said Jeff Craver, director of the Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission, which is Niabi's governing body. "We have lost staff. Are we trying to get staff out there to cover the crisis? Yes."
Pohlmeier, who has worked for the zoo since January, was not bashful about listing his compl
£7m investment at Chester Zoo as visitor numbers continue to grow
Chester Zoo has announced plans to invest £7m as it continues to attract growing visitor numbers and revenues.
The Zoo - declared Britain’s best on Trip Advisor - will inject the cash this autumn, to enhance and improve the habitats of some of its 20,000 animals.
Unprecedented visitor figures in 2015, which saw almost 1.7m people flock through the conservation charity’s gates, have been followed up by even higher visitor figures so far in 2016.
Income from ticket sales and visitor spending has already helped boost the zoo’s 80 conservation projects to help endangered animals in more than 30 countries worldwide.
The investment work is said to continue the ‘always building’ philosophy of the zoo’s founder George Mottershead, 85 yea
Carte Blanche stands by its story despite Lion Man 'smear campaign'
Carte Blanche has responded to a Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) complaint lodged by the controversial Lion Man, Craig Busch following its expose of alleged animal cruelty saying, “We once again stand by our story and reject all his allegations with the contempt they deserve."
Traveller24 reported that the controversial reality TV star or The Lion Man as he is known had laid the BCCSA complaint after the investigative programme alleged Busch abused his lions and other animals on his South African game farm, Jabula Big Cat Sanctuary in Rustenburg.
The issue of using wild animals for human entertainment is a deep-seated, ethical debate across conservation circles the world over. South Africa is notorious for its canned lion industry with spin-off practices such animal interactions and lion cub petting being heavily scrutinised for falsely claiming to have conservation benefits. The IUCN has just supported a call for the practice of canned lion hunting in South Africa to be banned.
Before Busch arrived in South Africa he was already steeped in controversy. He rose to fame as New Zealand’s Lion Man through the television series in 2004 based at Whangarei’s Zion Wildlife Gardens. Africa Geographic reports in the decade since he has faced lengthy and costly legal proceedings between his mother Patricia Busch and himself over control of the park.
When he started the Jabula Big Cat Sanctuary in Rustenburg, it was reportedly not well received by South Africa's conservation community.
Lion Man Craig Busch hits back at animal abuse allegations
The Lion Man is fighting back at allegations he nearly killed a baby giraffe and dragged a lion through the bush after footage of the incidents was aired on a South African television show.
Craig Busch, who now lives on a farm called the Jabula Big Cat Sanctuary near Rustenburg, north of Johannesburg, has defended the claims raised by local current affairs show Carte Blanche.
He says he is firm with the lions, but does not abuse them.
The programme featured several of his former workers who claimed Busch mistreated his animals, and nearly killed a baby giraffe while filming a segment for his Animal Planet show.
But Busch hit back and lodged a complaint with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) for what he believes was an unfair TV report.
RAK Wildlife Park in upgrade to accommodate influx of dumped animals
RAK Wildlife Park officials hope to raise enough money to carry out a two-year expansion and upgrade of the attraction in the wake of a law making it illegal to keep exotic animals as pets.
Ninety per cent of the animals at the centre, from big cats to primates, are rescues – are liberated from people’s homes or even visiting circuses.
Rules for keeping exotic pets all over the chart in Canada: official
CAZA director calls for provincial legislation around keeping of exotic animals
A mish-mash of rules has resulted in dangerous situations across the country, according to the executive director of Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums.
Massimo Bergamini was in Truro to speak at the recent Atlantic Mayors’ Congress.
“We have an absolute mess of a system in place, if I could even use the word system,” he said. “It’s a hodge-podge that varies by jurisdiction.”
He said the assortment of regulations, and issues around enforcement, have led to situations that are dangerous for both humans and animals.
Ontario, he says, has the worst system and people often relocate from areas with stricter rules to open facilities such as roadside zoos there.
Sentencing delayed over fatal tiger attack on Samantha Kudeweh
The Hamilton City Council will now be sentenced on Friday over the death its zoo curator.
Mother-of-two Samantha Kudeweh died after the attack by Oz the male tiger in his enclosure at Hamilton Zoo on September 30, last year.
The council was to have been sentenced on a charge of failing to take all practical steps to ensure the 43-year-old was not exposed to hazards arising out of working with Oz.
However, Judge Denise Clark has said sentencing won't be completed today, and will instead be finished on Friday.
The council pleaded guilty over Kudeweh's death at its last appearance in June. The charge, laid by Worksafe NZ, carries a maximum fine of $250,000.
However, the council was to atten
Paignton Zoo defends decision to put down escaped antelope
A zoo has said it had 'no option' other than to put down the lechwe antelope which escaped yesterday morning.
Paignton zoo has been criticised for euthanising the lechwe after it was recaptured in a garden in the town.
Executive director Simon Tonge said that the lechwe had escaped from the enclosure after fighting with its brother and that it was impossible
Tiger attack: 'It's a farce' says widower
The husband of a zoo curator who was mauled to death by a tiger at Hamilton Zoo has called the sentence handed down to the council over safety failures 'a farce'.
Hamilton City Council was prosecuted over the death of Samantha Kudeweh, 43, who died on September 20 last year.
The council was fined $38,250 and ordered to pay more than $10,000 reparation to the curator's children. It was sentenced at Hamilton District Court this afternoon for failing to take all steps to protect Kudeweh after she was killed by an adult male Sumatran tiger in an
Zoo in Wakayama marks 15th panda birth
A giant panda at a zoo in Wakayama Prefecture gave birth to a female cub early Sunday, the zoo operator said, bringing the total number of pandas born there to 15.
The 24-cm-long baby panda weighed 197 grams, and both the cub and mother Rauhin, 16, are in good health, the Adventure World zoo amusement park said in a statement.
The mother picked up the cub immediately after giving birth, according to a zoo official.
Rauhin was born at the zoo in the
Young man climbs into bear enclosure at Swedish zoo
“It was horribly frightening, he was only about 1.5 meters from one of the bears,” Johanna Lindahl, one of the witnesses, told the local Kvällsposten newspaper. “He pretended to pounce on the bears and frightened them.”
Zoo staff had raced to the enclosure as soon as a witness called the alarm, fearing the worst, but by the time they arrived the young man had already leapt to safety after about four minutes inside.
“If he had fallen down, he would have fallen down straight into the enclosure and that would have been very dangerous,” Anna Blinkowski, the head of Skånes Djurpark in southern Sweden, told The Local.
“It was a very serious situation for us. The final o
Trump’s Behavior Similar To Male Chimpanzee, Says Jane Goodall
Donald Trump’s antics remind famed anthropologist Jane Goodall of the primates she spent decades studying in the wild.
“In many ways the performances of Donald Trump remind me of male chimpanzees and their dominance rituals,” Goodall told The Atlantic. “In order to impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays: stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing rocks.”
Goodall added, “the more vigorous and imaginative the display, the faster the individual is likely to rise in the hierarchy, and the longer he is likely to maintain that position.”
To date, we’ve not seen Trump drag branches or throw rocks, although anything is possible. Instead of physical displays, the Republican presidential nominee has stuck to verbal ones ― bragging about his penis, launc
New generation of ‘alala: Captive breeding program staff optimistic about November release
Imagine a call breaking the silence and carrying through the trees, a “cracked caw,” as one ornithologist put it years ago: a crow’s call.
Then another call. And another, as the ‘alala in the forest wake up and remind their neighbors they are still there, yes, and please don’t come near this tree, it’s mine.
You have to imagine these things because it’s been nearly 25 years since they actually happened.
Today, the only Hawaiian crows calling from trees live in conservation centers on the Big Island and Maui, not the wild.
Like so many other island birds, their numbers have been decimated from all sides: avian malaria, toxoplasmosis, introduced predators, native predators, loss of forest habitat.
There are 131 birds — 112 adults and 19 fledglings — left in the world, the result of a decades-long breeding effort that begins a new chapter in November, when a first group of young ‘alala moves into an outdoor aviary at Pu‘u Maka‘ala Natural Area Reserve.
If all goes well, those birds will be the foundation of a new wild population.
“Everyone’s extremely excited,” said Bryce Masuda, program manager at the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center, a 140-acre campus on Kamehameha Schools land in Volcano. “It’s been a long time coming.”
At first, people didn’t think the ‘alala needed to be saved.
Paul Banko, biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, remembers going into the field with his father, Win, in the 1970s to search for ‘alala. Win Banko worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and at the time was the only federal biologist assigned to the problem of Hawaii’s endangered species.
In the realm of the dwarf seahorse: tiny, fantastical, and under siege
We set out to catch a modern day unicorn, the dwarf seahorse, as dainty and secretive a creature as you can find anywhere on land or under the sea.
Measuring an inch long when full grown, they are the smallest of the four seahorse species native to the Gulf of Mexico, and one of the smallest vertebrates on the planet. They are also thought to be slowly disappearing.
In fact, the Center for Biological Integrity filed a petition in 2011 to list the dwarf seahorse under the Endangered Species Act. Federal officials are still considering that petition.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of our smallest and rarest seahorses are captured every year for sale in pet stores, seashell curio shops, or exported to China where they are believed to be a remedy for a failing libido. It appears the large majority of the harvested seahorses end up in this traditional m
Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park: After villagers say no to shifting, 15 gharials in troubled waters
With residents of the villages located on the periphery of the Harike Wildlife Sanctuary not agreeing to the release of gharials (Gavialis Gangeticus) in the wetland, the Punjab Forest and Wildlife Department has been put in a dilemma. This has also posed a problem for the authorities at Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park or Chhatbir Zoo from where 15 gharials were to be shifted. With the reptiles growing in size, the zoo authorities are concerned that soon the space to keep them might not be enough.
In all, about 50 gharials were to be reintroduced in the Harike Wetland which is at the border of districts Tarn Taran and Ferozepur in Punjab. Besides breeding gharials at the Chhatbir Zoo, these were to be brought from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The proposal has been hanging fire for the past two years.
As of now, there are 15 gharials at Chhatbir Zoo which are two years old and are around 1.50 metres in length which have been put on display. The reptiles are daily fed with fish, which is their natural diet.
After chalking out a proposal to release the gharials in the Harike Wetland, the department had also taken required permission from the Union Environment Ministry and other authorities concerned some months ago. These reptiles, which love to move around in running fresh water, hav
206 of Cambodia's rare royal turtles released at new center
More than 200 of Cambodia's nearly extinct royal turtles were released Tuesday in muddy waters at a new breeding and conservation center that was built in hopes of keeping the national reptile from disappearing.
The Koh Kong Reptile Conservation Center in western Cambodia is a joint effort between the government's fisheries department and the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society.
The 206 turtles belong to one of the world's 25 most endangered tortoise and freshwater turtle species. It's also known as the southern river terrapin, but its primary name harkens to historical times when only the royal family could consume the turtle's eggs.
The turtle was believed extinct until 2000 when a small population was rediscovered, and it was designated the national reptile in 2005.
Since 2001, a joint project between the
The Surprising Link Between Tapirs and Climate Change
Then, earlier this year, Brenes-Mora came across a new field of research that changed the way he thought about tapir conservation — research that links the loss of large herbivores like tapirs to the loss of a forest’s capacity to suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in leaves, wood and roots.
The biggest trees in tropical forests, the ones that can store the most carbon, tend to have bigger seeds and rely on big, fruit-eating animals like tapirs, monkeys and large birds to disperse those seeds. “So what happens if we have forests that are empty? There will be cascade effects,” says Carolina Bello, an ecologist at São Paulo State University in Brazil, including possible changes to the amount of carbon a forest can hold.
Bello ran computer simulations of what would happen in Brazil’s Atlantic forest if the trees that depend on large fruit-eaters like tapirs, muriqui monkeys and jacutinga birds went extinct. She fou
Can Zoos Teach Us Compassion?
It happens that the offices of YES! are in a building complex that also houses Studio Hanson | Roberts, one of the leading zoo-design firms in the world. As a result, I recently found myself breaking bread with a group of folks shaping the future of U.S. zoos. The conversation quickly turned to the future of zoos, their relevance to modern society, and implications for how they are designed and managed—topics largely new to me.
England’s Paignton Zoo: Feeding Animals from the Ground Up
The Paignton Zoo, located in Devon, England, utilizes vertical farming practices to nourish some of its approximately 2,000 animals. Since 2009, this hydroponic vertical growing system, VertiCrop, has diversified animal feed while increasing its nutritional density.
The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) says that one of “the main rationales for the project was that Paignton Zoo as a large visitor attraction provides an ideal environment to trial and showcase a working model of the Verticrop system in Europe. This is at a time when there is a growing emphasis on food security, the limited extent of natural resources, and the implications of climate change on worldwide crop production. [Also,] the project represents the first zoo-based sustainable growing laboratory, showcasing an evolutionary step in the way crops can be grown for the public.”
The zoo’s hydroponic growing system is made up of different layers of crops, including lettuce and spinach. The sun’s rays hit the stacked p
Do Insects Have Consciousness?
This moral hornet’s nest was first stirred at a local meeting of the worldwide science and drinking club Nerd Nite in a Sydney, Australia, pub. Honeybee scientist Andrew Barron began chatting with philosopher Colin Klein, who initially swatted away the idea of insect consciousness. After all, insect brains are tiny and have just a million or so neurons, compared with a human’s average of 86 billion. Like many of us, Klein had assumed that insects are just collections of reflexes—that they are “dark inside,” he says—and this assumption jibed nicely with his habit of flushing the enormous cockroaches at his apartment down the toilet.
Dream A Little Dream
It's time we shed light on something that those of us in the zoo field have kept secret from the public for too long. This topic is sensitive, but it perfectly illustrates how much we care about our animals. Most of us don't make a lot of money, all of us work long hours and are not really "off" even when we're at home. Some of us may work in an environment where we encounter animal rights extremists routinely, or in a place where we are considered "replaceable assets" (and you all know how I feel about that).
We put up with a lot of uncomfortable situations in order to put the welfare of the animals in our care FIRST. And why are we hiding the most obvious example of this from the world? What am I t
Female zoo keeper hospitalised with facial injuries after she was attacked by a wedge-tailed eagle
A wedge-tailed eagle has attacked a female staff member at the Gold Coast's Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, leaving her with facial cuts.
The woman, believed to be in her 30s, was attacked just after 8.30am on Tuesday and was taken to Gold Coast University Hospital in a stable condition.
The sanctuary's senior vet, Dr Michael Payne, said she was an 'experienced' staff member.
Freaking out about Zika? West Nile is the real killer
West Nile virus landed in the United States in the summer of 1999, starting in New York possibly with the blood of a sick bird on a ship or via an infected mosquito on a plane. Soon it had afflicted people in Queens with brain inflammation and killed birds at the Bronx Zoo.
Four years later, the virus had migrated across the country to California, far from Uganda, where it was first isolated in 1937. As of Sept. 1, West Nile has killed 229 people in the Golden State and sickened nearly 5,600. Last year a record 53 people died in California of the virus, and this year has the potential to end up as bad or even worse.
While the recent arrival in the U.S. of the Zika virus is getting most of the attention, public health experts consider West Nile to be a much more potent threat in California than Zika will ever be.
Through Sept. 1, the state has tallied 78 human West Nile cases in California this year – including a pair of deaths in Sacramento and Yolo counties. But it takes weeks for reporting and verification of West Nile cases to make it th
Can a New ‘Vaccine’ Stem the Frog Apocalypse?
A deadly fungus that’s been devastating frog populations is still spreading across the globe. In California, the chytrid fungus has moved inexorably across the Sierra Nevada from west to east, leaving thousands of frogs dead.
But Bay Area scientists are trying to turn the tide against the fungus with an experimental treatment, one that could matter to frogs worldwide.
They’re making a last-ditch effort to save the endangered mountain yellow-legged frog by immunizing it against chytrid.
Mountain yellow-legged frogs, found only in California’s alpine lakes, have been in steep decline due to the fungus as well as predation by non-nati
Japan's Notorious Dolphin Hunt Is Where the World's Aquariums Shop
The notorious annual dolphin hunt got underway last week in the small Japanese town of Taiji. During the six-month hunting season, terrified dolphins are violently herded into a narrow cove. Most are slaughtered — but scores of “good-looking” ones are captured and shipped off to aquariums.
The Taiji hunts always receive a barrage of condemnation, and especially so since the release of the Oscar-nominated documentary “The Cove” in 2009. While the hunters maintain they are culling dolphin “pests” who eat too many fish, the primary economic incentive for the Taiji drive hunts is the aquarium industry. Live dolphins sell for around $50,000, and this is what keeps the hunters in business.
If there were no demand for live dolphins from Taiji, it is highly likely this annual slaughter of hundreds of dolphins would cease.
After legal action last year from the advocacy group Australia for Dolphins and significant public pressure, the World Assn. of Zoos and Aquariums changed its policy and began to oppose the capture of cetaceans. To maintain membership in WAZA, all member aquariums had to agree not to buy dolphins from Taiji or any other drive hunt.
Strangely, the professional association that represents dolphin trainers hasn’t taken the same step. The International Marine Animal Trainers’ Assn. strongly opposes the dolphin slaughter that occurs in Taiji, but it accepts the capture of dolphins that happens during the same hunts. IMATA has a policy that e
Japan's 2nd crested ibis display to open in Ishikawa
Japanese crested ibises being raised at the Ishikawa Zoo will make their public debut within the year, making them the first of their species to be publicly displayed in Japan outside of a facility in Sado.
Japanese crested ibises are currently on display at the Toki Fureai Plaza (Japanese crested ibis interaction plaza) in Sado.
The bird has been registered as a special natural monument by the government. Since 2010, crested ibises from the Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center have been making Ishikawa Prefecture one of their dispersed breeding bases. The Ishikawa Zoo is currently raising a total of 13 ibises: six adults, and seven juvenile or recently hatched birds.
The Sado city government had express
Lucky orangutan couple await million-dollar home
The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo was excited to hear the good news today (Thursday), as American philanthropist and President of the Global Jewish Advocacy group AJC John Shapiro announced that he will be funding the construction of a home for an orangutan couple, a species that is severe in danger of extinction.
ZooSpensefull - "Thinking Outside the Zoo"
Are you going to win or are you going to lose?
Observation is a powerful method useful before and in all training sessions. It can make you win the session or lose the session. I remember working with Killer whales one of the senior trainers in Spain telling me Peter pay attention to the animals the whole day, look how they swim, where they swim and with whom they swim with. You will learn a whole lot more what will effect your training sessions. Since then I have this thought in my head about observation and if done right how much effect this has for your training.
Since October 2014 I’m working in the Zoo setting again. I took this observation method with me but can you imagine with the amount of animals in the Zoo (ca 600 individuals) I can’t do this to every specie? With a background of marine mammals, I am learning a lot about the different actions and behaviours that the animals give me or each other just by looking at them. There are so many more behaviours the animals show us what we do not know about. Lately I start to ask myself more and more w
GENETIC ANALYSIS UNCOVERS FOUR SPECIES OF GIRAFFE, NOT JUST ONE
Up until now, scientists and the world had only recognised a single species of giraffe made up of several subspecies. But, according to the most inclusive genetic analysis of giraffe relationships to date, giraffe actually are not one species, but four. For comparison, the genetic differences among giraffe species are at least as great as those between polar and brown bears.
The unexpected findings reported in Current Biology on 8 September 2016 highlights the urgent need for further and in-depth study of the four genetically isolated species and for greater conservation efforts for the world’s tallest mammal, the researchers say.
“We were extremely surprised, because the morphological and coat pattern differences between giraffe are limited,” says Dr. Axel Janke, a geneticist at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre and Goethe University in Germany. “Giraffe are also assumed to have similar ecological requirements across their range”, he added, “but no on
Are big conservation groups like IUCN still relevant?
A big conservation jamboree is on in Hawaii over 1-10 September. Some 9,000 delegates from 190 countries, including heads of state, government officials, scientists, indigenous people and business leaders, will share, debate and act on the latest issues in conservation and sustainable development, and define a global path for nature conservation for the future.
If you were a student of conservation science like me, you would be in awe of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). With its scientific assessments, the Red List and its specialist groups, you would follow this international institution seriously. You would admire and look up to the people who work there and consider yourself to have arrived in the scientific world if you were to become co-chair of the specialist groups.
Even if you aren’t into conservation, the acronym itself represents something big. IUCN is the only environmental organization that holds a place in the United Nations General Assembly, giving it an important and unique passport to international discu
Lebanon’s wildlife villain
A lack of rules enables the illicit trade
In the shade the temperature reached 34 degrees celsius as Executive met Samir Ghattas at Animal City for an interview in early August. “I turned this place into nature,” he said, “the zoo is my baby.” Executive had visited the zoo two weekends prior to this meeting, first posing as tourists in order to photograph conditions at Animal City and later to take photographs by invitation. What was clear was that conditions of captivity were less than ideal: wildlife lacked water in the sweltering heat and cages hardly provided shade from the sun. Executive also wanted to learn whether allegations of wildlife trafficking were true and wanted to find out more about the zoo’s business model.
It is not profitable, Ghattas says of Animal City, but how much money the zoo is losing is not clear. Over the course of a 90 minute interview Ghattas declined to give many specifics on the zoo’s financial performance or its expenses. He did claim that he subsidizes the zoo with cash from his other businesses or his own pocket, though he wouldn’t say how much. He also said that average attendance per year stood at 70,000 visitors. With each visitor paying $5 entry, that would amount to a total of up to $350,000 in an
Is Thailand serious about curbing trade in tigers?
Three months after famous Tiger Temple was raided and shut down the fate of the big cats seized, and the suspects arrested, is uncertain; meanwhile, anti-trafficking groups suspect legal tiger zoos and illegal farms continue to feed trade in the beasts, dead or alive
With a ferocious roar, Pu Ying leaps at the man who just shot her – but succeeds only in striking the bars of her enclosure. After 15 minutes of confused groaning, shaking her head under the effect of a powerful cocktail of ketamine and diazepam, the young tiger falls asleep. Veterinarians cover her eyes with a piece of cloth, place her on a stretcher and conduct medical tests.
“We are checking the heartbeat and the blood pressure, and also taking a few samples for further DNA analysis,” explains one of th
Is the Auckland Zoo out of touch with modern conservation?
Wild birds in a cage...Is the Auckland Zoo out of touch with modern conservation in Aotearoa New Zealand?
The tīeke, or North Island saddleback, is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s greatest conservation success stories. They were reduced to just one island population of 500 birds in the 1960s. But an ambitious translocation programme, initiated by the New Zealand Wildlife Service, continued by the New Zealand Department of Conservation, and more recently by community based conservation groups, has increased the global population to at least 10 000 birds scattered across 18 islands and 5 protected mainland sites. North Island saddlebacks are now secure and extinction is very unlikely.
The critical aspect of this conservation success story is that it focussed on creating new free living populations in natural habitats. This work with wild populations has contributed to New Zealand’s outstanding international reputation for innovative and effective conservation management. This is a far cry from the conservation ethic of the 1800s which involved shooting birds such as saddlebacks, stuffing them, and then displaying them in a glass case.
The Auckland Zoo has decided to celebrate North Island saddlebacks during conservation week 2016, but in quite a contrasting manner. They recently visited Tiritiri Matangi, one of the protected, free living populations, captured 10 wild birds and transferred them to the zoo where they will spend the rest of their lives in captivity in cages far smaller and simpler than the natural habitat they were born to.
So why is the Auckland Zoo capturing wild saddlebacks and confining them to cages for the rest of their lives? It is rare for modern zoos to capture wild animals and there is no need for a captive saddleback breeding programme. The zoo could never produce meaningful numbers of saddlebacks, there are considerable disease risks when transferring birds from zoos to the wild and captive bred birds often fare poorly after release.
Polish councilor suspects local zoo is doing Putin's bidding
A councilor from the ruling Polish Law and Justice Party in the town of Poznan has accused the local zoo of being "a Russian agent."
Michal Grzes has accordingly submitted a formal question to the mayor where he claims that the zoo is implementing "a foreign power's strategy" - specifically, that of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
It concerns the zoo's intention to host pairs of Persian leopards, an endangered species, help them reproduce and then release the offspring back into the wild.
However, Grzes observed that Putin, too, has been for years "propagating" the same cause of saving this species.
"I had to intervene," he told Poland's TVN24, explaining why Poznan's city hall was now dealing with his question about
The way Audubon Zoo used to be
If you've ever visited New Orleans' Audubon Zoo, it's all but guaranteed that you've seen it. You might've stopped to take a picture of it. You might've set your watch by it. Depending on your age, you've probably even tried to climb atop it at some point.
It is a well-worn sundial, situated atop a stone pedestal, right smack in the middle of the zoo near what was the facility's original main entrance. What you might not have noticed, however, was the name emblazoned on the side: "Valentine Merz."
It's not exactly a household name, but it's one worth knowing. Without it, there might not even be an Audubon Zoo at all -- at least, not as we know it.
Valentine Merz was born in Indiana and moved to New Orleans in 1870, where he forged a name for himself in a number of fields, from banking to brewing to barkeeping. (Among other things, Merz was part of the group of investors who founded Dixie Brewing Co. in the fall of 1906.) In his later years, he developed a fondness for taking regular evening strolls with his wife in the gardens of Audubon Park, formerly the site of the 1884 World Exposition and, before that, the grounds of Etienne De Bore's storied sugar plantation.
As early as 1894, efforts to establish a zoo on the site had been pitched to city leaders. The problem was that there was no money in the city's budget for a proper zoo, so improvements proce
Episode 566: The Zoo Economy
Zoo animals are different than most possessions, because zoos follow a fundamental principle: You can't sell or buy the animals. It's unethical and illegal to put a price tag on an elephant's head. But money is really useful—it lets you know who wants something, and how much they want it. It lets you get rid of things you don't need, and acquire things that you do need. It helps allocate assets where they are most valued. In this case, those assets are alive, and they nee
New inspections describe animal deaths at Baton Rouge Zoo as 'unfortunate events with no common thread'
The high-profile deaths of giraffes, a tiger and monkeys at the Baton Rouge Zoo over a short time span is "a string of unfortunate events that have no common thread," according to a new batch of inspections of the facility.
The Baton Rouge Zoo asked for three separate audits from its accrediting agency, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the wake of several unusual animal deaths over the past several months. The combination of those deaths this spring while zoo officials began lauding a $110 million rebuilding campaign sparked outcry and distrust from some political leaders and the residents they represent.
But none of the audits into how the zoo is run and the events leading to animals' deaths have found wrongdoing from the zoo staff. The audits instead pin the deaths on problems like weather, animal stress and unpreventable health conditions.
Lebanon to tame lion owners with new laws
The super-rich of Lebanon are buying lion cubs from zoos for bargain prices. But one animal rights organization is behind a government crackdown to stop the practice.
Tucked between a parking garage and a hospital is one of Lebanon's infamous zoos. But this institution may soon to feel the heat from the government here, which aims to crack down specifically on how they treat big cats.
And it's not hard to see why. In this tiny, dilapidated zoo, two lions are kept in a cage measuring 8 by 10 meters (about 26 by 33 feet). There is not even enough water for them in the sweltering summer heat of 30-plus degrees Celsius (85-plus degrees Fahrenheit), and the animals seem exhausted.
Today (01.09.2016), the Lebanese government will introduce new laws that attempt to force zoos to take the welfare of their big cats more seriously. And if enforced, the rules are likely to impact not only zoos.
Despite its grinding poverty, Lebanon has a contingent of rich individuals who keep fully grown lions and tigers in their homes - in some cases, even in Beirut apartments.
In fact, it's this same poverty that drives an illegal, underground business of animal trafficking. Cash-strapped zoos can make real money from selling lions, tigers and cheetahs to families of the country's elite during a period where the rest of the country can ill afford the 3-euro ($3.30) entrance fee.
Lack of awareness
The zoos themselves are in pretty dismal state, generally keeping animals in appalling conditions - according to Jason Mier, director of Animals Lebanon, "ofte
Massimo Bergamini: The importance of zoos
The death this year of Harambe, the Cincinnati Zoo’s western lowland silverback gorilla, continues to inflame online passions, spur the creation of viral memes and provide fodder for anti-zoo commentary.
National Post columnist Colby Cosh was the latest to jump into the fray, arguing the lesson we should take from Harambe’s death is that zoos are bad, and we know this because journalist H.L. Mencken said so about 100 years ago. But if you look beyond Cosh’s bizarre attempt to characterize zookeepers as gun-toting desperadoes and his (demonstrably incorrect) suggestion that the research taking place at zoos has no in-the-field applications, you’ll find that, at its root, his article — and the public reaction to Harambe’s death — actually makes a case for zoos.
The zoos that existed in Mencken’s time had about as much in common with modern zoos as his newsroom at the Baltimore Sun had in common with that of the newspaper today. But let’s take his argument that we can only learn from animals “in a state of nature” at face value and see what lessons the critically endangered wild western lowland gorillas can impart.
Former head of Cherry Brook Zoo sues for wrongful dismissal
The former chief administrative director of the Cherry Brook Zoo in Saint John is taking his former employer to court for wrongful dismissal.
A notice of action and statement of claim has been filed against the zoo and members of the board of trustees. The suit alleges Leonard Collrin and his wife Linda were escorted by police from their home at the zoo on July 6th.
Rare stick insects breed at Bristol Zoo
One of the world's rarest stick insects has successfully bred at Bristol Zoo - the first time the species has done so outside Australia.
Three pairs of Lord Howe Island stick insects have reached adulthood and laid eggs after they themselves hatched from eggs brought from Melbourne Zoo.
The critically endangered creature was thought to be extinct for almost 80 years until its rediscovery in 2001.
Only about 20-30 individuals are left in the wild.
Mark Bushell, curator of invertebrates at Bristol Zoo, said he was "ecstatic".
A Must-Read Review of the Wild-Caught Aquarium Fish Sector
We all are used to reading and witnessing attacks on the ornamental aquatic industry, which is accused of ransacking, plundering and even “raping” the world’s reefs and freshwater habitats to satisfy an insatiable consumer hunger for aquarium fish. Often, the accusations include false statistics, such as stating that more than 90 percent of marine fish are collected with sodium cyanide. Evidence and data used in these attacks often are out-dated or simply incorrect.
It’s time the industry stood up for itself, not just by refuting accusations with good science, but by proactively showing the world the true face of the industry. In fact, the U.K.’s Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) did this in a well-researched report “Wild caught ornamental fish—the trade, the benefits, the facts,” which knocks the whole issue into perspective.
For example, did you know that the total volume of marine fish caught for home aquaria represents, at most, a mere 0.0001 percent of the fish harvested from the sea for human consumption and other purposes? Further, large numbers of food and other fish are thrown back as unwanted bycatch, thus wasting vast amounts of a potentially valuable resource.
The report resulted from a one-year review program by David Roberts, Ph.D., and Ian Watson of the U.K.’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) of the School of Anthropology and Conservation at the University of Kent, with additional input from
Shedd Aquariums World of Water: What It Takes to Keep a Quality Environment for Animals
For a bunch of air-breathers, those of us trusted to keep our animals healthy and thriving are up to our “gills” as we’re tasked to think about our water quality at Shedd Aquarium. As we near the end of National Water Quality Month, it’s important to reflect and think about why water quality is a critical issue 365 days a year, not just during the month of August.
Animals - whether in an aquarium environment or in a native environment - have no control over the quality of the water around them. We do. As a result, we have an obligation to ensure the very best water quality possible. At Shedd, this means putting the right water for the right purpose in the right place. That’s no small task! Water comes in all forms at Shedd - clear, cloudy, salt, fresh, warm, cold - the list goes on! These conditions are carefully analyzed and adjusted as needed to create the best home for the animals that spend their lives swimming inside it.
How do we do that? We start in our own backyard, in the same waters of Lake Michigan that millions of people in the Chicagoland area use daily to drink, clean and cook with. All water that we use for our habitats at Shedd is first put through a massive charcoal filter - think about a home water filtration system, and multiply that by about 10,000. That’s where the water for our habitats begins its journey. This removes impurities like chlorine, which can be poisonous to our amphibians and fish. From there, we apply a variety of techniques to purify this water, like running it through a reverse osmosis membrane - a very specialized filter that removes dissolved salts and other molecules that even charcoal can’t capture. This process is necessary in our Amazon Rising habitats because Amazon river water in the native habitat is known to be very low in dissolved salts and we must replicate that for animals that have evolved in that type of water.
Horrible Zoo Puts Dogs And Cats Behind Bars
When Colleen Hegarty went to Bahrain, a tiny country off the coast of Saudi Arabia, on a Fulbright scholarship, she had no idea she'd end up bringing a dog back home to Florida with her.
But during her 10-month stay in Bahrain, Hagarty discovered Cooper in the most shocking place. He hadn't been a street dog or a shelter dog.
Why Volunteering With Animals Does Nothing For Conservation
Lots of people want to give up their free time to help support conservation. By ‘lots’ I mean relatively – google shows 2,900 searches* for ‘conservation volunteering’ last month – but still, that’s pretty good. This is brilliant news of course, and should be wholeheartedly applauded.
Overall, this must add up to tens of thousands of hours of effort from volunteers every year, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations/fundraising to make it possible. With all this money and effort, conservation could really go places. I should leave it there and chalk it up as a success story. There are lots of ways to support conservation, but truth be told every time someone comes up to me after a talk and says they want to help conservation so are heading off to A) An elephant orphanage, B) A primate sanctuary or C) To work with big cats, my heart sinks.
Zoos: For whose benefit – man’s or animal’s ?
Close zoos, Do not close zoos, Close some zoos – this is the current debate worldwide.
A debate has now begun in Sri Lanka.
DOC ZONE in Zoo Revolution : History of Zoos traces zoo history from 3500 BC to 2007, some milestones being: 3500 B.C, recent excavations near Hierkonpolis, Egypt discovered the earliest zoo, when remains of exotic animals were found buried;1500 B.C.,Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut maintained a zoo; 1752, the oldest existing zoo,Tiergarten (Austria) opened; 1793, the first modern zoo opened in Paris; 1828,London zoo opened with a template for modern zoos with taxonomic displays and wrought iron cages; 1752,Tierpark(Germany) became the first zoo to combine naturalistic landscapes and barless enclosures; 1963,the first safari park Tama(Tokyo)opened; 2007,the first game reserve Gondwana (South Africa)opened.
DOC ZONE says that the belief was that Pharaohs would have demanded that wild animals be captured for their amusement, enemy intimidation or hunting, to show their wealth and power.
WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums) founded in 1946 to guide zoos and aquariums on animal welfare, education and global conservation, has over 280 members, reportedly including the Dehiwela Zoo.
Animal rights expert Doris Linsays, “Not all animal rights activists love animals. Some respect them because they understand animals have a place in the world. Zoos, especially the ones that are doing everything right, present a special challenge to the animal-loving advoc
The Attica Zoological Park Receives Four Dolphins from Finland
Four bottlenose dolphins were transferred to their new home at the Attica Zoological Park in Greece during what was described as a “covert operation” by Yle, Finland’s national public broadcasting company.
The four dolphins named Veera, Delfi, Leevi and Eevertti were living at the Särkänniemi’s amusement park dolphinarium in Tampere, where the facility is set to close down.
A large cargo plane arrived in the early hours of Sunday morning around 4:30 a.m. according to reports by Yle, and transferred the dolphins from the Tampere-Pirkkala airport to Athens.
The four dolphins arrived at the Attica Zoological Park in Spata on Sunday morning where they will live out the rest of their days in the company of other dolphins at the Zoo’s facility.
Yle confirmed that the transfer of the four dolphins was done at no cost
Cookie the Cockatoo at Brookfield Zoo dies
Cookie, an at least 83-year-old cockatoo and one of Chicago’s best known zoo animals, died over the weekend at Brookfield Zoo, the zoo announced Monday.
“On Saturday morning, Cookie suffered a very abrupt decline in his health, prompting the veterinary and animal care staff to make the extremely difficult decision that it was time to peacefully euthanize him,” Michael Adkesson, vice president of clinical medicine for Chicago Zoological Society, which runs Brookfield, said in a statement.
In addition to generations of fans, the Major Mitchell’s cockatoo could claim many superlatives. He was the last animal that dates back to the zoo’s original collection, in 1934; the oldest living animal at Brookfield; “one of the longest-lived birds on record,” according to the online Animal Ageing and Longevity Database; and “Oldest Parrot - Living” as certified by Guinness World Records in 2014.
The press took note, too, often covering the zoo’s annual birthday celebrations for the parrot.
“Like some cockeyed vaudevillian comic in a loud suit and a funny hat, Cookie, an old cockatoo, always has relied on exaggera
HCMC to hire foreign consultants for Saigon Safari Park project
Accordingly, Vinpearl Company will be responsible for paying all consulting fees.
The city’s government has asked the Department of Transport to open Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes connecting the city center to the park’s adjacent areas and expand Nguyen Thi Ranh road.
The municipal authorities have also required Cu Chi Dsitrict to complete the compensation in September.
Saigon Safari Park covers on an area of more than 485 hectares. The project would require a total investment of US$500 million.
The park will be the city’s new zoo to house most of the animals currently in residence at the Sai Gon Zoo. The current Sai Gon Zoo will expand upon its existing gardens to become a full botanical garden, home to rare plants and some animals. The new zoo is expected to become the largest ecotourism facility in the country.
Saigon Safari Park focusing on wildlife conservation and the breeding of rare plants and animals will includes an open zoo, a night safari, a butterfly garden, a
New literature in the Rhino Resource Center
California to impose fines for using elephant bullhooks
Trainers who use bullhooks to discipline elephants in California will soon be subject to steep fines under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The Democratic governor announced Monday that he signed SB1062 by Sen. Ricardo Lara, a Bell Gardens Democrat.
Individuals, zoos, circuses or other organizations caught using bullhooks, baseball bats, pitchforks or other harmful devices will be subject to fines up to $10,000. They could also lose their elephant permit.
Animal welfare groups say the tools are inhumane, but some opponents of the legislation say they can facilitate care and research when used properly.
Brown vetoed a bill last year that would have criminalized the us
Taiping Zoo and Night Safari needs donations for animal feed
The Taiping Zoo and Night Safari needs contributions from corporations and corporate members to cover the expenses of animal feed which is increasing.
Taiping Municipal Council (MPT) president Datuk Abd Rahim Md Ariff said the cost of food for the animals was more than RM4 million a year.
He said to reduce its burden, the zoo had introduced an adoption programme since 1994 to get sponsors to cover the cost of animal feed.
The zoo is offering five packages to companies – the platinum package with donations of RM50,000 and above; gold package (between RM30,000 and RM49,999); silver package (between RM10,000 and RM29,999); bronze package (between RM1,000 and RM9,999); and 'ikhlas' package (between RM100 and RM999).
"By sponsoring the food, they will help the ani
Bowmanville Zoo staffer talks PETA allegations
Efforts to raise money to help rehome about 300 animals at the Bowmanville Zoo has received backlash online.
Plans to hold a special fundraising event featuring members of Justin Bieber’s family on Aug. 28 were altered after the zoo said PETA and its supporters on social media lashed out at the pop star and his father Jeremy.
“PETA called Jeremy and bombarded him and people sent him mean messages,” explained Alex Haditaghi, a spokesman for the zoo. “He rescinded his RSVP and we understand why he had to do that.”
Despite a change of plans, the event originally called Bieber Family Fun Day was held.
Visitors to the zoo were treated to a free BBQ and a chance to get up close with several baby big cats.
Madison Thompson, 21, an animal handler, took young white lion cub Alex around the grounds for guests to see. She was often caught snuggling up to the cub, kissing him and giving him extra treats.
A self-described animal lover, Ms. Thompson said if the allegations People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) made against Bowmanville Zoo co-owner Michael Hackenberger were true, “I wouldn’t work here.” She has been employed by the zoo since she was 15.
An undercover video posted online in December 2015 by PETA allegedly shows Mr. Hackenberger whipping a tiger during a training session. Also seen in that video, with her face blurred out, is Ms. Thompson.
In an effort to clear up some of the confusion and criticism, Ms. Thompson decided to share her story for the first time with durhamregion.com.
She said the woman who shot the footage came to the zoo as a volunteer. Ms. Thompson said Mr. Hackenberger and staff were told that she had a degree in animal behaviour and “she was intrigued with animal training.
Dreams of an African zoo north of Brisbane end as land listed for sale
IT was once earmarked as the future site of an African-inspired zoo, but that dream appears quashed with the prime northside site listed for sale for $27 million.
The 25.5ha site on Linkfield Rd, Bald Hills, has been owned by John Bowman for more than 30 years. Mr Bowman once harboured grand designs for the site — primarily the development of an African-inspired zoo.
Real estate agent and owner of RE/MAX A1 AJ Bakshi said there had already been a lot of interest in the land — which could potentially be sold in three smaller lots of 20 acres (8ha), 20 (8ha) a
One of the World’s Rarest Animals May Be on the Verge of Extinction in Iran
Only two female Asiatic cheetahs are known to be alive in the wild
The rare Asiatic cheetah, already severely endangered, may be in greater danger of extinction than ever before, as conservationists say only two females of the species are known to survive in the only country where it exists: Iran.
Only 40 Asiatic cheetahs remain in the wild, all of them in Iran, the Guardian reports. Conservationists worry that without an adequate female population, the
Oryx return to Chad thanks to UAE breeding programme
The scimitar-horned oryx has been brought back from extinction in the wilds of Chad thanks to the late Sheikh Zayed and the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency.
Repopulating the oryx, believed to have been poached to extinction in the wild 25 years ago, was one of the conservation passions of the UAE’s Founding Father.
As part of Ead’s reintroduction programme, 25 oryx bred in captivity in the UAE were released in the central African country and are being monitored by the Sahara Conservation Fund to see how they adapt to life in the wild.
"There have been no sightings for more than 25 years due to unregulated hunting, loss of habitat and lack of resources for conservation," said Razan Al Mubarak, secretary general of Ead.
"Leading the programme, which endeavours to reinstate a viable population of this majestic creature in its home range of Chad, is a dream come true."
The project will build a self-sustaining population by releasing between 300 and 500 oryx over the next five years.
The International Union of the Conservation of Nature listed the scimitar-horned oryx as extinct in the wild in 2000, although they are believed to have disappeared 10 years befoe that.
Since then, the animal, which naturally roams the sub-Saharan grasslands of Africa, from Senegal to Sudan, existed only in private collections.
One such collection was Sheikh Zayed’s oryx herd, which he decreed be protected in a wildlife reserve during his rule.
Ead’s task was to help transfer the oryx population, which today numbers 3,000 specimens, back to their endemic
Asiatic black bear donated from N. Korea dies
An Asiatic black bear, which came to South Korea in 1999 as a gift from North Korea, died of old age on Tuesday, according to Seoul Zoo, Wednesday. The bear, named Eutteumi, was presumed to be 20 years old.
She was one of the five Asiatic black bears inhabiting the zoo in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province.
The zoo said it will perform an autopsy to identify the exact cause of her death. The life expectancy of Asiatic black bears is usually 25 years.
The bear was a symbol of inter-Korean cultural exchanges as the two Koreas exchanged wild, native animals in 1999. North Korea donated Eutteumi and a male bear to the South as a gift along with a tiger, red foxes and silver foxes.
Eutteumi, which was presumed to be three years old when she arrived, was blind when she got here.
During her time at the zoo, she had six cubs, two each in 2006, 2009 and 2011. One has been living with her at the zoo, while the other five were sent to Mt. Jiri for the National Park Service's project to recover the habitat for the bears. As the bears on the mountain have bred in the wild, there are now 44 bears c
What should we do about the 15,000 Asian elephants still in captivity?
Nearly one in three Asian elephants live in captivity – about 15,000 in all. The existence of such large captive population of this endangered, intelligent, and long-living animal poses a number of ethical and practical challenges, but also some opportunities.
Asian elephants, like most land-based megafauna, are endangered and might not survive in the wild beyond the 21st century. As the largest terrestrial animals, elephants are very important for the health of tropical ecosystems – they are like forest gardeners who plant, fertilise and prune trees.
Asian elephants are also remarkable in their cultural significance. They may have been tamed as far back as 6,000 BC, and elephants have since been used for warfare, transport, and as status symbols. They’ve sometimes even been worshipped as deities. Even nowadays, people in countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand venerate elephants in a way that is difficult for outsiders to understand.
It is because of the cultural significance of Asian elephants that so many of them live in captivity (African elephants can and used to be tamed but, for comparison, only one in 700 currently live in captivity). Unlike dogs, horses, or pigs, elephants are not domestic animals, in the sense that we (humans) do not control their breeding. The large majority of captive elephants were born in the wild and eventually capture
Miles the dibbler marks milestone for Perth Zoo breeding program
A species once thought to be extinct, the Western Australian dibbler, has reached a milestone, with Perth Zoo weaning its 1,000th baby under a repopulation program.
The zoo has been working since 1997 to re-establish numbers of the tiny marsupial in WA, after introduced predators and habitat loss saw their populations severely dwindle.
Zookeeper Lesley Shaw said staff did not normally name baby dibblers but they made an exception for the 1,000th, naming him Miles.
"It's always very exciting when you get to a milestone
Anneke Moresco spent the last year doing post doctoral work at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in the Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW). Anneke and colleagues participated in a conservation and reproduction project for the black-footed cat in South Africa. See the spotlight HERE. Photo credit Dr. Alex Sliwa (curator at the Cologne zoo)