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Zoo News Digest
July-August 2012


It’s either orangutans or cheap palm oil
When four men were sentenced to eight months in jail in March for the ‘murder’ of orangutans, it was the first time that people associated with Indonesia’s booming palm oil industry were convicted for killing man’s close relations in the primate family.
Conservationists were not happy with the ‘light’ sentences handed down by the court in Kutai Kertanegara district, East Kalimantan, on March 18, to Imam Muktarom, Mujianto, Widiantoro and Malaysian national Phuah Cuan Pun.’s-either-orangutans-or-cheap-palm-oil/

Bear Attacks Girl in Private Zoo
A 12-year-old girl who was mauled by a bear at a private zoo in the Far Eastern Amur Region on Friday is now in intensive care at a local hospital after undergoing emergency surgery, said Denis Chernov, one of the attending doctors.
An Asian black bear at a private zoo in Blagoveshchensk attacked the girl when the she tried to give the animal a drink from a bottle.
“The operation, to treat a deep wound in the back of her head, lasted several hours," Chernov said. "The girl is now in the intensive care ward where she is in critical condition,” the doctor added.
The general prosecutor's office in Blagoveshchensk is investigating the incident.
It is the second time this year a child has been injured in an animal attack at a private zoo in Blagoveshchensk. In January a tiger at the Liger roadside zoo attacked a three-year-old boy. According to the investigation

Daily wage workers await 5 months salaries
The daily wage employees of the Lohi Bher Wildlife Park have not received their salaries for the last five months despite repeated reminders to the concerned department for the release of funds.
Daily wage employees told ‘The News’ that they are waiting for salaries for the last five months but the department is taking no notice and doing nothing to pay our salaries. “We are working without salaries for the last many months, as we don’t have any other option,” they added.
They said that everyone is busy in Eid shopping but we don’t have money to buy new clothes and other items for our children, as we didn’t get salaries for the last five months. “We have requested so many times to high officials of the park but they are doing nothing for us and they only have one answer that we have written letter to the concerned department for the release of funds,” they added.
The employees have urged the Punjab chief minister to take notice and direct the concerned departments to release their salaries as all the employees are facing very hard times and now it has become very difficult for them to provide even two times meal to their family members.
When contacted, Deputy Director Lohi Bher Wildlife Park, Raja Javed, told ‘The News’ that they have around 20 daily wage employees. “We couldn’t pay their salaries because of shortage of funds. He said that they have written letters to the concerned department for release of development funds as we have to pay salaries of the employees but there is no reply.”
“Now I am not in a position to tell when the budget would be released and the employees would get their salaries

Marghazar Zoo : elephant death probe goes nowhere

Almost four months have passed, but the probe into the death of female elephant ‘Saheli’ has failed to make any headway as high-ups of the Capital Development Authority seem to be disinterested to fix responsibility on officials whose negligence caused loss of millions to the authority.


“The investigation is in progress but yet no headway could take place. Even no hearing has been made to hear the case,” said a senior CDA official. The CDA chairman had assigned the probe to Member (Administration) Shaukat Mohmand who later forwarded it to Forest Director Muzaffar, who has yet not been able to launch it formally.


Besides being a precious animal, Saheli had been the most attractive animal at the zoo in the city, particularly for children who used to enjoy riding on the animal. Born in 1989 in Sri Lanka, Saheli, an Asian elephant, had died following brief illness caused by a wound in one of her foot on May 1 at the age of 23.


In its report based on the samples from the animal’s carcass, the National Veterinary Laboratory revealed that Saheli had died of heart failure as its respiratory system had failed after it had laid down during her illness causing distress to the breathing system. An elephant’s respiratory system is quite exceptional\08\10\story_10-8-2012_pg11_7

SeaWorld begins acclimating killer whales to the presence of trainers

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has begun conditioning its killer whales to accept trainers in their pools, the first step toward resuming "water work" with the giant marine mammals more than two years after a trainer was killed in Orlando.


Animal trainers at SeaWorld marine parks in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio began "water desensitization training" Monday with the company's killer-whale collection — the process by which the animals are acclimated to humans' presence in the water.


The process is expected to move slowly. SeaWorld hasn't allowed trainers in the water with whales since Feb. 24, 2010, the day SeaWorld Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed by the 6-ton whale Tilikum.


SeaWorld said the training that began Monday is designed to prepare whales for "the close interaction required for veterinary care and husbandry." The company says it also improves worker safety by ensuring that whales do not respond unpredictably should a trainer accidentally fall into their tank.


"This well-established process is intended to reduce the novelty of trainers and other caretakers working in close proximity to the animals, which contributes to team member safety and proper care for our killer whales," the company said in a written statement. "It is a lengthy process that involves progressively increasing the degree and type of contact between human caretakers and whales. The safety of SeaWorld team members and the welfare of animals are our highest,0,6459314.story?track=rss

Coimbatore zoo animals feel the hunger pangs
For the past one month, animals especially those like deer and camels at the Coimbatore Corporation Zoo at VOC Park are in a miserable plight as there has been a disruption in the supply of green grass to zoo.
In a very disturbing development, the workers at the zoo are now cutting branches from the trees in the zoo compound and dropping it in the enclosures of the animals.
"There is shortage of grass to feed these animals, hence we are cutting the branches from the trees and feeding them. It has been like this for over a month now," said a worker at the zoo.
When asked, zoo director K Asokan initially confirmed that there was shortage of grass but they were somehow managing the situation. He, however, refused to divulge more on the matter.
"We have some fodder issues at the zoo for over a month but we are managing it somehow," Asokan said.
The Coimbatore Municipal Corporation was growing tall grass adjacent to the sewage farm in Ukkadam to use it as green fodder to feed the animals at the zoo and also the corporation-owned bulls that were used to pull garbage collection carts in the past.
But a portion of the land was levelled a few months back as there was a proposal to use the land for some other purpose, including shifting of the omni bus stand which was later abandoned.
The civic body had made some arrangement to procure grass from near Tamil Nadu Agriculture University as well but it has been stopped over the last one month due to 'non-availability' of green fodder.
 "We were trying to get grass from other sources but that also has ceased. Now there is a shortage of supply or rather no supply of green fodder to the zoo," said an official.
The corporation officials on the other hand pointed out that they have entrusted the zoo director in charge of the procurement of food items for the animals. They also added that food procurement was not being properly done at the zoo and the issue has already been brought to their notice. Corporation commissioner TK Ponnusamy said that he would look into the matter at the earliest.
The facility is in such a pathetic stage at a juncture when

West Midland Safari Park plan is handed to bosses
The expansion of West Midland Safari Park was today moving closer to reality after draft plans for the development were submitted to council bosses.
A number of major developments are in the pipeline for the Bewdley attraction including the creation of a hotel, indoor water park and a link to the Severn Valley Railway. Wyre Forest District Council has been sent draft plans.
The document has been submitted so further talks can take place with the authority and changes made to the scheme before a final version of the brief is formally submitted.
Spokesman Richard Boother, of RPS Planning, said sending the draft brief was an important and necessary step in the planning process.
“Essentially we have included details of all the proposals we are putting forward for the park in this draft plan and have sent it on a more informal basis to the council,” he said.
“This will allow talks to take place with officials from the authority on what we want to do. They will then be able to give us their views on the proposals.
“It will allow any alterations to be made to the brief before the final version of the document is submitted to the council for consideration.
“The scheme is moving in the right direction and work is ongoing.”
Once the final development brief is submitted, a final decision on its contents is not expected until the end of the year due to the scale of the plans.
If it is approved the first formal planning applications for developments at the site would

Las Vegas chimp goes to zoo after 2nd escape in a month from owners’ backyard, police say
Police say a chimpanzee who rampaged through a Las Vegas neighborhood last month made a second escape from her backyard enclosure.
The Las Vegas Sun reports ( a resident called authorities about 4:50 p.m. Saturday to report CJ, the chimp, broke free from her cage. Las Vegas Metro Police captured her at around 5:30 p.m. after setting up a containment area and targeting her with tranquilizer darts.
On July 12, CJ and her mate Buddy broke free and roamed through their owners’ neighborhood, pounding on vehicles and climbing in an unoccupied car. Buddy also jumped on cars.
An officer shot and killed him after police say he veered too closely toward onlookers.
CJ was returned

Zoo is named as ‘Overall Business of the Year’ 2012
DRUSILLAS Zoo has scooped one of the top accolades at the 2012 Sussex Business Matters Awards, celebrating outstanding businesses throughout the county.
At the ceremony Drusillas Park was named, ‘Overall Business of the Year’.
This prestigious accolade is bestowed on the organisation that most impressed the judges for doing the best by their clients, staff and the community.
The zoo was also ‘Highly Commended’ in the Hospitality Tourism and Leisure Category. Organisations in this grouping were judged on their ability to demonstrate exceptional industry success, innovation, strong growth and market leadership.
Managing Directors Laurence and Christine Smith collected the awards from Meridian Tonight presenter and the host of the evening, Fred Dinenage.
Mr Smith said: “In these tough economic times, which have been hindered by the unusually wet weather, it is great to bring this award home for our team.
“We are delighted that our hard work and dedication has been recognised by the judges and will continue to ensure that Drusillas Park remains an exceptional visitor attraction.”
Laurence and Christine Smith acquired the zoo in 1997 and have invested heavily in Drusillas

"Zoothanasia" Is Not Euthanasia: Words Matter
We shouldn't kill captive animals because there are too many of them
A recent essay in the New York Times has made me rethink just why zoos exist and what they're really good for. The title of this essay, "When Babies Don't Fit Plan, Question for Zoos Is, Now What?", also made me realize how the animals who find themselves living in zoos are totally at the mercy of the humans who control their lives. My colleague Jessica Pierce also wrote about this essay and told me she wasn't radical enough in that she really isn't "for zoos". She encouraged me to write more on this touchy and very controversial subject.
The New York Times essay begins: "Zookeepers around the world, facing limited capacity and pressure to maintain diverse and vibrant collections of endangered species, are often choosing between two controversial methods: birth control and euthanasia. In the United States, the choice is contraception. Chimps take human birth control pills, giraffes are served hormones in their feed, and grizzly bears have slow-releasing hormones implanted in their forelegs. Even small rodents are included."

Reveal orang utan death findings
I REFER to "Safe haven for orang utan" (News Without Borders, July 30). Friends of the Orang Utans are still waiting to hear the verdict of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on the deaths of two orang utans this year on Orang Utan Island in Bukit Merah Laketown Resort.
In May, its minister, Douglas Embas, gave an "assurance" that investigation of abuse at Orang Utan Island was ongoing.
It is August, and we are still waiting to hear from the ministry, and repeated emails to them have gone unanswered. While we wait for the results of the investigation, we see Orang Utan Island appearing in the media as guardian angels of orang utans.
Friends of Orang Utans and our supporters are waiting for answers to questions of the island's activities, among them the high birth rate, origin of orang utans including the need for orang utans from other sanctuaries to be sent to the island, and the need to put baby orang utans in tanks.
The ministry is fully aware of wha

Javan rhinoceros facing dire extinction threat: Study
American researchers have confirmed that a species of Javan rhinoceros found in Vietnam are on the verge of extinction, with only 29 of them remaining.
"We still have a chance to save the species but before we do anything, we have to determine the profile of the remaining group," study leader Peter de Groot said.
Researchers from the Queens and Cornell Universities used genetic tools to determine that only Javan rhino was living in Vietnam in 2009, who was later found dead a year later.
The study confirmed the demise of the Javan rhinoceros population living in Vietnam by analysing animal dung collected with the assistance of special dung detection dogs.
The researchers are now working to save a group of 29 Javan rhinoceroses currently living in a tiny area called Ujon Kolong in Indonesia.
They will use the rhinoceros feces to determine the age, sex and pedigree of this group. This study will provide a direction to try to save the remaining population of one of the most threatened large mammal species in the world.
The research was published in Bio

New crocodile species? What a crock
Melbourne reptile handler Raymond Hoser wanted to name the Territory's freshwater pygmy crocs as a new species. He dubbed them Oopholis jackyhoserae after his daughter and published the name in his Australasian Journal of Herpetology.
But preliminary DNA tests are showing the stone country crocs - which only grow to 1.2m - are not a new species. They are freshies - Crocodylus johnstoni.
Crocodile researcher Adam Britton took about 20 tissue samples from populations of the tiny crocs around the Bullo River area in 2008 and sent them to a laboratory for DNA testing.
Mr Britton said preliminary results had come back.
"There are some genetic differences," he said. "It's a different sub-population but it's not enough to be classified as a new species or even a sub

When Babies Don’t Fit Plan, Question for Zoos Is, Now What?
Zookeepers around the world, facing limited capacity and pressure to maintain diverse and vibrant collections of endangered species, are often choosing between two controversial methods: birth control and euthanasia.
In the United States, the choice is contraception. Chimps take human birth control pills, giraffes are served hormones in their feed, and grizzly bears have slow-releasing hormones implanted in their forelegs. Even small rodents are included.
Cheryl Asa, who directs the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Wildlife Contraception Center at the St. Louis Zoo, said euthanasia was not a comfortable fit for zoos here. “On an emotional level, I can’t imagine doing it and I can’t imagine our culture accepting it,” she said.
Dr. Asa sees contraception as a better approach. “By preventing the birth of animals beyond carrying capacity,” she said, “more animals can be well cared for.”
But in Europe, some zookeepers would rather euthanize unneeded offspring after they mature than deny the animal parents the experience of procreating and nurturing their young.
“We’d rather they have as natural behavior as possible,” said Bengt Holst, director of conservation for the Copenhagen Zoo. “We have already taken away their predatory and antipredatory behaviors. If we take away their parenting behavior, they have not much left.”
So he and many of his European counterparts generally allow animals to raise their young until an age at which they would naturally separate from parents. It is then that zoo officials euthanize offspring that do not figure in breeding plans.

Alipore Zoo in red over deaths of Red Kangaroos
With the death of the last of the four Red Kangaroos, which were brought from Czech Republic to Alipore Zoological Garden on Monday, questions are being raised on what went wrong within 14 months of the mammals’ transfer to Kolkata.
 In June 2011, four such kangaroos — two males and two females — were brought from a Czechoslovakia zoo as part of an exchange arrangement of animals between the two zoos. But one the kangaroos started dying after the other. A baby kangaroo, which was born nine months ago, is the only remaining Red Kangaroo in the zoo.
The post-mortem report of the fourth kangaroo stated that the animal died of acute haemorrhage in the lungs followed by cardiac failure. The first one died in August last year reportedly of stress. For the second mammal’s death in December 2011, respiration failure was cited as the reason. In February this year, when the third died, zoo authorities blamed it on “stress”.
“There might be some problem with the habitat here. It is difficult to pin point the reason because if it was entirely unliveable, the joey would not have been born here. Moreover, there was no particular pattern in the death of the four kangaroos,” said Neeraj Singhal, Director, Alipore Zoological Garden.
He also said at present there were no plans of bringing any more kangaroos to the zoo.
With a young joey alive, the zoo authorities are planning to consult their counterparts in Czechoslovakia as to what went wrong and how to keep the young one alive. “One good thing is that the baby is independent and feeding it, hopefully

Nation denies WWF claim of negligence
VietNamNet Bridge – The CITES Authority of Viet Nam has rejected a World Wildlife Fund report that rates Viet Nam as the worst performer in wild animal protection, saying it is not objective or thorough.
The report criticised Viet Nam for its failure to combat trade in rhino and tiger body parts, and gave it two red scores – one each for the rhino and tiger – in the fund's Wildlife Crime Scorecard, which rated 23 African and Asian nations known for high levels of poaching and trafficking in ivory, rhino horns, and tiger parts.
The scorecard hands out green, yellow, and red scores for tigers, rhinos, and elephants to indicate recent progress in complying with CITES commitments.
Do Quang Tung, director of the CITES Authority of Viet Nam, was quoted by Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper as saying the report could hamper Viet Nam's efforts and prestige in combating the illegal trade of wild animals.
The country has recently made great efforts to crack down on the smuggling in of wild animals from other countries, he said.
In the last six months five trafficking gangs were busted, and tiger bodies seized from three of them and 30kg of rhino horns from the other two, he said.
The country is doing quite well in complying with CITES conventions and in conservation of wild animals in general, he said.
"The WWF report only mentions rhino, tiger, and elephant. It was done by collecting unofficial information from non-governmental organisations, the media, and individuals, and without any consultation with legal compliance agencies."
He said the country allows tiger breeding only for non-commercial purposes and pointing out that tigers in an eco-tourism park in Nghe An had delivered cubs.
The CITES Authority of Viet Nam has pledged to take action to win recognition

L.A. Zoo officials still don't know why a chimp killed its baby
Los Angeles Zoo officials said Tuesday they are still investigating what happened in July when a three-month-old chimpanzee was killed by a male believed to be its father.
Zoo Director John Lewis said officials have been consulting with experts around the country to determine what triggered the violent attack.
"We were told the male, the chimp and the mother had been playing together in this morning," Lewis told the City Council's Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee.
Zoo officials were concerned because the baby was the first new chimp born at the facility in 13 years. Also, Lewis said, another baby chimp was recently born and officials are taking

All Change at Yerevan Zoo
Although I have been in Yerevan for nearly three years, I am still discovering fascinating corners of the city. Over the weekend, my wife Molly and our 16-month daughter Alicia visited the Yerevan Zoo.
It was absolutely scorching as we chugged along in chaotic traffic, heaving because half the roads in the city are currently being repaved. We arrived just as the zoo opened its doors, at 10am. We duly paid our 500 AMD entrance fee and started our tour.
The main courtyard of the zoo is surprisingly peaceful and green, with a fountain in the centre and lovely terracotta coloured original buildings (dating from the zoo’s origins in the 1940s). It’s the kind of place that, with only a slight leap of imagination, one can imagine for a summer evening soiree. It would be infinitely more interesting than yet another reception at a sterile hotel.
The variety of animals is staggering. There are more than 200 different species living in the zoo, ranging from birds indigenous to Armenia to a beautiful white tiger.
The sweetest was the hyena, dancing against the cage begging to be touched (we found out later that a friends’ children do actually pet her and she purrs with gratitude). The most entertaining were the brown bears, which put on a spectacular show, leaping for food and snarling at each other with greed.
As the zoo openly recognizes, the animals are caged in extremely substandard spaces. The cages are tiny, which is wonderful for actually seeing the animals (there isn’t anywhere to hide!) but of course terribly inferior for the animals. The zoo is currently undertaking a massive effort to bring the zoo up to international standards, with plans for natural habitat enclosures. The centre piece of the refurbishment

Jerusalem to open NIS 80m. aquarium at Biblical Zoo
One fish, two fish, red fish, bible fish?
The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo and the Jerusalem Municipality announced on Sunday a NIS 80 million initiative to create Israel’s largest aquarium at the zoo. The aquarium, expected to open in 2015, will hold 2 million cubic meters of seawater in a number of large tanks.
The highlight of the exhibit will be an underwater tunnel where visitors can walk underneath the aquarium and see a 180-degree view of the sharks, sea turtles, coral reefs and exotic fishes.
The two largest tanks will focus on life in the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, while 30 smaller tanks will feature small habitats.
There will be a tank for feeding stingrays, known as “sea cats” in Hebrew.
“Jerusalem will be the first city where there will be both the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, and people won’t be able to say anymore that Jerusalem doesn’t have the sea,” Mayor Nir Barkat said. “The enormous underwater park will be a unique experience and attraction, which will attract visitors, tourists and researchers from Israel and the world.”
The aquarium is funded by New York philanthropists Ruth and David Gottesman and will be built

Maharajbagh zoo master plan ready
Even as the Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapith (PDKV), which manages the Maharajbagh zoo, has warned of legal action against the consultant for delaying the zoo master plan, the Jan Sansadhan Vikas Sanstha (JSVS), engaged for the job, said final plan will be submitted by August 25.
Speaking to TOI from Bhopal, wildlife consultant and retired assistant conservator of forests (ACF) VK Mishra of JSVS said that the delay has been caused for various reasons. There were several corrections in the draft plan.
CZA's major objection to the plan was the Nag nullah flowing through the zoo. Most of the important enclosures including that of tiger were close to the nullah, which needs to be covered.
"We have now shifted the enclosures to the other end," Mishra said. One of the reasons for the delay was that data was never submitted by the zoo in time. "For the past two months, we waited for the data," he

Your letters: Thoughts about Ragunan Zoo
Jakarta’s streets were filled with becak (pedicabs) and cars with manual starters. The smells of street stalls with varied dishes far outweighed the fumes of the cars that now blocked the streets of this metropolis. President Sukarno was still omnipresent when some 60 years ago I joined my husband on his assignment to the German Embassy in Jakarta. Shortly after arriving in Jakarta, my husband died, and I was alone.
As a young widow, I decided to stay and I sought solace in the old zoo in Cikini where the zoo director, Benjamin Galstaun, allowed me to use my paramedical skills from my German education to help the animals. I love animals. All animals! From mice to whales, I love them all, but orangutans have a special place in my heart. Five millimeters more love than for other animals.

7 rare rhinos photographed in western Indonesia
A conservationist says seven of the world's rarest rhinoceroses were photographed at a national park in Indonesia. It is the first sighting there in 26 years.
Tarmizi, from the Leuser International Foundation, said Thursday that pictures from movement-triggered cameras identified a male and six female Sumatran rhinos in Aceh province's Leuser National Park as of April.
More than 1,000 images from 28 camera traps were taken since last July. The park's rhino population is estimated to be no more

Scientists discover reptiles that change colour with location!
Same reptiles look a bit different when their geographical locations change. This is one of the findings of a long research undertaken by the Reptile Research and Conservation Centre (RRCC), Ujjain.
The centre has identified 28 new species of reptiles in Madhya Pradesh over a decade. RRCC director Mukesh Ingle told DNA that a snakes or lizards from a same species are not similar in colour or other features in different eco-regions in the state.
The director said that when he started study in 2002, there were around 80 species of identified reptiles in the state. But his research work spotted 28 new species of reptiles. The new species included snakes, lizards and frogs.
According to Ingle, further details would be available once assessment of the data compiled by the team is complete within a fortnight. The study is funded by MP Council for Science and Technology (MPCST) and forest department.
It started by a team of a dozen members led by Ingle. The research team divided the state in five eco-regions-- Malwa, Nimad, Vindhya, Satpura and

Tiger cub finds home among dogs
A rare Bengal Tiger cub has made its home at a dog shelter in Mexico.
The 70 kilo big cat named Albert was forced to move to the pound after his former zoo was shut down by environmental authorities.
The 6 month old playful tiger has received a warm welcome at the shelter.
"He's happy here," shelter director Guillermo Korkowski told Fox News, adding that he was "very fond" of his 6-month-old guest.
Shelter officials have had to build a larger space for the growing tiger, who is nearly a half-meter (1.6-feet) tall and weighs about 70 kilos (154 pounds).
His shelter has also been customized and includes a kiddie pool, a swing made from an old tire, a tree trunk to use as a scratching post and a desk so he




Seahorses ‘are facing oblivion in 10 years’ after stocks are savaged by Chinese medicine industry
Seahorses could be wiped out within ten years, say conservationists.
Stocks are being savaged by the Chinese medicine industry which reveres them as a catch-all cure for everything from impotence to kidney problems and baldness.
Undercover filming found at least 150 million of the fragile creatures are now killed to make its products every year in China - seven times the official figure.
Campaigners say demand there is soaring every year, and claim some seahorse products have been found in the expanding network of medicine shops abroad, even in Britain where they it is illegal to sell them.
Marine biologist Kealan Doyle posed as a potential supplier to gain access to wholesalers, clinics and health stores in southern China. 
He found one market in the city of Guangzhou sells 20million seahorses a year alone.
CITES – the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species - say that is the size of the whole trade worldwide.
Mr Doyle said: ‘It’s a huge underestimate. I visited stores which had something like 30,000 dried seahorses in bags piled from floor to ceiling and there are 6,000 such stores in Hong Kong alone.
‘We are not talking about a slow decline here, this is an absolute decimation of this unique creature which has been with us for millions of years. At this rate, it will be wiped out in between 10 and 20 years.’
Seahorses have long fascinated humans. A fish with a horse’s head, a monkey’s tail and the colour-changing abilities of a lizard, they mate for life, and perform a mating dance together every single morning, at the end of which the female places her eggs in the male’s abdominal pouch.
The male which then becomes pregnant and gives birth, the only creature in the world to do so, having up to 4,000 young in one go, although only a handful will survive into adulthood.
In the piles of dried bodies at the market, many of them were stained red, the sign of a pregnant male ready to give birth to thousands of offspring.

Interview with Kayce Cover And Shawna Karrasch on 7-24-2012 PodCast Interview
Shawna Karrasch is a delight to talk to and learn from. We share a background in training marine mammals. We also both work extensively with horses. We had a blast talking together about training a few nights back and invite you to join us by clicking on the download button below to listen to the podcast.
We talked about using food, overusing food, the unique Commerson’s dolphin, how dogs compare to sea lions, how marine mammals compare to horses – and more! Friends, we talked! Then we talked some more. Come hang out with us!
At the end of our talk, Shawna gave an interview to some news shows. Look below the podcast link for a link to Shawna’s interview. You will also get to see some interesting video of a trainer having a challenging encounter with a killer whale, Kasatka. He stays calm and is able to bring Kasatka around.
Although anyone working with animals is always at risk, overall, working with killer whales is probably no more dangerous than driving cars. Interesting that no matter how many people die in car accidents, no one suggests we quit driving. Let someone die working with a killer whale, and …. it’s a mess. Anyway, when we choose to work with animals, we choose that risk, and I would hate for someone to keep me from working with animals

Zoo-raised turtles released to protected ponds
More than 90 young western pond turtles have been released to protected ponds in Washington's Pierce and Mason counties and in the Columbia River Gorge.
The turtles released Friday by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and Woodland Park Zoo were collected from the wild as eggs and raised by the zoo. The zoo says the 10-month-old turtles are now a sturdy 2 ounces each and too big to fit easily into the mouths of bullfrogs.
The zoo says Washington state listed western pond turtles as an endangered species in 1993.
The collaborative effort to boost their numbers also involves the Oregon Zoo and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Scientists tracking the turtles via tiny radio transmitters

Birds' heads torn off in Australian zoo rampage
Nine birds, including an endangered swift parrot, had their heads smashed in or ripped off and more than 60 animals were missing on Saturday after vandals went on the rampage at an Australian zoo.
Tasmania Zoo owner Dick Warren said he found the mutilated animals when he opened up on Friday morning, finding "door, after door, after door open and all the locks had been cut, with birds missing and birds dead".
"Either they have just caught them and banged their heads or pulled their heads off, it's a pretty sick thing to see," Warren told ABC Television.
"It's heartbreaking to see them. How could people do this sort of thing? It hits you so hard."
Police said "a number of animals escaped their enclosures, with most being recaptured", adding that two chainsaws were also stolen from the zoo complex.
Two rare swift parrots, a yellow-tailed black cockatoo and five quolls -- a carnivorous native cat -- were among the animals still on the loose in what was described as a devastating blow for the zoo's breeding programme.
"We're trying to increase numbers of threatened species and we've lost a good part of that programme," said keeper Courtney McMahon.
The zoo is also part of a national breeding programme for the endangered Tasmanian devil, which is almost extinct in the wild due to a contagious facial tumour, and McMahon said it was a huge relief no devils had been freed.
"The way that the birds were released, if these devils were released like that it would be a death sentence to th

PETA, zoo defenders trumpet their views on captive elephants
A week after a judge lambasted the Los Angeles Zoo's elephant exhibit and declared the animals were not "happy," the city's first-ever Elephant Awareness Day Friday reignited the debate over whether L.A. should pack off its pachyderms to a sanctuary.
The City Council in June voted to designate Aug. 3 Elephant Awareness Day to highlight the treatment of elephants in the U.S. and around the world.
But the day became a battleground over whether Los Angeles should continue to have elephants in its city-owned zoo.
The day began with a preview for Elephant Awareness Day, held in front of the elephant exhibit Friday morning. Female elephants Tina and Jewel walked around the Thai Yard of the exhibit, showered themselves with sand and trumpeted as kids shouted in amazement. | See photo gallery.
Zoo director John Lewis and Councilman Tom LaBonge addressed children from the zoo's camp program and their parents about the exhibit and the importance of Elephant Awareness Day.
"Our program was designed to support this North American herd and we are committed to the long-term care of elephants in zoos, as well as in the wild," Lewis said.
In his decision July 23, Superior Court Judge John L. Segal said the city did not have to close the $42 million, two-year

Pill or kill? Cramped zoos in a bind
Zookeepers around the world, facing limited capacity and pressure to maintain diverse and vibrant collections of endangered species, are often choosing between two controversial methods: birth control and euthanasia. In US, the choice is contraception. Chimps take human birth control pills, giraffes are served hormones in their feed, and grizzly bears have slow-releasing hormones implanted in their forelegs. Even small rodents are included.

Cheryl Asa, who directs the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Wildlife Contraception Centre at the St. Louis Zoo, said euthanasia was not a comfortable fit for zoos here. "On an emotional level, I can't imagine doing it and I can't imagine our culture accepting it," she said.

But in Europe, some zookeepers would rather euthanize unneeded offspring after they mature than deny the animal parents the experience of procreating and nurturing their young.

"We'd rather they have as natural behaviour as possible ," said Bengt Holst, director of conservation for the Copenhagen Zoo. "We have already taken away their predatory and antipredatory behaviours. If we take away their parenting behaviour, they have not much left." So he and many of his European counterparts generally allow animals to raise their young until an age at which they would naturally separate from parents. It is then that zoo officials euthanize offspring.

The Copenhagen Zoo, he said, annually puts to death some 20 to 30 healthy exotic animals — gazelles, hippopotamuses , and on rare occasions even chimps. The thinking is that this strategy mimics what would have occurred in the wild, where some 80% o

Zoo ethics: offspring euthanasia or birth control?
ZOOKEEPERS around the world, facing limited capacity and pressure to maintain diverse and vibrant collections of endangered species, are often choosing between two controversial methods: birth control and euthanasia.

In the US, the choice is contraception. Chimps take human birth control pills, giraffes are served hormones in their feed and grizzly bears have slow-releasing hormones implanted in their forelegs. Even small rodents are included.

Cheryl Asa, who directs the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Wildlife Contraception Centre at the St. Louis Zoo, said euthanasia was not a comfortable fit for zoos in the US. ''On an emotional level, I can't imagine doing it and I can't imagine our culture accepting it,'' she said.

But in Europe, some zookeepers would rather euthanise unneeded offspring after they mature than deny the animal parents the experience of procreating and nurturing their young.

''We'd rather they have as natural behaviour as possible,'' said Bengt Holst, the director of conservation for the Copenhagen Zoo. ''We have already taken away their predatory and anti-predatory behaviours. If we take away their parenting behaviour, they have not much left.''

So he and many of his European counterparts generally allow animals to raise their young until an age at which they would naturally separate from parents. It is then that zoo officials euthanise offspring that don't figure in breeding plans.

This year, the Copenhagen zoo has put down, by lethal injection, two leopard cubs, about 2 years old, whose genes are already overrepresented in the collective zoo population. Leopards are considered near threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. But as part of a breeding plan to maintain the genetic diversity of this species, the cubs' fate was determined before they were born.

''We promised the species co-ordinator that the offspring would never leave the zoo,'' Mr Holst said, meaning they would not be bred with leopards from other zoos.

The Copenhagen zoo, he said, annually put to death some 20 to 30 healthy exotic animals - from gazelles, to hippopotamuses, and on rare occasions even chimps. The thinking is that this strategy mimics what would have occurred in the wild, where some 80 per cent of feline offspring die from predation, starvation or injury, he said.

Terry Maple, the former director of Zoo Atlanta and co-editor of Ethics on the Ark, said that while he knew of no studies assessing the importance of raising young to animals' health or well-being, observation indicated that most zoo animals are motivated and protective parents that play frequently with offspring.

He acknowledged that US zoos once focused more on the intricacies of breeding endangered species than on their day-to-day well-being, but that this was changing. In planning their populations, Mr Maple said, zoos would eventually avoid a surplus of animals and assure that most breed and raise offspring.

''I am not saying management euthana

Harvesting guano to help Peruvian penguins: Saint Louis Zoo digs in
Unlike their cold-weather relatives, Humboldt penguins live only in South America, along the rocky Pacific coast of Chile and Peru. The Saint Louis Zoo’s Michael Macek has been monitoring the penguins there, tracking their health and numbers.
Macek is back in Peru again, in a coastal reserve called Punta San Juan, where Humboldt penguins nest by the thousands. Before he left, he told St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra that this time he’s helping to lead a sustainable guano harvest.
MACEK: Guano is poop. Guano is basically bird feces. It sounds really gross. When you actually get there it’s not as gross as it sounds, I mean! The guano actually comes from a bird called a Guanay cormorant, and they nest by the millions in Punta San Juan.
And so through the years, through the centuries, the millennia, they have nested in these areas, and it builds up, and believe it or not it can be as thick as 10, 20 feet. Now as you’re approaching Punta San Juan, you smell Punta San Juan before you see it! It’s a very sort of ammonia kind of smell to it. Once you get there it kind of — you get used to it.
But the guano itself, because it’s such dry desert, it actually looks like clay. So you’re not walking on a bunch of bird poop, it looks like clay. But it’s very, very high in nitrogen, and it’s a very valued commodity for domestic use in Punta San Juan, for fertilizer.
So they still harvest it — they call them guaneros, the people who actually harvest the guano. But it used to be that they just went in there and they brought in trucks, and people digging, and they didn’t pay any attention to where the animals were. And there’s not just penguins there, there’s fur seals, and sea lions, and the cormorants, and Inca terns, and gannets, and all sorts of other birds and animals.
 The last time they looked at this, in 1995, when it was not done sustainably, about one-tenth of the Peruvian

Toronto Zoo names its new white lions, penguins and a pig
The two female rare white lion cubs have been dubbed Makali, which means “daring,” in Swahili and Lemon, named for her yellow colouring. Their brother has been given the name Fintan, which is the Anglicized version of the Irish name Fionntán, meaning “little fair one.”
Two penguin chicks were also named today. The bird formerly called “black band” has been officially named Chupa while “blue band” has been renamed Matata. The names don’t have a meaning, but are fun to say.
Also in on the naming fun was the Zoo’s newest Babirusa piglet, which was named Muna. It means “hope” in Swahili.
The names were among many thought up by zoo staff and volunteers and then placed on the zoo’s Facebook page where visitors voted.
Some of the names that did not make the cut were Tuxedo and Icecube for the penguins.
“Those names, while funny, are not necessarily

Bristol Zoo's breeding project to save Fen Raft spiders
AROUND 200 rare baby spiders have been 'fostered' by keepers at Bristol Zoo Gardens in an effort to protect one of the UK's most endangered species of arachnids.
Hundreds of tiny Fen Raft spiderlings (Dolomedes plantarius) have been collected from fenland areas around the UK and taken in by various collections – including Bristol Zoo – to be reared raised and released in September.
The conservation breeding project aims to save the species, which is one of Europe's largest but least common spiders, and is only found in three sites in Britain – Norfolk, East Sussex and South Wales.
The spiders are so rare that they are protected by law in the UK and have been classified as 'Vulnerable' on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
The three-week old spiderlings, which are just a few millimetres in size, have been transferred into 200 individual test tubes and are now each receiving intensive care by experts in Bristol Zoo's Bug World – a process that takes hours every day.
Carmen Solan, invertebrate keeper at Bristol Zoo, said: "Caring for 200 hungry young spiders is a big job. We individually feed tiny fruit flies to each spiderling; it is a very delicate process but one that we are pleased and proud to be a part of."
Mark Bushell, assistant curator of invertebrates at the zoo, added: "These spiders are very vulnerable to extinction because

World's oldest hippo dies aged 62
Donna, believed to be the world's oldest hippo, has died at the age of 62 after living more than two decades beyond the massive mammal's usual life expectancy, zoo officials said.
Donna had lived most of her life in the small town of Evansville, Indiana at the Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden.
"It is with great sadness for us to announce that Donna, the world's oldest living Nile hippopotamus in captivity, was humanly euthanised this morning due to her declining quality of life caused by her debilitating severe arthritis," Amos Morris, the zoo's director, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Donna was born at what is now the Memphis Zoo in 1951 and arrived at Mesker Park on August 7, 1956.
She had eight offspring with her mate Kley and had lived at the zoo longer than any of the current staff have worked there.
Hippos typically live no more than 40

Chimpanzee 'asks' zoo visitors to free him from enclosure in heartbreaking film that shows him pointing at a window bolt and making a sign language 'open' gesture
Intelligent and inquisitive, chimpanzees have always been able to communicate with man.
But this heartbreaking video shows just how desperate this chimp is to be understood and to be let out of his cage.
The chimp is seen in the video motioning to a watching visitor to unlock the bolt on what appears to be a glass door and lift the window, so he can be free.
Tapping on the window the chimp repeatedly urges people standing on the other side of the glass to let them outside.
It links its fingers together, a signal similar to the American Sign Language representation of the word 'gate'.
Alex Bailey from Manchester, who recorded the interaction at the Welsh Mountain Zoo, interprets the signs as a direction to free the chimp, The Telegraph reported.
One chuckling man taps on the window and copies the chimp's actions, mimicking the animal's mimes of opening the window.
A bystander can be heard giggling and saying: 'He wants us to open it'.
But the chimpanzee is more focused on trying to make itself understood, as it longingly looks at the people in front of him.

Two lions 'poisoned' in Berlin zoo
Two lions in a Berlin zoo are thought to have been poisoned, officials revealed on Friday. With what, or how, remains a mystery but the animals are reportedly very ill.
Aketi and Aru were spotted foaming at the mouth around five days ago, confirmed zoo curator Heiner Klös. Since then they have been suffering from colic and are finding it difficult to breath. They have also stopped eating.
“We think that someone threw something in [to the enclosure],” Klös told local newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.
To check what exactly is wrong with the pair would require a blood sample. This would only be possible under general anaesthetic – which the pair are too ill to undergo. They are being looked after carefully though, said Klös.
The zoo has declined a full police investigation, the paper reported.
The zoo has ruled out that the food given to the lions by the keepers could have been poisoned – the meat is shared between all 16 big cats and only the brother and sister pair are ill.
This is the first time that a potential poisoning has happened in the past 25 years, Der Tagesspiegel said.
Berlin zoo has come under fire from

3 of 5 newborn lion cubs die due to ‘negligence’
Three of the five lion cubs, offsprings of an “unwanted fertilisation” in Nandanvan, the Raipur zoo, died within 24 hours of their birth. While the zoo authorities have denied any negligence in fertilisation or post-birth care, the incident leaves several unanswered questions.
Saraswati, 20, had given birth to five cubs on Wednesday between 3 and 11 pm, but zoo authorities learnt of it only on Thursday morning. Three died on Thursday night, and again the administration came to know about it only on Friday morning.
“Whenever the number of deliveries is more than three, survival rate of cubs goes down. They are unable to get proper nourishment from mother. First milk is very important for developing resistance. But as they were five, they could not get proper amount of milk,” zoo doctor Jaikishor Jadiya told The Indian Express. He cited the post-mortem report that the cub died of “improper nourishment”.
Central Zoo Authority guidelines ask zoos to “limit number of animals of each species by implementing appropriate population control measures like segregation of sexes, vasectomy, tubectomy, etc”. “We take proper measures to segregate lions, males are kept in separate enclosures. This was an accidental breeding,” Jadiya told The Indian Express. Saraswati had given birth to two male and one female cub in January 2010, and according to Jadiya,

Thai Navy Releases Nearly 1000 Sea Turtles
Nearly 1000 sea turtles were released into the Gulf of Thailand on Wednesday (August 1), part of the Thai Navy's campaign to protect them from extinction.
Nine hundred and eighty green and hawksbill sea turtles, between the ages of three months and 15 year-old, were released into the sea from Sattahip, about 124 miles from Bangkok.
Commander Kitti Wongrak, from the Sea Turtle Conservation Centre, said humans were causing the depletion in the turtle population.
"The number of sea turtles in Thailand and around the world is continually decreasing. Female turtles will lay eggs on the beach where there are no human residents, but development projects tourism expansion are threatening the species," he said.
The Thai navy had collected and looked after the turtle eggs laid in a conservation area, nurturing the baby turtles before releasing them back into nature.
Many students took part in the release of the turtles, saying they had high hopes for their survival.
"Today I want all turtles to be in the sea so they can build up their own homes and have lots of children, so we can always have them with us," said Preawa Matchima, a 10-year-old student.
The Thai Navy Sea Turtle Conservation Centre launched the campaign in 1992, releasing about 10,000 to 12,000 turtles over the course of each year.
The Thai Navy added that some turtles were implanted with microchips to track them.
Five species of sea turtles have been found along the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman sea

Mysore Zoo seeks additional three veterinarians
Some time in January when one of the green anacondas died at the Mysore Zoo, there were apprehensions about the survival of remaining four large, non-venomous snakes. It subjected them to ultrasonographic tests. It has procured a sonography to help its veterinarians to diagnose the inmates better.
The conservation centre is equipped itself to take care of its inmates: It has a laboratory, drug store, portable radiographic machine, pneumatic tranquilizing equipments, squeeze cage for physical restraining of animals, holding rooms to quarantine animals and an artificial egg incubator. While there are infrastructure




Tiger shot dead after attacking zoo employee in Chilean capital
Animal rights activists mourn loss of Pampa the white tiger. A male white tiger, “Pampa,” was shot dead when he attacked an employee at Santiago’s metropolitan zoo Sunday morning, prompting a tribute later that day by animal rights activists. Zoo authorities found Pampa with his mouth around the throat of José Silva, a zoo employee, Sunday morning. As of the time of publication, Silva, who was feeding the animal and cleaning its habitat at the time, was “stable without risk of death,” according to a statement by the Hospital del Trabajador in Santiago. Silva worked at the zoo for 25 years and had 14 years experience with felines. After the tragedy, rumors began to circulate that the tiger had been killed some time after the accident, which were quickly denied by Zoo Director Mauricio Fabry. “We are dismissing rumors that we put down the animal after the accident,” he told Radio Cooperativa. “The animal was on top of José, biting his neck.” Activists condemned the killing of the white tiger, whose species is currently in danger of extinction. They also condemned zoos, describing them as “jails for animals.” Pampa was one of three white tigers living at the zoo. “The only reason a firearm was used was because our colleague’s life was at risk,” Fabry said. “We acted according to protocol, which always tries to anesthetize the animal as a first action. However, a firearm will be used when there is a life in danger, which was the case with José.” During the tributes Sunday night, activists chanted demanding the resignation of those responsible for the death of Pampa and placed candles and posters by the entrance of the establishment. “Both the accident and the loss of Pampa have highly impacted all of us working at the zoo,” Fabry said, defending the zoo’s actions. “One would not like to end

Protests follow zoo shooting of rare tiger
Chilean activists protesting the shooting death of a rare male white tiger that attacked a zoo worker demanded the resignation of those responsible.
Officials at the zoo in Santiago said Pampa was shot Sunday morning when he was found with his mouth around the throat of longtime zoo employee Jose Silva, The Santiago Times reported.
Silva, who has worked at the zoo for 25 years, was feeding Pampa and cleaning its living area at the time of the attack. He was taken to a Santiago hospital, where his condition was described as "stable without risk of death" in a hospital statement.
Zoo Director Mauricio Fabry denied rumors that the tiger had been killed some time after the accident.
Activists held a tribute to Pampa Sunday night, placing candles and pictures of the tiger at the entrance of the zoo. They called for the resignation of those

Zoo director defends condition of elephant
Lesions on the feet of Topeka Zoo elephant Sunda might appear to a lay person like they are getting worse, but they are actually healing, Topeka Zoo officials told the city council Tuesday evening.
Zoo director Brendan Wiley and veterinarian Shirley Yeo Llizo appeared before the council at its weekly meeting to address concerns expressed at last week’s council meeting by Judy Carman, of Animal Outreach of Kansas.
Carman showed council members photographs of what she described as “cavities” in the toenails of Sunda, a 52-year-old female Asian elephant at the zoo. AOK is asking the city to send Sunda and the zoo’s other pachyderm, an aging female Asian elephant named Tembo, to a Tennessee elephant sanctuary.
Wiley told council members Tuesday the elephants are in good health for their ages, and that about 50 percent of elephants in captivity develop some sort of nail crack.
He used an overhead projector to show council members photos of lesions beneath cracks in toenails on Sunda’s right rear and left front feet.
Councilman John Alcala noted that the cavity for at least one of the lesions appeared to be getting wider. Llizo said that was because the zoo cut into that cavity as part of the process of treating the lesion.
Wiley told council members black and green colorings in the areas of the lesions were due to medication the zoo has been using to treat them.
He said Sunda has showed no signs she is experiencing any pain as a result of the lesions.
Wiley encouraged council members to come to the zoo to examine Sunda’s feet, saying she likes the attention.
He said it is safe to say that

Namibia begins trapping wildlife to send to Cuban zoo
Elephants, large carnivores, small predators, antelope and vultures are on the list of wild animals the Namibian government is removing from the wild to be “incarcerated for the rest of their lives,” according to an animal protection group in neighboring South Africa.
The National Council of the Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) told Animal Issues Reporter that Namibia has begun taking some 150 animals of a variety of species from the wild and transport them across the Atlantic to El Parque Zoológico Nacional de Cuba, the Cuban national zoo.
“Plans are to relocate the first animals to Cuba by air by October 2012,” said NSPCA, which is highly critical of the project known as Noah’s Ark II.
“The cheetah will be part of the package going to Cuba,” Namibian Minister of Environment and Tourism Hon. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah announced in reference to one of the animal species to be exported. During a speech given at the Cheetah Conservation Fund’s Gala Dinner she added, “That will enable our comrades in Cuba to appreciate the elegance of the Namibian cheetah first-hand while recognizing the great wealth of wildlife that exist in Namibia.”
Patricia Tricorache, assistant director of international programs for Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) told Animal Issues Reporter, “From a conservation education perspective we believe that zoos play a very important role in educating people about the importance of wildlife for the health of ecosystems. We are certain that the National Zoological Park of Cuba is no exception and are happy that Namibia’s incredible natural wealth will be shared with the Cuban people.”
However she added, “We are recommending that the governments take cheetahs that live in captivity already so as not to take them

Walking with lions: why there is no role for captive-origin lions Panthera leo in species restoration
Despite formidable challenges and few successes in reintroducing large cats from captivity to the wild, the release of captives has widespread support from the general public and local governments, and continues to occur ad hoc. Commercial so-called lion Panthera leo encounter operations in Africa exemplify the issue, in which the captive breeding of the lion is linked to claims of reintroduction and broader conservation outcomes. In this article we assess the capacity of such programmes to contribute to in situ lion conservation. By highlighting the availability of wild founders, the unsuitability of captive lions for release and the evidence-based success of wild–wild lion translocations, we show that captive-origin lions have no role in species restoration. We also argue that approaches to reintroduction exemplified by the lion encounter industry do not address the reasons for the decline of lions in situ, nor do they represent a model that can be widely applied to restoration of threatened felids elsewhere.

Adorable giant panda baby born at San Diego Zoo breaking record for number of cubs delivered outside China (but we won't know its sex for two months)
An adorable giant panda cub has been born at the San Diego Zoo, setting a new breeding record. The newborn panda is the sixth cub born at the zoo to 20-year-old giant panda, Bai Yun, the most at any breeding facility outside of China. Zookeepers and researchers watched the birth on Sunday afternoon via a closed circuit camera mounted inside the birthing

Special Report: Thailand aims to increase tiger population by 50%
On the occasion of Global Tiger Day on July 29th, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) is trying to raise awareness about the reducing number of tigers in Thailand, saying it wants to increase the tiger population by 50% by 2022. The Wildlife Conservation Office under the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) recently held a seminar to hear the progress of tiger conservation projects. DNP Deputy Director-General Theerapat Prayurasiddhi said at the meeting that the number of tigers has dropped dramatically. It is estimated that there are only 200-250 wild tigers in Thailand. The department is aiming to see 125 more tigers

Dejection at the Karachi Zoo
Founded 118 years ago, Pakistan’s second oldest zoo in Karachi houses around 450 species of birds, 180 mammals and nearly 200 reptiles. Known before independence as the “Mahatma Gandhi Garden”, the zoo also has a Reptile House, with species such as the Cobra Snake, Python, and the Sand Boa, as well as an aquarium, and a Natural History Museum, comprising stuffed animal bodies and various other items.However, from pumas acquired from blacklisted suppliers to a string of recent animal deaths, the Karachi Zoo has developed quite the negative reputation. After an announcement last December that the Zoo would be cleaned and renovated, I decided to see if the KMC has stayed true to their word. The meagre entrance fee of just Rs.10 makes the zoo a lot more accessible to the general public, but on the other hand, if the zoo intends to make any improvements, funds may be difficult to come by. Upon entering the premises, the first thing one notices are the leafy trees planted in abundance by the paths. Since the zoo is situated in the heart of Karachi, in the midst of heavy

Yet more bad press for failing M’sian zoos
Photos taken recently of the living conditions for Sun bears at three Malaysian zoos persist in alerting the world to the fact that captive animals in many facilities in Malaysia are still being deprived of even the most basic, necessary requirements to keep them active, stimulated and in good mental health.
Pictures taken at A’Famosa, Johor and, of course, Melaka zoo, show these nocturnal bears stuck in small iron cages at night when in  the wild they would be out searching for food (Melaka), or trapped in an enclosure with no evidence of either natural enrichment such as rocks, trees and areas to forage in or even any man-made substitutes like tyres, climbing frames and water pools (A’Famosa) or imprisoned in a high-walled, concrete ‘graveyard’ with low wooden structures inadequate for their climbing needs and skills (Johor).
It is widely accepted that captive animals need surroundings that closely replicate their habitats in the wild. Sun bears at all these facilities, therefore, must have their surroundings vastly improved immediately.
The NRE has been informed for a year now about the zero welfare standards at Melaka zoo, but little has changed and all three establishments

Malayan gaur to be released back into the wild
After years of being bred in captivity, preparations are finally under way to release the Malayan gaur back into the wild.
The Malayan gaur, also known as seladang, are thriving at the Jenderak Selatan Wildlife Conservation Centre in Pahang, a seladang sanctuary located east of the Krau Forest Reserve.
Centre head Siti Masitah Abd Mutalib said the centre currently housed 35 seladang, a species that is listed as totally protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.
It is one of the most endangered mammals in the world and is highly prized by poachers for its meat, skull and magnificent horns.
Siti Masitah said the centre was embarking on its next phase of preparing to release the animals back into their natural forest habitat.
“We are still in the conditioning process. Instead of giving them food pellets and grass, we place shoots at the edges of their paddocks for them to forage for,” she said in a recent interview at the sanctuary.
She said the conditioning was a long process that had begun in 2010.
She said two seladang, a male and female, had initially been released into the reserve land but had found their way

‘Coimbatore zoo is a sad joke’
It’s estimated that close to 10 lakh people visited the Coimbatore Zoo last year. From a head count of 450+ animals ranging from birds to reptiles, the zoo added some more felines with the help of enthusiasts from outside, raising the total to 600 animals.
Sadly, the plight of the animals at the zoo and its overall shoddy state go unnoticed. We spoke to a zoo official, who shared with us the dire lack of facilities inside the Coimbatore zoo on the condition of anonymity.
In just over six months, close to 1 lakh students have visited the zoo. Many of them travelling from places like Dindigul, Madurai and even further, just to visit the animals at the corporation run zoo here in Coimbatore.
Yet no effort has been made to increase the entry fee of `5 per head or provide additional amenities inside. Oursource says, “With an average of 500 people walking in‘coimbatore-zoo-sad-joke’-110

Artificial Jellyfish, 'Medusoid,' Made From Rat Heart Cells
If you watch the mesmerizing pulses of a jellyfish in water, it might occur to you that they sometimes resemble the pulses of the human heart. A jellyfish doesn't swim so much as it beats, pushing its way forward.
Kevin Kit Parker, a professor at Harvard University, had that thought on a visit to the New England Aquarium, and teamed up with John Dabiri and Janna Nawroth of the California Institute of Technology. They all work in the nascent field of bioengineering, and they and their team might have started something.
They created a sort of artificial jellyfish -- it looks like one, and swims like one but doesn't have a single cell of jellyfish tissue in its body.
Instead, they grew their jellyfish from

17 bears TB infected, doctors say no cure
Veterinary doctors treating the tuberculosis (TB) affected sloth bears in Bannerghatta Zoo say there is no cure for the disease. The disease cannot even be detected early because there are no TB detection kits for sloth bears available in India. Vets screen the bears using TB kits used for elephants.
The tally of bears diagnosed with TB symptoms so far is 17. They have been separated from the other sloth bears in the rehabilitation centre. The big worry for the vets now is that the infected sloth bears have stopped eating the food that is mixed with TB medicine. Dr Arun A. Sha, wildlife veterinary officer with Wildlife SOS, said that there are no injecting drugs to treat TB in sloth bears.
“There are four types of tablets that we feed the bears inside egg, fruits or mixed with honey. But the bears are refusing to eat the food with the medicine and are becoming weaker. Hence we are giving them alternative therapy, using antibiotics and supportive therapy,” says Dr Sha. The sloth bear rehabilitation and safari is run by Wildlife SOS under the supervision of Bannerghatta

Frozen Sperm Offer a Lifeline for Coral
Just before sunset, on the campus of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, Mary Hagedorn waited for her mushroom corals to spawn.
As corals go, Fungia is fairly reliable, usually releasing its sperm and eggs two days after the full moon. Today was Day 3. “Sometimes we get skunked,” she fretted.
The recalcitrant corals sat outdoors in water-filled glass dishes, arranged in rows on a steel lab table. Each was about the size and shape of a portobello mushroom cap, with a sunburst of brown ribs radiating from a pink, tightly sealed mouth.
As Dr. Hagedorn and her assistant watched, one coral tightened its mouth and seemed to exhale, propelling a cloud of sperm into its bath with surprising vigor. The water bubbled like hot oatmeal.
A reproductive physiologist with the Smithsonian Institution, Dr. Hagedorn, 57, is building what is essentially a sperm bank for the world’s corals. She hopes her collection — gathered in recent years from corals in Hawaii, the Caribbean and Australia — will someday be used to restore and even rebuild damaged reefs.
She estimates that she has frozen one trillion coral sperm, enough to fertilize 500 million to one billion eggs. In addition, there are three billion frozen embryonic cells; some have characteristics of stem cells, meaning they may have the potential to grow into adult corals.
Relative to the number of corals in the ocean, Dr. Hagedorn’s collection — stored in her laboratory and several zoo repositories — is tiny. But so far, it is the only one of its kind.
While corals can reproduce asexually — that is, fragments of coral can grow into clones of their parents — Dr. Hagedorn points out that only sexual reproduction maintains genetic diversity within populations, and with it a species’ capacity to survive and adapt to change

Worst for Wildlife: Vietnam
Rhinos, tigers, and elephants don't fare so well in Vietnam: The Asian country is the worst when it comes to wildlife crime, says the WWF in its first report on the matter. Rhinos are in danger there because citizens believe the horns have medicinal value; legalized tiger farms also helped push the country to the top of the list. China, which has a huge market for illegal wildlife products, ranked a close second, followed by Laos in third.
The illegal wildlife trade in Southeast Asia has been estimated to be worth as much as $10 billion per year, the AP notes. Many of the products are desired for their supposed medicinal value, though doctors say there is none; rhino horn goes for as much there as cocaine does

Jeju opens Asia's largest aquarium 
[Slideshow] Hanwha Aqua Planet Jeju may be pricey, but it's got 'wow' for the whole family
Opening its doors on July 14 after almost five years of preparation, Hanhwa Aqua Planet Jeju has already become a hot spot for Jeju tourists and locals. Located on the east side of the island in Seongsan, Seogwipo City, this beautiful new aquarium features marine life from around the globe just a short hike from Jeju Island’s iconic Seongsan Sunrise Peak.
Now Asia’s largest aquarium, with a floor space of 25,600m2 and 10,800 tons of water collectively, showcases about 48,000 aquatic animals in 500 different species within a state of the art facility that has a hip and modern feel and plenty of space for pedestrian traffic. The facility is divided into three sections: the aquarium, a performance hall, and a special education center for children. The children’s center requires an additional ticket for the modest amount of 1,500 won for kids and 1,700 won for adults. A colorful tank replicating the sea around Munseom, a small islet in Seogwipo City, greets guests as they enter the aquarium from the lobby.
Visitors to the aquarium first meet tanks featuring marine life from the five oceans of the world: the Arctic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Antarctic Ocean. I was surprised to see that an Antarctic Ocean exists, but after some brief Internet research I discovered that there’s an ongoing debate in the scientific community as to whether there are four oceans or five. Aqua Planet has designed its world oceans exhibit to feature each of the oceans’ marine life in slanted tanks that give visitors a closer look at each regions’ aquatic animals.
Fish highlighted in this section include the buffalo sculpin, kelp greenling, cod, rose starfish, lookdown fish, blue lined snapper, Picasso fish, blotcheye soldierfish, oriental sweetlips, longfin bannerfish, naso tang, yellow tang, emperor angelfish, dog face puffer, red toothed triggerfish, red lionfish, kelp crab, red starfish, smooth lumpsucker and sailfin sculpin. My personal favorites were the Picasso fish and the oriental sweetlip fish, not only because they have fun names but because they are vibrantly colored in an interesting way.
The section following is dedicated to harbor seals, or, as the Aqua Planet workers refer to them as, the “dancing” harbor seals. These seals have a lot of natural lighting, a characteristic of this aquarium that is unique, according to the aquarium’s assistant manager of public relations and marking, Kang Eun Young. The seals’ swimming space amounts to multiple stories and several aqua tunnels for the animals’ swimming and dancing pleasure. In fact, it’s possible to see the same seals swimming on both the first and second floors and first floors of the aquarium.

Judge: L.A. Zoo elephants 'not happy, healthy, thriving'
Offering harsh criticism of the Los Angeles Zoo's treatment of elephants, a judge has ordered keepers to exercise the animals, till their soil and not use bullhooks or electric prods.
But Superior Court Judge John L. Segal stopped short of ordering the $42 million elephant exhibit shut down, as called for in a lawsuit by the late actor Robert Culp and real estate agent Aaron Leider.
In a 56-page decision that followed a six-day trial in June, Segal on Monday said "all is not well at the Elephants of Asia exhibit."
"Contrary to what the zoo's representatives may have told the Los Angeles City Council in order to get construction of the $42 million exhibit approved and funded, the elephants are not healthy, happy, and thriving," Segal wrote.
But, he added, "evidence is inconclusive on the issue of how much space an elephant needs (or three elephants need) ..."
Leider and Culp sued Zoo Director John Lewis and the city five years ago for an injunction to shut down the city's new exhibit on grounds it was too small to humanely house elephants.
The lawsuit alleged the zoo was guilty of animal abuse.
It also asserted government waste and injury to public property, including the deaths

Letters: The L.A. zoo's elephants
As an educator and a docent at the Los Angeles Zoo who spent seven years observing its elephants, I was stunned and saddened by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John L. Segal's harsh words on the zoo's elephant exhibit.
I know the zoo's elephants, especially Billy, the 27-year-old Asian bull. I also know that the zoo is devoted to the elephants' well-being. And I know that, had the judge accessed the multi-year, ongoing research of the elephants' behavior at the zoo that volunteers like me document, he would have written a different opinion.
Seeing an elephant up close and in person has more impact on would-be conservationists than any textbook or video can. Elephants in zoos serve as ambassadors, raising awareness of their endangered plights, particularly in India — a place that most residents of,0,3575641.story

9 Coolest Drive-Thru Animal Parks in America
Going on a safari is a once-in-a-lifetime activity that few of us will ever get to experience. But that doesn’t mean we can’t experience something just as good without traveling halfway around the world. At drive-thru animal parks, animals roam just as they would in the wild and you are in the middle of everything. Drive-thru parks bring the adventure of a safari closer to home and hopefully your home is somewhere near these nine.

Prague zoo gorilla hangs himself
A gorilla accidentally hanged himself at Prague zoo.
Tatu died in the morning while playing on a rope structure in the gorilla wing, the zoo director said.
The young male gorilla, aged five, was the emblematic animal of Prague Zoo, since 2007, birth year.
Indeed, the birth of Tatu was one of the rarest births in captivity and was broadcasted on live on the Internet.
"This is the most tragic event that has happened at the Prague zoo since a flood damaged a large section in August 2002," director Miroslav Bobek said

Conservationists allege Vietnam's tiger farms are fronts for illegal trade in poached wildlife
Vietnam's tiger farms are called trafficking hubs
Nineteen tigers prowl outdoor cages the size of dormitory rooms, nibbling frayed wire fences and roaring at a caretaker who taunts them with his sandal.
It looks like a zoo, but it's closed to the public. The facility breeds tigers, but has never supplied a conservation program with any animals nor sold any to zoos.
Conservationists allege that Vietnam's 11 registered tiger farms, including this one, are fronts for a thriving illegal market in tiger parts, highly prized for purported _ if unproven _ medicinal qualities.
Nonsense, says manager Luong Thien Dan. He says the farm in southern Binh Duong province was created simply because its management has??a "soft spot" for the big cats, and that it's funded privately by a beer company.
"At first we just kept them as pets, but when they started to breed, we got excited and wanted to expand their population," Dan said during a tour of the farm, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Ho Chi Minh City.
The illegal wildlife trade is worth an estimated $8 billion to $10 billion per year in Southeast Asia alone and includes tigers, rhinos and other lesser-known animals.
The conservationists say the loosely regulated farms are used to "launder" illegally caught wild tigers, which they say are mixed in with stocks of legitimately bred animals, and that??products from their carcasses are later sold on the black market.
The conservation group WWF this week ranked Vietnam as the worst country for wildlife crime in its first such survey of how well 23 countries in Asia and Africa protect rhinos, tigers and elephants.?? The Switzerland-based group focused its report released Monday on countries where the threatened animals live in the wild or are traded or consumed. Vietnam's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a written request for comment on the WWF report.
However, the government has commented on the tiger farms, saying in a 2009 report that they are aimed at breeding tigers for "future reintroduction programs." No captive tiger has been successfully introduced to a wild population anywhere in the world.
Some proponents of wildlife farms argue that they can ease the pressure on wild populations by lessening the demand for poached animals.
But in Asia, such farms are largely unregulated and create "an avenue for trade in something that you shouldn't be trading in," said Vincent Nijman, a wildlife

Inspectors visit Fairhope elephant sanctuary
An inspection team toured the International Conservation Center near Fairhope on Thursday, looking at everything — down to the flowers.
Dr. Barbara Baker, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, which owns the center, said the primary emphasis is on the quality of care of the animals. But the four inspectors, who are with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, also look at finance, marketing, education and visitors' experience.
"Once every five years, the zoo and the ICC go through an accreditation inspection," Baker said. "It's like the Good Housekeeping seal of approval for the over 200 zoos in the country. Every aspect of the zoo affects the others — if marketing is not doing its job, we aren't getting visitors and then we aren't raising money. They spend a lot of time on animal care. At the Pittsburgh Zoo, we approach this as our chance to shine and showcase all the great work we are doing at the zoo and the ICC."
Ed Asper, chairman of the accreditation team, said he could not comment on specifics about the inspections. The zoo's inspection was earlier in the week. At the end of the inspection, if the inspectors have any concerns, they let the zoo know. The zoo then has the opportunity to address each concern. A written report is sent to the 15-member Accreditation Commission, which reviews the report and the zoo's response during a hearing that the zoo president attends. The Pittsburgh Zoo and ICC's hearing will be Sept. 10 in Phoenix.
"The AZA office chooses the teams that are specific to sites," Asper said. "There is someone who is an expert in administration, a veterinarian and a territorial expert, in this case someone who is an expert in elephants."
The territorial expert looks at the animals' living conditions. The team has three choices: to grant accreditation; to deny accreditation; or to table a decision for a year to give the zoo time to improve. Asper could not recall the last time a zoo was denied accreditation. Baker said the Pittsburgh zoo has always received it since the process began in 1986.
"We want to improve all aspects of the zoo," Baker said. "Every time the standards are changed, we improve to meet the standards. We want to exceed the visiting team's expectations."
The center has five elephants: Jackson, the bull from Pittsburgh; and four females: Bette, from the Philadelphia Zoo; and Seeni, Sukiri and Thandi, all rescued in Botswana, Africa. African painted dogs and springboks — a gazelle-like animal — will be brought from the zoo to the center sometime in the fall. Fencing is in place, Baker said, but a building is needed to hous,0,7749179.story

Mysore Zoo seeks additional three veterinarians
Some time in January when one of the green anacondas died at the Mysore Zoo, there were apprehensions about the survival of remaining four large, non-venomous snakes. It subjected them to ultrasonographic tests. It has procured a sonography to help its veterinarians to diagnose the inmates better.
The conservation centre is equipped itself to take care of its inmates: It has a laboratory, drug store, portable radiographic machine, pneumatic tranquilizing equipments, squeeze cage for physical restraining of animals, holding rooms to quarantine animals and an artificial egg incubator. While there are infrastructure to attend to the needs of the injured or diseased animals, it has three vets to take care of 1,700 animals.
The series of deaths at the zoo within six weeks has shifted the focus on the veterinary section, which is short staffed. The zoo has petitioned the Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK), the apex body governing the conservation centre, to appoint three vets in addition. Sources told The Times of India that there is requirement of additional vets. Ideally one vet each should look after mammals, reptiles and birds. Zoos abroad have vets to take care of each species. When we were getting anacondas from Sri Lanka, we found out that a vet was assigned to take care of the anacondas alone. It makes work a lot easier, they stated.
When contacted, the ZAK chairman M Nanjundaswamy agreed that there is need to increase the number of vets at the Mysore Zoo. It should be based on the animal population, he said, adding the ZAK has approached the government seeking allotment of 12 vets to the authority. "At present we've seven vets-three each serving in Mysore facility and at Bannerghatta National Park and one is attached to Shimoga zoo. We want 12 more vets, who will be allocated based on the animal population." The ZAK is managing eight zoos.
Meanwhile, chief vet at the Mysore zoo Dr Suresh Kumar said they have advanced facilities to take care of the animals. On a regular basis we will subject the animals to various tests to keep track of their health. "We've got most of the things we need," he stated adding that the zoo is advanced when it comes to infrastructure. Some of the big zoos don't have scanning machines, he stated.
The authorities said they monitor the animals on a daily basis and the animal keepers update about the animal behavior daily. Some time back a barn owl was found to have conjunctivitis by the animal keeper. It was physically restrained

Modern zoos could be creating a new kind of animal: wild by nature, shaped by captivity
The giant Pacific octopus at the National Zoo was spending time, as she occasionally does, draped in a dim corner of her tank like a wad of dishrags. The octopus, Pandora, has tentacles several feet long and is the size of a Thanksgiving turkey, and she often hangs out at the front of her tank, unscrolling around the glass. But she is an expert at camouflage, and against the rocks at the rear she can be only faintly visible. It was 3 o’clock on a recent afternoon, her feeding time, and a crowd was straining for a glimpse of her. “Where’s the octopus?” a boy asked, pressing his brow against the tank, his eyes a few inches from hers. Suddenly, a zoo volunteer rose above the back of the tank, backlit, holding a long feeding stick, and lowered a piece of shrimp into the water. In a flash, Pandora shot from her perch and flung herself upon the shrimp; she flushed a bright red, inflated and rippling in the water, like a predatory prom dress. From the rear of the crowd, a keeper deftly narrated the action: “That’s the jet hop, the ballooning behavior right there. You see those very subtle color changes, the texture change — they can voluntarily change the color and texture of their skin. ...” a monologue drowned out at intervals by the gasps of the crowd.
Pandora is, in many ways, what the zoo considers a good exhibit animal. In the vast category of invertebrates — the majority of which are tiny, creepy or immobile — she is intelligent and visually arresting, even when just noodling around. A solitary cave-dweller by nature, she can live without too much trouble in a space the size of a hot tub, and, unusual for an octopus, prefers the display side of her tank. Yet as a wild animal

Rita Miljo, Baboon Rescuer, Dead From Fire That Ravaged South African Sanctuary She Built
Conservationist Rita Miljo, who cared for and reintroduced packs of baboons back into the wilds of South Africa, died in a fire that destroyed much of the headquarters of the sanctuary she built, a sanctuary official said Saturday. She was 81.
Miljo died Friday in the small apartment she kept above the clinic of the Centre for Animal Rehabilitation & Education in the bush of Limpopo province, said Karl Pierce, a director with the sanctuary. With her at her death was Bobby, the first battered Chacma baboon she ever rescued and nursed back to health in 1980 after spiriting her away from a national park without a permit. Bobby also died in the fire, along with two other older baboons that stayed in her apartment, Pierce said.
The fire broke out around 8 p.m. Friday after volunteers and workers left the center for the evening, Pierce said. No one else was injured in the blaze, which consumed the clinic, offices and a house on the property, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) northeast of Johannesburg. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
While Miljo no longer ran day-to-day operations of the center, which cares for more than 400 baboons, she remained a constant presence and a figurehead for the organization she founded in 1989.
"Everybody's still in shock about this," Pierce said.
Born in Germany in 1931, Miljo came to South Africa in the 1950s. In a 2008 article about her in The Washington Post Magazine, Miljo said helping baboons taught her "why people behave the way they do."
"Chimpanzees can be deceitful, just like humans, whereas baboons haven't learned that yet," she said at the time. "So what

Endangered frog in breeding success
Rare frogs airlifted from a Caribbean island to save them from a rapidly spreading fatal disease have bred for the first time at London Zoo.
The critically endangered mountain chicken frogs were rescued from Montserrat to preserve and develop a healthy population of the amphibian, which was facing extinction from the chytrid fungus.
Frogs have been housed in a bio-secure, temperature-controlled breeding unit at the zoo, where two females have produced 76 young.
The mothers laid eggs in a self-made foam nest and guarded them as they developed into tadpoles, which they then fed every three to five days with unfertilised eggs.
The offspring will be released back into a protected and disease-free area of the wild when they are fully grown.
Zoological Society of London (ZSL) curator of herpetology, Dr Ian Stephen, said: "To say we're delighted by this accomplishment is an understatement to say the least.
"These frogs are one of the most endangered

Zoo becomes a death trap
The Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) is one of the largest zoos in the State in terms of variety and number of animals.
It houses over 1,435 animals of 76 species, including mammals and reptiles. However, the medical facility at the zoo is not up to the mark and there is a dearth of veterinary doctors. Result: Death of many inmates.
Sharath, a safari tiger aged about two, was suffering from acute intestinal infection. But the wildlife veterinarian at the Park could not diagnose it. The tiger endured the pain for three months and also suffered from diarrhoea and kidney-related problems. Despite being administered a combination of antibiotics, it never recovered.
The wildlife vets had to depend on a private hospital to conduct an ultrasound scan on Sharath. Though initially private doctors were reluctant to share their expensive scanning machines meant for humans, the vets managed to bring it to the park and conducted the scan. Despite efforts, the tiger died on July 20, exposing the severe lack of facilities at the park.
In September 2010, BBP was again in the news following the death of safari tigers due to salmonella infection. The park lost three tigers - Divya, Minchu (both four years old) and a three-month-old cub to the infection. They suffered from diarrhoea and vomiting, after they were fed infected chicken. Eighteen other tigers were also infected with the same bacteria.
BBP came under severe criticism for inaction and veterinarians from other zoos were called in to help treat the animals. Sources in the park admitted that lack of facilities and late realisation of the outbreak of the infection were the reasons for losing the tigers.
Initially, the authorities did not realise the gravity of the situation, and later delayed treatment, they added.
At present, there are 48 lions and two tigers at the Rescue Centre. The safari has 41 tigers, seven white tigers and 28 lions.
After the tigers, it is now the turn of sloth bears. Housed at the Bear Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (BRRC), the bears have been diagnosed with suspected tuberculosis, apparently contracted from humans.
About 10 out of the 100-odd bears are down with the Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), which is mainly found among humans infected with TB.  Since 2010, BRRC has lost nine bears. Recently, it lost two more to MTB. BRRC, managed by an NGO - Wildlife SOS - is unable to d

Decrease in number of visitors to zoo
The Kuwait Zoo is still operating during the holy month of Ramadan from 1:30 pm – 5:30 pm every day, with Sunday being a holiday. According to a member of the management, the zoo closes at sunset so the animals will rest, and this is an international practice or tradition.
The entrance fee is 500 Fils and there are two parts to the zoo. Visitors may choose to only view the garden and not the zoo by purchasing a ticket for 250 Fils.  The garden is open till 8 pm daily.
Though the weather has been hot, there are visitors coming to the zoo. The employee noted that primarily people arrive after 3pm, though there are rarely 100 visitors per day. Thus, during the weekends (on Fridays and Saturdays) about 200 visitors come. The number of visitors are now fewer because there are no school trips and people are fasting. Also, the hot weather is affecting the number.
Currently, there are no facilities offering food or beverages inside the zoo. The employee stressed that the cafeteria, baqala, and the juice shop will be ready for Eid Alfiret. Although the majority of visitors are usually expats, during Ramadan most visitors, if not all, are Kuwaitis.
The zoo has some problems during the year. According to the employee, the greatest problem is caused by uncivilized visitors teasing animals. They throw stones or other objects and hurt the animals. Also, some animals become scared from this throwing and hurt themselves.
There are security guards inside the zoo, though there are not enough, and visitors do not always respect them since they are Arab Nationals. The employee said that during each shift

Egypt zoos starve, torture and abuse animals
Animal rights activists have launched a campaign online to demand that Egypt improve the conditions of animals at zoos across the country. The petition, now circulating on The Petition Site, said that zoos in the country are “starving, torturing, abusing poor defenseless animals.”
The call for action singled out zoos in Giza, Alexandria, Fayoum, Kafr el-Sheikh and al-Arish as places that need immediate attention.
At the Kafr el-Sheikh facility in the Nile Delta, the campaign said the animals are often mistreated and abused by the guards. The petition reported that one of the lions, Antar, faces massive abuse and “his mate (Abla) keeps looking after him and tries best to soothe him,” after the guards continue to terrify him.
At the same facility, they pointed to a female tiger, Samar, who “is malnourished and looks distraught, she is skin and bone.” The activists said guards feed her “with a metal rod, which has a little piece of meat on the end of it only when the guard is paid to feed her. This is complete brutality.”
The petition links to a Facebook page showing images of the inhumane treatment facing animals in Egypt.
Egypt has long struggled to find peace and justice for its captive animals. At the Lion’s Village an hour and a half hours north of Cairo, animals are kept in cages no larger than one meter squared. With the debilitating summer heat in the country, they face dehydration, lack of food and potential death.
The activists are calling for both the local and international communities to intervene and force President Mohamed Morsi and his infant regime to stand up for the animals and boost the facilities allotted for them across Egypt.
The group continued to detail other zoos in the country, where the situation facing animals is little better than in Kafr el-Sheikh. In Fayoum, about an hour south of Cairo, there are 6 wolves.
“These wolves brought to the zoo by people to keep control of reproduction are confined to a tiny space. They attack each other constantly causing severe injuries. They have open, gaping wounds,” the petition continued.
Animal rights activists have over the past few years have repeatedly told that more action is needed in order to assist animals in captivity in the country. They have routinely said the international animal trade organization CITES has done little to intervene or sanction the country




White tigers new attraction at Karachi zoo
Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) Administrator Muhammad Hussain Syed said induction of new animals and birds to Karachi Zoo and Safari Park will continue and soon more zebra, rhino, giraffe and hippopotamus would arrive in these facilities.
He said this while talking to a large number of electronic and print media representatives on Tuesday on the handing over of a pair each of white tiger and Bengal tiger to the Karachi Zoo administration.
The Director General Technical Services Altaf G. Memon, Senior Director Culture, Sports and Recreation Muhammad Rehan Khan, Director Zoo Dr. Muhammad Kazim and citizens in good numbers were also present on this occasion.
The people especially kids expressed pleasure on seeing the newly arrived tigers through an acrylic glass enclosure and just in front of them.
Administrator Karachi calling it a refreshing addition to the zoo announced to hold a

Karachi Zoo: A threat to endangered animals?
The other day, my two-year old nephew would not let go of The Express Tribune. On the front page, there was a picture of a large white lion. While he didn’t understand the headline “South African white lions to land in Karachi”, he sat transfixed on the floor with the page and roared over and over again like he was the big bad Scar from The Lion King.
Unfortunately, I could not be as ecstatic about the picture as my nephew.
The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation imported these white lions at a price of Rs10 million. A glass enclosure is being built from a special material that is used for making airplane windows. Considering that the zoo’s entry fee is Rs5 for adults, it will be more than a few years before the zoo can actually break even on this new investment. I just hope that these lions are still alive by the time that happens.
I say this only because we’ve all heard stories of lions parading around in cages looking more emaciated than the top models of the country. Just last year, three cubs were found dead and one allegedly eaten by a lioness. With news of reptiles freezing to death, poorly designed enclosures and unqualified caretakers making the rounds, isn’t it time we close the doors to this establishment and return these animals to conservationists?
But the former director of the zoo Bashir Sadozai thought this was a completely justified and natural move. He said,
“White lions do not need special caretakers. The staff is well trained to handle the different kinds of lions. We have done all the assessments in this case.”
He’s right in one way – the white lion cannot survive in the wild and would be better off in a zoo. But wouldn’t you agree that even the wild has to be mild compared to the conditions of the Karachi zoo?

Over the Top Bad news for big cats
Animals have a pretty rotten deal in Pakistan since the nation, by and large, can’t seem to stand the sight of the four-legged ones. Dogs are the worst off because man’s best friends from times immemorial are “paleed,” or untouchable. Watch the zealous ones in evasive action should, heaven forbid, a dog arrive. Short of an epileptic fit and frothing at the mouth, they will recoil in the same terror as women do when faced with a formidable mouse.

Zoo worried over survival of cheetahs
After the death of two cubs of Maya, the African hunting cheetah, there are now concerns about the survival of three cubs. Though they are healthy yet the trio also visibly seems to be missing their mother Maya, who died six weeks back.
Speaking to TOI, zoo senior vet Dr Suresh Kumar said that after the death of Maya, they tried giving the cubs goat and cow milk. But, the cubs started developing indigestion. Hence, they are now being regularly fed with chicken soup, Kumar stated. As suggested by experts, authorities are giving the 16-week-old cubs rabbit meat once in a week and cooked chicken.
Expert vet Pampapathi, who runs a pet clinic in Bangalore, is visiting Mysore zoo on Sunday. Following back to back deaths of cheetahs, the authorities are seeking his suggestions on rearing the big cats in

Zoo sends SOS to SA facility
The first captive bred African hunting cheetah cubs in India are battling for survival. The death of four cheetahs - three cubs and an adult female-has left the zoo wringing its hands.
Now the Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) has sent an SOS to the South African facility from where the cheetahs were shipped to Mysore. Said M Nanjundaswamy, ZAK chairman, "We will bear the expenditure. There is no problem with that." ZAK has also asked expert vet Dr Pampapathi from Bangalore to visit

Zoos these days are a whole different animal (interesting photos and quips)
TODAY Melbourne Zoo prides itself as a conservation leader but a book released for its 150th birthday doesn't gloss over what modern readers might view as the horrors of its early years.
Although the book was commissioned by the zoo, in it you will find the story of Mollie the orang-utan, who for 20 years until her death in 1923 lived in a cramped cage, and was famous for smoking cigarettes.
For 40 years, Queenie the elephant gave rides to up to 800 children a day. Then in 1944, she accidentally squashed her keeper. She was retired and a year later was put down because she was too

Zoo crocodile escapes, hunt intensified
Rescue workers including experts from the Davao City-based Philippine Crocodile Rescue and Breeding Center, have intensified their hunt on the eight-foot crocodile that escaped from the city’s mini-zoo located at the Landmark, one of the tourist destinations here in the city.
Psalmer Bernalte of the Kidapawan City Emergency Response Unit (KidCeru) said they already sought the expertise of the crocodile breeders from the Philippine Crocodile Rescue and Breeding Center (PCRBC).
Their hunt started Friday night when the crocodile is expected to settle down after staying long in the river.
A team of seven crocodile experts will be organized to conduct the search operations.
The team has already secured ropes, high-powered flashlights, and other gadgets needed for the hunt and will be accompanied by soldiers and paramilitary men to secure them from other ‘unfriendly forces’.
Once recaptured, the city government said the crocodile

Former zoo director feared firing
Coker: Heat on Zoo staff fell on more than fired plaintiff Llizo
Former Topeka Zoo director Mike Coker said he saw the handwriting on the wall after two inspection reports in 2009 showed multiple violations at the zoo.
So he retired before the city could fire him.
Coker testified for nearly three hours Thursday in the federal discrimination lawsuit filed by Topeka Zoo veterinarian Shirley Yeo Llizo.
Randy Speaker, deputy city manager who was Coker's direct supervisor in 2009, said he had several concerns about Coker's abilities and confirmed that Coker would have been terminated had he not stepped down.
Speaker said he was concerned about Coker's "inability to lead the staff" and his inability "to address the USDA reports effectively."
Llizo is seeking $300,000 for emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience and mental anguish, along with attorney's fees and other costs.
Llizo was hired as the zoo's veterinarian in 2006 and was fired in 2009 after a U.S. Department of Agriculture review of the zoo found violations of USDA standards. The city gave Llizo her job back in August 2010.
Llizo's suit states she is a non-Caucasian female of Chinese ancestry who was born in the Republic of Singapore and is a naturalized citizen. It contends the city terminated her but not other American-born citizens of a different race and/or gender who also were considered responsible for USDA violations, including Coker.
Coker was the first witness called by the city of Topeka, which is being represented by Philip Gragson, a private attorney working under contract.

3 Toronto Zoo elephants trained for California flight
Iringa, Toka and Thika set to fly south as early as Aug. 2
For elephants to fly, you have to do more than load trunks on a plane.
Pat Derby, co-founder of the Performing Animal Welfare Society, has been working for two years to get three 4,500-kilogram elephants in the air. The elephants are scheduled to take off on Aug. 2 in what could be a million-dollar move.
The African elephants, Iringa, 42, Toka, 41, and Thika, 31, are being retired from the Toronto Zoo and moved to PAWS' 930-hectare sanctuary in San Andreas.
To get the elephants ready to fly, the animals had to undergo crate and noise training. A Russian cargo jet and two fleets of trucks had to be rented; pilots, drivers and crews hired; crates built and fitted for each elephant; hydraulic gates reinstalled at the sanctuary; and barn space cleared.
The amount of red tape rivalled only the green involved, but former game show host and animal activist Bob Barker is paying the bill, expected to be between $750,000 and $1 million.
The Aug. 2 departure is being questioned by officials in Toronto, who said preparations to move the animals could still take weeks. A spokesman for Michelle Berardinetti, one of the Toronto councillors spearheading the move, said Tuesday that the elephants will most likely not be moved in August.
Zookeepers have been teaching the animals to walk in and out of their travel crates, finished in January. "We rattle the crates and make all kinds of sounds so they are used to noise," Derby said, because "there are no test flights."
Iringa and Toka do have past plane experience — they were flown to Toronto from Mozambique 37 years ago. Would an elephant forget?
"It would be the way we remember some gut feelings," Joyce Poole, an elephant behaviourist and co-founder of ElephantVoices, said in a phone interview from Norway. "They are used to going in and out of cages and being in small confined spaces. Otherwise, getting back into a truck could bring back some scary feelings. Obviously, they were captured and taken from their families and

Dolphins, elephants for Chickland

LOCALS may soon get a chance to see dolphins, elephants and other exotic animals close up once a zoo and nature park is set up in central Trinidad.


The zoo which was earmarked in 2007 by the then PNM administration, would occupy 40 acres of Sou Sou lands in Chickland.


However, a date has not been set for the project to begin nor has any money been allocated, Tourism Minister Stephen Cadiz said yesterday on a tour of the proposed reserve site. Accompanying the minister was Caroni MP and Minister of the People and Social Development Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh, and minister in the ministry Vernella Alleyne-Toppin.


Alongside the team were officials of the Zoological Society of TT (ZSTT), as well as officials of the Couva/ Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation.


Speaking to reporters, Ramadharsingh said the Emperor Valley Zoo has severe limitations in terms of space and a natural environment. But the proposed zoo will allow for animals to be in their natural environment, said Ramadharsingh, a veterinarian by profession. He noted that persons have to travel to countries such as Africa , India and Australia to see exotic animals or learn about them on televison programmes.


“They are very loving creatures that can teach us a lot about nature,” the minister explained. He said people are excited when they journey to Miami to see dolphins.,163505.html

Genetic test could save Scottish wildcats from extinction

SCIENTISTS are hoping genetic testing could save one of Scotland’s most endangered animals from extinction.


The Scottish wildcat, of which less than 400 remain, has been given a lifeline by experts who hope a simple blood test could help preserve the species.


The genetic test, due to be launched at Christmas, will establish how many pure-bred wildcats remain, and take steps to protect them by introducing a breeding programme – the first of its kind.


The Scottish wildcat is amongst the most endangered species on the planet and experts warn that if interbreeding continues, the species could be wiped out within five years.


Steve Piper of the Scottish Wildcat Association said the official figures claiming 400 wildcats remain was too optimistic.

Brookfield Zoo’s Bornean Orangutan Turns 51

Brookfield Zoo’s Bornean orangutan celebrated her 51th birthday Wednesday.


Maggie born in 1961 at the San Diego Zoo is the oldest of her kind living in a North American Zoo.


Maggie has had some memorable moments while in Brookfield Zoo. In 1996 she served as a surrogate mother to a male infant. Eight years later she underwent an extreme makeover losing 90 pounds after being diagnosed with a hypothyroid condition

Inspectors visit Fairhope elephant sanctuary

An inspection team toured the International Conservation Center near Fairhope on Thursday, looking at everything — down to the flowers.


Dr. Barbara Baker, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, which owns the center, said the primary emphasis is on the quality of care of the animals. But the four inspectors, who are with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, also look at finance, marketing, education and visitors' experience.


"Once every five years, the zoo and the ICC go through an accreditation inspection," Baker said. "It's like the Good Housekeeping seal of approval for the over 200 zoos in the country. Every aspect of the zoo affects the others — if marketing is not doing its job, we aren't getting visitors and then we aren't raising money. They spend a lot of time on animal care. At the Pittsburgh Zoo, we approach this as our chance to shine and showcase all the great work we are doing at the zoo and the ICC."


Ed Asper, chairman of the accreditation team, said he could not comment on specifics about the inspections. The zoo's inspection was earlier in the week. At the end of the inspection, if the inspectors have any concerns, they let the zoo know. The zoo then has the opportunity to address each concern. A written report is sent to the 15-member Accreditation Commission, which reviews the report and the zoo's response during a hearing that the zoo president attends. The Pittsburgh Zoo and ICC's hearing will be Sept. 10 in Phoenix.


"The AZA office chooses the teams that are specific to sites," Asper said. "There is someone who is an expert in administration, a veterinarian and a territorial expert, in this case someone who is an expert in elephants."


The territorial expert looks at the animals' living conditions. The team has three choices: to grant accreditation; to deny accreditation; or to table a decision for a year to give the zoo time to improve. Asper could not recall the last time a zoo was denied accreditation. Baker said the Pittsburgh zoo has always received it since the process began in 1986.


"We want to improve all aspects of the zoo," Baker said. "Every time the standards are changed, we improve to meet the standards. We want to exceed the visiting team's expectations."


The center has five elephants: Jackson, the bull from Pittsburgh; and four females: Bette, from the Philadelphia Zoo; and Seeni, Sukiri and Thandi, all rescued in Botswana, Africa. African painted dogs and springboks — a gazelle-like animal — will be brought from the zoo to the center sometime in the fall. Fencing is in place, Baker said, but a building is needed to house them during the winter.


There are six zoos with off-site breeding facilities,0,7749179.story

Desert life made sand cats a hardy lot – with one bad habit

For the most part, it looks like any domestic cat. And with its wide, flat face, big ears and perfectly oval eyes, it is almost cartoonishly cute.


But don't be fooled. When the Arabian sand cat spots a mouse, its demeanour changes. It flattens itself, slinking along the sand, capturing its prey in the blink of an eye.


"That is when you know it is a wildcat," says Rashed Al Qamzi, a supervisor at Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort.


Al Ain's zoo has 31 Arabian sand cats - 16 males and 15 females. The smallest member of the cat family found in Arabian Peninsula, the sand cat also lives in North Africa and central Asia.


"You can't help but be mesmerised by the way the sand cat moves," says Mr Al Qamzi, an Emirati. "It is very light on its feet, almost flying about. And it can become flat like a cardboard cutout, so you don't see it against the sand.


"Their large ears are set low on the side, which makes them very sensitive to any sound."


The cat takes its Latin name, Felis margarita, from a French general, Jean Auguste Margueritte, who led an expedition to the Sahara in the 1850s. He captured one of the cats from the desert between Libya and Algeria.


Its coat is thick and pale, ranging from sandy brown to grey, while its belly, chest and lower muzzle are white. Its limb and tail have black markings. Standing 26 centimetres tall at the shoulder and weighing up to 3 kilograms, it is shorter and stockier than a domestic cat.


"They are quite tough," says Mr Al Qamzi. "They can take on and eat poisonous snakes, like the horned sand viper.


"But they also purr - not exactly like a house cat, a bit more subtle - and meow loudly like any other cat when it wants your attention."


Nocturnal, the

Detroit Zoo Mourns Loss Of Rescued Polar Bear

She was a loving mother, a former big top performer, and a favorite of Detroit Zoo staff and visitors since her rescue a decade ago.


Bärle, a 27-year-old female polar bear rescued from a circus nearly 10 years ago, was euthanized Wednesday after an exam revealed multiple tumors in her abdomen.


Zookeepers reported changes in Bärle’s behavior over the past five days, including decreased appetite. Efforts were made to encourage her to eat – including providing her with favorite foods of cooked sweet potatoes and chicken – to no avail. During a veterinary exam Wednesday morning, the tumors were discovered and the difficult decision was made to hum

Plan to sell rhino horn: report

South African conservationists have unveiled a plan to sell rhino horns legally and directly to Chinese pharmaceutical companies, The Star reported on Friday.


"Let's try it out for five years and see what impact it has," Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife's former conservation planning chief Roger Porter said in Durban on Thursday, as the formal proposal was presented to the International Wildlife Management Congress.


He said the horns would be sold in the same way diamonds were sold by the De Beers corporation.


The Star reported the price would be controlled by a central selling organisation, with sales held at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg four times a year.


The money used from horn sales would be used to fund rhino conservation efforts.


More than 270 rhinos had been slaughtered for their horns so far this year. Rhino horn is used to make traditional medicine, which is mainly consumed in Asia.


Porter acknowledged the proposal was not a "silver bullet" to halt poaching.


"If it reduces poaching sig

Extinction prompts conservation

The Taipei Zoo said it is working with global partners to prevent an endangered tortoise species from sharing the same fate as Lonesome George, the last of a subspecies of tortoise that died last week on June 24.


“Lonesome George is in the past now. The pressing issue is to prevent the tragedy from happening again to other tortoises threatened with extinction,” said Chang Ming-hsiung (???), chief executive of the zoo’s Conservation and Research Center.


Lonesome George, a Pinta Island giant tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra abingdonii) that lived in the Galapagos Islands, died at the age of 100, prompting worldwide mourning over the beloved conservation icon.


The subspecies is believed to have become extinct because Lonesome George, which had been kept in captivity in Galapagos National Park since the 1970s, failed to leave any offspring.


Although it caused consternation among conservationists, the tortoise’s demise may help other species survive.


It has prompted the Taipei Zoo to reflect on its conservation strategy for the endangered Burmese star tortoise. The zoo has 19 of the turtles, which were found in the 1990s in Taiwan after being illegally smuggled into the country for the pet or medicine markets.


That is 6.3 percent of the estimated global population of 300 for a species ranked 11th in the Turtle Conservation Coalition’s report last year entitled Turtles In Trouble: The World’s Top 25+ Endangered Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles.

Indian state's grip on rare lions may be too tight

A peacock shrieks. A monkey scrambles higher into the fire-colored canopy of a kesudo tree. And an Asiatic lion - one of the last few hundred in the wild - pads across the dusty earth of a west Indian sanctuary that is its only refuge from the modern world.


Within the guarded confines of this dry forest in Gujarat state, the lions have been rescued from near-extinction. A century ago, fewer than 50 remained. Today, more than 400 fill the park and sometimes wander into surrounding villages and farmland.


But the lions' precarious return is in jeopardy. Experts warn their growing numbers could be their undoing. Crowded together, they are more vulnerable to disease and natural disaster. There is little new territory for young males to claim, increasing chances for inbreeding, territorial conflict or males killing the young.


Conservationists agree these lions need a second home fast, and far from Gir. Government-backed experts in the 1990s settled on a rugged and hilly sanctuary called Kuno, where lions historically roamed with tigers in the neighboring state of Madhya Pradesh. Millions were spent preparing the park. But Gujarat rejected the plan. And no lions were sent.


Now, the uncertain fate of the Asiatic lions - once dominant in forests from Morocco and Greece across the Middle East to eastern India - rests in the hands of bureaucrats, and the case has reached the Supreme Court.


"We are the only ones who have lions. We have managed without interference until now," Gujarat's environment secretary, S.K. Nanda, said proudly from behind an enormous desk in an office complex decorated with lion posters reading: "Gujarat's pride; World's envy."


"Can we humans be arbiters of where these lions should live? Sho

Georgia Aquarium applies to bring 18 beluga whales to zoos and aquariums around the country

The application is part of a five-year, multimillion-dollar conservation program to improve the genetic diversity of captive belugas in the U.S. That would, in turn, make the beluga population more stable and would broaden the database of research on belugas’ needs and capabilities.


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (

) that the whales would be housed in aquariums and zoological parks around the country.


Georgia Aquarium chief zoological officer William Hurley says there are 34 belugas in U.S. captivity. He said many of them are past prime calf-bearing age, and bringing more belugas into the pool could improve the success of breeding efforts.


Georgia Aquarium’s 17-year-old female beluga, Maris, gave birth in May, but the infant calf died just a few days later. The aquarium is still waiting on reports from the necropsy.


“When the calf didn’t make it, it was devastating to us,” Hurley said.


If the application is approved, the new belugas would come from the Sea of Okhotsk in eastern Russia, where there is a population of several thousand. Marine protection agencies there have overseen the collection by

After four years, Delhi zoo begins breeding of white tigers

After a gap of nearly five years, the Delhi Zoo now plans to begin breeding of one of its star attraction — the white tiger, officials said on Monday. The zoo also plans to begin breeding programmes of other carnivores such as Asiatic lions, jaguars, hyenas and wolves in the coming months, said R A Khan, curator of the National Zoological Park.


“We had not been able to breed the white tigers till now due to a shortage of space. But this year, the zoo has given away three of them to other zoos in the country and so we now plan to start breeding again. Wolf and hyena pairs were brought to the zoo recently and we plan to breed them as well, along with Asiatic lions,”said Khan.


The zoo currently has six white tigers — four females and two males. Three tigers have been given away in as part of exchange programmes with other zoos this year. One was was sent to Jaipur, Gwalior and Chandigarh zoos.


“The last breeding of white tigers took place about four-and-a-half years ago. The process has already

S.F. Zoo turns to consultant for habitat vision

Terry Maple could sense that Jasper the hedgehog, whom he cradled in his arm while posing for a photo, was uncomfortable with his surroundings.


"I think his stomach is making noises - this could be trouble," he said.


Sure enough, the spiny creature urinated on his crisp blue dress shirt hardly a minute later.


It is Maple's knowledge of the environments animals need to thrive that led the San Francisco Zoo to hire him as its first professor-in-residence. Maple, a former zoo director on the East Coast with a doctorate degree in psychobiology, will advise the zoo on how to put its animals before people when redesigning some of the outdated animal h




Palm-oil boom raises conservation concerns
Palm oil was once touted as a social and environmental panacea — a sustainable food crop, a biofuel that could help to cut greenhouse-gas emissions and a route out of poverty for small-scale farmers. In recent years, however, a growing body of research has questioned those credentials, presenting evidence that palm-oil farming can cause damaging deforestation and reduce biodiversity, and that the oil’s use as a biofuel offers only marginal benefits for mitigating climate change.
But even as the environmental case against it grows stronger, the palm-oil business is booming as never before. “Oil palm is such a lucrative crop that there is almost no way to stop it,” says William Laurance, a forest-conservation scientist at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia. Indonesia, the world’s largest grower of oil palms (see ‘Palm sprouts’), is expected to double production by 2030. And on 28 June, the Malaysian palm-oil company Felda Global Ventures (FGV) earned US$3.2 billion in the second-largest initial public offering (IPO) this year after Facebook, which will enable the company to bring thousands of extra hectares into production.
Sabri Ahmad, group president of FGV, told reporters last week that the company planned to expand its operations eightfold in eight years. To do so, it will have to look beyond Malaysia to countries such as Cambodia and Indonesia. Although Malaysia is now the world’s second-largest producer of palm oil, it is running out of viable land for new oil-palm plantations, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
Such expansion is driven by the steadily rising demand for palm oil, mainly from the food sector, which uses it in a vast array of products, including margarine and biscuits. But the emerging biodiesel market is also thirsty for the oil.

Panda Politics: Tokyo’s Outspoken Governor Puts His Paw in it Again
When a giant panda gets pregnant, it’s news. Especially in Japan, a country that has waited decades for a baby panda to be born. But the good news that Shin Shin, a giant panda at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo on loan from China, appears to be with child, has quickly been turned into bad news by Tokyo’s outspoken governor.
Gov. Shintaro Ishihara suggested Shin Shin’s potential newborn be named Sen Sen or Kaku Kaku, a word play on the disputed islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. Mr. Ishihara, laughing, proposed the names at the end of a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday in response to a question asking his thoughts on Shin Shin’s possible pregnancy. “This will give China control [of the Senkakus] when the baby pandas return to China,” he said.
Beijing fired back on Friday.  ”Ishihara’s scheme to undermine China-Japan relations is a clumsy performance. It will only tarnish the image of Japan and Tokyo,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a

South Africa's Chimp Eden maulers escape death penalty
Two chimpanzees which mauled an American student in South Africa will not be put down, a government investigator says.
They were defending their territory and there was no evidence of negligence by their keepers, said Dries Pienaar.
Andrew Oberle was studying at a sanctuary in north-eastern South Africa when he was attacked last Thursday.
The chimps tore off some of his fingers, a testicle and mauled his head.
Mr Pienaar, a conservationist who is leading the investigation into the attack said the animals were defending their territory.
He said Mr Oberle, a Masters student in anthropology and primatology at the University of Texas

Chimpanzees vs. Humans: Sizing Up Their Strength
The mauling of Texas graduate student Andrew Oberle by two chimpanzees at the Jane Goodall Institute Chimpanzee Eden in South Africa Thursday was a reminder that in strength, size might not matter.
Chimpanzees are considered the closest living relative of humans, sharing 95 to 98 percent of the same DNA, according to the Jane Goodall Institute in Washington, D.C., a separate entity from the facility in South Africa.
But in no way do humans compare with a chimps' sheer strength and the few percentage points in which the two differ are extreme, many experts say.
"It's the closest thing we know to human warfare" when a chimp is provoked, said Steve Ross, director of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study of Conservation of Apes at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.
"Chimps are incredibly strong and fast so humans are easily overpowered."
Indeed, chimpanzees have been shown to be about four times as strong as humans comparable in size, according to evolutionary biologist Alan Walker, formerly of Pennsylvania State University.
Research suggests the difference in strength between the two lies in the muscle performance.
In chimps, the muscle fibers closest to the bones -- those deemed to be the source of strength of both chimps and humans – are much longer and more dense, so a chimp is able to generate more power using the same range of motion, Ross of the Lester Fisher Cente

Penguin caretaker one cool customer
So what's black and white and red all over?
A penguin with mosquito bites.
"You'd be proven wrong if you thought heat is our penguins' biggest enemy during summer," said Jin Jun, a penguin keeper at the Shanghai Zoo.
"Mosquitoes are."
She said that unlike the Emperor Penguin, which can only be found in cold climates - and only a few species live that far south - African penguins adapt better to the hot summer temperatures.
"But the strange thing is I kept finding these tiny red spots that looked like sties on each penguin's upper eyelids almost every summer and I couldn't figure out what they were," Jin said.
"That kept puzzling me until one day I was driven crazy by the annoying mosquitoes in the zoo - and I suddenly realized my little flightless fellows were covered with feathers from head to toe except their eyelids!"
The 43-year-old has since used a liquid mosquito killer to keep the insects at bay.
After 10 years working with the penguins at the zoo, Jin knows the personalities of the 33 birds in the penguin building and can recall where the ancestors of each came from - zoos in Japan and the Netherlands - despite the fact they're African penguins.
Yet even in the partially enclosed environment that is equipped with a cool pool, air conditioning is still necessary for the penguins in the 34 C summer.
"We hide three air conditioners under the rocks so that zoo-goers won't see them," Jin said, pointing to one and adding that they're the penguins' favorite spots during summer.
Adult African penguins usually grow to 70 centimeters tall and weigh between 2 and 5 kilograms, Jin said. They have a black stripe and black spots on their chests, and the pattern is unique for every penguin, like human fingerprints.

Antarctic moss eats 8,000-year-old penguin poop
Earlier this year, a slightly horrifying factoid made its way around the internet: Penguins poop so much that piles of their poop can be seen from space. But take heart, people who don’t like thinking about mountains of bird guano: It turns out that today’s penguin dung heap could be tomorrow’s source of nutrition for beautiful, fuzzy moss.
A team of Australian researchers were looking into the source of nutrients for these Antarctic plants, the BBC explains, and had narrowed it down to “nitrogen that’s gone through algae, krill and fish.” That food chain leads to seabirds — penguins — but the researchers were puzzled:
Since no penguins live on the elevated lakeside site in East Antarctica, the researchers had to work out where the mysterious seabird poo came from.
They realized that their moss beds were growing on the site of an ancient penguin colony.
“Between 3,000 and 8,000 years ago, on the site where the moss is now growing, there used to be [Adelie] penguins,” said Prof Robinson.
The moss growing on the penguin poop creates a tiny Antarctic jungle of lush green, which creates a habitat for insects and other tiny animals that can deal with cold. There is, however, a lot of this moss, which means that at one point there was a LOT of penguin poop lying around. Like, tons. Try not to think about that

Threatened specie, Western Tragopan pheasant breeds again
They say all the nine pairs of the western tragopan which were hit by a serious bacterial infection in 2010 have not only recuperated but have also multiplied after a gap of two years.
“Seven chicks have been born. They are now three weeks old and shaping up well,” said Principal Chief Conservator (Wildlife) RK Sood.
He said almost all the birds at the Saharan pheasantry, located 160 km from Shimla, have recovered from the infection.
They were hit by E. coli bacteria in May 2010, leading to the death of three.
Since then, there have been doubts about the future of the Central Zoo Authority-supported conservation breeding project at Saharan, the only breeding programme of pheasants in the country. The wildlife authorities were forced to abort their breeding for the time being.
Sood said a total of 40 eggs were laid by the birds in six clutches this season.
“From one clutch, three chicks hatched. The remaining four chicks produced from two clutches – two from each clutch. Their success in breeding indicated that the birds have fully recovered from the infection,” he added.
Officials said three females are still involved in brooding.
Unlike the past, the caretakers have not used broody hens

Lemurs sliding towards extinction

A new survey shows lemurs are far more threatened than previously thought.


A group of specialists is in Madagascar - the only place where lemurs are found in the wild - to systematically assess the animals and decide where they sit on the Red List of Threatened Species.


More than 90% of the 103 species should be on the Red List, they say.


Since a coup in 2009, conservation groups have repeatedly found evidence of illegal logging, and hunting of lemurs has emerged as a new threat.


The assessment, conducted by the Primate Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), concludes that 23 lemurs qualify as Critically Endangered - the highest class of threat.


Fifty-two are in the Endangered classification, and a further

Chimps bust out of Germany's Hannover Zoo, child hurt

Five chimpanzees broke out of their enclosure at Germany's Hannover Experience Zoo on Wednesday, terrorizing patrons and injuring a 5-year-old girl.


Five chimpanzees broke out of their enclosure at Germany's Hannover Experience Zoo on Wednesday, terrorizing patrons and injuring a 5-year-old girl.


How exactly the chimps escaped from their enclosure is under investigation, according to the Hannover Allgemeine Zeitung.


The chimps may have used wood that had fallen into their area during gardening work to scale the wall of their pen, AFP reported. A zoo spokesperson told Die Welt Online that the apes utilized a tree that had fallen over in a recent storm to climb out.


About 2,500 people were visiting at the zoo at the time, and were evacuated once officials realized the apes were on the loose.


A 5-year-old girl was knocked over by one of the apes as it tore through the grounds of the zoo. The child escaped the encounter with cuts on her face, and was taken to the hospital for observation, according to Die Welt Online, where

Shooting of chimp in Las Vegas a reminder that primates aren't pets, expert says

Poker pro Lee Watkinson put up the money and girlfriend Timmi De Rosa gave her heart to an effort to rescue two adult chimpanzees that had outgrown their youthful cuteness in a northwest Las Vegas neighborhood.


"We wanted to build a sanctuary," Watkinson said Friday. "We found them in a bad situation. People have them and play with them for five years and then someone has to come and rescue them. That's what we tried to do. We failed."


On Thursday, after three straight days of stifling 110-degree days, the chimps burst through one door of their outdoor pen, opened a secondary door with two dead bolt latches, and escaped.


For 30 minutes they rumbled through yards and climbed into and out of at least one unoccupied vehicle. The male, Buddy, dented fenders and jumped atop a police car before veering toward a gathering crowd of people. A Las Vegas police officer killed him with three shotgun blasts.


Buddy and the female, named C.J., had become unmanageable for their former owner, who signed part ownership of the animals over to a nonprofit that De Rosa heads, called the Cortland Brandenberg Foundation.


The couple spent $100,000 of Watkinson's winnings from the 2006 World Series of Poker on a sturdy double-fenced enclosure of 800 square feet, about the size of two big-rig trailers, this in the backyard of a home in a horsey neighborhood in unincorporated Clark County. Building codes in the area and Nevada state law allow people to keep exotic animals as pets.


Officer Marcus Martin, a Las Vegas police spokesman, said the veteran officer who shot Buddy thought he was the last defense between the rampaging animal and people gathering to watch. Martin recalled a 2009 attack on a woman who was blinded and disfigured by a chimp at a friend's home in Stamford, Conn.


A U.S. student also suffered critical injuries including head wounds and the loss of a testicle and fingers when he was attacked by two adult chimpanzees after he entered their enclosure last month at a primate sanctuary in South Africa.

Man Killed by Tigers at Copenhagen Zoo

Earlier this week, a man was killed by tigers at the Copenhagen Zoo after he climbed a fence and went across a moat to access the enclosure. The victim has been identified as a 20-year-old of Afghan descent. He was living in Copenhagen at the time of his death, which occurred when he was savaged by three tigers after breaking into the zoo in the early hours of the morning.


The man was found deceased, surrounded by the tigers, when the zoo staff arrived for work in the morning. Police have yet to rule out suicide as a reason why the man entered the tiger enclosure. The man lived by himself in a flat near his family and was preparing to finish high school.


‘We have cried all day’, a family member said.


‘I’m absolutely shattered’, a friend said. ‘He was a really, really nice guy.’


The man was bitten by the tigers on his chest, thigh, throat and face, according to Superintendent Lars Borg. Borg said, ‘We received an emergency call at about 7.30am that a person had been found lying in the tiger pen and that three tigers were surrounding that person. The tigers attacked him and killed him. It is likely that a bite to the throat was the primary reason for his death. He has been in the water and the animals must have seen that and attacked him.’


Detectives working the case are sifting through video footage to figure out how the man entered the tiger enclosure. Psychologists were called in to talk to staff members who found the body, according to the zoo’s chief executive, Steffen Straede. The zoo is 152 years old and Straede said that this is the first incident of its kind. He also said that he is not planning to review the security of the zoo because of the incident. ‘If a

Edinburgh Zoo plans for £750,000 penguin colony pool

Edinburgh Zoo is planning to house its penguin colony in a new £750,000 enclosure.


Over the past 100 years it has gained a reputation for its breeding success but the colony was split up earlier this year when their pool sprang a leak.


Many of the 160 birds went to other zoos in Belfast, Denmark and England, with some remaining in Edinburgh.


The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland is now campaigning to raise the last £100,000 for the new pool.


Plans include diving boards, water slides and a beach for the penguins, with a better view for visitors.


Meanwhile, interim chief executive Hugh Roberts has told BBC Scotland he believes the zoo is on a much firmer footing than before it secured its two pandas, Tian Tian and Yang Guang.


Mr Roberts said: "The real problem here was perhaps that people had lost trust and for me it was about rebuilding and regaining that trust."


He added: "The fundamental thing about the pandas was never really in doubt, the Chinese don't enter into long-term arrangements and then throw them overboard just because one or two things are not going so well.


"The UK government, the Scottish government weren't going to let that all happen, we certainly

Theme park wars!

Ocean Park and Disneyland have been in a battle for business for seven years. With each launching major new attractions a day apart this fortnight, Andrea Yu dodges corn dogs and coasters to get into the middle of the fracas


Once upon a time, Ocean Park ruled the Hong Kong amusement park landscape alone. When it opened in 1977, it was the city’s grand darling of theme parks with its quirky array of marine life, thrilling spills and, yes, a cable car. But then one day in 2005, along came another theme park player, busting out Ocean Park from its near 30-year comfort zone. Hong Kong Disneyland had arrived – and the battle for business began in earnest.


Over the course of their short joint history, the competition between Disneyland and Ocean Park has, on the surface, increased exponentially. Just months after the arrival of Disneyland, Ocean Park launched a six-year Master Redevelopment Plan, which has seen the Wong Chuk Hang park add the Ocean Express funicular railway, open the theme areas Thrill Mountain and The Rainforest, and unveil an epic Frank Gehry-designed aquarium. In turn, Disneyland has swelled with Tomorrowland, the iconic Disney boat ride It’s a Small World and, just late last year, Toy Story Land. The expansions have been regular and significant, each adding fuel to the comparative fire. But, arguably, this rivalry has never been greater than it will be in the coming weeks, when both parks unveil major new attractions.

Colchester Zoo fined for exposing employees to asbestos

Colchester Zoo has been fined for exposing workers to one of the most dangerous types of asbestos.


The zoo also did not follow the correct procedures for removing the substance and did not bring in specialist contractors.


A court heard the zoo is taking civil action over a report it commissioned from experts on asbestos.


The zoo admitted 12 charges brought by Colchester Council over asbestos at a hay barn and was fined £35,000 and £3,398 costs.


After the hearing, zoo director Anthony Tropeano said it was the result of a genuine error.


He said: “Based on the level of fines imposed, it’s clear to us the court acknowledged this as being the case.


“Colchester Zoo deeply regrets on this one occasion, as a result of an administrative oversight, proper procedures were not followed.


“Procedures were immediately reviewed and Colchester Zoo is confident this situation could not arise

Humboldt Penguins In Chile: Threatened By Rats, These Animals Could Face Extinction

A 3-week-old Humboldt Penguin gazes plaintively from the opening of its nest, waiting for its parents to return with food. They may be out hunting for fish. But if they take much longer, they might not have a chick to provide for.


Invading rats with bodies up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) long have begun eating eggs and chicks, and some experts fear that unless the rats are eradicated, they could tip the Humboldt penguin toward extinction.


These penguins with distinctive black bands across their chests also are threatened by changing sea currents, fierce gulls and nesting pelicans whose relatively heavy bodies collapse their shallow earthen caves. And the biggest peril has been the nets of fishing boats that trap and suffocate the adults, at least until now.


"The cause of the decline in the penguin population is man," said bird veterinarian Paula Arce. "And of its eggs ... That could be the rats."


The Humboldt population has dropped from hundreds of thousands decades ago to below 45,000, said Alejandro Simeone, who directs the Ecology and Biodiversity Department at Andres Bello University in Santiago, Chile's capital.


The International Union for the Conservation of Nature

Biggest Aquarium in Asia to Open in JejuA new aquarium in Seogwipo



Jeju held a free open house period for two days on Friday and Saturday prior to the official opening this coming Friday. Aqua Planet Jeju is the largest in Asia, bigger even than the 10,400-ton Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan.


The main tank is 23 m wide and 8.5 m high, about four times larger than a normal cinema screen. The acryl window gives the effect of watching an IMAX screen.


The operators said it took two weeks just to fill up the 5,000-ton water tank with seawater. The specially made acryl window is 60 cm thick and was installed by engineers from the U.S. It cost W10 billion.


The volume of all water tanks

Franklin Zoo to close after keeper's death

The zoo where an elephant crushed a woman to death has announced it will close.


Franklin Zoo, near Auckland, said this afternoon it will shut its doors permanently in the wake of the death of zoo keeper Dr Helen Schofield.


In a statement released today, a spokesperson said it has been a difficult few months trying to find someone to take from Schofield, who had also acted as a vet and mentor at the zoo.


“Helen is irreplaceable and this is why the Trustees have now had to make the incredibly difficult decision to close Franklin Zoo.”


The future of Mila, the elephant who killed Schofield, is still uncertain.


“Helen dedicated her life to animals, and her greatest dream was for Mila to be moved to another facility where she could live out the rest of her days with other elephants.


“We will not give up on Helen's dream, and we believe that the best way to honour this is to focus resources into our goal of working towards Mila’s relocation to a facility overseas so that we can try to secure her future.”


The spokesperson said the zoo would work closely in the coming weeks with the Australasian Zoo & Aquarium Association and the Ministry for Primary Industries to find homes for its animals.


Auckland and Hamilton zoo staff will continue to assist in the day-to-day care of Mila, and preparing her for her relocation overseas.


The zoo has been in financial dire straits since Schofield died.


A recent zoo newsletter said Schofield was paid just $29,731 for her work in the last six and a half years.


"She even objected to this amount, saying she was paid too much and

CCTV cameras go missing at Delhi zoo

Two CCTV infrared cameras - each worth about Rs. 25,000 - have gone missing from the Himalayan Bear enclosure at the National Zoological Park. The cameras were installed inside the bear enclosure to document pregnancies and subsequent delivery of the species. This is because the female bear tends to go deep inside its cave-like enclosure during delivery, and comes out only after the baby bear is about 12 to 15 days old.


"It was found that one of the cameras had been damaged, possibly after one of the bears hit it. The two equipment were pulled down and kept for repair. However, someone moved the two cameras from there," said AK Agnihotri, the zoo's director.


The cameras were installed last year following a 'female bear gone missing during pregnancy' controversy in 2007.


The zoo administration had since then installed infrared cameras to monitor the would-be mother's movements and the birth of the baby at its enclosure at beat number 5.


"Although the zoo administration has no clue on who could have done it, the needle of suspicion pointed towards our electrical workers. So, our staff approached the police," said

Views clash on what’s best for Manila’s lone elephant

While an animal rights watchdog contends that Manila zoo’s lone elephant is suffering physically and psychologically, her “best friend” has come out to air sentiments to the contrary.


The first has managed to internationalize the issue by gaining expressions of support from British rock star Morrisey, American pachyderm expert Henry Richardson, and, just last week, Nobel Prize-winning novelist J.M. Coetzee.


The other owns the hand that has patiently fed and pampered “Mali” for more than a decade.


Mali may be alone but not unloved, according to veteran advertising photographer John Chua, who has served as the animal’s volunteer caretaker since 2001.


Chua is almost single-handedly challenging the views of the group People’s Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) concerning its campaign to have Mali transferred to a nature sanctuary in northern Thailand.


“Don’t tell me she’s sick or that she’ll die if she’s not moved. I’ve taken care of her for 10 years. That’s no joke,” Chua said in a recent interview, when he spent yet another morning at the zoo to feed and play with  Mali.


Chua has become known to zoo visitors and administrators as Mali’s pro bono keeper, often the only person capable of approaching Mali without any difficulty. He treats her almost every day to her favorite food like mangoes, bananas, even orange-flavored popsicles.


He gives her a shower and a soothing spray on her massive feet, and puts her through what he called an “enrichment program” that includes “coconut football” or a lazy dip in a puddle.


But for someone who shares the same objective as Mali’s avowed protectors, Chua is not exactly on the same page as Peta. “I really have no problems with having her transferred … but I’m questioning [Peta’s] sincerity,” he said quite bluntly.

No Disney ending for woodrat breeding program

Ten years ago, in a desperate move to save one of Florida's most endangered species, U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials approved capturing a few of the animals and taking them to Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo for captive breeding.


The endangered species in question was not the Florida panther, the manatee or any of the other license-plate icons that call the Sunshine State home. It was the Key Largo woodrat, a small rodent with smooth fur and bulging black eyes.


Federal officials figured they could save the species from extinction by spending $12,000 a year breeding the rats and then turning them loose in the wild.


At first the breeding program seemed to be a big success.


At Lowry Park and, later, Disney's Animal Kingdom, the endangered rats bred like, well, rats. But then the project ran into big problems, demonstrating why captive breeding is a tricky strategy that's used only as a last resort, said Larry Williams, South Florida field supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


The rat project ended this spring, he said.


The shutdown "was a little disheartening for us," said Anne Savage, senior conservation biologist for Disney's Animal Kingdom. Perhaps it is no surprise, given the role of a cartoon mouse in Disney lore, that Animal Kingdom won a national award for its success in breeding

Bear shot dead, another on run in S. Korea: report

South Korean police shot dead one bear and another was on the run after the pair of female six-year-olds escaped from a farm on the outskirts of Seoul on Saturday, a report said.


The duo broke out of their pen in Yongin, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Seoul, the Yonhap news agency said, quoting police.


About 20 police hunters and 10 dogs went after the bears, and one of them was shot dead about


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